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Friday, October 17, 2014

Editor Appreciation #RomFantasy #amwriting

This is a topic that I see a great deal of discussion about in various groups. Often, it becomes a very tense and disagreeable subject, especially to those who feel they don’t need an editor’s hand touching their prose. I tend to remain quiet, because I’m not interested in going to war with anyone’s ego.

For me, the discovery of good editors versus bad ones has been a long and winding road at the best of times. In recent years, I’ve gotten lucky and found out what a good editor really is, and how invaluable their presence is to making a good story into a much better one. The amazing lady who taught me that also introduced me to change and growth as a storyteller.

Most of the people who follow me already know that I began writing in fan fiction and developed my first audience of readers through that media connection. I was one of the writers who was lucky, people loved my stories pretty much consistently. I grew, learned, and had a great time. When I went “pro” with it all, I had a new world to learn in. I thought I was doing fine when the first reviews were stellar! However, I was about to take a journey I would never have anticipated, and at times the road would twist more than Rapunzel’s braid…

I settled in with my first publisher and planned to stay with them. I was happy, my editor told me she loved my stories, my style, etc., and it was a comfortable and friendly company. I’ve learned since not everything easy is necessarily good, of course. The one thing I will always thank my first editor for is the lesson in head-hopping, or point of view shifting every other paragraph. I used to do that so consistently, and so smoothly in many cases, it was almost alien for me to not do it. I approached the story with the idea that I was the director, so I needed to be in everyone’s head, and choose which POV was most relevant to making the story clear for the reader. Hell, it was ages before I realized I needed to be the actor/character, not the director working outside everyone. My appreciation all these years later is still sincere, but only for that one point of creative correction. Things happened with that editor/publishing house that also piss me off to this day. Being told I was “labour intensive” to my editor, by another member of the house, alerted me to behind the scenes gossip and practices that made me wonder just what the hell was going on. I was also told that this editor I trusted handed out one of my stories to the rest of the staff, also a group of writers, and told them if they wanted to write vampire stories, they really needed to read my story… Hmmm…. No one asked if I’d mind… Am I the only one who thinks this shows a total lack of respect, never mind a questionable professional ethic? Never mind, loads more happened and was said there, and I was happy to leave at that stage.

So, over the coming years, I continued to write, continued to have easy editors for the most part, and was pretty confident. Then I decided to answer a submissions call from a new publishing house, and they accepted the first story I sent. That’s when I met Penny Barber, sort of… In those early days, I saw the edits, but had no real contact with the editor. My first look at edits from Penny were like a bucket of ice being dumped on me… I could have just panicked, but as I read the comments, I saw quickly how much sense she made, and how easy I’d had it up to then. I dug in, and I worked. For the next three stories with that publishing house, she made me work hard, and I was utterly convinced she hated to see my name on a manuscript because it meant heavy work for her to get the story into decent, marketable shape. (I was remembering that shot about being labour intensive, and figured editors hated it when they had to spend that much time on anything. I was wrong about that, by the way.) Anyway, as it happens, Penny said something to me about my use of words that was actually very flattering, and I remarked on it on my Facebook page, with the observation that I thought she hated my writing. I was surprised when she hopped onto the thread and asked me if I really thought that… it began a dialogue that became a friendship and my total dedication to being the writer she believes I can be.

Penny Barber is easily the very best editor I have ever encountered and worked with, she’s knowledgeable and intuitive, and she does make you work, but in the end, it’s so worth it. I could have been an arrogant ass and not accepted her suggestions, and I’d still be a struggling hack making the same mistakes over and over. But, she believed I could do better than that. She’s the first editor to not only listen to my ideas, she actively helps me sort them out and turn them into tight, active prose. She cares about the authors who place their work in her hands. She gave me my first writing guide/craft book, paid for by her as a gift, because she thought it was something I could use. The door opened to the classroom and I didn’t walk in, I ran! Eager was a mild word for it, really. I have spent the past two years reading, studying, learning, and relearning. With Penny’s help, I not only began to understand why I hated my work so much, but how it happened over time, and with a little help from other editors who took more from the vision than they ever contributed.

So, to those of you who think you know it all, trust me–you don’t know even a tiny portion of it. Writing is not just words on a page, it’s a vision, a dedication, and a joy in crafting the best damn story you can. Professionals embrace the people who can help make their visions come to life for readers, and readers love those authors who draw them in and fire their imaginations. Good editors are vital, though I’ve learned they’re as rare as genuinely talented writers. Off the top of my head, I can think of only three out of the many I’ve worked with, Penny Barber is the top of the list, followed by Rachel Landis, and Jillian Bell. These ladies made me work and drew out the story I wanted to showcase each time I worked with them. Thank you, to each of you, for your patience and talent, because editing–good editing–is as much a talent as good writing is.

