The True Magic of Christmas

JOYChristmas tree with colorful twinkling lights? Check. Mug of hot chocolate? Check.  Warm socks, flannel pj’s and a soft throw for curling up on the sofa? Check, check and check. All you need now is a copy of The Christmas Ballet by Constance Bretes. Oh and some mini marshmallows, of course.

 

 

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Laura Hemmingway cut herself off from men and her family when the man she loved married her sister. She moved across the country and was doing just fine until she received a devastating call to return to New York. She had to face the death of her sister, her sister’s little girl, Maria, and Maria’s father, Stefan—the man she had once loved. She figured she would pay her respects and leave as soon as possible. She never anticipated on the beautiful little girl stealing her heart. And she never expected that seeing Stefan again after twelve years would stir up old feelings.

Stefan’s life was complete. He had a successful career as an attorney, a beautiful wife, and an adorable six-year-old daughter. Although him and his wife had been married in name only for the past several years, he cared for her deeply. Then her unexpected death brought him face-to-face with his former lover, and the guilt he’d carried for years.

Stefan is still in love with Laura and wants to give her everything she deserves. He and Maria are racing against time to convince Laura to stay with them in New York.

Can a little girl’s love, and the true magic of Christmas, help Stefan convince Laura to stay and give their relationship another chance?

Content Warning: contains some sexual content

 

He smiled as he thought about the look on her face when he’d stroked her. Maybe she was more interested in him than she either believed or cared to be.

Then he thought of something. “One more thing, Laura,” he called out to her, and she stopped at the door and turned around.
“On the nineteenth, the law firm is hosting the annual Christmas party. It’s quite grand and lasts all evening long.”
“You want me to be sure to be available to babysit Maria,” Laura said.
“No. I want you to plan to come with me.”
“What?”
“Remember that beautiful, green, velvet dress we saw at Macy’s? I want you to get that dress, and the accessories to go with it, and attend the party with me.”
“Stefan, really. You know I don’t go to those types of events, and I don’t wear those kinds of clothes. I’m not comfortable with either of those things.”
“You need to get comfortable.” He smiled.
“This is not a part of a job for the nanny and teacher. It’s out of the range of the job description. You need to get Ginger to go with you. I’m not going.” She gave him a defiant look.
“Laura, I want to take you to this event. I’m not taking no for an answer. I will arrange for Rhonda to take you shopping to help you get what you need. You will charge all the purchases to a credit card I will give you that’s for your use only. This is the first of many social parties you will be attending.”
He watched her as she clenched her hands into fists and released them.
“Who do you think you will get to care for Maria on these…occasions?”
“Usually Lillian is available.”
“Stefan, it’s my job to care for Maria, not be your date to your parties. I don’t like being told what I will or won’t do. I don’t like social parties, and I don’t like wearing expensive clothes. It’s not me, and you’re not going to change me.”
“I don’t want to change you. I want you to attend an event by my side. It won’t hurt you to have some beautiful clothing to show your feminine side. I want the world to see the beauty I see. Be glad I want to show you off. Some men might decide they don’t want others to see what they see.”
“Flattery doesn’t work with me. You can tell me what to do as far as Maria is concerned, but my personal life is off limits to you.”
“That’s good to know. At least I know you won’t get carried away and escape my grasp by someone making flattering remarks to you. Your personal life interests me.”
“Stefan, you just don’t get it. I am not going to this party,” she said, enunciating each word slowly and carefully. “Besides, your mother would be horrified to see me walk in with you.” Her face hardened as she stared at him.
“Look at it this way—you’d be doing me a big favor.”
“How?” She raised an eyebrow.
“I’m not interested in the other women that come to this social party looking for an eligible bachelor. With you on my arm, it would send a clear message to all the others that I’m taken.”
“God, you’re impossible. Ginger is more than capable of providing you that kind of service.”
“I don’t want Ginger. You have the grace, quiet beauty, and finesse I want in a date, and I will not take no for an answer. After Maria’s recital, you and Rhonda will set a shopping date. And one more thing. When you get your hair done, I’d like you to wear it down.” He smiled at her.
“This is not going to happen.” She put her hands on her hips and glared at him.
“It will. I’ll just have Maria work on you.” He eyed her.
“What?”
Stefan grinned. “You heard me. You’d never turn down anything from Maria.”
“Grrrr.” She growled and stomped up the stairs.
He laced his hands and put them behind his head. Oh yeah, it’ll be a night she’ll never forget.

