Grab your favorite beverage, relax, and let me tell you a story…

After Midnight - Black Phoenix #1

Re-edited, revised edition October 2013

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Dangerously Sexy Suspense

November 29, 2011

Spotlight On...Alyson Reuben

The winner of a copy of Alyson's A Beautiful Cage is Velda Brotherton!
Congratulations, Velda! Look for an email from Alyson.

Please help me welcome fellow TWRP author Alyson Reuben to the keyboard today. Alyson is here to talk about her fabulous debut book, A Beautiful Cage. And make sure you leave her a comment/answer her question at the end of the interview for your chance to WIN a copy of her book!

Welcome Alyson, what surprised you the most when you became a published?

What surprised me most is how, after reading just the first three chapters, my editor Nan emailed me, saying she was almost positive she wanted to give me a contract. I was absolutely stunned. So much so that I actually forwarded her email to my critique partner asking her if I was reading it wrong. She kicked my butt into reality and told me to rush the rest of the story to Nan pronto! lol Guess I've heard too many stories about the process taking forever.

Tell us about A Beautiful Cage.

Wanted by the Gestapo, Rebecca Bloomberg is on the run for her life. Sheltering in the home of a reporter who writes absurd lies for a Nazi propaganda newspaper is hardly an ideal solution. Irresistibly drawn to the man, she dares not trust him, until she discovers his journalist position is a mask for involvement in an anti-Nazi resistance ring.

Gustav Von Furst has done all he can to perfect his mask. Neither his family nor his close friends know the truth. Hiding a Jewish girl is the most foolish risk, yet there is something about her that makes him want to protect her.

Eager to forget the outside world, Rebecca and Gustav are caught up in a private world of forbidden passion—until unexpected danger lands on their doorstep and they’re faced with a decision that will change everything. Will love demand a sacrifice too great to give?


Splaying his hands across her bottom and midback, he pinned her tight.

She froze, motionless, staring up into his shadowed face, into eyes that glittered in the low light. How did he manage to look both irritated and roguish at the same time?

“Let me go, I—” But the words were smothered in her mouth as his lips plunged down over hers. She pushed at him, but he was unmovable. And with each passing second his lips ravished hers, she grew weaker, reserves fading. Even while she thumped his shoulders with her fists, her traitorous mouth opened wide for him.

At what point had she started losing control of her life? Was it when she lost her family? Lost James? When she was assaulted in the alley? Or when it was decided she must stay inside the von Furst home?

Well, there were some things she could still control. And this was one of them. With that resolve, she shot up on tiptoe, angling to bite his lips, digging her fingers into his back. She was going to take control of this kiss, dammit, whether Gustav liked it or not.

Fantastic excerpt, Alyson. I need to move A Beautiful Cage up my TBR list! What is the most emotional scene you had to write in this piece?

Oh wow... there were so many volcanic scenes in A Beautiful Cage! I was on an emotional rollercoaster while writing it! The wads of Kleenexs in my trashcan proved it.

I'm very careful with historical details, making sure I weave them into the story so they don't read textbook style. For all the other scenes I rely on gut intuition. This wasn't hard to do with A Beautiful Cage because I've studied WWII extensively and read about the terrible situations that happened in Europe before and during the war. During the Holocaust, it wasn't uncommon for people to lose their entire family, just like Rebecca did. So, in the story, there is a lot of loss. But it's balanced by some humor and a lot of exciting, soul-stirring romance!

The parts that made me cry the most were in Rebecca's backstory, when she was telling what happened to her family and fiance. Gustav made me cry a few times too, especially when he told Rebecca how he felt about certain issues. Also, the very end of the story made me cry. In fact, the last few paragraphs totally surprised me. I don't want to say why because of spoilers, but I will say there was a bonus element I hadn't planned. And when the final sentence was finished I sat back and stared at it through blurry eyes and asked myself, where did that come from?

The parts that made me laugh the most involved Gustav's grandmother Bertie. She was so much fun to write!

I love those moments when you sit back and ask yourself where something came from. How did you start writing?

I realized my dream to become an author in second grade. My elementary school had a visiting children's author who shared his book and talked a little about the writing process. Something inside me clicked. I learned to read when I was four, and I practically lived and breathed books, so writing just seemed to come natural. From there on out I was always writing stories in my notebooks. And I was lucky to have teachers who encouraged me. They often asked me to read my papers to the class outloud. Nothing will boost a child like encouraging them to share their gift with others.

