My very first m/m romance – Re-release!! by Lynn Lorenz

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This is the new cover!! It’s sexy and Drake is looking way dangerous. It’s out this week, August 6th, from Hartwood Publishing. They’ve taken on my In The Company of Men series (gay medieval romance) and adding new covers and offering it for reduced prices. This week, it’s up for pre-order at Amazon for $3.99 – http://www.amazon.com/Mercenarys-Tale-Company-Men-Book-ebook/dp/B012F6H6VM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1438564315&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Mercenary%27s+Tale

If you’ve previously purchased it, I’d love you buy it again, but seriously, no need. Not that much has changed, other than some edits, and the smoking new cover. If you’ve never read this series and you love men with swords…no I mean real swords…swashbucklers who will fight to the death for their man, then you might enjoy these men.

Blurb –
Drake is a mercenary, selling his sword and his life to fight for another’s gain. He’s alone, and a bit jaded, but when Ansel walks into a tavern and asks Drake to help improve his skills, against all his better judgement, Drake takes him on. A mercenary’s life is short, he lives and dies by the sword and both men know it.

Excerpt –
I sat on the bench and leaned against the wall of the tavern, watching the other men talk, drink, and hire whores. All seemed to be locals, farmers, or artisans, come to the tavern to spend coin in pursuits of the flesh. All but one, a young man sitting alone at a table. He’d watched me, from under half-lidded eyes, ever since he’d arrived. His companion, a large black dog, lay beside, head resting on its paws.

The young man stood, walked to the counter, and spoke quiet words to the tavern keeper, the dog a black shadow that followed him. The old man glanced at me, nodded, spoke, and then turned away. My watcher turned to face me and leaned on the bar, perhaps estimating his chances.

I sighed and moved my hand to rest on the hilt of my short sword. It wouldn’t be the first or last time a young fool had tried to test his skill, and I’d become adept over the years at inflicting flesh wounds and scratches. I only kill when I’m being paid for it. I watched from the shadows as he pushed off and made his way across the tavern to my table with the dog trailing him.

The man was tall, but not as tall as I, nor as heavily muscled, and perhaps eight years my junior. Not quite filled out yet, I could see he’d possess the fullness of manhood in a few years. If he lived that long. I counted his weapons, one broadsword across his back, a short sword at his side, one throwing knife sheathed in a band across his chest, and the top of a blade’s hilt I spotted hidden in his boot. I wondered if I should count the dog.

He stopped in front of my table and placed his hand on the empty chair opposite me. The black animal stood also, as if waiting to be asked to sit.
“Are you Drake, the mercenary?” His strong, yet soft voice held no swagger, merely the accent of the southern lowlands.

“Who’s asking?”

He narrowed his eyes and peered into the shadows that hid my face.

“I am Ansel.” No hint of challenge shone in his brilliant blue eyes, nor cutting tone to his soft voice.

“Sit, Ansel, and tell me what brings you to my table.”

He pulled out the chair and sat, placing his hands on the table, palms down, to show he held no weapons. The dog lay down at his side, seemingly uninterested.

“I understand the Duke of Foray is calling for men. I wish to hire with him and am told you are on your way there also.”

“I hope you didn’t pay for that bit of information.”

“No. It was freely given.” For a moment, he flashed a smile, and the corners of his eyes crinkled.

Despite myself, I returned the smile and then hoped the shadows hid it.
“And what is it you want from me?”

“To travel with you, and perhaps train along the way.” He sat back in the chair, waiting for my answer.

“I don’t travel with anyone.”

The edges of his upturned lips fell just a little.

“Often,” I added. His smile returned, and oddly, I felt pleased. I glanced down at the dog, then back at him. “And I don’t train pups anymore.”

“I’m no pup. I’ve just returned from Moran.”

I leaned forward, brought my scarred face into the light, and stared hard at the man in front of me. He had survived the battle at Moran?
“I lost a few friends there,” I said with a nod.

“I, also.” He returned my nod. “I am no stranger to battle, Lord Drake.”

He’d used my formal title, one I hadn’t used since I was eighteen, and I wondered what he knew of me and who had told him.

“It’s just Drake. Well, Ansel, how long have you been a killer for hire?”

He didn’t blink at my bluntness or at the ragged scar that ran down one side of my face, though I could track his eyes’ movement as he took it in.

“Since I left home at ten and eight. I am now twenty and two.”

Four years and he’d survived, so he must have some skill. Most didn’t stay alive past their first battle. Young men trained in pretty strokes of blade, but couldn’t move fast enough, keep their heads, or swing wild enough to survive in the heat of a bloodbath.
If he was telling the truth.

“The war between Foray and Istend will be fierce. You must know that to ask for additional training.” At least he was no fool.

“Aye. And from the best.” He smiled again and tilted his head in a gesture of regard.

