Heather Blake | Paranormal, on the Light Side

I’ve always had a fascination with the paranormal, so it’s really no surprise to me that I started writing witches, psychics, and empaths… My early love of I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, and more recently, my slight addiction to Long Island Medium have all have influenced me. But alas, I’m not a witch. Or a genie. Or a psychic. Instead of writing what I know (a common phrase in fiction writing), I simply write what fascinates me.

Beyond pop culture influences, I’ve also had some personal incidents in my life that have made me take note of the paranormal. When my twenty-two-year-old son was three, it was early morning when I heard him talking in the other room, having a full conversation with someone I couldn’t see… When I asked him who he was talking to, he said quite seriously (yet calmly), “The man.”

Spooky, right? It was for me too—at first. But my grandfather had died the week before, before he’d had a chance to meet my son… I like to believe that they were getting to know each other.

For years, I’ve noticed that when I get into my car, my rearview mirror is tilted. If I run an errand and come back to the car the mirror is askew. Not every time, but enough times to make me wonder who’s riding along with me.

It’s situations like these — and others I hear about — that keep me writing about things that can’t easily be explained. I write books that deal with things that go bump…all day long. All of it is unexplainable. All of it so very fun.

Fun, because my preference is to take supernatural experiences and keep them light, to find the humor in them, or to take an emotional look at how these things can impact the lives of those around them…for the good. Despite writing murder mysteries, I prefer to focus on the good, not the evil, which comes across in every book I’ve ever written. There’s too much dark in the world as it is—which is why I don’t like scary movies…or watching the news. Instead you’ll catch me watching repeats of Bewitched.

Have you had anything go bump lately?

About Heather Blake

Heather Blake

Heather Blake (aka Heather Webber) is the author of more than twenty novels and has been twice nominated for an Agatha Award. She’s a total homebody who loves to be close to her family, read, watch reality TV (especially cooking competition shows), drink too much coffee, crochet, and bake cookies. Heather grew up in a suburb of Boston, but currently she lives in the Cincinnati area with her family.

Magic Potion | A Wishcraft Mystery

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About GONE WITH THE WITCH

Gone With the Witch

Wish-granting witch Darcy Merriweather’s powers are put to the test when murder takes first prize at the local pet show. . . .

Darcy and her dog Missy are determined to put their best foot forward at the Enchanted Village’s annual Pawsitively Enchanted pet contest. She’s happy to lend a hand when the show’s organizer hires Darcy to keep an eye on things among growing suspicions that someone is sabotaging the event. But Darcy’s quest for justice is thrown off the scent when her lead suspect is found dead at the competition.

As if a murder weren’t bad enough, someone begins snatching up prize-winning pets right from under their owners’ noses, and Darcy is determined to protect the pampered participants at whatever cost. But she’ll have to work fast to sniff out the thief while also trying to find a killer who’s intent on stopping Darcy dead in her tracks

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Tracy Wolff | Are You Ready for LOVEGAME?

First of all, I have to say how much I love Fresh Fiction and how thrilled I am to be here today talking about my June release, LOVEGAME :-) LOVEGAME is a little different from my normal books—it’s darker, twistier, more psychological and suspenseful—but from the moment I first had the idea, I knew I had to write it. What I didn’t realize at the time was that it was going to take me three years—and fifteen other novels—before I would actually get it done. And if you want to talk about coming full circle, I actually first had the idea for Veronica and Ian when I was in Dallas at a 2013 Fresh Fiction event—which is why it seems fitting that the first place I talk about the book is here on this blog :-)

Every writer, at some point in their career, has an idea that scares them. That keeps them up at night. That matters to them so much that they are terrified they’ll never be able to do the idea justice. That—in the writing of it—makes them grow as both a writer and a person. I am lucky (and unlucky, lol) enough to have had two of those projects in my life. The first, DOOMED, was a young adult modern day retelling of the Pandora’s box myth, where Pandora opens an attachment instead of a box and hearkens technological Armageddon. It’s a book that—after it was done and after writing it nearly killed me–became my favorite that I’d ever written, a book that has been named to numerous state and national library lists and a book that my children love, even now, to brag to their friends about me writing :-)

The second project that scared me to death and nearly convinced me that I should give up writing forever, was LOVEGAME. It was a story that was so complicated and had characters so dark and damaged, that I didn’t think there was any way I could do justice to it. I was certain that I would mess everything up, even more certain that I would end up disappointed when I failed to write the book that was in my head—and in my heart.

I was so worried about failing with this book that I held onto it long after I could have turned it in. Held onto it—and withheld parts of it—so long that my publisher had to change my pub date—twice and my agent threatened to come to Austin and pry it out of my cold, dead hands if she had to. Eventually I surrendered it, and now I’m exactly one month away from its publication date of June 7th and I am absolutely thrilled. I am also absolutely terrified, but that kind of comes with the territory, doesn’t it? When you put the rawest, most vulnerable part of yourself on display for the world to see (even when it’s couched in the story of two people who lead very different lives than you do) it’s supposed to be terrifying, because it matters so much. But it’s also exciting and exhilarating and really, really fun—and it’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

So how about you? Have you ever done anything that frightened you only to find out that it was totally worth it in the end? Leave a comment for a chance to be entered to win a copy of any backlist book of mine that you choose.