Also available on Beachwalk Press

About the Author

P12-2Constance Bretes is an author of contemporary romance and suspense. Her romance books are often set in different parts of the country, but her favorite site is Montana. She retired from the State of Michigan after 38-plus years of service and now writes and researches full time. She is married to her best friend and has recently moved from Montana to Alabama. Her hobbies include basket weaving, sapphire digging, and checking out old ghost towns

Contact Constance

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Birthday Giveaway

 

 

 

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Copy of Copy of In honor of my special day, I'm giving one of you a gift - A free copy of my Military Romance, Forbidden Kisses and a surprise mystery gift! Just leave a

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Welcome To Crescent Creek

Today I have the pleasure of featuring Viviana MacKade as she shares her four-book series with us. Pour yourself a cup of coffee, sit back and meet the residents of Crescent Creek.

fllowwFrom the cold Canadian border, the US1 runs along the east coast with patience.
Throughout its 2,369 miles, it braces itself in the northern winters, sighs with pride in Richmond. It falls west in the Carolinas, to stroke the great Smoky Mountains with loving eyes. And it’s south, still south, through the marshes and plantations of Georgia until, finally, it indulges in sun, white sand, and oranges blossoms.
The Sunshine State.
Not the fastest way, sure, but if you have time to drive it all the way down, you might find yourself lost in one of the coastal towns that dot the US1 like little jewels.
Maybe that town’s name is Crescent Creek.
These are the stories of its people.

 

All Crescent Creek Novellas have returning characters, but can be read as stand-alone.

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Tormented, fierce, and broken, sculptor Aidan Murphy has judged himself guilty. He yearns for love but pushes everyone away. He longs for acceptance but has lost the key to open his heart. Until he meets Summer Williams. Beautiful and smart, Dr. Williams promises haven for a man who believes he deserves none. All he has to do is let her in and risk his heart and soul.
Summer’s managed to keep her inner light alive, even through tragedy. She’s created a new life for herself and her daughter in Crescent Creek with loving, caring and fun friends–well, except brooding, breathtaking Aidan. She’s used to keeping away from his type, though. All she has to do is ignore the pull of a man who’s turning up to be much more than snarls and storms. Will her compassion and medical instincts let her?
Love can heal a broken soul and shake up a timid heart. Or it can unleash devastation and revenge.
Will Aidan and Summer survive the hurricane?

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Thou shalt not steal.
Oh, but Florence had, and would do so one last time. Ten pieces her grandfather painted for her because he loved her. Ten pieces her mother lost, along with anything else, for loving the wrong man. She couldn’t get back everything he’d wasted away, but she’d be damned if she’d give up those paintings.
Easy and genuine, Rhett loves his life–his family, his market, his town. Until he meets a British woman with grey eyes and a cute little smile. The woman he’s been waiting for. The thing is, to love her is easy, but can he trust her?
When Rhett pushes to uncover her agenda, Flo knows she will lose something–the man she loves or what she’d been fighting for years. Which road will she choose?

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At eighteen, DJ made a choice–her heart or her dreams. Neither was wrong, yet either would break her heart. She chose the world. Over a decade later, she returns to Crescent Creek and to the one regret she’s ever had–Scott.
Scott’s always been steady as a rocky reef. He’d loved once and when she’d left, his strong heart had crumbled like a sandcastle. Now DJ is back, and Scott wants nothing to do with her. If only Eva, his and DJ’s old friend, didn’t need their help. Because of her, he’s stuck with DJ and he’d be damned, she still gets under his skin.
DJ is a free spirit who needs the road under her feet. Scott is a family man who wants to groom his roots. With danger on their doorstep and a baby to keep safe, how much are they willing to compromise for love?

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Andrea – I stopped breathing a long time ago.
I was taken into a cult when I was ten, married to the leader’s son at 20.
I learned to fear independence, so I stayed.
Day after day after day.
Until I couldn’t anymore.
So I started running and kept running because he’s after me.
Afraid, alone, hungry, but free.
Until a stranger offered me breakfast. And I said yes.

