She sold herself to a Jelvia, and he wants full payment – SPIDER – #scifi #fantasy #over18 #epic #bookseries

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JELVIA: NOT HUMAN SPIDER Bethany Roberts was born into a privileged life, but all that was taken away when, at nine years old, a car crash killed her older brother, and her mother received life-changing injuries. Beth’s younger sister was … Continue reading

When does romance cross the line into erotica?

A reviewer asked that question after reading Holding out for a Hero and Surviving her Dominant and I came up with the very informative answer of ‘I don’t know.’ Continue reading

OBSCURITY: NOT AN OPTION

by
Cindy MacDonald

So you’ve written a manuscript. You had it
professionally edited. You’ve got a great cover design. You’ve had it published
in paperback and eBook forms, and it’s been uploaded to Amazon. Great! Now
what? Sit back, relax, perhaps twiddle your thumbs a bit, and wait for those
royalties to come pouring in, right?

Mmmm, I’m afraid not.

No good deed shall go unpunished!
Amazon.com
Amazon.UK

The fact is that no one is going to come looking for
your book, no matter how well written, how engaging, or how action-packed it is
unless you, the author, makes it happen!


Hey let’s face it, obscurity is not an option when
you’ve published a book. The competition is fierce—and the competition is using
all the resources that perhaps you are not. There is no doubt that marketing is
an indie’s biggest hurdle, but you can’t afford to be shy or stuck in the
nineteenth century.
I’m not saying that marketing one’s book is insurmountable,
but it can be hard to get started. Book stores are not usually very willing to
arrange a signing for indie writers because they are relatively unknown—they’d
rather have James Patterson, go figure. However, some local libraries may be willing
to host an event for you. That’s nice, but that doesn’t tend to spread the word
to a large mass of people. And that’s exactly what your need.

So what’s an author to do?

Brace yourself, because I’m about to say the S word: Social Networking. Yikes! You may
consider it a dirty word, but I’m afraid it’s truly the reality of our time. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin,
Pininterest, it’s enough to make an author’s head spin! After all, it has been
widely rumored that authors are quite a recluse lot. The trick is to not allow
it to overwhelm or intimidate you—no matter what your age.  The bottom line is it’s your responsibility as an author to get
the word out about your book—not your
publisher
you.


Actually, I’ve seen quite a few traditionally
published and even best selling authors on the networks pushing their books as
well. So it’s my guess that their publishers feel the same way—get the word
out, baby!

So stiff upper lip, pull yourself up by your
bootstraps, and do what you need to do to make that book of yours a success.

Because you can.

If you don’t have a website—get one. You need it!
There are plenty of website options out there and some are free. List your
books—with covers, a synopsis, provide an excerpt, and yes do a book trailer,
to boot! You can make one right there on your computer—it’s easy and it’s
actually a lot of fun.

Don’t forget to provide links to your book’s Amazon
sales site on your website.


Okay, now that you have a website, you need a…wait for
it…Facebook page! I have two FB pages: one in my name
where I talk about my life—nothing too personal—and one for my books. On both
pages I will announce reviews and provide links to those reviews or my books,
and sometimes I will post pictures of my horses just for fun. There are also FB
pages that are provided for authors to promote their books. On all these FB
pages I will also list blogs that I am featured at—like today—another excellent way to get the word out about
your book—I also plug the blog site to draw in readers.

And then there are VirtualBook Tours—virtual book tours help you to promote not only your book but
you—the author— without having to leave the comfort of your sofa. You have
control as to how long the tour is: two weeks, one month, or the max—three
months. 



How they work is that for approximately three times a week you will visit a blog
for an author spotlight, a review, interview, or a guest post on a variety of
subjects. The guest post will spotlight how well you write beyond the pages of
your book. That’s important. It also provides potential readers an insight as
to who you are and what you think or believe. While this service is not free,
you can decide how much you want to spend by the length of the tour.

LinkedIn is a great place to post a blurb about your
book on a daily basis.
I usually write something like: Whoa! Those online romances
can be real murder!
 And then I list
the link to where my potential audience can purchase 
DEADLY.COM I went from
selling hardly any of this particular book to making it my best selling novel
at this time—especially in the UK.


Then there’s Twitter *wince*. I thought I would
never get the hang of that nightmare social networking demon. I thought it was
stupid. Then I thought: but there are sooo many authors using it. Hey, there’s
got to be something to it.  So I started
following people—mainly authors—they would retweet my book blurbs—I would
retweet back—this would result in book sales. Hmmm. I followed more—retweeted
more—additional book sales. Who knew? I
am now tweeting approximately three to four times per day. It only takes about
ten minutes, and the payoff has been well worth it. 

Pssst…I’ve even got my publishing manger tweeting more
than she ever did before. To tell you the truth, she probably hates me for it,
but she has realized how invaluable it is for her and her cozy mysteries. She
too has experienced a sharp rise in sales.
Go baby go!
It’s true, I spend a lot of time per day promoting my
books on the social networks—it’s a commitment. But hey, didn’t you make a
commitment to the book when you wrote it?
You love your characters. You love
your stories, so help send them get to the masses.

There’s the light at the end of the very long indie tunnel—it
can and will work!

Since I’ve been using Twitter on a daily basis,
following as many people with an interest in books, tweeting and retweeting
other authors, using hashtags, and writing something about my books on my FB pages and LinkedIn, my book sales have truly improved!

C’mon, don’t be shy. Get out of that “I am NOT going
anywhere near social networking sites” demeanor. You CAN do this. Only you have
the power. You’ve worked hard. So step up to the plate and take a swing at making
your book into everything you wanted it to be—a success!
See more of Cindy’s posts on WWBB: 

Against the Ropes
The Unbridled Series

When the West’s good-hearted farm manager, Punch McMinn, stumbles upon Eugene Strom, a down-on-his-luck fighter threatening to jump from an old bridge, Punch takes him under his wing and convinces the patriarch of Westwood Thoroughbred Farm, Eric West, to give him a job.

No good deed shall go unpunished!
Amazon.com
Amazon.UK
But when the gun-toting mob shows up at Westwood, it’s quite obvious that good ol’ Eugene is hiding a secret–a big one. Punch finds himself questioning his good intentions when the ex-fighter puts the people he loves against the ropes-and at the edge of disaster.
Cindy McDonald

About Cindy McDonald: For the past twenty years Cindy has helped her husband raise, train, and race Thoroughbreds at their forty-five acre farm known as Fly-By-Night Stables near Pittsburgh.

During those years Cindy has paid close attention to the characters that hang-out at the back-side of the track.  She found the situations and life style most intriguing. In 2005 she sat down at her computer and began a journey into writing about this life that few understand.

Cindy has recently retired from making her living as a professional choreographer. She owned and operated Cindy McDonald’s School of Dance since 1985.  She studied at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and with the Pittsburgh Dance Alloy at Carnegie Mellon University to name a few.  She has choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards.
Click for an exciting excerpt from AGAINST THE ROPES

A snippet from 
Against the Ropes

Gravel spit from the tires of Punch McMinn’s red Dodge Ram pickup truck, as it rambled along the desolate dusty road. A dirty haze levitated on the horizon in the intense August heat and the leaves on the maple trees turned upward to the heavens begging for a drink. The sky was crystal clear not showing any prayer for storm clouds to rumble through. It had been a damned dry summer.


Glancing at the rear view mirror, Punch could see the pallet of blocks in the bed of his truck. He had gone into Rosemount early this morning to pickup the blocks for the wall that was being re-built in the old brood mare shed on the far side of Westwood Thoroughbred Farm where he’d been the farm manager for many years. He promised Eric West that he would get the wall re-built before the leaves started to turn shades of gold and amber and the autumn chill would set forth a welcome relief. When you made a promise to the patriarch of the West family, you kept it. Disappointing that man was never an option. Eric had practically raised Punch. When his father left his mother with no warning and children to feed, it was Eric that took Punch under his wing. He gave him jobs at the farm to earn a paycheck, and he saw to it that Punch continued playing high school football with his eldest son, Mike. He grew up at Westwood with the West kids Mike, Kate, and Shane. They cleaned stalls side-by-side, lugged heavy water buckets, and groomed the Thoroughbreds to a laser sheen before they entered the paddock for a race. A game of hide-n-seek or a pickup football game always filled their spare time—what little of that they could scrounge. And Sunday or Monday night football with the Steelers on the TV in the West’s study was a favorite back then, and still remained a weekly ritual to this day. The Wests were his second family and his loyalty to Eric and the clan ran as deep as Reardon’s Run. They always had each others back—because that’s what families are made of.