Oh, and just in case you’re curious, here’s the blurb for LOVEGAME :-) Enjoy!!!!

Hailed by J. Kenner as an author who “knows how to steam up the pages,” Tracy Wolff delivers a darkly addictive novel of seduction and psychological obsession. The stakes are high in Lovegame, when a movie star with a shattered past meets a man who can either break her or make her whole.

True Crime novelist Ian Sharpe has spent his career writing about serial killers for very personal reasons. For his latest exposé, he is taking on the sadistic madman known as the Red Ribbon Strangler, and when his research leads him to Hollywood’s most private and provocative actress, he will break every rule to uncover her truth.

The daughter of one of Hollywood’s golden couples, chased by paparazzi and treated as a commodity her entire life, Veronica Romero wields her sex appeal like a weapon. She expects Ian to be as easy to control as every other man she’s ever known. But from the beginning, he refuses to fall into line. Mysterious and cool, challenging and just a little bit dangerous, Ian somehow makes her feel safe—even as he digs into the deepest secrets of her life and pushes her to the breaking point.

As raw ecstasy gives way to agonized truths, their dark obsession exposes secrets that have been buried for far too long. Ian wants to tear down her walls and heal the sensual woman underneath. But if Veronica’s learned anything, it’s that the line between pleasure and pain is a narrow one—and when caught between them the only thing that matters is how you play the game.

About Tracy Wolff

Tracy Wolff

Sexy Men. Bold Women. Wicked Romance.

Tracy Wolff collects books, English degrees and lipsticks and has been known to forget where-and sometimes who-she is when immersed in a great novel. At six she wrote her first short story-something with a rainbow and a prince- and at seven she forayed into the wonderful world of girls lit with her first Judy Blume novel. By ten she’d read everything in the young adult and classics sections of her local bookstore, so in desperation her mom started her on romance novels. And from the first page of the first book, Tracy knew she’d found her life-long love. Now an English professor at her local community college, she writes romances that run the gamut from contemporary to paranormal to erotic suspense.

And for all of those who want the unedited version:
Tracy Wolff lives with four men, teaches writing to local college students and spends as much time as she can manage immersed in worlds of her own creation. Married to the alpha hero of her dreams for twelve years, she is the mother of three young sons who spend most of their time trying to make her as crazy as possible.

Shaken Dirty | Extreme Risks | Ethan Frost | Play Me | Hotwired

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About LOVEGAME

Lovegame

Hailed by J. Kenner as an author who “knows how to steam up the pages,” Tracy Wolff delivers a darkly addictive novel of seduction and psychological obsession. The stakes are high in Lovegame, when a movie star with a shattered past meets a man who can either break her or make her whole.

True Crime novelist Ian Sharpe has spent his career writing about serial killers for very personal reasons. For his latest exposé, he is taking on the sadistic madman known as the Red Ribbon Strangler, and when his research leads him to Hollywood’s most private and provocative actress, he will break every rule to uncover her truth.

The daughter of one of Hollywood’s golden couples, chased by paparazzi and treated as a commodity her entire life, Veronica Romero wields her sex appeal like a weapon. She expects Ian to be as easy to control as every other man she’s ever known. But from the beginning, he refuses to fall into line. Mysterious and cool, challenging and just a little bit dangerous, Ian somehow makes her feel safe—even as he digs into the deepest secrets of her life and pushes her to the breaking point.

As raw ecstasy gives way to agonized truths, their dark obsession exposes secrets that have been buried for far too long. Ian wants to tear down her walls and heal the sensual woman underneath. But if Veronica’s learned anything, it’s that the line between pleasure and pain is a narrow one—and when caught between them the only thing that matters is how you play the game.

Lovegame is intended for mature audiences.

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Dr. Richard Mabry | Warning Labels On Books

Every writer expects criticism of his or her work. All of us are warned about this early in our careers. Something I heard years ago has stuck with me, and I think of it when I encounter such criticism: “I cannot expect to be universally loved and respected.” My first one-star review was given to my debut novel, CODE BLUE years ago. And I expect to hear this particular criticism again as reviews appear for my latest novel of medical suspense, MEDICAL JUDGMENT. Certain people will complain because I write “Christian fiction.”

I’m prepared to have my writing style criticized. Perhaps the reader doesn’t like medical novels. Maybe I don’t pack my work with enough suspense. It’s possible that the characters are one-dimensional. All these are valid criticisms. But I was surprised and disappointed the first time I had my writing criticized because it was written from a Christian worldview.

I’ve noticed lately that the genre in which I write is now labeled “Inspirational” fiction. Perhaps that’s appropriate in our politically correct climate, but it doesn’t fully solve the problem. If we use this label, should we then also use terms like “Smutty fiction” or “Fiction containing lots of cursing?”

When I read something I don’t like, I stop reading. I do the same with a TV program or a movie. Although in some situations you have no option, with books there’s usually no trouble discovering what it’s about. Your first clue is the blurb (back of the book, or on the website of an online bookseller). In addition, it’s possible to thumb through the book (in a store) or read excerpts (online at Amazon). And if you don’t like what you see—even if the book is offered free or at a discounted price—by all means, don’t get it.

