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Muse Monday, Wicked Wednesday,
and Fearless Friday as told by my guests and me.

Friday, February 23, 2018

How She Went From #Jobless to #Fearless by Valerie Ullmer


FEARLESS FRIDAY

Please join me in welcoming Valerie Ullmer. She fearlessly dove into a writing career. Read her story.
In 2010, after working for close to twenty years in various office jobs that I hated or bored me to death, I was laid off.  Of course, at first you freak out because you have just lost your job, and I was no different.  I couldn’t stop thinking about what I was supposed to do.
But an idea kept playing over and over in my head.  Since my early twenties, the idea of becoming a writer appealed to me.  There are a lot of writing resources, but back when I was first thinking about it, there seemed to be rules upon rules upon rules that made me think that writing was formulaic and not natural or creative.
And then I came across advice that I understood and perfectly from the moment I heard it.  In order to learn how to write…you write.  You just write.
From that moment on, I realized the only way I could write a book was to write a book.  And the first one was horrendous, but I got through it and loved every moment of it and it encouraged me to try again.  I did study structure and character arcs as I went, but writing everything from writing prompts to short stories and working my way up to novels was the greatest teacher I could have ever had.
Being laid off was the greatest thing that ever happened to me and it taught me that sometimes, life has something different planned for you.
My newest release, Fall for You, will be released in the boxed set, All You Need is Love, available now.
Blurb
Ethan Sutton had come to the stunning revelation that he’d fallen in love with his best friend, Sebastian Young.  Although friends since childhood, Ethan vowed to keep his feelings for Sebastian under wraps and live the rest of his life with this one secret between them rather than risk a lifelong connection and never see him again.  But when they move into their own apartment at the start of their third year of college, can Ethan keep his feelings from showing when they live so close together?
Sebastian Young had an epiphany about Ethan at the end of last year and arranged for the shared apartment he’d found over the summer to be closer to Ethan and see if a relationship could develop between them.  But as they settle into their lives in a new place with such close quarters, ex-girlfriends, nosy downstairs neighbors, and Sebastian’s own doubts, their relationship could be in jeopardy before it even begins.
Can two best friends admit their feelings and fall in love?
Ethan realized falling in love with his best friend had been easy.  Keeping his feelings a secret from Sebastian as they move into a one-bedroom loft and deal with decisions from their past might prove a bit more difficult.
Buy Links
Excerpt
Sebastian beamed at him and managed to quickly change the subject.  “Ready to see our new place?”
Ethan nodded.  He felt a loss when Sebastian squeezed his hand once before he let go.  Sebastian opened the driver’s side door and Ethan copied the movement on his side, wondering if he would survive living in a space with Sebastian and be able to keep his feelings locked down deep inside.
“Let’s get our stuff after.  I want you to see it first.”  Sebastian’s excitement made Ethan smile.
Sebastian reached for Ethan’s arm and led him to the side entrance of the modern building Ethan hadn’t noticed before.  Ethan was surprised when Sebastian kept his warm hand on his arm, underneath his grey tee, skin on skin.  As Sebastian turned to shoot him a smile of reassurance, walking backward toward the door, Ethan couldn’t help but noticed how the blue of Sebastian’s tee brought out the hazel of his eyes.  Thinking that he might have been staring a little too long, he glanced down and back up at Sebastian, who still smiled at him.
Reaching back to open the door, Sebastian moved his hand out of the way in time to avoid the door that was pushed open from the inside.  Darting his gaze to the opened door, Ethan barely contained his groan when he spotted the pretty blonde exiting the building.
Well, it was good while it lasted.
She was exactly Sebastian’s type.  Blonde, slender, and wearing a tight white tank and shorts.  He knew Sebastian wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to flirt with her.
Ethan tried to pull his arm from Sebastian’s grip, wanting to go inside and avoid the inevitable, but found himself trapped when she turned and smiled at Sebastian.  With a quick glance to see what Ethan had been looking at, Sebastian turned back to Ethan and raised a brow.
“Hi, I’m Sarah.”
Ethan was stunned silent when Sebastian gave her a quick nod in greeting and dragged Ethan through the door and up the short flight of stairs.  With one last glance behind him to make sure Ethan hadn’t bolted, Sebastian unlocked the door to their flat.
“What?”
“That was the first time I’ve witnessed you not flirt with a woman.  And she was blonde.”
Sebastian laughed and shook his head, opening the door.  “I’m partial to dark hair and olive skin.”
“Since when?” Ethan blurted.
Sebastian’s smile grew wider.  He turned and walked inside the flat, leaving Ethan to follow.
As if on autopilot, Ethan walked in behind Sebastian, keeping his eyes on his wide shoulders, waiting silently to see what he would say.
“After Amber, and others that came before her, I realized that I needed some time alone to think about who I want to be with.  I’ve figured out a lot of things after I quit serial dating.”
His words, while doing nothing to clear up why he hadn’t flirted with Sarah downstairs, struck him as sincere and completely serious.  His heart beat hard and his hands went numb, unable to stop his thoughts from presuming that Sebastian felt more for him than friendship.  And as quickly as they’d come, he dismissed his crazy notions that Sebastian would fall in love with him after all their years of friendship.
About Valerie
Valerie writes paranormal and contemporary M/F and M/M erotic romances. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her wonderfully supportive husband and their funny and wise black lab. She's addicted to coffee, crime shows, and reading and writing character-driven romances.
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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

