Strong Women in Books

Dark Deeds 250 highOne thing that will make me stop reading a book is a whiny heroine. I love strong women in real life and in my fictional life. I need them. The genre doesn’t matter. All of Michelle Diener’s heroines – in several genres – are strong and smart. You won’t find one weak heroine in her books.

The same with Jennifer Estep’s books. In fact, her characters will kill the bad guys – and save the good guys. A few might even steal from the bad and the good.

Mary Hughes’ heroines will help save the world (or town). They’ll also make you laugh, and they’ll get the handsome vampire. :)

Dale Mayer’s heroines come with horrendous problems, and sometimes they need a little help, but in the end, they’re often the main factor in saving whatever is wrong in her fictional worlds.

Edie and the CEOMy women characters might need a little help from a man or a dog/cat/pooka, but they’re definitely in the front lines of the plot. And in the end, my heroines don’t just get the bad guys, they often get the puppy or kitty, too. Oh, and the hero, of course.

For many years, Garrison Keillor has done well on public radio, on stage, at least one movie (that I’m aware of), and in books with his stories about “Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children above average.” I wish I’d thought of that motto first. It’s great to know that some men love strong women, too. In return, I think women have always liked men who are good-looking.

Who are some of your favorite strong women characters?

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Friday Finds

Welcome to Friday Finds! We would love your input for discounted books, free books, book recommendations or new releases and book contests (where books are the prize). Feel free to submit through our Friday Finds Submission Form. The cut-off is Wednesday for that Friday’s post, and please make sure that the offers you are submitting will be running that Friday. Please check the deals mentioned in this post before buying, as some may have expired. Thanks!

FREE BOOKS

StoneMarrying Stone (Marrying Stone series Book 1)
by Pamela Morsi

Any successful scholar will make personal sacrifices to enhance his research. But most are never expected to include a suspect marriage to a barefoot hill girl. Musicologist, J. Monroe Farley hopes to prove that the wilds of the Ozark Mountains preserved the language and music of an era gone by. Hill Girl, Meggie Best only hopes for a handsome prince to make her dreams come true. Neither expects to have life suddenly upended by a jar of bad piccalilli and a skunk.

This story set in the Ozarks of 1903 recalls mountain ways and wiles as unique as the music the traveling scholar seeks. Publisher’s Weekly awarded a starred review and described the story as “rich and heady as a jug of mountain ‘donk’ – and just as hard to put down.”

Amazon

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bluegrassBluegrass State of Mind

by Kathleen Brooks

She thought she would be safe far away in Kentucky…

McKenna Mason’s perfect life in New York City has just been destroyed. She is now a witness to a horrific crime involving some of America’s most influential men. She knows she must excape and can think of only one outsider that might help her—Will Ashton. The flame of their brief teen romance never completely died out, and now it is about to explode.

Troubled pasts, a feisty horse that refuses to race without a good luck kiss, and three old ladies hell-bent on playing matchmakers turn this newly rekindled romance into a wild race to the finish. Can Will and McKenna cross the finish line together, and more importantly, alive?

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo | GP

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edwardEdward the Whittler (A Story of Love)

by Kenneth Leon Roberts

Edward the Whittler is the first book in The Whittler Series. A story of young Edward being raised by a loving mother. It takes place in the time of the Kings and Queens. Edward lives in a remote cottage with his mother where they do their work. The mother is a seamstress and Edward is a little whittler. It’s a story of love, growing, and hardship. It’s the story of a mother’s heart.

Amazon

99c BOOKS

takenTaken by the Billionaire

by  Christina Phillips, Mel Teshco, Cathleen Ross

Ravished by the Billionaire by Christina Phillips

He’s her stepbrother, and her every wicked fantasy…
Dexter Jericho has it all – wealth, good looks and women falling at his feet. The last thing he wants is his little stepsister working in his London casino – until he meets her again. Because now Gabriella is all grown up and sexy as hell, and he can’t keep his hands off her. There’s only one problem – she might be a corporate spy, in which case he’ll keep her close and seduce her secrets from her.

Gabi’s had a crush on her stepbrother for as long as she can remember, and he’s finally noticed her. His scorching kisses and talented tongue make her forget this is a forbidden romance. Until she discovers the truth for his sudden interest and realizes his dirty little secret – is her.

Punished by the Billionaire by Mel Teshco

Isabella wants no part of the Jericho fortune, not if it means being a puppet to her stepfather, Harrison Jericho. Instead she turns to her one skill and passion and becomes a professional gambler. Except no money in the world is enough to make her forget her eldest stepbrother, Max Jericho, or the scorching kiss they shared at a party.

Max has been keeping tabs on his beautiful stepsister, Isabella. He’s been half in love with her for years, and no amount of hard labor and bedding other women makes him forget her. But his feelings won’t mean a thing if she’s guilty of dragging the Jericho name through the mud. He needs to get her alone to uncover the truth. And now that he’s CEO of his very own casino, Bella is drawn to him like a moth to flame.

Except losing a bet to Max and staying in his penthouse for a week just might be Isabella’s biggest gamble yet. Especially when she discovers how far he’s willing to go to clear the Jericho name.

