Finding Inspiration

keep-going1There are days as a writer where the words flow to the point I forget to eat lunch and then there are those other days, the ones where you spend more time staring at the wall than actually getting any writing done. Those days are the worst. I read an article about writing by Kristan Higgins and she mentioned that one way to combat writer’s block is to stop writing for the day in the middle of a scene that way when you return to your work in progress, you’ll know exactly where to pick up. It’s good advice, but what happens when you’re ready to write the next book and the words won’t come. Or maybe the brilliant idea you thought you had turned out not to be so brilliant. What then?

That’s when you need a shot of inspiration, but where do you go to get it? Do they sell inspiration at the liquor store? Maybe, but there are other ways to find it. The first thing I like to do is walk away. That’s right. Stop sitting at the computer and do something else. For example, you could take a walk, or go to a coffee shop, or if you have the time, go out for drinks with your friends. The reason this can be good is because it puts you in the land of the living and there is no better inspiration than getting out there. The waiter has a terrible tattoo? Great! Ask him about it. Your girlfriend had a bad date? Even better (for your writing, not her love life). There are stories to be had and characters to meet out there in the world of people.

Maybe you don’t need something as dramatic as all that. Maybe you just need a little kick start. That’s okay too. Try making a playlist of some of your favorite love songs. Is there a line in one that sparks something in you? What about your favorite movie? Why is it your favorite? What about the characters speaks to you? Pinterest boards of favorite couples? Brilliant. There is no wrong answer. You just have to open your eyes and give your muse a kick in the butt. Inspiration is everywhere. What are you waiting for? Get out there and find it.

Feeling inspired? I hope so.

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Getting Back to Work

The temperature is still high, but since school is back in session the summer break is over. While I miss hanging out with my little guys and sleeping in a little later, I also miss working. I long for the chance to get to work on the next story that’s been circling my mind for the last couple of months and escaping into a world of make believe. Sure I stayed up at night on occasion to get a little time in, but I’m a morning person. And let’s be honest, trying to work with a bunch of loud, rowdy boys in the house is impossible. I can’t hear my muse over the sounds of Nerf wars and super hero battles.

Today, that all changes. I’m back in my writing cave and peace is restored, unless you’re one of my characters. Those guys are going to get put through the ringer.

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Author Spotlight on Cynthia Gail

This week I’d like every one to help me by welcoming fellow Soul Mate author Cynthia Gail. She’s the author of Winter’s Magic and Spring’s Surprise. Today she’s stopping by to share an excerpt from the latest in her Music City’s Hearts series with an excerpt from Summer’s Family Affair.

SummersFamilyAffair1800

Jenny Cohen defines successful independence: she put herself through college, couldn’t ask for better friends, owns a consulting firm, wears designer clothes, and just moved into her dream home . . . But she’s alone, except for her ailing mother whom she supports in a nursing home. As the marketing consultant for Chester, Dorsey & Tanner, she’s surrounded by male attention. Too bad it’s the overly-protective big-brother type.

Architect, Craig Stone, hasn’t looked at another woman since his wife passed away four years ago. His time is taken—building a career while trying to be both mother and father to his eight-year-old son. But when his appointment with the largest development firm in Nashville is double-booked with a black-haired beauty, he finds himself reaching for new possibilities.

The attraction sets off more fireworks than the Fourth of July. Yet, their relationship is riddled with issues neither one of them expected. Somewhere in the middle they must find a way to compromise or let go of a chance for love they may never find again.

Excerpt:

All thought froze, as a beautiful voice cut through the near-silence of the room. Craig stared at the portfolio for just a second more before turning his attention to the front desk. He couldn’t see far enough around the corner to get a good view. What he did see . . . a pair of black strappy stilettos.

“Better you than me. He’s in an awful mood. Jeffry was out for just three days and his temp messed up the entire week’s schedule.”

Craig quietly moved down the row of chairs. Though his line of sight was much improved, he still couldn’t see the face behind the voice.

“You know it’s only going to get worse. It’s just Monday. How bad is it, really?”

She must be leaning over the desk, because her voice was now a faint whisper and the scene that greeted him was a firm derriere and a pair of runner’s legs that made his heart skip a beat.

