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After Midnight - Black Phoenix #1

Re-edited, revised edition October 2013

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June 30, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger Amie Louellen


I'm so excited to welcome my friend and fellow Wild Rose Press author Amie Louellen to my blog today!

 The Gift

“Write what you know.”

Sage advice that has been handed down from critic to writer and writer to writer for years…centuries.

And it is total malarkey.

Write what I know (scoffs)—I’m a 30 something (okay, okay, 40 something) baseball mom, dog owner, retail manager, devoted wife, chief cook and bottle washer at my humble little brick colonial in good ol’ Oklahoma. I drive a Ford, would rather eat icing than cake, and wear Crocs instead of house shoes. Who wants to read about that? Gawd, I hope no one is so desperate that my everyday life would be entertaining.

So if it’s not about writing what I know, what do I write about? When asked why he writes horror, Stephen King says he writes what he is given.

Hmmm…but that would mean ideas are gifts.

Yes. Yes, they are. They float down from heaven, rise out of the foggy steam after a summer rain. Are blown about by a gentle gust of wind. And they land where the breeze takes them. It’s what the recipient does with the idea after it falls that separates the men from the boys as they say, or the writers from the talkers.

Many times I have told someone that I’m an author only for them to tell me that they want to write a book…someday. I believe most people would like to be a part of the literary world. In order to be a writer, a person has to be somewhat intelligent, have a grasp of at least one language and have the perseverance to sit in one place long enough to form coherent thoughts—all desirable traits. What most people don’t know is that writing can be like bleeding upon paper. Every word brutal. Dictionary, spell check, synopsis, rejection letters. And then it starts all over again. And you *want* to do this? Are you crazy?

On the flip side, I do believe there is a book inside everyone. Whether or not it can be brought out is another matter altogether. King (yes, I love that man) says that writers are like archeologists. The stories are already there, buried in whatever it is you might want to call it. Just under the surface. An idea brings about the knowledge that the story is there (my words, not his) and then the writer’s job is to extract the story keeping it as intact as possible while trying to bring it out to show the world.

This, my friends, is no small task. Many times I have sat at my computer about to bang my head against the edge of the desk, trying to make a scene flow. Why won’t this work? What’s wrong with it? What’s wrong with me? Nothing, nothing, and nothing. Except…if I try to make the scene into what I want it to be, it doesn’t work. Only when I take a step back, and let it flow naturally does the scene take off again.

Am I saying that I have no control over what I write? Not at all, but I do believe the passion and sincerity shine through when a writer accepts the gift, listens to the muse and lets the story flow the way it was meant to. That’s when the writer takes ownership of the gift and turns it back to the world in a form that all can appreciate.

For any writer out there—aspiring or otherwise—if you haven’t read Stephen King’s On Writing, I highly recommend it. Not only does he cover the passive voice, comma splice, misplaced modifier, etc., he talks about his journey into publication. How long he’s been writing, how he got started, how his ideas form and morph into a full blown story.



Waking up next to a beautiful golden-haired stranger isn’t the worst thing that has ever happened to Brodie Harper, but staying in a fake marriage in order to gain a new construction contract could very well be.

Savanna Morgan just wanted a way out of an engagement to a man she didn’t love. Marrying Brodie seemed liked the perfect answer at the time. Less perfect the next morning when she finds herself disowned by her father and flat broke. Now she must make it through the weekend. Monday they can get it all annulled and forget it ever happened.

The real problem may be keeping their hands off each other until then.

“On Monday, after our appointment, you’re leaving.”

“I have to go home,” she said quietly, turning away from him to stare into the postage-stamp sized back yard.

“But we have an agreement for the weekend. I think we should have some ground rules.”

“Good idea.” Savanna clapped her hands, then rubbed them together as if she were ready to get down to business. “Like what?”

“We only have two working bedrooms here,” Brodie said. “Mine and Nan’s. Do you mind sharing a room with me?”

Her pupils dilated, and he knew she was thinking about the scarlet room they had shared last night.

“My room has two beds,” he continued. “We can be like Lucy and Ricky.”

She smiled. “If it was good enough for the Ricardos, I’m sure I can handle it for a few days.”

“We may not so lucky at the Sullivan’s.”

Sobering, she nodded. “If there’s only one bed there, we can just take turns sleeping in it.”

“Fair enough.” Brodie said. “Now, as a married couple—especially at the ranch—we’ll be expected to act like a married couple.”

“Okay. But only around others. When we’re alone, we can act like we’re not married.”

“Correct. But sometimes…” He took a step closer to where she leaned against the porch railing. “Sometimes married people hold hands.”

He reached out and took her fingers into his own. Her skin was velvet soft and smelled so sweet, like the mountains after a rain.

“I—I don’t have a problem with that.”

“Sometimes married couples put their arms around each other.” He placed her hands behind his neck, then slid his arms around her waist.

