Shifter Chronicles Goes on Tour

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With the help of my PA, the Shifter Chronicles has a month long tour. Here are the places and dates:

1/6-Ebooks Galore
1/7-Outrageous Heroes-spotlight
1/8-Author Sandra Love-spotlight
1/9-LBM Book Blog
1/10-Diane’s Book Blog-character interview
1/11-Dreamer Talks Books
1/12-Eskimo Princess Book Review-spotlight
1/13-A Bit Bookish
1/14-Midnight Angel Book Heaven
1/15-Sapphyria’s Steamy Books
1/16-Literature Litehouse
1/17-Danielle’s Domain
1/18-My Reading Reality https:/
1/19-We Read With A Glass of Wine
1/20-Indy Book Fairy
1/21-One Book Boyfriend At A Time
1/22-Sweet N Sassy Book A Holics
1/23-Stormy Nights Reviewing
1/24-The Color Of Ink
1/25-Bound By Books Book Review
1/27-Bookwench I Am
1/28-2 Bibliophiles Guide
1/29-Free to Be Me
1/30-Butterflies Books Dreams
1/31-Angee’s Afterthoughts
2/1-Rockstar Reviews
2/2-Ebook Addicts
2/3-Alpha Book Club-spotlight
2/4-Ebooks Galore

Interview with Michelle Brown, author of After the Garden


Michelle Browne will be awarding an autographed paperback copy to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Enter a Rafflecopter giveaway then follow the tour for more chances to win!

Anita Cox: Welcome Michelle Brown!  So you write romance.  Tell us why romance?

Michelle Brown: I like writing stories about people who fall in love, and people who are in love, working together as a team. Being in a long-term relationship myself, I actually think the point where people work together as a team and the strains and pressures of a longer-term relationship are really interesting, even underappreciated by a lot of writers. The way people get attached to each other and the friction life causes—those are things that really, really interest me.

Anita Cox: Do you write in any subgenre?

Michelle Brown: I’d actually say romance is kind of the subgenre here; I write primarily science fiction and urban fantasy. Sci fi shapes almost everything I write, but so does a sense of magic. I think cities are really underrated as a setting, because there’s so much life and so many layers to their ecosystems—especially the ecosystems built from people.

AC: What is the heat level of your books?

MB: Moderate. I like writing honest sex scenes. I think they’re kind of a reward for readers, and can be either a nice break from action or a way to increase the tension, depending on what’s going on! I think there are different kinds of sex, too, so using sex to show and explore relationships between characters is really interesting to me.

AC: Tell us about you.  Do you have any passions other than writing?

MB: I collect boxes and jewelry, and of course, I love my partner—he helps a lot with difficult situations in my writing, even if it’s just by letting me talk at him until I figure something out.

AC: I know that you have one/more very unique hobbies. Please tell us about it/them (Cannot be writing. Remember, personal unique details really make you stand out). 

MB:  I’m a crafty girl. I mostly knit right now, but I do knotwork, off-loom beading including peyote stitch and netting, I work with wire, and sometimes I do stuff with hemp. Occasionally I sew and do crewel embroidery, too. I also like to cook. I’m a bit of a jill-of-all-trades, but it’s nice to have lots of ways to exercise my creativity. I also doodle and draw a bit, and I have an extensive collection of boxes and jewelry!

Anita Cox: There was a place from your past that you’ll always remember. How do the memories of it influence your life/writing?

MB:  Mmm, well, there are a few places I’ve lived—small apartments, especially—and my old high school was very evocative. So, too, was a different old high school. The public school, Western Canada High School, is a place of mysteries and fond memories. The private school, which will remain nameless…was not such a nice place, but the oppressive confines and the way there were windows everywhere, no hiding spaces, also left a big impact on me. The feeling of constantly being watched, unable to hide, is something I will never forget. 

Are most of your works available or do you have what a drawer or closet of “not quite there” work? Do you think any of those old projects will see the light of day? 

MB:  Oh my gosh, I have an enormous idea file. You’ll all be seeing those ideas eventually; I have so much planned for the next few years! 

Anita Cox: What is your writing “system” like, and how has it evolved over the course of your career? 

MB:  I generally start with longhand notes on paper, because I really like writing the “old-fashioned” way, especially in cursive—it’s easier to think in cursive, in some ways. I often draw maps and flow charts as I try to figure out plots.

From there, I dash out a few notes about how I want a scene to go or what has to happen, usually in point form, and then get writing in the word document. I type very quickly, so that’s my favorite way to get a story down.

Once I’ve written out a scene, I keep going until I run out of juice or get stuck. After finishing a chapter, I write a line or two of summary in an Excel spreadsheet that I keep to help myself keep track of plots and continuity for series.

After I’ve finished a work, off it goes to my inner circle of mentors. They look it over, I make changes, and then it goes to my editor. My editor critiques it, and after three or four passes, I send it to the formatter and prepare to unleash it on the world.

It used to be that I would just write scenes when the mood struck me—which still happens, mind you—and I’d go from there. The problem with that was that I would end up dithering and getting stuck on plot points. Moving from pantsing to planning has been a great transition, and has really improved my productivity. 

Anita Cox: Do you have beta readers in your family or circle of friends, or do you trust your own instincts before you publish your works?

MB: Oh yeah. I have three or four people that I like to run things past; mostly close friends of mine. Sarah Dimento is one; Zig Zag Claybourne is another. And of course, my editor, Katie de Long, is worth her weight in ruby rings.

Anita Cox: Do you think of yourself as a particular type of writer and how do you think that influences the decisions you make about your stories/novels? 

MB:  I think of myself as being a part-time writer, because frankly, I often run out of steam. I’m trying to write a bit more often—my best days often come from times when I’ve just overcome sluggishness and forced myself to write. Sometimes those days will take me in totally unexpected directions, too. I’ve gotten faster at writing, mind you. 

Anita Cox: What is your most recent book/story release? And could you tell us about it? 

MB: After the Garden is set approximately a hundred and fifty years after a disaster, The Great Crash, which shattered civilization as we know it. People have rebuilt as much as they could, but it’s a different world than the one we know. The Memory Bearers, however, remember The Time Before—our time, and the time of the Crash. Ember, one Bearer, has come down from the mountains, giving up all she knows and loves, for the sake of an impulse she doesn’t understand. The people she meets in the city intoxicate her and appeal to her, and she senses her destiny is being fulfilled—but she has no idea how, why, or really, what’s going on. But her heart is pulling her in new directions, and a terrifying cult leader threatens to take away the little she has reclaimed…

Anita Cox: What led you to tell this particular story? 

MB:  I moved to Calgary in my teen years, and couldn’t stop imagining the beautiful, vibrant city in ruins. There was just something about the city that demanded to be in a story—and soon enough, a tale came to me. I’ve had to revise it a few times, but Calgary and Edmonton have both left their influence on it. 

Anita Cox: Which part of your story was the most difficult to write? Why? 

MB:  The violent stuff and some of the more disturbing content. Definitely hard. Technically speaking, some of the emotional conflicts were also tricky, and for some of the science stuff, I had to do quite a bit of research—but I like research, and it wasn’t as emotionally taxing as, say, torture scenes.

Anita Cox: If one of your works made it all the way to Hollywood, what kind of a monster would be in the film? And which actor or actress would you have battling it (be wild and fun with this—readers like memorable, find, over-the-top answers in most casesJ).  If your book doesn’t have monsters – think Bad Guy!

