Author Spotlight – Connie Cockrell

I had the pleasure of running into Connie Cockrell a little while ago, and we’ve been talking back and forth about setting up an interview swap. What I didn’t realize when we started talking is just how many genres this amazing woman manages to write in.

I know just how difficult it can be to write different genres, but Connie Cockrell seems to find it effortless. Maybe she’ll give us an insight into just how she does it in this interview. How about it Connie?

[Update: I just found out that this post coincides with Connie’s birthday, so please show her some love]

Introducing Connie Cockrell

A 20-year Air Force career, a manager at a computer operations company, wife, mother, sister and volunteer, provides a rich background for Connie Cockrell’s story-telling.

She writes about whatever comes into her head so her books could be in any genre. She’s published sixteen books, has been included in five anthologies and been published on EveryDayStories.com and FrontierTales.com. Connie’s always on the lookout for a good story idea. Beware, you may be the next one.

 

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

I grew up in Gloversville NY and joined the Air Force at eighteen. Lots of life happened the next 20 years, marrying, having a daughter, travelling around the world with the Air Force and retiring after 20 years in the service. Then we retired back to Northville NY where I worked for a computer company then, tired of the snow, moved to Payson AZ. That’s where I started writing on a challenge from my daughter in 2011. I haven’t stopped writing yet!

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

My very latest book is a cozy mystery, Mystery at the Book Festival. It’s book 3 in my Jean Hays series. My last science fiction book is Troubled Streets, book 1 in my Zoe Ohale series.

Zoe Ohale has had a hard life on the streets of Baia Mare, and it’s about to get a whole lot harder.

For Zoe Ohale, life on the streets is hard. Maybe too hard. She is one of the lucky few in the gang to have a place to lay her head, but for the rest an old abandoned warehouse is the best they can hope for to keep out of the rain.

Zoe has debts to pay. On the one side, the Lees are pressuring her to be an informant; on the other, the criminal underworld threatens to swallow her whole. But Zoe would do anything for her gang of orphans, so she shuts up and straddles the line of loyalty between night and day, always teetering on the edge.

But when a new gang of credit thieves comes to Baia Mare, everything is thrown into disarray, and Zoe’s precarious balance starts to crumble. With lies, kidnapping, corruption and even worse in the mix, the city is bound for a descent into anarchy.

Will Zoe find a way to help right a few wrongs? Or will she be the one who ends up needing help?

Who is your intended readership?

Women and girls who are looking for a smart, tough, yet sensitive main character. In the first book, Zoe is 17, so it could be considered a YA story though adults have enjoyed the story, too.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always dabbled at writing. Mostly just a few chapters then I’d toss the whole thing. Then when my daughter challenged me to participate in National Novel Writing Month, she loaned me her copy of Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. He laid out everything in a way that made total sense to me. I started plotting out my story in mid-October and finished that first book by the end of Nano. I was pretty pumped and I’m still going strong.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

I’ll have to say the classic scifi authors like Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke and others. Female authors too, C.J. Cherryh, Elizabeth Moon, and so many more. All of my favorites tell compelling stories and with every book, take me on a vacation to far away exotic locations. What’s not to love!

What advice would you give beginning writers?

I’d say find what works for you and follow that. There’s a lot of advice out on the internet about how to be a writer. Some say you need to plot everything out, some say you should work by the seat of your pants. Other advice is to write every day, or edit as you go or don’t edit as you go. All I can say is I know authors who break one or more of all of those rules. Take classes, read craft books and figure out what works for you. You should find joy in writing. If you aren’t, perhaps you’re doing it wrong.

Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?

Once when my husband I were travelling west along I40 from Flagstaff, I saw a highway sign for Devil Dog Road. What a great name! I had to write a story based on that and I did. It’s in my collection of Halloween Stories, available on most book retailers

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?

I like to hike. I belong to a group that goes out and about central Arizona every Tuesday. I also belong to a monthly Bunco group and I started an annual book festival here in Payson.

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

I have several projects in the works. I have completed a first draft of the second Zoe Ohale story, Troubled Campus. It needs a lot of work so I probably won’t publish it until 2018. Coming out soon, though, is the 4th book in my Brown Rain series, Tested. A dystopian scifi series, the books are novelette or novella length so they’re great fast reads.

