Fantasy Romance · Sharing The Love

Sharing The Love

with Viviana MacKade

Featuring her novel Valkyrie Love 

Welcome to Sharing The Love, Viviana MacKade!

You’re on a first date. What’s a dealbreaker that would see you walk away?

Ignorance. And I’m not talking about reciting Shakespeare, PhDs and the likes. I mean disregard of basic knowledge (flat earth, any conspiracy theory, any FB learned opinion and so on). Also, a close mind about how society is evolving in terms of representation and rights. 

If you were a potato, what way would you like to be cooked?

Fried. Like, in oil, not air.

Have you ever been told you look like someone famous and who was it?

A lot of people told me I looked like Nelly Furtado, especially when I had dark hair.

You have your own late night talk show, who do you invite as your first guest? Why?

Jon Stewart. Intelligence, knowledge, and savage humor are a combination I can hardly ignore. I also may have an ongoing crush on the guy.

Of everything you’ve written, do you have a favourite and, if so, why?

Ok, I love them all and blah blah blah. Sure. Now. The character I love the most is Aidan from Midnight Sun. He is the most complex human being I had to work with. And the biggest pain in the ass. Valkyrie Love is the story I loved writing the most because it was an absolute joy. I had so much freedom building worlds, and different beings. I had an absolute blast.

About The Book


Valkyrie love never comes easy.

Brenna left Asgard with a curse on her name and a broken heart.

A Valkyrie now free and independent, for millennia her life had been great. Just great.

Then a bleeding Elf knocks at her door holding a baby.

Alexander Reed left the Marines and lost the wheel of his life.

A soldier without a worthy fight, he became everything he despised.

Until he ends up in the wrong backyard at the wrong time.

Fljóða, Queen of the Light Elves and last of her lineage, is an infant with a death sentence on her head.

Hunted by the Night Elves, her survival brings Brenna and Reed together for the ultimate mission: take the little Queen to safety in the Vanaheim Realm, deep in the Roots of Yggdrasil.

Not simple, but straightforward.

Or so it seemed.

Between flaming giants, demons, and an army of Half Breed determined to kill the Queen and conquer all the Elvin Realms, Brenna and Reed will have to face their inner monsters. Monsters appearing in the form of feelings neither want but cannot control.


Genre: Fantasy Romance

Length: Novel

Excerpt:

When you like or are falling for someone, as Reed recognized was happening, there are always these great romantic lines babbled by the hero. Lines as I’d follow you until the end of the world.

Well, he actually did it.

He hadn’t followed Brenna because of his feelings for her, though. Back then, he had none.

He had eyes and she was beautiful, so there was that. Would he have gone all the way to another dimension for a pretty face? Nope.

 Brenna was different. He’d known it since the first time he’d seen her slaying monsters in her backyard and a person with her kind of courage?

He would go on a mission with, all the way to the end. A mission which, to him, tasted more like redemption, a chance to find the way back to the person he once had been, one with a solid moral compass.

A man he could live with.

She had an agenda, of course she didn’t enlist him out of a good heart. But for as much as it had pained her to admit it, another person, especially one with his background, was handy to have around for her mission. And in doing so, Brenna gave him a chance, a chance to clean his slate.

They both had crappy baggage; both had left those behind.

In here, in these roots, they were only Reed and Brenna.

Hell, he didn’t even know her last name, if she had one. And you know what? It worked. He didn’t care about her history, how she got to be this way. He only cared about the woman she’d come to be today, whatever byway she took to get to the here-and-now they shared.

The woman he was falling hard for. Maybe he had already toppled over.

A woman who currently disappeared into yet another dimension through a transparent rubber wall that sparkled if hit.

Damn, how crazy was it? How absolutely great, and crazy? Being in love, not the wall.

Reed didn’t have it in him to appreciate those portals.

In front of him, Mae’s head had already disappeared as she continued to hold onto his hand. Time to get his head in the game. Literally.

Only the elf’s arm divided him from the other side.

Downright freaky.

Linked to Mae, his hand crossed the invisible wall. He could feel Mae’s fingers in his, so it ought to be good news, right?

His arm went through.

And then he had to step into it.

It was like pushing through a thick wall of humid, hot, dense sponge. It reminded him of a cow’s nose and the image didn’t help any, despite his love for said animals.

As the wall moved to accommodate his shoulder and half of his body, it pressed on him. Mae released him, so now both his hands were free – one in the warm dwarves’ realm, and the other in the hotter, drier air of the Fire Realm.

He hoped, hard, that the protection he’d fashioned around their ammunitions would hold.

Reed turned his face toward the invisible wall and pushed all in.

A gummy wall pressed tight.

Hard to move.

For the longest moment he couldn’t breathe, and panic slithered through him. Until a different hand took his.

Brenna’s.

He didn’t need to see it. He’d fallen asleep holding her hand for long enough to recognize it.

It was all the encouragement he needed. He grasped at her hold, used her as an anchor, and pulled himself toward her.

He slid all the way out, and he nearly fell as pressure suddenly let go.

Lord, but the air felt good.

Oven-hot, dry air.

“Damn,” he murmured as he took in the new realm, still holding on to Brenna.

