Speed Date Interview with Alpha Hero


Well, helloooo Logan Winter! It is my very great pleasure to meet you today…Let’s get started!

1. What do you do for work? Wheel and deal – I mean I buy and sell companies.

2. What do you do for fun? What could be more fun than wheeling and dealing?

3. Where are you from? The city I was born in has an airport with the same name as mine. (I enjoy riddles.) Currently, I live in Manhattan, but I'm not tied to any one place.

4. Tell us something about your past. No past. It's a closed book. Next?

5. When was your last relationship and how long did it last? Life is fleeting. I'm not into permanence.

6. What do you need in a relationship? Is this a PG site? [Looks around.] Okay, then, I can't use that 3-letter word beginning with 's' and ending in 'x'.

7. What do you bring to a relationship? Money. Connections. What else is there? [Grins] Besides that word I can't say.

8. Do you want to marry or have you ever been married? Never been married. Not on my bucket list.

9. Do you believe in love at first sight? I didn’t, until Amanda presented me with the surprise of a lifetime.

10. Is sexual compatibility important to you? Are you kidding? It’s mandatory.

11. How do you spend your spare time? I enjoy most outdoor activities like sailing and skiing.  And one particular indoor activity. Is this site still PG?

12. Describe your perfect vacation. Give me a hot woman and an exotic location. I’ll take care of the rest.

13. Are you a morning person or a night person? Night. Remember my favorite indoor activity?

14. What is your fairy tale? Uh, fairy tales? Okay, Snow White. I figure I can beat out seven dwarves.

15. What is the longest relationship (not sexual) you have had with animal, vegetable or tangible? Does my airplane count? I have a cool Learjet and one item that is on my bucket list is to learn how to fly it.

16. What do you need that you don't have, Logan? [Long silence.] Some things are just not possible.

17. Where can we learn more about you?

Here's the Blurb for my story, Eclipse of the Heart: Amanda Thompson is offered her dream job as a junior executive at a Manhattan venture firm. The terms are a little vague, but she has a seriously ill sister to provide for, and her new boss is a seriously attractive man. Failure is not an option, so she'll keep her eye on the prize, and her heart and body out of the mix…despite the boss's overly personal interest in her.

Logan Winter is a hard-driving business tycoon who likes his sex life hot and his emotional life cold. His new high-end call girl is a little different from the ordinary bimbos who fill the role. That's okay, since he's ready for different. Even discovering the mistake that's been made is okay, because he knows how to get what he wants…and he wants Amanda.

And, here's an excerpt:


“Logan,” she said, struggling to repeat the words. Lie or not, she had to say them to stop this dangerous madness. “I’m not attracted to you.”

He released her just enough to look down at her. “So why are your nipples hard?”

“Because you’ve been manhandling them!”

His half smile showed, though his face looked a little strained. “Yeah, technically I suppose they have been handled by a man. With great pleasure.”

“I’ve had a long day.” If she didn’t get out of this room, she might grab him. “I’d like to retire to my room. Will you need me tonight for work?”

He raised his brows. “Yes, I will need you,” he said firmly. “Perhaps you’d like to change into something more comfortable?” He glanced at his watch. “Shall we say half-an-hour?”

“Fine.” She suppressed a sigh. He had told her this would be her first night on the job. “Though I don’t need to change,” she added. “What will you want me to do?”

His gaze, which had been lingering on her breasts, snapped to her face.

“Amanda, you’re a sharp woman. Right from the beginning I liked that about you.”

She took a step back. “Your point is?”

“Look, unless you’re wearing a plaid skirt and knee socks, the ingénue approach isn’t my thing.”

“The ingénue approach?” He’d reduced her to a parrot.

“The dumb, innocent act. Even in the right outfit, it wouldn’t be my first choice.”

“I …” She opened and closed her mouth. Words failed her. Had she taken a job with a pervert? Damn! It had seemed so perfect! “What are you talking about?”

“Are you new at this?” he demanded, his eyes narrowing as he looked down at her. “Because I’ve told the agency I want only experienced women. And no games.”