Trapped by the Billionaire by Cathleen Ross

Tom Jericho has never got over the naked body slide his sixteen year old stepsister Christabelle Evernight performed on him when he was twenty-one. Born with a sense of honor, he wouldn’t take her virginity then but he’s certainly interested in having her now. After all, what’s a little dirty fun between step siblings and Christabelle has been a very bad girl.

There’s nothing more humiliating than being knocked back by the hottest, sexiest stepbrother Chrissy has ever seen, so she’s not going to Australia to work under him, except her stepfather leaves her no choice.

Tom Jericho knows her secret and he’s going to make her pay, but Chrissy has grown up now and she happens to enjoy Tom’s brand of punishment – and knows just how to pay him back.

Amazon

NEW RELEASES

giftThe Pixie Tales – The Gift

by Kenneth Leon Roberts

The Gift is a story of the journey from child to adulthood for a young Pixie who chose to bless the world with her gift, and the lives of those she touched.

Amazon

 

 

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Engaging Readers

2845524462_433460472bAuthors are told to read, read, read. I have to admit, between my own writing, studying how to write better, practicing flute, doing bills, keeping up with the house (well, not keeping up, more like running madly behind, trying to get within spitting distance…but at least my sink is clean :) ), making dinner, shopping, laundry…um, etc (substitute for me getting whiny, lol)–ANNNYWAY, I don’t get to read for pleasure very often.

Always hopeful I might find a few minutes to enjoy a book, when visiting my library’s New Release shelves last month, I found a book by an author I’d read a long time ago (but stopped reading), and picked it up. When I was sick the next day, I actually found time to read it.

It was SERIOUSLY good.

Hey, it might have been the fever. But I started another by the same author and it was also seriously good.

So, you probably have two questions. What’s the book, and why did reader-me lose track of the series (and what’s different about it now)?

The author is Lindsey Davis and the original series was Marcus Didius Falco, a private informer (i.e. detective) in Rome during the first century AD.

The new book is Deadly Election: A Flavia Albia Mystery (blurb at the end), continuing the Falco series with his daughter Albia.

Why did I enjoy the Falco series originally?

  • Well written.
  • I like stories that I can painlessly learn something (through the action). These stories are well researched, yet her research was represented in vivid interaction with the time and place, not dry facts.
  • A love interest who does NOT get tossed to the side or murdered (this is a pet peeve).
  • I like mysteries.
  • Good editing (bad editing is also a pet peeve).
  • Character was mostly driven by intelligent choices in difficult circumstances rather than making bad decisions to further the plot (aka not too stupid to live, another pet peeve).

Why did I lose track of the series?

I think it’s because Falco was, in a way, too well written. He’s a guy, and to me, he came across as a guy. Even though there’s a love interest, she’s left in the background a lot. And he still ogles and stuff. And does some guy stuff that is mildly interesting but not completely relatable to me (I do enjoy some traditionally guy stuff, like sword and armor making).

(Please note, this is from my memory of the books. I may be misremembering, but I do know I felt the middle of the last one I read was draggy. There may be other reasons, but since I’ll be rereading some of the earlier ones now, I’ll update if I get more info.)

So what’s different about this book?

The new series is about Falco’s daughter, a widow living on her own, already meaty enough. But more, she’s an adopted Briton with no known past, so she’s a mystery and a bit of outsider even though she’s totally accepted by her adopting family. Her family has money but she doesn’t, except what she earns. She’s capable and smart and kind but strong. She’s a woman so she notices stuff like jewelry and makeup and how a home is put together from the woman’s point of view and gives observations on women’s roles in society, stuff I find I’m more interested in than the guy stuff.

And, good heavens, Albia’s observations are witty. Love ’em!

The Falco series was good but not a keeper for me, because I didn’t identify strongly enough with the main character, and the middle action wasn’t quite compelling enough (for me). As an author I’d like to think readers will cut me some slack, but as a reader I know there are too many books out there that satisfy two or three out of the following four factors.

Bottom line: as many as possible of THESE FACTORS need to be met for me to engage as a reader: a STORY I want to read; a CHARACTER I can relate to (doesn’t have to be the main character, but does need to be in enough of the story action that I don’t put the book down); few-to-no PET PEEVES knocking me out of the story; ENGAGING ACTION, that is, character doing stuff that I care about.

We use the tag words genre, character, good writing, and plot for the four things above. I think to some extent those words have been leached of meaning and hope the ones I’ve used make more vivid pictures in your mind.

Notice how many of these things are dependent on the reader? We like to think, as authors, we’re in a lonely profession. But the truth of the matter is all art is collaborative, and stories rely on what the reader brings to the table as much as any stage production’s success depends on audience mood.

What about you? What makes you lose track of a series? What makes a series a keeper?

Deadly Election: A Flavia Albia Mystery

In the first century A.D., during Domitian’s reign, Flavia Albia is ready for a short break from her family. So despite the oppressive July heat, she returns to Rome, leaving them at their place on the coast. Albia, daughter of Marcus Didius Falco, the famed private informer (now retired), has taken up her father’s former profession, and it’s time to get back to work. The first order of business, however, is the corpse that was found in a chest sent as part of a large lot to be sold by the Falco family auction house. As the senior family representative in Rome, it falls upon Albia to identify the corpse, find out why he was killed, who killed him, and, most important, how did it end up in the chest.

