1:48 PM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest

Jessica Freely

CONTEST: Jessica will give a free copy of HERO to one of the commenter’s on this post, to be selected randomly. Good luck!

AL: Hi Jessica Thanks for being in the “Author Spotlight” this week.

Jessica: You're welcome Ann. It's a pleasure to be here. I'm looking forward to meeting a lot of new friends this week!

AL: So, tell us what’s happening with you.

Jessica: I just got an iPhone! It's my first smart phone and I'm nuts about it. I'm downloading apps like a mad thing. My favorite one so far is the Altered States brainwave app. It uses sound frequencies to induce brainwave patterns associated with deep relaxation. It's great. I'm also listening to music, Facebooking, surfing the web. This thing does everything but the laundry, I swear.

AL: Tell us about your new or an upcoming release.

Jessica: Loose Id recently reprinted the first three m/m erotic romance stories I ever wrote: HERO, STAY, and SCARS. They were originally published by Torquere in 2008 and had since gone out of print. Since the stories follow the same two characters (David and Seth) over a short span of time, we combined them into a single volume, entitled HERO. It covers the first few days of David and Seth's relationship. It's a prequel to RUST BELT, another David and Seth book I published with Loose Id around this time last year.

AL: What other works are you deep into?

Jessica: More David and Seth, actually. Apparently I can't get enough of these guys. I'm writing a book for Loose Id's "Almost Christmas" holiday theme about how David and Seth's lives have changed since HERO and RUST BELT took place. It's called OUT OF THE BOX and the blurb goes: A year ago they were so wrapped up in each other they didn't even notice it was Christmas. Now, this could David and Seth's last holiday together unless they both learn to think outside of the box.

OUT OF THE BOX is due to my editor by Oct. 1. Which means I really should be working on it RIGHT NOW.

AL: On Blog Bites we have all genres of romance/erotica authors that “Spotlight”. Tell me, what got you jumping feet first into m/m love tales?

Jessica: It was an awful year. My mom had recently passed and my father was dying. So much was happening that I had no control over, I took control in the one area available -- my writing. I gave myself permission to write something for the pure joy of it, with no regard to market considerations or anything else.

And what I found myself writing was a sequel to my very first science fiction novel, The Nature of Smoke. Only this time the story was about Antonin, who'd been just a boy in the first book. Now he was a teenager and he was gay. And he had this roommate at boarding school who was a total behavior case, only it turned out the kid had an abusive father, and he was gay too. Antonin and Harry became friends, and then fell in love. And then Harry's nightmare of a father started manipulating everyone in sight, and Harry wound up tied to a sink in the basement of his father's compound, and Antonin had to go rescue him.

I'd been writing fiction for about fifteen years at this point, and I'd published three science fiction novels with Tor, but I had never before experienced such joy in the act of writing as I did working on that book, which I eventually entitled ALL THE COLORS OF LOVE. I didn't know anything about m/m or slash or yaoi at that time. My passion for this romance between these two young men utterly blindsided me and I was pretty sure I was losing my mind.

But the feeling was just too strong to ignore. So I finished the book and workshopped it and pitched it to my editor and my agent... and faced universal discouragement on all fronts. At first I was heartbroken. I felt like I'd finally found what I was meant to be doing all along, only to be told I wasn't allowed. Well, I decided to hell with that!

I ignored my writer's group, fired my agent, and started looking for alternative markets, which eventually led me to erotic romance epublishing. I still have not published ALL THE COLORS OF LOVE, but the feelings of freedom and joy I experienced with that first book are with me every time I write an m/m story. I love this genre.

AL: On your website you say, “I post market news, updates on new developments in e-publishing technologies, and speculate about what nowadays appears to be the ever-shifting nature of the publishing industry in general.” In your opinion, what do you feel is the biggest change in the publishing industry?

Jessica: Well, it seems obvious to say digital publishing, but it's true. E-books are revolutionizing publishing, from the way we buy and read books, to the way authors, agents, and publishers do business. It's much easier now for authors to connect with readers directly. And if you develop a following, you can do well in a niche market. There are ways around the gatekeepers now. My own story makes a good case in point. Print publishing doesn't do m/m romance, but epublishing, where low overhead and instant world-wide distribution make it profitable to publish all kinds of books, has found it to be very successful. Now I'm doing the work I love, and my audience is growing, and I couldn't be happier.

AL: How do you decide upon your settings? What about the names of characters? Do you ever change either mid-stream into a story?

Jessica: The David and Seth books all take place in my hometown, Detroit, but technically, I could have set it in any big city. I choose Detroit because I love my city and I wanted to write about it. The story is informed by issues that we struggle with here, like poverty, unemployment, and a diminishing population base. In the Rust Belt books, I get to think about solutions to these problems and it gives me hope for the future.

It's important that a character gets the right name. Sometimes, I know immediately. Like with David. Other times, I'm not sure and I have to think about what sounds right. The wrong name can send a character in the wrong direction for me. I once had to change a character's name, because it was Helene, and I simply couldn't imagine someone named Helene doing the sneaky kinds of things I needed that character to do.

