Saturday, December 9, 2017

Escape to Willow Bend! #Shifters #Wolves #Series

As we wind the year to a close and I'm recovery from surgery, I wanted to spend some time looking back at the Wolves of Willow Bend.

In Wolf Bite, released in July 2014, Mason Clayborne heard the sound of a familiar woman being mugged—pursuing the sound he raced into an alleyway in Dallas in time to see Alexis Huston breaking the nose of her would be assailant. Coming face to face with his past dropped a pebble into the still waters, and those ripples would become a tidal wave.

The wave would gather force as the ripples spread out to include wolves like A.J., abandoned by his previous alpha and left to stew in a prison, and Owen, the senior Hunter whose love for a journeyman healer drove him to follow her to another pack when Hudson River needed her help.

Available now!

Mason’s relationships with other alphas like Brett and Serafina opened the door to new challenges and changes for more than only Willow Bend. With each subsequent novel, we journeyed to the five different packs and even met an alpha from Italy.

Each arc from Rise of the Alpha (books 1-3), Dawn of Three Rivers (book 4-6), Wolves of Change (Books 7-9) to Guardians of the Wolves (Books 10-12), has played a role in the evolution of a world which brings us to Ghost Wolf.

I can say any number of factors, events, and people inspired this novel. It covers a range of time from World War II to the present day. Each decade has a different flavor, a lingo, and rhythm to it that affected the point of in the tale blossoming. More, many of the events occurred during my lifetime and it was fun to look back at moments like needing a phone book to look up someone’s address.

Hello, no Internet!

More, at the heart of the story were two people who share a convoluted journey and a long history—it was a romance, which fired my imagination. I admit to loving all the books I’ve written, but Ghost Wolf is special—because it weaved so many threads together.

At the end of the day, each novel in the Wolves of Willow Bend adds to the overall mythology, but remains focused on the core couple and how their lives are changed by knowing each other. 

Looking for some great paranormal escape this month? Head over to Willow Bend for some small town romance with a bite! 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Nazi-Punching New Release for the Holidays (and a Devilish Cover Reveal!) by Jane Kindred

My slightly dumb but gorgeous Viking dragon shifter, Leo, is on the loose! Leo is hot AF and does not like Nazis. That is all you need to know.

But I’ll tell you more anyway, because I’m awesome like that. When I wrote Leo, I had two versions of Chris Hemsworth in mind: Hemsworth as Thor and Hemsworth as Kevin in the 2016 Ghostbusters remake. And because Leo himself has more than two versions, this makes sense. (Boy, am I on a cryptic roll tonight.) Both are totally adorable. He also has multiple Norse tattoos, which, as Leo and I discovered together, can give people the wrong idea, because certain deplorables have coopted the Norse gods for their own purposes over the years. Leo is not down with that.

Rhea, the heroine, is also adorable, tattooed (and a tattoo artist), with Riot Grrl (is that still a thing?) “mermaid” hair, and, as my editor commented, she is salty AF. (I added the AF, but I know that’s what she meant.) Particularly to Leo. But he kind of has it coming.

And all of this is just in time for the holidays, as the Wild Hunt, which Leo leads, rides from the Day of the Dead (or rather the Norse equivalent, Álfablót, a sacrifice to the elves) through Yuletide. Leo just happens to lead his Hunt through the Arizona desert among the snow-capped red rocks of Sedona, inspired by Johnny Cash’s Ghostriders in the Sky.

So, to recap, Leo looks like Thor, can be not-so-bright on occasion like Kevin, leads Odin’s Wild Hunt, has more than one personality, can shift into a Norse dragon, punches Nazis, and wears a cowboy hat and boots with a brown leather duster while riding through Sedona’s snowy nights. And Rhea has the blood of Lilith in her veins (oh, did I not mention that?), can read people’s fates in their tattoos, looks like a Riot Grrl (cuz I'm old), and is salty.

Oh, and for readers who like “Easter eggs” in their books (of a sort):
Dressler means Turner in German.
And that reference is timely right now, but that’s all I have to say about that, or I’ll just have a rage fit.

Never mind me; it’s been that kind of a year.

