Jodi Thomas | Whisperers and Yellers … Characters

While I was traveling around signing copies of SUNRISE CROSSING, a story I dearly loved, characters were lining up in my brain for the next book. Some wait patiently, whispering their story, while others start yelling from the back of the line.

The whisperer was Sheriff Dan Brigman. He’d waited his turn. He’d been in other books. Always a good guy. Always a good father and friend, but he never took center stage. He never got his love story. Now, in his forties, he’d given up until he found a fancy boot in the road one night.

He took on the mission to find the lady that the boot might belong to. She had to be something special to step out in knee high rhinestone boots.

And she was…every fantasy he’d ever allowed himself to have.

The character yelling for his story was Cody Winslow, my ex Texas Ranger. He’d lived after his best friend died and he was riding full out along the edge of Ransom Canyon not caring much if he lived or died.

When he tumbled into the canyon breaking bones, he prayed for a quiet death but fate sent him Tess Adams. A bossy, no make-up woman wearing a uniform and determined to save him. To make matters worse, she came with eight junior park rangers about four feet yall who all wanted to practice their first aid on Cody.

When I was finally home and started writing, I had no idea how the two stories would fit together. It was a fast write. My fingers danced across the keyboard with the characters making me laugh and cry and worry.

So step into the adventure and enjoy. I think WILD HORSE SPRINGS will keep you up late reading just one more chapter. :-)

Jodi Thomas

About Jodi Thomas

Jodi Thomas

Jodi takes you to the Heart of Texas

A fifth-generation Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A former teacher, Thomas traces the beginning of her storytelling career to the days when her twin sisters were young and impressionable.

With a degree in family studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A&M University campus, where she currently serves as Writer in Residence.

Commenting on her contribution to the arts, Thomas said, “When I was teaching classes full-time, I thought I was making the world a better place. Now I think of a teacher or nurse or mother settling back and relaxing with one of my books. I want to take her away on an adventure that will entertain her. Maybe, in a small way, I’m still making the world a better place.”

When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo and “checking up” on their two grown sons.

Harmony | Whispering Mountain | Ransom Canyon

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WILD HORSE SPRINGS by Jodi Thomas

Ransom Canyon

Wild Horse Springs

In the heart of Ransom Canyon, sometimes the right match for a lonely soul is the one you least expect

Dan Brigman may not lead the most exciting life, but he’s proud of what he’s achieved: he’s a respected lawman, and he’s raised a bright, talented daughter on his own. But finding a lone, sparkly blue boot in the middle of a deserted highway gets him thinking maybe the cowgirl who lost it is exactly the shake-up he needs.

After losing her baby girl, Brandi Malone felt like her soul died along with her daughter. Now singing in small-town bars to make ends meet, she’s fine being a drifter—until a handsome sheriff makes her believe that parking her boots under his bed is a better option.

College grad Lauren Brigman has just struck out on her own in downtown Dallas when a troubling phone call leads her back home to Crossroads. Her hometown represents her family, friends and deepest hopes, but also her first love, Lucas Reyes. Will Lauren’s homecoming be another heartbreak, or a second chance for her and Lucas?

Romance Western | Romance [HQN, On Sale: January 24, 2017, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780373799275 / eISBN: 9781488022821]

Stacy Reid | Heroes: Alpha and Antiheroes

Today I wanted to chat about heroes! Tobias Walcott, the Earl of Blade, the hero from my latest novel WICKED IN HIS ARMS, is flawed, arrogant, emotionally controlled, and ruthless, but he is also charming, sweet, and quite honorable despite his imperfections.

I love heroes who are alpha and bad ass. The outlaws, the antiheroes, and the rouges who possess a heart of goodness, and believe in the power of family and love, and are willing to do anything to protect those they love. So today I am sharing my top five binge worthy TV series featuring the most swoon worthy, captivating, ruthless, wonderful, and heartbreakingly-flawed, but honorable heroes!

  1. Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead (TWD).

Rick Grimes

When I first discovered TWD it had already gone four seasons. I binge watched roughly fifty episodes in two days, and was something of a zombie/walker myself when my hubby and I were through. This series is masterfully designed, and utterly compelling. Its beauty, and savagery as people struggle to survive in a world that cannot be explained must be ardently admired. Each character is developed, and we are taken on such a chilling journey as we watch them struggle to maintain their humanity and love for each other in a viscous world. Rick Grimes, as the lead male character, is simply stunning. A family man who respects law and order, had to evolve from being a man of honor and fairness, to one with a ruthless will, capable of anything to save those he love, but somehow still maintaining his core integrity and honor. Love him!

  1. Ross Poldark from Poldark.

Ross poldark

Ross Poldark returns to England after fighting in the American Revolution to find he lost his love to his cousin, his father his dead, and his inheritance is burdened with debt. Though Demelza (our heroine is my fave character) I fell in love with Ross from the first episode! He was so appealing as a hero. He was honorable, kind, yet so wonderfully flawed, I hummed with pleasure each time he graced the screen. He is a complex character, who fights for those less fortunate, and criticize the high society (gentry) to which he was born because of their callous attitude toward those who are less fortunate.