The sky hung heavy, clothed in the deepest, darkest shade of purple.

In front of him, rivers and rivulets of lava cut through brown land, bare and dry.

They looked like fire-bleeding wounds on dying ground. Sprinkles of glowing debris wheezed out from barren hills and short volcanoes. Sometimes, out of nowhere, the land would crack open enough to spit a mouthful of lava and fiery sparkles of fire in the black-hot air.

“Ugly,” he murmured, fighting and losing against the need to have Brenna closer.

He pulled her in until she was into his arms, found her stiff.

“What are you doing?” she asked, trying to keep her distance by placing her palms onto his chest.

 “This place is miserable. Everywhere else we went, something was nice. Here? It’s simply dead.” He tightened the hold on her, looked at her and smiled. “I needed a shot of good.”

The best feeling in the world? Her response, how she gave into the hug.

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About The Author

Beach bum and country music addicted, Viviana lives in a small Floridian town with her die-hard fans and personal cheer squad: her husband, her son, and her daughter. She spends her days between typing on her beloved keyboard, playing in the pool with her babies, and eating whatever her husband puts on her plate (the guy is that good, and she really loves eating). Besides beaching, she enjoys long walks, horse-riding, hiking, and pretty much whatever she can do outside with her family.

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Valkyrie Love can also be found in the Loved-up Library HERE

Uncategorized

To Spoil or Not To Spoil

That is actually the question.

I recently read an article about spoilers not being a bad thing. It asserted that, instead, spoilers make you enjoy stories more. Obviously, I won’t repeat the article verbatim* (I’m not into plagiarism), but what I took away from it was the concept that if an audience knows what’s coming, they can focus more on the actual story as it develops, rather than try to guess what’s around the corner.

I found this soothing. You see, I’ve received a few reviews recently which contain spoilers for a twist which -while I thought it was predictable- a few readers have said they didn’t see coming.

Before I continue, I want to be very clear that this blog post is in no way an indictment of the reviews I’ve received, because those people cared enough to take the time and make the effort to leave feedback, and that is awesome. I value every single reviewer, and thank them from the bottom of my heart for leaving their thoughts for me and for other readers. The feedback is deeply, genuinely appreciated. (Yes, even the handful of 3 star reviews. They are fair, and valid, and I appreciate them, too, and I will use them to improve my writing going forward.)

I firmly believe it is a reviewer’s right to put their feelings and opinions of a work out there however they choose to. Spoilers or no spoilers. Even though I’ll admit it – I have never really liked spoilers.

In Handle With Care‘s case, some reviewers have -on Goodreads- ticked the box that declares that they’re doing just that, which then gives the option to hide the review from people who mightn’t like reading spoilers (like me). Amazon doesn’t (as far as I’m aware) offer the option to do that. And that’s okay. It’s an Amazon flaw, not a reviewer’s.

However, I know that as a reader/viewer myself, a courtesy “Spoiler Alert” at the beginning of a review is helpful to me, because I personally detest reading them before I’ve read a book/watched a movie so I will skip that review…but, according to the article I referenced above, there’s a chance that spoilers might actually make me enjoy the story more.

So this all got me thinking… when it comes to Handle With Care, the ‘twist’ that has been “spoiled” in these reviews actually puts my novel into an additional trope category than just the ones I’ve been advertising it under. It’s a trope that I know a lot of readers enjoy. Some even specifically seek it out.

With that in mind, I’m now wondering: should I embrace the spoilers? Lean into them and change my blurb? Market this additional trope as part of the novel’s appeal? It’s very tempting to do it.

If the article I read is right and spoilers don’t actually ruin a reader’s enjoyment, I can’t see why I shouldn’t embrace them. Especially if I’m going to potentially market to a new group of readers who might not have given my novel a chance otherwise, not realising that I tick their trope boxes after all.

But it’s daunting. Just like every other decision in this self-publishing adventure. Every time I start thinking that I’ve started to wrap my head around it, something new pops up to challenge me. (Or maybe I’m overthinking again.)

But, with no magical guide to tell me what to do, I’m off to write a list of pros and cons.

I’ll let you know how I go.

(If you’d like to give the article that inspired this ramble a read, THIS LINK will take you there.)

Contemporary Romance · Sharing The Love

Sharing The Love

with J. Arlene Culiner

Featuring her novel Desert Rose (Romance in Blake’s Folly Book 1) 

Welcome to Sharing The Love, J. Arlene Culiner!

You’re on a first date. What’s a deal-breaker that would see you walk away?

Stupidity—I have little tolerance for it. I also have no patience with narrow-minded people, and I hate wasting my time with people who are afraid to think for themselves.

Have you ever been told you look like someone famous and who was it?

My mother was a frustrated actress who envied Liz Taylor, and thought she should have become a star instead. Since that hadn’t happened, she (very briefly) decided I should make up for her failure. When I was around ten, she decided I looked like the young Liz, and she took me to the hairdresser and had all my long hair cut off (which made me miserable, for I was planning on becoming a princess, and I knew all princesses had long hair) and restyled in a Liz Taylor cut, with two little curls on my forehead. The next time she had her friends over, she told me to come down the stairway slowly as she’d seen Liz do in some movie. No one thought I was a Liz Taylor replacement.

