A Furry Muse

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I’m well aware of the fact that in fiction, dogs rule. Way over cats. Stories involving dogs score much higher readership than those with no pets, or with cats. I understand that. My husband is not a big cat person. He’s a dog person.

But I am what I am what I am. And there’s no doubt, folks. I’m a cat person.

I used to raise them. Persians, for show. For over 10 years, the “Gempaw” empire ruled. I had a number of Regional and one National winner in CFA, the fancy’s elite group. But I had to make a choice, because breeding cats is a big commitment. If I wanted time left to write after my full-time day job, something had to go. My horse hobby, along with my cat breeding hobby, bit the dust.

Plus, I work for a school of veterinary medicine. We encounter the ravages of discarded strays all the time. How could I justify breeding, i.e., bringing more animals into a world-intentionally–where many do not have homes?

I have been cat-less for almost 5 years. In the last year, my husband’s beloved Boston Terrier, Chopper, passed in his sleep, leaving an aching hole in the family’s heart (my husband is definitely a dog person). We adopted a new baby Boston, Rudy, who has quickly become part of our family.

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Still, the hole in my heart remained. I wanted a cat. That’s what I asked for for Christmas. The ONLY thing.

Several weeks before the holiday, with the recommendations of two of my old-time breeder friends here in New England, I found Leo. He seems to be everything I was looking for: a high-white Persian, male, great breed traits and within my budget. When my grandson saw the pics of Leo from when I went to visit him, he said, “Oh, Grandma, he looks like Boss Baby.” Thus, the name: Pearly Pond Boss Baby Leo.

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For the record, Persians don’t really qualify as cats. They are a breed apart. They act more like dogs, yet in a superior kind of way. Are they snooty? Oh yeah. Can they live without you, like most cats? Maybe not, but they will die before they admit it.

I brought Leo home two weeks before Christmas. He is everything I wanted, and more. Beautiful, cuddly, feisty. He’s good for his weekly bath and tolerates the twice-daily face washing routine with grace. Leo will debut at his first show—a CFA event—next weekend. I have no expectations. I am just looking forward to showing off my purring love and re-communing with cat show friends from years past.

Leo sits on my desk while I write, or purrs in my lap. He has become quite the terror in the office, though, and has more than once been found trying to type on my keyboard or laying on it—which my computer simply does not comprehend!

He may cost me a keyboard at some point. Oh well. What the hell?

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This baby cat has filled a hole in my heart I really wasn’t aware existed. But now that it’s filled, I know I simply couldn’t go on without him. Leo’s future is not to procreate. I’m done with the breeding end of the business. I intend for him, as a neuter, to remain my muse for the foreseeable future.

Welcome, Boss Baby Leo.

 

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A Different Kind of Reunion – A New Release by Joanne Guidoccio

Today we’re celebrating Joanne Guidoccio’s release of her newest novel, A Different Kind of Reunion with an interview and a Rafflecoptor Giveaway for a $10 Amazon Gift Card. Click the link to enter!

The blurb for this story really has me intrigued:

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While not usually a big deal, one overlooked email would haunt teacher Gilda Greco. Had she read it, former student Sarah McHenry might still be alive.

 Suspecting foul play, Constable Leo Mulligan plays on Gilda’s guilt and persuades her to participate in a séance facilitated by one of Canada’s best-known psychics. Six former students also agree to participate. At first cooperative and willing, their camaraderie is short-lived as old grudges and rivalries emerge. The séance is a bust.

 Determined to solve Sarah’s murder, Gilda launches her own investigation and uncovers shocking revelations that could put several lives—including her own—in danger. Can Gilda and the psychic solve this case before the killer strikes again?

Check out the Book Trailer here.

You can buy this exciting new release here:

Amazon (Canada):  https://is.gd/vR5Sxn

Amazon (United States): https://is.gd/lU0qw7

Kobo: https://is.gd/5MMKWF

Indigo: https://is.gd/11GpVs

Barnes & Noble: https://is.gd/ckNfhx

iTunes: https://is.gd/oPe0RD

The Wild Rose Press: https://is.gd/nQ2ZjT

And now let’s get to know Joanne a little better . . .

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If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

I would want Lorraine Bracco to play the part of Gilda Greco. A long-time fan, I enjoyed watching her play Dr. Jennifer Melfi in The Sopranos, a role she had to actually request. The producers had originally asked her to audition for the role of Carmela, but Lorraine felt compelled to stretch herself in the role of the psychiatrist.

Carlo Fantin – Colin Firth

Leo Mulligan – Woody Harrelson

Cassandra Coburn – Anna Kendrick

Are you a plotter or a pantster?

I think of myself as a linear pantser. Once I get the spark of an idea, I let it percolate. While driving or doing routine tasks, I imagine characters and come up with a title. Before starting to write, I plan the first three chapters and the ending. As for the rest of the storyline, I let it flow as I write.

Do your read your reviews?

I read all my reviews at least once. On “blue” days, I reread the excellent reviews. While reading the less-than-stellar reviews, I look for common themes. For example, several readers commented on the number of characters introduced in the first chapter of A Season for Killing Blondes. I kept that comment in mind while writing Too Many Women in the Room and A Different Kind of Reunion.

Describe your process for naming your characters?

