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4 AND 5 STAR Reviews on Amazon! http://goo.gl/Mcngqy
We were sitting around after a nice dinner at one of our writers’ retreats when the idea blossomed to write an anthology together. Not just any anthology either, not four stories with a similar theme, but four stories connected by the characters as well as the theme.
We’re sisters, not of blood, but of spirit, connected by the Universe, so the title came easily. Sisters Of Spirit. One of our favorite activities while we’re together is to beachcomb, so naturally our characters would too. Instead of finding stones and colored glass like we do, our characters would each find an artifact that changes her destiny.
We briefly discussed the scenes where our characters could come together in each story, but how would we pull it off if we were writing without being together? The reality of writing our stories in our own homes made it daunting, but we soon realized, our bond is so strong, we finish each other’s sentences, know when one is in need of a hug, and are mentally on the same page.
Once we sold the idea of the story, the writing began. We shot copies of what we’d written back and forth a few times, but it became clear that we were connected in more ways than we’d ever realized. It was as if four unique styles of writing blended into one. We overlapped seamlessly. Our characters showed up at the appropriate times to strengthen each other’s stories, and the last story morphed into a fifth “happily ever after” ending. The readers were in for a treat, not just the four outstanding stories, but a fifth overall arc that would pull everything together.
Were there any moments of stress? Ugly times? Not really, but we all had moments of doubt or second guessing our strengths and weaknesses. Thank goodness we never fell into that trap at the same time. There were always three of us handy to talk the other one off the ledge. In the end, I think the experience strengthened our bond.
I’m Blessed to have found these very talented ladies, to call them my friends, to share a passion for telling stories from the heart.
Christine Mazurk is the author of the novella Identity in the poignant romance anthology the Sisters of Spirit published by (Lachesis Publishing). The anthology features four stories about four very special friends. The anthology also features novellas by authors Christine Mazurk, Jeanine Duval Spikes and Annette Blair
Bestselling authors have “been there and done that”. They know how much work it takes to hit a bestseller list and they are here to share their wisdom (and wit). Today I’m featuring USA Today bestselling author Misty Evans. Misty writes dark romantic suspense and sexy paranormals. Welcome Misty!
JD: What was your first book that hit a bestseller list? What was the list, where did the book rank when it first hit, and how high did your book get?
ME: Oh, gosh, I suppose my first “bestseller” was Operation Sheba. My publisher did a promo on it in 2010 and it went to #1 on the Amazon Romantic Suspense list, #2 in Romance, and #3 in overall Kindle books. The other two books in the series at that time did well too, ending up high in the RS list. I’ve had two books hit the USA TODAY list, Deadly Pursuit, and The Secret Ingredient. Both were in boxed sets and there was much celebrating by all of us.
JD: What were you doing when you found out you hit the bestseller list? And how did you celebrate or mark the occasion?
ME: With Operation Sheba, it was huge. My first published book…I was over the moon. I had been watching the Amazon lists the first day of the promo, but it was an email from my editor later that evening that told me I’d reached so high. There was Snoopy Happy Dancing and champagne the next day from my hubby.
What does being a “successful author” mean to you?
ME: Success isn’t about lists or royalties or rankings to me. It used to be, and I made myself a ver
y anxious and not very happy author. I had to change my thinking. Success is about what’s inside you, not what’s outside. Are you happy? Do you look forward to sitting at the keyboard everyday? I can’t control numbers, algorithms, or new technology. What I can do is love my job, write the books fans adore, and find ways to help other authors make their dreams come true. That is true success to me.
JD: Some authors are great at it, while others can’t find the right formula, but in order to be a success in today’s market, you have to do promotion. So, what are the top three things that you do consistently when it comes to promotion?
ME: 1.) Write the next book—you absolutely can’t do any better promo than putting out the next book in a series and having the links to your other stories in the back matter. 2.) Nail your keywords and categories. When a potential reader searches by subject matter on any retailer, you want to be sure your book comes up in the appropriate category. 3.) Put out a quality newsletter with behind-the-scenes snippets, recipes, and engaging content, not just “Buy My Book” messages. This goes hand-in-hand with social media as well. Engage your readers, don’t just preach to them.
