Side Effects of a Good Read

I’ve spent the last week dragging around with a brutal cold. I’m very seldom ill, and almost never ill enough to take to bed. But this time, without full brain function, it seemed the expedient thing to do — lousy timing or not. While I groused and grumbled between sniffles and sneezes, aches and pains, I also made a discovery. I did have enough brainpower to lose myself in a good read. Since I wasn’t sleeping well for the first couple of nights, I took full advantage, binge reading Pippa DaCosta’s wonderful Veil series while snuffling and coughing and feeling sorry for myself.

 

I’m on the mend now. Though I’m still dragging, still dealing with the after effects. But here’s the thing. Being forced to take some down time and fully indulge in the pleasure of a good read was worth every sniffle and ache. It’s not that I don’t do my best to make sure there’s reading time in my schedule. It’s just that it’s often the first thing to go when that schedule gets tight. It’s sad that it takes a nasty bug to remind me that reading is far more than just my duty as a writer. It’s far more than just a frivolous pleasure; it’s a priming of the pump, a feeding of the creativity, a grounding for the storyteller in me.

 

Creativity cultivates creativity, and being inspired by the works of other people’s imaginations is one of the best ways I know of to be more productive and more creative myself. Sadly that fact is one of the easiest things for a busy writer to forget. I’m willing to bet it’s one of the easiest things for most of us to forget, whether we write or not.

 

I used to read every novel with the idea of learning how to be a better writer – whether the novel was a good one or not. Now I’m way less likely to even finish a poorly written novel. Time is too valuable. More often now I hold out for the really good novels, and I read them for the sheer pleasure of being drawn outside myself into another world, into another person, into an experience far different from my own. Coming off a good read, I’m reminded just exactly why the ancient storytellers in some cultures sat with kings and queens as their equals.

 

It’s far too easy to pick up all of our information in bits and pieces off social media and the Internet. We’re connected in ways we could have never imagined even twenty years ago. But while all the information we could ever want and, in some cases WAY too much,is available at our fingertips, the magic, the real magic, only happens when we slow down, back away and let the storytellers enthrall us.

 

A New Haunted Voices novel @gemwriter #CR4U #romantic #suspense #supernatural Spirits of the Heart

Spirits of the HeartA Haunted Voices Novel

An addiction counselor and a security guard struggle to free a little girl and her father, two lost spirits trapped inside an abandoned mental asylum.

Addiction counselor Laura Horton returns from college to move in with an old friend and start her career. But her homecoming is jarring. Her friend moves out, leaving Laura alone with the gorgeous but intimidating ex-boyfriend—in a house that snugs up to an ancient graveyard.

Officer Miller Stanford is a man with a shattered past. His alcoholic dad destroyed their family, a weakness Miller is terrified will consume him too. The last thing he needs is a sexy, blonde addiction counselor watching his every move. When he begins to see specters in the dark, he starts questioning his own stability.

But Laura sees her too—a pathetic child-spirit searching for her father. Then Laura starts digging into old asylum records . . . Can Miller and Laura uncover the secrets of Talcott Hall without jeopardizing their love—and lives—in the process?

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/YUa2RALSE

Buy Link: http://mybook.to/spiritsOTH

*****

Excerpt:

Laura Horton’s bad feeling began the minute she pulled up in front of Angie’s puke green, two-story house and parked at the curb.

Not Angie’s house, she reminded herself. Angie’s boyfriend’s house. Although they’d been pretty tight in high school, she and Ang had kept in touch mostly via telephone and email these past few years that Laura had been in grad school. Once, a few years ago, they’d gotten together for their five-year reunion, when Laura had come home to visit her ailing dad.

That was the first time she’d seen the compact craftsman bungalow—after dark—and she hadn’t realized it was such an ugly color. She hadn’t met the boyfriend, Miller Stanford, whom Angie either claimed to love with all her heart, or wanted to eviscerate with a Phillips head screwdriver, depending on the day. Nor had Laura noticed then that the house snugged up tight on one side to an ancient-looking graveyard. The only thing separating the two properties was a narrow strip of grass and a dilapidated, iron fence.

A shiver ran across her shoulder blades as she sat in her car, studying her new surroundings. Her new home.

Holy crap.

Chillier up here. Where’d I pack that hoodie?

