What Two Elements Do You Include In a Romantic Scene?

Summer's Sweet Embrace

Summertime love is always the sweetest. These eight sweet tales of summer romance are the perfect companion for a day at the lake or the beach.

I asked the authors from the Summer’s Sweet Embrace anthology released by Roane Publishing this question:  what two elements do you like to include in a romantic scene? Sit back and read their answers.

 Michelle Ziegler, author of Truly Paradise:

I love anticipation. The knowing they will kiss, or whatever, but having to wait for it for several sentences and letting the excitement build. I don’t like to drag it out, but I love the subtle and meaning foreplay to make a romantic scene last.

Romance. Is that a duh moment?  No really. If I am going to have my characters be in a romantic scene, I want believable romance.  In real life, stolen kisses are rarely anything to make someone else swoon. So adding details that no one in real life would normally notice, like gazing into someone’s eyes or your breath hitching at each touch makes a scene more romantic for me.

Laurie Treacy, author of Ocean Dust:

Oh, I like this question! I like to include what I consider the ‘little things’ like touches and looks. And the other element I like to include are kisses. Tiny to full-blown lip locks.

Christa MacDonald, author of The Beach Rose:

Dramatic tension, definitely. As a reader there is nothing more boring than the perfectly happy couple having a perfect date ending with a perfect kiss.  Snore…  I love characters that clash despite their attraction and scenes that challenge them.  Not that they should be debating politics while free-climbing a cliff or something, but there has to be an element of tension that moves the scene, that keeps you reading.

Vulnerability.  I like to show that for the characters, this is real.  They have real hearts they’re worried about breaking, real insecurities to fight, and scars from old wounds to deal with.  A romantic moment is an emotionally vulnerable one and I think a good scene shows that.

Jaylee Austin, author of Love’s Nectar:

I enjoy writing the love/sex scene, building up to the moment when they’re connected in their relationship.

It’s fun listening to the characters internal talk when they have doubts about the other person.

Niki Mitchell, author of Love’s High Tide:

In a romantic scene, I include a catalyst and a personal reveal or insight to bring the couple closer.

Melissa J. Crispin, author of Linger:

One element I always try to include is the main character’s emotional state. As things are happening, each action should evoke a meaningful reaction and cause the couple to feel more drawn to each other. I do my best to capture that.

The second element would be the main character’s heightened senses. I feel that this helps to add a deeper dimension to the scene. Whether it’s the smell of the hero’s cologne, a meaningful song that’s playing in the background, or the taste of a kiss, I want to give the readers a strong image of what’s unfolding, with enough detail that it can be pictured like a movie playing in their minds.

Sheryl Winters, author of Above Reproach:

Understanding and tension. The first element is definitely understanding. Without understanding a character, has no depth of feeling and no reader will ever get into the scene. A reader has no reason to care about them. Tension must also be present, either from anger or from sexual tension but without tension even the lightest scene will fall flat.

BUY LINKS

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Link for Summer’s Sweet Embrace on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25999205-summer-s-sweet-embrace
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Books That Make Your Heart Flutter Blog Hop

Books That Make Your Heart Flutter

As someone who has read thousands of books over her lifetime, I can think of two aspects of a story that make my heart flutter.

First, I can get swept away and be unable to put down a book that has a driving plotline. One action leads into the next and both put the protagonist in even worse danger to the point that the reader can’t imagine anything possibly getting worse…and then it does. A couple of books come to mind here.

One is The Hunt For Red October by Tom Clancy with the basic plot being a Russian submarine commander wants to defect to the free world. The format of the novel was that action occurred on three primary stages (settings)–US government, Russian government and the sub itself. Each scene flipped to a different setting and the reader knew the ultimate showdown had huge consequences. I remember reading part of the novel aloud on a long drive the length of California. (before audio books, folks)  Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton was another that hooked me. Other authors who write similar compelling works are Lee Child, Michael Connelly,  Camilla Lackberg, John Grisham.

Recently, I read Zoo by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge, which has been turned into a TV series. Partially because of the extremely short chapter length (1-4 pages each) but also the almost non-stop action of incidents and events that propel the protagonist forward.

The second type of book that makes my heart flutter is a well-written romance that really digs into the characters. Especially stories that start out with flawed characters who think they have done something that makes them unlovable. Like The Wives of Bodie Stone by Maggie Osborne or Portraits by Stef Ann Holm–both historical novels have heroes who were in prison.

Strong characterization and deep point of view go a long way to guarantee my reading pleasure. I strive for those two elements in the stories I create. In my latest release, Forged By Fire (part of the anthology, A Cowboy Celebration from Prairie Rose Publications), I created a hero, Berg, who thought an event that happened in his past made him undesirable and therefore, he shies away from people.  One simple act of kindness makes Ivey, the cook of the boarding house, to look at him in a different way.

Forged By Fire is just one of four historical stories included in Prairie Rose anthologies set in a Texas town.