Of course, I didn't get serious about publication until I became an adult. Even then, I had to practice, practice, practice. And I'm still practicing, constantly trying to sharpen and hone my skills!

What are three things you wish you’d known before you began your writing career?

Three things? Hmm. Well, (1) I've always known writing is time-consuming, but I think publishing really brings home the fact! (2) I had no idea so much promotional work would be involved. And (3) I wish someone had told me how valuable a critique partner is, because I would've found one years ago.

I agree 100% on the value of a good critique partner. What’s next for you?

I have two books in the works. I'm nearly finished with Castles We Build, a story set in the 1920's, born from an idea stewing on the backburner for nearly ten years. Julia finds herself entangled in a terrible web, when, after remarrying a wealthy industrialist, her first husband returns from a WWI prison camp. Very different, and also very emotional. Also, I'm working on A Beautiful Cage's sequel, A Beautiful Tempest, about Rebecca's American cousin (Anna) and a soldier (Holden) she meets in Italy.

They both sound wonderful! Where can we find you on the web?

My author links:

Website:  http://www.alysonreuben.com
Blog:  http://www.abiteofreubensandwich.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/alysonreuben
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/ruapNe
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/sK9TeY

Buy links:
Amazon:  http://amzn.to/tTkunI
Barnes and Noble:  http://bit.ly/uWqXcI
The Wild Rose Press:  http://bit.ly/vkL25w

Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

We were talking about which emotional scenes were hardest to write in A Beautiful Cage, and I confessed that I'm pretty much a sap for tears. My question for readers: When reading a romance (or any other story), which kind of emotional themes make you break out the Kleenexs? What is the most tear-jerking book (or just a scene) you've ever read?

November 27, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday 11/27

He was gentle at first and then, as she surrendered, his mouth explored hers with greater intent. He kissed her almost roughly, completely on fire, sweeping his tongue possessively into her mouth. His hands settled on her hips, gliding upward beneath her shirt until his palms closed over her naked breasts. His moan of approval, so raw and husky, vibrated into her mouth and made her heart pound even harder. The sensation of bare flesh against bare flesh sent waves of heat spiraling from her head to her toes. Her nipples hardened.

Be sure to visit all the Six Sentence Sunday authors. You can find a list of them HERE. See you next time!

*Not Without Risk by Sarah Grimm

November 25, 2011

A Toast & A Giveaway

You're invited to join me at the Resurrection Tour VIP Party over at Author Roast and Toast. Food, fun, lots of laughter, and better yet, hot rock stars. Join the fun!  Oh, and don't forget to leave me a comment to be entered to WIN an eBook of After Midnight.

November 24, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger M. Kate Quinn

Thanksgiving Tradition

Soon the obligations and traditions will pile up like a stack of Jenga pieces. Our families have grown, extended beyond every leaf of our tables, and as much as we do our best to accommodate the changes, we hold onto our traditions for dear life. And, let’s face it, that means food.

My mother’s stuffing is the all-out signature of my family’s Thanksgiving. If any one of us can’t be at my sister’s annual holiday table the first thing we say is, “But save me some of Margaret’s stuffing.”

I’m in charge of pies. That’s been my gig since I became an adult. I started out by trying my hand at homemade crust. I poured through cookbooks, experimented with recipes. I was in my twenties and I was trying domesticity on for size. Then as my family grew and our lives became a crazy maze of activities, I started to cheat. I bought the already made crusts. I bought canned pumpkin. I brought tubs of Cool Whip instead of real whipped cream.

Then I was working full-time and my pie process became finding the best bakery to provide what my family loves: Pumpkin, Apple, and, without fail, Coconut Custard for my Dad.

The food tradition has migrated to our family’s next generation. My daughter-in-law is good for the green bean casserole and my sister’s daughter-in-law makes a batch of festive cupcakes for the grandkids.

And, amidst our familiar comfort food, we have each other, at least as many of us that can manage it. I still make sure we have Coconut Custard pie even though Dad’s been gone for four Thanksgivings. But, he’s still with us, entrenched in our gathering.

Have a memory-filled, deliciously wonderful holiday. Stop by my website www.mkatequinn.com for updates on my upcoming release, “Brookside Daisy,” a romantic comedy about a single mom slinging hash in a local diner doing her best to fulfill her only son’s dream and the obnoxious playboy that crosses the threshold.