The Dragon’s Hunt, Book 3 in the Sisters in Sin series from Harlequin Nocturne, is available now from the following retailers:
Barnes & Noble

Note that this series should be read in order! You can find the series order and buy links on my website.

As a special bonus, I’ve just received the cover for Book 4 in the series, Seducing the Dark Prince:

Hell Might Be Heavenly...for One of the Sisters in Sin
Lucien Smok is heir to the Smok fortune. He's also the crown prince of Hell, a legacy he despises. Clairvoyant Theia Dawn tries to convince herself that she's only interested in Lucien because of his family's role in the persecution of her ancestor, not because he's the most beguiling man she's ever met. The attraction that burns between them might be her downfall. Or it might be his salvation.

Seducing the Dark Prince is available now for pre-order from the following retailers: | Barnes & Noble | Booktopia | iBooks | Kobo

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Nix Those Holiday Blues

The festive season is upon us and how quickly it arrived.

Seems like yesterday it was November and Thanksgiving... Oh, wait, that could be because I'm still seeing turkey everywhere since I cooked a 25 pound bird. My kitties and all those rampaging in the neighborhood are happy balls of fur who definitely put on a few pounds.

It's also the time of year an abundance of wonderful holiday stories hit shelves in every book outlet. I enjoy Christmas stories that give a peek at how many ways people celebrate the season. Do they stay home and decorate a tree or whip up delicious goodies that everyone samples around a fireplace as carols heralding the season play softly in the background? Is attendance at an office party or a small gathering of friends part of their festivities? And who doesn't wonder if an elf may show up--will they bring joy or mischief? As the scent of cinnamon, apples, and peppermint waft through air, I look for books that toss a generous dose of spice into a romance.

So many magical things crop up during this time of year as happens in my Christmas stories which are erotic romances. A visit to a far-off romantic island getaway, celebration of a special bonding ceremony, and Santa Claus, well, his son anyway.

HOLIDAY BLUES brings the story of an office manager who becomes entangled in a threesome with her boss and his best friend.

Two men who love each other, add one woman…

Pennington Seevers picked the same all-inclusive island get-away the very woman he wants to escape also chose. Partner, best friend, and lover, Rory Burton, is along for the trip and though they enjoy sex together, even love each other, Rory insists Pennington is more than attracted to Headley Etta Xavier and accuses him of not wanting to share as they often do.

Headley Etta Xavier who goes by the name Hex knows involving herself with her boss, Pennington, or his second in command, Rory, might mean an end to her job so she takes her first vacation in years hoping to wipe both from her mind. Little does she realize the men she watches having sex from a hidden spot behind a tree is Penn and Rory. Worse yet, seeing them in the act doesn’t deter Hex, it makes her hotter than hell!

A holiday to remember or a case of holiday blues?

THE GIFT tells the tale of two men who overcome adversity to celebrate a special bond.

Rad and Crayton— the same yet different. They meet as often as possible throughout the year to be together. Christmastime is particularly special; it's when they celebrate their bonding. Mermen, one born in the south Caribbean Sea, the other from frozen waters surrounding Iceland. Neither can exist for long in the other's climate.

Rad returns to his summer home in Pennsylvania, determined it will be the last time. The cold has taken a deadly toll on him. Cray can go no farther south, so they will have to give up their celebration, and the Christmas holiday together.

Cray discovers a way to defeat Mother Nature but—is it too late?

SANTA'S CLAUSE is now part of Changeling's A CHANGELING FOR ALL SEASONS, VOL. 8 Here you'll find a mix of holiday cheer by thirteen awesome authors! Mine has a heroine who finds breaking bad with Santa can be damn good!

Lacey Dalton gave up on Santa Claus a long time ago. Every Christmas Eve she waited like a good girl to see what Santa would bring. He never came. Now she’s in her late twenties and he shows up with a contract! If Lacey signs on the dotted line, anything she wants is hers… if she lets Santa have her for one night.

Hopefully, you'll find something to brighten your holiday, a story that brings back a wonderful memory, a new idea for celebrating the season.

Merry Christmas early!

Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out. - J. Hali Steele

Monday, December 4, 2017

When The Words You Write Are Frightful…

by Maureen L. Bonatch

…But not having an empty, blank page is delightful. When you’ve only got a month to go, let words flow, let words flow, let words flow! 

