Comfort Zones
EXTREME LOVE releases in almost a month, and I'm sure I don't have to tell you how excited I am about this book. And just like Dante took Caitlyn out of her comfort zone, the release of Extreme Love is taking me out of mine.

Yep, that's right. I agreed to do something that is truly terrifying to me.

On June 1st, I'm scheduled to do a reading in Greenville, SC at the Lady Jane Salon.

Say what?!?!

Nerves immediately overwhelmed me the moment I sent the email accepting their invitation to read. Like for real. Tingling in the fingers, tight chest and I swore I was about to have a panic attack. And the damn reading was still two months away. Can you imagine what a bundle of nerves I'm going to be the day off? Heck, as I get up on that stage and look out across a room full of faces? As I'm about to read something I wrote???

I'm not a public speaker. Never have been. I absolutely loathed oral presentations in school. And even though I was part of the Drama Geeks in high school, I was much more comfortable backstage managing or building sets than I was in the limelight. I did have one part I played my senior year. Magda Svenson in the Night of January 16th. I did a horrible, horrible impersonation of a swedish accent and my voice shook the entire time. I did get the laughs I was supposed to get from the audience, Magda was a gossipy old biddy, and by the time I left the stage I was pretty proud of myself, but I was hiding behind a character. It was easier.

This? Well...this is me. Putting myself and my work in front of people.

Yeah, I know, I do this every time one of my books releases, but there is still a distance there. A seperation. This is face-to-face.

Other than to toss a scene around with my roommate, and usually that's just a paragraph or two, I have never read my work aloud. So know I have the daunting tasks of picking a scene to read. What if I pick the wrong one? What if my presentation of this scene makes the books sound boring?

I feel like the best approach to this is going to be pulling a Jennifer Lawrence. Have I ever told you how much I admire her? She is who she is, and she never pretends otherwise. I love that about her. Have you seen the clip right after she won her Oscar where Jack Nicholson approaches her? Here she is an Academy Award winner completely awe-struck that Jack Nicholson has come up to her to congratulate her. If you haven't, pull it up on youtube. It's seriously priceless.

Some people have said for me to be confident when I get up there. I know me...I'm not going to be. I'm going to be terrified and about to vomit. So I think trying to pretend otherwise is just going to make it worse. So, I think I'm going to open by cracking a joke about myself and how nervous I am. Get that white elephant out of the room from the get-go and acknowledge that I'm scared. It may not earn me any favors from the audience, but at least it will calm me and then, hopefully, I'll be able to read the scene the way it deserves.

So if anyone is in the Greenville, SC area on June 1st, stop by the Coffee Underground at 5pm and say hi!
Abby

Cover Reveal! My Daring Highlander


Here is the cover for my new book, which will be out in a few days! What do you think?

My Daring Highlander:
Beautiful and fiercely protective of those she loves, Lady Seona Murray captured Keegan MacKay’s attention when she first set foot in Dunnakeil Castle. Though she is a chief’s daughter and forbidden, Keegan has fallen in love with her from afar and burns to possess her. But so does the clan traitor, Haldane, an obsessive outlaw bent on murder and kidnapping.

Sinfully handsome, Keegan MacKay is a fearsome guard as well as the chief’s cousin, but Seona’s father would never consider him a worthy husband for her because he is not a titled laird. Seona has secretly watched the sensual, tawny-haired warrior from across the crowded great hall for months, but when he is tasked with escorting her across Scotland, back to her home, their simmering attraction flames into sizzling passion with just one kiss.

Though she fears she is endangering Keegan’s life, Seona cannot resist his seductive charm or his spellbinding kisses. Keegan sets fire to the memories of her sad past and shows her what it means to truly live. But her father has other plans. He’s arranged for her to marry a wealthy Lowland laird. Is Keegan daring enough to steal her away? Or will the vindictive Haldane snatch her first?

Release date: March 31

Thanks for checking out my new cover and story blurb! :)
Vonda

Little Black Dresses & Pink Ribbons
In my 50-something years, I have never owned a little black dress. Mostly because I don't really have a cause to wear one. My life is pretty casual and if I do dress up for an occasion, I've chosen dresses with color. But I was recently invited to an event that gave me a good excuse to go out and buy my first little black dress.

My son received an invitation to a fundraiser for breast cancer research from a friend of his whose daughter is a two time breast cancer survivor: "Every Little Black Dress Needs a Pink Ribbon." It was being held at the long abandoned, newly renovated train station. My son's fiancee was going to be out of town, so he asked me to be his date. It was the perfect excuse to buy my own little black dress, see the renovated station, and support a great cause.

My little black dress



Me and my date



There was a wine bar and hors d'ouvres, entertainment, a silent auction (son tried to win a scrub autographed by the stars of Grey's Anatomy for his girl - a huge fan - but the bidding got a little too steep), and the night was capped off by a fashion show of little black dresses modeled by breast cancer survivors.

It was a great night. The train station was beautifully renovated with marble walls and gorgeous windows and doorways, and ornate lighting.







