#FiveOnFriday with Elizabeth St. Michel

Please say hi to Elizabeth St. Michel! She has a brand new series to introduce to us today that I can’t wait to read!

FIVE THINGS ABOUT SWEET VENGEANCE
DUKE OF RUTLAND SERIES BOOK I:

HISTORY: My love of history, particularly the American Revolution is detailed in Sweet Vengeance, spanning from the shores of England across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and on to Boston. Privateering was a must for American Colonists to interrupt the trade of England, a powerful country at that time that possessed a larger and formidable Navy.

The lovely island of Martinique in the Caribbean was a French stronghold during the revolution and furnished a necessary port for Colonial privateers to leave off their contraband and resupply the Colonies with guns and munitions.

The Bahamas, lying off the Southeastern coast of Florida is an archipelago or collection of islands known as the West Indies. The island of New Providence in 1778 held a population of a thousand people. As a British Colony, it boasted a well-protected harbor that served as a convenient and favorite rendezvous place for British naval vessels and functioning as the chief British Naval station on the American coast.

During the American Revolution, Fort Nassau was taken by a dashing and daring force led by Captain John Trevett of the Colonial Marines and Captain John Rathburn of the Colonial Navy. One can imagine the dismay of sleepy townspeople when they awakened in the morning to discover the scarlet flag of England replaced by the little-known stars and bars of the United States.

LISTENING: To write strong characters you have to be a strong listener. You must know them down to their toes, listening to their complaints, joys, sorrows and dreams. Silence and thinking allows the creative faucet to flow. Often when I’m writing, I totally tune out of this world. I hear the waves lapping on a beach, the wind rustling through palm trees and the voices of my characters whispering their secrets. Listening builds deep characters, making us care about what happens to them.

LAUGHTER: I do love to laugh and intertwine my novels with humor. I have a special contract with my readers, presenting dialogue and foils of the story’s characters to make them laugh. Below is an excerpt of Sweet Vengeance. Lady Abigail, disguised as a cabin boy has to sew up Captain Thorne’s wound and he has just insulted her.

“Ouch! Take it easy. Do you know how exasperating you are?” He glared at her, and then after a long stretched out moment, his lean cheeks flexed. “A thought has crossed my mind.”

Abby froze mid-stroke. “That must have been a long and lonely journey.”

“I think you’ve had experience at this.”

Abby shrugged indifferently. So he would rather boil in oil! Piqued she thought of a million other tortures. “If you count the time I watched a donkey’s rear being sewed up after a mare took a chunk out of him.”

Thorne bellowed with laughter. “I hope you are not comparing me to a donkey’s rear.”

“Quit moving. I can’t stitch someone who’s so intent on braying. If you must know, I have complete respect for you, Captain. I would never compare you to a donkey’s rear.”

FAMILY: I love to emphasize family personalities and loyalties since family dynamics introduces an area that touches a cord with everyone. Sweet Vengeance and following sequels focus on the powerful Duke of Rutland and his four strong-willed offspring. From unseen enemies and in one catastrophic night, the fortunes of the family are changed forever. Sweet Vengeance details the journey of Lady Abigail Rutland, the only daughter and her father’s favorite.

LOVE:  What is most important, is creating a hero and heroine who are pure of heart, strong of character, and who give and sacrifice. Of course, they must get over their baggage first. No doubt they are dragged through the bowels of hell but they come up fighting because they are made for each other. Oh, how I love happy endings!

And that was when he did the unthinkable.

He kissed her and none too gently, not like the chaste kiss some fop had once bestowed on her. No, the Vicar kissed her hard, as a lover would, crushing his mouth down on hers¾and instinctively, she parted her lips. She moaned with the taste of him, felt the kiss deepening in ways she’d only been able to imagine before that moment.

That terrible, magnificent, soul-shattering moment.

Sweet Vengeance

Some say life is a grand adventure—but for Lady Abigail Rutland, it’s a tremendous bore. As a woman of noble birth in eighteenth-century England, she is expected to keep quiet and marry well, but she longs for so much more.

“Be careful what you wish for,” the old saying goes. After a chaotic night, she wakes up in the hold of a former slaver with her body bound and her hair shorn. She is soon “rescued” by an American privateer, who assumes she is a cabin boy and puts her to work. Eager for adventure, Abigail maintains her disguise despite a budding attraction to the infamous Captain Jacob Thorne. Meanwhile, Captain Thorne schemes to spring his kin from a British prison.