Trying to beat the heat, he went to Miller Block and Brick early. The brickyard was located smack-dab in the middle of downtown Rosemount. The chain-link fence surrounding the huge yard was rather out of place, as where the piles and piles of cement blocks and bricks that lined the perimeter. Miller Block and Brick had set up business in the small dusty town of Rosemount in 1917 before it had become a bustling busy city with tall buildings, fast-food restaurants, theaters, and a four lane running through the center of downtown. The brickyard was a staple as was the Miller family.

Harris Miller was the fourth generation to operate the business and his daughter, Zoe, would take over the reins when Harris retired. Well into his seventies, Harris was not even beginning to entertain the thought of sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair. The very notion made him queasy, so he showed up to open the business every morning by six a.m.

Yep, Punch was trying to beat the heat, and if the truth were being told, he was also trying to avoid Zoe Miller with his early morning errand. He was unsuccessful at both tasks. The sun came up with a golden fury to scorch the morning as it had done the day before, and when he walked through the door of the brickyard sales office, there stood Zoe, waiting for him at the counter with a grin that stretched all the way through the blush of her cheeks to her bright sapphire eyes.

Suspicion ripped through him. If he didn’t know better, he would’ve sworn that one of his loyal “family” members called to alert her of his impending arrival. That’s another thing family does—meddle. He couldn’t decide which West would be that spry so early in the morning, Shane? Hmmm, it certainly fit his MO, but Punch seriously doubted it. Shane had trouble rolling out of bed in the morning. I won’t bust his balls…yet.

Maybe Kate was the culprit. He loved the slender blonde-haired blue-eyed woman of Westwood. She knew what was best for her West men—and Punch. Last week she sat him down on a bale of straw and had a little “talk” with him about the virtues of one, Miss Zoe Miller. Kate could be quite convincing and when necessary, quite conniving. Except he was having his doubts about the shrewd little matchmaker, for the past several months she’d been very preoccupied with Dr. Holden Reese. Kate had been dating the newest and very handsome veterinarian at Keystone Downs. Naw…not Kate, not this time, anyway.

But Mike…oh yeah, he was a morning person. Always bright and alert and ready to roll, he was good at playing the innocent one—steering clear of other people’s business. Yeah, he’s as innocent as a fox in a chicken coop. Punch was having no trouble picturing him dialing his cell phone with an ornery grin on his lips the minute he pulled out of the driveway. Payback’s gonna be a bitch, buddy.

Twinkling coaxing eyes greeted him, as Zoe looped her arm through his to escort him through the brickyard, where her father was starting up the forklift. She was an attractive woman, with full lips, pretty blue eyes, and dark blonde hair that drifted over her shoulders. She was a full-figured gal, an armful, and if he let her drag him into the relationship that she obviously desired, he was most certain that she would be a handful. Truth be told, Punch felt a tug of attraction to Zoe, but even though he was thirty-three, he wasn’t ready for that heavy relationship stuff…nosiree.

It took some finagling, and some smooth talking, but he managed to escape the brickyard without a lifetime commitment, or bruising Zoe’s feelings. Punch was a huge black man, broad shoulders, expansive chest, and arms that bulked out of the sleeves of his T-shirt. His sheer size was daunting, but he was nothing more than a tender-hearted, softy. And hurting Zoe’s feelings was not Punch McMinn’s style. It just wasn’t in him— okay, especially with Zoe.

Sweat dribbled down his temples. Removing his Steelers ball cap, he swiped the sweat from his brow with his forearm, and then plopped the cap back on his head—crooked. The right side of his mouth sucked in with frustration, as he tapped the button for the air conditioning unit, but warm air poured from the vents. Damn, he meant to have that fixed last spring, but time got away from him, and now the blazing heat of summer was punishing him for his procrastination. B.O.B. was rapping on the radio that he could use a wish right now, and Punch was wishing that some damned cool air would miraculously blow through those freaking vents. Not happening.

The truck bumped and rattled over the old abandoned railroad tracks. No trains had traveled the tracks in over twenty years, but they remained as an annoying hump in the road that everyone forgot to slow down for until they found themselves bouncing on their seats, with their brain clattering inside their skull, while swearing at their car’s suspension system. The tracks disappeared into the tall weeds and then over a rusted-out, boarded-up bridge that spanned the wide white water section of Reardon’s Run.

Except the bumping and bouncing in the cab of his truck, and the slight rock of the heavy pallet piled with cement blocks was not his focus at the moment. The dysfunctional air conditioning unit, and Zoe Miller was all but forgotten when his gaze fell upon an older Honda Civic smashed against a tree. Ashen steam billowed out from under the hood that was curled almost to the cracked windshield, and the driver’s side door hung open. Eyes narrowed and his brows pinched together, Punch slowed the truck to a stop and slid from the seat, measuring the wreck with caution.

As he slowly approached the vehicle, his eyes scanned the area. The dirt road wound into the hazy distance. The locust and maple trees spread their branches overhead, and the sun beat down on the brittle and singed tall grasses alongside the road. The air was tight and still in the cloying heat. The only sound was that of the car hissing, as the steam slithered like a phantom serpent into the air.

Punch peered into the car. The airbag slumped from the steering wheel. The interior was pristine, without any personal belongings lying on the seats or on the floor. He straightened with his hands on his hips, pushing his ball cap above his forehead.

“Hey!” Punch called out. Surely whoever wrecked the vehicle couldn’t be very far. And then his gaze fell upon the tall bristly weeds across the roadway. They fell away as if someone had just tromped through toward the old bridge. Taking a braced breath, he followed the newly beaten trail. He could see the bridge in the short distance, and could hear the water running fast; slapping over the rocks in Reardon’s Run.

Emerging from the brush he came to a dead stop, as if someone had splashed him in the face with a bucket of ice water. Narrowing his eyes, he slowly inched his way to the broken and rotted boards that blocked the entrance to the abandoned dilapidated bridge, where a hulk of a man stood on the other side of the rusted railing, with his eyes fixated on the rushing water far below. His huge wide hands clenched the rickety railing, sweat rippled down his reddened face. He seemed frozen, almost in shock, but he didn’t look injured. Punch had to assume that he belonged to the wrecked Honda. He looked fraught and flushed and filled with angst.

Tentatively Punch climbed over the boards and quietly made his way toward the man desperately clinging to the railing on the very edge of the bridge.

Punch wrinkled his nose and then he said, “Whatcha gonna do?”

Startled, the man’s head jerked toward him. His eyes were as big as dinner plates, and the skin on his knuckles was so stretched that it looked like they could burst through at any second. Dripping sweat, his brows pinched in sudden irritation.

“What’s it look like?” He growled at the uninvited black man.

Pursing his lips, Punch raised his eyebrows at the man, and then he peered over the railing at the rushing white water, and the jagged rocks in the fast creek bed. Cocking his head, he expelled a long downward whistle. “It’s a long way down there,” he began. The man dared a glance at the water, and then thought better of it, rotating his eyes back toward Punch. “Ya know if you hit those rocks…it’s gonna hurt like hell…while you’re drowning, dude.”

The man’s mouth dropped open a bit, and then his brows formed a disparaging V between his eyes, “Good thing you’re not a counselor, cuz you suck at this.”

“At what?”

“At talking someone out of suicide.” The man said.

“Ooh, you want me to talk you out of it?” Punch lifted a beefy shoulder, “I dunno, seems like you’ve got you’re mind made up, right?” He said, as he leaned against a rusted flaking bracket, folding his arms over his wide chest.

The man took in a deep disgusted breath. He managed another peek at the water thrashing over the rocks. He groaned. “Why don’t you leave me be?” He expelled a hopeless sigh, “I can’t do anything right. I thought if I slammed my car hard enough into that tree—“

“Damned air bags.” Punch interjected.

“Yeah…I tried to shoot myself yesterday, but I flinched.” He turned his head so Punch could view a burned graze across his temple. Punch winced. The man sighed at his miserable failure. “So I figured I’d jump, and as you pointed out, either the rocks will kill me or I’ll drown.”

