So hot it BURNs

Hurr hurr hurr…see whut ah did thur?

Right, I’ve re-released another book to which I recently got the rights back. Burn, a M/M short novella (18,000 words) about a one night stand which might develop into something more…

* * * * *

BurnAustin Lombard isn’t into names. For tonight, at least, he’s only up for an anonymous encounter and he insists that the irreverent Scot he meets in a bar not surrender his name. That’s how people begin to get attached, and Austin doesn’t want to get burned again.

* * * * *

Amazon Kindle U.S.
Amazon Kindle U.K.

Posted in Burn, self-publishing | Leave a comment

#DanielFuckingCross has returned!

BytheBookJust a quick blog post to say I re-published By the Book this evening. At the moment it’s only available on Amazon although I may ‘go wide’ with it at a later date if I think it’ll earn me more pennies.

Here’s the blurb:

* * * * *

Two’s company; three’s allowed.

Reece Hutton conducts his life between the covers – of books and beds. A librarian by day, in the evenings he’s a man whose tastes are anything but vanilla. So when local writer Daniel Cross appears in the library one afternoon with the aim of doing some research, Reece has a hard time not noticing how attractive he is, or what feels like chemistry between them. They exchange a few words and Daniel’s business card, an interlude which Reece puts down to networking rather than flirtation.

After all, he has his girlfriend Georgia to go home to and her best friend: a threesome to help his birthday go literally with a bang. Reece, being a gentleman (most of the time), has no objection to returning the favour, especially as his new friend Daniel seems all too willing to be their third for the evening. Georgia sees their triangle as nothing more than a temporary bit of fun but Reece…? He’ll eventually have to own up to breaking the unwritten rules of their relationship or close the book on a growing attraction to Daniel.

* * * * *

Amazon Kindle U.S.
Amazon Kindle U.K.

If you buy it, let me know what you think. Or tweet using the hashtag #DanielFuckingCross :D

Posted in By the Book, self-publishing | 3 Comments

All write now

Money. Not one of those things we’re supposed to talk about. Because if we don’t talk about it, we can pretend we’re all working for the aaaaart and because we love the aaaaart and so on and blah.

But, and I wish this weren’t so, but we’ve all got bills to pay. We need to eat. We have to keep rooves over our heads. Roofs? “Rooves” gets a red underline. Oh well.

I took this past weekend off the internet to get some writing down – never get as much as I’d like done, but at least there are more words in Scrivener now than there were on Friday afternoon. Also, this ‘n’ that hs been happening in real life which brings it home to me that I’m not treating writing the way I should if I a) want to be taken seriously and b) make more money from it.

I’ve heard it said that you need to treat writing like a job, which is all very well…but what if you already have a day job that helps you pay the rent/mortgage? Is it okay to think of writing as a hobby? No, because then you get hobby rewards. And I want to be doing better than merely getting by.

So I need to start making better use of the spare time I have, which means not spending hours online, dotting around various fora and Twitter, checking emails every five minutes.

I know there are people who can be online and still come up with the goods – I used to be one of them, after all – but I’m not quite there again yet. I need to train myself back into a disciplined routine of making writing a priority.

There are things I would like to acquire, and things I would like to do, and I can only make these things a reality by knuckling down.

I would like to be in a place where I no longer have to worry. I don’t know if that’s possible as anxiety has been a part of my life for so long now, but I do know that writing more, and writing regularly, and publishing regularly, will make this goal more likely to come about.

In an ideal world, writing would be my safety net, my “just in case”. You know that saying “work like you don’t need the money”? I’d like to be in a position where if I lost my job and other support mechanisms, it honestly wouldn’t matter because writing would keep me right.

Which all probably makes for a bit of a “Huh?” blog post right now, but that’s where my head’s at after my weekend offline.

There are writers whose career paths I admire and if you do more of what you’ve always done, you’re just going to get more of what you’ve always got. So something’s got to change.

And that thing is my work ethic.

