Thursday Thoughts: Age ain’t nothing but a number?

IMG_2319.JPG

Procsilas Moscas-Flickr

I’m working on re-writing a WIP so it fits nicely into my Destined For Love series, and I’ve got a heroine I’m struggling with to find the right voice for. Okay, here’s the caveat of this statement (or tangential explanation I will give in my usual long winded manner), my heroines are usually women I consider in my closest peer group. Women in their early to mid 30s with voices that are reflective of how I experience this time in my life. I very rarely make them younger because as hip and cool as I think I am (considering I said I was looking at my Tweeter feed the other day, my cool factor is pretty strained) I find it hard to have an authentic 20 something year old voice. I don’t even dare try teens, even with the years I spent immersed in youth culture as an educator, because yeah, see the above comment about “Tweeter”. I’ve only ever gone the opposite end of the age spectrum once, and it was a short that had magical whammy stuff happening that I felt comfortable writing a character significantly older than me. Over all though, I’ve kept a right reign on my age ranges. It could be a cop out of course and if I was really committed to expanding my craft I would blah blah blah whatever it is people say to shame you into trying something you’re not comfortable with but I kept thinking, it just ain’t happening. Until recently that is. This new character is a woman in her early 40s that has fought to hold her own in a male dominated profession of finance. She’s smart, witty, vulnerable, and stubborn, but most of all from a historical perspective would have had a very different lived experience than me because of those 10-12 years she has on me. There are some things that overlap but there is something to be said for the fact that being a teen in the 80s, twenty something in the 90s, and cusping into your 30s at the dawn of the millennium gives you a different world view than someone that was in college during Y2K.

Now this is when I try to sooth myself with thoughts like, “The majority of your female friends are her age” and even I have to admit that in any other context the, “But some of my best friends are…” sounds offensively trite. I also have to acknowledge as well that I over think things to such an extreme degree when it comes to writing (honestly, I’m way more chill with regards to other things in my life) that I’ve possibly inhibited myself from completing a large chunk of writing over the years. Mostly because I’m quick to discard prose that doesn’t feel as I mentioned earlier, “authentic”. Slightly neurotic (possibly more but I’m working on being kinder to myself when it comes to writing), but I can’t seem to work my way out of that place. That is until while perusing my FB timeline I saw the following quote by Rumi, “The lamps are different, but the light is the same.”

When I described my heroine earlier as I stated she’s smart, witty, vulnerable, and stubborn, and all of those things are shaped by her age. Yet, I’m seized with this fear that it will just be a number on a page as she speaks with this early 30s voice. Her experiences told from the perspective of someone that has only ever window shopped at life. Remember I mentioned that neurosis, yeah, it’s crazy making. So I’m going to keep this quote by Rumi tacked somewhere visible, helping me to remember there are universal truths to the human experience that I should focus on, and hopefully when I’m all done, I’ll look at this heroine I’ve created and think, I can’t wait to be her.

Wednesday’s words – One readers review of Ensared by Charisma Knight

I like alien books, call it what you will but they are my favorite. When I see one released I don’t hesitate to but it and like a heavy set kid in a candy store my mouth waters and my palms itch in anticipation. I must find a quiet corner to bask in the words I am about to take in. Ensared is a good book. It is a little long winded but the parts do pick up. I should also mention that I am a fan of Charisma night so I am just a tad biased. All in all I enjoyed the read but everyone is different. Blurb and link are posted below I’ll let you form your own opinion.

1616843

Blurb~

Naturally feisty Charlie Marine plans for an extended vacation on Mars in spite of all the abductions in her area. When she misses her shuttle, a strange Xuldarian man claiming to be a pilot approaches her. Against her better judgment and eager to start her vacation, she takes him up on his offer and discovers she’s been abducted and to be delivered to a Vaakulsian Commander–Rhyker Aluhira.

Rhyker knew from the first time he laid eyes on the tall, dark, and beautiful Earth goddess that he was in for the long haul–only, he didn’t know just how much of a fight she’d put up to preserve her identity. Unlike submissive Xuldarian and Vaakulsian women, Charlie is brave and defiant. Rhyker fears her outspoken ways will soon place her in danger. Can Rhyker and Charlie meet each other half way or will they continue to butt heads in a world where women are expected to be subservient?

