Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Cover Reveal - Uncovering Peace by Steffy Rogers

Uncovering Peace – Military Love Vol. 2 by Steffy Rogers Author
Release Date: October 30th 2015

Cover Models:
Jason JC Kurtis

Photograph by Kruse Images & Photography: Models & Boudoir
Cover design by Kari Ayasha Cover to Cover Designs
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Just one more cut. Just one more drop.

Faith Livingston has only ever known pain. With a past that she tries to keep hidden, she has a hard time trusting or loving anybody. That is until she meets Seth Jacobs. After sharing one night together, he walks away from her. She tucks her feelings for him away but soon realizes he is all she ever wanted.

There’s just one tiny. He's married.

Seth Jacobs has been unhappily married for five years but guilt forces him to stay with Krystal. When Faith steps into his life, his world is turned upside down and though he knows he can’t have her, thoughts of her consume him.

Will true love find its way to them? Will they withstand the trials thrown at them? Or will they realize that sometimes love just isn’t enough?

About the author
Steffy Rogers is a self-professed bookaholic who is fluent in English, German and Sarcasm. When she isn’t working or going to school she spends her free time writing. She makes a home in a college town in Georgia with her dog Karma and her cat Olaf. However, her heart belongs in Germany, where she lived for twenty years before returning to the USA.

Though her memories of Germany are blurry due to the delicious beer, she knows one day she will return home for good.

Rediscovering Peace – Military Love Vol. 1:
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Monday, September 28, 2015

Cover Reveal - Tell (The Heckmasters, Book 3)

Drum roll, please. I'm super-excited to show you, at last, the final cover for The Heckmasters series. Here it is in all it's glory, Tell (The Heckmasters, Book 3). I have to give a shout out to my awesome cover artist Kanaxa. I always get tons of compliments on these covers. She does a great job!

And here he is with his beautiful brothers. There you have it. A whole set ready for completion March 8, 2016.

Here's the lowdown:

Tell (The Heckmasters, Book 3)
Author: Allison Merritt
ISBN13: 9781619233010
Length: 70k
Release date: March 8, 2016

Half demon, all woman strong enough to love him.

Knowing the day will come when his demon blood will overcome his humanity, Tell Heckmaster has been searching for a miracle. Something, anything, to counteract the spell. So far, he's come up empty.

Just as the town of Berner has finally found peace, Tell's worst fears manifest. Strange, new powers are tearing at his finely honed control. Putting everyone-including the pretty seamstress he's kept at arm's length-in terrible danger.

Sylvie Duke has everything she needs. Everything except Tell, who doesn't seem to own a lick of sense. His resistance only strengthens her resolve to stay by his side, driven by a nameless inner knowing that without her, all will be lost.

Reluctantly, Tell is forced to admit that the closer he is to Sylvie, the better he's able to quell his demon. But when a cryptic warning from an old ally tips the balance, nothing-not even love-may be strong enough to protect Berner from the raging fires of hell.

Warning: Contains a woman who can handle a hatchet with as much skill as a needle, and a man whose touch can transport her to heaven. Or hell. Accidentally, of course. Readers may wish to invest in an asbestos suit. Potholders just aren't going to cut it.

Add it on Goodreads. You know I'll get you buy links ASAP.

Want an excerpt? Yeah. You do.

The dried blood in his eyes and hair crackled like mud as Tell Heckmaster sneered. He was painted with it, but he had something else—fire in his fingertips. He picked himself up out of the sandy dirt as heat surged through his body. It started in his chest like he’d swallowed a coal and seeped into his arms and hands. The fire begged to be used.

The cyclops let out a roar and sprang forward, swinging his spiked club.
Sparks snapped on Tell’s skin, bright in the pre-dawn darkness. His muscles were weak, failing from the blood loss, but the fire flared and shot toward the one-eyed demon advancing on him. Flames swelled as they surrounded the monster. Orange lightened to pink and silver while the fire pouring from his hands remained the hottest blue. Tell gritted his teeth as the cyclops screamed and flailed.

The heat was immense, hotter than a forge, and the creature went up like it had been doused in kerosene. After a moment, it stopped screaming and collapsed in the dirt. It twitched—pure nerve reflex, not from any life left in it. The fire burned on.

Tell swayed as the heat inside him faded. He lifted his hands, but they looked the same as they always had. Not a blister, not a charred mark revealed what he’d done. He didn’t feel any different—except for the throbbing pain in his chest from the monster’s club and cuts on his face where it had backhanded him. One of his teeth wiggled as he pressed his tongue to it. The cyclops had a nasty haymaker. He spat blood at the corpse and cradled his left arm to his chest, over the ribs that felt like they’d been smashed to fragments.

