Monday, June 30, 2014

Guest Author Amie Denman



Please welcome Amie Denman to my blog to promote THE GULL MOTEL!

In my new contemporary romance The Gull Motel, Savvy Thorpe arrives on the Gulf Coast of Florida with the intention of vacationing at her aunt and uncle’s slightly shabby beach motel. Instead, she ends up in charge of the colorful motel when her relatives are called away for an unexpected trip. She’s a savvy gal with a fresh degree in hotel/hospitality, but she has no job experience and no idea that The Gull Motel and the other businesses in Barefoot Key are in hot water. Lucky for her, she has loyal—although quirky—employees to help her out. And the former maintenance man, a walking temptation named Skip McComber, happens to be right next door breathing new life into a pirate bar and shivering Savvy’s timbers.

Have you ever taken a vacation that didn’t turn out exactly as you planned? Uh…I’m not the only one, right? Here’s a story taken right from my own honeymoon in Key West. And I swear it’s all true.

When we got married, my new husband was a physically adventurous kind of guy. Motorcyles. Jetskis. Scuba diving. Roller coasters. As a new wife, I was determined to play right along. So we planned a semi-adventurous trip to Key West, Florida. I’m pretty sure any trip to Key West is an adventure, but we planned to add moped riding and scuba diving. Keep in mind, I had never been on a motorcycle or moped of any kind in my life. Bicycle, yes. I thought that qualified me to ride a moped.

It did not.

Did you know you have to pass a “Moped Test” in order to rent one in Key West? I was under the impression there were NO RULES there. I was wrong. The teenager in charge of rentals set up a little course with orange cones in the parking lot, gave me fifteen seconds of instruction on operating the machine and wished me good luck. After two false starts and two crushed cones, the test was over. I failed. Failed! The teenager (who did not look sad or apologetic at all) said, “Lady, I can’t rent you a moped.”

My new husband, whom I had hoped to impress, watched from the sidelines. He consoled me by suggesting I could ride on the back of his moped after he sailed right through the obstacle course like a pro. Seeing Key West on the back of a moped with a confident and somewhat reckless driver was not as much fun as you might think.

The next day, we were signed up for a scuba diving course. My new husband was already a certified diver. I knew how to swim and hold my breath, so I thought this qualified me to sail right through the scuba course at the hotel.

It did not.

After a day of pool instruction in which I didn’t embarrass myself much, our crew of divers went out on a boat. Into the OCEAN. The ocean is very large, salty, and wavy. There were nine-foot waves that day. NINE FEET!! This is too tall. I know this now. Before our boat got out to the reef where we planned to dive, I had already barfed over the side of the boat thrice. I was not alone. Still, I was determined to gut it out and prove to myself and my new man that I was an adventurous gal.

We got in the water with the assurance from the dive instructor that it would be less wavy underneath. Our seasickness would abate.
It did not.
Did you know that you can puke under water? Did you also know that if you puke under water, pretty colorful fish will swim over and eat it?

I tell this story not to impress you with my glamour and talent, but instead to make a point. When I write about flawed and goofy heroines who end up in situations they never would have expected, I know what I’m talking about.

They say you should write what you know. I do.

~

The Gull Motel


A Sweet Contemporary Romance

by Amie Denman

Savvy Thorpe needs a vacation. Finally finished with college, she heads to her favorite shabby motel on Florida’s Gulf Coast where her aunt and uncle always save her room twenty-four. She quickly finds out, though, that The Gull Motel is not just her home away from home. It’s hers to manage while her aunt and uncle take an extended trip.

Skip McComber, The Gull’s former maintenance man, has been working on Savvy’s nuts and bolts for years. Now the new owner of the bar next door, his mission is to renovate a pirate bar while being a walking temptation for the girl he can’t get off his mind.
For Savvy, keeping her cool running a motel in Florida heat is one thing, but navigating the steamy waters of a former fling takes a whole other kind of savvy. In addition to the motel and the man next door, Savvy stumbles on a plot to swindle land from the residents of Barefoot Key. Devalued properties tumble like dominoes until Savvy musters her colorful crew from The Gull Motel to make the pillagers walk the plank.

Buy Links:



