Guest: Liza O’Connor & her crazy romance “Oh Stupid Heart”

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Today, I’d like to explain why Carrie is NOT happy with how their transformation is turning out.

Carrie OSH

 

 

Carrie doesn’t think Trent’s old fiancée, alleged HR expert, is doing a good job. Actually, she’s not even doing a mediocre one. Honestly, she’s the worst HR person ever!

 

 

 

 

Coco2

 

 

The only job she’s interested is become Mrs. Trent Lancaster.

 

 

 

trent 007

Trent was once engaged to her, but finally got her to break it off by being constantly bad. Now years later, unable to hook any other wealthy socialite, she’s returned. Her first and only act of business was to remove Carrie from her EA position and put in Grant.

 

 

Grant2 headshot

Pretty sure he majored in arrogance at college. And for some unknown reason, he thinks he’s God’s gift to women.

 

So Not!

 

 

Then Trent hired Angela against Coco’s wishes.

Angel

 

Not only is she Grant’s girlfriend, (Strike one) but she’s incredibly nosy-possibly a Gossep undercover reporter (strike two) and she advises Carrie to do what Grant wants, because he’s going somewhere.

Carrie go on

 

Also, Trent keeps calling her ANGEL instead of Angela.

So in essence, all Coco has managed to do is kick Carrie out of her job as EA and inserted a jerk in her place. Then Trent gives Grant a sex kitten to occupy his time.

 

 

No Systems Manager

No Sales Manager

No Finance Manager

No one of use.

 

Just a jerk and his sex kitten.

 

Seriously, as a trained change specialist, Carrie needs to take over. But to do that, she’ll need Trent’s support.

 

Will she get it?

Read the book and see.

 

Oh Stupid Heart_bookcover

 

Oh Stupid Heart

Book Two of: A Long Road To Love

Humorous Contemporary Disaster Romance

By

Liza O’Connor

Blurb:

Carrie Hanson is in love with a different species: Trent, a pampered, uber-rich socialite who’s also her boss. Everyone keeps telling her it’s a train wreck looking to happen, but her heart wants what it wants. So despite the billion and one reasons not to, Carrie commits to this inter-species relationship. But while she’s off being trained for her new job responsibilities, a beautiful ex fiancée is working hard to get Trent back and Carrie fired.

Excerpt:

Carrie glanced up at Trent. “Can I have one of your business cards?”

He handed one over, curious why Carrie wanted it. She flipped it over and wrote, These bills were given to Miss Claire as an act of charity. They are hers to spend.

She handed Trent the card. “Sign it, please.”

He signed the card and Carrie presented it to the old woman.

Her eyes rounded as she read it. “You know my name.”

“We’ve talked before.”

“Right. You’re the nice girl who pointed out how much cheaper it would be for me to buy a monthly card instead of paying the daily rate. I appreciated your advice. I’ve been able to buy better food and even had money saved up so, when I got sick, I could get well enough to keep working.” She patted Carrie’s arm. “I’m glad you got yourself a good man. You deserve it.”

Carrie glanced up at him and smiled. “He is a good man.”

She whispered in the old woman’s ear. Whatever she said cause the woman’s forehead to furrow.

She thrust the bills into Carrie’s hand. “I appreciate the thought, but I can’t take your money. But thank you both. You’re good people, and the world could use more like you.”

To his shock, Carrie didn’t argue. She only hugged the woman. “You are good people, too.”

Half the crowded train watched the fiasco. Great! Not only had the old woman rejected his act of charity, but a mob of commuters had witnessed his failed attempt at being a “good person.” His grandmother had to be thrashing in her grave.

BUY LINKS

for

A Long Road to Love

Book Two

Oh Stupid Heart

Coming Mid-September

Book One

Worst Week Ever

Amazon

Liza O’Connor

Author Bio:

Liza lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels. She loves to create interesting characters, set them loose, and scribe what happens.

 

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT

LIZA O’CONNOR &

SAVING CASEY:

Liza’s Blog and Website   Facebook   Twitter

                                   http://www.lizaoconnor.com/p/oh-stupid-heart.html

 Worst Week Ever Trailer

 

Other Books by Liza O’Connor

Saving Casey

Worst Week Ever

Coming Soon:

Oh Stupid Heart

Coming To Reason

Ghost Lover

Here are the Raftacopter info for the $25 Amazon Gift Card: http://www.lizaoconnor.com/p/oh-stupid-heart.html

 

 

 

 

 

What’s in your pocket?

What’s in your pocket? The Vikings on the Capital One credit card commercial will ask, their ‘pitch’ to us to make sure we have one. Right…

My question is to the writers – what’s in you head? Or more likely, who?

I had to write a short stint on how I came up with the idea for my debut novel. Interesting. Writers have different reasons, influences for their stories. A thought, a scene, a casual remark, whatever that gets us to stop, listen the voices inside our heads, which basically direct our hands on the keyboard.

Today, I’ll expose how I came up with the storyline for my Victorian novel, Great & Unfortunate Things. My agent at the time really likes stories set in England with lords and ladies and the hierarchy of English society. I’d just finished my Ancient Rome novel, not sure if I’d write the sequel right away so it was an opportune moment to suggest a novel. I wasn’t pulled back to Regency England but instead, a line from Sherlock Holmes where Robert Downey’s Holmes’ makes a comment about Watson’s service during the war in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan? In the 1800s? Hmmm…Yes, Watson was involved in the British Second Anglo-Afghan War, or The Great Game. Afghanistan was the battleground between Great Britain protecting her treasured India from the Russian Tsar who wanted to seize it. A game of espionage and intrigue prevailed and gave me matter for my story. My tortured hero, Tristan, was a soldier, a spy, in Afghanistan, forced to return home for a title he never wanted and as third son, shouldn’t have had to worry about getting.