How many languages can you speak?

Six, but I make terrible mistakes in most of them.

If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

This might sound very boring, but Caesar salad is my favorite food. Authentic Caesar salad, not with a dressing mix, but with real garlic, thin slices of parmesan, and wonderful olive oil…just the idea makes my mouth water.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I do an enormous amount of research before and during the writing. I love research; I love going through the archives and public libraries; I love learning new things; I want to share information with my readers, and surprise them.

Do you read your book reviews? Do they impact your future/current projects?

I always read my reviews. I take the good ones seriously because a good reviewer can help an author progress. However, some reviews are silly, or badly written, or mean, or ignorant, and those I ignore.

About The Book

Blake’s Folly is a semi-ghost town in Nevada, a backwoods community of abandoned clapboard shacks, endless wind, and scraggly vegetation with strange local names like snatch-it shrub and sticky snakeweed. Back in the late 1800s, the town boasted three mining companies, a railway line to Reno, many saloons, and quite a few brothels, but the glory didn’t last. It was soon clear that the silver was running out, and those sane enough to do so, pulled up stakes and left town.

A Room in Blake’s Folly is my third book about this town. The other two, All About Charming Alice and Desert Rose, are Small Town Contemporary Romances, but A Room in Blake’s Folly starts in 1889, when journalist Westley Cranston falls in love with Sassy Sookie, a dancehall girl in the Mizpah Saloon. Their affair has far-reaching consequences, and touches the lives of Alice, Rose, and several other characters.

A Room in Blake’s Folly will be released in February or March — so more about it at a later date. But in the meantime, here are Alice and Rose.

Rose Badger, the heroine of Desert Rose, is a delightful character: gutsy, original, open-minded, and funny. As soon as the very appealing Jonah Livingstone (he’s part Paiute, part Italian) walks into her shop, he’s entranced too. But even if she’s outgoing and flirtatious, Rose has quite a few secrets, and she won’t share them with anyone. Of course, Jonah has secrets of his own, and before a romance can take place, both will have to confide and trust each other.

Alice, the heroine of All About Charming Alice, is a prickly character. Reclusive, she loves the Nevada desert, rescues dogs, and protects snakes. Jace Constant, my hero, is the opposite. He’s an intellectual writer from Chicago, and he’s not crazy about deserts, dogs, or snakes. But neither Alice nor Jace expects love when it comes galumphing over the horizon.


Genre: Contemporary Romance, Small Town Romance

Length: Novel

Excerpt:

Rose looked up. “You pass by Blake’s Folly from time to time? Whatever for? This is the end of the world.”

          “The world has several ends, and I work in all of them. I’m a geologist.”

            “Ah, I see. Well, that explains it.”

            “That explains some of it,” he said, taking her in from head to toe with undisguised curiosity. “If this place is the end of the world, how did you get here?”

            “The easiest way possible. I was born here.” Rose glanced out of the window at the early evening light touching up a bleak, empty landscape that would never interest a city slicker; at the gentle snowflakes drifting lazily, as though they had no intention of ever reaching the ground.

            “And you stayed?”

            He was looking even more curious now — if that were possible. She couldn’t blame him. “I did leave Blake’s Folly when I was young. I stayed away for years and was absolutely certain I’d never return, that this place was the absolute pits. It’s funny: there’s nothing going on here. The greatest social event of the year is the Blake’s Folly Get-Together — and that’s just bad music, awkward dancing, and gossip mongering. There’s no cinema within reasonable distance, no shopping outside of Reno — and that’s a very long, boring drive away. Yet, this place has a strange pulling power. So I came back, decided to settle.”

            “Your husband is from Blake’s Folly too?”

            Rose’s eyes flicked back to his. Ah ha. So, he was interested and checking out the territory. “No husband.”

            He looked surprised. “An unmarried woman in such an out-of-the-way place?”

            What was he asking? If she was lonely? Desperate for male company?

            Rose laughed outright. “Oh, there are plenty of men around, believe me.” There were. They were out on the ranches, or climbing over the hills, or looking for gold, or photographing, or pounding along the history trail, or doing research, or taking care of animals, or looking for fossils, or stopping at the Mizpah Hotel and Restaurant for a drink, a chat, a meal, and a little human warmth out here on the lonely flatland.

            He took the little gift-wrapped packet she held out, slipped it into the pocket of his leather jacket. Turned, looked out at the night, but didn’t move towards the door. Rose watched him, wondered why he was hesitating. Because he wanted to stay? Talk to her? Get to know her? Because he too acknowledged the buzz that was still hovering in the air around them, and he wanted to explore it, see where it would go?

            Then he shook his head, turned back to her, the smile still playing softly around his lips.

            “Well, I’d better be on my way. Looks like the snow isn’t letting up.” His eyes held hers. Warm eyes. Intimate eyes. Eyes that, in certain circumstances, could create havoc with a woman’s senses. “Until next time, Rose.”

            “See you then.”

            He stepped out into the night, half-turned, just briefly, his hand raised in a half-wave, half-salute. Then, vanished into the falling snow and dusky evening.