First chapter:
Chapter One
Vacation. Despite my brainy reputation, this was one of the smartest things I’d done in a long time. When my middle school math teacher shortened my name from Savannah to Savvy, I took on a persona that drove me all the way through college at the top of my class. But now, I planned to put my brain on ice and my butt in the hot sand at my aunt and uncle’s lovably shabby beachside Florida motel. It was the most savvy thing I could do while I played an endless waiting game with the job market.
It was a hot September morning when I rolled into the steaming lot at the Gull Motel. Everything about it said Old Florida. A miniature palm tree grew in a concrete planter in front of the Office sign. The few cars nosed up to numbered doors looked hot enough to combust. It wasn’t a hotel, it didn’t have the cachet. But it looked like a four-diamond resort to me as my burly Uncle Mike swung open the frosted glass office door and grinned at me like Santa had just landed on his roof.
“Your aunt’s got the margarita machine going already,” he said, crushing me in a massive hug. The musty smell of hotel air conditioning permeated his aqua blue polo shirt. The whole range of my vision was aqua—the signature color of The Gull Motel. Its roof had aqua trim, the windows were edged in the same paint, and the sign squatting on top of a twenty foot pole in the parking lot boasted a white seagull outlined against an aqua sky.
“Before lunch?” I questioned, the vacationer in me at war with my responsible side.
Uncle Mike opened the back hatch and manhandled my suitcase. He nodded toward his beloved motel. “You’re a special occasion,” he said. “Vacation is important. Trust me. I’ve built a business on it.”
For the long drive from Michigan—where autumn had started to show its colors—I wore old comfortable knee-length shorts and a t-shirt, but I was overdressed now. The clientele here was more short-shorts and spaghetti straps than college dorm casual. I could adjust. This was not my first trip to the Gulf Coast.
I followed Uncle Mike through the office—dingy but familiar—and paused as he deposited my suitcase behind the desk. Rita, the receptionist, had a phone hooked between her ear and shoulder as she simultaneously checked in a guest. Somehow she managed to wave to me and give me a raised eyebrow smile. An experienced multi-tasker, Rita could probably smoke a cigarette, do her nails, and handle three guest complaints at the same time. She pointed toward the patio.
Movement—blurred by condensation—grabbed my attention. When my uncle slid the door open, a blonde tornado hit me. I’d been coming to The Gull several times a year all my life. One fact I could still count on was that Aunt Carol got smaller with age but her hair got bigger. Compensation comes in many forms.
She pulled me into a tight hug. “You need a nice cold drink.”
Carol hauled me over to a concrete table surrounded by old metal chairs. The patio was large enough for several tables and chairs, all shaded by aqua umbrellas. The cracked concrete floor surrounded by a knee-high concrete wall didn’t necessarily invite guests to linger, but the view did.
The wide white Florida beach ending in a sparkling blue Gulf of Mexico said resort even if the stacked two story building with parking right outside the rooms said 1950s beach motel.
Carol raised the pitcher—also filled with aqua liquid continuing the theme of The Gull—and started to fill three glasses. She didn’t get to the third before Rita shoved the glass door open and leaned out with the cordless phone.
“Better take this one, Carol,” she said, holding out the phone.
Mike parked himself across from me while his wife went inside. “Your aunt’s all excited to have you down here for a few weeks. I think she wants to pick your brain about making a few updates around here, figuring you got some great ideas with your degree.”
Fresh from college and an internship to polish off my hotel and hospitality management degree, I wouldn’t be bragging to say I had some ideas. But telling my aunt and uncle they’d have to spiff up The Gull for a new generation that didn’t remember the moon landing was going to be a tough sell. They loved the old place just as it was. Truth is, so did I. I also loved my ancient slippers, but I wouldn’t wear them on a date.
“I think she wants someone to go shopping with, too,” he said, his broad smile highlighting deep wrinkles around his eyes and stretching out his age spots.
“I could shop,” I agreed. “My college clothes won’t work if I can land a spot in the management trainee program I applied to.”
“The Grand Chicago. Heck of a fancy place,” Uncle Mike said, raising his glass and clinking mine. “I’ll drink to that.”
Thinking about the gleaming floors, modern luxury, and five-star everything at the place where I hoped to start in January gave me a little feeling of disloyalty. I would always love The Gull. So what that it was a used Chevy and the Grand Chicago was a Rolls Royce? I’d put in a lot of miles in a Chevrolet.
Carol left the sliding door gaping behind her, striding quickly to our sunny table on the patio.
“My mother got arrested again,” she said, picking up one of the margarita glasses and slamming half of it.
Mike pulled Carol onto his lap and shook his head sympathetically. “What was it this time?”
“Trespassing again. One of her card buddies bailed her out, but the police chief thinks she needs a babysitter. That was him on the phone.”
“He’s a nice enough guy. But we’re starting to know him better than we should,” Mike said. “Does this mean someone’s headed for Michigan?”
Carol’s mother, Aunt Gwen to me, was pushing eighty and still did water aerobics, played cards, and hosted wine-making classes at her lakeside cabin. Located next to a vineyard, the owners used to look the other way when Aunt Gwen gathered grapes near her property line for her little hobby. I’d heard she sent them a bottle every Christmas as a neighborly gesture. However, the vineyard changed hands a few years ago and the new owners see her actions as more theft than eccentricity.
“Maybe just for a week until we can talk some sense into her or build a big enough fence,” Carol said. “Too bad she refuses to move down here. Says Florida is for old people.”