Mystery at the Fair

Welcome to Greyson, Arizona. Population: One less than yesterday.

When Jean Hays moved to Greyson, Arizona, she thought she’d found the perfect place in which to get away from her sleazy ex-husband and start over, a fresh beginning far from the big city.

But when she discovers the desiccated corpse of local quilting legend Ina Grange in a storage container on the fairgrounds where she’s volunteering, she inadvertently starts uncovering a deadly conspiracy just under the surface of the sleepy town.

Between managing the annual Greyson fair and pursuing the shadowy trail of destruction left by the murderer, Jean has her hands full dealing with drunken brawls and nasty falls, suspicious ex-wives and keen-sharp knives. And that’s not to mention the stubborn Police Chief himself.

Will Jean find the truth before the killer decides enough is enough?

Troubled Streets

Zoe Ohale has had a hard life on the streets of Baia Mare, and it’s about to get a whole lot harder.

For Zoe Ohale, life on the streets is hard. Maybe too hard. She is one of the lucky few in the gang to have a place to lay her head, but for the rest an old abandoned warehouse is the best they can hope for to keep out of the rain.

Zoe has debts to pay. On the one side, the Lees are pressuring her to be an informant; on the other, the criminal underworld threatens to swallow her whole. But Zoe would do anything for her gang of orphans, so she shuts up and straddles the line of loyalty between night and day, always teetering on the edge.

But when a new gang of credit thieves comes to Baia Mare, everything is thrown into disarray, and Zoe’s precarious balance starts to crumble. With lies, kidnapping, corruption and even worse in the mix, the city is bound for a descent into anarchy.

Will Zoe find a way to help right a few wrongs? Or will she be the one who ends up needing help?

First Encounter

Seventeen years ago, the brown rain started falling without explanation, without excuse. It killed everything it touched.

Then, after four years of death and destruction, it stopped just as inexplicably.

Now Alyssa and Kyra, two young women from a surviving community, are sent out into a desolate world to look for other survivors. Between Alyssa’s unique power and Kyra’s roguish skills, they might just succeed. But what they end up finding in the outside world, despite its veneer of civility, may be slightly less human than they had been expecting.

Book Buying Links:

Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords

Where to find Connie Cockrell:

Website, Amazon, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook

Author Spotlight – Andy Peloquin

Over this coming week, I’ll be introducing you to Andy Peloquin, and his works. He’s one of those authors that is very active online, especially in the writer communities. It’s my pleasure to be featuring him over the next few days, as he builds up to the release of “Thief of the Night Guild”, which you’ll be finding out more about below… And lucky you, that’s several days ahead of it’s official release date, of July 18th 2017.

So, without further delay, it’s time for you to meet the wonderful Andy Peloquin…

Introducing Andy Peloquin

I am, first and foremost, a storyteller and an artist–words are my palette. Fantasy is my genre of choice, and I love to explore the darker side of human nature through the filter of fantasy heroes, villains, and everything in between. I’m also a freelance writer, a book lover, and a guy who just loves to meet new people and spend hours talking about my fascination for the worlds I encounter in the pages of fantasy novels.

Fantasy provides us with an escape, a way to forget about our mundane problems and step into worlds where anything is possible. It transcends age, gender, religion, race, or lifestyle–it is our way of believing what cannot be, delving into the unknowable, and discovering hidden truths about ourselves and our world in a brand new way. Fiction at its very best!

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

I was born in Japan to French and American parents, and have lived abroad (Japan/Mexico) my entire life. I’m an odd mixture of bodybuilder/fitness nut and fantasy nerd/comic book geek.

Here are a few more things:

  1. Hot wings, ALWAYS!
  2. I never forget a face, but rarely remember a name.
  3. I’m a head taller than the average person (I’m 6′ 6″)
  4. Marvel > DC
  5. I was born in Japan, and lived there until the age of 14.
  6. Selena Gomez, Skrillex, Simon & Garfunkel, Celine Dion, and Five Finger Death Punch are all in my writing playlist.
  7. Aliens are real, but it’s self-centered of us to believe that they would come to visit Earth.
  8. Watching sports: suck. Playing sports: EPIC!
  9. I earned a purple belt in Karate/Hapkido/Taekwondo.
  10. I dislike most Christmas music, aside from Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

Thief of the Night Guild is the second book in the Queen of Thieves series. The first book (Child of the Night Guild) examined the sort of traumas, abuses, and trials that would turn an innocent child into a hardened thief and killer. This second book answers two questions:

  • How does a woman survive in a society dominated by men?
  • What is a mother willing to do to protect her child?

