Mae Clair’s Pen Pal: Meet Author Marilyn Conner Miles

Hand writing a letter with a goose featherToday, I‘d like to welcome Pen Pal Marilyn Conner Miles to my blog. Marilyn has dropped by with HOLIDAY HEART (who doesn’t like a bit of Christmas in the summer?) and a glimpse of her upcoming release, PERFECT PAIR. Naturally, before we get to the books, I’ve got a find out a bit about Marilyn. :)

Marilyn, please tell us a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.

I stated writing when I learned to print –first or second grade. I’d write stories and gave them to my family and teachers. My second grade teacher gave one back to a family friend a few years back. Then I showed a story I’d written to the librarian of our grade school and she showed the principal. I illustrated all the stories too, and made “hardbacks” out of them by using the cardboard from my dad’s new white shirt packages. I used wire to attach the story to the “cover.”  

I took creative writing classes in high school and college. But then I worked in advertising, PR and marketing and wrote TV and radio commercials and print ads for newspapers, catalogs and brochures. I kept a journal for years. It wasn’t until I “retired” that I began to think about writing stories. I’ve had two stories published and have one soon-to-be published in the past year.

What a great track record. And–wow!–you were really creative as a child, making hardback copies of your early stories. That’s so clever! I would have loved doing that with mine if I’d thought about it. Now that we know how you wrote as a kid :D please tell us about your upcoming release. 

PERFECT PAIR is the last in the series that began with ACAPULO ADVENTURE, and continued with HOLIDAY HEART. Amber, a workaholic with few real friends, gets laid off from her job with a law firm in downtown Seattle. She has to give up her apartment and hopes to move in temporarily with her parents, but that doesn’t work out. With no job and soon no place to live, she agrees to take a house-and-pet-sitting position for a while. The problem is, she’s never had a pet, and the job is at a mini-farm!

What a great set-up! How did you choose your title?

I always have a hard time coming up with a title and tend to wait till the last minute. It seems to work. I tie it in with the story after I think up an appropriate name. For this last three story series, they have all been two word titles.

They have a great ring to them. I’m frequently still fishing around for a title when I reach the end of a novel too. I don’t know why they have to be so hard (at least for me).

Let’s switch gears and talk about pets for a minute. As an avowed cat lover who always had a feline with me when I was writing, I’m constantly curious if other writers have a furred friend hanging out with them in their work space. 

My cat thinks I’m her mother and follows me everywhere. We share my home office. She sits on her cat tree and talks to the birds outside and then walks over me or across the desk or keyboard. Sometimes she stares at the computer monitor. Half the time she sleeps on my lap with her head on my arm and I have to type with one hand.

LOL! I love it!  It’s so typical of a cat, all about their comfort and timing. You can’t help but love their personalities and how they demand attention.  

And finally, the quick-silver round. Please share your favorite:

Season: Autumn
Type of music: Country-western
Ice cream flavor: Chocolate chip mint
Owl or lark: Owl
Mountains or beach: Mountains—I live next to them

I bet you have a great view. You obviously have great taste in liking chocolate chip mint ice cream. It’s my favorite too, but my husband always says it’s like eating mouthwash. 

Thanks for being my guest today, Marilyn. It was a delight to learn more about you. I wish you much success with PERFECT PAIR and your entire series. 

If you’d like to know more about Marilyn Conner Miles, connect with her at the following haunts:

Blog
Facebook
Goodreads  

photoAuthor Bio
Marilyn began writing as soon as she could print. Her first career was in the transportation industry, working for the airlines. Her second career was in advertising, marketing and promotions. Currently a freelance editor, Marilyn lives with her husband and cat in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in southwest Washington State, where she watches horses and deer and sometimes owls from her home office window.  

Holiday HEartXHOLIDAY HEART BLURB:
Christmas. It’s that time of the year again and Brenda is alone, as usual. Everyone she knows is paired up except her. And now, she has to go to a wedding and pretend to be happy. But, even worse, her ex-boyfriend will be there. It’s been six years since they broke up and she hasn’t seen or heard from him since. How will she handle seeing him again—especially if he has another woman on his arm?

Purchase HOLIDAY HEART from Amazon
Kindle 

Paperbook 

 

HUNTER — Free 28th, 29th, 30th January 2014 on Amazon

Hunter

 HUNTER (Magio-Earth Novella)

To love and protect…across worlds.

Nineteen-year-old Lieska Alura, a Dralion warrior from the planet Magio, calls an Australian Outback station her home away from home. Hounded by her skilled hunter senses, she is on a mission to track down one man, her soul-bound mate.

Peacian protector and hunter, Cole Cyrano, is driven by his soul’s demand to find his mated one, a woman he knows is his enemy. Dralion and Peacio are at war, and he ignores his soul’s call. Except Lieska shows up during a fierce training session inside his protectors’ arena, and his soul demands he protect her.

Completely, yet impossibly matched, they decide to renounce their bond, only not all goes as planned when Lieska receives word bushfires rage across her Outback station. She leaves, and now nothing can keep Cole from the hunt. He joins Lieska in driving the station’s cattle toward the mighty river, and the chase is on…against both nature and each other. Can the mated pair find their place together in a world at war?

A Young Adult, New Adult Fantasy Romance

~ooOOoo~

HUNTER
Free 28th, 29th, 30th January 2014
(Tell all your friends to grab a copy)

Free at: Amazon Kindle

~ooOOoo~

Hi, and thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Mae.

HUNTER is a story which will take you deep into the Australian Outback and across those great plains. This is a stand-alone novella within my fast-paced YA/NA fantasy romance line, where across worlds, soul-bound mates battle against both love and land.

I brought my heroine from HUNTER with me today. Lieska’s a warrior hunter from Dralion, and is soul-bound to Cole, a protector from the enemy nation.

Joanne: Hey, Lieska. Thanks so much for taking the time to come and sit with me over here at Mae’s. So, I’ve got to ask. You and Cole? How is it being soul-mated with him?

Lieska: Since he’s a hunter like me, it’s been a blast of who can out-chase the other first. He’s super speedy, but I love every minute of our hunts. Cole’s incredibly smart, funny, caring, sexy— Oh, maybe I shouldn’t have said all that. His hunter senses will be on fire if he catches a whiff of any of this stuff. No one here at Mae’s can whisper a word of what I just said. *smiles nicely at everyone*

Joanne: Gotcha. I’m sure we can all do that. So, looking back at that first day you met Cole inside his protectors’ arena, do you have any regrets about walking in? And what about confronting him?

Lieska: I just wish I could have kicked some protector butt before I met Cole. That would have been fun. And confronting Cole? I’ll never regret that. Heck, he kisses like a—

Cole: *marches in and runs his gaze over Lieska* My ears are burning. I wondered where you’d gotten to.

Lieska: I see you hunted me down again.

Cole: I found something of yours to track you with, and I couldn’t help myself. I love the chase. *pops a kiss on her nose as he sits* So, what are we all up to?

Joanne: We’re just hanging here at Mae’s. She said we could drop by, so we have. Not sure where she’s gotten to though, probably work. You wanna track her down for us, Cole?

Cole: Hah. You just want to get rid of me so you two can keep nattering. Nope, I’m staying. *crosses his arms*

Lieska: Stubborn hunter. *tweaks Cole’s chin*

Joanne: Alrighty then, well if you’re staying, then let me ask you a question, Cole. What’s it like being soul-bound to your sworn enemy?

