Please say hi to Linda O’Connor! She’s back to visit us and share some inspiration!
I’m often asked about what inspires me to write. I thought I’d share 5 sources of inspiration for my stories:
1. The reaction from people when they find out I’m a doctor – It makes me chuckle when people are surprised that I’m a family doctor, and it’s very interesting to see how their attitude changes. Flattering, but honestly, I think there’s more heart and soul (and worry) that goes into being a stay-at-home mom. The fact that my character is “secretly” a doctor has shown up in a couple of the Perfectly stories.
2. Helping out in an emergency – I’ve attended the delivery a baby, washed sand out of a child’s eyes at the beach, and provided care on an airplane. Medicine is rarely nine to five, and my characters are jumping in to help out whenever they’re needed.
3. How I want to weave medicine into my stories – There’s something medical thrown into every story. It may be subtle information like the fact that an eye infection, conjunctivitis, and pink eye are all the same thing or acknowledging how difficult a pregnancy can be, but one of my goals is to empower readers to learn something – and laugh along the way!
4. Snippets of conversation I hear – In the grocery store one day, two teenagers were stocking the shelves and talking about the differences in their friends. I overheard one say, “We’re all different . . . not by much, just enough.” I’ve used that philosophy, if not that line, in my stories. 😀
5. Articles I read in the newspaper or something I hear on the radio – A feature about a pilot, who had a plane adapted so he could continue to fly after becoming paraplegic in a motor vehicle accident, became the inspiration for a short story. I also get ideas for names and quirky hobbies from the news.
Inspiration is all around – in things I hear, see, and do, and my imagination does the rest!
About Perfectly Honest (Perfectly Series Book 1)
You never know where your words will take you . . .
When Mikaela Finn agreed to be Sam’s ‘fiancée’ for a weekend, she probably should have told him that she’s a doctor. Sam O’Brien, aka ‘Dr. Eye Candy’, is trying to shed his playboy reputation and convince a small town hospital that he’s ready to settle down. But when his ‘fiancée’ helps deliver a baby in the middle of the meet and greet, it’s a bit of a shock. If he’d known the whole truth, he might have done things a little differently because somehow his ‘fiancée’ ends up stealing his job and his heart. Not exactly the change he wanted. Lies and deceit – it’s a match made in heaven!
Linda O’Connor started writing a few years ago when she needed a creative outlet other than subtly rearranging the displays at the local home décor store. It turns out she loves writing romantic comedies and has a few more stories to tell. When not writing, she’s a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic (well, even when she is writing she’s a physician, and it shows up in her stories 😀 ). She hangs out at http://www.lindaoconnor.net.
Please welcome Kryssie Fortune here today! Not only is she bringing us a paranormal story sure to knock your socks off, but she’s got a story that will definitely inspire you to do whatever it is you’ve always wanted to do!
But first… a few questions!
When did you first think about writing a book? Did you write it then, or put it off for a few years?
Apparently, I told a friend I’d write a romance book while in my teens. It didn’t happen. Two kids later and disaster struck. My heart valve collapsed. I spent six weeks in hospital getting fit enough to survive the operation to replace it.
Ever since, I’ve been chasing my dreams. Each time a publisher accepts one of my books, I’m over the moon.
What inspired you to write this book?
One of my heroes was a Spartan Warrior before he became a vampire. A few years back, I visited Greece a few years ago. The legend of Sparta fascinated me, but not as much as the Philip of Macedon – the father of Alexander the great.
Since one of my heroes was Spartan, I decided to make the other one of Philip’s ancestors – although it’s never mentioned in the book.
Obviously, that made the story a ménage, but I didn’t want my heroes to get along. Making them brothers bound in up a family feud seemed like the next step.
Which of your characters is the most like you and how? Who’s most unlike you?
Viola, in To Seduce an Omega. She’s studied herb law, and I’m fascinated by the things plants can do for us. Also, she has a badly injured knee. I have little or no cartilage left in my knee, so I feel her pain.
The most unlike me is harder. Maybe Meena in Curse of the Fae King. She’s tough and resilient, willing to fight for what she believes in. Me? I’m a wimp. Although Meena does have her very own dragon. I just had an imaginary one when I was a kid.
Why is it set where it is? What’s special about this place?
Claimed by the Vampire, Seduced by the Werewolf takes place in and around York, England. It’s one of my favorite cities, and my first ever published article told its history from Celts, through Romans, Vikings and Tudor times.
I love to visit and always discover something new. One of my fellow authors and regular lunch partners, Jen Davies, lives there.