I guess you could say it now has a focus. Now I know what I’m working towards. I know what this is all for.

Posted in writing goals | Leave a comment

Oh, right, yeah. It’s 2015 now, innit?

Thought I’d better blog to prove to everyone I’m still alive.

I’ve come up with a method of bribing myself to write. I have a simple month-a-page calendar bought from WH Smith, and some stickers. Each day I write 1k words or more, I ‘earn’ a sticker for that day.

There are too few stickers on January 2015’s page thus far. However, I’ve just earned another one.

I’m in the middle (or, I hope, past the middle) of a M/M sports romance novella. Starting out, I thought 20k words would be a reasonable target. I’m just over 11k words and there’s still been no touching on the front bottom rude bits, and there’s a hell of a lot more story to cram in (heh, I said cram) before we get to The End. At this rate 25k or more wouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

I always do this. I worry that I won’t get to some arbitrary, self-imposed word count target, then I overshoot that scarily massive target in the process of writing.

I’d hoped to release the book by the end of this working week but unless I light a fire under my own arse and do nothing else but write this week – who needs to eat or sleep, right? – that won’t happen. Early next week? More likely.

So that’s where I’m at right now. 11k words into a M/M novella (please, let it be novella-length) which I’m planning to self-publish. My first self-published all-new-material book!

Still trying to figure out whether to put it in KU or to go wide, but I’ll probably seek advice from a few writing buddies and come to a decision later this week.

And I promise to blog more frequently in 2015! I know how fretful yous guys get if I don’t splurt my opinionated opinions all over that there interwebs. :D

Posted in stickers, writing | Leave a comment

Bookmark Wednesdays: L. M. Somerton

I read The Invisible Man, by Ralph Waldo Ellison, as an undergraduate and if it had not been on the syllabus of my degree, I doubt I would have ever come across it. First published in 1952, it is a book about oppression and prejudice and their effects on the minds of both victims and perpetrators. It is a book about what happens to a person’s individuality in the face of prejudice. The nameless narrator, or invisible man, is a black American and he explains his predicament in one of the most impactful prologues I’ve ever read:

I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids–and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.

Over the course of his life–from college and then on to Harlem–the narrator comes up against different experiences that eventually prove to him that people around him don’t really see him as an individual. In fact he isn’t necessarily treated as a human being at all. If a person’s individuality is stripped away by prejudice, it is easier for an oppressor to see that person as no more than an object to be treated and used accordingly.

Although Ellison’s book focuses on the black experience in America, bigotry and its effects are universal. As I write in the MM genre, a history of prejudice is always in the back of my mind along with the knowledge that there is still a long way to go before some parts of our society become truly visible.

* * * * *

L. M. Somerton can be found on her blog and on Twitter.

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tarotstouch_800This is book three in the Investigating Love series, see the full series listing here.

Can truth be found in the cards?

DI Alex Courtney and his lover, DC Conor Trethuan are under enormous pressure as their team investigates an arson case and a murder.

It soon becomes apparent that the two cases are linked and the race is on to find a vicious killer. A tarot card is placed with the first victim and the detectives are left to interpret the clues it provides. When Conor receives a note from the killer making reference to another card, the whole team is shaken. Their worst fears are realized when a second body is discovered, along with another tarot card.

Conor suspects he has been followed then a hit and run leaves him injured. Alex wants nothing more than to wrap his lover up in cotton wool and protect him from the world. But is Conor the killer’s target or just a pawn in a much more sinister game? As the clues come together, it seems that the motive for murder might be revenge.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of genital bondage.

* * * * *

Available at Totally Bound.

Posted in Bookmark Wednesdays, LM Somerton | Leave a comment

Cover art and self-publishing news

Some cover art and publishing news now. Last Thursday I received cover art for Bring Me to Life. Why haven’t I posted it before now? Because I’m a lazy bugger, that’s why. I know, I know. I’ll get right on that. While I’m dodging the world of blogging and making out I have other things to do, you have a look at this:

bringmetolife_800Nathan Stephenson died seventy years ago and he’d like the world – or at least one person – to think he stayed that way.