Leave a comment about a book that made your heart flutter and the reason why for a chance to win your choice of a print copy of :

Cowboys,Creatures,andCalico_thCowboys, Creatures and Calico, Vol 1. (Halloween setting) with other stories by Lorrie Farrelly, Tanya Hanson, Sarah J. McNeal, Shayna Matthews and Cher’ley Grogg

 

 

_Present for a Cowboy_tnPresent For A Cowboy (Christmas setting) with other stories by Gail L. Jenner, Lorrie Farrelly, Sarah J. McNeal and Livia J. Washburn

 

 

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Cowboy Kisses (Valentine’s Day theme) with other stories by Lorrie Farrelly, Kristy McCaffrey, Gail L. Jenner, Gil McDonald, C. Marie Bowen, Tanya Hanson, Beverly Wells

 

 

Double your chances of winning by signing up for the inaugural Fall issue of my quarterly newsletter.

http://eepurl.com/bjKueH

To be eligible for the giveaway, comments must be made by 11:59PM PDT on Monday, August 17th. (Newsletter sign ups always accepted)

Then visit others who are participating in this blog hop.

Interviewing Rachel Graves

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I’ve lived in a cursed town, taken far too many ghost walks, and enjoy a series of healthy hallucinations brought on by a small bit of brain damage. Actually it was the brain damage that got me started writing. The combination of ‘visual disturbances’ (medical jargon for hallucinations), disordered sleep, and a sudden realization of how short life could be left me wide awake at three in the morning, looking for something to do. Writing about scary monsters gave me a way to escape from much scarier real life issues.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

I follow the freest freestyle ever. I don’t start with characters or a plot, but with a single scene or a smattering of dialog. That bit of scene or dialog keeps repeating in my head until I write down, often using X or Y for character names. When the next scene comes I start to get an idea of the characters. I write the first five or ten thousand words without character names or physical descriptions. About halfway through the story, I begin a worksheet of dates, ages, and events in the manuscript. That’s usually when the writing switches from fun to work for me, following notes and guidelines takes the adventure out of it.

In what genre do you read?

Urban fantasy, of course, as well as horror novels, especially ghost stories. I can never find enough ghost stories! I’m a fan of mysteries, including historic mysteries from any time period after 1800. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of stories set in the years after WWI.

What resources do you use for picking character names?

It’s important to me that the name sounds right, so I start the Social Security Baby Name Database (http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/). I look for names that occur in the top 50 births for a range of three years before and after the character would have been born. After picking a few favorites, I check name meanings on baby name websites. My hidden gem for names are the portraits at the National Library of Medicine archives (https://ihm.nlm.nih.gov/luna/servlet/view/all/what/Portraits/) and the National Portrait Gallery search (http://npgportraits.si.edu/emuseumCAP/code/emuseum.asp?page=search_basic&profile=cap). Both are great for finding a name and a ‘look’ for a character than needs to be grounded in a specific historic era, like a vampire.

Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?

I’m lucky to share my life with a House Rabbit. He’s a Rex, with extremely soft white fur and pink eyes. When I started writing nine years ago, he got into the habit of sitting next to me. If I stopped typing, he’d nudge my arm. If I didn’t pay attention, he’d stomp on the delete key. It happened often enough that he’s now called the rabbit editor.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

A new world to escape to when life is hard on them. I want my stories to feel like you’re meeting up with old friends to relax, laugh a little, and unwind. My characters deal with things we all deal with plus some fun and scary supernatural things. Like everyone they’re domestic, maternal, sexy, needy, and powerful to different people at different times. I hope readers will finish my book feeling satisfied and ready to take on the world.

Under a Blood Moon

BLURB

Mallory Mors, death witch and detective with Baton Rouge’s Supernatural Investigative Unit, controls every aspect of death; she can even touch a dead body and know how it died. When she’s called to the scene of the city’s first zombie attack her magic leads to a voodoo queen who claims to be controlled by werewolves. The Werewolf Protection League, a political organization fighting for werewolf rights, insists they have nothing to do with the killings.  As the kidnappings and murders continue, everyone becomes a suspect. Aided by her boyfriend, a six hundred year old vampire, and all the supernatural citizens of her city, Mallory fights to close a case that may claim her life.

BUY LINKS

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TWRP ebook

TWRP print

EXCERPT

I turned around a corner and saw them: two werewolves. Bigger than I expected, seven, maybe eight feet tall, they had the body shape of a man, but thick black fur and long clawed fingers. Their heads were pure wolf, with snouts and rubbery dog noses. I remembered Indigo calling them puppies. The resemblance was there, as if someone had turned a cute puppy into something huge and filled with rage.

I was so focused on them, on the way their backs ended in a tail or the way the thicker fur spread out at the base of their neck that I didn’t recognize what was underneath them until it was too late. The jogger that passed me earlier wasn’t going to finish his run. One of the wolves ripped into his stomach and brought out a pink and bloody organ. It swallowed the tissue whole. The sight made me gag, and the noise drew their attention. They turned to me.