The beginning of the story is the black moment, the defining set of circumstances that drive him through to the end. This is a dark Victorian romance with romantic suspense woven in. But how black can you go, right off the bat, and make the reader keep reading? Let me know & show me if you’ve set off one of your stories with an opening that would make a reader maybe not want more…

British Cavalry in Afghanistan c. 1870

British Cavalry in Afghanistan c. 1870

 

           

 

 Great & Unfortunate Things

 

 

Afghanistan, June 1868

The blade slid inside the skin with ease, like butter. Blood, deep red, seeped around the steel, spilling downward. The victim helped force the weapon into his own flesh but as the sword sliced through the skin and into the organs beneath, his hand dropped lazily. The muted gasp of pain, barely audible from the man kneeling before him, registered in the killer’s ears.

Tristan St. James stood, his hand on the hilt of the sword, every nerve inside him on fire. Appalled at what he had been forced to do, he fought against showing his anguish. If there was hell, it was here, on earth, right now in front of him. His vision blurred.

The man before him, Grifton Reynard, looked hard at him. As his robes turned crimson, he gagged and blood dripped from the corner of his mouth.

“Promise me you’ll take care of her,” he gritted out. “Promise me!”

“I promise. And I will find the bastard who did this,” Tristan hissed, his voice low and angry.

His friend gave a tense nod. He coughed, a rattling noise as he choked, blood spewing like a geyser from his mouth. It hit Tristan on his face, adding to the stream he bled from the face wound, and the front of his robes, staining the cream and maroon trimmed cotton. But it didn’t matter. He couldn’t move, his feet firmly glued to the hard dirt surface. Grifton fell backward, his body thudded against the ground, eyes opened but no longer seeing, his mouth askew, his lips and chin covered in his blood.

The sword fell free and hit the ground with a clank, as if it’d hit a rock.

His best friend, and his subordinate in this awful war of intrigue, lay dead before him. By Tristan’s hand. A pain, deep, gut wrenching and as violent as the act he’d just committed, seized his chest, strangling his heart. Swallowing hard, he shut his eyes for just a moment, an attempt to subdue the pain, to deaden it.

Unable to leave Grifton here, he bent and grabbed the man’s arms, yanked him up and threw him over his shoulder. The lifeless body hung like a sack of grain. Not that Tristan cared. No, his mind was assessing, reassessing and analyzing the material in his head. Like the cold-blooded killer they had made him, he narrowed the field of suspects who could orchestra this. Someone with everything to gain and more to lose if it failed.

No, he’d find out who had betrayed him and his men, the man responsible for their deaths – and kill him.

Our Wicked Bad Heros – What’s not to love?

The Wicked Bargain

 

Our heros. The men we spin our tales around – they’re tall, dark, handsome, rich in wit/money/clothes/etc. These men often find themselves needing a significant other, a girlfriend, fiancée, wife, but don’t know it on page 1. We know them, we love them and want them to succeed. Romance!

But how do you portray your hero and heroine? How real do you make them?

Romance stories are our escape from the real world. It is easy to fall for them basically because we know the equation: they find each other, deny it, fight against it, are torn from each other or separated some way, only to find they love each other, etc and live happily ever after. <sigh>

Many times, we as readers love the bad boy who realizes the error of his ways and must fight to win the love of heroine. But can we love a hero, despite his devilish looks and seductive ways, who is a male courtesan in Regency England? A damaged hero who finds himself unworthy of love? And to survive, he turns to the only ‘profession’ that can earn him the finances to live? To throw another wrench into the works, what if he must continue his “profession” after he’s met the heroine? Is he still likeable? I argue this type of man, this hero, is because it is the realities of life that force him into this lifestyle. It is the character development of him, his change that make us read, hoping for his success. Or can he redeem himself enough for the heroine to love him?

In a setting where seduction is the key to salvation, let me introduce you to Evan Warth, Marquis of Wrenworth  –

The Wicked Bargain (TBR June 2014)

England c 1815

Ethan pulled the emerald out of his top dresser drawer and held it carefully. The tear-drop stone glittered in the firelight but it was cold to his fingers. His other hand pulled the metal cuff it had been attached to those years ago.  The dark heavy ankle band weighed slightly above one pound, a lighter version of the one that he wore initially, weighing over twice the poundage.  The dark metal was smooth and its edges were rounded with a loop at one end, where the emerald stone hung.

Staring at the objects, his mind tumbled over the turn of events. He should have followed through and made the girl leave. This place was not for a good and pure. Sin poured out of the woodwork and corrupted the soul. Whatever persuaded him to relent? The answer angered him. She did. Those tears and her obvious terror tugged at some hidden part of him, compassion maybe? He’d laugh if that wasn’t so ironic. His compassion died tragically years ago in the sands…No, she ran from something. Or someone. He saw the fear in her eyes. But for her to remain ….

Toying with the emerald, his mind returned to her at a more base level. She was rather plain looking. Oh, her blonde hair was attractive, her sapphire blue eyes vivid but she was too thin, her face angular and gaunt, sickly pale and, well, common. Her legs, hidden underneath that hideous gown, must be long, he gathered, from her height, hopefully long enough to wrap around a man’s waist. No doubt her body lacked the padded curves to entice a man, her breasts, if there were any hidden behind the bodice, probably absent any flesh to hold. He grunted in disgust. It would take a lot of work to make her into one of his ladies.