Cole: It’s agonizing to keep the secrets I have to. Most of my fellow protectors would slice and dice me if they ever found out I’d accepted the mated bond with Lieska, but we’ve got Hope and Silas on our side, and Faith and Davio. They’re mated enemies like us, and it helps they know exactly what we’re going through. And being soul-bound with Lieska is incredible. I can’t give her up, not now, not even with all the problems we’ve still to face.

Joanne: Those guys are great. In the next book in this series they’re right there in the mix with Silvie and Guy as they undertake their journey. Things get pretty heated, but— Um, I probably shouldn’t go on about Enchanter since the third book doesn’t release until the summer. I better zip my lips.

Lieska: Gee, you are such a tease. You’ve gotta tell us what happens.

Joanne: Nope, I’m not spilling another word. Go and hunt down Hope and Faith if you want more goss. They’re in the story. They know it all.

Lieska: Oooh, did you just dare me? We hunters love a dare. *tugs Cole to his feet* Come with me. I’ll need your extra senses to catch them.

Cole: *grinning* See, this is why I love you. Let’s hunt. *they teleport away*

Joanne: Hey, come back here you two. We’re in the middle of an interview. Unbelievable. Oh, well I guess that’s it from us. Thanks for joining in. I hope you race out and grab your FREE copy of HUNTER and track down Lieska and Cole and discover more about their story.

HUNTER is the perfect short story to get you started on the series, and likely hooked. Full-length novels, PROTECTOR and WARRIOR are available, and ENCHANTER (book three) is coming real soon.

~ooOOoo~

HUNTER
Free 28th, 29th, 30th January 2014
(Tell all your friends to grab a copy)

 Free at: Amazon Kindle

~ooOOoo~

Here’s an excerpt from Hunter to tempt you:

Chains cranked, and the solid paneled iron gates at the entrance rolled open. This was what I’d been waiting for. Finally I’d be able to see inside the three-story high open-aired arena. It was a beauty with its ancient circular architecture.

“Wow. Do you see that?” Hope whispered to me from where we hid in a bush.

I shoved the brush farther aside, and we both poked our noses in. The protectors’ arena was close in size to our fighting force’s in Dralion. Their blocked seats were layered back and up and able to hold thousands of spectators. Groups of protectors trained on the central sandy floor with swords and spears and axes, with likely more beyond. Some of the men wore red tunics with leather-flapped skirts, and they lunged and parried, as accurate with their brutally sharp weapons as any warrior would be. The women trained in their battle leathers. So close. This was the chance I’d been waiting for. It had definitely been right to bring Hope. Hopefully she’d be able to help me keep a level head.

“Let’s go.” I gripped Hope’s hand and ’ported us. Everything darkened as I made the short jump through space.

Hope wobbled as we arrived near the wall. “Lieska, what the heck are you doing?”

“You saw the gate open. It’s an invitation I can’t turn down.” I plucked the sides of my hip-hugging black leather pants. “Look at us. I’m dressed no differently to any of the protector women, and you’re completely unassuming in jeans and a t-shirt. Except for this. The Stetson has to go. It screams Earth.” I nabbed it and tossed it behind a flax bush growing beside the wall. “Now no one’s going to suspect we’re from Dralion unless we announce it. We’ll be normal people, not catching a second glance.”

“Geez, I hate how my own words come back to bite me.” She shook her head. “Just make sure you don’t announce our arrival your way. No throwing any daggers at the protectors, because that would be announcing it, in case you weren’t aware.”

“I’m aware, and I’ll try and keep them sheathed, maybe.” I couldn’t stop from rubbing my hands together. Finally I’d have a chance to sort this problem. The hunt was on. I strode in and the breeze lifted my long brown locks and swept strands across my face. Two men battled close by and one of the men’s blade’s struck flesh and bone. Blood spurted in a wide arc. My blood thrummed to join the fight. Oh yeah. I wish I’d been the one to inflict that wound. The injured man grasped his arm, holding the edges closed. His blood ceased running and his skin began to knit together. A fast-healer. Damn. What a shame.

“Ew.” Hope puffed as she caught up. “Are your senses still on fire?”

“Burning bright. So stay close in case I need to ’port us out of here quick.” I followed the safety rail around the perimeter. My senses flared. There. A man in black jeans stretched as if readying himself for training. The denim molded his butt. Mm-mmm.

He selected a two-handed sword from the rack and twirled it in a precise figure eight. Slowly he built up speed, and moved through a series of fluid training moves. He held the battle skills, and only those who had such an affinity for their weapon did.

“Is that him? The one you’re after?” Hope hauled me to a stop.

“Yes, and it appears he needs a battling partner. Wait here.”

“I’ll wait provided you agree not to kill anyone.”

“We’ll see, just don’t draw any attention to yourself.”

“Huh, I can’t believe you’re telling me not to draw attention to myself. Hello. Give yourself your own pep talk.” With a harrumph, she snuck under the railing. She plopped onto the wooden bench and grasped the edge under her knees, squishing her knuckles.

“I would take my own advice, except I don’t think I’m up for listening. That’s why I have you.” She was one of my best friends, even though she’d accepted a protector as her mate. I could deal.

Stroking the hilt of my ever-present side sword, I walked toward the one my senses had flared on.

-~ooOOoo~

Look for JOANNE WADSWORTH at the following haunts:
AUTHOR WEBSITE & BLOG
AMAZON PAGE (For books)
BARNES & NOBLE PAGE (For books)
FACEBOOK FAN PAGE
TWITTER
GOODREADS

Joanne Wadsworth (2)AUTHOR BIO:

JOANNE WADSWORTH
Where Romance Meets Fantasy and Adventure…

Reading romance books captivated Joanne Wadsworth as a teenager, particularly when she tucked herself into bed at night and continued to dream those stories as she slept. She’d visualize the direction, taking the hero and heroine on an adventure unparalleled to what she’d read. Today she is devoted to writing romance, bringing her imagination to life within the lines of young adult, contemporary, and historical Highlander.

Born in New Zealand, Joanne works both as a writer and a financial controller, all while keeping up with her four energetic children and dreamy husband.

Visit Joanne Wadsworth at http://www.joannewadsworth.com

VOODOO DREAMS by Alana Lorens is Free on #Amazon #Kindle Dec 17-21

Looking for a spooky read? Alana Lorens is here to tell us about one you can pick up for free through Amazon Kindle. Take it away, Alana!

~ooOOoo~

As part of Kindle KDP, I get five days to give my readers VOODOO DREAMS, the third book in the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers series FOR FREE!! The free period runs December 17-21 Get yourself a copy and also get one for any of your friends who loves to read spooky romantic suspense! Could be a great Christmas present!

Here’s the storyline:
This is the year for voodoo in New Orleans, as anyone who watches American Horror Story: Coven knows– this story is just the thing to curl up with under a blanket on a winter’s night for chills inside and out!

VoodooDreams_w7507_med

BLURB
When her big trial goes bad, corporate attorney Brianna Ward can’t wait to get out of Pittsburgh. The Big Easy seems like the perfect place to rest, relax, and forget about the legal business. Too bad an obnoxious–but handsome–lawyer from a rival firm is checking into the same bed and breakfast.

Attorney Evan Farrell has Mardi Gras vacation plans too. When he encounters fiery and attractive Brianna, however, he puts the Bourbon Street party on hold. He’d much rather devote himself to her–especially when a mysterious riddle appears in her bag, seeming to threaten danger.

Strangely compelled to follow the riddle’s clues, Brianna is pulled deeper into the twisted schemes of a voodoo priest bent on revenge. To escape his poisonous web, she must work with Evan to solve the curse. But is the growing love they feel for each other real? Or just a voodoo dream?