AL: Now, let’s get personal. What’s the best movie you've seen recently?

Jessica: I seldom see movies anymore. I think the last one that really stuck with me was the new Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. What a slashfest that was! Yummy. But these days Steve (my hub) and I watch a lot of television series. We rent them on Netflix and we'll watch several episodes in a row. We just finished watching the third season of Breaking Bad and now we're into Dexter. Both are riveting shows about people you hope you'll never meet in real life. But the writing -- especially in Dexter -- is top notch and the stories are so much more complex and involving than what can be done in a two-hour film. I think the analogy of novels vs. short stories is applicable. Not that there's anything wrong with short stories. I just prefer the richness of a novel. Personal taste.

AL: If you could have any car in the world; would it be a slow rider, or one that the wind has to hurry just to keep up with you?

Jessica: Oh that's easy. I like to step on the gas and feel something happen right away. ;) My previous car was a Pontiac Grand Am with a six-cylinder engine. That was a good car. Now I'm driving a Ford Escape Hybrid, which is only a four cylinder, but with the electric motor assisting, it drives like a six. I love it.

AL: What were you like as a kid?

Jessica: I had some friends, but I definitely spent a lot of time in my own little world, making up stories. I was a weird, brainy kid with a lot of imaginary playmates. Not all that different from how I am as an adult, actually. LOL

AL: Where would you like to travel if you had the chance?

Jessica: There are a lot of places I'd like to visit. India, Venice, Barcelona... But I'm a homebody. It's like pulling teeth to get me to travel. I don't know why, really, because when I do, it's always a great experience. I'm fortunate in that I've been to some wonderful places: Japan, Belize, China. Amazing experiences. But I love Michigan most of all, and that's where I tend to stay.

AL: What do you hope for your writing career in the next few years? Any goals that you have yet to obtain that you have set for yourself?

Jessica: My main goal right now is to earn enough with my writing to meet my half of the household expenses. Then I will feel like a real pro. I'm not there yet, but I've been very pleased to see my sales grow over the last couple of years and I'm optimistic that I can achieve my aim.

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

Jessica: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

AL: Thanks so much for joining us, Jessica.

Jessica: Thank you for having me, Ann. You've really made me feel at home.

AL: If you’d like to find out more about Jessica please visit:

Blog: http://friskbiskit.com
Newsletter: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jessicafreely/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jessicafreely



David is lonely, bored, and a virgin. He lives through books, but fears life is passing him by. Then one night he's attacked by a gang and rescued by a real-life hero. Sexy, mysterious Seth seems to have stepped right off the pages of an adventure novel. Yet he has no place to call home. When David invites him in, a thank you dinner escalates into passion, and Seth makes all David's pent-up fantasies come true.

Seth wants nothing more than to spend the rest of his life loving and protecting David, but his brutal past makes that impossible. Just being around Seth puts David at risk and Seth will stop at nothing to keep him safe, even if it means breaking his heart.

David is determined to keep Seth off the streets and in his bed, but all is not as it seems. Seth has terrible scars he won't talk about, and sometimes, he wakes up in the night screaming. When David discovers Seth is linked to a murder, he's determined to learn the truth, but he may find out more than he wants to know. How far is David willing to go, to rescue his hero?


Before he even really woke up, Seth knew he wasn’t sleeping rough. For one thing, he was warm. It was November. He couldn’t be warm in November unless he was back in—No! His heart pounded. How in the hell had he wound up back in that place? He’d sworn he’d die before he went back.

Frantic, Seth threw off the oblivious comfort of sleep and sat up. He rubbed his eyes and looked around. Books. So many books lining the walls on every side of the tiny room. He was in a bed with clean, soft sheets. Beside him, the cutest little blond dude he’d ever seen was sacked out, lost to the world, face open and innocent and breathtaking. David. Oh. Right. Seth’s heart rate slowed, and he sank back down on the mattress. He was at David’s place.

Gingerly, not wanting to wake him, Seth sidled closer to David so that the lengths of their bodies touched. David sighed and turned slightly, draping a warm arm across Seth’s chest. Seth’s morning erection pulsed back to life after that initial rude awakening and pressed into David’s hip. David smiled in his sleep.

Seth felt overwhelmed by the feelings he had looking at David: love, protectiveness, lust, admiration, gratitude. David was kind, intelligent, generous, loving—everything Seth always thought he must be, ever since that first day when David had given him his leftover Thai noodles. The fact that Seth had been able to save David from getting gang-raped last night—that was… Well, he knew David was grateful, but what David didn’t understand was that being able to do that for him was the best, most useful thing Seth had ever done in his life. It made his existence no longer pointless.

The last twelve hours here with David were the best Seth had ever known. It would be over soon, he realized. David would wake up, and then he’d have to go to his job, and Seth would have to go back to living on the streets. At least he’d have the memory of this night to keep him warm.

