Art

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Art can be found anywhere—on canvas, on the sides of buildings, through a camera lens. It can also be found on skin, and not just in the form of tattoos. When Isaac (Only for the Moment) waltzed into my brain while writing Only for the Night, I had no idea that his fascination with rope would lead me to art.

What do you think?

 

Images by Homo Inanis and NFGphoto. See license here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

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Celebrate the Positive Stuff

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One of the things I’m trying to learn this year as I work toward a POSITIVE LIFE is learning to let go of the need to control everything.

Yeah, I had to laugh at that a little bit.

I am the queen of control. Nothing causes me more stress than a situation I can’t control. Actually, I think that’s true for most people. I’m slowly learning to sift what I can control and what I can’t, and breathing away the frustration of what I can’t. One example: I can’t control how many words flow from my fingers into my manuscript every day. What I can control are the hours I put in at the computer. It’s frustrating sometimes—I want to make faster progress, get farther, finish sooner. But I can’t.

On the other hand, sometimes I get a surprise: more words than I wanted. And that’s a day to celebrate! 😊

Book Clubs

I have an admission: I’ve never been part of a book club. 😳 I like the idea of them—I was, after all, a literature major in college and essentially assigned books to read all the time. But a romance book club sounds like a dream come true to me.

 

Have you ever been part of a book club? What was it like? What did you read? I’d love to live vicariously through your comments. 😉 

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Romance and Giveaways!

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* * * February Monthly Contest * * *

It’s February, the month of LUV! Let’s celebrate with this month’s contest. What is the most romantic line you’ve ever read in a romance novel? A poem? Heard in a film? Share it with us! Comment below and you could win a $10 Amazon gift card (or other retailer, if desired) and a signed paperback copy of DECEIVE  ME.

Head on over to my Facebook page for your chance to win!

 

*** Likes and shares with your booklover friends are appreciated but not required! Contest ends FEBRUARY 23rd! ***

 

Inspiration

 

I admit, with all the concentration on ASSASSIN’S MARK, I’ve struggled to keep my head in Kennedy and Isaac’s world as well. I needed some fresh inspiration, so I went back through my world-building file for ONLY FOR THE MOMENT and did some digging. Turns out I had the perfect inspiration just waiting for me.

 

These two images. Mind. Blown.

 

MOMENT is a book about baring your soul more than baring your scars. Slowly unfurling the shadows that you hide behind to reveal that most secret part of you to someone else. Recognizing your desires and needs and accepting them—for you, most of all, not to please someone else. I can’t wait to share this journey with you later this spring. It’s a different pace of erotic romance, but I think you’ll love it as much as I do.

 

Head on over to my Facebook page for a peek at these images!

Positive Life

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Many people have talked this month about their “word for the year.” This is a concept I absolutely love, a way to narrow down your focus to one concept that you want to bring into your life. Too often we have 50 million goals and accomplish none of them. I like to focus in and actually get somewhere, LOL!

I have more than a word for this year, though. It’s a phrase: POSITIVE LIFE. I’m looking to inhale the positive and exhale the negative. Be happy with my life and my choices and my goals, and strip away the things that cause anxiety and stress and depression. What about you? Do you have a focus word or phrase for this year? Do you set New Year’s resolutions every year? I know I’m not the only one, and I’m hoping this year will be better and happier and more positive for us all!

Too Many Books?

So many books, so little time. That’s what we say. And now more than ever, our favorite authors are releasing books at a tremendous rate. Always good, right?

 

I’m wondering about reader fatigue today. Y’all know that before ASSASSIN’S MARK started releasing, it had been a long eight months since my last release—March, 2017. I love that I can get regular installments of some of my favorite series, but I sometimes look at all the Tuesday release day compilation posts and get…overwhelmed. Where do I start? Which series is that book with? What if I want to try something new, how do I figure out which book from a new author to try, their current release or something older?

 

It’s a lot to take in sometimes!

 

What about you, readers? Do you get overwhelmed by all the releases? Do you love that some authors produce books fast, and some slower, so you have time to catch up, savor the anticipation? What’s your take on the quick-release reality of romance books in this new age? Inquiring minds want to know! 😉 

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What's In The Box?