“Sounds like you’ll need reinforcements this time.” Uncle Mike blew out a long breath. “We haven’t had a vacation in a long time, and Michigan’s nice in the fall. Guess we’ll figure out someone to watch over the place while we’re gone.”
They exchanged a glance and turned a laser-beam look on me, making me feel like the one guy who knew the combination in a bank that was being robbed. They glanced away quickly like a search light moving on to its next target.
The loyal niece in me wanted to say sure, coach, send me in. I have a degree in hotel management, am nice to children and animals, and always flush the toilet.
The vacationer in me wanted to say…uh…I’m on vacation.
Carol sucked both lips into her mouth and watched a seagull fly over. Mike scratched the short whiskers on his chin and toed a chip in the concrete.
I tried drinking for distraction and effect. Not that I could sustain that tactic for long. I can’t hold my booze and I tend to crack under pressure faster than chapped lips in a Michigan winter.
“Maybe I could—”
Yelling and barking exploded next door and a half-naked man chased a huge yellow dog out of Harvey’s Pirate Emporium and toward The Gull.
I jumped up. “Tulip!” Tulip was a three-year-old yellow Lab who did not know she wasn’t a puppy anymore. She stole things, slept in inappropriate locations, ate stray cigarette butts, and was probably going to come home with a tattoo one of these days.
“Not again,” Carol said.
Tulip skidded to a stop, dropped something shapeless and slobbery on the patio at my feet, and put her front paws on my shoulders. I sat down hard in my metal chair, off balance and getting licked like a tootsie pop. I was afraid she’d actually find out how many licks it took to get to my center.
The man sweating and breathing hard as he finished the race behind the dog already knew how many licks it took to get to my center. Skip McComber had circled me for years, a bonus temptation every time I visited my aunt and uncle’s motel where he’d been the maintenance man since we were both sixteen. Last spring, the circle tightened considerably, aided by a reckless spring break attitude and fueled by tequila.
I stood up and tried to compose myself discretely. He looked as tempting as always. Tall, shirtless, eyes and hair the color of caramel splashed with sunshine. In contrast, I looked like a refugee from a pajama party. Shorts twisted, t-shirt violated, ponytail askew. Given the heat burning my cheeks, it was safe to assume I was flushed like an eighty-year-old jogger.
“This must be yours,” I said, picking up the leather toolbelt Tulip had dropped at my feet. Covered in dog slime and violated with teethmarks in several places, it was the dog’s latest indiscretion. I could sympathize. Skip was my most recent fling, too.
He took the toolbelt and made a slow show of slinging it around his hips. He kept eye contact with me the whole time, like he was daring me to watch his seductive buckling up. I only let my eyes slide south once. I was on vacation. And he looked that good.
“Sorry about that,” my aunt said. “Tulip thinks it’s a chew toy. At least your tools are still in it this time and not scattered all over the sand. Most of them anyway.”
He broke his focus on me and smiled at my aunt. “It’s my fault for encouraging her to visit me.” He dug a treat out of his pocket and flipped it to the dog. She caught it in midair and tossed him a look of slutty affection.
“Savvy just rolled in a few minutes ago,” Carol said.
“I can see that,” Skip said.
“She was supposed to be enjoying a vacation after all her hard work in college,” Mike added, “but something has come up back home in Michigan with Carol’s mother.”
“Hope Aunt Gwen’s okay,” Skip said. “She’s a hoot.”
Carol rolled her eyes. “She’s a crazy old lady. Arrested again for liberating grapes from the neighboring vineyard.”
“Probably only stole what she was going to eat.”
“Or make into wine,” Mike said. “We were just talking to Savvy here about taking care of The Gull for us while we make a quick trip North.”
Mike, Carol, Skip, and even Tulip stood in a line, looking at me like I had a stash of free tickets to Disney World. Except Tulip maybe. She probably hoped I had bacon in my pockets.
“I believe I was just about to say yes,” I said with as much cheerful enthusiasm as possible. Of course I wanted to help my aunt and uncle. Hospitality is my business. And how hard could it be to manage a twenty-four room beach motel with an established clientele and a dedicated staff?
“Forgot to tell you we lost our maintenance man last month,” Mike said, nodding at Skip. “He bought the bar next door and he’s fixing it up.”
“Harvey’s Pirate Emporium?” I asked.
“Yep,” Skip said. “But I got rid of Harvey already.”
Harvey was a larger-than-life pirate statue who stood, shading his eyes like a tobacco store Indian, outside the bar entrance. After a few drinks, he looked either friendlier or more sinister, depending on the drunk.
“Gave me the willies,” Skip said, shrugging one shoulder. “Got him in cold storage in an old walk-in freezer.”
“Won’t be the same without him,” I said. What I was really thinking was that The Gull wouldn’t be the same without Skip and his extraordinary ability with his hands. “Who’s our new maintenance man?”
“Don’t have one. Muddling through for now, calling Skip over for emergencies,” Uncle Mike said.
“I can change light bulbs, but I draw the line at using a plunger.”
“That’ll work,” Carol said.
“Any other surprises I should know about?” I asked.
I thought a trace of tension transmitted from Carol to Mike to Skip, but Tulip didn’t seem to notice and I thought I was just seeing mirages in the heat.
“Gotta go,” Skip said. He ruffled Tulip’s ears, flicked me a look, and strode across the ten yards of sand separating his bar from my—temporary—motel. I had extension cords longer than the space between our buildings, and it was going to be one tough job keeping my focus on The Gull while my aunt and uncle were away.
********
Amie Denman: Where Falling in Love is Fun!
Amie is the author of six contemporary romance novels:
The Gull Motel,  Blue Bottle Beach,  Her Lucky Catch
Her Lucky Prize,  Will Work for Love,  He’s on Her Trail
Please visit her at www.amiedenman.com
On Twitter @amiedenman
Giveaway
Amie Denman is giving away a paperback copy of The Gull Motel (US only)


