Posts Tagged ‘Romance novels’

Excerpt: Ashfall (Wasteland Trilogy Book 1)

Friday, November 14th, 2014

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Post apoc romance anyone? Today I thought I’d give you a sneak peek at Ashfall, the first story in my Wasteland Trilogy which comes out in December. (Unedited blurb and excerpt). This excerpt shows some of the beginning heat between the hero and the heroine. Enjoy!

**

A strong woman and a former Air Force pararescueman tangle with a brave new world forged by an apocalypse no one could stop.

Mally Andretti survived an apocalypse that has altered the world. Tucked away in a huge compound she should feel safe, but loneliness eats away at her. Until a deep, mysterious voice tantalizes her over the ham radio and invites her into soul deep conversation. Who is the man who claims to be her friend, who awakens mental and physical cravings?

Working for a private security company takes every bit of former Air Force pararescueman Adam Becker’s time, until a sexy voice on the ham radio tempts him to do and say things he’s never done before. Mally calls on every fiercely protective instinctive inside him, and when she’s in serious danger he’ll do anything to get to her in time.

* *
Adam and the two other men shuffled Tanner out of the complex and through the gate. After they’d released the idiot outside the gate, only Adam returned to the front door. The other two men stood outside the still open gate, weapons at the ready. A curious mixture of excitement and caution mingled in her psyche. Whoever Adam Becker really was, he scared the crap out of her in so many ways. Her gaze snagged on his body, and just from the way he moved, from the confidence he displayed, she imagined he was an interesting lover. But which type of lover was he? Uncouth and ruthless, or gentle and accommodating?

Really? She was thinking about this now? She’d officially lost her mind.

He stopped at the closed screen, a frown still in place, his weapon anchored over his body by a sling. He tucked the thumb on his left hand into his belt. His wide shoulders, muscled biceps and powerful forearms screamed intimidation.

“You okay?” he asked.

“Wonderful.” She knew her comment was laced with sarcasm.

“Can I come in a moment?” he asked quietly.

When she hesitated, he took off his sun glasses and hooked them in the front of his vest. She dared gaze into the darkest brown eyes she’d ever seen. But there was worry and warmth in those eyes, too. Now that his face was entirely revealed, she could see his heritage in his deeper-toned skin. His features were craggy in that his nose was a bit sharp and long and his jaw too hard. His mouth was…well, it was just right. Kissable. Embarrassed by the ridiculous and out-of-place fantasizing, she felt her face heating. She jerked her gaze from his.

“Mally, I’m not going to hurt you.” He glanced down at the Glock in her hand. “Hey, you’ve got a weapon. If I pull anything, you can just shoot me.”

She couldn’t smile, the situation was too bizarre and her heart thudding too fast. She nodded and opened the screen door. She backed away to let him inside, and he closed the door with a snap. He didn’t lock it and as she continued into the living room, she kept her weapon in hand. Feeling a little ridiculous, she took a risk and set her Glock on the coffee table.

He crossed his arms. “Serious heat you’re packing there.”

“Do you blame me?”

“Hell no.”

For a few seconds he said nothing, but then he approached. Her insides trembled, uncertainty gripping her. He drew nearer, and she felt like a deer about to bolt. When he stood close beside her, his attention like a hot brand on her face, she tilted her head slightly back to examine him. He was easily over six feet, and at five foot seven she felt seriously at a disadvantage. In sheer muscle he outweighed her by a sizable amount. She could easily picture him saving other military personnel in his capacity of pararescueman. Right then her legs turned to gelatin. Either Tanner’s intrusion had disturbed her more than she thought, or this man’s mere presence set off a weird reaction.

Impulsively she put her hand on his vest, ready to push him away. “Think you’re standing close enough?”

His hand covered hers and held it in place, and he edged the tiniest bit closer. She drew in a sharp little breath.

“God,” he said softly as he looked down at her. “You’re trembling. It’s okay. No one’s going to hurt you. You’re safe with me.”

“What about your friends?”

He shook his head. “They’re solid guys. If one even considered touching you, I’d pound their faces.”