I’m going to close this now with the simple truth of my personal journey this past year. I would not be writing now if it wasn’t for the faith Penny had/has in me. Being who I am, I want to be worthy of her time, her belief in my talent, and take what she’s given me and show her it wasn’t a waste of her valuable time. That’s half the reason I’m still here. The other half is me. Now that I’ve let go of what was making everything stall for me, and learned to get to the core of what I want to share with readers, I know I have some spectacular books in me that I want to write for everyone who wants to read them. I know there will be dark days, and times when I’m sure I’m still doing it all wrong, but…that’s part of the process of creativity, I believe. Professionals care about making the story sing for readers. It’s about craft, excellence, and hard work. If you can’t bear the idea of editing or editors, you’re leading with your ego anyway. The world is filled with egos, you’re not special. Editors are a good writer’s best friend because good writers understand the editor is not hacking their work apart, but helping to polish it until it’s the best gem of a tale it can possibly be. Learn that lesson, and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to hold that best-seller in your hand one day.

P.S. Every single title Penny has edited for me is a best-seller, on ARe Romance Books, Publisher sites, and even Amazon. That’s no accident, I’m sure.



Monday, October 13, 2014

Blood's Price, fantasy romance from @ColleenLove4 @EvoPublishing #New #RomFantasy


Today it is my distinct pleasure to welcome back a truly beautiful and talented storyteller named Colleen Love. Blood's Price was released years back, but this new version has been extensively revised and returns for readers who love their passion and romance touched by magic. So, let's talk to Colleen about her writing, her love of words, and her new release, of course!!

Has writing been something you always did, or was it a discovered talent that came to you at a later point?

I started writing when I was first taught how to put words together. I have always loved reading and so I think that was just the next step, creating my own stories. I've always had a very active imagination, so I've never had the challenge of trying to think of things to write about. Matter of a fact, it's quite the contrary. I have so many story ideas crowding my brain, I have to keep a notebook of them. Usually it's just a sentence or two, but all I have to do is look at that sentence again and it just picks up again. There are so many historical unknowns out there, that my imagination just loves to fill in the blanks.

Do you remember how it felt when you were offered that first contract? What emotions stand out in your memory?

I certainly do remember how it felt! I was thrilled and so surprised! I had submitted to a couple places, and then was accepted. It's that feeling of not really believing what I was reading. I don't think I ever get tired of that kind of thing, ever!

Is this a first book, part of a series, or the latest in a long line of many?

Blood's Price is a stand-alone book. I decided to tame down the sex scenes and make them actual love scenes. I think I like the story so much better this way and it can be enjoyed by more people.

What is the oddest thing that’s happened to you since you chose to become a professional writer? Will it ever make it into a book, or is that a secret?

That's a funny question. I am such a boring person, with such a mundane life. But I think that's okay. Keeping life simple allows my muse to run rampant and create the worlds I really love being in. I also think everything is subject to ending up in my books.

Do you have your next book underway, or other titles in the planning stages?

I have books that are in every stage of the writing process. I have stories that are finished and just need that final go over, all the way to those just written in my idea notebook. Once the rough draft is written, I keep the door pretty firmly shut until I have it ready for submission. Then I start hitting up the Beta readers. :)

Do you have a favourite genre and why? Is it one you write in, read in, or both?

I have always loved the Fantasy Genre. I have also always loved time travel and inter-dimensional travel possibilities. I love to mix all kinds of genres together, but there is usually a fantasy or paranormal overtone to them. I love to take a legend and mix it with science or factual things to create a world or maybe an explanation of what may have happened. My favourite being the Faery legends of the ancient Celts.

What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process? Does it change from book to book or remain the same?

So far, all of it. I just love the writing process in general. Just going from an idea scribbled on a piece of paper, to thinking it through from beginning to end, then researching to connect the dots is such an exciting process for me. I also learn so much and that is what life is about, it's all about a never ending learning process. I think my writing processes are all pretty much the same. I have that brilliant idea, then I do mundane chores to let it brew and spin. I constantly ask the question, why. Any time I think I have it nailed down, I look at the direction and ask why is this important, who's really going to care? I think you have to make the reader care. Then I do something very odd to most people, I get out paper and pen. I know a lot of writers do this, but I get funny looks when I say this some times. I find electronic media very distracting and kind of sacrilegious to my writing process. I type it out when I'm ready for that first draft and the subsequent edits and drafts, but the virgin draft is on paper, with the sacred pen.

If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why? What kind of book do you think would come from the collaboration?

