My Writing Process by Kelly Stone Gamble

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My Writing Process
Writers often talk about their ‘process’ and I bow to those who can actually define one. I’ve thought long and hard about what my own process for writing is, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to describe how I write is to talk about my first paintball experience.

When my sons were in high school, I tried to be the ‘cool’ mom and was willing to try anything at least once. I discovered I’m pretty good at laser tag, terrified of SCUBA and can still throw a mean left upper cut. But, typically, these activities weren’t necessarily planned well in advance, it was more like, “What should we do today? Go for a hike? Rollerblade? Try out the new boxing gym that opened downtown?” And soon, we were in padded helmets, boxing gloves and mouth pieces, punching bags and showing off our fancy footwork. That’s how we ended up at paintball.

I have to say I was uncomfortable at first. The gear can be heavy, the mask is designed for protection, not necessarily sight, and the gun full of paint was not something I was used to carrying around. But I soon got used to all of this and became somewhat comfortable with the restrictions. I started to gain confidence and began to formulate a plan of attack.

I found myself becoming frustrated quite often, as I would have what I considered a great hiding spot but was soon discovered by one of my sons who was more than happy to stealthily sneak up from behind and unload his purple paint on me while the other stayed at a safe distance and sniped me with green. I looked like Barney the Dinosaur, and, yet, no-one had a trace of my yellow paint on them. But frustration be damned, I was determined to make something happen.

I decided that hiding and playing it safe was not necessarily the best strategy. So I went rouge. I ran through the paintball court, shooting left, then right, behind me, above me, at anything that appeared to be moving. I even tried a fancy roll, which was much more graceful in design than in execution, but came up shooting.

I got slaughtered. I couldn’t have been more covered had I climbed in a barrel of paint. When the alarm sounded, indicating the session was over, I ran to the exit. I was a mess, exhausted and a bit humiliated by my performance.

But as we took off our gear, I noticed that there were splatters of yellow on my sons: a knee here, a butt cheek there and a few chest shots. Regardless of the pain and frustration I had experienced, I had managed to make a half dozen shots stick and some of them were expert in placement. In my mind, all of the mediocre could be deleted, leaving nothing but the perfect yellow circles.

My writing process is a lot like this. It begins with spontaneity, I have an idea, so I dive right in. I start with a plan, but soon find myself running through my field of thoughts, throwing paint everywhere. It is definitely exhausting and can be frustrating at times. But then I go back and evaluate what I’ve actually done. I delete the ineffective splatters and wash off what didn’t stick. And what’s left?

Bull’s-eye.

About the Author: 1_26 bio shotKelly Stone Gamble lives in a hunting lodge in Idabel, Oklahoma, and spends way too much time looking for Bigfoot and the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, both of which are said to reside in her 1,800 acre backyard. When she isn’t writing, trying to keep her dog from befriending a skunk, or shooting various wildlife (camera shooting, that is), she teaches Communications, Humanities and English to students at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

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1_26 They-Call-Me-Crazy-800 Cover reveal and PromotionalCass Adams is crazy, and everyone in Deacon, Kansas, knows it. But when her good-for-nothing husband, Roland, goes missing, no one suspects that Cass buried him in their unfinished koi pond. Too bad he doesn’t stay there for long. Cass gets arrested on the banks of the Spring River for dumping his corpse after heavy rain partially unearths it.

The police chief wants a quick verdict—he’s running for sheriff and has no time for crazy talk. But like Roland’s corpse, secrets start to surface, and they bring more to light than anybody expected. Everyone in Cass’s life thinks they know her—her psychic grandmother, her promiscuous ex-best friend, her worm-farming brother-in-law, and maybe even her local ghost. But after years of separate silences, no one knows the whole truth. Except Roland. And he’s not talking.

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For Keeps by Rachel Lacey – Guest Blog and Giveaway

1_26 lacey For-Keeps-Blog-Tour

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter the Rafflecopter below to win a collection of books by Rachel Lacey.

Top 5 Best Things about being a writer

1. I get to work in my pajamas with a glass of wine :)

2. The moment when you write “The End.” You just wrote a book! It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world. It gets me every time.

3. I can’t NOT write. I always have, and I always will, and now I get paid to do it. That’s pretty great!

4. The writing community, and the romance writing community in particular, is SO amazing. I’ve made so many great friends and learned so much from fellow romance authors.

5. On a serious note, being able to stay home with my son while still working is really the icing on the cake for me. I feel incredibly fortunate.

 

1_26 Lacey_For Keeps_MMA SUMMER FLING . . . OR SOMETHING MORE?

Merry Atwater would do just about anything to save her dog rescue – even if it means working with the most stubborn man on the planet. It’s hard to avoid the sparks that fly with TJ Jameson, the ruggedly sexy cowboy in charge of the children’s camp where she’s just taken an animal therapy job. But commitment is not Merry’s style, and TJ clearly wants more than just a roll in the hay. TJ Jameson isn’t looking for anything complicated-just a peaceful life on his family’s ranch with a wife and kids. “No-strings” Merry Atwater doesn’t fit that bill, no matter how irresistible she is. But when he sees how Merry gets through to his autistic nephew and the other kids at Camp Blue Sky, TJ’s a goner. If he doesn’t give in to the now, he might just lose his shot at forever . . .