FREE FROM AMAZON DECEMBER 17-21

us at mctAUTHOR BIO
Alana Lorens dreamed for many years of being a spaceship captain, but settled instead for inspired excursions into fictional places with fascinating companions from her imagination that she likes to share with others. She has been a published writer for over thirty years, including seven years as a reporter and editor at a newspaper in Homestead, Florida, with a list of eclectic publications from horror to tech reporting to television reviews. She writes urban fantasy and science fiction under the name of Lyndi Alexander. The Elf Queen, her first novel, was released by Dragonfly Publishing in July 2010; the series continued with The Elf ChildThe Elf Mage and The Elf Guardian. She’s now working on the space opera Horizon Crossover series, and a YA trilogy, The Color of Fear—the first book, WINDMILLS, was published by Zumaya Publications this summer.  Writing as Alana Lorens, she produces romance and romantic suspense, including the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyer series, CONVICTION OF THE HEART, SECOND CHANCES, and the latest, VOODOO DREAMS, released by The Wild Rose Press in October 2013.

She is a single mother of seven, with two special needs children at home with her in Pennsylvania, and she volunteers at her local shelter for domestic violence victims, believing in every person’s right to be safe.

Connect with Alana Lorens at: 
Website  
Facebook Fan Page  
Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers series

Wizards with Words: Mary E. Merrell and Soul in Present Condition #G*I*V*E*A*W*A*Y

bigstock-magic-book-9719930Welcome to another Wizards with Words interview — With a fab giveaway!

Stay tuned for the deets later in this post. For now I’d like to introduce Mary E. Merrell who will be sharing her latest release in The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery series. 

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I’m a real estate girl (have been since 1988) and am pretty gone on all things strange and weird. Sounds like a good fit for this series, right? (I’ve been in a few vacant spooky houses in the course of my career).

I’m already invested in book one of Mary’s intriguing series and am looking forward to reading all three. Please say hello to Mary!

~ooOOoo~

Mary, Please share a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.  

I’ve been writing for over ten years now. I was a stay at home mom with two sons and I told myself a lot of stories while I cleaned and did mom stuff. About the time I went into real estate, we got our first computer and I attempted to put one of those stories down. It was a lot harder than I expected, but I was hooked. I took some writing classes and joined a writer’s group. I loved it! Then I went into that vacant home, and a compelling story about a newbie real estate agent and a ghost developed. When I’m not writing, I love to grow things, and my husband and I have a small business making vertical frames for succulents. I try to exercise consistently, (ha, good one) and I love reading and playing soccer. Almost time to retire from soccer…again. My team calls me Brett Favre.

You sound extremely busy! When you do find time to write, do you have a favorite place and/or time of day for flexing your creative muscles? (Sorry, couldn’t resist the exercise connection :)).

My favorite time to write is early in the morning. I love to get up, feed the animals and get a cup of coffee and write away, but if I’m doing what I’m supposed to do, the dogs and I go for a run first. I should be doing my crunches and pushups too, but lately I’ve been shirking. Just ask my pants. I write in the office. Usually surrounded by the dogs and cats.

Pets make a perfect patient audience when writing. And I can so relate to the exercise guilt. If it weren’t for my pool routine, I’d be woefully behind. Going back to your writing habits, when it comes to being a plotter vs. panster, I think even plotters veer from their outline to a degree during the process. When you finish a novel, how closely would you say the end product resembles your original concept — 100%? 50%? Something else entirely? series-lineup I just recently read this term, panster on a blog. I have to say I am definitely a panster, if it means writing by the seat of your pants. (Just figured that out as I was typing) My current release, Soul in Present Condition is completely different from the original draft. I changed the killer, had to add new chapters and delete others. As I really think about this, most of my final drafts probably resemble only 50% of the original concept.

I can most certainly relate to that, being a dyed-in-the-wool panster for many years running. Are you a draft writer or someone who invests a lot of time in editing and polishing as you write? Why does your method work best for you? 

I like to write the book all a one time. Straight through. I’ve written one book a year for the last four years for the NaNoWrimo, and this year, hopefully will be no different. Then the book sits until I can get back and revise it. This works well for me because I don’t do extensive plotting. I have a loose outline that I follow, but it could change drastically as I write. That does mean I have to go back and fill a lot of holes and flesh out the story threads and make sure everything is consistent when I revise. Sometimes, like Soul in Present Condition it hardly looks like the original book at all. front_v1

Speaking of Soul in Present Condition, please tell us a bit about it.

Soul in Present Condition is book #3 in The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series. This was a fun book to write. I changed it a lot, because I had a great idea for a twist. Rosemary Fernandes is a new real estate agent and her business is building, in spite of ghosts lurking in any home she might show. She knows how to deal with the lost souls that are drawn to her, how to help them move on.

Unfortunately, her gift attracts the undead as well. Now, Rosemary is human servant to a vampire. Marcus Lyons is…difficult but gorgeous. Rosemary doesn’t understand this strange relationship with the vampire, but the more she gets to know him the more human he seems, and the more she finds herself seeing the good in him.

When Rosemary meets a young ghost, all sarcastic and gangster, she has a plan, but this ghost keeps a secret, a deadly secret. Rosemary knows his soul will go on, even in its present condition, but she must convince the vampire that her destiny is helping the spirits that call to her, no matter how dangerous.

In this book, Rosemary’s relationship with her boyfriend, Frank Perez heats up. She realizes her friends and family are in danger just being around her. She wants to tell them her secret, but first she must get permission. As the ghost, the vampire and her friends come together to solve this latest mystery, the dynamics of her life change drastically and nothing will ever be the same.

I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I loved writing it.

It sounds fascinating! Without giving too much away, please share a bit about your favorite scene.

There are so many little things that I love. I know, I wrote it, but it still tickles me. But I think my favorite scene is with Rosemary and Frank, talking about what’s going to happen with their relationship. Is Frank going to stick around and work for the vampire Marcus Lyons or let the vampire wipe his memory, so he forgets everything, including Rosemary? It’s tender and heartwarming and ends with Rosemary and Frank making the most of a night alone.

I can see why it would be your favorite scene. How about sharing the first three sentences of your book?

I never take clients into a home I haven’t previewed. You never know what you’re going to stumble into. Like a ghost.

Love that! Now share one sentence – – yes, only one! – – of dialogue or description you love.

This isn’t really dialogue, well, internal dialogue then. It’s one of my favorites. “This feud they had with Marcus was going to be the death of me, because if dying of embarrassment was possible, I’d already be a corpse.”

LOL! Very nice! Poor Rosemary. And now for a bit about Mary. When  you’re not writing (or reading) what do you do to unwind?

I do a lot of gardening. Love growing things, and I run and play soccer.

I know you mentioned your pets before. Pets and writers seem to go together like peas in a pod. Tell us about yours and whether or not they shadow your writing time and space. 

I have two dogs and four…I mean five cats. A kitten got into our backyard a couple weeks ago, which is not all that easy since we have a cat fence to keep our cats in and stray cats out. He’s so little he slipped through the lattice in the cat area. I think he’s one of the gang now. In fact, he’s sleeping on the couch next to me. Having trouble naming him. My niece named him Fisher, but my husband doesn’t like it. Well, it’s better than boots. (He has white feet. So cliché.) The cats usually sleep in the office while I’m writing and usually one or another is on the desk vying for my attention. The young dog Lily is always trying to put a toy in my hand so I’ll play tug-o-war, and Charlie (The older female dog, my husband named.) barks at me to chase her. Sometimes I do…

Oh, I love pets. Especially cats! They all sound adorable. And for what it’s worth, I like the name Fisher for the little one. :) Now I have a couple quick questions about fun stuff!

