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It’s Christmas time, and Eriah Jameson has returned home to restart his family’s business. Due to his wild child past, no one is friendly or welcoming to Barrow Haven’s black sheep.
Aylin Myers lost her job when Eriah’s father took ill. She knows Eriah needs her help getting his business up and running again, but she doesn’t trust him. If he fails, she knows it will dishonor his father’s memory. And Aylin knows that at Christmas, it’s the right thing to help your fellow man—no matter how wretched he might be.
As Aylin gets to know Eriah, she sees a side of him Barrow Haven never saw. That perhaps the black sheep has changed for the better. Still, can she be sure this side of Eriah is real, and not just a facade he’s perfected over time to get his own way?
He took her hand firmly into his, and looked down into her eyes, his own blue eyes almost transparent in the light of the streetlamp above them.,
“I want to walk you home,” he insisted.
“Okay, let’s walk then.”
As they trudged through the newly fallen snow, Aylin held tight to his hand. The ice beneath her feet was absolutely treacherous. She’d never thought to put on winter boots before she left home that afternoon.
Most of the houses on both sides of her street were gaily decorated with multicolored strands of blinking lights. In the windows were wreaths or other festive decorations. It was truly a beautiful sight.
There were so many things she wanted to ask him as they walked, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to know the answers, so she kept silent until they reached her front door.
She pushed the key into the lock, and turned it until it snapped open. As she turned the doorknob, there was a sudden bang, almost like a gunshot, and everything went dark around them.
The shock was so acute, she grabbed on to Eriah in the darkness, and felt his arms close around her. Her heart beat double time in her chest.
“Power’s out,” he said.
Of course. It was just a power outage. Probably from the winter storm that besieged them. Her heart began to slow to a more normal rhythm, her face still pressed against his shoulder.
After a moment, she stepped away, stomped her sneakers clean of snow, and stepped inside the warm house. Eriah remained on the doorstep. She couldn’t allow him to try to find his way home in complete blackness, and she did agree to talk with him. “Come on in.”
“Thanks, that’s nice of you.” She could hear the gratefulness in his voice, as she closed the door behind them.
“I guess this is one time I’m glad I’m in the candle business.”
She groped in the darkness until she felt the edge of her worktop and felt around the various objects until she came upon a lighter. She flicked it on, and her eyes adjusted to the dim light. A medium-sized snowball candle sat nearby. Quickly, she lit the wick before the lighter had a chance to burn her fingers, and a soft glow grew from the candle.
When she turned around, his lips came down upon hers. Soft, searching, her hand went to his cold cheek. Almost instantly, she reminded herself of what transpired between them the day before. But her heart her heart…overrode her mind’s stern warnings, until her mind won out and broke the kiss, and turned away from him. “I’m not starting this all over with you. I won’t get hurt again.”
He gently turned her face back to him. “We started something really good, and I screwed it up. I know that. I just want a chance to explain.”
For a few moments, her mind whipped back and forth, trying to decide what to do, what was right for her, what was right for him.
With no answer in sight, she finally conceded. “Let’s go upstairs. I’ll hear you out, but I won’t promise you anything.”
Natalie-Nicole Bates is a book reviewer and author.
Her passions in life include books and hockey along with Victorian and Edwardian era photography. Natalie contributes her uncharacteristic love of hockey to being born in Russia.
She currently resides in the UK where she is working on her next book and adding to her collection of 19th century post-mortem photos.
Visit Natalie-Nicole Bates Online!
Facebook Fan Page
Noel Tierney thought she’d have enough time before the predicted storm to make it to her holiday retreat, but the snow hit sooner than expected. Caught unprepared on a treacherous pass, poor visibility and icy conditions lead to a crash. She lay immobile in her vehicle, stranded in a ditch in the most remote leg of her journey.
A faceless hero comes to her rescue and Noel has no choice but to wait out the blizzard in her rescuer’s unique cabin nestled in the woods. Everything about Grayson James peaks her curiosity—his valor, air of mystery and most of all, undeniable attractiveness.
For three days and nights, passions are unleashed and unexpected emotions are brought to life. When the storm breaks, Grayson vanishes into thin air, but not before revealing startling news that leaves her questioning her sanity.
Fast forward years later and Noel is in the southernmost part of the United States. She’d come seeking solace after her husband’s tragic death, but what finds her in Key West is more than she ever anticipated.
In the sultry summer, her unbridled winter’s ecstasy resurrects.
And so does the Vampire.
"In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”
Dark yet welcoming, the restaurant pulled them in with its ambiance.