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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Guest Interview: Author Elizabeth Morgan

 Please welcome Elizabeth Morgan to my blog! Elizabeth has a great new book out, and she's holding a giveaway. Be sure to enter below.




Thank you so much for having me over today, Leigh. It is a pleasure to be here. J

1) Thanks for stopping to chat! Please tell us a bit about your latest release, or what's coming up.

Stepping Stones, my sweet contemporary romance was published on June 17th. It is a story of retracing your steps, realization, forgiveness, and second-chances.

Maggie ran away from home six years ago and is now having to return for her sister's wedding. She is dreading going home because she knows she has a lot of explaining to do for why she ran and has stayed away for so long, but on top of that she is not looking forward to seeing her foster brother, Adrian who she hasn't spoken to at all in the last six years, and then to make matters worse her ex-fiancé is the Vicar who will be conducting the wedding ceremony. Awkward.

2) How did you become inspired to write this work?

The idea for Stepping Stones actually came in a dream. In the dream I was Maggie, or rather in her shoes, the taxi I was in pulled up outside this beautiful church on the edge of a cliff. As soon as I got out of the taxi the bride comes running up to me; her maid of honour couldn’t make it so I needed to take her place. As you can imagine I wasn't very happy about being her second choice or a last minute one, but I agreed.
The scene then jumps to me dressed in a bridesmaid dress walking down the aisle, and then I nearly go face first because my ex was the Vicar. Awkward. I am uncomfortable through the ceremony and as soon as it is over I try to get away from him only to bump into another man, but I'm angry at this one, hurt by him, confused. So I storm off. End of dream.

Well, there was a story there so I left the idea to stew in the back of my mind, I actually think it was stewing for two years in total, and then when I had the itch to write it, I did and Stepping Stones was born.

3) Did you have to do a lot of research to complete this work?

Not really. The only research I needed to do was to find an area to set the story. I try to set all my stories in different cities or countries. In my dream the church was on a cliff with the ocean in the background. I wanted to find a church either on a cliff or near the ocean. So, I was naturally looking around the coast of the UK when I came across Landewednack, and Church Cove which was where St Wynwallows church is situated. Well, I loved the look of the church; this is where Maggie's sister gets married, and the church her ex-fiancé is the Vicar too. I loved the area, and it just seemed perfect for the story. So, that is where Stepping Stones is set.

4) Do you consider yourself a plotter or a pantser? Or maybe both?

I'm a panster, but then again a small amount of planner goes into getting my story and the world into shape. So, perhaps I am a little of both, but I tend to improvise more than anything. Before I start writing I make notes. I have a rough idea of how the book starts and how it should end, but otherwise I sit and I write and just see what happens.

5) Do you prefer to write one specific genre, or are you a bit all over the map? What is your favorite genre to write and why?

I tend to write erotic romance the most, with the subgenre paranormal or contemporary. I love the paranormal genre because I just feel there is so much room to play, and so much you can do with creatures that fall under that genre. But I am a little all over the map. If I have an idea I will just go with it. I won't sit there and say, "oh, I can't write that it's futuristic." I will give it a shot and see how it goes.

So far I have written an erotic paranormal thriller, a ménage thriller, an erotic contemporary, a sweet contemporary romance, an adult retelling of the fairytale Rapunzel, erotic paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and I am currently working on a fantasy romance. So, as you can see, yes I do tend to stick to certain genres, but I have had ideas for futuristic, historical, and fantasy stories.

I love variety and if I feel I should write something I will.

6) What do you have planned writing wise for the rest of the year?

August 25th marks the re-release of my Blood Series. She-Wolf (Blood Series Prequel) is an erotic paranormal romance, and it centres around two of my Werewolves in the series, but the events that take place in this book lead into the next book and the main story arc.

Cranberry Blood (Blood Series: Book One) is an urban fantasy with paranormal and romantic elements. It is the first book in the main story arc; the next couple of books will be UF though the paranormal and romantic elements will continue to develop.

I received the rights back for these books last year when my publisher shut down, so I will be self-publishing them and every other book in the series. I will be starting the second book in the series in summer once I have finished my current WIP, which is a brand new fantasy romance.

7) What was the last book that you read? What did you think?

The last book I read was The Spell of Summer by Dianna Hardy. I was a beta reader for this book, which was released on June 17th, the same day as my latest release, Stepping Stones.

I read The Spell of Summer in one sitting and was crying from beginning to end. It is a beautiful book about fears and hopes, about how people change and why they change, about life and progress, tragedy and love. It's a very beautiful and hopeful story, and I can say with all honesty I won't forget the message I got from it. It's one of those books that just hit a cord with me. I related so well to the characters and the events within it.
Definitely a book you should check out if you enjoy romances with a touch of magic, or are a Dianna Hardy fan. You won't want to miss this one.