Rose shrugged. Next time, he’d said? What sort of next time? This was Blake’s Folly. People always said they’d be back, but they rarely were. Why return to a pile of clapboard shacks and abandoned trailers? This was nowhere. This was the end of the line, socially speaking. This was a has-been. This was home.

Buy It Now:

Amazon (AU)

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About The Author

Writer, photographer, social critical artist, musician, and occasional actress, J. Arlene Culiner, was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe on foot, has lived in a Hungarian mud house, a Bavarian castle, a Turkish cave dwelling, on a Dutch canal, and in a haunted house on the English moors. She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest where, much to local dismay, she protects all creatures, particularly spiders and snakes. She enjoys incorporating into short stories, mysteries, narrative non-fiction, and romances, her experiences in out-of-the-way communities, and her conversations with very strange characters.

Websites

Website

Amazon Author Page

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Storytelling Podcast

Desert Rose can also be found on the Loved-up Library HERE

Contemporary Romance · Sharing The Love

Sharing The Love

with Alana Lorens

Featuring her novel A Rose By Any Other Name 

Welcome to Sharing The Love, Alana Lorens!

You’re on a first date. What’s a dealbreaker that would see you walk away?

Someone who’s too politically conservative. I might not want someone who’s too liberal, either—but I could handle that easier.

Where did you grow up?

In the greater Cleveland, Ohio, USA area. Euclid was a well-populated, business-laden city back then, with a solid tax base and great schools. There were 973 students in my graduating class (I was # 39 in rank) and we had swimming pools, ice rink and more. I understand it’s not that way any longer, sadly.

If aliens landed on earth tomorrow and offered to take you home with them, would you go?

I might. Depending on what they offered in terms of health improvement. If I could get rid of some of my chronic ailments and live pain free, it might well be worth it.

If you could cast the movie version of one of your books, who would you cast as your protagonists and why?

If I were to choose actors for the new book, A Rose By Any Other Name, I’d pick Rosario Dawson for Marisol and Morris Chestnut for Rusty. Ms. Dawson is good at playing someone with a little vulnerability, and Mr. Chestnut has that stiff backbone despite sadness that his character would need.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Definitely a spider. I even have a piece of carved stone I got in the Southwest with a spider etched into it that I use for inspiration.

About The Book

Up-and-coming mommyblogger and single mom Marisol Herrera Slade returns to her old hometown in western Pennsylvania for her 20th high school reunion in 2005, reluctant and yet compelled to see her high school sweetheart, Russell Asher, who dumped her for the homecoming queen.

Russell’s marriage to the golden girl, however, ended in a nasty divorce, and he has been systematically excluded from his sons’ lives. In his Internet wanderings, he’s found feminist blogger named Jerrika Jones, who glorifies single motherhood, essentially putting a stamp of approval on what’s happened to him. His group of single dad advocates have vowed to take this woman down. What Russell doesn’t know, when he thinks to rekindle what he had with Marisol, is that Marisol and Jerrika are one and the same. When his group discovers the truth, will their drive for revenge derail any chance the couple have to reunite? Or will they find they have more in common than they ever expected?

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Second-chance Romance

Length: Novel

Excerpt:

Heather Armstrong had books out now, spawned by the popularity of her Dooce blog. The Julie and Julia movie deal started with a simple blog. That Shatner show on TV, “$#*! My Dad Says” came from a Twitter account. If she could get noticed, really noticed, the big time wasn’t so far away in this brave new Internet world.

So. Better to stir the pot, right?

She closed her eyes, summoned up the image of Jerrika at her cheekiest, and started typing. Apparently I stomped on a couple of hearts yesterday when I pointed out the joys of raising my son without having to kowtow to the demands of an irrational non-custodial father. You know what? I’m not sorry, either.

People like FreeDad91 hide in their troll costumes and take pot shots at other people instead of addressing their own issues. Sounds to me like this guy has problems from his past. Either his own father walked out on him, or he walked out on his own kids, and he’s decided the best way to handle his guilt is to dump on the mothers.

 Well, honey, this is one mother who’s not going to just sit by and let you. I love my son dearly. He’s been my morning, my evening, and lots of my midnights over the years. Maybe he didn’t have a father by his side during those days and nights. But he never lacked for attention, from men or women. I made sure he had that village he needed, the one it takes to raise a child. Would it have been easier to co-parent? I expect it would have. But that option wasn’t open to me. So take your hatred and turn it back where it really belongs: on yourself. She added a few more choice stabs, and filed the post for the day.

Book Trailer

Buy It Now:

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The Wild Rose Press

About The Author

Alana Lorens has been a published writer for more than forty years, after working as a pizza maker, a floral designer, a journalist and a family law attorney. Currently a resident of Asheville, North Carolina, the aging hippie loves her time in the smoky blue mountains. She writes romance and suspense as Alana Lorens, and sci-fi, fantasy and paranormal mystery as Lyndi Alexander. One of her novellas, THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE, is set in the city of Asheville during the old Bele Chere festival. She lives with her daughter on the autism spectrum, who is the youngest of her seven children, and she is ruled by three crotchety old cats, and six kittens of various ages.

