Writing Fiction When You’re a Nonfiction Writer by Christina Elliott – Guest Blog and Giveaway


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Writing Fiction When You’re a Nonfiction Writer

Many acclaimed novelists have started their writing careers as journalists. Ernest Hemingway, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Graham Greene to name but a few. But writing nonfiction is a different skill than writing fiction. To be sure, there are many similarities, but there are also key differences – namely one is restricted to truth and the other enjoys the panoramic realm of imagination. There are others that are less obvious, as I was to find out when I started writing fiction in earnest, trying to fulfill my childhood dreams of writing novels.

I’ve been a print journalist for thirty years. I’d written fiction on and off since I was a child. In fact, I won a prize when I was six years old for “writing interesting stories.” So becoming a journalist was a natural step for me. It’s been a career that I’ve loved but ultimately I also felt restrained by. It was always about writing someone else’s story. Fiction is your own story, of your own choosing, and I was eager to undertake this challenge, but in order to develop my fiction I had to “undevelop” several journalistic habits.

The key hurdle in writing fiction for journalists is emotion. Journalists are trained to be neutral observers, impartial witnesses, to present a balanced picture of the facts. Emotion, in your average news story, does not factor in the equation, although it does to a greater degree in narrative fiction. Emotion, however, is the cornerstone of good fiction. Novelists need to portray the range of emotion their characters feel in order to evoke emotion in their readers. There’s no need for balance or impartiality. Indeed, the less of that stuff, the better.

Those elements stand in the way of portraying emotion, and why, in my opinion, many reporter/novelists gravitate toward writing plot-driven stories, such as detective mysteries, where there’s more of a “just the facts ma’am” feel to that type of fiction. Mysteries, for example, generally involve little emotion or emotional arc in the characters.

When I was writing the first draft of my first novel, I got about 170 pages in and I realized what I’d written read like a reportage. I chucked it and started again. It actually took many more drafts before I found myself loosening the reins and letting that emotion come through. And when it did, it gushed out.

Something that really helped me in this regard was acting classes. Acting is all about depicting emotion. Once I gave myself license to do that physically in either scene work or exercises designed to reach and draw out inner emotion, it became much easier to do that on the page with my characters. I also understood better how emotion works in dialogue and scenes, how to show it more than tell it.

I firmly believe, however, that journalism is great training for novelists. Reporters instinctively know what a good story is. They know how to research, how to interview. They know that details can make a story come alive and how to construct sentences that make sense, and structure and order a story. They are exposed to all types of people, issues, lifestyles, experiences. As I like to say, I’ve interviewed bums to billionaires, presidents to prostitutes. All that makes great grist for the novelist’s mill. Maybe, most importantly reporters are used to sitting down in a chair in front of a blank computer screen and filling it with words—on deadline.

I would never exchange my background as a journalist for, say, an MFA. Yes, it may take some work to switch from one to the other, but many have done it, including myself.

Amid a sweltering Miami summer, a serial killer is haunting the city. Reporter Ingrid Sorenson is assigned the story and her primary source is brusque detective Rick Gonzalez. The pair clash, but sparks of passion ignite. They risk their jobs to give in to their desire, but mistrust of each other’s career motives wedges them apart. Then Ingrid gets a tip that leads her into the killer’s lair. She and Rick must choose between saving themselves or rescuing their love.

Enjoy an Excerpt

As Ingrid opened the door, Rick thrust a bouquet of white roses at her. “To make up for being out of touch,” he said.

She was touched by his thoughtfulness. “You didn’t have to do that, but thanks. They’re lovely. I’ll put them in a vase.” They entered and she disappeared into the kitchen.

“It was either flowers or chocolate,” he called as she disappeared into the kitchen. She filled a glass vase with water and set the roses in them.

“Good choice. I love chocolate, but I try to stay away from it,” she said, exiting the kitchen to place the vase in the center of the dining table.

“I figured. Chocolate can be a double-edged sword, but you can’t really go wrong with roses.”

“White’s an elegant color, too.”

“You’re an elegant lady.”

“You know all the lines.”

“I wish it was as simple as knowing lines.”

“It’s not, is it?” She gave him a bemused smile.

“You got that right. So how am I doing so far?”

“Mmmm.” Folding her arms, she tilted her head and squinted her eyes in a mock-study of him. “B-plus.”

“What? I thought I deserved at least an A-minus.”

“There’s always room for improvement.”