“Well, it sounds like a plan.” Punch said, slapping the man on the shoulder, the man flinched, grasping the railing more tightly. Punch took several steps, and then hesitated, turning back toward him. “Is there anybody you’d like me to call? Family? Friends?” He asked.

The man sighed again, sadly shaking his head. “No…there’s nobody.”

Punch stepped toward him to extend his hand out to him, “My name’s Punch McMinn. And you are?” The man looked at Punch as if his nose had just grown ten inches out of his face, and then he looked at his big hand. Punch shrugged, “I mean, I gotta know. So I can tell the police whose floating in the creek.”

Apprehensively he let got of the railing, and extended his hand to him, “Eugene…Eugene Strom.”

Punch half-smiled, “Nice knowing ya, Eugene.” And with that Punch grabbed the large man’s hand and yanked him toward the inside of the railing. But Eugene wasn’t having it. He was big and he was strong. Wrestling against Punch’s grip, he pulled him closer to the edge. The old railing groaned in distress, and the bolts that still barely held it in place jerked. Punch managed to wrap his arms around Eugene’s waist and heave him over the railing. The two enormous men crashed onto the floor of the bridge, but the boards that Punch fell against gave way and he fell through the rotted splintering wood.

Censored Books—You Betcha!

by 
Cindy McDonald



Ahhh, the infamous “I told you so!” How we spouses love to hear those words spew from our better half’s mouth. Most recently I was on the receiving end of such a scolding when my husband and I attended a luncheon at the nursing home where my mother resides. Let me back-up…


A short time ago I wrote a blog entitled, Crossing the Line. The blog discussed how much sexual content should we authors place in our books. Essentially, how much is too much? I also mentioned in the blog that I am a former dance teacher who now writes books with quite a bit of suggestive material. My very conservative husband is uncomfortable with said content because he feels that my previous position in the community holds me to certain standards that I should be very conscious of.


So, there we were at the luncheon taking our seats along with the other families, when I spotted two of my former students and their parents seated at a table nearby. The two girls were thrilled to see their former dance teacher, and with ear-to-ear smiles, they waved. For the sake of this blog we’ll call the older girl, Susan, who is twelve. The younger sister is ten. Anyway, the luncheon was lovely and when we decided to leave I made my way to their table to say hello. And that’s when it happened. While giving me a hug Susan (12) said to me, “Oh Miss Cindy, I miss you so much. I want you to know that I’ve read all of your books.”


What?!


I was very taken aback. I turned to her mother with wide eyes and if I hadn’t quickly slammed it shut, I swear my jaw would’ve bounced off the floor. I said, “Y–You let her read my books?” Smiling, the woman waved a carefree hand at me and replied, “Oh, don’t worry, she’s an advanced reader.”


Seriously?


Has the woman not reviewed my books before her twelve year old daughter reads them? I couldn’t believe it! Susan then added, “Oh yes, and I understand everything in them, Miss Cindy.”


Okay.


At this point I simply gave the girl another hug, wished them well, and caught up with my family. That’s when my husband said, “See I told you! I told you that those young girls from your dance school would be reading your books. That’s why you should keep those suggestive scenes in check!”


Really?


I don’t think so. I truly feel it is their parent’s responsibility to read the book first before passing it on to their pre-teen daughters. I believe that parents need to censor what their young children read just as much as they need to pay attention to what they are looking at on the internet. Having a school district pronounce your child as an “advanced reader” simply means they can read “big words”—big deal! That does not necessarily mean they are mature enough for certain content. Call me old fashioned. Call me naïve. Call me an idiot, if you like, but young people need guidance and mature reading material simply is not appropriate for a twelve year old girl. For that matter my daughter does not permit my grandson (14) to read my books, and the last one, Dangerous Deception, was dedicated to him! I’m not upset—I totally agree with my daughter, and I wish all parents would exercise a little more common sense when it comes to mature reads and the internet, and cell phones for that matter.


Hey, I don’t feel responsible at all for what happened. The titles of the books alone should have been a red flag for the parent: DEADLY.COM, HOT COCO, DANGEROUS DECEPTION, and AGAINST THE ROPES. Lord have mercy, the name of the series is UNBRIDLED! I do not write books with titles like: PATTY’S PRETTY PIROUETTE, or A NEW TUTU FOR TANYA.


Yes, I write suggestive scenes. I like writing suggestive scenes, and I have taken those scenes up several notches in my new series FIRST FORCE that will release in November—Shhh! Don’t tell my husband.


It is up to Susan’s mother and parents just like her to censor their children’s reading material. I’m no longer “Miss Cindy” the small town dance teacher. I am now Cindy McDonald, an author—reader beware.





See more of Cindy’s posts on WWBB: 
When writing romantic scenes where does one stop. 
When reviews count for nothing.
Never judge a book by its cover.
Memories of Presque Isle


Against the Ropes
The Unbridled Series

When the West’s good-hearted farm manager, Punch McMinn, stumbles upon Eugene Strom, a down-on-his-luck fighter threatening to jump from an old bridge, Punch takes him under his wing and convinces the patriarch of Westwood Thoroughbred Farm, Eric West, to give him a job.

No good deed shall go unpunished!
Amazon.com
Amazon.UK
But when the gun-toting mob shows up at Westwood, it’s quite obvious that good ol’ Eugene is hiding a secret–a big one. Punch finds himself questioning his good intentions when the ex-fighter puts the people he loves against the ropes-and at the edge of disaster.
Cindy McDonald

About Cindy McDonald: For the past twenty years
Cindy has helped her husband raise, train, and race Thoroughbreds at their
forty-five acre farm known as Fly-By-Night Stables near Pittsburgh.

During
those years Cindy has paid close attention to the characters that hang-out at
the back-side of the track.  She found the situations and life style most
intriguing. In 2005 she sat down at her computer and began a journey into
writing about this life that few understand.

Cindy has
recently retired from making her living as a professional choreographer. She owned
and operated Cindy McDonald’s School of Dance since 1985. 
She studied at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and with the Pittsburgh
Dance Alloy at Carnegie Mellon University to name a few.  She has
choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards
.
Click for an exciting excerpt from AGAINST THE ROPES

A snippet from 
Against the Ropes

Gravel spit from the tires of Punch McMinn’s red Dodge Ram pickup truck, as it rambled along the desolate dusty road. A dirty haze levitated on the horizon in the intense August heat and the leaves on the maple trees turned upward to the heavens begging for a drink. The sky was crystal clear not showing any prayer for storm clouds to rumble through. It had been a damned dry summer.



Glancing at the rear view mirror, Punch could see the pallet of blocks in the bed of his truck. He had gone into Rosemount early this morning to pickup the blocks for the wall that was being re-built in the old brood mare shed on the far side of Westwood Thoroughbred Farm where he’d been the farm manager for many years. He promised Eric West that he would get the wall re-built before the leaves started to turn shades of gold and amber and the autumn chill would set forth a welcome relief. When you made a promise to the patriarch of the West family, you kept it. Disappointing that man was never an option. Eric had practically raised Punch. When his father left his mother with no warning and children to feed, it was Eric that took Punch under his wing. He gave him jobs at the farm to earn a paycheck, and he saw to it that Punch continued playing high school football with his eldest son, Mike. He grew up at Westwood with the West kids Mike, Kate, and Shane. They cleaned stalls side-by-side, lugged heavy water buckets, and groomed the Thoroughbreds to a laser sheen before they entered the paddock for a race. A game of hide-n-seek or a pickup football game always filled their spare time—what little of that they could scrounge. And Sunday or Monday night football with the Steelers on the TV in the West’s study was a favorite back then, and still remained a weekly ritual to this day. The Wests were his second family and his loyalty to Eric and the clan ran as deep as Reardon’s Run. They always had each others back—because that’s what families are made of.


Trying to beat the heat, he went to Miller Block and Brick early. The brickyard was located smack-dab in the middle of downtown Rosemount. The chain-link fence surrounding the huge yard was rather out of place, as where the piles and piles of cement blocks and bricks that lined the perimeter. Miller Block and Brick had set up business in the small dusty town of Rosemount in 1917 before it had become a bustling busy city with tall buildings, fast-food restaurants, theaters, and a four lane running through the center of downtown. The brickyard was a staple as was the Miller family.