“That’s okay,” she whispered. He watched as she swallowed hard.

“And sometimes married people kiss. Just a peck here and a peck there. Are you going to have a problem with that?”

“Huh-uh.” She shook her head.

“Maybe we should practice,” he rasped, bending his head close to hers.

“Maybe,” she repeated before he brushed his lips across hers once, then twice.

His intent had been the small, nearly chaste kiss of old married couple, but once he got close to Savanna, once he could smell her sweetness and taste her heady essence, he couldn’t stop himself.

He pulled her close to him, gathering handfuls of her tank top, securing her to him. Over and over he slanted his mouth across hers. Over and over, deeper and deeper, until her whimper brought him back.

He released her, his breath rasping in and out of his lungs in hard painful gasps.

She grasped the edge of the porch railing, looking as disturbed as he felt.

With demonstrations like that, they may not ever convince Blair and Nan their marriage was an accidental twist of fate, but they would surely convince Red Sullivan their passion was for real.

Brodie ran his fingers through his hair, just one more gesture to keep from reaching for Savanna again.

“There,” he managed to croak. “That wasn’t so bad, now was it?”

 BRODIE'S BRIDE 
Available Now from The Wild Rose Press


Amie Louellen loves nothing more than a good book. Except for her family…and maybe homemade tacos…and shoes. But reading and writing are definitely high on the list. When she's not creating quirky characters and happy endings she enjoys going to little league baseball games and boy scout meetings. Born and bred in Mississippi, Amie is a transplanted Southern Belle who now lives in Oklahoma with her deputy husband, their genius son, a spoiled cat, and one very hyper beagle.


You can find Amie here:




June 28, 2011

Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award



Thanks to the fabulous Amie Louellen, I have once again been awarded the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award. I'll change things up a bit and give you seven random things about me that I haven't mentioned before. Let's see...


1. I've visited at least 40 of the 50 states.

2. I love to laugh. I tell everyone I'm addicted to it.

3. No one makes me laugh harder than my husband. Well, maybe my best friend Lisa... Lisa and hubs together? Now that's a laugh-fest.

4. My son and I text each other like teenagers. Okay, so he is a teenager, but I'm not. ;)

5. I'm addicted to speed. I can't wait until hubs gets his drag truck back together because this is the year I take it down the track!

6. I'm told I'm the spittin' image of my grandmother when she was my age. I don't see it, but she's beautiful so I smile and say thank you.

7. I really hate trying to come up with random facts about myself. I'd much rather read 7 random facts about you.

June 26, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday 6/26



Welcome to another Six Sentence Sunday! If this is your first visit let me say, welcome! To those of you who have visited before, thank you, your comments mean a lot to me.

I'm sticking with After Midnight for while, since I now have an official release date of September 30, 2011.


She should have known, guessed it when he strolled into her bar carrying her music. Her pain-filled past could be uncovered with a few keystrokes in any Internet cafĂ©. Her entire life spelled out in black and white, and a bit of it in all too vivid color. He’d seen it all—the truths as well as the lies.




You know what, I feel like we need a little bit of eye-candy today. And because SSS has grown so much since the last time I shared with you how I imagine Noah Clark to look, here he is.


Don't forget to visit all the Six Sentence Sunday authors. You can find a list of them HERE. See you next time!



June 24, 2011

New Book Trailer


I have to take a moment to thank my good friend Amie Louellen for making me this wonderful trailer. Thanks, Amie! And while I'm talking about Amie, her debut book, Brodie's Bride, released today. Yay!

So run, don't walk, over to The Wild Rose Press and snag yourself a copy. You'll love it, I promise.



June 23, 2011

Spotlight On... Michele Hart


Happy Thursday! Please help me in welcoming Michele Hart to 'Off the Keyboard' this morning. Welcome, Michele. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Thank you for the warm welcome, Sarah. I’m thrilled to be here.
I live a very quiet life with family in a sleepy Florida town. It’s ideal for writing, as there is no excitement around but my fantasies. I write from sunrise to past sunset and love it. Couldn’t ask for a better life.

Tell us about Vigilant and where we can find it.

This is the 2nd I-Marshal story. Vigilant is the story of Yadira, a young woman who has lost everything--her home, her freedom, and her beloved protector--on an ugly world filled with crime, desperation, and human trafficking. She’s captured and headed for the black market to be sold as merchandise. The only survivor responsible for the murders of dozens of citizens, she lands in the hands of an Alliance I-Marshal named Weber, who is looking for an illegal teleport. Weber possesses the talent to read auras, and he can tell she’s innocent of the mass murder for which she’s been charged. The Alliance prosecution against her hardly matters when she’ll be put in a cage and sold by the horrible man who owns her to a mysterious stranger who will erase her identity. And Weber discovers a sadistic demon awaiting the moment he can destroy Yadira in the worst possible way. Angel and demons and lasers, oh my!

