Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Say "Hello" Again to WALK LIKE A MAN! (#sportsRomance #medicalromance #legalromance)

I started writing in late 1996 and wanted to write a classic romance, "Boy Meets Girl, Boy Loses Girl, Boy Gets Girl Back" sort of thing. I wanted it to be a contemporary, even though I really loved Regency--I just didn't think I could write a historical yet, because I was a total newbie. Unfortunately, I didn't know much about romance other than that formula, so when I sat down and thought about what kind of hero I though would be appealing, I came up with...a football quarterback. Not only a quarterback, but an injured one.

That's common fare now, but back in the 90s, no one but Susan Elizabeth Phillips could make a sports hero work. I found the book unsaleable for nearly a decade, before Five Star published it in a lovely first edition.

The hardcover edition of Walk Like A Man is still available on Amazon--print never quite goes away. It may still be sitting on the shelves of your local library.

It got pretty good reviews:

...a very enjoyable contemporary romance between a major sports figure and the therapist whose skill is all that stands between him and life in a wheelchair. 

Lynn Welch, Booklist
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved



Sue Swift...is an author to watch. WALK LIKE A MAN is an altogether enjoyable reading experience. Jane Bowers, Romance Reviews Today


"... such a delight to read...tantalizing sexual tension, witty banter... not only a beautiful love story, great characterization and a good plot, but ...emotions that will reach in and squeeze the breath out of the reader... a fiery read. A must buy, a must read, this story is not to be missed!!" 
loveromances.com/walklikeaman_valerie.html


(In case you're wondering who Sue Swift is--that's me. Just a different pen name.)

But time marches on, and, delightfully, reversions happen. That the rights to the book returned to me gave me the opportunity to update and re-edit the book...and here it is. Hope you love it!






Buy it here:


Smashwords

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iTunes
Google




Monday, December 25, 2017

A Very Lovely Christmas Tale for You by Catherine Cavendish (@CatherineCavendish #Christmas #Free)

For the last couple of years, I have run a beautiful little Christmas shortie by one of my author buddies, Catherine Cavendish. I was lucky enough to edit Cat professionally, and not only is she very agreeable to work with, she's also a very creative writer. I love her work and hope you do too.


Dance Me To The End Of Time
by
Catherine Cavendish

          I’ve always loved Christmas. The tree, tinsel and a roaring fire… Candles flickering and the sound of carollers striving to hit the top register in “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”
           This year’s no different. Of course, there’s no roaring fire anymore. That’s been replaced with one of those living flame gas affairs. Quite nice, but you never could beat the real thing.
            “Penny for them.” My husband, Charles, interrupts my reverie.
            “Oh, nothing. I was just musing and remembering Christmases past.” I smile at him.
             