MB: Oooh. Well, the bad guy is supposed to be attractive…I’d be entirely okay with someone like Tom Hiddleston playing him, actually. Doesn’t have to be Hiddles himself, just someone with killer cheekbones and a piercing glare.


Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Leave your comments, rebuttals, and vehement agreements below. Don’t miss any of the phuquerie–get on the mailing list. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr, and find her work on Amazon. Check back on the blog to see when one of the irregular posts has careened onto your feed. This is the one and only SciFiMagpie, over and out!

After the Garden by Michelle Browne




Memories of another life and lover guide her, but are they even hers? She is a Bearer—keeper of past lifetimes and gifted with strange talents. Ember must find her answers away from safe Longquan Village, snared instead in the sensuality and dangers of The City. Hidden among spider farmers and slaves, prostitutes and weavers, a nest of people like her are waiting.

A powerful man outside The City raises his forces, determined to hunt down the ‘demons’ who could taint his followers. Threatened from without and within, can the Bearers even trust each other?

Powers will rise and alliances will be forged in a dark new world. The Memory Bearers are coming.

This book includes violent and mature content. Reader discretion is advised.




She was looking in a mirror, marvelling at her powdered face. You can’t even tell, she thought admiringly. She picked up a bottle of perfume and sprayed some on her wrist. She dropped it, and there was a heavy sound, a clunking noise, as the bottle connected with the tile. Not plastic, but thick glass.

Hearing the crash, he appeared from behind the bathroom door. “Are you all right, honey?” he said, resting a hand on her shoulder.

“Oh yes, I’m fine,” she said, nuzzling him.

“You look exquisite. I can’t believe you spend most of your time in a lab coat when you look like this.”

“Believe it,” she said. He twisted her around suddenly and kissed her.

“How much time do we have before dinner?” he asked.

“Enough.” She took him by the hand. “Come with me.”

The memory slid away to another part of her mind. She considered telling—no, wait, who could she tell? Their names eluded her. She winced, frustrated. She’d already forgotten her family’s names. That was part of the deal, she told herself; she’d known what she was in for. Paranoid, she wondered if she would forget her own name next. It wouldn’t be that bad, though; and after all, she knew she would remember someday. When the time was right, the lock would open again, and she’d have the things she was giving up back. And though they were frustrating and mildly debilitating, she still had the fragments. That annoyed her, but it was a comfort.

Philosophy was the path of madness, she decided, shoving the bottle in her satchel. In the meantime, she had other things to do—she had to see if there was anything of value left in this house and get out of here as quickly as possible. Something unpleasant had happened here after The Time Before had come to an end, a small disaster after the fact, and she was eager to leave.

About the Author

Michelle Browne is a sci fi/fantasy writer from Calgary, AB. She has AuthorPhoto_AfterTheGardena cat and a partner-in-crime. Her days revolve around freelance editing, jewelry, phuquerie, and nightmares. She is currently working on the next books in her series, other people’s manuscripts, and drinking as much tea as humanly possible. 

She is all over the internet, far too often for anyone’s sanity, and can be found in various places.


Amazon Smashwords Blog Tumblr Twitter Facebook

Other books by Michelle Browne:

The Underlighters (Book 1 of The Nightmare Cycle)

The Loved, The Lost, The Dreaming (Includes The Underlighters and many other short stories)

The Stolen: Two Short Stories (Book 2 of The Meaning Wars)

And the Stars Will Sing (Book 1 of The Meaning Wars)



Cult Classics for the Modern Cult

Frost and Other Short Stories

Coming soon:

The Meaning Wars

(Book 3 of The Meaning Wars)

Monsters and Fools

(Book 2 of The Nightmare Cycle)

Within the Tempest

(Book 2 of The Memory Bearers Saga)


Fun and Games by Alissa Rose

Fun and Games by Alissa Rose


Bethany Roads is the party girl type that has no place in her life for love and romance. Recovering from a brutal attack she’s just trying to put her world back in order from the thousands of pieces it was smashed into.

Jackson Gage is a chainsaw carver with a work hard play hard kind of life style. Traveling from town to town leaves no room in his life for anyone extra, longer than the night.

Everything changes in their lives the night Bethany’s childhood friend Roxie drags her from the bars and down to the fair. It doesn’t take long before the two women land themselves front and center at Jacksons show. The way he handles his wood with grace and finesse has Bethany wanting to see more. She goes for the twist and turns of the rides but ends up taking the ride of her life.

Buy link:

Alissa Rose

Alissa Rose is a mother of three with a wild imagination. For years she had the desire to write a book and make her day dreams a really for everyone else to read and with the love and support of her family that dream is now a reality. She uses her experiences traveling with her chainsaw carving husband in her first book to shed a new light on the unseen world from behind the Ferris Wheel.

Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill

SBB_TourBanner_CenterOfGravity copy

Laura McNeill will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Follow the tour for more chances to win!


MediaKit_BookCover_CenterOfGravityHer whole life, Ava Carson has been sure of one thing: she doesn’t measure up to her mother’s expectations. So when Mitchell Carson sweeps into her life with his adorable son, the ready-made family seems like a dream come true.

In the blink of an eye, she’s married, has a new baby, and life is grand.

Or is it?

When her picture-perfect marriage begins unraveling at the seams, Ava convinces herself she can fix it. It’s temporary. It’s the stress. It’s Mitchell’s tragic history of loss.

If only Ava could believe her own excuses.

Mitchell is no longer the charming, thoughtful man she married. He grows more controlling by the day, revealing a violent jealous streak. His behavior is recklessly erratic, and the unanswered questions about his past now hint at something far more sinister than Ava can stomach. Before she can fit the pieces together, Mitchell files for divorce and demands full custody of their boys.

Fueled by fierce love for her children and aided by Graham Thomas, a new attorney in town —Ava takes matters into her own hands, digging deep into the past. But will finding the truth be enough to beat Mitchell at his own game?

Center of Gravity weaves a chilling tale, revealing the unfailing and dangerous truth that things—and people—are not always what they seem.



Every day, somebody, somewhere, needs a hero.

Think about it. The mom lifting a two-ton truck to save her son after a car crash. The dad who can’t swim—who jumps in the water anyway—to pull out his drowning daughter. The guy who kicks down a door of a burning house because his friend’s kid is trapped inside.

All of a sudden, getting hurt doesn’t matter. There’s no thinking twice. Just a gut pumping, jump-off-the-cliff, no turning back.

For these regular people thrown into crazy life or death situations, there’s one big hero moment. Then, they go back to work, their jobs, or school.

And it’s someone else’s turn.

I’m only in the third grade, but I’ve been waiting for my chance to be a hero my whole life.

An ear-piercing shriek yanks me back to the school playground.

“Emma Dunlop’s stuck up in the oak tree.” My best friend Mo runs up, breathless. He bends over, chest heaving in the humidity, and puts both hands on his knees. “She’s freaking out.”

Shielding my eyes, I grit my teeth. The tree’s as big as a monster, with twisted brown branches that extend like arms, thick emerald leaves at the fingertips. Spanish moss hangs from the lowest limbs, the ends curling like a snake’s tail.

Though I can’t see her through the tangle of limbs, I picture Emma hanging on tight to the rough bark. Shaking. Really scared. Trying not to look down at the brick-red clay.

I run a hand through my hair.

She’s in trouble. And I know why.

Legend says a man’s head—a genie—is hidden in the leaves and branches. Weird, rough pieces of wood make up his face. He has knots for eyes. A bump for his chin. It’s for real. I’ve seen it.

