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Overcoming writer’s block with A.V. Griffin

We’ve all had it at one time or another. That ubiquitous condition that has plagued writers since writing itself began. The culprit: writer’s block. Writer’s block is that frustrating feeling that everyone gets when they’re trying to write something, but nothing comes to mind. So, once you have writer’s block, what can you do? Follow these steps to ameliorate your condition.

 

  1. Take a deep breath. This will help you to relax. The mind doesn’t function very well under stress.
  2. Take a break from writing and find something else to do. Perhaps you could go for a walk or read your favorite book. Finding inspiration in nature is something that writers commonly do. You also may get an idea from the book that you’re reading.
  3. Try writing from stream of consciousness. This involves writing the first thing that comes to mind and doing so until your ready to stop.
  4. Try going to different websites that offer story ideas or writing prompts. Here are some examples: Creative Writing Now and Seventh Sanctun.  Creative Writing Now has a wonderful assortment of story prompts and other writing exercises. Seventh Sanctum is an interesting site that will actually generate story ideas on command. You can choose to generate one, five or ten different story ideas and then print them out.
  5. Try listening to music or doing something artistic. Music is great for taking your mind off the current situation and will leave you feeling more relaxed. Choose soft music or perhaps something classical. Making a painting or a drawing is a wonderful way to explore your artistic side. Working with a multitude of colors may also help to put your mind at ease.
  6. Go on Pinterest. This social media tool is filled with inspirational visual material.
  7. Don’t worry. Take a break from writing and come back to it later. Inspiration strikes at the least expected of times.

A. V. Griffin

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View a Chapter of the Demon Rolmar

A. V. Griffin has been fascinated with science-fiction and fantasy stories since she was young. As a college student, she took to creative writing and began her story, The Demon Rolmar. Infusing the novella with her passion for science fiction, readers everywhere will be able to sense the enormous love and respect she has for the genre. Griffin holds a bachelor’s in psychology from Fordham University and currently resides in New York.

 

I’m a new author who is currently working on a science-fiction novella, The Demon Rolmar. The book will be released in 2-4 months. I’m very excited about the project and hope that readers everywhere will enjoy this book.

 

 

 

 

Rolmar is a heartless, misanthropic demon who serves as one of the three overlords of Pentar, a planet in the Amenis dimension. When Rolmar’s brethren bestow upon him the illustrious task of destroying Earth, his growing curiosity of humans adds a momentary pause to his original plan. Still intent on annihilating Earth, Rolmar extends his stay in order to discover what makes humanity unique.

However, when Adam, a quirky college student, crosses paths with the all-powerful demon, one fateful night will change his life forever. Haunted by nightmares of his mind-blowing encounter, Adam can’t return to his normal life. His only path to solace is attempting to convince the demon that Earth is worth saving. With the fate of the world on their shoulders, will Adam and his friends be able to convince Rolmar that they and all of mankind should be spared?

The Demon Rolmar is a compelling new work of science fiction that will make readers think about the unfortunate negativities that life often offers. Exploring the various negative elements of society, especially war, this thought-provoking story explores why humanity should work toward change. Ultimately a tale of triumph and adversity, this wonderful book will stay with readers long after the final page has turned.

 

 

 

Old Friends with Michele Drier

I was shocked last week when I heard about the death of a high school acquaintance.

It’s not unusual to read about the death of someone you once knew, but it brings home the fact that you’ll never have a conversation with that person again. I’ve lost several friends and relatives over the years, including my mother, my grandmother and an adored uncle. These people are part of me, literally, and I talk to them daily in my thoughts.

Others visit occasionally, memories of them jogged by an event, a turn of phrase, a certain place. When I read about Treva’s death, I remembered John Ross. These were two people who crossed my life at very different times, in very different circumstances. Treva brought back my teens—a few years of angst tucked back in my memory banks. But John brought back my struggles as a poor, single mother and my need to write.

I met John in Humboldt County, in far northern California. He was a poet, a writer, a sometime journalist and one of the most intense people I’ve ever known. We were both part of a group trying to get an alternative newspaper started with no money but a lot of liberal zeal.

Over the next seven years, we were close .John was an old leftie from the Beat years, born to noted parents in New York. He was proud of the fact that his birth was announced in Walter Winchell’s column and by eighteen, he was reading his poetry in  Greenwich Village bars, accompanied by bass player Charles Mingus.

He always joked that his formal education consisted of two boxes of books “liberated” from the New York Public Library that he took with him for an extended stay in an indigenous community in the Michoacan state of Mexico. They must have been celebrated books, because he was well-read. We shared a passion for e.e.cummings and John pushed me to write poetry, which I did, badly. He used to call me his “Secret Wife” though I was never sure why.

He was forever broke, living on disability and occasional odd jobs he picked up, including a stint planting and harvesting lilies at a commercial nursery. Today, he’d probably be called “occasional homeless”, primarily living in the back bedrooms and on couches of various women.

He called one night, on the verge of hysteria. He’d been renting an apartment, but was being evicted for non-payment of rent, he’d washed all of his identification in the pocket of a pair of jeans and was having free-floating anxiety. I loaded my daughter in the car and went to cook him dinner.

As I cooked, he raged around the tiny kitchen, ranting that the “capitalist landlord” was unfair. All he, John, needed was a quiet place where he could write, without all the other worries and burdens of life.

I moved from Humboldt County to Southern California, John moved to San Francisco, and I’d hear about him every so often. When I went back into journalism, he’d pop up in the pages of the San Francisco Chronicle every once in a while. One time was in 2005 when his book, “Murdered by Capitalism: 150 Years of Life and Death on the American Left” was reviewed. Thomas Pynchon wrote a blurb and the book won the Upton Sinclair Award.

This came ten years after he received the American Book Award for his reportorial work “Rebellion for the Roots: Zapatista Uprising inChiapas”.

Another time was May 12, 2009 when the San Francisco Board of Supervisors declared it John Ross Day.

I don’t know how he found the quiet space and peace in his soul to write. I’d like to think he’d be proud of me for finally coming to the life of a writer. And now I fully understand his meltdown that dark night.

I’m still looking for that quiet place to just write.

John died of cancer January 17, 2011 inLake Patzcuaro,Mexico. Every so often I reread his letters to his Secret Wife.

 

 

Michele Drier was born inSanta Cruzand is a fifth generation Californian. She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and NorthernCaliforniahome.  During her career in journalism — as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers – she won awards for producing investigative series.

Her mystery Edited for Death, called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review is available at Amazon. She’s working on the second book in the Amy Hobbes Newspaper mysteries, Labeled for Death, out in spring 2013.