November 22, 2011

Spotlight On...Beth Trissel

Please help me welcome fellow Wild Rose Press author Beth Trissel to Off the Keyboard. Welcome Beth! What surprised you the most when you became a published?

After 12+ years, finally getting published was surreal. And that same spring I was a Golden Heart finalist and won the Linda Howard in the historical category. Wow, all in one. Then I found out about promo…whewwww.

Which comes first, plot or characters?

My stories are very character driven. I must get to know the characters well and listen closely to them for the story to unfold.

It's the same for me. What do you expect from an editor?

My editors (I write for two lines at the Wild Rose, so have two) are wonderful. They help me polish the story and better flesh it out, not to mention catching typos. My work is always stronger when they’re through with it. No, I don’t want to selfpub and manage without them.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? 

I have ten published works thus far, both historical and light paranormal. My favorite will always be Native American historical romance Red Bird’s Song, a 2012 EPIC eBook Finalist.

Tell us about your latest release? 

My vintage American Christmas Ghost Story Romance Somewhere the Bells Ring is also very special. It grew out of a vivid dream I had that took place in the old Virginia family home where my father was born and raised and I visited during the holidays—the setting for the story. Somewhere the Bells Ring opens in 1968 during the tumultuous age of hippies, Vietnam, and some of the best darn rock music ever written. That nostalgic era beckoned to me (clamored) as did an earlier one, 1918 and the end of World War One. The ghost isn’t scary—he’s intriguing, and the mysterious gentleman I met in my dream.

Where can we find you on the web?

My Website
My Blog

What’s next for you?

I turned in a historical romance novel, the next in my colonial frontier trilogy (the sequel to Through the Fire) to my historical editor and am waiting to hear back. Meanwhile, I’m at work on the sequel to Time travel romance Somewhere My Lass and will feature the popular secondary character Fergus.

Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers? 

If you haven’t read any of my stories, why not? *smile*

November 19, 2011

Snippet Saturday

A sudden thump sounded against the door, then a second time, louder than the first. Paige jumped, her pulse skipping as the sound came again and again. She screamed when with a resounding crack, the front door swung in and slammed against the inside wall.

The man stood, framed in the doorway, one arm raised and holding the door against the wall to keep it from swinging back at him. His glasses were gone now and the sight of those eyes looking at her, staring at her from a stranger’s face, actually made her feel faint.

Her breath clogged in her lungs. Her body began to tremble even harder. She’d seen those eyes before, staring down at her as she slept. She’d thought she’d dreamed them, but here they were. Eyes so blue that had she not known better, she would have believed they were colored contacts.

“It can’t be,” Paige whispered, clutching her cell phone so tightly her fingers went numb. “You’re dead.”

“Put down the phone, P.C.”

Not Without Risk

available now:
The Wild Rose Press

November 17, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger Grace Hood

So just to get it out there, I dislike tooting my own horn. I know it needs to be done, particularly for those of us who have chosen a small press to publish our magnum opuses. Opusi? Opi? Books.

Added to the pressure to promote, there is also the need to write another story, and then another one. We also need to network with our peers, continue to learn our craft (I love online workshops) and, oh yeah, have a life. Where are we supposed to find the time to blog and tweet? Second to that, where are we supposed to find the time to do something interesting enough to blog about? You surely don’t want to hear about my thrilling exploits in the grocery store, my hair-raising experiments in the kitchen (I’m actually a pretty good cook) or my death defying tending of the hens (one of the little bleeps pecks hard enough to draw blood - she is called Nuggets).

All that is leading up to my angsting over writing this guest post. (I guess angsting isn’t a word, since it has that red squiggle under it.)

I regularly visit fellow author blogs, and if they’re guesting on someone else’s blog, I visit there as well. (Guesting is also not a word. Go figure.) I don’t often comment, well, seldom do I comment. Okay, I hardly ever comment. But I do visit and read the blogs. Quite often they are in the form of a questionnaire. Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I borrowed a few questions. Here are my answers.

I’ve been writing seriously for five years.


If money weren’t an issue, I’d travel. Scotland and France are #1 and #2 on my wish list. Scotland because it’s where my ancestors lived. France because I visited eons ago and it’s beautiful.

Coming Undone is an older woman/younger man spicy contemporary, out now from The Wild Rose Press. My first book, Where There’s Heat, also from TWRP, is also a spicy contemporary. I write spicy.

Chocolate, in pretty much any form. My favourite is Coffee Crisp. Second favourite, Hershey’s Kisses.