#Wicked Good Deal on #Netgalley #Free

WICKED WEDNESDAY


In The Power of Love and Murder, I have two wicked villains...one you like to hate and one you hate to like. Right now, Netgalley has The Power of Love and Murder for free if you're willing to review it when you're done reading. Now that is wicked good.

Here is the Netgalley link: NETGALLEY

For thirteen years, Penny Sparks has managed to hide from the political powers who murdered her family. When she unwittingly exposes her true identity, not only is she marked for death, but the people closest to her risk meeting the same fate.

Jake Winters is out of rehab and coming to grips with his demons. When he meets his sister’s roommate, Jake believes Penny might be that someone who can help him find life after rock star status…until her secrets blow up his world.

With a government agent turned hit man closing in on her, Penny and Jake race to expose the presidential contender behind the murders of her family. Even if they win the race with death, the murder that stands between them could end their hope for a new life.

N N Light Reviews
If you’re a fan of romantic suspense, this is a must read. If you’re a fan of suspense and/or political thrillers, you’ll love it!

Still Moments Magazine, Between the Pages
A fast-paced romance packed with action and suspense
.
“The Power of Love and Murder” is utterly addictive!

Heidi M. Thomas, award winning author of the Cowgirl Dreams triology
Tense, tight, exciting…with the right amount of passion and humor.

If you're a Netgalley user or would like to be, rush over before this deal is done. Here is the Netgalley link: NETGALLEY

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Bud, the Rose, My #Writing by Nancy Sartor


MUSE MONDAY


Please join me in welcoming my guest, Nancy Sartor, with a really fun post!

I love roses, love the way they look, smell, feel. I would fill my house with them, except that they don’t last. A couple of days of radiant beauty and a week of browning leaves that drop on the floor while the former blossom looks somewhat like a goose whose hair is falling out. In the odd way a thought about one thing leads to another, roses remind me of my writing.

It's not that my prose is radiantly beautiful (although there are days on which the Muse grabs my fingers, shuts my mouth, turns off the television, disables my games and does the writing. Those days shine so brightly no rose could compete, but they are few and far between). It’s pretty much the reverse. I begin with scraggly, half-drawn cardboard images that sound perfectly wonderful to me. I finish the chapter or scene, close the laptop with a satisfied click and engage in something else. It’s the next day that the thing falls apart.