And maybe they could get in a morning fuck before this interlude came to an end. The recollection of the things they’d done together last night made Seth’s groin tighten and his head swim. And he noticed that David’s own morning woody was poking him in the thigh. Seth couldn’t help it. He ran a hand down between their bodies and caressed David’s silken length.

“Mmm,” David murmured and opened those big brown eyes of his. He smiled at Seth and leaned in toward the caress. “Good morning.”

“Good morning,” said Seth, continuing to stroke David’s erection. David tilted his head up and brushed his lips against Seth’s. That was all the encouragement Seth needed to capture David’s mouth in a bruising kiss. He poured all of himself into that kiss, wanting to leave as much of himself here with David as possible. David moaned into his mouth, and Seth flexed his hips, rubbing his cock against David’s belly. The feeling of David’s warm, soft skin was tantalizing, even better than the clean sheets.

David shifted, and their cocks rubbed against each other. Oh God. The feeling was electric. Seth whimpered and tried to keep control. He wanted to make it last. But David reached behind and grabbed Seth’s ass cheeks, holding him firmly against him as their cocks bucked together.

“Seth, you’re so wonderful.”

David was the wonderful one. Seth felt tears coming again like they had the night before, and he turned his head to kiss and bite David’s neck. Nuzzling the damp flesh, he reveled in David’s sweet smell. He didn’t want it to be over. And he couldn’t stop.

As if sensing how close Seth was, David released his death grip on his ass and scooted his own hips back, breaking contact. He turned his head a fraction of an inch so his mouth was at Seth’s ear, and he whispered, “Seth, finish what you started last night.”

Those words went straight from Seth’s ear to his cock. Seth willed himself to calm down. He felt like he could come right now with just the lightest touch, and David wanted Seth to take him. But David was a virgin....


They collapsed in a heap on the bed, and for a while neither of them made a sound except for their ragged breathing. It was really hard to know what to say after something like that. It had been…

There were no words.

Seth had never experienced anything like that before in his life. The sex he’d had in the past had been wildly varied, but never anything better than furtive, mutual release. What he’d just done with David—it was…

There was no point in trying to put a name on it. It was in a category all by itself.

Now they lay side by side, sticky and spent, catching their breath, waiting for the room to stop spinning. After a long, blissful silence, David sighed and moved his hand to Seth’s back, stroking him.

Oh. No…

He couldn’t bear David’s revulsion, not now. Seth rolled onto his back, pretending the movement was just part of a stretch as he reached his arms up over his head and arched his spine. Maybe David hadn’t noticed his scars.

But there was no getting anything past David. He lay on his side looking at Seth, his head propped on one hand, that little crease of determination appearing between his brows. “Someone did that to you.”

Seth froze, suddenly remembering David’s hands on his back last night, stroking him. He’d been in such a daze after that first orgasm, it hadn’t even sunk in. But now… He couldn’t move, couldn’t get up, couldn’t do anything but stare at David and shake his head. “Did…?”

“Those scars,” said David, his face grave. “They’re from a whip, or something like it.”

Well, that was it, then. Hot shame poured through Seth, and he looked down at the rumpled sheet between them. How stupid of him. It would have been over soon, anyway. But he’d wanted…he’d wanted David to think he was attractive. He’d wanted David to remember him as the guy who’d made him shout and writhe in passion and release. Not as the ugly, damaged wreck that he in fact was.

Seth was even more appalled with himself when his vision went blurry. Tears. Again. Wonderful. Way to follow up the best fuck of your life, asshole.

“Hey,” said David. And then Seth felt David’s arms around him, pulling his hot, wet face into the crook of David’s neck and then…then stroking his back. Tracing the scars there with featherlight touches. “It’s okay.”

Seth shook his head. He tried to break away, but David held him tight.

“Listen to me, Seth. Just listen. I’m not going to ask you what happened. I don’t care. I just want you to know that I will never, ever do anything like that to you. Do you understand?”

Seth tried to parse the words. They made no sense.

“I might accidentally hurt your feelings by saying or doing something stupid,” David went on, his hands still gently stroking up and down Seth’s ruined back, “but I’ll never intentionally hurt you.”

There was a pause during which Seth continued to sort through what David was telling him and became more and more confused.

“And if I ever find the person who did that to you, I’ll kill them.” David’s voice was quiet, sincere, 100 percent believable, and suddenly the rest of it clicked into place.

Seth lay there still and stunned in David’s arms as reality reconfigured itself into something he had never believed possible. David wasn’t rejecting him, wasn’t grilling him for details or trying to figure out what he had done to deserve those marks. He was taking Seth’s part without question or hesitation. And he wasn’t repulsed by Seth’s disfiguration. He touched those marks gently, caressed them. Nothing Seth knew about the world supported any of this, and gravity was due to fail any second now.

Seth put his arms around David and hung on.

REMEMBER: Jessica will give a free copy of HERO to one of the commenter’s on this post, to be selected randomly. Good luck!

8:30 AM

Wednesday's Witty Words from Wise Women....on Thursday

"The ultimate test of a relationship is to disagree but to hold hands."

