Like many other authors have mentioned on the various author groups I'm in, I've been in kind of a writing slump. At first I was excited to have all of my time to myself back in mid-March when high schools went on-line, so no subs were needed. It gave me the time I needed to self-publish some of my orphaned "babies" who'd been abandoned when a publisher closed. Then I wrote and got a couple of new books published. Now, 38 weeks into the quasi lock-down, I'm overwhelmed by the unrelenting sameness of my days.
I've got at least three separate books in various stages in my laptop. But promoting is eating up a lot of my time. I've never done so much promotion since I first got published, 11 years ago! I haven't really noticed a sales bump--but then, lots of folks are out of work, so the few times I've run promotions that allowed free downloads saw the most amount of action. I totally understand! I'm on a tight budget now too.
But in participating in the recent TBR Love Romance Week, I won a few free ebooks myself! Woot! I've been reading for a couple of hours almost every night, and having new books to read is great! And as an author, I know how important it is to have reviews, both to encourage others to check out the books, but also to get those all-important algorithms to notice that my name is being mentioned more.
So I've started reviewing for the TBR site. Not only am I reviewing everything I read anyway, but this way I get more free books to read! I delete most of them after I finish the review. But the other benefit is hey, at least I'm writing something! Here's the link to my most recent review: thetbrpile.weebly.com/reviews/review-all-wrapped-up-anthology
And if you're an author and you'd like to trade books for reviews with me, let me know, either in the comments below, or via email--it's on the last page of my website, under Olio, along with my Busia's Polish recipes.
Coffeetime Romance is having a weekend event to celebrate the traditional start of holiday shopping. And this weekend, who doesn't want a deal? I'm featuring my second werewolf shifter novel, Worth the Wait. This book is not on sale now, but everyone likes buy-1-get-1-free, right? I'm offering you a coupon code for a free download of one of my other books. Buy this book over the weekend and send me an email telling me what name Saoirse and Diego give to their baby in the middle of the book. The coupon code will be good through Tuesday, Dec. 1st.
The free books choices are:
For the Love of His Life--the first book in the Minnesota Romances--Raul is an action-movie star at the top of his game. He's totally addicted to life in the fast lane. But an indie director wants him to star in his new movie--a role Raul isn't sure he can deliver. After bailing him out of jail, the director sends Raul up to Grand Marais, MN, in the pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area, hoping his favorite cousin Veronica, who taught him to love the outdoors, can do the same for the wayward actor. Can she? And when Raul slows down and dries out enough to hear his own thoughts, will he made a change in his life? Or will he continue to hurt everyone who cares about him?
Her Last Resort--the third book in the Minnesota Romances. Stella has retired from the CIA after 30 years. She's done with the business--but the business isn't done with her. Someone is sending newbies--untrained agents--after her, to kill her. She doesn't have immunity from murder charges anymore. She just wants to be left alone. She gets a call from her estranged daughter, famous movie star Kelly, who often stars with Raul in the indie director's movies. She asks Stella to spend two weeks with her at a resort up in Grand Marais. The resort is owned by Kelly's good friend Ivan, who tells few that he's a retired KGB agent. Stella has no way to know how many ways this brief respite will change her life.
Prophecy of the Mayan Undead--Vampire saga involving Keesha, a brilliant neurobiologist determined to find the key to intelligence in the human mind. And Yuri, a centuries old vampire who is initially interested in her mind, but becomes entranced by the woman possessing such intelligence. When she becomes a target for an unknown reason, Yuri has to make a decision--does he let her die, or change her into what he is? And can she adapt to his world?
Here is the second chapter in Worth the Wait; Enjoy!
The following Sunday, Grant drove down into Maine from his home in Canada. He'd found someone to take over his apartment completely furnished, and he'd packed his few remaining belongings into his small truck and headed across the border to a new life.
At the compound's gate, he stopped and waited while the security people checked with their leader to be sure he was allowed to enter. The older woman with grey hair nodded to indicate the gate should be opened.
"Welcome to the pack, Mr. Knutsen," she said to him with a smile.
He grinned back. "Never been a part of one before. There's a first time for everything, I guess."
He had no trouble finding the main mansion, despite the many smaller roads that led off to the neighborhoods where many of the pack members lived. He'd been the one driving the last time they had come down, when the family had been asked to hunt and kill the two pack members who had betrayed the trust of the leader. That was when he'd seen the large black she-wolf that had so intrigued him. He had no idea who she was, but he'd been close enough to her to realize simultaneously that she was female, and that he wanted to be her mate. The details still needed to be worked on. But he was a researcher, so details were his specialty.
We need to find her, his wolf spoke softly in his mind.
He nodded. I know. We will. We'll be here for some time, so there's no hurry.
We will fight for her, if we must. And we will win.
He grinned at his alter-ego's confidence. He pulled up in front of the main stairs that led to the patio in the front of the house. To his left was the field where they'd begun their hunt. The mansion was an imposing edifice, strong and sturdy, to survive the brutal Maine winters, yet now covered with the glow of the early evening summer sun.
He was expected, since he'd texted from the front gate. So he wasn't surprised to see Nathan, the man he'd spoken to the last time he was here, come down the stairs to greet him.
"Hi, Grant. Do you want me to park your truck for you?"
He shook his head. "Nah. But if you ride in it with me, you can tell me where a new pack member is supposed to park. I don't plan on needing to go into town for a while, and there must be a lot of some kind, where vehicles are kept until they're needed."