She turned to dig around in one of the boxes squashed into the back of her tiny car, quickly realizing it was pointless. Nearly everything she owned in the world—besides a few pieces of battered, old furniture—filled the back seat, and passenger side, of her thrifty Kia. When she’d run out of room for boxes, she’d resorted to folding softer items, like her sweaters and sweats, into new plastic trash bags. Stuff crammed every nook and crevice in the car, leaving just enough space beneath the headliner for her to see out through the rearview mirror.

There was no way in hell she was locating her hoodie in Mt. Clothesmore.

Rubbing her hands up and down her arms, she climbed out and sprinted up the steps to the front door. She hadn’t been able to reach Angie by phone since she’d left Boone, North Carolina the day before, but that wasn’t too unusual. Her friend was a bit flighty, and prone to misplace her phone, her charger, or both. Angie had been juggling courses at the community college with a full-time night job, tending bar at the pub just down the street, for the past two years. Laura couldn’t blame her for acting a bit squirrelly at times.

She reminded herself how nice it was of Ang and Miller to rent her their spare room. When Laura landed the job in Middletown, her initial exhilaration had been tempered by a glaring question: where the hell was she going to live? There was no way she could move into her father’s tiny condo with his new wife, Deirdre. And securing an apartment on her own was out of the question, at least not until after her first few paychecks hit the bank.

Laura squared her shoulders, which were quaking slightly in the cool spring breeze, tipped up her chin, and rang the doorbell.

Twice. She shifted her sneakered feet against the creaky porch boards, folding her arms against the chill. After another long moment with no answer, she rang the bell a third time, holding down the ancient button a full ten seconds this time. She could hear the electronic buzz through the peeling front door, but no other sounds at all.

Angie had to be here—she knew Laura was coming. It was Friday, but Angie’s last term of college ended last week, and it was nearly two o’clock in the afternoon. There was only one vehicle parked in the short driveway, a late-model Ford pickup. But Laura wasn’t sure what it was Angie was driving these days.

Then, she heard the booming, thumping sound. Footsteps? Deliberate, heavy, booming steps. Did Bigfoot live here too?

A dull click, then the tinkle of chain skittering on the inside of the wood. The door burst open. But it wasn’t Angie standing on the threshold.

Laura didn’t have time to suppress the involuntary gasp that escaped from her open mouth.

The man was huge, not only tall but massive, with a broad, muscular chest, one lightly furred with golden hair.  His bulbous biceps were cut, sculpted like a Greek statue. And he wasn’t wearing much more than Michelango’s David, with only a steel grey towel snugged around narrow hips to match the steely glint in his blue-grey eyes.

She blinked and swallowed, stumbling back a step. “Is Angie here?” she asked in a small voice.

The giant snorted and crossed his arms over his chest. “Who’s askin’?”

*****

Author Bio: Claire Gem

Strong Women, Starting Over

   ~Redefining Romance~

Claire is a multi-published, award winning author of emotional romance—contemporary, paranormal, romantic suspense, and women’s fiction. She writes about strong, resilient women who won’t give up their quest for a happy-ever-after—and the men lucky enough to earn their love. No helpless, hapless heroines here. These spunky ladies redefine romance, on their terms.

Whether it’s a sexy contemporary read you’re seeking, or a thrill ride into the supernatural world of hauntings and ghosts, Claire will take you on a memorable journey.

Her paranormal/romantic suspense, Hearts Unloched, won the 2016 New York Book Festival. Her contemporary romance, The Phoenix Syndrome, won the women’s fiction division in FCRWA’s The Beacon Contest.

A New York native, Claire has lived in five of the United States and held a variety of jobs, from waitress to bridal designer to research technician—but loves being an author best. She and her happily-ever-after hero, her husband of 38 years, now live in central Massachusetts.

Media Links:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Amazon Author Page

Pinterest

Release blitz organized by Writer Marketing Services.

 

Toys for Boys Launches Today!

 

I’m very excited to announce the launch of my M/M novella, Toys for Boys, just in time for Valentine’s Day. If you like some serious hot male bonding fun al fresco, then you’ll enjoy T4B.