When I first started writing, I paid little attention to name selection. Whenever I introduced a new character, I would use the first name that popped into my head and then become very attached to that name. That resulted in repetition and confusion. In A Season for Killing Blondes, Book 1 in the Gilda Greco Mystery Series, I used Paolo, Paula, and Pauline for three of the characters. Thankfully, one of my beta readers pointed out the repetition. Later (after publication), I noticed the same problem with Mel and Melly Grace; Jean and Jenny Marie.

With Books 2 and 3 of the series, I have been more careful with name selection. I write out all the character names beforehand and spend several days getting comfortable with them. Anything that sounds confusing or repetitive is replaced.

When did you realize you wanted to write novels?

While sitting in Sister Maris Stella’s Grade 13 English class (circa 1973), I dreamed of writing the great Canadian novel. I followed the conventional advice of the times and pursued a career in teaching, but in my heart of hearts, I knew that someday I would resurrect that writing dream. In 2008, I took advantage of early retirement and devoted my second act to writing.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

It would be wonderful if I could fly at will. Whenever I felt the need to travel, I would pack my bags, stand at the doorway, and visualize my intended destination. Within seconds, I would be transported to a five-star hotel room in that particular city. This superpower would also come in handy during lengthy meetings and sticky situations.

Wow, if you figure out how to get that superpower, please share! It sounds like one I’d definitely like to have as well!

More about Joanne:

In 2008, Joanne Guidoccio took advantage of early retirement and decided to launch a second career that would tap into her creative side and utilize her well-honed organizational skills. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romance, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.

Where to find Joanne Guidoccio:

Website: http://joanneguidoccio.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/joanneguidoccio

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjoanneguidoccio

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joanneguidoccio

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jguidoccio/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7277706.Joanne_Guidoccio

Check out Joanne’s other books HERE. Thanks for joining me on Emotional Journeys today, Joanne, and best of luck with your new release!

~~~

Claire Gem writes contemporary romance and supernatural suspense. You can find out more about her at her Website or Amazon Author Page.

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A Guest From Outside the Box

Today I have a very special guest with me on Emotional Journeys. Author John McKenna, who sometimes goes by the name Garritt O’Dwaine, writes nonfiction, crime fiction, and is also the mastermind behind the review website, Mysterious Book Report.

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John, along with my husband, Clark, grew up in the small town of Grahamsville, N.Y. He is here today to share some personal insight about his writing process, et al. Take it away, John!

John: First I’d like to thank Claire for stepping outside the romance genre to interview a crime fiction author and reviewer.
Claire: You’re welcome, John. I’m thrilled to have you with us here today. Tell us about your writing process. Are you a keyboard addict or do you write the words out the old fashioned way?
John: My process of writing is to write everything longhand with a pencil because it’s easier to correct mistakes and I have lost my ability to type because of an injury.  My assistant types everything and whips it all into shape.
Claire: Oh, I don’t know whether to admire you, or feel sorry for you! I am a keyboard addict. I can type faster than I can talk (and ask my husband, that’s not an easy feat!).
Tell us about a book you love, one you wish you could have written.
John: The book I wish I would have written is LA Confidential by James Ellroy, it is one of the finest examples of noir fiction ever written.
Claire: How do you choose character names for your books?
John: Names are important in books because I feel that they are the doors to ideas, and indications of character.  One of the best examples of this is Charles Dickens’s undertaker, Uriah Heep.  I keep lists of names I have gathered from many different sources including antique newspapers’ obituaries and graveyard registrations.  I have books full of them.
Claire: Ooh, being a big fan of graveyards, and an author of ghostly stories, I would LOVE to get my hands on your records!
Tell us, what advice would you give to aspiring authors out there?
John: The advice I have for other aspiring writers is persist.  Never give up. Never quit.  Never stop trying.  Write every day.
Claire: Agreed. It’s never an easy road, but if you’re dedicated it will definitely pay off.
What is your least favorite part of the writing process?
John: My least favorite part is editing and re-writing.
Claire: I hear you there! I get so I think I could recite my book by memory. So, your most recent release. Tell us about it.
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John: Colorado Noir is my 3rd and most award-winning book.  The others are Neversink Chronicles and The Whim-Wham Manboth of which are award winners.
Claire: My husband has read the Neversink Chronicles and, having grown up in that part of the world, he found it fascinating. To me, just the idea of a town disappearing entirely under water–on–purpose, is chilling. But the Neversink Reservoir is now a major supplier of water to the Big Apple, NYC.
Tell me, What are you working on now?
John: My next project is turning a short story called Mischief of Rats into a novel and I am also working on a historical mystery entitled Unforsaken, set in the year 1901, which features a women’s search for her missing brother and a determined but conflicted Texas Ranger who is 20 years older than her, widowed, and fatally attracted.
Claire: John, thanks so much for visiting with me today. I’m going to share with my readers a sample of your upcoming novel, Unforsaken, to whet their appetites! Be sure to update us on release dates and any future events.
~~~

1901

It was an almost perfect early spring morning . . . the thermometer was still in the mid-eighties, a slight breeze rustled the leaves in the live oaks lining the thoroughfare, and the sun stood low in a cloudless, cerulean blue sky that looked as fragile as Chinese porcelain and spread to the farthest edges of the world.  That’s when a man came up East Second Street in Cleburne, Texas.  He was driving a black doctor’s buggy with red wheels and seat, and pulled by a small Appaloosa mare.  He was looking for Featherston Lane, and a certain gray house with a green tin roof and white gingerbread trim.  When he found it, he nosed the mare to the curb, half-hitched the reins to the dash rail and backed out on the short step.  Once down, he checked his surroundings, opened the picket gate and strode up the flagstone walk like he owned the place.