Nathan opened the passenger door and got into the truck.
"It's further away than the visitor lot you parked in the last time. It's behind the garage, actually, and that's quite a ways behind the mansion. So just keep heading the direction you're going, and I'll tell you when to turn."
They chatted about the weather, the current status of their favorite teams in the World Cup standings, and other inconsequential things as he parked the truck. He pulled his two knapsacks out of the back of the truck.
"That's all you have?"
"Why? Will I need more? Mom said I'd have a furnished apartment."
Nathan shook his head. "You won't need furniture. But I'm not sure I could reduce my worldly belongings to just two small packs."
He shrugged. "I've got my laptop, some clothes, and a few books. What else does a man need?"
Nathan grinned. "I guess. We'll supply you with Academy polos, so that will take care of some of your clothing needs. And you're right, the apartment is furnished. Let's go into the back entrance to the dining room. Are you hungry? I think the buffet is still open."
"I could eat," he said, following the tall, thin but wiry blond man up the back stairs.
There were few people left in the dining room, and the buffet was in the process of being emptied. Nathan left Grant sitting at a table and went into the kitchen to tell the chef, Janine Johnson, widow of the late pack leader, that he'd arrived.
He rejoined Grant, telling him, "She said she'd be right out."
Ten minutes later, a short, but elegant black woman emerged with a covered tray. She had an apron on over her stylish clothing, and her medium-length graying hair was held back by a headband. She smiled at Grant when he rose to greet her with a bow.
"My lady," he began, "you're even more beautiful than the last time I saw you."
"That's because this is a happier occasion," she said. "I put some of the food under warming lights, when Diego told me you were driving down today."
She removed the cover of the tray she'd set down in front of him, and Grant inhaled appreciatively.
"Smells great! I stopped along the way a couple of times, but not for an actual meal."
"Dig in, and enjoy," Janine said as she sat down, taking one of the cups of coffee that Nathan had returned to their table holding.
As he ate, Grant glanced around at the people who were finishing up their dinner, but none of them sparked any recognition in him. Janine asked after his mother before questioning him about his siblings. Janine had known them all since they were children, and she enjoyed hearing about the jobs he and his siblings had, as well as their antics involving family dynamics and romances.
When he had cleared off the plates, Grant pushed himself back with a satisfied sigh. "If this is the kind of food I can look forward to, I'm even more determined to make myself a place here in your pack."
A quick shadow flitted across Janine's face. "Well, John isn't sure how long he's going to be away, so hopefully you aren't on a deadline as to when you need to get back."
He shook his head. "Nope. Footloose and fancy-free, that's me. I'm here for as long as you need me to be. In fact, I'm honored to be welcomed as a part of your pack."
Nathan got a text, which he read, then he looked up.
"Diego asks that you and I join him in ten minutes, in one of the smaller conference rooms. He wants to formally introduce you to the other ranking members. John will be there also."
Janine's smile was sad. "He's planning on leaving tomorrow. He's already out of his apartment, and sleeping on the sofa in my place. He's anxious to start the next chapter in his life, as he says."
Nathan patted her hand, resting on the table.
"He'll be fine. He's a grown man."
"I know. It's just that I'm a mother, and Jennifer already lives in Portland. Boston is so far away. And now I'll only have one of my children still living in the compound."
"But Jerene is the one with the grandchildren, right? So you'll still have them to fuss over."
She lightly punched his shoulder as she rose. "I don't fuss. I take care of. And I feed. Now you better show our new member to his quarters so he can stash his stuff. Then you need to get to that meeting with Diego."
Grant tried to insist that he be allowed to carry the empty tray into the kitchen, but Janine resisted his offer. "No. It's even lighter now than when it was carrying food. You two run along. You don't want to be late for your first meeting with your new pack leader."
* * * *
Grant was pleasantly surprised at the size of the apartment he was shown to. It had a moderately-sized sitting area, with a dining room table in front of a counter that had a sink, a microwave, and a medium-sized fridge. Beyond that was a spacious bedroom with a queen-sized bed. There was a balcony accessible from the bedroom, with chairs and a small table, for sitting out to enjoy the fresh air. And the bathroom had a large shower stall, with multiple shower heads for maximum water exposure. "This is much nicer than any apartment I've ever been able to afford," he remarked to Nathan, as he tossed his packs onto a table in the bedroom.
Nathan handed him the key. "There are a few people who can get in, if they want to. There is a maid--I think Sharon takes care of this area. She will clean as often, or as infrequently, as you choose. Just let her know. And of course, Diego has a master key that gets him into anywhere in the building."
Grant nodded. "I'd expect as much. I don't have anything to hide, so that all sounds fine with me."
Nathan glanced down at his watch. "We'd better get moving. I think we're late already. But Diego knows that we were in the dining room before, and you hadn't seen your place yet. I'm sure it will be fine."
They eschewed the elevator for the stairs, and both took them two at a time, to get down to the main floor. Nathan led them briskly along a long hallway, until he stopped at a closed door and opened it, waving for Grant to go in first.
John, seated close to the door, rose from his chair to hold out his hand to Grant.
"Hello, again. And I have to thank you for being willing to help out this way, especially on such short notice."
Grant had clasped his hand and was smiling at him, in the middle of making a reply, when his nostrils flared.
The smile froze on his face as a tall, dark-skinned Black woman rose from the chair behind where John was standing, and she also extended her hand in greeting.