He adjusts his tie and smoothes his glossy black hair, 

all  gestures I have seen him perform countless times. “Do you think it will snow this year?” he asks, studying his reflection in the mirror.
            I turn to look out of the window. “It’s too dark to tell, but it looks damp out there. It must have been raining earlier.”
            “I didn’t notice,” Charles says, “but then I suppose I wouldn’t, would I?” He smiles at me and takes my hand, brushing it against his lips. Then I catch him examining my dress.
            “Something wrong?” I ask and instinctively look down at my white, floor-length gown. I see some creases in the silk which I attempt to smooth away.
            “That’s better. It was just a little wrinkled.”
            “Hardly surprising,” I say. “It only gets an outing once a year.”
            We laugh, and Charles strokes away a long, dark brown lock of hair which has escaped my elaborate coiffure and has wandered across my cheek.
            “Shall we dance, Emily?” he asks.
            “Certainly, Charles, it will be my pleasure.”
            We waltz to a phantom orchestra. In my head I can hear the strains of the Blue Danube, and I am transported back to another time and place. I can see a young girl and her young man, their eyes locked in an embrace as they swirl around a ballroom in Vienna while a conductor, violin in hand, steers the orchestra through his latest composition.
            “I miss the scent of roasting chestnuts,” I tell Charles.
           His mouth widens in a grin. “But can’t you smell them, Emily?  Concentrate really hard.”
            I close my eyes and let him lead me round and round as the music grows louder, and now I can smell them. Chestnuts, little fried potatoes and the warming aroma of cinnamon from the Gl├╝hwein.  I can hear the bells of St Stephen’s Cathedral and feel the chill of the night air on my cheek. Little flecks of snow are falling onto my face, and my feet crunch on the icy ground.             
          Charles is waltzing me faster and faster. And now I can hear the voices.  The orchestra has faded and a choir is singing in German: “Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht…”
            “Oh Charles--”
            “No, Emily, don’t open your eyes.”
            I obey. “Don’t let it stop, Charles, please don’t let it stop,” I cry, “Not this time. Not this year.”
            “Dance with me, Emily. Dance with me.”
            The choir has faded, and the orchestra builds to a crescendo. I know if I open my eyes, I will see the wild black hair of the conductor, falling over his eyes as his violin bow slashes through the air.
            But I mustn’t open my eyes.  Charles told me not to.
            “Oh Emily, Emily,” Charles says, “Let us never lose this moment.  Never.”
            “Never, Charles.”
            And then I open my eyes.
            “No, Emily, no!” Charles’ agonized face is before me. But the moment has passed.
            The orchestra is silent. There are no roasting chestnuts, no carol singers, no hot spiced wine.
            Vienna has gone.
            “Oh Emily, you did it again. Just like last year. Just like every year.”
            I am crestfallen. He takes my face in his hands. He kisses my lips, and I close my eyes again, trying to recapture the dream. But it’s too late.
            “Never mind, my love, there’s always next year.”
            “As long as we’re still here,” I say, my old fears returning.
            “I expect we will be. They seem to like us well enough.”
            From the hallway, I hear the unmistakable sound of a key in the lock. It’s time.
            “Come, my love. We must return.” Charles once again takes my hand and together we gaze at the empty picture above the mantelpiece.
            “Until next year and the magic returns,” he whispers.
            “Until next year. Happy Christmas, Charles.”
            “Happy Christmas, Emily.”
            The door opens and a young couple wanders in, each holding a glass of red wine. They are both dressed smartly, she in a navy suit, he in dark grey. She has short blond hair, and his is dark. They look very modern to me.
            The woman’s gaze is drawn to the painting. “I’ve always loved that picture.” She sighs, raising her glass to her lips and taking a sip.
            “That’s why I bought it for you,” the man says and nuzzles her neck.
            “Dance Me to the End of Time,” she murmurs. “Such an evocative title. And it really looks as if that’s what they’re doing, doesn’t it? You feel they could just step out of that frame and glide around the room.”
            Her husband laughs. “You and your imagination.”
            The woman moves toward the fireplace and is peering closer. “There it is again.  The damnedest thing!”
            “What?” he asks.
            “I noticed it last year, but only on Christmas Eve, and it’s happened again this year. Look at her eyes.”
            The man does as he is bid.
            “Can you see it? There at the corner of her eye. A tear. It looks as if it’s just about to spill down her cheek, but I bet you it won’t be there in the morning.”
            The man laughs. “You’re imagining it. Too much wine at dinner.”
            “Say what you like. I know what I saw.” She steps back.
            She’s right, of course.  It’s the tear I cannot cry every Christmas when the magic ends.
            And we are frozen here in time and space.


      Catherine Cavendish is joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology
competition 2013. Her winning novella – Linden Manor – is available in all digital formats and in the print anthology, What Waits In The Shadows. She is the author of a number of paranormal horror and Gothic horror novellas and short stories. Her novel, Saving Grace Devine,has recently been published by Samhain Publishing and her new novel -The Pendle Curse - is coming out on February 3rd.

     She lives with a longsuffering husband in North Wales. Her home was built in the mid-

18th century and is haunted by a friendly ghost, who announces her presence 

by footsteps, switching lights on and strange phenomena involving the washing 

machine and the TV.

     When not slaving over a hot computer, Cat enjoys wandering around Neolithic stone 

circles and visiting old haunted houses.