Her paranormal romance series, SNAP: The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, is available in ebook, paperback and audible at Amazon.  All have received “must read” reviews from the Paranormal Romance Guild. SNAP: The World Unfolds, SNAP: New Talent, Plague: A Love Story and Danube: A Tale of Murder are available singly and in a boxed set at Amazon, B&N and Kobo. The fifth book, SNAP: Love for Blood rated 5 stars, is now out. She’s writing SNAP: Happily Ever After? for release in summer 2013 and a seventh book in late fall 2013.

Visit her website,  facebook page,  or her Amazon author page.

Gary Grossman, EXECUTIVE COMMAND and giveaway

I have two jobs that nobody gave me.  I write thrillers and I sound warning bells.  Hopefully because of both we’ll be more ready when the shrieking sound of the alarm comes – again.

Not that I’m a conspiracy theorist or paranoid.  I’m honestly not, though I love the old line that Sometimes someone is really following you.

However, the truth is the world has shrunk.   Now, the old metaphor is more true than ever.  When a butterfly flaps its wings in Asia it does have an effect here.  That’s central to my writing, and key to “take-away” for readers and fans.

For example, action in EXECUTIVE COMMAND constantly intercuts from Washington, DC to small towns across the nation, to the home of the Russia’s intelligence service in Moscow to the fortress of a terrorist in the most dangerous, lawless city in the Western Hemisphere.   It’s all related, whether the story is following the president of the United States, a CIA operative, a master terrorist, a skilled assassin, the speaker of the House on Capitol Hill, or a young woman who tries to infiltrate the inner-workings of Washington to get to Secret Service Agent Scott Roarke.  With multiple plots constantly intersecting, my goal is to engage readers and to keep them guessing.

The farthest reaches of the globe are only a few key strokes away. Almost any question can be answered within a three-parameter search. However, research also leads to the discovery of more questions than answers – which is the sense of discover I enjoy the most.

I’ve delved into the developing science of facial recognition technology (FERET), technology as small as a “Snakebot” and as huge as the C-17 Globemaster transport,the Internet as a spy tool, America’s most treacherous gang and the dangers that await in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay. 

All of this comes forward through page turning novels I like to describe as “political reality.”  Some examples from EXECUTIVE ACTIONS, EXECUTIVE TREASON and now EXECUTIVE COMMAND:

Sleeper cell spies working in the U.S.?   They’re as old as the America is, through the Cold War and as recent as today.

The presidency targeted in a Seven Days in May-type coup?  It nearly happened with Franklin Roosevelt in the sights of a 1930s military/Wall Street inspired junta.  The FBI investigates similar threats every day.

Talk show hosts with immense power?   Read about Fr. Charles Coughlin in the 1930s and listen to the voices on the air today.  Tell me they’re not there and could, with the wrong order, set horrible things in motion.

The enemy poisoning supplies?  Go back to ancient Greece for early records and think about how vulnerable our water resources are this very moment…from backyard wells to bottled water in public places.  All exposed, all possible targets.

While I hope EXECUTIVE COMMAND delivers as a fast and exciting eBook for fans (fans I really listen to), I believe the thriller rises above and beyond just fiction. I lay out intriguing history and the disturbing weaknesses currently in our infrastructure.  There’s drama and there’s that warning bell.  It’s impossible not to hear it.  I hit it pretty often.  Water is being targeted and it is time to pay attention.

 

 

Our nation’s water resources are high on terrorist target lists, but low on America’s consciousness. Water sources are largely unprotected, providing open access to any enemy with chemicals and biotoxins.

So far we’ve been lucky. But that luck won’t last.

This is the all-too-real-and-present danger facing President Morgan Taylor and Secret Service Agent Scott Roarke as they desperately try to prevent hell-bent terrorists from destroying America and its infrastructure city by city, and state by state.

Fact-based in frightening detail, Executive Command is a political thriller that will leave you pondering its strong possibility the next time you pour a glass of water.

 

Houston, TX

3 January

He tried not to look nervous.

“Step forward.”

At first, the man didn’t hear the order.  The thick, bulletproof glass of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer’s booth muffled the sound.

“Step forward,” the agent at the Houston terminal repeated.

The man wanted to be invisible.  Mistake.  His instructions were to blend in, act casually, and make small talk. He was five-eight, clean shaven.  He kept his black hair medium length; normal.  Except for a small scar under his chin, there was nothing memorable about his look.   Nothing distinctive.

“Step forward!”

He tensed.  Not good.  He should have smiled politely and done as he was told.  However, the man was not used to being told what to do by a woman.   He hesitated again and was slow to hand over his passport.

The agent didn’t know how much harder the president had just made her job.   Generally, work came down to evaluate, stamp, and pass.  Sometimes it took longer, but it was usually the same thing every hour of every day.  Evaluate, stamp, and pass.  In twelve years, she’d probably only flagged twenty people, principally because they were belligerent to her and not a real threat.   It was different today.  Houston was beta testing a new system that was sure to be on a fast track everywhere.  But right now it was slow, and Agent Carlita Deluca was already feeling pissed off.

The man finally passed his papers under the glass in the booth.  With the Argentine passport finally in hand, she studied the picture; then the man before her.  The evaluate part.  She made quick assessments.  Recent scabs on his face.  Cuts from shaving?  Sloppy knot on his tie.  Not a professional.  She rose up from her chair and examined his rolling suitcase.  Brand new.  Then Deluca looked at the passport more closely.  Armenian name, but citizen of Argentina.  She checked whether he had traveled in the Middle East.  No stamps.

“State your business in the United States.”

The man cleared his throat.  A bad signal, but he didn’t know it.

“Job interview.”

She listened to the accent.  Carlita Deluca had become pretty good at detecting certain regionalisms.  Not Armenian.  German?  She needed more.

“Where?”

“University.  I’m a professor.”  He put his hand out impatiently, expecting his passport, which Deluca didn’t return.

“Of what?”

The man shifted his weight from one foot to another.  “Philosophy.  Comparative religions.”

“Have you taught here before?”

“No.”

“And where is your interview?”

“New York.”

Deluca nodded, scanned the passport through her computer and waited while the photo traveled as data bits across the Internet.   The accent?  Definitely not German.  Not European at all.  More….

     A video camera also captured the man’s image at the booth.  The new image and picture on the passport were instantly cross-referenced against millions of other photos through FRT or FERET[DC1] —Facial Recognition Technology.  Some of the process was standard post 9/11; some as recent as the president’s last sentence.

“What school?”

     “Universidad Nacional De Cordoba,” he answered, almost too quickly.

“No, where is your job interview?”

“Oh, New York University.”

