Review Excerpts


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

These Things Happen

I don't remember if I've ever mentioned it here before, but I suffer from chronic illness. Well, "suffer" probably isn't the best word - I was diagnosed nearly 20 years ago (eep!), and there's definitely been a ton of ups and downs. Lately I've been in one of those valleys, which resulted in a five-day hospital stay. It had been about six years since that happened last, so I really can't complain too much.

This post isn't meant to be a whiny rant, or a pity party. These things happen, and while the situation may suck right now, it's bound to get better sooner or later. It should go without saying that a lot of things fell by the wayside when I wasn't feeling well, and writing was one of them. At this point, I'm probably not going to meet my self-imposed deadline for this book. Meh.

But. BUT! As anyone who's ever been in one will tell you, hospitals are boring. I wasn't on my deathbed or anything, just in need of some IV drugs (and maybe a little more rest than I get at home with two toddlers running amok). I actually read some books, and then I had the bright idea to tell Mr. Landen to bring me a brand new shiny notebook and some pens. Brilliant, I say.

I managed to successfully extricate myself from marathons of Say Yes to the Dress and Law & Order: SVU and get some writing done. And, of course, I was right at the scene where the romance really kicks off, but awkward or not, I forged ahead. So yeah, there I was, curled up in a hospital bed with an IV in my hand, writing all sorts of dirty words in my notebook.

As I said, these things happen. That's got to earn me some street cred in the smut-writing world, right?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Valentine's Day Giveaway!

Well, February totally snuck up on me. It's hard to believe the first month of the year is over already! There's snow over here on the ground, so let's think warm thoughts and prepare for Valentine's Day with some free stuff! Follow the directions below, and then keep scrolling for my own giveaway - a free e-copy of what's probably my most traditional romance, Second Skin.
 
We're spreading some Valentine's Day love with a giveaway full of chocolate, books, and pretty things! 
To enter fill out the Rafflecopter then hit the comments and tell us about something YOU love. Your favorite author, book, or blog. Tell us about your true love, your kids, your best friend or your pets. Anything you love. We want to hear about what makes your heart full or just makes you smile.
Enter the Giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And now for the blurb for Second Skin, plus another Rafflecopter. You know the drill by now.

Anna’s career as a high-level CIA operative is put on involuntary hiatus. When a trusted colleague passes along the information for the 1Night Stand service, Anna decides to take the plunge against her better judgment and seek some intimate company. But her CIA instincts can’t be ignored, and when she contacts Madame Eve, she uses an alias.

Brendan owns a lucrative manufacturing company, but he’s yet to achieve the goal of finding a woman with whom he can share his successes and joys. But beneath his polished, capable exterior hides the painfully shy teenager he’s never been able to escape. When his own efforts in the dating scene fall short, he turns to 1Night Stand.

It would be so easy to fall in love with Brendan, and Anna’s protective mask slides away, piece-by-piece, revealing more of herself than she should dare. Before she can slip away with the sunrise, Brendan shows their encounter in a new light. Will Anna take a chance on their future, or will she choose to return to her undercover, but lonely life? 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, January 27, 2017

Promo - The Boss of Me, by Merryn Dexter



Time for another 1 Night Stand! Merryn Dexter's latest contribution to the ongoing series, The Boss of Me, comes out today. Ogle her spectacular cover for a few more moments, and then read on for an exciting excerpt!

Blurb:
Dear Madame Evangeline…
Lou Jones loves her job, but she can’t ignore the attraction she feels for her boss, Daniel Smith. She contacts the 1Night Stand dating service hoping a little fantasy role play will help her get over her crush.

I want to see you in my office…
Daniel can’t believe his eyes, or his luck, when a misplaced letter gives him a shocking insight into the erotic thoughts of his personal assistant. The chance to satisfy her fantasies and make his own dreams come true is too tempting to resist.

This is fantasy, nothing more…
As they explore their every desire, Lou and Daniel find keeping reality at bay is harder than they thought. Will their 1Night Stand deliver the satisfaction Madame Eve prides herself upon, or are they just too close for comfort?