The plastered walls were sponged in color blocks of a deep red and black. The ceilings were painted in a high polish black and stone black tile lined the floor. Striking kabuki masks and detailed silk kimono robes lined the walls
The women shared the restaurant with no one except the spiciness of sriracha seasonings and robust scent of the rich soy sauce that filled the air. They sat on their high top stools at the bar, enjoying the food and the reprieve from the heat.
“Air conditioning is nice, huh?” Noel asked.
“Yes, I’ll give you that. I forgot how sticky this weather can be. I think we have to get used to having bad hair and make up days.”
“I think you’re right.”
Suzanne finished sipping the last of the broth. “The soup is amazing. It’s not the kind of cuisine I had in mind for our vacation in Key West, though.”
“I had no clue this was even here. But, I needed this…helped with my hangover.”
“Absolutely. I think I can tackle a Sandhill Hooker shot or two today. After all, we are on the infamous Duval Street.”
“Okay, pickle juice that way…now you’re talking.”
She looked around the place and smiled. “It’s pretty cool in here.”
Suzanne leaned her head back. “And look at how high the ceiling is. I like all that exposed ductwork. I wonder what this place was before?”
“This used to be a club,” said the waitress as she carried in a case of liquor from the kitchen to the bar.
“This was a club?” Suzanne asked.
“Yeah. You two new to Key West?”
“First time here.”
Noel sat quietly listening to the conversation unfold between Suzanne and the waitress.
“You want a little history on this building you won’t hear about on any tour guide?” The waitress asked as she unpacked the box and carefully placed the bottles on the lighted shelves behind the bar.
“This restaurant and the entire vacant spot next door used to be one big club.” The waitress turned around and pointed towards the ceiling. “There was an entire second floor up there. The owners of the restaurant demolished it since the place is small and narrow. The height makes it feel spacious. You can sorta tell how it looked like the second floor with that small area they kept above the kitchen. The red spiral staircase you see leading up to that area…that’s original to the building.”
“Yeah, taking the second floor out does make it feel bigger. So the club must’ve been packed all the time to have two floors, huh?”
The waitress laughed and leaned against the counter. “They didn’t advertise. And you notice it’s off of Duval right?”
The women nodded.
“Not much foot traffic on this street like Duval. This was the hush-hush place. You had to get invited. Secret door knock and password would let you in—extremely private and exclusive.”
“You ever get invited?”
“Oh, God, no. I have no idea who got invited, but I wasn’t one of them. In fact, I never knew the club existed until a friend told me that the owners were going to put the building up for sale a few years ago. I was like, ‘what club?’ And the thing was, I walked past the place many times and always thought it was an abandoned building.”
“So what was the deal? Why was it private? What went on?”
“Rumors claimed it as an adult playground.”
“If the place was still in operation, somehow I know Suzanne would get an invite,” Noel chimed in.
Suzanne flashed a wicked smile.
“Possibly,” the waitress said. “Get’s your thoughts going, right? Like, what exactly happened in there? Who went there? But the one thing I was always curious about was seeing the place. They say it was like being on another planet.”
Noel awaited a break in the conversation to jump back in with her questions. But movement from out of the corner of her eye caught her attention. She snapped her head to look at the loft area and gasped.
“What?” the waitress asked in a concerning tone.
She scanned the area in confusion.
“What’s wrong?” Suzanne asked.
“I-I thought I saw something up there.”
The waitress peered into the kitchen. “Can’t be. No one else is here except Jesse and he’s at sink.”
“What’s that door up there?”
“That’s the access point to the space next door, but its sealed shut from the other side. Trust me. I’ve tried to see if I could get in to sneak a peek.”
“What is it that you think you saw?” Suzanne asked.
She shrugged her shoulders as goose bumps paraded along her skin. The same feeling stirred again—as if she were being watched. “I thought I saw someone looking down on us from that railing.”
Suzanne turned to the waitress. “We partied a bit last night.”
“That tends to happen in Key West.”
“I think we’ll take the check and I’ll get this one out for some much needed fresh air and vitamin D.”
“I’m not crazy, Suzanne,” she whispered as she reached for her purse.
“I didn’t say you were. I just think you need to get outside.”
“Sammy told you right?”
“The boat? Me freaking out that someone was watching me last night?”
“Yes. But, honey, I think you’re just thinking of Dante being in this place and visualizing him. That’s all.”
The waitress slid the check across the counter and Suzanne immediately snatched it up. “My treat. You get drinks tonight.”
Suzanne placed the cash on top of counter. “Keep the change, darling. Thanks for the 411 on this place. Very interesting.”
“No problem. You guys go have fun.”
