Lovers Promise to Always Meet Under the Mistletoe for #ScintillatingSunday #RomanticSuspense

 

Mile High Muses Graphic for Sundays

 

Welcome to this week’s Scintillating Sunday Showcase hosted by the Mile High Muses. This is a weekly blog hop showcasing eight words, sentences or paragraphs the participants find scintillating. The hop is open to all romance and erotic romance authors of all heat levels. There is something for everyone during this fun showcase and this week I thought I’d share the opening paragraphs from the POV of my heroine in Meet Me Under the Mistletoe. A few weeks back I shared the opening 8 paragraphs from the hero.

At the end of the post you can click on the special photo that will take you to the linky list of all the participants. This version of WordPress does not allow me to post the list here so the fun meme is the next best thing.

 

So here’s my eight for this week…

 

mistletoe promise

“Mayday, mayday, mayday. This is the Northern Star. Rogue wave hit disabling the vessel. Engine room taking on water. Sinking fast. All eight are abandoning ship into life rafts. We’ve lost all power. Last known position nearly thirty nautical miles east of St. Matthew. Repeat. Mayday, mayday, mayday. Northern Star is taking on water. Entire crew is heading for life rafts. All in survival suits.”

Her stomach clenched. She knew the wives of five of the fisherman on that boat. Two of them worked with her at the hospital. As one of the few registered nurses on the island, Jolene knew all the local families. Any kind of emergency brought them all together and it looked like today was going to be a doozy. Better get rolling. No point in trying to go back to sleep. Might as well head in and start my shift early.

She tossed the covers back and slowly slid her swollen feet into her fuzzy slippers. There was no way she’d walk barefooted over the freezing hard wood floors this time of year. Although at eight and a half months pregnant, the cold often felt good when they were as swollen as they were at the moment. She stopped her shuffle to the bathroom and slipped her right foot out of the slipper and onto the floor. The chill radiated up from the floor, taking her breath away, and that was before her sole even made contact. She shoved her foot back into the warm slipper and continued on with her morning routine.

The hot water of the shower worked out all the kinks in her back as she ran the washcloth over her ever-expanding belly. “Well, little one. Your daddy is heading out on another day to save lives. Don’t you worry, though. He’ll be here for our kiss under the mistletoe. This same time next year, you’ll be joining us there, but this time you’ll just have to settle for kicking him through my belly.”

In response, she watched as a little foot made its way across her stretched skin and gave her another kick. She smiled as tears rolled down her cheeks. These were the things Steve missed out on when he was underway. It’d taken them nearly ten years to finally get pregnant, and now she had to experience all the little things alone. Keeping a detailed baby journal helped her husband stay in the loop as did their Skype calls, but somehow it wasn’t the same.

Six other times she’d managed to conceive, only to have their excitement dashed a few months later with miscarriages. This pregnancy was the only one nearly to term and so far everything had gone without a hitch—for the baby that is. Jolene suffered from debilitating morning sickness for her entire first trimester leaving her on bed rest for most of it. Two weeks ago her doctor dropped another bomb. She had gestational diabetes. It wasn’t unexpected, but just one more thing to add to the list of issues she had to go through alone.

As the steamy water continued to work on her muscles, she remembered the weekend they conceived their baby. Steve surprised her in the middle of her shift at the hospital with a dozen pale purple roses. He had won the lottery in his unit and gotten an extra two days of liberty. Lucky for her, the other nurses had been more than willing to cover the remainder of her shift.

As soon as they’d made it through the door of their condo, he had tossed her over his shoulder and bolted toward the bedroom. “I’m going to taste every inch of your body until you beg for mercy.”

 

* * * *

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe Blurb

Meet Me Under the MistletoeWhen Steve Sanders became a US Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer nearly twenty years ago, he knew he’d have to put his life on the line with each mission. Unfortunately, only three days before Christmas, Steve has to come face to face with the real possibility he’d break his promise to his wife and not return back to her and their unborn child.

Jolene Sanders is nearing the end of a difficult pregnancy and looking forward to finally spending their wedding anniversary with her husband. However, her holiday spirits are shattered when a distress call from a sinking fishing vessel calls the Coast Guard into action and puts her husband’s life on the line once again.

Left behind in a life raft during the rescue, Steve’s fate is now at the mercy of the wicked Bering Sea. Will this truly be his last mission, or will a miracle bring him back to meet his wife under the mistletoe?

Available only from Amazon (ebook and print)

Universal Link:  getBook.at/Mistletoe

So there you have it! I hope you had a great time here at this stop. Click on the photo below to go to the list to find your next stop!

Happy Reading!

~Tammy

Muses Hop Next Stop graphic

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

What to Do with Extra Military Leave for #ScintillatingSunday #RomanticSuspense

Mile High Muses Graphic for Sundays

 

Yay! I made it back again this week. It was touch and go there for a day or two as my “Evil Day Job” took over and sidelined me from quite a few things on my author to do list. No worries! I’m here and ready to share another eight paragraphs from my new special release Meet Me Under the Mistletoe. 

In cause you’re new to Scintillating Sunday Showcase, let me bring you up to speed. This is a weekly blog hop for erotic romance and romance authors of all heat levels. It’s hosted my the Mile High Muses and they’ve asked all participants to share EIGHT words, sentences, or paragraphs of one of our stories we feel is scintillating. The definition varies and that’s why you’ll see a variety of different posts each week. It’s also a great way to learn about authors new to you, or get sneak peeks at the works in progress of the authors you’re already following.

Okay enough of the yammering. Here’s my eight…

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe“Open your eyes, Jo. I need you to look at me.”

She did as he asked. Her hazel eyes positively glowed in the dim light of the room. Her pupils dilated even further and pulled him in.

This moment he craved every second they’ve been apart from each other. The connection between them deepened beyond physical at that instant and he finally allowed himself to let go completely. His orgasm slammed through his body as he exploded deep inside her. Even though his knees nearly buckled from the intensity of it, he kept pumping into her, filling her with his seed.

He rested his forehead against hers as their breathing slowed and the hot water rained down upon their flushed bodies. “God, I missed you.”

She brushed her hair off her forehead as he placed her down on her feet. She settled her back against his chest, her head under his chin. “I can tell.”

He kissed her forehead and reached for the shampoo. He loved to wash her hair while she clung to his body after sex. Caring for her like this made him feel just a little less guilty for leaving her alone for a month or more at a time.

She reached around and rested both her hands on his thighs as he lathered her hair. “You sure know how to treat a gal. I may just have to marry you one day.”

He chuckled. “You say that every time I come home on leave. Am I away so long you forget we’re already married?”

****

I hope that’s enough to spark your interest in this one. Sassy Vixen Publishing has released it exclusively on Amazon for the next three months only. Next month I’ll have special signed print copies to hand out to readers at the Emerald City Writer’s Convention in Bellevue, WA. I can’t wait to find out what you all think of Jolene and Steve’s love story!