The story follows Ilanna, a third-story thief (cat burglar) in the Night Guild (thieves’ guild). She pulls off her world’s first bank heist by breaking into a secure vault and stealing a fortune in gold and gemstones. It has the feel of a classic heist novel, but with the dark fantasy flair that I love to add to my stories. There’s death, loss, sorrow, betrayal, murder, mayhem, mystery, thieves, assassins, and poisoners—the best of fantasy!

Who is your intended readership?

The target audience is definitely mature adults. The themes in the book are dark and grim, but presented in a fascinating story.

Both men and women will enjoy the story of Ilanna. I wrote her as a character I (a man) would want to read, yet one women of all ages would be able to identify with. She’s definitely more confident in this second book than in the first, as she’s “come into her own” as a thief.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I, like so many other authors, spent a lot of time writing during my childhood and teenaged years. However, it wasn’t until my mid-20s that I realized that it was what I wanted to do with my life. Not just to piddle around and put together a story, but actually turn it into a full-time career.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

I try to “model myself” after Brandon Sanderson and Scott Lynch. Scott Lynch’s characters are so rich and bold and alive, his worlds and stories so rich. There’s an excellence, professionalism, and gravitas to Brandon Sanderson’s writings that I try to infuse into my own.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

Be ready for A LOT of work. The writing process is no more than 20% of what needs to be done to publish a book. There’s the editing, drafting, formatting, cover creation, and all the rest. Then there’s the marketing, outreach, advertising, and everything else that goes into getting your book in front of the right people. Prepare for a solid 10-year investment to turn it into a full-time career. That way, if it happens more quickly, it’ll be a “win”.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?

I’m a pretty hardcore (Marvel) comic geek. I like to get my hands on the latest comics and stay abreast of the latest developments in the story lines of my favorite characters (Deadpool, Wolverine, etc.). I also hit the gym/run daily, LOVE to cook, and enjoy puzzles, watching TV, and reading.

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

In addition to finishing the third book in the series (titled “Queen of the Night Guild”), I’ll be finishing the fourth novel in my The Last Bucelarii series. I’ll also be releasing a collection of short stories titled “Different, Not Damaged”—all featuring different disorders (PTSD, autism, fibromyalgia, etc.) in a fantasy context. Basically, the disorders are what make these characters special, hence the name of the book.

#1 : Child of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 1)

“They killed my parents. They took my name. They imprisoned me in darkness. I would not be broken.”

Viola, a child sold to pay her father’s debts, has lost everything: her mother, her home, and her identity. Thrown into a life among criminals, she has no time for grief as she endures the brutal training of an apprentice thief. The Night Guild molds an innocent waif into a cunning, agile outlaw skilled in the thieves’ trade. She has only one choice: steal enough to pay her debts.

The cutthroat streets of Praamis will test her mettle, and she must learn to dodge the City Guards or swing from a hangman’s rope. But a more dangerous foe lurks within the guild walls. A sadistic rival apprentice, threatened by her strength, is out for blood.

What hope does one girl have in a world of ruthless men?

Fans of Sarah J. Maas, Scott Lynch, and Brent Weeks will love Queen of Thieves…

Buy now: Ahead of the release of “Thief of the Night Guild” – Kindle

Where to find Andy Peloquin:

Website, Amazon, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook

Oh and one more thing…

Get a sneak peek of “Thief of the Night Guild”

“Evaline Transcendent” Is Coming July 26th!

Hey folks… I have my first sci-fi book release coming up on July 26th, and would love to get some support for the HeadTalker and Thunderclap campaigns…

Here’s what it’s all about:

“Evaline Transcendent” is a massively updated version of the story that appeared in “Across the Karman Line” a couple of years ago. Not only have I gone back through to make sure the editing is top notch, but I’ve reinstated parts of the story that I had to cut because of the word count limits I originally had.

I’ve added almost another 5,000 words to the original length of the story, and I think it’s a much stronger story as a result, because it really brings Evaline’s mission into perspective.