In 1940s London, Sergeant Nathan Stephenson ignored his rank and the expectation that he’d wait for the war to be over and find a nice girl to settle down with, and took a lover. Not only was Cian Ambrose unashamed of his bisexuality, he was also proud to be a vampire. Back then, he was certain that his and Nathan’s relationship would last forever, refusing to take no for an answer.

One evening, Cian went too far in his attempts to persuade Nathan to become a vampire and left a mutual acquaintance, Jonathan Cutler, to deal with the aftermath. What Cian doesn’t know is that Nathan didn’t die – Jonathan brought him back to life, agreeing to keep Nathan’s continued existence a secret.

It’s now the twenty-first century and Jonathan’s back to call in the favour. Nathan’s an honourable man and can’t say no, but the trouble is, wherever Jonathan goes, Cian Ambrose can’t be far behind…

Preorder: 6th February 2015
Early download: 20th February 2015
General release: 20th March 2015

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Also, I self-published! I heard from someone I hadn’t spoken to in a while recently, and as we were catching up, she was telling me that she’d self-published on Kindle Direct/Kindle Unlimited. How easy it was. How simple. How lucrative! Well, that got me. I’d been considering self-publishing for a while for reasons outlined in this blog post.

Said friend talked me through it, and I’ve resurrected a book I had sitting on my hard drive. I got the rights back to Long Time Coming a few months back, and now I’m releasing it as a serial, available for 77p each (or your country’s currency equivalent). The first two parts are out, and by the time you read this, the third part should have gone live. Long Time Coming will be complete in four parts, and the 4th should be out by this weekend.

The cover art varies slightly from episode to episode, to enable readers to distinguish between each one in thumbnail form on Amazon. Each part of Long Time Coming has a differently-coloured opaque number behind the title. Here’s the blurb:

LTC

Piper Holt’s only after one thing: a man who’s only after one thing.

Previous lovers demanded either subservience or her heart, neither of which are up for negotiation, so Leo Carson’s attitude makes him her ideal match. Handsome, shameless and equally impulsive, he appears to want nothing more than a white-hot overnight liaison.

‘Overnight’ somehow develops into the entire weekend but come Monday morning, pride keeps her back turned and Piper walks away. Denying her own feelings doesn’t mean that Leo has none though, and if she’s going to atone for hurting him she’ll have to admit the ‘one thing’ she now wants is the man she’s in danger of losing forever.

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Part One – Amazon UK – Amazon US

Part Two – Amazon UK – Amazon US

Part Three – Amazon UK – Amazon US

Long Time Coming is, of course, also available in other Amazon territories. Here’s hoping you enjoy it! More self-published projects are on their way. There will be one or two re-releases, but the vast majority of my self-published projects will be all-new material, so keep watching for further news.

Posted in Bring Me to Life, cover art, Long Time Coming, self-publishing, Totally Bound | Leave a comment

Kathleen Hale and the right to privacy

You’d have to have been living on another planet not to have heard of Kathleen Hale revealing herself to be a special snowflake. After receiving a less-than-stellar review, she decided she couldn’t handle it, and stalked the reviewer. Nope, I’m not kidding. Here’s the article that kicked off the internet shitstorm:

Twitter exploded in a war between the fangirls and the sane people who realise that what she did was immoral and more than likely illegal. Other bloggers…well, blogged, surprise surprise, about it, and numerous counter-articles appeared online:

Now, lest you’re still wondering about what kind of person Kathleen Hale is, here she admits to serious acts of animal abuse: Catch Me If You Can, ASPCA.

Ah, but that’s not all. Here she seems to think that her critics have reading comprehension problems:
Hale 1
Why yes. Yes, that’s exactly what I thought when I read that article, that it was written by a bunch of animals.

Wait, no I didn’t. I thought it was written by an unrepentant animal abuser.

But then came this:
Hale 2

Oh. Oh. Well, that’s okay then.