What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
Sex Scenes. The anatomy’s pretty basic even though the position varies. Although my books are explicit I try to engage the readers emotions. Sometimes I get it right. One of my reviewers called my writing downright sensual.
After seven centuries, Elias, a former Spartan turned vampire, finds his eternal bride. Seth, Elias’s werewolf half-brother, scents his mate.
Vampire and werewolf loathe each other. The only thing they agree on is that Tempest is their mate–and they’re not sharing.
A prophecy will force Tempest, a twenty-first-century witch, to choose between them. As the half-brothers vie to win her heart, they teach her about spanking, the way pain heightens pleasure, and the ecstasy of multiple orgasms.
A vampire can’t survive without his fated bride. A werewolf dies if he loses his mate. Their future rests in Tempest’s hands. Which one will she choose?
Note: While loosely linked to the Scattered Siblings series, this book may be read as a standalone story.
In the deserted street outside Tempest’s workplace, a golden werewolf threw back his head and howled. The faint scent of his mate tickled his nostrils, sweet and floral with a hint of spice. Seth breathed deeply, drawing it into his lungs. He couldn’t stay here, since a mythological creature walking York’s streets would cause a panic. People would run from his eight-foot werewolf form. Some might have an adrenaline rush and attack him. The last thing he wanted was to embarrass Hades by injuring humans or ending up in the newspapers.
Seth shifted to human and pulled on the black jeans and leather jacket Hades had left him. As Hades had promised, he found the key to his hotel suite in his pocket. A little luxury wouldn’t go amiss after the endless bland days in the Elysian Fields. Being dead wasn’t all Seth expected it to be. He’d lacked purpose or goals. Having a mission made him feel truly alive, even if it had meant turning werewolf to accept it.
Back in the underworld, his cheeks had ached from the constant smiling, and he’d found the endless joy galling. His riding skills had been the pride of his human existence, but the horses in the Elysian Fields behaved more like oversized puppies than wild stallions. Bored, he’d meandered through the afterlife, grinning like a loon and hating every moment.
Finally, Hades had taken pity on him. Now Seth had a task to fulfill and a mate to claim. It wouldn’t take long to drag the traitor Elias back to his cell in Tartarus. The selfish bastard deserved every torment he suffered after almost plunging the ancient Macedonian kingdom into civil war.
Afterward, Seth would enjoy some serious loving with the woman who smelled of wildflowers and freedom. Before he set out, Hades had given him her name—Tempest—and sworn she wouldn’t be able to resist Seth’s charms. Their connection would seethe with intensity and need. Thinking about it left him aching inside. Once he found her, he’d woo her with expensive gifts and pretty words. Afterward, he’d strip her and screw her while he sank his fangs into her neck and claimed her as his. Although, maybe he’d spank her pretty ass first.
* * * *
Elias battled the dark hunger inside him. Tempest’s well-being mattered more than his unnatural thirst. While he wanted to claim her, he’d treat her with the respect she deserved.
Boom. An explosion echoed through his skull, so loud it almost deafened him. Boom. It sounded again. Boom. His muscles tensed, and he scanned the room for danger. Boom. Realization dawned. Tempest made him whole and set his heart beating for the first time in centuries. Bride. She’s my bride. The Tuchulcha demons will hurt her to hurt me.
Werewolves had fated mates, but vampires had brides—the one woman who made their heart beat. Tempest was his, and he’d never willingly leave her side. The depth of his emotions scared him more than the Persian hordes, but humans married, not mated. What if she didn’t feel the same?
His heart pounded in a series of explosions. Heat flowed through him, warming his blood and delighting his soul. His pulse beat like a war drum in his wrist. The longer he stayed with her, the steadier his heart’s rhythm became. Each rise and fall of his chest, each bomb blast of his pulse rocked his world.
Warmth suffused his body. His thoughts seemed sharper, and his pain faded into insignificance beside his need to love and protect his bride. He’d heard legends of how vampires’ brides brought new life to their soul mates, but he’d never expected to find a bride of his own. The idea both terrified and delighted him.
After so many centuries of suffering, he barely remembered how it felt to be human, but his timing sucked. He’d never wanted a woman the way he did Tempest, but figuring out how to claim her… Well, he’d climb that mountain once he’d dealt with the demons he knew would come after him.
Her wildflower essence mingled with the soft swish of her blood, tempting him like nothing ever had before. The sweet sound of it pulsing through her veins had him running his tongue over his dry lips. The need to taste her hardened into an obsession. His mouth watered, and his retractable fangs dropped.
