Hi, all!  Bri Clark has a fascinating new story out, and she's touring with Bewitching Tours.  I brought her over here to share a bit about this book and it's Gorgeous-As-Sin cover!  (ooh and ahh appropriately, please!)

SCENT OF A WITCH
Maeve da Paer has lived her life free from the restrictions of the world of sorcery and the Board of Witchery hidden behind the combined protection of her grandparents powerful clan magic—and a lie. Although her life has not been worry free, it is when all that desperation and grief cause her to cast her most powerful spell ever…a spell that will end the pain before it begins on the powerful All Hallows Eve.

Fionn Hughes, an immortal tracker, former heir to a powerful clan of time warlocks is on a mission to restore his honor—instead he finds Maeve da Paer. Following the scent of Gardenias and Honey Suckle, he discovers the last Scent Witch. It’s only after she almost takes off his ear that something more stirs, eventually changing his mission from one of duty to one of need.

What will Fionn do when he finds out Maeve plans to cancel out her own existence? Will he be strong enough to stop her?


Bri has something special to tell you all today.  And with that, I'm going to turn the blog over to her briefly.


Secrets Revealed - by Bri Clark

Have you ever thought, “Man I wish I could have known about that before it got big?” Such as stock in Apple, or joining Pininterest before it got huge. I’m gonna confess I’m not on PinInterst. But that’s not the secret. However, I think you get the jist.

One thing I love about being a romance reader, author, publicist, and there are a ton of us! We love our romance novels. We are a culture, a force within society to be reckoned with. We even create elaborate conferences where we can indulge in fantasy parties and costumes. (See Romantic Times and RomCon) In short we are amazing.

But where do we hang out online that’s just ours? I know there are Yahoo Groups and Facebook groups and Goodreads. A place for all of us where we don’t necessarily have to go through all the social media. Something a little less tedious than those places.

Well I’ve found it.

And the irony is a man who has regaled us with over 2,000 book covers is the one who created it for us. Talk about real life hero. Now before anyone starts thinking I’m trying to sell something. I’m not. I have no interest in this community other than just to have fun and connect with others in the industry. However, the secret is that while it’s there it’s not been fully launched.
So here’s your chance to be some of the first to know about Romance Novel Center. RNC was created by the cover mode Jimmy Thomas. It’s a place where readers, reviewers, authors, and other industry professionals can create profiles and interact. And it’s free.