No word of whether this it was all fiction that she poured peroxide over the head of a girl who’d accused Hale’s mother of sexual abuse. I asked, but strangely, Hale didn’t get back to me.

One of her supporters did, though.

Hell Morte 1

And people still ask why an honest person would want to use a pseudonym. After all of the above. Of course, a pseudonym wouldn’t stop a truly determined nutjob tracking you down, but it puts another obstacle in their path, giving you time to either call the police (more on this later) or charge up the chainsaw.

The Dear Author article I linked to above mentions pseudonymous activities and this whole matter got me thinking about the right of authors (or, indeed, bloggers) to “hide” behind pen names.

Now, you might wonder why an honest-hearted person would change their name for online activities, but there are many different reasons, especially when it comes to erotic romance authors. Those who are parents may be trying to protect their children from teasing or even bullying. Some authors write in multiple genres and use different names for each. Others have difficult-to-spell or hard-to-pronounce real names. There may be another author already using their real name.

And me personally? Well, I’ve had an experience that proves if someone’s determined to find you, a pen name won’t stop them. Why use one? I think because it puts up an unspoken barrier of “You are not entitled to my private life. I am a writer, not your property.”

I have no doubt there are breadcrumbs leading back to me. I think those who mean well respect any speed bumps or barriers I put in their path. Those who mean harm advertise their ill-intent by ignoring these metaphorical stop signs. (Kinda like Kathleen Hale and her paying for a background check into the reviewer who didn’t like her book.) This would, one hopes, prove to a court or any investigating body that they ignored my wishes and failed to respect my boundaries.

Yes, I share from my real life, but to the extent that I choose. That’s the kind of line Hale crossed – she didn’t respect anyone else’s boundaries.

And it could be said that pseudonyms are boundaries beyond which another person should not attempt to go without invitation. It could also be said that Scarlett Parrish is merely another character I write about and that relative anonymity affords me the opportunity to be more honest than my real life persona would allow me to be.

So am I acting? Worse, lying? I don’t think so. We wear different clothes for different things. Bikinis to go swimming. Pyjamas for sleeping. A pseudonym for how we present online in our guises as erotic romance authors.

I may not go into excruciating, privacy-shattering, reckless endangerment-level details, but when I choose to discuss something “real”, I always tell the truth. It’s just that I choose what to share. No-one else makes that decision for me, or at least one would desire that to be the case.

Years back, I was on MSN – remember that? – and a guy for reasons I won’t go into here told me to get offline. I had asserted myself in the face of his overbearing personality, let’s say, and he didn’t like it. He ordered me to get offline. “If you get offline now, I won’t do anything.” Oh really? Naturally I refused, asking who the hell he thought he was. The internet police?

“No,” he said. “But I am a police officer.”

“Whoop-de-fucking-doo,” I remember saying, with my usual level of respect when it comes to pomposity.

The conversation came down to him saying he could track me down if he wanted. I didn’t believe him.

Then he told me my real first name, and my exact address. Right down to which flat in my tenement block I occupy.

Now that made me sit up and take notice. Either he was a corrupt police officer putting a trace on me or he had someone with him or speaking to him online, who knew me and was feeding him the information. This latter is a distinct possibility, but as well as my name, address, phone number, everything else, he was able to give me my I.P. address. Something I still don’t fully understand even after years of computer and internet use, but there you go.

He knew who I was and where I was, and he threatened to “Send the boys round for a visit,” to beat me up and gang-rape me unless I did what he said. Failing that, I was to get offline and never use a computer again.

So what did I do? I told him to fuck off.

Oh, and I checked all my doors and windows were locked.

And I said, “You should know I’m keeping a record of this conversation, and I’m currently emailing it to everyone I know. So if anything happens to me, they’ll know who’s responsible. If you think I’ll get offline as punishment for not being obedient to your bad self, you can suck my fat hairy cock.”

Or words to that effect.

