Happy Holidays to all my wicked readers!
Book 7 in the Hotter Than Hell series is now available and the reviews are fantastic. Like most of my books, I worried. I worried that readers wouldn’t understand why I told the story how I did. Inferno is written from my heart and it pushes the boundaries of love. You met Mak and Moon in Heat. They’re the couple who started it all. If I’m honest they already had their Happily Ever After but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Moon is a criminal and he’s dragging Mak right along with him. When you live the life they do, danger is around every corner and someone must pay the price. That person is Madison or “Mak” as she prefers to be called. I love Mak because she’s so strong but everyone has their limits and Inferno pushes Mak to be someone else. As you know, in real life that doesn’t work and I had no intention of letting it work in this book. Pick up your copy today and discover what true love is and what it takes to protect those you care about.
Inferno is available for sale or FREE in Kindle Unlimited
I’m so excited about this book. It’s much darker than the previous Hotter Than Hell novels but I had to tell Austin’s story his way. You met Austin in Sizzle and I’ve been thinking about his book for a long time. He’s complex and it took a very special woman to bring him around. Melina is kickass and has had a rough life. When Austin kidnaps her it only gets rougher.
What I really love about Melina is her inability to give up. She’s a fighter and proves it.
Available in Kindle Unlimited
Austin Miller, the enforcer for Southern California’s crime boss, takes over after his boss and mentor dies. He’s set on revenge against the people responsible for Victor’s death and he’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants.
Melina Fernandez has never wanted anything to do with her brother’s criminal organization and has nothing to do with the hit he ordered on Southern California’s leader. She’s caught in the middle of a deadly game and her brother plans to sell her to the highest bidder as soon as possible.
When Melina is kidnapped by Austin, her worst nightmares are realized. It’s not her body he wants, it’s her flesh and her sanity. Trapped in a dark basement for days she decides to unravel her life story while Austin works on mutilating her skin with a tattoo machine.
When Moon, the crime lord of Arizona steps into help, Melina might find her salvation. The clock is ticking and her brother now wants her dead. Austin isn’t a man for games but he does want Melina at any cost, even his life.
Are you ready to COMBUST?
Buy Now AMAZON
I went into a Barnes & Noble store for the first time in years.
Occasionally I shop online at their store for books because I have the nook app, though I’m sorry to say, I prefer reading on my Kindle. When B&N went off the deep end and stopped supporting their devices, I never bought another because their marketing was just too iffy. You sent way to many mixed messages that basically told consumers to jump ship. I did.
So, the store. I took my 3-year-old grandson in to buy a book. In my mind it could be a boxed book with a small toy or stuffed animal to go along with the story. We were both very excited.
What I didn’t know is that B&N has added an entire toy section totally unrelated to books.
Toys like you would find at Walmart or Target. We walked out with a Power Ranger toy. No book for us to read because my grandson had his heart set on PR and I’ll be darned if I forced a book on him.
My daughter told me her and her three children spent a lot of time in B&N stores and they loves walking out with their books. It was a treat. But my daughter stopped taking them because all they wanted was overpriced toys and the actual excitement over books went out the window.
So here’s my problem… B&N you cannot keep up with the Jones (Amazon). Just get it in your head that you cannot. What you can do is go back to your roots, BOOKS! Not toys, or alcoholic beverages for people who don’t buy what you should be selling.
I get it. Amazon takes a huge bite out of your market but have you really looked at your clientele? Honestly they’re a little pickier than the average Kindle reader. They like shopping small and they loved the sense of “class” B&N gave them as a consumer.
I owned a small independent bookstore for twenty years. I had to change with the times and I did. It’s funny because I can look at B&N with a business eye and see exactly what they should be doing. Independent authors run the navigation of the tricky publishing dilemma daily. We adapt.
B&N you don’t adapt. You hire CEO’s who have NO book background to look at your business and move into the future. You’ve failed, so how about go back to a general manager who has worked in the business, knows the business, and is customer savvy to what readers want.
This isn’t rocket science, it’s good old-fashioned business sense.
I’m available if you need me. I have an entire slew of ideas. I want you to succeed and you could if you would stop doing everything in your power to go out of business.
A very frustrated B&N consumer
I’m a romance writer.
What that means is I deal in love and happily ever after. It’s truly a wonderful thing. Before I became a police officer (long before I became an author) I was a mystery reader. Mysteries were some of my favorite books but I’d throw the occasional romance in the mix now and then. Being a police officer changed my perspective on mysteries and I found I needed books that made me feel good and allowed me to forget what a horrible place this world can be. Reading Romance books and writing them saved my sanity.