Mistletoe meme

Now for the hopping part! Since I have the WordPress version that doesn’t allow java, I had to come up with a way for you all to find the list of the participants. All you have to do is click on the following graphic and it will take you to the list. Easy peasy! Go on and click away and have fun!

Muses Hop Next Stop graphic

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

You Were Warned But Read It Anyway. Why? #MyWANA #amwriting

Parental Advisory Label

 

When you see the notice about explicit content, do you gravitate toward it, run screaming from the room, or scroll on by when surfing the web? As an author of explicit books written for adult eyes only, I’m required to warn readers about the content of my blogs and my books. This gives them the choice to stick around or bolt for the hills if they don’t wish to be offended by something they may see in my posts or books. Even with the warning, there are still people out there who will click through and then complain about the content. I don’t get it. They have made the conscious decision to enter after the warning, proceed full speed ahead and then cry foul when they read something that offends them.

The same can be said for television and movies but I want to focus on books. I’m an author who writes under five pen names and I run my own publishing house…okay, it’s a small cottage but one day we will be larger! Back to the reason for today’s post…

I’m curious. Why would a reader pick an erotica or erotic romance book to read if they already know it’s not their cup of tea? I understand the curiosity of some, and the desire to try something new for others. Those are not the readers I’m referring to here. Why choose to read a book in a genre you don’t like, detest, or find gross when you know it will offend you?

shutterstock_114601687Far too often I see reviews posted for erotica and erotic romances with “No Way” as the review and a one star. Some complain the book is all sex and no plot. Others are repulsed by the explicit language. Hell, even my mother asked me why I had to describe every little detail in the love scenes. Explaining to her that’s what is EXPECTED in erotica and erotic romance was easier than explaining it to some readers who have been reading books labeled as erotic and explicit when they’re not. Yes they’re steamy, but the play by play details are not there. When the genres are misrepresented to readers by authors and publishers, it makes it very difficult for those of us who do write explicit scenes and don’t use purple prose to showcase our work.

The complaints stating the stories are unrealistic or too over the top to be believable are also an enigma for me. These tales are SUPPOSED TO BE over the top. They’re FANTASIES. Whether they’re of the sweet variety or the melt your thong, down and dirty “fuckfests”, each and every one of them are fictionalized fantasies from the mind of the author. Just because you’ve never experienced any of it yourself doesn’t mean it could never possibly happen.

For the Love of Quinn
In Print and Ebook Formats

 

Before you think something is too over the top to believe, turn on the television and watch the news or scroll through the feeds on social media where over the top is the norm. In my first novel, For the Love of Quinn (Now and Forever 1) I introduced a group of characters who are all close to each other and are there through all the good and bad times. For a few readers, this was over the top and would never happen in real life. She felt there was no way so many people would be involved in the the lives of a couple or work together to bring a couple together.

Released November 2012
Released November 2012 in print and ebook

Hate to break it to that reviewer and anyone else with similar questions but Quinn’s story is my story. I lived most of what was portrayed in those pages. Yes, some of it was dramatized and names were most definitely changed to protect everyone’s privacy. Some characters were combinations of real people…they know who they are and got a kick out of the book. Jacob Hartley is a combination of three men and Steve Eischer is one of those with a name change. While the real “Steve” didn’t own all of Vegas or have more money than God, he was (and still is) very well off and enjoys giving his friends a chance to fulfill all their wildest dreams.

 

The villains in the story were based on two real life people as well. Iris and Jackson of course aren’t their real names but they are based on real people and their actions I witnessed first hand. I gave Jackson and his family many of the same habits and mannerisms of my ex and his family. To me, that’s what made those characters believable. I guess in this case, being true to life is too over the top for some readers. I get that. Really I do. I mean, who would want to think this sort of crazy mixed up group of people could actually be real?

 

Released December 29, 2013
Released December 29, 2013 print and ebook

I got the same sort of flack about Julia. One of my editors wanted her to be redeemed earlier on in the story. That doesn’t happen in real life, but in the world of romance you want the story to move along so redemption should take place earlier in order to get readers to root for the heroine. Obviously I didn’t agree. I wanted the readers to see Julia in all her nastiness and then see why she was the way she portrayed herself to those in her life. How many times do you see the bitch turn around and earn a happily ever after right off the bat? Usually those witches continue to get what they want no matter who they hurt in the process. In Julia’s story, she came face to face with the consequences of her actions and had to fight to find her way to her HEA. It wasn’t in the first third of her story, but over twenty years later. She is the woman we all love to hate—until she bares her shattered heart and soul.

 

200 by 300 Bound in Paradise
Available now in ebook on all retailers

Are my stories over the top? Damn straight. Are they too over the top to be believable? I don’t think so. If I was still stuck in an emotionally abusive and loveless marriage I might have a different outlook. I lived through all the badness and made it through to my happily ever after. I want my characters to be able to do the same.

What’s so over the top or unbelievable about that?

Go on. Read my books and decide for yourself. Let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you!

 

~Tammy

 

Curse of the #FirstBornCain is Now Available! #paranormal

Released July 12, 2015
Released July 12, 2015

I’ve gone and done it again! I told you I was going to release the first book of The Kayne Legacy Series on it’s own, separate from the Season of Sun and Sin collection…

And here it is!

The cover is something different than you’re used to seeing from Sassy Vixen Publishing for my books but we wanted to make this series different from the erotic romances and erotica I usually write.

Yes this book has some hot sex scenes but the story as a whole isn’t a romance. This is Cain’s journey to save mankind from destruction at the hands of his brother Malachi. It’s the start of the entire legacy all of the Kayne family must accept or turn their back on forever.

For those of you who have read my vampire inspired poetry book Courtship of the Vampyre, you already know the basic outline of the series and have been introduced to a few of the main characters. There is so much more coming your way! You need to grab this one and immerse yourself in this heartbreaking tale of Cain’s early years.

And here you all thought you knew his story. Think again!

Blurb

In the first book of the Kayne Legacy series, we meet reporter Abigail Matthews after she is awarded the interview of a lifetime. She’d been granted no holds barred access to everyone associated with one of the most powerful foundations in the world, including the current CEO Michael Kayne.  Sparks fly between them the moment they meet but nothing compared to the jolt she receives when she comes face to face with Michael’s grandfather—the biblical legend Cain.

In hopes she’d accept her destiny as his grandson’s chosen mate, Cain opens up and shares his heartbreaking tale— everything from the tragic fight with his brother Abel to his journey to find Lilith and make her his wife. Together they were to create a family of immortals sworn to protect the Essence of the Tree of Life from the one hell bent on destroying it.

Excerpt

Thousands of Years Ago, Somewhere in the Middle East

 Cain secured the last stone into place and stood back to survey his work. He stretched his legs and rubbed the kink out of his lower back as he circled the altar. He’d spend hours in his gardens and the surrounding forests in search of the perfect pieces for his offering to The Three. Each stone, piece of wood and plant held special meaning to him and as such had to be included.