  1. DCI John Luther from Luther

luther

John Luther is a lead detective with London Serious Crime Unit. He is a wonderfully drawn character who possess charm, wit, sex appeal, and cunning intelligence. It was thrilling to learn the depth to his character as he hunts and brings to justice serial killers with his own moral code and lawlessness.

  1. Ragnar Lothbrook from Vikings

ragnar

Ragnar is such a unique character! He is portrayed as a legendary and ruthless Viking warrior, a man of strong family values, who loves his sons and wives, but who is also hungry for power. He is a complex man who loves battles and glory, hungers for knowledge, driven to success at all cost. This hero/utter bad ass warrior/rouge is an absolute delight to learn!

  1. Lucas Hood from Banshee

hood

Set in the small town of Banshee in Pennsylvania, our swoony worthy hero is an enigmatic ex-con and master thief, who assumes the identity of Lucas Hood, the town’s murdered sheriff, to hide from a powerful crime lord. Lucas is a compelling hero who is a perfect blend of charm, lawlessness, and honor!

Thank you for reading and I highly recommend binge watching all the series mentioned above because there is just no other way to devour them.

WICKED IN HIS ARMS by Stacy Reid

Wedded by Scandal #2

Wicked in His Arms

Tobias Walcott, the Earl of Blade, has learned it is best to exercise rigid control over his passions and emotions in all that he does. Uncaring that it makes him seem cool and aloof to most in the ton, he is content with his desire to only woo agreeable and demur females. Then unforeseen circumstances see him trapped in a closet at a house party with the last woman he would ever make his countess.

Lady Olivia Sherwood is everything he should not desire in a female—unconventional, too decisive, and utterly without decorum. But passion ignites between them and they are discovered. Honor demands they wed, and while Tobias finds himself unwillingly drawn to the bewitching beauty, he must do everything not to tempt the passion that burns in him for her, lest it leads to disastrous consequences.

Romance Historical [Entangled Indulgence, On Sale: January 23, 2017, e-Book, ISBN: 9781633758513 / eISBN: 9781633758513]

About Stacy Reid

Stacy Reid

Stacy is an avid reader of novels with a deep passion for writing. She especially loves romance and adores writing about people falling in love. Stacy lives a lot in the worlds she creates and actively speaks to her characters (out loud). She has a warrior way, never give up on her dreams. When Stacy is not writing, she spends a copious amount of time drooling over Rick Grimes from Walking Dead, watching Japanese anime and playing video games with her love, Dusean Nelson.

Scandalous House of Calydon | Wedded by Scandal

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Tee O’Fallon | How My Job Influences My Novels

As a writer of romantic suspense, I truly am fortunate to be a federal agent. Every day, and all around me, is true-life fodder from which to glean a great story and intriguing characters. That said, I don’t write about any of my actual investigations or share any privileged or confidential information. I also don’t describe anything that would compromise national security. Even with these limitations, I’ve seen and done so many interesting and crazy things on the job I’ll never want for topics or characters to write about. Plus, I gotta say, most of my stories and characters spring from my imagination, not something I’ve seen or done on the job. Then there’s procedure.

Most suspense novelists who are not in law enforcement or are not married to a cop or a fed have no other option save reaching out to a PD or agency’s public affairs division to obtain a source for procedural information. I’ve heard from other authors that the success of this outreach is dependent upon the individual answering the phone. Sometimes they really want to help out and will go out of their way to assist, including providing guided tours in a patrol car, or a ride-along for a day. Other times, officers are busy and there just isn’t time to provide that level of cooperation. So what is the procedure and why is it so daunting to write about it accurately and intelligently?

The specifics of procedure depend upon the agency or department, and whether you are writing about local, state or federal officers. Regardless of which it is, the basics are always the same. A typical investigation begins with an incoming lead or tip that comes from a witness, concerned citizen, victim, other department, etc. The tip, if appropriate, is followed up with interviews, surveillance, report writing, research, grand jury, search and arrest warrants, booking prisoners, trial, sentencing, to name a few.

When I write romantic suspense novels, it’s often difficult to know how much reality or investigative detail to include. I strive to be accurate, but accuracy, at times, can be boring. If I went into the intense technical level of detail that Tom Clancy does in his military novels, most of you wouldn’t get past the first chapter before heaving my book across the room. So all I can say is, I hope I got it right and found that perfect blend of reality, entertaining suspense, and of course, hot-hot romance.

BLOOD MONEY, Book 2 of my NYPD Blue & Gold series debuted January 23, 2017 and can be ordered. Check out the back cover copy and excerpt below. BURNOUT, Book 1 of this series is available now.

BLOOD MONEY by Tee O’Fallon

NYPD Blue & Gold

Blood Money

In the safety of his arms lies passion…and danger.

NYPD Detective Gray Yates has major trust issues. Protecting a serenely beautiful woman hiding enough secrets to take down an entire city wasn’t something he bargained for. She’s a loving single mother, hot as hell, and protecting her will test every ounce of his resolve.

Alex Romano is being blackmailed by the Pyramid—an elusive international organization of assassins every cop in the world is after. When Alex tries severing ties with them they refuse to let her go. The darkly dangerous detective she’s irresistibly drawn to is her only hope of staying out of jail. He just might be her savior…or her downfall.