Dream vacation gifted to you by a fairy godmother: I would like a staycation, where I can be home, but nobody knows I’m there, and I don’t have to do anything like housework, cooking, or yardwork, unless I want to. Just me and the animals. Maybe my sisters too.  So they can do the cooking. Hee, hee. I can write until I’m tired of it. Then maybe I’ll read a little too. Or watch stupid TV shows like Big Bang Theory or musicals. Whatever silly movie I’m in the mood for.

Favorite time of day:  Morning

Favorite color:  Yellow

Food you never grow tired of:  Chocolate and coffee together.

I just had a very relaxing staycation with hubby. Unfortunately, I didn’t do any writing, LOL. And you know, I think you’re the first person who’s answered yellow to the color question. It’s so cheerful and summery. That was always my mother’s favorite color and the thought of it makes me smile.

~ooOOoo~

Blurb Soul in Present Condition
Divorced. Check. Ghost Whisperer. Check. Human Servant. Check. Great. Check. Real estate agent Rosemary Fernandes never expected to inherit the ability to communicate with spirits, and she certainly didn’t expect her gift to attract the undead as well. Now Rosemary finds herself ghost whisperer to the lost souls stuck at their haunts and human servant to a gorgeous but aloof vampire Marcus Lyons. Benito Cruz died with a dangerous secret, a secret that connects the ghost to Rosemary. Can Rosemary send the spirit to his final resting place before his past catches up with them, and can she convince the vampire helping spirits like Benito is her destiny? 

Add SOUL IN PRESENT CONDITION to your Goodreads list here!

member_817010[1]Author Bio
Mary E. Merrell writes Paranormal Mysteries and Young Adult Urban Fantasy. She has worked many jobs, but always had stories in her head. It wasn’t until she went into real estate and walked into that old, vacant home that The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series came to life. Fortunately, nothing spooky happened at the furniture store, or the first book could have been, “The Haunted Sofa.”

Mary E. Merrell’s plots are smooth and slightly dark, and her characters sinfully sweet. Try a little guilty pleasure with House Haunting, the first book in The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series. One reviewer called it “A good start to a new series.”

Mary E. Merrell lives in the Central Valley of California with her husband, two dogs, and five cats. She has two grown sons. When she’s not writing, she’s gardening or playing soccer. Please visit her website to see what she’s working on next at www.maryemerrell.com.

You can find Mary at the following haunts:
Website
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

Available Now/Buy Links:
House Haunting
Curve Appeal 

And now for that giveaway I mentioned at the start of this post. To celebrate the release of SOUL IN PRESENT CONDITION, Mary is giving away two prizes. One lucky person who comments will win a $10 gift card to Amazon and another will win ebook copies of Mary’s first two books in The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series (House Haunting and Curve Appeal). So be sure to share your thoughts, say hello, and include your email.  Mary would love to hear from you!

Winners will be announced tomorrow!

Rain and TWELFTH SUN by Mae Clair

spray from the carIt’s Thursday, a soggy Thursday. The morning arrived with a torrential downpour of rain and flooding streets all to the booming orchestration of thunder overhead. The day promises to be one of scurrying from car to buildings and buildings to car, hoping the wind won’t be vicious enough to rip an umbrella inside out.

Sporadic “strong” storms and brooding skies are forecasted throughout the day and there are rumors a tornado warning may crop up later. It seems whenever severe weather sweeps into the region, the threat of a twister is always a fringe possibility (although, thankfully, I don’t live in an area prone to them).

You may be wondering where the sun fits among this muddle of ominous skies and menacing storms.

It’s TWELFTH SUN, my contemporary romance/mystery scheduled to release on August 5th now available to add to your TBR list on Goodreads! Can I get a Snoopy dance, please? I can’t wait to introduce the world to Elijah and Reagan (and a whole group of meddlesome secondary characters).

Here’s the link if you’d like to splash it on your GR TBR. Thank you in advance should you choose to lend support! I’m so grateful for the community of authors and readers who have become such wonderful friends. It just goes to show that even a gloomy overcast day isn’t without a touch of  sunlight!

TWELFTH SUN on Goodreads

twelfthsuncover

Three Tiers of Characters, by Mae Clair

bigstock-Book-Woman-344985There are good books, great books, and books that rank in the stratosphere. What makes them so phenomenal? Characters.

Strip away the plot, setting and pacing, and it comes down to the personalities that fill the pages.

I’ve just completed my 23rd read of 2013. WOOT! Several of those books were in the 500-600 page range and held me mesmerized for each click of the Kindle. Included was a fantasy series by C.S. Friedman called the Coldfire Trilogy.  Originally published in the 1990s, it was something I’d read before. I remembered being in love with the lead character (boy, is THAT a colossal understatement) and decided to read it again.

After drooling over anti-hero Gerald Tarrant through all three books, I started thinking about what makes me want to reread a novel. I realized I could group the characters I love into a three tier system. Take a look:

Old Friends
These are like the kids you went to school with. They had a hand in shaping who you are. You have amazingly fond memories of them and grow nostalgic whenever their names are mentioned. Years sometimes pass between visits, but you’re always thrilled when they drop by. You never tire of this group. They’re “comfortable” and easily inspire reminiscing. My group includes:

Frodo Baggins and Faramir
Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

Sir Francis Crawford of Lymond
The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett

King Arthur
The Once and Future King

Heartthrobs
This is the group that makes your heart go pitter-patter. As soon as you meet these guys, you’re smitten. For me, they tend to be down-to-earth, a mixture of alpha and beta hero. This is where most of my favorite characters fall. They require more than just an occasional visit. I’m usually inspired to hang out with them at least once a year or every other year. My list includes:

Phillip Quinn
The Chesapeake Bay series by Nora Roberts

Caleb Hawkins
The Sign of Seven Trilogy by Nora Roberts

James (Gem) Carstairs
The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare  

Jayce Wayland
The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

Louis Kincaid
The Louis Kincaid Mysteries by P.J. Parrish

blacksunrising

Book one of the Coldfire Saga, Gerald Tarrant on the cover
Cover art by Michael Whelan

 Obsessions
These guys are definitely alpha heroes, no two ways about it. I can’t even say I love them, because that’s far too gentle a description. I’m thoroughly, utterly, unabashedly besotted in lust with them. Who are they?

Aloysius Pendergast
The Pendergast series of novels by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Gerald Tarrant
The Coldfire Trilogy by C.S. Friedman

So what attracts me to them? I discovered some amazing parallels:

Their occupations couldn’t be any dissimilar — Pendergast is a Special Agent with the FBI and Tarrant is an undead sorcerer who feeds off fear. After that, things get interesting.

FriedmanCrown

Book three of the Coldfire Saga, Gerald Tarrant on the cover
Cover art by Michael Whelan

Both are cultured and aristocratic in nature, have a precise manner of speaking, are highly fastidious about their appearance (doesn’t hurt that they’re gorgeous), exceedingly wealthy, have genius level intelligence, and are unquestionably deadly. Both are always calm and unnervingly cool, even when facing impossible odds.

Pendergast is mid-30ish, albino-pale, tall and lean with light blond/whitish hair and silver eyes.

Tarrant is over 900 years old (but looks as he did at at 29), is ghostly pale (a side effect of being undead), tall and lean with light brown hair and silver eyes.