Enjoy an excerpt:

His expression heated until his eyes practically burned her.

She nibbled her bottom lip. “I should, uh, I should go.”

“It’s late,” he said, his voice like gravel. It tickled all her sweet spots.

She stared at his hands, those big calloused fingers. Damn, but she wanted to feel them on her skin. Like, now.

“Really late.” She took a step, but her feet accidentally carried her toward T.J., not the door.

He sucked in an audible breath, his eyes scorching hers. “I thought you were going.”

“So did I.” But fuck it. If she was going to be in his house in the middle of the night in her underwear, she might as well give him a kiss goodnight.

She’d never been known for her self-control, after all.

He watched her, not moving a muscle, as if he’d become rooted to the floor.

She put her palms on his biceps and pressed her lips to his. Just a quick kiss to test the waters, because they did have to work together for the next month.

His scent wrapped around her, filled her lungs, and stole her sanity. She lingered for a moment, her lips on his, so soft, so warm. Just enough to make her want more. So much more.

Her body pulsed with it.

She was about to pull back and tell him goodnight when his arms slid around her waist, securing her against the firm column of his body, and oh God, she was a goner.

“What was that?” he whispered against her lips.

She slid her hands up to encircle his neck. “A goodnight kiss.”

“And why would you do something like that?” His voice vibrated through her.

“Because I wanted to.” Their bodies were pressed together, and though he hadn’t kissed her back, he wanted to. She felt the evidence pressed against her belly.

“Bad idea,” he growled, his lips still touching hers, teasing, tempting.

“Oh, yeah?” She could hardly breathe. Every nerve tingled with awareness, desperate for his touch, his kiss. More. More of everything.

Her heart throbbed in her chest.

T.J.’s eyes smoldered into hers, his pupils blown with lust. His body vibrated with tension, his arms like steel bands around her. “Yeah.”

“Then send me home.” She wiggled in his arms, pressing into his erection, tempting him, willing him to kiss her back. Just for tonight.

She needed to be kissed. She needed to feel.

And he could make her…

His lips crushed hers, taking her so suddenly, so thoroughly, that she didn’t have time to draw a breath. She heard herself groan, felt the desire inside her explode into something so completely out of control it almost frightened her.

Her back slammed into the wall, and her legs wrapped around his waist. His tongue plunged into her mouth, gliding against hers in a rhythm so perfect she shuddered in his arms. He lifted her hips, grinding himself against her until her eyes rolled back in her head, and…

Holy shit, holy shit.

She must have lost her mind. Her body burned, quaked, shook for him, and he felt so fucking good. He tasted like sin, sweet and sexy, like leather and cowboy boots, and…

Holy shit.

She needed more. She needed everything. She needed him buried deep inside her, groaning her name as he drove her over the edge, as he came inside her, and…

Holy shit.

This was completely out of control.

“Holy shit.” The words came from T.J.’s lips, not her own, as he tore his mouth from hers and speared her with his gaze. He panted for breath, his body coiled against hers, so hard, so ready. She felt every inch of him still pressed between her legs, right where her body burned hottest for him. “What the hell was that?”

She laughed. “If you don’t know, then you’re more out of practice than I am.”

About the Author:1_26 Rachel Lacey
Rachel Lacey lives in North Carolina, with her husband, son, and their own rescued pup. She volunteers her spare time with Carolina Boxer Rescue and truly has a passion for helping our furry friends. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as her local Heart of Carolina RWA chapter.

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How to Handle Negative Criticism by Christine Rains – Guest Blog and Giveaway



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Christine will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to one randomly selected winner during the tour via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

HOW TO HANDLE NEGATIVE CRITICISM
By Christine Rains

It’s going to happen sooner or later. One of your critique partners is going to say something is wrong about your manuscript or you get your first bad review. Negative criticism can make your whole world crumble around you.

So what do you do?

Cry, scream, eat a pint of ice cream, drown yourself in a Star Wars marathon, vow never to write again, and cry some more.

And while those are perfectly normal responses, they aren’t going to help you when you receive your next bad review. Here are five tips on how to handle negative criticism and not let it devour your soul.

1. Remember that not everyone is going to like what you write. People’s tastes are different. It’s just a fact of life. Move on and find someone who does share your vision.

2. Learn to tell constructive criticism from negative criticism. Take a step back and try to see what the person is saying. It might be something that needs improvement. Or it could just be that random jerk that left the bad review to be mean. If you can tell the difference and filter out the jerks, you’ll be much happier for it.

3. Develop a thick skin. Yes, I know you hear this a lot, but it’s a vital survival skill for writers. If you can remember the first two tips, you’re already on the right path. No matter how much it feels that way, criticism of your work isn’t personal.

4. Improve your own critiquing skills. Wait, you say? How does that help? Critiquing is a skill. The more you learn about how to be objective and constructive, the better you can handle being critiqued yourself.

5. If you do receive negative criticism, don’t engage the critic. A lot of writers don’t read reviews at all. That’s how they survive this rough journey. Delete those awful emails, ignore the one star reviews, and get rid of that discouraging critique partner.