Despite efforts to maintain his professionalism, Gray can’t deny the fiery passion Alex ignites in him. In an explosive confrontation, Alex’s lies are revealed and Gray is faced with the most important decision of his life: trust the woman he’s falling in love with, or arrest her.

Romance Suspense [Entangled Suspense, On Sale: January 23, 2017, e-Book, ISBN: 9781633758407 / eISBN: 9781633758407]

Excerpt

“The next piece of equipment you need to be familiar with is the locator transmitter.” Gray unlocked the larger silver case on the table. Inside were a monitor, a GPS-type gadget pre-programmed with city maps, and a small plastic case containing the locator. “You’ll wear this.” He plucked the button-sized locator from the smaller case. “It uses a tiny watch-size battery. As soon as we turn on the system, this device will go active and transmit your location to this monitor.”

“Who will be watching the monitor?”

“I will.” He wouldn’t trust Alex to anyone else.

She nodded. “Can we do a practice run with this, too?”

Gray gripped the locator’s plastic case tightly. Not a chance in hell. That would involve Alex unbuttoning her blouse in order to clip the locator behind the front of her bra. As awkward as it was, he had to ask. “Uh, do you have a front closure bra to wear the day of the meet?” When her body stiffened, he added, “With the device’s weak signal, the higher up on a person’s body it’s located the better the chances of picking up a signal, particularly with all the expected interference from tall buildings. Front closure bras are perfect, since the clasp neatly conceals the locator.”

“Installed many of these on women, have you, detective?” Alex grinned, bringing much-needed color back to her pale cheeks.

“Very funny.” Not. Just talking about having his hands anywhere near Alex’s breasts was enough to give him a hard-on. “I’ll arrange for a policewoman to do a test run with you the day of the drop.”

“I want to do it now,” Alex insisted. “I don’t want to leave anything to the last minute. Please, can we just get this over with? I’m nervous enough as it is.”

Without waiting for an answer, Alex began unbuttoning her snug black jacket, popping open button after button. Then she began unbuttoning her blouse, revealing the sexiest, laciest, white, front-clasp bra Gray had ever seen. His mouth went dry at the sight of her full breasts mounding above the edges of lace.

Shit. This is a bad, bad idea.

Damn his legs for not connecting with the part of his brain telling him to walk away. And for that other part of him that was beginning to harden painfully.

After taking a deep breath, Gray grasped the locator between his thumb and fore finger then began to clip it directly behind the clasp of Alex’s bra. His hands were so large it was impossible for them not to brush against the smooth, curvaceous mounds of flesh. Her heart beat out a steady, accelerated thumping beneath his fingers. As he clipped the device in place, he raised his eyes to hers. Invisible electricity surged between them as brightly as a muzzle flash.

About Tee O’Fallon

Tee O'Fallon

Tee O’Fallon is the author of Burnout and Blood Money, Books 1 and 2 of the NYPD Blue & Gold Series. Tee has been a federal agent for twenty-two years, giving her hands-on experience in the field of law enforcement that she combines with her love of romantic suspense. Tee’s job affords her the unique opportunity to work with the heroic and sexy men in law enforcement on a daily basis. For Tee, research is the easy part!

NYPD Blue & Gold

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Marie Harte | It’s all about a CONTRACT SIGNED

Sometimes it’s good to be bad.

I know in romances, there has to be core of honor and integrity in the hero. I completely agree. But I differ in opinion when it comes to issues of life and death. Some people are just bad guys, and I honestly can’t see their value on the planet. But since I’m a law abiding citizen with no Ninja or assassination skills, I leave the contractors of Triggerman Incorporated to do the cleanup.

Ice, Shadow, and Hammer work for The Business, a company that contracts its employment out to various governmental and non-governmental agencies in a discreet manner. In the Triggerman Inc. world, my contractors pick and choose their assignments.

The three heroes—Ice, Shadow, and Hammer—have a few things in common:

  • Their handler is Big Joe
  • They’re all tall, dark, and handsome
  • They all might be the father of a small bundle of joy dropped anonymously on Ice’s front porch

And so begins the story in CONTRACT SIGNED, the first in the series, which released January 17th. Though each book is a stand-alone, to find out who actually gave birth to the mystery baby (as well as who’s the father), you need to read all three.

CONTRACT SIGNED is Noel’s story. Noel is known as Ice in professional circles. He’s a man with boundaries he never crosses. He’s firm, precise, and cold. And he always gets the job done. But he’s tired, and he thinks it may be time to hang up his guns. Which of course, is when his sexy neighbor ends up on his doorstep holding a baby that some woman claims is his.

In order to get to the bottom of the baby’s mystery, he’s left with a note and a locket, neither of which make sense. Except that Noel thinks the baby’s father might be one of two other contractors he’s worked with in the past. Enter Shadow and Hammer.

As he works to untangle the knot of who and why and how, danger is closing in. On him and his sexy neighbor, who’s come to mean much more than she should. Time to clean up and solve the mystery while avoiding being shot, stabbed, and killed.

Just another day in the life…
2 edited fresh fiction

CONTRACT SIGNED by Marie Harte

Triggerman, Inc. #1

Contract Signed

Three assassins and a… baby?