“Whoa, she’s tough, ladies and gentlemen.”

She laughed. “So, you ate pizza already.”

“I was starving and believe me, you don’t want to be around me when I’m hungry, but we can get you something to eat.”

“So you can do surveillance on me as I chow down?”

“You’re a feast for my eyes.”

Ingrid groaned. “Let’s get going before your lines make me lose my appetite.” She grabbed her purse.

“Sorry, I couldn’t resist.” He held open the front door for her. “I know a great empanada place in Coconut Grove. We could get a couple of them and go eat by the marina at a picnic table,” Rick said as he drove. “We can even sit side-by-side so I don’t have you under surveillance.”

“I love empanadas,” Ingrid said. “Definitely one of the best things I’ve discovered in Miami.”

“So am I up to an A-minus now?”

She laughed, suddenly feeling carefree and totally in the moment. “Yes, I’ll give you an A-minus for that.”

About the Author:Christina Elliott is a former Miami newspaper reporter and editor. She now writes spicy romantic suspense novels from Los Angeles, where she’s glad to report there are far fewer bad-hair days but sadly far less Cuban coffee. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America.

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Heaven’s Watcher by Kayden Claremont – Spotlight and Giveaway


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Leather-wearing, motorcycle riding PI Heaven Vaughan is working undercover in a Las Vegas casino for the DA. She must find the evidence to convict the casino boss of ordering her brother killed, but the tall, dark, sex-on-a-stick head of security is constantly watching her. Just knowing he’s got his monitors focused on her makes her hot, and she can’t help but make sure he has something as equally arousing to look at.

Straight-arrow Darius Turner has one job—to safeguard the people in the casino. The feisty redhead dominating his viewing pleasure is playing havoc with his duties and with his libido. All he wants is to take her up on her teasing invitations, but he can’t let her get too close. If Heaven discovers his true identity, there’ll be hell to pay.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Heaven paused at the office while he opened the door and walked into his lair. Behind the desk, monitors filled the wall.

For a second, she stopped. Every part of the casino and hotel were displayed. She pointed at the wall.

“You watch all of these? At once?”

Darius chuckled as he passed her. “I have a team who views them.”

The corner of his lips turned up. “I check up on things from time to time.”

He lugged out the chair in front of the desk. “Please.”

Heaven sat down. “So, you enjoy watching?”

As soon as the words were out of her mouth, she heard the innuendo.

His eyebrow rose as devilment danced in his eyes. “You could say that.”

“I didn’t mean…” Heat crossed her cheeks. How unprofessional to blush. She’d never been the teenager with a crush on the quarterback. She was a professional private investigator.

“So why did you bring me here?”

He sat down behind the solid, mahogany desk.

“To talk.”

Her whole essence quivered. With arousal or fear? She cleared her throat. “About?”

He placed his fingers in front of his mouth as if hiding the truth.

“I’m concerned about what just happened to you.” His thumb twitched. “Does it happen often?”

Heaven held back a gasp as relief rushed through her. He didn’t know about her job with the DA to gather evidence against the boss.

“Yes.”

Darius grimaced. “I see.”

“We’ve established that.”

She pointed toward the bank of monitors behind him.

About the Author: Kayden loves sexy, well-crafted stories of lust and love. Her sensuous style drives the characters in lustful romps. When she is not crafting erotic romantic stories, she can be found crocheting or making jewelry.

Kayden is a member of Romance Writers of America, Toronto Romance Writers, and Writing Community of Durham Region.

She hopes you enjoy her other books, Hell’s Bounty, Timeless Passion, Red Hot and Tartan Temptation, all published by The Wild Rose Press.

Kayden loves to hear from her readers.

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Crossing Quinn by Gail Koger – Spotlight and Giveaway


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Quinn Jones is a formidable Coletti warlord. His mission is to capture Xenia and bring her back to Tanith to be mated with a warrior the Overlord has chosen. Problem is, Quinn finds himself falling for the beautiful Farin. Her unusual “psychic powers, combat training and berserker abilities” make her the perfect mate for him. How does he convince Xenia and the Overlord that she’s meant to be his?

Xenia and her parents are relic hunters who just discovered the fabled home world of the Nabateans. She isn’t about to leave the greatest find of the century to hook up with some Coletti. Not happening. Ever. No matter how many threats the Overlord makes or that he’s sending his best hunter to apprehend her. Okay, she’ll admit she’s drawn to the handsome warlord and she loves the way Quinn’s heavily muscled body fills out his black battle suit, but the egotistical jerk is about to get his ass handed to him.

