Tami Lund & a Mother’s Ramblings

The sunshine makes me feel better. It’s cold (it’s March and I live in Michigan, after all), but it still feels good to sit outside. Okay, maybe not good, exactly, but certainly calming. Soothing. Maybe even healing, if that’s truly possible.

You see, I lost my son this month. He was thirteen years old, and he made the very permanent decision to leave our world. I will never understand why, and frankly, I don’t want to. Understanding, having answers, isn’t going to bring him back, so I have no interest in dwelling there.

I have a daughter also. She’s ten. On the verge of all that teenage angst we all go through, and which my son could not handle. I’m sure you can imagine how afraid I am, worried about how we are going to make it through the next few years. I doubt I will breathe normally until she is fourteen, at least. Probably more like forty.

I’ve been cleaning my house, cleaning up after all the company, and cleaning in general. I’m one of those people who, when it’s time (okay, past time) to put away the Christmas decorations, I still leave out all the snowmen and snowflakes and mittens and anything that is more winter than Christmas. Except it’s March and spring has officially arrived and I’m a stress cleaner, so now I’m packing all those things away. And in the process I broke down in tears (again) because I’ve realized how incredibly hard Christmas will be this year. Not only for the obvious reasons (only one kid to celebrate with, only one kid in the traditional jammie pic, only one… everything), but also because of all those homemade decorations I’ve kept over the years. And all the personalized ornaments.

I’m also one of those people who loves, loves, loves personalized ornaments. And every single year, I’ve deliberately purchased a new ornament for each of my two children, with the intention of giving the baubles to them when they get married, so they can start their own traditions. Now, at some point down the line, my tree won’t be nearly as bare as it should be.

I didn’t mean for this to become such a melancholy post, although I will admit, writing is therapeutic. Shocking, right?

We’re going to keep on living. I mean, we don’t have a choice, right? My husband and I are pulling together; this is not going to tear us apart like I know it could so easily do. We are going to figure out how to help our daughter cope, how to help her live, help her be happy; and yet, somehow figure out how not to smother her, which I suspect could be dangerously easy to do. But we won’t. I hope.

One thing I will mention before I go, in the midst of a terrible tragedy that no parent should ever have to live through, I will say, we discovered an amazing support network. We knew we had friends, of course, and we knew they were pretty damn special. But we could not remotely comprehend just how truly blessed we are, until this happened. Everyone has rallied around us—our neighbors, our families, our co-workers, our friends, my author friends, most of whom I’ve never met in person. Everyone. We have had so much support during this incredibly difficult stage of our lives, I am humbled and stunned and so incredibly grateful. I could not have gotten through this without them—you all.

So thank you.

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund is an author, a wine drinker, and an occasional depressing blog post writer. Normally, however, she writes happily ever afters, one book at a time. Feel free to stalk her website: www.tamilund.com

To Be or Not To Be? by Lynn Lorenz

I retired in 2014. In 2015, I sold my house. Moved to a new house. Have kids in college.
Lots of changes. And most of them ate up my time like the Cookie Monster cut free in the cookie aisle at the HEB.cookiemonster

Gobble.

Some of the time eaters were events wrapped around my writing career. I attended three conventions – one of them overseas. The one here in the US I actually drove to – and that took days – to San Diego. About 2 weeks. The one overseas was in combo with a long awaited wedding anniversary (30yrs) and a trip to the UK. That took about 17 days. Wonderful, glorious days!

Gobble. Gobble.

Getting our house ready for sale in March-May? Took months of contractors, emptying of the house, cleaning, living in hotels. Not conducive to writing the next best seller. See due to my back, I can’t sit in a computer chair, or any chair other than a recliner, for any length of time. Most hotels don’t come with recliners.

Gobble. Gobble. Gobble.turkey

Last summer, with our house on the market, selling, sale falling through, up for sale again, and finally selling, the family was homeless, waiting for an apartment in August. So we took a trip across the western US. Two and a half months of travel, 4 people, in a car. Needless to say, no best sellers were written. Best I could do was keep up with edits for books already under contract.

GobbleGobbleGobbleGobble.

I thought for sure things would slow down for 2016. I’d be writing like crazy, getting things done!

Then in January, I got news one of my publishers, Amber Quill Press, where almost one half of my backlist lived, was going to close. This month, on the 30th, they will shut their doors. I’m upset, but I understand. They haven’t been the only ones to close recently. But that left me with all these books, and trying to find them homes. The longer they are off the market, the less I make. So I’ve had to spend time finding new homes for them.

Gobbbbblllle.

I used to write on two or more stories at a time. Now I’m concentrating on one story, long overdue. My publisher has been awesome, thank God, or I think I’d just give up. Told her, go on without me. Save yourself.

Nowadays, I think of giving up writing more than I’ve ever done. In fact, I never thought about giving up until this year. Not seriously. Sales suck. And it’s going to get worse until the rest of my books get back up on the shelves. Nothing new coming out anytime soon.

I worry no one will even remember me or know me when they do come out again. One writer friend called herself a “has-been.” I get that so hard. Many of my writer friends talk about giving up for a variety of reasons. Take your pick.