“I’m not sure. I do know that you’re double-booked with the gentleman sitting across the room. Don’t look now.” Someone cleared their throat. “He’s a new architect Nick’s consulting with on the expansion designs. Too expensive to reschedule. Sorry.”

“Oh.”

“Brandon’s supposed to be part of their meeting and the temp had it on his calendar for noon tomorrow, instead of nine today.”

“I guess I can take second place. Only because it puts Brandon at my mercy. Tell Jeffry to come to the lobby and we’ll work it out. I’m always flexible, especially when it gives me an edge.”

The women laughed, a beautiful melody that rang through his entire being. Craig watched as she straightened and he could now see long, wavy black hair, falling against a ruby-red silk blouse. She reminded him of a Victoria Secrets model—long and lean, with a hint of curve.

“That’s why I like you so much. It’ll be a few minutes, if you’d like to have a seat.”

Craig shifted his attention back to the contract in his hand and purposefully read the title five more times. Slowly. He listened as her shoes clicked across the hardwood floor, waiting until the sound stopped before turning in her direction. She’d taken the chair he’d previously occupied and was sliding her phone into a black designer clutch.

Then she greeted him with a smile that still held a spark of amusement. He took a deep breath and swallowed. She had a hint of summer tan that made her skin glow, a touch of sheer gloss on her lips, and chocolate-brown eyes that instantly warmed him to the core.

His throat went suddenly dry and his mind raced for something to say. He stared silently, feeling like a teenage boy who’d never spoken to a girl before. Somehow, he found his footing and stood, then walked over to the chair next to hers. “Craig Stone.”

cynthiagailAbout Cynthia:
My husband and I live in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee with our three dogs. When I’m not working or writing, I can be found with family and friends. I love to bake in the winter, grill in the summer, and on occasion, I sneak away from everyone and curl up with a good book.

Where to find her:
Website:  http://cynthiagail.com/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/CynthiaGailRomance
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/CynthiaGailBook
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6564818.Cynthia_Gail
Amazon Author Centralhttp://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Gail/e/B009WQTTQE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1426743860&sr=8-1
Amazon buy linkhttp://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Gail/e/B009WQTTQE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1426743860&sr=8-1

 

Author Spotlight on Tara Fox Hall

Everyone please help me in welcoming author Tara Fox Hall. Today she’s stopping by to talk about one of our favorite topics, bad boys. Be sure to leave a comment below so you will be entered to win a magnetic clip.

BAD BOYS: HOW BAD IS TOO BAD?

Everyone who writes fiction is aware of the compelling nature of the “bad boy” the dark horse who emerges from the shadows to steal the heroine’s heart by most any means he can. Often misunderstood with a blackened past to match his dark good looks, this male tends to take all the attention from other men in the work with his lusty bold actions and secretive, suspicious ways. ‘Damaged goods’ is he, a tragic figure whose wounded heart most every woman reader knows she could heal, if only she were allowed the chance. Redemption is always possible through forgiveness, repentance, and love, even for the worst offender.

But is that last statement true, really? In old romances of decades past, the worst that a bad boy could do was compromise the reputation of his love interest or kiss her out of turn, ala Rhett Butler.  That was stepped up in following decades, when we saw women loving men that had stolen from them, slapped them around, cheated on them, or treated them as playthings. Now, in recent fiction, we’ve pushed the envelope a bit further, to have women getting their HEA with partners who once tried to kill them, had assaulted them, or worse. Forgiveness is a blessing, but at what point is there too much to forgive? If there such a line in our emotional sand, some act too terrible to gloss over, or not?

I’m guilty here too, I admit; I’ve got bad boys in my stories, chief among them vampire Devlin Dalcon, who golden good looks and charming ways have not stopped him from putting heroine Sarelle’s heart through the wringer several times in the first 10 books of my Promise Me Series. Although Sarelle has given Devlin back just as much angst with her actions and harsh words, she has forgiven him a hell of a lot in their transitioning relationship from mortal enemies to snuggle buddies.  Yes, Devlin¾unlike most real life bad boys¾has reformed a great deal from the pure villain he was at the start of the series. He deserves a second chance at happiness, doesn’t he?