~ * ~

Thank you for having me over today and thank you to all of you for stopping by. If you would be interested in winning a copy of my new release, Stepping Stones or maybe a swag pack, then please do leave an entry on the rafflecopter at the end of the post. J
~ * ~
Stepping Stones
(Sweet Contemporary Romance)
By Elizabeth Morgan
Blurb:

There's nothing like a wedding to bring the family together....
If not for her baby sister’s impending marriage, Margaret West would never return home. But after six long years, she finds herself a maid of honor who must answer to the people she left behind.
If her parents’ interrogation doesn’t drive her to drink, facing her foster brother, Adrian, just might. To make matters worse, her ex-fiancé is the vicar who will conduct her sister’s ceremony.
Everyone demands to know why she ran off. But the more time she spends at home, the more Margaret realizes even she doesn’t know the real reason.

Length: Novella (32,000/91 pages)| Content: Sweet Romance/Contemporary| Publisher: Bono Books

Buy Links:
Bono Books/Decadent Publishing: http://www.decadentpublishing.com/index.php?manufacturers_id=201&osCsid=6c1232251c1e45744bd0b3ee7262f414

~ * ~
Excerpt:
“When is Aidy getting here?” Jessica grabbed the large bowl of scrambled eggs and brought it closer to her plate.
“I think his flight is due in at three.” My mother placed a dish of bacon on the table and took a seat beside me. “He will be in time for the wedding rehearsal; don’t worry.”
 My stomach clenched. “Wedding rehearsal?” I coughed, trying to clear the chunk of toast lodged in my throat. “What wedding rehearsal?”
“Today at four. We’re running through the service.” Jess scooped egg onto her plate. “I told you.”
Nervous laughter bubbled in my throat and try as I may, I couldn’t stop shaking my head. “No.” I patted my chest. “No, you never mentioned a rehearsal.”
“Oh.” She placed the bowl back in the middle of the table. “I could have sworn I did.”
“Nope, you didn’t. Believe me, I would have remembered otherwise.” I grabbed my mug and knocked the coffee back before finishing my piece of toast.
“Well, it’s no big deal.” Edward took the bowl of eggs and helped himself. “Just a quick run-through.”
“Will everyone be there?” Forcing a smile on my face, I looked up at them both, hoping like hell my question would pass as innocent and genuine curiosity.
“Anyone who is involved in the wedding itself will be.”
Great. So that meant Jessica, Edward, the parents, and the bridesmaids, plus me. That left Adrian and…. “Will Vicar Taylor, be there?”
Oh God, did my voice just go higher?
“Yes, Margaret, William will be there. He is the one who is marrying Jessie and Edward, so he needs to be there.” My father skewered some bacon and tomatoes onto his fork.
Grimacing, I reached out and grabbed another piece of toast. “Just a question, Pa.” A stupid one, but a question nevertheless….
“It is normal for people to have wedding rehearsals, Margaret. Just because you—”
Jess picked up the coffeepot. “Does anyone want more coffee?”
I straightened, my focus fixed on Pa. “I’m aware of that.”
“Maggie?”
My father’s shoulders went rigid. He lifted his head and our gazes locked. I didn’t miss the way the muscle in the side of his neck ticked. Arguing with my father in front of Jessica and Edward was not an option, so I looked away.
“Please.” I held out my mug and Jess poured the dark liquid.
I could kick myself. A wedding rehearsal hadn’t even crossed my mind. Having to stand at the altar before William on the actual wedding day would be hard enough, but having to do it twice…my stomach churned.
“So, will Adrian come straight to the church?” Edward cut the awkward silence.
“Yes. He will get a taxi to the church, and then we will bring him and his luggage back here.” My mother held her mug out to Jess.
“Adrian is staying here? Tonight?” I added sugar to my coffee. “Won’t it be crowded? I thought—”
“No more crowded than it was in your childhood.” My father took a bite out of his toast.
More and more good news. Of course he would be staying here; it was his family home after all. I guess, it was stupid of me to hope that he would go to a B&B, but my parents wouldn’t have allowed it even if he did suggest it. I hadn’t seen him in six years, hadn’t spoken to him. And yet, in a couple of hours I would be locked in the same house as him.
~ * ~

Author Bio:

Elizabeth Morgan is a multi-published author of urban fantasy, paranormal, erotic horror, f/f, and contemporary; all with a degree of romance, a dose of action and a hit of sarcasm, sizzle or blood, but you can be sure that no matter what the genre, Elizabeth always manages to give a unique and often humorous spin to her stories.

Like her tagline says; A pick ‘n’ mix genre author. “I’m not greedy. I just like variety.”
And that she does, author of erotic ménage horror, Creak, paranormal erotic horror and UK, US & Australian Amazon best seller (Gay/Lesbian, Fiction, Lesbian), On the Rocks, and erotic romance, US, UK and Spanish Amazon bestseller (Erotica Short Story) Truth or Dare? She also has her hand in self-publishing.