The fire licking at the cyclops went out and all that was left was a pile of ashes. He kicked the ashes and they scattered. The vague outline of the crispy creature collapsed into a shape no human would recognize as something that had once been alive.

His horse was long gone and he was half a mile from Berner. The good news was the cyclops hadn’t made it into town. On the other hand, he was pretty sure he was going to pass out and probably choke to death on his own vomit. Hell of a way to go.

Over the throb of his heartbeat in his ears, the sound of hoofbeats reached him. His horse or someone out for a ride?

Double hoofbeats—two horses. Maybe it meant rescue. He closed his eyes. How in God’s name would he ever drag himself up on the back of a horse?

Assuming whoever it was even wanted to help him. His thighs trembled. He reached for the small silver dagger that hung off his belt. It was gone. The empty sheath mocked him.


The horses came closer and the sun inched over the horizon. On its first pale gold rays, Sylvie Duke rode across the desert. She didn’t look like a rescuer, wearing a stupid-looking hat decorated in flowers and feathers that waved in the wind or in her velvet riding habit trimmed with ivory lace. Her dark golden hair whipped behind her like a Crusader’s banner.

He dropped to his knees and the breath went out of him at the bone-jarring pain. If he got down, she’d never get him up. Well, not entirely true. Even if he died, he figured she’d still have the same kind of effect on him. The girl had blossomed into the kind of woman a man couldn’t get out of his mind. He had a pretty good idea that a corset was only enhancing her figure, but she could hold her own without it.


That second horse was his, a leggy paint that shied at the first hint of blood or full demons. A useless quality for a man who hunted the darkness that still sometimes rose out of the desert. These days, Tell so rarely crossed paths with monsters, he hadn’t worried about a skittish horse for years. Lesson learned.

Her horse, now he was a fearless animal with all the loyalty of a king’s soldier. While Tell’s horse snorted and danced, Sylvie’s planted his hooves on the ground and didn’t budge.

She knelt beside him and put her cool hands on either side of his face. “What happened?”

Her eyes were huge behind the shiny lenses in her spectacles. Brown eyes, the color of caramel—to match her sweet smile. They’d always captivated him. “What are you doing here?”

“Your horse showed up in town all alone while I was walking to the shop. I came looking for you. It seems like I found some leftover parts a demon didn’t want.” She laughed, but it had a slightly hysterical note to it.

“You always were funny, Sylvie.” He drew in a ragged breath. “You didn’t even ask how bad the other guy looks.”

“I’m not sure I want to find out.” A whole lot of worry darkened her pretty features. Only Sylvie would ride out into the unknown to find him without alerting one of his too-protective brothers first. The girl had more balls than the three Heckmasters put together.

He met her gaze. “You know Jeffrey Spinner’s a twat.”

She jerked away. “What?”

“I never liked him. He’s not good enough for you.” Tell’s head spun. If his battle with the cyclops killed him, it was important that she know what a shithead Spinner was.

The desert was a dizzying array of red and brown with some yellow thrown in. Against the sky bursting with pink and purple, it looked just as horrible and unforgiving as it was. “I hate this place too. I don’t want to die here.”

“You’re not going to die. You think I’d let that happen?” She gripped the collar of his shirt and yanked. Buttons flew in all directions. Sylvie looked prim and proper on the outside, but she wouldn’t know propriety if it bit her on her sweet, round ass.

She gasped at the sight of his chest and he didn’t think it was because of his impressive muscle tone. His whole left side was purplish-blue and bloodstained. “I’ll be fine in a few hours. I need some sleep, that’s all.”

She didn’t look convinced. “You need Eban. What did this?” Her voice was soft, choked.

“Cyclops. Eight feet tall and he smelled like ten days’ worth of death.” He smiled again. “You shouldn’t be out here alone.”

“I’m not alone. I have you.” She moved to his right side and slung his arm over her neck.

He closed his eyes. She didn’t know it, but that was the truth. Since the minute he’d pulled her out of the hidden room in Eban’s clinic when she was twelve years old, crying for her sister who’d been taken by a backstabbing echidna, he’d vowed to protect her. Until Hell opened up and swallowed them, or she took her last breath. Whichever happened first.

“Don’t have much, do you, Sylvie?”

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Thoughts on Contest Feedback


They're everywhere.

This is one of those things you realize you're taking on when you get into a creative field. Some people love you. Some people hate you. Some people don't care. A lot of people don't care.