In addition to the first fruits of his garden, he’d included the largest of the fish he’d caught in his nets that morning as well as six of the freshest eggs from the nests of the waterfowl inhabiting the nearby marsh. He’d asked the animals permission as he’d gathered and thanked them for blessing him with a beautiful bounty to share with the gods.

The serenity he’d enjoyed on his venture came to an abrupt end as his brother made his presence known.

“Those won’t appeal to them you know. They want a blood sacrifice and they’ll accept no less. You should know that by now.”

Cain rolled his eyes and sighed. Why can’t he mind his own affairs and leave me to worship in peace?

 “It’s none of your concern, brother. How I present my gifts to Them is no reflection on you or how you choose to worship.”

Abel snorted. “Do you really think your paltry offering will help you win Jezebel’s heart and hand once more? The decision has been made. I’ll make her my mate before the next full moon.”

“I won’t argue with you about this anymore. Father feels you would be the better match for our sister. I have no choice but to accept it and move on. Jezebel has made it clear she’ll not go against the wishes of our parents either. You’ve won, yet again.”

Cain reached for his gathering bag and attempted to walk away rather than continue their fight one more day. Unfortunately, Abel had no intention of leaving.

“I’m not through with you yet. Jezebel has asked to wear a jade pendant during our ceremony. She mentioned you found one large enough for me to carve into the shape she desires.”

Cain glared. “No. It’s part of my offering. I have others for you to choose from to use for her necklace. This one belongs to the Goddess Fate.”

“What does it matter? They’ll not accept your offering whether the stone is included in it or not. Why should it go to waste when I can make better use of it?”

Cain stood his ground. “I’m the elder brother and you’ll show respect to me in front of The Three. I’ll not allow you to treat me this way, not today.”

Abel’s laughter cut Cain deeper than any sharp rock. “What makes today different from any other? You may’ve been born before me, but you mean nothing to our parents. In fact, it would be much easier on all of us if you would never have been born.”

He leaned against a nearby tree and sneered. “Why do you think no one remembered today would be special to you? If they cared at all, we would have dedicated the entire day to celebrate the moment you were born. Instead, our family chose to forget and live their lives as if you never existed.”

Cain’s stomach clenched. “Leave me, before we both say and do things we’ll regret later.”

“You have something I want and I’ll not leave until I have it. You can give it to me freely or I’ll take it from you like I’ve taken everything you’ve held dear. Good thing father came to his senses. I’d hate to see what kind of life you would be able to provide for our beautiful sister.”

“I would’ve cared for her and our children until the day I died. They would’ve wanted for nothing.”

Abel doubled over with laughter that echoed throughout the forest. “With you they would have nothing. Why on earth would she ever want to marry a man the gods themselves have ignored?”

“You interrupted me before I finished my preparations. My offering isn’t complete—”

“Oh, so now you must give your heartfelt plea for Them to accept your shortcomings as one of Their creations? You insult the gods and bring shame to our family.”

“Shame? I’ve done nothing to you to warrant your insolent behavior toward me. Leave me if you’re so shamed by my mere existence.”

“Not until I have that jade.”

As Abel took another step toward him, Cain snatched the gemstone from the altar and stuffed it into his gathering bag. “You’re still welcome to any of the other stones I’ve gathered but this one is spoken for and not to be touched.”

Abel grabbed the bag and yanked. “Give it to me now!”

Cain leaned back with all of his weight and held fast. The handle of the bag slid out of Abel’s grasp and burned his palms.

“You would mark me so before my wedding?” He stared at his bloodied hands in disbelief.

“You brought this upon yourself. If you would’ve left me alone as I’d asked, this wouldn’t have happened. When will you learn you can’t force people to bend to your will? Your cruelty will catch up to you in time and your life will be as black as your heart.”

Abel didn’t appear to hear one word Cain had said. “When father sees what you’ve done to me—“

“Go ahead. Make up another wild tale about how I’ve mistreated you. What does it matter now? As you’ve pointed out, you have everything that had been promised to me. All I ask now is to be left alone.” Once again Cain attempted to walk away.

Abel latched onto both of Cain’s upper arms and dug his fingers into the skin and muscle. “You’re not going anywhere until you pay for this.”

Cain narrowed his eyes. His body temperature rose and his cheeks burned. No more of this. I’ve had it with his antics. He planted both palms against Abel’s chest and pushed with all his strength. “Leave. Me. Alone!”

Abel’s eyes flew open and he appeared stunned by Cain’s sudden outburst. He frantically swung his arms around in an attempt to regain his balance, but to no avail. He toppled backward and crashed into the wood and stone altar.

An unmistakable pop sounded as his head connected with the corner stone. Blood pooled and then covered the surface.

Cain rushed to his brother’s now still body and lifted him into his arms. The back of Abel’s head gave way at his touch. His life force continued to flow from the gash and covered Cain’s hands and chest as rocked back and forth. “What have I done? Abel! Wake up. Please, wake up.”

Abel’s eyes glazed over as his spirit left his body.

Cain stood and ran through the forest to Abel’s altar. He placed his brother’s body on the center and then raised his bloodied hands to heaven. “Please. I beg of you. Bring him back. Take me instead.”

Screams and wails erupted behind him and brought him out of his own grief. He spun around to find his mother, sisters and brother Malachi with their eyes wide with shock. Eve dropped to the ground in a heap at the base of the altar. “My son! My beautiful boy!”

Malachi stepped forward, removed Abel’s lifeless body for the stone slab and placed it on the ground. “What have you done, brother? How could you do this?”

Cain shook his head. “He fell against my altar—“

“You mean you killed him upon your altar!”

“No…”

“You wanted him gone so you could have Jezebel’s hand again.”

“No!” Why will he not believe me?

Cain knelt beside Eve. “Mother? Please hear me.”

She turned from him and ignored his plea. She raised her hands to the sky. “Why have you allowed this to happen to your favored son? His innocent blood cries out for justice…”

The women cried louder as their mother collapsed over Abel’s body and became inconsolable.

Cain’s other brothers arrived and shouted at him. They, too, demanded he be brought to justice. Malachi’s voice rang out over all the others. As they circled him, intending to do him harm, the sky rumbled and then exploded with flashes of lightening.

There in front of them stood Lucius in his black flowing robes. His amber colored eyes blazed with the intensity of the sun. He lifted his staff and shield to protect Cain. “Step away from your brother. No one is to lay another hand on him.”

“But he killed Abel. Surely you’ve heard our mother’s cries for justice. Let us punish him for this heinous crime against our family and The Three.”

Lucius raised one dark eyebrow and he clenched his jaw. “Not one of you here are without sin. Why would We allow any of you to speak for Us?

Malachi stepped forward. He alone appeared unafraid of the god. “He took Abel’s life in anger.”

“And how do you know this?” Lucius tilted his head and waited for an answer.

“He said as much when we found him here with Abel’s body.”

“Really? That’s not what We saw take place. Do not dare to speak of something you didn’t witness with your own eyes. Abel is as much to blame as Cain—if not more.”

Eve shrieked. “Abel! Abel! Bring back my son.”