A wild heat danced through her, and she couldn’t help smiling just a little. She drew in a deep breath. He smelled like man…a mild mix of musk and maybe leather. It penetrated her senses and sent the warmth higher. Her fingers curled into his ballistic nylon vest. Recklessness beat in her veins, and she’d never felt anything quite like it before.

 

 

Gorgeous Covers Day!

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Okay, this is the blog authors put up when they are lazy! I’m feeling Friday lazy. Many of you have already seen some of my gorgeous covers, but there are some covers that I just absolutely think are wonderful and I thought today I’d share just a few. Enjoy.

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 One of my all time favorite covers ever belongs to my Roman Britain historical romance, For A Roman’s Heart.

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A stunning more “traditional” looking historical romance cover for Before The Dawn.

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Another delicious cover for my 1906 historical Love From The Ashes.

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Dark, Deadly Love has the proper scary feel for a historical set during the 1888 Jack The Ripper murders!

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Many ladies really like this cover from Major Pleasure!

Those are just a fraction of my covers, but some of the big stand outs for me in conveying the tone of the book and also having visually stunning work.

With that I bid you a happy day and talk to you again soon. :)

 

Favorite Military Romance Novels

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

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Hey everyone. Hope you had a wonderful weekend. Trying to decide how to approach this topic took me a while. Military romance novels. I obviously love to write them because many of the heroes in my novels are either in the military or used to serve. I’m starting to lose track of how many of these heroes I’ve written. Yet in my own reading I have to admit that I want different. I like Navy SEALS, too, but I also like story lines that showcase the differences in each military character and not just the similarities. I don’t want to give the reader the feeling they’re seeing the same ole story any more than I want to read the same ole story. I feel like I’ve found some unique military stories over the years. I’m planning on resurrecting them in my mind and listing them a bit at a time for you.

I just finished one such novel that I feel deserves five stars. Jessica Scott’s military romance novels are all amazing, but I thought Back to You (A Coming Home Novel) was top notch, unique, and showcased how much understanding military officer Jessica Scott understand about how military life and the recent war has changed marriages and families. I highly recommend this story. And I can’t wait to read All for You (A Coming Home Novel) which just came out. These stories are definitely romances, and I think you’ll love them.

More military story recommendations soon!

DA_MaleCall

 

Your Writing & Joy. Own it.

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Once in a while I see something on another blog, on Twitter, or on Facebook about writers facing book bigotry. Yep, that’s what I’ve decided to call it. Book bigotry. What is it?

It’s when an author (published or not) is being shamed for what they write. This bigotry comes in many forms.

1. Why are you writing male/male, lesbian, ménage, shifter, vampires, military characters, billionaires, etc. ?

2. How can you write erotic romance? Or why are you writing erotica? (Yes, there IS a difference).

Let me qualify some things. I personally don’t write male/male, lesbian romance, ménage, shifter, vampires, domination, billionaires, etc. right now. Will I ever? I never say never. In fact, I’ve written four vampire stories (three of those were in a trilogy). I do have a trilogy of werewolves stories half written that went on the backburner when I realized I wasn’t feelin’ the love with the stories and wanted to write something else. I frequently write military characters because I like to and feel a connection with it. Shifters, in general, just don’t interest me to write or to read. Neither does domination, ménage or lesbian romance. NOT because I have anything against people who write any of those things. They SHOULD write it if they love writing it. Go for it. Don’t let any one hold you back. Do I write erotica? No…because I like romance with a happy ending. Do I write erotic romance. Sometimes. Then again, sometimes a story just doesn’t feel like it should be erotic romance. In fact, I wrote a book recently set during World War 2 that is a romance but it’s one of the tamest things I’ve ever written. The book just wouldn’t have worked any other way. I couldn’t have forced it to be something it wasn’t supposed to be.

So how does this work into book bigotry? A lot of people find family members or friends giving them a difficult time because they want to write romance period let alone sexier, hotter, off-the-charts romance. God forbid. Sometimes because those people have religious feelings against it.