The event was well-attended. I chatted with a few people I knew and many more that I'd never met before. As we walked in the door we were each given a pink ribbon to add to our outfit. As you can see by this picture, not only black dresses need a pink ribbon.



Natasha
Voluptuous - coming soon
Silken Canvas - available now
www.natashamoore.com
The Secret

So I just finished reading The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, the best-selling worldwide phenomenon touted by Oprah Winfrey and even turned into a movie. The basic premise of the book is, “If you think it, it will happen.”  For instance, if you want to be rich, think of yourself as rich and miraculously something will happen to make you rich. Want to be successful? Think that you are. Healthy? Trust in the positive power of your mind. It’s all about sending out the kind of energy you want returned to you. It’s the law of attraction.

Byrne claims that great men throughout the ages have known this secret. Socrates. Plato. Shakespeare. Beethoven. Sir Isaac Newton. Too many others to name.

It’s a fascinating, uplifting and very positive book. Byrne believes you can have anything you want. As to whether the secret actually works, well…

I’d like to be – no, wait, not ‘like’ to be, I AM a bestselling author. There. I’ve said it. I’ve put that positive thought out into the universe. (Byrne herself is still a top seller on amazon.com, even seven years after the release of The Secret.) So I’ve been secretly envisioning my books as worldwide successes. I see myself at book signings, picture myself speaking to legions of fans. I’m writing the next book with a movie version in mind.

But I suppose if I can’t be a bestselling author, I’d settle for being rich. So to do more than just imagine my success, I went to The Secret website and downloaded this nifty blank check they have there.  Byrne suggests making the check out for whatever amount would make you feel rich, and then looking at that check first thing every morning and believing that you ARE rich. If you send out rich thoughts, theoretically riches will come to you.

So I made the check out for 10 million dollars. It’s been three days now, and nothing has happened yet. But looking at that check every morning sure makes me feel rich, if only for a moment. Which makes me smile. Which starts my day out right. Does that make me rich in spirit, at least?

I’ve followed the book’s advice and sent that vibration out into the universe. The “I am rich” vibration.  I’ll check in with you next month and let you know what happens.

Best,
Leigh
www.leighcourt.com


Happy Spring!
Yesterday was the first day of spring, and I'm oh-so-ready for it. I love spring, with it's windy days and life blossoming all around. Who can resist its subtle seduction?

Unfortunately, the weather in many parts of the world didn't cooperate and it was chilly--even snowy!--in some locales. That just doesn't seem fair, so today's post contains pictures of flowers to cheer those in parts north, south, east, or west who may not be experiencing ideal spring weather conditions.

As you view these pretties, may they bring you great reflection and peace as you ponder. I hope this season of rebirth brings with it many great unexpected joys for you and yours, especially surprises in the literary world. Great books all around and more great books than ever to be found! What great books are you reading this spring? Please do share.

Without further adieu...

Happy Happy Spring!














Goodreads Shelves
Authors, have you ever looked at the to-be-read shelves you are placed on by readers before your release? This is really the first time I've paid attention to it, and I must say, I've gotten a few that have really put a smile on my face. I really needed that right now. This weekend I finished Extreme Love. I mean, finished, finished. Like it's being sent off for print finished. And the nerves have hit. This is my first release in almost two years, so I needed a little nerve smoother while I wait for the next six weeks to pass.

Here are a few:

Ready-to-read
Need
Awwww-romance-is-bliss,
Luv-the-covrrrrrr
Spicy
Must-read
2013-must-reads
Opposites-attract
Romance-with-a-famous-hero
To-crave-for
Realistic-fiction-to-read
Next
Top-upcoming-releases

So I wanted to thank the readers who added me to these shelves and made my day a bit brighter.
Abby
EPIC Award Winner: My Fierce Highlander!
Hi, everyone,
I'm thrilled to announce that My Fierce Highlander won an EPIC Award in the historical romance category this past weekend! It was announced at the EPIC conference. Since they knew I wasn't attending, they mailed the award to me. Wow was it a thrill to open the box on Friday and pull this out! :)


It's my first award as a published author and an incredible honor. I'm thrilled the judges enjoyed the book. Judges, if any of you are reading this, thank you!!!

For those who haven't read the book yet, here's an excerpt:


Alasdair MacGrath was fair certain he’d never before awakened to such stabbing pain in his head. He loved good sherry and whisky but never overindulged, so it couldn’t be the drink banging on his head.
A voice sifted through his agony. A high-pitched, senseless prattle.
“I’ll get you, you worthless MacIrwin bastard.”
Those words didn’t go with that innocent voice.
Another voice, rougher yet still the same growled, “You’re a no-good MacGrath coward. I’ll run you through.”
What the devil is going on? Alasdair cracked one eye open. He lay on the hard-packed earth floor of some sort of dark room that spun around him. Straw and the smell of aged cow dung told him it was a byre. He squinted toward the open doorway, trying to steady his vision. A wee lad with fair hair sat in the patch of brilliant sunshine.
He continued to act out the battle scene between two man-shaped twigs. “Take that, you puny toad-spotted whoreson!”
If not for the piercing ache in his head—in his whole body—Alasdair would have laughed outright. As it was, he only managed a snort without doing himself in.
The lad sprung up, whirled around, and gaped at him with wide blue eyes. “You’ve awakened.”
“Aye,” Alasdair uttered, his throat dry and voice raspy.
“Ma! Ma!” The lad screamed and sprinted from the byre.
A skewer to the ear would’ve been more pleasant. Alasdair’s thoughtless attempt to shield his ears from the child’s hellish noise brought gripping pain to his upper body.
By the saints! What happened to me? He groaned and glanced down at himself. A woolen plaid blanket and a pile of straw covered him. He lifted the blanket and the scent of strong medicinal herbs reached his nostrils. A healer’d had hold of him? Various cloth bandages littered his torso. Other than that, he was naked.
Where are my clothes?
And where are my sword and dagger? Cold fear settled in his chest.
Someone appeared in the doorway, blocking out the light—the small frame of a woman. Though he couldn’t see her well, he felt her staring at him a long moment. “How do you feel?” she asked.
“As if I took a wee tumble from the peak of Ben Nevis. Where am I?”
“MacIrwin land.”
In that moment three things occurred to him—she was English, he was back from the dead, and he lay helpless on enemy land with no weapons. God’s bones.
A flash of returning memory distracted him—he’d thrust his sword at a grizzly, outraged red-haired man. Something, or someone, had hit him on the head. The powerful blow had knocked him from his mount and all went black.
“Does Donald MacIrwin ken I’m here?” His sore muscles tensed. Wincing at the pain, he forced himself to relax.
“No.” The dimness hid her expression, but wariness colored her tone.
“Where are my clansmen?” He prayed his cousin, Fergus, and all the others had survived. But he knew that was impossible. He’d seen some of them fall.
“About five or six died on the battlefield. The others must have returned home.”
He didn’t even know which ones had perished yet. Dear God, not Fergus or Angus. Fortunately, his brother Lachlan had not accompanied them that day.
“I don’t understand how I came to be here instead of with them.”
“After the skirmish, I went to see if I could save the lives of any of my kinsmen, but you were the only man I found alive.”
“You’re a MacIrwin, then?”
She crossed her arms. “The MacIrwin is my distant cousin. My grandmother and his grandfather were brother and sister.”
He’d best tread softly until he determined whether he could trust this relation of his enemy. “You’ve the speech of a Sassenach.”
“I grew up in England, yes.”
“Why would a MacIrwin, even an English one, save the life of a MacGrath? We’ve been enemies for nigh on two hundred years.” Alasdair tried to sit up, but a spasm of burning pain latched onto his lower belly. “Mo chreach!” He fell back.
“Do not get up.” The waif-like woman rushed forward and knelt beside him. The pleasant smell of fresh air and green herbs clung to her.
She placed a cool hand against his upper chest and pressed him back. After shoving aside the straw and lowering the blanket to just below his waist, she examined the stitched wound on his abdomen.
“You’ve started this bleeding again.” She flicked a glare of censure at him from her vivid blue eyes.
“Pray pardon,” he said, then wondered why he’d apologized.
She could not have much MacIrwin blood in her veins, else she would’ve left him to die on the battlefield. She was nothing like Donald MacIrwin. This was the second time the bastard had deceived them, under oath, into thinking he wanted to sign a peace treaty, when in truth he wanted to murder those bearing it. Alasdair craved peace for his people so badly he’d become too trusting.
While the healer examined his injuries, he studied her captivating face. Was her creamy skin as silky as it looked? She frowned as she worked, and some of her light-brown hair escaped the knot at the back of her head. He wanted to wrap the straight, wispy strands around his fingers. Why didn’t she wear the kerch head-covering favored by married Highland women? Perhaps she wasn’t married, though she had a child. A widow, then. No rings adorned her fingers, but that told him naught since Highland women only wore their wedding rings on special occasions.
One thing was sure, she’d undressed him and seen him naked. Wishing he could’ve been awake for that, he suppressed a grin.
She caught him watching her, and her skin turned pink. Ah, but she was a bonny Sassenach. He smiled. What was she doing here in the Highlands tending his wounds? Mayhap she was an angel or a fairy and not a human woman at all.
Her cool, efficient hands felt soothing on his skin, overheated from the wool blanket. Indeed, soothing, but her touch slowly coaxed a new heat to life within him, a different sort of tingling heat he had suppressed for some time and was surprised to feel now with such strength.
“Are you in much pain?” Her eyes were guarded when they met his, and he pushed his irrational interest in her away. His very life was in danger and he best focus on that.
“Nay.” He had endured far worse. Perhaps it was her gentle touch that eased his aches.
She covered him again with the blanket. “You must lie still.”
“Aye. Did I not arrive with any weapons?” He felt more naked without those than without his kilt.
“A dagger. I have it well-hidden.” She rose.
“I would have it back to defend myself, if you don’t mind. If the MacIrwin shows up, I’ll be helpless as a wee bairn.”
“How do I know you won’t use it on me?”
He scowled. “I wouldn’t harm you. Are you thinking I’m daft?”
She studied him with intelligent, watchful eyes. “I’ll consider it.”
He released an impatient breath. “How long have I been here?”
“Since last night.”
Not long, but likely his clan thought him dead because Donald MacIrwin didn’t take hostages. Lachlan wouldn’t relish taking over as chief. He was probably even now cursing Alasdair for being so careless.
“You hit your head on something,” the woman said.