What was he thinking? She was way too innocent and terrified in demeanor – obviously a sign she was not meant to fill the vacancies in his income. Besides, Edith sent her to him for her protection. He scoffed. As if that wasn’t a jest… Why did Edith send her to a male courtesan to present her to Society? And with no dowry to support her on the marriage mart, exactly what was he to do? Make her one of them, for a wealthy protector?

The feel of the anklet and jewel let his mind wandered beyond the problem of Arabella. Back to a time and place that was hard and demanding, a time of survival at all costs, even at the condemnation one’s soul.  Of a beautiful woman who owned his existence at the flip of her hand and of a life destroyed by his own deed… Oh, Zahrah….

“What are you doing?” Elizabeth stood in the doorway, watching him.

“Yes, Elizabeth, how may I help you?” He rolled his eyes. How did she always seem to know when melancholy of days past arrived?

“You met her?”

He dropped the anklet and emerald back into the drawer and closed it.

“Yes.” He walked to his washstand and pulled his cravat off the towel rack. Looking into the mirror above to tie it, his hands fumbled. He so hated the damn thing…

With a frustrated sound, she walked to him, turned him to face her and snatched the tie’s ends. “And what do you think, my luv?” she asked, quickly manipulating the fabric into the latest knot and fluffed the ends appropriately.

“She has potential,” he commented drily. “If she were amenable, she could earn quite a fortune.”

“Yes, probably enough to finish your debts and rebuild your estate,” she concluded with a smile.

He stepped away from her, anger building within him. Gazing out his window at the mews behind the house, his horse waited for him. He’d jump on his back and escape everything. He refocused. “You put her in that room last night.”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“She needed a place to sleep, Ethan.” She came up behind him. “I couldn’t turn her out.”

“But you didn’t tell her what type of house this is, did you?” The question was cold, flat and blatant. He knew what her answer would be and it only made the girl more damaged.

“No, luv,” was her cool reply.

He shut his eyes, feeling the walls close in on him. “I followed your advice. I went out, arranged new interest for the girls, even a new contract for myself.”

“Fabulous!”

“So I had thought,” he turned to her, his voice tense. “I had company, Elizabeth. I didn’t know I had to worry about the next room.”

“Ah, so she came to see,” she surmised, but the grin on her face showed she wasn’t the least bit perturbed at his anger. She laughed. “I fail to see why you are so upset. Being watched isn’t new to you.”

“That’s not the point,” he argued. She never saw this from the perspective of a woman client. Jane might have turned furious and demanded a refund. He could not afford that. “It might have caused problems with the lady I was with, who thankfully, didn’t appear to notice.”

“See, you haven’t lost your touch,” she smiled.

He threw his head back. “Elizabeth, ladies do not come here looking for ordinary work and find I only employ high priced courtesans. But you let her stay and if she stays much longer, she may have no choice in the matter but to become one herself. Her reputation may already be beyond any repair.”

“I’m sure you can help her,” she said soothingly, her hands back on his shoulders as she reached up behind him and kissed the side of his neck, her hands stroking down his back and over his hips. She tried to deflect his anger. “Come, my luv, let us have one last time before I am committed to Clemson.”

He turned towards her, took her hands off him and forced her to take a step back.

“I think not, sweetling,” he said quietly, kissing her hands lightly.

She sighed. “You never seem to desire me any longer, luv.”

He looked into her eyes. “It is not that, my dear,” he commented quietly. “I just won’t because you’ve already signed the papers.”

“It has been years and I can’t help but worry.”
“Do not be upset,” he said. “I can’t.”

“You know, Zahrah’s no longer around. You won’t be “caught”. You’ve been freed now for two years.”

His smile disappeared, feeling his past lash out at him but he smothered it. “I know. Come. We have dinner with our new doctor.”

***So just how wicked are your heros??

The American Civil War – Is Love Dead?

civil war photo: Civil War era civil-war_Picture3.jpg

As a historian, writing historical fiction and romance is fantastic! To agents and editors, it can be a problem. I’m drawn to the past, to Rome, to England during the Regency, to Victorian England in the late 19th century and to the American Civil War. I’ve been told I write in too many eras, that I need one and to stay there.

Nah…<shaking head>

I’ve been discussing pirates and vampires in 1800 England and last week, a journey back further to the times of gladiators in Ancient Rome. Today, I’ll take you to another era I love – The Civil War

150 years ago, this nation was nightmare, wrapped in the claws of the American Civil War. Officially, the War is called The War of the Rebellion. Unofficially, it has a slew of names – Civil War, War of Northern Aggression, War for Southern Independence, War for the Union and many more. Regardless of its title, this conflict is the pivotal point of American History. It defined us as a nation. Point being, we were a new country, a republic in a time where the “civilized world” was still run by monarchies, ie Western Europe, and the all hoped we failed to survive this calamity.

Lincoln understood this concept but it was intangible idea to the American public. We all know this is a War of friends against friends and brother fight brother.

Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind, John Jakes North & South and the movie Cold Mountain have drawn attention of the turmoil but none of these are romances by any means. There is no happy-ever-after. Romance during the War is dead.

