Stepping Outside the Comfort Zone

Nope. This isn't about writing. Tomorrow is the twins 10th birthday. I'm letting them stay out of school and we're having a fun day. We are spending the day at the US National White Water Center. This center has been one of the best additions to our area in a long time. It offers so many activities to do. I've done white water rafting and hiking. This was also the location for the mud race I did a couple of years ago.

It's a great place, but I haven't participated in all they have to offer. Why?

Because I'm terrified of heights.

A lot of the activities are off the ground. Zip-lining. Two rope courses way up in the flipping trees. A rock wall. Some platform you jump off of and free-fall for 40 feet. Cringe. All I see when I look at this stuff is the fall to the ground. I don't care if I'm harnessed in. Harnesses break. And though there has never been anyone actually hurt on any of these activities, my mind likes to remind me there is always a first time. So my cautious side really has control over me.

Not tomorrow.

Both my kids are very excited about two different activities that will take my feet off their comfort zone and leave them suspended with nothing between them but a very long drop to the ground. However, my momma bear protective side is much stronger than my "No way in hell am I doing this," side. My kids won't be going on a rope course without me there. Or zip-line to the other side of the park without me right behind them. Nope. Not happening. And I refuse to be one of those momma's that won't let them do something because I'm afraid. My son wants to zip-line. My daughter wants to rope course it. All right. Let's do it.

Am I scared crapless? Oh....am I!  BUT this is a perfect lesson for my kids. I don't hide my emotions well. So they will see I'm scared. They will most likely laugh at me because I'm expressing how stupid this is. THEN they will see me face my fear...and succeed. Afterwards, mommy lesson "Don't let fear stop you" will commence.

Now I can see this conversation taking a turn to "Nope. We're not going there" territory and coming back to bite me in the ass. I'm also terrified of flying. I mean if I have a true phobia, its getting on an airplane. Seriously. I don't fly. I will drive, take a train, or sail to where ever I need to go. I don't care if it takes me an extra week to get to my destination. I. Don't. Fly. My kids know this. Their dad isn't afraid of planes. So I see them throwing that out there.

Lesson number 2 will commence then. That lesson is: sometimes you face your fear and realize that its a real fear. It's okay to accept that.

Yeah. I've flown. Once. Round-trip. Never again. It was the most terrifying three hours of my life. I cried. And not pretty tears. It was "Oh God, we're going to die," snot and shaky sobs. I felt horrible for the flight attendant who tried to make me feel better. I think I shook for an hour after I finally got my feet back on safe ground. That was thirteen years ago. I haven't stepped on a plane since. There are other modes of transportation that keep me on solid ground to get me where I need to go. BUT I did face that fear, realized I am truly terrified of it and came up with my alternatives so I wouldn't be stopped because of this phobia.

That's the lesson. Face your fear. Two things are either going to happen. You realize it isn't that bad. OR you will never do it again.

Hmm...writing this I guess I should also make sure my kids understand the difference between fear and survival mode. LOL. I'm afraid of heights and it makes me hesitant to do things I actually think I would enjoy. That fear is stopping me. However, I would never swim with sharks. That's not fear stopping me. That's my survival mode telling me, "Girl, those things will eat you." There's a difference. Need to make sure I emphasize that to both my kids or they will think I'm telling that anytime their instinct is telling them to not to do something, they should face it. If any two kids would do that, it would be my kids.

Good Lord this parenting thing is hard. But, at least, I know how they think.

Wish me luck tomorrow!
Abby



Guest: R.L. Syme & The Runaway Highlander

R.L. Syme works at a youth theatre, teaching kids performing arts and musical performance classes/camps when she's not writing. Otherwise, she's putting her Seminary degree to good use writing romance novels.