A romance book can change your life!
A romance book can make you laugh and cry and sigh. They can leave you breathless and craving that special someone. They can take you on adventures around the world. Romance novels can lift your spirits and put a smile on your face. I sincerely hope mine do.
But here’s the thing… I keep reading that romance authors and readers are endlessly shamed for their choice in literature. It really boggles the mind. I love romance novels. It’s happened to me too, the shaming that is. I have some pat answers prepared now. I thought I would share a few with you. Please use whenever the the opportunity arises.
I hope I never stop believing in love.
I hope I’m never too old for sex and so does my husband.
Romance is what makes the world go round and keeps human beings in existence. How can that be a bad thing?
Pardon my laughter, I’m trying to figure out how you got here without romance. Was your parent’s marriage arranged?
You’re ridiculing my reading? Do you even know how to read?
You can judge me after you read a romance. I judged your books by reading them. I’m judging you strictly on attitude.
When I owned my bookstore romance novels kept me in business. They were always my number one seller. Romance readers are veracious when it comes to the books they love. Romance has one common denominator and that’s LOVE. LOVE is never a bad thing.
I’ll read a mystery every now and then since I retired from the police department but they don’t hold the same oomph they once did. Give me a sexy book boyfriend, a real tear jerker, and a story that will pull me in and squeeze my heart. I make no apologies.
I’m hard at work writing a new paranormal, the next dragon book, Dragons Don’t Lie and I thought I would share the first chapter (unedited). It releases in September. I promise I have the perfect mate chosen for Ashrac.
Looking down at the small white business card in my hand, I can’t help wondering what I’m doing here. I glance up at “PDA” etched in white script on the glass door in front of me. I’ve lost my marbles and sunk so low even my best snake eyes won’t save me. Shrugging my shoulders, I decide to go for broke. What the hell do I have to lose at this point? I open the door and shove it forward a little harder than I meant to. It slams against the far wall with a thud. An older woman behind the large oak desk looks up and I grimace inside my head. This won’t go well.
“Mr. Ashrac?” she questions in a sturdy, direct voice.
My back straightens and a low growl escapes my throat. “It’s Ashrac of the Red Dragon Clan,” I correct.
She rolls her eyes, pulls out a stack of papers, and arranges them on a clip board. “I’ll call you Mr. AOTRDC.” Her prissy lips say she thinks she has the last word on this subject. My eyebrows lift as I try to decipher what she’s talking about. “It’s the acronym for your name,” she adds with another eye roll and lifts the clipboard in my direction. “I’m Gerri Wilder of the Old Woman Clan. I’ve been expecting you for—” she looks at the large clock on the wall and then back at me, “two hours,” she chides.
I ignore the sensor of her words and take the offered clipboard.
“Fill out what you can and we’ll use a private room for your interview.”
“Interview,” I grumble under my breath as I take a seat and look at the first page of the form. It’s straight forward until I turn the page. “Humph,” I grumble again and flip through the next page without filling out the required lines. My, “this is ridiculous,” is loud. Gerri Wilder or GWOTOWC ignores me.
I turn in the sheaf of papers with only the first page filled in. Gerri looks through them, huffs and stands from behind her desk. She’s not even five foot tall and I have no idea why I’m letting her ruffle my scales. Her short white hair is a lie or at least I think it is. She’s shifter of an unknown variety. During my fifty years of visiting the human realm there have been many changes. This realm is now a melting pot of every paranormal creature imaginable. I’m undecided if that’s good or bad. Bottom line… I prefer my own realm where dragons are lords of land and sky. Even at my young age I’m old-fashioned that way.
GWOTOWC touches a button on her phone and a man steps from an office and waits by the door. “Follow me,” she says and walks through the door the man walked from. He heads to her desk and takes a seat. I follow as told even though fire heats my lungs. Dragons don’t like being bossed around.
The small room has one table with four chairs. The walls are white with colorful artwork positioned to their best advantage with accent lighting. Gerri takes a seat and stacks my paperwork in front of her. She lifts an eyebrow and waits for me to take a seat across from her. Once I sit she wastes no time. “We’ll go through each page and I’ll fill in the blanks that gave you such a problem.”
“Nothing gave me a problem I just didn’t wish to answer those stupid questions,” I tell her in a bored voice as I lean back in the chair and stretch my legs beneath the table. The room is too small and my dragon doesn’t like it.
She blows her bangs up from her face without blinking in obvious exasperation. “Do you want a date or not?”
“I want a mate not a date,” I correct her.