All the kids know the story. If you touch the genie’s nose, your wish will come true. Of course, my dad doesn’t believe in stuff like that and says I shouldn’t either. He’s a Ph.D. And does an important job at the college. So I guess he knows what he’s talking about.

But that’s not going to save Emma now. I start to jog, then full-out sprint. At the base of the tree, I push through a crowd of my classmates. Third and fourth graders, gaping, heads tilted, mouths open like baby birds. When I reach the trunk, I squint up and find Emma’s brand-new saddle shoes dangling high above me. I see pale, thin legs, and the crisp edges of her plaid jumper. And despite everyone talking and whispering, I hear Emma crying. It’s a whimpering wail, like a hurt animal.

“Y’all go on back inside now. Go back to class,” my teacher says, pushing the group back an inch or two. I end up jostled next to the school librarian, who’s holding her hands like she’s praying.

Our eyes meet. Mine flicker away.

“Don’t even think about it, Jack,” she warns.

But I kick off my shoes anyway and grab hold of the trunk. Deep down in my belly, I make myself act like I’m not scared. I don’t like heights or even hanging upside down from monkey bars. But Emma needs me.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

After six years behind the anchor desk at two CBS affiliates, Laura MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_CenterOfGravitymoved to the Alabama Gulf Coast to raise her family. Her accolades in broadcasting include awards from the Associated Press, including Best News Anchor and Best Specialized Reporter.

Laura works at Spring Hill College as the school’s web content and social media manager and​ is active in her community—participating in fundraisers for the American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House, and Providence Hospital’s Festival of Flowers.

Laura was recently awarded a 2-book deal with Thomas Nelson Publishing, a division of HarperCollins. Her novel, Center of Gravity, set in Mobile, Ala., will be published in July of 2015. Laura is represented by Elizabeth Winick Rubenstein, president of McIntosh and Otis literary agency in New York.​ Her writing awards include those from William Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, Writer’s Digest, RWA, and the Eric Hoffer competition.

She holds a master’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She is currently pursuing a second master’s degree in interactive technology from the University of Alabama. She is a native of Upstate New York and currently resides near the Alabama Gulf Coast with her two children.

Author’s Website:

Author’s Blog:









Interview and Book Tour Rite of Summer by @tessbowery


Tess will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour through this a Rafflecopter giveaway. Follow the tour for more chances to win!

Anita Cox: Welcome Tess!  So you write romance.  Tell us why romance?

Tess Bowery:  An unbreakable addiction to happy endings.

There’s something remarkable about the human capacity to search for love, and to find it in even the most seemingly hopeless of circumstances. And reading a story where you can invest in the characters and their struggles, knowing all the while that they will triumph in the end, and not just triumph, but be loved, wholly and completely… it makes for an intoxicating kind of escapism.

I love the intimacy of smaller-scale stories, where the main driving force is the feelings of the men and women caught up in it all. You can connect with them deeply, and fearlessly, both as a writer and as a reader, because we have that close access to the characters’ innermost hearts and minds.

More specifically, I write LBGT romance, because of a driving need to get more of my community’s stories out there. As a queer kid growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, our media was so limited, and our love stories overshadowed by the reality of AIDS, and the ‘kill your gays’ tropes. Love stories with happy endings were few and far between, and because there were so few of them, the main characters ended up iconic rather than real. They had to represent entire communities between them.

We’re incredibly lucky now to have genres of our own, and popular ones at that, where we can explore all the different facets of what it means to be a gender and/or sexual minority, without being relegated to the emasculated funny gay best friend, or the man-hating stone butch predator. I write queer historical romances because we existed, in a thousand different forms, and our stories – our happy-ever-after, sexy, funny, love stories – deserve to be told.

Anita Cox: Do you write in any subgenre?

Tess Bowery:  I do! At the moment I’m writing entirely historical for publication; Regency era specifically. I like balancing out the careful tidy etiquette of the period with the messiness of their private lives. And when you move, as I’m doing, into the queer communities of London in the early 19th century, it gets messier and riskier again. Raids on known gay bars (known as ‘molly houses’) became relatively frequent events, and hangings for sodomy were a common occurrence. Executions and imprisonment become a very real risk for my LBGT heroes and heroines.

Rite of Summer is about a M/M relationship specifically, and some of the violence of the decade does intrude on the heroes’ lives. The next book in the series, She Whom I Love, is about a bisexual triad (F/F/M), and they run into problems of a different, but no less dangerous, sort.

AC: What is the heat level of your books?

TB: Incendiary!

I’m being quite serious. The first page of Rite of Summer opens in the middle of an explicit sexual encounter between one of the heroes and his current lover, and it gets hotter from there. By chapter four we’ve got fucking in semi-public places, voyeurism, the use of a Prince Albert piercing during self-pleasure, and by chapter eight there are three men in bed together having rather an exciting time of it.

I love using sex as a storytelling mechanism; my characters and their relationships evolve and change through their sexual encounters, and lovemaking is a vital part of their existence. I can’t bring myself to fade to black.

AC: I understand you have another passion, one outside of writing. Care to share?

TB: Oh, definitely. I’m a huge fan of dance especially, and we’re incredibly lucky to have some amazing local and semi-local dance companies in my area. Having the opportunity to work backstage with some of the best performers in the region, and be with a show from concept to opening night is such an unbelievable thrill. It’s a group act of creation, giving a kind of birth to something wild and free.

On a more prosaic note, I do a lot of gardening. We have vegetable and herb beds out back, as well as a couple of berry patches, and being able to grow some of our own food, nurturing plants from seed or root to table is such a pleasure. Digging in the earth and bringing forth life is a visceral, physical pleasure that’s a lovely counterpoint to the number of hours I spend squinting at a computer screen. I have two of the most beautiful clematis vines that I’ve been training up over a garden arbor, and when they bloom overhead, all purples and white in a sea of green leaves, it goes soul-deep.

What else? Oh yes – history. I’m an historian by training, and I never get tired of the chase for new understanding of the people and events that make up our collective pasts. You can stumble across some of the most incredibly human stories in some of these documents and diaries.

I once ran across a baptismal record for naturally-born triplets in a parish register from the early sixteen hundreds. Can you imagine what it must have been like for those poor parents to juggle? And how much of a miracle it would have been that everyone  — including the mother – survived? Or then there’s a story about Queen Mary I of England, and how a courtier watched her kicking a portrait of Prince Philip of Spain down the hallway outside the Privy Council Chamber. (That information came out in testimony for a totally unrelated court case against a supposed French spy.) I love these little human details that end up shining through.

Anita Cox: I know that you have one/more very unique hobbies. Please tell us about it. 

TB:  My favorite thing to do, when the weather permits, is to go Geocaching. For those not familiar with it, Geocaching is a world-wide treasure hunt, using a GPS. Or as I’ve heard it described, “using a multi-billion-dollar satellite system to look for Tupperware in the woods.”

Very essentially, geocachers will hide caches, sometimes very small and sometimes quite large, upload clues and GPS coordinates to a central website, and the race is on for other cachers to find and log that cache. Many caches are filled with small items, like toys for the kids or gift cards, and many are simply there for bragging rights. They’re usually hidden on public land or land owned by cachers, camouflaged in some way, or findable only in certain environmental conditions. Figuring out where they are and how to get to them is a good piece of the fun.

We’re in the middle of a cache challenge right now, trying to find and log caches of every difficulty level, on every terrain level, and there are a handful we have yet to try for. We’ll have to take scuba lessons in order to get to a couple of the caches that we want to hit, so those will have to wait until we have a little more free time, and the kids are older.