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About Maya DeLeina:
Maya DeLeina is a multi-published Erotic Vampire Romance Author with Siren , Evernight and Ellora’s Cave Publishing. Her current series includes Ambrose Heights Vampires, My Naughty Vampire and Vampire Architects.
Not only does Maya have theatrical book trailers that bring her vampires to life, all of her vampires were featured in Singer/Songwriter Jill Cohn's music video "Blessing Moon".
Visit Maya DeLeina Online:
YouTube Channel- https://www.youtube.com/user/mayadeleina
Fan Page Facebook-https://www.facebook.com/EroticVampireAuthor
Tara Fox Hall’s writing career began in the pages of a small print magazine, Catnip Blossoms!, that a friend, Harald Moore, put out to promote his catnip farm in Johnsonville, New York. One short non-fiction article followed another, detailing her adventures saving wildlife, her experiences living on an acreage, and more than a few humorous recountings detailing the antics of her wacky pets. Written to delight, fascinate, and move readers, her simple but enchanting stories of country life quickly found a following. Tara kept publishing stories for the next five years, even as the name of the magazine changed to Meanwhile, and then to On The River, when the catnip farm went out of business, and Harald moved with his family to a new home near a river. These previously published stories are collected here for the first time with new added content, in the hopes of bringing a little more hope and inspiration into everyday life.
SET ME FREE
My tiger cat, Kesteral, used to be an indoor cat when we lived in the busy city of Binghamton not that long ago. Since we moved to the country, my once shy and nervous cat has become an avid hunter. It was not very long until he began demanding to go out at night.
At first I tried to enforce a 10pm curfew, which I staunchly believed that all good little cats should be able to follow. After a few nights, “Kester” decided that 6am was too late in the morning to be out looking for “early” mice. 3am was much better. I tried yelling at the yowling monster outside my bedroom door, but as soon as I would begin to drift off to sleep, Kester would take up right where he left off. I next tried threats of punishment. He retaliated by clawing through the carpet at the basement stairs in an effort to get into the basement (a certified mouse haven).
I stuck to my guns, believing when there was no further carpet shredding that the problem was solved. I had cured him of his insanity! Then lo and behold, Kester greeted me one morning when I opened my front door. He had chewed through the plastic expandable partitions at the side of the air conditioner and slipped out! I taped up the ragged hole. Not to be thwarted, my sweet little monster chewed through the tape.
I thought Hey, who is smarter here?and blocked off the sides of the air conditioner with pillows held in place by a table. Kester proved he was smarter by squeezing his way through. In a master ploy, I removed the air conditioner all together (it was late August—fall was practically here. A few days of sweating profusely was worth teaching dear Kester who was master). Ha! I thought triumphantly. He’s not getting out now!
Tara Fox Hall is an OSHA-certified safety and health inspector at a metal fabrication shop in upstate New York. She received her bachelor's degree in mathematics with a double minor in chemistry and biology from Binghamton University. Her writing credits include over twenty short stories published in the nature magazines Catnip Blossoms, Meanwhile, and On The River. Her short horror stories have appeared in Deadman's Tome, Flashes in the Dark, Halloween Alliance, and Ghastly Door. She also coauthored the essay "The Allure of the Serial Killer," published in Serial Killers – Philosophy for Everyone: Being and Killing (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). She divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals of all species, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.
Tara’s Other Links:
Tara's Blog: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5286654.Tara_Fox_Hall/blog
Tara's Facebook Page:
With Theo facing deadly odds in a fight to the death, Sar makes a pact with Lash, agreeing to give Devlin another chance in return for Theo’s life. Reforging her relationship with her handsome vampiric lover mends old wounds, even as Theo moves to regain Sar just for himself. But Devlin’s old enemy Ulysses appears, taking Sar prisoner and burning Devlin badly in a surprise attack. Rescued at the eleventh hour by Lash, Sar nurses Dev back to health, Theo bristling at a distance. Yet Lash’s own day of reckoning is here as his long life ebbs to a finale, leaving Sar to face the decision of offering him salvation, knowing that the price is her own humanity.
1. Promise Me
2. Broken Promise
3. Taken in the Night
4. Taken for his Own
4.5. Promise Me Anthology
5. Immortal Confessions
6. Her Secret,
7. Point of No Return
8. Lost Paradise
9. Dark Solace
There was a rustling sound, then Lash came into view at the edge of the woods, snapping his coiled whip onto his belt as he walked in my direction through the tall grass. Relief flooded me, that I hadn’t stumbled on him either in snake form or naked, as he’d likely been a few minutes before. Lash was looking down as he walked, watching the ground for some reason, and didn’t see me.