Noel “Ice” Cavanaugh’s method is foolproof. Get in, do the job, get out, melt away without a trace. Chill out until his next mark is assigned. Neat. Tidy. No mistakes.

This time, though, something isn’t right. Two somethings. First a random attack that feels not-so-random. Then he discovers someone’s left a baby on his doorstep with a note claiming it’s his. And the sexy neighbor who found the boy first has too many questions in her eyes to ignore.

When her handsome, mysterious neighbor suddenly asks her out on a date, Adeline Rose has suspicions he’s fishing for “help” with his bundle of…joy? By date’s end, she’s convinced Noel’s just as distant as he seems—until a scorching goodnight kiss ends with sex against the nearest wall, the heat between them burning away all thoughts of careful.

Now Noel has more than one problem on his hands. Splitting baby duty between three badass assassins, figuring out how to fit more time with Addy into his no-room-for-error schedule…and keeping both of them safe from the danger he’s increasingly sure has followed him home.

Warning: Beware a killer with a heart of gold, a baby who needs constant changing, and unrequited love that’s actually quite…requited.

Romance Contemporary [Samhain, On Sale: January 17, 2017, e-Book, ISBN: 9781619236394 / eISBN: 9781619236394]

About Marie Harte

Marie Harte

Award-winning author Marie Harte has been writing professionally since 2005. She’s both a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author and has written over 100 books and counting. Marie writes books with heat, humor, and character. She writes independently and for several publishers, to include Sourcebooks and Samhain. Though currently writing contemporary romance, she also writes paranormal and romantic suspense. Before turning to writing full-time, she earned a B.A. in English from Pennsylvania State University and spent several years in the United States Marine Corps as a communications officer. Marie currently lives in Central Oregon with her family. There’s nothing she likes more than finding a good book to read and a great cup of coffee to drink.

Good To Go | McCauley Brothers | Wicked Warrens | The Works | Ethereal Foes | Best Revenge | Mark of Lycos | Body Shop Bad Boys | Donnigans | Triggerman, Inc.

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GIRL BREAKER Exclusive Excerpt

He waited for a couple more beats, pressing his mouth into a thin, hard line. “Take care of yourself, Jessica.” He shut the door, and I listened to his footsteps going farther away. I sank down, staring off into nothing.

He was gone, just like that. He was a hairsbreadth away from being all mine, something I had wanted for months, and I just let him walk out my door.

I didn’t call my friends or my sister. When my stomach growled, I didn’t get up to make myself something to eat. My phone rang later, but I didn’t answer.

When I had gotten the news in the hospital that both our parents didn’t survive the car accident, my grief was overwhelming, making my body grow cold. I was a shivering mess. No amount of blankets, hot tea, or even whiskey would help. The booze just made me drowsy and I’d go to sleep. Later on, as the news sank in, I was so enraged at the other driver’s senseless and cruel actions, I actually broke out in a fever, making myself sick with fury.

It had been different for Samantha. She went completely numb, residing in this weightless fog, a kind of purgatory. I never admitted this, but I had envied her reaction and how her body and brain had protected her from the horrors of death and despair. I would have given my eyeteeth, an organ, to not be able to feel, to reside in the numb. When I had gotten the news, a cold settled into my bones right alongside a scalding, white-hot conflagration.

As I sat there, with the room growing darker, I realized it was different this time. There were no extremes of anything. No cold or hot. Max walked out of my house, telling me he and Piper were as good as gone and, for the life of me, I couldn’t wrap my mind around that idea.

Somehow, this was worse, because this time, I had lost the promise of a family of my own. And the more that reality sank in, the sicker I felt. I ended up leaving the chair just to lie down flat on my wood floor, needing to be on the ground. I was desperate to realign my center of gravity because I still felt like I was free-falling into nothingness.

I knew I could stop the fall by walking down the street to Max’s house and convincing him he was the man for me. My brain was screaming at the rest of my body to move, to fight for him, especially after he had finally opened himself up to me.

Instead, I eventually peeled myself off the floor and tucked myself into bed. I didn’t go over to his home that night or the next day.

I did absolutely nothing, and I had no idea why.

GIRL BREAKER by Harper Kincaid

Break on Through

Girl Breaker

Sometimes the best thing a good girl can do is make a bad decision.

Jessica has always been the girl with her head in the clouds and her nose in a book, only dating the “nice guys”. But when rough-around-the-edges Viking-biker-god, Mad Max, and his precocious little girl move onto her street, Jessica falls hard and fast for both of them.

Max is no stranger to women wanting to share his bed-and he’s always been more than happy to oblige them all. He’s lived wild all his life-that is, until a daughter shows up on his doorstep and he meets a redheaded angel down the block.

There’s nothing more he wants than to claim Jessica as his, to bring the gorgeous spitfire to his bed. But a man like him doesn’t get a happy ending with a woman like her. He’s got a whole other life, one he’s kept secret for good reason.

If Jessica found out what he really is, there’s no way she could love him. He should keep his hands to himself. But he’s Mad Max-he’s never done the right thing, and he’s not going to start now.

Warning: Contains a dominating alpha male who’s a lot more than he seems, and a good girl with a swirl of flavors under her vanilla.