Some people will want to read what I’m comfortable writing, some won’t. But the question remains: Should this type of fiction carry a warning tag, so people who are uncomfortable reading it (and I wonder why that is…hmm) can avoid it? You tell me.

Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, now writing “medical suspense with heart.” His previous novels have garnered critical acclaim and been recognized by programs including the ACFW’s Carol Award, the Romantic Times’ Inspirational Book of the Year, the Inspirational Readers Choice, and the Selah Award. He is a proud member of the ACFW, the International Thriller Writers, and the FHL chapter of the RWA. Medical Judgment is his tenth published novel.

He can be found on most aspects of social media: website, blog, Twitter, and Facebook, to name just a few.

About MEDICAL JUDGEMENT

Medical Judgement

Someone is after Dr. Sarah Gordon. They’ve stalked her and set a fire at her home. Trying to recover from the traumatic deaths of her husband and infant daughter is tough enough, but she has no idea what will come next. Her late husband’s best friend and a recovering alcoholic detective are trying to solve the mystery before it’s too late, but both appear to be vying for her affection as well. Sarah finds herself in constant fear as the process plays out.

As the threats on her life continue to escalate, so do the questions: Who is doing this? Why are they after her? And with her only help being unreliable suitors in competition with each other, whom can she really trust?

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Karen Halvorsen Schreck | The Forgotten Silences

As I drove my daughter to school yesterday, I was distracted (at a stoplight) by a sticker slapped on the bumper of the van waiting in front of us.

Where Does a Woman Belong?

In the White House.

My daughter said, “They must like Hillary.”

“Maybe.” Then, trying not to sound like an old codger, I mentioned how grateful I was that messages like this were part of her everyday life. “When I was your age, the response to that question would have been . . . In the Kitchen.”

“Wow.” My daughter gave me a compassionate smile. That was then. This is now. Thank God. She turned the music up, and we drove on.

I am a pre-Title Nine woman, raised in a community that didn’t take kindly to the likes of Betty Friedan or Gloria Steinem. In my world, Billie Jean King’s defeat of Bobby Riggs was greeted with bemusement. When Helen Reddy sang “I Am Woman,” people looked heavenward or changed the radio station. Maybe women were strong, maybe invincible, but they didn’t make a big deal out of it. They didn’t roar.

I came to assume that, with a few exceptions from the nineteenth century, women wrote Really Great Books for Kids. Men were the ones whose serious books got seriously taught, whose names identified schools, streets, towns, literary tendencies. (I had friends who attended Longfellow, lived on Dickens Court, or in the city of Lowell. In high school, everything turned Kafkaesque.)

I was nearing the end of college when I began to understand there really were women authors out there, working hard and producing incredible books. There always had been. Perhaps the bright light of acclaim didn’t shine on their efforts. Or, worse, they weren’t published in their lifetimes, or at all. But they existed. (This was around the time that I realized that Great Books for Kids were actually literature, too.)

I began to seek out overlooked or forgotten authors. I wondered what determined a “Classic.” Who decided who got published? Broke my heart, the things I read, about gender and class, race and ethnicity, genre and marketing, connections and power. Breaks my heart today. It’s getting better. But there are still those writers . . . “Silences,” author Tillie Olsen calls them in her book by the same name. “The silences I speak of here are unnatural,” she writes, “the unnatural thwarting of what struggles to come into being, but cannot.”

One woman who suffered such silence, and also managed to have a voice, shaped my characterization of Ruth Warren, the central character of my novel, BROKEN GROUND.

I first saw a photograph of Sanora Babb on the dust jacket of her novel, WHOSE NAMES ARE UNKNOWN, originally slated for release by Random House in 1939, but only published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 2004. Babb’s strong features and (from what I later read) even stronger character continue to evoke Ruth for me. She has an open, attractive face that seems completely of her time. Neither tall, nor thin, by no means cover-model-perfect or movie-actress-beautiful, she appears hale and hearty; her firm jaw communicates strength and determination. No matter who holds the camera, Babb seems completely present—wise, kind, and observant. With her alert, intelligent eyes, she has the gaze of the best journalists. And she was one.

Babb based her lyrical and intimate novel, WHOSE NAMES ARE UNKNOWN, on her field notes from her work with the Farm Security Administration during the 1930s, and her own early experience as a child of the High Plains. The book addresses the same subject matter as John Steinbeck’s THE GRAPES OF WRATH. But in tone and style the books stand in sharp contrast. (Among other things, critics say that Babb writes her story from an insider’s perspective; Steinbeck’s fable-like tale is delivered as if from the outside, looking in.) When THE GRAPES OF WRATH received great acclaim, it was decided there just wasn’t enough readership potential for similar material—Dust Bowl Refugees, migrant farmworkers, the Great Depression. “What rotten luck,” Babb’s editor wrote, and then he shelved WHOSE NAMES ARE UNKNOWN.

Here’s the thing. Babb’s supervisor at the FSA loaned her notes to Steinbeck while he was working on TGOW. Her work fueled and informed his.

Sanora Babb persevered. She wrote other books and articles, married the Chinese-American cinematographer James Wong Howe in France because of anti-miscegenation laws in the States, went on to edit literary magazines and become Secretary for the West Coast League of American Writers. She survived blacklisting during the McCarthy era. She ran a Chinese restaurant owned by her husband. But WHOSE NAMES ARE UNKNOWN was only published when she was 97, 65 years after she wrote it, a year before her death.