Alasdair moved his head on the straw-filled pillow, and a pain shot through his skull. “Or something hit me on the head. I reckon ’twas the broad side of an ax…which I much prefer to the sharp side.” He stroked his fingers over the sore lump on the back of his head. “God’s bones, ’tis the size of a sheep’s hoof.” He laid his head back on the pillow and gazed up at her. Surely she was his guardian angel. “You saved my life.”
“Most likely.” She glanced away as if it were nothing.
“I thank you.” It seemed so little to say. How would he ever repay her? “But why would you care if I lived or died?”
Her gaze examined his eyes, dropped to his mouth, his bare shoulder, then lifted again. She shrugged. “I’m a healer. ’Twas the least I could do for a fellow human being.”
“What? You don’t think me a savage?” He was certain he looked greatly uncivilized to her English eyes…eyes which now gleamed with blue ire.
“No. The only thing savage is this senseless fighting over nothing!”
“Well, I would see it stopped but your clan will not let it be. When we’re provoked, we fight as any clan would. The MacIrwins have committed many a crime against us.”
“Two hundred years in the past.”
“Nay. More than I can recount during my own lifetime. Including murder.”
Her gaze locked to his. “What?”
“Aye, your fine cousin—oh, never mind. Why am I telling a woman? I must be on my way.” What a waste of time this all was. He must get back to his own clan.
“No!”
Such a forceful command from the wee lass? He couldn’t help but gape at her militant expression.
“You shall not get very far with a broken toe,” she added.
“Oh, is that all?” He moved his feet and a stabbing pain ricocheted up his left leg. “God’s bones!” With a grunt, he ground his teeth and stilled, praying the pain would go back into hiding.
“You see?” She placed her hands on her hips and glared down at him as if he were a wayward lad. “We didn’t even know your big toe was broken until it turned black and swelled.”
He released his held breath. “Mayhap ’tis but a sprain.”
“God willing, you will be so lucky. I cannot understand why men do this to themselves.” A spark of anger flashed in her eyes, and this distracted him from his own agony. Her fire had a definite appeal.
“Och, we’re lacking a wee bit in the tower.” He wanted to tap a finger against his head, but dared not move too much. Instead, he attempted to relax. “What of your husband? Does he ken I’m here?” He prayed no men of the clan knew of his presence, else it could prove his downfall.
“My husband was killed in a skirmish three years ago,” she said in a wooden voice.
Without doubt, she was not yet done grieving the loss. He well knew how mourning could linger. Even after two years, he still missed his wife.
“I’m sorry to hear it. And he was…?”
The healer’s gaze speared him. “I’m certain you didn’t know him. What is your name?”
“Angus MacGrath,” he lied, thinking she’d likely recognize his real first name.
She frowned, but curtsied nonetheless. “A pleasure. You are chief of the MacGrath clan, are you not?”
How had she figured that out? Mayhap his clothing had given him away. Or his ring—the weight of it was missing from his finger, but he dared not ask her about it. He studied her curious expression. For his own protection and that of his clan, he must seem like an unimportant person. She might deliver him to the MacIrwin if she knew his true identity.
“Nay, I’m the cousin of the chief.” Since he had a cousin named Angus MacGrath, he’d simply pretend to be him.
She surveyed him with narrowed eyes.
“Disappointed, are you, that I’m not the earl and chief?”
Gwyneth studied the smirking Scot, unsure whether to believe him. She’d been almost certain he was the chief. He’d had the seal ring, fine clothing and the treaty on expensive parchment. If he were trying to mislead her, she’d let him think he’d succeeded, while she figured out what he was up to. Maybe he feared she’d turn him over to Donald.
The longer Angus MacGrath talked to her, the more flustered she felt. He had a noble, pleasant way about him that should’ve put her at ease. But it didn’t.
His steady eyes were unreadable, penetrating and mysterious. Dark as she’d imagined. And at times amused and gleaming with sensuality. If she had to be in his presence much, such a man would be dangerous to her sanity and soul. Not wanting him to see into her thoughts, she erected that familiar defense wall about herself. The wall that had protected her from Baigh Shaw or any other man who thought to intimidate her.
“I ken you must fear your cousin will find out I’m here,” he said. “I owe you my life, so if anything happens, I’ll protect you.”
What was wrong with the big lout? He couldn’t even rise to his feet, much less defend her. “A lot of good that will do me now. If they show up, I’ll have to protect you.”
“You would do that for me, m’lady?” His dark brown eyes twinkled, teasing yet still suspicious. His strong accent turned lady into leddy, an address she’d only been called with a derogatory slur while in the Highlands.
“I’d prefer you not call me that.” Though still a lady in truth, she didn’t think of herself as such, nor had she for six years.
A grin tugged at the corners of his mouth, shadowed by a new growth of black whiskers. She couldn’t gaze at him overlong. His eyes had a look in them she didn’t trust, a look of mischief and interest she dared not think about.
He sobered and shifted his gaze away. “Our clan didn’t come here to fight. We were to meet with the MacIrwin and establish a peace agreement. He invited us to his home, and then attacked us. His word means naught.”
“Are you saying Laird MacGrath wants peace?” She suspected it was true, but she wanted confirmation.
“Aye, m’lady. Above all else, he wants peace for the clan.”
A hint of relief flowed through her. “I found the peace agreement in your doublet,” she confessed.
“’Tis not worth a wee pebble in the River Spey now. Burn it if you will. ’Haps it will provide fine heat to cook your porridge.”
How could he be so pessimistic and give up so easily? “Will you not try again for peace?”
He snorted. “’Tis useless. There is no peace to be had with Donald MacIrwin. They ambushed us—fired pistol shots at us from the cover of the brush, then came out with their swords. As you can see, ’tis the reason we fight. They understand no other language. We must protect what is ours—our clan, our land, and our cattle. We won’t let him run roughshod o’er us.”
“Of course not.” She well knew how ruthless her cousin was. He had always dealt with her in a wretched manner. Without a doubt, if she did something to displease him, he would have no qualms about killing her. That was why she now questioned her judgment in helping a MacGrath.
How many of those tales of the cold-blooded, murdering MacGraths were true? If what this man said was true, Donald and the MacIrwins were the ones who kept the blood feud going. Which meant she was more in danger from her own clan than this enemy.
“You must leave here as soon as you’re able.”
“Aye, I won’t argue about that.” He glanced aside. “Come on in, then. Don’t be bashful, lad.”
She followed his gaze to the door and found her son standing there, white-faced and wide-eyed.
“Rory, please stay in the cottage.”
“I heard horses—lots of horses coming.”
She froze. “Oh, dear God. ’Tis Donald!
My Fierce Highlander, copyright 2011 Vonda Sinclair