I have co-authored a book with one of my favorite authors, Denyse Bridger. She is such a great story teller, writer and friend. She may not know it, but she actually saved me from stopping writing in the very beginning. I was just a freshly hatched author and had a pretty thin skin still. So when other authors and a certain reviewer came in and trashed my book less than 24 hours after its release, I was pretty discouraged. I didn't realize it was just kind of a hazing thing. Of course I know that now, and I try to help other writers who have gone through this, too. It's hard, but at the end of it all, I just realize that the most important thing about writing is to write for yourself, write what you love and be true to yourself. (NOTE: I didn’t know that, but I am very happy you decided not to allow other people to steal your joy and your dreams, and your beautiful words, Colleen.)

Where can readers find you on the web?

Website  •  Facebook  •  Blog  •  Twitter

Thanks so much for being my guest.

Thank you for having me! :)

Blood's Price returns...


Two cultures, two lives, one path.

Elizabeth Smythe is taken away from her privileged life and everything she knows. Her rescuer, Spirit Walker, treats her with gentle compassion, winning her trust and love. Elizabeth discovers Spirit Walker is so much more then just a strong man devoted to his tribe.

Spirit Walker is a multi-faceted man who carries the honour of his people with deep pride. Despite the wrongs committed against him, he knows crucial timing will reward his patience and soon enough fate plays it's hand fulfilling the blood price he so longs for.

Excerpt:

The warrior stopped and Elizabeth bumped into him. His piercing eyes drilled into her and she shrank back from him. When he turned again, she peered around him. It was a small, deep river and Elizabeth felt her spirit lift. She forgot all about the loose grip around her arm and started to move forward, but a quick tug from him reminded her she was not free to do so. Looking up into those sharp obsidian eyes, she stepped back. She reminded herself, yes, the man spoke English, but it didn’t make them friends, she was still his hostage. Stiffening her spine and raising her chin, she followed when he guided her down to a small alcove covered in fine, grey sand. A short distance from the water’s edge, he released her arm and held her with a pointed gaze.

The warrior untied the belt holding his breechcloth. He removed, folded and placed it on a large rock on the beach and toed off his moccasins.

He turned to Elizabeth. “Take off the dress.”

“What?” Her voice raised several octaves and her eyes grew large and round.

“You heard me,” he stated in a flat voice. “Take it off.”

She stared at him with a blank expression as self-conscious anxiety rose in her throat and terror re-blossomed within her heart.

“It’s not like I haven’t already seen you without your clothes. Come on.” He held out his hand. “The dress, if it gets wet, it will be ruined and then you will be without clothes at all.”

Looking from his hand to his expression and back to his hand again, she drew in a deep breath, ready to protest. Instead, her eyes widened as they slid down his lean, muscular body. The sun had deepened his earthen skin, drawn tight over flexed, defined muscle tone.

She resigned herself to logic and grasped the hem of her tunic, pulling it over her head. Elizabeth saw his breath hitch and a wince started to crease around his painted eyes before he caught it. Elizabeth handed him the dress and looked down to see large dark bruises on her ribs, thighs and arms. She assumed her back looked the same as well, by the way it felt. His jaw clenched visibly when he grasped her arm again and forced her into the water in front of him.

“Please don’t,” she pleaded, “I can’t swim!” She slipped and slid on the slimy rocks, clutching his arm between her breasts for dear life.

“I’m not trying to drown you, settle down.” He stilled his prompting, standing still in the shin deep water. “I’m trying to let you bathe. The cold water will help the bruising and soreness.”

Elizabeth calmed herself, but still clutched his arm in a death grip as her feet tried to grip the bottom of the river. He guided her to a shallow, slow running area where there were none of the large slippery rocks. Instead, coarse sand and small pebbles tickled at the bottoms of her feet and she relaxed. Feeling safe enough to stand on her own, she released his arm.

“Stay here.” His tone was gruff.

Elizabeth stood still in the cool water; too petrified to go any further then where she stood. He paced away a couple of steps, and carried over a large, flat rock from the beach and placed it down in the water for her to sit on. Elizabeth sat carefully in the cold river.

“Thank you,” she spoke softly, avoiding his gaze, trying not to stare at his naked body while he was watching her.

When the warrior walked away, Elizabeth watched after him. Raw power flexed his muscles with each step. He strode with long, confidant steps against the current and into the middle of the little river.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

How social is your social media? #RomFantasy

Recently, I’ve been wondering about this a lot. Most of us conduct at least part of our daily social activity online, and for many, that social giant Facebook is the site of choice. I’ve been actively using Facebook for several years, and have built a fairly large following there, mostly due to my work as an author. So, with literally over 10,000 followers between a personal profile and my business page, it’s an active spot. Lately, I’ve spent less and less time on the site, and I’ve slowly begun to realize that less time is better for the psyche in many ways.