Lucius turned toward the copse of trees behind the altar. “Adam, stop hiding and remove your mate from my presence. It’s time you grieve for your sons together for you are also at fault here for allowing this behavior to continue. Go now. Prepare him for burial. The rest of you will stay.”

“Why do you punish them? They’ve done nothing to deserve this.” Malachi appeared to shake in anger.

“That’s right. They’ve done nothing to stop Abel from putting himself before all of you and your needs. Their inability to rein him in and teach him humility led to this sad day.”

“Then they’ve paid the ultimate price with the loss of his life. Now Cain should have to do the same.” Malachi lunged but was met in midair by a protective force field and his body slammed to the ground.

“Once again your true self emerges, Malachi. You’re no different than Abel with your defiance. Do not test my patience any further or you’ll pay the consequences. Fate won’t intervene on your behalf. My decision here today will be final. Yeshua has granted me full authority to do as I see fit.”

Seth helped Malachi to his feet and then turned toward the god with his head lowered in deference. “Please, Lucius. Tell us why you’ve allowed this to happen? Abel was the best of us. Now we are lost.”

Jezebel fell to her knees before Cain and clutched at his chest. “If you’ve ever loved me, kill me now so I may join my betrothed.”

Cain’s heart shattered. Even Jezebel believes I did this on purpose. “I could never do what you ask of me.”

Jezebel collapsed against his chest and sobbed.

Cain tried to hold her but Malachi ripped her from his arms. “You can’t harm her but you could smash Abel’s head against the corner of your altar?”

“I didn’t do it.”

“You lie! Go ahead and compound your crime before the gods. You’ll not get away with this.”

Lightening flashed across the sky and the earth shook. “You will say no more, Malachi. The decision has already been made.”

“If it doesn’t include wiping Cain off the face of the earth, then I’ll not listen to another word from you.”

Cain closed his eyes and braced himself for what he was sure would be the last time he would hear Malachi’s voice ever again.

BUY LINKS (updates to follow when each goes live)

All Romance/Omnilit

Kobo

Page Foundary/Intera

Smashwords

Amazon

Barnes and Noble…coming soon

iTunes

Oyster

I hope you enjoy the book! Let me know what you think of it and if you like where this series is headed. Don’t know yet? Grab the poetry book as a companion to the series. It will be your guide to all things Cain, Lilith and their descendants.

~Tammy

#BoundinParadise Is Now Available on All Romance #LesbianErotica

Bound In ParadiseWelcome to Behind Closed Doors! I’m excited to announce Sassy Vixen Publishing LLC has released Bound in Paradise as a stand alone companion to my Now and Forever series. Actually, it can be considered a prequel for The Surrender of Julia (Now and Forever 3). As you all know, the main heroine of these two books is still my favorite character I’ve written to date. She started out as one hell of a bitch and then she told me her story. I went from wanting to choke the life out of her to cheering her on through her trial by fire and ultimate redemption. She found her happily ever after with the woman of her dreams. My publisher and I thought it was a great time to release Bound now in light of the US Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality. I wrote about it for Julia and now thousands of couples can experience the joy she did.

If you compare the covers of the books concerning Julia, you’ll notice a little tie in. That was deliberate. I wanted to include the handcuff concept, but give it my own twist. I hope you like it and the story.

Right now you can get your copy from All Romance in any electronic format you need for your ebook readers. If you wish to have it in print, it is available in the print version of Season of Sun and Sin. I haven’t decided whether or not Bound will be in print yet. We’ll have to wait and see!

BLURB

Up and coming L.A. artist Julia Santos had searched for a Domme strong enough and confident enough in their relationship to allow her to be wild and free while trusting her to give over complete control to them in private. Unfortunately very few meet up with her expectations.

Except one.

Carmen Hall had longed for a partner who would be more than her pet, one who would challenge her skills as Mistress and yet offer themselves to her—heart and soul. She’d all but given up until she laid eyes on the fiery Julia.

Join Julia as she remembers her early days with Carmen and a love that spanned over two decades and would know no bounds.

EXCERPT

Surrounded by adoring men and a few women, Julia did her best to listen to and answer the questions posed to her. Unfortunately, every single one of them bored her—until her eyes found the blonde bombshell admiring the submissive painting on display on the other side of the room.

 Would she be the one to see my plea in the piece? Her heart beat faster and her cheeks warmed. The painting had been her way of advertising she needed a dominant who had the ability to bring her full submission out on display. The calm serenity the model had nearly brought Julia to her knees during their first photo session. The scene had been her deepest desire and so far no lover or Master had been able to bring this out of her.

“Jules? Can I get you something from the bar?”

She snapped her head and eyes toward the voice that had addressed her. God, I hate to be called Jules. This man has now moved from interesting to `not in your lifetime, bucko’ category. She waited a beat and raised her scotch on the rocks. “No, thank you. I’m still working on this one.”

“We were discussing hard limits a moment ago. Do you have any or is there anything you have a difficult time performing?” He licked his lips and continued to undress her with his eyes.

She smiled. She knew exactly what he wanted to know. She’d heard the stories of his self-proclaimed monster sized cock and how much he demanded his subs suck him off—without reciprocation. Rita had warned her to keep her guard up around the man known as Viktor. No last name. Apparently he fancied himself famous enough to be known only by his first name. “Honestly, I don’t enjoy blow jobs. It’s not my thing.”

The hairy beast of a man shrugged. “Too bad. With lips and a tongue like yours, I’m sure you would bring me to my knees in a heartbeat.”

You have no idea, Big Boy.

In a flash, the man before her turned into her mother, encouraging her as she sucked her stepfather’s limp dick. “Swirl your tongue around the tip before you take the whole thing in, Jules. Tease him so he gets hard. Men want a woman who can bring them to their knees with their mouth and tongue. Now keep going like I told you…”

Julia blinked several times to clear her mother’s image from her mind. “So I’ve been told. It’s as you say, a hard limit for me. I won’t do them anymore. Ever.”

He tilted his head to the side and appeared to want to ask her more about it, but changed his mind. “A pity. I think you and I could’ve had an amazing experience together tonight. Blow jobs are a big part of my sessions. I desire a slave who’ll go at a cock as if her life depended on it.”

She tugged the end of the necklace from between her breasts and twisted it between her thumb and forefinger. At one time mine did, asshole. That’s why I don’t do them now. She swallowed the retort and smiled again. “I’m sure there are a few of those here tonight—“

“None with your exotic looks and fire. If you ever change your mind…”

“Excuse me, gentlemen. I’d like to steal Julia away for a bit. There’s someone here I promised to introduce her to as soon as they arrived.” Jarrod waited for the others to scatter and then sat down next to her. His companion sat directly opposite from them. Jarrod took her hand, brought it to his lips, and then smiled.

She squeezed his fingers in return and nearly burst into tears. His timing couldn’t have been any better even if she whistled for him to come running. “Thank you for rescuing me. Things had crossed from pleasant to intense.”