When the galaxy is threatened with annihilation, Xenia and Quinn join forces to stop the murderous Tai-Kok. Fate has brought them together and nothing will stand in the way of their victory or their love.

Enjoy an Excerpt

I closed the door and turned to face the warrior. The direct approach was usually the best option when dealing with Coletti warlords. I took one look at the Coletti’s arrogant expression and decided to have some fun. “What did you say your name was again? Troublesome?” I shook my head.

“No. That wasn’t it. Sorry, I’m not good at remembering the names of Zarek’s servants.”

“My name is Quinn Jones. I am Zarek’s hunter and I hold warlord status,” he responded with a dangerous glint in his eyes.

“Whatever.” I hid a smile. The egotistical ass really didn’t like my dismissive attitude. He had expected me to be in awe of his amazing good looks and the fact he held the prestigious rank of warlord.

About the Author: I was a 9-1-1 dispatcher for the Glendale Police Department and to keep from going totally bonkers – I mean people have no idea of what a real emergency is. Take this for an example: I answered, “9-1-1 emergency, what’s your emergency?” And this hysterical woman yelled, “My bird is in a tree.” Sometimes I really couldn’t help myself, so I said, “Birds have a tendency to do that, ma’am.” The woman screeched, “No! You don’t understand. My pet parakeet is in the tree. I’ve just got to get him down.” Like I said, not a clue. “I’m sorry ma’am, but we don’t get birds out of trees.” The woman then cried, “But… What about my husband? He’s up there, too.” See what I had to deal with? To keep from hitting myself repeatedly in the head with my phone, I took up writing.

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Her Rodeo Masters by Anya Summers – Spotlight and Giveaway


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Ivy Phillips is on a mission. She’s an investigative reporter for the Pasadena Tribune, and is hoping to write the story of the century by infiltrating Pleasure Island claiming to be a submissive. Except, when she gets there, she inadvertently finds herself auctioned off for charity and now has two hunky cowboys who want to own her body and soul.

Dax Johnson and Nate Banks have been a rodeo team – and lovers – for years. But they’ve yearned to add a sweet submissive to their union. When they meet Ivy, Dax knows she is the one for them, and the duo set out on a seductive campaign to win Ivy’s affection.

But when the truth is revealed, will their newfound relationship survive? Or will the two cowboys ride off into the sunset without her?

Publisher’s Note: This is the ninth – and final – instalment of Anya Summers’ bestselling Pleasure Island series. While we recommend all the books, it can be enjoyed on its own.

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“The bull pen meeting is about to start. You planning to attend?” Kevin Donnelly asked, looking every inch like he’d just stepped off the pages of Vogue magazine. He had movie star good looks, and fashionably cut, beach blond hair. He was wearing the latest skinny jeans and a hipster dress shirt in a silver gray. It was too bad the five foot seven, moderately buff and toned man was gay. Otherwise they’d be perfect for each other.

“Yeah, just give me a minute,” Ivy replied, refolding the paper in her hands. She shoved the letter and envelope into her massive tan leather shoulder bag that was essentially her life. There was room enough for her iPad, her makeup, tampons, condoms—although she hadn’t needed any of those in a while—wallet, keys, even a small yappy dog if she were so inclined. She carried everything in it. You name it, she carried it with her. Which worked out well for Ivy since she always seemed to be on the move.

“So, how did the other night go? You never mentioned your date, and I live to hear about my co-workers’ love lives,” Kevin simpered, giving her his full attention. This was one of the reasons Ivy loved him. The man was a consummate flirt, and knew just how to get a girl to spill all her secrets. How many times over the years had they done yoga and brunch on Sundays, where he would magically get her to tell him all her troubles? They were the best therapy sessions in the world.

“You and Chad are still not talking to one another, I take it,” she replied.

Kevin put his hands on his hips and did the gay male equivalent of tossing his hair back. “Please, honey, the man wishes he still had me. Nope, I’m moving on and into the market. Which means I don’t currently have a sex life and must live vicariously through you. So, no deflecting. I want all the juicy tidbits.”

She removed her iPad from her bag and said, “Yeah, well, good luck with that.”

“So the date the other night was a no go?” Kevin asked, his light ice blue eyes twinkling with interest.