Where do the mortals fit in the war between the angels and demons? Investigate Vigilant here: http://www.michelehart.com/b27-book.htm

Check out Luminous Nights, the 1st I-Marshal story, here: http://www.michelehart.com/b15-book.htm

Read the First Chapter of Vigilant here:
http://dreneebagbypresentsfirstchapters.blogspot.com/2011/05/vigilant-by-michele-hart.html


Sounds wonderful! What is the most emotional scene you had to write in this piece?

This book is filled with emotional moments. But this one got me. The heroine Yadira receives a letter from someone she loved dearly who had been killed tragically before her. When I wrote it, it was meant to be a contenting thing for her to have this letter, but I realized how very sad it was, and it almost made me tear up. Then my beta reader told me she got teary-eyed, and I thought, Bingo! :-) That’s jackpot for a writer when she can inspire emotion.


Who would you cast to play your hero & heroine in a movie?




Weber must be played by Hugh Jackman. He has the size and he plays the quiet, dangerous protector well.




Yadira should be played by Emilie de Ravin. She played Claire on Lost. She’s perfect for the part. Can you tell I’ve thought of it? Probably every author casts the story in his/her head. It’s part of the fun and great for visualization.





How did you start writing?

It was a who. In the late eighties, I was challenged by a handsome, blue-eyed, punk-rock god named Torch. Don’t tell him I called him that, though. Like all handsome & talented gods, he has a humongous ego. Worthy of it, though. He’s now in Taiwan teaching Chinese children English and inspiring them. They’re lucky. I hear from him often. If he hears I’m calling him a “god”, his head will sink that island. Alpha male. And a very special person, the kind who walks into a room, draws everyone’s attention, and blows their minds in some way. He did it to me for years and changed who I was. I wouldn’t trade Torch for the world. I wish this kind of person on everyone! Torch was the inspiration for Jack, the hero of Luminous Nights, the 1st I-Marshal story.

Torch sounds like quite a guy! Why did you choose your genre?

I love science, gadgets, and weapons. I like rules. So many rules to follow, all the rules of Sci-Fi and all the rules of Romance. It’s fun to craft a story from so many rules. I love the challenge.

How do you approach your writing, are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m a solid pantser. I’ve picked up some plotting skills along the way of my career, but I don’t ever want to plot so much that I don’t feel like I’m on the roller coaster ride with the reader. That’s the best part, the roller coaster ride. That’s what I’m reading for.

As a pantser myself, I absolutely agree with you. What’s next for you?

A short vacation, then it’s on to studying for the 4th and last I-Marshal story. The 3rd I-Marshal story, Gangbusters, should show up soon. Look for it.

Where can we find you on the web?

Find me and the I-Marshal stories @ http://www.ILoveShapeShifters.com/ 

Thanks for visiting me me today, Michele.

Thanks for having me, Sarah. Best wishes and happy adventure to your readers.

Vigilant by Michele Hart


Vigilant
by Michele Hart

One surviving hijacker is charged
with the murders of a hundred citizens.
One cop sees her innocence.

ISBN#: e-Book 1-61034-396-4 * Print 1-61034-682-3
Available @ BookStrand, Amazon, B&N,
everywhere exciting stories are waiting for you!



Alliance I-Marshal Weber hauls Yadira to her home planet and infiltrates the human-trafficking ring controlling her. But he finds himself unbearably attracted to his witness. A gift for detecting deception reveals she’s the next victim of a criminal industry.

Descending into shadowy worlds of slavery, Yadira endures a dark angel stalking her dreams and watches the quiet I-Marshal become dangerous in her defense. Everything about him moves her…except the memory of seeing him execute the most important man in her life. Shouldn’t she take vengeance? Delusions of a heavenly guardian affect her mind.

Slavers and demons plan to snatch her from Weber’s custody while he is uncovering connections, and Weber won’t hesitate to execute the guilty surrounding Yadira. Who but a son of fire can save her from fiends harboring hardcore fantasies of harming her?


Copyrighted Work
[This excerpt is rated PG-13 for action. The story is rated R.]
Hotel Escape


“What if I kissed you before a room of crooks and criminals?”

Goose bumps raced over Yadira’s flesh at contemplation of Weber’s passionate kiss anywhere, in front of anyone, at any time.

She just didn’t know why he would want to kiss her behind closed doors, as blackened with grievous offense as she was. She wished his sister hadn’t told her he could see guilt. She would’ve wept over the state of her soul, if he hadn’t been in the room.

But Weber was in the room, giving her flights of delight with his enticements and innuendo. She was supernaturally aware of his presence, closeness, and possible actions. His hands kneading hers slowed and stroked each finger, stealing a part of her mind.

“I’m available to fill your needs for the case, Marshal.” Her heart pounded in her chest. “If it keeps me from prison.”