Jarrod explained their sudden appearance, but Julia didn’t hear anything he said except the name of his friend. She immediately picked up on their chemistry. They were a couple once—but could Jarrod have actually been Carmen’s sub? I haven’t run into anyone who is more comfortable in his role as Dom than he is. I wonder how he was as a sub?

Carmen moved to sit next to her.

She held her breath and turned her body so they could once again be face to face. The blonde woman’s beauty captivated her. The wild mass of curly hair framed her face perfectly. Her natural womanly curves enticed Julia to the point of complete distraction. Her mind continued to conjure up images of Carmen naked and posing for a painting. The light touch of her skin against her knee sent a jolt of electricity through Julia’s body and brought her out of her fantasy.

She noticed the subtle hitch in Carmen’s breathing and the dilation of her ice blue eyes. She feels it, too!

Julia licked her lips and leaned as far forward as she dared without actually kissing Carmen outright. “I hope you don’t think me too brass, but I haven’t been able to take my eyes off you since you entered the room. I kept sneaking glances while you stood in front of the painting. I’d hoped you would like the piece enough to want to talk to me about it. Now here you are and I don’t know what to do with myself.”

“I think you know exactly what you’re doing and I like it—a lot. Your painting is exquisite. I lost myself in it. It takes great talent to be able to pull that off. Tell me, have you experienced that kind of submission you brought to life in your art?”

She loves my work! Now to find out if she’s interested in taking me on as I am and not expect a meek wallflower. “Yes and no. I’ve come close, but have never quite achieved the bliss. I’ve seen it in others and that’s probably why I’m able to translate that into the artwork, but imagine how much more I could bring to the canvas if I actually experienced it firsthand.”

Carmen sat back and appeared to mull over Julia’s not so veiled invitation. “You’ve not been able to let go and completely trust your dominant before?”

Here’s my chance. Best to be honest, but I don’t want to throw myself at her feet either. She shook her head. “Don’t get me wrong. I never felt as if I wasn’t safe in their hands, but so far I haven’t found that deeper connection, you know?”

Carmen smiled and nodded.

She relaxed. She no longer had the urge to continue to try to impress Carmen. Instead, the desire to get to know her on a more personal level rivaled her obvious sexual attraction. This was exactly what she’s been looking for—not only kindred spirit but someone who could bring out the best in her. Not to say having Carmen as her Mistress wouldn’t make her happy too, but Julia needed more. “Do you prefer men or women as your pets?”

“I adore both. I don’t choose them based on their sexual orientation. If I feel a connection to them, I act on it and see where it goes.”

She smiled and brushed a stray curl from her cheek. “What about now? Do you feel something between us that you can work with?”

“Yes. I’d like it if we spent some time together away from the playrooms and toys to see if there’s more than the obvious sexual attraction between us. So far I’m very intrigued by you.”

“I’d like that. You fascinate me as well.”

Julia shut out everyone and everything around her except for Carmen. Their conversation came easily between them as if they’d known each other for years. She found great comfort simply being in her presence. She’d felt a similar connection with the Mitchells, but the pull between her and Carmen continued to grow as they talked.

Jarrod returned with the champagne and popped the cork with a flourish. He filled their glasses and managed to not spill a drop. He laughed at their surprised expressions. “Sorry. I couldn’t help myself. By the looks of things, the two of you have hit it off as I predicted. Time to celebrate and toast to those new beginnings.”

She reached for the glass Carmen handed to her. Their fingertips briefly touched and her thighs clenched. She’s the one. She’s accepted the challenge. Let the games begin!

Well, there you have it! If you read this and have some time, please leave a review on your favorite retail site. The other vendors should be live within the next few days. I’ll add the links here as soon as I have them. Thank you all for coming along on this journey with me!

~Tammy

UPDATE

I now have additional links for the book. I’ll keep adding them as they go live. Unfortunately, Oyster has decided not to stock it because it’s erotica. That’s not a problem at all but if they’d check their records, they would see they are stocking Season of Sun and Sin which contains this story. LOL! No worries!

Here are the links for Bound in Paradise 

All Romance/Omnilit

Kobo

Page Foundary/Inktera

Smashwords

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

@dochappycamper joins #ScintillatingSunday with Curse of the First Born Cain #Erotica

Mile High Muses Graphic for Sundays

Welcome to Behind Closed Doors! This week I’m participating in Scintillating Sunday Showcase. It’s a weekly blog hop hosted by my friends at Mile High Muses. By definition, “scintillating” means brilliantly lively, stimulating, or witty. It also means interesting. So this hop can and does showcase a variety of heat levels to appeal to everyone. I’m excited to be a part of it!

This week, I’d like to share a part of a scene from the beginning of Curse of the First Born Cain (Kayne Legacy 1). To set this up, Abigail and Michael had been talking about his family and their connection to each other when his grandfather came in. Adam Kayne is in fact the biblical Cain. The shock of meeting him face to face caused Abigail to faint. After she recovers, she has many questions for the Kayne family patriarch. Adam doesn’t make it easy for her with his jokes about immortality.

Curse of the First Born Cain promo“Grandpa!” Michael was mortified by Adam’s continued teasing. I wish he wouldn’t treat this so lightly. When will he learn not everyone can handle our family secrets? He put his hand over hers and experienced the electrical shock again.

Adam raised one eyebrow and pointed his finger in their direction. “Don’t either one of you try to tell me you didn’t feel that spark between you. I can feel the energy over here and I’m not touching you. What you’re experiencing is the formation of your bond. The two of you are fated to be together. We knew you were special the moment you were born but had no idea you were one of The Chosen.”

“Chosen? Chosen to do what exactly and who’s we?” She laced her fingers through Michael’s and gripped his hand as if she held on for dear life.

“Chosen to be one of the Guardians of the Essence of the Tree of Life. You see, that’s the reason I’m here in front of you. I was the very first Guardian. Through my veins courses blood made immortal because The Three decided the Tree of Life needed to be protected from those unworthy until the time they earned the birthright once again. Lilith and I have kept tabs on you as you’ve grown into the remarkable creature sitting across from me today. We had to be sure you were safe and your Fae ancestry kept under wraps until you were ready to accept your destiny as one of the protectors of the Essence.”

“I don’t understand. There are both protectors and Guardians for the Essence?”

Adam nodded. “We’ll get to all those pesky details in due time. Why don’t we start with the question that’s on the tip of your tongue now?”

“How can someone who killed their brother in cold blood be worthy of this blessing?”

He uncrossed his legs, leaned forward, and rested his elbows on his knees. “Your guess is as good as mine.”

Want to read more? You can! For a limited time, the first book of the Kayne series is a part of the anthology Season of Sun and Sin. It’s available on all outlets and will be out in print soon.

Don’t forget to check out the other participants of this week’s hop! You’ll find some fabulous reads from all of them.