Selling a story of the American Civil War is hard. They say nothing new can be done and no body is interested. They also claim Regency is dying and the vampire thrill is gone. Ha! But I believe stories of that are so deep, so mind-bending – the tension, the drama, all the emotions – that there still is the fertile ground to write about and readers who will embrace them.

Therefore, let me introduce you to the opening of my upcoming Civil War novel, The Wicked North and so you how romance during the War of the Rebellion lived on!

The Wicked North

Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can, and strike him as hard as you can. And keep moving on!

General U.S. Grant

Virginia, June 1862

Emma Silvers was not afraid to shoot Yankees.

She leveled the .57 caliber Enfield rifle toward the line of blue coats standing before her porch at Rose Hill that evening. She counted ten men, fully-armed and wielding torches. They reeked of wet wool, sweat and gun powder – a noxious mixture with the pink roses surrounding the house. Bile rose in her throat. She swallowed hard.

The officer took a step forward. In the dim light, she couldn’t discern his face though she saw him flinch as she pointed the muzzle at him.

“I want you off my land now,” she demanded, her voice remarkably even despite her pounding heart. At twenty two years and virtually alone, she knew one able-bodied man could easily overwhelm her. With no able men and few slaves remaining, she only had bravado left.

“Now, ma’am,” the Union officer began. He spoke like a gentleman but dressed in blue, he was a farce as far as she was concerned.

Jeremiah, just behind her right shoulder, cocked the hammer on his rifle- a welcomed noise to her ears. Good boy, Emma thought. If the Yankees didn’t believe she was a threat, she hoped the armed slave boy next to her got the message across. She wasn’t allowing any soldiers on her property again.

The rifle felt heavier by the minute, making her muscles ache and she feared she’d drop it. The weapon was foreign to her hands but as the war raged closer to her home, she learned to use it. She wasn’t very good at it but as close as the Yankees were, she was bound to hit one of them. She didn’t want to pull the trigger. The gun’s recoil would knock her off her feet, throwing her aim off. With so few bullets left, she’d hate to lose the shot.

The light streamed out of the open front door across the officer as he stepped onto the porch. She saw his face and the nose of the gun slipped. Jack Fontaine, that good-for-nothing traitor. How dare he come here, especially after what happened last summer. Rage took control and gave her the added strength to pull the muzzle up to his chest as she cocked the trigger.

“Emma, please,” he said softly. He looked at her the same way he had that night months ago, his green eyes glowed like emeralds in the light. She remembered those eyes, those mesmerizing emerald eyes. They were all hers the night she had lost her heart to him. The night he had betrayed her. Her anger flared. No. Not this time. Not again, she vowed. Gritting her teeth, Emma narrowed her gaze.

“Get away from me, Jack, or I swear to God, I’ll blow a hole through you and send you straight to hell!”

Inside the house, a scream of a babe wailed. Emma instinctively turned. Jack reached for her and she panicked, squeezing the trigger. The rifle exploded, throwing her backwards, pain shot into her shoulder. But instead of hitting the floor, she found herself in Jack’s arms as they wrapped around her, shielding her back from the impact on the wood floor.

The patrol stormed onto the porch, past them and into the house. Lying in his embrace, his body a shield over hers as his troops marched past them, Emma couldn’t breathe. Her eyes wide open. She felt the heat of him around her. The scent of him invaded her senses. Warm, masculine, and spice rolled up into one. She fought the heat in her belly but it was hard as his eyes locked onto hers and his lips only inches away.

She closed her eyes. Behind her, the wailing continued and she heard the thud of soldier boots inside. Her jaw tightened as she opened her eyes and glared at him. “Get off me, Jack.”

******

What times have you heard of as dead but you still write of and why? Share a 250 word section for us.

Available now:

Her Eternal Rogue – AmazonBarnes & Noble, iTunes

Dr. Who…where shall we go today?

So here we have a sculpture by a sculptor of a sculptor making a sculpture based on a painting....   Ever feel like you were born in the wrong time? If so, when in the fabric of history do you fit? Writers can “travel back in time” to weave a story in an era we like.

If you had the chance, where would you land?

As a historian, I have the luxury of loving different periods and the ability to research them, making my stories take the reader back to that era, to taste, smell and hear what it was like to be alive back then. Over the years, many romance novels I read were Regency – the period of dukes and their ladies with all the rituals of the ton. My debut release, Her Eternal Rogue, is a Regency. But today, I’d like to introduce you to another period I love – Ancient Rome.

The Starz series Spartacus and the movie The Gladiator helped fuel my fascination with the Roman Empire. The center of civilization for hundreds of years was Rome and her spreading empire that reached as far north as Great Britain as well as south to northern Africa, covering the bulk of Europe. One of the remaining relics still standing today of that period is the Colosseum in Rome, home of the gladiatorial games. Researching the over 500 years of Roman rule lead to the making of my release set for next April 2014 – Love & Vengeance,  the first in The Gladiatorial Series – a tale of a Roman, sentenced to die as a gladiator, who lives to become champion of the games, tormented by his past, and the woman who saves him.

So come into my world of gladiators and then tell me of which period you like and share a piece with me (500 words max).

Love & Vengeance (excerpt):                              

Rome 108 CE

A menacing growl followed by an earth-shattering scream bellowed above the rafters. The roar of the crowd snapped her back out of the numbness. The applause echoed through the chambers as particles of sand rained through the wood slats in the ceiling.