Facebook has been linked to suicide, depression, and any number of psychological and emotion issues people are dealing with, and I think as time passes, it becomes clear why. For a social media, Facebook is often the polar opposite and more rightly is anti-social media at its best. I don’t claim to understand why people feel the need to be a different person when they are safely behind their screens, but it seems to afflict many on a regular basis. There are things said, done, and touted by folks who’d never behave in the same fashion in their “real life” dealings with others. At least I hope they wouldn’t! People become bullies, bitches, judgemental asses, and a host of other equally nice things. All that aggression is what makes everyone into a potential victim, or a potential abuser in some way. And this is social?

Only yesterday I signed in and was scrolling my newsfeed on Facebook. I was only ten seconds, literally TEN seconds, online when I was treated to someone “outing” her husband and the woman she THINKS he is cheating with–apart from the fact that this is none of the general public’s business anyway, she had no real evidence of his cheating, just her “instinct” that he was bonking her good friend… If she’s right, it’s her personal business, not the world’s–if she’s wrong, she’s never going to be able to take it back, or contain the fallout for her husband, or the friend who will forever be labelled by her accusation. Scroll a little further, and I’m treated to a cheerfully posted news item about some poor bugger who’s been castrated with a meat clever and is in critical condition after he was found attempting to rape a girl. The poster commented “I guess he won’t be trying that again.” Flaming hell… Is this really something to be smart-ass about? Pictures of village people smeared with blood after their act of “justice” is not my idea of social media content I want to see.

I realize we all use these sites for differing reasons. For some it’s business, for others it’s keeping in touch with family and friends who are not always close. But wow… I have a popular fan page on Facebook, and it’s been hounded often by people who love to hit that report button. I post male models almost daily, though less now because of the problems, and I’ve seen some bizarre and ignorant shit happen, too. One day I posted a photo of a young model lying on a table, the curve of his ass was showing, but nothing else private. That photo got shared a lot, then I began seeing comments from people NOT on the page. One woman told a friend who’d shared it that she loved her crochet patterns, but didn’t want to see a naked man on her newsfeed, so she was reporting. Apparently use of the “hide” button is not an option. The same photo inspired some middle eastern gentleman to remark “a naked man!” and he informed me he was reporting me for pornographic content. I suspect had it been one of the naked, buxom bimbos seen all over Facebook he’d have been less inclined toward reporting content. It’s not the first time, and I suspect it will not be the last time, so I’ve asked the page readers to be cautious when sharing, because I’ve been banned from posting for as long as a week over this stuff, and it never violates policy, just prudish sensibilities.

Then there are the authors, of which I am one. I try NOT to bombard the newsfeed with promotion that is essentially useless anyway. But the new thing I’ve noticed cropping up is the ranting and raging by authors–in public venue. That same scroll along the newsfeed treated me to several authors behaving badly. One using four letter words generously while she bitched about how her first book was slammed because it lacked A, B, and C, and now that book two is out, she is being slammed for too much A, B, and C. She concludes this peppered post with “Screw everyone.” Ok, if you need to vent, do it–but is it really a good idea to do it on your public page? Potential publishers DO notice this stuff, as well as other industry people. Is this the impression you want them to take away–your total lack of respect or judgement in dealing with criticism? Then there are the authors who are making HUGE noise over grievances with their publishers. Again, a little circumspection seems to be in order here. People DO watch and see this stuff. Readers may be cooing and ranting at the injustices done to you, but industry people see a potential nightmare if they sign you. Publishers and agents aren’t stupid, they don’t want troublesome people disrupting their business, and if you’re screaming to all and sundry, you label yourself in a negative way. There is a right way and a wrong way to deal with issues, public crucifixion isn’t generally the best option, whether you are right or wrong quickly becomes secondary to the noise you’re making about it. The bandwagon is usually large and accommodating, but it attracts a whole lot of ugly, too.

There’s a reason smart “public figures” don’t tend to get involved in public statements about religion, politics, and the like. These are hot buttons and should really be avoided like the plague. Things always circle back, what is posted to the internet never really goes away. I’ve been as guilty as the rest in the past, letting my temper get the better of me. BUT, in recent years, I’ve grown less prone to getting caught up in other people’s crazy, and a whole lot more protective of my own presence. I don’t necessarily agree with the policies of Facebook, but in truth, the misconception that what we post on OUR pages is indeed ours is patently ridiculous. Read those terms of service, and realize the site you’re on is not yours, it’s space owned by someone else, and you agree to that owner’s terms when you click “accept” and open your account. The contradictions, the abuses and violations, they’re everywhere on the site. Pages devoted to sex, violence, hate, etc. Often they go unreported while relatively innocent but popular pages come under scrutiny. This is the reality. ALL social media is filled with violations of policy, and people eager to be malicious and self-important so they report anything and everything with impunity. Go hard, as a friend of mine says.