Middle Eastern?  She couldn’t quite peg it yet.  So, Deluca continued to study the man.  It also gave the computer—which she understood very little about—time to talk to whatever it talked to.  It was definitely sluggish, and the line behind the man was growing longer.  She stamped the passport and wondered whether the computer was even working.  It was.

A 2004 report to Congress concluded that America’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies missed, ignored, or failed to identify key conspirators responsible for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.  The public agreed.  People who should have been flagged as dangerous or, at the very least, undesirable, entered the United States[DC2]  undetected.  Once here, they engaged in highly suspect activity that went unchecked.

It’s not that the system didn’t work.  There was no effective system.  That changed with the establishment of Homeland Security Presidential Directive 6.  In Beltway speak—HSPD-6.  The White House directive, issued September 16, 2003, consolidated interagency information sharing.   The avowed goal—to put the right intelligence into the hands of the right people; securely and in a timely manner.

At the center of HSPD-6 is TSC—the Terrorist Screening Center.  The department has been charged with identifying, screening, and tracking known or suspected terrorists and their supporters.  Feeding TSC is the FTTTF, the Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force, and TTIC, the Terrorism Threat Integration Center, all administered by the FBI.

In addition to establishing the TSC, HSPD-6 effectively rerouted watch lists and terrorist identification programs through another service called TIPOFF.

This is precisely where the photograph of the man at the airport was being examined electronically against hundreds of thousands of other pictures.

TIPOFF began in 1987 with little more than a shoe box full of three-by-five-inch index cards.   Now it ran through a complex computer network; one of the most secretive in the world.  Every nanosecond, search engines mine data from CIA deep cover reports, to Customs photo scans, right down to Google, Yahoo, and Bing images.  Until recently, the subjects in the TIPOFF database were primarily non-U.S. persons.  Out of necessity, that changed.   Today, the program cross-references records of American citizens and even legal permanent residents who are “of interest.”   It feeds that information to the U.S. Customs Service, now administered by the Department of Homeland Security.

The man’s “biometrics”—the physical characteristics including facial geometry—were being interpreted at the speed of light by the TIPOFF computers.  The nation’s interlocked FRT programs rejected more than 99.999999 percent of the matches. That took less time than the next step.  The program kicked the photograph back into the database for further analysis when it registered positive against some fourteen other pictures.

“Can you tell me where I can find Southwest Airlines?” the man asked as politely as possible.  He was beginning to feel this was taking too much time.

“After baggage claim, go outside.  There’s a tram.”

“Thank you.”  The man shifted his weight again and forced a smile, hoping this would speed things up.

Egyptian.  Deluca decided.  But the computer’s identity program still hadn’t given her any reason to hold the man.  She reluctantly returned his passport.

“Proceed to your right and straight through the doors.”

The man smiled again and then let out a breath.

A sigh of relief?  Deluca could hold him, however travelers behind him were growing impatient after their long international flights.  But still.

     “One more question.”  The fifty-nine-year-old mother of four was clearly stalling.  Agent Deluca wanted to give the computer another moment.  That’s when a short pinging sound indicated an incoming message onscreen.  She checked the monitor.  One word appeared under the picture captured by the new Customs surveillance program.

DETAIN

Gary Grossman can be reached through www.garygrossman.com

or Follow him through Twitter @garygrossman1

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qViHfjhv_Ys

 

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Gary Grossman is an Emmy Award-winning network television producer, a print and television journalist, a novelist and a film and TV historian.  His career has included stints producing for NBC News, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS and 36 cable networks. He is author of three celebrated International “political reality thrillers,” EXECUTIVE COMMAND, EXECUTIVE ACTIONS and EXECUTIVE TREASON and two acclaimed non-fiction books covering pop culture and television history –  Superman: Serial to Cereal and Saturday Morning TV.

Grossman has been partnered with Robb Weller in Los Angeles-based Weller/Grossman Productions, a prolific television production company.  Together, they produced more than 9,000 programs and earned numerous awards including the prestigious Governor’s Emmy Award for their USA Network special, “Healing the Hate,” and an Emmy for Best Informational series with the production of “Wolfgang Puck” for Food Network.  Their documentary “Beyond the Da Vinci Code” (History Channel) earned two national Emmy nominations.  In all, Grossman has received 14 Emmy nominations.

In addition, Gary Grossman is now a principal in World Media Strategies, a new International branded entertainment marketing content company with offices in Los Angeles and Miami.  WMS produces television specials and series for travel destinations, corporate clients and government entities.

Grossman earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Emerson College in Boston and a Master’s Degree in Urban Affairs from Boston University.

He began his broadcasting career as a rock disc jockey at WHUC, in Hudson, New York.  He worked at Boston television station, WBZ; joined The Boston Globe as a special contributor, and then became the television critic and media columnist at The Boston Herald American.  His freelance articles have appeared in The New York Times and numerous magazines.  He taught journalism and media at Emerson College, Boston University, and USC and guest lectured at colleges and universities across the country.

Grossman helped formulate, program and launch television cable networks including HGTV, Fit TV, National Geographic Channel, and The Africa Channel.

Grossman serves on the Emerson College Board of Trustees and chairs the Academic Affairs Committee.

He is also a member of the Boston University Metropolitan College Advisory Board.  For was chair of the Government Affairs Committee for the Caucus for Television Producers, Directors & Writers, a Hollywood-based media activist group and a member of The International Thriller Writers Association.

His latest book is the political thriller, Executive Command.

Baking My Way Through My First Novel with Cinthia Ritchie

When I first wrote Dolls Behaving Badly, I didn’t include recipes. I suppose I wasn’t very hungry at the time or maybe my characters weren’t in the mood to bake.

I added a few in the second draft, and a few more in the third, I’m not sure why. Maybe I lacked something in my life at the time, love or affection or good sex, and writing about desserts temporarily filled the void. Or maybe once I allowed my characters a chance to grow, to become whole and completely themselves, they decided to bake on their own.

The book felt fuller with recipes inside, richer and heavier, the way a cake tastes when it doesn’t rise all the way: Dense and full and seeped with sugar and weight.

Most of the recipes are Polish, reminiscent of my Polish grandmother, who worked in a deli and cooked large vats of soups and rolled out thick, homemade noodles over her scarred kitchen table. This grandmother was fat and messy and smelled of garlic and onions.

The grandmother in my book is also Polish and fat, and she also smells of garlic and onions, though in the book she bakes desserts: Szarlokta and Chrusciki and an off-shoot of chocolate chip cookies called Little Brown Chippies.

I made up these recipes as best I could through memory and filled in the rest by talking with relatives and browsing old recipe books. I didn’t take very careful notes, though. I’m not much of a baker. I don’t have the patience. What I love most about baking is the mystery, and the surprise. I love not knowing how it will turn out, or even if it will turn out.