Unfortunately negative criticism is part of a writer’s life, but you can overcome it. Don’t let it stop you.

Dice and Debauchery, Book 1

A weekend away at a convention is exactly what overworked student Morgan needs. Dressed as her character from her favorite online game, Morgan is braced—seriously, could her corset be tighter?—to meet the other players. As Lady Gyrfalcon, she’s ready for everything—except her intense attraction to Dean. A clandestine meeting in the hallway of the hotel and Morgan’s corset is looser but now she can’t breathe for entirely different reasons.

Utterly charmed, Morgan decides to roll the dice and indulge in a fantasy-worthy weekend of sexy roleplaying, scorching sex and life-altering orgasms. Still, through it all Morgan is too smart to believe the chemistry constantly stripping her of costumes and control can last more than the length of the convention. But if she wants to keep a relationship so intense she thought it only existed in fiction, she’s going to have to let go of her cool-headed logic and allow herself to fall far and fast for the perfect guy.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Stomping out of the bathroom, I froze upon seeing Russell standing in the alcove between the drinking fountains across from me. Dressed as Snidely Whiplash, he had the perfect sneer for the character.

“Come to kidnap me and tie me to the train tracks?” I folded my arms and stepped out of the way of a group of girls going into the bathroom.

“Don’t tempt me. It would save us all a lot of trouble.” Russell’s sharp and bitter tone carried a phantom slap.

I hesitated, weighing the situation. He obviously didn’t like me, but why? I hadn’t felt such hate when we first met, no matter that we were playing enemies. Did something so horrible happen between him and Emily, he was taking it out on me? But why did it feel more personal than that?

“Okay.” I took in a deep, slow breath and let it out. “Clearly you wanted to talk to me since you’re waiting here. What did you want to say?”

“End this thing between you and Dean now. Today at least. Don’t drag it out. You’ll only cause more damage if you do.”

Not what I expected in the least. What did he have against me and Dean? Did he not think I was good enough for his cousin?

“What’s between Dean and I is our own business.” There. A mature and reasonable reply. I wasn’t going to resort to growling back at him.

“And what is between you, hm?” Russell raised his comical eyebrows. It looked silly and somehow foreboding. “Girlfriend and boyfriend? Or just a con fling?”

About the Author:

Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood but make her a great Jeopardy player. As an avid gamer, she’s either going on adventures with her son or rolling dice with friends. Christine is a proud member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. She has several short stories and novellas published. Loose Corset is the first book of her geeky and hilarious Dice & Debauchery series.

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Great & Unfortunate Desires by Gina Danna – Spotlight and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Gina will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Victorian England c. 1870

Operating as a British spy, Tristan St.James, the new Marquis of Wrenworth, barely escapes Afghanistan with his life in the spring of 1869. He plans to seek vengeance against the traitor who exposed him and for the agent he’s forced to kill. Returning to England, as a lord, he must marry. Haunted by guilt from the horrors of war, he avoids love at all costs, but finds himself drawn to the only woman who is disinterested in him.

Lady Evelyn Hurstine has waited over two years for the return of her love, a man who left for war in the East. But during that time, she suffered a brutal assault, resulting in a child and fear of any man touching her except for the man she once knew. The pursuit by the marquis scares her but her excuses against his proposal dwindle.

Their marriage strengthens into love until she discovers her husband isn’t the safety she believed but the one who killed the man she once loved. Caught in a world of intrigue and mayhem, Tristan must prove his love to her before the traitor destroys them both.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“I shall talk to him shortly.”

Evelyn raised her brows, eyeing over his shoulder. “Shortly may be now, my lord.”

Tristan turned. Barreling down the lawn, creating a wake in in his path, Evelyn’s father stormed toward them. Not far behind him was Huntington and his son. Tristan gauged their pace and the distance. He had a few seconds and could hear Evelyn’s foot tapping against the grass. Frankly, he was surprised she hadn’t crossed her arms in anger or left him. With every second, her behavior and decision to stay put only made him more interested in her. Damn! Her dowry and position made her exactly what he needed his English bride to be like, with a ramrod backbone and a defiance of societal rules. As Evelyn’s father got closer, there was only one thing Tristan could think of to ensure she become his. In one swift move, he turned, pulled her close, bent her backward, and pressed his cheek to hers. She gasped.

“Considering the situation, you need me as much as I need you. We are the perfect match,” he whispered, smiling and gesturing as if to kiss her.

They both knew in that moment she became his forever. The compromising position between two single people in a public setting was shocking to the ton.

Tristan heard the grass crunching under the footsteps of the Baron and his party. He didn’t look in their direction but eased back from Evelyn, watching her reaction. Suppressed fury blazed in her eyes, and her body was rigid.

“Naught, naught, naught,” he murmured. “To slap me would be appropriate but would serve you no purpose.”

Despite the fire in her gaze, she relaxed a little within his arms. “But it would give me satisfaction nevertheless,” she whispered defiantly, although she didn’t move.

About the Author:

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Gina Danna has spent the better part of her life reading. History has been her love and she spent numerous hours devouring historical romance stories, dreaming of writing one of her own. Years later, after receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in History, writing academic research papers and writing for museum programs and events, she finally found the time to write her own stories of historical romantic fiction.