Excerpt:
“Bring the file here and place it on my desk.” He settled more comfortably into his chair, steepled his fingers beneath his chin, and admired the sway of her lush hips. She placed the file down as instructed then folded her hands in front of her, eyes still averted. Schooling his need with an iron control, Daniel waited.

Her chest rose and fell, the slight hitch in her breath pressing her breasts against the thin silk of her blouse. The tip of her tongue peeked out, dampening her coral-pink lips, and a bolt of lust drove him from the chair. Ignoring Lou, he strode to the door and locked it. He doubted there were many people left in the building at that time of day on a Friday, but he wouldn’t risk anyone interrupting them.

Pacing back to the center of the room, he stopped to admire the hourglass lines of her figure. The heels looked even better from the back. Balancing on their slender points gave extra definition to her calf muscles.

“Do you know why I summoned you, Ms. Jones?”

Her breath seemed to catch in her throat. Her voice barely above a whisper, she said, “No, Mr. Smith.”

“You will call me Daniel.” The visceral need for her to know who was about to touch her surprised him. He wanted to hear his name on her lips as she sighed, moaned, and fell apart at his command. Her head bobbed in acquiescence, and he spoke again. “I summoned you because you canceled our appointment this evening.”

She half-turned, seemed to catch herself, and straightened to face the front again. A thrill of satisfaction curled in his gut. Each little act of submission from her proved sexy as hell. “Did you do as I requested?” he asked. Her skirt clung to her hips and ass with no hint of a panty line, but he couldn’t be sure.

“Yes,” she murmured.

A bolt of lust rocked him on his heels. He wanted to crawl on his hands and knees and fawn at her feet, but she had been very specific in her email—her fantasy required him to be the boss, to take control and dictate his desires upon her.

“Show me.” The rasp in his voice couldn’t be helped; his body tingled with anticipation. Her hands gripped the hem of her skirt and began to raise it, inch by tantalizing inch. The material cleared the back of her knees, gliding higher to reveal the lacy tops of her thigh-high stockings, the soft expanse of her tanned thighs.



Buy Links:




About the Author:


Merryn Dexter is a military spouse who, after a varied employment career (from selling sandals to old ladies with bunions to being a health and safety coordinator for a construction company), is thrilled to be pursuing her dream career as a romance writer. She likes The Winchesters, Spike, Hotch, Loki and watching complicated European Noir. Her hobbies include crying at books, crying at movies, crying at tv serials (there’s a theme!) and believes all stories should have a Happy Ending. 

Contact links

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Forging Ahead Into the New Year

Happy New Year! Okay, I'm a couple weeks behind. I'll be honest - while I do love the holiday season and it's one of my favorite times of the year, part of me is really glad to be settling back into our usual routine. I was a creature of habit even before having kids, and now I have two little people who benefit from having structure. So even though it was great being around friends and family, celebrating and doing other fun stuff, I'm not terribly disappointed that it's all over.

With that return to normalcy comes a new burst of writing energy! I've noticed this for a couple years now. Something about the new year gives me the push I need and I get a lot done in the early months. I wish I could bottle up whatever it is and whip it out in, say, August, but I'll take what I can get. Who knows, maybe the darker, colder months just lend themselves to better writing when there's little else to do.

I'm moving right along on Seductive Suspect. The chapters are getting longer; I plan to finish one this week, and then I only have two more, plus an epilogue. I'm on track for my estimated word count, and I have very firm plans for the final chapters/epilogue. When I started this book, I had a pretty comprehensive outline for a change, but there were still some blanks that needed filling in, and I struggled there a few times. For where I am right now and one point near the climax, there's a couple minor little details I need to work out, but I think/hope it'll be smooth sailing until the end.

I'm all about realistic deadlines. Knowing real life can get in the way, I *think* I can be done with this and ready to submit by the end of February. I have a few weeks of wiggle room, but I NEED to be done by mid-March. Why, you ask? Some major life event? An exotic vacation? Vanishing in a glamorous poof of mystery?