* * * January Monthly Contest * * *

This month it’s all about surprises and anticipation! I have an assorted grab bag of paperback books, a MYSTERY BOX, that I’ll be mailing to this month’s winner, along with some great swag. (International entries are welcome!)

 

So tell me, what are you looking forward to this year? I have several things that I’m anticipating, personally and professionally, not the least of which is releasing another book this spring (MOMENT, anyone? 😉 ). My son starting his senior year of high school in the fall. The possibility of getting a new (to me, lol) car. What about you? What is going on in your life right now that you’re relishing? Let’s share some good things for 2018!

 

Head on over to my Facebook page for your chance to win!

 

*** Likes and shares with your booklover friends are appreciated but not required! Contest ends JANUARY 26th! ***

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Life After Christmas

Life after Christmas!

I don’t know about y’all, but I love Christmas — and I hate cleaning up after the holidays. Really hate it! Still, there’s something about getting everything put away, straightened up, and cleaned that speaks to a healthy start to the new year.

I’ve done the same with my goals and plan for 2018. Thanks to the fabulous Maggie Worth, I created a fresh plan for the year with goals that truly speak to me and support the life I want to live.

How about you? What’s your most important goal for the new year, or are you just winging it? (You pantser, you!)

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What's Your Favorite Christmas Story?

I’m running around finishing last minute details for Christmas and working on Assassin’s Mark and Only for the Moment at the same time, so there’s not a lot of time for reading this month. But at night, after all the evening chores are done and I can finally crawl into bed, I take at least a few minutes to read. The problem? I really want to read a sexy Christmas book, and there are none on my TBR.

Help me out, dear readers! Share your favorite Christmas story for bedtime reading—must include sexy times, please! I’ll choose one commenter for a surprise $5 Amazon gift card on Sunday at noon! Head over to my Facebook page for your chance to win!

 

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Release Day!!

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*** It’s release day! ***


ASSASSIN’S MARK releases exclusively today on Radish Fiction! Seven chapters are live, and new chapters will appear every Tuesday and Friday. Not sure you want to check it out? How about the opening chapter to get a little taste of what you’re in for?

And it wouldn’t be release day without a contest, would it? I’ll be giving two lucky readers 100 coins to use on the Radish app! To enter:

– Download the radish app from your phone/tablet’s App Store. (It’s free!)

– Create your username and password.

– Check out ASSASSIN’S MARK by searching for my name in the app, or following this link from your phone or tablet: 

https://radishfiction.com/stories/S1OkqkMfG

– Take a screenshot of ASSASSIN’S MARK on your phone/tablet and post in the comments!

That’s all you need to do for a chance to win. Oh, and just a reminder—the first three chapters of ASSASSIN’S MARK are free on @RadishFiction, so check it out!

Head over to my Facebook page for your chance to win!

*

Chapter One

I’m not sure what I expected. I’d been to bars, but not the kind of bars with pool tables and smoke haze and men on the prowl for a one-night stand. The bars I’d been to specialized in cocktail hours and old men in business suits. The Full Moon wasn’t refined or elegant or quiet.

It was everything I was not. Exactly where I needed to be tonight.

“What’ll you have?” the bartender asked. He was staring at Candy’s breasts, but she didn’t seem to mind, just flashed him a sexier version of her friendly smile. Had she slept with him before?

It was Renee who answered. “Pitcher of strawberry margaritas, Dave.”

“Make that two,” Candy tacked on.

Dave the Bartender nodded at her cleavage. “I’ll send ‘em right over.”

I followed my friends through the crowd toward a table Sarah had snagged while we ordered. The three women obviously had a routine. I’d known they were close, and the fact that they’d extended their little circle to include me from the first day we met in Nursing 101 class had touched me in ways they couldn’t possibly understand. They were normal girls with normal lives and normal homes. I wasn’t, but if they’d noticed, they didn’t mention it. No flicker of recognition at my name, no questions about where I lived or why I never went out when they invited me. Just basic friendship, no strings attached.