Now, under the supervision of her three dogs and three cats, she writes amid a library of research books, with her only true break away is to spend time with her other life long dream – her Arabian horse – with him, her muse can play.


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Interview: Rich Zahradnik

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Rich Zahradnik whose debut novel Last Words was release last fall by Coffeetown Enterprises. It’s the first of a series featuring Coleridge Taylor, a journalist who has been demoted to writing obits after a previous source he used proved to be unreliable. It began as a “what if…?” What if a big-time police reporter were forced to do the dull work of obituaries, always dealing with the dead but never pursuing the why of their deaths.

Rich himself is a former long-term reporter, so we asked him to describe his journalistic experience compared to his character’s.

“Taylor obviously came up earlier than I did at a different time for newspapers. I started in the suburbs, while he’s always been in the city. He’s covered police stories far more than I ever did. Much of my career was in media and business journalism. I think Taylor is a much more tenacious reporter than me, braver even, doing anything to get the story. That’s what’s important to him. Other things have always competed with journalism in my life, including writing fiction.”

Music also plays a big part of the story, with Coleridge Taylor mentioning music often. The author admits he likes most of the music that Taylor does, but he found out about a lot of the groups later than Taylor did, because the author was in high school from 1974-78.

“My group of friends and I thought we were mired in a musical wasteland, disco on the one side and hair bands (Styx, Foreigner, Kansas) on the other. Punk had not reached Poughkeepsie, so I did not become a fan of that music until I reached college, when I discovered the Talking Heads, the Police, and the Ramones. I also became a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen, who was neither punk, nor hair band, just real. My three favorite songs:

1. Thunder Road
2. Pyscho Killer
3. Sweet Jane (with the Intro)”

“When Laura and Taylor go out for drinks, the song “Gloria” by Patti Smith is playing in the background. What made you choose that song for them?” I asked.

“I loved Van Morrison’s “Gloria,” and I wanted to have Patti Smith singing a song from ’75 that she did sing and most readers would know.”

The author set the book in 1975 because there were striking parellels to America today.

“Then as now, an unpopular war was finally coming to its sad end. A major institution, the city itself, tumbled toward bankruptcy, threatening a cataclysm on the entire financial system. This as banks and ratings agencies ignored the warning signs or willfully misled the public,” he explained. “I chose this time period for the differences as well as the similarities. Solving a mystery in 1975 required good old-fashioned legwork and serious brainwork, rather than science fiction-like instant DNA typing and surveillance video available from any and every angle. Taylor has to find a pay phone when he needs to call someone. There’s something satisfying in that for me.”

Part of the challenge of writing this book was that for a good part of it, Rich was also working full time, so there were days he might only write half a page, which was very discouraging to him.

“I thought I’d never finish,” he admitted. “The second was thinking that since I lived through 1975 I wouldn’t have to do a lot of research. I was wrong about that. It was all the little details that needed checking. Like when did the cost of a pay phone or subway token go up. I learned a lot more about what a terrible beautiful mess Times Square was at the time than I could fit in. Some was cut; some I couldn’t even use. Things like the signage, the history of some of the restaurants. I could have written pages alone on the Horn & Hardart Automat and bored everyone but myself.”

“Did anything surprise you as were writing LAST WORDS?”

“Characters who came out of nowhere and became interesting and important. How grim 1975 really was. Time has a way of mellowing things. I remember the mid-Seventies as a difficult period, but I was a kid so I wasn’t really plugged into how terrible things were in New York and the country. Gas shortages. Inflation. Unemployment. Crime. The South Bronx burning.”

“Taylor carries a hefty literary name being named after the English Romantic poet Samuel Coleridge. What inspired you to connect Taylor to the English Romantic poet?”

“Taylor has a poor relationship with his father, an alcoholic English professor. His father gave him that name, and Taylor hates the ornamentation of it. Doesn’t much like his father either. Journalism is pretty much the opposite of poetry. I liked the name for all the contradictions it implies. I’m a huge fan of Morse and really wanted to go the one-last-name-only route, but didn’t want to be too much of copycat. This was my compromise.”

Finally, I asked, “If you could go back in time, when and where would you go? Why?”

“I’m obsessed with time travel stories. In fact, I’m writing a time travel novel for middle graders. It’s hard to pick one, but if I had to, the time of Christ. His life affected all of Western Civilization, the entire glove. I’d like to see what really happened during that period. Either that or my own childhood, to see everything I’ve forgotten.”

1_22 mystery RecordPlayer_image copy

1_22 mystery last_words_300In March of 1975, as New York City hurtles toward bankruptcy and the Bronx burns, newsman Coleridge Taylor roams police precincts and ERs. In LAST WORDS by Rich Zahradnik (Camel Press, $12.49 paperback; $4.95 Kindle), Taylor searches for the story that will deliver him from obits, his place of exile at the Messenger-Telegram. Ever since he was demoted from the police beat for inventing sources, the 34-year-old has been a lost soul. A break comes at Bellevue, where Taylor views the body of a homeless teen picked up in the Meatpacking District. Taylor smells a rat: the dead boy looks too clean and he’s wearing a distinctive Army field jacket. A little digging reveals that the jacket belonged to a hobo named Mark Voichek and that the teen was a spoiled society kid up to no good, the son of a city official. Taylor’s efforts to learn Voichek’s secret put him on the hit list of three goons who are willing to kill any number of street people to cover tracks that just might lead to City Hall. Taylor has only one ally in the newsroom, young and lovely reporter Laura Wheeler. Time is not on his side. If he doesn’t wrap this story up soon, he’ll be back on the obits page—as a headline, not a byline, in Rich Zahradnik’s LAST WORDS.