Q: Welcome R.L.! Please tell us about The Runaway Highlander.
A: The Runaway Highlander is the follow-up to The Outcast Highlander and is the story of Anne de Cheyne, who finds herself engaged to a horrific Englishman and decides to… liberate herself from the relationship. But the man who comes to return her gets more than he bargained for.
Q: Sounds exciting! What inspired this story?
A: In the first book, the main character escapes from the dungeon of Berwick and I knew that he was helped by someone. I wanted her/him to tell the story of that escape. And this is definitely that story.
Q: Why do you write romance?
A: I write romance because I think every story should have a happy ending.
Q: How did your story’s setting impact your plot or characters?
A: Actually, because quite a bit of the story takes place out on the land, the setting was very important. But because most of the story is not in the Highlands, it was some new territory. I had to spend quite a bit of time on Google maps, looking around the actual landscape of Lowich and Belford, and then Hull. England is a new place for me and while I feel like I know Berwick pretty well by now (which is where the other half of the book takes place), I had a harder time really knowing the settings of Lowich and then Hull. I definitely want to see these places now, in person.
Q: Why did you choose your setting and why was it perfect for your book?
A: I had to pick some towns (for Lowich and Belford) that were close enough to Berwick that they could be "on the way" to where the Renegades would be camped. Far enough out of civilization that they wouldn't be "found", but close enough that they could be still raiding along the border. I use Google maps quite a bit for things like distance and then, the "street view" option to be able to see the actual landscape.
Q: Please tell us about your favorite character in the book.
A: My absolute favorite character in this book is Brighde, Aedan's sister. She doesn't have a lot of a role in this particular book, but after writing the sections where she does appear, I've been very excited to get her her own book. :) She has had a hard life growing up with her father and Aedan, because he was male, had more of an opportunity to get out of the house, but Brighde was really at his disposal and it's had a major affect on her. She makes a very desperate decision later in the book that makes things difficult for Aedan, but she just doesn't know another way. I'm interested to write more of her.
Q: What is your writing process or method?
A: I tend to do a lot of character work up front, trying to get to know the people that will be telling me the story. I want to get comfortable with them, and then I do a lot of research for whatever elements of the story I don't understand yet. (Again, with the Google Mapping, lol.) I usually don't start writing now until the characters, research, and plotting are all done. And with this series, I even have my covers done. :) The writing and editing are last. But time-wise, between the three elements, I probably spend the most of my time writing.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I'm finishing the third book in the Highland Renegades series, which is called The Highland Pirate and is the story of Malcolm Sinclair, from Book One. I'm also working on a novella that will happen between Runaway and Pirate. I'm very excited about that one. It should be called "Lachlan's Revenge" and I'm hoping it will be out in June.
Additionally, as part of the release party, we're going to be encouraging readers to take pictures of either the Kindle cover or the print book cover (which will be available soon) in some unique place. Could be your desk or your car or the supermarket or on top of your dog's back or whatever you'd like. But we want to see all the different places that our Highlander might Run away to on her #HighlandEscape. If you watch my Twitter feed (@beck_a_tron) and my Facebook page (@bighopesbigheroes) and my Pinterest board (@rlsyme), we'll be putting up all the places our #HighlandEscape happens. And if you want to participate, you can post via any of those social media outlets and @ me or hashtag the Escape and we'll spread around all the places where Anne might run. It's going to be lots of fun.
Q: Would you like to ask readers a question?

A: What is your favorite part of a romance novel?
Find the Runaway Highlander at Amazon.
Please visit R.L. Syme online: 
Thanks for being our guest today, R.L.!!

Her Royal Giveaway

The first 2 books in my Her Royal Romance series, Her Royal Masquerade and Her Royal Bodyguard, are now available in print as well as e-book. I just got a box of Her Royal Masquerade in the mail this weekend, so to celebrate, I'm giving away one autographed print copy to a random commenter.


Excerpt:

“Is that supposed to be seductive?” Mia scoffed, her voice not as steady as she would have liked. “Because it’s not working.”

“You want seduction, cara?” He was upon her in only a couple of steps, pressing her against the outside wall. He cupped one aching breast with his hand and her body arched into his touch. “What need is there for sweet words when our bodies already know what they want?”

Mia’s blood pulsed so heavily in her head, it was difficult to hear his words, sweet or otherwise. It was even more difficult to think. “You think I want to have sex with you? We’ve only shared a couple of dances. We’ve only known each other a few hours.”

“Time is not important,” he said, pressing his hard arousal against her hip. “Your body calls to me as mine calls to you. That is all that matters.”
His hand continued to gently knead her breast and Mia had to stifle the moan that threatened to escape her parted lips. How could he do this to her? How could he make her want what she couldn’t have? He wasn’t touching her, Mia. He was touching Birgitte. He wanted to have sex with a princess.

Her hands flew up to rest against his hard, hot chest. She’d intended to push him away, but somehow her fingers curled into his shirt, gathering the crisp fabric in her fists. “You presume, Vittorio.”

She had to be strong. She had to resist. “Of course, I find you attractive,” she went on, her voice sharp. “Any woman here would. I’m certain you’re well aware of your appeal.”

“I don’t care what any other woman thinks. You are the only one who matters to me.”

If only that were the truth.

No! She didn’t want to matter to him. What was she thinking? He was a prince. A prince who was going to be king someday. The last thing she’d ever want to be was a real, full time princess. And the thought that she’d be a queen? It was laughable. But Mia wasn’t laughing now. Her body was crying for this man, this prince. She had to stay strong.

