Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Guest Post & Book Feature - A Friendly Engagement (A Friends First Novel) by Christine Warner


One of the best parts—at least for me—when writing a book is that I can “borrow” traits, habits, names, and other goodies from people I know to make my characters come to In A Friendly Engagement, book one in the Friends First Novel series I went a little crazy in that respect, but it made the story so fun for me and I hope that all these little “borrows” make the story a fun read, too.

I’d like to share a few of my “borrows”:

1. Our heroine’s name is Devi Boss. I “borrowed” the name Devi from my niece. Devi is her middle name and I’ve always loved the uniqueness and it fit my character so well. As for Devi’s last name in the book, that was kind of a little joke from when my niece was a little girl. She liked to be in charge, so my dad always called her “The Boss.” Wah-la—Devi Boss was born.

2. Devi’s motto in the book is live-your-life-in-the-moment. I “borrowed” this from my daughter who possesses the same free spirit attitude as Devi and likes to live her life in the moment, too.

3. For more name fun I “borrowed” names from a couple of other people I know. They enjoyed that they’d become a character in a book, and I enjoyed giving them a little shout out. One of Devi’s best friends is Cass, who has a boyfriend named Trevor.

They are both in a band. I “borrowed” the names Cass and Trevor from my daughter and her boyfriend, who just happen to be in a band.

4. There is also a racecar driver in the book named Josue Rigueiro. I “borrowed” that awesome name from a friend I worked with a few years ago. I love his name, and I love his accent even more. If only I could’ve written that into the story so you could read-hear it. Lol

5. Our hero Omar Esterly lives an orderly life, but sometimes lacks social graces or fashion sense. He wears socks with sandals—which Devi finds funny—and I “borrowed” this little habit from an old boss of mine. There was nothing funnier than watching him walk up the pathway to our office in his shorts, socks, and sandals. My office cohort and I used to give him a hard time about it, but he always shrugged us off. I guess he was just living his life in the moment.

6. I “borrowed” one of Devi’s favorite movie scenes from one of my favorite movie scenes. I love the upside down kissing scene in Spiderman between actors Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. This scene literally makes me turn to jelly, and I gave it a bigger role in my book than I’m detailing here. I hope readers enjoy it.

7. Omar has a habit of rubbing his neck when he’s a little stressed. I “borrowed” this from my husband. I actually gave this little trait to all three of the Esterly brothers.

So when you read the three books in the series you might notice this. All these little borrows make the characters come to life for me, and I hope that they do the same for my readers.

If you could give a character a fun trait or habit, what would you choose?

A Friendly Engagement (A Friends First Novel)
by Christine Warner
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance | Kobo Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published by: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: June 23, 2015
Length: 233 Pages

What's a little engagement between friends?

Omar Esterly is married to his job. But when Omar sets his sights on a potential, family-oriented client, his confirmed bachelorhood becomes a problem. Fortunately, his friend and employee, Devi Boss, has the perfect plan...

Okay, so it wasn't exactly Devi's plan to become her friend's fake fiancée. Lies aren't her style. However, Omar offers her a big, beautiful raise - enough to track down the missing father she's never known - and Devi reluctantly agrees to the whole engagement hoax...

This was supposed to be a no-strings-attached win-win for both Devi and Omar, but when they cross the line between friendship and...well, something more, Devi realizes she's made a huge mistake that just might cost her both job and friend - falling for her fiancé.

Excerpt:
He checked his watch. “Lunch will be over if you…”

The bathroom door squeaked slightly as it opened, and he turned. His heart galloped, then went into a full-blown stampede.

Devi walked across the room. Although her hair fell down past her chest in two loosely gathered pigtails, they bounced with each step. So shiny, he wanted to reach out and touch the fullness, grab a handful, and smell. Hell, he wanted to slide her hair from the two flower clips and tangle his fingers through the silky-looking waves. She chose that moment to spin in a circle.

“What do you think? Too old school?”

“What?”