Or How To Keep Writing that Novel Even When You Want To Quit. 

Forgive my attempt at butchering what may be one of your favorite Christmas songs, but I am fresh out of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWri) and high off a win. (A win meaning that I wrote 50,000 words in the month of November). 

I’ve written about NaNoWri many times before and addressed things such as:

So I’m sure you’re wondering what else I could possibly have to say about National Novel Writing Month—don’t tempt me. I did just vomit out 50,000 words in a tight time frame. 

But despite participating for the past 10 years, this year’s NaNoWri was a little different. Even though I love NaNoWri and look forward to it every year. This year was the first time since I started winning over the last 6 years that I was tempted to quit.

What Kept My Fingers on the Keyboard

You Can’t Edit A Blank Page (I’ve tried. It’s Useless)
  • I may have a ‘hot mess’ of 50,000 words, but there is bound to be some diamonds in the rough once I tear it apart with editing.
Peer Pressure (AKA: Find Your People)
  • I joined several teams (SavvyAuthors NaNoWri Bootcamp and From the Heart Romance Writers (FTHRW)) who competed for the most words for the month. There’s nothing like a little competition to get me up and at the keyboard at the crack of dawn. The sprints, motivational quotes and team spirit helped as well.
Be A Role Model (Moms Can’t Be Quitters)
  • Besides my teams, for the last few years I’ve not competed in NaNoWri alone. For two years both my daughters joined in, but didn’t make it too far through the month (they were around 13), last year one of my daughters did NaNoWri with me but she didn’t hit the word count, but this year she did! When I was tempted to give it up I'd see her determinedly pushing through the word counts. When I showed her my winning certificate on the 29th, it pushed her enough to finish over 5,000 words in one day and make goal!

What I Learned From This Year

  • Prepare Before You Start: I don’t outline, but prior years when I wrote a brief summary of the story, or at least a list of plot points I ended up with a more coherent story—that still required heavy editing.
  • Don’t Be A “Yes” Girl: I knew from the start of the month that I’d overextended myself with personal, professional and writing obligations in addition to NaNoWri. But I was too stubborn to miss my favorite month.

Kind of Like My Christmas Tree

As the final days of NaNoWri wound down, the story hung heavy on my mind as we put up our Christmas decorations. Our tree isn’t
one of the ones that is color coordinated, or themed, it’s more of what I like to think of as a memory tree. I buy an ornament for my girls and husband each year to symbolize something from that year. 

As I watched the tree spin on the rotating stand, with it’s collection of ornaments that didn’t quite go together, but each spectacular on their own. I realized that’s kind of how my NaNoWri story turned out this year. 

Now to make those pieces mesh into a perfect whole.

My 2012 NaNoWri Winner!
My 2013 NaNoWri Winner!

Visit My Amazon Author Page for info on all my books.

Happy Holiday! Enjoy this complimentary gift of holiday hacks from my publisher, and the authors, of The Wild Rose Press.
Click Here.
Author Bio: Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four
seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line. Find Maureen on her websiteFacebookTwitter

Saturday, December 2, 2017

A Brief Zoraida Grey Bestiary

When I was a kid, my mom read to me all the time. My favorites were fairy tales. I loved fairy tales so much, that someone got me a large copy of Grimm’s fairy tales when I was about eight. 

Yep--the pure, unadulterated Grimm’s.  I’m not sure they knew what they were doing.

Aaaaand I was hooked. 

No more saccharine stories for me. Instead, I became immersed in tales of witches and evil fairies and girls who turned into swans and princes who, honestly, didn’t seem overly bright. Trackless forests and spooky bogs and deep caverns and dangerous mountainous trails and elves and goblins—What’s not to love?

Along the way, I discovered more myths and folktales—even local legends—about little people, strange woodland creatures, and sentient beasts who wanted nothing more than to spirit little children away. So there’s no mystery about why I put all these childhood acquaintances in my own stories.

Below, find a brief Zoraida Grey Bestiary, containing just a few of the things that go bump in the night I’ve used as inspiration in my Zoraida Grey Trilogy.