He smiled, pleased with her answer, his olive-green eyes alight in the sexiest way. Could his vision carry the power to blank her thoughts and still her actions? Perhaps it was a gift of the unusual gene the I-Marshals carried that made them special. It was a preposterous thought, but she began to think he was something extra-human. Wasn’t a law enforcement officer who saw guilt more than just a cop?

Were delusions of an angel prowling her subconscious messing with her mind?

She wondered how long Weber’s testimony of their being lovers would stay a lie. A firestorm of attraction raged through them. They sat together on a bed now, his hands intimately massaging hers and relaunching all the heat he commanded. He’d kissed her moments ago, programming her to respond to him. Her thighs were on fire. He stared at her lips now as though they were edible, sending her subliminal hints that he would kiss her a second time. The thought of his mouth on hers again… With this much warning, she had time to lose her breath, anticipate the softness of his lips, want him more with every passing second.

“Weber…”

“Yes, Yadira?”

“Have you sent an angel to watch over me?”

A loud bang rocked the room, startling them and breaking the electricity burning the air between them. Her question forgotten, they spun toward the hotel room door to see it had taken a strike to its metal so hard, it dented. She froze in fear.

“Oh, yeah, the Alliance,” the I-Marshal muttered under a sunken brow as though having forgotten some vital information to add to the night. He scrambled from the bed
.
A second strike slammed into the security door with great force, denting its surface again. The lock was not yet compromised.

“Move, Yadira! They’ll be through the door in seven more strikes!”

Snapping herself from a terror-induced stasis, she burst from the bed, ran to and fro, looping the bag of clothes around her neck.

“Weber! Did you kill my guard?”

“No. I only kill the guilty. Your guard probably awakened in the room next door about five minutes ago.”
He grabbed her hand and tugged her into the shower room. There, he unlatched the small, highly placed window. It was the room’s only outlet for fire escape. Hotel guests were not prisoners.

Except for Yadira. She actually was a prisoner.

“Who’s coming through that door, Weber? And why?”

The window did not open all the way, so he ripped it from the metal frame, and he pulled in a knotted rope already hung outside for their escape.

“Probably, an Alliance SWAT team…or two, maybe some fed guys, a few overexcited locals. They’ll blow the door in a few seconds. The I-Marshals have taken me off the investigation, Yadira, and I’ve decided if they won’t release you from the case, I’m going to hide you from the Alliance. They aren’t happy with my plan.”

Yadira’s head snapped back to the sight and sound of new dents driven loudly into the room’s door. The noise of hovercraft blades warping the air blasted through the window.

He propped the room’s chair against the wall, assisting her climb to the high window.

“We’re on the fifth floor!”

“All you have to do is get out of this room. Take hold of the rope hanging out the window.”

Displeased with her catatonic speed, he snatched her up and put her atop the windowsill, feet first through the open window. She was about to scream bloody murder when she felt a knotted rope between her legs. She grasped it for dear life and leaned out of the building to assess their position.

The chaos was much louder outside the metal-plated room. Sirens shrieked, flashing lights blinded her. She saw the hovercrafts that belonged to the warp of blades she’d heard pivoting all around the hotel, their spotlights aimed on her and watching. How did they all get there so fast?

She turned to Weber behind her in the shower room, and snapped, “Aren’t I already under arrest?”

“Just climb onto the rope, Yadira, trust me.”

It was difficult to trust him when police on PA systems blasted, “Imperial Marshal Weber and Yadira Maxwell! Hold your position! You are surrounded! Do not attempt to escape!”

Trust him? The alternative was surrender.

Looking up the rope secured to the tube railing of the building, and seeing a variety of police uniforms aiming weapons at her, Yadira grasped the rope, put her feet on a knot, and wiggled off the window ledge, clinging to the rope and shaking. The red-and-blue flashing lights blinded her. The hard breeze set off by the hovercrafts whipped her hair across her face, stinging her. The sights and sounds of every law enforcement machine focused on her exit shocked her. She hadn’t known she was this important to the Alliance.

Or maybe capturing a rogue cop was this important. She guessed it was.

Weber climbed out of the window and onto the rope above her, and then he shimmied down to and around her, protecting her from crazy hails of rubber bullets or stunner rays. Cops with Tasers waited below the rope to take custody of them. Cops with stunners awaited atop the building. Cops in hovercrafts surrounding them, weapons sighting them, awaited any dangerous move. She’d never seen so many uniforms in all her life put together.

They’d never let her out of prison for this!

His big boots planted on a big knot in the rope below hers. “Turn on the rope and wrap your arms around me, Yadira!”

She looked around the hurricane they withstood, terrified. Emergency crews assembled below. Spectators were shooed away from witnessing their deaths or horrible mutilations when they hit the ground. Did the cops plan to plant a laser beam in the rope, melting the braid and causing their fall?

“What’s happening, Marshal? Why is all of Reigna’s force sighting us?”

“Ignore them.”

Her mouth dropped. “Ignore them?”

“I should have punched your guard harder. Put your arms around me!”