JD: What is one thing you absolutely LOVE about being an author and one thing that makes you BONKERS?
ME: I love creating stories and seeing how they resonate with readers. In January, with the release of DEADLY FORCE, the fourth book in my SCVC Taskforce series, I raised money for Paws & Stripes, an organization that rescues shelter dogs and trains them to be service companions to veterans with PTSD. My fans loved the idea and really got behind it, sharing our Operation Freedom Dogs campaign and I recently mailed a check for over $2000 to P&S.
What drives me bonkers is trying to find enough hours in the day to write and promote!
JD: Who are some of your favourite authors and why?
ME: I have too many favorite authors to name them all, but my favorites tend to be the ones who create fascinating worlds I can sneak off to whenever I want and forget the real world for a few hours . . . for a few days!
ME: I’m writing the next SCVC Taskforce novel, Deadly Intent, and editing the next Justice Team Series book, Exposing Justice, with Adrienne Giordano. Both books release in July.
JD: In your daily work routine what do you do first and why?
write/plot/creative – I definitely write first thing in the morning. That’s when my creative energy is high. I often write later in the day when I can, but I’m most productive first thing in the morning. My best plots come in the evening or at night. I don’t know why, but that’s how my brain works!
social media/promotion – Social media is so much fun, I have to save it for a treat after the work is done. Usually that means waiting until lunch time or later.
email/admin – This area is best handled after the work is done, too. It takes me too long to get the right energy flowing if I start with email or admin duties first thing in the morning. They tend to suck my creative-self dry.
JD: What would I find on your desk at this very moment?
ME: I don’t have a desk anymore. I write on my laptop, often in bed or sitting at the kitchen table. I’ve found I’m more motivated and inspired if I move around and don’t confine myself to one set place. I’m definitely a minimalist these days! The clutter-free zone frees up my mental space.
JD: Finish this sentence: I’m a writer because . . .
ME: . . . it makes me happy!
USA TODAY Bestselling Author Misty Evans has published twenty-eight novels and writes romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. As a writing coach, she helps other authors bring their books – and their dreams of being published – to life.
The books in her Super Agent series have won a CataNetwork Reviewers’ Choice Award, CAPA nominations, the New England Reader’s Choice Bean Pot Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2010 and the ACRA Heart of Excellence Reader’s Choice Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2011. OPERATION SHEBA has been a military romance, action-adventure, and romantic suspense bestseller on Amazon.
Her Witches Anonymous series was dubbed a Fallen Angel Reviews Recommended Read. The Super Agent Series, Witches Anonymous Series, and the Kali Sweet Series have been on multiple Amazon Kindle bestsellers lists. Her culinary romantic mystery, THE SECRET INGREDIENT, and the first book in her Deadly series, DEADLY PURSUIT, are both USA TODAY bestsellers.
Misty likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, movies, and hanging out with her husband, twin sons, and two spoiled puppies. Learn more and sign up for her newsletter at www.readmistyevans.com. Like her author page on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.
FRIDAY’S FANTASTIC FIND is the paranormal romance HAWK: SONS OF SANGUE (BOOK @) by PATRICIA A. RASEY
Kaleb “Hawk” Tepes, as president of the Sons of Sangue and descendant of Vlad III, needs to keep his head focused on club business. Trouble is someone wants to divest him of it for a crime he committed against his vampire predecessors. He can’t afford distractions, especially those that come in the form of a five-foot-two sprite named Suzi, who once belonged to his nephew. In a moment of weakness, he makes a snap decision that can only spell trouble. Now faced with the one person who wants him dead, Kaleb must make the ultimate sacrifice or chance losing the only woman he truly desired forever.
Suzi Stevens has tried hard to put her past behind her and move forward. The one man she yearns for over all others, believes her to be nothing but cold-hearted. Hearing that someone has tried to behead him, she shelves past prejudices and rushes to his side, needing to see for herself that he’s all right. What she doesn’t count on is Hawk’s demand to take her as his personal blood donor. Now forced to endure his company, she fears losing her heart for all eternity to the one person who has the power to crush her.