I know I’ll be there and I’d love to see you there too. This is one of those things where my gut says “I’m glad I’m a part of it before it takes off.”


~~~~~~~~~


Thanks, Bri!  I'm on RNC too, albeit I haven't had the time to figure out exactly what I'm doing there.

I don't know about the rest of you, but SCENT OF A WITCH sounds incredible. I am so all about witches right now -- they are such a refreshing change to traditional Paranormal Romance. And this excerpt makes me even more interested in moving it to the top of my TBR pile. Here -- take a peek with me!

~~@~~
EXCERPT
~~@~~

Fionn Hughes leaned against the brick building, shaking his head in frustration. Upon his father’s insistence, he’d traveled to this cursed century seeking a prize that had been lost. With the death of the warlock, Patrick Sweeney, the powers of time sorcery had gone with him, leaving only the Hughes clan. Fionn’s father would be furious and terribly saddened to know that Sweeney’s wife, Cordelia da Paer, was dead as well. While Fionn didn’t know the details, the marriage had caused the clan’s centuries-long allegiance to sever. Fionn’s father, Laird Rordan Hughes, was soul-weary, and Fionn feared this might send his father over the edge to seek the afterlife.

Before fear could grip him, he decided to continue after the mortal grandchild of the deceased couple. He had followed her from the Sweeney estate to the downtown Halloween festivities. If the mortals knew the truth of All Hallows Eve, they’d put an end to the commercialized debauchery that occurred every year.

Fionn looked up and cursed. The tangled mass of brown curls with auburn highlights he had been tracking disappeared. Panic bubbled up in his innards, but his warrior instinct dismissed it as quickly as it appeared. A strict warning from his father to use his magic sparingly sounded in his memory, but he longed to call up a tracking spell. He offered another colorful Gaelic curse, causing an elderly woman walking by to jump. After a mumbled apology and bow, he jaywalked to the side of the street near the food vendor. The last time he had seen her, the granddaughter had been near the mobile cart offering saturated fat and processed food. Fionn preferred the simpler fare of stews, homemade cheese, and ciders.

Unable to use magic, he took a breath and used skills acquired as a boy under his father’s guidance. Offering his most dazzling smile, he set his charms on a group of older ladies with low cut athletic shoes and fanny packs.

“Good afternoon ladies.” He bowed and the three women turned and giggled in unison.

“Where are you from shoog?” asked the tallest one, a brunette who was obviously the leader. “You have an accent the likes I’ve never heard.”

“Why, I’m from Scotland.” He offered her a smile but then quickly continued. These women were ferocious when it came to gossip. “I’ve lost track of the lass I was with.” Three sets of intensely plucked then re-penciled eyebrows went up and the tracker knew he had them.

“What does she look like?”

“Where did you last see her?”

“Don’t worry dear, we’ll help you.”

All sounded in unison in their ages-tarted accents, signature for the region. He couldn’t help but smile and felt a tad guilty for lying to the three helpful grannies.

“She’s about your height, long curly brown hair that has a touch of auburn highlights when the sun hits it.” They sighed in unison. “She had a scarlet shawl tied around a long white skirt…” He would have continued, only the brunette started bouncing up and down.

“That way, she went that way,” she declared, pointing down a dark alley in between two very close buildings.

The earlier panic reappeared. Was the woman a twit? It was a night of danger for not only those of Witchery, but mortals too, and walking down a dark alley was most unwise.

Nodding to the glassy-eyed women, he ran to the end of the alley, then stopped and kneeled. The gravel was disturbed, creating a slight pile. Then, going in a western direction, every few feet there was another mound, before finally it stopped at the edge of a wooded area. Fionn sensed a presence of power in the air. But that could be a combination of the coming night and being so close to the haunted Carton Plantation.

Memories of the gracious MacGavok family pulled at his emotions. He had been injured at the Battle of Franklin, the bloodiest five hours of the Civil War. The family had tended to him as well as many others. Randal and Carrie McGavok were truly two of the noblest mortals Fionn had ever known. They would turn no one away based on skin or uniform color. The bodies of the dead had been stacked four feet high by the end. Later, after the battle, the family unburied and then reburied over fifteen hundred Confederate soldiers, dedicating two acres of their land for a military cemetery. When Fionn had asked his friend why, he’d been admonished that everyone deserved a proper burial and last rights.

Squatting so he could look more closely at the ground, he caught site of small bare footprints in the softened dirt. He grinned in triumph, then scowled. One footprint sunk deeper, indicating she was limping. Had she hurt herself? An urgency he didn’t understand pushed him forward, the sensing of power becoming stronger. But as he traveled deeper into the foliage, a feeling of peace seemed to emanate. He puzzled over the source. That is, until the distinctive smell of Honeysuckles and Shamrocks invaded his nostrils.

A Scent Witch. The scent of Shamrocks was exclusive to that line of witches, and the scent was only detectable through their blood. Whoever she was, she was the last, for he knew of no other. And she was hurt.

Fionn moved at the speed his unnatural immortality allotted him. The panic he’d managed to contain before exploded in his chest. If he could bring her back to his clan, perhaps he would be in his father’s good graces again. The flora opened up in his line of vision creating a half clearing along a stream of water and there, sitting along the edge, was an enticing water nymph with unruly brown hair and auburn highlights created by the sun.

Unable to look away, he watched as she moved her feet in and out of the water, allowing him a generous view of long shapely calves that flowed seamlessly into milky white thighs. His throat tightened as craving burned in him. Desire he hadn’t known in a long time warmed his insides. Fionn was no rogue but he was certainly no saint either. However, he had never felt the stirrings of passion as he did viewing the female before him.

With an easy grace she leaned forward, reaching out with her right arm and bending her right knee up to drape water from her fingertips down her leg. So enchanted by the movement of the elegant beauty he didn’t see the dagger that appeared in her left hand until it took off a lock of his hair before firmly ending in the tree behind him.

The realization that he almost died startled Fionn out of his daze. The wild-haired woman let out a particularly unladylike Gaelic curse, and her eyes looked around as if seeking escape. Finally she stopped, face forward staring at the water, then she looked at him. It was only a moment but, in that instant, he saw what his father had sent him to retrieve: the key to their future. Thick lashes, darker than the brows above them, framed light brown eyes with flecks of gold in them, feline-like in their slanting shape. The Sweeney Eyes. Then she disappeared into the water.

~~@~~
YOU HAVE JUST READ AN EXCERPT FROM SCENT OF A WITCH~~@~~

Need More? Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble!


Mmm...yes, indeed, I want to know what happens next!

Meanwhile, here's a bit more about Bri!


About The Author:
Bri Clark is a real example of redemption and renewal. Growing penniless in the South, Bri learned street smarts while caring for her brother in a broken home. She watched her mother work several jobs to care for their small family. Once her brother could fend for himself, Bri moved on to a series of bad choices including leaving school and living on her own.

Rebelliousness was a strong understatement to describe those formative years. As a teenager, her wakeup call came from a fight with brass knuckles and a judge that gave her a choice of shaping up or spending time in jail. She took that opportunity and found a way to moved up from the streets. She ended up co-owning an extremely successful construction business. She lived the high life until the real estate crash when she lost everything.

She moved west and found herself living with her husband and 4 kids in a 900 square foot apartment. She now fills her time, writing, blogging, leading a group of frugal shoppers and sharing her southern culture. Her unique background gives her writing a raw sensibility. She understands what it takes to overcome life’s obstacles. She often tells friends, “I can do poor. I’m good at poor. It’s prosperity that I’m not used to.”

Bri and her husband Chris live in Boise. Bri is known as the Belle of Boise for her true southern accent, bold demeanor and hospitable nature.

Bri boasts several positions in the publishing industry. An author, professional reviewer, blogger, and literary strategist she enjoys all aspects of her career from the creation of story to the branding and marketing needed to make her books successful.

Get in touch with Bri: Twitter | Facebook | G+ | Goodreads | Bri's Blog


Why don't you all share your thoughts -- what's your favorite paranormal type? Witches, Vampires, Demons, Ghosts, Werewolves, or something else?


~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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Yes, these things do happen -- the meeting of romance and sci-fi.  But I'm not talking about books, today.  Rather, the Conquest 43 Convention, in Kansas City, that occured over Memorial Day Weekend.

Less than a dozen romance authors amidst a sea of Sci-Fi and Fantasy fans and writers.  Indeed the end of days is coming!

I have several stories I want to share, but I'm waiting on pictures for a few.  Pictures of, oh, let's say, a noble Templar knight in the flesh?  Or Claire joining the MIB3 team for a while?  Yep... quite eventful, I will say!  I just wish I'd thought to snag a pic of me and my two new Klingon friends.  Oh well -- there's always next year.

In any case, this actually applies to industry and I learned some fascinating things.  First, in romance, we've pretty much embraced small press and independent publishing for the most part.  There's very little resistence anymore, where a year or two ago it was like trying to mesh two like ends of a magnet together.

The world of Sci-Fi, with all it's futuristic thinking, is in that spot now as far as I can see.  Small presses are making names for themselves, but still experience some resistance by the author community.  Self publishing?  Let's just say we have a way to go there yet.  With all due respect, this fantasy-based community would benefit a lot from their fiction counterparts in romance.

And interestingly enough, although paranormal romance authors were invited, and despite my background in Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Gaming design which prepared me for this, I was surprised to find that very, very few authors--some extremely well published--don't know what romance is.  Not that they can't tell a love-story, or that there aren't romantic elements in their plots... but romance as a genre fiction.  After sitting through my first panel, I decided to stop the second one and we began that hour presentation discussing what romance was, what made it romance, what made it different than anything else. Fascinating discussion, but wow... what an eye opener.  There's a huge section of fiction genre writers and readers who still think of the bodice rippers in the 90s.  (And they are all convinced we are all writing zombie romance too, by the way.  Nevermind the insistance that we want nothing to do with body parts likely falling off at inopportune times, and even more inopportune places.  Ahem.)

What happens when we go to romance conferences?

We come home with free books.  There's almost always one or two publishers who've donated books.  Hang on to that, folks, cause I'm telling you it's an evident anomaly.  Nobody handed out books.

Except me.  The Paranormal Romance author who befriended Klingons and coerced a Templar Knight out of the mix. Hee!

Yes, I did give away books, which I think made a few folks have heart palpations.  And this was one area that I simply couldn't grasp.  If someone hands me a free book, I'm going to take it home.  If it's poetry (which Im as likely to read as I am to build an airship) or horror (which I will read only if the other fiction genres die away), I'm going to take that book home, and it's going to go on my shelf. 

Not so with Sci-Fi readers.  And romance novels.

Sci-Fi readers will stare at a romance novel as if it is diseased.  They will make a wide berth around the person distributing the free book, heads ducked to avoid eye-contact, stride swift and sure.  They will take visible steps backward if the author approaches with hand outstretched.

Seriously gals, one author who's been in this game a while, even went so far as to explain he/she couldn't accept my book because he/she had deadlines that began the next day.  (I'm willing to give that poor individual the benefit of the doubt that he/she felt I was asking to read the book.)  But seriously?  Deadlines?

I know what deadlines are, and there's absolutely nothing about a deadline that prevents someone from opening their fingers to accept a book. In fact it takes longer to generate the excuse than it does to say "Thanks" and walk away.

Now... before we go further... it's imperative that I mention, none of this upset, annoyed, agrivated me in any way.  Frankly, it amused the hell out of me.  It still makes me giggle.  I had a blast at Conquest 43, and loved every minuted of it.  The whole romance thing though--hee hee.  We're contagious and we didn't even know it.