At the same time, her potential young man, Faustus, comes looking for help with his friend Sextus’s political campaign. Between the auction business and Roman politics, it’s not quite clear which one is the more underhanded and duplicitous. Both, however, are tied together by the mysterious body in the chest, and if Albia isn’t able to solve that mystery, it won’t be the only body to drop.

Kindle | Nook | Kindle UK | Also available in hardcover and paperback (and audio at Amazon.com)

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1,2,3 and Go!

A brand new series for a brand new year!

I wanted to start this year off right. I managed to bring closure to a lot of areas in my life and every time I close a door, I open a new one. A new series this year is one of those. As it’s new and most of my fans don’t know about it. So I’m releasing three in a short time period. Book 1 just released. Book 2 is releasing on Feb. 9th and book 3 is releasing on Feb. 17th. After that they will spread out.

And it all starts with: SEALs of Honor: Mason

SEAL 1 R04KILL OR BE KILLED 

Part of an elite SEAL team, Mason takes on the dangerous jobs no one else wants to do – or can do. When he’s on a mission, he’s focused and dedicated. When he’s not, he plays as hard as he fights.

Until he meets a woman he can’t have but can’t forget.

Software developer, Tesla lost her brother in combat and has no intention of getting close to someone else in the military. Determined to save other US soldiers from a similar fate, she’s created a program that could save lives. But other countries know about the program, and they won’t stop until they get it – and get her.

Time is running out… For her… For him… For them…

The reviews are rolling in – good ones thankfully!

It’s available now at Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and coming to Kobo soon. Books 2 and 3 are also available for preorder. So try
one or try them all. :)

SEALs of Honor: Hawk

SEALs of Honor: Hawk

Finding a dead man is a hell of a way to start a holiday.

Growing up, Hawk was always a bit of a wild card. Once he became a SEAL, he found his niche in the world. But the wild man was still there, under wraps …and waiting for a match. Back home for a few days, he realizes a new, darker element has moved in.

And it appears to involve the freckle-faced redhead he never forgot.

Mia remembers her best friend’s brother. After all, what woman could forget him? He was like fireworks lighting up her life. Taking her breath away and making her heart beat faster.  But the version that came home was harder, more dangerous … and sexy as hell.

Good thing he’s on their side as the town explodes in violence with Mia caught in the middle. 

Dane R01

SEALs of Honor: Dane – book 3

He’s one of the smartest, the best … and the baddest.

Since Dane achieved his lifelong dream of becoming a Navy Seal, his life has been packed with action … but now he wants more. Especially after seeing several of his friends find something – someone – special.

On a mission hunting a chemical weapons terrorist, Dane runs into a captivating woman, and everything about her touches his deepest needs. But the circumstances are suspicious, and he can’t determine whose side she’s on.

Marielle came to Germany for a short busman’s holiday, only to end up running away from the very man she came to see, and into the arms of a man she knows she’ll never be able to keep.

As their situation slides from bad to worse to desperate, their lives are on the line. And so are their hearts.

And if that wasn’t enough next week is the release of an anthology a group of authors have been working on for a loooong time!  Available everywhere on February 8th – up for preorder on Amazon.com

Sexybastars image

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Friday Finds

Welcome to Friday Finds! We would love your input for discounted books, free books, book recommendations or new releases and book contests (where books are the prize). Feel free to submit through our Friday Finds Submission Form. The cut-off is Wednesday for that Friday’s post, and please make sure that the offers you are submitting will be running that Friday. Please check the deals mentioned in this post before buying, as some may have expired. Thanks!

NEW RELEASES

Fatal TruthFatal Truth: Shadow Force International

by Misty Evans

She’s an investigative reporter who lives to uncover the truth.

Feisty television host, Savanna Bunkett, exposes government coverups on her award-winning show, The Bunk Stops Here. When she digs into a rumor about a top secret government project that’s producing “super soldiers” for the president, she suddenly finds herself on an assassin’s hit list.

He’s the man who knows the truth.

Navy SEAL Lieutenant Trace Hunter is the only soldier to survive Project 24. After refusing a direct order from the president, he was branded a traitor, and his career imploded after the sexy reporter turned him into a national headline. He now works undercover for Shadow Force International, a secret group of former SEALs helping those who have no where else to turn, using his enhanced skills to fight for justice and protect the innocent. His first assignment? Protect Savanna from the one man who wants them both dead—the president.

One wrong move and they’ll be silenced forever.

Helping Savanna is the last thing Trace wants to do, but her unwavering determination to expose the president’s dark truth matches his own. She’s his one chance to set the record straight and he’s her only chance at survival. When their mutual enemy closes in, can they put the past behind them and trust each other? Even if it means losing their hearts in the process? Or will secrets, lies, and forbidden passions cost them everything?

Amazon | Amazon UK | iBooks | Kobo | BN

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datingDating the Guy Next Door

by Amanda Ashby

MAYBE, BABY…

Kate Mitchell is finished with love. After a recent relationship disaster, she’s had it. Sure, she’s noticed her smoking hot new neighbor, Matt Hunter, moving into the converted warehouse next door. But she resolves to keep her fantasies just that.

But fantasy becomes reality when he shows up in her gallery. Matt is a logical, meticulous type while Kate’s more of a fly-by-night free spirit. And she won’t allow herself to be led into another relationship—especially not with someone who wants to start a family. She can’t do that.