When you enter a contest, you are specifically asking for feedback. The judges basically get to say whatever they want. I've been critiquing and judging for years. Doesn't always make me right, doesn't always make me wrong.

I'm thrilled when I get good feedback. I want to be told I'm a total genius. Of course I do. Because, obvs, I am a genius. *Ahem* Sense of modesty, you can step in any time now. The point I'm trying to make here is, I entered the Weta Nichols writing contest. With full intentions of blowing everyone away. And happily, I made it to the final round because what I wrote was brilliant. Actually, it was a little horrifying and gruesome and the hero is a total @$$hat. He's definitely anti-hero material. Dark, dangerous, cocky, and slick as waterproof canvas. Everything rolls right off of him. My first round judges loved it.

My final round judge didn't see a sympathetic side to him. His development needed work, she said. Apparently she wasn't impressed with the way he stepped in front of a bullet to save a small child because the kid reminded him of his little brother. My characterization only came through for her as "average". I didn't score anything above "good".

Not that good is bad.

But me, being me (it's a dark and scary place in my mind, kids), I readied a pep talk for myself. It went a little something like this:

Now, you're not everyone's cup of tea. You're a special brand of crazy. Your judge, she likes paranormal, but you've wandered completely off the reservation. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's a good story. It's gritty and dark and Wilder isn't your average hero. He's not supposed to be average, because he's one level away from burning in Hell. Good guys don't deserve to go to Purgatory. Of course he's kind of a bad guy. It's your job to redeem him. You're not just writing romance here. You're writing dark romance. Make those characters earn that happily-ever-after. You can't make everyone happy. There are a lot of people in the world who just don't "get" what you're doing here. You're fine. Everything is fine. The hanging scene is not too gruesome. No one who knows you is going to put that book down. She might put it down, but who cares? You want to change everything you've done to please one single person? No. Relax.

Scary place. Really.

I was worried there was too much swearing in it. I dropped the F-bomb, something I rarely do (ha, in books, not anywhere else). It was appropriately placed. I don't think the swearing got me in the hot seat.

It's funny how three judges can each state they were drawn into the story with realistic thoughts, setting, and unique characters. And how one doesn't see any of that the same way. It's funny how humans have different perspectives on one story. But it would probably be a weird world if we all liked the same things. I see us all going "Oooo" like the Martian toys in Toy Story. Frightening. But to tell you a story, I judged an entry I didn't care for. I found out later another judge didn't care for it either. And there was one judge who did. There you have it. We're all weird.

You can't be everyone's cupcake. And that's okay. Don't let it stop you from banging your own drum. I'm gonna write weird westerns. You write whatever you're writing. Paint blobs and call it art. Sing off key, do whatever makes you happy, just learn the rules so you can break them in a way that improves whatever you're doing.

Me, I'm gonna write romance novels that don't start with romance right out of the gate. I'm gonna make you love an @$$hole anti-hero. Or at least be curious enough to wonder what his deal really is. Or maybe you won't.

And that's okay.

Book Feature - Deady Benevolence by Dawn Brower

Jaesin Grean has one priority. He wants to keep his best friend, Dr. Luciana Doll, safe from her father and a bunch of zombies wandering around outside their door. Lucy is a genius and is close to developing a cure. When her ex-fiancé, Nathanial Tyger, shows up infected she is forced to move her timetable up, hoping to save him from a future as a zombie. They race against the clock to save Nat and fight off a possible attack from her father. Will they survive in a world already torn apart? Jaesin is given the herculean task of guiding them through it all. Will he live up to Lucy's expectations and can he keep her safe long enough to find a cure.

“Don’t do anything stupid, and I won’t have to harm you.”

Fuck, one of them managed to wake up. He’d deal with it. Sin turned around and peeked over at the man standing to his left. He held a compact handgun pointed at his head. How to deal with the situation? The man held his weapon with experience. He probably had training, but Sin didn’t doubt his own skills. With the right approach, he could disarm him and regain control. Lull him into a sense of security and then hit him hard—distraction was his best defense. Get the guy talking and divert his attention.

“Who are you?”

The man’s stance remained steady. His gaze never left Sin. “Someone who needs your help.”

“I don’t believe you.” No one who came searching for him actually wanted his help. They were usually sent by Lucy’s father. The rat bastard thought he could force his daughter into compliance. He didn’t know her well if he truly believed she’d give in willingly to his demands. Sin made her a promise, and he intended to keep it. These two were not going to take her back to her evil father.