You can connect with Cat here:

www.catherinecavendish.com
https://www.facebook.com/CatherineCavendishWriter?ref=hl
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4961171.Catherine_Cavendish

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

If you love vamps and shifters, this one’s for you!(#vampirestories #shapeshifter #romance)

Naughty Beasts by the Naughty Literati has three (three!) of my stories, two vamps and one about a sexy dolphin shifter. Plus, it has a host of other stories—even a gargoyle!

AVAILABLE IN PRINT AND DIGITAL

Here’s the 4-1-1:

Naughty Beasts: Shifters, Vamps, and Gargoyles, Oh My! includes fifteen Shapeshifter, Vampire, and Gargoyle romance stories from bestselling authors writing as The Naughty Literati:

BUY ME A ROSE - Francesca Hawley
Jessica and Nathaniel Whitewolf celebrate their thirtieth anniversary as True Mates, but they’ve lost their bond. Now a hot couples’ retreat will get it back.

HOW TO BLACKMAIL A VAMPIRE (BLOOD MATES 1) - Belle Scarlett
In the spring, a vampire’s fancy turns to the blood lust mating hunt. A pretty, human blackmailer becomes the object of his thirst, but she’s not into vampires. Yet.

HYBRID MATES: MERRY CHRISTMAS, KITTEN - Nicole Austin
Sirena Petra wants one thing for Christmas—an orgasm. And sex toy expert Kenyon Fort has exactly what the lion shifter needs to find more than just her happy place.

VIKING IN TARTAN - Suz deMello
Medieval romance from the Highland Vampires series. A Viking raider brings change to little Clan Kilbirnie, especially to the chieftain’s daughter, Rhona.

HYBRID MATES: MY VALENTINE LOVERS - Nicole Austin
All I want for Valentine’s Day is to get barbed - a feline shifter and act out a few of the naughty twin fantasies getting me hot and bothered.

PERFECTLY PRESENTED - Berengaria Brown
Blake sees Xavier agonizing over unclaimed gift tags for poor children on the holiday tree. Will Blake tell Xavier about his past and his problem?

HYBRID MATES: MY KIND OF LOVER - Nicole Austin
Badass biker girl, accountant, lioness shifter—I’m all that and more. And this hybrid wolf thinks he can take me on? Bring it, you sexy beast! I’ve got this.

SOPHIE’S CHRISTMAS GARGOYLE - Katherine Kingston
When Sophie helps rescue a battered woman, she gets more than one surprise from the woman’s other self-appointed protector.

HYBRID MATES: SEX ME UP - Nicole Austin
One night at a Paris sex club—no strings, complications, or inhibitions—just lots of fantasy sex. But in the morning I forgot the most important rule. Never run from a feline predator—they live for the chase.

IMMORTAL HUNTERS - Suz deMello
Vampire Rama avoids attention - working nights as a private investigator. No one cares if some bad guys disappear on her shift. Then Detective John van Helsing shows up. Bearing the name of the vamps’ greatest foe, he interferes in her case and in her life. Friend, lover, or enemy?

THE BERMUDA LOVE TRIANGLE (PACK MASTERS 1) - Belle Scarlett
Castaway in the Bermuda Triangle, Trista finds herself torn between two sexy shifters. Neither will share her so she must choose between them. Decision, decisions…

OCEAN DREAMS - Suz deMello
Marine biologist Sandi has never forgotten Blue, the baby dolphin with whom she bonded. Reunited with him years later, she discovers he’s a shapeshifter in the sexiest possible way.

HER GARGOYLE GUARDIAN - Katherine Kingston
Ginny decides to pursue a relationship with Ben despite the risks to her heart. She can cope with his claim that he’s a shape-shifting gargoyle, but his warning that they will have only a short time together gives her pause.

NO GENTLEMAN - Francesca Hawley
Librarian Abby Kelly comes west finding a roguish shapeshifter who desires her. Will Goldwolf is no gentleman, but Abby discovers he’s just what she wants.

WERE THE HELL? - Berengaria Brown
Septimus has to learn why no female weres have been born into his pack. When he walks into the meeting room he smells his mate. A male.