Now her gaze intensifies and the need to strangle her grows. Not that I actually would. Strangulation holds certain penalties in this realm that I’m not willing to pay right now. She continues talking like I’m no threat to her, “We will follow procedure. Finding you a mate begins with setting up a few dates.”
“No,” I say loudly while fisting my hands to keep from flying across the table. I don’t have time to waste and this woman is insufferable. “A mate is all I require. Match one to me and I’ll take her.”
She lifts the top page that I filled out and moves it to the back. She ignores everything I just said and insists on keep up this stupid charade. “First I need your shifter proportions—weight, height, and so on when you’re in dragon form.”
“Why?” I snap.
She gazes over the top of the paper completely unruffled by my semi-roar, damn her. “This will be more pleasant if you drop the attitude and help me here. I’m on your side.”
“I seriously doubt that,” I huff.
“Look Mr. AOTRDC, you contacted us. We provide a service. That service entails arranging meetings with several eligible females according to your specifications. If that isn’t what you wish, we can end this interview immediately.”
I give her my fire-breathing-dragon gaze and she has the audacity not to melt into the floor. “I want a mate,” I say and pound my fist on the table for emphasis. “I will kidnap her and take her to my realm where she’ll be held until she agrees.”
Gerri’s face goes from ghost white to red but I ignore that.
“My dragon form is as large as this building. Do you want my cock size for your form too?”
Without blinking she replies with a stubborn tilt of her head. “That question is on page six where your sexual preferences are covered. We’ll get there in a moment. This is easier if we do it in order.”
She still doesn’t blink. “I’m sure.” She marks a bit of information on the page and flips it over. “What are you looking for in a mate?”
I close my eyes for a moment and think about it before making a verbal list, “Docile, pretty, gently spoken, able to take orders. Frightens easily,” I add because I want her terrified when I kidnap her so we start our mating on the right foot.” I open my eyes in time to see Gerri shake her head. “What? You asked.”
She starts writing again and flips the next page over. “I need your social status.”
“What does that mean?”
“Can you afford a date, mate, wife, or concubine?”
I mull the word “concubine” over in my head because I like the sound of it. No, I tell myself. Mate only. “I have adequate wealth to keep one of each and it wouldn’t cause a hardship. My castle has just been completed and all it needs is a mate to handle my day to day personal care.”
Another head shake and more writing. She looks up after a few minutes. “Describe what is required for your care.”
This woman is something else. Are men really so different that she would need to ask this? “I want meals on the table at the proper time morning, noon, and night. I require a clean castle that runs like a finally tuned machine. My mate will handle those details along with her mate duties in my bed.”
She rests the papers back on the table. “So basically you want a sex slave?”
“No.” I shake my head. “A general slave who is seen and not heard would be better. Sex with me will be her bonus.”
I swear she tries not to smile. “I have just the woman in mind. You will date her first and if that doesn’t work out, you will call me and I’ll set you up with someone else. I think Flora will be perfect though and I’m rarely wrong about these things.”
“Good,” I grunt. “I like the name Flora. It sounds passive enough.”
Here’s the paperback cover
If you don’t know Becca’s name, you will. She’s the first female to sign a letter of intent with a Division II level (or higher) college and the first woman to receive a scholarship to play football with the boys.
And guess what? She’s a kicker.
When I wrote Like a Girl, I had a message: YOU CAN.
Like a Girl is about the first female kicker in pro football. People laughed when I said I planned to write a romantic comedy similar to the fun of Jerry Maquire BUT about a female player. And they laughed… right up until Like a Girl released.
I was unprepared for the number of emails I’ve received from women like Becca (no haven’t heard from her) who wanted to play football and had their dreams crushed because the option wasn’t available to girls. I had my dreams crushed as a young girl too. I was told “the police force is no place for a woman” and “girls aren’t allowed to play football.”
If you think about it, football is the only sport that doesn’t offer an alternative woman’s team for kids. WHY? Or in Becca’s case, WHY NOT? Maybe you haven’t heard of Women’s Football Alliance one of several adult leagues for women who love the sport. I’ll admit I didn’t even know they existed until I was deep into researching Like a Girl. These tough women play tackle football and there are leagues all over the world. What if women learned to play football as kids? Most (close to all) pro athletes don’t start their careers as adults. To learn a sport and play it professionally takes years of practice and hard work.
The American Football Without Barriers organization recently sent, Marshawn Lynch, and Cleveland Browns tight end, Gary Barnidge, to Finland to teach their first all-women’s football camp.