After I finished Dolls Behaving Badly and it was picked up by a publisher, after I finished the rewrite and the edits, I was contacted by my editor. She had tried to make a few of the recipes and none had turned out—did I have any idea why?

Well, I was stunned. I hadn’t written a cookbook, after all. The recipes highlighted the grandmother’s language, almost like a culinary poem. I never expected that anyone would try to bake them.

I spent the next two weeks in the kitchen, in a flurry of flour and sugar, as I revised the recipes. I baked the desserts over and over, and while a few never reached the point of perfection, all of them resulted in a sweet and decadent taste.

After I finished, after I cleaned the kitchen and recorded each recipe over notecards, I bit into a warm piece Szarlotka (Polish apple cake). I closed my eyes as the sugar hit my tongue and, my mouth humming with pleasure I thought: Oh, how wonderful it is to write a book.

Thursday, Sept. 15

This is my diary, my pathetic little conversation with myself. No doubt I will burn it halfway through. I’ve never been one to finish anything. Mother used to say this was because I was born during a full moon, but like everything she says, it doesn’t make a lick of sense.

It isn’t even the beginning of the year. Or even the month. It’s not even my birthday. I’m starting, typical of me, impulsively, in the middle of September. I’m starting with the facts.

I’m thirty-eight years old. I’ve slept with nineteen and a half men.

I live in Alaska, not the wild parts but smack in the middle of Anchorage, with the Walmart and Home Depot squatting over streets littered with moose poop.

I’m divorced. Last month my ex-husband paid child support in ptarmigan carcasses, those tiny bones snapping like fingers when I tried to eat them.

I have one son, age eight and already in fourth grade. He is gifted, his teachers gush, remarking how unusual it is for such a child to come out of such unique (meaning underprivileged, meaning single parent, meaning they don’t think I’m very smart) circumstances.

I work as a waitress in a Mexican restaurant. This is a step up: two years ago I was at Denny’s.

Yesterday, I was so worried about money I stayed home from work and tried to drown myself in the bathtub. I sank my head under the water and held my breath, but my face popped up in less than a minute. I tried a second time, but by then my heart wasn’t really in it so I got out, brushed the dog hair off the sofa and plopped down to watch  Oprah on the cable channel.

What happened next was a miracle, like Gramma used to say. No angels sang, of course, and there was none of that ornery church music. Instead, a very tall woman (who might have been an angel if heaven had high ceilings) waved her arms. There were sweat stains under her sweater, and this impressed me so much that I leaned forward; I knew something important was about to happen.

Most of what she said was New Age mumbo-jumbo, but when she mentioned the diary, I pulled myself up and rewrapped the towel around my waist. I knew she was speaking to me, almost as if this was her purpose in life, to make sure these words got directed my way.

She said you didn’t need a fancy one; it didn’t even need a lock, like those little-girl ones I kept as a teenager. A notebook, she said, would work just fine. Or even a bunch of papers stapled together. The important thing was doing it. Committing yourself to paper every day, regardless of whether anything exciting or thought-provoking actually happens.

“Your thoughts are gold,” the giant woman said. “Hold them up to the light and they shine.”

I was crying by then, sobbing into the dog’s neck. It was like a salvation, like those traveling preachers who used to come to town. Mother would never let us go but I snuck out with Julie, who was a Baptist. Those preachers believed, and while we were there in that tent, we did too.

This is what I’m hoping for, that my words will deliver me something. Not the truth, exactly. But solace.

 

“Despite, or perhaps because of, her very human flaws, Carla is a character who is easy to love, and her journal is an engaging read.”—Kirkus 

 

“First-time novelist Ritchie writes engaging characters and creates a sense of place that brings Alaska to life. For the reader of women’s fiction who can handle a bit of the risqué.” —Library Journal  

 

“…Ritchie’s tale of female triumph makes for a fun read.” —Publishers Weekly

 

As Ritchie says, she wants her readers to understand that it’s okay to be alone, that having a man in your life is a gift but so are so many things: sisters and sons, neighborhood babysitters and even dead grandmothers bearing sugar-laced recipes. Utterly charming and sassy, DOLLS BEHAVING BADLY will resonate with lovers of Aimee Bender, Jen Lancaster, and even Jonathan Tropper.

Cinthia Ritchie is a former journalist who lives and runs mountains and marathons in Alaska. Her work can be found at New York Times Magazine, Sport Literate, Water-Stone Review, Under the Sun, Memoir, damselfly press, Slow Trains, 42opus, Evening Street Review and over 45 literary magazines. Her first novel, Dolls Behaving Badly, released Feb. 5 from Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group.

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Quotable Quotes, LOVING LEONARDO and Rose Anderson

I’ve just finished the last line in my sequel to Loving Leonardo – that unusual bisexual, polyamorous, Victorian, reader-interactive, love story.  Yay!
Loving Leonardo – The Quest, will be ready to go after the editor runs a magic wand over it. I have a great cover waiting too. What I don’t have yet are my quotes. Book one in this story has a Leonardo da Vinci quote at the head of each chapter. I’ve collected a bunch of nice ones to sort through.

I love a good quote – contemporary, ancient, witty, or solemn etc. I especially love philosophical thought. Combine the two, mmm mmm mmm. It’s like chocolate to me. Smooth…creamy…delectable…and I want more.

I collect quotes as I collect other words. Every so often someone says something that is so precise and germane to the moment in which it was uttered that it makes me stop in my tracks and absorb it like sunshine. I’ve been keeping favorites for years – a habit begun in 6th grade, of all places, and it all started with a quote by Max Ehrmann. I found it on the sidewalk as I walked home from school and thinking on it now I’m able to recall the paper was blue. Imagine the power this little declaration held to a twelve year old standing on the cusp of womanhood and whose childhood just wasn’t making sense anymore. Powerful enough for the woman she became to remember the paper was blue all these decades later.

You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Max Ehrmann — Desiderata

Max pointed out the fact I was indeed a part of something larger than I realized. When we’re young, children tend to believe they’re the center of the universe but we’re not. We’re something far more wondrous (I reference the third quote from the end of this musing). The words, typed on a typewriter with such firm keystrokes they made braille of several letters, spoke to me. They said, you have a right to be here, and made me believe.

For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who do not believe, no proof is possible.
The Talmud

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
Lao Tzu

We are constantly invited to be who we are.
Thoreau

These quotes come from my wanderings, my travels, education, and my assorted experiences. They appear when I need them. Need them? Yes, there are times when we need someone else to paraphrase for us. Sometimes the thoughts are too fragmented, the emotion to vague, the words too few.  Sometimes another’s words just do your own thoughts justice, and sometimes they inspire new thought. Occasionally I’ll discard one, its meaning no longer pertinent or evocative. They come and go, and change as my mind matures.  Some I keep because they create the craziest images in my active imagination.