“Just because I’m attracted to you doesn’t mean I want to have sex with you.”

Vittorio’s chuckle was dark, dangerous. He shifted his body so that one hard thigh pressed between her legs. Her body betrayed her yet again by rocking her hips, pressing that yearning part of her against him. “Your words say one thing, cara, but your body says something else.”

“We haven’t even kissed.” The protest was a weak one to be sure, but they were moving too fast. Rushing toward something she was afraid to embrace.

“A kiss is a prerequisite to sex?” he asked, amused. “If that is so, then I’ll remind you of the kiss we shared on the dance floor.”

“What kiss?” She forced a light laugh. “Oh, that little brush of lips in full view of the entire room? You call that a—”

Vittorio cupped the back of her neck, tugged her forward and crushed his lips to hers.

Heat. He tasted like rich, sweet heat, a treat for the senses. A promise of erotic pleasures to come. Mia opened to him on a moan, letting him invade her with his probing tongue, letting him devour her where she stood. She sank against him and he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her tight against his hard, hot body. He was burning her alive.


Just leave a comment and be entered to win!

Natasha
www.natashamoore.com





Edinburgh's Closes

Edinburgh is built down the backbone of the Old Town, running from the long slope of High Street to part of the Royal Mile. A series of lanes and alleyways grew out from it, falling away to either side and these are the "wynds" and "closes", which once had gates that could be locked at night to protect the inhabitants from thieves and vagabonds.

During one of my trips to Scotland, we took a tour of Mary King's Close, closely following the tour guide down steep, uneven steps (I slipped and nearly twisted my ankle) in the dark, only kept from being pitch black by a single light carried by the guide. Just now, remembering the feeling of the place, I got a shiver.

We entered a room containing several wax figures of the Craig family, as they would have been with the Black Plague , showing a horrible buboe being lanced by a physician of that time period, covered from head to toe, wearing a "beak" of some sort about his face. It was a strange feeling, to say the least, being in the same room where those poor people had died of plague in 1645. John Craig was a grave digger at Greyfriars churchyard and died within a month after starting the position. His wife, Janet, and their three children, John, Robert and Thomas were taken into quarantine. They had a 50-50 chance of surviving. No one knows if they did or didn't survive.

The closes abound with ghost stories, one of which concerns Thomas Coltheart and his wife, and took place almost 40 years after the last outbreak of plague in Edinburgh, when people were already claiming to have seen "spectres and nameless terrors" in Mary King's Close. The couple moved into Mary King's Close in 1685 and almost immediately their maidservant fled, insisting the house was haunted.Then on the Sabbath day they were accosted by the vision of an old man's disembodied head, floating in the air. Mrs. Coltheart fainted and the apparition vanished. But after supper it returned, joined by a young child "with its coat upon it." Thomas and his wife prayed for mercy, but to no avail. A severed arm appeared and beckoned them. A ghostly dog ran into the room, followed by a cat and a whole room full of weird little creatures "dancing prettily." Then the air was rent by a dreadful groan and all the ghosts disappeared. A few weeks later, having himself appeared in a vision to a friend, Thomas died.

During our tour of Mary King's Close, we were taken to this room. The tour guide had everyone in the group to sit down, then she turned off the light. The room became pitch black. I can honestly say, I've never been so frightened in my life. I was afraid something was going to touch or grab me. I was glad when the light was turned back on!

One of the most famous stories of the closes is that of a little girl known as Annie. Some years ago a psychic came to visit Allan's Close while making a film about haunted places of Britain. She could barely step inside a room off Allan's Close for the pain and unhappiness she could feel there. "I cannot enter this room...it is too strong...there is a child beside me, her little hand is clutching my trouser leg. I...I just cannot go into this room...she was separated from her parents. She wants to go home and see her family...her desire haunts this place very strongly."

Eventually she was able to cross the threshold. Inside the room, she communicated with the young girl's spirit near the recess cut into the wall to the right of the fireplace. "She wants me to ask her mummy why she left her. She didn't know that she had the plague. Her mum lied to her to take her here and then abandon her, probably to protect her siblings...can you get a small doll for the little girl? She has lost her favorite doll and is heartbroken."

The psychic had a doll brought to comfort the child, who was "absolutely delighted," and so long as the doll remains there, it is said that the room will never again be disturbed by her spirit. Since then, people from all over the world have been bringing Annie dolls, toys and jewelry.

Annie's Room was another that we visited, and seemed to be much colder than the others. I stood in the room waiting for Annie to tug on my clothes, and even though she didn't, there is definitely a presence in that room!