“SONS OF SANGUE is highly recommended to Paranormal Romance readers who like their heroes Alpha, their heroines able to hold their own yet willingly submit to the sexy bad boys, and plenty of MC territorial action and intrigue.” ~Literal Addiction
ABOUT PATRICIA A. RASEY:
A daydreamer at heart, Patricia A. Rasey, resides in her native town in Northwest Ohio with her husband, Mark, and her lovable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Todd.
Ms. Rasey is a three-time recipient of the Word Weaving Award for Literary Excellence and a three-time winner of the prestigious RIO Award Of Excellence. She is also a three-time EPPIE finalist and was a 2001 nominee for Romantic Times Magazine’s Best Electronic Book. Additionally, Twilight Obsessions and Twilight Visions, two anthologies she was a part of, was nominated for the PEARL, the Paranormal Excellence Award in Romantic Literature, in the Best Anthology category. Her short story, In The Mind of Darkness won the P&E 2002 Horror short story category.
When not behind her computer, you can find Patricia working, reading, watching movies or MMA. She also enjoys spending her free time at the river camping with her husband and two sons. Ms. Rasey is currently a third degree Black Belt in American Freestyle Karate.
CONNECT WITH PATRICIA A. RASEY ONLINE:
BOOK TRAILER LINK: https://youtu.be/abtf1YAdmNc
WEB SITE /BLOG URL LINK: www.PatriciaRasey.com
Patricia Grasso is the author of eighteen historical romances including the Douglas Series which follows the love stories of the amazing Douglas sisters (Angelica, Samantha and Victoria) in Regency London and the Lords of Stratford Series, Regency historical romances with a fairy-tale twist about the aristocratic families in Stratford-on-Avon.
Book 1 ~ Lords of Stratford Series
She doesn’t want a guardian . . .
Lady Isabelle Montgomery wants to be left alone to play her flute and talk to Giselle, the guardian angel only she can see. Because Isabelle manages her brother’s estate finances, her greedy stepmother and selfish stepsisters continually harass her for fancy clothes and a season in London. For reasons she refuses to share, Isabelle has no desire to go to London. Unexpectedly, the Duke of Avon announces that he is her temporary guardian while her brother, the Earl of Stratford, has gone abroad. This complication annoys Isabelle who thinks the duke is thoroughly irritating. So why can’t she stop thinking about him? And why does Giselle keep telling her about a dark prince?
He doesn’t want a ward . . .
John Saint-Germain, the Duke of Avon, wants nothing to do with wards or stepfamilies. The duke suffered a moment’s weakness and promised the earl that he would watch over his sister, including sponsoring Isabelle and her stepsisters into society. And then John meets his stubborn, outspoken, thoroughly irritating ward. Her fiery beauty and independent spirit attract him. Is he falling in love? If only she’d stop talking to that imaginary friend.
Their enemies want to destroy them . . .
Both John and Isabelle have enemies who join forces to plot against them. John will brave any danger to protect Isabelle and his family. Even if it means seeing with his heart and believing in the impossible.
As she walked into the garden, Isabelle spied a solitary figure sitting on a stone bench. She smiled, recognizing her old friend, and then advanced on her.
“Are you here too?” Isabelle said by way of a greeting.
“No, I’m a figment of your imagination.”
“Shall we play?”
Isabelle nodded and sat on the bench beside her. She lifted her flute to her lips and poured all of her feelings into the instrument.
They played a song of infinite beauty, the notes first eerie and lilting, then haunting and reflective. The melody was a soothing bath of sound, reminiscent of a moonlit stroll, rustling leaves, echoing owls calling to each other in the night.
“I’ll see you inside.” Giselle vanished in an instant.
“Mistress Montgomery?” the Duke of Avon called. “Is that you?”
“Yes, Your Grace.” Was she forbidden a few moments of privacy? When the duke stood in front of her, Isabelle tilted her head back to gaze up the long length of him.