Click here to  view this Linky Tools list for Scintillating Sundays Showcase Participants

Updates on New Projects and Old Faves

It’s been far too long since I’ve been in to give you any update on what’s been going on in my world. Sorry about that. I have managed to get the newsletter updated (see side bar to sign up for that) and continue to put it out at least every other month. I’ve been working over fifty hours a week as a relief veterinarian all over the Seattle area and I’m wiped out. Most days I don’t know whether I’m coming or going and yet I still manage to write a scene or two a day. Of course they’re not all with one project but all over the place between all four of my pen names. That’s the way my brain works. If I try to force it to sit still with one story, it freezes up and I end up with nothing. For now, this is my process and I thank all of you for hanging in there with me.

Carmen and Julia
Carmen and Julia

I’ve had some great feedback from readers about the fate of the stories published in the two anthologies. They want each released on their own and expanded. Their voices are quite clear on the matter too. They want to see Bound in Paradise as a companion to The Surrender of Julia and out of the anthology. It’s on the way!

They want Curse of the First Born Kayne out as a the first book of the Kayne Legacy series and out of the anthology. It’s coming!

They want more of the love story of Jolene and Steve Sanders from Meet Me Under the Mistletoe. They get their wish in Safe Harbor. Coming at the end of the year (or sooner!)

All the other stories in the anthologies will be released as either stand alones, part of a new series, or as one full length long novel.

 

 

cute black cat over keyboard isolated
Sirius Black writing his next post

 

Besides breaking up the anthologies and expanding the tales, there are two secret projects underway as well as a new blog for my crazy cats Sirius Black and Gandalf the Gray. They’re out to conquer the world. You should check them out. They’re sharing their secrets for world domination. You’ll see these activities in your own furbabies and know we’re all doomed to be their minions. LOL! Tail of Two Brothers: Purrrsuit of World Domination is up and running now and could use some more followers. Stop in and say hello.

This summer is flying by faster than I’d anticipated and time is getting away from me. I wish I had a few clones to help me get all I need to get done. So many stories to tell and not enough time in the day to get them down on paper. The world of an author ever evolving. Our job is to describe it all in great detail and file it away for future use. If we’re lucky, those files come together and fit beautifully. If not, they’ll wait their turn even if it takes months or years to see the light of day.

Don’t you wish everything was that way?

Thank you for coming along on this crazy journey with me. I couldn’t do it without you cheering me on when I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I need those voices now. I can see a glimmer, but not a clear path.

 

~Tammy

 

Let @MtnMoxieGirl Amber Lea Easton Transport You into A World of #Romantic Adventure with #Proximity

Friday Fantasy Free For All

 

Welcome to Behind Closed Doors and Friday Fantasy Free For All. Today I have a special treat for you. My friend, editor extraordinaire and fellow author Amber Lea Easton has asked me to share in the celebration of her new release Proximity (Wanderlust II). The Wanderlust series started with Anonymity. Amber wrote it for fun—for herself and for readers. We loved it so much, we wanted more of the same. While some of the characters may make cameos in the other books in the series, each one stands alone and can be read out of order if you choose. Each one transports you on a brand new adventure with another couple as the battle the elements, natural disasters and the lust they feel for each other. It’s a MUST read series you don’t want to miss!

 

ProximityCoverFinalProximity

Book Two of the Wanderlust Series

Genre: Contemporary romance adventure

Author: Amber Lea Easton

Heat Level: Steamy

 

Blurb:

Love sometimes hides in plain sight.

Savannah is one of the boys—fun loving, adventurous, a general contractor, and dive master extraordinaire. There isn’t much she takes seriously about herself, or at least that’s the impression she likes to give off. Women often misjudge her based on her looks so she’s gravitated toward a group of men who accept her ‘as is’—her Scuba diving club.

Bill has known Savannah’s wild side for years and has been comfortable playing the role of best friend. As part of the Dallas Divers, he’s shared many adventures with the group from diving the Blue Hole in Belize to exploring the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. When the team heads out to Costa Rica for a series of cave dives, he knows something is off but can’t justify his nerves.

Catastrophe happens shortly after their immersion in the cave. With the entrance blocked from an earthquake and separated from the rest of their team, Savannah and Bill are forced to find another way out while battling aftershocks, rising tides, and an undeniable attraction that they’ve ignored for too long. The question becomes, what’s more dangerous…the earthquake or love?

**The Wanderlust Series consists of stand-alone adventure romance novels. Occasionally, characters from previous novels may make a cameo, but each story truly does stand on its own merits.

 

Excerpt:

 

She’d had a bad feeling about this trip before agreeing to go and should have gone with her gut. Instead, here she sat thousands of miles from home with friends who normally elevated her mood rather than sunk it.

She had just opened the door to her private balcony facing the canopy of the jungle when a hammering of knocks fell against the front door. Sighing, she ignored them, needing time to regroup.

Focus on the dive. That’s why you’re here. Look at that monkey staring at you. She squinted at the howler monkey perched in an adjacent tree. Gee, I hope he doesn’t throw shit at me.

“You didn’t lock the door. That’s probably not safe.” Bill stood behind her.

“You’re certainly brining the drama on this trip.” She sipped her Mai Tai and waited while he adjusted his long frame into the chair next to hers. “Emily told me that Lexi had an issue with our lunches and talks. I know you said that you didn’t care what people said—and you know I don’t—but it must be eating you up to leave the group. I’ll quit, if that’s what this is. You stay with them. Pretty soon the other guys will have similar issues with me, I’m sure. You’re all too damn polite to say anything.”

“Savannah—”

“Don’t lie to me.”

“Don’t be a martyr.”

She twisted in her chair to look him in the face. “We’ve been through snake bites, hurricanes, wicked currents, and years of shared secrets. Do. Not. Lie. To. Me.”

He gritted his jaw but didn’t look away. “Fine. I won’t. Yes, I’m leaving the group because of you.”

Well, damn, that hurts.

She felt like he’d slapped her. She’d been holding out hope that her insecurities were getting the best of her. She ripped her gaze from his and stared into her drink, absently poking the pineapple stalk into the alcohol before taking a big bite from it.

“I can’t do this anymore. It’s killing me,” he said.

“What is?” She couldn’t look at him. Sudden tears had blurred her vision.

“Choosing and never being chosen in return.”

“What are you choosing? We’re not playing a game of pick-up basketball. That’s what you sound like—a child who isn’t being picked for the right team.” She rubbed a stray tear with the back of her hand. “What does that mean—choosing and not being chosen?”

“Nothing, Savannah. It doesn’t mean anything.”

“Now you’re patronizing me.” Goddamn it, he was pushing her buttons like never before.

“I’d watch that monkey if I were you…he’s eyeballing your drink.”

“I can handle the monkey.” She slid him a gaze that she hoped melted him in place.

“You’re overreacting to my announcement.”

“Announcement? Stewart was right when he said you’re treating us like your employees. What happened between my house and here? What aren’t you telling me? Be straight, don’t give me some bullshit story you’ve obviously made up on the fly. What is killing you? Your word…killing. Me? How? We’re—”

“Stop it, Savannah. You’re making everything worse.” He stood and squeezed her shoulder. “Come back out with the guys. They’re all pissed at me for driving you away. Let’s hit restart on this adventure of ours and have a good night.”