 Link ~
https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-ensnared-1616843-340.html

Excerpt Monday ~ Bewitching the Vampire King by Selena Illyria

1631500

Blurb ~

A stubborn witch vs a vampire king…who will win on Halloween?

Bridget is a witch who has been given a sweet deal—nab a rogue vampire and score a big payday, but she must deliver him within twenty-four hours. She’ll need help from Joe, the local vampire liege, to find the rogue vampire fast. Joe agrees to give her the information…if she agrees to play a few hands of poker with him. For each hand, she must reveal a bit about herself. And for each hand she wins, he’ll answer any question she asks. But Bridget isn’t sure she can keep things objective—not when Joe gives her that seductive grin.

Joe has always had an interest in the little witch. She defies his expectations and surprises at every turn. But despite his natural inclination to help her, he decides to make her work for the information she needs in the most delicious ways. With a little bit of seduction and a little bit of bondage, he tests her resolve to play the game…and tests his own self-control to contain the blood beast inside him. The stakes are sky-high, for both of them. But on Halloween, the most powerful night of the year, which one will be the winner?

Excerpt ~

Bridget knew she’d made a mistake.

Joe led her into the room, pulled out her chair, and touched the small of her back as he pushed her seat forward. There had been no need for the touch, but the electric shock traveled through the layers of her leather jacket and her thin sweater. The current trailed lazily up and down her spine to buzz around her pussy and fill her body with heat and awareness. The tips of her ears burned and her face flushed. She licked her bottom lip and tried to focus on the danger that sat across from her.

Joe took his seat with easy grace, his features bathed in golden light from the overhead chandelier and the lit candelabras. Bridget took in the neatly groomed five o’clock shadow, his navy blue eyes outlined with dark lashes, the barbell piercing that cut through his thick right brow. Despite his undead status, he had a light tan that only enhanced her fascination with him. Where the hell did vampires go to tan that wouldn’t cause them to burst into flames? She shoved away her question and focused on the silver studs in his ears. A smirk graced his mouth. She wondered what it was he knew that made him smile that way.

She’d heard the rumors, knew the older vampires could read things in a single touch, even through layers of clothing. What he got from her she wasn’t sure and didn’t want to know, but that damn smirk seemed to mock her. Her body twitched with unused energy as the thrill of contact with him continued to circulate. Her blood buzzed with awareness and her skin tingled.

She licked her bottom lip again and fought to focus on something else, anything else. Her stare trailed from the red-oak flooring to the framed posters of comic book covers, each one singed by author and artist. A pang of envy filled her as she spotted a Batman: Year One cover signed by Frank Miller. For a moment, she wondered what kind of security system he had and if she could sneak it out without him knowing.

His steady, unblinking gaze settled on her like a weight, making her hyperaware of just how tight her nipples were and just how long it had been since she’d gotten laid. This was why she went out of her way to avoid the living hell out of Joe. She knew nothing about him, but he managed to pull and tug at things deep in her body she didn’t want to think about.

She focused on the bat-shaped bulbs of his chandelier and wondered what could compel him to buy something so ugly. It was at odds with the simplicity of the room.

Joe cleared his throat and Bridget turned her attention back to him. He still had that smirk on his lips. Her palm prickled with the urge to smack him and make him stop. At least her magic hadn’t been activated. “What?”

He shrugged. “Nothing.”

She gritted her teeth. “What?”

He picked up the cards and held them up. “Rules are simple. You win a round, I answer whatever question you ask. I win, you answer me. Deal?”

“That’s why I’m here,” she managed to get out, suppressing a growl.

He raised an eyebrow. “To play poker and enjoy the pleasure of my company?”

“For answers, asshole.”

He opened his mouth wide enough that she saw his tongue stud. She squirmed on her chair. She’d heard all the rumors about what men with that kind of tongue piercing could do. This was no time to think about it.