I for one am rolling with that idea.  Romance is Contagious.  It has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

The Klingons must have agreed.  They both went home with Immortal Hope, not the least bit afraid.  Then again... they're Klingons.  Not much scares them, as I hear.



~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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Hi everyone!  I hope your holiday weekend was a blast!  I was at the local ConQuest 43 conference, a gathering of Sci-Fi, Fantasy fans and authors with a splash of Paranormal Romance thrown in.  More details to come on that this week.  Suffice to say it was an experience!

As you know, LIE TO ME's release date is rapidly approaching.  This is the second Black Opal book, written under my alter ego -- Tori St. Claire.  To gear up for July 3rd, I've decided that each week I'm going to give you all a peek at the opening of the book.  These posts (through the 1st chapter) will then be moved to my Tori St. Claire website and serve as the extended opening.  We'll have a brief break with a visit from Katherine Grey, but by the time July 3rd rolls around, you'll have the first few chapters here!

Warning:  The excerpted material below is suitable for mature audiences only.  It contains graphic content inappropriate for persons under the age of 18.

A man of action…

After helping to break up a Russian human trafficking ring as part of the CIA’s elite Black Opal team, Alexei Nikanova’s newest assignment is to rescue one of the stolen women and return her to her father. When he arrives in Dubai, he discovers his target is Sasha Zablosky—a woman he knows all too well, and who has haunted him ever since their unforgettable nights spent together in Moscow, two years earlier. But he finds Sasha reluctant to leave her Sheik, the only true friend she’s ever known. Only Alexei can’t give her a choice.

A woman of deception…

With their yearning roused by intrigue, Alexei and Sasha can no longer resist and spend night after night in forbidden pleasure. Soon Alexei finds himself falling for her even as he battles a shadowy menace to protect her. But Sasha is no innocent. She has a past darker than she could ever admit or that Alexei could ever forgive. And it is about to explode into her life once more. Now, as the lies they tell themselves—and each other—pull them deeper into a perilous desire, what began as simple passion becomes a love certain to destroy them and end the lives of countless innocents.

~~@~~

PROLOGUE

Two Years Earlier...


She was moving.

Her eyelids refused to open, but the back-and-forth rocking and the up-and-down motion invaded Sasha Zablosky’s bleary mind. Moving . . .

The monotonous hum of an engine filtered through a dull buzz in her ears. A loud engine. Diesel, and not one built for economy, if she had to take a guess. More like the buzz of the open-top Gaz’s used to transport her and her team to explosion test sites. Only . . . different.

Why in the hell was she moving? What happened to Alexei’s bed, the warm muscular body she’d fallen asleep beside every night for the last week? For that matter, where was he?

Her entire body lurched as the vehicle hit a pothole. The back of her head smacked into something hard, and dizzying nausea rose, threatening to pull her into a dark chasm of nothingness. Distantly, she heard herself moan.

A strong hand latched onto her elbow, grounding her, warm fingertips soaking through her chilled skin. “Easy, Irina. Not much longer now, and it will all be over.”

It took a moment to place the name she’d assumed six months ago when she fled her home, but her native Russian language caressed her ears the same way those warm fingertips stroked the sensitive skin inside her elbow. Sasha focused on the familiar richness, the voice she knew so well. Alexei was here. Relief poured through her.

Grasping at the sound of his voice, she struggled to surface through the fog that clouded her mind. Awareness grew. She was cold and lying on something made of cloth that did little to soften the harsh metallic floor beneath her back. Canvas . . . a tarp. The roar of the engine sharpened; her nose tickled at the faint musty scent.

Memories flashed through her mind. She’d danced for the leering men in her cousin’s nightclub. Stripped for a handful of rubles that wouldn’t feed her through the week. After she exited the ramshackle stage, Alexei had been waiting outside. Long golden-brown hair blew in the wind as he lounged against the brick exterior wall. Her gaze locked with his light green eyes, and all the desire that had flared between them upon her arrival at her cousin’s club three weeks earlier ignited once again. Barely able to keep their hands off each other long enough to make the short ride to his flat, she’d tumbled into his bed. What he’d done to her there . . .

The feel of Alexei’s hands and mouth on her body, the unending ache he created, the way he’d taken her hard and fast, then later slow and torturously—every vivid image burst forth in full color. On her hands and knees begging for release. Spread out beneath him, a slave to the flick of his tongue against her pussy. Astride his firm hips, his thick cock filling her up. She gave herself like she had with no man before. Body, heart, and soul.

It had always been that way between them. Alexei somehow reached inside and touched parts of her she didn’t realize existed. Last night though something drove him as well. When he’d finally had his fill of her, she’d fallen asleep exhausted beyond her means, well used. Significantly appreciated.

Sasha surged through the layered haze clouding her thoughts, and with a startled blink, opened her eyes. Shadows blanketed the small confines, but the hand on her arm kept panic at bay. Slowly, she turned her head. Her gaze registered on Alexei’s unshaven face and his sharp frown.

“Alexei?” She swallowed to moisten her dry throat.

She squeezed her eyes shut tightly to refocus her vision. When she looked again, Alexei’s hand fell away from an overhead lamp. Dim yellow light illuminated the steel gray walls of what had once been a military transport vehicle. He wore the same jeans and loose, long-sleeved black shirt he’d worn earlier. Only he hadn’t fastened his shirt all the way, leaving the first three buttons open to reveal smooth bronzed skin dusted with faint dark hair. The vehicle bounced again as it traveled over uneven terrain.

“Irina, I’m so sorry,” Alexei whispered.

As Sasha settled into her surroundings, she attempted a smile. “Where am I?” She glanced down at her rail-thin body, observing she wore only the bra and panties he’d so easily stripped away earlier. “Where are my clothes?”

The glint of metal caught her attention, and her gaze focused on Alexei. He fiddled with a small leather case in his lap. As his hands paused, a syringe loosely clasped in his fingers, he lifted remorseful green eyes to hers. “You’ll never forgive me, but for what it’s worth, what happened between us wasn’t part of my orders. I didn’t mean for it to happen, but I will never forget.”

Orders. Her thoughts skidded to a stop as Alexei reached for her arm once more. Years spent working in the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation made that word stand out more than anything she’d heard in the last six months on the run. Had someone found her? Discovered what she’d done?

Was this Russia’s way of disposing of a loose cannon?

She jerked free of his grasp. “Wait.”

Anguish passed behind those light green eyes as he winced. He looked away. “You shouldn’t be awake, little one.” Shadows cut harsh lines into his already chiseled features and gave his unshaven face a dangerous appeal. His throat worked as he visibly swallowed.

Struggling to sit upright, she eased away from the enticing pull of his strong upper body. A harsh note crept into her voice. “Where are you taking me?”

“You don’t want to know.”

(Continued next Tuesday.)

~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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Please give a fond welcome to author, Debbie Gould, and her newest story, SECOND CHANCE. 

SECOND CHANCE

Lieutenant Colin Beckett, US Air Force special ops, lost his wife in childbirth while off on a mission. Two years later, he’s still trying to come to grips with the guilt that tortures him. And to complicate matters, he finds himself undeniably attracted to his wife's sister, Emily. Struggling with his desire, he tells himself he doesn’t deserve a second chance with such an amazing woman.

Emily wants Colin in her life and her bed. Enlisting the help of Colin's teammate's and Madame Eve's 1 Night Stand dating service, she plans to prove to Colin he can have everything he lost once again.

Will their one night lead to the happy ending she longs for or the loneliness he thinks he deserves?


I asked Debbie to tell us a little more about herself, and she gladly agreed to sit down and let me interview her.  Here's what I learned!

Briefly take us on the journey with you – when did you start writing, did you start in the genre you’re published in now, what hurdles did you have to overcome, etc.

D.G.: I started writing about 10 years ago, with romantic suspense. RS is still my favorite, but I’ve branched out to contemporary and paranormal romance.

Obviously you write in contemporary romance. Is that your favorite genre to read? Do you write in any other genres, or under any other pen names you’d like to share?

D.G.: No other pen names, just my own. My favorite genre to read it still Romantic Suspense. I love seeing the H&H in peril and having everything work out.

Of the books you have published, do you have a favorite?  If so, which one and why? 

D.G.: My favorite would still have to be Infidelity -- Both the H&H went through a lot of trials to be together. They were both strong and vulnerable at the same time and without each other, I’m not sure they would have made it through.

What are your published titles and please tell us about anything coming down the pipe next

D.G.:  Lets, see…

Mountain’s Echo, Infidelity, and November Rain through Red Rose Publishing
One Touch One Glance, through Freya’s Bower
Second Chance with Decadent Publishing.

I also have a writing partner, L.J. Garland. Together we wrote Sins of The Mind coming out the 20th of this month through Decadent which will be book one of a series. We have also just barely finished Waltz in Fire, book one in a new paranormal series we have. No home or release date for that one yet as the ink is barely dry, lol.

And Debbie's coming back for SINS OF THE MIND -- I can't wait!

Back to SECOND CHANCE, Debbie.  Tell me about your plot development? How did the idea spur, did you have to do much research, any interesting tidbits that we should know?

D.G.: My daughter is in the Air Force and has recently been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan 5 times in the last eight years. I don’t think civilian realize the toll it takes on our military members. So I just wanted to show a tiny piece of that.

Amen.  My S.O. is heading to Afghanistan as well very soon, after several years in Iraq.  Thank your daughter for her service, on my behalf, if you would.  And I totally agree -- those tolls aren't fully realized. 


Let’s talk heroes – What’s one thing about Colin that we wouldn’t necessarily learn in the book? A secret dream, an embarrassing habit, an episode from childhood.

D.G.: He is now actively practicing yoga with Emily, lol.

Laugh!  Nice.  We always win somehow, don't we? 

All heroes are unforgettable in one way or another. What’s one thing about Colin that makes your heart go pitter-pat?

D.G.: He’s so darn vulnerable. He is so much an alpha, but scared to death of losing those he loves. I’ve gotten a bit of flak toward his initial reaction to the loss of his wife. He closed in on himself and was only about the next mission. He let his guilt and grief distance himself from his newborn. In his twisted way of thinking, she was better of with out him. He failed her mother he’d likely fail her. Some readers have been very angry at him for doing that, but men are wired a lot differently than women, and it was the way he dealt with the guilt and loss. I understood him, lol. But then he was close to my heart. He loves deeply and feels loss even deeper. He also (finally) admits when he’s wrong, lol.

If Colin doesn’t have a pet in your novel, what kind of pet would best suit his personality?

D.G.: German Shepard, lol. Strong, capable and loyal to a fault.

Moving on to heroines – everybody has flaws. Sometimes they are endearing, other times they are annoying. What is Emily's greatest fault?

D.G.: Hmmm, good question. I guess Emily’s fault would be not caring enough about herself, and caring to much about Colin. Although it does pay off for her in the end, I’m not sure his behavior in the beginning of the story warranted her affection, lol. Then again, some times you have no choice over who you fall in love with.

Without giving away details that might spoil the story for those who have not read it, could you tell us the one strength Emily provides to Colin?

D.G.: LOL, I think I already have. She was strong in giving his infant daughter a loving home, where he was weak. When her feeling for him changed from friendship, she was strong and fought for what she knew could be a good thing where he ran from the truth until he was no longer able.

If Emily was your daughter – what advice would you give her upon meeting your hero?

D.G.: Go with your gut. Fight for what you want, but keep an open mind enough to know when to cut your losses.

If we peek in on Colin and Emily's lives ten years from now, can you give us a glimpse of what we’d see?