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Twitter:  @AlexanderLyndi

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A Rose By Any Other Name can also be found on the Loved-up Library HERE

Contemporary Romance · Sharing The Love

Sharing The Love

with Heather E. Andrews

Featuring her novel Scarred Melody: Bold Melodies Book 1 which has just been released TODAY!

Welcome to Sharing The Love, Heather E. Andrews!

If you could time travel, where would you go and when? Why?

1900, Hyde Park, NY. I am obsessed with the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, NY. It was built to be their ‘country getaway’ from NYC on the Hudson River. The interior makes me feel like I’m in a more austere version of the Clue Mansion. The gardens are beautiful and not overly done. The sculptures are amazing. And…I got my first idea for a romance novel sitting in those gardens. I fantasized about living in a time reminiscent of Gosford Park and what it would be like if someone from my time just fell into that time period. Someday I’ll write it…

Of all the characters you’ve created, who is your favorite and why?

Amelia Clarke in Scarred Melody. Amelia is that crazy best friend you had in college that dragged you to the bars to have shots and make out with guys in the bathroom. She has no filter, and she has a lot of opinions—in fact, her opinions have opinions. One of my favorite quotes of hers:

“But seriously, tap that rock god ass! You know he’s got that DTF reputation. You could totally take a ride on that joystick!”

Amelia will get her own story in the series. She’s insisting on it and, as you’ll come to find out, what Amelia wants, Amelia gets.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

The Honey badger. You know that saying? “Honey badger don’t give a shit.” That’s my motto. Because this business is full of criticism, unsolicited advice, and broken promises. But those of us who want to succeed must persevere beyond that. We must let the things that disturb us fall away so we can focus on what needs to be done, then celebrate the wins. If I get a bad review, sure I’ll take what I can from it, I’m not an ostrich, but in the end…honey badger don’t give a shit.

Does music inspire your writing at all?

Yes. Most definitely. I’ve spent a whole day getting lost in the rabbit hole that is YouTube music. It feeds my rock star fantasies.

What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?

When I was seven, my parents owned a small furniture store in the mall called the Marketplace. Now, keep in mind, this was the 80s and everyone at the shops knew me because I went to work with my parents every day, so wandered the mall. Well, one day–I swear on my late grandmother’s socks–I got lost. I didn’t know what to do, so I went to the information booth and told them I was lost. They followed procedure and announced my name over the loudspeakers and asked my parents to come get me. My mother was so upset she sent my brother’s girlfriend to come get me. Mom was furious! When I got back to the shop, she grabbed me by the shoulders and asked me, “What were you doing?” I somehow got it in my brain that I couldn’t tell her the truth—that I had to lie, or she’d just get angrier. So, I said, “I just wanted to hear my name all through the mall.” After what came to be known as the ‘mall incident,’ I had to wear a name badge that said:

I’m Heather

Return me to the Marketplace

That’s right. I came with a return receipt, folks. And from that day forward at every national and religious holiday, this story was told over turkey and mashed potatoes, much to everyone’s merriment and my embarrassment.

About The Book

Can a brutally scarred songwriter help a washed-up rock star feel the music again?

“We all have scars, El. The only difference is I can see yours.”

Elsie

All I knew was music. Writing it, playing it. The sway of the melody traveled through me. It kept me company as I hid my face under a mask.

My dream of singing in front of the crowds was long forgotten. Now I hide in the shadows, only emerging to help fellow artists launch their careers.

Enter Skyler Dalton, my teenage heartthrob.

Skyler

My best friend died. My last album bombed. I punched out a paparazzi.

Life hasn’t been going my way.

The label offered an ultimatum, work with a professional songwriter to salvage my solo career or hit the road.

Luckily, Elsie was easy to work with. I wasn’t looking for love, but what I found was a lot more than just a new song…

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Rockstar Romance

Length: Novel

Rating: R – Mature Audiences Only

Excerpt:

Elsie

When Skyler strummed the final chord, he closed his eyes. I savored the moment with him, enjoying what we’d created together. 

“I’ve never enjoyed singing that song so much,” his voice choked with emotion.

I smiled, memories racing through my mind. “After my accident, when I realized how my life was going to change, I listened to that song on repeat. Nothing was going to be the same again. I tried—still try—to accept it. 

“How did things change for you?” He put down the guitar gently on the stand.

“For the longest time, I wanted to be like my mom. To be on stage feeling the electricity from the crowd, creating an experience with them and the music.” I stared off into the distance, my eyes glassing over with tears. “I wanted to travel with my mother back then. We were going to be the Clarke Ladies on tour. Like the Judds!” Giggling, I remembered how thoroughly I’d planned it in my head. “But then she was gone.”

“Elsie, you can still perform. There’s nothing stopping you. Scar or not, you’d take the music world over.”

“Maybe. But I wouldn’t be with my mother.” I tried hard to put the idea of being on stage out of my mind, despite how much Amelia pushed. Facing the hard wall of public scrutiny was exhausting to think about.

“It would still be amazing. Elsie, you are gifted. Your mother would be proud of you.”