Take into consideration that for most of those 400 years previous to Sarelle and his recent attitude overhaul, Devlin was a despicable, inhuman monster, keeping order over his kingdom with a taloned fist. Should all those he murdered or hurt just be swept into the pages of history, and locked away? I’d argue yes, forgiveness is possible providing Devlin really has changed. But I’m not sure if the past can be so easily discarded. Even if forgiveness is granted, shouldn’t there still be a punishment for past deliberately evil actions, especially ones of great magnitude?

There are many tools a writer can use to influence a reader into feeling empathy for a character whose actions have been less than pristine. I have used a great many of them to transform Devlin from a scoundrel to a sort of hero, while still keeping a few of his darker tendencies intact. My argument is that the attraction of a bad bod is that he’s edgy and sometimes unpredictable; his passion stems from wild desire that doesn’t always follow the rules. A total conversion from bad boy to stalwart reliable hero may not sit well with readers who enjoyed the anti-hero’s tribulations and trials. Does total reformation make a previous bad boy boring, or not?

Tar ain Gold

Bio: Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, erotica, horror, suspense, action-adventure, children’s stories, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal fantasy Lash series and the paranormal romantic drama Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice. All of her published children’s stories to date are free reads on www.childrens-stories.net.

Be sure to check out her latest release. Find an excerpt below.

tempest of vengenace coverBlurb for Tempest of Vengeance, Promisce Me Series Book #11:

A chain of tragic events culminating in the shattering of the magical “dream bond” between Theo and Sar turns the lovers against one another, as Ulysses attacks from all fronts, hoping to destroy Devlin for good. The return of Lash reignites the fire between he and Sar, even as he saves her daughter Elle from certain death. Finally joined under Oath, Lash, Devlin, and Sar face the storm of Ulysses’s wrath, knowing it will take their combined strength and courage to save all they love from his tempest of vengeance.

Excerpt: It was now or never. I said a quick prayer as I slid my hand to my belt, flipping open the blade as I yanked it free. I kneed Theo as hard as I could. He let out a cry, struggling to hold me. I stuck the knife Lash had given me into his arm, and he snarled in pain, flinching back from me, but he still had me with one hand. I bit his wrist as hard as I could, then jerked free. Theo was almost fully shifted into cougar form, but he was not only injured, he was tangled in his clothes. I ran out of the room as soon as I’d unlocked the door, and upstairs to the study, the knife still in my hand.

Before I reached the top step I heard a throaty purr, and heard clawed feet scrabbling on the stairs as they bounded up them after me. I got into the study just in time to slam the door and lock it, hoping to God Danial hadn’t moved the gun he had kept here since the attacks by Manir more than a year ago. Because I was running to a dead end with no way out, if what Theo had told me about teleporting was true. But I’d never have made it out the front door before he was on me. I tried to teleport immediately, and nothing happened. I tried the phone to call Terian, and got only static. An extension had to be off the hook somewhere.

Shit!

The office door shuddered under Theo’s assault. He roared, and hit it again. Danial, however, had put this door on after the assault by Manir. The reinforced steel and oak creaked, but it held.

I wiped the knife off on my pants and folded it up, clipping it back to my belt loop, thanking God I’d put it on tonight. Unlocked the hidden safe in the wall, I retrieved a gun and bullets from inside, swearing because it was a regular silenced gun, not an explosive bullets gun. At least the rounds were jacketed hollow points. I had just gotten the first bullet into the chamber when I heard a key in the lock.

The door opened, and Theo stood there, nude, his blue eyes determined, a key in his hand. His arm where I cut him was still bleeding. “I’m not healing, Sarelle. You have werepoison on your blade,” he growled, advancing slowly. “That’s Lash’s knife clipped to your belt! I recognize it!”

I trained the gun on him, holding it with both hands so it didn’t shake too much.

“That’s a regular .38. You shoot me, you’d better hit my heart,” Theo growled. “Because you miss, and I’ll be on you in a second. This little chase you’ve led me on is over! Terian isn’t here to save you! Danial and Lash aren’t here to save you! And Devlin will be too late!”

“You have one chance to leave,” I said in a hard voice. “Or I will shoot you, Theo.”

Theo looked at me for a few moments, and then he lunged for me with a roar.