Still, even Kate can’t deny Matt’s charm, and soon realizes she’s falling for him hard. If she tells him she won’t have a baby, she’ll break his heart. But if she doesn’t, she might break her own…

Amazon

Book recommendations

Deadly ElectionDeadly Election

by Lindsey Davis

“I’ve read the Falco books and enjoyed them, but heavens, this is GOOD!” ~ Mary Hughes

In the first century A.D., during Domitian’s reign, Flavia Albia is ready for a short break from her family. So despite the oppressive July heat, she returns to Rome, leaving them at their place on the coast. Albia, daughter of Marcus Didius Falco, the famed private informer (now retired), has taken up her father’s former profession, and it’s time to get back to work. The first order of business, however, is the corpse that was found in a chest sent as part of a large lot to be sold by the Falco family auction house. As the senior family representative in Rome, it falls upon Albia to identify the corpse, find out why he was killed, who killed him, and, most important, how did it end up in the chest.

At the same time, her potential young man, Faustus, comes looking for help with his friend Sextus’s political campaign. Between the auction business and Roman politics, it’s not quite clear which one is the more underhanded and duplicitous. Both, however, are tied together by the mysterious body in the chest, and if Albia isn’t able to solve that mystery, it won’t be the only body to drop.

Amazon | Nook

99c BOOKS

loverLover in a Bottle

by Shona Husk

Rebecca Thomas is determined to have the perfect holiday on her own. She knows how to plan the perfect wedding, so planning her ideal holiday wasn’t hard. She goes to the Cook Islands to enjoy the sun, sand and surf and everything else Rarotonga has to offer. She never planned on having a holiday fling, but Ashur is hard to resist.

Ashur loves his job. Every woman who frees him from his bottle is unique, and they all want something different. For him it has become a game to seduce them and grant their most secret fantasies—but on his time frame. He makes the most of each moment he is out of the bottle. While he enjoys what does, he is afraid that his life has no meaning and that one day his bottle will be lost forever, and so will he. With Rebecca, he thinks he is ready to give up being a genie and try being mortal.

However, to convince Rebecca to set him free, she first has to believe in magic and genies.

Amazon 

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seducedSeduced: An Erotic Valentine Collection

by Mel Teshco, Christina Phillips, Karen Stivali

An Erotic Valentine Collection – Available only for a limited time!

Who would you choose to spend Valentine’s night with: A brooding artist? A bad boy rebel? A sexy best friend? Be seduced by this steamy erotic romance collection this Valentine’s Day.

Her Dark Guardian by Mel Teshco

A woman traumatized by her past. A man waiting to heal her.

When supermodel Lacey Morgan fled a violent marriage, she also left behind the one man she couldn’t have and can’t forget. Kane Sampson fills her fantasies even as her husband and Kane’s half-brother, Leeroy, fills her nightmares.
She returns home to face her past so that she can put it behind her. Except her attraction for Kane hasn’t diminished over time, it’s intensified. Just as Leeroy’s hate and possessiveness has also festered.
This time she won’t run. But has she left it too late to claim the only man she’s ever wanted?

Every Breath You Take by Christina Phillips

She’s the one girl this bad boy could never have…

It was only supposed to be a forbidden one night stand with the bad boy she’d never forgotten, but Piper Thomas soon discovers it takes more than sizzling sex to scorch her teenage fantasies. The more he gives, the more she needs…

It’s been five years since Mason Hunter’s brother died, and he’s tried to put the guilt behind him. But when Piper, the girl his brother should’ve married, reappears in his life and offers him the one thing he’s always craved – one steamy night in her arms – he can’t resist.

Piper’s the only woman he’s ever wanted, but how can they have a future together when the past haunts every breath they take?

Always You by Karen Stivali

When Shari discovers that her fiancé has been cheating on her, she lets the wedding go on according to plan. But there’s just one hitch, while everyone else is at the church, Shari is heading to the airport to fly off on her honeymoon with her best friend, Jon.

Jon is only too happy to help Shari escape what he knew would have been an awful marriage. Plus he’s thrilled by the prospect of time alone with her in a tropical paradise. He’s always loved her, and desired her as a lot more than a friend.

A steamy, romantic night on the beach turns into a whirlwind of desire as they take their friendship to multiple new levels of passion. But when Shari’s apologetic ex tries to win her back, she must choose between the life she thought she was going to have with him and the possibility of love with Jon.

Amazon  | iBooks

FREE BOOKS

KissinKissin’ Hell

by Jodi Redford

There are two certainties in life soul collector and hellhound Jericho Stryker knows too well—Death never takes a holiday, and women are typically more trouble than they’re worth. That goes double for his personal nemesis and regular pain in his backside, Lola McKenna. Sure, the luscious little hellcat gets his blood boiling in more ways than one, but some scratches are best left un-itched. That determination is strained to the max when a botched soul acquisition job lands him on the same case as Lola.

Fetching a stubborn soul from a haunted bordello should be a piece of cake. Unfortunately for Lola, she has to deal with Jericho horning in on her bounty. Attempting to keep her cool and her wits around her sinfully sexy adversary? Easier said than done. Especially when she finds herself locked overnight with Jericho. Not strangling him before sunrise? A faint possibility. Ignoring the lusty, depraved sexual fantasies he awakens in her? A snowball’s chance in hell of happening. But worst of all is the very real possibility that he could steal the one thing she most fears losing to him—her heart.