I reached out for anything I could use, anything dead. The biggest thing I could control in the area was a flattened squirrel. I decided it was better to flee than to attack two werewolves with a zombie squirrel. I ran, coming face to face with a large black cat. Its acid yellow eyes stared into my own from the same height before the powerful jaw opened up to hiss. I dropped to the ground, trying to protect myself.

It jumped over me as if I wasn’t there, going straight for the wolves behind me. I could only see it when the moonlight reflected off its teeth. I smelled blood and heard a wolf yelp. The cat’s sharp teeth rendered the half-wolf, half-men bodies into a pile of bloody meat. I watched as it greedily ate their hearts from their chests, cracking through ribs like candy. When it was finished, it licked its whiskers free of blood, a sick parody of a cat drinking cream.

I sat frozen on the ground. If the two wolves hadn’t been able to stop it, I wasn’t going to be able to do anything. I briefly thought about bringing the wolves back, animating them. The cat didn’t strike, though. Even as I was contemplating how to save my life, it sat, curling its tail around itself in that classic cat pose. It walked slowly toward me, muscles rippling under that black velvet fur.

I stiffened in anticipation of an attack but the cat brushed itself around me, nudging me gently. It shepherded me out of the park and down the street. The whole city was shuttered, filled with fear while I walked down empty streets lead by a giant cat that saved my life. The lunacy of it all played out under a giant full moon. We turned down a dark alley and I gave up fighting the urge to stroke the cat. Its fur felt as soft as velvet under my palms. A security light blinked on, in the hazy fluorescent light, I could see it wasn’t solid black. There were patterns of darker black that almost looked like roses.

I was so fascinated I didn’t realize we had stopped in front of a door. There was a small sign next to a bell. Giving in to the insanity, I talked to the cat. “This is Indigo’s shop. Do you know him, kitty?”

It gave me that look that cats have, the look that says you are the stupidest thing in the world. It hit me.

“Oh crap, you are Indigo, aren’t you?”

Rachel GravesRachel Graves writes urban fantasy detective stories with more than a few steamy scenes. Her work creates dark and dangerous fantasies that explore the many shades of gray found between the lines of right and wrong. Focusing on strong heroines, their fears, and the men they lust after and maybe, eventually, love, her writing incorporates myths from the familiar vampires to lesser known creatures like selkies and yuki onna. Rachel is a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. You can read more about her at http://www.rachelgraves.com/ where her blog offers short fiction and more.

Contacts

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachel.graves.370

Twitter ID: @Rachel__Graves

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7989994.Rachel_Graves

 

Guest Release–Fear Land by Rolynn Anderson

Fear Land 6E_final

BLURB

Tally Rosella, acclaimed child psychiatrist, avoids adults because their brains rant at her.  When she begins a child study to connect her findings to PTSD, devious colleagues at a California university block her progress.

Army Major Cole Messer won’t admit trauma destroyed his marriage and ability to lead.  His priorities: enroll his highly anxious son in Tally’s study and return to active duty.

 Someone is dead set against Tally’s presence at the university, and blowback from her battles put Cole and his boy in jeopardy.  Watch what happens when people struggling with shades of anxiety collide with corrupt, revengeful foes.

BUY LINK–Amazon

NOTE: This title is free August 11 and August 12. Save the link.

EXCERPT

“California.  Recycle capital of the world,” Tally muttered as she hauled two big plastic bags across the parking lot to the garbage cans.  “And I have to walk from my apartment to China to dump mine.”

At the beginning of the tricky business of lifting the container lid and hoisting one heavy bag into it, she heard, “Wait!   I’ll help,” from behind her.

Startled, she let the lid drop with a bang.  Owen Harper.  Damn his hide.  Was he watching from his kitchen window to catch me out here?  Now she was cornered behind high walls, at dusk, with a mean-headed man.  Tally pulled in air for courage, inhaling fetid odors instead.

Harper reached for her garbage bag, resting his hand on hers for a couple seconds before he pulled the plastic from her grip and dumped the bag.  She barely had time to compose herself before she faced him and said, “Thank you.”  After her minor victory with her new assistant, cutting off the corners of the woman’s bitterness, why not try it with Harper?

She handed him the second bag.  “How are you doing, neighbor?” Tally avoided his eyes by checking her hands for dirt and dusting off her black pants.  Does he hear fear wobbling my words? 

“Fine, Tally.  Saw you struggling with a heavy load.  Thought you could use some help.”

“Rescue number two,” she said, holding up two fingers.  “Nice of you.”  Neighborly chit-chat next.  “Is SLO home for you?  Do you have family nearby?”

“A half sister is all.  Sad to say we’re not close.”  His neutral expression implied he wasn’t sorry.

With a glance at her watch, Tally tried one more entrée.  “Charles tells me you’re busy all day doing interviews.”

He shrugged.  “At this stage of the study, I’m usually in my car or in a VA hospital.”  When she winced, he gave a wry smile.  “Somebody’s got to do the follow-ups.”