The man sighed and put his gun into the holster at his side. He held up his hands and pleaded, “I'm telling you the truth. I—or rather Nat, needs Lucy’s help.”

Sin’d been right. He came searching for Lucy. Could he trust he didn’t mean her harm? No, he couldn’t. Lucy’s safety came first. It was best to continue with his plan to stall for time and distract him until he could knock him out again.


“You know him. Captain Nathanial Tyger.”

Damn it. He meant the gnat. His former—and very annoying—commanding officer, the one man guaranteed to get on his nerves just by breathing. It also told him all he needed to know about the man with him. His training was legit and probably as good as his had been.

“Then we have nothing to discuss. No way in hell am I letting gnat anywhere near Lucy. I know he chose her father over her.”

About the Author:
Dawn Brower holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, a Master of Arts in Education, and is currently working on a Master of Arts in Liberal Arts with concentrations in Literature, History, and Sociology. She works as a substitute teacher and enjoys the flexibility it gives her to concentrate on her other endeavors.

Growing up she was the only girl out of six children. She is a single mother of two teenage boys; there is never a dull moment in her life. Reading books is her favorite hobby. There is nothing like a nice glass of wine and a good book to relax with at the end of the day.

There are always stories inside her head; she just never thought she could make them come to life. That creativity has finally found an outlet. Visit for more information.

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Monday, September 21, 2015

ORAcon 2015

This year, I was super-excited to return to ORAcon. I haven't been this excited to do anything in quite a while. I had my clothes all picked out way in advance, a hat ready to go, and the nail-biting thrill of waiting to find out how my paranormal entry for the Weta Nichols writing contest, Lawless, would do. Here are the highlights:

I got to room with my partner-in-crime Lisa Medley again. We visited at the Author Signing at the Library Center in Springfield, Mo. I didn't sign, but I did cut out early for dinner, which was a total riot with my girls, including Lisa, Jillian Slack, Ellen Harger, and many others. Dinner was too fun. We hit the trail and met back at the hotel for the Meet and Greet cocktail party, which was also a riot. I met a writer who's super willing to help me out with my Regency novella. I love meeting people who are so enthusiastic about working with others. Yay! Jill, Lisa, and I were the last ones standing at almost midnight. We reluctantly parted ways.

Here's my Heckmaster basket for the raffle. The proceeds from the raffle go to the Ozarks Literacy Council. What a great cause. It contained copies of Wystan (The Heckmasters) and Eban (The Heckmasters, Book 2), Arrogant Bastard ale, Sinfire Cinnamon whiskey, 30 pieces of silver-wrapped chocolate, a solar dancing devil, earrings by Michele at Cobalt Sky Unique Art (she has an Etsy shop, check her out. Her jewelry is beautiful and modestly priced), a XL Hershey's Special Dark bar, an Amazon gift card, and custom blended loose leaf tea in a Heckmaster's theme. I included I Shot the Sheriff, Doctor's Orders, and I'm the Oracle (the whole set is here). 

Obviously the coolest name badges we've had in the history of conference. I couldn't stop playing with it all day. I actually want to frame it because it oozes awesome.

I shared a table at the mini expo with Wanda Fittro. Love talking to that lady. Wanda! Write more books, woman! When I put on my hat, she put on her awesome red fascinator. We were the hat table and it was fabulous.

This is my uber-cool hat. I asked a few people if it was a little over-the-top, but everyone thought it was great. I could've done without the bow, but the rest of it was wonderful. I will always love feathers and I will never not love the lady skeleton cameo.

Lunch was great, as one would hope. I got to meet (and probably scared the hell out of) a Weta finalist whose contemporary entry I loved. I literally gushed all over her. Hey, you have a big fan in me! I will buy your book the second it comes out.
Here's a group photo. Thanks to Sharon Keeling Davis for getting (most of) us together after lunch. I'm on the back row. The one with hat, obvs. I didn't fall in the fountain, so #win!

Here is my certificate for Lawless. My friend Rosalie Stanton got first and I couldn't be happier for her. She's a great writer. You go, girl!

Based on things I learned at the conference, I have a pretty good idea why the final judge would have given Lawless second. See, I learned things. Awesome.

I also learned about drafting a book in two weeks and I'm wondering if I dare. I have three projects I've got to finish right now. One of them is the next Cowboy Up novella, and it's very nearly done. The other is the Regency novella, and the last is the next Viking novel. I don't feel like the latter two really need a two week draft burst, so I'll probably save that knowledge for something else.

Overall, I'm totally exhausted, but it was such a fun time, it was 100% worth being exhausted over. Let's do it again!