Here’s what I say. Recognize the only way you’ll be happy is to truly write the truth as you see it. Without lying to yourself and prettying it up and making things tamer than you feel. That’s the only way people will eventually leave you alone. It works. Stand up to the book bigots. Don’t shove it in their face. Just write it. Some of the best books I’ve written were when I told myself to get the hell out of the way and just write what I meant. As soon as you hesitate, as soon as you pretend to be anything else on the page…they’ve won. You’ve defeated yourself. I don’t care who the book bigot is. Really. Let them dictate to you what to write about, to allow them to shame you for writing it…they’ve won and you’ve lost. Write your truth. Don’t ever give up. You have nothing to be ashamed of.

Excerpt 1: One London Night (World War 2 London)

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

I’ve been jumped by a lot of work in the last couple of weeks, so I’ve posted the Under Fire contest because it goes until January 31. So if you haven’t participated, you still have time. Today I’d love to share with you an excerpt from One London Night, which is truly a book of my heart. One London Night debuts on January 27, 2014. Over the rest of the month I’ll have some more snippets for you from this novel. Enjoy!

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War Time London, 1940

A time when uncertainty festers within even the strongest of men.

A time when fear rules everyone’s lives.

A time when love dares to defy the devastation of war.

After years away, American war correspondent Sylvie Hunnicut returns to England determined to put aside tumultuous memories and muster the courage to cover the war in Great Britain. Guilt she harbors over a horrible accident that permanently injured childhood friend Alec Kent threatens to destroy their relationship. Secret longings for him remain in her heart, even if he wants nothing to do with her.

Alec Kent’s disability works against him in serving his country, until he signs on with the Auxiliary Fire Service. Sylvie’s return brings to the forefront Alec’s hidden love for her and a determination to prove himself to his disapproving father.

But war promises to destroy the possibility of love and bring a great city to its knees.

**

Riding in the car with Alec, Bent, and Felix as they towed a pump toward Howard’s Timber Yard was about the most exciting thing Sylvie had ever experienced. She acknowledged a part of herself, right then and there, she hadn’t known existed before tonight. Adventure ran in her blood. Of course she should have known this before. She’d gotten into jams more than once with her stubborn insistence on challenging established rules.

As they rolled through the streets, the glows from more than one fire reminded her this wasn’t an adventure but deadly business. Nervous but thrilled to ride along, Sylvie caught herself talking too much.

“She’s quite the pip, ain’t she?” Felix asked.

Sylvie turned toward Felix—he sat right next to her in the back seat. “I’m right here, Felix. You’re talking about me as if I’m not here.”

A bashful look came over his face. “Sorry, miss.”

“I’d watch out, Felix. She is a pip,” Alec said.

She wanted to pop off with a snappy something that would show them all her mettle. Instead she kept it professional. As the dark buildings went buy, light from the fires ahead made the way easier to navigate. Tension traveled up her body, her muscles going tight.

“Here we go.” Bink’s voice reflected concern. “Straight into hell.”

Sylvie decided to remember what he’d said. Darkness prevented her from making notes. Time passed slowly as they continued slow progress along the streets.

“No wonder things burn down around here. We can’t move any faster,” she said.

“Can’t be helped,” Bink said from the seat in front of her. “We run over a civilian, there will be hell to pay.”

She didn’t want them to think she criticized their efforts. “Of course. If you crash, you can’t help anyone else.”

When they reached the timber yards a long time later, Sylvie quickly discovered her ignorance about firefighting. Walls of flame shot upward from the timber yard despite the efforts of dozens upon dozens of pumps on the scene. As Alec pulled the pump into line with the others, Felix and Bent bailed out to get orders on where they were needed the most.

“My God. Where do you start?” she asked.

In awe and fear, she watched the flames devour everything in their path, barely held back by the firefighters’ efforts.

“Damn good question.” Alec handed her something from the front seat. “Wear these.”

In the dark she almost couldn’t tell what was in her hand. “What is it?”

“Gas goggles. You don’t want eye injuries. I’m wearing a pair.” He slid a balaclava over his head and fastened the goggles in place before putting on the helmet. Then he handed her an extra helmet.