D.G.: He is probably retired from the military by then and they (kids and all) have a close knit group of friends and do a lot of traveling.

Well, let's take a sneak peek at these two folks. 

~~@~~
EXCERPT
~~@~~

Colin took a step back and cringed. “Aw, shit, Bobby. What’ve you done?”

Bobby punched Zeke in the shoulder and shook his head. “Nothing bad. Actually, it’s so simple you’re gonna kick your ass for not thinking of it first, Ghost.”

He doubted it. More than likely he would kick Bobby’s ass. The man worked overtime to hook him up, like he was a damn charity case. If he wanted to get laid, he could go find his own. Unfortunately, the only woman that spurred his senses in the last year had been Emily. He wanted her so bad he caught himself thinking about her during the day and woke up sweat-soaked and hard at night from dreaming about her.

Shit! Maybe he did need to get laid. “I repeat, what have you done?”

Zeke jumped up. “See, there’s this woman named Madame Eve––”

Colin threw his hands up. “Whoa, whoa, whoa! This is low even for you. I don’t need a freaking prostitute. Damn, Bobby. What the hell are you thinking?”

Bobby laughed. “Not that kind of madame. She runs an elite dating service and sets up one-night stands for consenting adults. It’s a no-strings-attached kind of thing. Just two like-minded adults looking for a night of pleasure. That’s it. You both go in with your eyes open and leave the next more feeling a lot less stressed.”

Colin crossed his arms over his chest and lifted a brow, “And how does she go about finding these people and matching them up?”

“Don’t worry I’ve checked it all out. You go on her website, fill out the application. Then she matches you up with someone who meets your needs. She names the date and place and the rest is on you. It’s all legit.”

“You sound like an infomercial.” Colin shook his head. “This is fucking crazy, ya know. I have no trouble finding my own women.”

“Never said you did, Lieutenant,” Zeke said. “But this way you don’t have to troll the bars, hoping to find a woman who wants to get her rocks off exactly like you. We know that’s not your scene, but this way everyone gets what they want and walks away happy.”

Bobby glared at Zeke. “Where the hell do you come from anyway?” He returned his gaze to Colin. “More like a night of mutual pleasure.”

“I have my own ways of relieving stress.”

Bobby snorted. “Uh, yeah. I’m not talking about whacking off in the shower, dude.”

Colin rubbed his hands over his face. Good God, had he really been reduced to this? "Fine."


~~@~~
YOU HAVE JUST READ AN EXCERPT FROM SECOND CHANCE
~~@~~

Before you go, Debbie, a couple more things.


What’s been the greatest contributing factor to achieving the goals you’ve accomplished?

D.G.:  My kids. They are a never-ending source of support and confidence..and material, lol.

How has writing changed your life?

D.G.: I’ve meet so many open, encouraging, smart, whitty, and giving people along the way, be it on-line or in person. It’s such a leasure getting to know other authors and readers.

Many writers describe themselves as "character" or "plot" writers. Which are you?

D.G.: I think I am a character writer. No mater the plot, they are always changing things up on me.

Thanks, Debbie, for stopping in today!  Best of luck with SECOND CHANCE -- it sounds very, very compelling!

More Info About Debbie Gould:

Born in Wichita Falls, Texas, at the age of two Debbie and her mother moved to New Jersey, spending many happy years on her grandparents' horse farm. You'll sometimes find this setting as a backdrop in her work.

As a teenager, she and her mother found a new home in Vermont, where she currently resides. With a daughter in the Air Force, one son in college and the other working for the family business, Debbie now shuffles her time between a husband and full time job as a nurse, and writing.

About seven years ago, while looking at over three hundred treasured books lining her shelves, she realized there was a multitude of stories of her own clamoring for release. Since then, she's seriously persevered in keeping the keyboard in constant motion.

With two novels, Mountain's Echo and Infidelity, and two novellas, November Rain and Second Chance now published, Debbie is now also working with a partner, L.J. Garland. Together the two have written Sins of the Mind and are hard at work on many more manuscripts.

Debbie has been a member of KOD, FTHRW, ELEMENTS and RWA Online.

Visit Debbie's Website | Blog


~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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Hi everyone!

You've been hearing me talk about it, and the day is here!

Fated for Sacrifice, the 5th book in Inherited Damnation, releases today.

Fated for Sacrifice
When Reese Hamilton is abandoned in the snow-laden woods, she must find her way to Dáire McLaine’s cabin—a friend she’s known for years, and the man who makes her pulse triple. Little does she know that a cozy night in the woods will lead to passion they both have been longing to explore. But with the new change in their relationship comes something darker and more terrifying, and Reese must confront danger, even death, before she can be free to love.

Dáire McLaine will do anything to escape his demonic blood and attain mortality, even if that means defying nature’s laws and manipulating Reese’s thoughts for his own means. But when he delves into her hidden secrets, the staggering emotion he encounters makes it impossible to deny the forbidden longings of his own heart. He’s yearned for Reese over the years. Yet to love Reese will demand the ultimate sacrifice—his life.


~~@~~
EXCERPT
~~@~~

“You’re better off without him.” The observation slipped free before he realized it had even registered in his mind.

“I know,” she answered quietly.

He shrugged a shoulder. Might as well delve deep. “What took you so long to figure it out?”

Reese’s hands stilled, gauze hovering over the slice on the backside of the coyote’s paw. She blew out a breath that stirred her uneven bangs, and gave a soft chuckle. Then, taking up her task once more, answered, “I guess I didn’t want to admit failure. He was ashamed of me from the beginning. Never introduced me to family if he could get around it, never left me alone with family when he couldn’t. Talked for me as often as possible.”

Every word she uttered drew Dáire’s gut into a tighter knot. He’d witnessed some of what she mentioned, but that had been at political get togethers, campaign meetings, and interviews with the press. He hadn’t realized Tom’s domineering ways extended into their life beyond the public eye. Damn him. The man deserved a good beating. One that he wouldn’t soon forget.

Dáire reached to help her with the tape. Their fingers brushed as she wound it around the animal’s leg, and a spark sizzled all the way to his shoulder. His gaze caught hers. “But why’d you stay when you could have had something…else?”

She looked away, back down to her fluttering hands. “You mean someone else?”

“Yeah.” He swallowed, his throat as dry as the gauze beneath her fingertips. Though he’d terminated the link with her subconscious, he felt her spirit as keenly as if she’d touched him. This thing whatever it was, hovered between them, snapping and crackling until his nerves stood on end and his very skin tingled. All he wanted to do was touch her. "Tom’s a damned fool. You’re a prize, Reese.”

A slow smile spread across her face as she tipped her head to the side and met his gaze. “And you’re a charmer, Dáire.” She let the coyote’s paw slide from her hands and rocked back onto her knees, distancing herself. Her voice dropped so low he had to strain to hear her. “Tom would have us for breakfast, lunch and dinner, if we let this go any further.”

At that moment, Dáire didn’t care what Tom Martin would do—he had to touch Reese. Had to kiss her again. Taste that sweetness that Tom was too blind to see.

With the briefest glance at the coyote to insure his mental influence remained intact, Dáire caught Reese’s hand. His gaze held hers steadily, daring her to embrace the desire that they’d unleashed. “Tom doesn’t have to know.”

Her brittle laugh caught him off guard, and he gave her a frown. “What?”

“That’s a very Tom-ish thing to say.” Still chuckling, Reese pulled her hand free and tucked it into her lap. “I think I’m done with being hidden away.”

Hidden away? Had she lost her damned mind? He’d show her off to the entire world, if he could be certain she wouldn’t suffer the backlash for it. Driven by a force he couldn’t define, he leaned forward and cupped her face between his palms. A hard edge crept into his voice. “I’m not Tom.”

Before he could rationalize his reaction, he followed sheer instinct and lowered his mouth to hers. Denying her the opportunity to consider things, he nudged her lips apart. His tongue stroked hers, and with the heavy thud of his heart, desire arced through his body. This was what he wanted, what he’d spent centuries chasing but could never find. The headiness of a kiss, the erratic clang of his heart. The utter helplessness of knowing he couldn’t stop, no matter time, place, or reason. The completion that came with such a total loss of control.

Reese’s hands tangled in his hair, holding him in place as she returned his kiss with equal hunger. Her body sank into his, soft breasts molding against his chest, full hips brushing his as she sought the connection he yearned for. He slid one hand down her delicate spine, curved his palm around her buttock, and compressed her against his swelling cock.

Tearing his mouth from hers, Dáire pulled in air and feathered his mouth along her jaw line to the lobe of her ear. He took it between his teeth, suckled for a heartbeat, before he let it slide free. “Don’t say no, Reese,” he whispered huskily.

~~@~~
YOU HAVE JUST READ AN EXCERPT FROM FATED FOR SACRIFICE
Like it?  Buy it today! Only $2.99
~~@~~


~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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Hi all!

For about a week now, I've been going on about news to share.  It's finally time I get to spill the beans!!  And I couldn't possibly be more excited.

Let's back up a minute though.

Every writer has a project that is near and dear to his/her heart.  That doesn't mean we like any of our other books any less, or that we think one is somehow better than the other.  It just means we've had an idea that we sat on for a while, and that particular idea occupied a great portion of our time. Or, perhaps, in some cases the particular project stems from something the author is personally vested in (like when my stallion was put on the cover of Waiting for Yes).  And, in even more cases, it might be because where some projects require "work" others seem to flow from word one.

A while back I had an idea that just wouldn't go away.  I let it absorb me, and by the time the Muse stopped to take a breath, I had four novels outlined chapter-by-chapter and characters who wouldn't stay quiet demanding space in my head.  Exhaustion claimed me before the idea took a breather.  Within a short while, I had a full length manuscript out to my beta readers.

It's with many cartwheels that I'm announcing today, that my first historical romance series will make a debut on August 1 of this year with the release of Bound by Decency.  And for anyone who had to put up with me in New Orleans, and took me on the hunt for Absythe, you know what this project is and how excited I was then about it.

I'm thrilled to introduce The Flying Gang, sexy swashbucklers who, depending on the day, might be friends or might be foes.



The Flying Gang Legacy

With Europe in chaos over who would claim the Spanish throne, the Atlantic waters bred a most despicable lot. Privateers who pillaged and claimed, loyal to no country, more thief than noble mercenary. One man would claim Spain’s inheritance. He would pass it on. To a band of cutthroats more terrifying and deadly than the nightmares of the deep.

As the nations settle into peace, The Flying Gang knows no boundaries. No sea is safe. No shore unchartered. Chilling Rogers raised to the sky, they reign with fear, bound only to the wind, the brotherhood, and the ships they love. One tiny jeweled box strikes a gleam in their eyes. A golden trinket four rogue Captains risk danger, capture, and even friendship to possess.

Until love interferes with their rapscallion hearts…




Bound By Decency
The Flying Gang Legacy, Book I
August 1, 2012

Once, Cain sailed with the cutthroats of The Flying Gang, fearless Captain of The Kraken, bound to no one save the sea. After inheriting a portion of Spain’s Royal Inheritance, he resigned the life of brigands for a chance at honest wealth. With the secrets of his piracy tucked away, he achieved his lofty aspirations. But when his partner and best friend betrays him to the Royal Navy, Cain’s dreams are ripped to shreds. He’s left with his ship, the tattered remnants of a stolen future, and a piece of Spanish mystery. Wanted by three nations and destined for the gallows, he returns to the legendary band of buccaneers for one purpose -- vengeance.

Kidnapped by the formidable Cain, India Prescott discovers he intends to kill the man she’s to marry, Richard Grey. Cain’s story reveals betrayal. Treachery that extends to her as well. Although she holds the key to retribution, India refuses to become another man’s pawn. Freedom lies before her, the liberty to shrug off propriety, make her own decisions, and claim her destiny. But when she uncovers goodness in Cain’s soul and he awakens passion in her heart, she must combat the chains of convention once more.

Only this time India's not fighting society. She’s battling a pirate bent on keeping her decency intact.

SQUEE!  My cover art just arrived and I am delighted beyond words.