Thanks so much!! :)
Vonda
Good News - Voluptuous to be Released in 2013
I'm thrilled to share the news that I will be having a new release later this year with Ellora's Cave. It's hard to believe it's been four years - FOUR YEARS - since my last book with them. When life and the day job got a little crazy, something had to give and I just wasn't able to write as much as I would have liked. But I wrote this fun novella with a co-workers - to - lovers theme in just a few weeks right after I left the day job.

Ellora's Cave often puts out calls for stories with certain themes. Later this year they will be releasing their Curve Appeal series - all the stories will feature plus-size heroines. My novella, Voluptuous, was accepted to be part of the series:

For plus-sized Meredith Larkin, one-night stands are all she expects. But co-worker, Sam Burrows, wants to convince this voluptuous beauty that she deserves more and he’s the guy who'll give it to her.

I can't wait to share the blurb, cover and release date. I can tell you that I think Sam is one of my favorite heroes ever. And he's a little different than most of my erotic romance heroes. He's a nice guy. But that doesn't mean there isn't some hot and adventurous sex in this story. He's just what Meredith needs. She just finds it a little hard to believe.

I'll share more information on Voluptuous as soon as I can.

Natasha
Silken Canvas - available now
www.natashamoore.com
My Tye -- We're getting closer!
Earlier this week, I finished edits for my first full-length novel, My Tye. The book is now back in the hands of my awesome editor at Ellora's Cave. I honestly can't tell you how many times I've read this book (as a writer, my method involves several re-reads), and every time I go through it I get so excited all over again. There's so much emotion in this book. And passion. And suspense. And yummy steaminess. I can't wait for my "baby" to be released, but until then, how about a little snippet to tide everyone over?

I've already given you a little taste of what's inside our hero Tye's mind here, so I thought it'd be only fair to give you a look at our heroine, Laine. Enjoy!

 Blurb: 


For years, Laine Morgan has fantasized about being bound and taken. After a night of testing the waters, all her erotic dreams shatter. Tossed into a hell she never expected, she’s forced to succumb to the protection of Sheriff Tye Carter—the star of her most vivid bondage fantasies.
 
Tye’s hidden his desires from Laine for over a year, but not anymore. She’s hurt and scared, which throws the Dom inside him into a rage. He’ll do anything to protect her, even move her to his ranch. But having her all to himself sends his control into a tailspin. And when Laine finally reveals her sexy secrets? All bets are off. Deep down, he knows he’s the only man who can give her everything she needs.
 
