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and Fearless Friday as told by my guests and me.

Monday, October 30, 2017

My Muse and the Holiday Spirit by Barbara White Daille


MUSE MONDAY

Please welcome Barbara White Daille to Muse Monday!

As we’re right around the corner from Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the rest of the holidays, this is just the beginning of my favorite time of the year. Parties, presents, big dinners. desserts and chocolate. (Lots of chocolate.)  Peace on earth and goodwill to men.

What’s not to like about all that? 

Even my muse got into the holiday spirit when I began writing my upcoming release. The story is a stand-alone romance, book two in the Snowflake Valley series. When my muse caught on to the fact we were revisiting the town that celebrates Christmas 365 days of the year, she was happier than a… 

Well, than a kid in a Christmas toy shop.

And to tell you the truth, so was I.

Writing is not the easiest gig in the world. Sometimes it can be downright exhausting both mentally and physically. My writing routine for this series has so far eliminated all that.

It’s hard not to be cheerful and energized when you’re running back and forth from the office to the kitchen to make hot chocolate!  Listening to Christmas carols played softly in the background helps to calm you but stimulate your muse. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, the muse makes friends with your subconscious, and because they’re already having fun, they get together and plan ways to help you write the book!

And I’m here today to share some of what the three of us came up with.

From the back cover of One Week to Win Her Boss:

Single mom Amber Barnett loves family, kids, Christmas…and unfortunately, her boss, confirmed bachelor Michael DeFranco. It's a crush she really needs to get over. Except, when she’s temporarily forced from her apartment, her only option is to stay at Michael’s private ski lodge, where she's the housekeeper. No problem. Her handsome boss rarely visits Snowflake Valley unexpectedly, plus he’s spending the holidays with his family. Or so she thinks…

A stormy Christmas Eve reunion leaves Michael seeking the solitude of his lodge, where he finds Amber in residence—and in trouble. Attempting to save her from her matchmaking family, he announces they’re a couple. His good deed backfires when they’re instantly included in each and every holiday event in town. So much for solitude. 

Only the more time he spends with the beautiful, cheery brunette, the more he yearns to make things real between them. But he and Amber want different things, and Michael could never be the family man she's looking for. 

Excerpt:

On his way downstairs Michael gave himself a familiar reminder: Amber is off-limits. Outside the kitchen door he hesitated, taking a deep breath. Mama DeFranco would have scolded him in three different languages for the way he had sworn at Amber when he’d come into the house. But guilt instilled by his grandmother wasn’t what kept him hanging outside in the hallway. No, it was his eagerness to join Amber that rooted his feet to the floor. Better for him to stand out here than to be alone with her. 

A wail went up inside the kitchen. 

With her and her baby, he amended. 

Find the book: 


About the Author: 

Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom. Barbara also loves writing, reading, and chocolate. Come to think of it, she enjoys writing about those subjects, too! 

Barbara wrote her first short story at the age of nine, then typed "The End" to her first novel many years later...in the eighth grade. Now she's writing contemporary romance on a daily basis. Sign up for her newsletter to keep up with the latest in her writing life:  https://barbarawhitedaille.com/newsletter. 

Social Media Links:




Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Embrace Your Wickedness by Madison Michael


WICKED WEDNESDAY

Let's get WICKED. Welcome my guest, Madison Michael!

Brenda, thanks so much for the opportunity to be a little wicked this Wednesday. I think being wicked is a lot of fun. As Halloween approaches, I notice more and more people embracing their inner wickedness too. Costumes, candy and wicked in a single holiday – it might just be my favorite day of the year. 

But I don’t wait until Halloween to get in touch with my wicked side. I live a little wicked and infuse my characters with a little wicked, a touch of wild, a lot of sassy, and an abundance of sexy. Wicked characters that grow and reform are some of my favorite characters to read. You know the ones, the rakish Duke in the historical romance, the demanding billionaire used to getting his way, the biker bad boy. It is so satisfying when their lady-loves help them reveal their softer, kinder side. 

But what happens when the character that needs reforming is the heroine of the story? Remember Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew? I wanted to create my own version of Kate, but how could I allow my hero to tame her…. 

In my novel, Beholden, I reintroduced Sloane - snobbish, more than a little bitchy, and pretty damn wicked. I loved creating Sloane and I have really enjoyed the myriad of reactions her bitchy behavior has elicited from my readers. 

Sloane Huyler is a spoiled woman who has scored the trifecta - birth, beauty and brains – and boy, does she know it. Sloane’s initial role is as the evil fiancĂ© of my hero in Bedazzled, the first of my Beguiling Bachelor novels. She is not the heroine of that novel, quite the contrary. She stirs up tons of trouble and gets her just rewards. She ends up a jilted lover. 