Surely, they’d fall!

“Trust me!”

She wrapped one arm around his neck, and let go of the rope with her other hand, hooking her arm beneath his to reach her other hand and locking them together. He trapped her against him with the rope, one hand gripping the lifeline above her. Sure she’d next tumble to her death or find herself behind bars, she watched Weber retrieve his palm comp with his free hand and type some numbers with his thumb.

Then Weber let go his grip of the rope, and she experienced the terrifying sensation of falling. It felt like they fell for minutes instead of the second it would have required for them to hit the pavement like melons.

June 21, 2011

I Have a Release Date!


It's Official, the release date for After Midnight is September 30, 2011. Because I'm so darned excited about the release of this one, I thought I'd give you a sneak peek.



Thirteen years--that's how long Isabeau Montgomery has been living a lie. After an automobile accident took her mother's life, Izzy hid herself away, surviving the only way she knew how. Now she is happy in her carefully reconstructed life. That is until he walks through the door of her bar...

Black Phoenix singer/front man Noah Clark came to Long Island City with a goal--one that doesn't include an instant, electric attraction to the dark-haired beauty behind the bar. Coaxing her into his bed won't be easy, but he can't get her pale, haunted eyes nor her skill on the piano out of his head.

Can Noah help Isabeau overcome the past? Or will her need to protect her secret force her back into hiding and destroy their chance at happiness?




“You have the most beautiful eyes,” Noah said, and shifted just a little closer.

Never had her eyes been called beautiful. Strange? Yes. Beautiful? Never.

“They change color depending on what you’re feeling, did you know that?”

“I…no.”

“Right now they’re blue—a very pale blue. What does that mean, Isa? Tell me what you’re feeling right now.”

Desire. Need, unlike she’d ever felt before. She’d had no idea how much she’d craved a physical touch, his touch. Her stomach fluttered. Her heart skipped a few beats. She slicked her tongue over her lips, and his hand flexed against her hip.

“I have to know,” he murmured.

“What?”

“Your taste.”

He slipped his hand from her hip to the small of her back, pulling her against him. Their bodies molded, soft to hard. His thigh slid between hers and desire curled her toes, tightened her nipples into hard, aching points. And still, he didn’t kiss her. Why didn’t he kiss her? Then he did. Finally, he did. He teased her lips with his tongue, and she opened to him, drank in his dark seductive flavor.

She settled her hand against his chest, reveling in the feel of hard muscle and hot male. Good God the man could kiss. His body surrounded her, engulfed her as his mouth continued to seduce. She arched into him, and as his erection pressed against her stomach, she couldn’t hold back a moan.

June 19, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday 6/19


Okay, I admit that it's nearly eleven p.m. Saturday night and I'm only just getting to my six. *sigh*
So, we know how Isabeau sees herself (you can revisit it here), but how does Noah see her?



While classic rock blared from the speakers, he took a moment to study the profile that looked both soft and angular. She wasn’t beautiful in the traditional sense, but compelling. She had a way of looking at a person as she spoke with them, like they were the most important person in the room. And a wide, friendly smile that could steal a man’s breath.


He’d been on the receiving end of it once, just once, and he’d yet to fully recover.


Want more Six Sentence Sunday? Then make sure you hop over to the brand new website for a list of participating authors.  http://www.sixsunday.com


June 18, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger Autumn Jordon




Thanks, Sarah, for inviting me to blog today. I hope I entertain your readers. I’ll just jump right in.


***

“We’re lost.” Gina stood and brushed the bits of dirt and leaves from her knees.

“No, we’re not.” Cole’s dark bangs fell across his forehead as he studied the scavenger map splayed across his lap. Mechanically, he combed them back unaware how damn sexy the act was.

She shouldn’t be attracted to him. He was a bad boy. And probably very experienced in the area she so wanted to learn.

Cole hadn’t a clue his musky scent caused her knees to weaken so much she leaned against the rough bark of a hundred year old oak for support. And, it baffled her Cole didn’t hear her heart tap dancing on her seventh rib. The only other sound in the green meadow were a pair of evening larks cackling and her heart was only covered by a thin tank-top and a wisp of a bra she’d bought specially for tonight—just in case she decided to let him feel her up .

His finger moved across the map. Maybe she had read him wrong. Maybe he wasn’t interested in her after all.

She sighed. Nearly seventeen and she didn’t know squat about men.

****

Are you hooked? Do you wonder what Gina has on her mind? Do you want to know if Cole looks up into her big, brown eyes and sees the love he’s been waiting for all his young life? Well, you’ll have to read my new release, IN THE PRESENCE OF EVIL to find out.

The excerpt above isn’t from the novel. It’s backstory. As an author, one of our jobs is to hook the reader on page one and keep you turning the pages, drawing you deeper into the lives of our characters until it’s too late and you just can’t stop reading or thinking about them. Usually page one, maybe two is all a reader will read before buying the book. It typically is for me. The passage today was meant to interest you in reading more about Gina and Cole. I hope I did that.