Erik – The thing I can do best? Living. Hard and to the fullest.
The world had screamed my name, and I lived it all until I got tired of it.
Bought a surf board, a house in my sandy hometown, and started another great life.
Young, rich, and totally free had been working like a charm.
Until I saw that blue tent on the beach.
And my life changed again.

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About the author

19990027_287406675002069_653474733600495490_nBeach bum and country music addicted, Viviana lives in a small Floridian town with her husband and her son, her die-hard fans and personal cheer squad. She spends her days between typing on her beloved keyboard, playing in the pool with her boy, and eating whatever her husband puts on her plate (the guy is that good, and she really loves eating). Besides beaching, she enjoys long walks, horse-riding, hiking, and pretty much whatever she can do outside with her family. You can find her on her website, Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

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Interview With a Thief

Today I have an unusual surprise for you. A recorded interview with a known thief – one of the best (according to himself)! Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and welcome Senth Antonello from Kayelle Allen’s At the Mercy of Her Pleasure.

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Let’s start with something simple. How old are you?
I’m eighteen. I know, I know. I don’t look it. But I’m old enough to join the Armada and vote. I’m legal.

When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
I’ll tell you what my thieves’ union card says instead. It reads “non-Kelthian brown and blue.” Which means on Kelthia, a world where probably ninety percent of the population has dark brown or black skin, I’m the oddball. For you non-union types, it means I’m fair-skinned and have brown hair and blue eyes. Long curly brown hair. Way too curly. By the time I get a comb through it, it’s all tangled up again. Yeah, yeah–I know what you’re looking at. I have fangs and slitted-pupil cat’s eyes. My mother was human and my father was a Kin, a race of feline humanoids. Which makes me a HalfKin. Not wanted by the Kin, not wanted by humans, and not one of any crowd much at all.

What is people’s first impression of you?
“Oh look. It’s the weird guy. Let’s harass him.” Well, maybe they don’t, but as much as I get teased and people try to bully me, you’d think I was wearing a sign announcing I was different. The other reaction I get is that people look through me like I’m not even there. They don’t acknowledge me at all. Makes me want to claw something. Except that’s one Kin attribute I didn’t get. Figures.

Name three of your favorite things.
My girlfriend NarrAy. Food. Sleep. Sex. Yeah, that’s four; so sue me.

Name three things that tick you off.
1. People who think they’re better than others.
2. Being thought of as too young to do something. Seriously, all my life. Until this young kid named Sylk came along, I was the youngest to do everything in the book. But Sylk makes me look like a raw rookie. And he’s just four! I’m proud to say I mentor him in the guild.
3. When my father calls me Senthys instead of Senth. I mean, come on! What kind of name is Senthys for a professional thief?

What would you like it to say on your tombstone?
Here lies the best thief in the Tarthian Empire.

What would you most like to forget?
If I talk about it, I’m not forgetting it, am I?

Are you close to family?
A month ago discovered I have a half-brother who’s human. Khyff and I never knew each other growing up, so we have a lot of catching up to do. And even though at times my father makes me scream with frustration, I love him. He’s been there for me no matter what and he’s given me chances most non-humans in the empire don’t get. Our relationship is complicated though. How complicated? Well… see… he adopted me when I was three, sponsored me into the Thieves’ Guild, and taught me a trade. The guild doesn’t allow members who aren’t human, unless they’re slaves. On the other hand, they won’t promote a slave. So my father keeps me as his one and only slave and also his adopted son. That way, I’m non-human but I can be in the guild, and because I’m his legal family, they can’t refuse to promote me on merit. See? I told you it was complicated.

What is your most prized possession?
My new cloak. It’s made of this special material only the guild has rights to. When I put it on and raise the hood, I’m invisible to copbots and sensors, and because of the way it bends light, people essentially look right through me. Gotta say, that’s just exactly like my life.

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us. Let’s take a look at your story.