But there’s an enemy on the loose, one whose personal brand of hatred has been unleashed before. Laine’s life is on the line. In the span of a heartbeat, Tye’s is too. To save them both, he’ll have to surrender control to the one woman who might not be ready to accept it.



Excerpt: 

Tye would go after the man who did this to her, she knew he would. And he’d find him, too. He’d never let up, never let it go, not until the creep was behind bars. But then everything else would come out into the open too.

What would he think of her then? Would he look at her like some sort of kinky sub-wannabe? Would he see her curiosity about the bondage lifestyle as odd? Or maybe even offensive? Would he freak to learn that whenever she fantasized lately about being sexually restrained, in every single one of those fantasies he was the man doing the restraining?

She’d never told a soul any of this. Walking into that BDSM club tonight had been one of the hardest things she’d ever done. But to be bombarded with new uncertainties and end up leaving only to be attacked once she reached her car…

She swallowed, and while she held her breath at the burn in her throat, a new emotion emerged. Anger. Her fingertips itched with it. Her heart raced because of it. There was no way she could sit idly by while some whacked-out joy-rider got away with hurting her, especially when said whacko still had her purse, along with her ID. He knew where she lived, had taunted her by flicking her license in her face before she managed to escape from the van. That part, she remembered. Clearly, and in vivid detail.

She deserved to nail that bastard to the wall, just as Tye deserved to know what happened. And with that dawning, came the decision to stop the all the useless head-in-the-sand garbage and reveal some of what she remembered.

She shrugged a sore shoulder and settled in to tell him the truth—an abbreviated version, but the truth nonetheless. It would be the only truth he would get out of her right now. The only truth she could bear to tell him. Everything else—the whys of it all, along with the hows—would just have to wait.