FYI: I’ll give you a little more insight into Cole and Gina lives. They first meet as teenagers. Cole is immediately dubbed as trouble by many in the small town, but Gina’s gets to know the real Cole. He’s a proud boy who is determined to make someone proud of him. Who? He has no clue until he meets Gina. She becomes everything to him. Life happens and ten years pass.

No, I’m not going to share more. I hoped I’d peaked your interest in ‘IN THE PRESENCE OF EVIL ‘ enough to either visit my website www.autumnjordon.com to learn more about the story or better yet to jump right over to The Wild Rose Press or Amazon and purchase a copy. I'm also holding a contest at my blog. There's still time to enter, so pop over.

Thanks for stopping by and if you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them.

AJ

June 16, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger Brenda Whiteside


What a pleasure being on Sarah’s stylish, entertaining blog. Thank you, Sarah for having me.

The other day a friend told me about a book she thoroughly enjoyed reading that was written from a dog’s point of view. My dog, Rusty, could write a good “Day in the Life Of” book. He helps put up paper products when I get home from Costco, and on laundry day he helps me carry the dirty clothes down to the basement. He’s very busy keeping the mailman, FedEx and the man in brown from breaking into the house and stealing all his dog toys. He could write about his inner clock that is quite punctual and his super powers such as his hearing – when my husband turns the corner a block over, Rusty is at the window. He could write about his daydream of having a couple of three year old humans around that would always have something good to lick off their faces. No doubt he could write a best seller if he could get the paw thing right on the keyboard or, better yet, dictate to me. I could get a byline.

All my books have an animal in the storyline. (Hmm…wonder if all animal books have a human in the storyline.) A useless, but loved, old hound makes a walk-on appearance in my YA historical romance. In my contemporary western romance, which I am in the throes of editing for publication, a sixteen pound Siamese cat named Kirby causes a little havoc. Chip the chipmunk has an important supporting role in Sleeping with the Lights On. Sandra has suspicions Chip may be a Chipette the way the little critter takes to Carson, the handsome cowboy crooner.

A dog, a cat and a chipmunk – maybe next I’ll have a talking cockatoo with secrets.

I’d love to hear your animal stories, pets or otherwise (I had a mouse recently cause me an AC repair when the little devil chewed the wiring running into the unit). Leave me a comment and I’ll draw one of you to receive a print copy of my book, Sleeping with the Lights On. Don’t forget to include your email so I can reach you.




After two failed marriages and countless relationships, Sandra Holiday thinks she’s met the man to end her years of less than perfect choices; choices that not only derailed her travel-related career plans but also left her single and broke.

Carson Holiday, a Las Vegas country crooner with swoon-inducing good looks, spent his adult life pursuing a recording contract and love, never holding on to either. After eighteen years, he drops back into Sandra’s life, reigniting an attraction he can’t deny.

When Carson reappears, Sandra must choose again. Only this time, nothing’s as it seems. A secret admirer, a redheaded stalker, and an eccentric millionaire throw her on a dangerous path, with Carson her only truth.

As life confronts her with yet another turning point, will her decisions find her eternally sleeping with the lights on – or will she finally discover a way to turn them off?


EXCERPT:

“When do you go back to Vegas?”

Carson hesitated. “In a day or two.”

“You sound rather vague.” And still allusive. What could be the big secret about this charity gig he couldn’t divulge?

“I have a few more things to find out. I’ll be out of here as soon as I get all my questions answered. It’s complicated.”

We’d reached the edge of my apartment complex.

“Carson, honestly, how complicated can a gig—”

Pulling me around, we stopped, facing each other. My head said run like hell, but my legs wouldn’t respond. Mushy from wine or Carson and moonlight. I couldn’t be sure which.

“Have lunch with me tomorrow, darlin’.” His fingers slipped from mine to gingerly brush along my forearm. The moonlight caught in his eyes. “Another hour of your time with a long lost friend?”

“Yes.” My voice went all husky and come-hither. I wanted to kick myself for being so easy.

“Good.” Grasping my hand again, he led me toward the door. “What’s the address of your office?”

I struggled to shake off the moon shadows and to remember where I worked. Once inside the building, I took a scrap of paper from my purse and wrote the address.

“I’ll walk you to your door and say goodnight,” he said, tucking the scrap of paper in his pocket. “Unless you want to have me in for a goodnight drink.”

I didn’t answer. If he’d only known the extent of my uncertainty at that moment, a little persistence might have made me cave.

“Okay, then—” His mouth gaped.

I followed his bewildered look to my apartment door.

TRAMP

Buy Link


Brenda Whiteside

www.brendawhiteside.com

Brenda on Facebook

June 14, 2011

And the winner is...


Randi Alexander picked the winner of her contest. Thanks to all who stopped by and commented. The winner is...