His brain went into overdrive. She's almost as tall as me. She's gotta be damn close to six feet. Her voluptuous curves don't stop! He had begun sweating, so he made himself look at her face instead. Her hair was cut very short, and she wore huge gold hoop earrings that glinted when she moved. But it was her face that transfixed Grant. Her dark eyes reflected intelligence, her dimples as she smiled suggested good humor, and her full lips made his mouth water. He wanted to take her into his arms to kiss them, and proclaim his undying love for her immediately. He knew he couldn't, but his wolf was insistent.
It's her! She's ours! Let her know she has met her mate.
He was rooted to the spot, at the mercy of warring factions in his head. He was still smiling, but realized that he hadn't stopped shaking John's hand. He forced his body to obey him, and turned to shake the woman's hand. That was a big mistake. Her skin felt like warm silk. Just touching her hand rendered him even more speechless. His hormones were racing, his cock had hardened to a rock, his heart was pounding, and he was having trouble breathing.
Take her now!
"No!" he croaked out. He realized, horrified, that he'd spoken aloud when he was met by puzzled stares from everyone in the room.
He spoke sternly to his wolf. I have to get control, now! Be quiet!
Aloud, he grinned apologetically, and forced himself to let go of the hand he wanted to get onto his knees and beg to hold forever. "Um, you know that uneasy feeling, when your wolf is talking to you, and you realize you've just answered out loud?"
That made everyone in the room smile. Everyone except the pack leader's wife, nodded in recognition.
"Oh yeah, that happens more than I like to admit," John said.
Grant's feet finally agreed to do as they were told, and he moved further into the room, to collapse onto an empty chair, next to where John had been sitting, and across the table from the beautiful woman.
Nathan had moved into the room also, and sat next to the woman.
Grant's wolf snarled a challenge, but he ignored it. He forced himself to look away from her.
"Well, now that we're all here, let's be sure that you remember everyone," Diego said with a smile. "I'm Diego, but then you know that, since you were just here recently. Unfortunately, that day was such a drain on me that I don't remember much of what happened. I'm told I was all but carried back upstairs, and I collapsed for a couple of days."
Grant leaned forward to speak earnestly. "But you did something that I'd never seen done. You partially shifted, and were able to control not only your own wolf, but the wolves of two others. And they were both unwilling to obey you. The sheer force of your will made them both shift. That took an enormous amount of power. And to think that you did that while still suffering from the injuries of a leader's challenge? I'm honored to be asked to serve such a leader, for as long as I'm needed."
Diego inclined his head in acknowledgement. "I'm grateful. A change in pack leadership always creates a period of unrest. Ours was made worse by a second challenge from the same man. Then we had to mete out pack justice, which was unpleasant. We are very thankful for the services your family provided to help us. Very few remember a time when Joe had to do the same thing, and your parents came down to do him that favor. But everyone remembers that his actions led to fifty years of steady leadership, with peace and quiet. We're all hoping for that again."
"You deserve it," Grant said earnestly. "And I'm glad to do my part to help."
Diego took the hand of the red-haired woman sitting next to him.
"You might not remember my wife, since I barely had time to introduce her at your last visit. Grant Knutsen, may I present my wife, and fifth-in-command, Saoirse McColl Vargas."
Grant rose up to make a small bow to her, and Saoirse grinned. "I'm pleased to officially meet you, Grant. And very grateful that you're willing to join the pack to help us. Your family seems to do that a lot."
"Nathan told me that with your degree in biological research, you're trying to isolate any substance in our bodies that might lead to an early indicator that there is a wolf about to present itself, before it actually does?"
Saoirse looked surprised. "Yes, I've been working on that for a while. My more senior students have been helping. I'm kind of stuck right now. Is your background in biology?"
He nodded. "Yeah. I've got a masters in research, and I've spent the last few years running a lab up in Montreal. But I had already given them my notice when Mom got the call about you needing someone to be a substitute in security down here for a while. I'm only too happy to help you in your quest to determine how to predict which kids will ultimately find out they're not alone in their own head and body, before the wolf makes itself known by appearing."
Her smile was genuine and warm. "Thanks." She turned to her husband. "Diego, I approve."
The pack leader grinned. "I'm so relieved, cara mia. If you didn't like him, I'd have a lot more phone calls to make."
She stuck out her tongue at him.
He ignored that disrespect, to continue his introductions. "John Johnson is my second-in-command, and he's the one who is taking leave for an unspecified length of time."
"We've known each other since we were kids, Diego," John reminded him, turning to speak directly to Grant. "See, the thing is, I haven't lived on my own since college. It's been a while, and I'm kind of wondering if I'll be able to handle things away from the pack. Only one way to find out, right?"
"I'm willing to stay as long as the pack needs me to, so it's cool," Grant replied. "I had to move out of my mom's house years ago, before I could feel like a real adult. And moving down here is the furthest I've ever lived away from my family."
Diego continued. "My third-in-command is Monique Martin, who will now be moving up to become my second."
Grant looked over to realize that Monique was watching him intently, as if she was studying him and his reactions. Her smile when he nodded at her was only on her lips. Her eyes were steady.
She doesn't miss much. I wonder if she suspects what my problem was, he thought with a start.
No matter. She will belong to us, his wolf drawled lazily in his mind, supremely confident in the outcome.