Joe chuckled, a dark sound that seemed to have nothing to do with poker and everything to do with sex. Did all vampires learn this laugh or was it just the old ones?

He dealt out the cards and settled back in his chair. Bridget picked up her cards and looked down, unsure whether or not she had a good hand. She had never played poker in her life. She figured two aces were good but what about two eights?

What the hell had she gotten herself into? Damn you, Fritz!

Link~

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-bewitchingthevampire-1631500-147.html

Saturday Free Reads

London Lust by Renee Wyckoff

Victoria is living the good life that any woman would want and that includes; being the owner of Illinois Soothing Day Spa, and marrying the love of her life who just happens to be the owner of a fortune 500 business called Fine Craft. So where did she go wrong? How did she go from vacationing in London and planning to go to Paris with her husband, to having her heart broken? How far will she go to exact revenge for the hurt and deceit done to her by the very ones she called her friends?

 

A Thankful Love (A Richards Family Short Book 1) by K. Victoria Chase

 

Divorced. Pregnant. Alone.

Her parents were right about Tyrone, but Maya Richards is determined to prove them wrong about her. She might be divorced and pregnant, but this Thanksgiving will be full of blessings — if she could just get a job.

Jake Rivers has had ten years to prove to Maya he’s a man worthy of her love. However, challenging economic times threaten to destroy the company he’s built. Hiring Maya may save his business, but can he convince her to love again?

Friday’s featured Cover Art – Alpha Male Incorporated – Take Control by Marie Rochelle

1647162

Blurb ~

Vampire Thorsten Irizarry ignored the countless warnings from his cousin Jax to stop dating women who weren’t destined to be his mate. Why should he do it? He was only having a little harmless fun until Raya August came to her senses. She wouldn’t care about his past relationships. He knew his charming ways would win her over without any problems.

However, he was wrong. Nothing he did captured her heart. He was at a lost how to change her first impression of him.

Raya August wasn’t interested in having Thorsten as her mate. In her mind, he was a playboy looking for another challenge to conquer but he wouldn’t find it with her. She wasn’t into playing games and she wasn’t about to start now with him.

If he wanted her heart, he would have to earn it.

Link ~

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-alphamaleincorporatedtakecontrol-1647162-178.html

 

Thursday Thoughts: Patience is a virtue

What I do when I can't make the words fit.

What I do when I can’t make the words fit.

As a writer I often seek validation for the tumultuous experience it is to practice my craft. It’s a surprising need for me because in my other chosen profession, that keeps a roof over my head and food in my belly (and boy does my belly love it some food), I don’t often need external qualifiers of why what I do is so important. There could be a variety of reasons why, that center around insecurities that what I do as a writer is wanted, needed, and/or important. It’s crazy making some times my desire to put the little pieces of my psyche that long to be a coherent tale together on page and yet I push myself to do it almost everyday.

The quote by Dr. Maya Angelou best encapsulates that feeling for me when she said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Poignant wordsmith that she was, those words hold the depth of longing that I often experience when sorting through the words that clutter my mind, and provide the validation to not feel crazy holding this need to get a story or three out. I think it also reflects quite accurately the melodrama that one experiences while crafting a new tale.

Let’s be honest, I will not be physically harmed if the words don’t fit seamlessly together as I hope. As much as a I enjoy what I do, no lives will be lost or countries toppled if one of my smexy romances isn’t completed, and yet that doesn’t make them any less important to me or hopefully the group of readers I’ve collected on the way. This agony becomes an exquisite ecstasy once a story is born and I’m constantly seeking a way to reach that high.

What happens though when the agony of bearing the untold story becomes muted by the wrenching pain of trying to force the words out? If holding the untold story is unbearable, forcing it can be paralyzing. We authors reference writers block, or our muses being stifled, but it isn’t until one is mired in the thick of creative indecision that they feel the full force of not being able to do what you love. It is most disconcerting after experiencing the high of watching a story being born.