Kindle | iTunes | Nook | All Romance | Smashwords

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Research, take me away with guest Misty Evans!

Please welcome author Misty Evans to the blog today. As a reader (who has never written), when I read a book I rarely think of the research it takes to put a story together. I know it takes a long time, but I just don’t think much outside the enjoyment of the story. Misty is here today to tell us a little about her research.

Research, take me away!

Misty Evans PhotoAnyone who knows me knows I love to do research for my books.  Whether I interview someone who shares a similar background to one of my characters (FBI, hacker, journalist) in my romantic suspense stories, or I delve into ancient religions and lost histories for my paranormal and urban fantasy stories, I get whisked away to new worlds and exposed to fascinating people and situations. In author terms, we call this going down the rabbit hole.

In my latest release, FATAL TRUTH, I called on some of my own experiences with yoga for my hero and heroine who challenge each other to an asana competition. I read a biography of an Olympic gymnast to give my heroine, Savanna, a backstory, and I read up on an investigative reporter who was a key individual in Edward Snowden’s escape.  I went deep into the world of SEALs to get my hero, Trace, just right, and also dived into heat imaging equipment, and public access television stations just to name a few ‘rabbit holes’ I navigated. I also ran ideas by two techy guys I know who helped me in that field because I’m so not tech-oriented and the Shadow Force crew has some pretty swanky gadgets.

As a writer, I sometimes get bogged down with words and need to switch to visual stimulation. Pinterest to the rescue. When I needed inspiration for the Shadow Force International men, a new yoga pose, or an idea for the fictional safe house kitchen in Fatal Truth, I went to Pinterest. You can see my board for the SEAL inspiration here (you know, just in case you were wondering what some of the SFI brothers look like in my mind):

The other thing I research is music. Songs pop up regularly in my books, and in Fatal Truth, I needed code names for the Rock Star Security bodyguards. Rock Star bodyguards need corresponding code names, right? So say hello to Coldplay, Poison, and Megadeth.

I also listen to a lot of music during the writing process for each book. It helps me get in the right frame of mind and sometimes when the writing is flowing, you need some good music to go along with it. If you want to know my top songs for Fatal Truth, check out the book’s playlist.

I go down the writer rabbit hole often, but it’s the only way I know to keep my stories fresh and my characters entertaining.  A good plot, some damaged characters, and a chance at love draw me back to the keyboard day after day. And hopefully, the research and the writing create stories that draw readers back to my novels!

Thank you, Amy and the Magical Musings crew for inviting me here today to talk about a subject dear to my heart. I couldn’t create the stories that I do without a lot of research and it’s absolutely one of the great parts of my job!