About the Author: 1_22 mystery Rich_Zahradnik_imageRICH ZAHRADNIK is the author of the Coleridge Taylor Mystery series published by Camel Press. He was a journalist for 30-plus years, working as a reporter and editor in all major news media, including online, newspaper, broadcast, magazine and wire services. He held editorial positions at CNN, Bloomberg News, Fox Business Network, AOL and The Hollywood Reporter, often writing news stories and analysis about the journalism business, broadcasting, film production, publishing and the online industry.
In January 2012, he was one of 20 writers selected for the inaugural class of the Crime Fiction Academy, a first-of-its-kind program run by New York’s Center for Fiction. He has been a media entrepreneur throughout his career. He was the founding executive producer of CNNfn.com, a leading financial news website and a Webby winner; managing editor of Netscape.com, and a partner in the soccer-news website company Goal Networks. Zahradnik received his B.A. in journalism and political science from George Washington University.

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Load the Dice by Moriah Gemel – Spotlight and Giveaway

VBT_LoadTheDice_Banner copy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Moriah will be awarding a $25 Interlude Press GC to a randomly drawn commenter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. This book was first available online as an episodic, serialized novel—it is now available in its entirety!

MediaKit_BookCover_LoadTheDiceEric left the BDSM scene years ago because he couldn’t find the right partner, opting instead to meet men in quiet coffee shops and piano bars. But when his friend invites him to a posh hook-up party, he meets first time sub Jamie, who he convinces to detail his sexual fantasies during a passionate night together.

The pair soon embark on a relationship that introduces Jamie to the BDSM scene, and plays out his fantasies one by one. But as they approach the final fantasy, will Eric be able to walk away?

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Are you willing to submit to me, Jamie?”

Jamie visibly shivers, his mouth dropping open a little bit at Eric’s tone. He’s shifting into Dominant mode now, drawing his body up taller, wider, lifting his chin and letting the power he keeps in reserve flow through him. He’s not holding back now—he’s completely in charge, and he wants to make sure Jamie can feel it, even if he can’t see a thing.

“Yes,” Jamie whispers, with barely a breath.

“And do you understand that if at any time you don’t feel safe, if you feel we’re not acting sanely, or if you stop consenting, that you have every right to stop play?” It’s the core tenant of BDSM. SSC: Safe, Sane, and Consensual. If play isn’t all of those things, it’s not okay unless expressly agreed upon ahead of time—and that’s crossing into hardcore territory that isn’t for beginners. It’s best if they stick to the basics for now.

Jamie nods his head and agrees again, faintly and barely coherent. But it’s enough.

“Good.” Eric leans down and kisses him, light and teasing, barely brushing their lips. Jamie whimpers and opens his mouth in invitation, but Eric doesn’t take it.

“You have to earn that, Jamie,” he says, pulling back. Jamie breathes in shakily, and Eric hums, pleased. “Don’t worry, it’s your first time. We’ll go easy.” Eric steps back, pushing the box out of the way with his foot. “I want you on your knees.”

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_LoadTheDice
Moriah Gemel has developed a dedicated following for her realistic, sexually-charged stories over twelve years in online fan communities. Passionate about a realistic depiction of BDSM, her goal is to both entertain and educate readers about the BDSM community.

She is married and has a young son.

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Interview and Giveaway: Eden Baylee

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Eden Baylee who is giving away two Amazon gift certificates for her book, Stranger at Sunset. Read our review here. Leave a comment or ask the author a question to be entered in the drawing.

Stranger at Sunset wasn’t the first title for the story. Eden had several others including Strangers in Paradise, Strange Encounters, and so on.

“I settled on Stranger at Sunset because there are several meanings the title can take,” she explained. ‘Stranger’ can be both a noun and an adjective, and it alludes to how we view others as well as ourselves. ‘Sunset’ refers to the time when a pivotal scene takes place in the book as well as the name of the resort.”

Eden currently has thirteen titles available, because she sells her novellas both separately and in anthology format. Even though it’s hard to choose a favorite, she is a bit partial to Stranger at Sunset, partly because it’s her latest and she believes she has improved as she continues to write, but also because Kate Hampton is a character that she can see a future with. In fact, she’s working on the next book in the series now and admitted she’s excited to see where Kate goes next.

“How do you do research for your books?” I asked.

“When researching a location, the best thing is to go there. My current book, Stranger at Sunset, takes place in Jamaica, and getting a feel for the setting was a big part of the book. I’ve stayed at Sunset Villa, where the novel takes place, though the name has been changed for the book. As in the story, the real resort is located next to where Ian Fleming lived and wrote his James Bond novels. Given this, it was an inspiring place to draw upon for a mystery/suspense novel.