- Alexandra Penney

8:10 AM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest


CONTEST: Leave a post and Kathleen will give away a digital copy of Secret Stranger, one of her romantic suspense novels from The Wild Rose Press to one lucky winner.

AL: Hi Kathleen Thanks for being in the “Author Spotlight” this week.

Kathleen: Thanks so much for inviting me, Ann.

AL: So, tell us what’s happening with you.

Kathleen: Well, it’s summer, so I’m busy dividing my time between writing, gardening and sailing. I love to grow my own vegetables and have a bumper crop of tomatoes and cucumbers ripening in my back yard. I write most mornings, then pull weeds and fight off insects in the afternoons. Two or three days a week are spent sailing on Chesapeake Bay or doing maintenance on my boat. I just returned from a visit with family in Connecticut, so I’m scrambling to get back up to speed on my yard work, in particular.

AL: Tell us about your new or an upcoming release.

Kathleen: My latest release is Beyond Paradise. It’s a multicultural romance about a Latina dive shop owner who is struggling to overcome her father’s outdated beliefs about women and prove she is capable of running the family business. The last thing she needs is the distraction of a handsome pediatrician. But once they’ve met, she can’t get him out of her mind and soon her whole world is turned upside down.

I first had the idea for the story when I took SCUBA lessons a few years ago. Once I knew my heroine, Marina, would be a Latina whose father had old-world, macho beliefs, I was able to sit down and write. She turned out to be one of my favorite characters – although that I feel that way about all my protagonists until I write the next book.

AL: What other works are you deep into?

Kathleen: I’ve just finished the sequel to Beyond Paradise. The new story, Beyond Yesterday, features Greg and Trish, the two characters in Beyond Paradise that everyone loved and wanted to read more about. The former lovers meet again seven years after a nasty breakup. And despite their differences, they must work together to prevent a breach of national security that could result in hundreds of deaths and smash Trish’s dreams for the future. I enjoyed giving the teenage sweethearts their own book and hope my readers will find their story satisfying.

AL: When you write do you do a detailed outline before you get started or do you have the idea then just 'fly by the seat of your pants'? :-)

Kathleen: I always write from a very detailed outline that includes character sketches and a list of major scenes. I rough out the scenes with notes on who, where, when and why. Sometimes I include tidbits of dialogue, a reminder about the purpose of the scene or ideas about how my character should be affected by the action. Of course, things change while I’m writing, and more things change while I’m editing. But I find I work better when I know where the story is going. Until I know my characters and can visualize the ending, I have a difficult time starting my first draft.

AL: What do you like best about writing? What is your least favorite thing?

Kathleen: When a story suddenly gels in my mind, it’s like I’m on a fabulous high. The characters become real, the words flow, and I get a deep sense of accomplishment. My least favorite thing is having a critique partner or editor read my work and point out my errors. I always hate to hear my baby isn’t perfect.

AL: Who inspired you to follow your dream of writing?

Kathleen: My husband has always been very supportive. I started my career writing non-fiction for sailing and travel magazines, and he often helped with research. When I switched to fiction, he read and critiqued all my early manuscripts.

AL: Now, let’s get personal. When you have time just for you (if only) what do you do?

Kathleen: I read. Voraciously. Books are a huge part of my life. I always have a huge stack next to my favorite chair in the den waiting to be read. And every time I go to a bookstore or pass the book display in a grocery store, the pile gets higher. I keep almost every one and most get a second or third read. So many books, so little time!

AL: What is this romance writer's idea of the "perfect romantic evening"?

Kathleen: My husband and I own a sailboat and often slip away from the dock for a quiet weekend. Sitting together on deck watching the stars while anchored in a snug cove is my idea of a perfect evening. We don’t need candlelight or wine, just each other.

AL: Sometimes people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. I like to set them straight, so tell us what’s the most unglamorous thing you’ve done in the past week?

Kathleen: We had a nasty thunderstorm the end of last week. Since I live on a country road at the bottom of a hill, heavy rainfall pushes leaves, sticks, and roadside litter down the drainage ditch at the roadside and the debris often stops in my driveway. My unglamorous job was to collect the soda cans, chip bags, Styrofoam cartons - and even a tattered pair of men’s swim trunks - and add them to my own trash. Picking up trash is a special occasion. Normally my excitement for the week is cleaning the bottom of the duck coop and fighting with a black snake for possession of the ducks’ eggs.

AL: If you could meet someone famous in either history, or present day…who would you like to meet and why?

Kathleen: I’d love to have met Thomas Jefferson. The wording he used when he wrote the Declaration of Independence was worthy of a Pulitzer. He managed to be eloquent yet clear in authoring one of the most important documents in our country’s history. He also was a book lover and his personal library was even larger than mine. When I visited his home, Monticello, I was in awe of his many inventions. For example, at his writing desk, he connected two quill pens with a series of rods so that he could produce an automatic copy of everything he wrote. As a naturalist and fellow gardener, he kept detailed notebooks of plant varieties and experimented with growing methods unheard of in his time. His flowerbeds and orchards are still works of art. He was a fascinating person, and even a few minutes in his presence must have been stimulating and inspiring.