"And you know Nathaniel Taylor, our fourth-in-command, who will now move up to third. That means that you, Grant, will become our fourth."
"I'm just curious," Grant began, but Diego waved a hand to cut him off.
"Why we didn't just promote someone from within? I thought about it, but ultimately decided not to do it. There have just been too many changes recently. No one wants to cause any more unrest by moving around or changing positions. I think we all just want things to settle down and get back to normal. We have to do that before the students return, in a month or so. Parents trust us to provide a stable environment for their kids. We are, first and foremost, a school. Monique is also our principal."
Monique cleared her throat. "We need to talk soon about some of the inquiry letters I've received."
Diego replied, "Tomorrow morning, at nine?"
Diego looked around, smiling. "Then I think we've got everything taken care of--at least for now. This meeting is adjourned."
When he got up, everyone else did also. He made his way around the table, holding his right arm out to John for a handshake. They shook hands, then moved closer for a hug.
"Take care, old friend," Diego said. "It's scary and exciting out there, all at the same time."
John grinned. "But that's what I'm looking forward to discovering for myself. And to finding out what my place is, and where I need to be."
Saoirse had moved closer to him also, and she grabbed him for a long hug. "Say hi to Freddie for me," she said quietly, obviously forgetting that everyone else in the room had the enhanced hearing of wolves.
Nathan shook his hand, as did Monique. Finally he turned to Grant for one last handshake.
"Good luck," Grant told him. "I hope you find what you're looking for."
John looked startled, but quickly recovered his composure. "I hope so too," he answered.
As they all filed out into the hall, John addressed everyone in general. "Anyone want to join me for a run in the moonlight?"
There was a general murmur of agreement.
Saoirse cleared her throat. "Um, I'll pass. I can't keep up with you guys, when you're running on four paws, and all I have is two legs."
Diego pulled her close, kissing her lips. "I'll see you later, carida."
"I'll try to wait up for you. But if not, you can always wake me, in that special way you do, when you come back in," she said with a saucy wink. Then she turned and strolled down the hall back to the stairs that Grant and Nathan had come down.
As they walked down the hall, Grant remarked to Diego, "I noticed you're not wearing a splint on your left arm anymore. Has it healed enough for you to run as a wolf?"
"Not for very long. Each time I shift back and forth, it repairs more damage. Rachel, our doctor, thinks it might be another few weeks before all of the bone is totally healed. It's still a lame leg, for now. But I don't want to miss the opportunity to bay at the moon in celebration of our newest pack member. And to call out for good fortune for our departing John. I'll go out to the clearing where we usually meet each other, before a longer run. Then I'll head back inside while the others show you our favorite spots. I know you've run here before, but this will be your first time as a resident. I hope you enjoy your time here."
Grant glanced at the back of the tall woman in front of him. "Oh, I'm sure I will," he replied.
When they all reached the area just inside the trees, where everyone left their clothing before they shifted, Grant tried not to make it obvious that he was watching Monique. He'd already stripped when he glanced over and almost swallowed his own tongue.
Oh my God! In clothing, Monique's an attractive woman. Naked, she's a goddess! Look at that regal bearing. Her nudity is proud, with no self-consciousness at all. And she doesn't seem to be aware that being this close to her, with both of us unclothed, is the biggest strain that I've ever had to fight in my life! He moaned softly. I've never shifted with such a huge hard-on! Hopefully the twilight makes it, if not invisible, at least harder to see.
We will take her tonight! His wolf insisted.
No! We will not! We need to be patient. She's a complex woman. Her wolf might agree, but we need her to agree also. You have to give me the time I need to convince the human woman, that I'm her human mate.
His wolf was already starting to take over their body. Grant dropped to the ground onto all fours, as everyone else was doing. He grimaced with the pain of his bones remaking themselves into a wolf's skeletal structure. He could feel his organs shifting, and his face stretched into an elongated snout, as his humanity faded. Once he was shifted, he could feel his wolf-cock pushing its way out of the sheath. He tried to will it back into submission.
If you take too long, I'll take her as a wolf, and leave you humans to work things out later.
Then there was no longer any need for words, as the sheer pleasure of being animals out racing in the moonlight took over. They all enjoyed feeling the grass under their paws, smelling all of the delightful odors of the forest on a warm summer evening, which enticed everyone to forget anything else. They howled out their pleasure and began to run.
Copyright 2020, Fiona McGier
This is the second book in the Reyes Family Romances series. Patti, the best friend in the first book, is the chef in the party-planning business she runs with Tegan, the paperwork gal and heroine from the first book. In this one, Tegan's soon-to-be-husband, Alexander Reyes, invests in Patti's cooking by backing her to open a small diner that specializes in Mexican cooking. She's overwhelmed at the idea of being the Maid of Honor at their wedding, as well as the caterer, so she heeds Alexander's advice and advertises for a cook to help her out. None of the applicants know Mexican cooking--until a large, bald, bearded, multi-tattooed biker walks in. J.T. has spent his life on the road, but worked a lot in the southwest as a cook. He knows how to make authentic Mexican foods, that will satisfy even Alexander's relatives. So despite her worries about whether or not she will be able to keep her hands off of her employee, Patti hires him.
Personally, I want a bumper sticker for my truck that says, "I brake for Mexican restaurants. Because I do. Give me a glass of red sangria and some taco chips with salsa, and I'll happily study the menu while I sample the chips. But I don't have much experience with cooking my favorites at home. I love chilli rellenos, but the recipe I found was challenging, to say the least. I love posole, the very hot Mexican pork shoulder soup, but it was a lot of work--and I had to eat it all myself--husband said it was too hot for him. I called him a gringo.