The woman who lived there saw him come to her front door.  She was watching from the parlor, where she’d just placed a bowl of pink and yellow roses, fresh-cut from the bushes at the corner of her porch.  The man, who was tall and thin, had on a white shirt, black wool suit, black tie and gray waistcoat, and moved with the insouciance, grace and confidence of a feral cat on the prowl.  She noted the cant of his curled brim Stetson, the scuffed, dusty boots and tied-down Colt pistol at his right hip.  She shivered at the sight of his drooping, heavy black mustache.  Then he was at the door knocking.

She smoothed her apron and tucked a wisp of hair behind her ear before she went to answer it. “Yes,” she said, “may I help you?”

The stranger took off his hat, held it in his left hand and said, “Mornin’ ma’am.  My name is Boyd Pirtle.   I’m a Texas Ranger.   Are you the  Mrs.  Stringfellow who’s been runnin’ the advertisement in the newspaper, lookin’ for her brother?”

“It’s Miss, not Mrs., and yes, I am she.  Do you know of his whereabouts?”  She saw the creases in his sun-baked face, the gray creeping into his hair, and all the sadness and steel in a pair of pale blue eyes that looked as faded as old denim. Gun-fighters eyes, her father would’ve said . . . the eyes of a long and hard campaigner.  She added, “I’m willing to pay for information if you can help me find him.”  And Please God, she thought at the same time, don’t let this one be another crackpot, full of lies and a spinner of tall tales.

The stranger in the rumpled suit with the worn cuffs looked off to his left before turning back and gazing straight into her eyes.  “No ma’am.  I don’t.  I haven’t any news for yuh, but I do have a proposal that I believe can help both of us . . . if y’all’d care to listen.”

“You say you’re a Ranger.  Do you have any proof?  There’s been many who’ve come around looking for the reward money, but none of them had any validity.  No disrespect, but why should I believe you?”

“That’s a fair enough question,” he said as he pulled back his lapel with his left hand to display a five-pointed star, convex in shape, hand-hammered and filed from a single silver dollar with the words TEXAS RANGER etched into it.  “Here’s my badge, and you can wire Captain Wiley Newton at Division Headquarters down in Austin.  He’ll provide my bona fides for you.  And, as you can see, he’s the one who signed this here letter of introduction,” Pirtle added, and pulled an envelope with the Texas Ranger insignia on it from his inside coat pocket.  He removed the enclosed document and handed it to her.

She unlatched the door and took the missive, scanned it with care and handed it back to its owner.  She said, “Special Agent.  I’m impressed.  But what’s that got to do with finding my twin brother?”

“I’ll get to that.  It’s part of my proposal to you.”

She thought for a moment about asking him to leave.  But after a second or two of hesitation, she said instead, “When’s the last time you ate anything Mr. Pirtle?”

He looked down and said, “Yesterday mornin’, I guess.  Some jerky and a couple of corn dodgers.”

“Corn dodgers, huh.  Haven’t heard that expression for a while.  Were you in the war?”

“Yes’m.  I was.  Signed up with John Bell Hood and the Texas Brigade right after Shiloh.”

“Oh my . . . you must be brave.”

    ~~~

More about John McKenna, aka Garritt O’Dwaine: John Press photo

John Dwaine McKenna is an award-winning author, reviewer, commentator, publisher and lecturer living in southern Colorado.  His weekly column:  The Mysterious Book Report, appears in the Tri-Valley Townsman, a tabloid-sized regional newspaper published 49 times per year in Sullivan County, New York;  online at: Mysteriousbookreport.com, and Johndwainemckenna.com, as well as on Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, and Twitter.  He has three prize-winning crime-fiction works to his credit: The Neversink Chronicles, The Whim-Wham Man, and Colorado Noir.  Currently, he’s working on his latest, a historical fiction crime novel entitled Unforsaken set in the year 1901 which features a woman named Ella Stringfellow, who’s searching for her missing brother and a determined, but conflicted Texas Ranger. He’s  20 years older than her, widowed, and fatally attracted.  He is also working, at the same time, on a crime-fiction thriller featuring serial character Jake McKern, a hard-boiled CSPD detective born and raised working in Colorado Springs.

~~~

Claire Gem writes contemporary romance and supernatural suspense. You can find out more about her and her work at her Amazon Author Page or her Website.

A Movie Review: Love Comes Softly

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I am not one to watch television, but my husband loves movies, particularly westerns. Last evening, he stumbled across on oldie but goodie: Love Comes Softly, directed by Michael Landon, Jr. The film originally aired in 2003 on the Hallmark channel, and is based on a Christian series written back in the 90s by Janette Oke.

As I said, I’m not one to watch TV. But the movie was worth staying up for.

This, my friends, is what I consider a true romance. A young couple, Marty & Aaron, head out west to start their new life together, but the dream is not meant to be. Before they can even set up camp, Aaron goes after one of their horses who wandered off and dies in a tragic fall. Marty is pregnant, alone, and winter is coming.

A local widower, Clark, proposes to Marty on the day she buries her husband. He offers her a solution: marry him, help him over the winter to raise his 9-year old daughter, Missie, who desperately needs a woman’s influence. In the spring, he will provide passage for Marty to go back east, along with the baby he discovers she’s carrying. With no options, Marty accepts.

The couple are married in name only, and live in separate quarters. Missie resents Marty’s presence, and her efforts to coax the girl to act more like a girl. But gradually, Marty finds a way to earn Missie’s trust. The grieving faux family show signs of becoming a real one.

As an author of romance novels, I read and listen to hundreds of titles every year. I seek out what’s popular, what’s selling, trying to figure out what today’s romance audience wants. This movie had no sex, no foul language, no violence, no dead bodies (except for Marty’s husband at the beginning). Yet the story captured my attention from the first minutes and kept me riveted to the very end, where the first kiss between Marty and Clark represents the start of their new love.

It’s true, there is a minor religious element–it was, after all, a Christian novel. But there is certainly no Bible thumping or prosyletizing. A subtle reference to Clark’s God, in one scene, is the extent of the Christian element. Other than the absence of graphic love scenes or bloody violence.

This, my friends, is romance. By the end of the movie I was smiling with tears streaming down my face. This is, ultimately, the kind of love story I love–the kind of emotional experience I’d love to provide for my readers.

Am I alone? I know I’m older, but . . . Has this kind of pure romance–without all the sex and language and violence–really gone out of style? Is there still an audience for stories like Love Comes Softly?

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Please share your thoughts in comments.