“You know exactly what my experience is. And if you don’t like to play games, then stop speaking in riddles. Just tell me plainly what you want.”

“Fine.” He jerked his hand toward her. “Get undressed.”

 
More Excerpt here


Buy Eclipse of the Heart on Amazon http://amzn.com/B00C5ROHB4



For more information, please visit http://www.carlycarson.com

Thanks for joining me, and I have a question for you. What city was Logan born in?
Bra Straps--To See or Not to See


Is it National Bra Week or something? Did I not get a memo? I am, for some reason, noticing an inordinate about of bra straps showing in public. Everywhere I go, I see delicate underthings that would be better off left, well, under.

Now, I have nothing at all against bra straps. They are perfectly fine, and most importantly, they hold up bras, which in turn hold up bosoms. In my case, this is more or less a miracle of defying gravity and physics than one can imagine, so I’m completely okay with bra straps as a necessary evil sometimes. I'm used to occasionally getting a glimpse of someone's strap, as that happens all the time. If a little bit peeks out while your sleeveless polo isn’t looking, no problem. I do not, however, want to see entire bra straps, including the plastic strap adjusters, when I’m eating or standing in line or grocery shopping or doing anything, really. But I do. All the time.

I guess my issue is that women are buying tops with necklines and sleeves that just don’t cover the typical bra. Okay, fine. Get a bra that goes with that top or get one of those little devices that pulls the straps into a T or a V or whatever letter helps the little bugger conceal the bra straps. I know how it is to fall in love with a top that looks great but doesn’t go with any bra I own. I simply don’t buy it unless I know I’m going to buy a companion bra so the top won’t be lonely and my lingerie won’t be showing. Or I go—gasp!—braless, which emphasizes the aforementioned sagginess of my girls, but I do it anyway. Other women, though, just put the top on and let their bra straps—in one case, bright pink ones that could be seen on Mars—hang out. Some straps were made for this kind of exposure, but 98% of the ones I see are obviously of the indoor-only variety, though you’d never know it by the way they’re worn.

I know I sound like a fussy old bat, but I’m not really. I just think it looks like the lady wearing her straps out and about seems to think that for some reason wearing a bra that everyone can see is somehow more socially acceptable than wearing no bra at all. I’m a nudist, remember? And a hippy-ish type. I’m all for letting it all hang out and am always looking for excuses to go without the bosom wrangler, so committing a needless fashion faux pas in the name of some kind of modesty is beyond my comprehension.

I also think there’s a bigger issue here, one that women refuse to talk about. I shouldn’t, but I’m going to break the silence and state it here for the world to see:

Most women don’t like strapless bras.

Yes, that’s right. All this inadvertent strap voyeurism could be avoided if women would just wear strapless bras, but they don’t. Why? I’m assuming for the same reason I don’t want to wear one. They never seem to fit. I’ve yet to find a strapless bra that fits right for more than thirty minutes or one that the band doesn’t twist. It’s not like my breasts are double anythings, so breast tissue girth is not the reason. It is just, I believe, impossible to create a structurally sound strapless bra that a women can actually wear and move around in without it bending, folding, spindling, or mutilating itself.

What I like about my next story is that in the world I’ve created, there are no bras and none needed. A small detail, but one that makes me happy, nonetheless. No bras: no visible bra straps. It’s nirvana for both my female characters AND me, not to mention the hero.

So what about you? Where on you on the visible bra strap spectrum? Please do share!
The Awakening: Liam & Giveaway!!
I finally get to share The Awakening: Liam with all of you! So excited. Liam is so special to me. It was the idea of Liam that started the entire Awakening series. I've had to wait a long time to share his story, but it is finally here. :)


Shifter, Liam Doyle knows Hell. At least he believed he did. The night he feels his mate die, he learns how very wrong he was. Nothing he’d struggled with since Ava’s rejection compares to the emptiness that fills his soul by her death. Lost in his grief, he’s taken by surprise and drugged.  When he wakes, everything changes. Nothing is what it seems, and someone is dead set on making him pay.