“The suit. I bought it on a fifties replica website online. I like the style, but I know most people don’t swim in suits like this. It’s a swimdress actually. Don’t you love the cute black and white polka dots? I adore polka dots. And how it gathers at the waist, and the sweetheart neckline, how cool…”

Her words were lost to him. All his focus centered on the rays of sunlight illuminating her face as her mouth moved, each word forming on glossy red lips but never quite reaching his ears. The way her eyelashes fluttered over her cheeks as she inspected her suit, tugging at the waistline and running her fingers along the edge of material that nestled against the swell of her breasts.

And then there were her legs. Where the hell did she get legs like that? Long, toned, and tanned the perfect shade of light brown. They looked smooth, and his fingers ached to reach out and touch them.

What the hell? He’d seen her legs thousands of times when she wore a dress—the mainstay of her wardrobe— even caught glimpses of her upper thigh from time to time, but to see the entire package…

Holy shit! She spun around again.

“O, I want your opinion.”

Damn. Her legs were incredible, but her ass. That suit did amazing things to her ass. He couldn’t stop staring, and when she turned back around to face him he craned his neck to try to follow the view.

About the Author:
Christine Warner is living her dream in Michigan along with her husband, three children, one laptop and a much loved assortment of furry friends.

Besides laughing and a good round of humor, Christine enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, writing but no arithmetic.  A confessed people watcher, she finds inspiration for her stories in everyday activities.  She loves to read and write about strong heroes and determined, sometimes sassy, heroines.

A girl gone wild, at least where social media is concerned, Christine enjoys meeting other avid readers and writers on Facebook, Twitter and her website.
 Website | Blog | Twitter Facebook Instagram | Goodreads Newsletter Street Team | Amazon Author Page

Giveaway:
The Giveaway - $15 Amazon Gift Card (International Winner) or Spiderman DVD, Popcorn, Slippers, & Spiderman Mug (Continental US Winner)


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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Give Us Your Best Excerpt Blog Hop

http://www.preciousmonsters.com/p/give-us-your-best-excerpt.html
Today we're doing something really special, kids. It's excerpt day! From Wystan (The Heckmasters), no less. I joined in the Give Us Your Best Excerpt blog hop, so I hope you'll visit the other participants and read the other paranormal postings.

Here's the set up for Wystan: Rhia Duke has come to Berner, New Mexico Territory in search of a teaching job. When she arrives in town, she learns there is no job and that the town is occupied by reformed demons straight out of Hell. Half demon Sheriff Wystan Heckmaster wants nothing more than for her, her sister, and her friend to get out before he ends up losing human lives to demon activity. Because she demanded it, he's taken her to see the Pit, which is a gateway to Hell. Rhia, however, has other plans besides leaving...