The next day, I read back through my prose. By the third line of the first paragraph, I’m beginning to suspect someone has stolen this document and changed all my wonderful words. If I’m lucky, somewhere in that mess there is a kernel of an idea or a lovely turn of phrase or a character name that catches my fancy. I go back to line one, hit the enter key about four times and begin anew.

I would love to say at this point that what I write is perfect. Heck, I’d love to say it’s acceptable. What I can say is it’s better, and as I work through it muttering various words my mother would not approve, I finally begin to see the shape of this scene or chapter. Generally, by the fourth or fortieth time through, it has shape and substance, the characters are saying what real people say and I’m beginning to think I might get this finished.

I have one suspense published and two paranormals. They’re all set at least partially in Nashville because that’s where I live and what I know. The suspense, Bones Along the Hill, is set in the funeral industry in Nashville; the first paranormal, Christmas Across Time is set between Opryland Hotel and the Two Rivers Mansion. While it is set in modern day, a good bit of the action takes place long ago. The second paranormal, Blessed Curse is set in addition to Nashville, in tiny Rugby, Tennessee, a historic district that has many of its own ghost stories. The blurb is for Blessed Curse.

BLESSED CURSE. Deeply scarred from her childhood, Jorie Wainright has pledged to remain childless. Fate intervenes to give her a child, but immediately powerful otherworldly forces threaten the baby’s survival. Even though the child’s birth will jeopardize her future with the man of her dreams, Logan Mathis who is the child’s father, Jorie fights to save her unborn. With a psychic connection forged in a mountain mist on the edge of the rational world, Jorie, Logan and four childhood friends engage in a battle that may destroy them and the innocent unborn.

             

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

#Villain, #Savior, and Romance by Beth Caudill


WICKED WEDNESDAY

Please welcome my guest, Beth. We're talking villains!
Thank you for hosting me today.

The quest for my villain started with my heroine Evelyn Brooks.  She is a photographer and I wanted to play on the myth that a camera steals the souls of those who have their picture taken. After falling into the internet research hole for an afternoon, I decided on my villain being an Aztec.

Except I knew nothing of the Aztec. In order to create my villain, I needed more information.  There was little Information on the web and what was there I’d classify as sketchy. The library has some books in the children’s section but not what I wanted. Through searching Amazon, based on the blurb and reviews, I narrowed my reference material to The Aztecs by Michael E. Smith (3rd edition).

It’s a bit dry, like when it talks about the tax system of the cities. But it gives a good overview of the art, government and religious duties of the Aztec citizens. There were also city names and people presented so I had an idea on how to form names for my characters. Naming sites don’t have many entries for Aztec inspired names.

Ichtaca sees himself as a savior. The one destined to restore his people to their place in the world. The fact that he can practice human sacrifice in his pursuit of his king and wife, is a bonus he will gladly take advantage of.

Excerpt

He wasn’t evil, but he was an instrument of the Aztec Gods. Everyday people had forgotten about magic, about the power of celestial beings, and the dominion that comes from service. The gods may have weakened but they never left this world. He would bring them back with blood freely given in this modern time.
He would reward a select few with the honor of being the living sacrifice. The ones whose beating hearts he ripped from their chests. Those who had dormant power within them. Only then could his soul rest.
Once his king had returned and a connection to the gods was complete, he would be with his wife and live the life long denied them. Full of ritual and servants. Devotion and worship.
It had been too long since a true sacrifice had been delivered and power returned to his kin. The girl in the cabin would be the first of many. But only after her father had done Ichtaca’s bidding and retrieved the photograph.
At the turn of the twentieth century, technology had seized the attention of the world. It had been a slow build, but those who embraced the enchantments provided by the natural world retreated. Metal and the insidious creations developed from it provided the masses with new concepts to worship.
One of those contraptions that was more insidious than it seemed was the camera. For some, it simply copied an image onto a plate or film. But those who believed in Transcendence—the belief of soul energy to travel beyond our plane of existence—found themselves trapped. Their bodies empty shells that disintegrated without the host’s spirit.
In 1906, the Goddess Tlaltecuhtli split the earth in California. A small contingent of his people traveled to San Francisco to take advantage of the death and despair. They could renew their bonds with the gods by providing release to the affected populous.
No one would know of his clan’s work except the gods.
Reveling in the chaos of the event, he hadn’t noticed the change in Tiegan or his king. Not until it was too late. They’d returned home. The journey drained their lives too soon. Their people strayed without a ruler. Too many lost hope, abandoned their refuge.
He was the last of his people. The last to know the true power of the gods and how to return them to this world. His first step was to retrieve the photograph imprisoning them.