Many of the foods that are in this book are ones that I've enjoyed in restaurants, but have not had the courage to try to create at home. To let her try his cooking, J.T. makes sopes with chilli, tortas de papas, and coconut flan. For the wedding, they serve chilli rellenos, tamales, and other tapas. Then later in the book, J.T. makes Guatemalan black beans with rice, and corn relish with tomatoes and peppers. For dessert, he creates a flourless chocolate cake with raspberry and almond compote. (Note: this I have made and it was delicious!) Needless to say, I was hungry quite often while I wrote this book.
In the end of the book, J.T., who is a Roma (the real name for people known as gypsies), whose grandparents lived for a while in and near Poland, makes golabki for Patti and her kids. Since my mom learned to make this from her mom (my Busia, who lived in Chicago for over 50 years, yet never learned any English), this I do know how to make. When I asked Mom for the recipe, she laughed and said there wasn't one. So I had to watch her make it, and write down every step. I had to do the same thing with her capoosta recipe--Polish-style sauerkraut, that you add bacon, cabasa (smoked Polish sausage), peas, mushrooms, and onions to, making a complete low-carb meal. Mom's been gone ten years a week from now, so when I miss her, I make one of her recipes, and I feel her smiling, sitting next to me while I enjoy eating it.
If anyone wants my 2 Polish recipes, I put them on the last page of my website--under Olio. If anyone has any good Mexican recipes that even a newbie can make, please share them with me.
And if you want to try some new pie recipes, note the tab above that says Pies, which has my never-fail-pie crust recipe, as well as some of my family's favorite pies. In For the Love of His Life, Veronica bakes pies all through the book. Just in case you want to use pie to woo your own Raul (the hero's name), I supplied the recipes.
To find out what recipes from fiction that other authors want to try, hop along on the Wednesday Blogging Challenge by clicking here:
I won this book years ago, for making a comment on a blog. I don't even remember which blog or what the topic was. But I put it on my kindle and forgot about it--along with quite a few other books I either downloaded for free, paid for, or won. Being unemployed, not by choice (no subs needed when high schools are all on-line)--and with the library closed--I decided to catch up on my reading.
This was the first one I read because I'm a sucker for hot vampire romance. And the characters in this book grabbed my attention from the start. This is a fun read! Carina, the heroine, is independent to a fault, and snarky as only the young, gorgeous and wealthy can be. Her memory was blocked by some of her relatives years ago, because by being born, she's the embodiment of a prophecy that the vampire world has been waiting on for a very long time. Some of her relatives are vampires. She remembers them, once her memories are reinstated after she turns 25, as loving, wonderful people to her when she was a child.
But now she has to grow up very quickly--luckily she has a retinue of friends who surround her, and who, fortunately, bring their own paranormal gifts to her table. Because her relatives are not very forthcoming about the paranormal politics she's in the middle of, to her peril. They try to protect her, but by not telling her what she should fear, she often stumbles into danger. Luckily she's fallen hard for a "youngling"--a new-ish vampire who is drop-dead (LOL) sexy, and who craves her as much as she craves him. They don't get to do more than have some steamy make-out sessions in this book, but the heat is definitely on when they're in the room together!
Since I've been burned by trilogies where the second book is just a place-keeper for the third, and having limited funds (see unemployed, above) I only bought the third book.
From the start, the author included information about what had happened in the second book, so I was never at a loss. And once again, this book grabbed my attention from the start. I devoured it in one sitting--it was that good! You know those tee-shirts that say things like, "I meant to go to bed early tonight--then I started reading." Yup, that's me, more often than I care to admit. Suffice it to say that this was an action-packed (both real action, and between-the-sheets action--finally!) conclusion to the Tranquilli Bloodline Series. I love this book!
So what's my advice to authors? Recently I was complaining to my daughter about running a special where the first book in my 4 book Minnesota Romances series was free, with the rest of them discounted--yet none of the other ones were being purchased--while the free one was downloaded quite a few times.
She asked, "How much did you pay for the first book in this vampire series that you've been raving to me about?"
"When did you get it?"
"I don't know--many years ago--it was published in 2013."
"And you just read it this year, right? What did you do right after you finished it?"
"Um--I went on-line to find out if the other books had been written--then I paid full-price for the third one, which was just published in 2019."
"I rest my case, Mom. Free books work--maybe not as quickly as you want them to, but they do."
So there's my advice. It still seems counter-intuitive to me. But from the mouth of babes, her advice does make sense--and ironically, it's me who proved it, not her.
What books, short stories, on-line articles or blog posts they've read, will other authors be recommending? Hop along and see!
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Anne Stenhouse http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-282
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobincourtright.com
I just found out about a new romance awards site that promises the final round will end and the winners will be announced in March. But right now starts the initial phase. So head on over and put in the titles and authors of romance books you've been enjoying this year. You can skip categories that you don't read--I skipped Historical and YA. But nominate your favorites and let the authors know you love their books!
Do you remember the old TV show, The Wild West, starring Robert Conrad? Yup, early steampunk.
What a lush, gorgeous cover, right? I confess I've read very few steampunk books, but I do enjoy the alternate view of the past, enhanced with technology they really didn't have.