Sanora Babb inspires me on many levels. Where does a woman belong? Surely she confronted this question. Then she turned up the music and drove on.

Set in the 1930s, BROKEN GROUND is the story of a young oilrig widow who tries to escape her grief and the Texas Dust Bowl by heading west to attend college. There she becomes immersed in the lives of Mexican migrant workers in a camp near Los Angeles, and learns of the long-term repatriation program of that era—the forced deportation without due process of people of Mexican heritage, many of them U.S. citizens. Ultimately, Ruth and her friend, WPA worker Thomas Everly, must decide what stand they will take in the fight against this injustice.

Giveaway

One reader will win a copy of BROKEN GROUND. Just leave a comment below.

About BROKEN GROUND

Broken Ground

When a young oil rig widow escapes her grief and the Texas Dust Bowl, she discovers a surprising future—and new passion— awaiting her in California in this lyrically written romance by the author of SING FOR ME.

Newly married to her childhood sweetheart, twenty-one-year-old Ruth Warren is settling into life in a Depression-era, East Texas oil town. She’s making a home when she learns that her young husband, Charlie, has been killed in an oil rig accident. Ruth is devastated, but then gets a chance for a fresh start: a scholarship from a college in Pasadena, CA. Ruth decides to take a risk and travel west, to pursue her one remaining dream to become a teacher.

At college Ruth tries to fit into campus life, but her grief holds her back. When she spends Christmas with some old family friends, she meets the striking and compelling Thomas Everly, whose own losses and struggles have instilled in him a commitment to social justice, and led him to work with Mexican migrant farmworkers in a camp just east of Los Angeles. With Thomas, Ruth sees another side of town, and another side of current events: the forced deportation of Mexican migrant workers due to the Repatriation Act put into place during President Herbert Hoover’s administration.

After Ruth is forced to leave school, she goes to visit Thomas and sees that he has cobbled together a night school for the farmworkers’ children. Ruth begins to work with the children, and establishes deep friendships with people in the camp. When the camp is raided and the workers and their families are rounded up and shipped back to Mexico, Ruth and Thomas decide to take a stand for the workers’ rights—all while promising to love and cherish one another.

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About Karen Halvorsen Schreck

Karen Halvorsen Schreck

Karen Halvorsen Schreck is the author of the historical novel SING FOR ME (Simon & Schuster), which was praised in a Publishers Weekly starred review as “an impressive debut.” She has received various recognitions for her work, including a Pushcart Prize, an Illinois State Arts Council Grant, and an Evangelical Press Association award. Her young adult novel WHILE HE WAS AWAY WAS a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award, and DREAM JOURNAL (Hyperion) was a 2006 Young Adult Booksense Pick. Karen lives with her husband and their two children in Wheaton, Illinois.

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Terry Spear | Turning a Man or Woman into a Shifter

What kind of shifter would I write about if I no longer created stories about wolf or jaguar shapeshifters?

That’s a hard one to answer because I love creating stories about the wolves and jaguars. I’m writing about cougars and also have one coming out about a polar bear because the first shifter book I ever read was about a man cursed to be a polar bear in EAST OF THE SUN AND WEST OF THE MOON, a Norwegian fairy tale. Reading that book as a child, I had my first real experience about shifters and loved the romance between the prince and the maid who married him. The story was a fantasy, a wicked troll queen cursing him to be a polar bear by day and a man at night. But mine will be perfectly plausible. Looking for a hot polar bear to warm your heart?

Cougars are really different from jaguars, so it’s fun for me to write about two unique big cats and how different the shifters are in their human form also. Jaguars are mysterious, hard to document, protected. Cougars are hunted and have seasons to thin their numbers. Jaguars are exotic big cats, whereas cougars are not. Cougars have been known to attack humans; jaguars do not, for the most part.

I would like to write about a black bear/grizzly bear shifter because I’m from the great bear state of California, and it was a prominent feature when I lived there—the state flag, the state animal. I also create teddy bears, and it’s just something I’d love to do.

There are certain animals I always have to see when I go to the zoo—the big cats and the bears. Unfortunately, most zoos don’t have wolves, so I have to make a special trip to a wolf center to see them also.

I also write a fae YA series where my dragon shifters and other fae are well-loved. I have fun writing about the dragon shifters, though it would be hard for me to see how they could fit into our contemporary world, like the wolves and jaguars do, without readers raising both brows. For my fae, it’s easy. They can be themselves in the fae plane of existence, and as the fae are tricksters, coming to our world and showing off their dragon scales? Just a bit of fun because everyone knows dragons don’t exist.

I’d love to do a historical wolf shifter story, something I plan to in the future. I love historical books and since the wolf shifters had to start somewhere, I think it would be fun.

In some South American legends, they had a dolphin who could shift into a man. Owls and hawks have been in shifter stories. Snakes and serpents, and even a ferret as a thief, but it’s harder for me to see these as sexy men.

What do you think? What kind of shifter would make you soar to the moon and back?