What follows is a thrilling tale that tosses and churns with the high seas. Set during the height of the American Revolution, Sweet Vengeance contains accurate historical details that enrich and complicate the story. Abigail yearns for danger and excitement, and it isn’t long before she discovers that the most urgent peril comes from within her own wild heart.

About The Author

Elizabeth St. Michel is the author of The Winds of Fate, which reached number one on the Amazon bestseller lists. Her second novel, Surrender the Wind, garnered several awards, including the National RONE Award and the Holt Medallion in honor of literary excellence in romance writing.

St. Michel divides her time between New York and the Bahamas.

LINKS:

Website: http://www.elizabethstmichel.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006792437760

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-St.-Michel/e/B00NZICTDA/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_5?qid=1504490915&sr=8-5

Email: Elizabeth@elizabethstmichel.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36052454-sweet-vengeance?from_search=true

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sweet-vengeance-duke-of-rutland-series-i-elizabeth-st-michel/1127011980?ean=2940154521410 

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/sweet-vengeance/id1275326144?ls=1&mt=11

KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/sweet-vengeance-8

Surrender The Wind

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Ample & Alluring, first kiss

Ample & AlluringYou know I’m a sucker for a first kiss. It’s hard for me to imagine this is the last first kiss in the Big & Beautiful series. I almost want to cry thinking about it! But first I have one more great story to share with you.

Are you ready for Peyton and Wyatt?

Excerpt from Ample & Alluring

When he pulled into my driveway, I was definitely not ready for the night to be over. Wyatt walked me to my door, leaving his SUV running.

“I had a great night,” I admitted with a grin. “If all our dates are as much fun as this one, you’ve got yourself a date for Valentine’s Day.”

“I’m glad I could entertain you. I have a feeling I need to step up my game for the next date though.”

“Why is that?”

He shook his head. “You’re not a woman who is easily pleased. The same thing over and over again will only make you dislike winter even more.”

“You’re more perceptive than I gave you credit for.”

He stepped closer to me. “I’ve been paying attention, Dr. Peyton.”

He swept the hair from my shoulders and wrapped his hand around my neck. He leaned in, giving me a chance to back away, but I didn’t want to.

His lips were warm when they met mine. Soft. A casual brush, nothing more than a peck. But I instantly wanted more from him. He eased back, his eyes catching mine. His lips tilted up in a grin, then he leaned in again, pressing his lips back to mine.

He shifted closer, not crowding me, but not letting me forget exactly who was kissing me. He was a perfect gentleman, with a burn simmering just beneath the surface.

I wanted to trace his lips with my tongue, to have him devour me, but he was Wyatt. My friend. The guy who was trying to convince me winter wasn’t the worst season of the year. We weren’t getting involved.

Although I was seriously second guessing that decision as he warmed me up.

He pulled back and looked at me. His eyes were darker than the night around us. His lips turned up, and he leaned in to kiss me one more time.

“Thanks, Dr. Peyton,” he said when he finally pulled back.

“Thank you, Mayor Ramsey.”

Preorder Now!

Ebook on Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | B&N

Q&A Sunday: Reviews, part one

Well, welcome back to Q&A Sunday! A few questions landed in my inbox this week so I’m going to break them up over a couple weeks so I can really dive into them. Are you ready?

Lupita asked…

Do you read your reviews? If so, how do you deal with bad reviews? How do you deal with good reviews?

Sometimes I think reviews are the bane of my existence! Good ones always seem to carry less weight than bad ones, but reviews are so important for an author that we have to have them.

A little background… When a reader leaves a review on Amazon, or another retailer or site like Goodreads, it affects the ranking for that book. A good review will move the book up and it will become a little more visible to other potential readers. A bad review, obviously, does the opposite. Enough bad reviews and a book is essentially invisible.

In addition to that, if you want to offer a deal on a book, and want to list it on sites like BookBub, they will check out reviews. They want to know if reviews are overall good or bad. If you have 100 mediocre reviews and another book has 100 good reviews, the other book is going to get the listing.

Obviously authors want good reviews, but if you’ve ever read reviews, you know no one can please everyone!

So my reviews… For the most part, no, I don’t read them. I write my books the way I feel they need to be written, irritating characters and all. I know my characters aren’t perfect, but neither are any of us, and that’s what I’m always after – authenticity.