And I won’t even mention the many dramas going on in the writing world that bring me down and make me wonder if it’s all worth it. And more and more I’m thinking, maybe it’s not. At least, not in Lynn’s writing world. With Amazon’s policies – about reviews – I’ve lost almost every review on most of my Lynn books – there’s no way to hit the Amazon analytics. I gave away the first book in my In The Company of Men series – over 600 copies. Reviews? None. I know most people grab the books, save them for later, but not one? Fingers crossed, someone buys the next books in the series.

So after thinking about it, I’ve decided to find my Lynn books a home, but not writing anything for her until later in the year, if the new series gets picked up. I have some edits to one of my books – expanding it a bit – I’ll get that done in May. The Common Powers series has a home. Nothing in writing, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to get picked up, but I need to do this expansion first.

For my Theodora Lane readers, I’m going to finish the first book, long overdue, see how it sells, and if it’s good, write the next in the 5 book series, about a group of ex-special forces men who are the last resort for people in trouble.

I’m going to be pitching two books at RT this April – both Theodora books – to an agent. I have no hopes of landing one, but what the hell. Also, at RT, I’m going to pitch a new series – for Lynn – that I’m hoping will renew my desire to write LGBT books again. Because I really need some inspiration and excitement again.

FB_IMG_1456947913360My life has settled a bit, but the college kids are active, and I’m heading to RT in Vegas in April. Then when I get back, I’ll be at the Houston Author Bash book sale and signing. Once April is done, my writing life can get back on track and hopefully, I’ll be cranking out some new books for readers. This summer will be slow. I planned it on purpose so I could get some writing done.

After this year, I’ll seriously decide on where my focus will be in my writing. I hope I’ll be excited about both my pen names, but if I’m not feeling it, and something has to give, well, it will be what it will be. I’m hoping I’ll find a new home for my writing, and my backlist. I’m hoping my new series for Theodora takes off and she finds an agent. I’m hoping I’ll have so much excitement and inspiration for writing, I’ll forget to eat.

Well, we all know that won’t happen, but it could. Seriously. It could.

We’ll see. I’ll keep you in the loop for sure.

Please, go out and like my Lynn Lorenz and Theodora Lane Author Page. https://www.facebook.com/lynnlorenz2theodoralane/
I’m going to do a giveaway when it reaches 100 likes. So like the page, and get a chance on a back list book from either Lynn or Theodora.

And if you’ve ever read any of my books, please leave a review on Amazon.

Thanks!

Giveaway by Emilia Mancini

I’m sharing this a bit early, but I’m just so excited.

Starting tomorrow you can enter my Goodreads Giveaway for Unforgettable You. Enter to win one of two copies of this lovely little lady by clicking the link below.

Blurb:
When life throws a widowed innkeeper and a world-famous movie star together they share an unexpected romance. But is their love strong enough to survive their real lives?

Desperate to keep her ailing mother-in-law, Doreen, in the woman’s home, Carrie Gable agrees to board a handful of Hollywood’s most elite actors at the manor. Despite her resentment of the demands being placed upon her, she can’t help but be taken in by actor Will Walker.

Will, in a last-ditch effort to save his career, has agreed to a project he has no interest in. The more time he spends with his egotistical co-stars, the more drawn he is to Carrie. Long nights spent talking about the paths their lives have taken make him realize he’d rather have a simpler life, but his ties to L.A. aren’t as willing to let him go.

With the temptation of stardom pulling Will in one direction and the need to care for Doreen tugging Carrie in another, the couple struggle to hold onto the happiness they were missing until finding each other.

2012 Epic eBook Awards Finalist

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Unforgettable You by Marci Boudreaux

Unforgettable You

by Marci Boudreaux

Giveaway ends April 09, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

More modern Vikings from Holley Trent! (And a cat.)

VikingFlameIf you haven’t plowed your way through my back list yet, let me tell you a not-so-secret factoid about my books: I’m a sucker for a running gag, especially in series. In The Afótama Legacy, which is my witchy modern Viking series, one of the gags is a cat.

Viking kitty. Technically, his name is Destructo. I’m not entirely sure how Destructo came into being, but I’m guessing he was spawned from an editorial conversation gone wrong.

Destructo belongs to a former bar owner named Jeff. He was pawned off on him by a vet tech and Jeff couldn’t get rid of him, which is probably a good thing seeing as how Destructo is Jeff’s familiar. He’s also something of a turncoat, much to Jeff’s chagrin, seeing as how his would-be lover seems to like the cat more than she likes Jeff. Here’s some proof to his claim from the newest series installment Viking Flame (to set the scene, our anxious heroine–Nadia–is being confronted in a particular way by her two men about her avoidance tactics):

“I…sometimes when I steal the cat at night, I touch his hair,” she confessed [to Thom].

Jeff’s cocky expression neutralized, and his brow furrowed.

“I mean, Destructo burrows and sprawls out on top of his hair sometimes. When I fetch the cat, I cop a feel.”

“You tiptoe into my suite to take my cat?”

She swallowed. “Afótama don’t do well sleeping alone for too many nights. The cat’s better than nothing.”