About ALPHA WOLF NEED NOT APPLY

Alpha Wolf Need Not Apply

An alpha werewolf meets his match in this sizzling paranormal romance from USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear

THERE’S A NEW WOLF PACK IN SILVER TERRITORY
Wolf shifter and park ranger Eric Silver is committed to his job policing spectacular San Isabel National Forest, and he’s hot on the scent of some mysterious wolves who are up to no good. When Eric’s investigation leads him to cross paths with forester Pepper Grayling, he’s fascinated to learn this she-wolf is her pack’s leader-strong, independent, and definitely not looking for a mate.

AND THIS TIME THE LEADER’S A SHE…
With unknown dangers on the prowl, Pepper is tempted to give in to her attraction to Eric and align her pack with his. But Pepper’s been pursued by many an alpha male out to take over her pack and gain her hard-won territory-and Eric is a born leader. How does Eric earn the trust of a she-wolf who’s been betrayed so often in the past?

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About Terry Spear

Terry Spear

USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear has written over two dozen paranormal romance novels and medieval Highland historical romances. In 2008 HEART OF THE WOLF was named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. A retired officer of the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry also creates award-winning teddy bears that have found homes all over the world and is raising two Havanese puppies. She lives in Crawford, Texas.

Heart of the Wolf | Story Bundle May 2014 | Silver Town Wolf | Highland Wolf | SEAL Wolf

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L.E. Sterling | 5 Reasons Why You Need a #SupernaturalBoyfriend This Spring

Spring is finally here which, according to some love pundits, means that along with sweet-smelling flowers, fresh, dewy love is just around the corner. All that newly exposed flesh… all those newly liberated hormones! But if you’re in the market for a new man this spring, this author highly recommends that you consider trading up and going for a supernatural boyfriend. Here is a roundup of the top 5 reasons the #SNB is the better man.

  1. You’ll never be bored. Ever.

One of the biggest failings of any relationship is boredom. This is never a problem with a #SNB. So what if you don’t have much in common? No one said that a vegetarian and the undead couldn’t get along! You may not be a drama queen, but the #SNB simply doesn’t have ordinary problems. Imagine lamenting to your friends over coffee about your new significant other and how he occasionally sprouts fur – and sometimes tears the heads off attackers in an effort to save the world and/or you. They’ll be just as enthralled by the discussion as you are.

  1. He’ll get you out of a jam.

This is the boyfriend you want in your corner. He won’t leave you to fend for yourself with used car salesmen, mean teachers or terrorists – though of course, he knows you can (and if he doesn’t know it, think of all the fun you’ll have arguing with him about it!). That lousy boss? Just wait until old crankypants gets a drop-in from #SNB. Has an enemy got you on the ropes? Don’t worry – #SNB is going to send over some of his most trusted allies (many of whom are not as civilized as he and like to “eat with their hands”) to “have a little talk.” Your man will tear down the world to make sure you’re safe and happy because – let’s face it, ladies– your #SNB is #SuperNaturallyIntoyou.

  1. He’s there to help you grow.

When you’re in a relationship with a #SNB, you’re not in an ordinary, conventional relationship. I’m not saying this is a bond that can’t lead to marriage – but I am saying you’d better get used to thinking about your life in vastly different (bigger) terms. This one will push you past what you thought were your limits. Dating a #SNB will be a bit like going to celebrity boot camp: by the time you’re lived through a couple of evenings the new clothes won’t feel too tight or too sparkly, and you’ll find you’re just as much at home speaking with your #SNB’s 500-year old rich vampire/shifter friends as you are with your dentist. They may even teach you Romanian and invite you to their castle for a holiday. Lucky you!

  1. Hotness.

So what if your #SNB is a bit rough around the edges (and may drink blood, eat human flesh and/or burst into a fur suit)? He’s 100% man, and he’s ripped to boot. Every square inch of your #SNB’s taut, hard body has been designed by a very kindly cosmos. Your #SNB isn’t just gorgeous on the outside, though. This man hides his potent sensitive side behind a wall of smoking hot unadulterated power that, let’s face it, you can’t even pretend not to swoon over. And when he turns those all-powerful, ever-loving eyes on you…

  1. Other (more x-rated)… things.

#SNBs are universally renowned for their unbelievable sexual chemistry. And it’s all yours. So once he turns those penetrating, mysterious, ever-loving eyes to you – once he touches you with those surprisingly gentle fingers – you know you can never go back. Your #SNB may have had a past, but now that you’ve met you’re the center of his universe…and he won’t let you forget it.

Sure, there are plenty of #RegularJoes who can rock a woman’s world. But if you’re lucky enough to stumble upon a dirty time-travelling highlander or a half-clothed vampire who’s lost his memory, just remember, ladies: even if he’s covered in gore he’s undoubtedly worth a second look!

About L.E. Sterling

L.E. Sterling

L.E. Sterling had an early obsession with sci-fi, fantasy and romance to which she remained faithful even through an M.A. in Creative Writing and a PhD in English Literature – where she completed a thesis on magical representation. She is the author of two previous novels, the cult hit Y/A novel The Originals (under pen name L.E. Vollick), dubbed “the Catcher in the Rye of a new generation” by one reviewer, and the urban fantasy Pluto’s Gate. Originally hailing from Parry Sound, Ontario, L.E. spent most of her summers roaming across Canada in a van with her father, a hippie musician, her brothers and an occasional stray mutt – inspiring her writing career. She currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.