Up next on my to-do list is getting a couple of requested submissions out the door. Then I’ll dig into a paranormal romance that’s been sitting on my laptop, drumming it’s fingers, demanding to be finished. And yes, it’s spicy.


Thank you so much, Sarah, for letting me visit your blog today. I’ll be happy to hang out and chit chat. I’ll also give one lucky commenter a free download of my newest book, Coming Undone.

Grace Hood has been creating adventures for her imaginary friends since childhood. As soon as she discovered, and devoured, her grandmother's stash of medical romance novels, all plots had to lead to a happily-ever-after.

Grace writes full time, concentrating on sexy, steamy contemporary romance, hot paranormal romance, and spicy historical romance.

Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Grace now lives in Maine with her dear husband, two teenagers, three cats, one budgie, one surviving gold fish, and six hens. When she's not torturing her heroes and heroines, she can be found either in her kitchen whipping up something chocolate, or in her yard chasing the hens out of the garden.

Visit Grace here:

November 15, 2011

In The Spotlight

Long and Short Reviews is spotlighting their LASR Best Book Reviews
and today it's my contemporary romance, AFTER MIDNIGHT.

Stop by and check it out. You can even win your choice of four books.

November 13, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday 11/13

“It’s not supposed to be just about the finale. It’s about the journey. It’s all about touch, Isabeau. Soft caresses. Slow, deep, wet kisses. Why would you settle for anything else?”

Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to visit www.sixsunday.com for a complete list of participating authors. But be warned...your to-be-read list will expand! I know mine always does.

November 11, 2011

Off the Keyboard Welcomes Emma Lai!

I’m excited, and nervous, to be celebrating the release of Riding Rodeo today from The Wild Rose Press. I’m excited because it’s always exciting to see one of my stories hit the market. I’m nervous because this story is near and dear to me.

A stupid accident robbed the world of a young woman, whose smile literally lit up the room and whose laughter was contagious. How better to honor her than to give her a happily-ever-after?

I struggled long and hard over this story, especially its presentation. After all, an erotica hardly seems the appropriate genre to honor someone’s memory, but while the book was written with her in mind, the characters took on lives of their own, as they often do for me, and the result was Riding Rodeo.

I’ll also admit that while Sean was loosely based on a guy my friend had a crush on, it was my own experience with bronc riders that brought him to life. How much experience? Well, I’ll just leave that up to readers’ imaginations.


The last person Amanda Goodson expected to walk into her bakery was Sean Cassidy, the bareback bronc rider who rode her hard one night and left without a good-bye the next day. Since then, she'd sworn off one-night stands and cowboys, but one look at the man she called Rodeo leaves her hankering for another ride.

A nasty injury ended Sean's career and left him with nothing but time to contemplate past sins, especially the most damning one...walking out on Amanda, the one woman he couldn't forget. Eager to right the biggest mistake of his life, he finds Amanda--and learns he has competition. Never one to back down from a challenge, he offers to fulfill her darkest fantasy--taking two cowboys for a ride.

When the dust settles, will Sean's plan to win Amanda's trust backfire or will she risk her heart for one more shot at Riding Rodeo?

I’ll be giving away a copy to one lucky person who leaves a comment.

Holy Hotness Batman, I HAVE to read this one!
A wounded cowboy hero? 
Oh, yeah, I am so there. Sign me up for a copy!
Readers, make sure you leave Emma a comment for your chance to win!

Oh, and before forget...

November 9, 2011

Guest Blogging

I'm guest blogging today over at Smut Writers Soap Box about the Importance of Music in my life. At the end of the week I'll be awarding one lucky commenter a special gift. Won't you stop by for a visit?

November 7, 2011

Reading Next to the (Kindle) Fire Giveaway

Want help staying warm this Winter?
Then have I got the contest for you!

eReaders and eBooks are hot. So hot, they're on fire!
The Kindle Fire, that is.

I'm delighted to announce that I'm participating in the
"Reading next to the (Kindle) Fire" holiday giveaway. 
The prize? 
A brand, spankin' new Kindle Fire and 20+ eBooks in Romance, Paranormal, Science Fiction, mystery and YA!

How do you enter? Simple. 

1. Join my blog, and/or any of the blogs of the participating authors.

2. Click the Kindle Fire pic in this post to be taken to official entry form.
Fill in the required information (it's just a few smidgens of info), and you're entered! While you're over there, check out the full list of participating authors and books to be given to the winner.