I love caching for a number of reasons, the greatest of which, of course, is the thrill of the find. The more carefully the cache is hidden the greater the victory rush on discovery! It gets us outside together, problem solving and exploring, and thanks to caching we’ve come across some absolutely beautiful wilderness sites and hiking trails that we likely wouldn’t have explored on our own. I’ve picked up a handful of scars along the way, mind you, because bushwhacking and rock climbing do end up becoming a regular part of our summers.

Anita Cox: There was a place from your past that you’ll always remember. How do the memories of it influence your life/writing?

TB:  I grew up in a major city, but every summer, our family would decamp and head up north to the cabin. It was more of a hunting and fishing camp than your usual horror-movie cabin in the woods, on the shores of Georgian Bay. There was a smell about the air up there, something fresh and warm, and the camp was so close to the water that you could fall asleep listening to the sounds of the gentle waves on the rocks.

The main road has been paved over now – we went up about ten years ago for a reunion and so much has changed – but when I was a kid, we would go walking along the long, winding gravel road, picking raspberries and blackberries from the bushes that grew along both sides. We’d fill our buckets maybe halfway, eating the rest, our fingers and lips stained red and purple from the juice. The beaches along that shore of the lake are made of rocks rather than sand – it’s all part of the Canadian Shield – and the water was shallow and warm out a long way into the bay. We used to go night swimming, my cousins and I; we’d leave our flashlights on the dock and jump into the water until we were shivering and cold.

My grandfather would start up the sauna in the evenings; back then they were sheds sitting on blocks over the water, with a wood fire that heated the barrel full of rocks. Water would drain through holes in the floor right into the lake; ours had a mink living underneath who would eat crayfish out of my grandfather’s traps. We would run in, blue-lipped and laughing, right into the steam and sit there until we warmed up, down to the bones, and then go back out again to splash into the lake.

Those summers were magical in so many ways; there’s no place in the world where I feel more grounded and centered in myself than in the north country. Everything stressful about the workday world just dissolves when you can hand-feed chipmunks and watch herons fishing from your back deck.

I can capture a little of that feeling in my current writing setup, where I look out into a large green space and gardens, but it’s not quite the same without the lake right there!

That love has definitely influenced where we bought our house and put down roots. We live in the middle of a large enough city to have access to all the essentials of life, including good bookstores and 24-hour coffee shops, but we only have to drive for fifteen or twenty minutes before we’re out into the trees again. There’s a great campsite less than half an hour from here where we take the kids tent-camping overnight; I’m hoping to take them on some longer trips as they get a bit older and more capable. 

Are most of your works available or do you have what a drawer or closet of “not quite there” work? Do you think any of those old projects will see the light of day? 

TB: I don’t, to be honest. Rite of Summer was the first original fiction I’d written in years, and I was lucky enough to find honest-enough beta readers to turn it into something worth submitting, and an editor willing to take the chance! I also don’t tend to give up on things. If I have an idea that’s worth starting, it’s one worth finishing.

What I do have is a backlist of fanfiction, which I’d started writing again in 2012 after a seventeen-year fandom hiatus. Prior to that I had been involved in a collaborative fiction project, just for private entertainment, with a very dear friend of mine. Writing with her re-ignited the love I’d had for writing fiction for its own sake, especially as a counterpoint to my career focus on non-fiction and technical writing. The reception I received when I began writing and posting fanfiction, and the amazing kindness of the fandoms, gave me the courage to keep at it. That practice helped me to shake off the rust that had gathered on my narrative skills.

Those stories won’t end up as published works, as they’re very much tied in with the original materials that spawned them. If anyone’s interested, of course, they can always read them at I recommend the more recent ones rather than the first few!

(And thank you, Em, for being my spark of inspiration.) 

Anita Cox: What is your writing “system” like, and how has it evolved over the course of your career? 

TB: I’m very much a planner, though I wasn’t always. When I first started writing, way back when I was a young adolescent, I would start at the beginning of a story with a specific scene in mind, write myself into a corner, and then limp toward an ending that tried to pull all the threads together in something that made sense. The stories I put together back then were fun, at least for me, but not terribly well-constructed.

Since then, I’ve done graduate studies and written a thesis, and out of sheer necessity, my writing strategies have changed dramatically. When I’m first plotting out a story, I start by deciding on a handful of key moments, and jotting them down in a very casual version of a beat sheet. (I’m not so much of a planner that I’m into spreadsheets.)

Once I know what my (1) starting point, (2, 3) pinch points of rising drama, (4) moment of despair, and (5) ending will probably be, I can start to fill in notes to pace them out. I go by feel on that part of the structure, generally speaking; the stakes won’t always be raised at the one-third mark or one-half mark, for example, but generally there will be a crisis somewhere in there.

That’s the part when dialogue and scenes start to play out in my head at the worst possible moments! I’ve written a lot of notes for scenes on my phone, jumped out of the shower with my hair still full of suds, and woken up in the middle of the night reaching for a notepad to jot some of these down. I file them into the growing outline where they seem most appropriate, and open up a second word processor document. Anything that doesn’t fit once I start writing can be moved around, or lifted out entirely and set aside in the ‘notes’ file until I find another place where a particular awesome bit can go.

After that, I tend to write chronologically through. If I have ideas for a future scene or bit of dialogue or description, I can throw it into the outline, or set it aside in ‘notes’ until I get to a spot where it becomes useful.

None of this is to say that I keep to my outline all the way through; my planned ending for Rite of Summer changed about five times as I was writing. I knew the boys were going to have a happy ending, of course, but I flipped back and forth between locations, instigators, and specific circumstances until the moment I sat down knowing that I had two more chapters to write… and somehow had to make up my mind! That’s why I call myself ‘sort of’ a planner; every so often the characters will decide what happens next, and I realize that I’m just along for the ride.  

Anita Cox: Do you have beta readers in your family or circle of friends, or do you trust your own instincts before you publish your works? 

TB: I absolutely rely on my beta readers, and I have a little group of friends who have become lifelines for me. Generally speaking it’s not the writing itself I’m concerned about; I’m reasonably fond of my prose style. Where I trip myself up, more often than not, is forgetting to expand a scene to include everything that’s taking place in my head. That’s when my betas are worth their weight in Godiva, because they’re not afraid to call me up on it, and tell me when my plots or characterizations aren’t making any sense.

I’ve found that I get the best, most useful set of responses from a combination of four people: my partner, critic, nitpicker, and liveblogger.

My partner thinks that everything I write is brilliant, so that’s the ego boost necessary not to bite my nails to the quick while the book is out for beta-reads.

My Critic hates almost every novel ever written, and romances in particular, and she does a brilliant job at calling me out on any uses of clichés, tropes and other lazy fallbacks.

The Nitpicker is a fact-checker and historian whose wealth of random knowledge rivals my own. She catches any anachronisms, missed forms of address, and non-British regionalisms that may slip by, and her grammar is impeccable.

My Liveblogger is a character reader, and she emails me her ongoing reactions as she goes through the chapters. She’s my reader-proxy, and how I gauge the effectiveness of my attempts at tension-building, as well as giving me the straight-girl perspective on the heat levels of the love scenes.

I adore my ladies, and I’m so very lucky to have them all in my life. (Which reminds me; time to go order them all some very nice bottles of wine.) 

Anita Cox: Do you think of yourself as a particular type of writer (take this anyway and anywhere you like) and how do you think that influences the decisions you make about your stories/novels? 