“It’s fair to say I left as early as I could. When the crying started, there was really no point to saving the night,” she said. And wasn’t that just the kicker. Every single date she’d been on over the last eight months had been an absolute dud. She was in a relationship—just with her vibrator and her favorite Chardonnay.

“You cried?” Kevin asked aghast, a hand against his chest and his eyes wide with horror at her perceived faux pas.

“Nope. My date did. Going on and on about his ex. Clearly the guy wasn’t ready to get back out into the meat market. After listening for two hours about how much he loved Kelli with an ‘i,’ I was done,” she replied.

About the Author: Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Anya grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Anya never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.

Anya is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance under the name Maggie Mae Gallagher. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines.

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Pleasure Island Series

Her Master & Commander, Book 1
Her Music Masters, Book 2
Their Shy Submissive, Book 3
Her Undercover Doms, Book 4
Her Lawful Master, Book 5
Her Rockstar Dom, Book 6
Duets & Dominance, Book 7
Ménage In Paradise, Book 8
Her Rodeo Masters, Book 9

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Dark Child by Miriam Newman – Spotlight and Giveaway


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Born at a royal banquet for King Conor MacNessa of Ulster, Deirdre is predicted by Conor’s own druid to be blessed and cursed with a beauty that will make kingdoms contest over her. He names her “Deirdre of the Sorrows” and urges the king to slay her. But Conor, unwilling to murder a babe, takes her under his protection only to fall prey to the curse when she is nearly grown. Captivated by her youth and beauty, the aging king will go to any extreme to possess her.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Once inside, the king and his guests found beef and mutton and pork…fowl and venison and fine, firm pink salmon borne on ice across the sea from Alba where ice was often to be found. Curds and whey they had, and all else that a dairy might supply. There were breads and cakes, pies and pasties of every sort and great quantities of wine, honey mead and ale both light and dark. Yet so deep went Conor’s unease that he had no appetite for them. Singers, dancers and musicians both foreign and native performed, male and female alike, but the crash and roar of the storm drowned out the sounds of their merry-making. Men marked that never had such a storm visited Ulster. Irishmen all they were and accustomed to the rains and gales of their island, but even Conor agreed it seemed no natural storm and that he, too, had a feeling of doom.

“Nonsense,” Felim insisted stoutly as the king merely nibbled at his food, for he saw all his plans dashed to destruction and the favor he wished of Conor turned to stone. “’Tis but a storm!”

Hardly had the words left the storyteller’s mouth than a terrifying scream split the air, a sound to raise the bristle hair on a hound’s back.

“’Tis only my wife, who labors,” Felim insisted, but the king took not a bite further of his food and sat with a pale and ashen face.

“’Bring her here,” Conor ordered, “that I may see if that is the scream of any mortal woman, for I much doubt it.”

And so the unfortunate woman was required to present herself to the king.

“Tell me true,” Conor demanded, “was it you who screamed?”

Felim’s haggard and trembling wife, fearing for her life, nonetheless shook her head, for she knew her maidservants would give her away if she lied to the great king.

“Nay, my lord,” she replied. “’Tis the child that screamed from inside my womb.”

“This is a thing I have never known!” Conor exclaimed, while beside him his druid Catha stood abruptly to lay a hand upon the mother’s belly, his expression dire.

“’Tis the scream of a girl child,” he predicted, “and her name will be Deirdre, the call of alarm, for she will bring war.”

About the Author: Fantasy poetry driven by myths and legends has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I was published in poetry before catching the romance writing bug. I bring that background to my writing along with a lifelong addiction to horses, an 18 year career in various areas of psychiatric social services and many trips to Ireland, where I nurture my muse. My published works range from contemporary fantasy romance to fantasy historical, futuristic, science fiction and historical romance. Currently I live in rural Pennsylvania with a “motley crew” of rescue animals.

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Fire by Sam Rook – Spotlight and Giveaway


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The thrilling conclusion to the Knights of Av’lor trilogy!

Trapped on Av’lor and left for dead by her betrayer, Kathryn’s unrelenting determination is the only thing that might overcome the invading Zahkrinon army.

With the portal destroyed and the Zahkrinon army fast approaching, Kathryn and Lanclor have no choice but to focus on the survival of the Knighthood before they can consider rescuing Rachel. Unexpected events threaten their victory and the combined Av’lorian and Earth forces struggle to survive as their numbers dwindle.