I hope you have enjoyed hearing about Edinburgh's Closes.

Gwyn Brodie

A Visit to the Botanical Gardens in Spring, Texas

 I loved all the flowers I saw, but these are some of my favorites. We also saw two snakes in the lily ponds. They had signs all over to watch out for snakes! So I was glad we went early in the year.
 I loved the green on these flowers. and the faces on the other. Doesn't it look like a duck to you, with squinted eyes?
Hope you have a lovely Saturday!

Terry
www.terryspear.com

Romance By The Book

I’m primarily an erotic romance author, but I love sweet tales as well. So today I thought I’d share a quick story of mine that appears in an anthology titled 5 Minute Love Stories published by my RWA chapter, Los Angeles Romance Authors (http://amzn.to/1tsS5Km). Happy Friday!

ROMANCE BY THE BOOK

Marie Platt unlocked the library door at exactly ten o’clock on Saturday morning. The usual crowd was gathered outside, waiting to come in – eleven-year-old Johnny, who spent hours on the weekend playing games on the library’s computers; two gum-popping teenage girls, who came at the beginning of every month to pore over the latest celebrity gossip magazines; and homeless Bart, who used the library as a place to escape the cold. But there was an unfamiliar face in the crowd today.

A man with sandy brown hair. Blue eyes. Nice mouth. He was wearing Chinos and a white Polo shirt. Not gorgeous, but he definitely looked friendly. Comfortable. Dependable. The kind of guy Marie could imagine curling up on the sofa with some Saturday night to watch a romantic movie on DVD.

Quit making up stories about other people’s lives, Marie!

Well, she couldn’t help it, after all. She was a librarian. She loved books. It was second nature for her to invent people’s life histories in her head.

So what was this man’s story? Was he here to do research for an important scientific paper? Look for something highbrow to read, like Tolstoy’s War and Peace? Or maybe he was interested in the library’s extensive collection of DVDs and audio books?

She stood to one side as the small crowd filed past her into the library, and smiled at the stranger. “If you need any help, just let me know.”

He glanced at her briefly, and Marie could’ve sworn he looked…nervous.  

At a library? Why would that be?

He headed off toward one of the aisles. Curious, Marie watched him go, but eventually lost sight of him among the tall stacks. She shrugged. She’d learn more about this mystery man when she saw what he eventually selected. Walking to the front counter, she picked up an armload of books, and then spent the next few minutes returning them to their appropriate shelves.      

“Er… excuse me.”

She jumped. The stranger was standing behind her, looking even more attractive up-close-and-personal.  
“Yes?”

“Can you tell me where your…um…romance section is?”

Marie’s eyebrow arched. Romance? Not War and Peace? Well, well. The mystery was getting deeper. “Certainly. You’ll find romances in the three rows by the back window.”

“Thanks.” He hustled off in the direction she indicated.

Marie forced herself to continue shelving the books in her arms, all while keeping one eye on the checkout counter. She was dying to find out what he’d pick.

He eventually returned, carrying an armload of paperbacks. Marie moved to the desk and looked them over. He’d chosen quite a diverse selection of romances. One paranormal, one science fiction, one contemporary, one Western, one Regency and one Victorian.  

She looked up, and found him blushing.

“I-I’m forty-six years old,” he explained, fingering his collar nervously. “I lost my wife last year, and since then…” He sighed. “I haven’t dated in twenty years. There was a Dear Abby letter in the newspaper the other day that said I could learn a lot about what women want from these books, so…” He gave her a sheepish look, and handed over his library card.

Marie ran the plastic under the computer scanner. Mark Prentiss. A nice name to go with his nice face.
She smiled. “Well, you’ve got a great cross-section here. Personally, I prefer the English historicals. The Regency rake is a charming rascal, but for me, there’s nothing like a Victorian gentleman.”

Mark seemed to relax at her comment. Still, he asked if she had a plastic bag to carry the books. Obviously, he was not quite as evolved as he thought.

The following week, Marie waited with bated breath for his return. When Monday passed and he didn’t bring the books back in outright shock or embarrassment, she began to look forward to Saturday. Would he come today? Or would he just leave the romances in the outdoor drop box – too mortified to ever face her again?

He finally showed up at three o’clock, with the paperbacks in his arms and a broad smile on his face. There was obviously no need to hide the romances in a plastic bag any longer.  

He plopped the books down on her counter.

“What a relief,” he grinned. “I was afraid I’d never measure up to the men in these stories. But what I learned from romances is that a woman basically wants a man who’s decent, who’ll treat her with respect, and who’ll love her with all his heart.” He nodded his head. “I think I can do that.”