Pendergast’s closest friend is a rough-around-the-edges, heart-of-gold, kick-butt rumpled cop.

Tarrant’s frenemy is a rough-around-the-edges, morally conflicted, kick-butt warrior priest.

Pendergast is a special agent with the FBI, but also holds a PhD and speaks multiple languages.

Tarrant is the most powerful and feared sorcerer ever to walk the planet Erna, but was once revered as the Prophet who established the church of the One God. He is also the first Neocount of Merentha.

Are you sensing a pattern? Do I have a “type?”

These guys have nothing in common with the characters from my other groups but they have a lot in common with each other. There is no question they rule in the fictional realm when it comes to claiming my heart.

How about you? Do you have a type? Please share some of the characters you love and what makes them special.  Do you have a Gerald Tarrant or a Pendergast who has left you besotted?

A Pen Pal Welcome to Author, Jennifer Lowery, by Mae Clair

bigstock-Stacks-of-old-letters-on-woode-43415203Today, I’m pleased to welcome Jennifer Lowery to my blog. Jennifer is one of my sister authors at Lyrical Press and has dropped by to tell us about her latest release, MURPHY’S LAW. So, sit back, grab your beverage of choice and enjoy as Jennifer takes control of my “pen” for the day!

~ooOOoo~

Hi Mae, and all you fabulous readers out there *waves* Thank you so much for having me today! My contemporary romance, Murphy’s Law, released last month so I’m very excited to be here! Thank you so much for sharing it with me!! 

In honor of my release I am giving away a $5.00 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter so please leave me a comment with your EMAIL to be entered to win!!

When writing I think authors get into a zone. We forget everything around us when our muse is talking as our fingers fly over the keyboard and we rush to get those words out of our head. We block everything we have to do that day and week, sometimes even forget to take a bathroom break for fear of losing momentum.

This is a good thing, but can also lead to mistakes like misspelled words, grammar mishaps, things like that. Easily fixed, of course, but sometimes we writers make little blunders  that make you wonder just what you were thinking when you typed that! Was it a Freudian slip? An honest slip of your fingers on the keys?

Well, I’m here to share one of my bloopers with you during the writing of Murphy’s Law. I call it a blooper because it makes me laugh every time I read it. I hope you get a chuckle out of it too :)

Here is the correct sentence:

He had met Al, the owner, when he’d needed a winch for his SUV and knew he would use discretion.

Here is the sentence as I originally wrote it:

He had met Al, the owner, when he’d needed a wench for his SUV and knew he would use discretion.

Now, mind you, this manuscript got all the way to my editor before anyone caught the blooper! We’re talking six revisions myself! And I never saw it! And could the sentence be more perfect for this blunder, lol. Oh my gosh! What was I thinking!

So there you have it. Not sure what on earth I was thinking when I typed that or how I missed it in revisions, but there it is for you to chuckle over. I hope you enjoyed my blooper! And don’t worry, my fabulous editor at Lyrical caught it and we got quite a laugh out of it J Murphy won’t be picking up any wenches for his SUV!

Thank you for having me today, Mae !! I just want to send out a big THANK YOU to all my readers out there! Without you I wouldn’t be here. My wish is to one day meet each and every one of you so I can personally thank you for your generosity and support! 

All my best, 
Jennifer

~ooOOoo~

Murphy’s Law
Contemporary Romance 

Blurb:
Tag: Nowhere to go. No place to hide.

Home is the last place Jon Murphy can go. After being held captive in Tazbekistan, he returns to the States only to find he can’t face his mom and sisters with what he did while he was a prisoner, so he retreats to the mountains.

Widow Sara Sheldon has made a lifetime of mistakes and is now running scared from her husband’s powerful family, who are determined to take her daughter away from her. When her little girl goes missing in the Rockies, Sara enlists the only help she can find: a gruff recluse with tracking skills to admire and a body to covet.

A storm strands Sara and her daughter at Murphy’s cabin, leaving her no choice but to hope her in-laws don’t catch up while she plans where to run next. Murphy resents the invasion of his privacy, but can’t seem to keep his mind–or his hands–off Sara. How can she stand to look at him, with all his scars? He’s not nearly as honorable as she might think…only enough to make sure she’s safe, and then he’ll go back to being alone, the way he should be.

CONTENT WARNING: Sexual content
A Lyrical Press Contemporary Romance

MurphysLaw coverExcerpt:
Murphy sat at the kitchen table, half in the shadows created by the soft light glowing above the stove, hair tousled from sleep. Naked to the waist. A bottle of amber liquid sat in front of him, an empty glass in his hand. Her gaze landed on his muscled shoulders and trailed across his tanned chest. So much for getting him out of her mind. Now she had the real thing to dream about. Looking at the dark hairs that veed down his chest and disappeared behind the table, she decided he’d been right. He was a dangerous man.

She tore her gaze away from temptation and looked at the granite lines of his face. Beneath the hardness of his expression, something haunting lingered. Drawn, she circled the table to the opposite end.

Murphy met her eyes with coldness that should have sent her running for the safety of her room, but she remained standing in place. He wanted to chase her away. This time she wasn’t running.

“Mind if I join you?” She grabbed a glass and from the cupboard and reached over his shoulder for the bottle.

His hand snaked out and wrapped around hers, preventing her from pouring a drink.

“I mind,” he growled.

“Well, get over it. I need a drink.”

Scowling, he let go of her hand and allowed her to pour a glass for herself. She refilled his glass next, set the bottle on the table, moved to the chair beside him and sat, lifting her glass.

“Cheers.” She brought the glass to her lips. His gaze as she drained the glass made her fight the urge to cough as the fiery liquid burned its way down her throat. Seconds later she felt the familiar warming sensation as it numbed her insides. Her eyes filled with tears. She blinked them away and reached for the bottle.

Murphy held it away from her. “What are you doing?”

“Having a drink. I’m not in the mood for warm milk tonight.”

His eyes darkened and narrowed. “You don’t strike me as the drinking type.”

She wasn’t, but tonight it sounded good. Maybe it would soothe away her problems and make her forget how screwed-up her life was. Talking about Kent earlier had brought back painful memories. She didn’t want to feel that misery anymore.

“Maybe you don’t know my type,” she said.

He studied her closely for a moment before rubbing a hand over his face. “Go back to bed, Sara. Sleep it off.”

“I don’t want to sleep it off. I’m tired of thinking about it.”

Maybe it was the whisky, or his naked chest, or the part of her that had been dormant for six years coming back to life. More than anything she wanted to discover it with Murphy, her strong, scarred hero.

She rose to her feet. He watched warily as she stepped in front of him and positioned herself between him and the table. He leaned back in his chair and sent her a thunderous look.

“You and I are alike in many ways, Murphy,” she said softly. “We’ve both lost pieces of ourselves we can’t ever get back and it has forced us into a life of loneliness and solitude. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being alone.”

He pinned her with a hard glare. “I’m not what you want. Go back to your room before I do something we’ll both regret in the morning.”

His harshly spoken words sent little electrical shocks through her body.

“I’m tired of people telling me what I want.”

Jennifer Lowery Author picAuthor Bio:
Jennifer Lowery grew up reading romance novels in the back of her math book and on the bus to school, and never wanted to be anything but a writer.  Her summers were spent sitting at the kitchen table with her sisters spinning tales of romance and intrigue and always with a tall glass of ice tea at their side. 