~~~

Claire Gem writes contemporary romance and supernatural suspense. And is strongly considering drifting over to the Inspirational side . . . visit her Amazon Author Page.

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A Real-Life Regency Era Scandal

Today I’m pleased to welcome historical author, Kryssie Fortune, to my blog to talk about her latest release Wickedly Used.

Picture1While he is no stranger to pleasurable company from ladies of the night, Major Richard Rothbury of the royal dragoons is not the kind of man who will stand idly by as a woman is taken against her will, and when he witnesses a disreputable cad attempting to force himself on a girl in a back alley, he does not hesitate to intervene.

But after the grateful young woman offers herself to Rothbury, he is shocked to discover that not only was she no harlot, she was a maiden and he has deflowered her. Furious at the girl’s scandalous behavior and her carelessness with her own safety, Rothbury chastises her soundly.

Though she is due to inherit one of the largest fortunes in England, the fact that she cannot touch the money until she marries or turns thirty has kept Elizabeth completely at the mercy of her cruel uncle, and for years she has been treated as if she were a servant. Her encounter with Lord Rothbury is by far the most exciting thing that has ever happened to her, but while he shows great concern for her safety, he refuses to believe that she is anything more than a serving girl.

Despite having made it clear that he doesn’t consider a match between them to be possible, when Elizabeth disobeys him Rothbury proves more than ready to strip her bare, punish her harshly, and then enjoy her beautiful body in the most shameful of ways. But can she dare to hope that he will one day make her his wife, or is she destined to spend her life being wickedly used?

Buy links:

Amazon USA     Amazon UK     Amazon Canada    Amazon Australia

Publisher’s Note: Wickedly Used: A Dark Regency Romance includes spankings and sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.

Kryssie, tell us a little bit about what inspired you to write Wickedly Used.

Lord Uxbridge, later Marquis of Anglesey in North Wales, almost came through the battle of Waterloo unscathed. An old-fashioned hero, he had eight horses shot from beneath him but always returned to the fray.Picture2

Even the Duke of Wellington praised his courage. As the battle died down, a cannon shot rang out.

Uxbridge turned to the Iron Duke and said, “By God Sir, I’ve lost my leg.”

Wellesley stared down his long nose and replied, “By God Sir, so you have.”

It all sounds very polite and terribly British, but that veneer hid their darker feelings. A little research showed me why.

(Photo Credit: {{PD-1923}} – published anywhere before 1923 & public domain in the U.S.)

In 1790 at the age of 22, Uxbridge raised a regiment of foot soldiers, the Staffordshire Volunteers, from his father’s tenantry.

Five years later, when he was Lieutenant-Colonel of the 16th Light Dragoons, he married the daughter of the Earl of Jersey, and they had eight children.  He led Sir John Moore’s cavalry in the battle of Corunna in 1809.

Enter Lady Charlotte Wellesley, sister-in-law to the Duke of Wellington. Uxbridge’s liaison with her Wellington’s sister prevented him from serving with Wellington again until Waterloo.

Married to Henry Wellesley, 1st Baron Cowley, she’d already birthed four children. Uxbridge become infatuated with her. In 1809 he persuaded her to elope with him. Afterword, he fought a duel with Wellington’s brother, Baron Cowley. Fortunately, neither man was hurt.

Henry Wellesley divorced his wife. Uxbridge’s wife divorced him for adultery. Before he could wed, a court ruled Uxbridge must pay £24,000 settlement to Wellington’s brother. Once wed, he and Charlotte went on to have ten children.

In times when divorce was unheard of the ensuing scandal must have been the talk of society.

Uxbridge commanded the cavalry and led a charge which helped rout the French at Waterloo.

Given their history, I don’t imagine much love was lost between Wellington and Uxbridge, no matter how much courage either showed on the battle field.

I loved researching the people and places associated with Waterloo for my dark Regency Romance, Wickedly Used.

Thank you so much for visiting my blog today, Kryssie, and best of luck with Wickedly Used.

7mpSocial Media Links for Kryssie Fortune

Website      http://kryssiefortune.wixsite.com/kryssie

Blog            http://kryssiefortune.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter         https://twitter.com/KryssieFortune

Facebook    https://www.facebook.com/KryssiesFortune

Pinterest      http://bit.ly/1OGFnjc

Goodreads     http://bit.ly/2kxqabJ

Amazon Author Page  http://amzn.to/2hA0ZVO

Sun Storm (The Gathering Storm Book 1) Marlow Kelly #BookHugs #RomanticSuspense

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Can a cynical soldier and a naive scientist learn about love and trust

in order to survive?