Harris Miller was the fourth generation to operate the business and his daughter, Zoe, would take over the reins when Harris retired. Well into his seventies, Harris was not even beginning to entertain the thought of sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair. The very notion made him queasy, so he showed up to open the business every morning by six a.m.


Yep, Punch was trying to beat the heat, and if the truth were being told, he was also trying to avoid Zoe Miller with his early morning errand. He was unsuccessful at both tasks. The sun came up with a golden fury to scorch the morning as it had done the day before, and when he walked through the door of the brickyard sales office, there stood Zoe, waiting for him at the counter with a grin that stretched all the way through the blush of her cheeks to her bright sapphire eyes.


Suspicion ripped through him. If he didn’t know better, he would’ve sworn that one of his loyal “family” members called to alert her of his impending arrival. That’s another thing family does—meddle. He couldn’t decide which West would be that spry so early in the morning, Shane? Hmmm, it certainly fit his MO, but Punch seriously doubted it. Shane had trouble rolling out of bed in the morning. I won’t bust his balls…yet.


Maybe Kate was the culprit. He loved the slender blonde-haired blue-eyed woman of Westwood. She knew what was best for her West men—and Punch. Last week she sat him down on a bale of straw and had a little “talk” with him about the virtues of one, Miss Zoe Miller. Kate could be quite convincing and when necessary, quite conniving. Except he was having his doubts about the shrewd little matchmaker, for the past several months she’d been very preoccupied with Dr. Holden Reese. Kate had been dating the newest and very handsome veterinarian at Keystone Downs. Naw…not Kate, not this time, anyway.


But Mike…oh yeah, he was a morning person. Always bright and alert and ready to roll, he was good at playing the innocent one—steering clear of other people’s business. Yeah, he’s as innocent as a fox in a chicken coop. Punch was having no trouble picturing him dialing his cell phone with an ornery grin on his lips the minute he pulled out of the driveway. Payback’s gonna be a bitch, buddy.


Twinkling coaxing eyes greeted him, as Zoe looped her arm through his to escort him through the brickyard, where her father was starting up the forklift. She was an attractive woman, with full lips, pretty blue eyes, and dark blonde hair that drifted over her shoulders. She was a full-figured gal, an armful, and if he let her drag him into the relationship that she obviously desired, he was most certain that she would be a handful. Truth be told, Punch felt a tug of attraction to Zoe, but even though he was thirty-three, he wasn’t ready for that heavy relationship stuff…nosiree.


It took some finagling, and some smooth talking, but he managed to escape the brickyard without a lifetime commitment, or bruising Zoe’s feelings. Punch was a huge black man, broad shoulders, expansive chest, and arms that bulked out of the sleeves of his T-shirt. His sheer size was daunting, but he was nothing more than a tender-hearted, softy. And hurting Zoe’s feelings was not Punch McMinn’s style. It just wasn’t in him— okay, especially with Zoe.


Sweat dribbled down his temples. Removing his Steelers ball cap, he swiped the sweat from his brow with his forearm, and then plopped the cap back on his head—crooked. The right side of his mouth sucked in with frustration, as he tapped the button for the air conditioning unit, but warm air poured from the vents. Damn, he meant to have that fixed last spring, but time got away from him, and now the blazing heat of summer was punishing him for his procrastination. B.O.B. was rapping on the radio that he could use a wish right now, and Punch was wishing that some damned cool air would miraculously blow through those freaking vents. Not happening.


The truck bumped and rattled over the old abandoned railroad tracks. No trains had traveled the tracks in over twenty years, but they remained as an annoying hump in the road that everyone forgot to slow down for until they found themselves bouncing on their seats, with their brain clattering inside their skull, while swearing at their car’s suspension system. The tracks disappeared into the tall weeds and then over a rusted-out, boarded-up bridge that spanned the wide white water section of Reardon’s Run.


Except the bumping and bouncing in the cab of his truck, and the slight rock of the heavy pallet piled with cement blocks was not his focus at the moment. The dysfunctional air conditioning unit, and Zoe Miller was all but forgotten when his gaze fell upon an older Honda Civic smashed against a tree. Ashen steam billowed out from under the hood that was curled almost to the cracked windshield, and the driver’s side door hung open. Eyes narrowed and his brows pinched together, Punch slowed the truck to a stop and slid from the seat, measuring the wreck with caution.


As he slowly approached the vehicle, his eyes scanned the area. The dirt road wound into the hazy distance. The locust and maple trees spread their branches overhead, and the sun beat down on the brittle and singed tall grasses alongside the road. The air was tight and still in the cloying heat. The only sound was that of the car hissing, as the steam slithered like a phantom serpent into the air.


Punch peered into the car. The airbag slumped from the steering wheel. The interior was pristine, without any personal belongings lying on the seats or on the floor. He straightened with his hands on his hips, pushing his ball cap above his forehead.


“Hey!” Punch called out. Surely whoever wrecked the vehicle couldn’t be very far. And then his gaze fell upon the tall bristly weeds across the roadway. They fell away as if someone had just tromped through toward the old bridge. Taking a braced breath, he followed the newly beaten trail. He could see the bridge in the short distance, and could hear the water running fast; slapping over the rocks in Reardon’s Run.


Emerging from the brush he came to a dead stop, as if someone had splashed him in the face with a bucket of ice water. Narrowing his eyes, he slowly inched his way to the broken and rotted boards that blocked the entrance to the abandoned dilapidated bridge, where a hulk of a man stood on the other side of the rusted railing, with his eyes fixated on the rushing water far below. His huge wide hands clenched the rickety railing, sweat rippled down his reddened face. He seemed frozen, almost in shock, but he didn’t look injured. Punch had to assume that he belonged to the wrecked Honda. He looked fraught and flushed and filled with angst.


Tentatively Punch climbed over the boards and quietly made his way toward the man desperately clinging to the railing on the very edge of the bridge.


Punch wrinkled his nose and then he said, “Whatcha gonna do?”


Startled, the man’s head jerked toward him. His eyes were as big as dinner plates, and the skin on his knuckles was so stretched that it looked like they could burst through at any second. Dripping sweat, his brows pinched in sudden irritation.


“What’s it look like?” He growled at the uninvited black man.


Pursing his lips, Punch raised his eyebrows at the man, and then he peered over the railing at the rushing white water, and the jagged rocks in the fast creek bed. Cocking his head, he expelled a long downward whistle. “It’s a long way down there,” he began. The man dared a glance at the water, and then thought better of it, rotating his eyes back toward Punch. “Ya know if you hit those rocks…it’s gonna hurt like hell…while you’re drowning, dude.”


The man’s mouth dropped open a bit, and then his brows formed a disparaging V between his eyes, “Good thing you’re not a counselor, cuz you suck at this.”


“At what?”


“At talking someone out of suicide.” The man said.


“Ooh, you want me to talk you out of it?” Punch lifted a beefy shoulder, “I dunno, seems like you’ve got you’re mind made up, right?” He said, as he leaned against a rusted flaking bracket, folding his arms over his wide chest.


The man took in a deep disgusted breath. He managed another peek at the water thrashing over the rocks. He groaned. “Why don’t you leave me be?” He expelled a hopeless sigh, “I can’t do anything right. I thought if I slammed my car hard enough into that tree—“


“Damned air bags.” Punch interjected.


“Yeah…I tried to shoot myself yesterday, but I flinched.” He turned his head so Punch could view a burned graze across his temple. Punch winced. The man sighed at his miserable failure. “So I figured I’d jump, and as you pointed out, either the rocks will kill me or I’ll drown.”


“Well, it sounds like a plan.” Punch said, slapping the man on the shoulder, the man flinched, grasping the railing more tightly. Punch took several steps, and then hesitated, turning back toward him. “Is there anybody you’d like me to call? Family? Friends?” He asked.


The man sighed again, sadly shaking his head. “No…there’s nobody.”


Punch stepped toward him to extend his hand out to him, “My name’s Punch McMinn. And you are?” The man looked at Punch as if his nose had just grown ten inches out of his face, and then he looked at his big hand. Punch shrugged, “I mean, I gotta know. So I can tell the police whose floating in the creek.”