And thus I clothe my naked villainy with old odd ends stolen forth of holy writ.  And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.
William Shakespeare’s King Richard III

By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.
William Shakespeare’s Macbeth

I love Shakespeare. I had an honors English class my freshman year in high school. The teacher, compelled by the spelling of my last name, sat me right next to the model of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and the stack of corresponding books I could read if I finished my work before the bell rang. Good times. 🙂 Out damned spot!

If a few words can have such great impact as to be remembered and referenced, then how cool is that? And the words penned ages ago carry just as much power and just as much emotion today as they did when they were crafted. The well-phrased quotable comment has staying power. Time’s most memorable words have a way of seeping into your marrow.

There’s nothing to fear but fear itself.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
Neil Armstrong

Oh yes, our modes of transport, our advances in medicine, and machines of war may change, but the human condition remains the same. It dates back to the first attempts by humans to understand themselves and their place in the universe.

Wisdom is knowing how little we know.
Socrates

The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.
Leonardo da Vinci

I know I am deathless. No doubt I have died myself ten thousand times before. I laugh at what you call dissolution, and I know the amplitude of time.
Walt Whitman

Funny thing about Walt Whitman, his writings were notable for their delight in, and praise of, the senses. You’d get a better feel for what I mean by reading Leaves of Grass. I Sing the Body Electric was especially juicy for the time period it was written, and just so happened to come during a time when such candid thought was considered immoral. He’d get a kick out of my books. There’s a lot of candid thought in those pages.

These snippets of philosophical thought are essentially hours of condensed reflection and observation. How wonderful these wordsmiths shared the insights they’d been granted. We don’t need to sit on the steps of higher learning with Socrates and Plato. There’s no need to check out a scroll at the Library of Alexandria. Nor do we need to sit under a tree and have enlightenment come to us as we hunger and thirst. These minds, from fishmonger to philosopher have encapsulated their great thoughts for us with a few well-chosen words.

Since everything is a reflection of our minds, everything can be changed by our minds.
Buddha

Souls are poured from one into another of different kinds of bodies of the world.
Gnostic Gospels, the Pistis Sophia

The virtues we acquire, which develop slowly within us, are the invisible links that bind each one of our existences to the others – existences which the spirit alone remembers, for Matter has no memory for spiritual things.
Honore Balzac

And so the Mind created harmony and life existed in the shimmering concerto of the Cosmos. But it was not enough for the Mind, for a mind once expanded never returns to its previous state. So the Mind allowed life to see and self- awareness rose out of the consciousness and walked the many earths and flew the many skies of the Cosmos.
D. Collins

I don’t know if any bit of brilliance my brain produces will ever hit an emotional chord, but who knows. I get an occasional flash every now and again that I’m sure has nothing to do with crazy hormones. 🙂

So I’ll return to my soon-to-be novel and pick through my wonderful assortment of Leonardo da Vinci quotes. I know I’ll find perfect words to begin each chapter with. The man had an extraordinarily perfect mind. I’ll leave you with two more:

For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.
Leonardo da Vinci

Beware of the man of one book.
St. Thomas Aquinas

Loving Leonardo – book 1

Bound by limits dictated by society, Art Historian Nicolas Halstead lived a guarded life until a tempest in the form of Elenora Schwaab blew into his world. At first Nicolas can’t decide if the audacious American is simply mad or plotting blackmail for not only does she declare knowledge of his homosexuality, she offers him a marriage proposal.

After Ellie tells him of a previously unknown work of Leonardo da Vinci, a book of erotic love poems and sketches dedicated to the artist’s long-time lover Salai, Nicolas joins her in a race to save the book from destruction. Along the way they encounter Historian Luca Franco and discover a comfortable compatibility that comes to redefine their long-held notions of love. The trio embarks on an adventure filled with sensual discovery, intrigue, and danger. Little do they know Leonardo da Vinci’s book is far more than meets the eye.

READ the PEEK INSIDE on AMAZON!

 

 

 

 

About Rose ~
I love words and choose them as carefully as an artist might choose a color. My active imgination compels me to write everything from children’s stories to historical fiction. As a persnickety leisure reader, I especially enjoy novels that feel like they were written just for me. It’s hard to explain, but if you’ve ever read one of those, then you know what I mean. I tend to sneak symbolism and metaphor into my writing. You might say it’s a game I play with myself when I write. And I so love when readers email to say they’ve found something. I’d like people to feel my stories were written just for them, for that’s the truth. These hidden insights are my gift to my readers.

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Sherri Hayes, RED ZONE and a giveaway

 

 

Thanks for taking the time to visit Manic Readers, Sherri.

Did you always want to write?

No. I never considered writing growing up. It wasn’t until my publisher approached me after reading some of my online stories that I considered being a writer.

Is there anything you need to get those creative juices flowing?

It depends. Sometimes, I can just sit down and write. Other times, I need to have some music playing in the background. For Red Zone, I listened to a lot of country music.

I read that before you can write, you have to get to know your characters. Is this a long process?

How does it work exactly?  Have you ever had a character come to you that you knew immediately?

It depends on the characters, but I’ve never had a main character that I’ve known everything about immediately. Most of my characters tend to reveal themselves in layers. Getting to know them involves a lot of talking through their motivations. Rebecca was a perfect example of this. She was so closed off, and controlled. When I started talking things out (and yes, I mean talking to myself out loud about my story and characters) her childhood began to shape itself in my mind. It happens that way with most of my characters.

Why romance?

I love romance. There is something about seeing a couple fall in love and get their happily ever after that draws me in every time. 

Will you stick with contemporaries or would you like to write a futuristic or historical romance?

For now, I plan to stick with contemporary romance. That doesn’t mean I won’t ever write anything else. If I get a story idea for a historical or a paranormal, I’ll write it. So far, that hasn’t been the case, and I have story ideas in my notebook to last me for several years at this point.

Can you tell us a bit about your series featuring the Daniels brothers? Behind Closed Doors and RED ZONE. Do they need to be read in order?  Why a series with brothers?

This series centers around four brothers, Chris (Behind Closed Doors), Gage (Red Zone), and Paul and Trent who’s books will be coming in the future. One of the things I love about these brothers is that although they are all strong, family oriented men, they are all very different. Getting to know each one of them has been a fun process. They don’t need to be read in order, although, I know when reading books, I always try to go in order so I don’t miss the little things. For example, if you read Red Zone first, Chris and Elizabeth are already together, but the reader doesn’t know their story. In some ways, I think that takes away from any added elements they contribute to future stories in the series if you don’t know what the characters went through to get where they are.