I gathered my courage together, took a long breath, and then went to meet him. He heard me, his head snapping up after I’d gone a few steps. His face registered faint surprise, but didn’t call out a welcome. When we were face to face, we both stopped.
“What are you out here for?” he hissed, folding his arms over his chest, his eyes and tone cold. “Dev and Venus are inside.”
“Your help,” I ventured. “If you’ll give it to me, Lash—”
“No,” he said curtly, then walked around me.
I reached out and grabbed a hold of his arm. “Wait—”
He shook me off, and kept walking.
“Please,” I begged, hating the fact that I was pleading with him. “Please, Lash—”
“Sar, go home. Go to Danial. Go to Theo. Go anywhere, just leave,” he hissed, still walking away
I ran after him. “I need your help, Lash.”
“I won’t give it to you,” he hissed, still walking. “You can’t afford me.”
He was right about that. Being the best, he probably made 100K just to scare someone a little. I swallowed my pride, then my conscience. “I know that Lash. I’m not offering money; I’m offering you control over me. I’ll do anything you ask me to.”
Lash stopped, turning to look at me. Then he began walking back, eyeing me hungrily. “Anything?” he said, hissing. “Anything I ask you to do, you’ll do?”
I hated him for making me crawl. “Yes,” I said defiantly. “Anything.”
“What do you want me to help you with?” he said, folding his arms across his chest. “My price depends on what you are asking me to do for you.”
“Not me. I want you to help Theo. Robert asked him to come alone, that they would settle this one on one—”
“That’s as it should be,” Lash interrupted coldly. “I shouldn’t interfere with a challenge.”
“Don’t interfere,” I said. “But this wasn’t done fairly. Theo is still weak from the beating he took from Karl’s men. If Robert beats him, fine, just don't let him kill Theo. I don’t trust that Robert won’t just stab him in the back, or ambush him with more men, rather than fight him one on one—”
“Robert will kill him if he beats him, Sar,” Lash hissed. “That’s the way of challenges. I have always killed anyone who challenged me. You don't want them coming back for revenge later. So you’re really asking me to kill Robert.”
“I’m asking you to save Theo’s life. Will you do it?” I pleaded desperately.
“Did you go to Dev, and he refuse your request?” Lash hissed scathingly. “I can’t believe that, Sar. He still believes if something happens to Theo that you might die, too. He wouldn’t refuse you, though he would make you—”
“I came to you,” I said angrily. “Dev doesn’t know I’m here. No one does, except Serena. Theo can’t know about this—”
“You must be desperate to come to me like this,” Lash hissed, his cold eyes glittering. “To put yourself in my power, knowing what I might ask of you. To trust me that I’ll help you, if I say I will.”
“You never hurt me. So far as I know, you haven’t lied to me either. You kept our last times together a secret, just like I kept yours from everyone.” I paused, meeting his cold stare. “I trust you, Lash. If you say you’ll do this, I’ll take you at your word, and give mine in return.”
Lash looked at me, considering. “It should be doable,” he hissed finally, his tone thoughtful. “Where is the location of the fight? When?”
“Tomorrow night. I’m not sure where. He’s leaving around dusk—”
“I can follow Theo easily enough. I’ll be waiting near your barn on a motorcycle. If you tag him with a transmitter, I can track him if he loses me. Can you put one in his vehicle?”
“Yes,” I said without hesitation.
“I’ll put it in your truck, before you go,” Lash instructed. “Put it in his glove compartment within the truck manual case. He will not see it there, or think to check. Remove it after, and give it to me the next time you see me.”
“Agreed.” Now for the hard part. “What do you want in return?”
Lash came closer. “First kiss me, to seal our pact,” he hissed.
Shit, he was going to ask me to be weresnake so he could coil with me. I shifted uneasily.
“I’m waiting,” Lash hissed softly. “Unless you want to reconsider.”
You can do this, Sar. You have to do it. If Theo is saved, that’s all that matters.
I put my hands on Lash’s arms, and slowly leaned in towards him. Lash reached up and grabbed my hair, pulling my lips forcefully to his. But the kiss was chaste, lasting only a few seconds before Lash pulled back from me. “I want you to take Dev back,” he said softly.
Oh, God, no.
Let's give a warm welcome to Morgan K. Wyatt who is in the hot seat today! Thanks so much for being with us today, Morgan, I can't wait to hear more about you and your books.
You mention superheroes in your bio, who is your favorite superhero? What do you think of all the new superhero movies coming out?
I always loved Wonder Woman because she was a strong woman and charted her own path.
I enjoy anything with Thor in it, but find his somewhat evil brother strangely attractive.
Which authors inspire you the most and why?