Welcome Marlow Kelly to share with us her new release, Sun Storm for the Ghost #BookHugs Blog Exchange!

Sun Storm

Available on Amazon

 Blurb

 Dr. Marie Wilson is a scientist on the verge of a breakthrough. She has come to Montana on the eve of a blizzard to prove her small, portable solar panel can generate electricity even in the harshest environment. But when four men invade her remote cabin with plans to kill her, she knows she’s in trouble.

 

Ex-Special Forces soldier, David Quinn, has had enough of danger and death. All he wants is to be left alone on his Montana acreage to pursue his dream of being a beekeeper. But when his old mentor convinces him to help retrieve a stolen solar panel, he thinks it will be a simple job. But the moment he sets eyes on Marie, he knows their assignment is all kinds of wrong.

Together, they escape. Chased by a businessman with unlimited resources, a gunman and a corrupt police force, they are thrust into the frozen Montana landscape. Can a cynical soldier and a naive scientist learn about love and trust in order to survive?

Excerpt: 

A crack of splintering wood and the door crashed open. Marie jumped to her feet, her heart pounding. A scream lodged in her throat as four men burst in, filling the tiny space. She raced to the fireplace and grabbed the poker.

A handsome blond-haired man led the way. He was so good looking he could be an actor. He had a square jaw and wore a well-tailored leather jacket. Even his fair hair was perfectly trimmed. Two burly men followed, both with dark, short-cropped hair. They could be twins. Their thick bodies and the way they swung their arms reminded her of a pair of gorillas. They also had the same flattened nose and malicious, small, dark eyes. They moved to the back of the room near the sink. The last man had unkempt, long, sandy-colored hair. He wore a crumpled, hooded camouflage jacket and baggy gray pants. A long scar ran across one side of his face, starting at his ear and running through his beard, parting it with a jagged white line. He didn’t say a word. He simply nodded at the poker in her hand and shook his head, silently telling her to drop her weapon.

Sensing that any attempt to fight him would be futile, she let it fall to the ground. “You can take the money. I don’t have—”

“Shut up,” the handsome blond barked. A vein on his forehead bulged as he scowled.

Her heart hammered against her ribs. She prayed they would take what they wanted and leave.

Handsome stepped in front of her and placed the barrel of his handgun between her eyes. “Tell us where it is.”

“What are you doing?” The man with the scar strolled over and stood next to her. In her peripheral vision, she could make out his intense, pale, lifeless eyes.

He leaned close to her face so his warm breath touched her cheek. “This is all wrong.”

A small squeal emanated from her throat. He was too close. Too scary. Killer. The word rang through her mind. The scar, those dead eyes, and his demeanor gave the impression of a lethal, terrifying man.

“What do you mean? Our intel is good.” The vein on Handsome’s forehead throbbed to life.

With one finger, Killer nudged the pistol away from her head. “First, how can she tell us where it is when she’s too frightened to talk?”

Handsome shrugged, revealing a smile with perfect white teeth.

Marie released a huge breath. She needed to do something, but couldn’t focus, couldn’t form a coherent thought.

“Second,” Killer continued, “what do we really know about this situation?”

Handsome sneered. “You were in the army. You know how it is. We don’t make the decisions. We follow orders.”

“And what exactly are our orders?” Killer asked, his voice low and calm.

“We’re to retrieve what was stolen and eliminate the girl.”

There had to be a misunderstanding. She was a scientist, not someone who needed to be eliminated.

Available on

About Marlow

 After being thrown out of England for refusing to drink tea, Marlow Kelly made her way to Canada where she found love, a home and a pug named Max. She also discovered her love of storytelling. Encouraged by her husband, children and let’s not forget Max, she started putting her ideas to paper. Her need to write about strong women in crisis drives her stories.
Marlow is an award-winning author, and a member of the Romance Writers of America.

Social Media Links 

Website: http://www.marlowkelly.com

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Marlow-Kelly/e/B00MZE72CS

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marlowkelly?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/want2write

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/Marlowkelly14/

#BookHugs Author Exchange

Hugs are powerful. Receiving a hug can give you the strength to continue, but giving one will make you happy. 

Here is the full buy link in case the hyperlink doesn’t work. 