Nope. Mass Effect: Andromeda comes out then. I pre-ordered it a while ago, and since I'll only be able to play in the evenings once I have it, I anticipate it's going to take me a loooooooooong time to get through it. As they say in the games before the final quests, I'd better wrap up any unfinished business before then, since I'll be disappearing off the face of the earth for a while. ;)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Happy Holidays!

I got to check a lot of things off my to-do list today, so I figured I might as well add blogging. Like many other people at this time of year, I've been chugging along non-stop lately. Being sick all last week (as in, barely able to get out of bed) and then some unexpected car trouble set me back a bit, but I'm back on schedule and just about ready for this Christmas weekend. (Somehow I wound up with an expected houseful of people on Christmas Eve. I'll start cooking and cleaning tomorrow.)

I'll be honest, this year it was kind of tough to get into the holiday spirit. Aside from the illness and being crazy busy, I was just kind of bummed out for a while. The current political climate worries me, and it's difficult not to become anxious about the future. While my immediate family doesn't have any major complaints about anything, other people close to me were going through some tough stuff, and it was hard to sit by and not really do anything useful. And though we didn't have any super serious issues going on in the House of Landen, it was hard to muster up the energy to do things like wrap the Christmas presents.

I did my best to try to combat these blah feelings. I made some charitable donations, was generous with my planned gifts, and opened my house to people who otherwise wouldn't have a place to go for the holidays. I'm not going to say any of that was a magic cure, because it wasn't. But it helped a little, and those little bits eventually add up.

It should come as no great shock that writing has taken a backseat to other stuff for a while. I haven't touched my WIP in around two weeks (I think; hopefully not too much longer), but I know I'll always get back to it. I don't know if I'm firmly on the "2016 was the worst year ever!" bandwagon, but no matter what, I think most people go into the new year with the optimism that it'll be better than the last.

So here's to a fantastic 2017, and lots of future good things...and good writing! See you next year!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Promo - Dressing Lily, by Siobhan Shannon



The weather's finally getting colder here, so for a change of pace, let's heat things up with a lesbian romance! I'm hosting Siobhan Shannon today, who's super excited to be promoting her new book. Let's take a look!

Blurb:
If life is a game, Olivia Lyons wishes someone would let her in on the rules. From picking the wrong sweetheart to telling the wrong secrets, she just can’t seem to win. But then she falls in love, and her world seems brighter. However, when her romance is discovered, her father sends Olivia to live with her mother in New Orleans.

Broken hearted, Olivia starts her life over, working for Claude DeCloux, who owns a jazz club. There, she meets the infamous Lily LaRue, Queen of Burlesque and learns more about herself and the world she lives in than she believes possible. Lilly, however, is very possessive, tangling Olivia in a web of exhibition and money that seems impossible to escape. Can she break free and find her way back to the only woman who’s ever truly owned her heart?


Excerpt:
I didn’t set out to deliberately ruin my life. I don’t guess anyone does, and then when the walls come crashing down, it’s just so . . . surprising. One day you wake up and nothing looks the same anymore and the next, people are asking you why you’re destroying their lives. I don’t know. I woke up on one of those desperately close mornings in July when the air feels like a blanket and nothing was the same any more. I didn’t even like my coffee the same way anymore. It might have been meeting Daisy Bledsoe. Or it could have been a virus, God only knows. All I can tell you is that on that morning, everything changed.

She wasn’t the prettiest girl I ever saw. She was tall and weathered and snaggle-toothed, but when she smiled her face lit up and you couldn’t resist smiling too. She certainly wasn’t the smartest girl I ever met, either. There were times I wanted to pull my hair out over the things she did. But on that July morning, she mesmerized me, and before I knew it I was making decisions that snowballed into a freight train that could have ruined my life. Strange but true, I think I’d do it all over again.