Apprehensively he let got of the railing, and extended his hand to him, “Eugene…Eugene Strom.”


Punch half-smiled, “Nice knowing ya, Eugene.” And with that Punch grabbed the large man’s hand and yanked him toward the inside of the railing. But Eugene wasn’t having it. He was big and he was strong. Wrestling against Punch’s grip, he pulled him closer to the edge. The old railing groaned in distress, and the bolts that still barely held it in place jerked. Punch managed to wrap his arms around Eugene’s waist and heave him over the railing. The two enormous men crashed onto the floor of the bridge, but the boards that Punch fell against gave way and he fell through the rotted splintering wood.

Character and author interview with Tory Richards’ erotic romance:

Instant Attraction
by
Tory Richards

Thomas is a motorcycle cop, new to the rural area. He needed a change from the hectic big city, and the pressures of being on the swat team. A little more peace and quiet to reflect on what he wants in life, and maybe find someone to share it with along the way.




He never expected to find his perfect match in the form of one sexy little animal activist. From the moment they meet their attraction is hot and out of control.


Julie is an animal lover and works at a no kill shelter. Living next door to the new cop in the area, she’s asked by someone at the small town hall to welcome him to the neighbourhood. When she meets Thomas for the very first time instant attraction causes the sparks to fly. And they can’t keep their hands off each other. The hot anywhere, any time sex is great but they both want more. Can instant attraction turn into love?


Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of anal sex.

What’s your background? What makes you you
Well, my name is Thomas and I was born and raised in Boston, where my parents and younger brother, Donald still live. He’s a fireman and my folks are veterinarians. After I returned from a stint in Iraq my Uncle Jack talked me into entering law enforcement. For a while I served on the SWAT team but decided I wanted a change of scenery. A place more laid back and peaceful, to be exact. So I picked up and moved to a rural area outside of Boston.

What is your main goal in life? 
(big sigh) I wasn’t sure until I met Julie. I mean, I know I wanted to meet someone I could share my life with. I thought I had in Boston but it turned out she only wanted fun and sex. Julie is different. I knew that the moment I looked into her eyes. So in answer to your question, my main goal in life is keeping her in mine. We’re good together. (he smiles)

How do you see yourself? 

I’m pretty easy going I guess. Family is important to me. And though I’ve always liked animals, Julie has turned me into an activist. I actually stopped to help Harriet, the resident pond turtle, cross the street the other day. That old girl is lucky she lives where we live.

What would be your biggest wish/desire? 
(he shrugs) Never gave it much thought. I’m pretty happy right now. If I have to put something into words I’m thinking it would have to be settling down and starting a family. And not because my folks are hounding me to.

There’s an elderly person and a young child each on a separate cliff top, each are going to fall/jump. Who’d you save (if any)? If both, how? If neither, why? 
You know I’m a cop, right? All I have to do is radio for help and both would be saved. (he smiles) There are no easy answers. If I was only able to save one, it would be the child. They still have their whole future ahead of them. They deserve a chance to live. Not saying the elderly person doesn’t deserve the same chance. But they’ve at least lived their life. And I would think the elderly person would want me to rescue the child, too.


Let’s meet the author Tory Richards: Hi Tory, how do you juggle a writing schedule?
That’s not as easy as I thought it would be once I retired from Disney. I live with my daughter’s family and that includes two grandchildren under the age of ten. Being that I make myself available to help out whenever I’m needed, my time is not all mine. I do get in some writing and promotional time during the afternoons and evenings. 


What/who do you draw inspiration from?
Inspiration can come from anything. A movie, a book I’m reading, a dream. Maybe a place or an incident. All it takes is a tiny thought, and from there a book is born. I went to Alaska in 2004 and the beauty of that place, our adventures, inspired me to write Someone to Love Me. The inspiration to write All the Right Moves came from an idea that it would be cool to have a mynah bird as a pet. Hence Harold, the heroine’s mynah bird was born and a plays a big part in the story.

How do you deal with bad reviews?
I remind myself that a bad review is only the opinion of one reader. Bad reviews happen to all of us. If I’m lucky enough to be given advice or positive feedback then I look at that as a good thing. I don’t take bad reviews personal but try to use them to make myself a better writer. I won’t spend my time trying to defend my writing to someone who didn’t like it because they’re entitled to their thoughts.

Promoting is something ALL authors struggle with. How are you managing yours?
I probably do more promotion than writing. It’s never ending and time consuming but a necessity if you want to get your name out there. It can also be expensive. I’m living on a self-imposed budget right now and spending time searching for sites that offer up free services. There’s tons of wonderful websites out there that offer both free and paid services so I’ve been lucky. And I’m always looking for something new. The key is keeping your name and titles out there.

What is your book about? Genre, theme, essence etc.
Instant Attraction is my first erotic romance with Total-E-Bound. It’s also my first interracial romance.

It’s the story about a motorcycle cop who leaves the big city and pressure of being on a SWAT Team and moves to a rural area. His objectives are finding a little peace in his life, and maybe find someone to share it with him. Then along comes a sweet animal activist and from the first time they meet they can’t keep their hands off each other.

Author Tory Richards.

In Tory’s own words: ‘I’m a grandma who likes to read and write smut. I am also a daughter, mother, sister, aunt, friend, and author. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. During most of my life it was just a hobby. It wasn’t until the encouragement of my family that I submitted to a publisher. Cupid’s Arrow, under my real name Debbie Wallace, was on the publisher’s best sellers list for two consecutive months.

‘I live in sunny Florida but was born in Maine. Any kind of sandwich is my preference, and I love chocolate, sweet iced tea and good coffee. Retired from Disney, and living with my daughter, her family and four cats, I spend my time between family, friends and writing. In that order.’

Click below for an Instant Attraction excerpt:


Julie was almost home when the sky opened up and released a torrent of rain, so thick it was blinding. She tapped on the brakes and slowed her PT Cruiser down. The winding road to her place was crudely paved, like a lot of country roads in the area. The shoulder of the road was nothing but a river of mud sliding over the slight embankment down into the retention ponds on both sides. She was aware that if she drifted over the line in these conditions she could easily end up in the water. She’d seen it happen before.
Arriving at the last sharp corner before her house, she slowed even more. A large oak tree growing too close to the road provided a blind spot. She didn’t want to take any chances that someone wasn’t coming from the other direction, driving down the middle of the road to avoid the excess water. Just as she turned the corner a dark, blurry something in the road caused her to slam on the brakes.

“Holy crap!” Her car skidded to a halt. She hadn’t felt any thump and knew she had managed to stop in time. Thoughts of Harriet, the old pond turtle, immediately came to mind. She’d been around for as long as Julie could remember, and was often seen crossing the road from one pond to the other.

Julie sat there for a moment and watched the rain splash against her windshield. At least her car was getting a good wash. She scooted up and tried to see over the hood but the rain impeded her vision. And her windows were fogging quickly. The only thing left to do was wait and give Harriet time to cross the street.

A flash in her rear-view mirror drew her attention. The light coming down the road indicated someone was moving up behind her. The fact that it was a single light confirmed it was a motorcycle, and it had to be her hunky new neighbour, the cop. He’d moved in a couple of weeks before. Julie hadn’t had the chance to take him a welcome basket yet, so the only thing she knew about him was that his name was Thomas Reevers. As he got closer, she realised he might try to go around her.

“Dang it!” Julie became concerned about Harriet. She couldn’t just sit there and let her get run over. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d had to rescue her in perilous conditions.

She quickly opened her door and got out. She was drenched before she’d even shut the door. Turning, she held her hand out and screamed, “Stop! Stop!” She couldn’t see who it was behind the visor, but her message got across because he slowed to a gradual stop. Julie rushed to the front of the car and glanced down. Harriet was moving like a snail, oblivious to the danger she was in.
Julie picked her up and slowly walked across the road with the intention of putting her down on the shoulder, and nudging her in the direction of the pond. As soon as she stepped onto the somewhat slimy shoulder she went down hard, releasing a high-pitched scream and just managing to hold on to Harriet. Landing on her back, Julie felt mud and water soak through her clothes. With the wind knocked out of her, she set the turtle down and remained where she was until she could catch her breath.