In the end, life has a funny habit of snapping back like a boomerang, and it will hit you hard when you’re being deliberately destructive toward someone else. Hell, I’m on a block list half a mile long with some–and most of those people are blocking because they’ve been told to, so here again, we have a total lack of sense being shown. Do I care that strangers block me, attempt to spread crap like fertilizer, etc.? Not anymore. I did once. What’s happened since has just made me see that Karma is indeed real, and sees all. I’ve walked away, and I’m still standing, still working, still signing contracts for books, etc. What I am not doing is engaging in stupidity, vengeance for imagined slights and affronts, and I have no block list because I refuse to behave like a petulant a two year old–or be told who I can and can’t engage with on any media site. I still won’t be visiting Facebook a lot, because it’s simply become too dangerous to good mental health! I’d rather create than destroy, and be real instead of being an online bully or troll…

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada–to everyone in my public world and my private life, thank you for being part of the journey. You make it worthwhile in more ways than I can ever say. May your path be clear and trouble free…and may your social media be a more social experience than it is anti-social. If this makes even one person think, then there’s a new blessing to give thanks for, as well.


Thursday, October 09, 2014

Join @DarleneLF as she unveils her new release: Law Of Attraction #RomFantasy #New

Law of Attraction
Sweet Contemporary Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Sweetheart Rose Line

Determined to win back Christina, Steven will take the law into his own hands...even if he has to play dirty.

Blurb:

Lawyer Christina Crawford has a successful career and stable financial future, but is it enough? Her world is disrupted when a routine divorce case means working with a man she never expected—or wanted—to see again. During their first meeting, she can't deny a connection still exists. Her head warns her to run, but her heart yearns to stay.

Steven Mitchell is ruthless in the court room, but outside those doors, his easy charm, good looks and unlimited stream of female companions gives him an unscrupulous reputation. Six years ago Christina saw beyond his façade, but the emotions she evoked scared him and he pushed her away. Now he wants a second chance and he is determined to get her back...even if he has to play dirty.

Excerpt:

Heart pounding in her chest, she closed the door behind him. Wearing her best business face, she returned to this disastrous meeting and sat. Christina drew in a deep breath, and a measure of control was restored. She picked up her pen and flipped open the case file. “So, according to these documents, your client is contesting the divorce?”

Steven reached across the table and snatched the pen from her hand. “What’s the rush, Christina? We haven’t seen each other in years. There’s a lot of catching up to do.”

She clenched her teeth together, barely parting her lips as she spoke. “We have nothing but this case to discuss.”

“Come on, don’t be like that.” He leaned back in his chair, frowning. “You’re not still holding a grudge, are you? What happened was so long ago. I hoped we could start fresh, as friends.”

“Are you freaking serious?” She glared an icy stare. Forget a slow death by high heel. She’d get more pleasure strangling him with her bare hands. “You accused me of misconduct, had me fired, and now you want to be friends?” Her heart thumped a rapid beat in her ears. “You’re out of your mind.”

Bio:

An avid reader since childhood, Darlene loved to put a pencil to paper and plot out stories of her own. She writes heartwarming contemporary romances with a focus on plot-driven page-turners. When Darlene isn’t writing, editing, or reading, she enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and Yellow Lab.

Contact links:

Web Blog  *  Facebook  *  Twitter  *  Goodreads


Giveaway Draw:

Be sure to drop by my web site during the month of October to enter an awesome giveaway to celebrate the release of Law of Attraction!

Monday, October 06, 2014

@Shades_of_Rose Presents Dead In A Dumpster @blblair100

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

“I found the body on December 1st. It was a horrible way to end an already terrible day.”

When Leah Norwood finds the body of Isabel Meeks in the dumpster behind her store, she never imagined the police would consider her a suspect. Sure, she didn’t liked Isabel, but then again, neither did anyone else. Isabel had a condescending attitude and a bad reputation. As manager of the antique store, Patina, she had made a lot of enemies.

There is Patina’s assistant manager, the handsome and charming Trent. Isabel was blackmailing him. There is Patina’s owner, the aloof and influential Anthony Thorpe. Isabel was smuggling drugs through his store. And there is the entire drug dealing Cantono family. Isabel had lost a box containing heroin from one of their shipments. That is just to name a few and didn’t even include the stranger who was seen arguing with Isabel just hours before her death.

The police have too many suspects and too many soft alibis. Leah needs to prove to the sexy new chief of police that she had nothing to do with Isabel’s death.

Leah loves a good mystery. Can she find the killer before the police charge her with murder?

~Excerpt~

“So you found the victim about seven fifty?” asked the baby-faced young cop.

Why was everyone so young? The name on his badge read Keith Cisneros. I have always been a little nervous around police officers. I’m not sure why. However, I couldn’t be nervous around Keith. First, he was just too young. Second, I didn’t have any nerves left. I was too wet, too cold, and too miserable. And third, I knew Keith. Not well, but well enough to not find him intimidating.