~~~ ALSO IN NEWS ~~~

Immortal Surrender Blog Tour scheduling is in the works - there will be prizes
Bound by Deceny Blog Tour scheduling is almost completed - prizes here too
Lie to Me Blog Tour scheduling is almost completed - yep, you guessed it, prizes also
Look for the 3rd Black Opals book (as Tori St. Claire) in November of 2012


~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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Happy Monday everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  We spent yesterday at the air show.  I don't think I'll ever tire of watching A-10s, Bombers, and Vintage aircraft.  One of the things that struck me as we wandered around, was all the people who flocked to the B-2.  We (my demidemons and I) take it for granted, I guess.  We're not far from a base and they test-fly over our pasture routinely.  So for us, the other planes are more exciting.  Though it's really disconcerting when you see the armed guards positioned around that futuristic beast.

Anywho.  Today's the last chance to get your hands on an Advanced Reading Copy of Fated for Sacrifice.  It releases on the 23rd.  And then we are on to even more stuff this year. 

Watch the blog this week for a lot of news, most particularly a very special Tuesday Teaser.  And I do aim to tease this week.

Here's how to play this week.

Comment below on your thoughts about the B-2, or your favorite memory from an air show.  Double chances awarded if anyone in your family is a retired veteran who flew in any of our wars.

The Prize:


Fated for Sacrifice
Inherited Damnation, Book V

When Reese Hamilton is abandoned in the snow-laden woods, she must find her way to Dáire McLaine’s cabin—a friend she’s known for years, and the man who makes her pulse triple. Little does she know that a cozy night in the woods will lead to passion they both have been longing to explore. But with the new change in their relationship comes something darker and more terrifying, and Reese must confront danger, even death, before she can be free to love.

Dáire McLaine will do anything to escape his demonic blood and attain mortality, even if that means defying nature’s laws and manipulating Reese’s thoughts for his own means. But when he delves into her hidden secrets, the staggering emotion he encounters makes it impossible to deny the forbidden longings of his own heart. He’s yearned for Reese over the years. Yet to love Reese will demand the ultimate sacrifice—his life.





~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

Labels:

Apologies to GoddessFish and my visiting authors: The last couple of weeks have been really hard on me with some personal issues going on, and this new blogger interface is driving me insane.  As a result, my posts have not made it up as early as I would like.  GoddessFish is a class-act, and the authors they host have wonderful stories.  I'm tardy, but these folks are great and I very much enjoy hosting them.  Things will be back to normal in the next week, as everything is now in line as it should be.

Fezariu's Epiphany Guest Author
Welcome, everyone!  Today I'm bringing you Fezariu's Epiphany by author David Brown.  I've hosted a lot of books here, and I don't ever pick one that I'm not personally interested in reading.  But I have to say, there's something about this book that stands out to me more than many others.  I can't put my finger on what exactly it is, but from the moment I read the information I was all over this book.  I even ordered it that week....

And it was amazing.  I don't often say things like that when hosting a book, nor do I post reviews.  But this one had to be said.

So let's get right to talking about the book!

Fezariu's Epiphany

12-year-old Fezariu thought his mother died when he was little, but when his beloved stepfather dies the boy discovers she is alive and well - and working at the most famous brothel in all of Elenchera. When she cruelly rejects him it's more than he can bear, and he runs away to join a band of ruthless soldiers for hire. The Merelax Mercenaries will fight for anyone who can pay them, no matter the justice of the cause.

Fezariu grows up among the soldiers and becomes one of them. He thinks his time with the mercenaries has hardened him. But a campaign in his old home town pushes him too far, and he discovers what really happened to his mother. Maybe there are some things money shouldn't buy... and maybe it's time Fezariu took his revenge.