“What…” she started to say.

“Get rid of the fancy hat and wear the helmet and goggles.”

She stared at him for a few seconds.

“I’m serious, Sylvie. Wear it.”

Despite the bossy tone, she knew he was right. “Sparks off the fire.”

With the goggles and other head covering, he looked like some sort of weird creature from a nightmare. “That’s right.”

She worked on removing the hat and tossed it aside. Her hair tumbled down, but she ignored it. She didn’t have time to braid it. She’d have to work the situation with what clothing she possessed.

Felix opened the door. “When you two are done playing, we’ve got a fire out here. They want this pump over on the north side.”

She heard Alec curse under his breath. “Get in.”

As she plopped the helmet on her head, Alec drove them to the north side. As the fire drew nearer, she could feel the heat in the car. Tension rose inside Sylvie. Her stomach tumbled and flipped with an anxiety she couldn’t contain. She’d never crept closer and closer to a fire this huge in her life. She leaned forward to look out the windshield as fear threatened to derail her plans for calm.

You’re a journalist, Sylvie. No matter what you’re feeling, you have to do this.

She drew in a breath and let it out slowly. Noise outside the car hid the sound. Good. If they knew how nervous this made her, they’d believe all the things said about women as war correspondents. It didn’t matter if this whole thing scared her to death, she couldn’t show it.

The car and pump drew to a halt. Her heart raced as Alec and the other men hurried out of the car. She sat there a second too long before she noticed Alec, Felix, and Bink manned the hoses. She wished she had a camera, but her memory would have to do the trick, and maybe she could write some notes if the fire made it light enough. She hesitated, the fierce flames sending a primitive fear through her she’d only experienced once before.

Her mind flashed back to being fourteen and hearing Alec’s cry of agony as glass tore into his right eye. Recalling that horrible experience hurt enough, but the flames…the flames dove into everything primitive inside her. She’d been prepared, hadn’t she? She’d imagined this scene before.

She forced herself out of the car but stood near it, as if it would be a bastion of safety if things got out of control.

Heat blasted her, and she took an involuntary step back. Glad for sturdy shoes and practical clothing, she directed her attention toward recording everything she could in her mind’s eye. Water spouted from the hose Alec and the other men pointed at the relentless conflagration. Streams of water came from another hose manned by other men. They’d hooked up the hose to a hydrant. She shoved aside all apprehension and allowed her senses to absorb the situation. She’d need all this for her article. Fear sliced like a knife through her, but she closed her eyes and listened.

An angry roar and snapping sound told her the fire had no mercy. It was a beast without conscience or morals. Heat came in waves. Snaps and crackles mingled with the ping, plop, and zing of mortar popping and melting. Bricks crumbled and fell. The noise almost eclipsed the drone of Germans flying overhead and the ack-ack noise of anti-aircraft guns.

She opened her eyes and matched what she saw with the hellacious sounds. Fire shot up from the center of the building and made the windows look like yellow eyes staring at her in condemnation. An element of helplessness overwhelmed Sylvie. She took out her notebook and managed a few perfunctory notes. She couldn’t fight this fire, and the men nearby put their lives on the line doing what they could to tame this beast. Shouts mixed with grunts of exertion. She was hot and tired already, and the night was certainly young. She remembered them explaining that if it was an oil bomb fire, they’d take care of it with a special foam. But this wasn’t that type of fire, apparently—she didn’t see any crew using foam. As time dragged on, the pumps at the fire started to make progress. She wandered away from the car but kept herself far away from the timber yard and other buildings.

A roar came from somewhere nearby, and someone shouted.

“Sylvie!”

Alec’s voice reached over the horrible sound of hell coming undone, and she realized the building behind her was listing to the side and new flames had cropped up. Sparks had found their way over her head.

“Sylvie, get away from there!”

Alec raced toward her, and she darted toward him and what she hoped was safety.

 

 

Carey Regenold & Lethal Obsession

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Hey everyone! I’ve invited Carey Regenold to tell us a bit about her romantic suspense, Lethal Obsession. Carey and I knew each other years ago and fell out of touch. I’m so pleased she has a book out!  You can find Lethal Obsession at Amazon. Carey is offering her book for free right now, so grab your copy while you can.