They find the Zahkrinon are more dangerous than they had ever imagined.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“I know this news is hard to hear, but I wanted you to hear it from me,” Alextor continued. “I will do everything in my power to find a way back for you to return to your homeworld. However, the most pressing matter at hand is the approaching army. We must focus on the approaching hoard of Zahkrinon and dark elves before we can delve into—”

Kathryn abruptly rose from her chair and left the room. Most of the servants scrambled out of her way and faded back into the background, except for one small form who followed Kathryn from the room. Hal shook his head. The servant probably thought she could help the Hero of the Last Battle in some way. Hal turned his attention back to Lord Alextor, determined to listen to what his commanding officer had to say.

“I know not all of you will agree, but I believe—”

Nidira threw herself at her brother’s side and intercepted the knife meant for Lord Alextor’s heart. All around the table, the bare-footed servants randomly attacked the members of the meeting. Blood splashed across the table, a startling contrast against the white slices of bread. Hal jumped to his feet and looked behind him just as a servant prepared to attack.

About the Author: Sam Rook lives in Vermont with her husband and two children. Her passion for fantasy novels began in high school with her desire to write following shortly thereafter. Software engineer by day, fantasy author by night, she strives to give her readers a chance to enjoy worlds that transport them away from the stress of everyday life.

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A Hundred Promises of Love by Aidee Ladnier – Spotlight and Giveaway


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For Ethan and Nico, a broken millefiori ornament is more than a few shards of glass−it’s a chance at finding love at Christmas.

Ethan Carson wants to treat his mother to the perfect Christmas while she’s visiting over the holidays. He’s spent all his savings on presents and bought an enormous tree that takes up half his living room. But when he starts to trim the tree with the family heirloom decorations, he finds her favorite ornament, the one his late father bought on their honeymoon, is broken.

Glassblower Nico Kazan doesn’t celebrate Christmas—unless you count trying to sell the art glass in his gallery to holiday shoppers. When Ethan, the object of his secret crush, asks him to recreate a broken Murano ball, he knows it will take more than his skill and time. Can he risk his heart to give Ethan back a symbol of love and family for Christmas?

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On the Christmas card, two fluffy Persian cats sporting felt antlers stared at Ethan in disgust. Behind them a miniature sleigh sat empty. A thought balloon rose above one cat with the words, “Pull your own sleigh, fat man.” Ha. Ethan tried to smother the chuckle, but it escaped.

“Are you laughing at your Cousin Emmylou’s lumbago?” His mom’s disapproving question snapped Ethan back to the conversation on his phone. He shoved the card back in the rack and lined them up from where the last customer picked through them.

“What? No. What is lumbago, anyway?” His Cousin Emmylou always had some ailment discussed ad nauseam by the family. A pang of regret thrummed in his chest as Ethan realized he wouldn’t see Cousin Emmylou or any of the extended family this Christmas.

At least his mom would be here to celebrate.

“It’s a three-dollar word for back pain.” Ethan’s mom sighed. “Last month it was impetigo. I swear that woman is a walking health hazard.”

“Well, you’ll get a week off from Cousin Emmylou. I’m looking forward to your visit, Mom.” And he was. His mom traveled little, and he wanted to pamper her this Christmas. He’d spent his cash, extra savings, and maxed out his puny credit card to buy spa day gift certificates, theatre tickets, and a special weekend stay at the Opryland hotel. He’d even sprung for passes to see his mom’s favorite performer in concert. He’d need to watch his budget through January to make sure he didn’t overdraw his checking account, but she deserved it. Christmas was always hard, now that Dad had passed. And with her move out of the family home this year… He wanted her new memories to be just as special.

“I can’t wait to spend quality time with my baby boy again.”

“Well, it will be a whole new experience to see Nashville at Christmas. Don’t forget to bring a warm coat.”

His mom’s laughter sparkled through the phone’s speaker. “No shorts for Christmas?”

“I’m hoping for snow.” Ethan chuckled at his mom’s exaggerated “brrr” noise in response.

“There’s something else I—” She began but movement beyond the coffee shop’s plate glass window caught his eye.

Ethan recognized the tall, delicious figure in purple lens sunglasses striding toward him. He interrupted her mid-sentence. “Oops. Gotta go, Mom. Love you.”

“Love you too, baby boy.”

Ethan rammed the phone back in his pocket and ducked behind the counter a minute before the bell over the door jingled.