When Ava Michaels is taken captive, she’s thrust into a dark and terrifying world along with the man she was forced to leave behind. While being near Liam again is heartbreaking, the motive behind her kidnapping is gradually revealed. The more she learns, the more she worries Liam isn’t the man she believed him to be. He has enemies willing to do anything to extract their revenge. Can their love survive a crazy man’s vengeance?

What readers are saying:

"This book starts right off with so much action that there was no way for me to put it down."

"It has all the elements of a great series; love and romance, bonding and eternity, suspense and secrets, discovery and self awareness. The characters are strong and bewitching and are easily related to." 

"From the start, The Awakening: Liam, was exciting and action packed. This book was original and not just another shape shifter novel. Your heart will go out to the characters as the story develops. Abby Niles did a wonderful job creating this thrilling tale." 

"I couldn't put this book down. The action was never ending. I felt emotionally drained after reading this book. If you enjoy reading a hot romance about shifters, you will love this book."

"Niles starts out Liam's story with nail-biting intensity and I couldn't put it down. A must read for fans of shifter romance readers out there who love a protective hero who will do anything for his mate."

What is that beginning the are all talking about?

I'm going to share it with you :) (Cursing has been tweaked)

The first scene of The Awakening: Liam:

 A citric taste flooded Liam Doyle’s mouth a second before a shot of terror had him jackknifing to a sitting position. He clawed at his throat, and the book he’d been reading crashed to the floor.

Not your reality. Not your reality. Not your reality.

He repeated the mantra he’d used to keep from going deep into Bahrraj, to keep from being paralyzed by her emotions.

The constriction around his chest and throat tightened. A cold sweat broke out over his body as he fought the attack, fought to stay conscious of his surroundings.

Not you. Her.

Desperate to get to his feet, he fumbled with the covers, but tumbled out of bed onto the floor on all fours. Muscles tensed, threatening to lock into immobility as he struggled to escape her invading feelings. Forcing stuttered puffs through his taut lips, he clenched his eyes closed.

Not you. Her.

Ava. His mate.

The awareness of her loosened its grasp on his body and mind. He inhaled, once, twice, then pushed to his feet. Something was wrong. He had to get to her. As he stumbled from the room into the hallway, another blinding wave of terror consumed him and he fell against the wall. Her fear was so powerful, so crushing, he could barely stay on his feet, but at least his muscles were no longer trying to lock.

He’d won control over the attack. Now he had to help her.

How could he help her? G-damn it, he didn’t even know where she was! He staggered the rest of the way into the living room, inhaling painful breaths into his constricted lungs.

Snarling, his beast slammed forward with its teeth bared. As always, Liam’s body failed to respond to the animal’s frenzy, but for the first time since she had rejected him eight months ago, he and his beast felt the same overwhelming emotion—fear for their mate. What was happening? Why was she so f-ing terrified? Where was she?

The impotence of the moment made him bellow between fused teeth as he fisted his hands in his hair and pulled. An icy cold filled his veins. Everything froze. His body. His beast. His emotions. Everything. Froze. The terror slowly seeped from within him. A dark shadow crept in, replacing the essence that was Ava that lived in his blood.

His beast roared.

“No!”

This couldn’t be happening.

As her life force drained from him, he dropped to his knees. Tears scorched the back of his eyes. The last flutters of her life ceased to pump in his veins, and he was left with nothing but emptiness.

He searched deep inside for any sign of her, a flicker, a hope someone was trying to breathe life back into her—to give her back to him. The emptiness did not shift, did not even shimmer. It lay inside him. Heavy. Cold. Dead. Even his beast lay unnaturally dormant. No growls or agitated pacing, as if it, too, knew its mate was gone.

Bile rose in the back of his throat. He shoved to his feet, making it to the kitchen sink before he could no longer hold back the contents in his stomach. The sounds of his retching echoed throughout the kitchen. Afterward, he slid down the cabinet to the floor staring at nothing.