AL: What do you hope for your writing career in the next few years? Any goals that you have yet to obtain that you have set for yourself?

Kathleen: I divide my career plan into dreams, hopes, and goals. My dream, of course, is for one of my books to appear on the New York Times Best Sellers List and be made into a movie. My hopes are more realistic: simply to continue selling the stories I love to write and build a larger and larger readership. My goals are very specific. I’m working on a non-fiction book I want to finish by the end of the year, and a romantic suspense I’ll have finished late-September. My major goal for the next two years is to sell a multi-book series of suspense-on-the-high-seas novels that I’ve been plotting for several months.

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

Kathleen: When I’m writing my heroines, I frequently think of a quote from Nancy Reagan:

"A woman is like a tea bag. You don’t know what she’s like until she gets into hot water."

In my personal life, my favorite is: "Do the thing you cannot do." – Eleanor Roosevelt

AL: Thanks so much for joining us, Kathleen.

Kathleen: It’s been my pleasure.

AL: If you’d like to find out more about Kathleen please visit:




Even the deepest love needs an air supply…

Dive shop manager Marina Hernandez is carrying a heavy load as she tries to save the family business. On one shoulder rides a bucket of red ink. On the other, her father’s age-old cultural belief that women belong in the kitchen.

Now that a cutthroat competitor has pushed her to the brink of bankruptcy, any chance she’ll ever win her father’s respect is fading fast. The last thing she can afford right now is the complication of a tempting man.

After years of building his practice, pediatrician Brett Sutherland has changed his focus. He seeks a more well-rounded life, including a woman who’ll devote herself to caring for a family. Workaholics need not apply. Then he signs up for scuba lessons, and Marina’s luminous eyes and spirited personality turn his neat, logical plan upside down.

Brett’s dazzling looks heat her blood, and his compassionate nature makes her yearn to build her own life—but not if it means letting the business collapse. A little harmless flirtation couldn’t hurt, though.

Yet with every kiss, she’s stretched thinner between the promise of Brett’s love and her father’s expectations. Until a critical decision pushes them both to the breaking point…


The little bell over the dive shop door jingled.

Marina locked the cash drawer and turned toward the tall man pushing open the door and coming inside.

Ay caramba. Why now?

“I’m sorry, we’re closed.” She huffed out her breath, hating the idea of sending away a customer. But she had no choice. She was already running late.

The man ignored her warning and let the door swing shut behind him. “I’m here to sign up for tonight’s introductory SCUBA session. Has it started yet?”

She glanced at the clock: two minutes after seven. “No. And it can’t start until I get to the pool area. I’m the instructor.”

Worried someone else would come in and delay her schedule more, Marina rushed to the front door and slid the deadbolt across. When she turned back toward the man, her gaze met a pair of mesmerizing blue eyes.

He flashed a smile. “Does the fact that you’re locking me in mean I can stay?”

Without any time to stare at his gorgeous eyes, she blinked and considered his question. To remain in business, she needed every student she could get. “Yes, you can stay.”

“Great. What do I need to do?”

She scanned his chestnut brown hair, the laugh lines at the corners of his eyes and the thick eyelashes that were too perfect to belong to any man. She had no idea what he needed to do, other than sweep her into his arms and whisk her away to the Caribbean.

“Ah…a liability waver, you need to sign a liability waver.”

After a long silence, his expression turned puzzled. “May I have one, please?”

He slipped a well-manicured hand inside his suit jacket and removed a gold-trimmed pen from his pocket. Meanwhile, she stole another look at his face.

Earth to Marina, the logical half of her brain yelled. EscĂșcheme. Listen to me. A liability waver, get one!

Her cheeks heated. She rushed behind the checkout counter and grabbed a registration packet. She wondered why he made her feel short of breath like she’d just finished swimming a marathon and why she wanted to stare at him as if she’d never seen a man before. But her brain failed to supply a reason.

Get your mind back on business, she scolded herself. There’s no time in the schedule for you to act like a giddy teenager. You have people waiting to start a class.

She turned back toward him, and her mouth went slightly dry. She drew in a huge breath, straightened her shoulders, placed the registration packet on the counter and removed the top form.

“Please read and sign this liability waiver, then you can participate in the introductory session. If you decide to continue with lessons, you can fill out the rest of the registration packet later. Right now, I’m short on time, and I’d like to get started.”

He bent his head over the paper, was silent for half a minute, then scrawled a signature.

She squinted at the bold, but completely illegible, signature at the bottom of the page and searched for letters in the dips and spikes. Unable to decipher the hieroglyphics, she asked, “Would you print your name under your signature please?”

His printing was slightly more legible. Marina watched him spell out Brett before she glanced up. The overhead lights reflected off his hair, and her fingers tingled with the desire to find out if the strands felt as silky as they looked. She interlocked her fingers behind her back to keep them under control.