It’s hard to write, and read, a character that you want to shake and tell to do something different, but there’s a reason all the horror flicks show people running into the basement to hide from the killer. It’s instinct to hide. It’s instinct to be somewhere you think you can predict what’s going to happen. You might know the killer is coming, but you can see him coming instead of wondering if he’s going to catch up to you if you’re running through the woods. When you’re the third party looking in, it’s easy to see that it’s not a good decision, but when you’re that person, instinct and fear and, in the case of my books, other sometimes irrational emotions take over and control you. You do things that don’t always make sense. We all do it!

But readers don’t always like those decisions. So they leave reviews that say they didn’t like a character or something about the book.

Because of that, I frequently don’t read my reviews.

When I do, I do it in small doses. Maybe I’ll check in on one book and only read a couple reviews. I know myself enough to know that if the reviews are negative, it’ll bother me, so I usually only read reviews when I know they’re going to be positive.

But how do I deal with them?

The good ones make me feel really good. They make me smile and keep me going. Knowing readers like my stories keeps me writing more of them. Reading a good review from someone I don’t know always makes me so happy.

The bad reviews are tougher to deal with. I’m the kind of person who only likes to put positive things into the world. I definitely grew up with my mother saying if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. A lot of people never got that lesson! But that’s for them to live with. Bullying is accepted when it’s done in the form of a book review, which is sad. I can’t imagine saying some of the things I’ve read on reviews (mostly others since I rarely read mine). I accept and understand that not everyone will have good things to say, but a constructive bad review is much better than an emotional one that tears the author apart. I don’t see any reason for those.

I’ve judged a lot of contests. In a way, it’s reviewing the work of someone else. I also have a critique partner that I work with and friends who’ve asked me to review their work. In all those situations, my criticism is strictly about the work. In many judging situations, I’ve read stories in genres I don’t frequently read, but I removed my personal opinion from it and evaluated the story based on the story. I know reviews are opinions, but I would love to see people being kinder. You don’t have to only leave good reviews, but make sure your reviews are about the actual story and not the author, or you the reader.

I’m sure this answer will make some people angry. You’re absolutely entitled to leave scathing reviews. If you feel that strongly about something, I’m not going to stop you. Just make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons, that’s all I ask.

Come back next week for another question from Lupita about reviews!

If you have a question, about writing or anything else, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!

#FiveOnFriday with Trixie Stilletto

I’m so excited to have Trixie Stilletto visiting today! She definitely knows how to craft a story that will keep you flipping the pages!

Thanks to Mary for kindly sharing her blog space with me today!

Imagine yourself getting radiation. You are laying under a large robotic machine and told not to move a muscle. Then you are left alone in the room. It’ll be fine, you tell yourself. Claustrophobia you’ve never had before starts to build. The machine is so close, your mind tells you all it would take is one miscalculation, one slip of a cog or wheel and you’ll be crushed.

That’s what Jennifer Atkinson feels in the beginning of Do Grave Harm, my new mystery with romantic elements available at online retailers now.

Jennifer is battling breast cancer. It isn’t a fight for a wimp. I know, as I too battled cancer and felt the moment of panic with each radiation treatment I received. In Jennifer’s case though, there’s more afoot than just her own worries and misgivings. While she’s receiving treatment, a murder is happening outside the radiation lab. She finds the victim and begins a quest to discover the very dark secrets of the small-town cancer clinic someone will do anything to protect.

Nothing sinister happened during my treatments but I got the idea for this story while undergoing them. Soon, it became more than just a story of hospital intrigue. It became one of greed, pride and deadly devotion. I hope you’ll read the excerpt and consider checking out Do Grave Harm.

Because of my own personal battle with cancer, a portion of all proceeds from this book will be donated to cancer charities. In October, Breast Cancer Awareness month, 100% of the proceeds will be donated to these charities.

Thanks again!

Trixie

EXCERPT

Something wasn’t right. I didn’t want to panic, but I was starting to feel claustrophobic. Having a two-ton radiation machine sitting only inches from your chest will do that to you, especially when it seems you’ve been forgotten.

You’re not truly alone, Jennifer, I reminded myself. There were dozens of people down the hall in the waiting room. And this was a hospital. People were constantly moving around, even though they kept the radiation section closed off.

Repeating these things and more didn’t help. At that moment, I felt abandoned, as if no one knew where I was.

“Excuse me,” I finally called, hoping the radiation technician who’d brought me in here would answer, reassuring me.