I asked David to talk about what sets his world, Elancharia, apart from other worlds that authors build.  Here's the information he shared with me:

Welcome to the world of Elenchera. If you’re stuck for a holiday this year why not drop on by? We have twenty-three different lands for you to visit, some warm, some cold, others mountainous, others covered in snow or desert terrain and the locals... well, the locals, are a varied bunch as well. We have humans who you should be used to, as well as elves, dwarves, tolderes, valkayans, elamorgias, Cauls, Sargonians and many more. One last thing! You might want to take out travel insurance before jumping into the world of Elenchera. This isn’t a relaxing beach holiday! It’s aesthetically pleasing in terms of the landscape but gritty and uncompromising in everything else.

I first discovered the world of Elenchera back in 1999 and more than ten years later it remains with me. I’ve dug deep into the history and explored the twenty-three lands in detail, recording everything I’ve seen, heard and felt in a timeline stretching beyond 47,000 years and in even greater detail with two novels – Fezariu’s Epiphany (2011) and A World Apart (due May 2012). Elenchera is not for the faint hearted. Amidst the many lives of its races are stories of fierce struggles for survival, happiness plucked from the depths of misery, betrayals, love, war, discovery and wonder.

Elenchera is a world built, shaped and inspired by our own world history. During the development of Elenchera I was indebted to one book, Cassel’s World History, which charted all the significant events in human history and gave me useful insights into the birth of nations, the rise and fall of empires, prolonged wars, advances in science, economy and agriculture, and some truly amazing stories, proving that individuals truly can change the face of history. Though a lot of work has gone into building the world of Elenchera that history as a whole is primarily my concern only. My readers are not being fed endless chronicles of towns and cities; they are offered the stories of the characters that inhabit this world. It is those characters who take centre stage in any novel from the Elencheran Chronicles.

My debut novel, Fezariu’s Epiphany, is set during the Fourteenth Shard, or age of history, in Elenchera and reveals a time when colonialism is prospering and the world’s most famous hired hands – the Merelax Mercenaries – are somewhat in decline. That’s merely the backdrop to the story of Fezariu whose early childhood includes the abandonment of his mother and the murder of his stepfather, all significant moments that shape him in later life. The reader learns of Elencheran history in the novel but it is merely to set them in the moment, not to offer them a seemingly endless history lesson.

Elenchera is a fantasy world but in many ways it is meant to resonate with the reality of life that we live each day. The characters whose journeys you share are meant to take hold of you; their stories could easily happen in our own world; they just happen to take place in Elenchera. I want readers to be able to dip into the novels and feel a part of the world but not to have it overwhelming them. Fantasy worlds are wonderful places and the likes of Middle Earth, Narnia and Discworld are among the best but none of them should ever detract from the story and the characters. That’s the promise I want to make to you when you come and visit Elenchera. Now, bring your guidebook and let’s start this journey...


 
Elenchera is a wonderfully crafted world, David.  Let's share an excerpt from this book so others can hopefully fall in love as much as I have.
 
~~@~~
EXCERPT
~~@~~

Jessamine took hesitant steps forward as she approached Fezariu. Tears began to well in her eyes causing her make-up to run. She glanced nervously at the bar where the patrons continued their bidding before coming to a stop in front of her son.

‘Fezariu,’ Jessamine said, reaching out to him instinctively before stopping herself. She hardened her tone. ‘What are you doing here?’

‘I came to find you, mother,’ Fezariu replied. ‘Peter told me that you were dead but I found the letters you sent him.’

‘How did you know I was here?’

‘I heard two merchants talking about you in the market. I was so excited I’d found you that I followed them straight here.’

‘I don’t understand what you’re doing in Clarendon. Why has Peter brought you here, Fezariu?’

Fezariu paused. The raised tone of Jessamine and her general demeanour seemed alien to him. This was not the same woman that had raised him before disappearing from Larchfield. ‘Mother,’ Fezariu said, with his bottom lip trembling, ‘Peter...died.’

‘What?’ Jessamine replied, her stern voice giving way to wavering uncertainty. ‘When? How?’

‘It was a few months ago. He was attacked and killed while doing his deliveries. Uncle Edward came to Larchfield for Alycea and I. He brought us to Clarendon and that’s when I found the letters you had sent Peter. As soon as I heard those merchants mention your name and the White Oak I knew I had to come here. I will take you to Uncle Edward’s bakery, mother. We can leave together.’

‘I’m not going anywhere, Fezariu,’ Jessamine said, seizing her son’s arm and dragging him towards the front door. Fezariu tried to loosen her grip but could not overcome his inferior strength. ‘I want you to leave, Fezariu. I don’t want you here.’

~~@~~
YOU HAVE JUST READ AN EXCERPT FROM FEZARIU'S EPIPHANY
~~@~~
 
Mm.  Fond memories.  Really enjoyed these two characters.
 
David has a giveaway today!!
 
He will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one randomly chosen commenter at the end of the tour. Follow the Tour! The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. Tour dates can be found here: 


David Brown could be considered a fantasy fanatic, especially since he has spent the last 10 years developing a 47,000-year history for his fictional world of Elenchera. When converting his obsession into literary form, David commits himself to a rigorous writing and editing process before his work can meet his approval. Combined with the critical eye of his wife and a BA Honors in History and English, David's dedication leads him to his goal of inspiring readers through heartfelt stories and characters.

Although David is inspired primarily by fantasy fiction, he also finds his muse in the form of anime, world cinema, history, and biographies. His own books, Fezariu's Epiphany and the in-progress A World Apart, combine aspects from worlds both old and new into compelling tales of a world not soon forgotten., David himself certainly does not lack a spirit of adventure; in fact, he left his job in 2007 in order to spend a month traveling. Second only to meeting and marrying his wife, David counts this as one of the most amazing experiences of his life.
LINKS:
The Elencheran Chronicles: The World According to Dave:
Twitter: Facebook: Goodreads:
Amazon:


~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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Hello Everybody!  Jonathan was here earlier this spring and talked about Flidderbugs and Doodling.  I convinced him into coming back for a Tuesday Teaser (okay, so I didn't have to twist his arm or apply hot coals to his feet.)

DOODLING
by Jonathan Gould
Comic Fantasy

Neville Lansdowne fell off the world.

Actually, he did not so much fall off as let go. The world had been moving so quickly lately and Neville was finding it almost impossible to keep up.

Doodling is an engaging comic fantasy which relates the events that befall Neville after he finds himself abandoned by the world and adrift in the middle of an asteroid field. Douglas Adams meets Lewis Carroll (with just a touch of Gulliver's Travels) as Neville wanders through his new home, meeting a variety of eccentric characters and experiencing some most unexpected adventures.


As you recall, I couldn't get over the premise of falling off the world.  And Jonathan has satisfied my curiosity over this.  Only he's made me want to read a whole lot more, and damn it, my deadlines won't let that happen.  Grr.

But here's the teaser for all of you!


Falling Off - From Doodling
by Jonathan Gould

Neville Lansdowne fell off the world.

Actually, he did not so much fall off as let go. The world had been moving so quickly lately and Neville was finding it almost impossible to keep up.

It hadn’t always been that way. There had been a time when keeping up was not a problem; a time when the world was moving at a nice, leisurely speed and, a gentle walk had been sufficient. But then the world began to get faster. Suddenly, Neville found himself jogging, and then running. His cheeks became flushed and his lungs panted and puffed as they struggled to get the air he needed to maintain his pace.

Still faster and faster the world went. Neville’s life was like a never-ending hundred metre sprint. There was no way he could keep this going. As his legs turned to jelly and collapsed under him, Neville grasped in desperation for something to hold on to. A tree, a stick, a small crack in the footpath. He dug his fingernails in and gripped tightly as the world dragged him along, his hair flying wildly behind him and his legs kicking loosely at the air. His whole body strained and tears began to well in his eyes as the wind rushed against his face.

Slowly, surely, he could feel his grip loosening, could sense the strength departing from his fingers. He couldn’t hold on much longer. Any second now and the strain would be too much. His arms would break. His fingers would be ripped off. His whole body would snap into two. The pain was unbearable. Something had to give.

Neville let go.

For a couple of seconds, he lay, breathing slowly, while the strength flowed back into his body and the feeling returned to his arms. Then he looked up and saw the world spinning away into the darkness of space. Neville was seized with panic. He leapt up and began chasing after the world, trying to catch up with it again so he could get back on board. But he was too slow. Soon the world was nothing but a tiny dot, no bigger than a golf ball.