“Thank you, Brett. Did you bring a swimsuit?”

He held up a blue gym bag. “Right here.”

“Good.” She pointed toward a doorway at the far corner of the showroom. “The locker rooms are through there. If you’ll change, then go out to the pool area and join the others, we’ll begin.”

He nodded and strode away.

For a few seconds, Marina watched, imagining him undressing and wondering what it would feel like to help him remove his shirt. If he looked so fabulous fully clothed, he’d probably look phenomenal in a swimsuit.

She blinked. Then mortified at her unprofessional thoughts, she knocked her fist twice against her forehead to make her brain behave and hurried out to the pool.

REMEMBER: Leave a post and Kathleen will give away a digital copy of Secret Stranger, one of her romantic suspense novels from The Wild Rose Press to one lucky winner.

10:33 AM

In the Author Spotlight


AL: Hi Fiona Thanks for being in the “Author Spotlight” this week.

Fiona: Thanks so much for having me Ann!

AL: So, tell us what’s happening with you.

Fiona: I've recently moved to a new place and now living amidst boxes and bags. Between myself and my husband, we have a TON of books. I love having shelves and shelves of books - but man they are a pain to box up and move!

AL: You have a bunch of books for us to read. Which one would you like to tell us about?

Fiona: Today I'd like to talk about Night Haven, the first installment of the Bloodwolves series at Samhain Publishing. The novella is about Dina - a bloodwolf - who lost her ability to shift because she found herself wildly attracted to her enemy - a vampire. The story is about Dina's struggle to overcome preconceived notions - and expectations she has set for herself.

AL: What other works are you “whipping” up for us?

Fiona: I have a bunch of fun projects in the works! Night Legacy - a second installment of the Bloodwolf series, a sci-fi space opera, and a couple of romantic suspense stories. So many ideas and so little time:)

AL: Have you ever wanted to write your book in one direction but your characters wanted to go in another direction. What did you do in such a situation?

Fiona: I've definitely had a situation like that. Its both a blessing and a curse. I'm a plotter, so when my character insists on going another way, the control freak in me starts to well, freak:) But I also have a healthy respect for my muse. (Plus if I go against my intuition the words tend to dry up). If a character makes the story go another way, I pretty much have to let them - it always makes for a better story.

AL: Who is your strongest, sexiest, most lovable, hottest hero/heroine? Why?

Fiona: Oh man, I'm not sure! I love Mateo Rivera from my contemporary erotic romance Pas De Deux. And Dina from Night Haven is a strong stubborn kickass heroine - I just love that... So hard to pick one without upsetting the others:)

AL: Where do most of your ideas spring from? Music? Movies? TV? Dreams?

Fiona: Yes to all of the above:) Ideas are usually easy - and I got to a point where I'm consciously collecting them. I love going out to places and just overhearing people talk - there's a well of ideas to explore just from snippets of conversations. The hard part is fitting them together to spin a cohesive story.

AL: Summer is here. Grab a drink and let’s settle by the pool – What is your favorite part about this sizzling summer season?

Fiona: Hmm... shirtless guys walking around... And yummy BBQ:)

AL: If you could go anywhere in the world and in any time…where would you go? What would you do? And why that time-period?

Fiona: I think I would go to feudal Japan and study the way of the ninja. I'm fascinated with Japanese martial arts, especially the art of stealth. (Plus it would force me to get off the computer and work out)

AL: What annoys you enough to be considered a pet peeve?

Fiona: One of my biggest pet peeves is when people assume writing is easy. This is often the case with romance writing. You hear everything from "its just formula" or "if I had the time" or all sorts of other excuses. That kind of attitude bugs the heck out of me!

AL: What decadent delight must you have no matter what?

Fiona: I get a massage once a month :) Its one of those necessary luxuries that I simply have to have.

AL: What do you hope for your writing career in the next few years? Any goals that you have yet to obtain that you have set for yourself?

Fiona: My goal is write a full length 90k novel. I've finished a very rough draft of a contemporary romantic suspense - just short of the word count goal - but it should plump up with revisions :)

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

Fiona: One of my favorite quotes if from the Tempest: "O brave new world, That has such people in't!"

AL: Thanks so much for joining us, Fiona.

Fiona: Thank you so much for having me Ann!

AL: If you’d like to find out more about Fiona please visit:




Desire cuts both ways…

Nothing gives Dina more pleasure than leaving the vampires she hunts to the mercy of the dawn. And yet most humans she is sworn to protect seem all too happy to offer up their necks. She has vowed never to be like those needy creatures yet, three months ago, she allowed a vampire to kiss her. The memory still makes her body burn—and her skin heat with humiliation.

For over twenty empty years, Luke has lived in a world of dead pleasure and burning sunrise, feeding off those who long for immortality and taboo thrills. Only his art makes him feel half-alive. Until one night in a dark, moody nightclub, where a reckless, amber-eyed bloodwolf left behind her clean, sharp scent—and an ache in his blood nothing but another taste can ease.