Lethal Obsession

In a split second Ellen Anderson’s husband is gone in a fiery plane crash. Sheriff Gene Stone has the unpleasant task of notifying the young widow. Something happens to Gene when he sees this beautiful woman. He becomes obsessed to the exclusion of everything but her. At first uneasy, soon Ellen’s grieving loneliness has her enjoying the handsome sheriff’s attentions. When Ellen discovers Gene is married, she’s disgusted and distances herself. That’s when his ingenious stalking gets spooky and dangerous.

A widowed psychiatrist, Dr. Rick Carrington becomes Ellen’s anchor. Two grieving hearts heal each other as they discover love again. Rick tells Ellen his sister Martha is married to Gene and he is concerned for her. Dr. Carrington knows how unbalanced this man is.

No words can describe the murderous hatred Gene has for his brother in-law, especially now that Ellen is in love him. Rick is rear-ended, knocked unconscious and wakes up cuffed to a bed. He is looking into the eyes of a madman as Gene’s gun digs into his temple. The sheriff’s plan is to lure Ellen to this remote hideaway. She will come to rescue her love. That’s when she will become totally his.

The note reads “come alone or Rick dies.” Martha Stone teams up with Ellen to rescue her brother from her husband. The two women set out alone on a treacherous mission, not having a clue what they are up against. Martha has packed an old pistol, a roll of duct tape, a recorder and a can of wasp spray. That is the extent of their defense arsenal. Can these two determined women disarm a powerful lawman? Love for a fiancé and a brother will give them super human strength.

Searching For The Ghosts: Author Alison Stuart

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Hey all, you know how much I love novels that are “different.” By that, I mean novels that are out of the box, love stories and romances set in different time periods. I’ve just discovered a fantastic author who writes these types of novels, stories set in times you don’t often see in romances published these days. Please give a warm welcome to Alison Stuart. Today she’s telling us about her novel Gather The Bones and the inspiration behind it.

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Searching for the Ghosts

One of the questions a writer is most often asked is:  What was the inspiration for this story?

GATHER THE BONES came from a number of different sources.  A medieval moated manor house in Warwickshire riddled with priest holes, a morbid interest in ghost stories, a desire to write a story with an Australian character (not a lot of them about in the seventeenth century which is the setting for most of my stories!) and an abiding interest in military history.

My husband and I met in the Australian Army Reserve and we both served in the Army for just on twenty years each before a move to Singapore put an end to both our careers.  The Great War (or World War One) looms very large in the Australian psyche. In 1914 Australia, as a country, was only 13 years old, having achieved its independence from Britain in 1901. The total population was only 4 million but the ties with England were still strong and in England’s hour of need a generation of young Australian men answered the call. Over 400,000 thousand enlisted to serve in the AIF (the Australian Imperial Force) – 10% of its entire population.  Of those 400,000 young men, 65% were casualties of the war either through death, wounds or illness. Nearly a whole generation of young men were lost.

In 2005, my husband and I finally achieved a long held ambition to visit the Battlefields of World War One. We began in Ypres in Belgium, so comprehensively destroyed in the war.  Together we walked the city walls finding little war cemeteries along the way and joined the solemn crowds at the Menin Gate for the service of commemoration which is held every night.

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We hired a car and with a map in hand we drove out into the Ypres Salient. The flat Belgian countryside bears little resemblance to the nightmare pictures we had seen in the Museum in Ypres but among the green fields, there are countless cemeteries, as I described it in GATHER THE BONES as a “harvest of death”.

From Belgium we drove down to France and Amiens. It was here, at Pozieres, that my husband’s  grandfather (serving with the Australian forces) had been shot in the arm, an injury which would trouble him for the whole of his life and it was here in the British cemetery that I fulfilled a promise made to my father … to find the grave of his father’s cousin, Captain Richard Conway Lowe MC. The War Graves Commission makes it an easy task to locate the one tombstone among the many and I had little trouble in finding it.