How HeadTalker & Thunderclap Work

  • People create advertising campaigns for their books/services/projects/fundraisers
  • They then set a minimum number of backers for the campaign, and a deadline
  • They then try to rally support for the campaign by asking people to back it
  • By supporting the campaign, each backer pledges to allow a message to be placed in their social media feeds advertising the book/service/project/fundraiser
  • No money changes hands

Here’s Where I Ask For Your Help

I have two campaigns setup, that I’m asking for support on. Here’s some reasons you consider for backing the project:

  • You really love a good sci-fi story
  • You know some friends who’ve thought of colonizing other worlds
  • You’ve read the original story and want to see what’s new
  • You want to see humanity out among the stars

And here’s the links (feel free to share them with others)

Headtalker: https://headtalker.com/campaigns/evaline-transcendent-release/
Thunderclap: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/59308-evaline-trascendent-prerelease

Pre-Order “Evaline Transcendent” for $0.99 (*) on Amazon until July 25th ($1.99 from July 26th)

 

* The release date is July 26th 2017, and all pre-orders will be delivered on that date.

 

“Under A Hunter’s Moon” – Get The First Chapter Of This Urban Fantasy For Free!

Cover and blurb for the "Under A Hunter's Moon" - The first short story in the "Shadows Over Seattle: Prequels" Urban Fantasy series.

More about “Under A Hunter’s Moon”

  • Length:About 4,200 words
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy
  • Setting: Seattle and the surrounding area
  • Series: “Shadows Over Seattle: Prequels”

Why am I offering the first chapter for free?

I have written several stories in the “Prequels” series, which are great introductions to the “Shadows Over Seattle” world. Three years ago, this story was featured in “Moon Shadows” and saw my debut as a published author, and remains very close to my heart. I’m also planning to release at least one or two more short stories over the coming months, as I continue to work on the first full novel in the “Shadows Over Seattle” series.

We’re also coming up on my birthday, and the first anniversary of this story being published under the “Shadows Over Seattle” banner. So, for the anniversary of the release I’m giving everyone a chance to try before they buy.

After all, I don’t know about you, but when I’m shopping for books in the store, I tend to read the first few pages to see if the book fits my tastes. Sure, I’ve had some very pleasant surprises when opening a book I’ve not tried reading first, but I still prefer to sample.

With that in mind, I thought I’d share a comments from the reviewers…

Here’s what reviewers have had to say:

“I love the dark view taken but also the unique point of view that makes you want to care for the dark creatures.”

“If you like wolves, if you like werewolves, if you like that whole conflict of humanity, and conflict within yourself, you’re gonna love this book.”

“An amazing take on Lycans. I love the dark view taken but also the unique point of view that makes you want to care for the dark creatures.”

“There is that conflict that is driven into the story. That beautiful arc that starts off so well… that builds up to a beautiful crescendo, and then just drops you, and your heart is going to drop when it’s time for it. And you’re going to feel it. You’re going to feel the protagonist’s pain. You’re going to feel everything.”

Get the first chapter of the story for free… Click Here!

Book Spotlight – “Lady Blackwing” by Devorah Fox

 

Overview

Mercedes is just trying to make her way through life: taking classes, working her shift as a barista, and writing short stories that she never seems to finish. After a minor accident, she finds herself imbued with startling powers. She projects future events and rewrites the past, with disastrous consequences. Her first attempts to use her strange talents incite a zombie attack and bring an Egyptian goddess to life. Stunned by awesome abilities that she can’t seem to control, Mercedes wonders if she’s been cursed. Can she be cured? And if she can’t, what then?

Where To Pre-Order (Release Date May 10th 2017):

AMAZON, EPub (and other formats)

From the Author

“What if?” Those two words all too easily send Devorah Fox spinning into flights of fancy. Best-selling author of The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam epic historical fantasy series including “The Redoubt,” voted one of 50 Self-Published Books Worth Reading 2016, and ”The Lost King,” awarded the All Authors Certificate of Excellence. She also wrote “Detour,” ranked in the Top Ten Thrillers in Preditor/Editors Readers’ Choice Poll and “The Zen Detective,” a finalist in the Golden Books Award Contest. She co-authored the contemporary thriller, “Naked Came the Sharks,” with Jed Donellie, contributed to “Masters of Time: a SciFi/Fantasy Time Travel Anthology,” and “Magic Unveiled: An Anthology,” and has several Mystery Mini Short Reads to her name. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she now lives in The Barefoot Palace on the Texas Gulf Coast with rescued tabby cats … and a dragon named Inky. Visit the “Dee-Scoveries” blog at http://devorahfox.com.