Where had she been? How had she died? The terror made him certain her death was at the hands of someone else. Someone she knew? A stranger?

Two bare feet came into view, and he lifted his head to stare up at his roommate, Brit.
“Why are you making such a damn ruckus, man?”

He swallowed, then licked his lips, trying to form the words, but unable to get the syllables out of his mouth.

“Liam?” Brit squatted in front of him, brows knitted as he cocked his head to the side and studied him. “Is this some new f-ed-up symptom of Dsershon or something?”

No, this…this was far worse. When Ava had ended their relationship eight months ago, her rejection had devastated his bond to her, sending him into a debilitating condition called Dsershon. When they were together, he’d reveled in the peace the bond had provided him. After she’d left, that peace had shriveled, replaced with anger, bitterness, and helplessness that slowly ate him alive, changed him from the happy, strong man he’d once been, to nothing more than a lost cause who was at the mercy of his mate’s emotions.

He’d gladly spend the rest of his life like that if it meant he’d escape the darkness lying heavy inside him now—a heaviness that would never ease, a darkness that would never lighten. Forever.
Unshed tears blurred his vision. “A-Ava’s dead.”

Brit jerked back. “F-k.” He scrubbed his hand across his mouth. “F-k.”

“Terrified. She was so terrified.” He rubbed the area above his heart. Silent. Still. “Gone.”

His friend fidgeted, looking uncomfortable as his face scrunched into an I-have-no-clue-what-to-do expression.

There was nothing he could do—nothing anyone could do.

“It’s going to be okay.”

No. The nothingness inside him ensured it would never be okay. Liam shoved to his feet and strode down the hall, needing to escape the small cabin and Brit’s sad, knowing expression. His friend knew what would happen to Liam now, knew the future he faced.

“Hey,” Brit called. “Where the hell are you going?”

“Got to go.” After he snatched the keys off the end table, he yanked the door open.

“Hey! Liam! Just stay here.”

He slammed the door behind him.

Within minutes, he was behind the wheel of his truck, driving down the dark, winding mountain road, with no destination in mind. The shock of her death slowly subsided, leaving behind an overwhelming anguish.

His mate was no longer alive. Never again would he feel her course through his body, but instead live the remainder of his time with this silence.

Why had he given up? He should have fought for her. Now she was lost to him forever.

He slammed his palm against the steering wheel. F-ing Dsershon.

Had he been human, not stuck in the debilitating, soul-sucking obscurity of the condition, nothing would’ve stopped him from winning her back. But the longer Ava refused to have anything to do with him, the more the Dsershon had taken over his life, made him stop giving a sh-t about anything. Until he was aware of nothing but her emotions flowing through his body…and the sinking realization that his mate had never loved him.

Except she had f-ing loved him. Even as she’d tried to reject him, she’d hesitated, cried, and then his stupid mouth had supplied her with the fury to go through with it.

The real reason she’d left him had died with her.

As had his chance to fix what had driven them apart.

When he turned onto a street, he realized he’d driven to Ava’s neighborhood. Even in death she still drew him to her. He stopped in front of her two-story house. Every window was illuminated. A strangled sound whistled out of his chest.

This was where she’d died.

Ava only kept the lights on when she was home. As soon as she walked into the front door, she started flipping on every switch in the house, saying the shadows gave her the spooks. A quirk he’d found endearing. But it hadn’t been the shadows she should’ve been worried about. It was the monsters waiting outside. He should’ve been here to protect her. He would’ve killed to keep her safe. His beast would’ve killed.

Was her body lying on the floor still undiscovered? Was the killer still inside?

No ambulance, police cars, or fire trucks were present. Other than the bastard that had taken her life, Brit and Liam were the only ones who knew she was dead. Imagining her body, lying alone, felt like a knife to the heart. He had to go in. See for himself she was truly gone.