They had no idea how rare that was.

“So, Abby, see anything interesting?”

Too much, actually. Heat flushed my cheeks. “Um…”

Sarah giggled. “Wait till she’s got at least one margarita in her, Renee. Then ask.” She bumped my shoulder with hers. “The selection always looks better the later it gets.”

The selection already looked pretty good to me. Most of the men were our age—early twenties—and not a suit and tie to be found. Jeans and half-buttoned shirts and messily styled hair were the go-to. A tattooed forearm or the wink of an earring wasn’t rare. Beers in hand, the men joshed each other while prowling the room, hungry gazes assessing each woman they came to. One by one they’d peel off with their choice, either to the dance floor or a table or the front door.

What was it like to be the women they chose? In the circles my family required me to frequent, the barrier of my father’s name and status kept men away from me. Here, there were no barriers except my friends and my own insecurities. The idea that I could choose to ignore both and do whatever I wanted quickened my breath. Either I was excited or about to hyperventilate; I wasn’t certain which.

I refused to let the terror win anymore.

The margaritas arrived and we each poured ourselves one. The fruity yet tart liquid set my tongue alight like a sparkler on the Fourth of July, a pleasure I hadn’t experienced before. I savored it as I listened to the girls’ giggling commentary about each man who walked by. It wasn’t long before the room went hazy with something other than smoke and I found myself joining in the conversation without reservation.

I was pouring my second margarita when my phone vibrated in my back pocket. Two shorts, one long: my father. A healthy gulp helped bolster my confidence before I pulled the cell out for a look.

I shouldn’t respond, shouldn’t care, but I clicked on the message anyway, just to see. Maybe he’d changed his mind. Maybe he was worried about me. Maybe he wanted to apologize, tell me he loved me for once in twenty-one years.

Where the hell are you?

Or maybe not. I returned the phone to my pocket.

Sarah leaned close, her voice low. “Everything okay?”

Renee and Candy were focused on the table of men to their right. I gave Sarah a wry smile. “My dad.” I took another drink. “It’ll blow over, I’m sure.”

Sarah laid her hand over mine on the table and squeezed. The gesture mesmerized me. I couldn’t remember the last time someone had touched me because they cared. How sad was that?

My phone buzzed again. I ignored it.

“Holy shit.”

Sarah’s hand left mine to grasp her drink. She took a gulp, her gaze trained somewhere over Candy’s head. I followed it.

Holy shit is right.

The man was tall, dark, and dangerous with a capital D. I’d never seen anyone like him, anyone who made my insides clench just looking at him. Thick dark hair, long on top and shaved close on the sides, highlighted perfect ears and a jaw chiseled from granite. His eyes seemed too light for that hair and his olive skin, shining like spotlights beneath dark brows, almost too intense to bear. And those lips. God. They hinted at sensual pleasures I could only guess at.

He prowled across the room, a lean, muscular panther intent on prey—every woman’s fantasy, including mine.

And he was headed straight for us.

My gaze dropped to my drink. The tables around us held either men or couples, so I wasn’t mistaken about his focus. Which girl was he interested in? Sarah with her sweet smile? Or maybe Candy, with her unabashed sensuality?

An empty glass stared back at me. I reached for the pitcher.

“Hello, ladies.”

My hand froze on the handle as the words quivered through my body. Look up! Look at him! But I couldn’t; I could only sit there like a dumbass holding the pitcher in my shaking grip and praying I didn’t make a fool of myself.

No fear, remember?

No fear. I tightened my grip, lifted. So far, so good. Somehow I managed to pour a fresh drink without spilling, replace the pitcher on the table. Despite the sick pounding of my heart in my throat, I made myself glance up.

Gray eyes locked with mine.

Lord, he’s beautiful.

I expected him to look away, to focus on one of the other women. He didn’t. He stared—at me. Until the urge to squirm crawled up my spine and my cheeks burst into flames.

“Hello.”