His blue eyes burned into me, and I was grateful for the table between us. I felt a small prick of fear on the back of my neck and tamped it down as I scanned the room. No one in the tavern was paying us mind, or could possibly know what I was feeling. Even I wasn’t sure about that. After all, I had a reputation, and in my business it could mean the difference between eating or not eating if you weren’t hired, or having no one at your back if the men you fought with didn’t trust you.

“That may be, Ansel.” I inclined my head back to him as our eyes met.

What was I doing? This could only end badly. I should send him away and be done with him before trouble started.
Catching the eye of a young whore, I signaled for her to come to the table. With an eager grin, she swayed her way toward me, moving around the tables, a smile on her face. She wasn’t pretty, but then, whores never are. Still, who fucks a face?
I stood as she reached the table and pulled her to me. She wrapped a thin arm around my waist. His eyes flicked to the bulge in my leather breeches and then back to my face. She giggled and looked at Ansel, giving him a bigger smile, but clung to my money and me.

“I leave tomorrow. Meet me here in the morn.”

He stood, glanced at the woman, and his eyebrows drew together. “I’ll be here.”

“Where do you bed tonight?” Was I thinking of offering him to share my room? When had I lost my mind?

“I have a place in the stable.”

I left with a nod, the whore at my side, and made my way to the stairs. As I climbed to my room, I could feel those brilliant blue eyes following me.

—-*—-

This is a tale of love, lost and daring to love again. Of finding what you never knew you needed. Of family.

I hope you’ll enjoy it.

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Food and an excerpt with my favorite Dom

Guys, I have have a favorite Dom. It’s true. She’s one of a kind. She’s fierce. Ferocious. Sexy. And all kinds of fun. And she’s here today with a killer recipe and an awesome excerpt from her new release Infiltrating Her Pack by Dominique Eastwick.

Wait…what Dom did you think I meant?

Italian Raspberry Torte

1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
2/3 cup sugar & ¼ cup sugar
¾ cup sour cream
½ cup butter, melted
2 eggs
½ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. almond extract
1 8 oz pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 cups fresh raspberries
Fresh mint sprigs (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease a 9″ springform pan: set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine 2/3 cup sugar, ½ cup sour cream, melted butter, eggs, vanilla, and ¼ tsp. almond extract with an electric mixer.

Add flour mixture to sugar mixture. Beat until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 15 minutes. Remove partially baked cake from oven and place on wire rack.

In a new bowl beat cream cheese and ¼ cup sugar with an electric mixer until smooth.

Beat in remaining sour cream and almond extract.

Spoon cream cheese mixture over top of partially baked cake, Spread mixture carefully to edges. Return cake to oven. Bake 20-25 mnutes or until top is set and edges are brown.

Place cake on wire rack. Mound berries on cake, pressing some of the berries gently into cake top.

Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides of cake from pan.

Cool 30 minutes more. Remove sides of pan.

Serve chilled. Add mint sprigs, if desired.

Makes 12-16 servings

Nothing goes better with a cool dessert than a hot book. Here’s a peek at my latest erotic release. I hope you enjoy it.

The mysterious and intimidating lone wolf, Z, has returned to Los Lobos. Descended from a long line of gifted yet secretive shifters known as Infiltrators, his people are the spies of the shifting world, rarely seen and harder to track.

Ripley Greystone has a big problem—her pack is Alpha-less and a local coyote band knows it. The safety of her pack rides on trusting Drew, the new Alpha of the Black Hills Wolves. But, admitting the reason for needing his help isn’t something she’s quite ready to do.

Drew senses there’s more to Ripley’s request to join his pack than what she leads him to believe. There’s only one way to know for sure—send an Infiltrator to spy on Ripley and her pack.

Forced to infiltrate her pack to discover its hidden secrets and protect it from the coyotes determined to claim the she-wolves for themselves, Z finds more than he expects—all the while fighting the need to claim Ripley as his mate.

EXCERPT
A hairsbreadth divided them, and it took all the willpower he processed to fight the building desire to pull her into his arms. Her breathing quickened, and as he gazed into her blue eyes, her raw sensuality forced him deeper into the cavernous pit he’d fallen in when he’d first seen her.

The words came out on a whisper. “You feel it, too, don’t you?”

“This attraction?” Z raised an eyebrow.

She closed her eyes. “It won’t work. I have secrets you could never understand.”

“We all have secrets,” he said then gave in to his animal nature and claimed her lips, though touching her nowhere else. He burned himself into her, forcing her to recant her words of denial.

It will work. He didn’t know how, but he didn’t think he could walk away from these feelings again. Having ensured the Greystones posed no threat to the Tao Pack, he could make his top priority the safety of his mate. His second would be to figure out the logistics of having a mate not of his pack.