“I feel there is little else that can infuse as much realism into a novel as actually visiting a location where the story takes place. In doing so, you have the advantage of experiencing an environment with all five senses. If it’s not possible to be there in person, YouTube videos of a location are probably the next best thing.

“Research for other aspects of the book involved reading and surfing the Internet for information. My protagonist is a psychiatrist, and my lifelong interest in psychology made this part fun. I still read texts from the field just because I’m interested in the mind. One of my go-to books is the seminal work of Dr. Hervey M. Cleckley called The Mask of Sanity.

“The book describes his interviews with patients in a locked institution. His detailed clinical description of psychopathy is still relevant today even though the book was written back in the forties.

“I was also a student of Freud’s writings, but many of his observations are no longer studied. It still makes for good fiction though.”

Finally, I asked, “What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?”

My main tip is to keep writing. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned by writing continuously. The fact that I cringe a little by reading some of my earlier works is a good thing. It means I’ve moved on from there. I feel the mark of any writer should be to improve with each book they write.

I’d also advise to hit a word count or daily goal you set for yourself. As a writer of fiction, I’m fully aware that my imagination is a function of my brain; the brain is a muscle. And like any muscle, it needs exercise daily or it will atrophy.

About the Author: 1_21 edenEden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to become a full-time writer. She incorporates many of her favorite things into her writing such as: travel; humor; music; poetry; art; and much more.

Stranger at Sunset is her first mystery novel, on the heels of several books of erotic anthologies and short stories. She writes in multiple genres.

An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often!

To stay apprised of Eden’s book-related news, please add your name to her mailing list.

Author Links

Website | Blog | Amazon Author page US | Amazon Author page UK

Twitter @edenbaylee | Facebook | Goodreads | Youtube | Pinterest | LinkedIn

 

1_21 Cover_smallVacation can be a killer. 

Dr. Kate Hampton, a respected psychiatrist, gathers with a group of strangers at her favorite travel spot, Sunset Villa in Jamaica. Included in the mix are friends of the owners, a businessman with dubious credentials, and a couple who won the trip from a TV game show.

It is January 2013, following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The luxury resort is struggling, not from the storm, but due to a scathing review from caustic travel writer, Matthew Kane. The owners have invited him back with hopes he will pen a more favorable review to restore their reputation.

Even though she is haunted by her own demons, Kate feels compelled to help. She sets out to discover the motivation behind Kane’s vitriol. Used to getting what he wants, has the reviewer met his match in Kate? Or has she met hers?

Stranger at Sunset is a slow-burning mystery/thriller as seen through the eyes of different narrators, each with their own murky sense of justice. As Kate’s own psychological past begins to unravel, a mysterious stranger at Sunset may be the only one who can save her.

 

 

Available in e-book and print

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon worldwide http://authl.it/B00L7BVDFM

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Also available in Print | iTunes Soundtrack

 

The Marine’s E-Mail Order Bride by Cora Seton – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Cora will be awarding a $50 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

If Gunnery Sergeant Zane Hall wants to save his family’s ranch, he’ll need to fix up the buildings, stock the spread with cattle—and find a wife. The first two are easy with the help of his brothers, but getting hitched is proving more difficult. When he meets mountaineer Kenna North through an online ad, she seems like the perfect fit—at least in her e-mails. She wants the same thing he does: a temporary marriage to secure an inheritance. But when Zane meets Kenna, she’s nothing like he expects, and Zane finds himself changing his priorities, fast.

If Storm Willow wants to save her family’s seaside cottage, she’ll have to keep her boss happy—which means taking Kenna’s place and marrying Zane when Kenna is detained out of the country. As long as Storm acts her part, no one will know that she’s an imposter. But when she falls for the handsome Marine, Storm begins to wonder if holding onto the cottage is worth giving up on love.

Can a fake marriage lead to real happiness? Or is disaster just a heartbeat away?

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Kenna, can I ask you a question?” Zane stopped outside the door to her room.

“Of course.” No matter where Storm’s gaze rested, the Marine was fascinating, from his direct gaze, to the curve of his smile to the hollow at the base of his throat.

“When you realized what you had to do to get your inheritance, what did you feel?”

Storm searched for an answer. Kenna had been furious, of course, but she couldn’t say that to Zane, not when the way he was looking at her told her he too was struggling against a current of desire.

“You know what I felt?” he went on when she didn’t reply, and his deep, warm voice touched off a new wave of want within her. “Relief. I wanted to marry anyway, but I was beginning to think I was the only one in the world who felt that way. The guys in my unit acted like marriage was a death sentence. Even the women I met seemed to think that.” He shrugged. “You’d think no one believed in marriage anymore. I do, though. I’ve always known exactly what I want. To get my family’s ranch back, to fall in love with a beautiful woman, and to start a family with her. When I heard Heloise’s conditions for inheriting the ranch, I thought, ‘Well, now I’ve got an excuse for going out and getting a wife.’” He laughed, but it was a bitter sound. “I’ve never told anyone that.” He looked away and the brim of his hat hid his face from view for a moment. When he turned back toward her his gaze was direct and searching. “What about you? Have you ever wanted something like that?”

Storm barely trusted herself to answer. Kenna would say no—she’d never wanted a husband or a family.

But Storm wasn’t Kenna.