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07466K711

Thanks for being my guest today, Marlow!

~~~

Claire Gem writes contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and supernatural suspense. Her award-winning novels bridge the gap between genre and literary fiction. These ain’t your mama’s Harlequin romances!

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You can find out more about her work at her website or her Amazon Author Page.

Welcome Carol Preflatish with her new #Contemporary #Romance!

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“Her Bluegrass Beau” is author Carol Preflatish’s seventh romance novel and her favorite one so far. “I like to write about locations that I’m familiar with and while I’m not from Kentucky, it’s one of my favorite places to visit.”

“Her Bluegrass Beau” is about Karri Taylor needing to get out of California and away from her ex-boyfriend. She couldn’t think of a better time to visit the Kentucky farm she inherited from her great-aunt.

Jake Duncan is the definition of a perfect southern gentleman and it doesn’t take long for Karri take an interest. From helping him nurse his sick horse back to health to meeting the neighbors, she develops an affection for both Jake and the many attributes of the Bluegrass State.

Her plan was to sell the farm and head back home, But, when a blizzard hits, the plan changes. She’s stranded at the farmhouse until Jake comes to the rescue. With the lack of enough food and discovering the generator stolen, the only thing she can do is accept Jake’s offer to stay with him until power is restored.

During her time with Jake, she learns that a big company is trying to buy all the farms in the area, against the wishes of the neighbors. She’s torn between selling her farm and going back home where she owns a business or stay in Kentucky and start all over with Jake by her side.

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Bio:

Carol Preflatish lives in southern Indiana and shares a log cabin with her husband and two cats in what seems like an enchanted forest with a menagerie of wildlife constantly visiting. A few little-known facts about Carol are that she’s a licensed amateur radio operator, has a degree in Physical Education, and is a collector of golf balls, shot glasses, and coins. Carol is a member of the Sisters in Crime organization and Kentuckiana Authors.

 

And now, an exciting excerpt from Her Bluegrass Beau!

The next morning, she woke up thinking she heard a noise. There it was again. Someone was pounding on the front door. Still dark outside, she looked at her watch that showed seven o’clock local time. She quickly got out of bed, grabbed her robe and headed down the stairs to the door. Before opening it, she looked around for something to protect herself. She spotted an umbrella behind the door and picked it up. It would have to do.

She turned the porch light on and moved the curtain on the door aside to see who was waking her up at such an early hour. It was four a.m. in California.

Standing on the other side of the door was Jake, the neighbor she met last night. “Good morning,” his frosty breath floated upward as he spoke.

“What do you want?” she said, still not opening the door.

“I brought you some coffee and biscuits with sorghum. Can I come in? It’s kind of cold out here.”

Karri looked up at the big round thermometer that hung from the porch roof and saw the temperature was nineteen degrees. The thought of that hot coffee sounded too good to pass up, especially since her bare feet were freezing. She opened the door to let Jake inside and pulled her light robe around her. She shivered when the cold air hit her skin.

“Thanks. The cold was beginning to make it through my clothes.” He immediately started walking toward the kitchen. He held a thermos in one hand and a pie tin with aluminum foil over.

More rudeness, she thought. She put the umbrella back and followed him to the kitchen.

“I figured you didn’t have any food here and would be hungry for breakfast. I fixed me some biscuits this morning and thought I’d bring some back to you.” He turned on the oven and uncovered the pie tin of biscuits. From one coat pocket, he sat a glass jar of brown syrupy looking substance on the table and then from the other pocket, he took out a small piece of aluminum foil. When he unfolded it, she saw it had butter inside.

“You think of everything, don’t you?”

“I try. Why don’t get a couple plates and coffee cups for us. I only brought some sugar, I hope you don’t use cream?” He took a plastic zipper bag of sugar out of the same pocket that had held the butter.

“Sugar is fine.” She went to the cabinet and got some plates and cups. After rinsing and drying them, she brought them to the table. Jake got silverware from one of the drawers and placed them on the table.

He sure knows his way around this kitchen, she thought. As he poured her a cup of coffee, she thought she might be salivating. She added two sugars to her cup and took a long drink before sitting down.

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2gxSzii

Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/2y34M9M

Social Media:

Web site: http://CarolPre.com

Blog: http://www.CarolPre.blogspot.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolPre

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CarolPreflatish

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/carol_pre/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4957220.Carol_Preflatish

Thanks for visiting my blog, today, Carol, and best of luck with your new release!

~~~

Claire Gem writes contemporary romance, romantic women’s fiction, & supernatural suspense. Visit her at her Website or her Amazon Author Page.

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Ghost #BookHugs #Tirgearrpublishing #RomanticSuspense Unholy Alliance and A Message about Friendship @RowlandKathleen

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Kathleen believes a friend is kind to another’s dreams.  Everyone struggles, and a friend who tries to understand is priceless.  When things go well, a friend shares the joy.

UnholyAlliancebyKathleenRowland500Blurb, Unholy Alliance:

The worst happened. Her cousin is still missing. Just released from jail for a murder she didn’t commit, thanks to attorney, Grady Fletcher. Tori has no clues. No destination. Just fear for the cousin she believes is held captive by an Irish mob boss, Seamus McGinn.

What if Tori were to park a food truck in the seedy waterfront neighborhood where the mob operates and hunt for this sadistic killer? Grady must protect the strong woman he’s come to adore. With emotions on a knife edge, Tori runs on instinct, on the desperation of affection between cousins. With adrenaline pumping, this is it. Tori identifies an island hideout, but Grady warns her to anticipate who her cousin is now.

Excerpt for Unholy Alliance– takes place when her attorney, Grady, visits Tori’s food truck, Deep Fried to Taste, for the first time.

Grady double-arm waved at her. It was as if he were a two-dimensional character in a dream. Handsome. As upstanding as any man could be. Her legs gave way. The figure in the distance did that, and she grabbed the counter. Dizzy and short of breath, she chastised herself for holding on to the romantic notions she fantasized about a hundred times a day. She stuck her head out the window. “I’m coming out.”

Grady met her on the stairs and offered a hand. The closer he got, the harder it was to concentrate on stepping down. His killer smile showed off two sexy dimples when he said, “It’s noon.”

“Good noon to you.” She gulped. Readying herself for conversation, she took his hand, rose on her toes, and sniffed. “Hmmm, what is that? Shaving lotion? Man perfume?”

He chuckled, and a weird electric awareness went off in her chest. In slow motion, it cracked open slowly, sent out sparkly runners to forgotten girl parts, and pulsed there.