Links

Website, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Smashwords, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Goodreads, Newsletter

B2BCyCon2017, Scavenger Hunts, and Publicity Hounds

A Round-Up of the Weekend

The B2BCyCon event is at an end, but the fun isn’t over, and I’m left wondering what’s happening next.

After spending the best part of two months coordinating over seventy authors, putting together scavenger hunt quizzes, arranging genre tours, and fighting technical issues that could have derailed my planned discussion panels, I’m finding myself with a lot of spare time all of a sudden.

But, that’s not going to stop me working on the post-event activities that will help me get stuff ready for next year, and improve on what we did as a genre.

Things That Went Right:

  • We ran THREE very successful discussion panels, (despite some technical issues on my end). I’d like to thank everyone who took part, either as a panelist, or watched from the sidelines, and commented in the chat. Those videos are still available.
  • The Scavenger Hunt has received a LOT of very POSITIVE feedback. See the breakdown below for some interesting stats.
  • I saw a lot of our genre members interacting with the readers, and other writers, which was great to see, especially from those new to the event.
  • For those of you who took part in live events, discussions, or dropped in to see me fumble my way through running discussion panels for the first time… THANK YOU! This is one of the reasons I keep coming back to do these events, and why I volunteered to do so much behind-the-scenes work this year.
  • Brain to Books launched it’s first anthology collection, with stories provided by participating authors – including “April Fool (Shadows Over Seattle: Prequels #0.5)”. The proceeds from “Book Dreams: Volume 1” will be funneled back into funding the 2018 CyCon.
  • We were BY FAR the BIGGEST genre at the event, and event though I didn’t manage to reach EVERYONE, I think we all learned a lot along the way.

Things That Went Wrong:

  • For me, it was technical problems on Sunday, that almost canceled the last of the discussion panels.
  • Also, I should NEVER send emails when I’m tired, especially without checking that I changed everything I needed to.
  • The biggest thing we’re looking at behind-the-scenes, for next year, is ways to clean up communication channels, and better represent the various events being run.

The Scavenger Hunt – A Breakdown

The First Lines Scavenger Hunt has apparently been a success on a number of levels. Even though it’s still running until Saturday, I thought I’d give you a breakdown of the stats so far (as of 4/10/17).

  • We had 77 Visitors
  • 13 of those visitors completed the whole quiz
  • The average completion time was 40 minutes, meaning people spent time actually visiting the book pages
  • Of those who completed the quiz, only 2 got a wrong answer (and ONLY one wrong). I’ll NOT be disqualifying them from the prize draw as a result of this, because right answers was never really the goal.
  • 9 of the 13 have agreed to signup for newsletters from the participating authors.
  • On a 1-to-10 scale, 9 people rated this quiz a 10, 1 rated it a 9, 2 rated it a 6, and 1 rated it a 4. From my perspective that means we had an enjoyable quiz, in a format that people found interesting enough to do again.

So in conclusion, I would DEFINITELY run this event again, even if we don’t get any more participation. That said, PLEASE feel free to pass the word around that the quiz is still running, and will close on Saturday night. Here’s the link: https://timothybatesonauthor.typeform.com/to/tshdCP

It Gets Better…

Even more interestingly though… This little quiz drew very positive comments from someone I have followed for a while, and whose opinion I trust. Joan Stewart (AKA The Publicity Hound) is a blogger, publicity consultant, and mentor, who has helped a lot of small businesses and self-published authors become better at marketing what they do, and who they are.

The Publicity Hound puts out a twice-weekly email, with tips, blog posts, videos, training classes and dog videos. In Tuesday’s edition of her email, there was a section on using quizzes as a means to get people’s attention, along with an invitation to have a quiz featured in her blog.

Well, I sent out the information about the Scavenger Hunt quiz, along with a link, and Ms Stewart was very interested in featuring it. I’m very excited by this development, not just because the quiz was really an interesting experiment, but because The Publicity Hound emails and blog posts go out to a massive audience.

We are just discussing some final details, and I’ll post the link if/when it goes live on her blog.