So tell me readers, do you notice when an author has done her research? How does it make the story better?

~~~~

Misty Evans was bitten by the writing bug when she won a contest in 4th grade with an essay about her dad. Today, she’s a USA TODAY bestselling author of over thirty award-winning romantic suspense, paranormal romance and urban fantasy stories. She likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. To get your FREE Super Agent story and learn more about Misty and her books, visit her website, like her author Facebook fan page, follow her on Twitter, and share pictures on Instagram!

About Fatal Truth:

Fatal TruthShe’s an investigative reporter who lives to uncover the truth.

Feisty television host Savanna Bunkett exposes government cover-ups on her award-winning show, The Bunk Stops Here. When she digs into a rumor about a top-secret government project that’s producing “super soldiers” for the president, she suddenly finds herself on an assassin’s hit list. 

He’s the man who knows the truth.

Navy SEAL Lieutenant Trace Hunter is the only soldier to survive Project 24. After refusing a direct order from the president, he was branded a traitor, and his career imploded after the sexy reporter turned him into a national headline. He now works undercover for Shadow Force International, a secret group of former SEALs helping those who have nowhere else to turn, using his enhanced skills to fight for justice and protect the innocent. His first assignment? Protect Savanna from the one man who wants them both dead—the president.

One wrong move and they’ll be silenced forever.

Helping Savanna is the last thing Trace wants to do, but her unwavering determination to expose the president’s dark truth matches his own. She’s his one chance to set the record straight, and he’s her only chance at survival. When their mutual enemy closes in, can they put the past behind them and trust each other? Even if it means losing their hearts in the process? Or will secrets, lies, and forbidden passions cost them everything.

Book Links: Amazon / Amazon UK / iBooks / Kobo 

Posted in Amy R's Posts | Tagged | 7 Comments

Falling in Love with Conferences

I am writing a creative non-fiction book. It’s a lonely world world where my biggest contact with people is when I try to do justice to explaining what creative non-fiction is (I think of it as having a theory or message to share that you communicate through an enjoyable blend of metaphor, story and research). I don’t get much contact with writers of my kind these days.

And then a conference came up that was a gathering of people who are potential readers of my book and I decided to attend.

images-9How lovely to commune with people who have a shared interest. In this case it is a geology conference with a collection of over a thousand men – but I don’t think that is the point. These are people who I have a shared work history with, people who reflect a certain confidence in my abilities, people who are sharing their passion for their own special project, and it is infectious.

Conferences are like a tonic for people who work at home or find themselves focused very tightly on their mission. It is so important to remember this. I find I need to take a look at my year and pick the timing, subject and location for the conferences which I will attend to ensure that there are a couple of injections of inspiration in my year.

This is the time to build a plan because it is a new year. A new beginning. Feb 4 marks the celebration of the first stirring of the seeds in the ground (Imbolc). If I wait until the conference is near I always have 3 other pulls on my time. If I don’t have the intention to explore new potential gatherings, I keep re-attending the ones I have been attending. My new motto is to go to one that is old and one that is new (that reminds me of something borrowed, something blue – I’ll have to think about what that might be). images-10

Well I better get back to it. I am all dressed up (compared to my yoga pants) in my sweater that matches my eyes and tall black boots that say nobody’s baby, while avoiding saying “hey there sailor, got a light?”

Hope you find a great conference, too!

 

 

Posted in Kim's Posts | 3 Comments

Writerly Confessions

penguinwithstars

This guy has absolutely nothing to do with the post, but who can resist a penguin with a stocking cap?

It’s been more than two years since I published a new story (Fire Within, December 2013). And it’s going on three years since my last novel with Harlequin was released (A Time for Us, June 2013).

Walking away from an international publisher was my choice. The decision not to pursue another contract was easy and hard at the same time. Easy because the world of publishing had changed significantly, giving authors a lot more options. Hard because walking away with the intent to try indie publishing meant, well, I was walking away from something that had once been an end-all be-all career goal and dream. Selling my first book to a publishing company was a big achievement and would still rank on my list of top ten life moments. But like I said, the publishing world had exploded into an exciting, different place, and there were reasons independence became a better path for me.

That was in 2012. And here it is, 2016. I’ve been writing almost daily the whole time, mostly fiction, with a little technical writing thrown in when the opportunity arises. So, one might ask, what the heck do I have to show for it?

Well…a lot of words but not a lot of full, finished, polished stories. Yet.

When I first decided to write with the goal of publication, back in 2002 (conveniently two months after my younger son was born), I was single-minded. A lot of aspiring authors do what I call story hopping—they write a few chapters on one story, then move on to another without finishing the first, and so on, until they have a collection of story bits. I didn’t do that. I dove in (not knowing what I was doing, mind you) and wrote a story from beginning to end. It took me 14 months, and it was slightly atrocious, but I didn’t veer to other projects at all. And then I started another book after sending the first one to a publisher. (Thankfully they rejected it.)

Book two became my first sale to Harlequin, eventually known as Unexpected Complication. And from then on, I wrote one story after another, from start to finish, based on what I was able to sell to the publisher.

Fast forward to 2012 and my newfound “freedom” to write whatever the hell I wanted to. I went from having content guidelines, prescribed word counts, and demanding deadlines to having no restrictions whatsoever. And while some people would thrive in that situation, I have to admit that it made me lose a little (okay, a lot) of my focus. Which wasn’t entirely a bad thing. It turned out that I needed some time to decompress from my publishing-company writing career and regroup for my independent writing career. And that meant, well, messing around, I guess you could call it. Writing story bits.

First, I wrote two short stories and one novella and indie published them. Then…I wrote parts of six different books—55,000 words on one, 35,000 on another, 23,000 on another, etc. I’ve never been so scattered, writing-wise. And it was a good thing. Mostly. Except it didn’t get any books published.