Score your copy here:


Barnes and Noble:

iTunes:

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Win a Kindle Fire and a $50 Amazon Gift Card! (#sale #99cents #Preorder #Win #KindleFire #amazon #kobo)

YOU'LL ENJOY THIS ONE! 


Limited time at #99cents during #preorder #NewRelease #paranormalromance #vampires #shifters #gargoyles, oh my!

#NaughtyBeasts#NaughtyLiterati on #Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077K5PPNY


.99 PREORDER ON AMAZON - LIMTED TIME... HURRY!

OR SIGN UP for our Naughty Beasts Review Tour to get a FREE copy of Naughty Beasts and a chance to WIN a $50 Gift Card with your early review!




REVIEW TOUR SIGN UP NOW FOR A CHANCE AT A $50 AMAZON CARD!

AND we are still taking sign ups for the Phantasia Review Tour!





And TWO (2) chances to WIN a KindleFire LOADED with Naughty Literati books INCLUDING:

Naughty Beasts!







and Naughty Phantasia!









AND DON'T FORGET... NAUGHTY GETAWAYS is 40% off on KOBO until Nov. 20 with promo code at check out!

Naughty Getaways: Eleven Sultry Stories
Box Set promo on Kobo!

40% off with promo code 40BOX includes Contemporary, Fantasy, Historical, Magic, New Adult, Older Woman/Younger Man, Paranormal, Rubenesque, Sci-Fi, Stepbrother, Threesome Romance from best-selling authors writing as The Naughty Literati!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Love Regency Romance? Here's a Great One! (#RegencyRomance)

Will he choose love or honor?

Orphaned Kate Scoville is trapped in a tower prison by her scheming uncle, who plans to wed her to his loathsome son in order to gain control of her fortune. Plucky and resourceful, Lady Kate escapes to London to ask for help from her guardian. She's sure the elderly Earl of Devere will help her in her plight.

Kate is astounded to find that the Earl has died, and his son has become her guardian.

Quinn, the present Earl, remembers Kate from his childhood as an awkward child he loved to taunt and tease. But now his ward has grown into a beautiful young woman. Though honor prevents Quinn from making Kate his, their attraction is irresistible…

Will Kate tempt Quinn into abandoning honor? Will the wicked uncle trap Kate, compromise her and steal her fortune?

First published as Hopelessly Compromised by Kensington/Zebra Books. Winner of the Beacon Award for Best Historical Romance.

What readers said about previous editions:

Five Stars! Regency Romance is Alive!
--B. Berry

Five Stars! Thoroughly Engaging Regency Romp
--Catherine Cavendish

Five Stars!
--Pandora

Five Stars! …so charming and lively…
--ldsfrost

Five Stars! Regency at Its Best!
--Judith Dedek

Here’s a snippet to pique your interest:

Kate smiled at Quinn. "I believe I've won your prize, my lord."

"So what shall you demand of me, sweet Kate?"

She tipped her head to one side and regarded him, still flirting with her eyes, her smile. He could tell she was nervous, yet expectant. He did not know if he should encourage her.

"I'm not quite sure yet." She touched the tip of her tongue to her upper lip. "What do you have to give me, my lord?"

His voice rasped in his throat. "Quinn. Please, call me Quinn."

"My lord Quinn," she said, with just a trace of mocking good humor in her tone.

"Kate," he said, taking her chin gently between his long, strong fingers. She quivered slightly but did not pull away as he stroked her cheek. Her response rippled through her body as he drew her into his arms.

Yes. The first kiss was as sweet as he had known it would be. For a few moments, he forgot why he had denied his desire, and hers, for so long.

As he touched his lips to hers, it was as though a spark flashed between them, igniting their emotions. Their mouths caressed and danced. When his tongue sought admission, she did not refuse him entry. He groaned as his embrace tightened, pulling her onto his lap. She reached up, touching his shoulders, tentatively at first, then with more confidence as their kiss deepened. Her arms wound around his neck as he held her close. He could feel her breasts, barely confined by the flimsy muslin, pressing against his chest. Her heartbeat was quick as a rabbit's, and knowing she was excited aroused him all the more.