She smiled with him. “Then you’re ready to get back out into the dating world.”

“Exactly.” He cleared his throat and glanced at her left hand. At her ring finger. “So…are you free tonight?”

Marie’s smile widened. Imagine that. She’d found her very own romantic hero. By the book.

                                                                                 
Copyright © 2013 by Leigh Court 

I hope that put a smile on your face!  Until next month,
Leigh
www.leighcourt.com


Quizzical



It’s funny how things are cyclical in the world, especially in the cyber-world. I remember a few years ago when quizzes on Facebook were very popular and then were suddenly not. Anyone could make a quiz, and usually they were these ridiculously-themed mini-tests that assessed your value as a person based on your favorite bird, your knowledge of the Andy Griffith Show, or your ability to remember an amazing amount of inane and useless information ala Trivial Pursuit.

However, people got tired of them because it became painfully obvious that they were…
A) mostly so grossly inaccurate that even the most na├»ve person couldn’t suspend belief long enough to buy into their results
B) so poorly constructed you could figure out your result or manipulate it by the second question
C) had so many misspellings you could tell they were made by amateurs
D) and most importantly, they were just no fun

Why did we take these quizzes anyway? Why do we take any quizzes outside of academia? I’ve thought about this, and I really don’t know, but I can speculate. I think we humans are always assessing ourselves, especially in relation to others and their ideas of what is typical. Or we’re always looking for that one piece of information from an outside observer that will give us some insight that confirms some belief about ourselves or enlightens us to who we really are.

How many people have clicked on a quiz about “Which Disney princess are you?” in a harmless quest to find some bit of self-affirmation (Ariel is my favorite and I know I’ll get her! What? I’m Mulan? WTF!) only to discover it’s just a bunch of questions written by a Disney fan that basically categorizes you as Snow White if you answer “Yes” to Question 7?

Apparently a lot, because I watched the evolution of FB quizzes from everyone taking them to only newbie Facebook users who didn’t know any better taking them to never seeing them ever. Lately, though, I’ve noticed a quiz comeback. These are new and improved quizzes—at least they look that way. Unlike the old quizzes, I’ve not seen dozens of typos and some of the questions are well constructed, although I feel like I can still manipulate the results somewhat by my responses. Strangely, though, even my veteran FB pals—people who have seen every smarmy come-on social media has to offer—are taking them and posting their results, along with funny comments.

Out of curiosity, I’ve taken some of these quizzes. I don’t post the results, but I find them kind of amusing. Some are spot on—why, yes, I do wear purple jammies and eat organic bread—but others are so far off I cringe. At least I think they’re pretty far off. Who knows? Perhaps somewhere deep in my heart I really had a desire to become a lemur specialist at a petting zoo or be a go-go dancing IRS representative. Only FB knows for sure.

I think that, like the Web itself, its users grow and change. We remember the quizzes designed to do nothing but waste time and suck as much life out of us as the first generation of dorky FB games, and we’ve matured enough to know taking one of these new quizzes will net us no earth-shaking epiphanies about ourselves or anyone else. They will, however, generate discussion and maybe some moments of much-needed levity in a sometimes too intense world. Isn’t that what being social is all about?

Happy Reading!

Guest: Nancy Lee Badger - Why Time Traveling Hunks-in-Kilts?


Nancy Lee Badger loves chocolate-chip shortbread and wool plaids wrapped around the trim waist of a Scottish Highlander. Her stories tempt you with the clang of broadswords, and the sound of bagpipes in the air. With her notebook at hand, and her camera ready to capture the next example of a perfect ‘turning of the caber’, Nancy can be spotted at various Highland games and festivals ‘soaking up the culture’.

After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, she moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time. Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, Triangle Area Freelancers, and the Celtic Heart Romance Writers.  

Why Time Traveling Hunks-in-Kilts?