As a teen, I read a lot Victoria Holt and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Both authors combined menace and a touch of darkness. Ironically, none of my books reflects this. James Herriot may have influenced me more with his ordinary people and endless animals.
If you could change one thing on your path to being published what would it be, and why that one thing?
Time. I spent a lot of time waiting for an editor to release my book back to me. (Talking years here.) I also spent equal amount of time with an agent who never returned my calls and went quietly out of business without notifying me.
What advice do you have for newbie authors trying to get published?
Write at least 1000 words every day. Keep writing, even when rejected. All that said; occasionally give yourself permission to hang out with family and friends without writer guilt. Keep reading. It’s important to see what is out there and to keep up with trends.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I am a Jackie Chan movie fan. I have a Pinterest issue too. It’s like hoarding without any of the clutter.
Which character of all your characters has been your favorite to write about?
Jackson from Unexpected Cougar is a favorite because my husband helped me co-write the story and did Jackson’s dialogue and character.
If you could meet one of your female lead characters in real life, which one would you choose and why that one?
Josie, from Act Your Age, which is my current WIP. The story starts with her being depressed about turning forty. Her life takes a sudden nosedive with her husband leaving her, but she takes the bad and reinvents herself. It takes a resilient woman to do that. There’s romance and humor in her future too.
What do you love most about saving money and being frugal?
My grandmother grew up during the Depression and knew many ways to save money. I took her hints and added my own. My daughter used to joke that we didn’t have any groceries without the orange manager special sticker.
I like to share my thrifty ways on http://thefrugaldivatellsall.blogspot.com/.
What is your favorite free promotions tip?
Other people’s blogs/website. Sites like yours. Some people think the blog is dead, but I’ve had huge responses guest blogging, especially in other countries too. Most people would love to have someone guest blog. I know I do.
What is your favorite paid for promotions tip?
I recently returned from Lori Foster’s Reader Author Get Together. It’s $100 for authors and $50 for readers, but that covers meals and parties. Authors get a chance to interact with readers. It’s a lot of fun too.
Looking for something cheaper, I’d go with a blog hop. The author can give away a couple of books. Sometimes, all the participants might put in ten dollars for a grand prize.
Love Or Deception Blurb:
Amy awakes to find her husband Mark missing, along with her memories. Her recollections of Mark include a whirlwind courtship and a beach wedding. Amy is determined to uncover what happened to her husband. How could a man who loved her so intensely just walk away?
The police have no interest in finding Mark. They reason he wasn't ready for marriage and he walked.
Ryan, a close friend and co-worker, assists her in piecing together her missing memories. As the pair work together, they find that Amy's actual past reveals a scenario that is so horrifying that it forces them on the run, not knowing whom they can trust.
Will Amy's newly recalled memories prove fatal to both her and Ryan.
What is your favorite kind of chocolate (we think every kind of chocolate is the best LOL)?
Cadbury’s Dairy Milk – I love it!
What do you like most about creating websites?
I’m a creative person—so writing makes sense for me, as does creating websites and knitting. It’s great to have a finished product at the end of it.
I wouldn’t change anything. I’m not saying my career so far has been perfect, but things that have gone wrong, mistakes I’ve made are things I’ve learned from. So hopefully it’s all made me wiser and more cautious going forward.
How do you come up with ideas for your stories? Who is your muse if you have one?
My ideas come from absolutely anywhere and everywhere. People, places, overheard conversations… the list goes on. I have an awful lot of muses—this is where my love of hot male celebrities comes in handy. At the moment I’m rather inspired by Tom Hiddleston.
Who are your top 5 most loved erotica authors?
Portia Da Costa, Saskia Walker, Janine Ashbless, Sommer Marsden and my fellow Brit Babes.
Which character has been your favorite to write about?
I really loved writing Alice Brown from Stately Pleasures. Part of that is down to the fact that it was my first novel, and part of it is down to the character herself. She’s just a normal girl, bigger than average but mostly happy in her own skin. Then these two gorgeous guys give her a sexy ultimatum… what’s not to like?
That would be Alice, because of the reasons above!
What do you like most about writing Sapphic erotica?
I love variety—so writing different genres and pairings keeps me interested and on my toes. I started writing lesbian stuff just to see if I could, but I find I enjoy it. It can be tough at times, especially trying to keep body parts in the right places, but I like how different it is to write a story with bodies with dips and curves, and soft places. Equally, I like writing gay stuff because penning naughty books with lots of angles and hard places is great, too!
What piece of advice did you receive as newbie writer that was the most helpful?
To read lots in my chosen genre—and I always pass that on to any newbies that ask for advice. It applies across all types of writing and makes perfect sense.