She pulled her shoulders back and lifted her chin. Their gazes locked. Her hair loosened from her bandana. “Drat, I’m a chef. Hair is supposed to stay put.” She took it off, placed the center of the bandana on the nape of her neck and tied a knot on the top of her head.

He reached to help tuck the ends under. “You’re so darn cute.”

“Oooo, that scent. Are you going to tell me what it is?”

Eau des Baux Eau.” The warm, deep sound of his voice sent more sensations of want right through her. Behind him, the sun stretched a bit higher and seemed to shine just on him. “You like it?”

“I sure do. Vanilla. You smell like a cookie.” Her heart thudded harder than it should.

“Do you like cookies?” He bent his head for a kiss.

She kissed Mr. Good Noon with the wavy reddish-brown hair and body made to lose sleep over. Her breath hitched, and she took a step back from heartbreak. No reason to set sights on a man way out of her league. The glow dimmed, and the warmth backed off. “Care to look at my menu?” She stepped closer to the blackboard.

“Now you’re speaking my language. I’m starving.” He raised his eyebrows and the corners of his mouth lifted. “Pimento cheeseburger corn dog.”

“That’s my great food mash-up.”

“I can see why. It blends two favorites, the cheeseburger, and the corn dog.

All purchase links are below:

http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Rowland_Kathleen/unholy-alliance.htm
K_R1Meet the author, Kathleen Rowland, and her dark and dangerous world of romantic suspense.

Award-winning author Kathleen Rowland is devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes suspense with a sizzling love story sure to melt their hearts.  Writing a romantic suspense series for Tirgearr Publishing, Deadly Alliance is followed by Unholy AllianceBittersweet Alliance in the works. Keep an icy drink handy while reading these sizzling romantic thrillers.

Kathleen used to write computer programs but now writes novels.   She grew up in Iowa where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and raced her sailboat on Lake Okoboji.  Now she wears flip-flops and sails with her husband, Gerry, on Newport Harbor but wishes there were lightning bugs in California.

Kathleen exists happily with her witty CPA husband, Gerry, in their 70’s poolside retreat in Southern California where she adores time spent with visiting grandchildren, dogs, one bunny, and noisy neighbors.  While proud of their five children who’ve flown the coop, she appreciates the luxury of time to write.  If you’d enjoy secrets behind books,  signup for Kathleen’s newsletter on her website:

http://www.kathleenrowland.com/

https://twitter.com/rowlandkathleen

https://kathleenrowland.wordpress.com/

http://www.kathleenrowland.blogspot.com

https://www.facebook.com/romanticsuspense.kathleenrowland/

 

VENGEANCE! Belle Ami’s Powerful New Romantic Suspense Novel

NEW BOOK RELEASE !!

Book 2 of the thrilling Tip of the Spear series by Belle Ami
Vengeance Tour Graphic
VENGEANCE
Belle Ami
Series: Tip of the Spear Book 2
Genre: Romance, Thriller, Suspense
Publisher: Hartwood Publishing
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
A Mossad agent will do anything to rescue his kidnapped wife and to stop a terrorist plot to blow up a nuclear facility.
Vengeance
Vengeance is a sexy thriller teeming with romantic suspense. A well-researched tale, scary in its possibility, packed with excitement, it will leave you breathlessly turning pages.
Layla Wallace Hassani is living her dream, curating a major art exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. She has it all, a fabulous career, the perfect marriage and the perfect child. She’s madly in love with her husband Cyrus Hassani, a Mossad agent, and lives in Tel Aviv with their four-year-old daughter Cerise. Her life takes a disastrous turn when she’s kidnapped by Iranian terrorists during the bombing of a restaurant in Manhattan. Chained to a bed at a remote location, Layla is a pawn in a deadly game. She’s the bait to lure Cyrus to his death.
Driven by vengeance and a love that knows no bounds, Cyrus will do anything to rescue his wife and stop the terrorist’s plot to blow up a nuclear facility. Teaming up with the FBI he’s the only man capable of stopping a bombing that would result in the deaths of millions of people. Filled with vengeance, stopping the terrorists is his goal, but saving Layla is his mission.
Layla knows her Superman, Cyrus, is coming to save her. She also knows, unbeknownst to him, that by doing so it will mean the death of their child. Caught in a mousetrap, she struggles to find a way out of her deadly situation and to fend off the sexual advances of the kidnapper terrorist who’s fallen in love with her.
Layla must make a choice, save her child or sacrifice herself and her marriage. The clock is ticking.
Another page turner by Belle Ami. Suspense fans and those who enjoy a well crafted story won’t be disappointed.
– Therese Gilardi, Goodreads Reviewer
Belle Ami’s Book 2 of this Series may be my favorite yet. The depth of this story line, the suspense, kept me enraptured and breathless. I’m blown away! Congratulations!
– Amazon Customer

My Review of Vengeance:

Belle Ami has outdone herself with this, the second book in her Tip of the Spear series. This is no lighthearted romance. Belle tackles timely yet difficult issues head-on – terrorism, a threat to all in our world today. Yet she counterbalances the fear and horror with a moving tale of deep, true love. Fast-paced, a real page turner, I highly recommend Vengeance if you’re looking for a novel for our times that helps you see the light at the end of the blackness.

Purchase Links

Available now for $4.99 only. Grab your copy today.