We were standing by the dumpster and trying not to look at Isabel. I don’t think Keith had ever seen a dead body either because the look on his face made me think he wanted to follow in my footsteps – scream, run into the nearest building, and lose his lunch. But the kid was made of sterner stuff. My estimation of him rose as he held his ground and questioned me.

“What were you doing out here?” he asked. Okay, so my estimation of him fell a little. I glanced at the trash bags sitting at our feet and tried to keep my voice even as I answered.

“I was taking out the trash.” I don’t think I succeeded as he looked at the trash and then flushed. Now I felt bad, like I had kicked a puppy.

“So did you …”

“Cisneros.” A deep, smoky voice cut through the night. Both of us jumped and then turned toward the voice. From the shadows, a figure emerged. If I had any nerves left, I might have been a little anxious. The man walking toward us moved like a stalking panther. Smooth, long strides that ate up the space.

He was breathtaking. Not gorgeous or handsome but there was a power about him that drew the eye. He wasn’t exceptionally tall, standing about five eleven, but his shoulders were broad and his hips narrow. Dark hair cut short in a military style, covered his head. His face was attractive in a timeless way. Chiseled and clean-shaven but with just a hint of a five o’clock shadow. He had a small indentation on the right side of his mouth that was trying very hard to be a dimple. It was as if he was willing it not to appear with the strength of his personality alone. He had intense green eyes that swept over me briefly before settling on Keith.

He looked familiar, but I knew we had never met. I would have remembered him. He stopped between us and turned to Keith. “What have we got?”

“Victim identified as Isabel Meeks. Gunshot wound to the chest, close range. She was found about seven fifty p.m. by Ms. Norwood.”

Keith pointed to me, and the man turned his eyes to mine. His gaze swept down my body and back up. He then dismissed me without a second glance before turning back to the rookie. “Has the ME been called?”

Now, I know that I am not the most attractive person in the world. I am what most people would call average. Average height, average weight, average looks, but being dismissed so completely really pissed me off. I was cold, wet, tired, and quite frankly, still a little queasy. And it had been a really bad day.

“Can I leave now?”

Both of them turned toward me. Keith seemed a little surprised that I was still there. The other man just seemed irritated that I had interrupted him.

“You found the body?” he asked and then continued when I nodded, “We will need to ask you some questions.”

Keith had been asking me questions. My nerves were shot and my temper short. I am not usually such a bitch, but I had enough of standing out in the freezing rain. I probably shouldn’t have mouthed off to a police officer, but I figured my day couldn’t get any worse. I summoned up my inner diva, gave him my most haughty look, and asked in a snooty tone. “And you are?”

He stared at me a minute, his eyes hard and unyielding. He raised his eyebrows just a notch, pulled out a badge, and held it toward me. “Chief of Police Alexander Griggs.”

Well, damn, my day just got worse.


Buy Links:


~About the Author~

B. L. Blair writes simple and sweet romance and mystery/romance stories. Like most authors, she has been writing most of her life and has dozens of books started. She just needs the time to finish them.

She is the author of the Holton Romance Series and the Leah Norwood Mysteries. She enjoys reading books, writing books, and traveling wherever and as often as time and money allows. She is currently working on her latest book set in Texas, where she lives with her family.


Author Links:

   ~Giveaway~

B.L. Blair is giving away a $20.00 Amazon GC during her tour. 

For a chance to win please fill out the rafflecopter below.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Sneak Peek Sunday: The Dance #SPeekSunday #RomFantasy


This is the introduction to a sexy new short story called simply:
The Dance

“You look happy tonight, Kate,” Luc said, his voice low.

She turned and accepted the glass of sparkling wine he passed to her. She took a sip and smiled, he’d chosen her favourite Italian Prosecco. “It’s good to be home,” she said. “Max has made an amazing success here, hasn’t he?”

Luc leaned on the wide wooden ledge of the patio and looked over the crowd. Every table was occupied, and the patrons were of mixed age and occupation.

“We made a good investment,” he remarked. He laughed and she tilted her head to one side, asking without words. “It’s always nice to be able to get the best table in the hottest restaurant in town.” Luc winked at her and she shook her head, smiling.

“I like the new addition,” she said, her gaze moving over the spacious wooden deck. Tables were arranged so that every couple was afforded a measure of privacy, but no one was obstructed from the polished dance floor in the middle. Hidden speakers gave the impression the music was floating from below and above the patio, the volume soft and unobtrusive.