“You play divinely,” John said. “It sounded as if two people were playing.”
Had he heard Giselle’s flute? How could that be? No one but she had ever heard the old woman.
“How did you make it sound like a duo?”
John nodded, accepting her explanation. “May I join you on the bench?”
“Suit yourself, Your Grace.” Isabelle slid over to make room for him.
He sat down beside her, so close his thigh teased the side of her cloak. Glancing down at the close proximity of their bodies, Isabelle felt her cheeks heat with embarrassment and sent up a silent prayer of thanks that the night hid her discomfort.
“I thought I saw someone sitting with you,” John said, slanting a sidelong glance at her.
Isabelle stared at him in surprise. Had he seen Giselle? Only she had ever seen the old woman. What did this mean?
“I assure you that I am alone. Who would be sitting with me?”
“A friend, perhaps?”
“I have no friends.”
“Not even an invisible friend?”
“If you saw her,” Isabelle countered, “then she wouldn’t be invisible.”
“It’s a woman, then?”
“Really, Your Grace, this conversation is ridiculous,” Isabelle said, trying to steer him away from the subject.
“You are correct.” He stared straight ahead.
A heavy silence descended upon them. Isabelle decided the silence between them was even more uncomfortable than his probing questions.
“You need not have defended me against Lobelia and Rue,” she told him. “My stepsisters are henwits.”
“Even henwits can create problems in society,” John warned, turning his head to look at her, which made her even more uncomfortable than enduring the silence. “Henwits are the worst purveyors of gossip.
“You could be correct about that.” Isabelle tore her gaze away from his. Lord, but those midnight-black eyes seemed to see to the very depths of her insecure soul.
“I mean no insult,” John continued, drawing her attention, “but when you come to London, you must refrain from thinking out loud, or you will never catch a husband.”
“If I want to catch something, I’ll go fishing,” Isabelle shot back. “I have no need of a husband.”
“Every woman needs a man to care for her,” John said in a quiet voice. “Any woman who believes otherwise possesses the intelligence of an oyster.”
“I didn’t mean that I would never marry,” Isabelle said. “When Miles returns, I will have my come-out and choose a husband.”
“You will have your come-out this spring with or without your brother’s presence,” John corrected her. “My mother never raised a daughter and is looking forward to introducing you into society. Of course, before that happens, you will need to learn certain rules of propriety.”
“I don’t give a rat’s arse about propriety.”
Today’s Sneak Peek is Identity by Christine Mazurk, one of four novellas in the lovely and lyrical Sisters of Spirit Anthology (Lachesis Publishing). The anthology features four stories about four very special friends. Written by four real life friends: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Annette Blair, Lynn Jenssen, Christine Mazurk and Jeanine Duval Spikes (also known as J.D. Spikes Lachesis Publishing author of The Possession).
What It’s About:
Four life-long friends face the biggest changes of their lives.
Four sisters—not related by blood—but by spirit, each embark on a quest
Four women find out what they’re truly made of, and what love really means.
In “Identity” by Christine Mazurk, a young woman embarks on a complete life-change after losing more than 100 pounds, and through a twist of fate finds herself training for a marathon under the guidance of a super sexy coach. But when she starts falling for the hunky trainer, can she trust her new-found confidence to take her to the finish line?
“I found it on a beach on Munnatawket Island.” The girl’s dark green eyes sparked, or glistened with unshed tears. Mike couldn’t tell which. “Since it’s engraved, I thought it might be valuable.”
He huffed out a breath, staring at the luggage tag—a gift he bought for his dad last Father’s Day. “It is valuable, in more ways than you know.”
She stared at him, an odd expression on her face. She started to say something, then stopped, and instead rested her right hand on his arm. Warmth seeped through his skin, and the freshness of his loss re-surfaced.
Two weeks; two long weeks ago.
His throat tightened as hot tears rose, and he coughed to cover his emotion. He shifted, unsure how much to share with this girl, a stranger who brought him a gift, one that punched him in the gut and sliced open his heart.