After he jogged up the stone walkway, he grabbed the key from the top of the door frame and opened the door. Ava’s familiar floral scent tackled him, as well as the metallic stench of human blood. He recoiled, almost losing the strength to proceed, but he forced himself to follow the reek up the stairs, death taunting him the entire way. When he entered her bedroom, the smell overpowered him. He gagged, stumbling backward against the wall.

Could he face this?

Damn it, he had to.

Forcing himself back into her room, his gaze immediately went to the puddle of blood at the foot of the bed and the curled fingers lying in it—Ava’s slim, French-manicured fingers. His throat tightened, making it difficult to draw in air. A part of him hadn’t wanted to believe it, couldn’t accept it, but the evidence before him forced him to face the truth.

Ava was truly dead.

As he moved to the corner of the bed, his beast roared, thrashing violently inside. Liam moaned and dropped to his knees beside her still body.

“Oh, A-Ava. What did they do to you?” He leaned over her, hands held out toward her, unable to believe his mate had been taken from this world in such a violent manner.

Blood drenched her turquoise camisole. The sticky substance streaked through her strawberry-blond hair and puddled beneath her head and body. So much blood. There was so much f-ing blood.
He reached toward her, then hesitated, afraid of touching her, afraid to find the warm skin cold as ice, scared to accept.

Tears burned his eyes. When he finally touched her, he brushed aside a lock of bloodstained hair that clung to her cheek. One touch wasn’t enough. He skimmed the back of his fingers down her cheek and the side of her neck, relieved to feel the warmth had yet to seep from her skin.

Violent tremors started to quake his body. Unable not to, he gathered her against his chest and rocked. Anguish ripped past his throat and into the air as his soul shattered.

Burying his head in her neck, he hugged her tighter, aware that her arms hung limply, never to hold him again. Her eyes stared past him, never to focus on him again. Her parted lips did not move, never to speak his name again.

“Ava!”

He sensed the movement behind him later than he usually would. As he turned his head, a sharp prick pierced his neck.

The last thing he heard was a dark, menacing laugh and a low whisper. “I knew you’d come.”

Then everything went black.

###

I still get chills when I read that :)

***GIVEAWAY!!***

I'm giving away a $20 Amazon to B&N giftcard (winner's choice) to one lucky commenter. All you have to do is comment below answering this question:

Why did Liam hesitate to touch Ava after he found her?

Giveaway will run through the 3rd. I will announce the winner next Wednesday, September 4th.

Amazon    B&N    Kobo    iBookstore

Abby


 

Isle of Lewis: Dun Carloway Broch

Next on our tour of Isle of Lewis in Scotland, we visited Dun Carloway Broch (Dun Charlabhaigh). This is one of the best preserved Iron Age brochs in Scotland. What is a broch, you might wonder. It's a dwelling constructed during the last few centuries BC. Dun Carloway is believed to have been one of the last constructed, in the last century BC. Brochs had been used for centuries before then and they are found all over western and northern Scotland from Sutherland and Caithness, Orkney, Shetland, Isle of Skye, Barra, various other islands of the Hebrides, and on the western mainland too. We later stayed at a B&B near Dornie and the owner told us about a broch nearby that I'd never heard of. I definitely want to visit that one in the future.


When we arrived at Dun Carloway, it was raining again, a bit more heavily than it had at Callanish, which I covered in the post last week. We put up the hoods of our rain jackets and hurried up the hill toward the broch. It's hard to take photos in the rain because I always fear my camera will get too wet. Also drops get on the lens and distort the photos.


Brochs are interesting architecturally because they are built with two concentric walls fastened together by banks of stone slabs to form a series of internal galleries and stairs. In other words, the stairs are in between the walls. Some believe these were fortifications where extended families could go inside for protection during invasions. Others believe they were simply impressive homes for prominent families. The construction would've protected them in winter from the harsh wind and rain of the islands. It is believed farm animals were kept on the ground floor in winter to protect them from the cold.

the stairs
 The roof of the broch would've been conical and made of thatch, supported by wooden timbers. The brochs would've also had a few timber floors for living quarters for perhaps large extended families.

at the top of the stairs
 Brochs have no big exterior windows, just a few voids in the wall for a small amount of light and air circulation, and one low entrance door, so you can imagine how dark they must have been.

view out over the broch
 Brochs were generally tall and imposing, often constructed on hills. Some were at least 13 meters high and they were built without mortar. The builders of the time must have been very skilled for these structures to have stood for so many centuries.