“Are you all right?”She glanced straight up to see the motorcycle rider standing over her. It was hard to tell from her position, but he appeared tall and well-built. His jeans were soaked, revealing thick thighs. His brown, bomber-style leather jacket glistened and looked old. His black helmet hid his features from the neck up.

Instant Attraction…coming March 2013

The Importance of Developing Your Author Platform

guest post 
by
Sandra Bunino 

Before my first book, Marooned
In Miami
, came out this past January, I began researching what it meant
to have an author platform.
I’d heard the term. I followed many
terrific authors. But what did “platform” mean exactly? Was it some kind of
pie-in-the-sky marketing concept or something I should take seriously as an
indie author? I have an MBA yet this whole concept was entirely new to me.
Here’s what I discovered:
  • Authors (no matter if you’re self-published or
    traditional) need to have an established presence prior to publishing their first book
    .
Okay, great. But wait, what? Prior to? Wouldn’t I be promoting my
book? Isn’t that the whole point? Yes. And no. I learned that the most
successful authors actually started their platform long before they released
their book!
How do you go about developing this
presence? That’s where I did more research, reading books, going online,
learning what other successful authors I admired had done.
  • For the most part, there’s a basic formula: Twitter, Facebook,
    Goodreads to an extent, and blogging
    . All new to me, but surely not
    that difficult. I had an advanced degree and I deal in the cutthroat world
    of corporate finance every day. Surely, I could do this, right? Well….
     
Not so fast. If you’ve dabbled in the world
of social media, you’ll understand when I say that it’s a bit of a different
culture. I didn’t quite get it at first. Many don’t. Twitter seemed kinda…weird
(haha). I even called my younger brother and asked him what these hashtags
meant (he was absolutely no help!). Many people think Twitter is about what
teenagers ate for lunch or a way to keep tabs on your favorite celebrity. But I
found out that as an author, it’s far more than that if used as a marketing
tool. What a powerful resource and best of all – it’s free!
I took a webinar, found a mentor and even hired a consultant to give me some
pointers (she’s also a bestselling author so she knows what she’s talking
about!). I was soon tweeting like a pro and gained over 2,000 followers in just
five months. I’ve met an amazing network of authors and connected with many
readers in a very short period of time – all thanks to Twitter, Facebook and
Goodreads.
  • Here’s where I think some authors make their
    mistake
    : as adults we don’t want to admit what
    we won’t know or understand — so many times we give up, walk away. I’ve learned that in publishing, that’s
    just not an option
    . If you ever hope to be signed by a traditional
    publisher (even an indie publisher), they expect you to have an
    established fan base. And not just with a blog. People need to know how to
    find your blog! And this is where Twitter and Facebook, even LinkedIn come
    in.
     
  • SEO: this is a big
    topic I won’t even try to cover here but it goes to what I mentioned in
    the last paragraph. If you want to be found, anywhere, you need to know
    your branding. This is where marketing yourself comes in. I figured out
    quickly that I needed to have a theme: to my blog posts, my tweets,
    Facebook messages – everything needed to go along with my genre, erotic
    romance.
     

I pay special attention to my brand.
Everything that I put my name on is branded with a consistent look and feel. There’s a sensual atmosphere to my brand
and I use key focal points such as red roses and rose petals, sunsets and
tropical settings on my blog, Twitter avatar and bio page, Facebook, and even
my book covers.
What does this have to do with SEO (search
engine optimization)? Keywords. Know
what your message is, what you want to convey, and be sure those words are in
everything you do so you and your book come up in the search engines.
This is how your readers can more easily find you with the least amount of
effort.
I
hope this peek into developing my author platform has been helpful for you.
There’s really so much more to it! But at least it’s a start for many people.
Any questions, please ask below in comments or contact me directly. And don’t
forget to comment for a free eBook and to enter my Kindle contest!
My
book Marooned in Miami is available
on
Amazon, Barnes
& Noble, AllRomance eBooks
Readers
can contact me through my website
www.sandrabunino.com and on Amazon Author Central. I
am also on Twitter @sandrabunino
(following is sexy!) and Facebook.
Follow your dream, stay positive and don’t
give up! Writing is about the journey not the destination. Enjoy the ride.
 

An erotica novella novel from Sandra Bunino 
*Adult Content*


Undeniable lust and a fierce Miami storm
bring sexy strangers together at The Hotel Del Santos for a passion filled
night. 


Picture
Buy Now!

Stephanie, still reeling from a failed marriage, needs a break from the past. She decides to take her friends’ advice and finds a perfect stranger for a night of no-strings-attached, smoking hot sex. 


Jason, a wealthy Seattle builder has the worst luck with love. Swearing he would never allow another woman to get under his skin, Jason decides a life of casual sex is just fine with him. While watching Stephanie’s sexy stilettos click across the lobby floor he zeros in on his next conquest. 


Cut off from the outside world, the lives of these two strangers collide and burn with desire when stranded in the perfect storm. Both are content with the idea of sharing a glorious one-night stand together, that is, until they go their separate ways. 


Picture


Sandra Bunino began a love of romance stories while penning a creative writing assignment in high school. The story ended with the heroine receiving a long stem red rose in her locker on Valentine’s Day. Since then, all of her stories feature the hero presenting the heroine with roses. Sandra is constantly searching for different ways to achieve a heart-pumping, stomach-flipping, breath-catching reaction from her readers. 

These days, Sandra lives on a wooded mountaintop not far from New York City with her family. Living so close to the city affords her the best of both worlds and provides wonderful writing material. She occasionally pretends to be in a Sex in the City episode and has renamed her best girlfriends Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda which she blogs about often. 

Sandra’s  is currently hard at work on the sequel to Marooned in Miami. 

Contact: http://sandrabunino.com/  Twitter: @sandrabunino

Excerpt:Jason moved closer and spoke slowly in his silky voice. “I wonder if you might dance with me.” She nodded and took his hand.
He led her to the dance floor illuminated only with candlelight and the occasional flash of lightning. Placing one hand in his and the other on his back, their bodies started out a respectable distance apart. Before long, Jason’s warmth drew her in, and she couldn’t ignore the electricity forming between them. Tentatively, she stepped closer and lightly rested her head against his neck. Jason took this as a cue to guide her hand up and over his shoulder. Suddenly, his strong hands urgently pulled her against his rock hard body. The force of his embrace awakened a passion that lay dormant inside her until now. Stephanie couldn’t fight the fire building within her. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply, inhaling his musky scent while caressing his neck with her fingertips. Her face grazed up the side of his neck, stopping at his jawbone. Jason’s touch seared her skin as his fingertips skimmed up her side to her neck and came to rest on her chin. With his thumb and finger, he guided her face upward and she opened her eyes. His smoldering gaze burned a trail down her body. Uncomfortable with the intensity of his stare, she looked away.
“Stephanie.”
Her eyes shifted back to meet his gaze as he lowered his mouth and softly brushed his lips against hers, questioningly awaiting a response. Accepting his invitation, she parted her lips and moaned softly. His lips were soft and enticing. It had been a long time since she was kissed like this. She surrendered her tongue to his and felt desire fill her belly as an overwhelming passion grew by the moment. Breathlessly, she pulled away, embarrassed by her body’s reaction to the kiss. She looked down and placed her forehead on his chin.

Reviews:
5 out of 5 stars “OH. MY. GOD! Strikingly Hottest Erotica Novella! An amazing short story was well-written and convincingly hot and sensual.” – Best Erotica Books
 Marooned in Miami is an excellent short, steamy and very erotic tale.” – Fallen Angel Reviews
 “You’re going to have to trust me on this one, and go pick it up, it’s worth it.” – The eBook Reviewers
“This will make you hot on a cold winter night!” – Reader Review

Get swept away into a world of sex and passion—if you dare!

Desert Heat
Affairs of the Heart 
Book One
by 
Kristie Leigh Maguire

From the scorching sun of the Mojave Desert to the brilliant neon lights of Las Vegas, the sexy steel magnolia Marcie Treyhorne blazes a trail of passion through the desert sands. Her heart is torn in half as her desire for her new boss grows into a raging inferno while her love for her longtime husband remains as steadfast as the 
ancient desert mountains that surround Mojave Junction, California.
Don’t expect the typical romance story with this novel. There are no shrinking violets or shy maidens who long to be taken against their will in DESERT HEAT. 