True Born Trilogy

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About TRUE BORN

True Born

Sometimes it’s not who you are… It’s what you are.

Welcome to Dominion City.

After the great Plague descended, the world population was decimated…and their genetics damaged beyond repair.

The Lasters wait hopelessly for their genes to self- destruct. The Splicers pay for expensive treatments that might prolong their life. The plague-resistant True Borns are as mysterious as they are feared…

And then there’s Lucy Fox and her identical twin sister, Margot. After endless tests, no one wants to reveal what they are.

When Margot disappears, a desperate Lucy has no choice but to put her faith in the True Borns, including the charismatic leader, Nolan Storm, and the beautiful but deadly Jared, who tempts her as much as he infuriates her. As Lucy and the True Borns set out to rescue her sister, they stumble upon a vast conspiracy stretching from Dominion’s street preachers to shady Russian tycoons. But why target the Fox sisters?

As they say in Dominion, it’s in the blood.

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Lynnette Austin | Why Do We Love Weddings?

Have you ever searched for books with the word wedding in the title? On Amazon alone, there are over 22,000. Add in bride, and you’ll have a mini-explosion on your screen. We have runaway brides, mail-order brides, princess brides, virgin brides, substitute brides, pretend brides, and, yes, bridezillas! There are right at 29,000 book titles that include the word bride. Groom? Another 2,000. I know. A lot less. Sorry, guys, but it’s best you understand right now that it’s all about the bride.

Why so many books about weddings? Because we love to read them! We get to vicariously share that magic moment with the bride and groom, their families and friends. The reader is given a front row seat at the affair…and through all the ups and downs it takes to reach that moment.

In Magnolia Brides, my new series, we’re right there when wedding planner Jenni Beth Beaumont (THE BEST LAID WEDDING PLANS) and florist Cricket O’Malley (EVERY BRIDE HAS HER DAY) meet their brides and plan that perfect-for-her event…and smile when, along the way, each finds her own special someone. We love the little pink purses bursting with sweetheart roses, calla lilies, Bells of Ireland, and strands of pearls that Cricket creates for centerpieces at a bridal shower.

Estelle Reiner, Rob Reiner’s mother, said it best in that oh, so memorable line from When Harry Met Sally. “I’ll have what she’s having.” We, too, want what our characters are having—a great love and an incredible wedding that will lead to a happy-ever-after. A wedding story gives us this. For a few hours, we escape into this make-believe world filled with lace and tulle and the scent of roses. We share the hope the bride and groom share because despite everything that’s going on in the world today, we believe in new beginnings and happiness. We believe in love.

A wedding is romantic, a dream come true. As little girls we read Cinderella, then mature and move on to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. We dream about our own Darcy and Prince Charming. We sit in front of the TV and sigh when Prince William weds Kate Middleton because we know they’re going to be happy. That the promise of a happy-ever-after will come true.

Emotions are heightened at weddings. Family and friends who sometimes haven’t seen each other for months or even years come together. Big, strong daddies cry as they give their little girls away—to those always-in-control grooms who also have tears in their eyes when they catch that first look at their brides. How can we not love this?

And, of course, we love the scenes with the obsessive mothers and eccentric aunts. We hold our breath during the scene where the bride drops the ring and it rolls down the aisle with the ring bearer gleefully scooting after it on his knees, only to have it disappear down the heat register.

At the bottom of it all, though, a wedding is a ritual, one our society holds in high regard. Yes, it’s fun picking out the dress, deciding on the colors, the venue, and writing the vows. More than that, though, it’s about the ceremony, the ritual. Rituals form the backbone of our society. They mark transitions between periods in our lives. With couples, there are the meeting, the first date, the courtship, engagement, and the wedding—the ritual that joins two lives together. It’s a major, magical moment in life. It’s commitment; it’s choice.

Leafing through wedding magazines like The Knot and Southern Weddings, scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram sites like Loverly and Poppies and Posies Florals is delightful—and addictive. It doesn’t matter if you’re a bride-to-be, a bride fifty years ago or never, it’s fun.

Beneath it all, though, far surpassing the dress, the ring, the makeup and hairdo, we love weddings because they’re a romantic promise of a happy-ever-after, of a hope for the couple’s future and all that is to come for them. We love to read about someone else’s happiness, and, yes, we want what they’re having—even if only for a few short hours!

About Lynnette Austin

Lynnette Austin

The luxury of staying home when the weather turns nasty, of working in PJs and bare feet, and the fact that daydreaming is not only permissible but encouraged, are a few of the reasons middle school teacher Lynnette Austin gave up the classroom to write full-time. Lynnette grew up in Pennsylvania’s Alleghany Mountains, moved to Upstate New York, then to the Rockies in Wyoming. Presently she and her husband divide their time between Southwest Florida’s beaches and Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. A finalist in RWA’s Golden Heart Contest, PASIC’s Book of Your Heart Contest, and Georgia Romance Writers’ Maggie Contest, she’s published five books as Lynnette Hallberg. She’s currently writing as Lynnette Austin. Having grown up in a small town, that’s where her heart takes her—to those quirky small towns where everybody knows everybody…and all their business, for better or worse.

Magnolia Brides

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About EVERY BRIDE HAS HER DAY

Every Bride Has Her Day

CAN LOVE REVIVE A WILTING HEART?