I must have been about twenty when Pa sent me to Tom Harmon’s place to see if he had a fuel pump for our old tractor. I had never been out to Harmon’s before and missed my turn. I came down a road that just kept getting narrower until I had no choice but to go forward. I found myself on a grass track that petered out among dead machines and rusting farm implements in front of her house. I finally found a place where I could turn around, but that was when I met Daisy.

It was hot and I had the windows down. I came round a bend and a big black dog decided I didn’t belong there. He jumped up at the window of Pa’s truck raising hell. All I could do is hit the brakes and lean away.

“Max!” I heard a voice like a sack of gravel shout, “Come heah.” Max shut up and left the side of my truck, making me happy. One look at her, and I knew I was lost.

“Can I help you?”

“I believe you already have.”



Buy Links:


All Romance               Amazon                       B&N                Kobo              
Bookstrand                 Google Play                iTunes             Smashwords


About the Author:
Siobhan Shannon lives in Texas with her husband and a very well behaved dog. She writes, makes lace, dances, sings and plays fiddle every chance she gets. She loves everything about having grown-up children and hopes to live at the seashore one day. She frequently misses appointments because she is writing and fails to heed the time. She has written Dressing Lily and two speculative fiction novels. You can contact her at siobhan@siobhanshannon.com


Blog: http://www.siobhanshannon.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/siobhan.shannon.370
Twitter: https://twitter.com/siobhanswrites
Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/115001120831471660975 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Evil Or Not?

I had the idea for this blog post bouncing around for a while, and then Tuesday happened. I'm not going to spend time on politics here for various reasons, but let's just say that I have been very tired this week, and a lot of my computer time was spent zoning out to mindless stuff. Despite my best efforts, I just wasn't in the mood to get a lot of writing done, but I'm hoping to fix that. And as I think about it, this post I planned may have some relevance to current events (but again, I'm not going to delve too deeply into them here).

So I've been plugging away, slowly but surely, on Seductive Suspect and its varied cast of characters. One of them, Dylan, is...well, he's kind of an asshole. He alternates between arguing with the others and keeping to himself, makes inappropriate comments, and is just mostly unpleasant to be around in general. If we're being honest here, I based him on what we in the gaming world refer to as the "dudebro gamer". In some ways, writing him (and others' reactions to him) is fun; in others, it's been a challenge. While he's not a "nice" person, does that necessarily make him bad, or evil?

In that sense, villains are easy. The ultimate villain (as he doesn't appear that way initially) of the Disintegration universe, Dr. Zedek, was fun to write, as he had few redeeming qualities and was supposed to be the bad guy. By the end of his arc, I loved to hate him, and I hoped readers felt the same way. But what of the characters who don't fill the role of the antagonist? How bad is too bad?

Now I have a silly confession to make. When I play Mass Effect and Dragon Age, I make the decisions I think are best during my first run, and then when I replay, try to make different ones. Even when I'm playing a different sort of character, sometimes I really struggle with what I personally feel to be the less moral choice.* Part of me wants to see all the possible outcomes, but there's another part of me that just can't do certain things. Heck, sometimes I even feel bad picking certain dialogue options that don't have much of an effect on anything else. And then there are decisions/plot points that I think are completely terrible and I could NEVER bring myself to make a certain choice...and then I poke around the fandom and find people who think it's the right thing to do and can't imagine playing otherwise.** Gray morality, yo. Or, different people think differently.

So back to Dylan in this current book. Is he a horrible, irredeemable person? No, probably not, in that he's not plotting world destruction or anything like that. I still wouldn't want to hang out with him for too long, though. It's taking effort to find the balance of how far to go with him, developing his character without making him too over the top. Because realistically, some people are just jerks.

*In Mass Effect, even when playing a Paragon, I always let the Council die and shoot Udina myself. Those assholes had it coming.
 **In Dragon Age 2, I am horrified by the idea of giving Isabela to the Arishok at the end of Act 2. But there are a ton of people out there who feel the same way about her as I do about the Council and Udina. Fascinating.