“I reckon a hot hole in the ground isn’t enough to convince you to leave Berner.” He touched his horse with the reins, signaling it to turn around.
“I couldn’t leave if I wanted to, Sheriff. We’re out of money. I hope you’re planning to pay me eventually for the knowledge I’m passing on to the students. I’m good at what I do.”
Her horse followed his, shoes ringing against the rocks.
“Eban thought I’d better. I’ll have to run it past the townfolk, but I imagine they’ll be pleased to know the school’s open again.” Even if he wasn’t. Couldn’t trust Astaroth to send a minor demon with experience in teaching to the surface. No, they had to get their very own human in Berner.
The ground under them rumbled and cracks split the rock. Wystan’s horse cried out in fright and Rhia’s reared, nearly unseating her. The shield across the Pit expanded, bubbling up as though the heat beneath it was too much.
“What is it?” Rhia asked, her voice strained with fear.
Wystan freed his knife from the sheath, fighting to remain in control of his horse. The animal wanted to run and he didn’t blame it. Even as the son of a demon charged with protecting what was left of the town, he didn’t much want to face anything that emerged from the Pit.
Steam rose from the cracks, obscuring the barrier from view. The ground stopped quaking, but his horse whinnied in fear. Its ears swiveled and its eyes rolled.
“Rhia, look at the pretty ribbon.”
Sylvie’s voice issued from the swirling steam. Rhia sat up straight in the saddle.
“What…”
Wystan reached out and grabbed her arm. “It’s a changesteed. They can mimic voices,” he whispered. “Don’t answer it.”
“How does it know Sylvie?”
“Can we get ice cream? Just this once? I won’t ask again until I’m thirteen. Please, big sister?”
A range of emotion crossed Rhia’s face. Disbelief, fear, worry, terror. Beyond the steam, something scraped against the stone. She looked at Wystan with wide eyes. He shook his head, passed her the horse’s reins, and dismounted.
On the ground, he felt smaller, more vulnerable. The changesteed could see through the steam, was extremely strong, fast, cunning, and hungry. Fortunately, it had the disadvantage of being freshly discharged from Hell.
“What are you waiting for, Wys? Aren’t you going to kill it?” Tell’s voice rolled out of the curtain in front of the Pit.
He knew it wasn’t his brother. Knew Tell was tracking a lesser demon who’d arrived last week.
“Come on out. No need to play games.” He gripped the knife loosely and took a step forward. “I know you just got here, but it’s never too soon to go home again.”
“Wys, don’t be that way.” The changesteed was remarkably convincing. “You wouldn’t threaten your little brother.”
Wystan sneered. “You don’t know me that well, do you?”
“Sheriff?” Rhia’s voice cracked. “We should go.”
It stepped out of the vapor, six feet tall at its sloping shoulders. A wide mouth gaped with uneven teeth. Big eyes bulged from its face and pointed ears pricked forward. Its long legs carried it over the rocky ground without breaking stride. Cloven hooves clacked on the stone.
“Wystan. Astaroth sends warm regards.” A deep, gravelly voice issued from the creature’s throat.
The horses’ hooves clattered on the rocks and one of them screamed in distress. Killing the changesteed would take more effort than a bargest. It was safer for Rhia if she wasn’t around.
“Rhia, go.”
“Wys—”
He waved his arm at her. The changesteed crouched and sprang. Lifting the knife, Wystan braced for the impact of the beast. It crashed into him hard enough to take him off his feet. Sharp jags of rock bit into his back. A cloud of fetid breath clogged his nose.
With all his strength, Wystan drove the knife into the changesteed’s chest. The blade sliced through sinew and cartilage, but the tip stopped shy of the closest thing it had to a heart. Demons didn’t have hearts, didn’t require blood to circulate through their veins. Brown sludge oozed over Wystan’s hands and the creature’s jaws snapped. Foamy flecks of saliva dropped onto his face.
He wrenched the weapon free of the creature’s chest and it sank jagged teeth into his shoulder. In response, he pushed the knife into the softer tissue below its rib cage. The changesteed yelped and turned him loose long enough for him to spill its entrails. Ichor spewed from its mouth, but it didn’t stop snapping.
A shot rang out and the changesteed collapsed on top of Wystan. He craned his neck around and saw Rhia sitting calmly atop the horse, smoking rifle in her hands. The changesteed’s black mouth and yellowed teeth were inches from his face. He pushed the carcass off and removed his knife from its guts.
Rhia looked down at him, expression grim. “You still think I won’t fit in here?”

About the Book:
Her search for safety lands her in a totally new kind of danger...

Certain that an ad for a job in a small New Mexico Territory town is the answer to her prayers, Nebraska schoolteacher Rhia Duke packs her sister into a rickety wagon and heads west.

Except when they reach the near-deserted town, she learns the truth. There is no job, no future, and no welcome in the bleak blue eyes of the handsome sheriff. The minute Rhia’s runaway team thunders into town, Wystan Heckmaster feels the change in the air. One of three sons of a demon who dared love a human, he keeps watch over a Pit guarded by seven seals, and slays any Hellbound demon that attempts to free the master imprisoned within.

With a gut full of regret and a forgotten town filled with reformed demons, Wystan is certain of one thing: he can’t be the man Rhia needs. But when the truth behind Rhia’s flight from Nebraska comes to light, Wystan must open his soul—and pray there’s enough love between them to overcome the darkness rising from the Pit.