Razel Dazzle, her modern adult retelling of the fairytale Rapunzel, was her first taste of publishing her own stories, and now she has the hang of it, it will definitely not be her last. Look out for more information on her upcoming releases at her website: www.e-morgan.com

Away from the computer, Elizabeth can be found in the garden trying hard not to kill her plants, dancing around her little cottage with the radio on while she cleans, watching movies or good television programmes – Dr Who? Atlantis? The Musketeers? Heck, yes! – Or curled up with her two cats reading a book.







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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

#SciSpanks Summer Fun With Leigh

Sci Spanks 2014 is finally here! Please visit Governing Ana for the prize list, sign-up sheet, and free books. You can win from a prize pool valued at over $1,000, including a Kindle Fire or Nook HD donated by Blushing Books!
Many authors will also offer a contest on their individual blogs.  Your comment on their blogs automatically enters you in both the main contest and the individual contests!
I AM OFFERING one free book from my backlist to a lucky reader. I've had some recent releases, so you can get something new!
How do you play?
1.Visit each blog between Wednesday, June 25th and Sunday, June 29th to read the posted stories and excerpts.
Note: Natasha Knight’s story takes place in a non-consensual setting, meaning the heroine has not consented to getting spanked. If you are offended or alarmed, you may prefer not to read her story.


2. Leave a comment answering the story question on each blog.  You will receive one entry per blog for the grand prize drawing.  You will also be automatically entered in that author’s individual contest, if she has one.


3.If you have visited all of the blogs, visit Ana’s blog to sign up for FIVE bonus entries to the grand prize.


4.Deadline is midnight EST (UTC -5) on June 29!!


5. If you successfully completed a previous challenge (Love Spanks 2014, Spank or Treat 2013, Spankee Doodle 2013, Love Spanks 2013, or Spank or Treat 2012), you may add “VIP” to your comments.  You will earn THREE bonus entries toward the grand prize.  (Yes, we will be doing this again.  Yes, if you successfully complete the Love Spanks 2014 challenge you can become a VIP for our next activity!)


6. If you are a writer of fiction (any kind), add “W” to your comments to be entered in the special author prize drawings.


7. If you are Sci Spanks 2014 Ambassador, please add “Amb” to your comments to receive your extra prize drawing.
8.Visit Governing Ana or any of the participating blogs on Wednesday, July 2nd to find out the lucky winners. Will it be you? We will also announce prizes on the Sci Spanks Facebook page.


Like these events? Want to support your favorite scifi authors? Become a Sci Spanks Ambassador! In exchange for promoting this event, you will receive one extra prize entry, AND you are still eligible to participate and win prizes! To find out the details, send an email to oliviastarke@ymail.com, with the subject line “Sci Spanks Ambassador.”


For more information, updates, and a list of participating authors, please visit Anastasia Vitsky’s blog.
Like Sci Spanks on Facebook!
Tweet #scispanks on Twitter!
Join the exclusive chat with Sci Spanks authors! Message Anastasia Vitsky on Facebook or contact Anne Ferrer Odom to receive an invitation.


For more spanking fun, visit Saturday Spankings for additional snippets.




Update 7/12/14 - The story is removed due to it appearing in an anthology.

~

About Sugar Rush by Leigh Ellwood

Baker Neve Rush is surprised to receive social media attention, both the good and bad varieties, after agreeing to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. She cares about people’s tastes in pastries, not sexual partners. The newfound fame has gained her new customers—as well as one resurfaced ex. Gianna stirs up memories Neve would rather forget, and an impromptu flirtation with a client might just do the trick.
Judy Goldsmith finds Neve’s open-mindedness refreshing and attractive, and isn’t above a little scheming to get to know her better. As Neve and Judy satisfy each other’s sweet tooth in the most pleasurable ways possible, feelings begin to blossom. But their deepening attraction may not survive a little white lie…and an even bigger, darker secret.
A Romantica® GLBT erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
About Leigh Ellwood
I am Leigh Ellwood. I write smutty stories about people who like getting naked and having sex. Some have more sex than others, some have sex with people of the same gender, some have sex with more than one person, and still others have sex with toys and things that require the use of batteries. My stories range from a few thousand words to well past 70k. My books are available at Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, Kobo, and ARe. Really, just type my name in any bookstore site and something is bound to show up.
Please stalk me online for news about my books and crazy adventures.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer of Love - Progress

It's been a slow start to my summer bucket list, mainly because I haven't spent much time at home. I spent the first week of June prepping for travel and in Sicily, then came right home and got back in the car for a Father's Day weekend visit to the in-laws' farm. Now that I'm home, I work full-time while everybody else - on vacation - hovers. Still, I've managed to whittle a bit off the big board.

Drink Mimosas: So far I've split one with the husband at brunch. Won't be the last one I drink.

Read New-To-Me-Author: I've done this in spades, thanks to long flights to and from Italy. Since the beginning of the month I've read The Pink Suit by Nicole Mary Kelby, The Blonde by Anna Godbersen, The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough, Scared Scriptless by Alison Sweeney, and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. All new-to-me-authors at the time, and I think I may revisit a few later on.