To be fair, I visited the Pop Warner Football website to see if girls were playing. I couldn’t find a statement anywhere saying girls can’t play but I also didn’t see a single picture of a girl in uniform or any statement saying they welcome girls. They offer cheerleading and hey, I’m not knocking it. I was a competitive cheerleader and so were my three daughters. But that doesn’t change that my dream was to play football and I was never given the opportunity.
I want to share some of the emails I received about Like a Girl and maybe you’ll see that it’s easy to crush dreams. We need to empower women and girls and never tell them there’s something they can’t do. And yes, that includes playing football Like a Girl.
Shelly ~ “Thank you for writing Like a Girl. I always dreamed of being a football player and was crushed when my parents told me girls don’t play for the NFL.”
Lori ~ “My first dream was to play football but I couldn’t so I moved to soccer.”
Laura ~ “I’ve been a lifelong football fan and wanted to play just like Jordan.”
Tammy ~ “I come from a family of five children and I’m the only girl. My brothers all played football and I cried each year when I couldn’t. I never understood. Thank you for writing Like a Girl because I was able to live my dream through Jordan’s eyes.”
Keep those emails coming ladies. I plan to use them in the sequel: Like A Girl Second Season
If you have time and a Twitter account, please say congrats to Becca Longo and show your support. You will find her Twitter account here.
Like a Girl is now live!
The buy links are at the bottom of this post.
Several factors went into writing Like a Girl. My thoughts started rolling after taking my dog for a walk and seeing a young boy and girl playing in the local schoolyard. They told me they were best friends and I couldn’t help remembering when I was young and had a boy as my best friend. His name was Gordy. We climbed trees, ran wild, and yes, even played football together. I don’t remember thinking I was any different than he was.
Childhood eventually comes to an end and the differences in boys and girls is no longer only biological. We are patterned to behave like a boy or like a girl. Boys are not cheerleaders and girls are not football players.
WAIT RIGHT THERE!
Boys are cheerleaders. So, what about girls?
I took the idea for a story about the first female kicker in pro football to my husband the football fanatic. “No,” he said. “It will never happen.”
I didn’t give up. “But what if she’s a kicker?”
“Hmm. The NFL needs good kickers but I don’t know about a woman.”
Have I ever mentioned how tenacious I am? “They’re the worst team in the NFL and they need a kicker.”
He frowns. “You know kickers aren’t well liked in football.”
“Then she’ll fit right in because the players will hate her.”
“Sounds like you’ve already written the book.”
And… Like a Girl was born. I don’t mind breaking the rules because against all odds, in real life, I graduated from the police academy at the age of 45. I also loved playing football with the boys when I was young. I remember when they no longer wanted to play with me and the heartbreak I felt at realizing I had no chance at a career in football.
Like a Girl is a cross between When Harry Met Sally and Jerry Maguire. It’s humorous, smexy, and a world of fun. I’m not asking you to suspend belief. I’m asking… what if?
PS. My husband has come around in regards to Like a Girl. He says it will be my best-selling book of all time. His suggestions made this book the best it could be. I love this man because he thinks there is nothing I can’t do.
I live in a community of avid readers. You would think this wonderful news for a romance author but my community does not embrace romance novels. If you could see the eye rolls when I say I write romance novels, you’d be amazed. I had a librarian tell me her boss would look down on library personnel for reading romance. What?
Our local library was hosting author appreciation days recently and my two emails to participate went unanswered. The movie theater in town has great advertising rates and they’ve also refused to respond to my emails. Three to be exact and no reply whatsoever.
The thing is… we’re all here because of romance. Gone are the days (in the US) when women are mere prizes and sold into marriage. That crazy thing that starts the baby making process is called romance. We meet the person of our dreams, fall in love, start a life together, and continue the romantic story. Romance is life.
So why the snub and especially from a library? I don’t have an answer but if people wonder why a library isn’t used as much as it should be, look for the number one selling book genre in America to be absent the shelves.
When my husband witnesses the eye roll behavior he always says, “I’m glad I’m not married to her.” This makes me smile. I’m a romantic and proud of it. Romance isn’t just one day a year. It’s part of our life every day. If you love someone it’s part of yours. I don’t expect everyone to read romance books or to read them all the time. But to disrespect romance is to pretend the birds and bees is for only birds and bees. We know that isn’t so.
I will continue writing what I love and continue loving who I love. I’ll watch, read, and dream romance because I’m proud that I have a romantic heart and I’m unashamed to show it or speak of it. Call it what you want… Smut, sex, whatever. It’s two hearts beating as one that makes the world go round.
Have a delightfully wicked Valentine’s Day and may LOVE be with you always!