“Yes. I’ve always wanted to marry, too. My parents were so happy together and it’s been so hard on my mom since…” She caught herself just in time, realizing she was getting her story crossed with Kenna’s. “I’ve always wanted to marry. I want…” What did she want? “I want a partner in life. Someone I can depend on. Someone I can celebrate with when things go well. I want us each to have our separate passions, but I want us to have plenty that we do together, too. Does that make sense?”

“That makes perfect sense. Kenna, I—”

“Call me Storm,” she said on impulse. “All my friends do.” Each time he said Kenna’s name it felt like a slap to the face. She didn’t want to remember Zane was her boss’s pretend fiancé, not hers. She didn’t want to think about Kenna at all.

“Storm,” he said slowly. “I like that. It suits you better than Kenna. Storm, I feel like you and I—” He broke off, turned away, and surveyed the parking lot beneath them. “Never mind.”

About the Author:

Cora Seton loves cowboys, country life, gardening, bike-riding, and lazing around with a good book. Mother of four, wife to a computer programmer/eco-farmer, she ditched her California lifestyle nine years ago and moved to a remote logging town in northwestern British Columbia.

Like the characters in her novels, Cora enjoys old-fashioned pursuits and modern technology, spending mornings transforming a neglected one-acre lot into a paradise of orchards, berry bushes and market gardens, and afternoons writing the latest Chance Creek romance novel. Visit www.coraseton.com to read about new releases, contests and other cool events!

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The Rebel of Copper Creek by R.C. Ryan – Giveaway

1_21 Rebel-Blog-Tour

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Ten ramdonly drawn winners tour-wide via Rafflecopter will receive a print copy of The Rebel of Copper Creek.

We asked Ms. Ryan to share with us the top 5 places she liked to write. Here’s what she told us:

Sorry. I write in only one place. My office. On my computer.

But if I could write while traveling, I’d love to write:

On a beach in the South Seas

On a mountain resort in a ski chalet

In a café in Paris

On a catamaran on the waters off Australia

In an apartment in Rome

1_21 Ryan_The Rebel of Copper Creek_mm
A love worth fighting for . . .

The last thing widow Juliet Grayson needs is a man in her life. Between caring for her two young sons and maintaining her husband’s ranch, her hands are more than full. Then she meets Griff Warren. With his quiet strength and his easy way with her boys, she’s tempted to trust him. But if there’s anything she’s learned, it’s that love only leads to heartbreak. Former Marine Griff Warren never thought he’d settle down. Rebellious and proud, he’s always been on his own . . . until the father he never knew he had died, leaving him with land that is his legacy and brothers to share the load. He doesn’t need more than that. But Juliet touches something deep inside him-and he wants nothing more than to protect her and her sons. Now if only he can convince her to take a second chance at true love.

Enjoy an excerpt:

She opened a second door to reveal a bathroom fit for a queen, with a tub and shower big enough for an army, a lovely oval sink and mirror, and all of it done in shades of white marble.

She turned to him with a look of alarm. “Oh, Griff. I don’t belong here.”

He merely smiled. “Neither do I. But I won’t tell if you don’t.” His smile grew. “I say we just kick back and enjoy all this until they discover we’re frauds.”

She tried to laugh, but it came out in a sigh.

Before she could say more he touched a finger to her lips. Just a touch, but they both looked stunned at his boldness.

He lowered his hand and took a step back. “I’d better say goodnight and get out of here.”

“Wait.” She caught his hand and held it tightly. “Just stay a minute more. I’m feeling overwhelmed.”

His smile was quick and charming. “I’m feeling overwhelmed myself. But it’s not the room, it’s the woman in it.”

“Don’t joke, Griff.”

His smile disappeared. “It’s no joke. And if I don’t leave you right now, I just might not make it out of here.”

He got as far as the door before turning to look at her. That was his downfall. In quick strides he crossed the room and grabbed her in a fierce embrace.

“I almost made it.” The words were whispered against her temple as he began brushing hot, wet kisses down the side of her face until she turned her head slightly and his lips found hers. “I know you told me you don’t like this.” His voice was a rough growl of desperation.

“That’s what I said. But right this minute I can’t tell you that, Griff.” She clung to him. “I need you hold me, just for a minute.”

“If I stay for a minute, it could turn into hours. I may not be able to leave at all. In fact, it’s already too late. I know what touching you does to me.”

And then he took the kiss deep, nearly devouring her.

Her body was crushed against him, her heartbeat wildly matching his. The feel of her ragged breath, her pounding pulse, added more fuel to the fire that raged through him.

“Wait, Griff. I need a minute…”

Her words barely penetrated the fog that seemed to have taken over his control.

Instead of doing as she asked, he backed her across the room until they were stopped by the press of the wall against her back. They barely noticed the bump of their bodies as they continued the kiss until they were nearly crawling inside each other’s skin.

He was so hot he could barely catch a breath. Lifting his head, he breathed deeply before lowering his face to hers. “I could stay the night. I could…”

She lifted a hand to his mouth. “Wait. Stop. I need to think.”

“I can’t think. My brain…” He sucked in air, hoping to clear his mind.

“We can’t do this.” She put a hand to his chest.