Cherry Picking: It was crucial to get this done soon, because the Spring Valley Orchard in Central Virginia has a short window for U-Pick. It was on the drive home from the farm, and it was close to a hundred degrees. Still, we picked about three pounds of cherries and did our best not to eat all of them on the walk back to pay. Berry picking is something we do every summer - we missed out on the strawberries this spring, but blackberry and blueberry seasons are coming soon. I have plans for cobblers and smoothies, and of course the sangria that's on my list. As for the cherries, I used some of them to make a pie:

Before.


After
In Progress: While it's not what I had in mind, we are doing some bird watching. We have a little brown bird taking up residence in one of our houses, and there are tiny chirpers within. We haven't seen the babies yet, but Mama Bird flits in and out with food. Only a matter of time until they try their wings.

I've also watched five First Doctor Doctor Who serials. I'm not getting to them as often as I'd like, since the World Cup is on and I don't have the privacy to watch Hulu. My best option seems to be when everybody's gone to bed, and I'm nodding off.

I had hoped to do some drinking, too. Will have to make that priority.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

#AREBLAST Sale Today Only!



Happy summer! All Romance eBooks is sponsoring a big blast sale, and I've reduced the price on some of my DLP Books titles for the day. Today only, you can get the following for 50% off:

If you want a funny mystery novel, you can also pick up Rock Til You Drop at ARe for half price that day, too.

In addition, all of my Phaze Books titles are 25% off for the day. Great opportunity to catch up on my backlist. Just head to my listing at All Romance and shop now.

Find out who else is having sales today by searching the #AREBLAST tag at All Romance!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Guest Author Kerri Nelson


Please welcome Kerri Nelson!

Thanks for stopping to chat! Please tell us a bit about your latest release, or what's coming up.

Kerri: Thanks for having me. My latest release is about Mandy Murrin. She’s a small town girl who is on the cusp of seeing her dream of becoming a doctor blossom into reality. Then, her life is drastically changed when she has to return home to care for her mentally handicapped sister. Things turn from unpleasant to downright frightening when she discovers a dead body at the mayor’s house. Things go from bad to worse and her dream has to undergo a serious makeover.

How did you become inspired to write this work?

Kerri: Actually, I wrote this character into another darker thriller. She was my little breath of fresh air in that book. And I sort of loved her so much that I pulled her out and gave her a series of her very own. Things just sort of snowballed from there.

Do you consider yourself a plotter or a pantser? Or maybe both?

Kerri: Oh, I am definitely a pantser. But, the thing is…when you write mystery there has to be some sort of plot. Even if it is a skeleton plot (pun intended). This is necessary because you need to have a real cast of suspects and motives for each and so on. But, pantsing is my method as a general rule.

Do you prefer to write one specific genre, or are you a bit all over the map? What is your favorite genre to write and why?

Kerri: I’ve written almost every genre under the sun within the romance genre. Everything from dark paranormal to erotic romance to inspirational and young adult. Whew! Makes me tired just typing all of that. But Remote Consequences is my first real mystery. Although it has some romantic elements, it is a real mystery and I really enjoyed writing it. What an incredible challenge!

Of your backlist/WIPs, which would you say was the easiest to write? The most challenging? Why?

Kerri: I have this one WIP that I’ve been struggling with for years. I wrote it and re-wrote it and even pitched it to a big time editor. She wants the book, but here I sit—years later—and I’ve never really finished it solidly. It is a full length historical romance. I love the concept. I love the characters. But something about it holds me back as if it is just not complete in some way. This one is something I think about a lot.

Are you published primarily in print or eBook, or both equally? Which format do you prefer and why?

Kerri: I’m published in both and I love both formats. They are both good for different reasons. E-books are so affordable and they are becoming more and more popular as readers use tablets and smart phones and such on a daily basis. They are also easy to market and easily accessible to all. On the other hand, what writer doesn’t love to see their work in print? To hold that book in your hands and smell the fresh ink. Good stuff! Also, it is fun to do book signings and other events with your books on hand.

Do you own an e-reader, or maybe two? How do you like it?

Kerri: I’ve tried them all. I’ve had a Kindle since the very first edition. I’ve tried several versions of it and still use it today. But, honestly, since I discovered the Kindle app on my phone—I rarely drag out my “big” Kindle. I’ve also had a Nook and several other tablets over the last few years. But I always go back to Kindle or the app. They are just my device of choice.

What do you have planned writing wise for the rest of the year?

Kerri: I have the second book in the Working Stiff Mystery series set to release in the October time frame. And a Christmas novella with the same characters coming out for holiday time. I cannot wait to see what the folks of Millbrook will do next.

Do you have any social media profiles/pages where readers can follow you?

Kerri: I use Twitter the most and my username is @kerribookwriter

Do you have a blog/Yahoo group for readers to stay updated on your works?

Kerri: Yes, my author blog is http://www.kerribookwriter@blogspot.com

Desert Island quiz: you can only bring one album, one DVD set for your favorite TV show, and one movie. What are they?