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What I hadn’t been prepared for was the wave of emotion that surged through me as I stood looking down at the simple white grave stone.  All I knew about Richard Conway Lowe were a few family photographs of a rather solemn little boy with fair hair and glasses who had been a good student at Winchester and Oxford and was destined to go into the Church. I also knew he was 6’ 7”. I didn’t know he was only 22 years old when he died. He was the same age as my eldest son. I imagined my feelings if it had been my son and as I laid the little poppy I had bought with me, I touched the gravestone and thought how many, many years it had been since anyone grieved at this graveside. The entire family line had died out with this boy.

The citation for his military cross reads as follows:

Second Lieutenant Richard Conway Lowe., 1st/6th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Territorial Force.

For conspicuous gallantry on 4th November, 1915, in France.

When directing a working party in front of the parapet, the Germans opened fire and wounded a man of the covering party. Second Lieutenant Lowe and a Serjeant rushed to his aid, and although the Serjeant was grazed by a bullet and Second Lieutenant Lowe shot in the thigh, the bullet being subsequently found in the wound, they carried the wounded man across the open and through the wire into a place of safety.

Second Lieutenant Lowe had previously been wounded, and had been brought to notice for excellent work at the front.

He received his medal personally at Buckingham Palace in January 1916 while home recovering from his wound.  He was killed in action on August 18, 1916 and his family never recovered.

As I traipsed the battlefields of Flanders and the Somme, I became particularly interested in the effect that the war had on those who were left behind…the women and children and gradually the story of Helen Morrow, my Australian heroine and her dead husband’s cousin, Paul, the “one who came home” slowly grew.

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And so GATHER THE BONES came to be written. Paul Morrow, bearing the guilt of his cousin’s death without knowing why and Helen seeking the answers to questions he can’t supply.  Not one character in that book has not been touched by the war and wrapped into it is the story of another war and another pair of wounded lovers.  A little mystery, history, romance…and ghosts!

GATHER THE BONES

In the shadow of the Great War, grieving widow, Helen Morrow and her husband’s cousin, the wounded and reclusive Paul, are haunted not only by the horrors of the trenches but ghosts from another time and another conflict.

As the desperate voice of the young woman reaches out to them from the pages of a coded diary, Paul and Helen are bound together in their search for answers, not only to the old mystery but also the circumstances surrounding the death of Helen’s husband at Passchandaele in  1917.

As the two stories become entwined, Paul and Helen will not find peace until the mysteries are solved.

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About Alison

Alison Stuart is an award winning Australian writer of historicals with heart.  Whether duelling with dashing cavaliers or waywards ghosts, her books provide a reader with a meaty plot and characters who have to strive against adversity, always with the promise of happiness together. Alison is a lapsed lawyer who has worked in the military and fire service, which may explain a predisposition to soldier heroes.  She lives with her own personal hero and two needy cats and likes nothing more than a stiff gin and tonic and a walk along the sea front of her home town.  She loves to hear from her readers and can be found at her website, facebook, twitter and Goodreads. Her latest book, GATHER THE BONES, is a “Downton Abbeyesque” haunting love story set in 1923.

 

Blackout. Get Ready To Be Scared.

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Okay. So I’m easily amused. At least during the Halloween season I spend quite a bit of time enjoying it. As I’ve mentioned before I enjoy my scary movies almost every day. I’m dyin’ because Netflix hasn’t gotten World War Z to me yet. I’ll just have to wait. In the spirit of spooking you, I’m giving you a scene from Blackout that I hope intrigues you. Blackout is a weird story. I totally admit it. It features a combination of things in a romance novel you don’t often see. Enjoy!

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The house at the end of the street has always been haunted. When a solar flare challenges the world to remain civilized, one man and one woman will face an evil lying in wait for all who dare enter…

Cassie Kovac has spent the last ten years rebuilding her life after witnessing her abusive husband commit suicide and surviving a tsunami. She’s vacationing in the high mountain town of Bowmount, Colorado when a solar flare takes out the grid. Fear tears apart the little community, and the only thing standing between her and certain disaster is a man with a cloudy past.