A reader recently asked me why I decided to write another Scottish time travel romance. My Lady Highlander, though the first in my Kilted Athletes Through Time series, is my fourth Scottish time travel. My answer was this: sometimes the characters write the story. I am not saying I have no control. I like historical novels…to a point, but I wanted to do something different.
Turning the Caber
Since I have attended Scottish Highland games and festivals from Canada to Georgia, I wanted to incorporate their festive atmosphere, mouth-watering foods, hunky men in kilts hefting telephone poles, and bagpipe-playing rock bands ‘bringing down the house’. Historically inaccurate as some things might seem, such as the kilted hottie with a cell phone in his sporran, adding real history to my stories blends the best of two worlds.
Seven Nations
The early seventeenth century was a world of upheavals and grim tales of hunger, piracy, battles, and death, but the people always found time to celebrate the harvest (Samhain) or the coming of spring sunshine (Beltane). Many of the feats of strength I see at modern-day games came into being quite naturally. The longbow competition, the hammer throw, and even wrestling are reminders of battle scenarios.
Today’s ‘battles’ are quickly ended, and toasted with a glass of ale, or a dram of Whisky. Why not show the battles and swordplay in my book, then remind my readers that they can see examples of these at Highland Games held around the globe.
My Lady Highlander Excerpt:
The fist landed on Bull’s left cheek, slamming his head against the tree. He saw stars, and his stomach lurched. As the dizzy spell worsened and his knees buckled, he wanted nothing more than to vomit on Niall’s boots. A rustling of branches and a flurry of Gaelic curses in a woman’s voice brought his head up.
Izzy? No!
“Leave him be, ye ornery, loud-mouthed, son of a defiler. He saved yer brother’s life, and this is how ye repay the man?” Izzy said, and walked slowly toward Niall.
Bull stared, shocked and worried that she’d left her perfectly good hiding place for him. With a smile on her heart-shaped face, her beauty was like the sun after a storm. Moonlight sparkled in her stormy eyes. Groaning, as she raised the sword he’d hidden with her, and rested the tip on the curve of Niall’s left pectoral muscle, Bull wanted to laugh.
Or, cry.
“She’s too close to him,” Bull muttered.
Her womanly fragrance of flowers, pine and moss, eased his body and calmed his stomach. Struggling to stand, he wished he could take her place. It should be him, who held a sword to Niall’s chest.
Her eyes flitted sideways, watching Bull rise and lean against the tree, then she turned back to Niall. He could grab the sword out of her hand, any second.
“Izzy, love. Why didn’t you stay hidden?” Sucking in more air, Bull’s voice croaked.
“The wildcat has risen from her den. What’s this ye say? Who be defiling who?”
My Lady Highlander is available at:
Amazon                              
AmazonPrint                     
NOOK                                
Barnes &Noble Print         

What’s next for you?
I was invited to join nine other authors in a boxed set titled ‘Ten Timeless Heroes’. Readers new to my writing can try My Honorable Highlander, which is in the boxed set, and is Book #1 in the Highland games Through Time series. I am also currently writing the second book in my new series, in between visiting Scottish Highland festivals.  

10 Timeless Heroes
Nancy Lee Badger’s My Honorable Highlander is one of the books where magic & destiny unite lovers across time and space in this epic collection of award-winning, chart topping tales. From sweet to sizzling romances, 10 Timeless Heroes has a little something for everyone. Over fifteen hundred pages!
 
Amazon    http://amzn.to/RuFTub
NOOK       http://bit.ly/1ntUSi5
What is your idea of the perfect ending to a day spent at a Scottish Highland festival? One person’s comment will win an ebook copy of My Lady Highlander. Contest ends. April 26th. (Please remember to leave your email address in some form so we can contact you if you win.)
Connect with Nancy Lee Badger
Blog                                      http://www.nancyleebadger.blogspot.com
Website                                 http://www.nancyleebadger.com
Twitter                                  https://twitter.com/NLBadger
Facebook                              http://on.fb.me/KMGS4z                    
Goodreads                            http://bit.ly/Vd1Usg
Amazon Author Page           http://amzn.to/13ICHLq

Thank you for being our guest today, Nancy!!

Paolo's Series

Paolo’s Playhouse. A new playground for consenting adults. Playrooms for every interest or desire. Bring your own plaything or we can provide one for you. We’ll help your fantasies come to life. Inquiries, phone…

The last story in the Paolo's Playhouse series released recently and it appears I'm feeling nostalgic this morning as I think back over the past few years. When I started brainstorming this series, I wanted to write a series anchored by a place, an exclusive sex club with private playrooms. Then I'd take couples at a crossroads and bring them to the Playhouse. I'd focus on different types of kink - bondage, exhibitionism, voyeurism, and menage - and show how an evening in a playroom, exploring their relationships, help the couples to move forward, heal wounds, and even begin to fall in love.

But in the end, it wasn't a place that anchored this series. It was a person. Paolo. And readers liked him so much that after Plaything, Paolo's story, the last in the original four short stories, they asked to see more. And so Playing for Real was born, a longer story, delving deeper into his relationship with Julianne, who he'd only just met in Plaything. I don't often re-read my stories after they're published, but I recently did with Playing for Real and I have to admit, I loved the way it turned out. And after five stories, Paolo finally got his happy ending.