Cricket O’Malley can’t wait to plant roots back home in Georgia, where she’s returned to restore an abandoned flower shop to its former glory. The only blemish? Her neighbor’s house is even more neglected than her old flower shop, and its occupant seems as surly as he is darkly handsome.

Devastated body and soul after a tough case went south, New York City detective Sam DeLuca thought he’d have no trouble finding solitude in the quiet Georgia town of Misty Bottoms, but his bubbly neighbor seems determined to shine happiness into Sam’s life. Sam is equally determined to close himself off, but his heart says otherwise…

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Jodie Andrefski | The Bad Boy Allure

There’s something ’bout the bad boys that makes the good girls fall in love. ~ Zara Larsson

It isn’t just Zara who sings about good girls falling for the wrong boys, we hear it all over the radio, we see it in books and movies, as well as every day in real life. In THE SOCIETY, Sam definitely found herself pulled toward a “bad boy.” He was hot, rode a motorcycle, and had that almost indefinable edge of danger about him from the first time they met. One sexy grin and she was hooked. So what exactly is the allure of bad boys that makes so many girls, especially teens, lose their heads and hearts chasing after them?

One surface answer might be that some girls love the bad boy image—that kind of wild, devil-may-care attitude coupled with a sexy grin can leave a girl weak in the knees. Most of us have been there at one time or another. I know I have, especially as a teenager and in my early twenties. On one hand, you might have a perfectly nice guy who your mother would adore, and on the other? The rebel without a cause. How many of us didn’t choose door number two at least once in our life? He’s so mysterious and enticing when our own life seems so pale and boring by comparison.

Another reason for the pull to bad boys is the idea that we can “fix” them. It’s like we see their flaws, we recognize them…but yet we somehow convince ourselves that the love of a good woman will melt all of his jerk habits away. We try and try and do all of the relationship work for both of us, then several good fights, teary sessions, and a pint or two of Ben & Jerry’s later, it’s time to face the truth…that it’s not our job to change anyone. And beyond that, we can’t will a person to change anyway, no matter how much we want them to.

Some people fall for the bad boy because they don’t believe they deserve any better. And newsflash…this is a load of crap. Don’t listen to the voices in your head that ever try to convince you otherwise. We all deserve someone who rocks our world and thinks we are the coolest thing since Klondike Bars. Sometimes girls fall for the proverbial bad boy because they think it will make them popular to be seen with Mister McHottie. Sure, maybe this will work for a little bit, depending on what circles McHottie runs in…but is it worth the price? And are the people who accept or don’t accept you based on who you date really your friends in the first place?

The bottom line is, most of us have been there once or twice in our life. I get it. He’s standing there, hair just a little too long, grin just the tiniest hint too cocky, abs to die for. He probably plays guitar or rides a motorcycle, or if you’re really in for the trifecta, he does both and recently got out of juvie. He draws you in with those liquid eyes and your stomach drops and you’re convinced you might seriously be the first person in the history of mankind to literally melt into a puddle of goo just from a glance. But if sexy, puddle-of-goo inducing smiles sent your way are where his contributions end, throw up the red flags. Big, giant, circus-sized flags. And be honest with yourself about what you’re really getting from him and the relationship.

The hottie bad boy can be fun…no argument there, just as long as he’s not also a bad guy. Because when it’s time to get your heart involved? Keep in mind there is a definite difference between a touch of bad boy image and a jerk who treats women poorly. I say go for the geek with the heart of gold…especially if he has just the right dash of bad thrown in to keep life interesting. But bad boys on the pages of a fabulous romance novel? Definitely still fun to fall for. After all, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a little fantasy life. You deserve it.

About Jodie Andrefski

Jodie Andrefski

Jodie’s been passionate about reading ever since she was a little girl, when she used to climb trees to escape with a favorite book.

She now lives and writes in a small town in Pennsylvania with her teenage daughter. Though still an avid reader, she now prefers a comfy chair over the crook of a tree. An unapologetic coffee fiend, she’s even happier if her java comes with pie.

Jodie often draws on her background in education and mental health counseling to bring real world experience to her writing.

She is a firm believer in the magic of a first kiss, and insists that you should never, ever give up on your dreams.

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About THE SOCIETY

The Society

Welcome to Trinity Academy’s best-kept secret.

The Society.

You’ve been handpicked by the elite of the elite to become a member. But first you’ll have to prove your worth by making it through Hell Week.

Do you have what it takes?

It’s time to find out.

Samantha Evans knows she’d never get an invite to rush the Society―not after her dad went to jail for insider trading. But after years of relentless bullying at the hands of the Society’s queen bee, Jessica, she’s ready to take down Jessica and the Society one peg at a time from the inside out.

All it’ll take is a bit of computer hacking, a few fake invitations, some eager rushees…and Sam will get her revenge.

Let the games begin.

