Hot Autumn Nights Blog Hop

Thanks for stopping by for the Hot Autumn Blog Hop. I’m giving away a $10 gift card to either Barnes & Noble or Amazon. For your chance to win, please sign into Rafflecoptor below.

I love autumn and the weather getting cooler. Maybe it’s because I get tired of the heat here in Phoenix. I do miss the change of colors.

But even though Autumn can cool down the days, the nights can sure heat up with the right person. My two absolute favs for Autumn evenings is roasting marshmallows by a fire wrapped up in a blanket with someone special or hot tubbing. A nice butterscotch martini in hand sure takes the edge off the day too.

Below is an excerpt from Protecting Katie. There is a moment in the evening where the hero, Morgan, and Kristen, the heroine’s relationship changes dramatically. I thought it was a sweet moment in the story. No fire roaring in the fireplace or hot tub in sight, yet….

After several minutes of playing, Katie waved the cards under her father’s nose. “I won! Hah, Dad! What do you think of that?”


“You were probably cheating,” he insisted archly as a superior look crossed his features.

“I was not!” Katie retorted.

“Yes, you were.”

“No, I wasn’t!” A frustrated look crossed Katie’s face until she must have realized what Kristen had guessed all along. Her father was teasing.

Groaning, Katie hurled the cards in his face, and laughed when one caught in his hair.

Kristen suppressed a giggle. “I think your father’s trying to cover up his own cheating.”

“You think so?” Katie sent her a conspiratorial smile.

“Oh, most definitely.” Nodding, Kristen attempted a grave expression.

“Then he gets a tickle torture!” Katie launched herself at Morgan. She showed no mercy, relentlessly wiggling her fingers into his ribs.

After some struggle, he managed to hold his daughter at arm’s length and get out, “I swear I didn’t cheat. It was Kristen all along.”

Kristen burst out laughing. “Not on your life! I don’t cheat.”

“Oh, yes. That’s right. Kristen wouldn’t think to lower herself to such behavior.”

Kristen saw the evil intent in his eyes and protested, “Oh, no you don’t.”

Pausing with her attack, Katie looked up and the same impish expression formed in her eyes. Just then, Kristen realized fondly, although they might not be related by blood, the two of them were a matched pair all the same.

“I think you should get her, Dad. She’s too big for me.”

Kristen’s eyes widened. “You wouldn’t dare—”

“I think Kristen just dared me. What do you think?” he consulted Katie.

His daughter nodded vehemently. “That was a dare.”

Before she knew it, Kristen was on her back with Morgan straddling her waist and tickling the breath from her lungs.

“Stop! Stop!” Kristen cried between peals of laughter and gasps for air.

“Then you cheated, right?” Morgan demanded, his face inches from her own. The twinkle in his eyes ruined his serious expression.

“Yes! Yes!” she cried. “Anything!”

Her last word echoed through the room. Morgan stopped the torture to her ribs and slid his hands to her waist.

“Did you say ‘anything’?”

This time, she knew the seriousness in Morgan’s expression wasn’t an act. Something far more dangerous than humor smoldered in his eyes. Desire. It darkened his eyes to deep, steamy cocoa, and did crazy things to her heart rate and breathing. And that sensuous half-smile of his did even worse things to her mind.

Kristen couldn’t stop staring even if she wanted to. She drank in the strong column of his throat, the dark slash of brows, the square jaw and platinum hair, then finally she found herself drowning beneath his gaze.

A movement in the corner of her vision reminded her of Katie, and her wayward mind came to a jarring halt.

“You better let me up,” Kristen said in a voice huskier than she liked. “Katie…”

Flushing, he rose to his feet and held out his hand. She took it, and deliberately ignored the electrical current of awareness that rushed through her. She was burning up already. And he hadn’t even done a blasted thing to her yet! She needed to get a hold of herself. My goodness. By the time he got around to kissing her, she’d be already dead from spontaneous combustion.

Find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and KOBO

Grand Prize!

In addition to the giveaway at each blog, one commenter from the tour will win a $155 gift card to Barnes & Noble or Amazon, winners choice.

Thanks for joining the fun.

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Don’t forget to stop by the other hops! Lots and lots of prizes!



By | 2017-03-30T07:53:52+00:00 November 29th, 2012|Blog Hop|65 Comments

Muscles and Mistletoe Blog Hop

I easily remember my favorite holiday book. Hands down, it is Marilyn Pappano’s romance, A Season for Miracles. I went online and did a search for it since it has been forever since I read it and just found out that it was a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. This book made me soooo cry. The black moment in the story was heart wrenching. I just so loved the characters in this story.

Here’s a blurb of the story:

Emilie Dalton, fleeing Boston with her nieces and nephew, takes refuge from a bitter snowstorm in an old Victorian house. When the neighbors welcome her, assuming she is the mysterious owner, she goes along the charade and melts everyone’s hearts, including the handsome police officer, Nathan Bishop. Yet dangerous secrets from her past return to threaten her new life–and her love for Nathan–until a little angel intervenes.