Now, I’m not saying I wasn’t scared. Of course I was. But as you’ll know from my tweets and other blog posts, I’m a great one for blagging my way out of a difficult situation.

I stayed online.

Nothing happened.

(No, I didn’t report the incident to the police. I was scared that he really was a police officer and his brother officers would back him up.)

Would a pseudonym have stopped all of the above happening? No. Remember, he knew everything about me. My genuine, real-life details.

Why bother using a pseudonym if I’m not protected, if no-one is truly protected? Well, as I said, it puts an extra barrier up. Makes it clear this is my public life, this my private.

Respectful people will be okay with that. Bent coppers or special snowflakes like Kathleen Hale won’t, but the reaction she’s currently getting online show the general feeling is that she’s in the wrong.

If my experience with P.C. Plod recurred, how would I react? Likely in the same way. I’d go on Twitter, tell people what was happening. Email everyone in my gmail contacts.

It was a scary experience. And being Scarlett Parrish wouldn’t have stopped it. At the end of the day, writing is what’s important to me, and I wanted to name myself in a way, as well as titling my books. If that guy ever reads this blog post, he could link the “real life” me with Scarlett and cause a whole heap of trouble, but you never know – by going as public as my conscience and legality will allow, I actually might be protecting myself.

Because linking public Scarlett and private me would prove to the world that he was the guy who threatened my life years back. How else would he know my real life identifying details?

After all, if I haven’t authorised someone’s knowledge of my identifying details and they go public with them, they’re kind of advertising that they’re breaking the law, going against another person’s wishes, putting their safety in danger and being an all-round bunglecunt.

A bit like Kathleen Hale, really.

Posted in badly behaved authors, Kathleen Hale needs to be arrested and charged, online stalking, pseudonyms | 14 Comments

Bookmark Wednesdays: Anais Morgan

First, a big thank you to Ms. Parrish for having me.

Here in the Midwest it’s getting cooler. The leaves are starting to change. It makes me cringe. We get some pretty wicked winters here, and the forecast looks like it’s going to be worse than last year. I’m not a snow person by any measure. If I could skip that season, you bet I would.

I think the best part of the bitter cold is more time to curl up and read a good book. I’m sure everyone has a “go to” book. One that no matter what, you smile. For me, it was the first true adult fiction I’d read. Most of my early life had been reading the Bible and middle grade books. When I got into high school, my English teacher kept at least 100 books at all times. One was And Then You Die by Iris Johansen. My friends and I laughed at the title, although I have no idea why. However, something about the book pulled me in. The blurb sounded good, so I borrowed it.

The rest of the school day I read. I couldn’t put it down. In science class, my partner and I were supposed to do some kind of experiment, but I didn’t help. I just had to find out what happened next. Keep in mind that I’m a slow reader, but I finished the book in two days. It had everything: action, romance, mystery, death.

I went looking for more of Iris’ work. To this day I get every one of her books-money permitting. I even tracked down some of her Loveswept books from the 80’s.

That was my introduction into adult fiction, and I’ve never looked back. That book taught me so much about plot twists and suspense. I hope that one day I’ll be able to write something so perfect or get a reader addicted to my work like I was.

So, I say a big thank you to Ms. Johansen. Her book And Then You Die changed not only my reading habits, but introduced me to a new world of books.

And yes, I have both a physical copy and an ebook copy of said novel.

* * * * *

Anais Morgan can be found on her blog.

* * * * *

B&Gcover1She will feed them or die. Or both.

Just when eighteen-year-old Mary Scott is ready to go to culinary school, she’s captured and held prisoner by The Order-a religious group that sells humans to vampires. Mary is sent to become the blood slave to the Wictreds, a family of three vampires. There’s Deacon, the gentleman with a short temper, Solomon, sarcastic one with some serious mood swings, and Cain, the child-like one that has a problem with self control. Her only hope is to escape, but she has a single chance. If she’s caught she’ll be killed to keep her silent.