So, the main thing I wanted to say today, after all that, is that this year, I’m going to publish a new book. At least one. And no, I don’t have any misconception that the world cares one way or another whether I publish another book, but I DO. J And by posting it here, it means I’ve said in public that I’m going to do it, and so I will do it.
Just not today. :)

P.S. If you’d like to keep up on when my books will be released, please sign up for my newsletter. You’ll only get messages when I have book news to share.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/26235754@N05/3336803474″>sunbathing in the antartic</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>

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Friday Finds

Welcome to Friday Finds! We would love your input for discounted books, free books, book recommendations or new releases and book contests (where books are the prize). Feel free to submit through our Friday Finds Submission Form. The cut-off is Wednesday for that Friday’s post, and please make sure that the offers you are submitting will be running that Friday. Please check the deals mentioned in this post before buying, as some may have expired. Thanks!

NEW RELEASES51pcHvhUFvL._UY250_A Requiem for Poseidon

by S.C. Mitchell

As war rumbled through the heavens, the seas also boiled with battle. Poseidon was one of the first to succumb. Now the alliance of evil gods turn their sights on the Inuit pantheon.

Barely surviving the initial strike, the goddess Sedna seeks the sanctuary of the oceans and her old friend Jormungandr. She knows the Norse World Serpent isn’t the evil people believe him to be.

Isolated in his watery home, Jormungandr has escaped the war until now and happily welcomes Sedna into his refuge. But when the alliance of evil releases the Kraken, can even gods find sanctuary in the ocean depths?

A Requiem for Poseidon is a short tale, and an additional part of the Heavenly Wars series. Chronologically it should be read between books 1 and 2 of the series.

Amazon

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51TEKZQZ6oL._UX160_He’s the Boss: 10 Office Romances

Book author:  various

Book blurb: 10 stories for as little as 68 cents*!

It’s always sexy when he runs the company . . . but she commands his heart. These 10 couples know exactly what suits them and where to draw the line between business and pleasure. Find out who’s boss on these perfect lunchtime breaks!

•An Inconvenient Love: To expand his real estate business, Luca Castellioni needs an English-speaking secretary and a wife, so he strikes a bargain with pretty stranger Sophia Stevens. She’s fascinating, and soon enough he wants more marriage and not so much convenience in their agreement. Too bad his new wife has reconstructed her own life without him. Can love overcome the obstacles between them?

•Urgent: One Nanny Required: Rania George is offered a sweet gig babysitting a boy she adores. Only catch? She has to fly to Hollywood – a place she loathes – and spend three weeks with his devastatingly handsome and arrogant father.

•Slow Ride: Mechanic Cooper Moretto rolls up on trouble with a capital T when he spots Kyla O’Grady’s ’67 Mustang Coupe by the side of the road. The new gal in Aston Falls is out of cash and he’s short-handed, so an employment trade makes sense. But there’s danger following Kyla. Can their love vanquish the threat?

•Bride by the Book: Small-town Arkansas attorney Garner Holt badly needs an assistant to sort out his cluttered office, but he didn’t expect a super-secretary like Miss Angelina Brownwood. She’s perfect until an online search reveals a flaw: Angelina isn’t a secretary. But does her secret mean she’s not the girl for him?

•Looking for Prince Charming: Glory agrees to pose as her boss’s girlfriend while he campaigns for Lord Mayor of Melbourne – which might not be the best idea since she’s already in love with him!

•Battling the Best Man: Now a Chicago resident, Dr. Kory Flemming can’t say no to returning home for her best friend’s wedding. Trouble is, Will Mitchell, the only man smart enough to keep pace with Kory in high school, is the best man, and he’s up to his usual flirtatious tricks. Can they set aside their rocky past to make a new future together?

•A Man for All Seasons: There are crazier ways to spend a holiday. At least that’s what journalist Janey Turner keeps telling herself when she agrees to spend Thanksgiving with the editor she’s never met in person before. But the chemistry that flares between her and Joe Argenti is as hot and unexpected as the lightning strike that soon ignites Casper Mountain. Will her professional dreams cost her a merry Christmas?

•Act of Love: When you’re young and passionate about your first theatre job, you do everything your director tells you, right? Not if you’re Marigold Aubrey, who can’t seem to resist speaking her mind around charismatic Tor Douglas. But is she trying for the part, or his heart?

•Edie and the CEO: Edie Rowan is passionate about workers’ rights, but when her protests backfire, championing the little guy gets her in trouble with sexy CEO Everett Kirk. He sends her to attend management camp – and even drives her there himself. When they let down their professional guard, sparks fly and secrets are revealed.

•The Meatball Mistress: Ryan Garridy is a diehard commitment phobe, struggling to keep his Italian restaurant afloat. The last thing he needs is to hire Cara Manzoni, a woman who skipped out on paying for her meal. Unless, that is, this secretive stunner can save more than just his livelihood.

Sensuality Level: Sensual

*Currently 68 cents on Amazon.com. $0.99 elsewhere.

AmazonAmazonAmazon

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Hold Me Until Forever

by Christina Phillips

She’s the only one he wants…and the one he can never have

Ella Clark has been in love with Alex Grayson forever. She’s tired of being invisible—or worse, being treated like his kid sister. If she can just get him to drop his iron-fisted control for two seconds, she’ll prove she knows exactly how to blow his mind.

Alex has been fighting his attraction to Ella since her should-have-been-innocent sweet sixteen kiss burned down his world. He’s damaged, and there’s no way he’ll ever drag her into his screwed up life. Until she offers him something he’s always craved—steamy, no-strings sex inside his exclusive BDSM club. Where she’ll be safe from the darkness that haunts him.

Except there’s nothing safe about being with Ella, and the more she gives, the harder it is to let her go. If he stays, he risks everything, but how can he walk away from the only woman he’s ever needed?

iBooks     Amazon     Amazon UK     Amazon Au     Amazon Ca     Kobo     B&N

 

99c BOOKS

61KEJrdIgiL._UY250_No Place Like Home: A Novel

by Barbara O’Neal (Originally published as Barbara Samuel)

Sometimes a wrong turn is the only way home. . . .

No Place Like Home tells the unforgettable story of a family bound together by tradition–and the emotional journey of an estranged daughter risking everything for a second chance at life and love.