Why the suspense element vs straight contemporary romance?

Suspense adds an element of danger and drama to the story. I like to use that to not only propel the story itself, but also the relationship between the characters. Plus, it’s always fun to write action scenes.

Does writing the erotica/bdsm satisfy a creative urge that the romantic suspense doesn’t’?

Writing BDSM is certainly different than writing romantic suspense. I’m not sure you’d say it satisfies an urge the other doesn’t. It’s just different. When I’m writing romantic suspense, I have to concentrate on balancing the romance and the mystery elements. In my BDSM stories, I’m focusing on getting the BDSM right. I do a lot more research and talking to experts with my BDSM stories than I do with my romantic suspense novels.

Is there another genre you’d like to try writing?

Not really. I think no matter what I write now, or in the future, will fall into the romance genre.

Do you have a favorite book or genre to read?

Romance. I write the types of stories I like to read.

Movie?

I tend to prefer romantic comedies, however, I also like a good drama or action movie every now and then. 

Have you read anything lately that you’d highly recommend?

I don’t get to read as much as I used to, but the book that I enjoyed most last year was Scored by Lily Harlem. It’s about a sports reporter covering a soccer tournament. I don’t think I got anything accomplished in the two days I spent reading it. I also enjoyed Maid for Love by Marie Force. It’s the first in a series, and I’ve added the others to my TBR list. 

Do you have a WIP you can tell us about?

At the moment, I am in the middle of edits for the third book in my Finding Anna series, Truth, which will be out this summer. If you or your readers haven’t read it, it is a series that has to be read in order since each book picks up from where the last one left off.  I’ve also begun writing book four in that series. I’m hoping Finding Anna book four, the last book in Stephan and Brianna’s tale, will be out winter 2013/spring of 2014.

Thanks again for taking the time to visit Manic Readers, Sherri. I’ve enjoyed it.

After a case ended badly for Rebecca Carson, she’s losing her mind sitting around her apartment waiting on her superiors to allow her to return to work. Since she was a teenager, the only thing she’d ever wanted was to join the FBI. Now that dream was in danger.
Gage Daniels has made a pretty good life for himself. A nice house. A career he loves. As a professional football player, he’s used to getting almost everything he’d ever want with just the snap of his fingers. This includes women. A well-timed smile is usually all it takes to attract the opposite sex, especially in Nashville.
When a stalker threatens Gage, the team owner calls an old friend, Rebecca’s ex-partner Travis Hansen, to help protect his star quarterback and find the person responsible. Hansen offers Rebecca the job, and she jumps at the chance. It’s work, and it will get her out of her apartment. How bad can it be?
Posing as Gage’s girlfriend, however, isn’t as easy as it seems. The man is relentless. Rebecca must work to protect Gage while staving off his advances. She’s there to do a job, nothing more. The last thing she wants is to be another notch on a hotshot athlete’s belt.
As the stalker continues to up the ante, Rebecca finds it harder and harder to keep her distance from Nashville’s star quarterback. He isn’t what she expected in one of the city’s most notorious playboys. Now all she has to do is keep him safe until they can find his stalker, and hope she doesn’t lose her heart in the process.

Sherri is giving away an ecopy of RED ZONE to one (1) lucky commenter who answers,  ” do y’all prefer straight romance or do you like a bit of danger thrown in? ”  Giveaway ends @ 12am est 2-18-13 with the winner announced shortly thereafter.

My review of Red Zone for those who may be interested.

Get RED ZONE

 

Sherri is the author of four novels: Hidden Threat,Slave (Finding Anna Book 1), Need (Finding Anna Book 2), Behind Closed Doors (A Daniels Brothers’ Novel), Red Zone (A Daniels Brothers’ Novel), and a short story, A Christmas Proposal. She lives in central Ohio with her husband and three cats. Her mother fostered her love for books at a young age by reading to her as a child. Stories have been floating around in her head for as long as she can remember; however, she didn’t start writing them down until she turned thirty. It has become a creative outlet that allows her to explore a wide range of emotions, while having fun taking her characters through all the twists and turns she can create. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found helping her husband in his woodworking shop.

Sherri on Goodreads                                           Sherri’s blog

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Sherri on Amazon                                                  Website

 

 

Vigilante Justice and giveaway with Tara Fox Hall

A vampire that runs a detective business in the search for justice isn’t a new concept. For years, vampires have been picking up the gun (and sometimes a badge) in pursuit of justice—if not just using their fangs. There have been several hit TV shows along this vein likeAngel, Forever Knight, and Moonlight. Usually, the righteous vampire lead also has no problem with bending or breaking laws in search of said justice. So it’s reasonable for human woman Sar to suspect that the vampire she meets is lying when he tells her his business, Solutions Inc., is entirely legit.

 

            “Tell me the truth, Danial.”

            He gave me his now customary calculating look. I watched him silently, waiting. “Fine,” he said. He took a deep breath. “You are right. The guns aren’t all for game. Most are for protection. Someone or something is hunting me. That’s why I was worried that my truck was out in the open. I had to make sure I didn’t lead anyone to you by accident.”

            “Do you live around here?” I asked, watching him carefully.

            “I’ve lived in New York for the past seven years,” he continued. “I moved here originally from Colorado. I have a small business that makes decent money.” Seeing my motion to interrupt, he said, “Yes, even vampires work. Most of us aren’t so old that we have an endless reservoir of funds to draw on. And eternity can get boring if you don’t have a reason to go on existing. Mine is my work. I built my business from the ground up, and it matters to me that it succeeds.”

            “What exactly do you do?”

            “I help big businesses solve problems. You’d be surprised how inefficient some companies are. Sometimes the solution is simple, such as firing one person, or switching vendors for cost savings. Sometimes it’s more drastic, like down-sizing or overhauling company procedures.”

            It was strange to hear this boardroom talk from someone with fangs, but maybe I needed to get with the program. America was equal opportunity. And there was a note in Danial’s voice I hadn’t heard before. He really was into this, and clearly proud of what he did. But before I started hailing him as the best supernatural entrepreneur, I thought I’d better clarify a few points.          “Or like killing someone?”

            He glared at me, exasperated. “Why would I kill someone? I give my recommendations to the CEOs, or when the CEO is the problem, to the board of directors. They can choose to take them or leave them. Either way, I get paid for consulting.” —Promise Me, Promise Me Series Book #1.

 

Contrary to the above, Danial’s company Solutions, Inc. is much more than he admits; he is most willing to break the law if it stands in his way. When Theo and he journey to Europe for the birth of Theo’s daughter in Taken in the Night (Promise Me Series, Book #3),Danial also dispenses some deserved justice that has nothing to do with a courtroom.