The interior at ground level showing the two doorways. We went into the one on the far left to access the stairs.
 Some brochs are smaller so it could be that almost everyone, or those who held land, lived in a broch of one size or another because on the islands of Barra and North Uist, it was discovered that there were as many broch ruins as there were tenant farmers during the 18th century. So, big impressive brochs like Dun Carloway may have been the home of a chief or tribal leader, while smaller brochs were homes of landholding families of lesser rank.

Very low doorway into what might have been a guard room.
 Many brochs of the Hebrides were lived in for generations of the same family. Experts believe the people of the western isles stopped building brochs around the first century AD but many were still occupied. Some people even built later houses within the walls of the roofless brochs.

The loch below the broch.
Local legend says that during the 1500s the Morrison Clan of Ness carried out a cattle raid on the local Clan MacAuly. They were caught red-handed but took refuge in Dun Carloway and blocked the door. Donald Cam MacAuly climbed up the outside wall of the broch and threw burning heather down into the interior to smoke out the raiders. This leads historians to believe the walls of the broch were much higher and more complete at that time.

Local resident
 After it was abandoned, prior to 1797, Dun Carloway was mostly ignored by the general public. That year marks the first mention of the broch in print. It is believed ancient sites like this broch were simply considered to be part of the landscape and not worthy of mention. In the 1800s people became more interested in ancient structures and monuments. They soon discovered the brochs predated the Viking age by several centuries. Dun Carloway was taken into state care in 1887.

Click on photo to enlarge

click on photo to enlarge
The above photos show what the interior of a broch might have looked like and gives some historical information.

I hope you've enjoyed this peek inside a broch. We'll continue our tour of Isle of Lewis next time.
Thanks!
Vonda
www.vondasinclair.com


Battle-hardened warrior Dirk MacLerie isn't who everyone thinks he is. He's Dirk MacKay, heir apparent to the MacKay chiefdom and Dunnakeil Castle on the far north coast of Scotland. When he returns home after a long absence, will his clan know him and will the duplicitous enemy who tried to murder him twelve years ago kill him in truth this time?

Lady Isobel MacKenzie is a beautiful young widow betrothed to yet another Highland chief by her brother's order. But when her future brother-in-law accosts her and threatens to kill her, she is forced to flee into a Highland snowstorm. When she runs into a rugged and imposing man she thought dead, she wonders if he will turn her over to her enemy or take her to safety.

Dirk remembers the enchanting, dark-eyed Isobel from when he was a lad, but now she is bound to another man by legal contract—an important detail she would prefer to forget. She wishes to choose her own husband and has her sights set on Dirk. But he would never steal another man's bride… would he? The tantalizing lady fires up his passions, testing his willpower and honor at every turn, even as some of his own treacherous clansmen plot his downfall.
Guest Interview - Shelley Munro
Shelley, thanks for joining us at Fierce Romance today. Let's start by telling our readers a little about yourself.

Hi, and thanks for having me to visit today. Short story—I live in New Zealand with my husband and a rambunctious puppy called Bella. When I’m not working at writing—my dream job—I love to walk, ride my bicycle and bake anything from bread to biscuits and cakes and vegetarian dishes. It’s fun experimenting with different recipes. My other passion is travel, which luckily my husband shares. We try to fit in as much travel as work and money allow and have traveled in Africa, Asia, America, Australia, Central America, China, Europe, several Pacific Islands and of course, our home country of New Zealand. There are so many wonderful places to explore!

I’ve been published since 2004 and write mainly for Ellora’s Cave, Carina Press and Samhain Publishing, although I have self-published a couple of titles too.