Was that my voice, all breathy and…suggestive? It must’ve been; the other girls were staring, silent, their round eyes just as awed as I’m sure mine were. I looked back to the man looming over our table.

He reached a hand out to me. “I’m Levi.”

My fingers settled into his grip like they had been created to fit him. “Abby.”

My voice cracked. I cleared my throat.

“Hi, Abby.” He didn’t let go of my hand, didn’t glance around. Just held me captive with those intense eyes. “Would you dance with me?”

Surprise!

A couple of weeks ago I said I might have a surprise for y’all, and guess what? I do!

A surprise book release!

For months I’ve been hinting at a project that’s a wee bit different than my other books—an assassin series written in first person. That series has been picked up to run as an exclusive serial on radish fiction beginning on December 19th.

Book one, ASSASSIN’S MARK, will begin with the first seven chapters next Tuesday. To get us ready, I thought I’d share the inspiration for the opening scene where Abby and Levi meet: Rixton’s “We All Want the Same Thing.”

 

Hawt!!!

https://youtu.be/zsOjijsMt9M

ASSASSIN’S MARK

Assassins Book 1

 

I knew the minute I saw him that Levi Agosti was too perfect to be real. I didn't care. He came to me, asked for me, and, dazzled by his dark good looks and the bad-boy aura surrounding him, I gave in. Willingly.

My father is set to become the next governor of Virginia, and he'll use me to get there if he has to. He'll hand me over, virginity and all, to the man with the biggest bank account and political pull.

 

I wanted something more.

I wanted Levi. And I had him—until I woke up, drugged and confused, at his mercy. He’s a bad boy, all right. A sexy, deadly assassin. And I'm the pawn torn between him and my father, two powerful men intent on destroying each other.

I might not understand their war, but I do understand one thing: no matter who wins, I lose.


(Available at @RadishFiction exclusively beginning 12/19/17.)


Friday Inspiration

Last month I subscribed to Passionflix, a new movie streaming app that is not only sharing the best in romance movies of the past, but making new movies out of our favorite romance novels of today. I love the idea of not only supporting romance in general, but also supporting romance authors and their fantastic books.

 

The first original film produced by Passionflix released last month, Hollywood Dirt, based on the book by Alessandre Torre. I’d never read the book, so I was completely unaware when I watched the movie of what a treat I was in for. Here’s the official trailer:

 

https://youtu.be/3ofNk7DvQuY

 

What do you think, do you want to see it? I highly recommend it! You can check out the Passionflix service at their website here: https://www.passionflix.com/

Gratitude

Gratitude.

The contest this month is about gratitude, but not only because this is the month of the US Thanksgiving celebration. I’ve been thinking about gratitude a lot. I have so much to be thankful for:

 

* Wonderful readers—I have no delusions! There are so many choices out there for fantastic books, and to know that so many readers have picked up one of my books, read it, and loved it (and often read more) is a tremendous blessing in my life.

 

* A supportive family—I’ve been blessed with a family, including my awesome sister and loving daughter, who understand the long hours of writing and marketing, the frustrating blocks, the endless loops of nerves and “I don’t think I know what I’m doing’s.” 😝

 

* Fantastic characters—They’re deep, emotional, difficult, and always riveting to me. I couldn’t create meaningful books with characters that were anything less. I’m thankful these characters choose to reveal themselves to me (or, in some cases, that they choose not to reveal themselves and I have to get angry on their asses, LOL!). They make work worth it every day.

 

So I know I’ve asked you to share the people you’re thankful for in this month’s contest, but today, I want you to share what you’re thankful for. What else has been a blessing in your life?

Come visit me on my Facebook page and tell me what you're thankful for!

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Down and Dirty Heroes Can be Politicians?

I love reading a down-and-dirty hero, but I recently delved into a series that includes heroes I never thought I’d like: politicians. Of course, these aren’t your typical politicians—they’re actually good, if powerful and ruthless, men—but still… My husband loves watching political saga movies/TV shows, either contemporary or dystopian, and I just sit on the couch and groan. I hate political drama, machinations, lies, but I LOVE THIS SERIES. (And it doesn’t hurt that they’ve mixed in some of my favorite hero types: security specialists and special agents, woot!)