The second novel in the series, Beholden, begins with a confident Sloane about to marry the most eligible bachelor in Chicago. The story changes quickly. Fast forward 18 months and Sloane has lost her fiancĂ©, most of her friends and all of her fortune. These circumstances, might humble another woman, but not Sloane. Although she may be crushed on the inside, she just grows haughtier on the outside. 

Enter Randall Parker III, wicked in his own ways – a heavy drinker and brilliant banker wrapped in a, hard-bodied, sexy as hell package. Randall has known Sloane since her student days and he’s well aware of her wicked ways. Rather than being put off by them, Randall is drawn to Sloane, determined to win her heart – if she has one. 

Sparks fly between Sloane and Randal as he seeks to reverse her dire circumstances, and claim her for his own. It seems they are either fighting mad or flaming hot. Who exactly is taming whom? 

Here is one of my favorite interactions between them…. 

Luckily, they found a parking space near her building without having to circle the block. They walked toward her building arm in arm, him stroking her bare shoulders and back, her with her hand up the back of his un-tucked shirt. They stopped every few steps to kiss, each kiss thick with promise, lasting longer and demanding more. They were too hungry for each other to wait.

Randall ran his hands over the wide expanse of skin left bare by her halter and she thought she would melt from the feel of his hands on her. He played with the tie holding the dress up.

“You wouldn’t dare,” she hissed at him.

“Don’t test me,” he responded, tugging playfully but leaving everything intact. “I would take you against the side of this building right now if I wasn’t afraid of getting arrested.”

“What’s a little jail time between friends? After all it runs in the family,” she quipped, astonishing them both when she joked about her father’s incarceration.

“I mean it, Sloane,” he growled. “Do not tempt me further.”

“I mean it too, Randall.”

    He spun her around and sandwiched her between his body and the rough brick wall of the nearest building, rocking his body hard against hers, his erection large and insistent against her belly. Sloane wrapped one leg around his lower legs, trying to pull him even tighter to her, crushing her breasts into his massive chest. She pushed at him, dropped her leg and throwing all caution to the wind she groped for the zipper on his pants. He looked astonished, but he didn’t stop her, even helping a bit when she fumbled with his belt buckle.

While unfastening Randall’s pants, Sloane felt a cool breeze on her legs and realized that the hem of her dress had been lifted high on her hip. He had one hand cupping the spot where the back of her thigh curved into her ass pulling her to him. While he was kissing her until she thought she would gasp for breath, Randall was reaching to divest her of her panties.

Sloane heard footsteps and froze in place.

What the hell were they doing? They were just yards from her condo. In less than five minutes they would be safely inside.

She pushed him away, pulled her dress down and made sure she had not progressed too far with his trousers. She placed a shaking hand in his and began leading an unresisting Randall toward the lobby of her building. “Two minutes,” she whispered to him.

“Not one second more,” he retorted, giving her a threatening look that she knew brooked no argument. Reassured that they were decent enough, they left the darkness of the street and stepped into the pool of bright lights under the portico of Sloane’s building.

  

Will Randall win the wild Sloane or will she lure him then leave him? Watch the twists and turns of this wicked couple. See what you make of my modern day Taming. 

Check out Bedazzled and Beholden on Amazon and pick up the sequel, Bedeviled, in Sultry Nights, a limited-time collection of steamy romances from 22 great authors for a mere 99 cents!  Sultry Nights is available on Amazon or on Kobo, iBooks and more at www.romancecollections.com/sultry-nights 

I told you I loved writing these characters. I meant it. After writing Beholden, I went back and created a Prequel to The Beguiling Bachelor series. Bewildered introduces Sloane and Randall when they first meet, and sets up the subsequent novels. Nab your free copy of Bewildered at www.madisonmichael.net 

About Madison Michael

Madison Michael traded 28 years in Fortune 500 tech and management positions for a chance to spend her days with sassy heroines, sexy, rich heroes and nothing but happy endings. Growing up the daughter of a librarian, she learned to love books, especially classics and romances, and spent winters cuddled under blankets losing herself in books. 

Madison is the author of three novels in the Beguiling Bachelor series, as well as several short stories. She is a member of Romance Writers of America. 

After living in the northeast, southeast and the west, Maddy returned to her Midwest roots. She lives in Evanston, IL with two feline editorial assistants and great views of Chicago’s famous skyline. 


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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Mature, Wrinkle, Spots WTH?

TRIPPIN' THURSDAY

A few years back, we retired from the day jobs. You followed our farm experiment on Tortuga Thursdays for three years, but we sold the farm. We traded in the little RV for a bigger one, but we aren’t ready to hit the road fulltime. What comes next? We’re not sure. It's all about transition these days. These are...

The In-Between Years

There’s more to the In-Between Years than figuring out if we’re going to stay parked, get a land-locked base, or hit the road. I know that’s what I meant by the term when I geared the blog in that direction, but the term in-between years conjures other images for me. There comes a time in a woman’s life when she feels mature, but not yet old. Let’s go with that today.