Romance Erotica Sensual [Samhain, On Sale: January 17, 2017, e-Book, ISBN: 9781619234598 / eISBN: 9781619234598]

About Harper Kincaid

Harper Kincaid

A woman with the heart of a revolutionary,
The mind of a pragmatist,
And the inappropriate humor of your tipsy BFF…

Born in California and raised in South Florida, Harper Kincaid has moved around like a gypsy with a bounty on her head ever since. Along the way, she has worked as a community organizer, an art teacher, a popular blogger, and a crisis counselor (to name a few). All the while, longing to have the guts and follow-through to do what she really wanted: to write and become a published author. That wish has finally come true and she’s tickled hot pink. When not writing, she adores listening to indie, lo-fi, complaint rock played on vinyl, the theater, well-informed optimism, happy endings (both kinds), and making those close to her laugh ’til they snort. She is a self-admitted change junkie, loving new experiences and places, but have now happily settled in the cutest lil’ town, Vienna, Virginia.

Break on Through

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Amanda Ashby | It all began with a tablecloth…

Every book has inspiration and for this one it was tablecloths. Yes. That’s right. Those things that your grandmother probably insisted on putting out even if it was just for a cup of tea. And knowing your grandmother she ironed them too! Anyway, over the years I have developed quite an obsession for vintage tablecloths, to the point where I had a market stall of them. And every time someone walked into my small stall they would undoubtedly say, ‘this reminds me of…’ I also discovered that many of the people who bought them from me were doing so for vintage weddings or bridal showers. And, like all good authors, that got me thinking!

tablecloths

Of course there’s more to a book than just a tablecloth (though wow, how easy would me life be if that’s all it took!). But the idea of a dresser full of beautifully pressed linen stayed with me as I created Sisters of Wishing Bridge Farm. A series about one sister who starts a vintage wedding planning business using her Great Aunt Ivy’s old collection of treasures. Originally her plan is stop her two jet setting sisters from selling the farm she loves, but as each sister comes home to the farm, they all end up joining the business and letting the wishing bridge work its magic.

The series starts with FALLING FOR THE BEST MAN and sees Emmy Watson dealing with the fussiest bride in the history of fussiest brides, while trying to cope with the fact that the best man, Christopher Henderson is the one guy she hoped never to see again.

FALLING FOR THE BEST MAN by Amanda Ashby

Sisters of Wishing Bridge Farm

Falling for the Best Man

What’s worse than running into your ex-hookup at the airport? When said ‘hookup” is the best man for the most important wedding of your career, and he’s on the hunt for a fake girlfriend. Between a hysterical bride and a wedding party gone wild, wedding planner Emmy Watson can’t afford any more disasters if she wants to save her beloved Wishing Bridge Farm. Which is why she puts the best man on lockdown. Unfortunately, he also happens to be the one guy who can make her forget everything except the way his kisses make her feel.

All Christopher Henderson needs is a fake girlfriend to convince his bosses that his bad boy reputation is a thing of the past so he can land his dream job. What better place to find said companion than at a wholesome vintage wedding. The only thing he didn’t count on was seeing Emmy, the woman who dumped him. The one he hasn’t been able to get off his mind.

There’s no denying the spark between them, but he’s a globetrotter and she’s a homebody, and falling in love is something neither of them has in their plans.

Romance Contemporary [Entangled Bliss, On Sale: January 9, 2017, e-Book, ISBN: 9781633758346 / eISBN: 9781633758346]

About Amanda Ashby

Amanda Ashby

Amanda Ashby was born in Australia but now lives in New Zealand where she writes romance, young adult and middle grade books. She also works in a library, owns far too many vintage tablecloths and likes to delight her family by constantly rearranging the furniture.

She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. Her debut book was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award, and her first young adult book was listed in the New York Public Library Stuff for the Teen Age. Because she’s mysterious she also writes middle grade books under the name, Catherine Holt and hopes that all this writing won’t interfere with her Netflix schedule.

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Kristi Abbott | Memory and Bibles

There was a time in my life when I had a terrific memory. I mean, seriously terrific. I could quote poems, rattle off telephone numbers, remember what day I was supposed to go to the dentist, and was never at a loss for a name to go with a face.

I don’t remember precisely when it changed (ha!). Some time in my thirties, I think. That was when I started carrying a purse-sized calendar into which I’d write notes, clip party invites for the kids, and jot down flight information. Now of course all that is on my phone and/or my computer calendar. None of this, however, prepared me for writing a series.

There’s so much to keep track of! Names, places, relationships, hair colors, town history, streets, ages, cars! It’s hard enough for me to keep track of all of them in a stand alone book, but to remember them over the course of several books? As Tony Soprano would say, “Fuhgeddaboudit.” I know other people have more complicated series than I do. Heck. I’ve had a more complicated series than this one where I had to keep up with whatever rules I was making up for a paranormal world on top of all those names and places and appearances. Still, it’s been a challenge!

I’ve heard other authors talk about keeping a “series bible.” I really like the idea. First of all, it makes it all sound so important. I mean, a bible! Wow! Second, it would be nice to have something to flip through when I needed to remember one of those little details that are so easy to forget. What street is her friend’s house on? Did that guy have brown hair or gray? When was the lighthouse constructed?