Toys for Boys was a fantastic opportunity to revisit one of my very favourite holidays of all times — our Coast to Coast walk across England. One of the best parts of doing the Wainwright Coast to Coast Path was that it was mostly low tech – good walking gear and navigation skills and putting one foot in front of the other. That meant a feeling of accomplishment at the end of each day and it meant that my husband and I didn’t miss the finer moments because our noses were buried in our iPhones.

Will and Doc’s story is one of adventures with high tech while being very creative with low tech at the same time. That combo made for fun and sexy writing.

Here’s a sizzler of an excerpt for your reading pleasure.

 

 

High tech meets low tech in a wilderness adventure that sizzles

 


Toys for Boys Blurb:

Alpha nerd Will Charles teams up with Caridoc ‘Doc’ Jones in a coast to coast walk across England reviewing outdoor gift suggestions for the Christmas edition of Toys for Boys—an online magazine dedicated to the latest gadgets to tickle a man’s fancy. Will is recording their adventures with the latest smart phone technology. Doc is reviewing the latest outdoor gear. The two quickly discover the great outdoors provides even better toys for boys, toys best shared al fresco, toys that, in spite of Will’s great camera work, will never be reviewed in Toys for Boys.

Note: Toys for Boys has been previously published as part of the Brit Boys: With Toys boxed set.

 

 

 

Toys for Boys Excerpt:

“We’re not going to make Ennerdale tonight,” Doc yelled into the wind.

Will’s answer was incoherent, an incoherence that wasn’t entirely because the wind was interfering with Doc’s hearing. They’d already got lost once and had fought their way back to the trail. Doc was fucking freezing, but he had spent enough time outdoors in bad weather to push his body way further than most people could. No matter how fit Will was, Doc recognised the signs of hypothermia when he saw them. They had to get out of the weather and get warm.

They lost the trail twice more before Doc made the executive decision to set up a tent in the first spot halfway flat. To his surprise it had been the damn urBrain that had saved the day. Will had downloaded detailed, interactive OS maps, but in his condition, Doc doubted if he could read his own name in bold letters, let alone the contours of a map. He’d pried the device, safe from the weather in its own little waterproof sheath, from Will’s icy hands and, with the light from the screen, he was able to find a wooded area relatively flat and as shielded from the weather as they were likely to get. The rain turned to hail and the Arctic wind made it feel like bird shot against all bits of exposed skin as Doc struggled to set up the tent. He’d shoved another energy bar at Will, and when he’d only stood there looking at it, Doc had opened it and half crammed it down his throat before he went back to work on shelter, desperate to get Will out of the weather.

Once the tent was secure, he chucked the bags inside, then grabbed Will by the collar and dragged him into the tight little space.

The energy bar must have helped. Will seemed coherent enough. “I can’t feel my hands,” he said, battling to get his sleeping bag out of its waterproof sack.

“Give me that,” Doc said through chattering teeth. “Let me do it. My hands aren’t all delicate and dainty like yours.”

“Would you look at that?” Will said as Doc grabbed the bag. “Amazingly, my middle finger works just fine.” He flipped him off.

“So does your smart mouth.” Without thinking, Doc zipped the two bags together.

“What are you doing?” Will was suddenly serious.

“You’re hypothermic. Get your wet clothes off and get into the bag.”

“Oh. Right.” But Will could no more manage the buttons and zippers on his clothing than he could his sleeping bag.
This time when Doc shoved his hands away and pushed the waterproof jacket off his shoulders, Will only watched, eyes focussed on the process as though it were something totally new to him. Doc cursed the fiddly buttons on the man’s shirt, his own hands none too agile from the cold and wet and the fact that he was undressing Will fucking Charles, about whom he’d been having less than pristine thoughts since his first view of the man’s arse. Will fucking Charles with whom he was about to cuddle down into a sleeping bag butt naked, never mind that it was with good reason.

Will sucked in a harsh breath. “Your damned hands are like ice cubes, Woodsy.”

“Oh shut it, William, or I’ll kick your arse outside and make you sleep in the rain.”

“Fucking like to see you try.” Will’s teeth were chattering hard, and his whole body trembling from the cold as Doc worried the shorts down over his commando bum and found himself face to cock, which made the blighter burst into hysterical laughter. “Have we ulterior motives, Mr Jones? Where the hell’s urBrain? I have to get this on camera.”