Robert. I picture his name tag in my mind. Raising my voice, I called again, “Robert?” Nada. The room was probably soundproof with the door shut.

Panic sped up my breathing as I stared at the machine. It hadn’t moved after my radiation treatment had ended. That was the problem.

In my mind, the six inches between me and it had shrunk to three. My arms were starting to go numb, as well as my feet and legs. No one was coming to help me. I had to do something. Now.

Moving while under the machine was kind of tricky. I was a large woman, and I’d never been dexterous on my back, much to my rat ex- husband’s lament, I guess.

I kicked my legs out of their rubber support and, after several tries, scooted my butt down the metal table. Then I did an ungainly slide, like I was slipping under a barbed-wire fence. Except this particular fence was the size of a VW Beetle, and it seemed to be inching closer to me with each passing second.

When I moved enough that my head and neck were no longer in the plastic mold that kept me still during treatment, I banged the back of my skull against the table. “Ow, ow, ow,” I muttered, inching my way farther down it until I cleared the machine.

Finally, my legs dangled off the end. I sat up, took my first relieved breath in eons, and waited for my head to stop spinning. Freedom! I looked around the room, and everything seemed normal. Walking over to the plastic chair to my left, I picked up my long-sleeved cotton jersey and put it on. Since I got topless for my treatment, most of the time I didn’t bother wearing a bra when I came here. It would be one more thing to take off.

I moved to the doors. They’re made of thick steel and tightly sealed. No wonder no one answered me. They wouldn’t have heard me even if I’d shouted. I pushed on one a bit, staggering under the unexpected weight. When it opened a scant few inches, I peered around the edge. I don’t know why I was acting like a guilty person, doing something or going somewhere I wasn’t supposed to.

I hid a giggle behind a cough. Jeez, Jennifer, get a grip. Something still wasn’t right. In fact, I felt an overwhelming sense that things were horribly wrong.

“Robert?” Still no answer, so I pushed the door open a little wider. Now I could see the second lab and computer station. It was as dark as it had been when I came into the radiation lab at the Blue Bald Falls Cancer Center no more than ten minutes ago. I opened the door wide enough and stepped into the bright lights of the hall.

Robert had his head down on the computer keyboard like he was napping. The scalpel sticking straight out from the side of his neck and the blood pooling on the table down to the floor told me sleep had nothing to do with it.

BOOK LINKS

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2w68EVg

iBooks: http://apple.co/2vC6EBQ

BN: http://bit.ly/2fG5Msl

KOBO: http://bit.ly/2w3Wuxa

CHARITY LINK

https://www.bcrfcure.org/founders-fund

Trixie StillettoAUTHOR BIO

A southern girl, Trixie traveled north when she found the love of her life. Together, they enjoyed more than 20 years working as journalists. Now back home in Tennessee she’s writing stories that range from short hot romances with a kiss of humor to southern-flavored mysteries. She lives seven miles from the neighborhood where she grew up with two cats, an aging beagle and a host of characters waiting for her to tell their stories.

Get updates and win prizes by signing up for Trixie’s newsletter at: http://www.trixiestilletto.com/contact/

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Ample & Alluring, first look

Ample & AlluringI absolutely love Peyton and Wyatt. For two people who waited so long to find their happily ever after, they definitely had a few things to overcome along the way. Like telling their friends that they were involved…

Excerpt from Ample & Alluring

“You’re a really good mayor.”

He paused, his lips pressed together for a moment before he nodded. “That means a lot, Peyton. Thank you for saying that.”

I moved closer to him, toying with the lapels on his coat. “I mean it, Mayor Ramsey. You’ve done amazing things for this town. You listen to people, and you care. It shows.”

“I do care, Peyton.”

I knew he wasn’t talking about being a mayor anymore. His eyes dipped to my lips. My tongue ran over them before drawing the lower one between my teeth. His breath caught in his throat, and he slid his arm around my back.

I tilted my chin up and used his lapels to tug him closer. His lips lifted seconds before he lowered his head and met mine.

His lips were soft and cool. They were also sealed together. I opened mine slightly and ran my tongue over his smooth lips. They parted for me immediately, his tongue slipping into my mouth. We tasted each other, tentatively. A glide of tongues. A sample of his flavor. A brush of his breath over my cheeks.

He tilted his head and deepened the kiss. My body melted into his, wanting more from him. My hands drifted up, needing to feel his skin under my fingertips. I touched the rough stubble on his neck and was going for more when I heard…

“What the hell?”

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