All five of the Paolo's Playhouse stories are stand-alones, so if only a few appeal to you, you don't need to read the others to enjoy. But I hope you may want to lose yourself in Paolo's sexy, emotional world. So here's a quick re-cap of the five stories in Paolo's series.

Flaunt It - book #1
He’ll put her on display, if that’s what it takes to keep her…


Risk It - book #2
Time to put out…or get out.


Birthday Girl - book #3
It’s not the age. It’s the attitude—and a healthy dose of kink.


Plaything - book #4
One taste of everything she ever wanted…how can she walk away?


Playing for Real - book #5
There’s no safe word strong enough for this power play date…


Excerpt from Plaything:

“This is Paolo’s Playhouse. How may I help you?”

The warm male voice and its lyrical accent—Spanish? Italian? Greek?—nearly melted her into a puddle on her kitchen floor. She couldn’t seem to speak as she imagined a dark, exotic man at the other end of the line. One of her favorite fantasy images, strong masculine hands holding her wrists, sprang to her mind. She knew her fantasy lovers from now on would speak with this incredible voice.

“Hello? Is someone there?”

“Yes.” Her voice cracked and she had to swallow before she could speak again. “Yes, I’m here.”

“Wonderful. How may I help you?”

Her knees began to shake and she sank into the chair. “I…I saw your ad.” She swallowed again. She was an intelligent businesswoman, why could she not form a coherent sentence?

“And do you perhaps have a fantasy I could help you with?”

If he was half as sexy as his voice, he could help her with anything. She nearly let a nervous giggle slip out, but this suddenly seemed too important to joke about. “Bondage.” It was harder than she thought it would be to say it out loud.

“Ah, of course. And do you prefer the caress of the ropes or the weight of the chains?”

She shivered and rubbed the cord still hugging her wrist, pulled it tighter and felt the answering tug in her core. “Um, ropes. I think.”

There was silence on the other end of the line. What was wrong? Surely he couldn’t be shocked like her old boyfriend had been.

“What is your name?” he asked after a moment.

“Julianne.”

“I heard some hesitation in your voice. Tell me, Julianne. Have you ever been bound before?”

The words finally burst from her lips, the admission she’d not allowed herself to say for so long. “No. That’s why I’m calling. I want to know what it’s like. I think I need to know.”

“Are you certain?” he asked softly. “Do you really want to allow another person to bind your body? To take away all your control?” His voice became even softer, almost seductive in tone. “Do you want to allow him to enjoy your body in any way he desires and in return, bring you to an intense level of satisfaction you have perhaps never been able to attain before?”

As he spoke, her body pulsed with awareness. He summed up her feelings perfectly. His sensual words conjured up the desperate need that had been buried deep within her. “Yes. Exactly.” Tears sprang to her eyes. “Can you help me?”

“Of course. That is why we are here. Will you be bringing your partner with you?”

“No. I don’t have anyone.” That sounded pathetic. “I mean, I don’t have anyone I want to…you know, tie me up and take me.” There was that silence again. “Is that a problem? The ad said—”

“No, of course it is no problem. I simply want to be certain to match you with the right person.”

“Oh, I didn’t think about that.” She hadn’t really given a thought to the other half of the equation. To the person who would be tying her up. She’d been too focused on her own needs. “Of course, you have to match me up with someone who wants to…um…who wants to…”

“Who wants to tie up a willing woman,” he completed. There was a touch of amusement in his voice and Julianne had the sudden wish to see his smile. “You are in luck. There will be someone here tomorrow night who has need of a bondage toy.”

Bondage toy? She shivered.

“Can you come tomorrow night at seven?”

“Tomorrow?” So soon? But would putting it off be any better? “Yes. All right. Tomorrow.”


Natasha
Her Royal Masquerade - available now
Her Royal Bodyguard - available now
The Cottage Next Door - coming Sept 2103
www.natashamoore.com


Call of the Cougar, Next in the Cougar Shifter Series

Cougars Mate 3D 04162014 copyCall of the Cougar 3D 04162014 copyTimeLine Cover Terry Spear 04162014 copy
Linda did a beautiful job on these covers and even made me a heading for FB. Now isn’t it beautiful?
http://telltalebookcovers.weebly.com/pre-made-covers.html

Cougar’s Mate is the first book in the Heart of the Cougar Series, and I plan to write Call of the Cougar by Christmas.