“Right,” she said, unable to think of another response and feeling too isolated from buildings and people.  Tally shivered, rubbed her arms and took two steps toward the opening of the corral.  Harper moved as if to block her exit.

What could she do but look up into his eyes?  Was he teasing her?  Hoping to say more?  Wanting to ask her out?  Ready to attack her?  God knew.

His brain screamed: Die Bitch.  Die Now Bitch!  Loud.  Clear.  With knife-sharp consonants.

“Oh,” Tally said, horrified.  “Forgot.  I’m the test audience for Andy’s bird show-and-tell.  Better go.”

Harper turned, squinting in the direction of Cole’s apartment.  Was he checking for a light to prove she was telling the truth?  While he was diverted, she pushed her way around him and scurried toward the complex.  “Hey, wait,” he said.  “I’ll walk you back.”

“That’s okay.  Thanks for the help.  I’m late.”

She wanted to run from him after what she’d seen in his eyes, but she walked.  Briskly.  She walked because she’d learned something very important about Owen Harper.  He got off on scaring her.  He’d misinterpreted her downcast eyes as a submissive gesture.  Damn it, avoiding his gaze had sent the wrong message.

Instead of tamping down Harper’s rant, she’d just hiked it up to a new level.  Not only did he want her to die, but inadvertently, she’d cranked up his rage to the point he wanted her to die now.

rolynn large color

Scandinavian, Army Brat, English Teacher, High School Principal, Golfer, Boater, World Traveler, Author.  She delights in creating imperfect characters faced with extraordinary, transforming challenges.  Her hope: You’ll devour her ‘makeover’ suspense novels in the wee hours of the morning, because her stories, settings and characters capture your imagination and your heart.

 

WEB CONTACTS:

http://rolynnanderson.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rolynn-Anderson/188767867821613 

https://twitter.com/rolynnanderson

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4990049.Rolynn_Anderson

http://rolynnanderson.blogspot.com

OTHER TITLES of Award-winning Suspense Spiked with Romance

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FADEOUT: http://amzn.com/B00YWE3Z2U

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Character Interview–Phillippe Marchant from The Good Girl

Today author Tracy Reed’s hero, Phillippe Marchant, from The Good Girl is being interviewed.

How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics?

My name is Phillippe Marchant, and I am currently the President of Morgan Grant Holdings. My professional life is a little complicated. At the present that’s all I am at liberty to say regarding my professional life. I spent my childhood between Europe and the United States. My mother is American and my father was African and French. I just ended a three-year relationship with a woman I was considering marrying. However, we didn’t see eye to eye on my career choices. She wanted a CEO, not a husband. She thought my taking the position at Morgan Grant was a step down. Her decision to break up with me makes me all the more glad I never disclosed the details of my contract with Morgan Grant.

Did you attend college?

I earned both my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Stanford. I chose Stanford, because it was close to my grandfather who lives in San Mateo.

Do you have any hobbies?

That’s a good question. I love art and have a decent collection. I love discovering new talent as well as appreciating some of the great masters. I think my love of art is something I inherited from my grandfather. He has a very impressive collection. My collection includes African and French paintings and sculptures. I also, love photography. I’ve been experimenting for a few years and even set up a dark room in my apartment. I have one of my pieces in my office. It’s a black and white of my dad’s hands. To me it symbolizes strength and it’s like having a little piece of him with me.

Are you athletic?

I wouldn’t say I’m athletic. However, I like working out. I run, box, lift weights and push my body. For me, being physically fit increases my ability to function in the work place.

What attracts you first to a woman?

I’m a guy. It’s obvious the first thing that attracts me to a woman is her body and the way she carries herself. I consider myself a connoisseur of beautiful women.

My type…in the past, was tall and model like. However, that’s changed. I like petite with curves. There’s just something about the sway of a woman’s hips as she walks that does something to me. Not to mention the beautiful curve of her back that leads down to her ample pear shaped behind. Man, that curve is the sexiest part of a woman’s body. Until recently, I didn’t realize how much I liked having a soft curvy woman in my arms. The other thing I’m attracted to, is a smile. For me, a beautiful smile translates into confidence and that really turns me on. I don’t think there’s anything more sexy, than a confident curvy woman.

Are you talking about a particular woman?

Could be. Next question.

Talk about your favorite setting for a date. (or favorite way to court a woman)

I see you’re still trying to find out who I was describing. I’ll answer both.

My favorite way to court a woman is by talking to her. I discovered that when you talk to a woman and show an interest in her and her interests, she finds that very romantic. As for my favorite date setting, that’s easy. I like to take my dates to places that are of interest to them. If she likes art, then I’ll book a private tour at a museum or a gallery showing before getting something to eat. How the date ends depends on the time of day. If it’s lunch maybe espresso and dessert in the park. If it’s in the evening, maybe hitting a jazz club, followed by drinks and a light snack or maybe a drive and a late night dessert picnic before calling it a night.