“Romance of the Year” – Affaire de Coeur Magazine

“Maguire singes readers’ eyes with the fire of her love scenes.” – Romantic Times Book Club Magazine

“Come take a journey to the Mojave Desert where the weather is hot and passion runs high. Ms. Maguire weaves an erotica filled with more than just fun and games.” – Just Erotic Romance

Kristie Leigh Maguire’s current titles are Second Chances, Affairs of the Heart: Desert Heat and Cabin Fever (Collector’s Edition), Desert Heat, Cabin Fever, You’ve Got Mail from Japan, and co-author of No Lady and Her Tramp.
She was voted Best Up and Coming Author of the Year and her novel Desert Heat was voted Romance of the Year by the Affaire de Coeur Magazine Reader/Writer Poll. Her novels Cabin Fever and No Lady and Her Tramp placed in the Top Ten in the Preditor and Editor’s Poll. 

Although Kristie Leigh Maguire is originally from the South and will always remain Southern at heart, she and her husband now live in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. During her expatriate years she lived in St. Croix, Aruba, Thailand, Japan and three times in Saudi Arabia and visited many other countries.
“Kristie has a way of opening your mind; you become part of her creation. She writes in such a way that you want to follow her every word – that is the sign of a true storyteller.” – Patti Fleishman (Romance Junkies)
“She’s smart, she’s sassy, she has a pen that drips sizzling ink. If you like steamy stories or the Happily Ever After kind, then this is a name that belongs on your bookshelf.” – Emjae Edwards (Ink n Beans)

KLM Website (http://kristieleighmaguire.com/)

Books:
You’ve Got Mail from Japan (memoir) – Kindle/Nook
Second Chances (sweet contemporary western romance) Paperback/Kindle/Nook
No Lady and Her Tramp (adult romantic satire) – Kindle/Nook

Desert Heat: Affairs of the Heart Book 1 (erotic romance) – Kindle/Nook
Cabin Fever: Affairs of the Heart Book 2 Cabin Fever: Affairs of the Heart(erotic romance) – Kindle/Nook
Affairs of the Heart: Desert Heat and Cabin Fever (Collector’s Edition) – Paperback

What makes a middle-aged woman give up all that is dear for a younger man she barely knows?

That question becomes clear in Russell Bittner’s new novel:
Trompe-l’oeil

Thanatos and Eros have been in a death-and-life struggle since the time of the Ancient Greeks—and in our time, they struggle on just as vividly in the minds and hearts of any two lovers.  If we needed a demonstration of that fact set in stone, we’d have only to visit one of any number of Europe’s cemeteries to bear witness with our own eyes:  Père Lachaise in Paris; Monumentale in Milan; Staglieno in Genoa.  The sculpture in each of these final “resting” places is likely to be beautiful young women—many of them semi-nude—conceding ultimate victory to Thanatos, but holding an ever-mournful watch, in marble, over their immediate charge.
(Is it any wonder, by the way, that the French nickname for an orgasm is “the little death?”)

trompe-l’oeil is a technique used in art and architecture to fool the eye.  But in English, it has a further, metaphorical meaning—namely, that which stands in for anything that’s not as it first appears.
Russell Bittner’s new novel, Trompe-l’oeil, is the fictional account of a love affair that springs up serendipitously between a woman on the cusp of middle age and a younger man.  Their ‘life and death’ struggle is necessarily chock-full of erotic episodes.  But sex is not the crux of the story—it’s merely a by-product of a series of head-games that see the couple romantically launched from New York to Paris, France; to the Cabo de São Vicente on the southeast coast of Portugal; to Rome and then Positano, Italy; to the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea; and then back to New York.
The trip is full of European delights, but Daneka Sørensen and Charles (“Kit”) Addison are no Europe-on-$5-a-day backpackers.  She—a Danish ex-pat who reigns over a fashion magazine empire in NYC; he—a fashion photographer with a taste for landscape photography, occasional gardening, and the even less frequent poem … are apparently joined at the hip in more ways than one.  By the end of their European excursion, however, both sets of hips are seriously out of joint—as what had started out as a trip through Elysian fields proves to be a slow descent into Hell.
Thanatos and Eros are doing battle in their two heads, and only one of these two ancient gods can survive.  A single and perplexing question, however, remains to be answered:  WHY?  You’ll have to wait until the concluding chapter of Trompe-l’oeil to get the answer.
Trompe l’Œil, by Russell Bittner, is a tantalizingly brilliant story about the human condition. Be ready for the rollercoaster read of your life!Read the book! It might just change your life.  
–Lucinda Kempe — fiction writer at large.

Purchase links for Trompe-l’œil 

At Smashwords      

Russell currently lives at Donner Summit, California, U.S.A., but his children (and conseqently his heart) still reside in Brooklyn, New York.

Russell’s prose publications have appeared over the years in journals/magazines at: The International Journal of Erotica; The Edgar Literary Magazine; Beyond Centauri; Snow Monkey; Swill Magazine; SEINundWERDEN; Skive Magazine; The Whortleberry Press; ABCTales; The Picayune Literary Magazine; Blue Crow Magazine; and Snow Monkey.

His prose as also appeared on-line at: 3AM; Pindeldyboz; Satin Slippers; DeadMule; Ink-Mag; GirlsWithInsurance; UndergroundVoices; HackWriters; BlueFood; ALongStoryShort; SouthernHum; DeadDrunkDublin; 10,000 Monkeys; Yankeepot-roast; SkiveMagazine; Quintessence; writeThis; SwillMag; SuffolkPunch; MannequinEnvy LauraHird; Per Contra; ThievesJargon; UndergroundVoices; SUSS: Another Literary Journal; Cezanne’sCarrot; Sliptongue; RedPeter; TheSquirrelCage; FarawayJournal; VerbSap; TheRose&Thorn; 3rdActs; CliteratureJournal; TheCerisePress; EclecticFlash; DonovanHall; Dogmatika; DanseMacabre; SuffolkPunch; Writers’BlocMag; and ISMsPress.

Russell’s poetry publications have appeared in print journals/magazines at: The American Dissident; The Blind Man’s Rainbow; The Lyric; The Barbaric Yawp; The International Journal of Erotica; Wicked Hollow; Æsthetica; The Raintown Review; CRITJournal; Tuesday, an Art Project; Grey Book Press; Inkspill Magazine; The Feline Muse; Sonnetto Poesia; and Trinacria.

Other publications have appeared on-line at: EdificeWrecked; ken*again; SpillwayReview; Quintessence; Erotica-readers; Ink-mag; GirlsWithInsurance; Fireweed; ThievesJargon; MadHatter’s Review; ALongStoryShort; LauraHird; SouthernHum; ZygoteInMyCoffee; OpiumMagazine; JustusRoux; PWReview; DifferentVoices; VoidMagazine; MindfireReview; Salome-Magazine; Plum Biscuit (a journal of the NYC Writers Coalition); 3AM; Dogmatika; ALittlePoetry; EvergreenReview; theBreath; Sliptongue; Chanterelle’sNotebook; AscentAspirations; TheLinnet’sWings; 3rdActs; DeadDrunkDublin; The CentrifugalEye; Dogzplot; TheNewFormalist; Per Contra: PartyOfTheFirstPart; DISPATCHLitareview; Litsnack; ClockwiseCat; TheFelineMuse; LucidRhythms; and at theHyperTexts.

Russell conducts monthly interviews of notable Anglo-American poets at ALongStoryShort.net (“Poet’s Corner”). He is a former Philosophy major/Russian minor and acquired his A.B. in 1984 from Columbia University in NYC. He acquired, over the course of a decade, additional certificates of study from, among others: L’Université de Fribourg (CH); Die Universität Wien (Vienna, A); and L’Università per Stranieri di Perugia (I).

His photography has also appeared in various journals and on-line at various sites.