 

Buy Links:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Tempest-Vengeance-Promise-Me-Book-ebook/dp/B00W35X3X6

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tempest-Vengeance-Promise-Me-Book-ebook/dp/B00W35X3X6

Melange Books (PDF and HTML): http://www.melange-books.com/authors/tarafoxhall/tempest.html

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/535363

AUTHOR LINKS:
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/TaraFH
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/tara-fox-hall
Melange Books: http://www.melange-books.com/authors/tarafoxhall/index.html
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5286654.Tara_Fox_Hall
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Tara-Fox-Hall/e/B005YPAA4W/
Website: www.tarafoxhall.com
Email: tarafoxhallATgmail.com
Blog: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5286654.Tara_Fox_Hall/blog
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tara-Fox-Hall/151813374904903
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/TerrorFoxHall
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/108597284890507251806/

Author Spotlight on Valerie J. Clarizio

On this thrilling Thursday, please help me welcome fellow author and friend Valerie Clarizio. Today is release day for her third Nick Spinelli Mystery novella. What’s even more exciting is that after you read all about her and check out a few excerpts from Crazed Reckoning, you can pick up the first Spinelli book Covert Exposure, for free starting March 6th through March 20th, and the 2nd Spinelli book Craving Vengeance @ $.99 from March 6 through the 15th. It’s going up to $2.99 from the 16th through the 20th so take advantage and grab your copies today.

CrazedReckoning3Blurb:

After experiencing a murderous Christmas and Valentine’s Day with love interest Shannon O’Hara, Detective Nick Spinelli assumed Saint Patrick’s Day couldn’t be any worse.

He was wrong.

While out on a geocaching adventure in Door County, Shannon and her friend Anna find more than a clue in the cache box. When Shannon disappears, Spinelli is sent racing to find her. Amidst the chaos of an unruly Irish celebration, and a decades-old Irish family feud, he must rescue her from the hands of a madman.

Teaser 1

“Let me get this right. You’re telling me your dead father’s finger showed up in a cache box in Door County, over forty years after your father died.”

Teaser 2

Shannon opened her eyes to a pitch-black room. Her dry throat itched. She swallowed and ran her tongue over her teeth. What is that awful metallic taste? Her tongue gravitated to her teeth again; the taste grew stronger. When she inhaled, her eyes instantly watered like she’d just inhaled flames. Her right hand moved toward her nose but jerked to a halt inches from her face. What the heck? She tried to move her hand closer to her face but it wouldn’t budge. With her other hand, she came across a thin rope wrapped around her wrist. The opposite end was fastened to the bedpost.

A low groan echoed in the blackness. Shannon sprang off the bed nearly jerking her shoulder out of its socket. The small length of rope didn’t let her go too far. Another breathy moan penetrated the incredibly thick air. Shannon fumbled around the nightstand next to the bed for a lamp. She nearly knocked it over before she located the toggle switch at the base. The now dimly lit room allowed her to focus on the body in the bed. It was Anna. Her left wrist was bound to the bedpost on the opposite side of the bed.

Sheer panic ripped through her. Where were they? How did they end up here? And who tied them to the bed?

Buy it here.

Get book 1 here and book 2 here.

Clarizio Photo (1) About Valerie

Valerie is a writer of romantic suspense, contemporary romance, and women’s fiction novels.  She lives in beautiful Door County Wisconsin with her husband and two very spoiled cats.  She loves to read, write, and spend time at her cabin in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  She’s lived her life surrounded by men, three brothers, a husband, and a male Siamese cat who required his own instruction manual.  Keeping up with all the men in her life has turned her into a successful hunter and fisherwoman.

She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. Additionally, she was a finalist in the 2011 Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, Novellas Need Love, Too! Contest.

Find Valerie: Website Facebook Twitter Goodreads

Author Spotlight on Kim Hotzon

On this week’s Author Spotlight I would like to welcome Kim Hotzon, author of Hands Full of Ashes. She stopped by to tell us a little bit about herself and her debut novel. Be sure to check it out.

HandsFullofAshesI am excited to be releasing my debut novel, Hands Full of Ashes! My book was contracted with Soul Mate Publishing in August 2014 and officially published on January 14, 2015.