“Do you want to talk?” she whispered, her gaze drinking him in. “When I touched it, I felt a wave of sadness. Now, I feel that from you.”
Oh shit, not here, not in front of the staff.
“Come back to the office,” he said, his voice unsteady.
She followed him, and he counted the click of her heels as a distraction to tamp down his pain. Long limbs in tight jeans. In the office, she stared up at the wall of medals, and he couldn’t help but notice the tight curve of her butt. Even in her high heels, the top of her head barely reached his shoulders. He stepped away to put some space between them.
“They’re my dad’s. He was an Ironman.” He fingered one of the awards.
“Was?” She had a beautiful face and thick dark hair that shimmered in the light.
“Sit, please.” When she did, he sat down next to her. “I’m about to spill my guts, and I don’t even know your name.”
“Bryce Evans,” she said as a soft blush washed over her cheeks, causing her eyes to appear an even darker green. “I should have introduced myself, but I was taken by your emotion.”
“That apparent, is it?”
“It’s the way you handled the tag.” She shrugged and seemed embarrassed.
“He was returning from Ironman St. George in Utah when his private plane went down in the Sound.” This time, he didn’t bother stopping the tears. He let them flow. Something about this girl opened the floodgates, and his words tumbled without faltering.
“St. George was his fifteenth race. When he called me, after the finish, he sounded excited but exhausted. He said it was one of the toughest courses he’d ever done, so it wasn’t his fastest race. He described the aggressive climbs on the two loop course, and the scenic mountainous run, but he was just stoked to cross the finish line to add one more medal to the wall.”
“I’m so sorry,” she said as she took his hand. He watched as tears spilled over her long lashes, and his heart clenched. “You must have been close.”
“We were. The ironic thing is I left my career as a regional sales rep to strengthen our bond. I became his partner less than six months ago, and now, he’s gone.” A sob escaped. “I’ll never see him again.”
Bryce surprised him, when she dropped to her knees and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. She hugged tight and cried with him.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, a voice whispered, Don’t let go. And Mike wondered what he should hold onto, the memories of his dad, or this girl who just popped into his life?
Like what you’ve read? Check out “Identity” by Christine Mazurk in the Sisters of Spirit Anthology. You can purchase it at Lachesis Publishing and on Amazon.com, on Kobo, on Barnes and Noble and on itunes (iBooks).
What It’s About:
Geoffrey Kane, Earl of Kanewood refuses to feel anything more than passion. Four years ago, his fiancée betrayed him and he has no desire to experience that again so when he meets the beautiful Rebecca Kingsley, it’s passion at first sight. And only passion.
Rebecca has led a very quiet life working for her father at a small country inn. When she meets Geoffrey she falls in love with him right away. But she’s only the daughter of a baronet and men like Geoffrey never marry country girls like her. Do they?
When Rebecca’s father tries to marry her off to a wealthy old man, Geoffrey intervenes and marries her himself. He wants her very much but he couldn’t possibly love her. Love is for fools. At least that’s what he tells himself. But a sinister enemy soon threatens to destroy all that Geoffrey holds dear, forcing him to face the truth.
His marriage depends on it . . .
And maybe even Rebecca’s very life.
The Raven’s Inn was surprisingly elegant. The brick structure was trimmed with dark green, its long windows sparkling in the late afternoon sun. Rebecca Kingsley was straightening the beautifully-appointed parlor of the inn. Her father, Thomas, insisted that all the rooms look fine. His father had been a baronet, but all that was left of the family fortune, as it were, was the inn. As a younger man, he’d traveled in the social circles of the ton and claimed to know what the gentry and lesser folk alike looked for in food and lodging. Many travelers stopped at the inn, and they expected service and accommodations as fine as any in London, or so Rebecca’s father insisted.
At just twenty years old, Rebecca had been working at the inn all of her life. Her mother died when Rebecca was just two, leaving no real memories. Thomas refused to speak of her and Rebecca had long since given up asking. The only thing he’d say was that she took after her mother in looks. This he always said in a gruffly, affectionate manner that never failed to surprise her. She supposed she inherited her fair skin from her mother, that and her thick raven-black hair. She could never see anything of herself in Thomas.