Jeff narrowed his eyes. “You took the cat instead of taking my bed.”

“Maybe that choice doesn’t make sense to you.”

“That wouldn’t make sense to anyone.”

Destructo first turns up in a previous installment of The Afótama Legacy, The Chieftain’s Daughter, and you can be pretty certain he’ll be flinging his fur around in future books, too.

Afotama3

In the meantime, catch up on the saga. The first in the series, The Viking Queen’s Men, is just a buck right now, and you get to see Nadia stabbing her cousin in the neck with a tranquilizer. Skol, Vikings!

A Bear in My Office

2016-03-14 14.06.13Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have a new addition to my office….meet Little Bear.

He’s our third Alaskan Malamute since Macho Marine and I have been married ….and all have been named Bear.

Now Little Bear has a lot in common with my books. Some authors know the name of their book before they start writing and sometimes I do also. Most of the Cancun series names were determined over lunch at the Cheesecake Factory with a few of my author friends.

Black Swan on water drawing on grey copyThen there is my WIP, the first book of the Black Swan series. It has been through so many name changes I forget which one I’m on now. It has been Haunted Hawk – which by the way that title showed up on a pirate site! It was Saving Lady Hawk for a short while but the entire story was different back then. For a few months it was even Come Home to Me. It was even I Will Always Love You for about a month.

So you see, I sometimes have difficulty making decisions before I find the perfect name.

The same thing happened with our new puppy. We searched online for Inuit names and words, but truthfully, most were too hard to pronounce. Favorite (only) Son wanted Thor or some other Norse name. Macho Marine wanted Bear. Granddoll suggested McFlufferton. After he shredded his toy then started on his cage pad, I seriously considered Connan the Destroyer.

In truth, I thought the little guy believed his name was Damnit. It seemed to be the first words out of my mouth much of the time when chasing him around the house after he’d peed on the rug.

So when I left for the book signing in Biloxi last weekend, I instructed the men in my house to have a name by the time I got home.

Yepper. His name is Little Bear. I added the word Little although I know he will not remain small much longer. Some day he’ll probably reach around 90-100 pounds, but he will always be my Little Bear.

And as for the name of the first book in the Black Swan series…that comes out this summer? I’m thinking Un-Relenting Love and making the whole series start with “Un-”

What do you think?

Learn more about the new Black Swan series on my website: http://www.kalyncooper.com/black-swan-series.html

 

 

Giveaway Tuesday! by Annie Anthony

Oh, friends.  Friends. 2016 is flying by faster than that last hour before daylight savings time. (C’mon, admit there is at least one clock in your house/car/office you haven’t yet sprung ahead! I admit to one…)

I’ve been working double time, literally, editing and professional money-making far more often than I’ve been writing, and what feels like 25 hours a day (extra hour provided courtesy of that one pesky clock I haven’t adjusted yet…)  I’ve been plotting and scheming and starting the next chapters of my lesbian zombie work in progress, but I really need to come up with a real working title.  Anything I end up trying sounds like a very sad play on words… LZ WIP? (Lesbian Zombie Work In Progress? Yeah, you feel my pain.)

I had four releases out in 2015 and so far in 2016, I’ve released little more than the button on my pants… all this sitting in one place editing is hell on the waistline. So since I don’t have lots of new-news to scream to the hilltops about, let’s rally some excitement about  some old-ish news. And what could be more exciting than a GIVEAWAY?! (Twirl!)

So, friends, for your gifting pleasure, behold a real, bona-fide paperback book:

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00032]

Amazon First Ladylove Link

I’ve attached the Amazon link for First Ladylove so you can read a bit about it, check out the reviews, then enter to win a paperback copy!  Winners will need to provide a mailing address (open to residents of ANY country!) If you enter, make sure you follow up to see if you’ve won!

First Ladylove is an anthology of seven stories of first-time lesbian love and romance. Here’s a teaser of the stories inside:

 

Dreams of Flying by Anastasia Vitsky

Librarian Karla has always lived by the rules. Now that she’s retiring, will she learn how to break them?

Cosmic Sutra by Jessica E. Subject

Victoria travels to Thanh Academy to study with beings from across the universe. Can she keep her feelings for a fellow classmate hidden, or will she risk friendships and her scholarship to find true love?

Centerfold by Kate Richards

Jesse goes to girls’ night at The Reef every week in hopes of getting somewhere with the gorgeous golden-haired Aurora. But sometimes fate has plans a girl getting ready for a night on the town cannot begin to anticipate.

Revelation by Cathy Pegau

Lizbet and Sahra are on their own behind enemy lines. Will keeping each other safe reveal more than their new-found relationship can handle?

Mile High Pleasures by KT Grant

Set in a world of flying steam airships and robots, the unappreciative Lottie Bells toils away as a seamstress. The only bright side is a visit from her childhood friend, Diana Russell, a lieutenant in the British Royal Air Navy. But when Lottie sees Diana again, she’s confused by her attraction to the beautiful lieutenant, who makes Lottie an enticing offer that may change their relationship forever.