That would require me to actually keep track of those details and, this might sound nuts in the middle of a blog post about how I can’t remember anything anymore, I always think what I’m writing is important enough that I’ll remember it. I seem to have forgotten that I won’t . . .

Enter the copywriter. In case you aren’t familiar, sometime after the revisions are finished and the line edits are done but before publication, we authors receive our copy-edited manuscripts. Someone else, not the editor who plucked you from the slush pile or from the bouquet of manuscripts presented by your agent, goes through the manuscript with a fine-tooth comb looking for grammatical errors, continuity problems, and plain old logic goofs. That is that person’s job. That human being is paid to go through the pages you’ve been slaving over and point out every tiny error you’ve made.

It’s not my favorite phase. Of all the phases of a manuscript’s production, it’s the one most likely to send me crawling back into bed with a box of tissues and the cat. It requires greater ego strength than I possess on even a good day, and yet it must be endured. One very good thing comes with the copyedited manuscript, though. Generally, there’s a list attached. A long beautiful list of all the names and places with a few little details added in.

Ta da! A bible. Or at least the basis for one. Those lists — and the copywriters who create them — have saved my life and sanity more than once. So with the marked up manuscript that is going to make me feel like an idiot comes my salvation.

Funny how life works, isn’t it?

POP GOES THE MURDER by Kristi Abbott

Popcorn Shop Mystery #2

Pop Goes the Murder

Gourmet popcorn entrepreneur Rebecca Anderson and her poodle, Sprocket, are back on the case, in the second Popcorn Shop Mystery from the author of Kernel of Truth.

Despite Rebecca Anderson’s best efforts to distance herself from her ex-husband, the guy keeps popping up. When Antoine offers to feature her breakfast bars and popcorn fudge on his popular cooking show, she suspects he’s once again trying to butter her up—but the TV exposure for her gourmet popcorn shop, POPS, is too good to turn down.

Things take a shocking turn when the crew comes to Grand Lake to film in her shop, and Rebecca discovers Antoine’s assistant electrocuted in a hotel bathtub. Now the police want Antoine to come clean. Her ex may be a pain, but he’s no killer. So Rebecca decides to bag the real culprit. If she isn’t careful, however, she may be the next one getting burned.

INCLUDES POPCORN RELATED RECIPES!

Mystery Cozy [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: January 3, 2017, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425280928 / eISBN: 9780698193871]

About Kristi Abbott

Kristi Abbott

Kristi has been obsessed with popcorn since first tasting the caramel cashew popcorn at Garrett’s in Chicago. If you’ve never had it, you might want to hop on a plane and go now. Seriously, it’s that good.

Kristi lives in northern California, although she was born in Ohio like the Rebecca, the heroine of the Popcorn Shop Mysteries. She loves snack food, crocheting, her kids, and her man, not necessarily in that order.

Popcorn Shop Mystery

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Inspiration for THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER by Katee Robert

THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER is follows the story of Eden Collins, an FBI agent who grew up as the daughter of a cult leader. She escaped her mother’s control and made a life for herself, bringing down human monsters. When someone emails her a picture of a dead girl with tattoos that mark her as a member of Eden’s mother’s cult, she goes home—despite her misgivings—to help with the investigation.

I can trace the origin of this story to one specific moment. That ah ha moment where everything clicks into place. I was reading FBI Agent John Douglas’s book, MIND HUNTER. Douglas was one of the founding members of the FBI’s serial crime unit and he did a ton of research in regards to serial murder, including many interviews with incarcerated serial killers. It’s very interesting reading, and I highly recommend it if you’re intrigued by that sort of thing.

The part that triggered the concept of this book was Douglas’s interview with Charles Manson. He has some fascinating views of Manson, one of which was his opinion regarding the murders perpetuated by Manson’s cult. Douglas questioned whether Manson even knew about the initial murders—or intended them (no question that he fully participated in the later ones).

I started thinking about the relationship between cult leaders and their followers, specifically the ones who don’t believe what they’re teaching. It’s a question of whether a surfer is riding a wave, totally in control, or just along for the ride and hanging on for dear life.

I specifically chose a woman, Martha, as the leader of the fictional cult in THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER for multiple reasons. I think there are significantly different tones than cults lead by men, and as a result, it was really compelling to be able to play with those differences in new and unexpected ways.

There is the added dimension of a mother-daughter relationship that is twisted and tangled and toxic. The heroine, Eden, had the strength to flee her mother’s influence, so putting her back into Martha’s realm created incredible tension. It’s hard to shuck off eighteen years of influence, even when the rational part of her mind knows that she’s being manipulated.

The cult itself is called Elysia, making the cultists Elysians. It’s centered around the Demeter and Persephone myth, which is mirrored in many ways in Martha and Eden’s relationship. It’s simply twisted and looked at in a different light. What if Persephone was grateful for Hades’s intervention? What kind of monster must Demeter have been to make the entire world pay for her grief?

And, as Eden often has to remind herself, it’s far too easy to forget that Persephone wasn’t only a victim to her mother and husband.

She became Queen of the Underworld, and no one can take that from her.

THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER by Katee Robert

Hidden Sins

The Devil's Daughter

Growing up in a small town isn’t easy, especially when you’re the daughter of a local cult leader. Ten years ago, Eden Collins left Clear Springs, Montana, and never once looked back. But when the bodies of murdered young women surface, their corpses violated and marked with tattoos worn by her mother’s followers, Eden, now an FBI agent, can’t turn a blind eye. To catch the killer, she’s going to have to return to the fold.

Sheriff Zach Owens isn’t comfortable putting Eden in danger, even if she is an elite agent. And he certainly wasn’t expecting to be so attracted to her. As calm and cool as she appears, he knows this can’t be a happy homecoming. Zach wants to protect her—from her mother, the cult, and the evil that lurks behind its locked gates. But Eden is his only key to the tight-lipped group, and she may just be closer to the killer than either one of them suspects…

Romance Suspense [Montlake Romance, On Sale: January 24, 2017, Paperback / Kindle only, ISBN: 9781503940918 / ]

About Katee Robert

Katee Robert

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. She found romance novels at age twelve, and they changed her life. When not writing sexy contemporary and romantic suspense, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her children, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

Wedding Dare | Out of Uniform | The O’Malleys | Foolproof Love | Hidden Sins

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Angela Addams | Women Warriors Against Werewolf Alpha = ???

What happens when you have powerful women warriors and a stubborn werewolf alpha running the show?

Mayhem, that’s what.

The Huntresses are rising up to claim their power and take their rightful place as wolf slayers. A conflict of interest as far as pack alpha, Mayhem, is concerned. Also a dangerous situation that puts his pack, the people he cares for most in the world, right in the middle of a pending war. He’s chosen the pack’s path, and has determined their place on the game board but is unwilling to fully embrace the role of the Huntress. What he’s yet to learn is just how stubborn those girls can be. Born to hunt and fight, Hannah and the Huntresses will prove just how powerful they are when it comes to protecting the pack and their mates.

Excerpt

Copyright © 2017 Angela Addams

All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

She stared at him with defiance burning bright. “You can’t fight what’s happening to us. If you do, things are going to keep going to shit. We are Huntresses. We are sorely lacking in our skills and training but nevertheless, we are powerful warriors and you need to accept that as truth or else banish us all.”

Mayhem looked at her with frustration. “I won’t accept that. Not if it means our pack is torn apart.”

“Take a look around, Mayhem.” She waved her arms, her eyes flashing with anger. “The pack is splintered, already tearing apart. The only way for us to come together is if you deal with it. Accept it. Maybe even embrace it.”

Her words were like a dagger to the chest. He turned and slowly lowered himself to sit on the bed once again. She believed what she was saying, but did that make it true?

He felt her move on the bed. Felt her press her body against his, her lips touching his back, her words soft once again.

“You always want to protect the pack, to shelter us from danger. That’s what makes you a good alpha. You’d do anything to keep us safe. But the trouble with that is, you can’t shelter us from this. Not when it’s ignoring things like instinct and drive. Not when it’s been decreed that we are part of this. You chose a side, remember? You’ve committed us to the good guys, where we are meant to fight. Now we have to embrace that. Rise up. Be a formidable force and stop fighting against what comes naturally.”

“Even if some of us die? Even if we come out of this a bloody pulp? The pack destroyed?” He shook his head, defeat weighing heavy.

She wrapped her arms around his waist. “We have to believe that we will be triumphant. We have to go into this with the confidence to win.”

“But we’re already losing, Hannah. We’ve already lost.”

“The battle isn’t over yet, Mayhem. And when you’re talking about magic, there’s no such thing as gone forever. I believe we’ll be together again. All of us.”

Whether here or in the afterlife, Mayhem thought, the words trapped in his throat. He wanted to believe her conviction. He wanted to let instinct take over and claim the role he was destined to take. But was it worth the risk? Was it worth the sacrifice?

He turned gently so he could untangle himself from her embrace and pulled her into his lap. He breathed in her scent, her hair always reminding him some kind of sweet flower. Her body felt right in his arms, cradled there with her hand on his chest. He looked down at her, seeking that conviction, that strength in her eyes.

“What did I do to deserve you, my sweet Hannah? What would I be without you?”

Hannah smiled as she lifted her hand to his cheek. “A lonely, sex deprived, stupid man.”

He smirked, swatted her ass, the tension of the moment gone as she grinned up at him. “You need another shower,” he said as he lifted her and walked toward the bathroom.

At least if he was going to die, it would be with a smile on his face.

BEAST RISING by Angela Addams

The Order of the Wolf #7

Beast Rising

The Huntresses are stepping up their game. So are the forces arrayed against them. . .

The Order of the Wolf, Book 7

Mayhem is furious. While he and the boys have been rocking it out on stage at a series of concerts in Scotland, Darcy and Aubrey have been sneaking out for, as they so defiantly put it, “training.”

Raven is cut to the bone when he discovers what Darcy’s been doing behind his back. But simply forbidding the women from hunting isn’t the answer. Though it makes him uneasy, he talks Mayhem into joining forces to train alongside their women.