She’d rally because that’s what she did—what she was known for, rallying and never breaking. Even after her fiancé had killed himself, she’d gone on with life and succeeded. She rallied. But right now she didn’t want to laugh this off and be one of the guys. She wanted to drink her Mai Tai, order room service, and spend the rest of her night staring at the jungle surrounding them. Alone.

“Go do that then. I’m not coming.”

“Savannah…this isn’t about hurting you. You and I—”

“—Are such good buddies that you can’t confide in me?” She met his gaze then, eyes devoid of tears, a skill she’d mastered over the years. “We talk every night. I thought we told each other everything, and here you have this resentment toward me—”

“—I don’t resent you at all, couldn’t, that’s not—”

“Then tell me the truth because I know you’re lying.”

He shoved his hands into the back pockets of his jeans and stared at her as if weighing the pros and cons of confession.

“So it’s true? You’re still lying?” She stood then and poked him in the chest with the remainder of the pineapple stalk. “We are dive partners! I trust you with my life and you trust me with yours every damn time we go down. What could you possibly want to hide from me?”

“If I tell you, I’ll lose you.” He clenched his jaw but didn’t break eye contact. “That’s what you do, Savannah. Yes, we know each other really well, which means I know what I can and can’t tell you.”

“What do you mean that’s what I do? Do what? You showed up at my house with Chinese take-out, all smiles and wanting to make plans to go to Denver for Alyssa and Luke’s wedding—then wham you’re suddenly moving to California.” She gestured wide with her hands, more confused than she’d ever been about anything in her life. “Did you get bit by some Costa Rican bug and it’s causing you to lose your fucking mind?”

Without hesitating, he grabbed the back of her head and ground his mouth against hers until they stumbled back against the chair and onto the railing of the balcony. The ferocity of his kiss weakened her knees and shocked her to the core.

She clenched at his shoulders for balance, conscious of leaning precariously against a bamboo railing thirty feet above the ground. Every inch of her trembled at the unexpected passion rolling from his lips and against hers.

But she liked the way he felt against her, enjoyed the way his fists pulled as he wrapped them tightly into her hair, liked the way he ground his mouth against hers until she kissed him back, thrilled at being thrown off balance and needing to cling to his strong shoulders to remain upright.

When she opened her mouth to deepen the kiss, he moaned his appreciation. The sound electrified her blood with a million tiny pinpricks of awareness that pulsated beneath her skin.

As suddenly as he’d kissed her, he let her go.

She sagged against the railing, hands searching for something to hold onto as she watched him walk away. Anger replaced desire in the blink of an eye.

She strode after him and caught him as he was stepping out the front door. “What the hell was that?”

He looked at her, his slow grin adding fuel to the fire burning in her gut. “If I need to tell you, then I guess I didn’t do it right.”

“Bill, I swear to God you’ve lost all sense,” she whispered.

“Maybe it’s the opposite.”

She frowned. “I don’t know what that means.”

“There’s the problem. Right there.” He grabbed her by the shoulders, kicked the door closed and ground his mouth against hers again. Reckless desire communicated itself through the ferocity of his kiss.

She pressed against him, overcome with need and confusion. She matched his passion with her own, no longer thinking about what was right or wrong. Every inch of her skin quivered with awareness.

They fell against the wall, tripped over a low table, and collapsed against the floor in a tangle of limbs. Body heat ignited from the inside out, making the short dress she wore feel constricting even as it rode up her thighs. She writhed against him, peeled his shirt up his back and sunk her fingernails into his skin.

He moved his mouth from hers and trailed kisses down her neck. The weight of him pressing her against the wooden floor combined with the heat of their bodies and the feel of his mouth on her skin while surrounded by wild sounds of the jungle overloaded her senses.

“Savannah, I’ve wanted this for so long,” he muttered against her shoulder.

His voice snapped her back to reality. She dropped her head back against the wood and closed her eyes. The pleasure of the moment conflicting with common sense.

“We can’t do this,” she said with a catch in her voice. “You’re Bill.”

“Glad you know who I am.” He rose up on the palm of his hands and stared into her eyes. “Why not? You’re the only woman I’ve ever thought of as a soul mate—look at how we are together. Friends, confidantes…why not lovers? Why not have it all?”

“Stop it. Soul mate? Where is this coming from?” She wiggled from beneath him and straightened her dress. Breaths came like tortured streaks of air ripping through up her throat. “This is because of your fight with Lexi, isn’t it? She said something about me, about us, and it has you all stirred up. I am not going to risk our friendship for a good fuck.”

“You want me as badly as I want you.” He jumped to his feet.

She couldn’t look at him with his hair a mess from her hands, handsome face dark with desire, and shirt half-up his hard chest without thinking of how good it had felt to have his body on top of hers. Her mind raced for an excuse that wouldn’t damage their relationship.

She needed his friendship more than she needed a lover.

“You’re Bill.

“We’ve got that covered! Why the hell do you keep saying that? What does my name signify to you? Is it that I’m your lap dog and nothing more? Have I been segregated into some weird place in your life where I am permanently in the friend-zone?”

Words failed her. She faced him and shrugged. The hurt in his eyes stabbed her in her heart.

“Bill, wait,” she said when he opened the door again. She grabbed his arm, not knowing what to say but terrified that a crack had formed in their relationship that would never heal. “I need to understand.”

“If I need to spell it out to you at this point, then maybe I’ve been wrong about us for a very long time.” He met her gaze. “That’s why I need to go. You confuse me. I want a life with a wife and kids and big family barbecues and all of that and I’m starting to think this…friendship we have…is standing in the way of the rest of my life. It’s you, always you in my head when I’m with anyone else.”

“You’re my best friend,” she whispered, fear making her voice quake. “That’s always been enough.”

“That’s what I thought, too.”

“Then what changed? We’re Savannah and Bill, we have fun, we’re each other’s go-to person…Why complicate it? Why can’t you have a wife and kids and everything you want with me as your best friend?”

“Is that what you want? Really?” He leaned close enough where the gold flecks in his hazel eyes were only an eyelash away. “Do you want to watch me marry someone else one day? Because I can honestly stand here and say that the idea of you being some other man’s bride tears my heart out.”

She cringed at the idea of being anyone’s bride. “Why are you doing this? Now? Here? Before a dangerous dive?”

“It came up, that’s all.”

“Like hell it did. You’re my partner and now you threw this—”

“Let it go, Savannah. Pretend I never came to your room.”  He twisted free of her grip and walked onto the suspended bridge.

Talk about a serious mind fuck.

Deciding to let him have his nervous breakdown on his own, she slammed the door closed and stomped toward the bed. Her dive buddies were her safe haven from the nutty men in the world—or at least they had been before Bill decided to go bonkers. She fell back onto the bed and blinked at the thatched ceiling. Absently, she touched her lips that still throbbed from his kiss.

Okay, so maybe she’d fantasized about him now and then. Perhaps she’d been guilty of comparing other men to Bill and finding them lacking. But crossing that line had never been an option for her. Couldn’t be.