She was filthy, covered in sweat, blood and grime. What damage could more dirt do? Toes on the dirt floor wiggled as she stared at them. Her hair hung around her face like a curtain, matted with dried blood. Inadvertently, she lifted her hand to tuck one side behind her ear but jerked to a halt, restrained by the iron cuffs around her wrists, bound together with a chain. The same chain connected to the metal collar around her neck. How had she forgotten its weight resting so heavy on her shoulders?

Another scream and the sound of flesh ripping, laughter and clapping became louder above. Fear snaked down her spine and she shuddered.

Gustina sat on the stone ledge, chained with the other miscreants, waiting to be forced up the ramp to the carnage above. If she could just return to the numbness again, where nothing mattered any more. The place she’d escaped to before she’d heard the animals attacking the condemned out there. But she couldn’t silence the roar of the crowds, enjoying the executions as their noontime entertainment. Trembling, she pulled her sluggish legs up, wrapping her joined hands over them, to hold herself as she buried her face in her knees.

***

In the hallway outside the chamber, Marcus stood, flexing his muscles, his arm extended with the metal disk in his hand. It equaled the weight of his sword – a weapon he would not have until it was his turn in the arena. Besides, there was no room in the corridor to swing it, to loosen his arms in preparations for the next fight.

Christians and convicts. What a surly lot. But it was an easy way to feed the vast array of beasts the Empire kept to compete in the games. Did he ever feel sad for the poor souls about to perish by their claws? No. Nor did he mourn the loss of life at the end of his sword.

He was one of the rare attractions people paid to see. He was gladiator. And he soon would be victor of all he opposed on the sands. Marcus’ victories gave him the privileges and money he wanted – as long as it remained wine and women. But not his freedom. Not what he had lost to the Romans. No, the only way to gain that came by victory in the arena and in front of the Emperor. And to earn that opportunity, he’d kill whomever they placed before him.

He closed his eyes as the screams filtered downward. His soul heard them and his body tingled with the smell of blood and dirt. Breathing in the welcoming atmosphere, he exhaled and opened his lids to look straight into the captives’ chamber.

He found her. Sitting, hunched on the small ledge, draped in chain and metal bands, her head down. But when she looked up, through all the muck and grime, her pale blue eyes shined, sparkling and bright. Her unmarred face was a rarity amongst captives dragged to this place, usually after rough treatment prior. He noticed her high cheekbones, a small nose, narrow chin but ripe mouth. Her eyes locked on him and his mouth went dry. When her tongue licked her lips, his body tightened.

He had to have her. Period. Regardless if she was a convict, runaway or Christian, he wanted her.

A guard butted past him, into the room and yanked the chain, pulling all the captives up. Many moaned, some pleaded. She didn’t. She stood straight, pushing her shoulders back, waiting at the end of the line. Her eyes locked on his until the guard turned chain in hand to lead them out.

Marcus stepped back. Instantly, his hand went to his stomach guard and pulled the narrowed pick-knife out of its hidden sheath. As the captives stumbled past him, he extended his foot, causing her to trip. She fell into his grasp. His free hand placed the knife into the lock and with a twist, it opened. His hand covered it to deaden the noise as his other arm encircled her tiny waist and pulled her against him.

“Not a sound,” he whispered. He shoved her to the wall, his massive body hiding hers as he flexed his limbs. The guard stopped at the sound of the loose chain but didn’t look far when he saw the gladiator’s well-muscled body. Marcus glanced at him over his shoulder and gave the man a nod. His status as a victorious gladiator allowed some privilege. The guard shrugged and moved on. The frightened woman gasped for air and shook with fear.

Quickly he lifted her. She was light, lighter than his sword but he knew that couldn’t be. In a swift move, he turned. Next to the doorway sat a covered alcove. He dropped her in it.

“You’ll be safe here.” He looked her over. Her wide eyes, full of fear and mistrust, returned his gaze but she said nothing. He heard the gong of his master calling him – he fought next, after the final execution. “Remain here. I will be back for you.” He touched her cheek, his bulky hand swallowed half her face. Her skin was soft, like silk. Back in the days when he wore silk… He banked the anger. With a final nod to her, he left. He knew she’d be there when he returned.

To leave meant death.

 

To be released April 2014

 

There be pirates ahead!!

Pirate ship

Oh, to be a pirate captain…

Captain Jack Sparrow had a ship – until it was taken. Captain, no Admiral, Barbossa had a ship and a rather large cabin with the crew sleeping on the lower decks. Pirate captains were lords of their ships, in control forever….

But were they?

In research for Her Eternal Rogue, I found interesting facts about pirates and their command structure. In many respects, they were the most democratic criminals on the seas.

Their ships – pirate ships may have started with the ships we view in Pirates of the Caribbean. The ships mostly were ‘taken’ on raids. One of the better places to steal them was off the African coast during the slave trade era. If pirates stole a slave ship, if it had natives bound for the slavery, they might release them but many sold them or allowed them to “take account” and become a fellow pirate.

The tall, stately ships like merchants or the British Navy used, could be taken. But once in pirate hands, the ships themselves were modified – they ‘flattened’ the top deck so no one was higher’ above the rest and left more open for maneuvers. The captain could take the largest cabin but it wasn’t just his alone most of the time. No one claimed one cabin as theirs alone – they often shared. The lower decks were opened to store more swag and bounties. Many pirates, after a successful raid, once on land, sold their wares and used the money on rum and women. The majority spent all their riches at once and thus had to go back to sea to raid another ship or coastal town.