“Want a selfie of your cock, do you, you shivering bastard?” Doc turned his attention to the walking boots, which had stopped all progress of getting the man naked. Focusing on something other than the naked, very vulnerable body of Will fucking Charles helped clear his mind. He was too cold, too tired to get hard over what was essentially a matter of life and death, he told himself. Surely!

Once the boots were dispensed with, he shoved the man into the sleeping bag and went about the awkward business of stripping himself.

“Where the hell is the urBrain when I need it?” Will chuckled between chattering teeth.

“You point that thing at me, and I’ll shove it up your arse.” Doc’s own teeth sounded like a couple of spastic tap dancers had been turned loose in his mouth.

“Now that’s a function I didn’t find in the instruction manual,” Will replied.

What started out as ribald comments on the shrivelling effect of the cold on male tender bits dwindled to nothing more than the sound of convulsive shivering. By the time Doc had shed the last of his clothes and shoved his way down next to Will, he was seriously worried. It took all his strength, which wasn’t a helluva lot at that moment, to pull the bloke into his arms and hold him close enough to share body heat, what little there was of it. The worry subsided a bit when Will threw his arms around his neck and gave a harsh chuckle against his throat. “This was seriously worth getting hypothermic for. Pity I’m too fucking tired to appreciate it.”

Though Doc agreed wholeheartedly with the sentiment, his focus was on getting Will warm. Then he’d get out the backpacking stove and fix them something hot. That was the last thing he remembered, that and the feel of Will’s body shivering against him, in the tent redolent with the male scent of core heat and wet gear, all overlaid by the icy metal smell of the fells in a storm.

 

Buy Toys for Boys Here: 

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Amazon AU

Amazon CA

Amazon DE

Barnes & Noble

iBooks UK

iBooks US

Kobo

Smashwords

 

 

New from Lisabet Sarai — Divided We Fall: A Story that Gives Back

Make a Comment, Make a Difference:

I deliberately chose to share news of Lisabet Sarai’s new release, Divided We Fall, today because, not only do all proceeds from Divided We Fall go to Planned Parenthood, but today Lisabet has a special blog post for her regular Sunday Snog this week. She’s donating another dollar to Planned Parenthood for every comment she receives. So follow the link below and make  a comment, make a difference  — any time this week.

http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com/2017/02/sunday-snog-new-release-divided-we-fall.htm

 

 

 

Divided We Fall

By Lisabet Sarai

 

#politics #ghetto #prejudice #resistance #diversity #contraception

 

 

Hate takes too high a toll

 

 

Divided We Fall Blurb: 

Linh’s three year old brother has wandered out of Viet Village into Niggertown. Despite the danger, she has no choice but to go looking for him in hostile territory. She manages to convince the rifle-toting guard at the entrance to the black ghetto to help her search, using a mixture of bribery and bravado. As they comb the desolate streets of Niggertown, seeking any trace of Duy, Linh discovers that the barrio’s inhabitants aren’t necessarily the violent, drug-addled brutes she’s been taught to hate, and by the time Linh and Steel have rescued the injured toddler and spent a long night hiding in a derelict building, she has come to understand who are their real enemies.

 

Please note: This book includes racial slurs that might not be considered acceptable by some readers. Using these terms was deliberate, and necessary, since they are symptoms of the inter-group prejudice and suspicion that provide the main conflict in this story.

 

Buy Links

 

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N163BNU/

 

Amazon UK –   https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01N163BNU/

 

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/699997

 

Barnes and Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/divided-we-fall-lisabet-sarai/1125594805?ean=2940153989365

 

Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/th/en/ebook/divided-we-fall-7

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34053587-divided-we-fall

 

 

 

Divided We Fall Excerpt:

“Can’t go nowhere now. Gonna be dark in quarter of an hour. And believe me, girl, you don’t want to be out after dark around here.” Cradling Duy in his arms, he climbs the iron and concrete steps leading to the first floor apartments. In the old days, they would have had a view of the swimming pool.

 

He nudges one door open with a sneaker-clad foot. “This place is in pretty good shape.” He must have done some exploring, I realize, while looking for first aid supplies. “No electric, but the roof’s solid, and so’s the lock on the door.”