Some Thoughts From Other Participating Authors

Here are some thoughts from other B2BCyCon participating authors:

If you took part in the Cyber Convention, either as a reader, or as an author, I’d love to hear your impressions in the comments.

And here’s those discussion panels for you…


Book Spotlight: Claiming My Valentine (Anthology) – Pre-order Now!

 

cmv-teaserexcerpt-banner

Enter the hot sexy world of New York Times, USA Today, And Award Winning Bestselling Authors!

Tami Lund, Julia Mills, C.D. Gorri, P.T. Macias, P. Mattern, Crystal Dawn, A.R. Von, Savannah Morgan, Audra Hart, Ariel Marie, Josette Reuel, Amanda Kimberley, Heather Kirchhoff, Daniella Whitehorse

Do you like steamy tales of passion, desire, seduction, and love? Step into a steamy romance with Claiming My Valentine, a collection of 14 sexy paranormal stories guaranteed to make your heart pound and your Kindle melt this Valentine’s Day . . . .

Explore your deepest desires and hidden fantasies as they come to life in these tempting tales of love! Claiming My Mate features Shifters, Dragons, Werewolves, Bears, Vampires, Fae, Ghosts, Angels, and more!

*All Proceeds go to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital

Add to Goodreads

Purchase Links

Amazon US : AU : CA : DE : UK

Barnes & Noble : iBooks : Kobo : Smashwords

cmv-3dcover

Table of Contents:

  • Broken Light, Lightbearer Prequel Part 2 by Tami Lund
  • Claiming Cupid by Julia Mills
  • The Dragon’s Valentine by C.D. Gorri
  • Claiming My Angel by P.T. Macias
  • Sex Slave to My Vampire Billionaire Stepbrothers: An MC Valentine Romance by P. Mattern
  • Searching for His Mate by Ariel Marie
  • Blazing Desire by Crystal Dawn
  • Heart of Ink by A.R. Von
  • Hearts, Flowers, & A Dead Husband by Savannah Morgan
  • Darkheart’s Valentine by Audra Hart
  • Love Burns by Josette Reuel
  • Forever Cherished by Amanda Kimberley
  • Forever Yours by Heather Kirchhoff
  • A Fae’s Mate by Daniella Whitehorse

The Dragon’s Valentine by C.D. Gorri

dragons-valentine-2-cd-gorri

…..Callius’ golden Dragon eyes landed on each of his brothers. He opened his long snout full of rows of razor sharp teeth and loosed a roar of blue and red flame against the whited-out sky.

He would miss them. They were his flesh, his blood, and his constant companions these five-hundred years. But he understood.

Agreed. Take care, my brothers. As head of our family this is my pledge to you, I will find a castle and I will find a mate! Then I will send for you.

Choose wisely, brother. The diamond rose is special.

Farewell and much luck to you on your quest!

Yes! May you be successful!

Callius and his brothers parted ways. It was a bittersweet parting, but the idea that one day they would be a Clan of their own kept Callius on a steady course. His purpose grew stronger with every passing moment.

Soon an idea of Castle Falk began taking shape in his mind’s eye. Not an old stone mausoleum like the one he came from. No, he wanted something new and modern. With a pool! Ha! That would be something!

But first things first, he reminded himself.

Find a mate and claim her.

“Dammit,” Fred struggled under the three cases of booze she lugged up the cellar stairs to The Thirsty Dog.

Being a Werewolf had its perks, but none of them helped her as she banged her elbow on the door frame while exiting the musty old cellar. If anything, she only hit it harder. Ouch!

It wasn’t her fault that she couldn’t see over the cases of long necks, was it? What could she do about her height? Not a damn thing!

So, she was kind of short for a Werewolf. She stood about five-foot five inches tall. Cool for a normal, but next to her six foot plus Packmates, she was tiny.

Her weight was good, she remained a solid buck forty, mostly muscle, and that was without working out. She got enough exercise between her two jobs and full moon runs with the Pack.

Yup. She was one busy woman. But that’s how she liked it. Keep moving, stay busy, no worries. That was something her older brother used to say…”

Claiming My Angel by P. T. Macias

claiming-my-angel-cover-pt-macias“Hell, fucking hell!”

Jared drinks down the last of the whiskey in the glass. He sits on the bar stool watching the dance floor. He looks up and gazes into Angel’s beautiful glowing violet eyes. He frowns and turns around.