I turned my head away, not able to look him in the eye as a tear slipped down my cheek. 

“You are so talented, El. I’ve never seen anything like it. Your eyes light up like the Fourth of July when you play. I can see a stream of joy radiating from your body. It’s the most exquisite thing I’ve ever seen.” His voice had gone soft–nearly a whisper.

He stared at me, his face intent. I saw the truth in his eyes. He really felt this way. 

The man I’d idolized and adored from afar since I was eleven years old called me exquisite. 

What a beautiful word.

Buy It Now:

Amazon (Australia)

Amazon (US)

About The Author

Heather E. Andrews has been reading romance since the age of twelve. She lives as a disgruntled pug-mother in Albany, NY. She is the baby of nine children and slaves away taking care of her two entitled pugs and four spoiled guinea pigs. Her only escapes in life are reading, writing, and Star Trek reruns.

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Website and Blog

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A spicier excerpt from Scarred Melody: Bold Melodies Book 1 can also be found in the Loved-Up Library here.

Contemporary Romance · Sharing The Love

Sharing the Love

with Sadira Stone

Featuring her novel Delicious Heat: Bangers Tavern Romance 3 which has just been released TODAY!

Welcome to Sharing The Love, Sadira Stone!

What weird talent do you have?

I’m quite an accomplished belly dancer, having danced on and off since I was 23. Let’s see, that’s…a lot of years ago! I can dance while balancing a sword on my head, and none of those cheater padded turbans, thank you very much!

If you could time travel, where would you go and when? Why?

I’ve always been fascinated by the 1920s and would love to spend a night dancing in a swanky speakeasy. The Roaring 20s was a time of intense social change and huge gains in freedom for women. And the fashions! Bring on the beaded flapper dresses and feathered hats.

Who was your childhood actor/actress crush? Or, if you’re like A.N. Verebes and still experience celebrity crushes, who is your current actor/actress crush?

I have this weird obsession with Alan Rickman. Those soulful eyes, that noble nose, and that voice! (Swoon) My favorite incarnation: Col. Brandon in Sense & Sensibility. Such sexy devotion!

If you could cast the movie version of one of your books, who would you cast as your protagonists and why?

In Delicious Heat: Bangers Tavern 3, Diego’s appearance is based on actor/musician Alfonso Herrera. He’s a hottie! Anna is half Lebanese-American on her father’s side. Lebanese actress/singer Maya Asmar would make a perfect movie Anna.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Yes!

About The Book

Cupid has lousy timing.

After kicking her cheating husband to the curb, nurse Anna Khoury discovers she’s pregnant. When Bangers Tavern’s hunky chef makes heart eyes at her, she dismisses that delicious thrill as the last thing she needs. Single motherhood will take all her strength and focus. Anna’s battered heart can’t take another blow.

Chef Diego Vargas is aiming higher than burgers and tater tots. His dream—his own food truck, the Empanada Angel, but he’ll need his family’s support to pull it off. Meeting Anna leaves him thunderstruck, even though his attraction to her threatens all his plans. Call it fate, call him crazy, but he’s determined to prove he’s in it for keeps.

With a belligerent ex-husband and two overprotective families set on breaking them up, Anna and Diego will need more than red-hot passion to pull them through. His career and her baby’s future are on the line.

Come back to Bangers Tavern for a spicy tale of forbidden love that will warm your heart…and other parts…and make you hungry for empanadas!

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length: Novel

Rating: R – Mature Audiences Only

Excerpt:

“I’ll show you the way.” With a gentle touch on the small of her back, he guided her down the hallway.

Heading toward the bar with a brimming ice bucket, the skinny barback lifted his chin. “Look up, guys.” A sprig of mistletoe dangling above the restroom doors.

“For cripes’ sake, Eddie,” Diego grumbled, but he didn’t look at all displeased.

“It’s tradition, man.” Eddie waggled his eyebrows before continuing on his way.

Eyeing the greenery, Anna debated and dithered. What a perfect excuse to satisfy her curiosity and claim a no-strings kiss. But Charlie might see them, or someone might tell Charlie, or…

Diego gently gripped her elbows and pulled her closer. “Christmas is all about tradition, right?”

For a thrilling, breathless moment, he hovered there, his softly parted lips an inch from hers. Impossible to wrench her eyes from that luscious mouth, so tempting, so close. His breath fanned across her skin. Her heart hammered.

And then he pressed a tender kiss to her forehead. “Merry Christmas, Anna.”

Not enough. Throwing caution to the tater-tot scented wind, she tilted her head and brushed her lips against his.

Just the barest touch, soft and warm, just the tiniest moan rumbled from the broad, firm chest beneath her palm. And yet, that simple gesture lifted the lid from her tightly clamped control, letting in fresh air and sunshine and a rush of delicious possibility. Heady stuff.

She took a deep breath and stepped back. “Gotta go help Charlie. Merry Christmas, Diego.”

Grinning and flushed, he wobbled in place. “I’ll call you.”

“Please do.”

He pointed. “Break room’s that way.”

“Okay.”

Like teenagers reluctant to hang up the phone, they inched toward their respective destinations, holding eye contact as long as possible.

“Thanks for coming to see me.”