 

I step into what had been the living room. It’s been totally stripped of furniture, aside from a broken dinette chair in one corner. The looters even tore up the carpets, exposing the rough wooden planks underneath. Through the uncurtained picture window beside the door, I can look across the courtyard to the corresponding apartment on the other arm of the U. Behind the building, palms make graceful silhouettes against a purple-streaked sky.

 

“Throw the bolt,” Steel orders, already headed for the bedroom with my unconscious brother. I follow his instructions, then join him. There’s no bed, either, but a tangle of towels, sheets and blankets cover the floor.

 

“Found these in a locked closet,” he says with a grin as he arranges Duy’s body on the nest of moderately clean fabric. “Guess the looters were too lazy to get it open.”

 

I sink to my knees next to the plump three year old. He lies on his back, the improvised splint resting on his chest. Although he’s totally motionless, his breathing is deep and even. “How long will he sleep?”

 

“Dunno. Don’t usually give oxy to kids. We carry it in case something happens on a foraging run.” He reads the concern in my face, even in the dim light. “Don’t worry, Linh. He’ll be okay.”

 

It’s the first time he’s called me anything but “girl” or “bitch”. Shows he’s paying attention, too. It turns me strange for a moment, soft. And that sets alarm bells ringing in my head.

 

 

Remember Make a Comment, Make a Difference:

Lisabet is donating another dollar to Planned Parenthood for every comment she receives. So follow the link below and make  a comment, make a difference any time this week.

http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com/2017/02/sunday-snog-new-release-divided-we-fall.html

 

 

About Lisabet:

Lisabet Sarai became addicted to words at an early age. She began reading when she was four. She wrote her first story at five years old and her first poem at seven. Since then, she has written plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – nearly one hundred titles, and counting, in nearly every sub-genre—paranormal, scifi, ménage, BDSM, GLBT, and more. Regardless of the genre, every one of her stories illustrates her motto: Imagination is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

 

You’ll find information and excerpts from all Lisabet’s books on her website (http://www.lisabetsarai.com/books.html), along with more than fifty free stories and lots more. At her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com), she shares her philosophy and her news and hosts lots of other great authors. She’s also on Goodreads and finally, on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

Love Through a Lens by Lucy Felthouse Now Available in Audiobook Format! #audiobook #romance #erotica #maytodecember

May to December contemporary romance novella, Love Through a Lens by Lucy Felthouse, is now available in audiobook format. Narrated by voice artist Xanthia Bloom, you can now listen to this fun romance tale on the go!

Blurb:

Celine Patterson is a recent graduate eager to begin her career as a camerawoman—with the fashion world and all its glitz and glamour calling to her. Things aren’t that simple, however, and she’s forced to take a job making a documentary in the Peak District countryside with a mid-list British actor.

In spite of her initial disappointment—not only is the job not what she wanted, the pay is appalling, too—Celine warms to the project. The actor she’s working with, Edward Robson, is kind, considerate, funny and a consummate professional. She realizes she can learn a great deal from him, and resolves to do so.

As the days of the shoot pass by, Celine grows increasingly fond of Edward, and that fondness quickly goes beyond the platonic. Convinced her crush is completely one-sided—he’s over three decades her senior, for starters—she tries hard to ignore it, hoping the feelings will go away.

But then something happens to change Celine’s opinion, and flip her world upside-down. How will she react? And can she emerge from this project with both her career and her heart intact?

Audio links:

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2h0RInY
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2hGGyZH
Audible UK: http://adbl.co/2ioQSFw
Audible US: http://adbl.co/2ikFVBJ
iTunes UK: http://apple.co/2ioSOy5
iTunes US: http://apple.co/2jIQ2Fo

eBook available here: http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/published-works/love-through-a-lens/  

*****

Review:

“What a lovely small package this novella was. Small but good and fulfilling… it is wrapped up with a bow… I liked the writing style and would read more from this author.” 4 out of 5, Jo&Isalovebooks

*****

Author Bio:

Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller), Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller) and The Persecution of the Wolves. Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 150 publications to her name. She owns Erotica For All, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes. Find out more about her writing at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk, or on Twitter or Facebook. Sign up for automatic updates on Amazon or BookBub. You can also subscribe to her monthly newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

Release blitz hosted by Writer Marketing Services.

 
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