Good Girl

 

Blurb
Gabriella Townsend has been patiently waiting for her dream job.  When she’s presented with the dream, it’s not exactly what she was expecting.  She was hoping to work her way up the corporate ladder.  Instead, one phone call and an office number on a slip of paper, lands her on the executive floor.

After a month working for the elusive, handsome and sexy, Phillippe Marchant, he offers her a life-changing assignment…the position of “girlfriend.” Terrified of her feelings for him and the possibility of losing her job, she’s not sure what to do.

BUY LINK-AMAZON

EXCERPT
I should have answered at least one of his calls last night, or listened to one of his messages. I don’t like not being prepared for a meeting. Being pissed off is one thing. Being unprofessional is not acceptable.
I wasn’t sure where we were going today, so I didn’t know how to prepare. I may have, if I hadn’t been so stubborn.

Suddenly, a shadow blocked the sunlight that was shining down on me. I looked up and Phillippe was standing next to me. Crap. How are we supposed to keep things professional, if he insists on looking so freaking hot all the time?

“Mind if I join you?” I pointed to the empty chair across from me and closed my iPad. He sat down and took off his sunglasses. His cologne surrounded the intimate space. I took a deep breath and tried not to let his gorgeous face distract me. “I want to apologize for my behavior last night. It wasn’t you, it was me. My last relationship left me with a lot of scars and I’m a little…”

“Scared.”

“Cautious.” He nodded with a slight smile. “You came in here and shook up my world. I’ve been trying to fight these feelings I have for you, but they won’t go away.” He moved to the edge of the chair. “I need you on my team, but more importantly, I want you in my life. So how do we handle this?”

I bit my bottom lip and looked into his eyes. “You’re assuming I feel the same.”

Tracy Reed

FIND TRACY HERE:

WEBSITE:

www.readtracyreed.com

 BLOG:

www.readtracyreed.wordpress.com

 TWITTER:

www.twitter.com/readtracyreed

FACEBOOK:

www.facebook.com/readtracyreed

GOODREADS

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Cover Reveal–Hit ‘N Run by Lori Power

Hit N Run FRONT

Lorna Tymchuk fights to overcome a past filled with neglect and abuse.

Determined to build a better life, Lorna has climbed the ladder to a successful public relations career one slippery rung at a time. But while on her way to an important meeting, a former lover crashes back into her life—literally—and she becomes embroiled in a police investigation that threatens everything she’s achieved.

Mitch Morgan doesn’t believe in coincidences.

Mitch has spent five years trying to forget Lorna, only to run into her on his way to an undercover sting operation. Old feelings quickly resurface and passion reignites, but as his investigation unfolds, evidence suggests the woman he’s falling for might have ties to the very criminals he’s after.

When Mitch tugs any thread of his investigation, it seems to lead back to Lorna. Caught between his desire for the strong, curious beauty and the growing suspicions of his superiors, he must choose between trusting his instincts and following regulations.

Lorna finds herself entangled in a web of betrayal.

When she learns the nature of the investigation—and her role as a suspected spy—Lorna goes to dangerous lengths to clear her name and prove to everyone, including herself, she’s worthy of the handsome, tenacious Mitch. With danger around every corner, Lorna is on the run for her life, but refuses to run from the past any longer.

She can find the evidence she needs, but at what cost? 

Hit ‘N Run is Book 1 of the Under Suspicion series and will be released on August 11, 2015.

Author-Pic-Lori-Power

Turning passion into words in print is a dream come true for Lori Power.

From Radio host (best job ever!), DJ, news reporter to newspaper journalist, like many authors, Lori has been writing most of her life, going so far as to secretly love writing the essays for school.

In writing, Lori has discovered a truism: everyone has a great story to tell. All you need to do is listen. Over the years, with all the people Lori has meet previously and daily, both professionally and personally, with an ear to the ground, readers can often find these ‘character’s’ fictionalized in Lori’s stories.

Not confined to one genre, Lori has published select children’s books and one cookbook, based on a gluten-free diet, as well as non-fiction industry blogs. Lori’s first novel “Storms of Passion” was published by The Wild Rose Press under their Champagne line, in 2014.

Collaboration is important to improving one’s craft and as such, Lori is an active member of the TransCanada Romance Writers, The Alberta Romance Writers Association and belongs to both a Critiquing group and a Beta Reading weekly group.

Lori looks forward to continuing to find the good story; hashing out a scene, having fun with a character and writing the story she would love to read.

Character Interview–The Protector by Diane Burton

 

Please introduce yourself for those who haven’t met you in your author’s other books.

I’m Rissa Dix (that’s pronounced Deece, as you know if you read the other Outer Rim books). I run a tavern in Astron Colony on Galeria 7. I mean Galeriana. The Powers That Be decided to give our planet an official name. I’m still not used to it. Anyway, my tavern caters to space crews and miners. Two companies mine the valuable minerals up in the nearby mountains. Thank the Matriarch they all don’t come at the same time.

Tell us about your family.