How great to have done so much travelling! What would your readers be surprised to know about you?

A few things that I wouldn’t want them to know LOL
Let’s see…I have large feet. My story is that my large feet give me a good grip on the ground. On the down side, during my younger days it was very difficult to buy shoes. These days, the problem is more common and my favorite shoe store is just for people with large feet. They have a great online store too, and I can now indulge my love of boots. I have three pairs. Believe me that’s a miracle in itself given the fact that one irritated shoe store attendant came from out the back with a final pair of shoes and said, “If these shoes don’t fit, you’ll have to wear the boxes.”
My mother thought it was hysterical. Me—not so much.

LOL. So glad shoe shopping can be fun for you now. Tell us about your recent release.


Today I’d like to tell you about The Bottom Line, book one in my Love and Friendship series. At heart, it’s a book about friendship. The hero and heroine are friends at the start of the story and their relationship evolves from friends-with-benefits to love.

Here’s the blurb:

Spicing up her sex life sounds exciting…until the fantasy hits the fan.
When Maggie Drummond buys an erotic romance novel by mistake, she gets more than an unexpected eyeful. She gets an introduction to a world that arouses her to a fever pitch. Spanking.

Her boyfriend isn’t interested in pushing his vanilla-flavored sexual boundaries. Then there’s Connor Grey, who haunts her fantasies like a magical genie. As a source of masculine advice for her and her female friends, he’s off limits. The only safe place to explore her fetish is her anonymous blog.

The recent changes in Maggie don’t escape Connor’s notice. Now that her boyfriend has dropped her, he can finally—carefully—make his move. Given his family history, laying a hand on any woman, even in fun, is a line he’s reluctant to cross. But for Maggie? Anything the lady wants.

As Maggie gives in to the temptation to let Connor add some sin to her life, she finds herself juggling lies, half-truths, friendship and sensual delights. Her job is in jeopardy—and she’s falling in love. Exploring her fantasy is one thing, but she’s beginning to question if indulging her own pleasure is worth the cost to everyone around her. Especially Connor…
Product Warnings
Contains explicit sex, spanking, and the good, the bad and the ugly about friendship.

It sounds like a great story! What element of story creation is your favorite? (Character? Setting? Plot? Etc.) Why?

My favorite part is writing the first draft. This is where I start with a basic knowledge of my characters and conflict and spin out a story without trying to over think things too much. I just let rip and write. That kind of freedom is heady. The editing/polishing stage is the one that isn’t as much fun for me. That’s plain hard work, but the initial writing is pure magic. I never know where I’m going, but it all works out in the end.

Yeah, I can identify with that hard editing work. If you could be one of your characters for a day, who would it be, and why?

I have a feline shapeshifter series called Middlemarch Mates, which is set in New Zealand. I think I’d like to be part of the shifter community for the day and join in with one of their famous football games that they play while in feline form. The enhanced senses and the fun of a free-for-all football game, followed by a picnic lunch sounds like fun to me.

That does sound like fun. Do you celebrate every new release? How?

Now that I have over fifty releases, my celebrations aren’t as exuberant as they used to be, but I think it’s good to celebrate success. I do a crazy happy dance and start our puppy barking, get a celebratory hug from hubby and usually have a glass of wine.

Over fifty releases? That’s awesome. So are hugs and puppies and wine. Most people think a writer’s life is really glamorous. What’s the least glamorous thing you’ve done in the past week?

LOL – it’s definitely not glamorous. Writing is plain hard work. The least glamorous thing I’ve done this week is pick up puppy poop—a daily requirement during our walks.

Gotta love those puppies. What can we look forward from you in the future?

Past Regrets, book two in my Love and Friendship series is due out from Samhain Publishing on 10 September. Past Regrets features Julia Maxwell, a secondary character from The Bottom Line. I have the third book in the series finished and ready to polish before sending it off to my editor.

I also have a mm story called Stoned due out from Ellora’s Cave on 20 September. This story is about two Roman charioteers who are cursed to spend hundreds of years within a statue.