Daring Destiny by Leigh Ellwood

Clara has waited the appropriate length of time since Shannon’s death to tell her widow, Desi, that she loves her. Desi doesn’t feel ready to move on, and Clara is determined to help change her mind.

Fixin’ Biscuits by Annie Anthony

Seasoned Fixin’ Biscuits waitress Cleary’s family falls apart while newcomer Ella’s is just beginning. Can they overcome the choices and secrets of the past and find love and family…together?

Let’s celebrate the end of the first quarter of 2016, the arrival of spring, and that one last straggler clock that thinks we can sleep one more hour with a giveaway.  To enter, comment on this post before 12 midnight on Friday, March 25! A winner will be randomly selected on Saturday!

Twirl!

 

Soul Deep Available at Amazon!

Soul Deep—Book #1 of my White Wolf series—is now available for pre-order on Amazon!

Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Deep-White-Wolf-Pack-ebook/dp/B01D2703UY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1458490606&sr=1-1&keywords=soul+deep+carlo

Total Snoopy Dance going on this Mighty Monday!
Soul_Deep-Jianne_Carlo-500x800Melanie is a White Wolf spirit healer—a maggishahwi–who hears the last call of a dying soul. She’s loved Mike Dorland forever. But her Cinderella hopes and glass-slipper dreams of a happy ever after with her Prince Charming are shattered the day her father kills Mike’s while driving drunk. Now Mike hates her, and when Mike returns to their home town, she’s both devastated and thrilled.

Mike’s the eldest son of one of the original three founders of the quaint town of Chabegawn, and a half-breed wolf who’s found his mate—Melanie. Mike returns to find the town torn apart by a series of vicious and malicious black bear slayings. Then the town’s beloved, world-famous horse breeder vanishes and his ravaged remains are found.

Melanie’s bent on saving black bear mothers and cubs, and she will risk her life to bait and capture the killers. But Mike will gamble everything to protect his mate.

And what better way to start the work week than a sexy excerpt about a hunky wolf???

Soul Deep Excerpt:

***

“Put me down, you bully.” Melanie cuffed Mike’s shoulder and winced when her knuckles stung.

“No.” Damn him for sounding so smug and arrogant.

“You are not taking me home.” She folded her arms and scowled at him.

“Too right. I’m taking you to the cabin.”

Whaat? “You can’t do that.”

“Watch me.”

He was even more beautiful up close. Any woman would kill for his flawless bronzed complexion—not an open pore in sight, and even his stubble had a roguish he-man appeal. The short black fuzz gave him a piratical allure. Figured. His sexy mouth settled into the now familiar grim line. Lordy, she couldn’t prevent a soft sigh. His lips were rose pink, and he smelled better than mouthwatering double-fudge hot chocolate with tiny marshmallows. Loads and loads of marshmallows—creamy and melting over her tongue.

“Melanie?”

“Hmm.”

“If you keep staring at my lips as if you want to eat them, we won’t even make it into the pickup.”

Melanie blinked and looked up to find him studying her with such intensity that she shivered. Then his words pushed through her lust-fogged brain matter, and a wave of heat scalded every inch of her skin. She buried her face in his shirt. So not the right thing to do. No one had the right to smell so mouthwateringly delicious. No one. The wind gusted, the ice in the air a torrid contrast to the desire burning her from scalp to toes.

He halted, and she realized they’d reached his truck. Not thirty seconds later, they were on the move. The pickup’s cabin felt suffocating. Mike filled the small space to overflowing. His smell, his body, his muscular thighs, even the sound of him breathing overwhelmed her. She shifted close to the door and rested her cheek against the cold window.

“No questions, Melanie?”

Her mind was too muddled to string together a logical phrase, far less formulate a rational query. And she was too scared to ask the question. Then it hit her. The two of them at his family cabin. All alone. It couldn’t be. Mike Dorland couldn’t mean to…her?

“No? I have one. Are you on the pill?”

Huh? She straightened, jammed her back into the corner, and risked a quick glance. For a second, their gazes met, and she hastily lowered her eyelids and then studied her fingers. She kept her nails trimmed short—no time or money for manicures. Only when her lungs started burning did Melanie realize she was holding her breath. On the pill? As if she needed to be.

Melanie shook her head, but the move jumbled her thoughts even more, and she gritted her teeth. Concentrate. She waved her hands. “I don’t understand. Any of this.”

Wait a jammin’ minute. It couldn’t be… She studied the grim frown spiking his brows together. “Why are we here? Why are you telling me this? And why do you want to know if I’m on the pill?”

“Because the first time we make love, I don’t want anything between us—no condoms, no lies.”

She shivered when he trailed a finger up her throat and tilted her head back so their gazes connected. She could drown in those silver-rimmed eyes, jump into the circle haloing his dark pupils, and wallow in his stare.

“Tell me you’re on the pill, babe. Make my day, my year, my entire life.”

Melanie gulped and whispered, “No.”

His hand dropped away, and he banged his forehead on the steering wheel. “You’re going to kill me. I want inside you so bad it’s all I can think about.”

Mike Dorland wanted Melanie Frances White. Wanted inside Melanie Frances White. Inside. Melanie licked her lips and couldn’t help it—she snuck a glance at his lap. The bulge in his pants had her mesmerized.