Amanda Holley

Amanda has won her very own copy of Her Cowboy Stud. She can contact Randi at Randi@RandiAlexander.com to claim her prize.

Congratulations, Amanda!

June 13, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger Randi Alexander


I want to thank Sarah for having me here today. It's truly a pleasure, and I'm excited to have the opportunity to share my thoughts and my book info with you. When I read a book, and when I'm writing one, I'm very observant of the way men speak to women a bit differently than they speak to other men. And I notice that women have a slightly different language with other women than they do with men. But it's often that way in life, too, and I have the experiences to prove it.

I noticed this phenomena last month when a roofing guy stopped by and spoke to me about the issue we were have with a leak, and how sometimes he's seen squirrels cause this damage. He talked about how, at another jobsite, he caught and relocated the guilty squirrels, and found ways to keep other critters from invading the attic. Then we talked about the colors of roofing that would match the siding and trim. It was fun!

The same man came back a week later and I listened to him and my husband talking. It was a whole different language. There were types of wood, different nailing techniques, the composition of roofing felt and the benefits of singles over slates. No colors were discussed, nor did hubby get the cute squirrel story. Huh.

It's not that the contractors don't try to talk nitty-gritty with me. I think it's just because they quickly realize I don't understand all the things they're saying, and when I get that dazed, slackjawed look on my face, they revert to the simplified version. Which I appreciate.

So, today's concrete contractor stopped by and looked at the project, took measurements, and checked the soil. Then he started explaining the difference between the two varieties of concrete he could use, and I felt myself drifting far, far away into the pleasant world of, "gosh, I wish I cared."

In mid sentence he stopped, evidently realizing he was talking to a concrete neophyte, and said with a smile, "I have a bunch of color samples. Would you like to look at them?"

"Yay!" Now he was talking my language!

My first book, Chase and Seduction was released May 27 from The Wild Rose Press' Cowboy Kink line.




Country music superstar/actor Chase Tanner has yet to be denied anything–and he’s never wanted anything or anyone more than gorgeous screenplay writer Reno Linden. So when the film they are working on is finally finished, Chase decides to turn up the volume on seducing Reno.

Reno Linden lived a quiet, rural life until she was thrust into the Hollywood scene when her book was adapted to film. Chase Tanner is larger than life, sinfully sexy and hell-bent on getting her into bed. Skittish after a failed wedding engagement, Reno risks the plunge into Chase’s arms, and is surprised that her good girl self can keep up with bad boy Chase.

Though Chase returns to his cowboy roots often, and Reno cherishes the time spent with him on his ranch, the two find their careers pulling them in different directions. Will their attraction survive the glitz and stress of fame?


EXCERPT:

“Woman! Don’t make me come after you!”

Reno straightened, showing him her profile. “You could never catch me, old man.”

“Old?” Chase leapt to his feet, and she jerked, dropping the flower. “I’ll show you old.” He stalked toward her.

She let out a shriek and bolted in the opposite direction, laughing crazily.

He took a hop, then ran hard and fast, and was upon her in seconds. Grabbing her around the waist, he lifted her off her feet. “There’s no getting away from me, Reno.”

She slapped at his hands. “Let me go, you evil letch.”

He released her, only to grab one wrist, bend and grab her opposite knee, and lift her over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry, her warm skin rubbing against his, kindling a fire in each nerve she touched.

She squealed and laughed. “Chase, you put me down.”

Dominating her this way sent a rush of desire through him, and her weight felt like a feather as he strode back to their blanket. Reaching up, he swatted her behind. “You hush now.”

Her indrawn breath was followed by a soft moan. Then she asked, “And if I don’t hush?”

BUY LINK


To celebrate the release of Chase and Seduction, I'm giving away, to one lucky *commenter, an e-copy of my novella Her Cowboy Stud. Just leave a comment today and we'll choose a winner tomorrow. *Commenter must be 18 years of age or older to win.



I'm also giving away a cowgirl hat to one subscriber to my newsletter. For more details, and to sign up for this contest, please go to my website, RandiAlexander.com And while you're there, you can read the first chapter of Chase and Seduction.

Good luck, and thank you!

Randi
RandiAlexander.com
WildAndWickedCowboysBlog

June 12, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday 6/12



Welcome to another Six Sentence Sunday! As always, a huge thank you goes out to everyone who stops in every week, reads my six and comments. It means a lot to me.

This week, six more from my contemporary romance After Midnight. This week picks up immediately after my last six ended. In fact, I repeated a sentence to help you remember where we left off two weeks ago.



"Isabeau."

His voice brushed across her senses like a lover’s caress. His hand settled upon her arm.


His very large, very warm hand.


She opened her mouth, but no sound came out. Trapped by the contrast of his pale skin against her darker, golden tones, her mind blanked. He dwarfed her, which at five foot three wasn’t all that difficult to do. Her heart raced. His scent snaked into her lungs with each breath she took.