 

Danial held out his hand. “Please call me Danial, or Racklan if you must, Samuel. That is formal enough. It’s good to finally meet you.”

            They shook hands, and then stood apart from one another, sizing each other up while still appearing sociable.

            “Danial, I’m here about the Jonas murder you are working on,” Samuel said next, switching topics without preamble. “It is in my interest that the killer be caught and punished. So I’m here to offer what help you need while you’re here, one Ruler to another.”

            Danial’s face registered surprise, then quickly smoothed into a casual smile, as he regained his composure. “I thank you, but it has been handled already, for the most part. Justice was done this very night by my own hand.”

 

Solution’s Inc. came into being because I believed that anyone who had eternity would need something to occupy his or her time which they loved; otherwise what is the point of having immortality? Danial hasn’t had much luck in the love department in the centuries he’s been alive, so there had to be something else that made his life have meaning. Yet in his quest for vengeance, Danial has made more than a few enemies. They not only want him dead, but also anyone associated with Solution’s Inc….like Danial’s best friend, Theo.

When their group is later attacked trying to leave Europe, Theo and Danial don’t hesitate to counterattack, leading to a firefight, many deaths, and Theo’s disappearance.

“Theo, Lander, and I went to Peterson’s building to erase their computer files, and demolish the building, planning on finding some of the attackers lying in wait. We weren’t disappointed. They were armed with their prototype guns. Lander was killed right off. Theo and I separated; I took the front way, and he the back. I got shot a few times, but drank from the men I killed, and began healing at once. My body can heal bad wounds fast if I drink deeply, as you know.” He paused. “Yet there is only so much damage I can heal in a short time, because in that time I can only drink and process a certain amount of blood. When I got shot again in the chest a few moments later, it slowed me down enough that I got shot twice more in succession. Luckily, Theo and I had gotten them all, or so we thought. I loaded up the computer virus, launched it, and then got shot again in the chest. Theo killed the man who’d shot me, then helped me get to the street, just as their servers were blown to pieces.”

            “At the street, Theo told me to go, that I was too wounded to help him anymore. He was worried we’d left you alone with no food or no guards. He said he would walk back, it wasn’t far, or get a cab. He knew there was one more person at least in the back of the building, and he said he couldn’t rest easy knowing they might try to hurt us again. Then he was gone.”

 

Taken in the Night: When Theo disappears, Sar is left bereft, the uncertain guardian of Theo’s newly born werecougar daughter, Elle. As months pass, clues emerge about Theo’s disappearance, yet the twisting trail ends repeatedly without answer. In her grief, Sar turns to Danial and hesitantly begins to build a life with him and Elle.

So I raise the question to you, blog readers, is it right to seek justice outside the law? State your position and supporting argument in a blog comment. Best answer wins choice of print Promise Me book (1-3) or e-book! Giveaway ends @12am est 2-11-13 with winners announced shortly thereafter.  Comments must answer Tara’s question to be considered!

 

 

 

 

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

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Website

Email: tarafoxhallATgmailDOTcom

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Hadassah Martin and REASONS

 

This a story based on true events. It’s about two best friends who were separated during their childhood. The spotlight then zooms in on Hadassah; during their adult reunion, she divulges the painful moments of the sexual abuse, murder and death that occurred in her life during her adolescence. It is a story about an ordinary person faced with extraordinary trauma and how she came to forgive and learned to embrace wholeness.

Order REASONS in paperback and ebook.

B&N           Visit Hadassah

 

Hadassah Thomas Martin is a high-spirited woman of faith who was born in Los Angeles and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area.  She trained with Precept Ministries and became a certified trainer in “How to study the Bible”. She is also an active member of the Fellowship of International Christian Word Of Faith Ministries (FICWFM).  She is the founder of “Keep It Real Ministries” which is a non-profit organization whose mission is to conduct local bible studies which teach people how to continuously live in the reality of God’s Word; regardless of their experience.
Being an “at risk youth” herself, Hadassah has overcome insurmountable obstacles. She is a bright light to women who have suffered abuse and a vital assistant in producing overcomers.
She has a passion for people and teaches youth, men and woman how to fight to win!
As a true worshipper and Intercessor, she boldly believes that NOTHING is too hard for God!
In spite of the multiple challenges we face, she believes the greatness which is inside us all, can be extracted, developed and targeted to reach its designed purpose.
Her Focus: to express qualities that bring inspiration to others. Her motto is “We Always Triumph!”
Her inspiring influence, and her down to earth, “Keep It Real” style are certain to leave an indelible impression.

Food of Love with Kate Belle

Hello to Manic Readers everywhere! It’s great to be here from DownUnder. I’m a debut Australian erotic fiction author and my first two novellas were released under the new Random House Random Romance digital imprint on 1 February 2013, and boy I’m excited to see my creations out in the world. I also have a novel, The Yearning, coming out in April/May 2013, so have a busy year ahead of me.

A lot of people ask me what it’s like to write erotic fiction.

To be honest, I’m secretly in love my character Ramon, so spending hours at the computer with him is no chore. Of Spanish extraction, this hot-blooded man has more animal magnetism than most women can handle, and a body to match.

Ramon loves women. So much so, he became an expert in female sexuality by studying psychology and ancient sexual practices such as tantra, karma sutra and taoism. As a result he is a masterful, generous and wise lover who understands how to unlock the sexual potential in women’s bodies and minds.

Ramon seduces women who have hit a troubled romantic spot in their lives, taking them on a journey of sexual awakening. But there is a mystery about him. He makes it clear to his lovers that he isn’t interested in relationships. He helps them sort out their problems so they can move on while he remains happily single. One can’t help but wonder why? And will there be a lover one day who finally captures Ramon’s elusive heart? I’ll have to keep writing about him to find out!

There’s something about writing the steamy scenes in my novellas that makes me hungry. As I was writing the first two books in this sexy series, I kept craving food. Not just any food. I needed satisfying, delicious, sensual, soul food. It probably had as much to do with the way I was writing, as what I was writing. Once I got into a love scene I couldn’t stop. I kept writing, through lunch, crossing my legs and ignoring my rumbling stomach, because I just HAD to finish it. By the end I’d be hot and flustered, a teeny bit sweaty and hungry!

It got me thinking about aphrodisiac food. I fondly remember a seafood banquet I once had with my husband on an anniversary and how smoochy we both felt afterwards. I think my Ramon is the sort of man who would have some sensual recipes he uses to soften his dates up before he makes his move. So I researched aphrodisiac foods and, as a special treat for Manic Readers, I’m sharing a couple of Ramon’s ‘no-fail-seduction’ recipes. Try them on your valentine, you might be surprised at the effect!