When they finally parted he regarded her with amazement. "My darling Kate. Where did you learn to kiss like that?"

Want to score a copy? 

Buy links:




(and why Smashwords, you ask? You can purchase any format you please there, and we authors get a bigger cut of the profits. So...Go, Smashwords!)

Thursday, October 5, 2017

What's in a name? Lots! (#iamwriting #MFRWAuthor #NaNoWriMo)

I'm sure I'm not the first writer to blog about the significance of names, nor will I be the last. There's even a wiki about choosing character names! 

Authors carefully choose names. Why?

First, the right name must fit in with your story. Tolkien wouldn't have called one of his characters John Smith--John wouldn't fit in with Bilbo Baggins or Galadriel. 

Secondly, some names are so famous that popular references have attached. Don't name a character Adolf, Madonna, Elvis or Marilyn--that choice will jar a reader right out of the story, and that's the last thing that an author wants. We want to keep the reader immersed in the wonderful, engrossing world we've created.

http://a.co/4qStMAR
But an author can use that to her advantage. In Spy Game, my hero is named Richard Rexford--a conscious aping of Robert Redford. Richard is also a handsome, athletic blond, and I wanted readers to make the association.  

contains Ocean Dreams and
Viking in Tartan

http://a.co/ftMIDIO
Few readers picked it up, but I named a character in Ocean Dreams Sandi Ricks, after a character in the old Flipper TV show--Ocean Dreams is about a very unusual dolphin.

Also, I try to avoid too many names in a story that start with the same letter, which will confuse a reader, especially if there are a lot of characters introduced quickly. Avoid Martin and Maria, Barbara and Bobby, Jane and Jenny.

I avoid names that are unpronounceable. Readers don't only look at words on the page, but their minds are reading to them. When I as a reader encounter an odd name, I find myself falling out of the book and trying to figure out how the name is pronounced. So I avoid Gaelic names that are confusing. None of my characters will ever be named Airdsgainne or Slaibhin. In futuristics or sci-fi, one often encounters names with accents or apostrophes in odd paces. Avoid these. They distract and may even annoy a reader. 

http://a.co/5d9XZCD
Every name has an intrinsic meaning. Dickens was famous for his interesting names, which often reflected characters' personalities. The Artful Dodger is only too obvious. Esther Summerson (Bleak House) is one of Dickens' most lovely characters, lightening one of his longest and yes, most bleak books. Stryver in A Tale of Two Cities is, indeed, an ambitious striver.

I often take my cues from Dickens. In a book I wrote for Harlequin/Silhouette, The Ranger and the Rescue, the heroine calls herself Serenity Clare, a name she chose for herself after she left an abusive husband. She pursues serenity and clarity in her life.

The hero of Viking in Tartan, Erland Blodson, is a warrior and also a vampire. The name Erland means "leader." Blodson is also obvious.

http://a.co/hkRzRa9
In my memoir, Perilous Play, I had to rename a man I know in order to protect his privacy. I chose the name Trapper Hart.

It wasn't a very good relationship.

http://a.co/7i0JVmo
I also look at the sounds of names. In Queen of Shadow, a futuristic, I created a name--Storne--for my hero, using a lot of strong-sounding consonants. 

If you're a writer, how do you choose names?

If you're a reader, what character names are particularly memorable for you?

Friday, September 1, 2017

Naughty Nights is here! (#naughtyliterati #boxsets #romance #EverComing #LJGarland)

Say hello to another fabulous, entertaining short story anthology from the Naughty Literati!

This autumn, we welcome Guest Authors Ever Coming and L.J. Garland, who have contributed wonderful stories.


Here's what my story is about:


The Cowboy, His Countess, and Her Companion


(England, 1870) The Honorable Amelia Haddon must marry, or lose the income that supports her and her "companion."  Averse to men, she is desperate until an American cowboy proves to be her unlikely rescuer. But will judgmental society drag this happy trio apart?

And here's a snippet from Chapter One--the setting is Almack's, of course :)

Leonore Wingate turned to her bosom-bow, Amelia Haddon, bending slightly so the smaller woman could hear over the music and chatter. “Can you see that chap? He’s new.”