Finally, with the chance to purge Luke out of her system, Dina moves in for the kill. But she comes to a horrifying realization. She can no longer shift, and the desire to taste him—body, soul and blood—is making her crazy. As an enraged bloodwolf threatens to rip them both apart, she may just be crazy enough to trust Luke with her life.

Warning: Contains interspecies lust between a bloodwolf and a vampire, and desire thick enough to cut with a blade.


Chapter One

She should have kicked his ass after she’d kissed him—tall, dark and undead, wearing ancient leather with a matching attitude. Dina should have guessed he was a vampire three months ago instead of being sucked in by those dark, smoldering green eyes that looked like they could pin her to the wall and leave her shuddering.

He hadn’t smelled like blood then, and she’d needed to wipe away a horrid evening. That night had been the first and last time that she’d agreed to be set up. She’d slammed her fist into her date’s arrogant snout the second time Roguell had said she should be having babies—no doubt with him—instead of out hunting vampires.

So she’d made out with one instead—a perfect way to end a hellish evening. And here she was dejaing this vu while a blonde armed with a sloppy smile draped herself over the same guy. Even in the dim lights of the bar, Dina could track them easily though the hip Thursday crowd.

Because it wasn’t party night, the music didn’t scream and bang with drums and vocals. Instead, the trio on the small raised stage plucked out cool blues. Tomorrow, the tables would be cleared to cram in girls sporting barely-there skirts and knockoff perfume. They would dance on the black shine of the bar secure in their own invincibility and youth. Just like the grinning blonde who leaned closer to the vampire Dina was hunting.

Brooding and handsome—another reason Dina had lost her mind that night. His type always appealed to her—the square hero’s jaw, wavy brown hair that glinted a bit in the light, the long lean body under the soft leather of his jacket.

He’d kissed like a wet dream.

He was a damned vampire, which was why she had spent the last few months haunting Santa Barbara bars until she found him again. As soon as he showed a bit of fang, she’d have enough justification to kill him and clear her conscience.

A bloodwolf making out with a vamp. If she’d heard that about someone else, she would have died laughing.

9:36 AM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest


CONTEST: Two random commenters will each win a signed paperback copy of Hunter's latest book, Friends in Deed. Please make sure to leave your email addy so T. M. Hunter can contact you if your name is drawn. Best wishes!

AL: Hi T.M. Thanks for being in the “Author Spotlight” this week.

T.M.: Thanks for having me! It’s great being here…

AL: So, tell us what’s happening with you.

T.M.: Just trying to keep my head above water in this economy that seems to be collapsing or recovering depending on the day of the week. Have to keep the day job so that I have something to support this nasty writing habit, you know.

AL: Tell us about Aston West?

T.M.: The best way to describe my favorite space pirate actually came from a reader, when they said that Aston West truly is everyman. He puts off a good front of being self-absorbed, but when the chips are down, he does the right thing, even if it’s not what he wants to do. As to his origins, he actually came from a starship pilot I came up with for a different novel (which never went farther than a few chapters). I resurrected the main construct of that character when the role came up for my first book Heroes Die Young and Aston took it from there.

AL: What other works are you deep into?

T.M.: I currently have both an Aston West novella out there (where he meets a psychic mind-reader) as well as another novel (not featuring Aston), both with beta readers. While I wait for those comments to get back, I’ve been penning the first draft of my third Aston West novel and am nearing the end on that. And of course, I’m neck-deep in several short stories and other projects related to my universe.

AL: When did you know you wanted to write Sci-Fi?

T.M.: It’s funny, because I didn’t even begin writing science fiction until I was halfway through college. Before that, I penned some mysteries, thrillers and a few others. None of that was working for me, and then on the way back from a cross-country road trip a friend and I were taking, I started getting thoughts about writing stories based in space. It just grew from there, and now I hardly write anything else.

AL: What is one glaringly/specific personality trait that Aston West that is all you? One that a family member or friend stops and says, “Hey, this is so you.”

T.M.: I imagine that a lot of family or friends probably try to read Aston as indicative of my personality traits, but I’d like to think he’s completely separate. If I had to think about it, we probably share some familiar ground on pessimism (though he has a whole lot more), and in our feelings on politicians and politics in general. As long as people don’t think I’m alcoholic like he is.

AL: Out of all your stories do you have one that is more near and dear your heart? Why?

T.M.: It’s always been a toss-up between several of my stories, and for different reasons. My story “Little White Truths” gets a lot of my love because it was my first published story. Then “Ever Dark” which makes me smile when Aston turns to his dark side and exacts revenge for those who can’t themselves. And then one of my most recent ones “Lifeline” which went a heck of a lot darker than anything I’ve written to this point. I don’t imagine I could pick one in particular.

AL: Time to settle in and dig deep – Who is a great example to you and how you live your life?

T.M.: I’d say my grandparents on my mother’s side have always been an example to me, especially after my mother’s death when I was in high school. They definitely have their opinions on just about everything, but have always been great models of how to handle life, love, finances and about any other circumstance you could think of. Sadly, my grandfather passed away a few years back, but I still keep in contact with my grandmother on a regular basis.