 

Which series is it?

 

It’s the Perfect Gentlemen series from Lexi Blake and Shayla Black! The publisher put it on hold last year, likely because of the election and all the ensuing issues, but it’s finally back, and I can’t tell you how excited I am that book four has just come out and book five, the one that features the president of the United States, will be out next year. SQUEEE!!!!

 

Have you read any of this series? What did you think? Which book is your favorite so far?

 

If you want to check out Lexi’s and Shayla’s other books, you can find them here:

http://www.lexiblake.net

https://www.shaylablack.com

November Monthly Contest

* * * November Monthly Contest * * *

 

We don’t spend near enough time in our lives saying thank you. Feeling grateful. We miss so many wonderful opportunities to make others feel appreciated and loved because we are so focused on the busyness of our lives, the demands, the stress.

 

I want to change that this month. For our November contest, I want to say thank you. I have such wonderful readers who have blessed me beyond measure with your enthusiasm, your encouragement, your caring words, and your fun and laughter too. I want to bless you in some small way to say thank you for all you’ve given me.

 

So this month, I will be giving away two $15 Amazon gift cards—one for you, and one for someone you are thankful for. Simply tag the person who has made you feel loved and appreciated in the comments below. On November 30th, I will draw a random name, and give you AND the person you’ve tagged each a $15 gift card! (and just in time for Christmas too. 😉 )

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all my wonderful readers! I wish I could spell out the ways you have enriched my life, but they are too many to number. I hope you and yours have a wonderful—and thankful—November!

Head over to my Facebook page to enter!

 

*** Likes and shares with your booklover friends are appreciated but not required! Contest ends NOVEMBER 30th. ***

 

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Friday Inspiration

Friday Inspiration

So I’m off traveling *AGAIN* this weekend! My daughter has a long-held crush on her favorite artist, Amy Lee from Evanescence, and we are on our way right now to see her in concert tonight. As my daughter has grown up, I’ve listened with her to so many of these songs, and admired Amy’s dedication and skill, a beauty and work ethic that has inspired my daughter to work equally hard toward her own goals. I’m excited to see tonight’s concert and definitely hope they play the newer song, “Speak To Me,” as it’s become one of my favorites!

https://youtu.be/lB8ZsjMhy5M

Recharging My Batteries

At the beginning of this month, I treated myself to some time away, all alone. At first it was weird, but I found that I got a lot out of the quiet and the ability to focus just on my creativity, even if I wasn’t writing 24-7.

 

I was at one of my favorite kinds of places: woods and water! The cabin I rented sat, literally, right on the edge of a creek, with a swing on the screened-in porch where I could sit and listen to the water flowing over the rocks and write. One morning, I opened the door and walked onto the porch—and startled a blue heron fishing in the creek! When he flew off, his wingspan had to be six feet minimum. He was a beautiful sight!

 

As you can see, I spent some time dipping my feet in the water, hiking nearby trails, and walking along a lake in the town next door. This is where I wrote the Halloween short for Southern Nights (if you haven’t gotten your copy yet, go here: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/xoh4op3939

), where I made connections and plotted and even wrote a little on Only for the Moment and my assassins project. And this is where I began to trust just a little more in my returning creativity and love for writing. 😊

 

What about you? Where do you go to recharge your batteries?

Do You Read Paranormal Romance?

The contest this month is all about paranormal romance. 

Sherrilyn Kenyon is the first paranormal author I remember reading, Fantasy Lover, the book that started the Dark Hunter series back then. I went on to many others: Larissa Ione, Gena Showalter, Lora Leigh, Kresley Cole, JR Ward… Currently I’m enamored of the Jeaniene Frost’s Night Prince series, which is just how I like them—lots of conflict, sex, and usually a good bit of violence thrown in. 😉

So what about you — do you read paranormal romance? What’s your favorite? (My TBR never gets too long!)

Want to check out the Night Prince books? You can, right here:

http://jeanienefrost.com/night-prince-books/once-burned/

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