He never really gave her much notice. She worked as hard as the servants at the inn, keeping her own room as well as half of the rest abovestairs. Mary, the chambermaid, took care of the other rooms as well as seeing to the guests’ personal needs. Rebecca served the morning and evening meals in the dining room, as well, along with Emmy. Emmy was funny and kind and a shameless flirt. She never hesitated to share her experiences with Rebecca, who couldn’t help but blush. She listened, though. Closely.
Rebecca was usually free to go about her own business after finishing her chores abovestairs. But this afternoon, she polished the candlesticks and dusted the furniture in the parlor. As usual, she wore her hair plaited in one long braid coiled at the back of her head. Her simple muslin gown was a few seasons old and well-suited to her task. She paused to gaze longingly out the window toward the stables out back. Beyond them, she could see the gently rolling hills over which she so loved to ride. If she didn’t have to see to the parlor today, she’d surely be out riding her black filly.
From her vantage point, Rebecca could see two figures walking out of the stable’s wide doors. One man was slight of stature and fell in step behind the other. The man in the lead was tall with broad shoulders and dressed in a brown coat and tan breeches. He walked with a long, easy stride. Sun glinted off hair she fancied the color of honey. He had a strong profile, and Rebecca couldn’t tear her gaze away from him. What color were his eyes?
“Fool,” she chided herself. She turned back to her work, flicking her dusting cloth in frustration.
* * *
She moved with an easy grace through the dining room, her glossy black hair catching the light given off by the candles. Curls framed the perfect oval of her face and teased the back of her neck. Her simple gown hugged her lush figure, the skirt swaying over her hips as she walked. She carried a pitcher of ale, and Geoffrey couldn’t take his eyes off her as she moved from table to table.
A man’s voice broke through his reverie. “Fetchin’, ain’t she?”
“What …?” He hadn’t even noticed the gray-haired man who joined him at his table. “Yes.”
“Peter Jenkins is the name,” the slight man offered. “How do you do?”
Geoffrey shook the man’s hand. “Kane. Geoffrey Kane,” he answered. “Very well, thank you.”
The older man gave a flick of his head in Rebecca’s direction. “She’s Kingsley’s daughter.”
Geoffrey raised an eyebrow at that. This beautiful creature was related to the florid-faced innkeeper? Impossible.
Just then, the girl approached the two men. Her mouth curved into a smile for the older man before she turned her attention to Geoffrey. Her rose-colored lips parted as she stared into his eyes for a long moment. “Blue.”
Geoffrey blinked. “What?”
She shook her head. “N-nothing.”
Geoffrey could only stare at the girl, dumbstruck. Her eyes were the color of emeralds, and sparkled as prettily. His gaze fell on her lips as she flicked her tongue over them. Desire shot through him, want like he’d never felt before. Once again, Peter’s voice broke in.
“Rebecca, this is Geoffrey Kane. Kane, meet Rebecca Kingsley.”
The girl, Rebecca, curtsied in greeting after a brief hesitation. She seemed as off-kilter as he felt, to his amazement. After a moment, Geoffrey stood and bowed slightly. “Miss Kingsley.”
“I’m pleased to meet you,” Rebecca said.
Her voice suited her. It was soft and a bit husky. And damn sensual.
“Will you be staying with us long?”
If I can help it. “A few days, actually,” he said, smiling.
She gasped softly, the sound no more than a whisper. “Well, do enjoy your stay,” she said, shyly returning his smile.
She stared up at him for a moment longer. Finally, she filled his tankard. With a nod of her dark head, she continued on through the dining room. Geoffrey sank back down into his seat, his gaze glued to her form.
“Rebecca.” He breathed. “Becca.”
JoMarie DeGioia writes historical romances with a touch of mystery for Lachesis Publishing. And her books are always on the steamy side. Her Dashing Nobles series follows the romances of four male friends in Regency London.