Ms. Sarai describes this book as: "Steampunk Erotica, MF, MM, MFM, FF, etcetera…" So the reader knows from the start that there will be a whole lot of sexing going on--and enough variety to satisfy every taste.
Why did Ms Sarai write this book? "I've been in love with this strange meld of science fiction and Victoriana for as long as I can remember – long before steam punk even had a name...I've written a number of steam punk short stories for anthologies, as well as a full length novel, Rajasthani Moon. [Note: One of my favorite books by her!] All these tales, though, were set in Asia rather than in the British Isles. I think I was afraid I’d make errors my UK readers would notice if I tried setting a story in Queen Victoria’s home country. In my latest steam punk release, The Pornographer’s Apprentice, I finally bit the bullet and wrote an English steam punk novel. I had a lot of help with details from my critique group at the Erotica Readers & Writers Association, but of course I take responsibility for any residual mistakes. I just hope you’ll find the story so exciting, you won’t notice them!
Blurb: She wants to build sex toys... if they'll let her. In prudish, patriarchal Victorian England, nineteen year old prodigy Gillian Smith finds a secret society dedicated to the erotic arts. She’ll need both her intellect and her physical charms to earn the permanent position she craves.
If you like steam punk erotica with a kinky feminist bent, you'll love The Pornographer's Apprentice.
To her surprise, he swept her off the sofa, into his arms, and carried her toward her chamber.
Gillian’s heart beat faster. She had not expected such decisive physicality from the lanky, bookish apprentice.
Archie followed close behind, carrying their glasses and a second bottle of wine. Ian settled her gently on the bed, then completed the task of undressing her. Archie distributed refilled goblets. He raised his high. The others followed suit.
“To the successful conclusion of our mission,” Gillian toasted.
“To daring new experiences,” Ian responded with a knowing smile.
“To Jill,” cried Archie. “Our erotic inspiration.”
Gillian’s cheeks grew warm. She was still not used to being praised for her licentious nature. “To the Guild,” she murmured, “and the freedom to follow our desires.”
First buy link: www.amazon.com/Pornographers-Apprentice-Toymakers-Guild-Book-ebook/dp/B08MWMZZGP/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+pornographer%27s+apprentice+by+Lisabet+sarai&qid=1605564054&sr=8-1
Want to learn more about this book and her many other steamy reads?
You’ll find information and excerpts from all Lisabet’s books on her website (http://www.lisabetsarai.com/books.html), along with more than fifty free stories and lots more. At her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com), she shares her philosophy and her news and hosts lots of other great authors. She’s also on Goodreads, Pinterest, and Twitter. Join her VIP email list here: https://btn.ymlp.com/xgjjhmhugmgh
Read my review at: www.goodreads.com/book/show/55857159-the-pornographer-s-apprentice?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=7eAU0AD3NI&rank=1
For my virgin (ahem) entry into the Steam Blog Hop, I thought I'd start out with the Alexandra, the biker queen, who meets Dmitri, the ex-KGB agent who's been sent to tell her to stay away from the famous actor she threatened in the first Minnesota Romance, For the Love of His Life.
She's a businesswoman by day, having been trained by her father to take over his marketing firm once he retired. She plays hardball and usually wins. In her spare time, she "relaxes" by riding with the biker gang she personally recruited.
Dmitri is surprised to learn that the red-headed biker queen is also a businesswoman. And after tracking her down, he's intrigued by her. He's always had a "thing" for redheads.
In this excerpt, Dmitri and Alexandra have returned from a dinner at her father's country club. They're both very dressed up.
Immediately after she locked the door, Alexandra turned to Dmitri and grabbed at the huge bulge tenting out the pleats in the front of his trousers. "Fuck me now!" She hissed at him.
A small smile played on the corners of his mouth as he shook his head slowly. "No. That's now how I want to play this out tonight."
"What?" Outrage made her voice higher than its usual low timbre.
"Tonight I was a gentleman in a very exclusive club. I was introduced to the most beautiful woman I've ever met, who allowed me to press myself against her as we danced. She lit a fire inside of my soul that demands satisfaction."
"Yes." Alexandra rubbed herself against the immovable wall of man in front of her. "Satisfaction--I like the sound of that."
He put both of his hands over hers, where she was busily undoing the knot of his tie.
"Patience, Sashka. Tonight I'm not up for simple fucking. I want to make love with the fiery redhead who has captivated my very soul. I want to demonstrate to her how much she has moved this cold, dark, dour Russian man to want to bask in her sunlight. I want her to feel cherished, to let her know how precious she is to me. And making that kind of love takes time."
Alexandra sighed dramatically. "Is this going to take so long I should get myself a drink, so I have something to do while I'm waiting for you to finally plow your way into me?"
The corners of his lips rose as he shook his head, covering her lips with a finger to silence her. "Tonight I plan to worship at the altar of your beauty. I hid a bottle of French Champagne in your fridge yesterday. I'll get it, along with two glasses. Then I'll follow you into the bedroom and seduce you as a gentleman does a lady."
Alexandra rolled her eyes. "Fine. As long as I eventually get laid."
She turned and headed toward the bedroom, with him following right behind her until he turned into the kitchen to grab the supplies.
* * * *
When he strode into the bedroom a few minutes later, carrying the bottle and two crystal flutes, he was amused to see that Alexandra had posed herself on the bed, with one leg bent, the other straight out, providing him with an uninterrupted view of her lack of panties.