The story was inspired by my trip to Rwanda in October 2012. It is a romantic suspense story that follows one woman as she promises her dying husband that she will scatter his ashes around the world.

Olivia’s journey takes her to Africa, where she begins volunteering at an orphanage in Uganda. As she falls in love with the children, and the culture, the director of the orphanage develops a passion for her.

Just as time begins to heal Olivia’s broken heart, she learns about her husband’s unimaginable betrayal. Fleeing to Rwanda, her soul is reawakened with a new love. Olivia realizes that love always comes with a price, however, when she is faced with a decision she thought she would never have to make.

Hands Full of Ashes is available on Amazon.

KimHotzon

Born in beautiful British Columbia, Kim developed a passion for writing at an early age. Her interest in people led her all over the globe, including a two year stay in Japan and a humanitarian trip to Rwanda.

She loves to write romance stories with a twist, usually involving a dangerous and dramatic backdrop. Her first novel, Hands Full of Ashes, was inspired by her trip to Africa.

Kim spent many years teaching young adults with learning disabilities at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and she currently resides in the sunny Okanagan with her husband and two children. When not writing, she can be found plying the local ski hills, or getting lost in her kayak in the surrounding lakes.

Connect with Kim Hotzon:

Website:          http://www.kimhotzon.com/ 

Twitter:           https://twitter.com/KimHotzon

Pinterest:         https://www.pinterest.com/kimhotzon/hands-full-of-ashes/

Goodreads:      http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6491250.Kim_Hotzon

LinkedIn:          Kim Hotzon | LinkedIn

Meet the Author

Meet the Author

It’s release day for fellow author Meda White and if you haven’t read one of her Southland romances, now’s your chance. Read on to learn about Meda’s latest release, including an excerpt and how to find out more about the author herself.

medabookpic

Traumatized by her past, former police officer Jane Dillon gets a new start in Los Angeles as a bodyguard. If she weren’t so good at saving people, she might seek a new career. At least when she moonlights as a dance teacher, no one shoots at her. One impossible-to-please macho boss, one hunk of manly hot action hero, and one oversized Southern family set her on a course she never saw coming.

Former Navy SEAL, Danny Baker, has a lot to deal with between his dad’s health, his sister’s public breakup, and figuring out how to get rid of a female employee without getting a sexual discrimination suit filed against him. He’s always believed it to be his duty to protect women and children, but seeing the beautiful and lethal Jane in action turns his worldview upside down. He’d almost rather go back to the jungle, except the dance floors of L.A. and the woods of Georgia are providing plenty of excitement.

If they can overcome their differences, Danny’s family, and Jane’s past, they might find that they make the perfect team.

Excerpt:

“What about you?” Danny asked. “Who taught you to dance?”

“My grandfather, sort of,” Jane said. “He put me in karate and dancing when I started kindergarten. He didn’t know what to do with a little girl. I guess he tried to find balance for me.”

“Thanks to him, you can kick my ass and dance circles around me,” he said over his shoulder as he did a merengue step in place, while she literally danced around him. “I’ll have to thank him if I ever meet him.”

Before she returned to face him, she flared her fingers as she ran her hand across his back, feeling the taught muscles there. She tore her gaze from the fluid movement of his hips to see his eyes twinkling with laughter.

What had he been saying? Oh yeah, Grandfather.

Jane didn’t have the heart to tell him her grandfather had passed. Because it reminded her of how alone she was in the world, she didn’t like to think about it.

Buy Links:
Amazon- http://bit.ly/Amazon_Dance
iBooks- http://bit.ly/iBooks_Dance
Nook- http://bit.ly/BN_Dance

medaMeda White writes sweet, sultry, and southern contemporary and new adult romance. Born with Georgia clay running through her veins, she continues to enjoy the Southern lifestyle with her husband, a very spoiled Collie, and a stray cat who adopted the family. When not writing, you might find her making music, shooting zombie targets, teaching yoga, or explaining the meaning of her unusual first name.

Contact her at- http://medawhite.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MedaWhiteWrites
https://twitter.com/medawrites
http://www.pinterest.com/medawhite/
Newsletter sign up- http://bit.ly/1s5EUPD
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/A0Y-Kn606Eo