As time passes, Mary’s days become numbered. After all, she has only so much blood. The longer she’s in the house, the more time she spends with Solomon. When he’s not toying with her, he’s actually a nice guy and protects her from his brothers. Mary loves his company and soon his presence makes her heart flutter. But humans and vampires must be separate, and Deacon will do anything to keep the family honor intact.

* * * * *

Available All Romance eBooks, Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Posted in Anais Morgan, Bookmark Wednesdays | Leave a comment

So this is what a panic attack feels like. I think.

Yesterday I sold a book and today I decided I want to die.

Bit of a blunt way of putting it, but that’s how things worked out.

Okay, so what happened was, I had word from my Totally Bound editor that she’d love to contract Bring Me to Life (now rewritten so it’s a sequel to A Little Death, with some of the characters from ALD making guest appearances). I’d been fighting a bit of a headache all day and thought I’d be okay, but later in the evening it became a migraine and I retired to bed around half eight. Super early even on a work night, but I took some painkillers and thought I’d be able to sleep it off.

Not so. I was up through the night with the pain. Every so often I’d drift off into a brief painkiller-induced sleep, to be woken up less than half an hour later with the pain. Again and again and again. Every few hours I’d take more painkillers, but they never worked. Not totally.

And at 6am I started throwing up. Bear in mind 6am is when I normally get up, but when my alarm went off this morning I was already in, on, around the toilet, barfing my guts up and spraying from every orifice.

I dithered about calling in sick, but instead of a sickie pulled a ‘latey’. Shut up; that’s a word. Anyway, I took some time having a bath because if I go near hot water too soon after throwing up, the steam makes me feel sick again. How do I know this? Because during a migraine, I feel dirty. I puke, I soil myself, I sweat, I pee myself…so I feel dirty. I smell dirty. And I want to be clean again. I run a bath, strip, try to get into the bath and…nope. The puking starts again. For some reason, the steam in my face turns my stomach.

Eventually I managed to have a bath and get clean clothes on. That was all I could manage. I went into work with unwashed hair, and without bothering to take sammiches with me. I knew I wouldn’t eat them. For days after a puke sesh, I can’t manage solid food. I’ve just had a bowl of watery chicken soup, as it happens, and that’s about all I can handle. Such will be the case ’til the weekend, possibly.

All of the above is, I think, relevant to how I ended up feeling later on in the morning. It was certainly a contributory factor.

I left for work later than I normally do, so it was properly daylight by then. Or…as daylighty as it could get, because the day was overcast and cloudy and threatening rain. Depressing, huh?

Within a couple of hours, something happened. My low physical state, empty stomach, completely dehydrated body and the fact I’d had little to no sleep, conspired to convince me that every piece of work I did would prove to be a massive, liable-to-get-me-fired mistake. In fact, I was going to be fired. Probably before the week was out.

I want to make something absolutely clear here – the migraine did not cause the moodsink. It never has done. Or at least, it’s not the sole factor. And not every migraine (or other physical illness) causes a panic attack. But it makes it harder to fight when the panic does hit. This anxiety has bothered me on and off for around three years now. I call it anxiety because it’s louder than depression. For me, anxiety has triggers. A focus. A start point. Depression just is. Depression makes me sleep. Makes me tired. Makes me slooooow. (I was – am – tired, but there’s a difference between lack of sleep tired and mood-related tired.) Anxiety, on the other hand – it makes me panic. It doesn’t say “You should be dead.” It’s more active than that. It says “Go kill yourself. Go on, just do it. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about X, Y and Z any more. God, imagine how peaceful that’d be. Then I’d shut up and you wouldn’t have to listen to me any more.”

It’s much more intense. And it’s exhausting. Oh, I don’t hear voices. But it’s as if there’s something inside my head putting these thoughts there for me to contemplate. Whereas depression tells me what an unutterable cunt I am, anxiety tells me to do something about it, and offers suicide as a marvellous solution for every problem.