And with that, she blurted out, “I’m in trouble, Tye. You’ve got to help me, because I’m in so much trouble.”
 ~~~**~~~

As a side note, My Tye's cover model, David, is in the running to win The Top 100 Hottest Men in the World. Hurry over to this link and click "like" to vote for him! 

Have a great weekend!

Kristin
www.kristindaniels.com
www.facebook.com/authorkristindaniels
http://twitter.com/Kristin_Daniels
Dragon Song is here!


I’m so excited! The reprints of the first three novellas in my Dragon Song series are now available, all bundled together in one book, for Kindle. They’ll also soon be available through Barnes & Noble and Kobo as well as in print. Simply titled Dragon Song, the collection was just released this week, and I’m really happy with how stories are packaged and with the cover art. Love this guy’s eye color!

Also, I invite you to join me at Barbara Vey’s Anniversary Bash. Today’s celebrated genres include inspirational, YA, graphic novels, and nonfiction; however, Friday is the day for erotica--I'll be there!--and Saturday is the romance blow-out (I can't wait!). I’ve been bopping in and out all week and commenting for a chance to win some great prizes from authors, editors, publishers, and bloggers, and I'm getting some great tips on new reading material and having a blast with the wickedly imaginative virtual party-goers. There’s lots of fun there for every kind of reader, so please feel free to join the party. Even if you missed skeleton band I brought Monday--the Wicked Trochee Spondee karaoke band--there's still time to enjoy the bash as it lasts until Saturday. :)

Hope to see you at the party. Until then, if you’re into dragon-shifters, why not check out Dragon Song? The description of each story is below. If you need more info, just drop me a line. Happy reading!

The Dragon’s Shepherdess
The Shepherdess of Dozah’s determination to save the dragonkind is tested when she clashes with Reiz, a warrior king whose sole purpose is to acquire the dragonling that Shepherdess refuses to relinquish. When she willingly offers herself to him in exchange, their physical union will uncover dangerous passions and threaten to expose the dragon secret that binds them.

The Dragon’s Healer
Nioral, healer dragon of the Kilsh Brood, spends his days collecting roots and mixing potions until a trip into the forest changes his life forever. True to his calling, he rescues Merigone, a bewitched beauty injured while trying to escape greedy villagers. A healer herself, Merigone awakens in Nioral a deep passion such as he’s never known, and he finds himself torn between keeping the dragon secret and succumbing to his desires.

The Dragon’s Scribe
Emerson, who edits dragon fantasy when she’s not looking for the perfect mate inNew York City, wants a man who can dominate her and fulfill her every fantasy.Unfortunately, that man is Mojogan, a warrior dragon-shifter intent only on finding his lost niece and returning to the Time Before. When an operational glitch lands Mojogan in Emerson’s bedroom, he finds a sexy human woman who craves domination as much as he craves her submission. He’s determined to keep the dragon secret safe, and she’s determined to protect her heart. Only when they give in to their passion will they discover the key to fulfilling the prophecy that will ultimately decide the fate of the dragonkind.
Guest: Lexi Post & Masque

I was thrilled when I heard the news that Lexi Post, a very talented writer who took my classes, sold her first book! Please help me in welcoming Lexi!

Lexi Post spent years in higher education taking and teaching courses about classical literature. From the Medieval work "The Pearl" to the 20th century American epic The Grapes of Wrath, from War and Peace to the Bhagavad Gita, she's read, studied, and taught great classic literature.

But Lexi's first love is romance novels. In an effort to marry her two first loves, she started writing erotic romance inspired by the classics and found she loved it.  Lexi feels there is no end to the romantic inspiration she can find in great classic literature.
Lexi lives with her husband and cat in the Caribbean where gorgeous sunsets, warm weather, and driving on the left are the norm.

 Q: I'm so glad you're here with us today, Lexi, and I love your hot cover. Please tell us about Masque.
A:  Absolutely! Here it is in a nutshell J
Rena Mills plans to turn an abandoned abbey into a haunted bed-and-breakfast to prove she can be successful without her ex-fiancé. What she finds inside is Synn MacAllistair, the distinguished, self-proclaimed Ghost Keeper. Her dreams soon fill with sexual cravings for him. But are they dreams?
Synn, born in 1828, is determined to free the souls of the resident spirits, blaming himself for bringing the Red Death that killed them. When Rena steps into the old Pleasure Palace, he’s sure he can take her through the after-midnight Pleasure Rooms and stoke her passion to complete the Masque so the souls can cross over. Her innocent fire makes him crave more, but it’s far too late for him.
As Rena begins her erotic journey, her heart becomes more involved with every sensual caress until she discovers by completing the Masque she would lose her ghosts. Synn’s betrayal wars with her compassion for her ghostly friends. Torn, she must make a choice between her financial security and freeing seventy-three trapped souls. Either way, she could lose her Synn.
Q: Sounds unique and fascinating! What inspired this story?
A:  Thank you for asking. Since I write erotic romance inspired by the classics, it is easy to pinpoint my inspiration for this story because it was Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Masque of the Red Death” which was published in 1842. That’s why I called my book MASQUE J
Q: Very cool! What is the story behind the story?
A: In Poe's story, Prince Prospero seeks to escape the Red Death by gathering his aristocratic friends and sealing them off from the rest of the town in a great abbey, leaving his other subjects to live or die as fate decrees. On the night of the prince's Masque, which is held in his seven colored entertainment rooms, when the great clock in the Black Room strikes midnight, a figure enters the party in a mask resembling a victim of the Red Death. When the Prince attempts to kill the intruder for such audacity as to remind them all of the sad state of affairs outside, the prince falls dead, as does everyone else in the abbey, and the clock ceases.
But what if the intruder had been a friend who hoped to sway the prince to do what was right by his people, only to have everything go wrong?
Q: What do you enjoy most about writing?
A: I have to admit that I love each stage in the writing process.  I love the creation in my brain, the joy of getting the story “dumped” into the computer, and the revising according to my own story editor.  What I like about revising after my critique partner goes through it is the challenge of taking her good suggestions and  incorporating them.  Those little moments of triumph can be addictive. When it comes to polishing, basically cleaning up pathetic sentence structure or misplaced modifiers, I enjoy finding just the right fix, much like someone enjoys finding the right word in a crossword puzzle. Then the marketing is another whole creative process which mixes well with my very organized, business-like side, so the other part of my brain gets some attention. As for how I feel after publication, I’m just now finding out and I have to say it is like a runner’s high. I hope I get to experience this many times over J
Q: I'm sure you will! Which element of this story was the hardest for you?