What family? My father is/was (I have no idea if he’s still alive) an itinerate preacher. He dragged my mother and me from colony to colony until she had enough and went back to our home planet. I was 12 and wanted to go with her. My father insisted I stay with him, until the day he abandoned me in the worst outpost on the hind end of the universe. How could he preach morality when accompanied by his unmarried pregnant daughter?

How did your upbringing influence who you are today?

I vowed nobody would make me leave my child behind. I’d protect her with all my might. Or so I thought until traffickers stole her <swallows hard> from the sitter while I was at work. I’ve been searching for her ever since.

What was your first thought when you met the hero?

He was a kid. Tall, gangly, bony shoulders that hinted at what he’d look like as an adult. He and his friends—rich kids from the Central Planets who had too many credits, no supervision, and fast starships—came to Astron to rock climb. They were reckless, thrill-seeking fools. To be honest, Dillan was different from the other boys. Instead of hitting the pleasure house across the street with his friends, he hung around my tavern. He helped me a lot, serving thirsty miners and even cleaning up the place after close. I tried shooing him away, but he always came back. I could see he was infatuated with me, the older fem. He was 16, I was 24. For 10 years, I tried to discourage him.

Why did you fall for him?

Who says I did? When he returned after a 6-year absence, I didn’t even recognize him as he helped my friends and I rescue a bunch of kids from a slave ship. Whoa, had he ever changed. He wasn’t a kid anymore. He was a 32-year-old man. I’m a big fem, tall and strong. I have to be to survive on the Frontier. But he’s taller with broad shoulders and a real presence. His sense of humor is irritating but makes me smile. A little. His dogged insistence that we belong together despite our 8-year age difference drives me crazy. I wasn’t going to succumb to his cute smile or the desire lurking in his eyes. Or his kisses. Well, you know what they say about the road to Lexol being paved with good intentions.

Why did you choose your occupation?

It sort of happened. What kind of a job is there for fems with little formal education on the Frontier? I sure wasn’t going to be a pleasure provider. Not that there’s anything wrong with that life if a fem chooses it. Owning a tavern isn’t for the weak. Morning to night, it’s work, work, work. But it’s worth it. I’m my own boss. I take care of what’s mine.

What is the biggest hurdle you had to overcome?

<swallows a sob> Losing my baby daughter to traffickers. I spent years searching for her, worrying about her, praying that she was safe. Did they sell her to a good family? Or was she raised to be a prosti? When worry made me so sick I almost died, I knew I had to close off that part of my life. I never stopped looking for her, but I can’t be around babies. Too much pain knowing I’ll never see my child again.

Do you have any hobbies?

Who has time for hobbies? I’m up at dawn to make bread and stew for the customers. Even though I close the tavern at Mid-Night, I still have work to do, tallying receipts, cleaning and preparing for the next day. I don’t even have time to read. That’s why I gave my reader to a girl I rescued. It’s uncanny how much she looks like me at 15. Now she imitates my walk, my mannerisms, even wears her dark hair in one long braid the way I do. I’ve grown quite attached to her. She’s the daughter of my heart.

How would you spend a free day?

Sleep. Actually, Dillan wouldn’t let me. He’d bully me into doing something fun with him, like the time he made me go on vacation with him to a rainforest. He took me up into the canopy. A fantastic sight! When I had to traverse the space between platforms, I was scared to death. He made me go anyway. What a thrill. But the best part was sliding down to the ground. I finally understood what Dillan felt all those years ago. Thrills and excitement like I’d never experienced. I wouldn’t have enjoyed it so much if I’d know what was to come.

The Protector - Cover 750

Blurb

After tavern owner Rissa Dix rescues two girls from a slave ship, she must rally the townsfolk to prevent traffickers from raiding the frontier colony. She’s met with apathy and disbelief. Because she lost her own baby to traffickers, she’s determined that no other mother will suffer the same heartache. Industrialist heir Dillan Rusteran aids her in rescuing more children. Little do they know they’re about to tangle with a trafficking ring that puts Rissa in danger. Dillan’s loved her for years despite her claim she’s too old for him. As they fight the traffickers, will she finally see him in a new light?

Excerpt

When she heard the rustle, Rissa stopped in the middle of the sanitary. “Whoever you are, come out. Right now.”

Another rustle then the sound of feet lightly hitting the floor. The lock slid open then slowly the door moved.

“Please,” a soft voice whispered. “Don’t hurt us.”

That sounded like a young girl.

“Come out where I can see you.” Rissa, too, whispered.

A tall, dark-haired teen stepped out, followed by a smaller girl with light brown hair. They both looked terrified. Their hair was matted and dirt smudged their faces. Their clothes were filthy. The smells emanating from them contributed to the general san-fac odors. Rissa did her best not to react.

Holding the other girl behind her, the tall one stepped forward, jutting out her chin. “We are not going back.”

“O-kay. Back where?”

“You can’t make us. We’ll escape again.”

Rissa had to admire her bravado. “You escaped? From where?”