***

Well, I hope that kick-started your Monday!

I beseech you—go forth and pre-order—http://preview.tinyurl.com/WW1SoulDeep

Cheeers,

Jianne

Tami Lund and Taahira and Taavi and… Change

Today I’m blogging about what I’m working on now, and the importance of sharing your writing with others.

So, in between real life and family and editing for others, I’ve tried to slip in a bit of time to work on a fantasy novel I’ve completed, but now needs to be cleaned up and prepped for eventual publication. Part of this process involves sharing this work in progress with others, usually other writers.

Why?

Because they see things the author doesn’t. Think about some of those wrinkly old man baby pics you’ve seen–those parents believe that child is the most gorgeous creature on the face of the planet, but everyone else who looks at the photos (or the kid itself) cringes and forces a polite, fake smile.

“He is gorgeous,” the onlooker assures the proud parent.

“It’s a girl. Can’t you tell?”

“Maybe dress her in pink… for a while,” the friend suggests diplomatically.

That’s what other writers do for the author of the newborn novel. They gently guide the new parent into a better opening or turning the heroine into a strong woman instead of a whiny one or suggest the hero could be a tad… less obnoxious.

Or, in the case of my current WIP, point out the names of two main characters are confusing and I should change one of them.

The book I’m referring to (the first, unedited chapter can be read on my website, if you’re interested: TAMI LUND) is currently titled Brother Mine. It’s fantasy, takes place in a world created all in my head, where the inhabitants have slight magical ability but not too much as to create difficulties for me when I put them into dangerous/horrible situations. It’s about a woman who has been imprisoned in a castle for seven years, forced to be concubine to the king, who calls himself Diktator. Being his concubine involves performing some pretty heinous acts, and Taahira, my heroine, flees her gilded prison and swears she will never lie with another man ever again, for the rest of her life.

Ash_Gable_Inspiration

Borrowed from Pinterest, Courtesy of http://www.peerie.com.

Until she meets Ash, the handsome would-be hero who wants nothing whatsoever to do with being such. Even after that initial spark of desire he feels when he first meets Taahira, he still insists he is no hero.

Time will tell, of course.

(PS – Here’s my inspiration for Ash. You can imagine Taahira’s vow will be challenged, after spending a bit of time with him, eh??)

At any rate, I’ve offered up the first chapter to a few writing friends, to make sure this book is potentially worthy of readers’ eyes one of these days.

Good news: So far, it’s a resounding yes!

Bad news: I need to change one of the character’s names. It’s too confusing. And nobody wants a confused reader, right?

Here’s what I started with:

Taahira – heroine who escapes the castle in the first chapter

Taavi – Taahira’s three-year-old daughter, and the reason she finally figures out a way to escape

Ash – the reluctant hero

Gable – the Diktator

Cachi – the old lady who helps Taahira and Taavi escape

Anybody see where the names might be confusing? Yeah, I know you do. Everybody does. Everybody but me. I just kept thinking Taahira and Taavi – people name their children names similar to their own all the time. Plus, I deliberately chose each name for their meanings.

Taahira means chaste, ironic given she’s had a child out of wedlock.

Taavi means beloved. It seems everyone in the book falls in love with this child for one reason or another.

Ash means happy, another ironic one, given he thinks he is so, until Taahira comes into his life and makes him question every decision he’s ever made.

Gable – okay, I’m not going to lie; I’m not sure what this one means. I think I just really liked this one. Although when I googled it for this post, I found out it means “man of God,” which is also fitting, considering Gable likens himself to the gods.

And finally, Cachi means bringer of peace, and she’s the one who helps Taahira escape.

So I’m sure you can see why I was hesitant to change either Taahira or Taavi’s names, despite friend after friend suggesting just that. I had spent a reasonable amount of time researching these names; I’ve been writing this book for over a year; I had become quite attached to the names I chose.

And let me reiterate: they had meaning. The meaning of their names has been woven into the storyline. A storyline that is currently 90 thousand words long. To make such a change was daunting, to say the least.

Luckily, I’m not a stupid writer. And I’m good at listening to advice and (usually) heeding it.

So name change it is.

I decided to change Taavi’s name. No particular reason, although now that I have, I honestly think I like her name better than Taahira’s. But damn it, I’m not going through this again! Well, not unless someone recommends I do…

I spent some time Sunday morning researching names, trying to find one I liked and that basically meant the same thing as Taavi (beloved). It couldn’t be a typical contemporary name, since this book takes place in a different world, and everyone else has unique, magical-world-sounding names (at least, in my head). Oh, and of course, the name can’t start with the same letter as any of the other main characters, nor can it sound like any of their names.

I found it! I found it! And it’s such a beautiful name, so perfect, that despite my initial reluctance, I’m so glad my friends convinced me to change one of the names.

Priya. It’s an Indian/Hindu name, and it means beloved. And I love it. How about you? Like it? Does it work for you? Read the excerpt on my website and then let me know.