My paranormal romance Shrouded in Darkness is not set during the holidays but in the dead of winter.

Below is an excerpt of a snowy scene:

Margot Davenport should never have opened the front door. She should have just kept on getting slowly and thoroughly drunk that night. But the pounding on the door went on and on, reverberating throughout the house and inside her skull. Stumbling from the couch in the living room, Margot knocked over her glass and an empty wine bottle, and grabbed onto her throbbing head with a hand.

“Damn it!”

In the hall, she tripped over her calico cat, Marmaduke, who streaked past her and up the stairs. She swore again. The banging continued. The crazy fool outside had given up on the doorbell long ago.

“John! Come on. Open up! It’s me, Jake!”

At the mention of Johnny’s name, Margot’s stomach twisted and rolled with sudden nausea. “Okay! Okay! Give me a second.”

She groped for the light switch to the hall. Nothing happened.

“Damn, stupid thing!” That’s what she got for not replacing the house’s ancient wiring.

“John, I’m freezing my ass off!”

“What do you expect,” Margot muttered, wondering if this guy was playing some sick joke at her expense.

Margot hit the outside light switch and peered through the glass panel beside the door. A man stood on the front porch. She didn’t recognize him, but then again, the sheet of snow and the light’s glare against the night backdrop didn’t help matters.

A gun or pepper spray for protection sounded pretty nice right now, but Margot hated guns and had never expected the need, living on the outskirts of Greyson, Arizona. It wasn’t like this town up in the White Mountains was loaded with crime. The worst incident had been a case of disorderly conduct last winter, and that had been from a drunken tourist.

“Who is it?”

A pause on the other side followed—almost as if she’d surprised him.

“Margot? Is that you? It’s Jake Preston.”

Though muffled, his words were clear enough to make out. The name sounded familiar, but she couldn’t recall what Johnny had said about him.

Margot frowned and winced as pain cut across her temple, brow and the base of her skull. She should have stopped at one glass of wine. “How do you know Johnny?”

“I worked with him at Miltronics for several years on the outskirts of Boston.”

Margot debated about turning this Jake away as she watched him stamp his feet against the porch. He must be freezing—what with the wind and snow.

“I know it’s late, but I need to talk to John. Please. If you could just get him, you’ll see I’m harmless.”

The urgency in his voice made her decide. He obviously didn’t know about her brother. She sighed heavily. What she had to tell him wasn’t going to be easy.

Margot unlatched the lock and opened the door.

An angry gust of wind burst into the house, tearing the knob from her grasp. The door flew wide and crashed against the wall. Gasping, she reeled back as snow flew in, stabbing her face with icy spikes.

“Here, let me.” He stepped inside and shoved the door closed with his shoulder. He turned his back against the light from the kitchen, casting his face in shadow. His baseball cap further shielded his features—along with sunglasses of all things.

How very odd. Sudden apprehension curled up her spine as Margot stepped away from Jake and the doorway. Topping a good six-feet, he appeared far larger than when he’d stood behind a locked door.

“What are the sunglasses for?” she asked.

“The light.”

“What?”

“My eyes. They’re sensitive to light. I injured both corneas as a child.”

“Oh.” She must have been staring at him like an idiot, but something about him made her uneasy. And it wasn’t just the glasses and pale complexion.

He must have sensed her disquiet, because he explained further, “It’s called traumatic iritis. It’s something I’ve had to live with for as long as I can remember.” He shrugged a large canvas backpack from his shoulder and placed it on the floor. “Can you get John for me?”

“He’s dead.”

Margot never intended the words to come out so abrupt and final, but…it hurt. Balling her hands into fists, she fought against the sudden tears that burned the back of her eyes. Please no. Not now. She couldn’t fall apart in front of this stranger.

“He can’t be. That’s impossible.”

“His—” Margot cleared her throat. “His funeral was today.”

He flinched, stumbled, and hit a shoulder against the front door. A muscle in his square jaw clenched and unclenched, and his ragged breathing magnified the tension filling the foyer. He said something under his breath she didn’t catch.

Goose bumps crawled along her spine. She needed another drink. Seeing how her brother’s death ate at this man was like witnessing her own pain.

“How did he die?” Jake finally asked.

 

 

All you have to do to enter my giveaway is use the rafflecopter link below and enter your name and email. There are other options to increase your chances of winning.

Up for grabs is a $10 gift card to Barnes & Noble or Amazon. The choice is yours. Included is your choice of one of my contemporary or paranormal romance books.

Don’t forget to stop by the other blogs for more prizes! And there’s also a Grand prize of a $50 gift card and 2 additional winners will be chosen to receive their choice of either a hard back by Laurell K. Hamilton or Karen Marie Moning.