If pirates stole a slave ship, if it had natives bound for the slavery, they might release them but many sold them or allowed them to “take account” and become a fellow pirate. The slave ship’s crew were either shipwrecked with no supplies, or allowed to become a pirate. The crew’s attitudes about their captain, if he was despised, the pirates had been known to help the man seek his redemption – by death.

In the world of piracy, a man – or woman – race held no meaning to rank. Anyone with the nerve, guts and fortitude, could be a pirate and perhaps rise through the ranks. As to status of captain, that role was taken by whoever could win the title. And it wasn’t a secure position. To be captain, you had to have the skills to lead, the ability to keep the peace of your crew, keep your crew (as pirates were not committed to a specific captain or ship – they went wherever they could make the large amounts of money).

In Her Eternal Rogue, Alexander remains captain because he is a vampire and his crew follows him, even though they fear him, due to his vampiric strength which aids them on successful raids.

 

From Her Eternal Rogue – Aboard The Lily….

 

“So,” the Scotsman began. “When will ye tell the lassie she’s gonnae home?”

Alexander looked at him hard and poured himself another glass. “I’ll not be goin’ close to any British port with a damaged ship…”

“Ach, I see,” the Scotsman speculated. “So, you thinkin’ about keepin’ her fer yerself, then?”

“No,” Alexander answered too quickly, downing a gulp. An absurd thought, he knew, but so tempting.

“Well,” Ian continued. “Wi’ her stayin’ here, that’ll leave many tae believe we’re cursed wi’ a woman onboard and no charges lifted.”

Alexander laughed. Cursed by having a woman onboard? He’d tell them about curses…

“Fine, put her in the aft cabin till we’re through with…”

“Capt’n, ye cannae be placin’ her there,” Ian scolded, sounding like a father reprimanding his son. “Be pirates on this ship, sair, and puttin’ her there is more or less tellin’ the boys she’s fer sharin’.”

“What would you have me do?” Alexander barked. When Ian didn’t respond, Alexander downed another gulp. “Keep her where she is?”

“Aye.”

“Fine, then I’ll sleep in the aft cabin.”

“Capt’n,” Ian said quietly. “Ye cannae be doin’ that either.”

Alexander glared at the glass in front of him. Damn, the man was right. Pirate ships had no assigned quarters. Sleeping areas were open to all. But on The Lily, Alexander’s curse and the pirates’ fear of it, enabled him to claim the larger cabin exclusively. But he was furious at having to house the English aristocrat there. Too far below her station when he’d lived in England, he would have been denied access to her but here… He shook his head. He and his crew had a reward for her safe return, and he had to remember that. Ah yes, the reward. A clean slate—for the moment. A few months with no law in pursuit, leaving them open to rob whomever they wanted. A laugh but one both sides held for the British navy remained heavily occupied across the ocean with the French, too busy to chase every pirate on the seas.

Sharing quarters with her, being so close to her, was too dangerous for them both. Her body was designed to entice any man to wanton desires. A temptation he couldn’t ignore since he’d kissed her the first time he saw her. Truly decadent on his part, but piracy did allow deviations to any plan. He’d wanted to kiss those ruby lips, to invade her mouth and, as he’d plunged his tongue into her, she’d tasted sweet, like strawberries and cream. Everything about her made him want to bury himself deep inside her. He downed another mouthful of rum. He feared if he was alone with her for too long, he’d lose all his control. He’d never love her. The idea of him ever loving a woman had been squashed that night years ago. But lust remained…

No, he thought, she had to go and soon.

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Vampires & Pirates, Oh My!!! Reality – Vampires

Being a historian by education and career, when I started Alexander and Lavinia’s journey, on top of trying to conquer the vastness of the English Empire, c. 1800, I researched vampires. The results of my findings are in the plot to Her Eternal Rogue.

Interesting how the vampire myth expanded during Middle Ages when the Black Plague rampaged through Western Europe. The “evil” Black Death, a disease spread quickly, decimating families and towns quickly.  They often buried the dead in large hastily dug pits and covered the stench with lime and dirt. One night, in Italy, gravediggers found a woman’s body partially exposed, bloated and its mouth wide open with blood stains. Afraid, the workers thought the body came a live at night and fed on the blood of the townspeople and that’s why they were ill and dying. So the diggers shoved a piece of wood in the body’s mouth and decided that’d keep her here – hence the killing vampires with wood began.

Bram Stoker wrote most of the framework vampires have been constructed under for numbers decades. Vampires were awake only at night, their bodies cold, fed on human blood to the point of the victim’s death, couldn’t see their reflection in a mirror, were pale and cold. Lately, a couple stories have broken the rules-  in Twilight they sparkled like diamonds so they hid in cloudy Seattle. The Vampire Diaries, Damon and Stefan wear magical rings to keep them from burning in the sun. True Blood, if they drink enough fairy blood, they can step out into the sun but only briefly before they burn.

Originally, the fear was vampires looked like normal people – alive and well – until they attacked and killed you by sucking your blood.

It is these earlier stories that I relied on constructing Alexander and his maker, Tierre. What else can a historian do?

Below is an excerpt when Alexander confesses Lavinia. Enjoy! And then join me and  post an excerpt from your novel or wip that pushes the norm to the limit of established “fact”!

 

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The truth is exposed –

 

She looked at him quizzically. The warmth of the rum spread through her body as he held her, clearing away the last remnants of shock. She realized his embrace, though comforting, even soothing, was not warm but cool. Strangely refreshing in the humid Caribbean heat. But cool also meant he had no body heat of his own. Like death. Her eyes widened.