As I sought validation of my predicament from Dr. Angelou’s quote to explain what it felt like to create a story, I turned toward the proverbial phrase, “Patience is a virtue” to cope with being stalled. Not because I’m deeply connected to a moralistic perception of myself striving to be a virtuous individual (because clearly, that would be a bit of a fallacy), but more so because if there is a struggle in giving life to a story, there is an equal one in holding onto a story until it’s truly ready to be free. I have yet to master either but each day I commit to making my writing more than just a hobby, I realize that I must develop proficiency equally in both.

This has required me to step back, seek joy in things other than the euphoria of finishing a story, and be confident that though I carry this burden now, with a little patience my waiting will be worth it in the end. After all, I’ve been here before in my process of writing and made it through. I’m quite invincible it would seem. Or at least incredibly stubborn. *wink*

Excerpt Monday ~ Under the Bayou Moon by Gynger Fyre

gynger

Blurb ~

Under the Bayou Moon
Jacques Bertrand is the sovereign leader of the biggest gator congregation in Louisiana. As his thirtieth bayou moon cycle approaches, he’s in jeopardy of losing his shifting ability because he hasn’t found his mate…literally. You see, gator shifters are mated from birth but his mate, Angelique, was abducted at birth. If he can’t find her by his thirtieth bayou moon, he’ll lose his ability to shift and by default, his ability to rule his territory. By sheer luck, he’s led to Las Vegas where he finds his mate. But she doesn’t know about her abilities nor does she know she has a mate. Can Jacques teach her how to be a shifter while making her fall in love with him? He has less than six months to try. Failure is not an option. His ruthless neighbor and adversary, Philip Boucher, has been trying to take over his territory for years. There’s a lot riding on his ability to persuade his mate, but one look at her and he knows he’ll move heaven and Earth to do it.

Angelique always knew she was different. The adopted daughter of Vegas casino owners, she didn’t exactly have the usual upbringing. But when she shifts into a gator in a fit of anger, can a handsome stranger, claiming to be her mate, have the answers she’s been searching for about her real parents, her mysterious shifting abilities, and her true destiny? And can she give up her dreams to embrace the life she would have had if she hadn’t been abducted.

It’s love on the bayou, Cajun style, as this Creole beauty does the one thing she swore she’d never do, fall in love with her mate.