TB:  I think I’m a relatively sparse writer. I’m better at constructing action scenes, in some ways, than florid prose about feelings, and my descriptions tend towards the efficient rather than the literary or beautifully metaphorical. I wish I were more of a literary writer, able to spin glorious scenes out of the rhythm and flow of the spoken word, but when I try that sort of thing it ends up sounding forced or ridiculous to my own ear.

That means that I don’t plan novels that centre completely on the mysteries of the human soul. I’m reliant on moving pieces in my plots to keep things going, and that itself means that there will always be some sort of external force acting on the characters that works with and against their own personal goals. I like adventure, and I get uncomfortable writing long lingering internal monologues, so that’s the way I tend to skew.

Rite of Summer is actually the story with the least amount of external plot action I think I’ve ever written. It’s a deeply character-centric story, spending a lot of time in characters’ heads (and beds), and that made it a wonderful challenge to write to my own satisfaction. 

Anita Cox: What is your most recent book/story release? And could you tell us about it? 

TB: My current release is also my debut, so I’m absolutely over-the-moon excited. Rite of Summer is a queer Regency erotic romance, and the lead couple are artists working under the patronage of members of the aristocracy. Stephen and Evander begin as a working pair of musicians, who have secretly been lovers for many years. Joshua is a painter who has been invited to the same summer house party, and he’s been harboring a crush on Stephen himself. All three men end up in bed together, but satisfying their mutual lusts is only the beginning of their story.

The country house setting lends itself to all kinds of intrigue, as the main characters try and keep their relationship triangles concealed. There’s midnight hallway-sneaking, accidental voyeurism, jealousy and seduction, and all of it gets blown sky-high when homophobic violence erupts in London.

The core of the story is about growing out of old, safe habits, and breaking free from the ruts that are so easy to fall into. When is it worth the effort, and how far would you go for the chance at true love?

Anita Cox: What led you to tell this particular story? 

TB:  I think too many times, when we’re constructing antagonists and ‘villain’ characters, it’s so easy to make them really, visibly bad. Even without resorting to mustache-twirling scenery-chewing, it makes a certain amount of sense to top-load the other side with a dozen terrible qualities, so that the heroes have something truly evil to come up against.

My inspiration, my drive to tell this story in particular, was a desire to explore what happens when the villainy and abuse is more subtle than that; when a relationship is filled with the manipulations and little aggressions that, somehow, are easy to brush off one at a time. It felt important to acknowledge the kinds of abuse that aren’t obvious and physical.

I have a decent amount of experience with a close family member with narcissistic personality disorder, sadly, and their charm is intense, and can be all-consuming. And at the same time, they can turn it on and off in an instant when they think their own needs have been thwarted. That narcissistic rage is an insidious kind of cruelty, made worse because so few people on the outside can see it happening. “One can smile and smile, and be a villain.” (Hamlet 1.5)

I drew on some of those experiences as I was writing. Maybe it’s selfish, or too much over-identification, but I felt the need to bring a character through a similar kind of relationship, and come out stronger for it on the other side. 

Anita Cox: Which part of your story was the most difficult to write? (character/place/situation). Why? 

TB:  It’s always the middle. Always. It’s the point where I run out of the initial momentum and glee of introducing the characters and their environments, setting up the tangles and the triangles, and the shenanigans start getting serious. (But I’m not yet at the point where I can start to resolve everything and make my babies happy again!)

There are a couple of scenes of conflict in that sticky middle where the leads are arguing, and those were the most difficult to write out of everything. Because neither of them is wrong, per se; not from his own perspective. And yet neither one can admit that the other one might have a point. It’s a classic butting-heads moment, and all I really wanted to do was smack them both and make them kiss-and-make-up. Alas! I’m not that kind a creator.

Anita Cox: If you had an unlimited advertising budget, how would you “get the word out” about your latest release? 

TB: Absolutely unlimited? I would begin with skywriting, just because I could. The next step would be a prominently-placed stand at the entrance to every English-speaking bookstore, whether they normally sold romances or not. Ads in every queer-focused weekly paper in North America, naturally, ideally with some photo shoots with models who look like my heroes.

I’d hire a screenwriter to turn Rite of Summer into a movie script, and buy off whomever necessary in order to get a meeting with someone like Greg Berlanti – he’s the queer-friendly producer who’s been filling the CW with hot shirtless men and their killer abs, so I know he’d have a great eye for casting!

The coup de grace, though, would be co-sponsoring floats in the major North American Pride parades this summer. Bookstores who operate on a slim margin as it is would welcome the infusion of cash or the chance to afford a parade float, and it would open up partnership possibilities and more spots for book tours and signings.

Go big, or go home. 

Come by on June 2nd,  7 pm Eastern Time, to join me in the chatroom for the release party! I’ll have giveaways and prizes as well as interviews and a social hour. I look forward to seeing everyone!

Tess Bowery is an east coast writer of historical LBGT erotic romance (can it get more niche?) She’s an academic with a masters in history, which she is abusing relentlessly in pursuit of happy endings. Rite of Summer is her debut novel. This highly-charged erotic romance is available now for pre-order — — and releases officially on June 2nd.

Get updates and book information at, or hang out with Tess at, or @tessbowery on Twitter.

launch invite


There are terrors worse than stage fright. Like falling in love.

BookCover_RiteOfSummerViolinist Stephen Ashbrook is passionate about three things—his music, the excitement of life in London, and his lover, Evander Cade. It’s too bad that Evander only loves himself. A house party at their patron’s beautiful country estate seems like a chance for Stephen to remember who he is, when he’s not trying to live up to someone else’s harsh expectations.

Joshua Beaufort, a painter whose works are very much in demand among the right sort of people, has no expectations about this party at all. Until, that is, he finds out who else is on the guest list. Joshua swore off love long ago, but has been infatuated with Stephen since seeing his brilliant performance at Vauxhall. Now he has the chance to meet the object of his lust face to face—and more.

But changing an open relationship to a triad is a lot more complicated than it seems, and while Evander’s trying to climb the social ladder, Stephen’s trying to climb Joshua. When the dust settles, only two will remain standing…



“It is a massive house, you know,” Evander began as though delivering a confidence. “With galleries and gardens that extend for miles. Coventry described it to me once. We will have hours of uninterrupted leisure.”

He dug his foot down further and pressed it, firm and strong, against the front of Stephen’s trousers. “We’ll kiss and we’ll swive,” Evander sang, putting lyrics to the tune he had been humming before, his eyes alight and his smile infectiously lascivious. He was utterly ridiculous, and delightful, and Stephen could not help but laugh as his body began to respond to Evander’s excitement. “Behind we will drive, and we will contrive, new ways for lechery,” Evander finished his bawdy chorus by tangling one hand in Stephen’s hair and using it to pull his head back. Stephen’s breath caught with the spike of desire, his throat exposed to the press of Evander’s lips.

“Alright!” Stephen laughed breathlessly. “I’ve agreed already, I need no bribe to convince me further.”

“Oh, but you do,” Evander said, letting go of his hair and slinking his hand down to replace the press of his foot. “We shall make a game of it, defiling his house in as many ways and places as please us. Think of the thrill!” The man was insane, the suggestion as distractingly tempting as almost all of his ideas were. If one servant saw them, though, in the wrong place at the wrong time- Evander’s social climbing would end rather abruptly. As would their lives. 