She smiled at him as he put the glasses onto the table next to the bed, and began to loosen the cork from the bottle. "Are you sure you want to take your time, mister?" She purred. "I'm already dripping hot for you. Why not take the edge off quickly, then we can take things slower after that?"
He poured the bubbling liquid into the two glasses and handed one to her as he shook his head. "No, my dear. This is too perfect of an opportunity to resist. We both wear many faces, as I've said before. Tonight is for you to be a lady being seduced by a gentleman. Especially one you didn't expect to find at the club, where you are usually bored with the selection of men." Dmitri sat on the bed next to her and lit the candle next to the bottle, before he turned off the lamp, so that the room was softly illuminated only by the tiny flame. He pulled off his tie and loosened the top buttons of his shirt, then he held out his glass and indicated she should clink her glass with his. "A toast to the most beautiful woman I have ever had the honor to dance with."
Alexandra took a sip and grinned. "Wow! I've had cheap bubbly and expensive Champagne. This tastes really expensive."
He nodded. "It is. Nothing is too much to show you what I think of you."
He spent some time appreciating the view as Alexandra arched her back and stretched sinuously, posing for him, each time inching closer to him.
Dmitri inclined his head towards her feet. "Your feet must be aching in those strappy stiletto heels. I wondered why you were almost taller than me while we were dancing. What are they? Three--four inches?"
"Three and a half. And yes, my feet are killing me!"
"Then why wear them?"
She had moved slowly up to the headboard where Dmitri was leaning back against it, admiring the view. She stretched out one leg and the dress draped back along her thighs, showing him the garters that he already knew would be there, along with a glimpse of the expanse of very white skin that was her upper thighs.
Dmitri sucked in a breath as he wrestled control away from his rigid cock.
Trying to force his hand, Alexandra casually let one hand move up his thigh. He suddenly pushed himself up to stand, then moved to the end of the bed, to sit closer to her feet.
As her face set into a pout, she answered him. "Why? So it will make my legs look sexy--duh! Why do I wear garters when they sometimes dig into my thighs? Same reason."
"And you are so right, Sashka," Dmitri murmured softly, as he removed one of her shoes, tossing it to the floor, before he began to rub her foot. His fingers massaged her arches, then moved up to the front pad of her foot, then onto her toes, making her giggle. Then he moved back to the arch and concentrated on upwards movements that made her moan with pleasure.
"I am?" She said in a dreamy voice. "That feels so good! The only way I ever get foot rubs is when I pay for a pedicure. And that's over too quickly. You're taking your time and rubbing right where it hurts--aaah. Don't stop."
He continued to pamper her foot, slowly beginning to include her ankle and calf in the deep-muscle massage. "Yes," he continued in a low tone. "Your legs were the first things that made me realize I wouldn't be able to hurt you to get you to behave. They convinced me that I would have to use more--ah--gently persuasive methods with you. And that would have to involve getting you naked as soon as possible, so I could plunge my cock into you repeatedly until I'd had my fill. Which hasn't happened yet, by the way. It might not ever happen. Not when you show off your legs with garters that end in the creamy white thighs of a natural redhead. I can't resist you."
Dmitri bent his head to gently kiss her knee as he undid the garters on that leg and rolled the stocking down to toss it aside to join her already discarded shoe. He traced a path with his tongue from her knee up the front of her thigh, then moved to the inside of her thigh and continued to kiss his way up. He inhaled deeply once he was near the furry juncture between her legs, and smiled at her as she looked down, regarding him from between half-closed eyelids.
"You are beautiful to look at. Your smell is irresistible. And your taste?" He shuddered, making it obvious that he was having difficulty keeping himself under control.
"Then don't wait." Alexandra held out her arms in an invitation.
Dmitri shook his head. "No," he said firmly. "You have another foot that needs my tender loving care." He moved back down to the foot of the bed again, removing her other shoe, to repeat the massage that had given her such exquisite relief on the first foot.
Alexandra sighed with pleasure.
"Yes," Dmitri continued. "I've always had a thing for redheads. And for women with gorgeous legs. Combine those two and I'm in deep trouble."
Alexandra opened her eyes to watch him intently as he moved her up other leg.
"So it was my legs you noticed first? Not my enormous tits? How? My girls are the first part of me that enters a room. I was self-conscious about them for years, until I realized just how easily I could get a man to do anything I wanted him to, if he thought I would let him grope them."
Dmitri was already undoing the garters and kissing her second knee as he pulled the second stocking down. "Not me. I mean, I like tits. I'm a man. The nipples are the best part, and yours are almost more than a mouthful. They're also responsive as hell." He bent his head lower and inhaled again, this time pushing her dress up to her belly, so he could trace with both hands a path along her hips, while his thumbs massaged her inner thighs. He undid her garter belt, and it joined the other discarded clothing on the floor. He gently nipped at the tender skin at the crease of her upper thigh, and her hips pushed forward as she jumped in surprise.
* * * *
He looked up at her and smiled, passion darkening his eyes so much they appeared to be a solid black, making him appear dangerous and inhuman. He slowly licked his way up to her outer lips and sucked both of them into his mouth, his tongue leaving a moist trail to join with the fluids her excitement was producing for him. With a quick flick of his tongue, he tapped at her clit and her quick intake of breath was let out with a moan. He got down to serious business, with licking and sucking that had her clutching the bedspread with both hands, and having many quick-yet-noisy orgasms, that let him know how much she appreciated his efforts. As her hips rose up from the bed, he slid both hands under her butt cheeks to hold her up, to allow him better access to the inner lips that were actually fluttering with the force of her spasms.