Angelique smiles, her small even white teeth gleam, and her dimples flash. She walks anxiously towards Jared; she extends her long legs in a graceful gait. Her beautiful long shiny black hair flows down her back past her waist. The coral dress drapes softly over her luscious curves.

Her smile freezes on her face as she sees him turn away from her. Her glowing violet eyes tear up, and she turns away blushing. Her translucent white shimmering skin looks like a pink pearl. She takes short quick steps, her back straight, and her head held high. She walks over to her friends blinking rapidly to clear her violet tears away.

“What the fuck! I can’t stay away from her, I see her everywhere, and this is insane. She’s a fucking Angel! How in the hell could I even think of touching her again!”

He runs his left hand through his dark locks and clenches his right hand. He narrows his eyes and looks at her through the mirror behind the bar.

I can’t allow them to see me cry because they don’t have a clue that I love Jared McKenzie. Geeze, my best friend Cindi is his sister, and I don’t have the nerve even to mention it.

The moment that I looked into his beautiful gray eyes, I fell in love. I was his, and the incredible bonding happened. Our souls are one. Mercy, he’s my mate.

I was sent by the Angel sentinel to heal him. I monitor his fragile soul; I poured some mystical love and life into him. I nurtured him back to life when he was dying in that cave alone.

Blazing Desire by Crystal Dawn

Fancher breathed in the sweet scent of the bubble bath mixing in with the aroma of Skye’s arousal and their combined scent from their recent joining. Everything was perfect right now if he didn’t think about what the future might bring.

He stepped into the tub first because he knew it would be a little slippery and he intended to help her in. He held out his hand and she took it so he could hold her steady.

She shivered in his arms as he helped her to slide down into the tub before he slid down behind her. It felt wonderful to be in the hot relaxing water with Skye’s back presses up against him. If she would just move up and sit on his lap it would feel even better.

He poured some soap in his hands and lathered up. His hands massaged her shoulders and she moaned and relaxed. He continued down her back and then worked on the other side.

“That feels amazing.” She admitted.

“I like the feeling of your silky skin under my fingers too. Do you want to sit on my lap?”

“Why? Do you have a surprise for me?” She teased.

“I do and it’s a big one.” He chuckled.

Forever Cherished by Amanda Kimberly

Through physical and emotional struggles Keme and Chepi will unite two opposing tribes with love.

“My name is Wisakachek, and I have lost my way from my tribe. It is now too dark for me to travel. Would you mind if I camp with you for the evening?”

“No not at all. Please join us.” Keme said.

“Thank you. I was going to try to press on, but I smelled your dinner and the delicious aroma compelled me to stop. You see, I have been traveling for a couple of days and I have not had luck finding anything to eat.”

“There is a bear claiming the deer meat around here, I am afraid.” Keme stated flatly. “You can have some of ours.”

“Do you have a little to spare for my tribe? I was the one hunting, and like I said, it’s been awfully hard to hunt.”

Keme did not want to give up the little meat they had for the tribe, but he was confident that the gods would provide them with meat by dawn. “Yes. We can share some of the hunt with you.”

“But Keme—”

Keme raised his hand to Matchitehew before he finished his sentence.

“You are both too kind. In exchange for your kindness, I would like to offer you a gift in return.” Wisakachek said.

“A gift?”

“Yes. I’d like to offer you the power to hunt for your tribe without the fear of being hunted yourself.”

“And how do you propose that? Are you a magical medicine man or something?” Matchitehew chuckled.

“Something like that, yes.” Wisakachek said with a smile as he continued, “I am the spirit god who is the guardian over an ancient and magical art known as shape-shifting.”

“Shape-shifting? You mean like being able to change yourself into anything at will?” Keme persisted.

“Not exactly. The art of shape-shifting is the animal form of a wolf.”

Keme’s eyes widened.

“A wolf is a powerful creature! It can bring almost any creature to its knees! Maybe not the grizzly that has been giving us trouble, but a wolf is powerful. I could harness its power to feed my entire village! They would never go hungry again. That would be wonderful!”

Love Burns by Josette Reuel

loveburn-cover-josette-revelCan a dragon claim Hyacinth’s heart this Valentine’s Day or will love burn her, yet again?