Other Books by Belle Ami

Don’t miss the other books in the Tip of the Spear series:
Escape
ESCAPE
Series: Tip of the Spear Book 1
Escape, a sexy romantic thriller that “what ifs?” a nuclearized Middle East.
When Harvard student, Layla Wallace and her Saudi boyfriend are kidnapped to Iran, a deep-cover Mossad agent is activated and given a mission. He’s ordered to either get Layla out of Iran, or if failing that—kill her.
This story is suspenseful, it’s smart, it’s sexy, it’s a page-turner that you will be loathed to put down.
– Romance Reviews

Giveaway

WIN $25 GIFT CARD AND MORE!
Vengeance Giveaway Graphic
Prizes up for grabs:
$25 Amazon Gift Card
3 Digital Copies of Escape (Tip of the Spear Book 1)
Contest runs from October 13 – November 2, 2017.

About Belle Ami

Belle Ami

Belle Ami writes romantic/suspense/thrillers with a teaspoon of sex. Escape (Tip of the Spear Book 1) is up for a RONE Award in 2018. Her latest is entitled Vengeance (Tip of the Spear Book 2) published by Hartwood Publishing. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two children, a horse named Cindy Crawford, and her brilliant Chihuahua, Giorgio Armani.
Official website: http://belleami.us/
Connect with Belle Ami on social media:

Book Tour Schedule

Follow the book tour from October 13 – November 2, 2017.
Visit each tour stop daily and discover more features, excerpts, reviews, interviews, fun facts and other extras on the tour.
To check the latest tour schedule, visit the Vengeance Book Page at Book Unleashed.
Vengeance Tour Graphic

In partnership with
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Claire Gem is an award-winning author of contemporary romance, women’s fiction, & supernatural suspense. Find out more at her Website or Amazon Author Page.
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Welcome Iris Blobel to Ghost #BookHugs!

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~~  Fresh Beginnings ~~
(2nd Edition)
by Iris Blobel

AMAZON US: http://amzn.to/2kyJsm9
AMAZON AU: http://amzn.to/2hWGjMh
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2xsEtF2iBooks
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2z7TPk5
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2g4b5C6

♥♦♥  BLURB ♥♦♥

Jared Fraser, a landscape business owner in Hobart, Australia, sets out for a holiday to the USA to travel along the Route 66 in a motorhome. Looking forward to his first holiday overseas, he’s excited as he prepares himself for the journey. But little could’ve prepared him for crossing paths with a beautiful hitchhiker.

Will he be able to put his past aside and grab onto happiness?

Ivy Bennett thought leaving her boyfriend would be the hard part. It doesn’t take long to figure out how wrong she was. As she struggles with making a new start in her life, the last person she expects to lead her to happiness is a laid-back Australian on vacation.

But she will have to say goodbye again? And not only to Jared.

 

♥♦♥  EXCERPT ♥♦♥

Ivy enjoyed being with Jared. During their drive towards the Grand Canyon he told her of his home and described as much of Tasmania as possible.
“I always imagined Australia to be hot with white beaches and beautiful water.”
“That’s up in the north in Queensland,” he explained. “We have spectacular beaches as well. Tasmania is a small island in the very south. The last step before the Antarctica, so to speak.”
“That sounds cold!”
He laughed. “It clearly isn’t Queensland.” Settling his gaze on her, he continued, “But it has beautiful beaches as well. And a wonderful marine life. And the mountains. We have some stunning mountains in Tassie.”
“Tassie?”
“Tasmania.”
“It sounds beautiful.”
He agreed. “Yes, it is. One of the best places on earth.”
Once they arrived at the National Park, they found a parking spot and walked towards the edge of the Canyon. She touched his arm to get his attention. Not that she needed to. His attentive nature drew her to him, and she couldn’t get enough of listening to him.
“I feel bad that you pay for everything,” she said in a low voice.
Jared waved his hand. “Nah. It’s only money and luckily the Australian dollar is—”
“Whether you can or can’t afford it, it doesn’t matter. I don’t like it.”
He stopped and turned towards her, causing heat inside her body. Her breath caught but she kept walking, yet, it took him only a few steps to catch up with her and, by way of placing his hand on her shoulder, to stop her.
“Wanna tell me why?”
Avoiding his stare, she lifted her shoulder in a casual shrug.
“A shrug is not really an answer, ya know that, right?”
Yes, she knew that. How could she tell him that she’d left Dylan because he’d spent all the money she’d worked so hard for? She didn’t want to be in the same situation, as in spending someone else’s hard-earned money. But deep inside she didn’t want to hurt Jared, either. She was enjoying her time with him so much, she wasn’t ready for it to end because of some silly pride.
Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted a little squirrel in the bushes and despite some guilt inside, it was a perfect distraction.
“Look!” she said louder than she’d intended. “A squirrel.”
With great relief, she noticed how her devious plan had worked. Jared quickly grabbed his camera and kneeled down to get the best shot possible of this little creature.
Kneeling next to him, she asked, “Don’t you have squirrels?”
Still trying to get that perfect photo of the little creature, he whispered, “Nope.”

♥♦♥ MEET THE AUTHOR ♥♦♥
IRIS BLOBEL

Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London as well as Canada where she met her husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper has only emerged recently, but now her laptop is a constant companion.
Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her two beautiful daughters.

Next to her job at a private school, she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.

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Social Media Links:

Click here to subscribe to Iris’ Newsletter

** Website ** Blog ** Twitter ** Facebook ** Goodreads ** Amazon Author Page **

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Claire Gem is an award winning author of contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and supernatural suspense. Visit her Website or Amazon Author Page to learn more.

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