KA

Deep in the shadows outside a ruined warehouse, Senth Antonello shoved back the hood of his sensor-blocking cloak and fanned himself. The Thieves’ Guild tech let him hide from copbot scans, but it didn’t cool him. Sweat beaded on his skin. Using his fangs, he unfastened first one glove, then the other, and peeled them off. He tucked them into one of dozens of hidden pockets in the cloak, and wiped his face.
The faint sound of gang chant carried in the chilled night air. Gangs in the Crooktown District hunted mixed breeds like him. At first glance, Senth appeared human, but with his catlike eyes and fangs, no one could miss his Kin nature. In moonlight, his eyes would glow.
The chant grew louder, along with the sound of breaking glass. The deeper darkness that followed meant two things: another streetlight had met its end, and that gang was closer than Senth had thought.
“You come down here, I skin you.” Senth flattened himself against the brick wall. “I skin you, the Grand Master skins me. Let’s do each other a favor, huh, boys?”
Worse, the Grand Master would inform Senth’s Sen’dai. His guild master. The crime lord all the other crime lords feared. The Man. The Harbinger. Luc Saint-Cyr.
The Guild didn’t accept non-humans, unless they were enslaved to a human member. No one could rise past level ten, unless related to a human member. Guild-arranged marriages and adoptions happened regularly. To keep the Guild happy, Saint-Cyr was Senth’s lord and master and his adoptive father.
No way Senth wanted the Man angry with him. The last time, he’d almost…
Senth shook off the thought, drew his hood forward again, and edged around the corner into a darker alley. “Ffffftt!” The Kin cuss word hissed past his fangs. Where was Khyff? He had to be close. Senth had looked for hours. His HalfKin sense of smell caught a faint whiff of male, mixed with… He took another sniff. Someone–or something–else.
Pressed against the wall, Senth slipped around a corner, and hunkered down. He melted into the concealing darkness behind a barrel, and narrowed night-sensitive eyes.
His human half-brother leaned against the opposite wall of the trash-strewn alley. Khyffen Antonello’s blond hair shone in the muted light. A female pinned him, arms around his neck. She tore open Khyff’s shirt and ran her hands over his chest.
Senth folded himself into the tight space behind the barrel and settled in to wait. Protection of his brother went before any assignment. Family came first. At least tonight.
Senth’s mother had died after birthing him. Khyff, who’d been three, had been told Senth was dead, and Khyff had been sold into slavery. Neither of them knew the other lived until a month ago. Neither had a clue about their biological fathers. Until Khyff found him, Senth’s “family” consisted of the Man.
Pulling out a square of paper, Senth angled it to catch the dim light and read the words he’d copied from Saint-Cyr’s note once more. YOU AND KHYFFEN MEET ME AT THE GHOST. I HAVE A JOB FOR YOU. DO IT AND I’LL BUY AND FREE YOUR BROTHER, BUT IT’S GOING TO COST YOU.
Of course it would. The Man didn’t do anything for free. But if it got Khyff out of that hellhole, Senth would do it. He tucked away the note, and slipped on his gloves.
Senth’s master had raised him to believe that no one should have to sell his body to survive. Saint-Cyr owned one slave, Senth, and only so he could rise within the Guild.
Senth and Saint-Cyr might not agree on much, but they both believed Khyff needed his freedom. With Khyff’s record, freeing him wouldn’t be cheap, and it sure wouldn’t be easy.

KA2

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Copy of Electric Love

 

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20046480_10155440617694519_3892880628145016941_n

Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She’s a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she’s tenured.

Join the Romance Lives Forever Reader Group Download four free books and get news about books coming soon. You can unsubscribe at any time.

 

 

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That Delirious Kiss

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Amber DaultonAmber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press and Books to Go Now, and are available in e-book, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.
Amber lives in North Carolina with her husband and four demanding cats. Feel free to visit her at http://www.amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com.

 

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Interview With Beverley Bateman

Today’s special treat is a visit from the author of The Fourth Victim.  Slice up some leftover turkey, sit back and meet Beverly Bateman.

 

Bev BMurder, mystery and romance fills award-winning, Canadian author, Beverley Bateman’s life. She loves to plot, kill and hopefully baffle the reader. Her nursing and public health nursing background helps with some details and administering a community care facility program had her investigating and directing investigations into irregularities and sometimes a death. She even has court experience.
She began writing in her preteens and loved to write locked room mysteries. Reading Nancy Drew helped her figure out plots. Facing breast cancer, she decided she needed to do what she’d always wanted and began to write. She completed her first romantic suspense novel and hasn’t stopped writing since. She recently moved and now lives among ranches and wheat fields in southern Alberta, with her husband and Shiba Inu dog.