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Tess has been a fan of historical fiction since learning the Greek and Roman myths at her mother’s knee. Now let loose on a computer, she’s spinning her own tales of romance and passion in a slightly more modern setting. Her work in the performing arts has led to a passion for the theatre and dance in all its forms, and been the inspiration for her current books. Tess lives on the east coast, with her partner of fifteen years and two cats who should have been named ‘Writer’s Block’ and ‘Get Off the Keyboard, Dammit.’

Tess can be found reblogging over on, twittering at @TessBowery, and talking about writing in general and her books specifically over at

Rite of Summer on GoodReads:




A VIXEN IN VENICE by Kate Deveaux

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The author is giving away a $15 Amazon/BN gift card, enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. For more chances to win, follow the tour!


He’s an art thief on the run…with her heart.

Look closer, into Hotel Totally Five Star Venice, where art curator Monique Le Bres has just walked through the doors of the newly opened swanky luxury hotel to assist with their art collection.

Alessandro Bonnard, the world-renowned art connoisseur and collector has been sent incognito to supervise Monique and oversee her acquisitions for the hotel.

Concealing his true identity, Alessandro is intrigued by the art-loving vixen with an appetite for kinky sex. He pursues Monique, charming her at every turn — taking her to places she’s never been — both in and out of bedroom.

Monique falls hard for the man who has utterly captured her body and soul. Only to find out he isn’t who she thought he was after all…he’s an art thief on the run…with her heart.



Glancing down at the small map she clutched in one hand, Monique looked back up at the tiny storefronts crammed along the waterway, trying her best not to be overrun by the barrage of tourists filling the tight corridors that ran between buildings and the canal’s murky edge. Searching for landmarks and any discernable signage, she bumped her way between tourists who were busy ogling the unusual architecture that at that moment proved more of an impediment than an attractant.

Tugging at her suitcases, Monique forged on.

The last thing she wanted to do was be late for her new job.

Lurching sideways to avoid a family carrying ice cream cones and pointing enthusiastically at the sights, Monique teetered on her heels to avoid bearing the brunt of their gelatos as they passed. Oblivious to the obstacle they presented to Monique, they carried on, leaving her in their wake.

The wheels on her cumbersome luggage stuck on a rogue stone at the same time her heel gave way. Tumbling down towards the uneven cobbles Monique gasped out loud.

A hand reached out from the crowd and grabbed for her just as her bottom grazed the ground, protecting her from the brunt of her fall by swooping her back up on her feet in one motion.

“Mademoiselle, soyez prudent,” a deep voice urged her to be careful in French.

Monique squinted into the late day sun at nothing short of a vision. A majestic man, early forties, with chin length sandy blonde hair, a goatee and deep set blue eyes that were rimmed by thin metal glasses stood before her. Her hand clasped in his. The man’s tailored camelhair overcoat told her he was distinguished as did the flash of his fancy watch, probably Swiss and very expensive from the sparkle of the crystal that caught her eye as she steadied herself.

“Stai bene Signorina?” he asked if she was okay in a beautiful swoosh of Italian. The words slipping between his lips like honey pooling onto the cool stones.

First he spoke French, then Italian. It was official. Monique must be in heaven.  She’d heard the stereotypes and the holiday stories of her friends vacationing in Europe, but nothing had prepared her for the man who still had her hand in his.

“Fine, yes, thank you, merci…I mean grazie,” she offered, flustered and realizing she was quite able to stand on her own. Reluctantly she let go of his hand to reach down and remove her broken-heeled shoe. “Just tripped on a stone. Una scarpa verso il bass… dieci per andare.” She hoped her Italian wasn’t too rusty.

He just looked at her. Oh damn, it must be more rusty than she’d thought.

“One shoe down, ten to go,” she repeated in English with a nervous laugh, motioning to her luggage. Hoping to make a joke of how many shoes were crammed in her overstuffed bags to cover her embarrassment of very nearly being splayed out on the canal sidewalk if not for the efforts of her handsome saviour.

“Are you sure? I can fetch someone for you if you need assistance Signorina,” the man asked and then glanced anxiously over his shoulder. Monique suspected from his unease that he must have a wife who no doubt would appear any moment and be less than happy to find her hubby fraternizing with Monique. It wasn’t the first time that had happened.

“No, I’m fine, really. Mille grazie.” She thanked him as she looked into his eyes, their depth making her off balance as well as her having only one shoe on and the way he called her Signorina. The word slipping from his mouth like silk.

“Just tell me where I am, that would be very helpful,” she shifted her weight to the shoeless foot and immediately dropped down a few inches, making her even shorter against his tall stature.

“Calle Ostreghe,” he said the name of the street as she dipped her head down to remove her other shoe.

“See much better,” she said, now even footed in her stocking feet,  now firmly planted on the cool stones.

But her words were met by empty space.

The man was gone as quickly as he’d appeared, the swish of his long coat disappearing through the crowds, barely visible around the corner as Monique looked on as if it had been an apparition. A tall handsome apparition.  And one that was seemingly desperate to get away from her before his wife showed up. Lucky woman having a man like that. 


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Kate Deveaux is a contemporary erotic romance writer and die-hard romantic. A former wedding planner, she has always been “in love” with love! Kate is currently working on several fictional stories – each filled with sexy romance, heroines who are no shrinking violets and heroes who make your heart skip a beat. She currently resides with her husband in the U.S. When Kate is not busy writing, she can be found on the tennis court –yes, there’s even ‘love’ in that game too.


Author website:




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ARCHANGEL by @JamieRSalisbury

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Jamie will be giving a $20 Amazon/BN gift card to one randomly drawn commenter from a Rafflecopter giveaway.  Be sure to follow the tour for more chances to win!


MediaKit_BookCover_ArchangelArchangel. A musical angel hiding in the dusty, smoke-filled London clubs, she performs with reckless abandon.  Few know the woman behind the mask she adorns.

Mary Tudor, twin sister to Amadeus Tudor – a well-known rock star- has all but given up her up and coming photography business to become the personal photographer, and fiancé to Daniel Kennedy. Daniel, a world renowned violinist, is one of the few who knows Mary’s secret. Together they scheme to devise a way for her to fulfill a secret dream.

Postponing their wedding until after Daniel’s much anticipated European tour, Mary juggles many jobs. One however alludes her every month. Motherhood.

Making unannounced, surprise appearances during Daniel’s tour, the mysterious Archangel rules the concert stage. Suddenly everyone wants to know who this masked woman is. Fans clamor for more, the press want to know every detail about her, and a few others are sure Daniel Kennedy is quite aware at who this phenomenon is.  And if that weren’t enough drama, a sinister enigma from her brother’s past threatens both her future and her life.

Will Archangel’s identity be revealed as planned, or will the chaos of Amadeus’ past catch up to them?



Proudly I stood at the back of the hall, and watched as the show continued. By the look on his face I could tell he was in absolute heaven. Daniel was a perfectionist, and tonight it was evident by the audience’s reactions.

But tonight…tonight there was going to be a huge surprise for the crowd that had come to see this phenomenon known as Daniel Kennedy. Tonight Archangel’s going to make a special appearance…though her entrance would be nothing like Danny and I planned.

In retrospect I probably should have made my entrance according to plan. Tucked up on stage and appearing through a cloud of smoke. To be honest? That made it look pre-arranged and not spur of the moment like my walking through the audience did. This was Archangel’s debut, and it was going to be in typical Archangel fashion. Unscripted.

At just the exact moment, I began heading towards the stage. Down the aisle between the people. It was an old trick the late Italian composer, Niccolo Paganini, one of Danny’s classical idols had used in his day. Daniel himself used it, and now I was. It worked. It got the audience’s attention.