Social media—love it or hate it, it’s here to stay. Readers are already on social media, so get out there, find them and show off your fantastic books!
Blog tours. They’re a great way to really engage with your audience. There are lots of ways to do this, of course, but I find blog tours, depending on the types of post you write, to be very personal and unique, and hopefully the stuff you write about will really draw readers in and make them want to buy your books.
Thanks so much for having me!
Thanks so much for talking with us, Lucy!
Visit Lucy Online!
Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Newsletter | Pinterest | Street Team
Why time travel? What intrigues you about the idea of being able to travel through time and experience the past or future?
I love history. So this is my way to go back in time and learn about how things were. My first book Beyond the Mist is about a woman who travel to France and meets a ghost, who wants her to help with something that happened during the French Revolution. So the story goes back and forth from today and the eighteenth century.
What do you do with the doll houses you build and decorate once they’re finished? What do you enjoy most about building and decorating doll houses?
I haven’t completely finished the three I have started. It’s a long process. I like to decorate, so this way I am able to do it with a small investment. I will probably give them to my daughter-in-law.
If you could change one thing on your path to being published what would it be, and why that one thing?
I would start earlier. I would not change anything. SCP is the best publishing Company. Everyone is wonderful to work with.
How do you come up with ideas for your stories? Who is your muse if you have one?
I try to travel every year. I look back into the history of the country I visit, then invent a story in the time period that interests me.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Which character has been your favorite to write about?
The heroine in Degrees of Wickedness. Her life is the one I wish I had had.
If you could meet one of your female characters in real life, which one would you choose and why that one?
Same as above
If you could meet one of your male lead characters in real life, which one would you choose and why that one?
Quinn in the novel I’m writing now. It takes place in Ireland. He had blue eyes and black hair, just the type of male I dream about.
What piece of advice did you receive as newbie writer that was the most helpful?
What is your favorite free promotions tip?
Have book marks, post cards, magnets to give out to people.
I do very well at craft fairs and the fees aren’t very high.
Vicky Amari, an attractive and spirited FBI agent, has no idea her life will change when she visits Italy on vacation. Her first evening in Rome, she meets Tony Vega, a handsome and charming detective with the Italian National Police. She tags along when he is called to the scene of a murder at the Colosseum. When she comes back in the morning to search for clues, she is pulled into the first century. As she returns to 2013, she is followed by a gladiator, who helps her with her investigation.
Intrigued with Vicky, Tony enlists their help in solving the murder and its connection to stolen Etruscan artifacts and drug smuggling in Tuscany.
As Tony and Vicky explore the secrets and criminal activities of well-known citizens in a hill town, there is a union of their hearts and minds. They develop a closeness neither wishes to give up.
Visit Joyce Humphrey Cares Online:
1. Tell us a little bit about Alvin and Madeline from Worth The Risk, your upcoming book. What inspired you to write this story?
The book takes place in my city, Houston, Texas. Alvin is a music critic who meets Madeline, who is a violinist, while reviewing a performance. It is love at first sight for him, but she refuses to go out with him. What Alvin doesn’t know is Madeline has a good reason for playing hard to get. She is HIV positive and because of her failed attempts with relationships, she believes no man would truly love her. She begins to develop a curiosity for Alvin, which leads to an attraction on her part. The story centers on how much Alvin wants Madeline, and Madeline’s willingness to confront his attraction.
I wrote this book because my cousin has HIV, and has struggled with finding love because of it. I don’t think society comprehends how difficult it can be to have relationships with HIV. It’s sad that people are still ignorant about this disease. I also wrote it because I believe characters in romance especially should reflect all kinds of people and situations.
2. You mention Kay Hooper as being a huge influence on your writing, what is your favorite book by this author?
I can’t name just one. I’ve loved many of her books. What attracts me is her ability to weave a solid romance with a great mystery. That’s what I try to do with my romantic suspense work.
3. If you could change one thing on your path to being published what would it be, and why that one thing?
When I first got started, I got suckered into a vanity publisher. I was 19 and didn’t understand how the business worked. Even though it hurt at the time, my desire to write was too big to stop me from fulfilling my dreams. I used to say I would change that moment in time to where I hadn’t gotten suckered, but I feel like if it hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be the strong person I am today. I wouldn’t have buckled down and learned everything I could about the industry if that hadn’t happened. In a way, it was a good thing because it taught me an invaluable lesson. Sometimes bad experiences affect us in positive ways.