BROTHER MINE – FIRST (unedited) CHAPTER

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund likes to write and drink wine. She also loves romance, and writes happily ever afters, one book at a time. Keep up with her on social media, so you know when Brother Mine releases!

 

 

 

Like Bad Boys? Like Small Towns? Like Hot Romance? Sara Daniel Wants to Know!

Heck, yeah! Who doesn’t?!

Have I got a treat for you! In two weeks, my brand new (oooh, shiny!) series, The Bad Boys of Regret Hollow, launches, and pre-orders are LIVE now for the first four books.

Get your bad boy fix!

The Bad Boy’s Gift launches the series with this opening paragraph:

The bad boy of Regret Hollow had received an engraved invitation to return to town. Zane DeMonde smirked and flicked the card in the trash.

Yep, Regret Hollow is the name of the town, and it boasts a population of 2,631. Yes, they actually boast about that number!! The Regret Hollow welcome sign even goes so far as to declare:

Your only regret will be leaving.

Welcome to Regret Hollow

Zane definitely disputes that sentiment.

No, he didn’t regret leaving. Returning was another story.

I’ll share more about the series in the coming weeks. Right now, my head is spinning from all the editing, formatting, uploading, blurbs, keywords, etc, etc, etc. But in two weeks, it will all be worth it.

all 4 together

Books in The Bad Boys of Regret Hollow series:

  1. The Bad Boy’s Gift (Pre-order now! Releases March 29, 2016)
  2. The Bad Boy’s Guilt (Pre-order now! Releases April 12, 2016)
  3. The Bad Boy’s Guarantee (Pre-order now! Releases April 26, 2016)
  4. The Bad Boy’s Goodness (Pre-order now! Releases May 10, 2016)

 

Guest Blog by Kayla Jameth – Care and Feeding of an Alpha

ImageProxy.mvc The Care and Feeding of an Alpha

Hello ladies! Thank you for hosting me today on my A Tested Love release tour.

I’m here to talk about one of my MCs. Theron is a kryptes, kind of like the Spartan version of secret service/marine/ranger/assassin and just general badass. A Spartan had to be the top of his class to be offered the honor of joining the Krypteia.
Theron is only given a knife and cloak and sent out into the countryside—alone. Anything else he needs he must acquire by foraging. His task? Prevent a helot revolt at all costs. Using any means at his disposal. Remember that knife?

Theron may appear to be an alpha in my Spartan Love arc of the Apollo’s Men series. However, that was never my intent. He is your typical brash eighteen-year-old who thinks he knows everything because he has never been forced to face ideas that conflict with what he’s been raised to believe.
Therefore he comes across strong and confident in A Spartan Love. He has no reason not to be. But is the arrogant attitude of an untried youth what really makes an alpha? To my way of thinking an alpha has to earn those qualities, grow into the role, and not just have them by some accident of birth. Even wolves with the personality to lead have to earn their place in the pack. Regardless of what werewolf tropes might imply, alphas (of the non-werewolf persuasion) aren’t merely born.

Through the pages of A Spartan Love, Theron is forced to re-evaluate some truths he thought he knew. His birth, his place in Spartan society, and what roles he would be required to fulfill that had all been previously carved in stone are challenged. This is further expanded upon in A Tested Love where he has to decide his future based on either continuing to blindly follow his indoctrination or choosing to live based on what he is coming to believe to be true. Not an easy choice for a young man, made more difficult by his isolation from his normal support structure of family and shield-brothers.

He has to define himself from this point forward by turning his back on everything he knows. At a juncture in his life where most modern kids are still dealing with school and who they want to date, Theron, like most ancient Spartans, is thrust into maturity.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that a youth on the cusp of manhood should be questioning himself. To fail to do so would be to fulfill the adage: the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.

Mature men, alpha men, are so much more than big boys with expensive tastes. They need to be able to make necessary any sacrifices and work toward their goals. Goals that they have chosen after serious thought, not just reached for because they were told that’s what they should do.

Theron is defining himself—the ultimate step in becoming an alpha. When he comes out the other side, he will be a man worthy of the respect of his shield-brothers, Apollo, and most importantly, Andreas. None of which would be possible if he didn’t question everything he thought he knew in an effort to understand himself.

For me, that is what determines true alpha status—coming to know yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, and choosing how to deal with them on your way to maturity. Thumping your chest and acting like a cave man doesn’t make one an alpha. If you have to tell me you’re an alpha, then maybe you aren’t.

Theron is on his way to becoming the alpha he has the potential to be, but along the way he has to face trials and the occasional crisis of conscious. He has to grow into an alpha not become one by fiat.
I’m enjoying watching his journey. I hope you are too.
The Apollo’s Men series is set in 5th century BC Greece. Apollo is gathering warriors and their lovers (m/m) to protect his prophet, the Voice of Apollo.

The Spartan arc—A Spartan Love, A Tested Love, and A Shared Love—follows Andreas and Theron as they come to understand one another despite their nearly overwhelming differences. Can a helot and a kryptes co-exist?

Blurb: Lured by seductive promises, Andreas risked his life to be with Theron, only to find himself betrayed. Abandoned and alone, Andreas resigns all hope of seeing his fierce warrior again and resumes his life as a helot.