What is your reaction to a negative review?
At first, I’m always disappointed. It hurts that someone didn’t like my story. But then I reread it several times because I want to know what they didn’t like about it and how I can improve by their criticism and make the next book even better for my readers. I learn more to improve my writing from the negative reviews.

How long does it generally take you to write a book, from the spark of an idea to the finished product?
It depends on life and the story. We’ve sold our house, bought a new one and moved and another time I had surgery. These tend to interrupt the process, but I’d say about seven months. The idea comes, I mull it over, draft some general plot points, write for about three months, edit, send it off for editing, re-edit it and hopefully have a finished product.

What works for you? Give us a rundown of your ‘writing process’ from beginning to finished product.
I wish I could, but it does evolve. Basically, when I start a new book, I start with a plot, then I work on the characters that should work with the plot. I make some general plot points and a bit of an outline. Then I start to write (that’s the best part). I write for several hours until my muse leaves me. Then I start from that point the next day. If I’m not sure what comes next, I ask myself at bedtime what I need to know and hope it comes to me in those early morning hours. When I finish the book, I go back and rewrite the beginning, because now I know my characters.

Do you have a blog and if so, what types of posts would a visitor find on it?
Yes, I have a blog and try to post twice a week. I have visitor posts from other authors with information about them, their characters and their latest book. I also blog a little eclectically about special occasions, writing tips and information about changes in writing. I also have a group blog with multiple different topics once a month.

Is there a particular area of your writing (getting ideas, revision, editing, et cetera) where you seem to struggle the most and how do you overcome it?
Characterization, developing my characters. I know them in my head but have difficulty getting them on paper, so my readers can relate to them and love or hate them. I take classes, read books, get critiques and feedback and try to get to know them well and talk to them.

Do you belong to any online cafés or writers’ groups? If so, has it helped?
I belong to one writing group, at the moment. Several others have disbanded. I belong to the Kiss of Death which is both supportive and educational with online classes, BIAW, a conference, and a contest. We have a loop to ask questions about our writing or about resource or anything you can think about it. Someone usually as an answer. It’s very helpful.

What advice would you give to new/unpublished authors?
I think it’s the same as authors usually say, write every day, read lots and take writing classes

What do you do when you’re not writing?
I try to work out several times a week, visit friends, read, do glass fusion, and play the Native American flute

Can you tell us something interesting about you that you’re sure we don’t already know?
I was held up at gunpoint in New Orleans.

What is the hardest or most frustrating aspect of writing: ideas, getting started, writer’s block, re-writing?
I think I’d say the rewriting/editing. Ideas have never been a problem. I have two books I’m presently working on and a couple of ideas I’ve jotted down for future reference. And I find writer’s block is usually because I don’t know my characters or I’m trying to make them do something out of character.

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Beloved Enemy

Today I’m delighted to have Hywela Lyn stop by for a visit. She’s the author of Beloved Enemy. (The title alone sounds intriguing!) Pour yourself a cup of tea and enjoy a sample from the third book in Lyn’s Destiny Trilogy.

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BE official cover - CopyGravel and pebbles dug into her skin through the fabric of her clothing, as something dragged her toward the edge of the bank. She bit back a cry of horror as she glanced over her shoulder at the thing twining itself around her leg. An icy fear went through her. Snakes—the only creatures she really feared. She aimed her pistol and then realized it was not a serpent that dragged her toward the river, but a long, rubbery tentacle fastened around the tough material of her leggings and boot.

Before she could activate the weapon, Kerry let off another barrage of plasma bolts into the river. He leapt toward her and ripped the severed tentacle from her leg. It flapped around on the wet grass. She scrambled to her knees, still slightly winded, and fired at the hideous thing. The foliage around it flared briefly with an eerie green flame, and the tentacle shriveled into a slimy black mass, emitting a pungent odour and causing her to gag.

“It seems I was mistaken about the creature being dead.” Kerry prodded the smouldering mass with his boot and looked across over the water. “It is now.” He leaned down and grasped her wrist to haul her to her feet. “Are you hurt?”

“No, I don’t think so.” Her shoulder was sore and probably bruised but she’d live. She tried to control her shivering. The incident affected her more than she wanted to admit. Kerry’s proximity—naked to the waist, his lithe body shining from the water droplets that still clung to his skin, and his legs swathed in tight black leather—did nothing to help. The last thing she wanted was for him to realize how scared she’d been when she thought a snake attacked her.