Tethered by Beth Caudill

Blurb

Evelyn Brooks lives with the freedom only her kind can know—in her human form as a photographer, and in the skies as a falcon. When a stalker drives her from her home, Evelyn discovers a beautiful, wild sanctuary in North Carolina. After a bolt of magic knocks her from the sky, leaving her helpless, she realizes too late that danger invaded her refuge.

Park ranger Lawke Morgan’s day goes from bad to worse when his ex-wife unexpectedly drops off their 13-year-old daughter in the beginning of a dangerous storm. His life takes a turn for the bizarre after he finds an injured Peregrine falcon that transforms into a lovely woman.

When his daughter is kidnapped by an Aztec priest, one who should have been dead for centuries, Lawke learns that Evelyn holds the key to the priest’s demands. Together they must confront blood sacrifices, defy ancient gods and find a way to trust each other when a young girl’s life hangs in the balance. 

Can a woman used to soaring amongst the clouds embrace love with a man firmly rooted on the ground? 

Currently on sale for $0.99
January 20 – February 18, 2018

Available for Sale at:
                Amazon US – http://www.amzn.com/B01NH9KZT9/
            Amazon UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01NH9KZT9/
            Amazon DE - https://www.amazon.de/dp/B01NH9KZT9/
            Amazon CA - https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01NH9KZT9/
            Amazon AU - https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01NH9KZT9/
            Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/tethered-17


Author Website: http://BethCaudill.net/
Author Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cEp6b1
Author Email: beth@bethcaudill.net

About the Author 
Although Beth grew up in West Virginia, she currently resides in North Carolina with her husband, two sons and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who makes an excellent lap warmer. Blending the analytical and creative sides of her brain, she delights in creating fantasy worlds for others. Catch her online most days except when NCIS and Once Upon a Time air.

Monday, February 5, 2018

#99Cent #Sale for Love and Murder

Everyone loves a sale. Whether it's those shoes you stare at every time you walk past the store window, or the juicer you wish you could afford, or the book that sounds like a great read. I can help you with that last one. Two of my Love and Murder Series books are on sale for the month of February for...wait for it...$.99! That's 99 cents for two award nominated books.

And don't forget, after you read, please be sure to head back to Amazon and leave a review. The hardest thing an author has to do, after getting published that is, is to round up reviews. Reviews are the all important way we get Amazon and BookBub to recognize us. I'd love to get on BookBub, but until I have enough reviews they won't take a look at me. Here's a taste...

Inheriting an Austrian Castle is an Alpine fairytale for August, until someone begins killing the heirs.  
A Legacy of Love and Murder  EPIC AWARD FINALIST

In Austria to meet her great-grandfather and explore his castle estate filled with priceless art, August Myer arrives to find he’s died suspiciously. As one of the heirs, her life is in danger, turning this fairytale Alpine adventure into a nightmare of veiled threats, unexplained accidents, and murder.

Inspector Tobias Wolf splits his time between his profession and fighting the spread of neo-Nazism. But when the beautiful, intriguing American crosses his path during a murder investigation, ensuring her safety challenges his priorities…and his heart.