“Thanks for the tots.”

“I hope you have a great Christmas.”

“You too.”

Finally, Shelby’s arm shot through the swinging doors and yanked Diego into the kitchen. “Get your ass back to work, lover boy.”

Buy It Now:

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Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Apple Books

About The Author

Award-winning contemporary romance author Sadira Stone spins steamy, smoochy tales set in small businesses—a quirky bookstore, a neighborhood bar, a vintage boutique… Her stories highlight found family, friendship, and the sizzling chemistry that pulls unlikely partners together. When she emerges from her writing cave in Las Vegas, Nevada (which she seldom does), she can be found in belly dance class, or strumming her ukulele, perhaps exploring the West with her charming husband, or cooking up a storm, and always gobbling all the romance books. For a guaranteed HEA (and no cliffhangers!) visit Sadira at http://www.sadirastone.com.

Websites

Author Website 

Facebook 

Twitter

Goodreads  

Bookbub  

Amazon Author Page

Pinterest  

Instagram  

Author Newsletter    

Bingebooks

Delicious Heat: Bangers Tavern Romance 3 Has also been added to the Loved-Up Library here.

Novella · Sharing The Love

Sharing The Love

with Lil Deville

Featuring her novella The Stable Boy’s Roughneck Ride

Welcome to Sharing The Love, Lil Deville!

Do you read your book reviews? Do they impact your future/current projects?

I don’t unless I want to spend a month being a miserable sod. I could get ten positive reviews and one bad one and the bad one is the one I will obsess over. I do consider constructive criticism from other authors whose opinions I trust. However, I do not allow trends or the opinions of others to dictate what I write.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Following trends and allowing the opinions of others to dictate what they write.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing is the key to my survival. Networking and promotion exhausts me.

About the Book

When Pingucury raiders attack their rig, hunky roughneck clone foreman Iker and his equally buff pal Peregrine are forced to flee. The friends encounter Ohannes, a sweet and submissive pleasure clone who offers them shelter.

Genre: M/M Erotic Romance, Erotic Sci-Fi

Length: 3000 words

Rating: Mature audience only

Note: Ménage a trois

Excerpt:

A tall, slender human male clone appearing to be about 25 years of age stepped out from behind a bale of hay. He was a striking-looking fellow with an alabaster complexion and angular features. His thick, blue-black bangs fell over wide, onyx eyes.

“Crap, he’s a pleasure clone,” Iker muttered. “I was hopin’ for someone with useful skills who could hold their own in a fight.”

“We don’t know what skills he has,” Peregrine whispered. “We should give him a chance. Anyway, it wouldn’t be right to leave him here unprotected.”

“You’re Hangiri riggers,” the young man noted. “I’m glad to see you. I’m Ohannes Herod Hertz. I was the stable boy here at Blackwood Ranch.”

“Stable boy?” Iker inquired, eyeing Ohannes suspiciously. “Where are the animals?”

“I set them free. The Pingucury treat animals with more respect than humans.”

“Where’s your boss?” Peregrine inquired.

“Gone. All of them gone. Those that the military didn’t take ran. It isn’t safe here in the loft. You can follow me to the bunker. We can stay there till tomorrow night, then, if it’s safe, we should make our way to the monastery.”

The roughnecks followed the willowy stable hand to a well-disguised trap door hidden behind several large bales of hay. They descended a ladder and walked through a long metal tunnel to a heavy metallic door. Ohannes punched in a code and the men followed him to an area that looked more like a luxury suite than an emergency hideaway.

“A dozen people could survive comfortably for a year in this place,” Ohannes stated as he poured the roughnecks and himself a glass of Horika. “As you can see, there is plenty of food and drink, and I am here to assist you should you require anything.”

Buy It Now:

Amazon99c

LBRY15 LBC (approximately $0.45 USD)

About the Author

Lil DeVille is a boring middle-aged lady who writes exciting stories. When Lil isn’t turning up the virtual heat, she enjoys baking and crafts. Lil does not like to share pictures of herself. The image by artist Dina Dee represents Lil’s inner spirit.

Websites

http://www.naughtynetherworldpress.com

https://bit.ly/nnpLBRY (Naughty Netherworld Press LBRY Channel)

http://ornerybookemporium.blogspot.com

The Stable Boy’s Roughneck Ride has also been added to the Loved-up Library here.

Sharing The Love

Sharing The Love: A.N Verebes

I’m trialling the concept of blog sharing with other romance authors, and I really like the idea of the Author Interview format. In the spirit of playing fair, I thought I’d also answer some of the questions I’ve set up and kickstart the new blog!

Here goes!

Q1: If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

PIZZA! There’s no contest there. And, because I like to find loopholes in these things, I feel like I could change the toppings around to keep my taste buds entertained. Seriously, it’s such a versatile meal! Starter? Garlic pizza. Main? Any topping laden pizza of your choice. Dessert? Nutella and marshmallows and fresh strawberries on a sweet dough base. Pizza is life. (I may have put too much thought into this answer.)

Q2: What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?