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By | 2017-03-30T07:53:52+00:00 November 23rd, 2012|Blog Hop, Giveaways|28 Comments

Writing the Villian

Villains. We all love to hate them. Everyone has tricks and techniques to write villains  I’m hoping I can add a little something to how to go about making a villain three-dimensional. (also posted at Much Cheaper Than Therapy’s Blog)

Character Sheet

I always pull out my characterization sheets and map out my villain’s traits. You have to make them three dimension with hopes and fears just like your other characters. You need to decide on what motivates him or her, what their greatest fear is, etc.

How dark is your villain?

Decide how dark you want to make your villain. What shade of gray is he or her? Do you want to go all out and have a serial killer or someone tamer and who stays inside societies dictates?

Does the villain make the hero grow?

When you’re mapping out your character and giving them certain traits, don’t forget to ask yourself, “What is it about the villain that makes the hero grow?”

What makes the villain who she or he is now?

A villain wasn’t born that way. Peel back the layers of your villain and discover what changed him or her? Was there one factor growing up that made them who they are or were there numerous factors? Were they abused on a regular bases? Raped? Did they have cold, impersonal parents? Or maybe loving parents and then had a physical trauma as a teenager?

Do you love writing about your villain?

If the answer is no, than go back and discover a trait or characteristic that you love about them. Once you do, it will come through in your writing, and add a new dimension to them.

Below is an excerpt of one of the villains in my story, Shrouded in Illusion, which will be coming out in the spring of next year. I loved writing about Peter.

Placing the file folder on the floor of the office, Peter Weaver crouched and opened the cabinet’s bottom drawer.  He gripped the penlight between his teeth.  It illuminated three rows of cassette recordings in their plastic cases.  Names inked in black ran across each spine.  He skimmed a gloved finger along the second row and pulled out three cassettes.

Unexpected light appeared through the frosted glass window to the right of the office door and cast fresh shadows over the desk and chairs.

For one pulse beat, Peter froze.  Quickly, he turned off his penlight and gripped the cassettes in a tight-fisted hand.  He rose to his full six-foot height and heard footsteps echo against the tiled hallway.  He hadn’t expected any interruptions after ten tonight.  This added a different spin on things.  He didn’t like complications.

The orders had been to get in, retrieve all available information on his mark, and get out undetected.  Only when everything was evaluated would the decision be made on whether or not to kill the woman.  But if a sudden obstacle developed, then Peter had been given the go-head to eliminate it.

He’d memorized the building from every angle.  The two-story, simple rectangular structure on the outskirts of Boston consisted of offices of varying medical and dental practices.  The elevators were on one side, and the stairwell rested at the other.  This office stood on the top floor and in the middle of the building.  The person walking this way sounded as if he or she were coming from the elevator.

The alarm system had been easy to breach, and the offices themselves were pathetic when it came to added security.  After entering the building, he’d reactivated the alarm system and locked the office door behind him.  That gave the person in the hall the misguided belief of being alone.

A shadow appeared behind the thick, opaque window.  Peter moved around the desk, over to the wall and set the cassettes on the floor by his feet.  He stood left of the door and flexed his gloved fingers.

The scrape of a key against metal and the whisper of the lock being eased back broke the silence.  The door opened inward and shielded him from view.  Someone flicked on the light switch.  Peter didn’t move as the door sighed shut, revealing a woman in beige slacks, a sleeveless brown shirt and shoulder length, straight brown hair.  She turned toward the desk, which gave him her profile, and confirmed her identity as the woman in the photo he’d been given.

She hadn’t noticed him against the wall.  She turned again, this time exposing her back to him as she bent over her desk.

Perfect.

The carpet covered the sound of his step as he eased up behind her.  Then he struck, whipping his forearm across her throat and under her chin.  She jerked back against him.  Her hand caught at a stack of files.  Papers swept off the desk and into the air.  He drove his other forearm into the back of her neck in a chokehold, while crushing her windpipe and rupturing her larynx with his other arm.  He stepped back, throwing her off her feet and giving him added leverage.

She never had a chance to fight back or cry out.  Her hands fluttered midair, then dropped.  Peter snapped her neck.  He felt her body give, the energy within evaporate, leaving a husk of bone and muscle.

It took all of three seconds to complete the kill.

Peter dropped the woman to the carpeted floor in frustration.  Now he had to dispose of a body.  He’d killed a few people over the years, and they’d stayed buried, but only because he’d taken the time to do it right.  As for evidence of foul play, he’d eliminate all signs of a struggle and dispose of the body in his favorite dumping ground.  That’s why he liked using his hands.  They didn’t leave a mess like a gun or knife.

He stepped over the woman’s body, cleaned the room of evidence, and pocketed the cassettes.

By | 2017-03-30T07:53:52+00:00 November 17th, 2012|Uncategorized, Writing|0 Comments