“Thanks. That was close. It would have been a bit ironic if I’d been killed by the same creature I saved you from.” She realized he still grasped her wrist. She tried to move away, but he pulled her back, obliging her to turn to him.

“You’re trembling.”

“I’m fine.”

“No,” he said. “You’re not.” He pulled her closer and his eyes softened, his gaze holding her mesmerized. She opened her mouth to try to speak, but in the same instant, he put his hand under her chin and his lips closed over hers.

What real or fictional female badass inspires you most and why_

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About the author

Me low res2aA member of the Romance Novelists Association, Hywela Lyn writes under her first two names, but is usually known just by her second name, Lyn. Originally from rural Wales she moved to England when she married. She writes mainly romantic futuristic and science fantasy, although occasionally she dabbles in western historical short stories, one of which was published in The Lady magazine. Her first novel, a Science Fiction romantic adventure, ‘Starquest’ was published by The Wild Rose Press, and was followed by two more complete novels Children of the Mist and Beloved Enemy to complete what has now become the Destiny Trilogy.  In 2017 Beloved Enemy won the Mid-Michigan Romance Writers of America ‘Best Banter’ Contest in the SF/Fantasy category, was nominated for the Romantic Novelists Association Awards (RoNA) in the Paranormal category, and was also Runner Up in the Reward Of Novel Excellence Awards (RONE Awards.)

Her fantasy novella, incorporating Greek Myths and Welsh and Arthurian legends, entitled ‘Dancing With Fate’ was originally published by TWRP as part of a commissioned anthology but is now available as a ‘stand-alone’ novella. All her books are available either in paperback or as e-books from the publisher, Amazon and other online stores, or from her own website.  She continues to work frantically, but paradoxically slowly, on fantasy and Science Fiction romances and hopes to write a Romantic Western historical novel at some point. She loves all animals and her animal friends include a ‘rescue’ terrier named Choccy and a feisty mare called T’pau.

Come join her in adventures beyond the stars, where new wonders await, or travel back to a time where the world was greener and less frantic, to a time where myths and legends merge and legendary heroes shape the future.

Contact Lyn

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With a Little Help from Her Friends

A retreat is commonly known as a quiet or secluded place to rest and relax. A writing retreat would give one the opportunity to rest, relax and write. Throw in some fellow writers for company, and you’ve also got a community or support – like minded individuals you can ask for help  or feedback. I’ve always wanted to go on a writing retreat, but since I haven’t found one that suits me, I’ve decided to plan one myself. (more on that later.) Today I’m delighted to feature a guest post by Jana Richards. She shares her experience on a recent writing retreat and discusses the importance of having a tribe. She’ll also introduce us to the first book in her Love at Solace Lake Series! So pour yourself a nice hot cup of coffee and settle in.

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With a Little Help from my Friends

A few weekends ago, I met some friends for a writing retreat. We traveled to one of our favorite spots to hold a retreat, St. Peter’s Abbey in Muenster, Saskatchewan. From noon Friday till noon Monday, we didn’t have to worry about day jobs, cooking and cleaning, or any other mundane tasks. For those four glorious days, we left the real world behind and concentrated exclusively on writing. For a writer, that’s a little piece of Heaven.

Aside from much needed writing time, one of the reasons I wanted to attend this retreat was to get some feedback from my friends. I’ve just contracted with The Wild Rose Press to write a four-book small-town romance series set in the fictional town of Masonville, North Dakota. The first book in the series is completed and is currently in edits. But the other three books exist only in a few vague lines that I wrote explaining what I think the books will be about. I needed help to fill in the gaps and get a better feel for the future books in this series.

After a full day of writing, we usually set aside some time in the evenings to get together for some laughs and some sharing. A week before the retreat, I emailed those friends who planned to attend and asked if they would be willing to do a little brainstorming with me during one of our evenings together. I sent them my ideas for books two to four in the series, as vague and limited as they were.