Strawberry and Fetta Salad
1 cup slivered almonds2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup raspberry vinegar

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

1 head romaine lettuce, torn

1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions

  1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the almonds, stirring frequently, until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, prepare the dressing by whisking together the garlic, honey, Dijon mustard, raspberry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together the toasted almonds, romaine lettuce, strawberries, and feta cheese. Cover with the dressing mixture, and toss to serve.
Oysters Rockefeller
2 slices bacon24 unopened, fresh, live medium oysters

1 1/2 cups cooked spinach

1/3 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup chopped green onions

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 dash hot pepper sauce

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon anise flavored liqueur

4 cups kosher salt

  1.  Directions
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (220 degrees C). Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
  3. Clean oysters and place in a large stockpot. Pour in enough water to cover oysters; bring the water and oysters to a boil. Remove from heat and drain and cool oysters. When cooled break the top shell off of each oyster.
  4. Using a food processor, chop the bacon, spinach, bread crumbs, green onions, and parsley. Add the salt, hot sauce, olive oil and anise-flavored liqueur and process until finely chopped but not pureed, about 10 seconds.
  5. Arrange the oysters in their half shells on a pan with kosher salt. Spoon some of the spinach mixture on each oyster. Bake 10 minutes until cooked through, then change the oven’s setting to broil and broil until browned on top. Serve hot.

A must add to any aphrodisiac meal is asparagus, lightly steamed and topped with shavings of parmesan cheese, and finish with quality chocolate truffles – the way to sweeten anyone’s heart.

Kate’s books:

 

 

Breaking the Rules: Grace is a beautiful woman in complete control of her world. A long time ago she chose a career over children and marriage, and has never regretted it. Then Ramon Mendez walks into her office. Ramon is about to commence his PhD, a work on erotic literature, and from the outset there is something about him that makes Grace’s blood run hot. Aware of the need to maintain her professional reputation, she rejects his advances, but he persists. And during their intimate supervision sessions, her defences start to crumble, for Ramon’s work is exposing desires within Grace she never knew existed.

Breaking the Rules: iTunes & Amazon

 

 

Ramon stood silently regarding her, as if weighing up his next move.

‘Will you please unlock the door?’ she asked again, unable to look him in the eye.

‘No.’

His voice was gentle. Grace fiddled with pens on her desk, rearranging them, and then finally throwing them into the top drawer. She needed to make her agitated hands busy. She heard him take two steps toward her and stop. She refused to look up into those eyes she knew would make her come undone at the seams.

‘I have something for you.’

His voice was husky, filled with heat. Grace laughed. It came out too loud and echoed off the walls of her office.

‘Really? What could you have that I could possibly want, Mr Mendez?’

Out of the corner of her eye she saw a hand disappear into his pocket. When she turned to face him he was standing with a tiny scrap of lace and satin dangling from his forefinger. Grace clutched at her throat. Was that a g-string? She felt blood rushing to her face. She feigned outrage.

‘And what do you expect me to do with that?’ She couldn’t stop the shrillness in her voice.

Ramon moved languidly toward her, his eyes never leaving her face. Grace didn’t know where to look. She shifted to sit on the corner of her desk and folded her arms over her chest. Ward him off. Breathe deep, take control, force the uncertainty back.

One step away from her he halted. He folded the creamy satin underwear into his hand.

‘Wear it,’ he breathed.

A ripple of want ran over her skin. Grace clung to the edge of the desk with both hands to steady herself. She inhaled the musky smell of him, all spicy aftershave and shampoo.  Robbed of speech, she could only shake her head.

‘You have a beautiful body, Grace. It deserves to be dressed in beautiful things.’

It was only when he touched her she realised she had closed her eyes. She felt the warmth of his hand slide from her hip to the small of her back, the strength in his limbs as he pressed his body gently against hers. His other hand picked out a wavy strand of her hair and rubbed it reverently between his forefinger and thumb.

‘I like your hair like this. You should wear it out always.’

His face was dangerously close to her own, his breath warm against her ear. He lifted the underwear and stroked her cheek with it. Smooth, cool satin.

‘Wear it,’ he whispered. ‘Please.’

Grace quivered as her resistance crumbled. She placed her hands flat against his chest and pushed at him weakly, giving a tiny shake of her head. Beneath his shirt he was a wall of muscle. She thought of the picture of the Marie Claire model and desire flowed through her. Having read his book, knowing what he knew about sex, about women, what he may be capable of, how could she resist him now?

His hands drifted to her skirt zipper as he dusted her jawline with kisses light as butterfly wings. Grace struggled with her racing heart. She shouldn’t be allowing this, she should push him away, but it felt so good to be caressed.

‘Let me show you how beautiful you are,’ he murmured into her throat.

Unwillingly she tipped her head back. The sensation of his lips on her skin was exquisite. How had she lived so long without this? The fingers of his left hand tugged at her skirt zipper. It slid open without a hitch. His hands, deft and confident, tugged the skirt down over her hips until it slithered to the floor.

 

 

Bloom: Thirty-six-year-old Emma’s life looks perfect. She loves her straight-laced husband Gary, who has given her three beautiful, if spoilt, children and a secure life. But something is missing. Gary hardly notices her anymore and she feels frumpy and invisible. Her friend talks her into joining a social boot camp class at the local gym. Emma immediately recognises their instructor as the gorgeous runner she sees each evening while walking her dog. He introduces himself as Ramon Mendez. In spite of herself Emma is besotted.

Before long her mind is filled with guilty fantasies of him. One evening, when things at home have become too much to bear,  she bumps into him alone in the park. An opportunity presents itself and no one need ever know. Ramon promises and delivers everything that’s missing from her marriage – passion, romance and excitement – but Emma must discover if they are the things she really wants.

Bloom: iTunes  & Amazon

 

Author Bio:

Kate Belle is a passionate author, adequate wife and devoted mum/step-mum. She lives, writes and loves in Melbourne, Australia, but is a country girl at heart, and juggles her pens and her iPad addiction with a busy family life.

Kate has many strings to her bow. She holds a tertiary qualification in applied chemistry, half a diploma in naturpathy and a diploma in psychological astrology. Her employment includes a video library, a travel agent, cleaning campervans for hire, the public service, a disability organisation and a university sports centre. She has ridden a camel through the Australian desert, fraternised with hippies in Nimbin, had a near birth experience and lived on nothing but porridge and a carrot for 3 days.

Kate also believes the world would be a better place if human beings could learn to appreciate the simpler pleasures of life.

Find out more about Kate at

Blog/website

Twitter

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