I just didn’t want to have to deal with it all, and I guess overwhelmed is the best word for it. Everything I have to deal with (even selling a book!) was suddenly too much for me to even think about, and I cried, and panicked, and worried. What about? God knows; after a while my thoughts didn’t make any sense at all.

In this sort of state, I have a tendency to catastrophise. Every teeny weeny slightly negative thing that happens is the end of the world, it’s all my fault, everyone hates me, I’ll never be successful. And if there’s no teeny weeny slightly negative thing to obsess over? Well, I just imagine something. That’ll do.

From anxiety to depreession. The intensity of the mental panic attack rarely lasts longer than a few hours, a day or two at most, before it segues into something that puts a fog over my entire being. I don’t think anyone could keep up that level of mental energy for long without flopping. And that’s what happens – I flop. I sleep more than usual, or at least ‘lie in bed wishing I could sleep, because I don’t have the energy for anything else’. I eat less. I conserve my energy for simply getting through the day and don’t waste it on non-essentials like socialising or even speaking to people if I can help it.

Sometimes depression creeps up on you. At other times, as today, it announces its arrival with a bang.

Posted in depression, panic attacks | 3 Comments

Bookmark Wednesdays: Amanda Bretz

In Classic and Modern Romance, Love Always Prevails

Hi Scarlett, thanks for having me today!

Here in my corner of the world the leaves are beginning to show autumnal tones and the air has the faintest hint of crispness. Of all the seasons, it seems I get most nostalgic during fall. The clear blue sky and light breeze made today perfect for reminiscing on what books inspired me to write about love.

I’ll never forget the day I picked up my first category romance. I was 17 and spending the afternoon at a friend’s house. While I was perusing the bookshelf in her bedroom I couldn’t help but notice that the shelves were lined with paperback after paperback by one author in particular.

“You sure do like Sandra Brown,” I commented.

“Yeah, she’s one of my favorites. You can borrow one if you want.”

So I pulled a title from the shelf at random. The book was Tomorrow’s Promise, a story about an unexpected spark that ignites between a radio personality and a congressman while on a flight to Washington D.C. Both are en route to D.C. to speak at a congressional hearing about soldiers from the Vietnam War that were still listed as MIA. Both have a vested interest in the outcome of the hearing, but is always the case in romance novels, love prevailed and the hero and heroine found a way to be together in the end.

After reading Tomorrow’s Promise, I was hooked and spent the next year devouring Ms. Brown’s backlist—which at the time was around 40+ novels. Her stories contained all the chest-clutching drama that old school romances are known for: secret babies, marriage of convenience and of course, the virginal heroine. Likewise, her heroes were larger than life and completely swoon-worthy: sheikh, cowboy, bad boy and the mysterious loner.

Even though I’ve read all her books and followed her career, I tend to shy away from using words like “idol.” There’s no doubt that reading Sandra Brown had a major influence on my decision to try my own hand at writing romance. While I’ve never written a plot that contained a marriage of convenience or a secret baby, there is one thing I took away from all those romances by Ms. Brown: love always prevails.

I explore the swoon-worthy blue-collar hero in my latest release. There’s just something about a man in—and out of—uniform.

* * * * *

Amanda Bretz is on Twitter and Facebook and has a blog.

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specialdelivery_800Who says good things come in small packages? Corina believes beauty isn’t about size—it’s about attitude—and Zach can’t get enough of her confidence or her curves.

Curvy and proud of it, photographer Corina Saunders seeks to empower other females by shooting boudoir photos of plus-sized women in her home studio. When a charity needs a photographer to photograph twelve sexy men for a hunk-of-the-month calendar, she gladly volunteers her services. During one photo shoot, sparks fly when she snaps pictures of sexy delivery man Zach Moreno and his strategically placed package. When the two cross paths again at a charity ball and bachelor auction, Corina surprises everyone—including herself—when she wins a date with Zach, the sexiest bachelor up for grabs. The pair soon discovers that the attraction between them is too great to ignore and give in to their passion.

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Available from Totally Bound, All Romance eBooks, Amazon UK and Amazon US.

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