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.

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?”


“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

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Give Us Your Best Excerpt Blog Hop
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.
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.”
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!