Get it at: Samhain || Amazon || Barnes & Noble || Google Play ||Kobo || ARe

The second book in the series is Eban and is also available for purchase:
If love can’t save them, there will be hell to pay.
Grateful for his mother’s human blood that cools the dark fire of his demon father, Eban Heckmaster has set up a medical practice in New Mexico territory. But there’s no hope of living a normal life until he rids himself of a seductive demon that’s been pursuing him.

Vanquishing it won’t be as simple as sharpening his demon-hunting sword. The clever creature is hiding inside his best friend’s head, and she has no idea of the havoc she’s been wreaking, especially with his body.

Beryl suspects Eban knows why she’s been waking up with no memory of where she’s been or what she’s done, but he’s not talking. But when she inevitably learns what he’s hiding—or rather, what’s hiding inside her—she wonders if her love for him is real, or an illusion created by the demon’s lust.

Eban is losing the battle to hold his rising desire in check. There may be only one way to extricate Beryl from the beast entangling her mind. Call upon his demon blood...and offer it as a sacrifice.

Get it at: Samhain || Amazon || B & N || ARe || Google Play || Kobo

The third book, Tell, is coming March 2016!

Visit the other blogs on this hop!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Guest Post & Book Feature - Between Love and War by Sheri Velarde

Welcome Sheri Velarde back to the blog with her new release!

Ancient gods and mythology have long been a fascination of mine. I read every mythology book I could find as a child/teen. Never did I think that one day I would be writing about gods in some of my stories and having said stories actually published. But with the Gods Behaving Badly series that is exactly what is happening, I am actually getting paid to write about misbehaving gods! How cool is that? I still don’t quite believe it myself,

This series was never intended to be a series. It all started with Looted, which originally was going to be a standalone short about Aphrodite living in the modern world as an art thief. I was working in an art museum at the time and became fascinated with all the great art heists in history. As I began to write the story though, it became very evident that the characters had a lot more to say and that is how Stealing Hearts came to be. The more I wrote about Aphrodite (who goes by Sophia now, just so you know), the more other gods started to bug me to tell their story as well.

Ares makes an appearance in Stealing Hearts and he was the first to demand his own story be told, hence Between Love and War, the love story between Ares and Mania. Of course the mythology nerd is loving this series, I do take some liberties, but I am pulling from ancient myths for my inspiration. Gods in modern times are just so much fun to write about! I am already three books in, but some many more gods are talking to me. Poseidon just showed up in Between Love and War. Eros/Cupid has a story to tell from Stealing Hearts. (Incidentally Aphrodite and Eros’ daughter are in Lost Souls, a fallen angel story in the Gods Behaving Badly world). Athena needs to make an appearance. Hera I am sure will show up. And Zeus, well he won’t stand for getting none of the attention. Who else will speak to me from their myths and beg to come into our time? Who knows, I am just going along for the ride! That is half the fun of being an author.

Blurb:
After the Fall, Ares spent a thousand years searching for his lost love Mania. Thinking he had lost her forever, he settled into the life of a mercenary here on earth. Then the fates, and his sister the goddess of love, showed him Mania was alive and well. He travels to London hoping to regain what he had thought lost forever.

Mania had spent a millennia as a wraith of madness before slowly starting to rebuild herself into a new and independent woman. Art had been her outlet and her savior. Then one night her world is turned upside down when her old love walks back into her life. Can she love him again and still remain the woman that she had become?

Unbeknownst to both of them a mysterious organization is lurking in the background and threatening to unravel the lives of all the gods on earth.