Amelia blinked. “Really?”

“Yes, and he’s coming toward us.”

Leonore grinned. “What shall we tell this one?”  They had been inventing stories to explain their unusual closeness since they'd met at boarding school. Their most innocuous story was that she was Amelia’s hired companion, which was fairly close to the truth. They enjoyed telling others that they were engaged in the study of Sapphic poetry; in the main, their peers had no idea to what they were referring.

Amelia eyed the stranger. “Intuition tells me that this one might not be easily fobbed off. You do remember that Madame Esperanza told me that my intuitive powers are usually great.” 

Leonore withheld a sarcastic retort, but rolled her eyes.  

Amelia continued, “Perhaps we should encourage his suit.”

Shocked, Leonore lost her breath and therefore her voice for several seconds. Then she managed to say, “But—but—”

“You have not yet heard my news.”

“That letter you received from your father?”

“Yes. He threatens to cut me off should I fail to marry before my next birthday.”

“But you can’t marry! You can’t!” Heads turned at the vehemence of her tone, and she lowered her voice. “Why?”

“Of course I do not wish to marry, but what else can we do?”

Leonore pressed her lips together. “I’ll not leave you.”

Amelia touched Leonore’s hand briefly, so quickly that she was sure no one else saw. “Of course not. 
We shall maintain the fiction that you are my paid companion.”

“But what about at night? You can’t, Amelia! It would kill you!

Amelia drew a determined breath. “We all must do what we must. And I will have to bear his attentions, at least some nights.”

“You’ll lie quietly and think of crown and country? Ha! I’ll not allow it!”

“We don’t have a choice. I shall have to bear his attentions, at least on some nights. Many men keep mistresses for such...activities.”

Leonore paused, thinking. “Hm. You are right. Without your funds, we are left with only my tiny portion.” Her birth was impeccable but her fortune small, her parents having inconveniently wasted the Wingate estate before dying in a carriage accident.

She looked at Amelia. Amelia looked back. They sighed in unison.

“Good evening, ladies.” The stranger sketched a clumsy bow.

Leonore raised her brows as Amelia raised her fan. The stranger was so untutored in the social graces that he did not realize that he ought not address ladies to whom he had not yet been introduced. But...

“Your accent is not English,” Leonore said.

“No, I’m from Texas.” He smiled.

“In America?” Amelia sounded excited, and Leonore felt a spark of hope. Perhaps this foreigner would be different than other men. Perhaps he would not demand what Amelia couldn’t comfortably give.

“Yeah. From the good ol’ U.S. of A.”

Leonore winced at his speech. He seemed like a nice fellow, but...

Amelia said, “And what brings you to our shores?”

“I’ve inherited an estate that is in poor shape, and I’m here to claim it and find a wife to help me get it to where it should be,” the man explained in a rush.

Given the accent, Leonore understood perhaps half of what he said. She exchanged glances with Amelia, then said, “Umm, with all respect, sir, we have yet to be properly introduced.”

“Oh, sorry, miss. I’m Nate Fortune.”

“Of the Darlingside Fortunes?” Amelia asked, closing her fan.

If Leonore raised her brows more, she was certain they’d disappear into her hairline. She controlled herself. “You must be the new Earl Darlingside.”

“Yeah. And you?”

She and Amelia again exchanged glances. Despite the social solecism, Amelia responded. “I’m Amelia Haddon, and this is my...companion, Leonore Wingate.” She hooked her arm through Leonore’s elbow.

He eyed their linked arms and raised his brows. “Your...companion?”

“Yes,” Leonore said with emphasis. “We are quite inseparable.”

Now the stranger—Darlingside?—raised his brows. “That’s good.”

Leonore stared at him.

“Well, it would be very hard to choose between you. You are both such lovely ladies.”

“Flatterer,” Amelia said flirtatiously. She rapped his knuckles with her fan.

“Ow!” Darlingside made a show of rubbing his hand, as though he’d actually been hurt.

Amelia giggled while Leonore smiled.

He smiled back. “So the only question is, which one of you will I marry?”

If you like what you read, find it here on Amazon
or any other etailer you prefer