Neville stopped and watched as the world diminished into a pinhole of blue and then vanished. He was alone. All around him was nothingness. Neville shivered. He wasn’t used to such quiet. It felt strange and slightly unnerving. What could it mean? How should he feel? What was he to do?

High above, the lights of the stars twinkled. To his left, a comet flashed past. To his right, a distant supernova flared in a sudden blaze of brightness. It was a beautiful sight; an everlasting silent night.

Neville was overcome by a feeling of peace. No more desperately rushing to keep up. No more frantically clinging on for dear life. Neville didn’t need the world anymore. He was free.

As he observed these new surroundings, Neville noticed a stream of lights gliding past. He was standing on the edge of a field of asteroids. Some glowed like small planets while others were no bigger than a teapot. Suddenly, Neville had an idea. He would find himself an asteroid and make it his home. Then he could start again, from scratch, to fashion a new world. A world that would work exactly the way he wanted it to. And once that was done, he could get down to the important business of just being Neville.

Neville scanned the asteroid field, carefully trying to discern which would be the best asteroid to choose. Many of them rushed past like speeding racehorses in an intergalactic derby. Neville didn’t want an asteroid that moved fast. He wanted a slow one. One that gave him time to do all the things he wanted to do. Finally, he spotted the right one. It looked to be about the size of a large house and it dawdled sluggishly across the sky like a lazy, sleepwalking pony.

Neville walked quickly towards the asteroid and climbed aboard. It was perfect. Maybe slightly bigger than it had appeared from a distance, but not by too much. There was enough space to play a football match but no risk of having to run too far to get the ball. It might have been cold and rocky and barren, but after the helter and skelter of his previous life, Neville found it strangely appealing. This was just the place to start creating his new world.

First things first. Neville would need a country and countries need borders. Using his heel, he marked out a series of lines on the dusty surface. A couple of straight lines on one side and a couple of twisty, windy lines on the other. When he was finished, the lines enclosed a space about eighty metres by fifty metres. Outside the lines was foreign territory, distant and unknown. But inside the lines was Neville’s country, the place he was proud to call his new home.

Now, onto the next thing. Everyone knows that countries need a name. Neville decided to call his country Bolivia. It was a place he’d always wanted to visit. Now he could finally say that he had.

Having achieved so much in barely a couple of minutes, Neville sat down to consider his position. Here he was, the ruler of his own country. He could do anything he wanted. So what should he do next? Neville thought about all the other things a country needed to have. A capital, a language, a flag. A culture, an economy, a national tree. It seemed like there were an awful lot of decisions he was going to have to make.

Suddenly Neville felt hopelessly out of his depth. This was not how it was meant to be. He didn’t want to have to take all of this responsibility. He wanted to be an average guy, to stand back and let somebody else make the big decisions. He was happy to be one of the ruled, not one of the rulers.

Neville knew what he had to do. His country needed a leader, and in this brave new democratic world there was only one way to properly select one. Have an election.

Neville cast a secret ballot, carefully tallied the result and then loudly announced that the new President of Bolivia was the large rock twenty-seven metres to his left. Neville pledged allegiance to the rock and then left it to get on with the difficult matter of running the country while he began creating his new future.

His new future lasted exactly thirty-seven seconds. President Rock? It lacked a certain something. Neville couldn’t see it doing any of the things presidents are supposed to do, like attending functions or making speeches or organising policy at both a national and international level. As a head of state, his rock was sadly inadequate.

At that moment, Neville came to a sad realisation. Much as he’d come to love Bolivia and feel comfortable and welcome there, he knew that it was never going to be the sort of world he had hoped it could be. It was time to move on.

After saying a fond farewell to the President, Neville climbed off the asteroid and trudged away into the inky blackness of the universe. In search of a better place for a Neville. In search of somewhere to call his home.