“Did they send you in here to get us?”

Since the taller one seemed to be the spokesperson, Rissa kept her eyes on her. Something about her was compelling. Rissa could be looking at herself at the same age. Then it hit her hard, like a blow to the stomach. That was what Miri would have looked like at that age. Same strong Traishan features—olive skin, dark hair and eyes. Same strong will.

Rissa took a deep breath to steady herself before locking the outer door. “Nobody sent me. You asked for help. What can I do?”

“Get us out of here before they discover we’re gone.” Despite the strength in the tall girl’s voice, she worked hard to keep her chin from wobbling.

“Who?” Rissa was afraid she knew.

“Those men. The Chellians. We can’t go back. We won’t.”

By the Matriarch, traffickers.

Her lungs seized, her heart hurt so badly Rissa clutched her chest. Be strong, she told herself. Pull yourself together. No traffickers had ever come to Astron Colony before. Or even to Galeriana. She had to help the girls get away.

She glanced at the window on the far wall.

“We couldn’t open it,” the smaller girl sobbed. “We were trying when you came in. We thought you were them.”

Since Rissa was taller, she could easily reach the window. With a shove, she got it open. “Come.” She motioned to the tall girl. “You first. You can catch your friend. She’s too small to catch you.”

She cupped her hands for the girl’s foot. “Hide outside. I’ll come around and take you somewhere safe.” At the girls’ wary looks, she added, “I promise. Now go before someone comes looking for us.”

Rissa boosted her up to the open window. The tall girl hoisted herself through, disappeared for a moment then stuck her head inside.

“The ground is higher out here. Come, Anaris.” She held out her arms.

The small girl, Anaris, gave Rissa a panicked look. “You’ll come for us?”

The door rattled. “Hey,” a male yelled. “Open up.”

Anaris gave her a panicked look.

“Gimme a min,” Rissa yelled back.

“I promise to come for you,” Rissa whispered then gave her a boost. Like the tall girl, Anaris disappeared through the window.

As Rissa reached to close it, the tall girl was there about to do the same. “Thank you.” She shut the window and ducked out of sight.

Hoping they would wait for her, Rissa walked out of the san-fac. A mech glared at her. “Whadda mean by locking the door?”

“Didn’t want you walking in on me.” She glanced over at a commotion near the freighter where she’d just delivered supplies. “What’s going?”

The pilot was yelling and his two crewmen were darting between ships, searching.

“Damn offworlder.” The mech brushed past her into the san-fac.

When the pilot saw her, he yelled, “What did you do with them?”

Rissa looked around to see who he was shouting at.

“You there.” He stormed up to her. “Where are those two girls?”

She affected a confused expression. “What girls?”

“My cargo, I mean passengers. Damn you to Lexol’s Fire. How did you get them out?”

The pilot’s slip confirmed what Rissa feared. The girls she helped escape had been cargo. The pilot and crew were slavers, bastards who trafficked in children. A primal urge swept through her. Kill them. Kill them now.

BUY LINKS

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Diane Burton

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and The Case of the Bygone Brother, a PI mystery. She is also a contributor to the anthology How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com

Connect with Diane Burton online

Blog:  http://dianeburton.blogspot.com/

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/dmburton72

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/dianeburtonauthor

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Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/dmburton72/

Sign up for Diane’s new release alert: http://eepurl.com/bdHtYf

 

Books by Diane Burton:

Switched

Switched, Too

Switched Resolution

The Pilot: An Outer Rim Novel

The Chameleon: An Outer Rim Novel

The Protector: An Outer Rim Novel

One Red Shoe

The Case of the Bygone Brother: An Alex O’Hara Novel

How I Met My Husband (contributor)

Guest Promotion–The Tempered Series by Pamela S. Thibodeaux

Tempered Series Bundle 4a

Now all 4 titles in the Tempered Series by Pamela S Thibodeaux are combined into a single book along with a bonus short story and a sneak peek into #5 in the series Tempered Truth (coming sometime in the near future)!

Contains: Tempered Hearts, Tempered Dreams, Tempered Fire, Tempered Joy, & Lori’s Redemption

Start at the beginning and follow these beloved characters throughout the years as love crosses the lines of age and strengthens the bonds of friendship.

Available at Amazon, B&N and Smashwords

Note: 50% off at Amazon & Smashwords thru July 31st!

Pamela S Thibodeaux publicity photo

Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

 

Links:

Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com

Blog: http://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com

Face Book: http://facebook.com/pamelasthibodeaux

Twitter: http://twitter.com/psthib @psthib

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/pamelasthibodea/

Release Promotion–A Cowboy Celebration

Because of personal reasons outside my control (3-week evacuation due to forest fire), I wasn’t able to properly announce the release of this Fourth of July anthology to which I contributed a story. From Prairie Rose Publications, A Cowboy Celebration released late in June and is available in ebook and print.