When August learns the handsome inspector is concealing a personal involvement and the death of her great-grandfather is somehow connected, she takes the investigation into her own hands. The outcome could be the death of both of them.



Click here to buy: Amazon Buy Link

Penny Sparks has secrets that can ruin a presidential contender, got her family murdered…and mark her as the next hit.
The Power of Love and Murder  RONE AWARD FINALIST

For thirteen years, Penny Sparks has managed to hide from the political powers who murdered her family. When she unwittingly exposes her true identity, not only is she marked for death, but the people closest to her risk meeting the same fate.

Jake Winters is out of rehab and coming to grips with his demons. When he meets his sister’s roommate, Jake believes Penny might be that someone who can help him find life after rock star status…until her secrets blow up his world.

With a government agent turned hit man closing in on her, Penny and Jake race to expose the presidential contender behind the murders of her family. Even if they win the race with death, the murder that stands between them could end their hope for a new life.


Click here to buy: Amazon Buy Link

Friday, February 2, 2018

FEARLESSLY CREATING AN #AUDIO BOOK LIKE A RADIO DRAMA by Joe Cosentino

FEARLESS FRIDAY

Please welcome, Joe, back to Discover Yourself. Joe now has audio books! Exciting news and an interesting read.
I’ll be honest. Coming from a theatre background, most audiobooks put me to sleep. Maybe that’s a good thing for some people, but for me, I prefer listening to an audiobook where the characters come to life like in the days of radio drama. So when it came time to select a performer for the audiobooks of the first two novels in my popular Jana Lane mystery series, I sought out actors who could perfectly embody the over twenty characters in each novel. I was incredibly fortunate to find Charissa Clark Howe, a gifted actress, to perform PAPER DOLL, the novel that introduced us to fearless ex-child star Jana Lane, whose flashbacks from the past became murder attempts in her present.
Now with PORCELAIN DOLL, Jana at forty makes a comeback film and fearlessly uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. Her heart is set aflutter by her incredibly gorgeous romantic co-star, America’s heartthrob Jason Adonis. The other suspects include Jana’s James Dean type young co-star, her older John Wayne type co-star, her children’s Eve Harrington type nanny, the film’s gossipy makeup and hair artist, a local reverend trying to stop the film’s production, and Jason’s agent. To perform the audiobook, I hit the jackpot with Derick Snow, a fearless, quite versatile actor with a great deal of murder mystery acting experience. He not only connected with the mystery, humor, and romance of the novel, but also beautifully created the multitude of captivating and entertaining characters in Jana’s life. His dramatic voice, crisp diction, and emotional availability are reminiscent of the old radio dramas. The listener feels as if he/she is part of the story! Derick’s intensity is perfect for the many plot twists and turns, dropped clues and red herrings, sweet romance, and shocking yet gratifying ending. The remaining three audiobooks (SATIN DOLL, CHINA DOLL, and RAG DOLL) will hopefully follow.
So, grab your popcorn and take your front row seat. Listen to the Jana Lane mystery, PORCELAIN DOLL, by Joe Cosentino, performed by Derick Snow.

PORCELAIN DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery by Joe Cosentino
published by The Wild Rose Press
audiobook performed by Derick Snow

Is art imitating life in 1982? Jana Lane, ex-child star, is doing a comeback film about murder. When a crew member is killed on the set, it looks like Jana could be next. Thickening the plot is Jana’s breathtakingly handsome and muscular leading man, Jason Apollo, whose boyish, southern charms have aroused Jana’s interest on screen and off. Will Jana and Jason stop the murderer before the final reel, or end up on the cutting room floor in this fast-paced whodunit with a shocking ending?