About the Author: Award-winning author Aidee Ladnier began writing at twelve years old but took a hiatus to be a magician’s assistant, ride in hot air balloons, produce independent movies, collect interesting shoes, fold origami, and send ping pong balls into space. Don’t tell anyone, but she secretly likes to watch Hallmark Christmas movies because she’s convinced that the holidays are the most romantic time of year.

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Balancing Life and Writing by Ann Swann – Guest Blog and Giveaway


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

BALANCING LIFE AND WRITING

How does one balance life and writing? It’s a tightrope. You walk it every day, then you turnaround and head back the other way. If you have a family, if you have any sort of job, if you have any other responsibilities in your life, writing must sometimes take a backseat. It’s the nature of the beast. However, it’s my belief that it’s when you fall off the tightrope that the writing Muse sits up and takes notice. When you aren’t writing, when you are forced to do everything but write, that’s when the best words take shape in the back of your mind. That’s when the ideas flow. It isn’t that life prevents us from writing, it’s that life gives us something to write about.

My new novel, THE REMAINS IN THE POND, originated from an image of a skull sunk down in a weedy pond. I saw the image in a movie trailer or something; I don’t even remember what it was, something life threw at me somewhere along the way. All I know is it was a fleeting thing that had nothing to do with anything, but by the time my subconscious played around with the image for a few days, while I was busy doing ordinary life-stuff, an idea began to form about two girls—rivals for the same guy—who wound up at the old pond late one night. One girl returned home that night, and the other became known as the remains in the pond.

That’s how I balance life and writing. I don’t worry about it; I just allow nature to take its course.

Senior prom is the happiest night of Gabi’s life. Her crush has just revealed that he is every bit as infatuated with her as she is with him. When he has a car wreck and is transported to the hospital in a coma, Gabi feels as if she’s taken a knife to the heart. But his jealous cousin, Rose, sees her chance to give the knife an even harder twist. She convinces Gabi to meet her at a local parking spot outside town. It’s a night that will change several lives forever. One of the girls will return, and one will become known as the remains in the pond.

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I pushed my glasses up and took a deep breath. “We were in love. I know that’s what teenagers always think, but in our case, it was true.”

The unsmiling detective simply stared at me and pulled out his little notebook. His burnished head gleamed under the fluorescents.

Why wasn’t he writing in that notebook? He just held it, as if he found nothing I said worth noting.

The room grew cold and I began to shiver. Probably some sort of tactic; turning down the temperature to make me uncomfortable. Just like this little waiting game. Waiting me out to make me talk. I’d seen enough crime TV to recognize these schemes. I took a sip of the Diet Coke he’d brought—to make me feel grateful, I suppose—and immediately regretted it because it made me need to burp.

I let the little bubble of gas explode in my closed mouth and began to talk to cover the sound. “We fell in love at prom. We were both with other people. I went with Asa and he brought Rose.” I sat up straighter in the hard-backed chair and hoped I’d said enough to placate him.

The detective sat chill, one ankle propped on the opposite knee. I got the impression he wanted to be my best friend.

I don’t know why I started talking again. I think it had something to do with the way he looked at me, as if he already knew everything I wanted to tell him, because yes, suddenly I did want to tell him. I’d held onto the truth for too long.

I wanted to tell him everything about that night.

About the Author:Ann has been a writer since junior high school, but to pay the bills she’s waited tables, delivered newspapers, cleaned other people’s houses, taught school, and even had a short stint as a secretary in a rock-n-roll radio station. She also worked as a 911 operator and a police dispatcher.

Ann’s stories began to win awards in her college days. Since then she’s published novels, novellas, and short stories. But even if no one ever bought another book, Ann wouldn’t stop writing. For her it’s the cathartic pause in a sometimes-crazy world. Most of the time, it even keeps her sane.

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Jenn Burke’s Top 5 Favourite Spec-Fic M/M Romance Books – Guest Blog and Giveaway


Long and Short Reviews welcomes Jenn Burke who is here to celebrate today’s release of The Gryphon King’s Consort. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win one of two $25 store credits for Dreamspinner Press.

Jenn Burke’s Top 5 Favourite Spec-Fic M/M Romance Books
Hello everyone! Thank you to Long and Short Reviews for having me here today. I’m going to share my top 5 spec-fic m/m romance books—and by spec-fic, I mean paranormal, romance, and sci-fi.