Back when I probably didn’t need makeup, I wouldn’t leave the house without putting on my full face. Nowadays, I’m bare faced more often than not, not because these years look so good on me, but the process eats up precious time when I could be doing something else. Plus, the attitude—this is me so deal with it—kind of rules my days.

I’m not implying that I’m “letting myself go.” No way. I’ve tried some new techniques for mature upkeep, had some disasters, and learned a few things. I kind of feel like I’m talking to the ladies here, but my guess is guys think about these things too.

Take a walk
Walk every day. I normally get in 6,000 steps—short of the recommended 10,000. If you can reach that, go for it. I also do a squat routine when I remember. Squats will keep your butt from trying to migrate onto the backs of your thighs.

Thinning hair? Peppermint oil is supposed to stimulate hair growth. I read that somewhere, didn’t quite remember the formula, but hey, how hard is it to rub oil into your scalp? I now think the directions said a drop, maybe two. I put quite a bit in my palm and applied to my scalp. First my skin tingled, then my eyes burned, and the fumes were so strong I ran for the shower. I dove under the water which washed the oil out of my hair and down my face and neck. Face was on fire! It took a lot of soap and water to stop the burning. Maybe I’m not losing all that much hair.

Go easy on the makeup
Mature skin tends toward dry, lined, and what the hell are all these brown spots and red marks? If you can’t afford the high cost of laser or any number of other cosmetic treatments, retinol is a great fixer. You can find quite a few over the counter products that contain retinol, but to get it strong enough you’ll need a doctor’s prescription. Yep, $$$ again. Mexico was my answer. There is a woman here on the Ranch who makes frequent trips down there, and she brought me back a big tube of .05% retinol cream for under $20. Here’s the point…it works! My skin is more evenly colored. Not really sure if it helps wrinkles but it doesn’t hurt. So, if you don’t have a Mexico connection, you might want to spend the money for some. Just make sure it’s that percentage. And invest in a good moisturizer at the very least.

Eat right
If you are going to wear makeup, invest in hypoallergenic. Go easy on powders on the face. They only make wrinkles show worse. You aren’t covering anything. Liquid is best, and massage it in.

Last piece of advice—eat well. You are what you eat so skip the fast food, prepared foods, and go really light on sugar.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

In Between Here and Insane

TRIPPIN' THURSDAY

A few years back, we retired from the day jobs. You followed our farm experiment on Tortuga Thursdays for three years, but we sold the farm. We traded in the little RV for a bigger one, but we aren’t ready to hit the road fulltime. What comes next? We’re not sure. It's all about transition these days. These are...

The In-Between Years

In-Between Years has meant in-between cities and decisions over the last few weeks…

Son explaining national anthem to his daughter
We were in Phoenix for a couple of reasons. Christmas is coming up so we took care of a surprise for several people in the family. I can’t say what just in case they read this post. It’s really cool, and I’ll share in January. We spent a couple of days with our son and family, and we all took in
Me with DIL and GD
a Diamondback’s game. Great game. Go DBacks!

Prescott…well, you know I go there all the time to see Mom.

Jerome…what a fantastic time I had. My sister took me there for my birthday, which was a few months back. On the right of this blog, under Index, click on the word Jerome to see more pictures of our trip.

Standin' on the corner...
FDW and I went to Winslow for the day to visit friends who leave the Ranch for half the year. We had lunch and of course had to stand on the corner with Glenn Frey.

Decisions…some made, some still in limbo. When we sold the farm, our household stuff went into storage. Then it went to our son’s home because he’d rented a portable storage unit that had space. Some of it went in there, and some into his house. Now, he’s moving his family to Tucson. I said, “let’s sell all of it.” FDW said, “hold on.” We reached an impasse. I handle the budget and have refused to rent another storage facility. He managed to sell our antique clock, antique camera, but the coffee and end tables are still on the market. And what to do with the rest? I was still pushing to sell when our son proclaimed they’ve rented a house big enough (3 car garage) to handle our “stuff.”

I guess our stuff is going to live in Tucson. That’s all I’m saying, but can I whisper crazy?

Monday, October 2, 2017

IT'S COMING! #InDScribe2017

MUSE MONDAY


Only a week and a half until I pick up an author friend, JL Wilson, at the airport in Phoenix, and we drive to Burbank, California for the InD'Scribe Conference. If you're a reader and anywhere near Burbank, this is a conference you want to attend. Not only is it free, you'll get to mingle up
close and personal with a great many authors. And there are lots of fun events planned.

I'm excited to go for several reasons, and a big one is The Power of Love and Murder is a RONE Award Finalist. The winner will be announced at the evening gala. Even if I don't win, to have been a finalist is great. Okay, I really do want to win.

Here's the link if you'd like to learn more about this great event: https://www.indscribe.com/

Meet your there!