Excerpt ~

“Not here, cher. They’re too many prying eyes. Everyone on this boat’s a shifter. I don’t have to remind you how good our hearing is.”
A spark of understanding lit up her face, and she looked away bashfully.
“Lord, you must think I’m…”
“Sexy…passionate…” He grasped her chin and made her look at him.
“I was thinking hard up.” She chuckled.
“Cher, I guarantee, between the two of us, you’re not the one hard up.”
He guided her hand to his swollen crotch. Her eyes grew round and then squinted in mirth.
“I guess you’re right.” Angel stroked him. He answered with an involuntary hiss of pleasure.
“Careful there, cher.” Jacques mouth was dry as his hips moved of their own volition.
“A gator can only be pushed so far.”
“Really, and then what happens?”
Jacques was about to tell her but Chloe walked in chatting on her phone. Angel attempted to move away from him, but he caught her by the waist and gave her a short yet firm kiss. Chloe picked up some papers off the conference table in the middle of the room. She looked at them both, shook her head, and winked at them before leaving.
When she was gone, Angel hit him playfully on the shoulder.
“You did that on purpose,” she said sulkily.
“I don’t sneak around with my mate, ever. It’s best that you know that right now.”
“I’m not asking you to sneak around. I just like…discretion, that’s all.”
The color was back in her cheeks.
Jacques kissed her once more before turning her away from him and nudging her from behind his desk.
“Go and tell the crew to finish what they’re doing and knock off for the next two weeks. We’ll pay them for the entire time.”
Angel playfully saluted him with two fingers. “Aye, aye captain!” she teased before exiting the room. He watched the sway of her hips and the way her jeans creased under each butt cheek as she moved. He had to have her. Tonight, in his home, in his bed, he’d finally make love to her, and he wouldn’t stop until she begged him to.
****
“Ummm, okay let me try it, ahn-doo-wee. Spelled A-N-D-O-U-I-L-L-E.”
Angel cautiously pronounced the word for the spicy sausage used in many Cajun and Creole recipes. It sounded funny to her ears, but the taste was delicious. Jacques spoon fed her the last bit of gumbo as they sat on the tan leather couch in his living room. Their legs and feet were propped up on the matching footrest, allowing them to semi-recline.
After everyone left the Bayou Moon, Jacques took them back home to pack. A few hours later, they were on their way to his home.
“Good job, I’ll make you into a Cajun in no time.”
“Something tells me I’ll get as big as a house if I allow you to make me into a Cajun. Thanks but no thanks. My hips and thighs couldn’t take it.”
“Toothpicks are for hors d’oeuvres, do I look like the type of guy who likes tiny meals? Oh, nooo, cher. I like all of your curves just the way they are.”
As if to prove it, Jacques leaned in and gave her a long, lingering kiss that had her clinging to his wide shoulders. The skin on her lower back, which had already been tingling, began to tighten and she groaned.
No, no, no!!! Not now, she pleaded as her beast threatened to show. She’d been fine in New Orleans, but once outside the city, a switch flipped and all she wanted to do was get into the water, hunt, eat, mate, and sleep. Not necessarily in that order, either. Her gator, or did she call it a cow…nope, she hated being called a cow. Her gator was literally itching to get out, and she wasn’t sure how much longer she could last.
“Come on, let’s go have some fun.”
Jacques kissed her firmly once more before moving the footrest and getting to his feet. He offered his hand to her. The contact was reassuring and her gator quieted. She had to admit, the thought of “having fun” with Jacques had been on her mind most of the day, especially since their little make out session in his office. Despite her name, Angel was no innocent. She was more than attracted to Jacques. Mate or no mate, he was a smart, handsome, financially stable man. That kind of combo could entice a nun.
She thought she could keep things less personal, more businesslike. After all, she’d be going back to Vegas in two months. The last thing she needed was to get emotionally involved. Yet here she was, day-by-day, being reeled in. All she wanted was one taste of him and then she’d be satisfied. It was pure textbook psychology. Why did people keep gambling at her casino despite the odds and the fact that they sometimes lost staggering sums at the turn of a dime? They did it because people inherently wanted what they couldn’t or didn’t have. That euphoria that was just beyond their reach. The machine always chimed for the person seated next to them. Surely they’d be next. For some it was the win, for some, the money. For her, it was sex with one of the hottest men she’d laid eyes on. His rugged good looks, wide shoulders, and intense stare were arousing, and she wanted to sample what it’d be like to have all of that male intensity focused on her, over her, in her. She’d tried to put him out of her reach, but her libido kept closing the distance. She was through trying. She’d decided if he was her mate, then she might as well take advantage of the title, if only for a little while.
Jacques led her through his home, which was remarkably well decorated for a bachelor. From the outside it looked like a huge cabin with multiple levels. They’d driven nearly three miles into the woods before the home had even come into view. The front was spacious and well landscaped; she could see walking trails and a pond on one side and behind it was a huge lake. If the outside was impressive, the inside was gorgeous. Wood-beamed high ceilings were the focal point of the living room, which had large, high windowpanes like a cathedral. Jacques led her out onto the huge balcony, which spanned the entire length of the back side of the house.
There was plenty of room to sit and watch the sun rise and set. It even had a fire pit in the center and a Jacuzzi big enough to seat ten people. Comfortable seating was scattered all around, yet he passed all of it by and went down two flights of stairs before turning and going to a door beneath the house.
“I thought we were going to your room.”
Jacques looked confused for a moment before smirking. He pulled her forward into his arms and kissed her. Angel’s arms circled his neck and she returned the kiss with abandon. She barely noticed Jacques backing her through the doorway. The sound of rushing water had her pulling away.
She looked in surprised delight at the huge underground aquarium in front of her. It was like a cave but one made by man. There was a large rectangular pool with lights underneath so she could see the bottom. Lily pads floated around the edges and in different spots within the pool, giving it a natural feel. It was like being outside, but it was clearly surrounded on all four sides by wooden log-like walls and a wooden floor. It reminded her of a massive sauna.
“Welcome to the grotto, cher.”
One moment Angel was standing and looking at the place in awe, the next she was on the floor looking up at Jacques. She felt dizzy and almost like she’d gotten in the backseat of a car that was pulling off fast… She’d shifted without warning again.