“I know. I know.” He caught her hand in his. “I’ll go.”

As he started to turn away she lifted herself on tip toe to brush his mouth with hers. “I don’t want you to, but I know I need to send you away.”

He half-turned back to her. “I don’t have to…”

“Yes. No.” She breathed deeply. “Yes. Go.”

His hands closed around her shoulders. “Was that no? Or go?”

She looked up at the same moment he looked down. They bumped noses, then both burst into laughter.

They laughed so hard they clung together, shaking and laughing.

He pressed his forehead to hers and managed another shaky breath. “Okay. At least I know we’re both crazy.” He held her a little away and stared deeply into her eyes before giving a groan. “I’m going now. Just…” He backed away. “…don’t touch me or I won’t make it.”

She stayed where she was, watching as he backed across the room. Straightening his shoulders he turned and opened the door. He stepped out and pulled it firmly shut behind him.

About the Author: 1_21 R.C. Ryan
New York Times bestselling author R.C. Ryan has written more than ninety novels, both contemporary and historical. Quite an accomplishment for someone who, after her fifth child started school, gave herself the gift of an hour a day to follow her dream to become a writer. In a career spanning more than twenty years, Ms. Ryan has given dozens of radio, television, and print interviews across the country and Canada, and has been quoted in such diverse publications as the Wall Street Journal and Cosmopolitan. She has also appeared on CNN News, and Good Morning America. R.C. Ryan is a pseudonym of New York Times bestselling author Ruth Ryan Langan.

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Legacy of Fear by Ryshia Kennie – Spotlight and Giveaway

1_21 legacy BBT_TourBanner_LegacyOfFear

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ryshia will be awarding a $30 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

1_21 legacy Cover_LegacyOfFear Andra Vandersan is an expert code breaker, as fiercely independent and beautiful as she is brilliant. Working at the highest levels of deciphering, she’s always remained at a safe distance from the seamy underworld of Hong Kong’s criminal elite—but that’s about to change. When her next-door neighbor is brutally murdered in a way that suggests the work of the Chinese triads, two things become clear: Andra was the intended target of the hit, and the assassin is going to return.

Max True is a world-class linguist, a colleague of Andra’s who once helped her break a code that would destroy a terrorist cell. When he shows up at Andra’s door with a mysterious message, they realize they may have stumbled on a long-lost women’s language that holds the secret to incredible power—and one that the most vicious men in Hong Kong will stop at nothing to get their hands on.

As Andra and Max work to solve the puzzle of the language, they find themselves in a desperate race against time to escape the mysterious forces who all want the secret of the message—even as they surrender to the forces of an undeniable passion that brings them inexorably and irrevocably together.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“I heard the rumor of a village of women in my early college days. That was a good fifteen years ago.” Jeff strode away from the window. His dark hair gleamed as the early afternoon sun spun bright shards through the copper-gilded blinds. “Until I began my research I thought it was only rumor. Turns out it exists in a remote area in south central China, impossible to get to by commercial means. It isn’t an old village. Throwbacks, I like to call them, the occupants, that is. It consists of women who have no family or who escaped abuse of all sorts. More like a women- run shelter turned village.” His smile was lopsided. “I visited once. I wanted it to be the subject of my thesis.” He sighed. “Unfortunately, it was not to be.”

“Why not?” Max leaned forward.

“In a way they are almost like a triad. Self-contained, in charge of their own future, and willing to go after anyone who stands in their way. The only difference is that unlike a triad they have a leader, Fu.”

“Fu?” Max and Andra exchanged a look.

“No last name. Just that. Rather like Bono or Madonna, and I suppose that maybe she’s a rock star in her own right. But yes, it would have been an incredible thesis, but she was adamant that it not be written.” He turned to the window. He stood silently for a minute with his legs spread and his hands behind his back before turning to face them. “She told me that if I persisted, things would happen in my life that would make me regret ever putting the words to paper.”

About the Author:1_21 legacy AuthorPhoto_LegacyOfFearThe Canadian prairies are where Ryshia Kennie makes her home with her husband and one opinionated and slightly geriatric, Irish Terrier. The winner of her city’s Writing Award in 2011 and a semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Awards, her novels have taken her characters from the depression era prairies in her first book “From the Dust” to the ancient stones of Angkor Wat and to lost languages in her latest book, “Legacy of Fear”. There’s never a lack of places to set a story as the too long prairie winters occasionally find her with travel journal in hand dreaming of adventure on foreign shores. While facing off a monitor lizard before breakfast or running through the Kasbah chased by an enraged Water Carrier aren’t normal travel experiences and might never find a place in one of her stories, they do make great travel stories. Sometimes it’s just the memories of other worlds close or far away: the words of a stranger, the furtive look one man gives another, that often become the catalyst for a suspenseful story with a deadly villain and an intrepid hero and heroine who must battle for their right to love or even their right to live, in a place that neither – or both, may call home.

When not dreaming of other stories, Ryshia can be found baking a new batch of dog cookies, reading pretty much anything – although romance is a favourite, and, depending on the season; biking, scouting garage sales, golfing and the occasional beach run before the algae rolls in, and winter is for long walks, and taking those long-thought-about trips. For more, visit her website at www.ryshiakennie.com. Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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