They both sound great! Where can we find out more about you?

To learn more about my books, please visit my website http://www.shelleymunro.com or my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/ShelleyMunroAuthor. I also tweet now and then at http://www.twitter.com/ShelleyMunro

Is there a question you’d like to ask our readers?

What characteristics do you like and dislike in a heroine?

Readers, what do you think?? We'd love to hear your comments!

Thanks again, Shelley for joining us today. I'm looking forward to reading The Bottom Line!

Natasha
www.natashamoore.com

England - touring castles, manors and ruins
Last month, Jenna Ives and I spent ten amazing days in England. I agreed to go to two Rolling Stones shows with her in Hyde Park in London, and she agreed to spend three days in the countryside touring old castles, churches and ruins with me (for research purposes, since I write historical romance). It was a win-win for both of us! 

I thought you might enjoy a vicarious tour of some of the sights we saw when we traded our dancing shoes for hiking boots…
St. Mary Magdalene Church, Stapleford Park
 
First stop was the church of St. Mary Magdalene, on the grounds of Stapleford Park in Leicestershire, the beautiful manor house where we stayed. This church houses the crypt of Stapleford Park owner William Sherard (who died in 1640 AD) and his wife Abigail. The top of the crypt has both of their statues carved into it, so lifelike that you can see what they actually looked like, even now after more than 370 years! There are also several statues of babies and infants carved into the edge of the crypt, representing their children. (Amazingly old stuff like this always raises the hair on the back of my neck!)

 
Belvoir Castle, Rutland
Our next stop was actually a drive-by:  Belvoir Castle (“beautiful view” in French, but pronounced “Beaver Castle” by the English because they couldn’t pronounce the French word ages ago) is the current home of the Duke of Rutland. The castle dates back to Norman times, and has been the ancestral home of the Manners family for five hundred years. The current duke is the 11th duke. He lives here with his wife and five children. I have a passing acquaintance with the duke’s younger brother.

 
Next was Belton House (above) in Lincolnshire – a beautiful Elizabethan manor built in 1688. Belton was first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as ‘Beltone’ meaning a village located on a dry piece of land farmed by families or groups of individuals. In the 1600’s, the Brownlow family began acquiring land in the area, and eventually built Belton House along with its fabulous gardens, orangerie and deer park.

Burghley House
 
Next up was Burghley House, considered “England’s Greatest Elizabethan House.” It was built in 1543 by William Cecil, chief minister to Queen Elizabeth I. Imagine all the history, intrigue, and royal machinations that have been played out here! The Cecil family still lives in one part of this amazing castle.

 

Of course, no trip to English castles would be complete without a visit to Nottingham Castle (above), home to the Robin Hood legend. (Jenna & I laughed out loud at the directions our GPS gave us to get there...) The original castle was built by William the Conqueror in 1068, but everyone knows it mostly from around 1194 when it was besieged by King Richard I (Richard the Lionhart) who seized it from his evil brother John, who suppressed the poor people around Nottingham and gave rise to Robin Hood stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. Nothing remains of that original castle except this entryway (above) and the castle wall. A manor house was built on this site in the 1800’s.

 




The only real “ruin” we saw that day was Kirby Hall in Northhamptonshire (above). It was started in 1570 by Sir Humphrey Stafford, but completed by Sir Christopher Hatton, one of Queen Elizabeth I’s favorite courtiers. It fell into ruin in the nineteenth century, but is now being restored by English Heritage. There’s a beautiful parterre garden, and a flock of peacocks that still live there to this day!

Jenna and I also tried to visit Rockingham Castle in Market Harborough, which was built in 1066 and was the oldest castle on our list, but unfortunately, it was closed to visitors that day!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this very abbreviated tour of Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. It’s just a small slice of the countless castles you can still see in England!

What about you? Ever been to England? Are you the ‘swinging Londoner’ type or, like me, more of the ‘walk back into history’ type?  Tell me about your experience!

Leigh
www.leighcourt.com   


 

 

 

 
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