Today, Jennifer is living that dream and she couldn’t be happier to share her passion with her readers.  She loves everything there is about romance.  Her stories feature alpha heroes who meet their match with strong, independent heroines.  She believes that happily ever after is only the beginning of her stories. And the road to that happy ending is paved with action, adventure, and romance. As her characters find out when they face danger, overcome fears, and are forced to look deep within themselves to discover love.  

Jennifer lives in Michigan with her husband and two children.  When she isn’t writing she enjoys reading and spending time with her family. 

Find Jennifer at the following haunts:

Author Website   Facebook   Twitter   Romance Recipes

Buy Murphy’s Law:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Lyrical Press
iTunes

 

Welcome Guest Blogger Alana Lorens

Today, I’m turning my pen over to Alana Lorens who has a fun guest post to share and an excerpt from her contemporary romance,  BY ANY OTHER NAME. Welcome, Alana!

~ooOOoo ~

We’re not in high school any more—thank heaven!

High School Football Players and CheerleadersIt’s that time of the high school year when it’s winding down, and people wax nostalgic about “the good old days,” awards banquets, prom, graduation, all those milestones in the passage into adulthood. Summer comes along, home to so many high school reunions. Have you attended any of yours?

High school was a sort of hell for so many of us, unless we were the popular ones, and that was years ago. I imagine the current atmosphere with the immediacy of social media added to display everyones peccadilloes (and sometimes a lot more!) to the world make it even harder.

But high school ends—huge sigh of relief—and life goes on. What you do with it afterward, that’s what really counts in the scheme of things.

Seems to me that the reunion season can be pretty frightening for the former top-of-the-world types, the prom queens, football quarterbacks and so on, especially as the years pass. While they may have ruled the school, as they say, they may not have continued on that golden path into adult life. Without that strict social strata high school inevitably generates, perhaps they slip from those upper tiers down into “normal” life. Or a financial setback for the family can make the whole dynasty take a hit.

Those who travel around the middle layer, not particularly remarkable but yet not labeled as one of the “geeks and freaks,”  they can blend in comfortably and enjoy their anonymity.

Those who weren’t so popular, though, the ones who people ignored for the most part, they can sometimes surprise the class with unexpected accomplishments. Maybe high school bored them and held them back—not till they hit the real world did they find something that really inspired them, or they learned in ways that didn’t teach to the state assessment test. For me, these are often the most interesting returnees at reunions.

What do you think? What was the most surprising revelation of a reunion you attended?

~ooOOoo~

ByAnyOtherNameCoveraArtBY ANY OTHER NAME

BLURB
Up-and-coming mommyblogger and single mom Marisol Herrera Slade returns to her old hometown in western Pennsylvania for her 20th high school reunion, reluctant and yet compelled to see her high school sweetheart, Russell Asher, who dumped her for the homecoming queen.

Russell’s marriage to the golden girl, however, ended in a nasty divorce, and he has been systematically excluded from his sons’ lives. In his Internet wanderings, he’s found feminist blogger Jerrika Jones, who glorifies single motherhood, essentially putting a stamp of approval on what’s happened to him. He’s vowed to take this woman down if they ever should meet.

What he doesn’t know, when he thinks to rekindle what he had with Marisol, is that Marisol and Jerrika are one and the same. When he discovers the truth, will his drive for revenge derail any chance they have to reunite? Or will they find they have more in common than they ever expected?

EXCERPT
“Russell Asher? Holy smokes, you haven’t hardly changed at all!” The man looked Russell up and down, then greeted Russell’s companions, James Thompson and Stuart Fry, adding, “Don’t you recognize me?”

Russell had to confess he didn’t. He debated suggesting the man was the high school janitor, but held his tongue.

“It’s me, Marty Drogan! From the basketball team. Man, are you blind?”

Astounded that one of his teammates could look like a sixty-year old guy, Russell set down his beer and offered his hand. “It’s been a long time, man. How you doing?” he asked, though he wasn’t really sure he wanted to know.

“Can’t complain, can’t complain.” Drogan reached into his worn suit pocket and slapped a business card into Russell’s outstretched hand. “Been in sales fifteen years. Working my way up to V.P. any day now.” A big cheesy grin. “Me and Carrie have a big house out on Lake Drive.”

“’Not my Cherry’ Carrie? How’s she doing?”

One of the guys Russell was playing with shook his head violently behind Drogan’s shoulder and made a face.

“Carrie’s the sweetest little thing ever, that good little woman who makes my day,” Drogan said. “She just sent me to pick up some pizza. We’ll see you at the reunion, right?”

“Ah…sure. Sure you will.”

Drogan bustled off, all puffed up with pride. Russell turned to James, who’d made the face. “What was that about?”

“Man, that Carrie put on about a ton with those kids of hers. No one in that house is starving, if you get my drift.”

“Too bad. She was pretty cute back in the day.”

“Coulda hit that.”

“As if.”

“Maybe I could.”

Russell let his thoughts wander along memory lane to the old days, when he, Marty, James and the others scored baskets on the gym floor, then scored more private points after the game with the cheerleaders. James had dated Cherise Lang, but it hadn’t lasted long. Marty and Carrie had hooked up early; Tiffy had come around a little later.

Maybe he should have taken that as a hint. An omen. Leave the girl alone and find someone less ostentatious and more solid… Other girls were interested in him. He’d been pretty steady with Marisol Herrera for the summer after junior year, till the basketball season had started in the fall of senior year. He’d just blown her off for a shot at the stars.

~ooOOoo~

This ebook is available at Amazon.com, or at Desert Breeze Publishing.

AUTHOR BIO:
Alana Lorens (aka Barbara Mountjoy) has been a published writer for over 35 years, including seven years as a reporter and editor at the South Dade News Leader in Homestead, Florida. Her list of publications includes the non-fiction book 101 Little Instructions for Surviving Your Divorce, published by Impact Publishers in 1999, stories in A Cup of Comfort for Divorced Women, in December 2008, and …A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Parents, in June 2009. Her Clan Elves of the Bitterroot series (as Lyndi Alexander) is available from Dragonfly Publishing; THE ELF QUEEN, THE ELF CHILD, THE ELF MAGE and in 2013, THE ELF GUARDIAN.

Alana’s books include SECRETS IN THE SAND, and CONVICTION OF THE HEART (first book in the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyer series), in the Crimson Rose line, and THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE, a short contemporary from The Wild Rose Press. She is also the author of a story in the book SIDEKICKS! from Alliteration Ink, and SECOND CHANCES, the second book in the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers series from Zumaya Publications.

Alana also takes care of a husband and a bunch of kids and blogs on a variety of subjects, including autism, science fiction and life at Awalkabout.

Look for Alan a Lorens at the following haunts:
Website: http://alanalorens.com 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlanaLorens?ref=hl

Wizards with Words: Welcoming Stanalei Fletcher

bigstock-magic-book-9719930Today on Wizards with Words, I’m happy to have Stanalei Fletcher as a guest.

Stanalei and I hit the writing circuit and the world of social media about the same time, fumbling through the learning curve together. She was one of the first friends I made online and has been a wonderful supporter since. I’m delighted to have her as a guest on my blog sharing about not one, but two, of her releases! So grab a cuppa, sit back and please welcome this wonderful writer!

~ooOOoo~

Stanalei, you have two releases out right now, IMPERFECT DREAM-PERFECT REALITY and LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE. The first is a short fantasy and the second a full-length novel. Tell us a bit about IMPERFECT DREAM-PERFECT REALITY first.