If you haven't already done so, make sure you check out the new home of Six Sentence Sunday, where you'll find a list of this week's participating authors.


You can also follow the hashtag  #sixsunday  on Twitter.


June 10, 2011

Guest Blogging


I am blogging today at Laura Kaye's blog. I did an interview and will be there chatting on and off all day. Stop by and say hello…



June 9, 2011

Wolf or Werewolf?


I’m Barbara Edwards. My stories are dark and edgy. My heroes have something broken, either their spirit or an important aspect of their lives. Meeting the heroine sets them on the path to healing. All of my heroines are independent, stubborn women. Life has handed them problems that they face with resolution, intelligent, and love.

When Cole Benedict the hero of Ancient Blood revealed himself as a werewolf, I realized I didn’t know enough about wolves in general or werewolves in particular.

I find the wolf to be a fascinating creature. A wolf will mate for life. If there isn’t enough food, the pair will not have a litter of pups that year. Both parents hunt food for their young. They share the training of the young to hunt. A female has been known to adopt an orphaned pup.

Wolves have been hunted to the point of extinction in the past. The repopulation efforts have been met with resistance by ranchers and farmers who lose animals to these hunters. It is sad but true: wolves do hunt. They do kill to eat. And the number of wolves in the wild is increasing.

The other side of the story is that wolves cull the old and sick from the herds, thus making the herd stronger and more able to survive. They can take the young and helpless. So what is the choice or should we leave the wolf to fight a lonely battle to survive?

I’m not a hunter, but hunting is a part of the larger picture of life.

So what does Cole hunt? He’s seeking the cure for lycanthropy. He has vowed not to risk another mate to the werewolf side of his nature. Not all of his pack agrees this is a good thing.

So how did I use the natural laws of a wolf pack to construct the Rhodes End Pack Law? I am creating my own world here, so it was flexible. There are a few basics. My werewolves mate for life. They share the responsibility for their young. They live within the Law.

I used this as the set-up for villain’s behavior. He is a rogue breaking the Law.




ANCIENT BLOOD
by Barbara Edwards
Print ISBN: 1-60154-916-4
Print ISBN 13: 9781601549167
Available at The Wild Rose Press

Lily Alban escapes a murderous stalker, but his vicious attack leaves her with the ability to see auras. She finds safety in the tiny hamlet of Rhodes End where a stranger stands out like a red light. Try as she might to deny her growing desire for Cole, she seeks his help but soon discovers the man she loves is not a man at all. 

Werewolf Cole Benedict resists his attraction to Lily. A botanist researching the healing herbs to find a cure for Lycanthropy, he’s determined to protect Lily from her stalker as well as himself even in human form, but instinct takes over when he changes to his inner beast.

Together they must use their extraordinary gifts to catch Lily’s stalker before he attacks again, but revealing their secrets to one another could destroy their growing love or save them both.


EXCERPT:

“What makes you so important? Or is this another secret?”

Cole’s eyes darkened. “Lily. I’m pushing the line with you. Give me some slack.”

“I want answers, Cole.” She grabbed his arm as he turned and pulled him to a halt.

He gently, carefully drew her fierce grip into his grasp. His golden eyes heated as he lifted her hand to his lips. “I already told you, Lily. You’d have to mate with me to learn all my secrets.”

Urgent need raced from his lips to her center. His scorching gaze melted her from the inside out. All her being longed to step into his arms, to become one in a way she’d never known. She trembled as she recognized the danger.


You can learn more about Ancient Awakening, Ancient Blood or my other books at: http://www.barbaraedwards.net 


Readers: Barbara is giving away an e-book copy of Ancient Blood on June 30 to celebrate. Just go to one of her June blog appearances and leave a comment for her. She's also accepting comments left at her blog. Each comment left equals one entry so the more places you visit and leave a comment, the more entries! The winner will be randomly drawn on June 30, 2011 at midnight.

June 2 at Raine Delight:
http://authorrainedelight.wordpress.com/
June 9 Sarah Grimm:  http://www.authorsarahgrimm.blogspot.com/
June 9 Liz Arnold:  http://www.lizarnoldbooks.wordpress.com
June 10 Emma Lai:   http://www.emmalaiwrites.com/
June 10 Stephani Burkhart:   http://sgcardin.blogspot.com
June 13 Lynda Hillburn:   http://paranormalityuniverse.blogspot.com
June 14 Rachel Brimble:  http://rachelbrimble.blogspot.com/
June 15 at AJ’s Tattered Pages:  http://ajbooks.blogspot.com/
June 21 April Dawn:   http://letstalkromance.wordpress.com/
June 21 AJ Nuest is my guest:  http://barbaraedwardscomments.wordpress.com/
June 25 at The Black Rose blog:   http://twrpblackrose.blogspot.com/

I regularly post on:
http://barbedblog.barbaraedwards.net or http://barbaraedwardscomments.wordpress.com/