After what seemed like hours to her, he gently tapped her thighs. "Time for you to turn over so I can give you a back massage."
With great difficulty she opened her eyes to stare at him, blinking as she had trouble focusing. "What? You're leaving me hanging like this?"
His lips twitched as he rose from the bed. "No. I need to use the bathroom. When I return, I want to continue to pamper you. I'll be back in a minute. Drink some more Champagne."
Fuck that man! He's driving me crazy! Alexandra forced her body to respond to commands as she sat up and unhooked her bra, tossing it onto the floor to join her other discarded items. She looked down approvingly, to see that the soft fabric covering her breasts accentuated her nipples, the peaks hardened even more by the feel of the silk as it moved against them. She reached over to pick up the bottle and poured more Champagne into both of the glasses. She took a few sips from her glass then lay back, one hand idly moving down to stroke herself as she waited. She was just shuddering through an orgasm when he came back into the room and grinned at what he saw.
"That's my girl. Never enough orgasms for you? Don't worry, we're far from done here."
For the other blog entries, follow the hop:
So the prompt for this week is: Favorite songs or musicians?
Well, funny you should ask! I just read a list in the paper of all of the groups that are making it into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame this year--in a virtual ceremony, of course. And my favorite is on the list--finally!
Flash back to 1994. I had just had our 4th child the previous year. I took every opportunity my husband gave me, to sneak out to drive--well-- anywhere, to get a bit of peace and quiet. I came home and was sitting in the driveway, dancing in my seat, as he watched me from the window. When I got in the house he asked me, "What were you listening to?" I told him I didn't know the band, but the song's chorus was, "You bring me closer to God." My husband's eyebrows raised. "You're not getting religion on me, are you?" I laughed. "You've obviously never heard it." When I learned the band's name, I had to run out and buy the CD, The Downward Spiral. The song was Closer and the band is Nine Inch Nails.
From then on, I was a huge NIN fan! The band is fronted by Trent Reznor, with various other musicians playing with him. He doesn't tour very often. But my husband and I, along with two of our sons, saw him in concert a few years ago at one of the huge outdoor theaters in the Chicago-land area, and his warm-up band was Soundgarden. I'm so glad I got to see Chris Cornell before his untimely demise. What a voice he had, with such passion. But NIN is what we were there to see, and we were all on our feet dancing by the end of the first song!
Then last year, my third son, who had gone with us that other time, told me that Trent was coming to play an intimate show at a small music palace near the lakefront downtown. He played at the Aragon, which I didn't realize had no seats--so it was essentially, a huge mosh pit. My son asked me if I wanted to go with him, because one of the 3 shows was on his actual birthday. "Hells yeah!" The tickets were very expensive, so he only got two tickets, which I paid him back for. Then he had to ask his boss at his job he'd only been at a few months, if he could have the day off to go to the NIN show downtown--to be sure that traffic wouldn't make us late for the show. His boss just looked at him. He explained that it was his birthday. The boss stared. He said, "I'm going with my mom." The boss nodded and approved his day off.
We got there so early that there were only a few people in-between us and the stage. We milled about, sipping water, until the show started. There were two warm-up bands. But when Trent Reznor stepped onto the stage everyone pushed forward, until we could almost touch him. Wow! My son, who is much taller than me, told me I wasn't the only person with gray hair in the crowd--but maybe the only female in the crowd with gray hair. I didn't care! I was too busy fan-girl-ing all over the place. We both danced all of the way through the FANTASTIC show! We both bought tee shirts with the date on the back, to commemorate our great time, and to cement a memory that only he and I share.
Yes, some of our other kids like industrial or heavy metal also. The other son who went with us to the first NIN show, has also gone with his brother and my husband to see Tool, which my husband used to play for them all of the time. And since he turned them on to the German heavy metal band Rammstein, the three of them have seen them multiple times already, and plan to any time they're in the states. But I don't go with them. My favorite band for over 25 years has been NIN.
And now you know what I don't listen to music when I write. I have to be able to hear the voices of the characters talking in my mind, and I can't possibly listen to NIN unless it's at ear-splitting volume!
To find out what music other authors enjoy, hop along on the blog-hop.
Don't forget that I'll be on a special Facebook group, a Spooktacular Author Take-over running from 8am on Wednesday, October 28, to 3pm on Friday, October 30. My time will be on Friday, October 30, from 8am to 9am Central Time. I'll be offering a coupon for a free download of my vampire saga, Prophecy of the Mayan Undead--but you'll have to either ask me a question, or leave a comment with your email in it, so I can send it to you!
Of course, if you're already on my mailing list, (see sign up right next to this post on the right margin) then I already have your email. I don't email very often, but occasionally I send out a free short story for your reading pleasure. And I let you know when I have a new book out, or when my books are on sale.
If you're still trying to decide if it's worth being up that early, just to interact with me, and to get a free copy of my vampire saga, check out this new review that just posted yesterday on another author's book review Tuesday:
Here's how to join in the fun:
FYI, both of my werewolf books, the two in the Northwest Maine Academy series, are on sale only at my publisher's site right now! You can buy each book for only $3.49, which is a 30% off deal!
Contemporary Erotic Romance