ImperfectDream_final-SmallIMPERFECT DREAM, was exactly that—a dream. I woke up one morning after having a very lucid, very real dream and wondered, what if? I wrote the short story in about 3 hours. Later, I polished it and sent it to The Wild Rose Press to publish. Ebooks weren’t selling like they do today and it wasn’t distributed at all through Amazon. A couple years later, I got my rights back. Recently, I decided to polish it a bit more and re-title it, (it was originally titled The Twilight – and was published long before the Twilight series of vampires). I self-published it with the help of Wildflowers Books. I’m pleased with how well the timing worked in conjunction with LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE.

And now, a bit about LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE. Most of my blog followers know I love time travel romance. I really enjoyed reading LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE. You did such an extraordinary job immersing me in the lives and times of the people who lived in the past. Was White Rock, Idaho an actual town, or did you create it from scratch? If the latter, what was your inspiration?

Thank you for that great compliment, Mae. I think every author hopes they’ll immerse the reader in their fictional world. I very much appreciate you sharing that with me.

White Rock, Idaho is a fictional town. It’s a composite of what things I’ve learned about most old mining towns in Idaho. I had the town of White Rock, the mill, and the aspen grove inside my head for a couple years before I started writing. An opportunity came to visit the area where I wanted the story to take place. I found two ghost towns near each other along the Yankee Fork river between Stanley and Challis, Idaho. I was even fortunate enough to meet the owner of one of the ghost towns when my husband and I toured an old dredge that had mined the Yankee Fork in the 1950s. Upon visiting the second ghost town, I discovered my White Rock, the mill and the aspen grove—exactly as I had envisioned. From that moment on, the ghost town of White Rock came to life for me. For the purpose of the story, my fictional town was much closer to Boise than the real one.

What an awesome history for your setting! I also really enjoyed the disparity between your hero and heroine.  Annie Crawford is concerned about her family’s heritage and retaining the integrity of the past. Developer, Luke Maxwell, is focused on progress. At least when the story starts. I liked seeing their relationship grow in a realistic way. Without giving too much of the story away, do you have a favorite scene between them?

My favorite scene between Annie and Luke is when he tries to convince her she’s really time-traveled to 1891. Annie asks about the keys to her car and Luke replies: “Damn it, Annie, there are no keys! There is no car. For all I know, they haven’t invented gasoline yet.”

LOL! I loved that! LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE had some really inspired twists and turns, especially at the end. I remember how difficult it was to work out the time loop properties when writing WEATHERING ROCK. Sometimes, just thinking about it gave me a headache. What did you find the greatest challenge of writing a time travel story?

I have to say, Mae, that you handled the time-travel properties in WEATHERING ROCK in an amazing way. I’ll try not to give too much away, but your Rick character twist was so well done!

For me, just finding the time-travel mechanism was the challenge.  Believe or not, the medallions were more of an afterthought.  When I came across an article in TIME magazine, I was totally enthralled with the idea of two minds sharing the past, present and future. I knew I’d found my time-travel trigger point.

Thanks for that wonderful compliment about WEATHERING ROCK. I was hoping what I did with Rick would come as a surprise for my readers. And now, I always have to ask this question of time travel authors:  Is there anything from the past (a custom, social attitude, way of doing something, etc.) that you wish still existed today?

Because writing LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE was somewhat of an anomaly for me, I don’t really consider myself a time-travel author. That said, I do wish mankind had the innocence and integrity that we had before the blast of media, reality shows and the over abundance of technology.

I heartily agree with that! If only…

When it comes to writing, do you develop characters before plot or vice versa?

Usually a plot will arrive first, quickly followed by the character’s occupation or goal and thus a character is born. I’m extremely left brained and a stickler for plot logic. So in my outlines, I need to lay out the plot or the characters won’t get very far.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to write?

It seems like my best ideas hit in the morning as I’m waking up or in the shower. Unfortunately, the day job prohibits my ability to rush over to my computer and open my manuscript. Notepads abound at my house, (and everywhere else), and I try to make the most of my writing time I get when I get it.

As a writer, I dabble in a few genres but, as a reader, my taste is all over the board. Do you read mostly in your chosen genre or enjoy various types? Please share a few of your favorite books and authors.

Like you, Mae, my taste is all over.  I’ve never really delved into the “classics”, but cut my teeth on Grimm’s Fairy Tales and comic books. Alistair MacLean is the reason I started writing. My favorite book of his is H.M.S. Ulysses. When it comes to romance, I started out reading Barbara Cartland, Betty Neels, Janet Daily and Margaret Way. I’m a huge Harlequin fan and my go-to author is RaeAnne Thayne. I have every one of Tom Clancy’s books and many of his spin off series. James Rollins is in there too. But the best kept secret in published techo-thrillers has to be Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens—a husband and wife team who hit it big writing Star Trek books, but I absolutely love their mainstream thrillers.

I’m going to have to check them out. I love thrillers. What are you reading right now?

To see my current reading list, check out my page on Goodreads.  As of this writing, I’m reading Threat Vector, by Tom Clancy; McLain’s Law, by Kylie Brant; Finding Your Voice by Les Edgerton; Internal Affairs, by Alana Matthews; Operatives, Spies and Saboteurs: The Unknown Story of the Men and Women of World War II’s OSS, by Patrick K. O’Donnell. And do I keep them all straight? Yes. But don’t ask me how, because I’ve never been able to figure that out.

Amazing! I can only handle one read at a time. And now for some quick question/answers:

Favorite thing to do when you’re not writing or reading:  Watch either the NFL or NBA. I’m a huge Utah Jazz fan…somewhere along the line I became my mother in that regard. But mostly I enjoy spending time with my best friend—my husband. Whatever we do together makes the day perfect.

Favorite color: Green, although if you looked in my closet, you’d think it was gray, white or black.

Favorite TV show: It’s a tie, Stargate: SG-1 and Firefly.  I own the entire DVD series of both.

Favorite season: Fall

Chocolate or vanilla: Yes… vanilla covered in chocolate.

Causal or dressy: Causal

Marshmallow or peanut butter: Peanut butter

Dream vacation gifted to you by a fairy-godmother, all expenses paid: A visit to Washington D.C. I’ve never been and would love to spend a month in the museums, cemeteries, and monuments.

Thanks, Stanalei. That was a lot of fun! Before we wrap, do you have a current WIP you’d like share?

I’m currently working on the books from contemporary romantic suspense I call my Northstar Series. You can find blurbs for each of the 5 books on my website.

LightningOnlyStrikesTwice_w6995_750Blurb, LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE:
After her grandfather’s death, mounting debts force Annie Crawford to sell her inheritance to uphold her family’s honor and avoid bankruptcy. Financial stability comes with an even higher price: her heritage. She must rebuild her legacy from nothing.

Purchasing Annie’s property means three things to Luke Maxwell: financial burden on Maxwell Development, opportunity to propel his career to the top by developing the old ghost town, and, ultimately, approval to take over his father’s company. All of which take precedence over his attraction to the pretty seller.

While touring the property, Annie and Luke are whisked back in time to the 1891 mining community. Together, they endure antiquated hardships and turn to each other for familiarity. Comfort soon becomes passion. As they face a lifetime in the wrong century, Annie and Luke discover a predestined responsibility to the future. Can the love they’ve propagated in the past take root in the present?

Excerpt, LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE:
Annie leaned toward him and sniffed. “Perhaps you’ve been celebrating Founders’ Day with more than coffee.” She patted her pockets. “Do you know what happened to my keys?”

Luke slammed his fist on the sideboard, rattling the dishes and making her jump back. “Damn it, Annie, there are no keys! There is no car. For all I know, they haven’t invented gasoline yet.”