4. How do you come up with ideas for your stories? Who is your muse if you have one?
My muse is an invisible, female entity. LOL! I come up with ideas all kinds of ways. Sometimes an idea just hits and I have to jot it down. Other times, I get my ideas from movies. I might see a movie that really resonated and I’ll try to switch up the plot and idea to something others wouldn’t think to do. There is no such thing as a new idea, but there are ways for a writer to put their own spin on anything.
5. What is your guilty pleasure?
I’m too embarrassed to say my main one. LOL! Let’s just say I love fantasizing about a certain celebrity I’ve become obsessed with. Ha, ha!
6. Which character of all your characters has been your favorite to write about?
Wow. Hmm. That seems to change as time goes on. I’ll say Lisa Swanson from the Bruised series. She is a detective and domestic violence survivor. I love how she is vulnerable yet strong. She’s a powerful character and I created her to show people that domestic violence can happen to anyone no matter their lifestyle or status. She’s a great role model.
7. If you could meet one of your male lead characters in real life, which one would you choose and why that one?
I’d say Cross Evers. He is a hero from a novel I’ve just finished. He is so positive and supportive of the heroine, and I think all women long for that. I love people who bring good energy. I can’t stand negativity or negative people because they bring you down. Hopefully, I’ll introduce audiences to Cross sometime soon.
8. What piece of advice did you receive as newbie writer that was the most helpful?
Research and watch your back!
9. What is your favorite free promotions tip?
Do what you enjoy doing and pay attention to your genre. What some authors don’t seem to understand is that just because something works for others, it does not mean it works for them. Every author and every book is different. I also tell people to keep writing and releasing books regularly. That’s the most rewarding thing you can do to promote. A big backlist is what keeps sales going.
10. What is your favorite paid for promotions tip?
I don’t pay for promotion. There are many free options that I don’t feel it’s necessary to pay. Many times authors pay for promotion and it does nothing. I’m not into wasting money so I’d need some type of guarantee before I paid. LOL! There is an abundance of free promotional opportunities. You just have to be dedicated to finding them and creative enough to come up with new things. Most authors who’ve sold very well have never paid for any promo. Once again, this is where a big backlist helps.
Worth the Risk Blurb:
Houston music critic Alvin Zak becomes smitten with violinist Madeline Deever from the first moment she lays her bow to her violin to perform a concerto. Sent to review the orchestra, Alvin becomes so enraptured by Madeline that he asks her if he can do a feature on her. The polite, yet elusive Madeline agrees to think it over while declining Alvin’s invitation for coffee. Alvin does not understand Madeline’s abrupt refusal to his invite and it makes him even more interested in getting close to her.
The last thing Madeline is looking for is love since she is harboring a secret that has the power to ruin any potential relationship. Convinced no man would love her enough to accept her situation, she fights off Alvin’s advances, but begins to fall in love with him.
Can Alvin convince Madeline to trust him and give into her feelings or is Madeline destined to spend her life alone?
Release Date: August 30th from Secret Cravings Publishing
All eyes were on the caramel-toned black woman with the light-brown, shoulder-length hair. She illuminated in the middle of the stage in a red gown that hit just above her slightly knocked knees. With her head tilted, she played Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35 as if she’d composed the piece herself.
Alvin Zak sat in one of the middle rows with his gaze glued to the striking violinist. He glanced at the program in his hand then back up just as she struck the last chord of the piece. The audience rose around him but he remained mesmerized. It wasn’t until everyone had migrated from his or her seats that he realized the performance had ended. The songbird lingered on the stage, chatting with other musicians from the orchestra.
“Al.” Brayden tapped Alvin’s shoulder. “Come on.” He put his blazer back on and fixed the collar. “Al?” He snapped his fingers in Al’s face. “Hey.”
“Huh?” He couldn’t tear his gaze from Madeline Deever.
She leaned on the piano, conversing with the pianist as the other musicians left the stage.
Brayden bent down. “Earth to Al.”
“Huh?” Alvin shook from his trance. “What?”
“Duh.” Brayden gestured. “The concert is over and it’s time to leave. You got enough for your review?”
He stared at Madeline as he stood.
The pianist seemed to bid her goodnight and walked off the stage.
Madeline laid her violin in the case and closed it up.
“Come on.” Brayden walked into the aisle. “I’ve just wasted four hours I won’t get back.”
“You should be ashamed of yourself.” Alvin climbed out of the row, still staring at Madeline. “Don’t tell me you didn’t feel every inch of that performance down to your soul.”
“Look, I’m not the music critic. You are.” Brayden checked his watch. “You’re not the only one who has a feature due at the end of the week. I came here as a favor to you when I should’ve been writing my story.”
“She’s amazing.” Alvin folded his program. “Simply amazing.”