All too aware of the harsh punishment Sparta demands of men who love other men, Theron reluctantly surrenders Andreas in hopes of keeping him safe. The warrior returns to Sparta to embrace his destiny in place of the helot he has grown to see as a man, not just a slave. Cold but honorable duty will be his new lover.

Duty proves to be a jealous lover when Sparta demands the final test of Theron’s loyalty. Sent to kill Andreas, Theron must find a way to come to terms with his burning desire for his handsome helot before their forbidden love destroys them both.
ATL Final Cover

Buy links:
Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Tested-Love-Spartan-Book-ebook/dp/B01C4FP4A4/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
DSP http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7528

Excerpt – Chapter One
Andreas’ heart pounded. Time was running out. If he didn’t find Theron quickly, he would be too late. Somewhere out there his warrior lay injured and dying.

Fearing what he might find, Andreas roamed his klēros, searching his barren holding for his missing lover. His fields stretched as far as the eye could see, blackened stubble growing hazy in the remote distance. No matter how long he walked, he couldn’t find Theron.
He tasted ashes, bitter as blood, on his tongue. Gray smudges covered his once white chiton and discolored his skin. Andreas would never be free of the stain.

Sometimes he thought he’d been wandering forever. Racing against inflexible Atropos, the daughter of night, Andreas was driven to find the kryptes before she cut Theron’s thread short with her abhorred shears.
Night was coming, that time all helots feared—something terrible fast on its heels, death in its wake. Doom now stalked them both, flashes of scarlet in the growing gloom.

He’d never stood beneath any sky without the sun to protect him, protect him from the kryptes and any other monsters roaming the lightless night.
Soon. He had to find Theron soon!
But he was frozen in place, unable to move no matter how he struggled….

Andreas sat up with a shout. He whirled, eyes searching frantically for the red-clad peril pursuing him. His breath came in choppy gasps barely audible above the thunder of blood in his ears.

The stink of soot and fear clogged his nostrils. He took a moment to recognize his surroundings in the almost nonexistent light coming from his hearth. The fire had burned down to little more than a flicker.

Untangling himself from the sodden blanket, Andreas shivered, sweat prickling his skin. He scurried to the hearth. Scrabbling for small bits of wood to add to the fire before he lost any hope of rekindling the embers, he drove a splinter under his nail. “Hades!” But he didn’t examine his finger until the scraps of kindling began to smolder. If the flame went out, he’d have to go to Petros tomorrow and beg a coal from his hearth.

He plucked the sliver free with his teeth and spat it out on the floor. Sucking on the wound, Andreas kept watch as the fire took hold. The mix of coppery blood and wood smoke drew his nightmare back from the shadows.
But unlike in his dream, while awake he didn’t fear the darkness within. The dark without held all the danger for him. Like every helot before him, he’d been taught as a child to fear the kryptes who roamed the night, slaying all helots they happened upon. A helot’s only hope lay within the walls of his home once night fell.

Unfortunately nowhere was safe for any helot who the Spartans determined must die.
The sole requirement a kryptes had to meet in delivering their fate was to remain unseen by anyone other than their victim. Their ability to come and go undetected was part of their mystique, part of what made them so terrifying.

The flames blazed up, filling the single-room hut with light. Andreas sank down to the floor, at first unsure what had brought on the nightmare when he’d gone a month or more since the last one. All those thoughts and feelings he’d refused to give life had come boiling up.
Much too late now, the dream should no longer have the strength to haunt him. Theron was long past his help.
Andreas hadn’t seen the Hekate-becursed man since he disappeared months ago.

How many nights had he sat up worrying about the bastard? How many times had he endured that nightmare? He’d woken with a shout, covered in sweat, too many times to count. And what had he gotten for all his lost sleep? Not a cursed thing.
With his endless searching, Andreas had come to know his lands better than he’d thought possible, but the warrior eluded him, whether in life or in death, he didn’t know.

Andreas chose to believe Theron yet lived. But it was long past time for his fate to matter. Theron should have returned by now if he were still alive. Either his “lover”—Andreas snorted in disgust—had died without him, or more likely he’d left Andreas behind without a second thought. If Theron was alive after all this time, he had no intention of returning. Either way Andreas would never see him again.

Once Andreas realized this, he submerged his grief as best he could. In an effort to avoid his nightmares, he’d worked himself harder than he ever had before. He spent his days tilling his fields like a madman, channeling his frustration into the uncomplaining soil until he was too tired to think of anything while he lay in his bed. Or nursing the wine Myron gave him in exchange for helping expand his vineyard. And his plan had worked, mostly.

Staring into the blaze, Andreas wondered what had driven Theron from him and kept him away. He’d left once, soon after they’d met, but Andreas thought they’d resolved Theron’s concerns about being exposed. Theron had even proposed a solution to the problem of their being together, offering to claim him as his mothônes, his companion.

Theron must have changed his mind.