“I don’t understand.” She disentangled herself from his arms to stand. “You seem so much alive….”

His eyes changed to flat and distant.

“Aren’t vampires,” she swallowed, “dead?”

He looked at her and slowly nodded.

“You’re dead? But you don’t look dead,” she continued, trying to convince herself that this was all a bad dream. “You have color from the sun, and I’ve felt your warmth—”

“My skin was darkened by the sun before I died.” He shrugged. “You remain how you appeared when you breathed your last. I feel warm after I’ve had…” He paused for a long moment. “…fresh blood.”

Blood. An image came clear in her mind. Her hand flew to her neck where she had seen the slight purplish mark. “You bit me!”

He looked at her without emotion, though she caught a flicker of something passing across his eyes. Guilt? He said nothing.

“How could you? You could have killed me.” The accusation was laced with incredulity and anger, and he flinched.

“But I didn’t,” he countered. His face turned stern. “I’ve been fighting it ever since I saw you. The scent… I picked you out instantly. I wanted you badly. The scent of your blood brought me to you.”

He got up and stepped toward her. Pain shone in his eyes. She had nowhere go as he stood before her and tipped her chin up.

“I’ve wanted you,” he whispered. “Not just your blood. I. Wanted. You.”

She gulped, desperate to believe. Inside, she fought the desire for him with fear. How could she want and fear him at the same time. She blinked and stepped to the side.

“I’ve heard stories. Vampires feed on blood, walk at night, can’t be around religious items.” She peered at the crucifix on the wall then back at his cross earbob. “They can’t eat and look hideous.” Her gaze caressed him, though she tried in vain to make it more accusatory.

“Most of the tales are lies,” he stated flatly. “Who started those stories, do you suppose?” He blinked and gave her a pleading look. “Vampires. How do you get your victims to feel safe around you? Not to destroy you? You tell them to look for something other than what you are.”

“And your scars…”

“Prior to my change.”

She collapsed to the floor, holding her head in her hands as it spun. Vampires didn’t exist. They were children’s stories, not  real. But before was a man who obviously was one from what she witnessed earlier. Her heart thudded painfully in her breast. Tears streamed down her face as the past few hours hit full force. She was engaged to her childhood sweetheart, a perfect marriage and life waiting for her back home in England. Only to give her heart and herself to this man. This pirate. A vampire, the undead, a demon who could drink her blood at will. Who already had. She felt hurt. Violated. Defiled.

He reached down and pulled her up. Though her vision blurred, she thought she saw pain clearly on his face. His grip wasn’t hard, but she couldn’t find the will to leave. Then he reached for her face, held it gently as he bent closer. She closed her eyes. Stopped breathing. He kissed her. A soft kiss that deepened slowly. The passion overwhelmed her fear, It was far easier to allow it in—at this moment. With a little hesitation, she encircled his neck, and his arms embraced her against him, as if she’d disappear. She was his. They both knew it. Eternity be damned.

He kissed her deeply, long and passionately. It was the touch that broke through her defenses. Scooping her up, he spun and brought her to the bed. Sliding next to her, he looked into her eyes, both silently questioning her and letting her see his longing. Her heart raced from his caresses. At this moment, she lost her will. She gave herself. He grinned as if he could read her mind and kissed her again.

Alexander’s stiff manhood pushed against the fabric of his breeches. She reached between them and unbuttoned his pants. Caressing his arousal, she stroked him down to his balls, squeezing them lightly, then back up to the head, encircling the ridge as she rubbed the slit.

He moaned and pulled at her skirt, raising it to expose her legs. His hand traced over her hip to the apex of her thighs, and let one finger slid into her. Though her lips never left his, she met each thrust with her hips. The primal dance of lovers intensified, increasing in speed. He plunged into her, claimed her and she desired to claim him too as she reached up to greet him. She arched her back, lowering her hips to allow him deeper access until he touched her womb with each movement. She saw the look of joy on his face when he released, as her world shattered in pieces around her.

She caught the amazement in his eyes as he watched her. It made her smile, for it made her feel the same way. She breathed deeply, closing her lids, overwhelmed with emotions. Peace, love, completeness and danger. He was a vampire. Slowly opening them, she dampened that thought and looked at him. He was still inside her, and she felt him move slightly. All this was so real, how could he be dead?

It took a moment before she realized he was silent – smiling but silent. Glaring at him, she punched his chest. “How dare you at least not pretend to be out of breath!”

Laughing, he fell next to her.

“Don’t you laugh at me!” She struck his bare chest again.

“Sorry,” he said between guffaws. He grabbed her wrist before she struck him a second time and pulled her on top of him.

“I will never hurt you,” he whispered. “I promise you.”

She squinted. “And no more biting me?”

He was quiet for a moment. “That’ll be more difficult. You do taste exquisite.”

“Ahh! How dare you!” She tried to hit him again, but his laughter continued. Turning her head slightly, she queried, “Really?”

“Yes, ma chère.” He kissed her. “But I will try…”

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Debut Author: Georgia Lyn Hunter & Absolute Surrender

Today I step away from historical by a story that pulled me in on angels and demons & this angel is HOT! Aethan!!! Love this story so I’m super excited to have here the great lady who introduced me to this fantastic story! Please help me welcome Georgia Lyn Hunter, author of her debut novel, Absolute Surrender.

GD: Hi Georgia, it’s a fabulous to have you here. We know you must be extremely busy after your release with interviews and such, but we’re dying to hear a bit more about you. Tell us about yourself and your writing—anything.