By now Danny and his stage people had picked up on my change of plans and had a spot directed on me as I strutted towards him. He was now watching me as he played. I detected a smirk on his face. He knew me well enough to know when it came to Archangel that I was in charge.

As I reached the front of the stage, I turned towards one of the two sets of stairs located at either side. Staying focused on the stairs, I pranced past him. I knew not to look at him, fearing I’d trip and ruin everything. The man affected me in just that way. Made me crazy, but then I was crazy in love with him.

We’d picked a lively pop tune which had been one of the favorites on Danny’s previous tour and CD. Keeping everything upbeat, a Paganini favorite was the second choice for the evening.

Walking across the stage toward him, I sucked in a breath as I seductively smiled at him. As we ended the first piece, Danny took my free hand to introduce me to the audience. He squeezed my hand and leaned toward me.

“Having fun? You’re doing awesome, sweet. And by the way, you look ravishing.”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Writing romance stories with passion and sass, Jamie Salisbury has seen several of her books soar to #1 on Amazon. Her novella, Tudor Rubato was a finalist in the 2012 RONE (Reward of Novel Excellence) awards. The cover won for Best Contemporary Cover. Now in 2014, her novel, Life and Lies was nominated for a RONE in the Erotica category. Her books are both self- published and now include several published through Secret Cravings Publishing.

Music, traveling and history are among her passions when not writing. Her previous career in public relations in and around the entertainment field has afforded her with a treasure trove of endless story ideas.





Nails, Guest Post & Shift Happens Release!

Nails – Guest Post by Christy Gissendaner

A big thank you to Anita for having me today. Anita and I worked together on our previous project, Paranormally Yours, and I enjoyed getting to know her better!

Today is doubly happy. Not only do I get to chat with you beautiful people, but it’s also release day. Shift Happens is book one in a brand new series, I Heart Shifters. Each installment will be short, hot, and funny as heck. I’m excited about this project, and I hope everyone gets a kick out of Ellie’s antics.

Ellie, the heroine in Shift Happens, owns a nail salon. It was an interesting occupation for me to give to a character considering I can’t paint my way out of a paper bag. I blame it on being left-handed. I’m awesome like all lefties, of course, but painting nails isn’t my forte. Unless it’s paint by numbers, I’m screwed.

You get the picture.

So here’s Ellie, manicurist extraordinaire, who caters to the shifter housewives of Atlanta’s elite. Unlike me, she’s a whiz with a nail file and a bottle of polish. She creates colorful creations for her clients, all of whom don’t realize Ellie’s a shifter herself. She’s a half dragon shifter, who’s never quite mastered the art of keeping smoky belches hidden.

Since it’s finally spring and sandal season is in full effect, I couldn’t wait to treat myself to a pedicure at the conclusion of writing Ellie’s story. I got pink polish with white polka dots, in case you’re interested. ; )

My first ever pedicure took place last May, right before I attended the RT Conference in New Orleans. I’m a bit ticklish and the “cheese grater” thingamabob freaked me out…and made me giggle! (When I wasn’t busy being disgusted by the entire process.) But boy, were my foot smooth as silk. I went to the Dark Side and became a pedicure regular since then.

For someone who cringes at the sound of a file, you’d think I’d avoid a nail salon like the plague. Not so, fearless readers. I may cringe, of course, but the discomfort is worth it for a fantastic French manicure and cute, colorful little toesie woesies. I still think I have ugly feet – flat and wide – but no one can deny my love of pink when I’m all glammed-up with a fresh set of paint.

I’m currently growing out my fingernails. For a lifelong nail biter, this is a hard road to travel. My nails have finally grown past the pads of my fingers and I’m already envisioning the perfect shade of pink to christen them with. Fingers crossed I don’t lose an eye taking out my contacts. That is a tricky maneuver, let me tell ya.

So we’ve established I love pink, pedicures, and peanut butter cups…okay, so I didn’t tell you that, but it’s true and it does start with P…I want to know what style everyone is rocking these days.

Come on, share the deets. I’ll be right here taking notes.


Shift Happens (I Heart Shifters, Book 1)

Christy Gissendaner

Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Etopia Press

Number of pages: 69

Word Count: 24,906

Book Description:

Ellie Reynolds runs a nail salon that caters to shifters of all varieties. The proverbial shift hits the fan when billionaire mogul Jackson Lawrence walks in the door and offers Ellie two million dollars to sell her shop. Ellie has no intention of selling out, especially to someone who plans to bulldoze her shop to the ground and replace it with a fast food joint. Their battle of wit and will is brought to a sudden halt when Jackson’s enemies appear, throwing them into a fight for their lives.

Jackson believed he’d left violence behind when he resigned his position with the Blood Wolves, a secret shifter military group, but someone wants his company’s cyber invention and will stop at nothing to get it. He didn’t mean to drag Ellie into his mess, but he’s willing to do anything to protect her and the firewall his friend created…anything except fight his attraction to the outspoken redhead he’s suddenly responsible for. Jackson soon learns Ellie is hotter than he first gave her credit for…like dragon hot…and life is about to get a whole lot more interesting.

Sometimes shift happens when you least expect it. 

Buy Links:


Rain kept up a staccato rhythm on the tin roof, and her supersensitive hearing picked out every drop. She’d never be able to sleep like this, not while her mind was racked by thoughts of Jackson. The situation was laughable. She should be more worried about her safety and instead all she could think about was the fine-looking man in the room across the hall, like the perfect dimples in his cheeks when he smiled really big, or the perfect symmetry of his gorgeous face. And that ass. She could bounce a quarter off that ass.

She groaned as the familiar heat filled the place between her thighs. She needed something to take her mind off Jackson.

Milk. That’s what she needed. A nice, cool glass of milk.

Well, what she really needed was her vibrator, but it was at home, tucked safely away in her drawer under a bundle of handmade scarves that she’d bought and never worn.

Ellie slid out of bed and tugged the hem of the too-short nightgown. She’d picked out a size eight when she was more like a twelve, so Jackson wouldn’t know her true clothing dimensions. When he’d gone to pay for the items she’d chosen, he’d merely lifted an eyebrow but wisely chosen not to say anything. Could she help it if she’d been born with a fondness for sweets? Blame Nana’s genes, not her own lack of will.

Speaking of sweets, cookies would be nice too. She wondered if Jackson had any in the cabinets. He seemed to keep the Montevallo home stocked with foodstuffs since they hadn’t had to stop for groceries.

A few minutes later, with chocolate chip cookies clutched in both hands and a mug of milk hooked around her thumbs, she crept back down the hall toward her room. She bent her head to take a bite of a cookie and lost her grip on the drink. She cursed when the mug fell out of her hands. The milk spilled across her toes and the ceramic shattered when it hit the wooden planks.

“Ellie!” Jackson jerked his bedroom door open and appeared in the doorway, disheveled and entirely too yummy. He wore nothing but boxers and oh geez, he had a six-pack. A perfectly lickable six-pack that made her mouth and sex water. She hoped she wouldn’t drool, although it was a distinct possibility.

“I’m sorry for waking you.”

Jackson ran a hand over his shorn hair. “Fuck. I thought they’d found us.”

“Nope, just the cookie monster.” She held up the cookies in her hands and grimaced. How embarrassing. “Want one?”

He came forward until their toes touched. Hers, milky and chilled. His, warm and dry. She wanted to feel her feet wrapped around his beneath the covers. She wanted to feel everything of his beneath the covers, actually.