Praise for PORCELAIN DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery:

“Suspenseful and mysterious, Porcelain Doll is a masterful creation, one that was impossible not to be affected by.” Carol Fenton, BooksLaidBare Reviews

“Every page fills the readers with intrigue..Edge of your seat mystery that lures readers instantly…Once you read it, you can't put it down.” Urban Book Reviews

Porcelain Doll hooks from the start with characters behaving badly, all of whom have life-changing secrets…The story includes a nice arc, well-developed characters, and a few unexpected surprises.” InD’tale Magazine

What a delight! A fun mystery that takes place in the 1980s with a range of engaging characters and a strong heroine….Jana is the perfect heroine for a mystery….A must-read for mystery lovers! Porcelain Doll is charming with a great insight to the rise and fall of stardom, and with a twist at the end I honestly didn’t see coming.” Readers’ Favorite

Bestselling author Joe Cosentino won Divine Magazine’s awards for best mystery novel, best humorous novel, and best contemporary novel of 2015. He is the author of the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll and Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective; the Cozzi Cove beach series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); and the romance novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: A Home for the Holidays and The Perfect Gift, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press). As an actor, he has appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com




Wednesday, January 31, 2018

#Villains are #Heroes too? by Diane Burton


WICKED WEDNESDAY

Ah, one of my favorite days of the week...Wicked Wednesday...and Diane has a fun guest post!
Villains are the heroes of their own story. Each villain thinks s/he’s in the right. (Rather than keep using s/he and her/him, I’m going to use masculine pronouns, even though we know women can be villains, too.) Psychopaths are different and not the subject of this post.
A good villain has his own GMC. When we’re writing our stories, we need to write our villain’s Goal, Motivation, and Conflict, as well as the main characters. What does he want, why, and what’s preventing him from getting it? The goal can be admirable—supporting family, retrieving what’s been stolen—or not, but understandable. Revenge, greed, righting a wrong.
I enjoy reading stories where the reader doesn’t know who the villain is. In my Alex O’Hara PI mystery series, the stories are written in Alex’s point of view. The reader only knows what she knows. As the story unfolds, she (and the reader) sees the clues and red herrings and doesn’t know which to trust. When the villain reveals himself, it’s a surprise for Alex. Is it a surprise for the reader? I hope so, but I never underestimate the intelligence of readers.
In my Outer Rim science fiction romances, the villain is identified right off the bat. Hallart, a gangster, wants to rule the galaxy. Drugs, prostitution, extortion, racketeering. If it’s illegal, Hallart is into it. The reader knows in the first book, The Pilot, that Hallart is a villain. Either he or his minions are the villains in each story. What the reader doesn’t know is who are his minions. Hopefully, that will be a surprise. For reader satisfaction, the minions are caught, or at least identified. And, good minions that they are, they won’t help the authorities capture their boss.
Eventually, Hallart has to be stopped. That’s at the center of the fourth Outer Rim Novel, The Spy, my work in progress. As I write the last book in the series, I haven’t figured out how, but I do know who will bring him down. If I accomplish my goal, The Spy will be available in late fall.
Developing a good villain can be a challenge. The writer can’t let the villain take over the story. But, the writer can’t write so little that the villain is flat. Finding a balance is the key. For a writer, understanding the villain, what makes him tick, makes a great story.
Alex O’Hara PI mysteries
The Case of the Bygone Brother: Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ iBooks ~ Kobo ~ B&N ~ Smashwords 
The Case of the Fabulous FiancĂ©: Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ iBooks ~ Kobo ~ B&N ~ Smashwords 
The Case of the Meddling Mama: Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ iBooks ~ Kobo ~ B&N ~ Smashwords 
Outer Rim Novels
The Pilot: Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ Kobo ~ iBooks ~ B&N ~ Smashwords
The Chameleon: Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ Kobo ~ iBooks ~ B&N ~ Smashwords
The Protector: Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ Kobo ~ iBooks ~ B&N ~ Smashwords 
About the Author
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mystery series. She is also a contributor to two anthologies: Portals, Volume 2 and How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and five grandchildren.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com 
Connect with Diane Burton online 
Sign up for Diane’s new release alert: http://eepurl.com/bdHtYf