Kerri: Oh, Momma Mia, that’s a tough one! Let’s see…

Album: The Eagles Greatest Hits
DVD set: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Six
Movie: Love Actually

What was the last book that you read? What did you think?

Kerri: Well, I must admit that I’m a freelance editor as well as an author. So, I read many books every week. I won’t count those for this question. But as far as reading for pleasure…let’s see…I read “Larceny and Old Lace” by Tamar Myers. It was clever, a laugh riot, and incredibly well written.

Most f***able movie star of the 1930s-50s? Why?

Kerri: Gotta be Sean Connery. The accent and well…the accent.

Who do you like in the next World Series?

Kerri: Have no earthly clue. I’m from Alabama—we only speak football here. :)

~

Med school drop-out Mandy Murrin has returned home to care for her mentally handicapped, teenage sister. But despite having multiple college degrees under her belt, Mandy finds jobs aren't easy to come by in small town Alabama. Now instead of a stethoscope, she's forced to sport a tool belt as a technician for the local cable company, Flicks Vision.


But things go from bad to worse when, while on assignment at the Mayor's house, Mandy finds herself in the attic amongst cobwebs, Christmas decorations, and...a corpse? Suddenly Mandy's life is turned upside down with one missing body, a high school nemesis turned police detective, a mysterious stranger, and a town full of long buried secrets. If Mandy's not careful, this could be one dead end job where she may not make it out alive!


Buy Links:   Amazon Kindle     Amazon Print     Smashwords    Nook   iBooks


Excerpt:
Two hours, three sneezes, and a half a box of Tic Tacs later, I was crouched in the oppressive heat of the attic. After two phone calls back to the office to ask my boss questions, I'd finally deduced that there must be a faulty coaxial cable somewhere in the house's wiring. Finding it was going to take time and patience. And I was low on both.
My stomach grumbled with hunger, and the dispatcher had radioed twice to ask when I might be able to take the next service call. But I was stuck here in the mayor's dreadful attic until I could find the source of the problem.
I inched along the perimeter in the near dark. When it came to blood and anatomy, I could stomach almost anything. But when it came to bugs and creepy crawlies, I was as girly as they came.
Holding my Maglite XL at arm's length to warn me of potential eight-legged predators, I scooted my knee forward another notch and winced as a splinter made its way through my pants leg and speared my tender flesh.
"Dammit."
I eased back onto my bottom and surveyed the damage. A shard of laminated wood about three inches in length protruded from my pants leg. I yanked it free and tossed it behind me. I'd have to tend to my wound later. A brief daydream image of sitting on a sunny beach—margarita in one hand, and a hefty worker's compensation check in the other—made me grin. Not a likely outcome for a splinter-induced injury, though.
Boxes of holiday decorations, an old baby crib, stacks of books, and a deep freezer cluttered the area. Standard stuff. Nothing special about His Honor's attic.
Deep freezer?
Who had a deep freezer in their attic? My head snapped back to the opposite corner where a standard eight-cubic-foot, chest-style freezer sat in the shadows. I stood up, brushing off the back of my pants. Deep freezers were heavy suckers. I knew this because I'd once had the corner of one dropped on my toe in my aunt's cellar basement.
As if in response to the memory, my toe ached deep inside my boot.
I'd never seen anyone lug a heavy deep-freeze up to an attic. It didn't make much sense, but at the same time—wouldn't it feel great to open that lid and feel the mist of ice-cold frost caress my face? Memories of homemade ice cream and preparing containers of summer vegetables for the fall trickled through my memory. Summers had been good once. A long time ago.
Back and knees stiff from the attic crawl, I limped toward the freezer. I doubted it was even running. Who would be stupid enough to run it up here? What if it defrosted and leaked down through the floorboards? Imagining worst-case scenarios was kind of like a superpower to me.
But as I reached out to touch the dusty lid, I heard the humming thrum of the motor inside.
Probably shouldn't mess with it.
I looked around the attic as if someone were going to pop out and shake their finger at me for snooping. But when no one appeared, I lifted the lid.
The blessed frost hit my face, and I inhaled the frigid glory. But when the mist cleared—my breath caught in my throat. Lungs frozen in an ice block of silent shock.
There, among the Tupperware containers, curled into a fetal position was…one dead body.



Bio:
Kerri Nelson survived a fifteen year career in the legal field and then took her passion for crime solving to the page. But her journey to become a mystery author took a decade long detour into the world of romance where she penned twenty two novels and novellas in various sub-genres.

Born and raised a true southern belle, Kerri holds many useful secrets: how to bake a killer peach cobbler; how to charm suspects with proper batting of the eyelashes; and how to turn your parasol into a handy weapon.

Kerri is an active member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America which includes various volunteer positions such as Board Member at Large and Daphne Published Contest Category Coordinator of Kiss of Death RWA (Chapter for Romantic Suspense Authors).

Learn more about Kerri and her new Working Stiff Mystery Series, at her website:  www.KerriNelson.com
Follow her on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kerribookwriter
For Contests and More, visit Kerri’s Author Blog here:

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Giveaway
Kerri is giving away a gift bag full of goodies !!!





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