AL: Do you remember the first guilty pleasure you purchased with your first check?

T.M.: I learned a lot about finances from my grandparents, who went through the Great Depression. As such, I do a lot of saving and not a lot of spending unless it’s necessary. So, honestly, there aren’t a lot of guilty pleasures I’ve ever purchased. From time to time, maybe, but I honestly don’t remember them.

AL: Where would you like to travel if you had the chance?

T.M.: I think it would be fun to travel to Europe, as that’s where my ancestors originated. Of course, in this day and age where there’s a huge target on Americans all over the world, I think I’d be content just sticking to places in-country. Hawaii, maybe?

AL: Can you share some of your plans for 2010 and beyond?

T.M.: Well, as I mentioned, I have a novel and a novella which are in the final stages of preparation, and will be heading out on submission before long. Then, there’s the next Aston novel. In the meantime, I have a short story collection coming out in the next few weeks with ResAliens Press, which is going to be awesome. I also have another plan that was just proposed to me days ago, which I can’t go into details about, but if it happens, it’s going to be a huge hit (I really want to say, but am afraid it will jinx the outcome).

AL: Silly question… You have to ask a fictional character out on a date—who would you ask and what would you do together?

T.M.: I think it would be fun to have a date with Kinsey Millhone (I’m a big fan of the 80s), as long as we could stick to heading out for a Quarter Pounder, and avoid the long runs. I’m not an athletic person by any means. Who knows, maybe we could bring along Stephanie Plum for some extra excitement on the date? Think those two would go for it? Ha ha.

And of course, I might have to ask my wife for permission…heh.

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

T.M.: Midwest Book Review: “This book was great fun to read, exciting and believable. Aston West is an appealing character, and the plot engaging. Author T. M. Hunter is a name to remember for you sci fi fans out there.”

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with us this week, T.M.

T.M.: Thanks again for having me. It’s been a blast!

AL: If you’d like to find out more about T.M. please visit:




Aston West was condemned to life on the prison planet Lycus IV for spitting in a man’s face. Being forced to reside with the likes of murderers and thieves, he owes his freedom to Lars and Elijah Cassus, who orchestrated an escape. Now the twin brothers call in the favour and force him to return with their team to Lycus IV to rescue crewmate Leah Jordan.

Aston discovers Leah’s desire to leave the twins forever, but Lars and Elijah use fear and intimidation to control their group and no one leaves alive. It’s a case of kill or be killed and Aston will need to become more like the brothers than he ever wanted.


Even in the depth of my nightmares, Lycus IV was a formidable hell. The scenery misled one to think of mighty grandeur. Lush green trees lined the banks. Sporadic cloud cover offered broken views of a pale blue mountain range.

This prison planet’s terror was not found in its natural surroundings, but from its unwilling inhabitants.

A wide, slow-moving river flowed in front of me over a deep bed of rocks. My filthy clothing was ripped and shredded, and exposed bloody skin. I gazed back across the clear, inviting water.

A bellow filled the air and I turned. A pale, naked giant rumbled through the brush, still yelling at the top of his lungs. High above his head, he gripped his makeshift mallet, a boulder strapped into the fork of a tree branch. I jumped aside as the weapon crashed down.

He stared with one wide eye and the other glazed over. Saliva dribbled from his lips.

“I am King of the wooded realm! You dare invade my territory?”

This wasn’t a fight I planned to stick around for. Psychotics were the worst type of violent.

He hoisted his club and swung it at me. I stumbled back and it came so close I felt the breeze. I turned toward the opposite bank and sprinted across the riverbed.

“Your punishment is death! Vengeance is demanded!”

I high-stepped through calf-deep water while the beast screamed bloody murder. I dared not look back, because there was no doubt he gained on me with every step.

My foot caught a cluster of rocks under the surface and I splashed down, drenched by the cool, clear water. I flipped over and faced my attacker as he left me in a cold, dark shadow. Milky-white foam oozed over his lower lip.

"Prepare to meet your maker!”

He raised the mallet high above his head. At least death would be quick, but I couldn’t say much for painless. I closed my eyes and waited for the crushing blow.

A whistle filled the air and the giant beast gasped and choked. My eyes flashed open as the beast dropped his weapon into the river behind him.

Only one object stood between me and oblivion, a homemade arrow buried in his neck. He couldn’t pull it from the front, so reached back. His mind gave up hope as soon as his fingers probed the stone tip. The monster’s eyes rolled up out of the way, then his body fell backward.

The corpse splashed down and huge waves rolled past me. I scrambled around and gazed at the opposite bank. There, a bow in his left hand and more arrows strapped to his back, stood the man who’d just saved my life.

Elijah Cassus.

REMEMBER: Two random commenters will each win a signed paperback copy of Hunter's latest book, Friends in Deed. Please make sure to leave your email addy so T. M. Hunter can contact you if your name is drawn. Best wishes!