How to build an Amazon author page and other information.

by Cassander Carr
author of contemporary adult fiction
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wiswor0a-21&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B004DI7PQM&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrFellow writers, I am pleased to have author Cassander Carr to talk to us about marketing today. Cassander Carr is a member of the leading professional association for romance novelists, Romance Writers of America, and also serves as Vice President of her local chapter, newsletter editor for Passionate Ink, and as a member of ESPAN.
She will specifically be talking about providing direction for setting up your Amazon.com and Goodreads author pages, along with advice for book signings. So let’s get on with the show!
How do I set up an author page on Amazon.com? 
(Use this advice for Amazon.co.uk as well)
  1. Read the text and follow the directions.
  2. Click on the button on the bottom that says “Join Author Central”.
  3. Look at the “Terms and Disclosures” thingy on the next page and accept it.
  4. Follow the directions to find your books on Amazon to link them to your account and to fill out your profile and VOILA! – you’re done!!!!
 How do I set up an author page on Goodreads? 
  1. Sign up with Goodreads
  2. Click on the “Explore” tab and mouse down to “Authors”
  3. On the author page you’ll see a link toward the top right that says “Author Program”. Click on that. Read the directions. They will tell you to search for your own name and then click on it. That will take you to the basic author profile.
  4. Fill in the information on the author profile.
  5. Scroll down to the bottom of that page and click on “Is This You?” to send a message to Goodreads that you want to join the Author Program. They will contact you when you’re ready to go! Now that wasn’t that hard, was it?

And what about those pesky book signings?
Don’t be scared to do them!
Just follow some of my easy directions and hopefully the process will be a lot more fun!
  • Write your own announcement for the store’s PA system if you can. Give them a couple of versions since they’ll be repeating it.
  • Remind the store personnel to make an announcement if it’s been a while. They get busy and might forget. Every half-hour is good for making a new announcement.
  • Offer to make the announcements yourself if they’ll let you and you feel comfortable enough to do it. You will show more enthusiasm and it’ll sound more personalized.
  • Make a nice name tag for yourself so visitors know who you are.
  • Don’t just sit there behind the table waiting for people to approach. Get up and greet people as they enter the store or the area. Have something to hand out – people will usually take it.
  • If people show any interest, hand them a book/promo item and tell them to check it out.
  • Be willing to sign the promo item if the person doesn’t buy the book itself. Remember – you’re spreading good will!
  • If you’re unsure about traffic, invite friends and family to create buzz. However: It is important to not use these people as a crutch to keep you from talking to new people.
  • Leave bookmarks or other promo products for the store staff to stuff into purchase bags if they are willing.
  • Bring candy. People will stop to take some – use that opportunity to greet them and talk to them.
  • Get to know the Community Relations Coordinator. They’re the ones who will invite you back/talk you up to management.
  • Send a personalized thank you note to whoever you worked w/at the store to set up the signing.
  • Send a thank you note to the store’s manager praising whoever help set up the signing.
  • Have your book cover made into a little easel sign w/its own easel that you can bring to book signings.
  • Encourage attendees to bring their ereaders so they can download the book right there. If they go home they’re far less likely to buy it. You can also ask store staff to make sure one of their computers has someone nearby to assist customers w/buying your book if they don’t have their reader with them.

 You have the tools, now go forth and prosper!
 Or write!
Or promote!

Cassandra Carr lives in Western New York with her husband, Inspiration, and her daughter, Too Cute for Words. When not writing she enjoys watching hockey and hanging out on Twitter. Her debut novel, Talk to Me, was released by Loose Id on March 22, 2011. For more information about Cassandra, check out her website, “like” her Facebook fan page at or follow her on Twitter.

Radio producer Jamie MacMahon is in over her head with ex-hockey player-turned host Drew Milan. She’s attracted to the man who earned the nickname “the Beast” during his playing days from the moment they meet, but he’s her boss and she loves her new job. She’s made plenty of mistakes with men and loathes the thought of being yet another plaything for Drew, a man who sleeps with women but doesn’t date them. Drew doesn’t want to lose a great producer and knows Jamie deserves a real relationship, but can’t stay away from the sizzling chemistry they create every time they’re together. Jamie’s insecurities and the very real prospect of having to leave a great job if this thing doesn’t work out, coupled with Drew’s fears about opening his heart and the possibility of losing his first competent producer clash.

Uniform Behaviour, out now from Andrews UK!

Writer website: http://www.booksbycassandracarr.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorCassandraCarr
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cassandra_carr
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/CassandraCarr
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Cassandra-Carr

 

Untouched Places by Grace Meadows

Untouched Places
by
Grace Meadows
DP_Letterhead_LGGrace Meadows is the author of two hot erotic short stories. She writes for Decadent Publishing. Her debut novel, Untouched Places, is to be released 1st August, and out on Kindle three weeks after that. Decadent is a new publishing company and is open for submissions.

I asked Grace a few searching questions:
1. Do you find yourself turned on by your own writing?
Oh, yes, yes… That’s how I know its good.

2. Do you try out things from your books into real life experiences (or vice versa)?

Yes, my guy especially enjoys that part of my writing. : )

3. I must admit writing a short erotic story once and being amazed at my lack of inhibitions whilst writing. Is this what you feel? The ability to “let go”?
I think, as an author, you have to do that regardless what you write — step back and let the story take over. It is very freeing.

4. You don’t have an agent. And for those out there looking, does this mean you really need one?

For my fellow authors, I would say that they have to do what is right for their careers. If they think they need an agent or if they would like an agent then I think they should look for an agent. I don’t have one, so agents, please do contact me.

5. Do you find people look at you in a different light when they find out what type of books you write?
So far I’ve been very fortunate in that the people I have elected to tell don’t judge me. I’m very proud of my work. I enjoy my stories. I’m inspired to write more. In fact, I’m currently working on two new manuscripts. However, erotica isn’t the only thing I write. It is the only thing I write under my pen name.


6. What inspired you to write?
People, place, news, views, thoughts, songs. My muse dances to many drummers.


7. How many unpublished books do you have lurking under your bed?
None. If a story doesn’t work. I save the best of it and weave it into a story that does.


8. How did you find the publisher?
Fate, I was at the right place at the right time. That said I wasn’t waiting for someone to find me. I was on the road with my thumb out. When that didn’t work I started jumping up and down, waving my arms wildly.


9. How do your juggle a writing schedule?
I’m a fly by the sit of jeans chick. That said there are somethings I must do daily. Writing, reading, are on the top of the list — above eating. Maybe not that wise. See my name next to a sign that says — not a good example.


10. What’s the best/worst part of being a writer?
I’m having a very good day so I can only focus on the plus — having others read my work, having others react to my work. I don’t really mind if they react positively or negatively as long as they react.


11. What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
Morning. I’ve been known to wake up at 3 am with a story demanding to be written. The rest of the day I walk around like a zombie.


12. Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer
Varies, I’ll write in sand if need be.


13. What/who do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from my need to celebrate that which is feminine — our power, our lives, our passion.


14. Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
My goal is to write daily. The amount is governed by my muse.


15. How do/did you deal with rejection letters?
I eat lots of chocolate. After I’ve swallowed in my sorrow for a suitable amount of time, I go to my local bookstore. I look at book after book. I pause to consider, many fine authors wrote these books. Many worthy authors wrote these books. All of these books deserve to be read. They all deserve an audience. I need to buy them.
Do I buy them all?
No.
Can I buy them all?
No.
Then, I think, this is what being an book publisher must be like.


16. Do you have a critique partner?
Yes, thank goodness. I also have a beta reader and proofreader. I won’t leave home without them.

EXCERPT FROM UNTOUCHED PLACES

My eyes quickly slid down the page as I read…
‘How had he found her on this secluded island? She didn’t care how. It only mattered that he had. It only mattered that he was there, with her, now.

She looked at him. Fernando — her tall, dark, handsome Latin lover. Her eyes begged him to take her. She knew he could and would satisfy her hot, hungry lust.

With one swift movement he tore off his shirt. He kissed Amanda hard on the lips and guided her down until she lay on the soft sand. Fernando quickly buried his head under skirt. His lips found her throbbing pussy and sucked, bringing her to climax.

“Yes, Fernando, yes, yes,” Amanda breathed as her fists beat the sand.’
I felt my pussy throb as I read the scene over and over again. I wanted, needed — was hungry for — sex. I stopped reading…
I slipped a bookmark between the pages of my novel and placed the book on the coffee table. I ran a hand lovingly down the cover, down Fernando’s muscular chest.
I love romances. I wish I lived in a romance novel.
 

CONTACTS:
Blog
Website
Twitter

UNTOUCHED PLACES
out 1st August