“We should be heading home soon,” Luc said. He straightened and looked out at the lake. Fog demons drifted over the surface, the light breeze creating the illusion that they swayed and danced on the rippling water.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

@Shades_of_Rose presents Black Dog Nights on tour #RomFantasy


Genre: New Adult Romance


My student loans are due and I still haven’t found a job that pays more than minimum wage. So I decide to make an arrangement through The Club. I’ll get what I need…money to pay my loans. And he’ll get what he wants…access to my body…whenever and however he wants it.

ROSE COLLINS is a recent art school graduate with overwhelming student loan debt and no way to pay it.

JAE ROTHKO is a wealthy and renowned artist who doesn’t have the time or patience for a relationship.

Jae joins The Club so he can have one woman when he wants and how he wants with no attachments and no expectations.

He selects Rose to be that woman.

BLACK DOG NIGHTS is a SERIAL NOVEL, which unfolds in THREE PARTS (approximately 75 pages each). EACH PART has a CLIFFHANGER and EACH PART is .99 cents. (That’s $2.97 for ALL THREE PARTS.)


~Excerpt~

By the time we get to The Rock Stop it’s already crowded with twenty-somethings, who all look eager to hook up with anyone who’s willing.

I pass by two guys, who are already half-drunk and gawking at my breasts, before I hit the relative safety of the bar area.

“What do you want to drink?” Cali yells over the loud Top Forty music.

“Would I look too conspicuous just holding a glass of water?”

Cali purses her lips at me. I tell her she looks like a duck when she does that but it doesn’t stop her.

“I’ll get you a beer. You don’t have to drink it but I don’t want you to embarrass me or yourself.”

“Yes, Daffy,” I tease.

“I do not have duck lips,” she insists.

“You do when you pucker them like that.”

“I think you’re on crack.”

“Just get the beer.”

She waves in order to get the bartender’s attention but no such luck. He’s busy with a group of girls at the other end of the bar.

“Hey, Babe.” An arm reaches over Cali’s shoulder. “I wasn’t sure I’d see you tonight.”

David nods in my direction. “What’s up?”

He never addresses me by my name even though he’s been hooking up with Cali for over a year and I’ve seen him dozens of times.

David is the kind of guy I always hated in high school. His family has money and he’s never had to work a day in his life for anything. Cars, clothes, expensive vacations, you name it, and his parents have handed it to him on a silver platter. As a result he has a sense of entitlement that knows no bounds.

No doubt that’s why he feels like he can treat Cali any way he pleases and she just keeps coming back for more.

He runs his fingers through his short brown hair. I’m not sure whether it’s a nervous habit or if he thinks that his fingers are like some kind of comb but he does it all the time.

David is a good-looking guy in a frat-boy kind of way. Cali says he played baseball in high school and he looks like he probably still plays sports. He’s not huge but he’s definitely in good shape.

Cali met David at a frat party. Even though she’s never set foot in a college class she’s spent a lot of time at college parties. David likes to brag about the fact that he’s a business major. I don’t see what the big deal is though. I feel like business is a degree for people who don’t really know what they want to do with their lives.

Not that I have any room to talk. Apparently I earned a degree for people who don’t really want a job.

Before I know it, Cali and David have disappeared somewhere and I’m alone at the bar.

Great.

I didn’t even want to come here in the first place.

I have a choice. I can leave or I can order a drink. After the day I’ve had a drink is actually starting to sound appealing.


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~About the Author~

Author Bio: REN MONTERREY lives in a small town outside Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and their bloodhounds. She writes New Adult and Contemporary romance under a number of different pen names including Sierra Avalon, Savannah Young and Dakota Madison.

Author Links    Site   Facebook   Twitter

~Giveaway~


Ren is giving away a $5 Amazon GC to one lucky winner
For a chance to win please fill out the rafflecopter below


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

NEW from Colleen Love: Blood's Price returns... #RomFantasy

Blood's Price
(Extensively revised for this release)

Available NOW from:

Smashwords

Two cultures, two lives, one path.

Elizabeth Smythe is taken away from her privileged life and everything she knows. Her rescuer, Spirit Walker, treats her with gentle compassion, winning her trust and love. Elizabeth discovers Spirit Walker is so much more then just a strong man devoted to his tribe.

Spirit Walker is a multi-faceted man who carries the honour of his people with deep pride. Despite the wrongs committed against him, he knows crucial timing will reward his patience and soon enough fate plays it's hand fulfilling the blood price he so longs for.

Excerpt:

The warrior stopped and Elizabeth bumped into him. His piercing eyes drilled into her and she shrank back from him. When he turned again, she peered around him. It was a small, deep river and Elizabeth felt her spirit lift. She forgot all about the loose grip around her arm and started to move forward, but a quick tug from him reminded her she was not free to do so. Looking up into those sharp obsidian eyes, she stepped back. She reminded herself, yes, the man spoke English, but it didn’t make them friends, she was still his hostage. Stiffening her spine and raising her chin, she followed when he guided her down to a small alcove covered in fine, grey sand. A short distance from the water’s edge, he released her arm and held her with a pointed gaze.