Twenty-one years ago Jewel Sabatino left her childhood behind and never looked back. After a magical taste of fame, she found herself alone with a son to raise and not much else. She survived with the help of Michael, her one true friend. But now Michael is too sick to care for himself, and Jewel has run out of options. She leaves New York for the hills of Colorado, unsure if the family she ran from will welcome her back.

For Jewel, coming home is falling back into a world that smells of Italian restaurants and home-baked pies. It is the laughter of sisters preparing for a summer wedding, and the peaceful haven for a treasured soul mate’s last days. It also means facing the unforgiving eyes of a father betrayed by his favorite child–and letting go of a son who is ready to become a man. But most of all, it is the love she discovers in her own wary heart when Michael’s brother Malachi unexpectedly arrives on her doorstep.

Told with breathtaking insight and deep emotion, No Place Like Home is a joyful feast for all the senses, a vibrant bounty of love, and a tender life lesson to be savored long after the last page is turned.

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51ZAWCjt7fL._UY250_The Sky Garden

by Jenny Schwartz

On the rooftops of London, you can be anyone.

A year ago, Lanie Briers escaped a serial killer. She grew up in a theatre family and her act was mediumship, but not anymore. Life, now, is a hidden retreat above a quirky Bloomsbury museum, where she waits and watches.
Nick Tawes is an unexpected intrusion. He’s a landscape architect filming a television series on roof gardens, and he intends to build one in Lanie’s aerial territory. He has his own demons, old family troubles, that lure Lanie out of her refuge and into living again.
But as summer progresses and the sky garden grows, Lanie’s enemy is closing in—because some secrets must go to the grave.

Amazon 

FREE BOOKS

513n+YeAvzL._UY250_Six Months in Montana

by Pamela M. Kelley

Molly Bishop loves living in Manhattan and managing a boutique luxury hotel. She’s about to be promoted to her dream job of General Manager, the role she’s been striving for her entire career.

There’s only one thing standing in her way.

The will of her childhood friend, Christian Ford’s grandfather. She hasn’t even seen Christian in over ten years, but a recent run-in with his grandfather during a rare visit home, resulted in a new condition to the will. Christian will only inherit the ranch he’s been running and the real estate development business that he has expanded, if he marries Molly and stays married for at least six months.

Amazon | Nook | Kobo

 

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More-than-Human Characters and Why I Love Them–Guest Author Roxy Mews

Roxy has a great flow to her writing that I wish I could do. She makes even the most fantastic situations feel absolutely concrete through her natural, up-to-the-millisecond style. Today she’s sharing a bit of how she makes that happen. Please welcome my friend Roxy Mews!

In fiction we play with extreme situations, because really, no one wants to read about the big strong hero folding laundry. (Although I would definitely pay to see that in real life.) And in playing with these extreme situations we want to have our characters react in fantastical ways.

In certain genres we have even more room to play. If we are writing about a vampire, we can show how he feels by the way he moves or the way his body reacts to another person. When my hero, Jake Meyers, is in deep thought his body ceases all movement, including breathing and blood flow.

My heroine in Coral-600, uses CPU’s to transmit reports to the lab she was created in, and certain bodily reactions cause very interesting data to be transmitted. This allowed me to give specific data to those in charge of her to prove her humanity in quantifiable ways.

And if we want something to happen for a story line, even if it’s not “believable” we can alter the world we are building to make it believable. We still have to follow lines of continuity and we still have to follow the rules we have laid out for our universe, but it’s our world to play with when we’re writing in Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, or SciFi.

Characters don’t always act the way I want them to. And there have been some instances where I have had to go back to the beginning of a manuscript and change major parts of the world, because the character I want wouldn’t exist otherwise.

When that happens I am usually in a corner rocking and hoping the editing fairy will visit me and fix the mess I wrote myself into. Turns out the editing fairy doesn’t exist and after a substantial glass of wine I get myself under control and fix it my darn self.

My books revolve around my characters, and creating worlds in which I can give them their happily ever afters. So when my character needs to be able to use mind control, I have to make him a vampire capable of compulsion. When my character needs to have the ability to smell someone from across the street, I make him a werewolf with heightened senses.

So far I’ve played with Vampires, Werewolves, Hybrids, Witches, and Robots. They all have had different stories to tell, but it was a blast letting them show me their worlds. I can’t wait to see where my characters take me next.

What is your favorite paranormal character to read or write about?

Roxy’s latest in The DMA Files series, Interlocking Hearts, is available for preorder!

AmazonBarnes & Noble iBooksGoogle PlayAll Romance EbooksSamhain Publishing StoreKOBO

InterlockingHearts72lg (1)A human, an almost-human, and a more-than-human walk into a palace…

The DMA Files, Book 2

After her husband threw her out, Paisley Compton drew her sexuality around her like a shield. She finds solid ground as a palace maid until, during a formal dinner service, she trips onto the lap of a man who takes her breath away.

Ben has always known Jon is far more than property, and he jumps at the chance to get the android his certificate of humanity. Paisley—whose abilities far exceed her job title—is a welcome distraction from the bureaucracy.

Used and abused by his former owners, Jon trusts no one—particularly the smartass woman who’s caught Ben’s eye. He might not be certified human yet, but he has all the right parts to get to the bottom of this sexy mystery wrapped in a maid’s uniform.

Their attraction sparks unexpected new conduits among them, but when they realize Jon’s certificate comes with a terrible price, they must risk everything to foil an Anti-Mech plot—and hope they survive to lose themselves in each other’s arms.

Product Warnings

Overheating is likely. The mechanics in these pages require ample lubrication to perform at optimum levels. When possible, multiple system operators are recommended.

Roxy wrote her first story at age six on an electric typewriter. It was about a cat and a haunted house. Thankfully, her stories and technology have matured since then. Now Roxy spends her days fighting the evil day job in hopes of conquering the stories that run rampant in her head when she comes home at night. When she discovered Erotic Romance, Roxy fell in love. She can’t wait to share all her fun and sexy stories with everyone. To connect with Roxy Mews find her babbling on Twitter, friend her on Facebook, visit her Blog, or find all these links on RoxyRocksMe.com

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