Just over a year ago, Hyacinth’s life had imploded. Her then fiancé and now ex, Tom, was found in flagrante delicto with the next door neighbor. There was a time that Hy would’ve said that she and Tom had a future, but when she ended the relationship she was more embarrassed than sad. Since the breakup, Tom seemed to find every possible reason to bother her – unnecessary meetings with her boss and eating lunch at her favorite restaurants – and reminded her that she would never find anyone to love her overly ample frame.

Even though she was better without him, it had been difficult when she packed up and moved from where she had lived with Tom. She had been comfortable in her life with him.

Since the breakup, she simply went to work, went to the bookstore, the grocery store, and home. As a foster child, she had grown up in many different homes, so even today she had few friends. It was a learned mechanism for her, distancing herself from others kept her from getting hurt. Somehow Tom had forced himself past her barriers and she had broken rule one in her survival guide. Hyacinth was determined not to let it happen again.

Then it did. Lightning struck. That day six months ago when her gaze lifted from her computer screen and fell into the deep blue eyes of a god.

The sizzle that sped up and down her body was everything Hy had ever read about love at first sight. Her heart raced so fast that it felt like it would burst from her chest. Her mouth went dry and she became a blathering fool.

*

Hyacinth Seirres had just typed the salutation of Mr. Trollmann’s letter when the chime alerted her to someone entering the office. She quickly saved the file and placed her hands on her desktop, ready to help their visitor.

Her gaze slid over her desk and landed on tailored black dress pants, which were not unusual for her boss’ clients, but when her eyes roamed up the dark wool covered legs the journey lasted longer than average, which was unusual when compared to the average men she normally spoke with. The man standing in front of her could not be described as average in any way. He was extremely tall, well built, and dressed immaculately. Continuing her visual journey, she encountered a trim waist and a silky cotton green shirt before finally landing on a masculine face. Hy’s perusal of the man only took a few seconds, but when she gazed into the deep ocean depths of the man’s eyes, time lost all meaning.

Desire raged through Hyacinth’s body and her mouth went dry as flames caressed over her skin.

“I’m here to see Mr. Trollmann.”

The hum of the deep vibrato soothed her.

“Miss?” She watched in stunned silence as a hand reached forward and a single finger caressed under her chin. “Are you alright?” He asked as his finger applied pressure and pushed her mouth closed.

“Brann Drahgue!” Mr. Trollmann rushed from his office and clasped the man in one of those classic man hugs. “It’s been ages since I’ve spoken to you, what brings you to my humble corner of the world?”

Laughter rang out through the room.

“I wish it was for a visit, but I need your services.”

“Come this way.” Hy’s boss now wore a grim expression as he waved his friend to precede him. “Hyacinth, please hold my calls.”

It wasn’t until the office door clicked shut that Hy felt her brain reboot. That was when several intense emotions surfaced in rapid fire succession.

Mortification. Desire. Lust. Embarrassment. Curiosity. And, a feeling of rightness that she had never felt before took hold and wrapped her tightly in its comforting embrace. All for someone she just met.

Forever Yours by Heather Kirchhoff

I spin around, stalking away from them. I’m not paying attention to where I’m going, and I accidentally run into someone. I step backwards, almost losing my balance, but the person grabs a hold of me. His touch feels very warm. It almost felt like there was something more…but it’s more likely just my imagination.

“I’m sorry,” I mutter as embarrassment rushes into me. I look up at who I ran into, and my face suddenly feels hot.

He has shaggy black hair, with dark green eyes. His skin is a light tan. His cheekbones are sharp, while his jaw is square. His lips are thin. He must be about six feet tall compared to my five eight. His arms are well defined, but they aren’t overly muscular. I can only imagine what his body is like underneath his turquoise T-shirt and black jeans.

Whoa, slow down there, I think to myself, shaking my head as I try to clear my thoughts. No need to go that far.

“Are you okay there, princess?”

It takes me a minute to realize I’m staring at him with wide eyes. I wouldn’t be surprised if my mouth was dropped opened wide, with drool pooling out of it.

He looks irresistible.

Like, the kind of guy I never thought I’d see in person.

My heart stops beating as soon as his eyes meets mine. My mouth feels dry all of a sudden, and I can’t find any words.

He smirks at me, and throws me a wink. Oh man. My stomach flips upside down when he does that.

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