Her deep groan rumbled through him, and every thought but Ripley faded. Passion swirled and something new, something different…something more, accompanied by a fizz running along his spine and through his nervous system, charging his powers. The urge to howl grew.

Get your copy of Black Hill Wolves Infiltrating her Pack from Amazon.

Award-Winning author Dominique Eastwick currently calls North Carolina home with her husband, two children, one crazy lab and one lazy cat. Dominique spent much of her early life moving from state to state as a Navy Brat. Because of that, traveling is one of her favorite pasttimes. When not writing you can find Dominique with her second love…her camera.

Learn more about Dominique Eastwick on her website, blog, and Amazon author page. Be sure to join her Newsletter for up to the minute info on new releases, contests, and more.

Stay connected on Twitter, Tublr, Tsu, and Pinterest..

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Can I Go Home Now?

My brain is full.

My body is physically tired.

But I am JAZZED!!!

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Romance Writers of America

I went to the Romance Writers of America National Convention last week in New York City.

My roommate, Trista Ann Michaels (if you haven’t checked out her hot doms yet do so immediately!) and I went a few days early to play tourist. We hopped on the Greyline double-decker bus and 911memorial533pxsaw downtown NYC, went up the Empire State Building and solemnly watched water spill into the 911 monument.

The next day we joined Jean Joachim, Roz Lee, and Vikki Vaught for a stroll through Central Park, lunch in Chinatown and a ride on both the subway and a city bus. Of course the topic of romance writing, the publishing industry and books wove its way into every conversation.

Then the conference started with wonderful workshops taught by the industry’s best. From breakfast speeches to late in the evening, we were on the go. The basis of every conversation was books.

Writing books.

Editing books.

Selling books.

Character development. Back story. Motivation. Conflict.

And all the while the story lines of my upcoming books run through the back of my brain. How does this apply to my hero? My heroine? My book?

I took notes. Lots and lots of notes. Now I have to decipher my cryptic shorthand learned in college so I can apply all this newly gained knowledge.

I started while my plane leaving Laguardia airport was delayed…four times.

When I finally reached home, I had enough time to wash clothes and repack for a family trip to Florida.

I’m chomping at the bit to write the next book, edit the last one completed and plot a new one.

But more than that, I’m ready to go home and sleep in my own bed, cook in my kitchen and hug on Macho Marine.

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What makes a romance unique?

I was scrolling through Facebook recently and caught a comment written by my pal Nita from The Book Chick Blog. Please give her a like when you check her out and let her know Rosanna sent you. In her post, she made a point about the lack of unique romance books, and it made me wonder.

What makes a romance novel unique? It’s a tough question. After all, romances are, by their very nature, predictable. We need to know the couple will unite at the end. We see the same predictability in mysteries. By the end of the book, the murderer must be revealed and (hopefully) punished. So, in this sense, can a romance be unique at all?

type

We do see a lot of the same romance tropes in today’s fiction, but I think audiences demand them, too. My own shape shifter series is the most popular of my series, and God only knows there are hundreds of other shifter series out there. Romance readers still love those classic paranormal characters. But do these books lack individuality? Perhaps there are similar traits, but there is one thing that separates them.

In my opinion, it boils down to author voice. This is what gives a book flavor. This is what keeps readers coming back. A reader “clicks” with an author’s voice. It can often make or break a book and it is what helps a reader relate to the story and characters. If I like an author’s voice, I don’t even mind if the story is less than unique. I just want to keep reading.

Is it possible to be completely, undeniably, 100% unique anyway? I don’t know. We’ve been told no thought is original. And don’t readers also value a sense of familiarity as well? We read romance for the same reason we read cozy mysteries: we cherish the sense of nostalgia and know we are assured of a satisfying resolution.

There is, I think, a danger in “unique” translating into “quirky.” Too quirky. I’m wary of gimmicks, as a rule. For example, I write about shape shifters. I don’t want to be the author who writes about rodent shifters or pink lizard shifters. Give me my traditional wolves and bears and tigers. Think of some of the crazy books out there right now. Do I want to contribute to that level of crazy? No. I don’t want to be the author who pens a book about a vampire with a unicorn horn on his head, who has a career as a grocer and takes pottery classes, leading him to fall in love with one of his vases. Sure, this all sounds very silly, but hopefully I’m making a point.

I think we gravitate to a familiar trope because we want to have a sense how it will unfold, at least to some extent. It’s nice to throw in some twists and turns, but at the end of the day, certain aspects must hold. We want our romantic heroes to be fierce and protective. We want the heroines to have some level of spunk. And we want them to embark on a grand adventure, realistic or not, one that strengthens their bond.

At the same time, I understand what The Book Chick is saying. As an avid reader of romance, she must see the same stories play out over and over.

So what else can make a romance stand out?