Apprehension filled her face. “Okay, I’m leaving now.” She glanced behind her.

The door was only two feet away. She turned for it, but before she lifted the latch, Luke grabbed her shoulder and spun her around. She opened her mouth to scream, but he clamped a hand over it.

Wide, fear-filled eyes stared up at him. He swallowed, regretting the actions that caused her fear, but he couldn’t let her go. As he pulled her closer, her breasts flattened against his chest. Warmth spread through his limbs and the constant fuzziness that plagued him since his arrival vanished.

Annie must have felt the change too. She stopped struggling.

He lowered his head. His whiskers scratched her smooth cheek as he whispered in her ear. “I’m not going to hurt you. I promise. I just need you to believe me.” Without releasing his hand from her mouth, he tilted his head to see her face.

Indecision replaced her earlier apprehension. She nodded slowly.

He eased his hand away and she let go an earsplitting scream.

Damn the woman!

Without thought, he covered her mouth with his.

Buy Links, LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE:
TWRP Trade Paperback
TWRP eBook
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
iBooks
Kobo
Bookstrand 
All Romance eBooks.com

StanaleiFletcher-WebPicAuthor Bio
My love of writing romance stems from reading favorite such as Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Barbara Cartland and Alistair MacLean. I have over twenty years in the martial arts and hold the rank of Sandan, a third degree black belt in Aikido.

After a taste of life on both U.S. coasts, I now reside in the beautiful Rocky Mountains with my hero, who just happens to be my best friend and husband. Together we enjoy the open road astride a Harley, visiting museums and exploring our National Parks.

~ooOOoo~

You can find Stanalei at the following haunts:
Website
Facebook
  
Twitter
Goodreads

Buy Links for IMPERFECT DREAM-PERFECT REALITY
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

iBooks
Kobo
Sony
Bookstrand
All Romance eBooks.com   
 

Book Blitz: Painted Memories by Loni Flowers

I’m doing a rare Sunday post today because I’m happy to participate in the book blast tour for my friend, Loni Flowers. Check out this heart-warming read that should be on your TBR list! I adored this story!

Painting Blogs With Memories Book Blast copy

Title: Painted Memories        
Author:
Loni Flowers
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Date of Publication: January 21st, 2013
Format: E-book & Paperback
Page Length: 334
Word Count: 95,000

Blurb/Book Description: 
I’ve come to realize how much life can change with circumstance. One moment I was a happy sixteen year old girl with a great brother, Jesse, who I adored.

Then Jesse died.

No matter how much I wished it had been me in the accident, wishing will never change what happened. Five years later, my father’s eyes are still filled with hate and regret whenever he looks at me. I haven’t forgotten my mistake, but I’ve accepted it.

My father has not.

He may always see me as a failure, but I’m determined to make a fresh start in a new town where love promises to be more generous than the scorn I’ve left in my father’s eyes. With any luck, maybe some distance will make him see me as his daughter again. Until then I’ll find my own way.

It’s what Jesse would want.

Painted Memories is an original, contemporary romance about love, loss, and recovering from tragedy. Its characters are real. Between humor and heartbreak, it’s funny, touching, and full of redemption.

Painted_MemoriesExcerpt:
My apartment complex was off the beaten path, and if I hadn’t gotten lost in the first place, I might have never found Oakdale. Hidden from the main roads, tucked into a wooded area, huge oak trees surrounded the perimeter. It was a large complex, eight buildings total, two floors each. The property manager told me when I inquired about renting an apartment that there were twisted walking trails, which wrapped around one side of the pond, through the woods to the opposite of the pond. I also had access to basketball courts, tennis courts, and two swimming pools, if I preferred other activities. I was lucky there were several available units when I came across it. Oakdale seemed to be the place to live around here, but none of it mattered if I didn’t allow myself the luxury of using it. I always meant to, but never found the time. I had to start making the time, or else I could end up being a workaholic like my father. After living with him all my life, that was the last thing I wanted to become.

Sweat dripped down the back of my neck and other unmentionable parts of my body as I ran. The hot September made me realize I probably picked the worst time of day to drag myself around the track–late afternoon. I looked across the pond at my starting point and knew there was no way I’d be able to push myself all the way around without collapsing from exhaustion, or worse, heat stroke.

A noise behind me caught my attention and I stepped off the path to avoid forcing the person behind me to slow down.  I jogged between the concrete track and the edge of the water before noticing a man falling into stride beside me. He nodded with a smile and I grinned at him, hearing unknown lyrics streaming from the headphones in his ears. Suddenly, I shifted forward, with only the pond and a park bench in my line of sight. I tried to reach for the bench as I fell, my arms flailing. My body’s momentum propelled me forward and I screamed before being silenced by a mouthful of water.

I struggled, losing my footing every time I tried to stand up. I’ve got to get out! I’ve got to get out! The snakes are going to get me! were my only thoughts.

Water splashing, I choked on the brackish-brown water as I gasped for breath. I was going to drown or get bitten by a snake while everyone around me watched. The guy that was jogging beside me appeared on the edge of the bank, leaning over with his hand stretched out.

“Stand up,” he said. “It’s not that deep.”

After a moment, his words sunk in and I tried to stand. When I looked down at the water, I felt like an idiot, seeing the water only came up to my waist. I took a step toward him and reached for his hand just as something slimy brushed against my leg. With a terrified scream, I leaped forward.

“It’s going to bite me! Get me out! Get me out!” I yelled, splashing water everywhere. He pulled me up the embankment and my shoes slipped over the soft, wet dirt. I coughed up pond water as I gasped for a fresh breath in the humid air. He wrapped his arm around my waist and walked me toward an empty park bench only a few feet away.

“Are you okay?” he asked, sitting down beside me.

“Oh my God! Thank you. If you hadn’t helped me, I might have drowned.” I glared at the bystanders, still gawking at me from their park benches and private picnics. “Obviously, no one else was going to help,” I said louder than necessary. They averted their eyes while I stared, encouraging them to mind their own business.

“Well, it’s a good thing I decided to come for a run when I got off work, isn’t it? My name’s Drew, by the way,” he said, extending his hand.

I shook it, breathing heavily. I didn’t bother to mention that if I hadn’t moved over for him to pass, I wouldn’t have fallen in to begin with. “I’m Lilly.”

“Oh wait… you’ve got something—” he started to say as he reached his hand toward my hair.

I saw it out of the corner of my eye when he pulled it from between the strands of my hair. It was long and green, and only one word came to mind. Snake! I jumped up, a scream trapped in my throat, but slapped my hand over my mouth when he dangled the long piece of grass between his fingers in front of me. I closed my eyes and settled back down on the bench. I knew he must’ve thought I was such a freaking idiot.

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12_21_12Author Bio:  
Loni Flowers lives in Eastern North Carolina with her husband; two wild toddlers, who never slow down for a second; and three couch-potato dogs, who only raise an eye when food is around. She spends her days working full-time for a well-known bank and when Loni isn’t there, you can find her playing on the internet. Chatting on Twitter and Facebook is her weakness!

She loves to read and write, though can’t see to find time to do them both at the same time! Balance… she has none!

An easy reader, Loni loves most genres, but she’s a definite sucker for a good romance story!

Contemporary romance is her writing genre of choice but she’s not opposed to writing something different should an excellent idea strike.

Some of Loni’s favorite authors include: L.J. Kentowski, Stefne Miller, Cassandra Clare, J.K. Rowling, and Karen Marie Moning, Nicholas Sparks, and Jodi Picoult… just to name a few.

Look for Loni at the following haunts:
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