The warrior untied the belt holding his breechcloth. He removed, folded and placed it on a large rock on the beach and toed off his moccasins.

He turned to Elizabeth. “Take off the dress.”

“What?” Her voice raised several octaves and her eyes grew large and round.

“You heard me,” he stated in a flat voice. “Take it off.”

She stared at him with a blank expression as self-conscious anxiety rose in her throat and terror re-blossomed within her heart.

“It’s not like I haven’t already seen you without your clothes. Come on.” He held out his hand. “The dress, if it gets wet, it will be ruined and then you will be without clothes at all.”

Looking from his hand to his expression and back to his hand again, she drew in a deep breath, ready to protest. Instead, her eyes widened as they slid down his lean, muscular body. The sun had deepened his earthen skin, drawn tight over flexed, defined muscle tone.

She resigned herself to logic and grasped the hem of her tunic, pulling it over her head. Elizabeth saw his breath hitch and a wince started to crease around his painted eyes before he caught it. Elizabeth handed him the dress and looked down to see large dark bruises on her ribs, thighs and arms. She assumed her back looked the same as well, by the way it felt. His jaw clenched visibly when he grasped her arm again and forced her into the water in front of him.

“Please don’t,” she pleaded, “I can’t swim!” She slipped and slid on the slimy rocks, clutching his arm between her breasts for dear life.

“I’m not trying to drown you, settle down.” He stilled his prompting, standing still in the shin deep water. “I’m trying to let you bathe. The cold water will help the bruising and soreness.”

Elizabeth calmed herself, but still clutched his arm in a death grip as her feet tried to grip the bottom of the river. He guided her to a shallow, slow running area where there were none of the large slippery rocks. Instead, coarse sand and small pebbles tickled at the bottoms of her feet and she relaxed. Feeling safe enough to stand on her own, she released his arm.

“Stay here.” His tone was gruff.

Elizabeth stood still in the cool water; too petrified to go any further then where she stood. He paced away a couple of steps, and carried over a large, flat rock from the beach and placed it down in the water for her to sit on. Elizabeth sat carefully in the cold river.

“Thank you,” she spoke softly, avoiding his gaze, trying not to stare at his naked body while he was watching her.

When the warrior walked away, Elizabeth watched after him. Raw power flexed his muscles with each step. He strode with long, confidant steps against the current and into the middle of the little river.


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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Death of a stranger... my brother

Recent, 2012
Death of a stranger…


Not many people know I have / had a brother, mostly because we haven’t spoken to each other in over ten years. He passed away earlier this month, and it wasn’t as though it was entirely unexpected, but it was sad for very complicated reasons. Gary was almost five years older than me, and for most of my life, I tried hard to forge some kind of relationship with him. He rejected those overtures, always. My dad once said that Gary should have been an only child, because he never accepted me from the day I was born. Most siblings outgrow that foolishness, some never do it seems.

Marrying the woman he loved
more than any other in 1980
The people who knew this often troubled man loved him. He had a quality about him that drew people, made them care. He was, in his younger years, a very handsome man. Charming, intelligent, and creative. He could have had it all. At an early age, he developed the addiction that would ultimately destroy his life and leave it in ruins. He was an alcoholic early on, and probably put more toxic substances in his body than most people would survive.

As with all addicts, the need over-ruled all other considerations when it got him firmly in its grasp. The amazing man he was slowly vanished. My brother was an artist, a musician, and a carpenter of considerable talent and skill. When he was straight and sober, he could charm the birds out of the trees as the expression goes, and it wasn’t at all difficult to love and admire him. To enjoy his company, and to care about what happened to him.

Holding his only child, she was 2.
The darker side of this man was one impossible to deal with on any rational level. I think in many ways he was so filled with fear, it paralyzed him and sent him running for someplace to hide. He chose booze and drugs as his escape. He was arrogant, annoying, and his temper was vicious when he was lost to his addiction. I remember once telling him he should treat himself with more kindness, and because he was sober and thinking at the time, he agreed. I think in many ways he was afraid people would somehow discover just how scared he was of his own failures. He covered it up with his arrogant asshole routine. In his clear moments, he saw the loss of the woman he loved more than any other he’d ever be or been involved with, and the loss of his daughter. His only child grew up without him because of his addictions. I’m sure he regretted that deeply.

There are more stories than I can remember, so many countless incidents of pain and heartbreak that drove deep and damaging wedges into our small family. My father died knowing his only son would never find any lasting happiness or direction. Our mother mourned him a long time ago, and always will. I knew him better than he liked, liked him better than he wanted to know. I hope that death has given him the peace he never seemed able to find in his life.