Excerpt:
Sighing with relief that she hadn’t slammed the door in his face, he offered her a coffee. “I know it’s early for you, but I just couldn’t wait any longer. I spent the whole night kicking myself for the way I behaved yesterday. I was so emotional and confused I even called my sister for advice. I never call anyone for advice, let alone the goddess of love.”
“What advice did Aphrodite have?” Maia asked curiously, a slight smile playing on her face.
“To stop acting like an ass and to come and talk to you,” he admitted.
Maia actually laughed. “I always did like her. Come sit down. I really wanted to talk to you after I saw you standing outside, but you ran so fast. I tried going to your hotel as well, but they said you were no longer staying there. Your phone had been disconnected. How did you managed to disappear entirely so quickly? I was afraid I’d never see you again or get to explain what you saw.”
“And what did I see?” Ronan held his breath as he waited for an answer.
“Not something to warrant such a strong reaction, though I suppose if you had been the one who had seemingly blown me off and then I found you in the arms of another woman I would have reacted badly as well.” She took a break to sip some coffee and nibble on her croissant. Her lips were making it hard for Ronan to concentrate. All he wanted to do was capture them with his own. “My friend and business partner lost his father the other day. I spent the day before yesterday taking care of things so that he wouldn’t have to. You saw me comforting him when you stopped by. There was nothing romantic about that hug. I swear.”
“So there’s still hope for me?” Ronan asked, leaning forward, close enough to kiss her, but not daring to just yet.
“There will always be hope for you when it comes to me, Ronan. I’ve always loved you…”
He didn’t need to hear any more. He leaned in and captured her lips, kissing her like he wished he had at her opening. He knew he shouldn’t push her, that he should pull away and give Maia the space his sister advised, but the magic, love, and lust swirling around as he kissed her wouldn’t let him. He had been searching for this ever since the fall and he had lost his one true love. Now that he had her again he didn’t know if he could ever let her go. The good news was that Maia wasn’t fighting or trying to pull back. Instead she leaned into the kiss, moaning softly. That was all the encouragement that he needed. He grabbed Maia and pulled her closer, lifting her easily and settling her on his lap. She wrapped her arms around his neck, never breaking their kiss.

About the Author:
Sheri Velarde, lives in New Mexico with her fiancé and their two dogs.

Being an avid reader since an early age, she has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. She has been writing all her life, but only recently started to actually try to pursue her dream of writing for a living. She specializing in paranormal romance and erotic romance.

She is constantly putting out new material with various publisher, so it is best to keep up with her on her website www.sherivelarde.weebly.com.

In her spare time Sheri is an artist, jewelry designer, and freelance non-fiction writer.

Author links:

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me & A Present For You!

Today is my 19th (+ 14) birthday. To celebrate, I'm giving away one of my favorite books for free.

You can get my historical romance Wildwood Spring free from today until 7/2/15. Download it just in time to read for the holiday weekend!

Get it HERE. Don't have a Kindle? You can still read it for free by downloading the Kindle app to your computer, tablet, or phone!



Have a lovely weekend and happy reading!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Relax...

My long-awaited time has come--vacation, at last.

Well,  almost. I have an eight hour work day to get through first. I wish I could say vacation would be filled with days where I sleep in, write for a few hours, lounge in the sun, and be really, really lazy, but we kind of have more plans than that. The next couple of days are going to be hectic as we prepare the car for a road trip, I try to get the dogs to their grooming appointment on time, and we wash all our clothes in attempt to get packed and loaded by Monday evening.

I'm sure I'll have some lovely photos to show you of the time away from home. I'm also sure I'll probably accomplish no writing. In some ways, that's great. A break can be helpful. In other ways, it's frustrating, because of the get-it-done mentality I possess. Sometimes, after a long time away from a project, I don't want to finish it. I fall into the trap of, I stopped before, what's the point of going on? Especially because I'm an insecure writer anyway, so I find myself questioning the story as I write.

Don't get me wrong. I like the Vikings. If I didn't, I certainly wouldn't have started a new novel about them. But I'm always terrified no one is going to like it. Maybe this one won't be as good as the last one. Writing series scares the hell out of me. You'd think after years of writing and plenty of really good reviews I wouldn't worry, but yeah, I worry anyway.

Again, don't get me wrong. I'm glad to finally get a break. I'm really looking forward to visiting a place I've never been before. Even if I don't get to sleep in every day, I'll still be able to relax. When I'm not thinking about work, that is, but I'll try not to. I think vacation is going to be great. You know what they say--a writer never gets a vacation, because it's impossible to shut down the mind. If only there was an OFF switch for a little while. But I can't wait to get out of the office. I'm counting the minutes.

Ugh, come on, Friday. Release me from your work clutches.