Buy Links ~

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KQFATL4/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_awdm_H2DKtb1A2P4KD

www.gyngerfyer.com.

 

Saturday Free Reads

Cold Steel by Safforah

After being stood up by her playa “boyfriend”, Mya meets James, a stud fresh out of a stint at a supermax prison. They have a wonderful time together dancing and romancing, but unfortunately the evening ends with more chills and thrills than Mya bargained for.

 

 

 

Twisted Triangle by Anique and Hadiya McDuffie

Come and take a journey as you look into the lives of three people.
Meet Amp, entrepreneur by day, trapstar by night. He has everything he wants except the woman of his dreams which is his business partner’s Errond sister. But all of that changes when his partner gets locked down and leaves his sister out here helpless; Amp sees his opportunity and takes it…..
Meet Nikki, the sexy, smart, and spoiled sister of Errond who is the woman of Amp’s dreams. She wants him too but can’t act because of her brother. But when the cat’s away, the mice will play…
But neither of them will do any playing if Kiya has anything to do with it. She’s Amp’s girlfriend and she’s not having it. She’s determined on making his life a living hell, but with who’s help?
This Twisted Triangle of love will take you on a ride that will surprise and shock you with an unbelievable ending that will have you begging for more..

Fridays Featured Cover Art

1635549

Blurb ~

He’s an elite vampire from a distant planet…an Alpha of the Blood.
But he’s no match for one spunky and opinionated Earth woman!

The Alphas of the Blood are an elite, alien race of vampires. They escaped a devastated planet that was overrun with plague-infected beasts and came to Earth for a chance at a new life…a new beginning. The change is bitter-sweet for Zeenon Akba, who lost much of his family in the plague wars and fears his only brother might have carried the infection to Earth with him. But when Zee stumbles upon a pretty human female being stalked by an infected, he’s determined to help her, even if it means killing his own brother. Aware of their many differences and the necessity of finding a blood slave to be his mate, Zee doesn’t intend to lose his heart to pretty and spunky Brooke Carlin. So why can’t he get her out of his mind?

Link ~

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-sanguialphasoftheblood-1635549-168.html

Thursday Thoughts: The road to happiness…

Daniel Weinand Flickr

Daniel Weinand
Flickr

I read an interesting critique a blogger had for an author in which she stated the author created far too much strife for the characters in his books. To paraphrase more, the bloggers concerns centered around the writer creating a world in which the road to happiness was filled not only with pitfalls but land mines as well. I paused reading this because I began to think about the stories I’ve created. I personally don’t read romance to have it be smooth sailing from the beginning to the end, but I also have to admit I don’t want to be worn out after reading the obstacles a couple has faced to be together. There has to be a balance, but as a writer I began to think about what that balance should look like. Is it dependent on the genre one writes in? If it’s a series in which the couple carries over into the next book, does that impact the progression of their relationship? I also began to think about the realism of what it means to decide to make your life with another person (or two or three depending on your kink), and how does that get weaved into a romantic narrative that still holds an element of fantasy. Also, as I write in the genre of IR, what balance does one need to create for acknowledging how race impacts a couples story, without it becoming the couples story? In real life roadblocks aren’t often an ex trying to sabotage the relationship, or a secret conspiracy of supernatural beings keeping couples separated (although how cool would it be if you were apart of some super secret supernatural community…ummm), most of the obstacles I’ve discovered in the road to Happily Ever After may seem mundane from the outside but wield a great deal of power over a couple. Yet, how does one capture that in a romance that at it’s heart is about the ideal representation of what romantic love can be? I don’t have any easy answers to these questions, but now that I’ve started to think about it, I want to make sure they continue to hum softly in the back of my mind as I craft a story. I’d be interested to know though, what are your pet peeves an author creates to add a little (or great deal) of drama to the road to happiness?