Like it?  BUY IT NOW (It's only .99 cents folks.  Run to Amazon!)

~~~~~~~~

More About Jonathan:
Jonathan Gould has lived in Melbourne, Australia all his life, except when he hasn’t. He has written comedy sketches for both the theatre and radio, as well as several published children’s books for the educational market.

He likes to refer to his stories as dag-lit because they don’t easily fit into recognisable genres (dag is Australian slang for a person who is unfashionable and doesn’t follow the crowd – but in an amusing and fun way). You might think of them as comic fantasies, or modern fairytales for the young and the young-at-heart.

Over the years, his writing has been compared to Douglas Adams, Monty Python, A.A. Milne, Lewis Carroll, the Goons and even Enid Blyton (in a good way).

Visit Jonathan's Blog
Follow Jonathan on Twitter





~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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I have a cover reveal winner, folks, and I'll have to come back to post what day she entered.  But it is Erin H, who received an advance copy of Fated for Sacrifice.

Fated for Sacrifice
Inherited Damnation, Book VI

When Reese Hamilton is abandoned in the snow-laden woods, she must find her way to Dáire McLaine’s cabin—a friend she’s known for years, and the man who makes her pulse triple. Little does she know that a cozy night in the woods will lead to passion they both have been longing to explore. But with the new change in their relationship comes something darker and more terrifying, and Reese must confront danger, even death, before she can be free to love.

Dáire McLaine will do anything to escape his demonic blood and attain mortality, even if that means defying nature’s laws and manipulating Reese’s thoughts for his own means. But when he delves into her hidden secrets, the staggering emotion he encounters makes it impossible to deny the forbidden longings of his own heart. He’s yearned for Reese over the years. Yet to love Reese will demand the ultimate sacrifice—his life.

I'll be featuring this book for a while, as it releases this month.  If you missed your copy on the Cover Reveal Contest, today it's up for a Monday Pick Me Up! 

Here's what you need to do:

Answer the following in the comments section below:  Who is your favorite romance hero of 2012 so far? (Can be any genre of romance, and does not have to be related to my books.)

I'll choose a commentor at random for another copy of Fated for Sacrifice!






~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

Labels: , ,

Hi, everyone!  I'm thrilled to bring you a very talented author today.  I've known Nana for a few years now, and became a fan of her writing with her first book, Game, Set, Match.  She has a lovely way with words, and the emotion she includes really packs a punch.

So today, I've invited her back to tell us a little about herself and about her newest release, Sexy In Stilettos.  Let's hear what she has to say before we talk about this awesome new book.

Nana, briefly take us on the journey with you – when did you start writing, did you start in the genre you’re published in now, what hurdles did you have to overcome, etc.?


N.M.: I started writing in 2000 after reading Bridget Jones’s Diary. I wanted to be able to make people laugh or cry or both at the same time with my works. It took me ten long years to publish my first book. After Reading Bridget, I just plunged into the deep end of my first novel without thought to story structure, plot or characterization. In short, I had no idea what I was doing. But I was eager to learn, so I took classes, learned to submit, got over a hundred and fifty rejections and my first novel was published in 2010. Game, Set, Match. I’m so grateful to my editor, Tori Spence at The Wild Rose Press for seeing something in that story.

It's a great story.  Can I plug it some more? (Seriously folks, it's a great story!)

Ahem.  Got distracted there.  Obviously you write in the Contemporary Romance genre. Is that your favorite genre to read? Do you write in any other genres, or under any other pen names you’d like to share?

N.M: I do really enjoy contemporary romance. Particularly Interracial. They’re stories I can relate to, like they could be my friends. I also write in Paranormal. And when I’m looking for an escape into a new world, that’s what I read.

Of the books you have published, do you have a favorite? If so, which one and why?

N.M: Oh man. Such a hard question. To be fair, I will say my current book Sexy in Stilettos because Jaya is probably the closest character to my personality.

What are your published titles and please tell us about anything coming down the pipe next

N.M.: Game, Set, Match - Sexy Contemporary
Reluctant Protector – Superhero Paranormal
Sexy in Stilettos – Sexy Contemporary

I am currently working on the sequel to Reluctant Protector called Forsaken Protector due out in June. And right behind that one is the sequel to Sexy in Stilettos called Sultry in Stilettos, due out in August.

Oooh -- busy schedule!  But exciting to be sure.

Let's talk about Sexy In Stilettos -- but first, check out this cover, all!  And the blurb as well.


SEXY IN STILETTOS

What's worse than having to watch your sister marry your ex fiancé? How about when that fiancé fires you from the family business?

Hyper-organized, event planner Jaya Trudeaux is used to doing things by the book and never making waves. It’s a strategy that’s served her well until she finds herself in failure alley with no fiancé, no job and her thirtieth birthday looming. Maybe it’s time to change her methods. Starting with an unlikely date to the wedding from hell.

The only thing that can tie carefree playboy, Alec Danthers down is his formidable step mother. When she calls him home to help find his wayward brother, he never imagines an uptight, list making, sass- talking woman would make him think about putting down roots.

Can Jaya put the lists down long enough to enjoy the ride that is Alec? Will Alec stop running long enough to recognize true love

Nana, could you tell me about your plot development? How did the idea spur, did you have to do much research, any interesting tidbits that we should know?

N.M.: The idea was a simple one. Anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m hyper organized and love me a to-do list and will never do anything without a plan. I am married to a man who hates to be project managed and loves to be spontaneous. Alas, we often clash.

I started thinking about the most extreme versions of our personalities and how in the world a couple like that would get together.

As for research, I have plenty of experience planning trips, keeping the details in my head then “suggesting” things to do to my husband on the trip to appear more spontaneous

Laugh!  After my own heart, I swear.  We project managers have a way about us... Nuff Said!
Let’s talk heroes, cause yours are to die for.


What’s one thing about Alec that we wouldn’t necessarily learn in the book?

N.M.: He’s always wanted to learn Krav Maga but alas, that would take sticking around to study it, so it hasn’t happened yet. Perhaps Jaya will make him a plan to get it done.

All heroes are unforgettable in one way or another. What’s one thing about Alec that makes your heart go pitter-pat?

N.M.: I always think about their meet scene where she literally walks into him and his first impulse is to hold her, make her feel better, no questions asked. Deep down, he’s a solid guy, he’s just too scared to commit.

If Alec doesn’t have a pet in your novel, what kind of pet would best suit his personality?

N.M.: A virtual one. He wouldn’t have to commit to feeding it or anything.

Hah!  Too funny.

Moving on to heroines...


Everybody has flaws. Sometimes they are endearing, other times they are annoying. What is Jaya's greatest fault?

N.M.: She’s extremely closed off to change. It literally makes her seize up and break into hives.

Cough.  Nothing related to yourself there, eh?  I know change drives me through the wall.


Without giving away details that might spoil the story for those who have not read it, could you tell us the one strength Jaya provides to Alec?

N.M.: She centers him. Because she’s so loyal and looks ahead she forces him to take a look at his life and examine if he’s happy.

If Jaya was your daughter – what advice would you give her upon meeting your hero?

N.M.: *Grinning* Give him hell and make sure he has a detailed plan for getting there.

Well said, well said! 


If we peek in on your hero and heroine’s lives ten years from now, can you give us a glimpse of what we’d see?

N.M.: Alec and Jaya on vacation with their two kids with Jaya and the children armed with hidden guidebooks and maps all “suggesting” cool things for the family to do. All the while, tickets are bought and spots reserved

Since we've heard so much about them, I want to show off this excerpt.  Sit back and enjoy, readers!

~~@~~
EXCERPT~~@~~

Alec + Alec + Alec equaled So. Totally. Screwed.

Jaya slapped her hands over her flushed face. What the hell had she been thinking, sleeping with Elevator Guy? She’d bought in to Micha’s whole moxy pep talk. Stupid, stupid, stupid. More stupid if she just lay here, waiting for Mr. I’m a Sex God to wake up. Awkward post coital—make that multiple coitals morning-after seshes—were so not her thing.

Launching herself up, she darted a glance at Alec. Talk about excellent bed partner. He certainly knew what he was doing. That’s probably because he’s slept with every woman from here to Sweden, honey. Don’t go thinking it’s something it’s not. While she talked her body out of believing all the things Alec had told her last night, she tried to stretch as achy muscles protested in a honey-you-used-muscles-you-had-no-business using way.

Lifting the sheet covering her to the neck, she peeked down. Yeppers, definitely naked. Not at all a dream. As the events of the previous night started to unpeel themselves like an onion, she flushed again. She'd slept with him. More than that, she'd seduced him. And somewhere in the foggy sex haze, she’d asked him to be her date.

Jaya blushed when that memory flooded her brain.

“Oh, God.” She cringed when the whisper filled the silence. What had gotten into her last night? She'd barely had anything to drink, so it hadn’t been the alcohol clouding her brain. It had been her stupid plans. They'd gotten her jazzed. She’d listened to her friends. Worse, she’d wanted to believe she could be someone different. Once she figured out how to get her life back, her brain had started to think she was invincible—like she could make anything happen. And she had. She peeked under the sheet one more time and still, she wasn’t wearing any clothes. Three, no make that four times—with a total stranger. Well at least he hadn’t killed her and chopped her up into the freezer. Thank Buddha for little favors.

Okay, must escape before the awkward, gosh-I've-seen-you-naked-now-we-must-make-small-talk conversation. If she could slip out without waking him, she'd never have to see him again. Never mind the fact that's she'd asked him to be her date for the wedding. Damn, she'd practically offered to pay him—with her body. She covered her eyes. Moron didn't even begin to cover it.

Okay, girly, find your big-girl panties and bounce. Erm, make that thong. Standing up, she swept from side to side, looking for her dress. Nowhere in the bedroom. A stirring in the bed had her freezing like a cockroach in the daylight. When Alec settled himself back to sleep, she let out a long breath. Right. Dress came off in the living room. She padded out to the main room. Success.

While shoving her arms into the slinky red number, she allowed herself a little pat on the back. Yeah it was a stupid stunt, but God knew she needed it. That was the first time she'd had sex in nine very long months. Since Derrick, actually. She'd gone for it—all out. No holds barred. Problem was, now that she’d had sex-so-good-you-wanna-slap-your-ex, she remembered how much she liked sex—craved it. Even worse, she really liked sex with Alec.

Her body melted into readiness at the mere thought of his sure touch. Too bad you won’t be doing that shit again. Grab your panties and wallet and go. Except, she still couldn’t find her damn panties. They'd been on the table when Alec had taken them off, but she had no idea where they were now. Whatever. She could buy another pair. She grabbed her clutch and made a beeline for the door. Glancing down at her bare feet, she frowned. Oh, right. Shoes. She’d kicked them off somewhere around here.

Finding the stupidly expensive shoes under one of the foyer chairs, she slipped them on, immediately lost her footing, dropping her purse. Shit, shit, shit. Gathering the wayward items, She checked around to see if she could see the panties but couldn't. Get gone love. No more one night stands for you. Most important, no more Alec Danthers. Reckless didn’t even begin to cover her behavior. There were reasons for rules. And she was a rule follower to the letter.

~~@~~
YOU HAVE JUST READ AN EXCERPT FROM SEXY IN STILETTOS~~@~~


Yum -- that sounds very entertaining!  So a little more about you, Nana, before we let you run away to that vivid imagination.

What’s been the greatest contributing factor to achieving the goals you’ve accomplished?

N.M: I’m driven as hell and loathe the word no.

Do you have goals you have yet to meet?

N.M: Releasing 7 books this year. Though, I’m nearly halfway nearly halfway there.

What fictional character would you like to be, and why?

N.M.: Lizzie Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. There was a woman never afraid to speak her mind.

Thank you, Nana, for stopping in today.

For those of you who are as fascinated by Jaya and Alec as I am, here's some more information:

Biography:
Nana's love of all things romance and adventure started with a tattered romantic suspense she borrowed from her cousin on a sultry summer afternoon in Ghana at a precocious thirteen. She's been in love with kick butt heroines ever since. With her overactive imagination, and channeling her inner Buffy, it was only a matter a time before she started creating her own characters.

Waiting for her chance at a job as a ninja assassin, Nana, meantime works out her drama, passion and sass with fictional characters every bit as sassy and kick butt as she thinks she is. Though, until that ninja job comes through, you'll find her acting out scenes for hubby and puppy while catching up on her favorite reality television shows in sunny San Diego.

Get in touch with Nana:











~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

Labels: ,

"Victorians used the term 'limbs' as a euphenism for legs, which were thought to be so sexually exciting to a man, even a glimpse of a table leg could incite him to sexual frenzy. Table skirts were invented to prevent any unnatural unions between men and furniture."
~
(History Channel International)

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