Ex-marine Neal “Griff” Griffin’s life is shadowed in darkness. He won’t talk about his mysterious past. His childhood was marred by the unspeakable, his life spent erasing things too horrible to dare remember. Until he sees Cassie, and primal male instincts to protect come to life. When the world goes to hell, he realizes he’d do anything to protect her.

When Cassie and Griff face the haunted house, they don’t expect the building to come alive with a personality all its own. Fighting against the unknown threatens to rip apart the fabric of their minds, and make their survival and new love one step closer to impossible.

* *

The lights cut out in the house and Griff stopped in surprise. Okay. Perhaps the new owners didn’t want anyone to know they were here. Didn’t matter. He needed a tow, and the only way he’d get it was to make a call.

He made his way onto the porch, flashlight in his right hand and weapon tucked into the back waistband of his jeans. Last thing he expected was to need the weapon, but after the weird feelings he’d experienced at this house before, he didn’t want to take chances. He’d hated leaving Cassie in the car, but he wanted her safe. Of the two places, he was damned sure the car would prove safest. Before he could knock on the door, it opened on its own. Hinges didn’t creek, and the welcome was wide as the door swung all the way open and touched the wall with a delicate thud. Wind. The weather must have moved the door—it couldn’t have been latched well.

He shone the flashlight inside. “Hello? Anyone in here? Our car broke down in front of your house. We need to use a phone. Our cells aren’t working.”

Silence.

His flashlight poured through the doorway, and he thought he’d see old furniture. Lamps. Maybe pictures on the wall. Or perhaps the place lay empty. The flashlight beam hit a wall of darkness it couldn’t penetrate.

“What the–”

A twig snapped behind him, and he jerked around, reaching into his back waistband for his weapon.

“Jesus!” He gasped as his flashlight showed him the culprit. “I told you to stay in the car.”

Cassie blinked in the flashlight’s glare. “I’m not a marine. I don’t take orders well.”

“I could have shot you.”

She arrived beside him on the porch as he turned back to the doorway. “Something told me not to let you go into the house alone.”

He drew in a deep breath and left irritation behind.

“The door was open?” she asked.

“Looks like it.”

“I saw someone in there before. The lights were on.”

“I know.” He turned the flashlight onto the door again. Darkness swallowed up the light.

“That isn’t…” Her voice hitched. He heard fear in the sound, in her inability to complete the sentence.

Snow blew into his face, wind pushing the flakes faster and faster. Curiosity mixed with fear settling in his stomach like a lead ball.

“Stay behind me,” he said, knowing she wouldn’t leave him and return to the car, even if he begged.

Cassie did as he asked, and he walked into the blackness. The perception of solid darkness retreated as he crossed the threshold. With one step and then two, he conquered the night. The flashlight cut through, showing him solid objects. A couch, two easy chairs, and a roll top desk sat in the living room. A big dark rug under the couch and the chairs looked as if rats had chewed on the ends. Old bookshelves held a few hardbacks and a small stack of magazines and newspapers. A must and dust smell hit his nose. The hardwood floor creaked underfoot. An old sliding glass door led out to the backyard. To the right was also a long hallway with three open doors. Beyond that lay a dead end. He saw an attic door, more a small square, in the ceiling at the end of the hall. He turned his light back to the living area and noticed the kitchen off the living room which looked like it hadn’t been updated since the nineteen seventies.

“Doesn’t look like there’s anyone here,” Cassie’s voice came out of the darkness.

“You saw someone here.”

“I did.”

She sounded confused, and he couldn’t blame her. “Could be someone needs help. Let’s keep going.”

She followed as he made his way through the small kitchen to an equally small dining room. The long wood table had a place setting on it, the flashlight revealing a filled glass of water.

“There is someone here, Griff.”

“Maybe.” They passed through the dining room to yet another living room. It was empty. He went to the single door against the wall. It was locked. “This must be the garage.”

“Hello?” Cassie asked as they stood in the entrance to the hallway. “Is anyone home?”

Silence.