A huge thank you for not suing me? Lol. Everett, in particular, is a fantasy amalgamation of a few actors that I’ve had little celebrity crushes on. (I have a type.) It’s not that creepy that I built a dream man out of the fantasy versions of a few real ones, right? Riiiiiight?

Q3: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I’m on the downward stretch of drafting Book 2 for publishing. Book 3 was half-written and then set aside when the plot bunny for Book 2 leapt all over me. I have a paranormal romance that I’ve half written and all but abandoned (it’s in dire need of a rewrite) and another contemporary romance plotted out. Let’s not mention the fanfics currently hiding in my One Drive vault, either.

Q4: What is your writing Kryptonite?

I am easily distracted. You know Dug from Up? I’m Dug. I can be in the middle of writing and …squirrel! Shiny new ideas and plot bunnies tend to sway me from what I should be writing.

Q5: If you’ve ever met a celebrity, describe that encounter. (You don’t need to name the celebrity if you don’t want to.)

I like the way this question ties in with the plot of Handle With Care, lol.

In 2018, for our 10th wedding anniversary, we went on our dream holiday to the USA, and as part of that, my husband gave me a front row ticket to see the Broadway production of The Boys In The Band while he took our then 4 year old off to explore NYC together as just ‘the boys’. After the show, hubby encouraged me to wait in the line at the stage door, and there I met Andrew Rannells and Matt Bomer.

Both men were insanely sweet to their fans. I’m pretty sure I made a fool of myself in front of Andrew Rannells (my 4 y.o. was excited to tell him that “Mummy and Daddy let me watch you singing on YouTube! I love Book of Mormon!” and Rannells was incredibly patient in taking a photo with him) and my hands shook like crazy when I took a selfie with Matt Bomer. I might have babbled at him and told him that his performance in The Normal Heart absolutely broke me. He was so good-natured about my fangirling! (Poor guy! Sorry Mr Bomer!) I floated on air for the rest of the night.

That time I met one of my idols. Please excuse the blurriness. My hands were shaking and there was a huge crowd, so I rushed it. No regrets!

Hubby earned himself SO many brownie points for encouraging me to do that, haha!

And that’s my attempt to Share The Love and some fun information about me. I hope you enjoyed it! And, if you’re a romance author and would like to join me in Sharing The Love, click THIS LINK to sign up, and click HERE for Ts & Cs.

Uncategorized

Free Book Distribution – Quick Update

Alright, so I’m fairly happy with Prolific Works as a host and means for distributing my reader magnet in conjunction with MailerLite, but in terms of using the free version to build a mailing list/social following, it’s been a dud for me. Over 200 copies of Handle With Care have been downloaded, though, which does make me feel quite excited, and I genuinely hope that those readers enjoy it.

However, I have since moved on to trialling Voracious Readers’ Evergreen program (in conjunction with their free 20 copy giveaway to existing readers) and within 24 hours I had 30 new subscribers to my mailing list. I’ve got about a 75% click rate on my welcome email/newsletter out of that, and I’m keen to see what the retention rate will be like in a month or so. (Much like my blogging, my newsletters are sporadic at best – I don’t like to spam people, and I struggle for engaging content to share, so I’d rather wait until I have actual news/something fun to send out.)

The next step in my plan will be to complete Book 2 in my series (because HWC is no longer a standalone as planned, haha) and then use HWC itself as my reader magnet. (As an aside, I’m also looking into PublishDrive as an alternative to IngramSpark or Smashwords for publishing Book 2, after initially publishing on KDP exclusively for the first 90 days. From all accounts, it seems like PublishDrive is less rigid than IS, but after diving in too hard and too fast with IS, I’d like to do a bit more research first.)

I’ve also got a Virtual Book Tour lined up for later in the month, but that’s definitely a blog post for another time!

Uncategorized

KDP Hardcover Beta

So, I recently gave the Hardcover Beta in KDP a shot with Handle With Care. I highly doubt anyone would want a copy of my light & fluffy romance novel in hardcover, but the option was there so I gave it a go. (Let’s be honest: I wanted a hardcover copy for myself.)

At the moment, KDP’s hardcovers are only available for publishing in the US, UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy – but I went ahead and decided to set my book up and order a copy from the US, knowing that shipping would be a bit expensive, but deeming the exercise worth it. Little did I know, though, that the United States Postal Service would enact a suspension of services to Australia shortly after I placed my order… so my test copy ended up costing me a fair bit more than I’d bargained for in shipping, but that’s a rant for another day.

I’m a bit of a novice with resizing existing graphics, so I had to play around with the pdf of my cover a lot to get the dimensions right for the change in cover size, despite the book itself being the same 6″x9″. But I got there in the end and was excited to publish it.

Anyway, after the shipping snafu, my Author’s Copy finally arrived today! I was so excited. And, I have to say, I’m pretty happy with the hardcover’s quality. It did get a little banged around in shipping, so the corners have taken some impact which is a little disappointing, but the colours show up better than they do on the KDP paperback cover, and it feels solid and well put together.

Hardcover copy of Handle With Care published via KDP

I don’t think I’ll order any more until shipping to Australia is more feasible again, or I can order Author Copies directly from Amazon Australia. However, I definitely think this is a great step forward for KDP and for self-published authors.