Mae West had once said that a man’s kiss was his signature.

Savannah grinned against her fingertips. Now she knew what Ms. West had meant by that and had to agree. Damn, no man’s kiss had ever curled her toes and boiled her blood like that.

Too bad it could never happen again.

 

ProximityCoverFinal

 

Purchase Links:

Barnes and Noble: http://goo.gl/x4qmGC

Amazon: http://myBook.to/Proximity

All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-proximity-1795070-153.html

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/539624

WanderlustPromo

About the Author:

2015AuthorPic

Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of both nonfiction and fiction. Smart is sexy, according to Easton, which is why she writes strong female heroines           who encounter their fair share of challenges but ultimately persevere. In addition to being an author, Easton is also an editor, speaker, and mother of two                      exceptional young adults. Find out more about her books by visiting http://www.amberleaeaston.com

 

#MSS79: My Immortal Valentine #FirstBornCain

Welcome to My Sexy Saturday here at Behind Closed Doors and Happy Valentine’s Day! This week’s post to be dedicated to sexy lovers everywhere. For my contribution, I thought I’d share seven paragraphs/lines of dialogue from Curse of the First Born Cain. In this scene, Michael gets down to the real reason he chose Abigail as the one to interview him and his family for her magazine. Seems that the two of them are fated to be together—because of one person. Even though she’s reluctant to believe she’s been chosen as the bride of the most influential human on the planet, she finds she can’t keep her interest in the Kayne family a secret any longer.

final Reflection for Sun and Sin
Season of Sun and Sin on AMAZON

The jolt flew up Abigail’s spine once again. She realized there was no hiding anything from him, and she didn’t want to do it anyway. For some reason she couldn’t explain, she felt safe enough with him to address the most outlandish rumor about his family heritage. She willed herself to keep her voice calm and neutral. “Is it true? Are you all descendants of the biblical Cain?”

“I’ll do you one better. How’d you like to meet him?”

She rolled her eyes and sighed. Now she had her proof he was pulling her leg all along. “Stop! You can’t be serious. Cain’s alive, in the twenty-first century?”

“He is and right behind you.”

Abigail turned around and looked into another set of steely gray eyes.

The late middle-aged man before her smiled—Michael’s smile—and held her hands in both of his callused ones. There is no way in hell this man is Michael’s grandfather. He looks barely old enough to be his father.

“Abigail? Meet my grandfather, Adam. You may know him better as Cain, the First Born.”

Curse of the First Born Cain promo

Thank you for stopping by today! Make sure you check out the other authors participating this week.  Click on the “click here” link below to take you to the list, or you can click on the banner at the top of the post.

Have a wonderful day!

~Tammy

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Weeding Out the Clutter to Focus on Writing #IGotThis #MyWANA

einstein quote

Hello everyone!

I hope the first month of the new year is turning out to be a great one for you. It’s been one of reflection and re-evaluation for me. I know many folks come up with a list of resolutions and goals for the new year. That’s never worked for me, at least not where I thought I succeeded. More often than not, the pledges and promises made during the first week in January were long forgotten by the end of February…March at the latest.

Moving to Washington has helped me get rid of a lot of the clutter that had filled my life, career choices and my writing/publishing goals. I had been moving along at status quo, not able to break out of my rut and miserable. My health once again took a backseat as I let stress rule and depression take over. My home life suffered. I didn’t feel like I could give my best to my patients and my muses all hid on me and stayed silent. 

Within a month of our move, the weight lifted from my shoulders and I found joy in veterinary medicine again. My characters clamored to be heard once more and I finally admitted to myself I need help to get my health back on track. First step on that journey is to eliminate as much stress from my life as I can. One big stressor for me has been finding ways to connect with new readers and socialize with other authors without coming off as spamming.

I had joined support groups in order to find out what worked for others and see if any of it would help me. Some methods did help and decreased my work load, but the majority of it made my stress and anxiety levels soar. Between the review swaps, like for a like, voting on Goodreads lists, tweet teams and promo posts and events, my brain damn near exploded. All of it seemed disingenuous. I wanted REAL reviews from actual readers. Still, I tried a few of the groups. In the end all of it fell flat for me. Members of some of the groups took advantage of the group dynamic but when it was their turn to reciprocate, they bailed…usually when it was time to share/help promote my stuff.

competition memeBelonging to some other groups frustrated the hell out of me because I was being lectured to on a daily basis about what I was doing wrong and if I wanted to succeed as an self published author I had to follow their way or hit the highway. Funny thing: these people know even less about what actually works in the publishing world than I did. When confronted with tried and true methods from authors who have made all the mistakes and learned from them in order to reach their success, these same people laugh and go about doing the same annoying spam posts, stacking Goodreads lists and swapping reviews. 

Never mind their behavior has attracted the “trolls” who don’t take too kindly to their reader lists being manipulated. When a book by an unknown author RELEASES with over 50 five star reviews, it raises flags…and not the good kind. It also causes a backlash against anyone thought to be friends or associated with the unknown author.

Honestly, I can’t say I blame readers and reviewers from being pissed. I am as well. Why is it “okay” to manipulate the system to give the illusion of being a best seller? Why isn’t it enough to use social media to make connections and friendships that help readers discover your work? Why is it acceptable to hound fellow authors to like your page, buy your books or follow you back on Twitter? 

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!

A friend of mine came to the same conclusion and penned a beautiful post about it. Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author. She’s a hybrid having published on her own and this year she will be with THREE different publishers. Her memoir was voted one of the top ten inspirational reads in 2014. She didn’t even know that poll existed until her book was listed on it. THAT my friends is true success. Click HERE for her post and see why she is one of the people I most admire. She inspires me each and every day to reach for the stars.

good-motivational-quotes-1

Like Amber, I’m continuing to declutter and revamp myself and all of my alter egos. Streamlining is our top priority now. I’m going with the KISS principle: Keep It Simple Stupid. There is no reason that I have to be so wrapped up in promotions, lists, sales, giveaways, blog hops and begging for people to check out my books. I want to WRITE! I want people to enjoy my stories. They can’t do that if I don’t have them down on paper or published electronically. If they’re hidden away in my brain, no one will get attached to the characters I love.

quotes-inspirational-motivational-quotes-self-improvement-success-faith-belief-courage-quotes-hard-work-happiness-joy-faith-courage-belief-my-perfect-line-5_largeYes writing and publishing books isn’t easy. It’s not meant to be. It’s a labor of love that takes hard work and dedication to bring everything to fruition. It takes developing a thick skin to take the criticism and guidance of editors, reviewers and readers who really want to see you succeed and won’t coddle you or let you think you’re the best thing since pepper jack cheese. 🙂

As an author, I need the feedback to improve my writing but not change my stories. They’re my tales to tell. They won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but they do appeal to many. I’m grateful for each and every one of them for taking the time to read my work and give me their honest opinions. Sometimes their words sting, but I’ve learned from them and have grown as a writer.

I’ll keep writing and reaching for the stars. I Got This!

Who’s with me?