Cougar’s Mate: Instinct told her to run…

Shannon Rafferty learns that hanging out with the bad boys could be a dangerous business, but hooking up with a cop is even worse. Now she’s on the run, trying to avoid being murdered by his cougar shifter brothers and uncle. If that isn’t bad enough, a deputy sheriff hunts her down while she’s running as a cougar and trying to survive in the Colorado wilderness. He vows to protect her no matter what she’s done. With three dead boyfriends to her name, she’s sure she will be the death of Chase Buchanan before either of them can prevent it. No matter how much she knows she has to run again, he soon holds her heart hostage. But will that be enough to keep them both alive?

Chase Buchanan—as wilderness cabin resort owner, former US Army Special Forces, and part time deputy of the small town of Yuma, Colorado that boasts a love of cougars—is tasked to track down a cougar reported to be hunting human prey. Chase soon learns she’s a shifter, not a full-time cougar, and she’s on the run. When he takes her in, he vows to protect her. After losing his wife and baby to the human kind of predator years earlier, he’s not letting Shannon’s hunters kill her, too. But how is he going to hold onto the wild-cat woman, who is unpredictable at every turn, without losing his heart to her, and then losing her as well?
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
Google Play
ARe Books
Smashwords

I just finished A Hero of a Highland Wolf and returned it so it’s ready to come out in August.
I have 18,000 left to write on A SEAL Wolf for Sale, but then I’ll be revising it. But that’s really the fun part for me. It’s written, and then it needs to be revised.

And then??? Time for A Viking’s Highland Lass. I also am taking part in an anthology with a group of Highland authors, Kissing the Highlander, Vonda Sinclair, Victoria Roberts, Eliza Knight, Willa Blair, and me!

And then I have to write A Silver Wolf Christmas, Call of the Cougar, and Phantom Fae.
But I also have 6 conferences to go to….
I can do it. :)

But I have my first one coming up soon!

Have a super great Saturday!

Terry
www.terryspear.com

It's a Small World + New Release!

This is the 50 year anniversary of the iconic Disney ride. Who knew it was so, well, distinguished? :)

Who knew that the song is played somewhere every hour on the planet?

I know it's the ride some people love to hate, but I don't know why. I personally love that ride and I'm here to admit that once I rode it 4 times in a row!

I was pregnant, and with my 4 year old daughter. My husband and our older kid love the fast and scary rides so while they were doing their thing, I took her on It's a Small World. You get to sit down, it's nicely air-conditioned, and what's not to like? She loved it and asked if we could go again. There was no line, so we got off and got right back on.

Yup, we did it four times in a row and had a wonderful time. Each time we saw something new, and honestly, as corny as the song might be, I think it's a good message to instill in a child.


And here is my latest news: I have a new release - Duke of Devonwood! I'm so excited about this story of an American woman and what she does when she discovers that her inheritance has been left under the control of an English duke. This is a contemporary romance, not historical.

Reviewers have said:

"I loved this book, it was sassy smart, and had some naughty bits to it!" (Heather Andrews on Goodreads)

"This is the first book I have read about a Duke in modern times and I must say I really enjoyed it." (Brittany on Goodreads)

Excerpt:

"Your little ploy isn't going to work," the duke said, his voice hoarse.

"Ploy?" Miranda fought for self-control, determined not to let him see the effect he had on her. "Maybe I think you're the hottest thing since fire was invented."|

He stared down at her, his gaze scorching her. "As it turns out, we are combustible together. Who knew?" He ran one hand through his hair, that she'd thoroughly mussed. She didn't think he was quite as calm as he was pretending to be.

"I knew." She cast about for some kind of explanation to give him. God forbid he should guess at the emotions she was battling. "Power is such an aphrodisiac," she finally said. Let him think that was what her response was about.

He barked out a short laugh. "That's blunt. Luckily, I'm well-hardened against the charming ways of women. But I'll enjoy watching your efforts."

"Why are you so angry?"

"I told you I wasn't interested. But you're continuing to push me."

The piece of paper with the budget on it crackled under her feet as she stepped back. "You sound like a virgin in a Regency novel."

He shook his head. "Learn how to accept no for an answer." Snapping his fingers at the dogs, he opened the French doors, and strode out into the garden.

Miranda proceeded more slowly out of the office wing. She should have expected that the duke, experienced at fending off wannabe brides, would not fall into her clutches like a ripe peach. She wasn't discouraged though. She'd just have to work harder, be bolder, take more risks. If she were perfectly honest with herself, she was hurt that he wasn't as affected by their kisses as she was. However, since she wasn't planning to actually have sex with him, it had to be good that he was willing to call a halt before their kisses went too far.

She could set her next trap without worrying that the situation would get out of hand.

Buy Links:


Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00JIANN1G


So tell me, how do you feel about the Disney ride, It's A Small World? Love it, tolerate it, or hate it?