Training is in full swing when they encounter a pair of ancient Huntresses battling each other with powers Darcy and the girls can only dream about. Taking sides turns out to be a mistake when Darcy and Raven are kidnapped, and an evil plan is put into play to use the girls’ powers to unleash Lazarus, the king of the beasts.

The only way to defeat him is for the Order, Huntresses, and Wolves to put their mutual mistrust aside and unite. Or the world could be flooded with an unending river of feral beasts.

Warning: Contains sex in public places, a virtual reality threesome, and some red hot lovin’. Female warriors with an attitude who won’t be shackled or coddled, and rock star werewolf mates who are hard pressed to keep up.

Romance Paranormal [Samhain, On Sale: January 17, 2017, e-Book, ISBN: 9781619236387 / eISBN: 9781619236370]

About Angela Addams

Angela Addams

Every day is Halloween for author Angela Addams. Enthralled by the paranormal at an early age, Angela spends most of her time thinking up new story ideas that involve supernatural creatures in everyday situations. She believes that the written word is an amazing tool for crafting the most erotic of scenarios.

She lives in Ontario, Canada with her loving husband and children.

Order of the Wolf

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Channeling the Magic of Putting Yourself in Your Story

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
—Ernest Hemingway

My dad always used to say that as a writer you have to scream onto the page so the reader can hear a whisper. That is how strong the emotion you put into your writing needs to be. And emotion can only be that strong if it’s real and vulnerable. It has to be honest, a snapshot of reality, connectable. In fact, some would argue raw emotion is the driving force of any great story.

What is story without truth?

When I first started writing I was young, barely a preteen, discovering the world through the lens of fiction. Everything I read influenced the way I wrote. I was simply copying down what I was observing because I didn’t have anything else to say yet. I hadn’t acquired a stock of life experiences to draw from.

As I grew and life began to throw lightning bolts at me, I started to understand what bleeding on the page really was. And the more lightning I received, the scarier bleeding on the page felt. What if people reject my truth? What if they laugh at me, toss me aside? What if what I believe truth to be is a joke?

Because the problem with putting yourself in a novel, with being authentic to your truth, with bleeding on the page, is that you then have to hand those pages to the world. It basically feels like giving them a part of your soul while saying, “Here world, read this, judge, and let me know what you think . . . about my soul.”

It’s terrifying, and from speaking to seasoned writers—and transforming into one myself—it never gets easier. So then, maybe the sensible thing is to avoid bleeding on the page at all? I’ve tried this route too. It takes me to a place with dry, repurposed plots and characters no one can relate to. In essence, it reads like the magic of fiction is missing.

Because the authors (and maybe that’s some of you) are the magic of fiction. Remove yourself to protect against the criticism, and you take out what makes story so powerful. What takes a reader from comfortable to the edge of their seats, from skimming to engrossed, from emotionless to bawling their eyes out.

The vulnerability of the author and the experiences they bring to the pages set the story ablaze. They scream against the pages, throwing themselves into each sentence, and the reader hears the whispers and is moved. As Stephen King said, “You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.”

As a writer I am constantly challenging myself to be more transparent with my work. I take myself into my dark places, the ones I am afraid to show people, and I write about them openly in hopes that someone reading will feel it. That is the harder road to take, but it’s a road that ends with reward. Because anytime you are authentic, you channel magic. Story magic.

And all we are is story. Each of us with a past, present, and future; beliefs, hopes, dreams, fears. We are living, breathing stories, unique and waiting to be told. That’s why we connect with authenticity—because we are the same. We can relate to fear, to pain, to joy. Stories connect us to one another. They often make us feel less alone and more understood. They can show us something new, remind us of something we had forgotten, challenge us to change.

They can be like a portal, allowing us to connect to strangers we never would have encountered otherwise. It’s one of the many reasons I love telling stories. As you read what I’ve written, you are feeling what I’ve felt, seeing my world. The story is impacting you, and it has most definitely impacted me. It connects us. It becomes real-life magic.

I try to place a part of myself in everything I write. To leave emotions there, so that the reader feels them when they are holding one of my books in their hands. Otherwise, why write at all?

About Rachelle Dekker

Rachelle Dekker

The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through storytelling. She graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full time. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat Blair.

Seer Series

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THE RETURNING by Rachelle Dekker

The Seer #3

The Returning

Twenty years have passed since Carrington and Remko Brant’s baby, Elise, was kidnapped and they were forced to leave her captive in the Authority City. Though they fled with the Seers far from Authority reach, they’ve never given up hope of rescuing their daughter from the man who betrayed them. Now Authority President, he’s ushered the city into a new era of “peace”—one where the Scientist Roth Reynard’s Genesis Serum has eradicated all memory of emotion or rebellion.

But the mysterious Aaron and his Seers are once again on the move, threatening the illusion the Authority has worked so hard to build. As the Seers send seven chosen warriors to rescue Elise and bring restoration to the Authority City, the lines are drawn for a final battle between light and darkness. The key to ultimate victory may rest within the strangely powerful girl who has felt forgotten but was never abandoned—a truth she’ll need to wage war against the powerful forces of evil.

Inspirational Mystery | Science Fiction [Tyndale House Publishing, On Sale: January 17, 2017, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9781496402288 / eISBN: 9781496418296]