1. Wolfsong by TJ Klune

This book. THIS BOOK. Okay, I need to say more than gushing and flailing. Wolfsong is long, and therefore a commitment, but believe me—if you love paranormal romance, it’s so worth it. The story follows Ox, who’s always thought of himself as slow and not particularly smart, thanks in large part to his jerk of a father. When new neighbours move into the previously abandoned house next door, Ox’s life changes in the form of a precocious boy—werewolf—named Joe, who hadn’t spoken for two years but suddenly can’t stop telling everyone how Ox smells like candy canes and pinecones and epic and awesome.

There’s so much to say about this book—the slow development of Ox and Joe’s relationship, the way the narrative matures as Ox does, and the patient unfolding of the epic story. The sequel is due out next year, and I can’t wait to read it.

2. Reawakening by Amy Rae Durreson

I adore the world that Amy Rae Durreson has created for her Reawakening series. After an epic war a thousand years ago where the immortal and all-powerful dragons defeated the evil Shadow, they fell asleep, and the world of men continued without the influence of magical beings. But now something has reawakened the king of the dragons, and he goes searching for it—only to find a young and rather annoyed desert spirit who isn’t too fond of a dragon appearing out of nowhere and stating that he wants to include the desert spirit in his hoard.

3. Strength of the Pack by Kendall McKenna

When I first read this book, I had a moment of disconnection from the real world. Or, rather, this book suddenly seemed like it could be the real world. Like, of course werewolves exist and of course this is how they would function in the military. I loved the bond between Noah and Lucas and how they miscommunicated due to Lucas’s lack of understanding about werewolves. It was a fantastic adventure.

4. How to Walk like a Man by Eli Easton

Eli Easton’s How to Howl at the Moon series is just a joy to read, but this book (the second) is my absolute favourite. It’s about Roman, who started out life as a German shepherd dog working for the military. When his handler is killed, Roman discovers the spark that allows him to transform into a human. He’s this big, military protector guy who’s also very innocent and loyal, and his character is just so much fun to read.

5. Tap-Dancing the Minefields by Lyn Gala

I just finished reading this recently, and it’s going onto my best of 2017 list. I love all of Lyn Gala’s sci-fi, and this book is no exception. The main character is George “Tank” Tankersley, a 20-year-old private in the Army who accidentally discovers some military secrets while on a supply run to a base in Alaska. Except…he kind of already knows about these secrets. Or something like them. Because he spent high school fighting creatures like this. Basically, picture Xander Harris from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, if Xander had enlisted in the Army out of high school, and you’ve got Tank.

I absolutely loved the concept of this book—the look at what would happen after high school if you’d spent your high school years fighting evil only to discover you have to keep fighting it. I’m really, really hoping the author has a follow-up planned.

Do you have a favourite spec-fic m/m romance? Please share!

Love takes flight.

The sudden death of the Gryphon King throws the kingdom of Mythos into uncertainty, and Crown Prince Luca rushes both his coronation and an arranged marriage to a man he’s never met. Eirian is young and idealistic, and while they both want what’s best for their people, their philosophies couldn’t be more different. While Luca believes in honoring tradition, Eirian is determined to infuse modern values into their kingdom of magical creatures. When given the choice between loyalty to his husband and his own crusade, Eirian makes a decision that might doom their marriage.

Still, Luca is committed to making their union work, and that means forgiving his brash consort. But when Eirian becomes the target of a deadly conspiracy, Luca must act fast—or forever lose the chance to explore their burgeoning love.

About the Author: Jenn Burke has loved out-of-this-world romance since she first read about heroes and heroines kicking butt and falling in love as a preteen. Now that she’s an author, she couldn’t be happier to bring adventure, romance, and sexy times to her readers.

Jenn is the author of The Gryphon King’s Consort from Dreamspinner Press and the co-author of the critically acclaimed Chaos Station science fiction romance series (with Kelly Jensen) from Carina Press. She’s also the author of Her Sexy Sentinel, a paranormal romance from Entangled Publishing.

She’s been called a pocket-sized and puntastic Canadian on social media, and she’ll happily own that label. Jenn lives just outside of Ottawa, Ontario, with her husband and two kids, plus two dogs named after video game characters…because her geekiness knows no bounds.

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Buy the book at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon UK,
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Thank you so much for joining me on The Gryphon King’s Consort blog tour. Enter for your chance to win one of two $25 store credits for Dreamspinner Press!

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A Day in the Life of Dianne Hartsock – Guest Blog and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Dianne Hartsock will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF DIANNE HARTSOCK
Okay, I have to admit, I don’t live the most exciting life on the planet, so following me through a day might not be the romantic story you’re expecting. My alarm clock goes off at 7 a.m. I turn it off, then cuddle against my husband for fifteen to twenty minutes before dragging myself out of bed and into the shower.