His thumb brushed the corner of her lips. “Chocolate,” he explained right before he licked his finger.

Damn her knees. Useless joints that they were. “Umm.”

And damn her larynx for not working properly.

His gaze dropped and she suddenly realized she was in the too-short, too-tight nightgown. Her boobs stretched the cotton material and she didn’t need to look down to know she was nipping. If she turned around, he could probably tell she wasn’t wearing panties. She’d never been so self-conscious before, but never had she been in the presence of a hot-ass canine shifter who was practically naked.

Jackson’s expression turned predatory. His cheeks seemed to hollow out, becoming more pronounced, and his nostrils flared as if he’d caught a whiff of something. Perhaps it was her. The quick shower she’d taken had been hours before. Then again, no panties. Perhaps he smelled her scent. She clamped her thighs tight together and prayed he didn’t laugh. The situation was embarrassing enough without suffering unrequited lust.

“Ellie.” He spoke her name again, but it was low-pitched and soft.

Oh God. She wanted to eat the cookies in his bed. But later. Much, much later. “Yeah?”

“I owe you something.” He slid a hand around her waist and cupped the upper swell of her butt. His fingers spread out in a proprietary manner, as if he was sure of his welcome. “I wanted to wait until all this shit was over, but you’re killing me. I can’t hold out any longer.”

Neither could she. She went up on tiptoe and puckered her lips. He stared at her as he traced the seam of her lips with his index fingers. “I think you misunderstand the type of kiss I want from you.”

About the Author:

Christy Gissendaner is a paranormal and contemporary romanceauthor author who believes laughter and love should go hand in hand.

Christy lives in Alabama with her husband and three sons. She’s always hard at work on her next novel, but in her spare time she loves blackjack, karaoke, and anything resembling a vacation!

To find out more, please visit


Shadowed Origins by Shyla Wolff


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The road to freedom is rarely an easy journey.

Following a lifetime of captivity and torture, fate tosses Kyley into a world of freedom and opportunities, danger and espionage. During her inspirational journey, discovery of life’s offerings shores up her determination to conquer the fears that keep her from exploring a world where romance is more than a fantasy. Her continued hard-won freedom hinges on the abilities of the paranormal group that rescued her. Always looking over her shoulder, she knows Roth must reacquire her to complete his plan for mass annihilation and anarchy.

Taylor’s telekinesis and special-ops training granted him seamless passage to work with Kenner’s paranormal unit. When he rescues a young waif from the clutches of her psychopathic guardian, he’s unprepared for the emotional backlash created by their connection.

The knowledge that her emotional baggage includes years of abuse dictates he help her conquer her triggers and fears. Aware she’s not encountered a kind touch, much less any expression of passion, he represses his own desires in order to teach her that not all physical contact includes pain. He longs to free her adventurous streak and inspire her to achieve emotional as well as physical confidence.

Since being adopted by her psychic warriors as a kid from the streets, Kiera’s never doubted her place in life or the direction of her path. Her unusual upbringing included weapons training, unique fighting skills, and how to maximize her paranormal abilities. After pulling Carlin, a computer prodigy, from death’s grasp, she learns you don’t always get to choose whom you love. Her destiny is twofold. Protect Carlin from the monster who wants to destroy the USA and find her mate—a man who will save her life, more than once.

A chance meeting between Kiera and Kyley sets off a chain of events they couldn’t prepare for and might not survive. Can the girls work together and prevent Roth from destroying the ones they love?


 EXCERPTS (Exclusive Excerpt): 

“Kiera? Don’t do it.” Ouray’s words in vain, he reached back for her. And missed.

The portal she backed into exited in front of a massive floor to ceiling window along the front of the home. When she pivoted and stepped out, bright floodlights left her exposed and vulnerable.

Information relayed from her avian friends proved correct, a man and woman sat on a couch. She opened a return portal a step away that led back to Ouray in case the need presented itself. Even as she stood featured in the spotlight, she had to know.

Inside—the profile of the man and woman almost dropped her to her knees. The male was the same one who was shot at the mall last week. The girl was her doppelganger…

Realizing her brethren might not believe her, she pulled her cell and quickly snapped a photo. Both Nicholai and Ouray’s scolding rang in her ears.

The instant the flash went off, the man’s gaze snapped in her direction. She’d already backed into her portal as she watched his hand rise. 


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Life teaches us many lessons. One of the most important ones AuthorPhoto_ShadowedOriginsShyla’s learned is to take the time to enjoy family and friends. Our circumstances change on a daily basis. However small the differences may seem, they add up over time. Through a lifetime of various trials and tribulations, she’s discovered the enjoyment of sharing her stories with those that would relish participating in the journey of extaordinary people through their everyday lives.





Dead Handsome: A Buffalo Steampunk Adventure


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Clara Allen needs a husband in order to keep a roof over the heads of her assorted dependents, a roof her nasty grandfather will re-appropriate unless she is married by her 21st birthday, only a few days away. Strong-minded, unwilling to take orders from any man, she decides to solve her problem by raising a murdered prisoner from the dead and marrying him. She expects an empty-headed puppet; she certainly never dreams he’ll be so devastatingly handsome.

Liam McMahon doesn’t recall much about his life before his hanging in the prison yard, other than being Irish. He does remember the kiss Clara bestowed as she brought him back to life. Every time he looks at her, his desire gets out of hand. But his former life is chasing him down like a steam engine, and when a couple of mad geniuses decide he’d make a fine experiment, he wonders if he’ll live long enough to claim Clara’s heart or if he’ll die all over again.


EXCERPTS (Exlusive Excerpt):

Clara wished Dax didn’t make quite so much noise when he moved. The lads had done a fine job with his overhaul, but he definitely revealed his age as he trundled along and emitted regular puffs of steam. At least she didn’t have to worry about him running out of coal. Woodrow and Fred had stoked him well and filled his reservoir before they left the house.

Like a ragged, ungainly band of gypsies, they’d followed Ruella through darkening streets under an overcast sky, west along Georgia Street almost to 4th, a most unsavory part of town. Fred had appropriated the pistol, and stayed close to Clara’s side.

Now, at the mouth of a noisome alley, Ruella paused and said over her shoulder, “I think it’s down here.”

Clara stiffened with distaste. From the little she could see, the alley lay cluttered with garbage. But she’d venture into far worse, for the sake of Liam.

Liam. The very thought of him called to her and raised a longing she had to tamp down in order to think clearly.

“Dax, you go first,” she bade the steamie. She didn’t want to sacrifice him, but heaven only knew what lay down that dark chute.

The steamie rolled forward willingly. The rest of them pressed in behind.

“Ugh, what a stink,” Ruella fairly gagged.

Ahead lay a rooming house, only one window lit against the gloom. No sign of movement or human habitation, though Clara would be willing to bet rats abounded.

“Nothing here,” Dax said. Was that relief or disappointment Clara heard in his voice? Was he capable of either emotion? 


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Born in Buffalo and raised on the Niagara Frontier, Laura Strickland AuthorPhoto_DeadHandsomehas been an avid reader and writer since childhood. To her the spunky, tenacious, undefeatable ethnic mix that is Buffalo spells the perfect setting for a little Steampunk, so she created her own Victorian world there.  She knows the people of Buffalo are stronger, tougher and smarter than those who haven’t survived the muggy summers and blizzard blasts found on the shores of the mighty Niagara.  Tough enough to survive a squad of automatons? Well, just maybe.

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