“He’s never coming back.” Something broke inside Andreas, admitting that. But did he actually want to see Theron again?
Reaching for the wineskin hanging from the head of his bed, Andreas was surprised to find it missing. Glancing around the room, he discovered the half-empty skin where he must have left it on the table when he had stumbled to bed. He needed to refill the flask in the morning.
Without wasting time finding a cup, he drank straight from the wineskin. But the familiar warmth didn’t lull him back to sleep this time.

Andreas rose and paced the short distance between the hearth and his bed. The quick temper he’d inherited from his father came spilling out like one of the plagues from Pandora’s jar. He’d thought he’d stamped the last embers of that smoldering resentment out, but maybe he’d never cared about anything deeply enough to have his belief tested. He punched the mattress a fevered Theron had lain on.
Yet another way he would have disappointed his mother had she been here to see him.

For a while after his father died, Andreas had been every bit as angry as his father before him. Father had spoken out against the annual “war” the Spartans had waged on the helots, so when Andreas had railed on about his father’s death, his mother had grown fearful.

“You’re too much like your father! And what did his anger gain him? Is it not enough I have lost a husband? I will not lose my only child as well!”
Even the tears spilling down her cheeks couldn’t keep him from insisting, “But killing someone just because you can is wrong. What did Father do to deserve death?”

“Never forget we’re what the gods made us—slaves. That is our lot in life, Andreas. What we were born for. We are not, and will never be, their equals. The Spartans can do whatever they want to us. A slave’s duty is to endure. Anything else is rebellion and results in many more deaths. Do you want to be responsible for bringing destruction down on us?”

“They murdered him!”

“The Spartans are very careful to avoid murder. They declare war on us instead.”

“It’s still murder.”

“Ah… Andreas, my heart, the gods agree with them.” Then as if to forestall him, she pulled him into her arms. “It’s hubris to think you know better than the gods.”

Hubris. That ultimate of all sins. There was no answer he could make to that.

Andreas had learned to force the anger down, hiding his feelings under obedience and hard work. And the mask had served him well, until the day a thieving kryptes arrived to set his world and his hard-won composure on its ear.

Now the anger and resentment worked their way to the surface like the fires in Hephaestus’ volcanic forge, ready to spew molten fury and rain down disaster on anyone who crossed him. If Theron were here now, Andreas would be tempted to do more than just yell at the kryptes like he had in the past.

“Foresworn godless bastard! He said he’d stand by me and protect me, but where is he now?” Andreas spat. “Oaths to a helot obviously mean nothing to a kryptes. Pretty little promises to get me to do as he wished.”

As he stomped back toward the fire, Ictis darted under the table to escape his feet.

“Couldn’t even be bothered to let me know.” Another turn back to the bed. “The coward said he’d be back and then disappeared, walked off and left me, letting me think he’d died.”

Once more at the hearth, Andreas glanced down at his gods and picked up the figurine of Apollo. “I can’t believe I asked the Lord of Light to watch over a kryptes, of all people!”

Andreas clenched the clay god tight. The terracotta form dug into his palm, Apollo’s bow pricking the skin. He stared at his fist. After a moment’s hesitation, he carefully returned the likeness to his hearth before he did something unforgivable, like crush it. He didn’t dare incur Apollo’s enmity.

“Still allowing that sneaking murderer to control me. Honorless warrior!”

The fire snapped, and a handful of embers cascaded to the dirt floor. One landed on his knee, flaring amid the scent of burned hair before he hurriedly brushed the cinder away. The small red patch stung and throbbed in reproach.

No longer hiding under the table, the ferret’s black bead eyes regarded him from atop one of the stools. Andreas pursed his lips, trying to expel all the bitterness in his mouth. “What was I thinking, Ictis? Theron would come and take me away with him?”

On the next swing, he flung himself down on his bed. “I’m a fool, aren’t I? To believe there can be anything from a kryptes other than a knife in the back.” He lay there, his harsh breaths slowing. Too angry to sleep.

Ictis pounced on him. “I know you like him. I used to like him. But that lying kryptes didn’t abandon you to your fate after placing you in danger.”

New release and such by Emilia Mancini

I love sharing new releases. Especially when they’re mine!

Okacovery, this is kind of a recycled new release. Unforgettable You was the first release for my sweeter side, Marci Boudreaux. When the publisher closed last year, this little romance went back on the shelf, but I’ve taken her down, polished her up, and am setting her free upon the world yet again.

I absolutely love the storyline for this book, and hope you do, too.

When life throws a widowed innkeeper and a world-famous movie star together they share an unexpected romance. But is their love strong enough to survive their real lives?

Desperate to keep her ailing mother-in-law, Doreen, in the woman’s home, Carrie Gable agrees to board a handful of Hollywood’s most elite actors at the manor. Despite her resentment of the demands being placed upon her, she can’t help but be taken in by actor Will Walker.

Will, in a last-ditch effort to save his career, has agreed to a project he has no interest in. The more time he spends with his egotistical co-stars, the more drawn he is to Carrie. Long nights spent talking about the paths their lives have taken make him realize he’d rather have a simpler life, but his ties to L.A. aren’t as willing to let him go.

With the temptation of stardom pulling Will in one direction and the need to care for Doreen tugging Carrie in another, the couple struggle to hold onto the happiness they were missing until finding each other.