GLH: Thanks Gina. It’s always real pleasure to spend time with you.

I like solitude and am bit of an introvert, have been since childhood. I feel awkward, clumsy in a crowd, so I’m far happier with a book or writing. For the past nine years, I’ve lived in the Middle East with my family.

My writing day usually begins after my hubby and son have left for the day. I write until lunchtime, then break to be with my family who gets back home from work and school. In the evenings, I write/ edit or critique depending on what’s urgent. Friday is my off day to spend with my family. (Friday is weekend for us in this part of the world, incase you’re wondering. 🙂

GD: besides paranormal romances, did you ever think of straying outside your genre?

GLH: Yes, constantly. I have a YA that I’m in the stages of planning stages. It’s set in the futuristic world with elements of magical realism or something…hmmn, will see. Wrote three chapters already, loving the turns it’s taking 🙂  But have to put that on hold for a bit.

GD: Do you plot or just write from the seat of your pants, so to speak?

GLH: I always thought I was a panster, and realized I had no stopping point. Yup, I could beat the phone book in page count then. Now, I just go with an idea for 3 to 4 chapters, then I stop and plot out the rest. Just bare bones, because my characters more times then most, take over. It usually takes me on a different path then what I set out to do and I love when that happens. But more important, I have a stopping point.

GD: Is there any tips or tricks for world building you’d care to share?

GLH: it’s difficult to give actual steps. Research and more research. I searched the web, knew I wanted to write something different. I found the word: Empyreal, yep you guessed it, from there my Empyrean’s and the realm of Empyrea was born.

Everything just snowballed from there—though I hasten to point out, only glimpses of Empyrea are revealed in this book. In my next book you get to understand that world a lot more.

GD: What kind of heroes and heroines do you like to write?

GLH: Strong, alpha heroes, stubborn to the core, who think they need no one until the heroines come along and knock them on their gorgeous asses.

And heroines, sassy or shy but grow as the story progress, stand up for themselves and fight for what they believe in.

GD: How did you get your inspiration for this world and characters of your current  Fallen Guardian series?

GLH: My inspiration came from an idea. What would an immortal warrior who spends eternity alone, only to find his mortal mate as she lay dying. I needed more, a search through the web on demonology, angelology and mythology, and the word empyreal grabbed my attention.

And that’s how I got my world. But it wasn’t smooth sailing, many write and rewrites and finally the world I wanted emerged. I hasten to add, little is revealed in Absolute Surrender since its set in urban New York. But more is revealed in my next book, Darkness Undone.

I love the angel/ demon themes but didn’t want to write about angels as we know them. The word empyreal is what triggered my imagination and my Empyrean race was born. Created by another powerful Being to shape the perfection of the celestial angels, except nothing can be perfect and flaws will find a way.

GD: Do you name your muse?

GLH: Yes. Dammit! Followed by, Where the hell are you?

GD: I like that. J Now, if you had one paranormal ability what would that be?

GLH: To change the weather, to be Storm. Then I’ll create a weather phenomenon and make it snow in the Middle East 🙂

GD: So tell me, if you hadn’t become a writer, what do you think you would be doing right now?

GLH: Reading and playing games on Facebook.

GD: LOL. Seriously? Way too funny. Your muse would have struck you with white lightning! What’s up for you next?

GLH: My next book out will be another paranormal romance: Darkness Undone. It has an even darker hero with ties to the hero of Absolute Surrender. Working on revisions on my third book, and started writing my next FG (Fallen Guardian) book.

GD: Finally, the moment we’ve been waiting for. Tell us about Absolute Surrender.

GLH: here’s the blurb.

Born in the flames of Heaven’s wrath, he’s all things sinful…and too dangerous to love.

An immortal guardian, Aethan’s walked alone for millennia, trapped in a hell of his own, until a feisty mortal crosses his path—a female he shouldn’t even look at, one who shakes the precarious foundations of all that he is—and one who’s determined to walk the edge of danger.

All her life, Echo Carter wanted “normal,” an impossible feat given that she can see demons. Now she’s determined to hunt down the demonii responsible for the death of her friend—and no man, no matter how sexy, will stop her—until she discovers a horrifying truth about herself, forcing her to turn to Aethan. But when two stubborn wills collide, a dangerous passion ignites…

As evil closes in, will this warrior overcome his darkest fears and claim her as his—or lose her to a far more sinister fate.

GD: Ah, darling Aethan…. But I digress. Apologies. Except for your family, is there one thing you can’t live without?

GLH: My laptop. My fictional families live in there.

GD: Favorite, non-alcoholic drink?

GLH: Ginger ale…see? Can’t stay away from the alcohol.

Thanks all for now folks. Here’s where you can find Georgia Lyn:

Links: website: http://georgialynhunter.com/

Author’s facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GeorgiaLynHunter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GeorgialynH

And here you can get a copy of her book:

Black Opal Books: http://bookstore.blackopalbooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=14&products_id=59

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Absolute-Surrender-ebook/dp/B00BYH1KUC/ref=sr_1_16?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1363940783&sr=1-16&keywords=absolute+surrender

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Absolute-Surrender/book-SlpP8XUcr0SSubup9G_YgA/page1.html?s=FoLIYm0pIkKUBCSnZV0BXw&r=1

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-absolutesurrender-1146891-144.html

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/absolute-surrender-gerogia-lyn-hunter/1114883359?ean=2940016359496

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/297284