“I haven’t seen one phone in here anywhere.” he said in frustration. “Did you?”

“No. Maybe they’re just using a cell. A lot of people do that now.”

He walked ahead and before he reached the end of the hallway, a huge crack sounded under his feet and he went straight down into darkness. He didn’t have time to cry out or curse as he fell into a dark hole and landed on his back in hard packed earth.

 

Paranormal? Why Do You Write That Stuff? Writing & Being Who You Are

Monday, October 14th, 2013

A conversation on my Facebook page about spooky movies inspired me to write this blog. I watched The Exorcist Saturday, which I always do during the month of October, along with every other spooky movie I own or can rent from Netflix. Halloween is my favorite holiday and October my favorite month. Inevitably when you talk about spooky movies there will be people who don’t like them because it freaks them out, and those who not only don’t like them but that don’t understand why you do. Not liking spooky movies is perfectly within a person’s rights, so I certainly don’t begrudge anyone not liking them. It’s when other people think I’m impaired because I do like them that I take issue with that.

You see, I don’t hold back on what interests me. I don’t deny what I like. If you’re a writer, or even if you aren’t, I don’t think you should hide what you enjoy in life either.

Occasionally when people realize I write spooky stuff as well as watch it on television and on the big screen, I sometimes get the same reaction. When they discover I write romance, along with natural disasters, serial killers, danger, adventure, cops, military and all the other stuff that gets mixed into many of my novels they get this look. You know that look, right?

It’s the expression that says, YOU???? YOU? They never would have thought that big of an imagination runs around in my head, because they also think you have to look a certain way and talk a certain way to be a writer…especially a romance writer. I look like a teacher, or so I’ve been told.

Once, in a land and time very far away, I was the writer I thought I should be, not the writer I really was. Deciding to write romance was even difficult at first, even though that’s what I wanted to do. Because God knows that romance is icky, right? People will blush and stammer when they hear you write romance. If it is erotic romance, which some people perceive as even more heinous than serial killers in a novel, there is an extra look.  I finally realized that the more I was willing to stand up straight, look people in the eye and tell them, “Yeah, I write romance. Historical, paranormal, contemporary, erotic, fantasy, you name it,” that they would back off on the judgmental attitude most of the time. Once you respect what you write, own what you write and acknowledge to yourself that it is grand…that’s when the respect from others starts to appear. Believe in what you write, don’t hide it, be proud of it. If it is truly you, there is no reason to be ashamed of it. Ever.

In my creativity coaching work I’ve encountered writers who are severely blocked. Why? The top two reasons? One, they perceive they have a lack of time, their inability to carve out me time that makes writing a top priority. Sometimes second to that they aren’t being who they are when the write. Being who you are requires writing those things that blow your skirt up. Not denying what charges your battery and makes you hungry to write. And I mean anything that makes you crave writing. If that means writing werewolves, angels, demons, any type of shape-shifter out there, any type of magical being, whatever…go for it.

But what if those things don’t ring your bell and tickle your tastes? I suggest you don’t write them. If it means you want to write inspirational romance, Amish romance, romantic suspense, historical settings that aren’t Regency, England….whatever it is… Do. It. Yeah, yeah, I hear that the market place demands you write what publishers are going to buy. But there is no guarantee that after you craft that finely honed, well-plotted, perfectly edited piece and send it to a publisher that they are going to want it.

What is the point, in the end, of writing stuff that you don’t care to write?

Think on that.

Breaking News! Military Romantic Suspense coming!

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

 

Well now you all know I like to write the occasional military hero, right? :) That isn’t stopping anytime soon. I don’t have a lot of details I can give out this minute, but a trilogy I wrote some time ago which is military romantic suspense will be published this year or next (I’m hoping the first book will be out this year at least). These stories feature three brothers in three different branches of the military facing down a dangerous situation when they come home to a little town where they grew up. The situation puts them straight into the arms of three women. These are very “ripped from the headlines” stories. As soon as I have blurbs, titles, and all that good stuff to share I’ll do so here on my blog and book pages on my website. Look forward to sharing these hunky brothers with you! More details very soon!