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BLURB for Forged By Fire

Ivey Treadwell, cook at her family’s boarding house, wants to accomplish something big. For now, she satisfies herself with improving on the traditional recipes for the boarders by adding herbs and spices she gathers. An incident with a broken pan causes her to see Berg Spengler, the town’s blacksmith, in a new light.

Stigmatized for his huge size and blamed for his brother’s injury, Berg has discovered being alone is safer for his heart. But when he sees interest spark in Ivey’s eyes, he decides to take a chance and approach her. The pair discovers an attraction that heats up each time they are alone together. Will Ivey convince Berg his wandering days are over and home is here with her in Comfort?

BUY LINKS

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Smashwords

Other stories are:

The Longest Way Home by Lorrie Farrelly—Maddie, an orphan, is torn when her father shows up to reclaim her from her adoptive mother.

Winner Takes All by Meg Mims—Cora Peterson’s plan to beat her rival at a picnic auction brings about a surprising end and an unexpected love…

For the Love of Grace by Julia Daniels—Poppy travels west to find her sister—but her own happily-ever-after awaits, as well.

Brighter Tomorrows by Beverly Wells—Callie trusts no man. Chase Matlock is fearful to love again. He gets his man, she gets her adventure, and together they find it all.

Second Chance at Love by Agnes Alexander—A temporary living arrangement might lead to something else when love enters the mix.

Never Had a Chance by Angela Raines—How can a deadly trick bring two people the love they didn’t know they needed?

Author Interview–Karilyn Bentley

Here with me today is an author friend from The Wild Rose Press, Karilyn Bentley, who writes paranormal romance. Let’s chat…

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

Fantasy with a touch of funny

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I like to garden and I used to enjoy painting, but have not done that for awhile. Does reading count as a hobby? <g>

Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?

It’s a little bit of both. I start with an idea for a story and included in the idea are the characters. Then I have to figure out where I want the story to end and how the characters need to grow by then.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

For the most part, freestyle. Which is completely opposite of everything else I do in my life. But every time I try to plan a book, it zaps all the creative energy and I no longer want to write the story. I do come up with the beginning of the story and where I want it to end, but everything else is an adventure as I’m writing.

In what genre do you read?

Romance, mystery, fantasy and the occasional thriller. I love paranormal romances and historical romances.

Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?

Most definitely! The Hubster and I share our home with two dogs (one very old Hell Hound and a just out of puppyhood The Kraken) and a handful of salt water fish. Dogs are great! I’ve always had a dog around.

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BLURB:

As a Halfling with little magic, Jamie is barely considered a Draconi, his sole talent finding jewels and lost people. But when he dreams of a human female in trouble, he has no choice but to save her, even if it means crossing dimensions into a different realm. Unfairly accused and placed on administrative leave, Detective Ruby Parker is determined to regain her position on the Denver police force. When an attempt to kidnap her fails, she must learn to trust the stranger who appears from nowhere to help her. Unlike in Draconia, Jamie’s powers work in Parker’s world, his longing to wield magic finally fulfilled. But is working magic worth leaving his family and friends? When Parker realizes she loves Jamie, she must make a choice, follow her heart to a different world, or remain alone and attempt to regain her beloved job. What happens when the one you love lives in another dimension?

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iTunes

The Wild Rose Press

EXCERPT:

The squeak of hinges snapped Parker’s attention to the door. Hottie stood in the doorway, one hand on the frame, the other on the handle, a look of determination plastered on his face. A look she was familiar with. A look she saw reflected in her mirror on a daily basis. A look mirrored on her coworkers’ faces when working a case.

A look she never thought to see directed her way.

Which was a bit unnerving, but not nearly as unnerving as the realization he’d followed her. He stood in the doorway like he owned the place. Or owned her.

Her limbs shuddered like a car without shocks. He. Followed. Her. Was he stalking her? Was he with the ones who tried to kidnap her? What was he doing here? More to the point, how did she get rid of him? Her muscles might be coming out of a deep freeze, but that didn’t mean she could hop off the bed and toss him out the door.

Where was the damn call button?

Parker patted the mattress. Hottie took a step closer. Then another. No button. Her heart shook an uneven rhythm, the beat a warning drum in her veins. Her hand moved faster against the mattress, searching, seeking, not finding.

Damn it.

“Be of ease. I mean no harm.”

She stilled, her hand paused mid-pat as if his words flipped her off switch. Deep and soothing, his voice stroked across frazzled nerves, slowing her racing heart. If he could bottle that sound, women would fall at his feet.

KarilynBentley

Karilyn Bentley’s love of reading stories and preference of sitting in front of a computer at home instead of in a cube, drove her to pen her own works, blending fantasy and romance mixed with a touch of funny.

Her paranormal romance novella, Werewolves in London, placed in the Got Wolf contest and started her writing career as an author of sexy heroes and lush fantasy worlds.

Karilyn lives in North Texas with her own hunky hero, a psycho dog nicknamed Hell Hound, a crazy puppy, and a handful of colorful saltwater fish.

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by author Linda Carroll-Bradd