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Kristina’s Bacon Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

I love a good sandwich – some amazing French bread, ham, roast beef…a bit of provolone or cheddar…oh, it makes my tummy happy! But grilled cheese – in all its varieties – is my absolute favorite sandwich to make. I think it’s my favorite because of all the variety: I can go kiddish with straight-up American and white bread or take it on a bit of a grown up turn with some broccoli and mushrooms. One of my favorite recipes is for Double Bacon Grilled Cheese – it’s a recipe the characters in PROTECTING THE QUARTERBACK, Jonas and Brooks, sample. Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices bacon – we prefer thick cut, but use your favorite
  • Some chopped red onion (to taste and totally optional)
  • 4 slices Cheddar cheese, 3 ounce slices
  • 4 slices mozzarella cheese, 3 ounce slices
  • 8 slices sourdough bread, medium (1/2″) slices

Cook It Up:

You can use a flat skillet or a closed contact grill, I prefer the closed contact grill, but both make yummy sandwiches. Either way, heat the pan/grill for 5 minutes.

Skillet Method: Cook the bacon until lightly crisp, and remove from heat. Sautee the onion in the bacon grease until softened. In a separate pan (the pre-heated pan) lightly butter the outsides of each slice of bread. Place one slice butter-side down. Layer the ingredients cheese-onion-bacon-cheese, and then put the other slice of bread butter side up. Cook 2 minutes or until lightly browned, flip and cook 2 more minutes or until lightly browned. Serve! Makes 4 sandwiches.

Closed contact grill Method: Once the grill is heated, place the bacon on the bottom grill surface, close the grill and cook until browned (4 minutes). Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Cut the slices in half. Scrape most of the bacon drippings into the drip tray, and then put the onion on the bottom surface, close the grill and cook until tender (5 minutes). Once the onion is cooked, make your sandwiches by layering cheddar/bacon/onion/mozzarella between two slices of bread. Put 2 sandwiches on the bottom surface, close the grill and cook 5 minutes or until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted. Remove the sandwiches and cook the other 2 the same way. Makes 4 sandwiches. Serve!

About Kristina Knight

Kristina Knight

Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police–no, she wasn’t a troublemaker, she was a journalist. Her career took her all over the United States, writing about everything from a serial killer’s capture to the National Finals Rodeo. Along the way, she found her very own Knight in Shining Cowboy Boots and an abiding love for romance novels. And just like the characters from her favorite books, she’s living her own happily ever after.

Kristina writes sassy contemporary romance novels; her books have appeared on Kindle Best Seller Lists. She loves hearing from readers, so drop her a line!

Anthem

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About PROTECTING THE QUARTERBACK

Protiecting the Quarterback

This is more than just a game…to her 

Sports broadcaster Brooks Smith has always been more involved with the game than the players. But after she shares the spotlight at an awards ceremony with tabloid sensation Jonas Nash, one night of letting her guard down around the infamous quarterback spirals into many heated days and nights together when she gets assigned to the story of the year…

The hottest player in professional football is hiding a secret that could end his career for good. Now Brooks is caught on the sidelines between the job she loves and the man she is falling in love with.

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Carly Phillips’ DARE TO LOVE series returns with DARE TO TAKE

Exclusive Excerpt:

About DARE TO TAKE

Dare to Take

A one-night stand.
A secret.
A mistake they tried to forget.

On leave from the army, Tyler Dare is just looking for a little fun, but his best friend’s sister is off limits. Yet unable to deny how sexy and alluring she is, he finds it all too easy to succumb to a night of passion and heat that ends the next morning in the worst way possible.

There are just some guys you don’t touch–even someone as innocent and inexperienced as Ella Shaw knows that. But when her brother’s best friend is up for grabs and willing, she can’t resist. After all, she’s wanted him for years…

Now, Ella is stranded on a tropical island with a hurricane bearing down, and only Tyler can save her. It’s his chance to make amends for the past and show the woman he’s never forgotten that he’s coming after her . . . in more ways than one.

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Tyler had been standing in the hallway for a good half hour waiting for Ella outside her apartment. Her cell had been stolen with her purse, and he couldn’t call her to ask where the hell she was. Hadn’t he told her he’d be checking in after work?

Finally, the elevator doors opened and she walked out, wearing a lavender tank top and a soft white skirt floating around her thighs, casual as you please, grocery bags in hand. He was worked up, torn between worry and frustration.

“What are you doing here?” she asked, seeming genuinely surprised to see him.

Which pissed him off to no end. She hadn’t believed he’d be here for her. “We agreed I’d be checking in on you after work today.”

“You said you would but—”

“You didn’t think it was important for you to be here when I did?” he asked.

She blinked up at him, giving him his first real glimpse of the exhaustion lining her face and the dark circles under her eyes, causing much of the anger to seep out of him. Instead, he wanted to take her in his arms and ease the strain she was obviously under. And when had that ever happened? When had he ever wanted to take care of a woman who wasn’t family? She’d gotten under his skin, that much he knew.

About Carly Phillips

Carly Phillips

New York Times Bestselling Author
Sexy Fun Contemporary Fiction!

After a successful fifteen-year career with various New York publishing houses, and over 40 sexy contemporary romance novels published, N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips is now an Indie author who writes to her own expectations and that of her readers. She continues the tradition of hot men and strong women and plans to publish many more sizzling stories. Carly lives in Purchase, NY with her family, two nearly adult daughters and two crazy dogs who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. She’s a writer, a knitter of sorts, a wife, and a mom. In addition, she’s a Twitter and Internet junkie and is always around to interact with her readers.

Serendipity | Dare to Love | Dirty Sexy | New York Dares

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