“Who?” Brayden glanced at Madeline. “Oh, here we go. Anything with a dress—”
“No, she’s different.” Alvin slipped his hand in the pocket of his slacks. “I’ve been to a million performances and none have touched me like hers. She stole the entire show. She played Tchaikovsky as if she were born to do it.”
“She’s a violinist.” Brayden shrugged. “I’m sure she wouldn’t be playing at one of the most prominent opera houses in Houston if she weren’t good.” He pulled on Alvin’s sleeve. “Can we go—”
“Wait.” Alvin headed to the stage. “I wanna talk to her.”
“Why?” Brayden rushed in behind him. “I’ve gotta finish editing my article that’s due in a day in case you’ve forgotten.”
Alvin strutted up the stage steps.
“Al?” Brayden scoffed.
“Excuse me?” Alvin approached Madeline. “You’re Madeline Deever.”
Her brown eyes looked him up and down. “And you are?”
“I’m Alvin Zak.” He held out his hand. “Maybe you’ve heard of me? I’m the music editor for Houston Pride Magazine.” He dipped his head to her. “The Arts and Entertainment Magazine.”
Website: http://www.stacy-deanne.net (sign up for mailing list while there!)
Secret Cravings Publishing: http://www.secretcravingspublishing.com/
I grew up only a few hours from Ravenswood, the township in which my new release ‘She’s A lot Like You’ is set. It is a now small mining town in North Queensland, Australia. As children we thought nothing special of Ravenswood other than somewhere locals travelled to for work, or hunting.
The first time I went there, I was taken on ‘the tour’, which in the most basic of terms is a half hour drive around the town. At first I thought there wasn’t much to look at other than old decaying houses, but as I came around a corner I was graced with the image of the graveyard. It was so very small, fenced in, looking like something out of an old Sherlock Holmes movie. Not far from the graveyard was the only remaining original miners shack from the 1800’s. Obviously now it is a tourist attraction, but looking at it, at its simplicity, I couldn’t help but wonder what it must have been like back in the day.
Looking around then at what I always thought to be little more than a dusty old town, I began to envision the people who had once lived here upon Ravenswood’s settlement. I could see women in their long, English styled gowns walking down the streets. I could see carriages taking people to and from the places they needed to go. I could see…but then I wondered if indeed what I was seeing had ever been a reality.
My trip to Ravenswood that day started weeks and weeks of research. To my most pleasant surprise what I discovered about this township was so much more than I could have ever dreamed possible.
Before the town was gazetted and named Ravenswood, it was one of the quickest growing townships in North Queensland. People – gold miners, cattle farmers, estate owners – had been settling there since 1840’s. The wealth that once circulated this town – the gentry that once filled it – it was a romance writers dream.
And that’s why I chose this town to set my story in. I didn’t choose it for the town I grew up hearing stories of, or for the place it has now become. I chose it because I now realise the beauty it had once held. I’m only sorry so many of the old estate houses and dance halls are no longer left standing because they surely would be a sight to behold.
Today we have JoAnne Tucker in the hot seat! Welcome JoAnne, we look forward to learning more about you and your books!
HFP: What is your favorite thing about painting?
JT: Making a beautiful picture to hang on a wall.
HFP: If you could change one thing on your path to being published what would it be, and why that one thing?
JT: I wished I had been published thirty years ago, because it is a long path to success. I hope to see my books turned into movies.
HFP: How do you come up with ideas for your stories? Who is your muse if you have one?
JT: My muse would be the characters themselves. One book is about ghosts, and one is about monsters such as the Mothman, the Chupracabra, Mermaids, werewolves, an Egyptian love curse, reincarnation, and etc.
HFP: What is your favorite food?
HFP: Which character has been your favorite to write about?
JT: F.B.I Agent Walker Harmon. He is not only dangerously handsome, but fearless and determined to solve the crime.
HFP: If you could meet one of your male characters in real life, which one would you choose and why that one?
JT: Walker Harmon, because of the answer in question #5.
HFP: If you could meet one of your female lead characters in real life, which one would you choose and why that one?
JT: It would be Jackie Reeves, my heroine, in Murder Most Foul. She is not only gorgeous, but a registered nurse, and like her lover Walker Harmon, she is upstanding and determined to make the bad guy pay.
HFP: What piece of advice did you receive as newbie writer that was the most helpful?
JT: To never give up.
HFP: What is your favorite free promotions tip?
A: Never give up. If you keep trying, you will see your story in print…someday.
HFP: What is your favorite paid for promotions tip?
A: Get your story out to as many places and people as you can. The more that see the story, the more that might buy it.