After that I watch the local news while I have my first cup of coffee. Husband’s off to the gym for his daily workout. Then I warm up the computer, check Facebook of course, then get to writing.

This is my favorite part! I do my best writing in the morning and spend the next hour lost in whatever world I’m creating at the time, drinking another cup of coffee or two and having something for breakfast. It’s always agonizing to drag myself away, leave my characters in whatever predicament I’ve put them in, to get ready for work.

I arrive at work by 9:20 a.m. I’m a floral designer at a locally owned gift shop which smells fantastic! We have a coffee bar, sell candles, books, music, indoor/outdoor plants, house and garden gifts, imported items. A very eclectic selection. And my floral department is right in the heart of the store, smack dab in the middle. I get started on the arrangements due that morning for deliveries. I love designing unique flower arrangements for each customer.

And sometimes, in walks the customer who’ll become the hero in my next book! I’ll hear a laugh across the room and meet the deep blue, gorgeous eyes and bashful smile of a man in search of flowers for his lover. I have to coax and tease the color and types of flowers from the shy man that he wants to send, work with him to create the arrangement that brings that happy look to his attractive face. Oh yeah, he’s definitely in my next book!

I have lunch where I again check Facebook and do whatever promoting I need to, then back to work for the afternoon. I’m home by six, have dinner, spend time with husband/friends/family. But by nine o’clock I’m back on the computer writing on my current WIP.

My days are pretty much like this, broken up by walks downtown for coffee, going to movies with friends, dinners out, time at the beach/mountains/ Portland. Live plays and live music. Zumba and yoga classes for me. Okay, I guess my life isn’t as boring as I made out, but most of it is taken up either writing or planning to write stories. Oh, and reading. I read everything I can get my hands on. So I have to say, my life is pretty full and definitely happy.

For Tracey, life has become a nightmare. Kidnapped from a nightclub in Boulder, Colorado, brutalized and raped by the killer known as Crimson, he’s held captive alongside Kyle, a young man Crimson keeps chained to his bed and is slowly torturing to death. Though Tracey manages to escape with Kyle’s help, he is forced to leave Kyle behind.

Gene has never stopped looking for his brother Kyle, abducted from a nightclub seven months previously. The case breaks open when Tracey comes forward, claiming to have knowledge of the whereabouts of Crimson’s hideout.

A manhunt begins, but Crimson’s birthday has come and gone, and he will kill again.

Read an excerpt:

“I know.” Paige gave him an intense look. “I will find them, Gene.”

 

Gene sighed, scrubbing at his face with his hands. “How many men do we have out here?” he asked, staring into the darkness below them.

“There’s a team two ridges over, working their way toward us, and another sweeping from the west. We have Crimson boxed in, as long as no one gets careless. Another reason I wanted to stop. Can’t risk him doubling back and getting behind us.”

Gene nodded, though his skin crawled with nerves. He let out a long breath and shifted, stretching out on the hard ground.

Paige leaned back on his elbows, his gaze on the dark trees in front of them. He flicked Gene a glance. “You should get some sleep.”

“Fuck that.” Gene saw him flinch. “Can you find Crimson in this?”

“Yes. He’s very good, though. The signs I’ve been finding have been left by Tracey. A footprint here, bent twigs, a button. ”

Gene pictured Tracey as he’d last seen him: beautiful, strong, despite the shadows lurking darkly in his eyes.

“Okay,” Genes said, nerves on edge. “We’ve had Crimson cornered several times and he’s managed to get away every time. And now he has Tracey again.” He rubbed his aching forehead. “How did that happen, exactly? How’d Crimson find us?”

“I have no idea. You, Craig, Klinton, and me were the only ones who knew the location. My money’s on Craig.”

About the Author:

Dianne is the author of paranormal/suspense, fantasy adventure, m/m romance, the occasional thriller, and anything else that comes to mind. She lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play. She says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in the house with a fire crackling on the hearth and a cup of hot coffee warming her hands, which kindles her imagination.

Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

Blog: http://diannehartsock.wordpress.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/diannehartsock
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/diannehartsock
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4707011-dianne-hartsock
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Dianne-Hartsock/e/B005106SYQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1361897239&sr=8-1
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Dianne-Hartsock-Author-107985445959828/

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