A:  The black moment was the hardest part of the story for me. Actually, it is the hardest part for me to write with any of my stories. I have a difficult time torturing my characters, just ask my critique partner and my agent. In MASQUE the set-up wasn’t hard as Synn is driven to free the souls of his ghostly friends, but when Rena discovered his betrayal, I wanted to cry for both of them. Writing that pivotal scene wiped me out.
Q: Please describe your journey to publication.
A:  It has been four years of serious writing and four manuscripts, though I’m revising my 5th now and the 6th is in the “percolating” stage J I wrote one Medieval Scottish romance and one paranormal romance. Then I discovered erotic romance and after reading a number of them, I knew I just had to try writing one, so I took your class J I also had great advice from some wonderful authors like Jennifer Ashley/Allyson James and Cassie Ryan. Then I wrote one erotic romance. But we all know that getting published is about being in the right place at the right time with the right manuscript.  I have Brenda Novak’s auction to thank for bringing these three pieces together. I won a bid to have dinner with the publisher and an editor from Ellora’s Cave. It was a wonderful evening where I learned a lot about Ellora’s Cave, ebooks, and publishing in general and they learned a little bit about me too.  So when I finished MASQUE which I thought had a strong hook, I sent it in. 
Q: I was so glad you took my class. I enjoyed reading excerpts from your stories and I could tell then you had a great talent for steamy writing. :) What’s next for you?
A: I am currently polishing up my next erotic romance titled, To Bea Rappaccini. It’s inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” only my Bea Rappaccini  ( a descendent of the original) must have sex to expel the poisons her body produces. Either that or die. Unfortunately, her poisons also make men extremely ill and she has unintentionally sent one into a coma! So when she falls for Zach, things get interesting J
Q: Would you like to ask readers a question?
A:  Yes. I’d like to know what quality readers like most in their heroes? I have a beautiful Venetian mask made in Italy to go to one lucky commenter.
Wow! What a beautiful mask, Lexi! I will be jealous of whoever wins this! Everyone, please check out this fantastic EXCERPT of Masque!
Rena spun at the deep voice that caressed her senses. Before her stood a woman’s wet dream come to life, though as a respectable woman, she shouldn’t be having wet dreams, or so she’d been informed.
The man looked as if he’d stepped out of a nineteenth-century drawing room, except his coffee-brown hair hung loose about his shoulders. She was pretty sure it should have been tied in a queue to be proper. His entire demeanor projected upper class from his sharp nose and angular clean-shaven chin, to his broad-shouldered stance. A rather tall stance it was too, with one snugly encased leg crossed over the other. But his eyes stupefied her. They appeared gray, ancient, yet flickered with bright shards of blue.
Valerie recovered first, brandishing her tightly held candelabra as she stepped forward. “Who are you and what are you doing in here?”
He straightened and gave them a formal bow. “My name is Synn MacAllistair. That is Synn as in S Y N N. I’m the caretaker of the ghosts.”
Rena took a deep breath. She could feel her cheeks heating as his voice reverberated through her body. Sin fit him. When he moved his gaze from Valerie to herself, his intense scrutiny warmed her. She swallowed. “Uh, I didn’t think anyone lived here.”
His stare held hers captive. “I do.”
Valerie retreated to stand next to her. “Oh really. With a padlock on the outside of the gate?”
He raised his right brow, the look of arrogance worthy of Mr. Darcy. “There is a postern gate.”
Rena racked her brain. She’d heard that word before. Oh yes. “I thought only the owners of a castle knew the secret to that rear exit.”
He raised his brows together. “That is true but I desi—discovered it while following a small boy around the Abbey.”
Valerie crossed her arms. “A small boy?”
“Yes. The children in the neighborhood dare each other to get close to the Abbey. They want to see the ghosts, who are quite harmless to humans.” He gestured to the housekeeper. “Mrs. McMurray here will become more solid as the full moon approaches and will be pleased to help you in any way she can.”
They turned and stared at their ghost, having forgotten her. The older woman nodded vigorously, her white cap covering her gray hair falling to the side. Mrs. McMurray’s plump frame included pudgy arms sprouting from a short-sleeved blouse and a white apron that protected her skirt, but from the knees down, she didn’t exist at all.
Rena’s heart pounded. A real ghost. If what Synn said was true, that the ghosts would become solid, the possibilities for her new venture were endless. Could the ghosts serve breakfast to the guests? How would she pay them? She couldn’t resist asking. “Are you the one who keeps it so clean in here?”
Mrs. McMurray blushed and nodded again. She actually blushed.
Synn clarified. “She and a dozen maids have kept this place clean for centuries in the hopes that someone would come here to live. Do you plan to stay?”
She turned to answer him, but Valerie gave him a disapproving look. “The real estate agent didn’t say anything about anyone living here.”
He sighed, clearly bored. “No, I imagine he didn’t. He is what we refer to as a lickfinger.”
Rena chuckled at the strange word. She couldn’t help it. It sounded backward.
Valerie didn’t find the expression funny. “Well, you need to know, Rena owns this castle now, abbey, whatever you want to call it, and she has the right to throw you out.”
Rena grabbed her arm. “Valerie.” She changed her warning tone to a more pleasant octave as she addressed the sexy man in front of her. “You are of course welcome to stay, Synn. Perhaps you can help us understand the ghosts, the history of the Abbey and anything else that might be helpful.” She smiled encouragingly. She didn’t want him to leave.
He gave her an arrogant nod. “I would be happy to be of service. Perhaps I should start by helping you to bring your personal items upstairs as the footmen will not be solid enough to lift anything for another week.”
Another week? How strange. She didn’t remember seeing anything on television regarding ghosts changing with the moon. “Thank you. That would be perfect.” She could tell Valerie didn’t trust him. She, on the other hand, was thrilled to have him in the Abbey. Anyone who could help her succeed was welcome. The fact that the man was incredibly hot didn’t hurt either.
He nodded once and held his arm out to her. She looked at her friend and shrugged, then looped her arm with his. The second they made contact, a sizzling sensation raced across her skin.
He didn’t move. Did he feel it too? He gazed down at her, his face serious. “Shall we?”
She nodded, her throat having closed at his look. There was something sensual about his lips. They were strong, full and serious and made her want to taste him. Sheesh, hadn’t she learned anything from her failed engagement? She needed to keep her libido under control. Men like Synn wouldn’t appreciate her scandalous thoughts. Besides, who used phrases like “shall we”?

Masque is available at Ellora's Cave, Amazon and will be available at other booksellers soon.

Please visit Lexi online!

websitehttp://www.lexipostbooks.com/             
twitter:   https://twitter.com/LexiPost               


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