I think character is a big one. We don’t want to see cookie-cutter characters, even if they are vampires or cowboys or millionaires or some other trope we’ve seen a thousand times. There should be something to differentiate them, and it’s up to the author to discover those quirks and habits and wounds.

Conflict is another point. There was a period where babies were all the rage, especially babies the heroine didn’t expect. Great source of conflict, but it’s been done many times. It’s up to us to find new sources of tension. In today’s modern world, with its modern challenges, we have a wealth of information upon which we can draw.

I’d love to know what you think. What makes a romance unique in your eyes?

 

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Finally, a book release! Well, a re-release, actually! by Lynn Lorenz

God, it’s been a long summer. If you didn’t know, or watched my FB posts, this summer we put our house up for sale, rented an apartment we can’t move into until mid August, and got in our car and took a family vacation road trip.
Sounds great until you realize you have little to no time to do your writer work. I’m not stupid. We managed to drive, stay one night, then drive and stay several nights, where I was supposed to get all the writing, editing, self-publishing, promoing, etc. done. Sounds like a plan, right?
No. I am stupid. I only got the most pressing of things done. After all, we had a country to see. Geysers, rocks, prong horn antelope, seals, the Pacific Ocean, Cadillacs stuck in the ground.

Now, we’ve landed in a hotel for the next few weeks and no longer driving. So lots of time for writing, right? Yeah. No.
Two young adults learning to drive, seeing their friends, going to movies, no where to work because every space in our tiny room is taken.
How we haven’t managed to kill each other is beyond me. If I weren’t so tired of driving, I’d get in the car and take off down the highway.

If it weren’t for my publishers I’d be spinning my metaphorical wheels trying to get something out to readers. And producing nothing. Doing donuts in the parking lot.

On August 6th, Hartwood Publishing will re-release my very first book, originally published by Loose Id. It should be up for pre-order soon. I’ll post about it on FB and if you’re on my newsletter list I’ll send one out telling you all the details and links.
Here’s the cover!! I love it. He’s Drake, the mercenary, all sexy as hell and dangerous as fuck.
The Mercenary’s Tale is set in medieval times when men knew how to use a sword, and being gay meant a death penalty. It’s the first book in my series In The Company of Men.
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If you bought the original ebook, or print book, this doesn’t have much changed in it. It’s been re-edited. But if you don’t have it, you’re in luck. It’s nearly half the price of the original ebook. And fingers crossed, it’ll be out in print and audio book soon too.

With this release, I feel as if I’ve made some progress through the massive pile of work I have yet to tackle. Before we move into the apartment, take the kids back to college, go to the UK for the UK meetup, come back, and drive to San Diego for the GRL. Plenty of time!

I think I need a vacation.

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Can’t unsee that…

Part of writing is doing research. At least it is if you take your craft even just a little bit seriously. And sometimes that means finding some, well, to put it nicely… finding some fucked up shit.

From sex games to sex toys to getting shot in the head, I have to say I’m surprised the FBI–or some strange sex group–hasn’t shown up on my door wanting to know what the hell kind of lunatic I am.

In researching strange and marvelous things, I often find myself trapped in a time suck all too familiar to writers…the Internet, where things like blow up penis duals and making homemade sex toys  somehow become far more fascinating than what we were originally researching. (P.S. Don’t watch those at work or with the kids around.)

There’s a meme out there that says being a writer is 3% writing and 97% getting distracted by the Internet. Sadly that is very true. But, seriously, how could I not stop what I’m doing and to watch sex fail videos for hours at a time?

I actually have far more knowledge in this area than I can ever use as an author.

Ouch.

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Plot Bunnies Abound

creek9-750x500What a marvelous time in the news!  Plot bunnies just popping up all over.

Pluto, once a planet, now a dwarf planet, is getting its close up.  Yes, I am a former science geek and I love this stuff.  All sorts of ideas just pop into my head — and may be aimed at my Prime series. We’ll see.  I’ll be DVRing the Nova show, for sure.

Then there is El Chapo escaping from a maximum security prison in Mexico — for a second time (first time was from another supposedly secure prison).  Yes, his escape could trigger a really interesting plot situation for the Trey and Fee book in my SSI series.

Then there is the weather — floods moving houses into bridges.  Hundreds of miles long derecho turning day into night and blowing things down.  Yep, right up my story alley.

And the new season of The Weather Channel’s Fat Guys in the Woods — I get all sorts of ideas from Creek and his survival skills.  I also get all sorts of ideas about Creek (see picture above).

Of course, all of these plot bunnies have to be put on hold.  I am putting the final tweaks and polish on Storm Warning, SSI 4.  It is up for pre-order at B&N and Kobo.  Other pre-order links will follow over the next few weeks.

Publication date is August 25th — God willing and the creek don’t rise.  I meant the water kind of creek.  Get your minds out of the gutter, people. ;)

 

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