3. Contest will remain open thru midnight on December 15, 2011 Pacific Time. Please see the list of full contest rules on the entry page. All books given away will not come pre-loaded on the Kindle Fire, but will be given to the winner separately.

Good luck and be sure to check out all participating authors!

November 4, 2011

Review ~ LASR Best Book!

Woke up this morning after way too few hours of sleep and discovered an alert in my mailbox for a review from Long and Short Reviews. I admit, I closed my eyes while I waited for the page to load. (yes, I'm a chicken) Then I had to hold back the squeal of joy for fear I'd wake the house. BEST BOOK! Long and Short Reviews rated After Midnight BEST BOOK!
What a way to start my Friday!

"After Midnight is one of those compelling stories that draws the reader in instantly. With plenty of conflict and tension, the pacing of this book keeps growing and growing. Ms. Grimm creates characters that grab hold of your heart and never let go. This is an emotional ride that you won't want to miss...If you love a contemporary romance that has the potential to tug on your heartstrings, then don't wait! Hurry over and get yourself a copy of this book!"

Thank you Sunflower and Long and Short Reviews!

November 3, 2011

Welcome Rachel Brimble!

I'm very excited to have to fabulous Rachel Brimble with me at the keyboard today. A fun new twist today, Rachel asked herself questions. Let's see what she has to say, shall we?

Welcome, Rachel!

What surprised you the most when you became a published?

The amount of time needed to promote yourself properly. In this day and age writers cannot expect their publisher to spend time promoting them when they are busy doing their best to survive in a difficult market. I picked up a tip a few weeks ago that transformed the way I think about promo.
What writers need to do in order to stop promo overtaking their precious writing time is simple. Work out every morning how much writing time you have that day and allocate a quarter of it to promo. Not a minute more. If you only have a hour – 15 mins promo. Works for me!

That's great advice! What is your typical day?

I am lucky enough to be at home full time with my two young daughters right now so I have a lot more writing time than I’ve had for awhile. When they are at school, I write every day from 9am to 2.30 pm and then as much as I can between taking them here, there and everywhere and the housework! Throw a couple of dog walks in there too and by 7pm, I’m done…

What do you expect from an editor?

Honesty and encouragement – I have been really fortunate with all my editors in that I’ve learned something from each of them and felt myself grow as a writer under their guidance. If an editor is discouraging or negative, or even blasé about your work, it can really set you back a long way. Do not be afraid to speak up if something doesn’t feel right to you – BUT there is a huge difference between speaking up and arguing.
Be professional at all times.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I am coming to the end of novel number nine – Paying The Piper (which I am promoting today!) is novel number six, seven is under submission and eight is with my agent.

My favorite? Ooh, hard! I love all my books because they’ve been special to me in different ways. If I had to name one I suppose The Arrival of Lily Curtis will always be extra special to me because it was my first historical and it has been so well-received, I have to pinch myself. It is still my bestseller and it was released well over eighteen months ago!

Buy it HERE

Congratulations! Tell us about your latest release?

It is a contemporary romance set against the gritty background of the UK’s clubs and pubs. Here’s the blurb:

Nightclub manager Grace Butler is on a mission to buy the pub where her mother's ashes are scattered but the owner wants to sell to anyone but her. And that owner happens to be her father...who has a secret she will do anything to discover.

Social worker and all around good guy Jimmy Betts needs funds to buy a house for three special kids before their care home closes. Time is running out and he's desperate for cash. He agrees to to a one-time 'job' for bad-man Karl Butler.

But in a sudden turn of events, Jimmy finds himself employed by Karl's beautiful, funny and incredibly sexy daughter, Grace. Their lives couldn't be more different, yet one thread binds them: they're both trying to escape the bonds of their fathers. Maybe the only way they'll be free is by being together, instead of alone.

Buy Paying the Piper HERE

What’s next?

My agent has just submitted my next book to several publishers so now it is just a case of the ‘big wait’. To tell you a little bit about the book, it is my first romantic suspense in three years so I am really excited about it. It is set in the fictional UK seaside town of Templeton Cove and if all goes to plan this will be the first in an ongoing series.

Where can readers find you?

Website: www.rachelbrimble.com
Blog: www.rachelbrimble.blogspot.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/rachelbrimble
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rachel-Brimble/181873201887441

Thanks so much for visiting with me today, Rachel! I wish you much success.