  • Goblin—A generic term for mischievous little people. Though they may look more like this.
  • via GIPHY

  • Often grotesque and sometimes malevolent, goblins may be anything from forest spirits to hobgoblins. Goblin is a generic term—usually a pejorative-- that encompasses many more specific types of little people such as: 
    •  Hobgoblin—a kind of little creature who attaches itself to a particular family or place—hob meaning hearth.
    • Bogles—May be a kind of goblin, though some of them don’t like the comparison. Bogles may be virtuous or ruthless—sometimes they punish the guilty, but they are also closely related to hobgoblins and do chores or guard the family’s interest
    • Bogeys—A spirit or creature who haunts a boggy or gloomy spot. They may lead travelers out of a sticky situation—or they may lead the unwary or the unvirtuous to their deaths.
    • Boggan or Bogan or Bauchan or Bocan—Various terms for a hobgoblin who attaches to a person or family but tends to be so difficult to handle and so ornery the recipient of a bogan’s loyalty may go insane as a result.
    • Brownies—definitely hobgoblins though they may attach themselves to a place instead of a clan. They do chores and may specialize in one chore like milking or churning butter. They enjoy a bit of cream and honey, but will be insulted if “paid” for their services. They consider themselves part of the clan they attach to.
    • Zoraida meets the Logan clan Brownies—or at least the three who survive. Centuries ago, they chose the wrong side in a family feud and are still paying the price for their betrayal.  They hate to be called Goblins though their heritage is questionable and their temperaments less than domestic.  
  •  Witch­­-- What exactly are witches anyway? In Zoraida Grey, they seem pretty normal—until you make one mad. The Logan’s heritage goes back to the Druids and their practice is a bit Wiccan with a tinge of Old World Bad Witch thrown in. They don’t worship any particular deity—certainly not Satan. Instead, they revere the natural world and many of them have a certain set of skills which they use as they see fit. Zoraida’s Granny taught Zoraida the old ways, and Zoraida’s ancestry on both her mother's and father’s sides makes it quite likely she has inherited Old World and New World magical tendencies. 

    via GIPHY
  •  Bodach--an old man who is used as a cautionary tale for children--"Be good or the bodach will get you", also can be a source of enchanted protection. Zoraida’s grand sire, Jock, may be a kind of bodach.  Even Jock doesn’t know what he is nor where he came from. He’s older than the Logans and remembers the history of Earth but not his own beginnings. He takes the form of a huge red-headed Scot. He lived amongst the Picts for some time and adopted their penchant for painting themselves blue and charging naked into battle.  He may have been cast out for some transgression and left on Earth to find either wisdom or death. Immense magical power makes him fearless, foolhardy, and arrogant.
  • Baibhan Sith—A female vampire who enjoys waylaying young men who wander in lonesome regions. Her favorite sport is seducing them before she tears them apart with her claws and laps their blood. One of these fearsome creatures lives in the caverns beneath Castle Logan. She fell in love with a Logan patriarch. When the man was killed by his own daughter, the Baibhan Sith waits centuries for revenge.
  •  Ghost—Some believe any creature who once lived has a spirit which may return after death as a ghost or shade. Castle Logan is infested with ghosts. The ghost of a burned witch, the mournful shade of a Spanish soldier who died in the oubliette, a couple of castle cats, and several others who show up at the oddest moments.
  • via GIPHY
  • Crystals—According to Zoraida’s granny, crystals are alive and talking if we know how to listen.
    • Smoky Quartz sings a healing song. Simply being in its presence restores health and well-being. The Logans’ connection to this stone may be what drew them to Scotland centuries ago. 
    •  Stone of Adamantine whispers of victory in battle and power over foes. No one knows its source, but it has a hypnotic effect on the Logan witches. Jock knows more about it than he wants to tell.   
    •  Quartz doorknobs—All through Castle Logan these doorknobs adorn the solid oak doors. Many a guest has been startled by ghastly faces in the depths of the stone. Legend has it anyone who stands against the witches of Castle Logan risks eternal imprisonment in the sparkling crystal doorknobs.

A number of different legends come into play as Zoraida travels to the Caribbean in Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen, and the Castle creatures are waiting for her when she returns to Scotland in Zoraida Grey and the Pictish Runes.

Do you have a favorite legendary creature? Tell us about it in comments.