I love brainstorming. When you get a group of writers together and give them free reign to let their imaginations soar, ideas flow like water. I came away with a better idea of where books two and four are going. And book three? It’s changed completely. One of my friends, a multi-published writer, gave me some sage advice on the conflict that I believe is going make the book stronger, and keep me from pursing a plot point that likely would have had me writing in frustrated circles. For that alone, the trip to Muenster was invaluable.

Writing is a solitary pursuit. We writers spend a lot of time in our heads, and physically alone in our writing caves. We may be introverts, but we still need friends. So, if we find other like-minded people we can talk to and who support us, it’s gold.

Everyone needs a tribe, whether you’re a writer or a reader. Who’s your tribe?

               Lies and Solace, book 1 in Jana’s Love at Solace Lake Series series

JR 7

JR 6

Here’s a sneak peek

JR 4

JR 2

US        UK        CA        AU

About the author

janaWhen Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist. In 2015 “Always a Bridesmaid” was nominated for a Rone Award in the Steamy Contemporary category, and though it didn’t make the finals, it was an honor to be nominated. “Always a Bridesmaid” did, however, receive Best Opening Hook from Trans Canada Writers in their Maple Leaf Awards.
In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada with an elderly Pug/Terrier cross named Lou. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at http://www.janarichards.com

Here’s where to follow Jana Richards

Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Amazon Author Page
Amazon UK Author Page
Newsletter Signup
Goodreads
Google+ Profile
Bookbub

 

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Danger Lurking Around Every Corner

Today we’re chatting with Valerie Ullmer, author of the Paranormal Erotic Romance Jade! She’ll answer some questions for us and then give us a peek at the fourth book in her Dark Assassins series. Grab a cup of coffee and settle in.

flooower

Think back to the first book you wrote and then the last book you wrote. In what ways have you grown?
Every book you write, whether your first or your fiftieth, you learn about your strengths and your weaknesses. You start to recognize words you tend to use over and over again (for me it’s that and could) and the strength of your vocabulary improves. Don’t get me wrong, you still need a wonderful editor, but you learn as you go. You also develop more of streamline process from start to finish. For instance, I outline (all by hand using what if questions and using a story structure as I go), then I fill out my character worksheets, then my settings worksheet. So, after my story and structure of the story is completed, I type my outline to Scrivener and then I start writing my story from my outline notes and my Scrivener outline. From my outline to my Scrivener outline, and finally to my manuscript, I’ve written and added to my story three times to get my finished manuscript.

How long does it generally take you to write a book, from the spark of an idea to the finished product?
If I’m good, which means I write every day, then I would say from the outline (which takes about a month) to filling out my character worksheets, to working on my setting, and then writing the book (which takes about another month), I would say three months for a 50,000 word book.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about writing? How has this helped you as a writer?
The most important thing about being a writer is to write. Every day, whether you want to or not. And I’m including outlining to this because for me, once I write an outline, my story is completed but when I write it in Scrivener, I add details to a story that already has a structure, conflict, setting, and my character’s personality. Having projects, several at a time to look forward to, has pushed me so that when I do hit a roadblock (because let’s face it, everyone does) I have a plan in place already.

How much time/effort do you give to social media as a means of self-promotion?
To be honest, I love to hire promotion sites that are on the cheaper side when I have new releases or book sales, that way they handle all the social media and ARC distribution. I do have a presence on social media, but I don’t really care where my book ranks on Amazon on any given day, how many reviews I’ve received, or over-saturating Facebook or Twitter with my book cover and blurb. I do promote book sales and new releases, but as an avid reader, I find books at the moment I’m meant to find them and I feel the same way about readers of my books. They might not be aware of a new release or sale, but if they stumble upon them, read them, and love them, then I consider myself a successful author.

What advice would you give to new/unpublished authors?
Write down any and all ideas you have, even if it’s a fleeting thought. Observe those around you, you never know when they will inspire a story. And last but not least, write. Use writing prompts, write short stories, poems, haiku, anything that comes to you, write it down. When you come to writing a book (novel or novella), don’t give up. It’ll be hard, but if you love it, you’ll stick with it!

What’s the best advice ever given to you, and by whom?
Stephen King’s advice, the best way to become a writer is to write.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
I love reading. I’m part of several promotion groups and host blog tour and because of that, I’m lucky enough to get ARC’s of some wonderful books. If I’m not reading books, I read fan-fiction (I’m addicted). I also love to take walks with my husband and our dog, Maddie, binge watching shows and movies on Netflix or Amazon, or feeding my YouTube addition to channels like Jacksepticeye and What Culture. I’m an introvert, so I spend a limited amount of time with people other than my husband, and when I do, they are usually dog people so we have something to talk about. It’s a good thing I’m a full-time writer.

Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?
My husband. He works hard and this allows me to stay at home and do what I love. He’s excited for me when I’m excited about a book idea or a completed manuscript. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in life.

Define a great book.
Where the characters feel real and solid and you would like to get to know someone like them in real life. Characters where their personality comes to the forefront, whether shy or outgoing, hated or loved, make them flesh and blood and I will read all of your books to find out what happens to your characters.

There are magazines and blogs full of what’s new and what’s hot in the publishing industry. Do you keep up with the latest news, advice, trends and such? What are your thoughts?
The best writing resource I’ve ever found is K.M. Weiland’s Helping Writers Become Authors website.

What makes you laugh?
My husband and those who make observations on life and don’t take anything too seriously.

Tell us about your latest book.jade 3

 

Here’s a sneak peek

Jade (A Dark Assassins Novel Book Four) 500Jade caught a scent of a human as she entered the fourteen-story building in downtown Snowfall. It wasn’t just any human scent, but something that made all of her instincts flare. She knew that she’d never caught this particular scent before, but something told her that this human might be important to her. She tried to brush it off as quickly as the thought came, but she couldn’t find it coincidental she smelled it in the same steel building owned by Ghost and housed the headquarters of Dark Company.
As she dismissed the fleeting thought of searching for the scent, her heart thumped once, hard, in her chest at the thought of not finding its owner. She forced herself to walk toward the elevator bank, ignoring the unwanted perusals she received from the men in the lobby. Even in an unassuming hoodie and black yoga pants, she drew unwanted attention. A side effect of being an immortal.
The elevator opened as soon as she pressed the up-button and she kept her gaze down as she walked into the elevator. She entered the code to get to Ghost’s private floor, her movements too quick to be caught by the human eye, before she squeezed into the corner. Jade used her other senses as three men in suits and two women entered the enclosed space with her. There was no need to glance at the glass interior that covered the back wall to see what she looked like.
She sensed eyes on her. Instead of searching out the gaze, she whipped her long, straight dyed black hair into a bun on the back of her head with quick movements before sneaking her hands into the front pockets of her hoodie.
Jade waited patiently as the car traveled toward the penthouse, her ultimate destination, but she couldn’t help but try to find the intriguing scent from earlier.
After my meeting.
All she knew was he hadn’t used the particular elevator she was in and the higher the lift took her in the building, the more his scent dissipated.
In her entire existence, or what she remembered of it, she’d never been attracted to…anyone. She’d never felt the pull to find someone either. But lately, she’d felt increasingly restless whenever she had any downtime and her skin tingled in a way that had nothing to do with signaling immediate danger. It was as though her body tried to convey something she didn’t understand.
Her thoughts were interrupted when a man who had gotten into the elevator with her on the first floor stepped into her personal space.
“Hey, beautiful?”
Jade rolled her eyes and raised her head to glare at the man. Of course, he wouldn’t take the hint that she wanted to be left alone. To emphasize the point, she crossed her arms and leaned against the wall, moving away from his intrusion.
The man decided to take this as an invitation and moved to wrap his arm around her waist. The move gave her a clear shot to his ribs and she took it, gently moving her elbow back and making contact. She flinched when she heard a distinctive crack, realizing she hadn’t been careful enough. Before she could apologize, the elevator door opened and he ran off without looking back, holding onto his side.
She sighed.

jade 4

Amazon

Amazon UK

Amazon AU

About the author

Valerie writes paranormal and contemporary M/F and M/M erotic romances. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her wonderfully supportive husband and their funny and wise black lab. She’s addicted to coffee, crime shows, and reading and writing character-driven romances.

Here’s where to follow Valerie Ullmer:

FACEBOOK ~ TWITTER ~ PINTEREST ~ INSTAGRAM ~ GOODREADS ~ AMAZON

 

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And The Winner Is…

 

Thank you to everyverone who came and commented on my giveaway post.

 

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Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a free signed copy of my book, a $50 Amazon gift card and prizes from other military veteran authors.

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