Unaware of her danger, she stormed out the room. “You don’t want a doctor? It’s your funeral, but I’m still going to wash all the blood and grime off your body.”
A funeral? Something else he’d never had. In Sparta, unless you died in battle or childbirth, nobody gave a damn. No funeral. No headstone. Just a lifeless body festering in a dank pit.
His Spartan wife—the woman who’d murdered him while he slept—would have slit his throat for the “or else” he’d thrown at his angel earlier. Then again, Cynisca had done that anyway. Elias hadn’t loved her, but he hadn’t expected her to condemn him for being born Macedonian. Besides, after living in Sparta for twenty-five years, he remembered little about his birth land. Staying behind while his fellow warriors fought at Thermopylae had been humiliating.
“Guarding our homes and watching our backs,” King Leonidas had called it.
Elias had known better. Considering the things he’d endured in the afterlife, it seemed unimportant now. He hadn’t expected to survive, let alone thrive under the Spartan regime. He’d been too damn angry to die for his family’s satisfaction. As the eldest son of the Macedonian king, he should have enjoyed a pampered upbringing. Instead, he’d endured the worst things Spartan culture could throw at him. No way would he stand aside and let one of his half-brothers take the Macedonian throne.
Kryssie Fortune writes the sort of hot sexy books she loves to read. If she can sneak a dragon into her paranormal books she will. Her paranormal heroes are muscular werewolves, arrogant Fae, or BDSM loving dragons.
Kryssie likes her contemporary heroes ex-military and dominant. Her heroines are kick ass females who can hold their own against whatever life – or Kryssie – throws at them.
Kryssie’s pet hates are unhappy endings, and a series that end on a cliff hanger.
Her books are all stand alone even when part of series. Plot always comes before sex, but when her heroines and heroes get together, the sex is explosive and explicit. One review called it downright sensual.
Please give Valerie Ullmer a big welcome back today! She has a brand new book out that you will not want to miss!
Xander (A Dark Assassins Novel Book Three)
By Valerie Ullmer
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Five on Friday (5 Fun Facts about Xander)
This is the first book where the protagonists have a child, albeit an immortal child that grows differently than a regular child. I wrote Xander’s child as an intelligent baby who can communicate telepathically with those around him.
Before Xander met his mate, Frost, he believed that he would live the rest of his existence alone.
When he met Frost, she was with a group of mercenaries who had been sent to kill Xander and his friends. She was trying to lead them away or find help when Xander and his friends heard them and intervened.
Frost is a half shifter/half human.
Frost is the first immortal who is able to become pregnant.
Xander has secretly yearned for a mate for most of his immortal existence, and yet after three of his friends found exactly what he’s always wanted, he’d come to believe that he’d missed his chance at happiness.
Until he heard her voice.
Frost is a wildlife biologist and tracker and she has been assigned, despite her adamant protests, to lead mercenaries into the mountains of Snowfall, Colorado for the sole purpose of killing immortal shifters. In order to protect those who have no idea the kind of danger they are in, she agrees. As she leads the armed men on a wild chase around the snow-covered pines, she could sense that she was running out of time.
Until she heard his voice.
Xander understands exactly who Frost is the moment he hears her thoughts. With the help of Kane and Gunnar, they eliminate those in her group as they try to keep her safe. But during the fight, she is hurt and all of his protective instincts flare to life. As Xander learns more about her, he realizes that Frost might be the key to the creation of the immortals, both vampire and shifter.
But when she becomes a target from those who want to destroy the Dark Company and Xander’s family, how far will he go to save her?
Xander froze when he heard a feminine voice carry over to him, she sounded closer than she had been even a few moments before. He should have sensed her coming closer. But the only question on his mind was why the fuck she was tagging along with a group of mercenaries. He heard the voice again, a tinny version of her voice, and for a long moment he couldn’t understand the words. Until she stepped forward.
No, no. Not that way. Not that way.
Something warmed his chest as he heard her in his head as clearly as they were speaking aloud. A familiarity washed over him and he felt connected to this woman in an elemental way. A feeling a peace settled over him. He knew this was the first time he’d ever heard her voice. He was so stunned and happy that he didn’t even question how they were able to mind link.
Can either of you hear the woman’s thoughts?
Woman? Gunnar sounded confused.
Kane’s reply was quick and clipped. No.
Xander tried to get her attention. Can you hear me?
He held his breath when he heard her distinct gasp, knowing that their mind link worked. His chest filled with dread at the thought that she gave herself away, until he heard her next words.
“I spotted a grizzly bear in the trees to the west. Sorry, I startled him and he ran off.”
For long seconds, the men in the clearing stared at the woman before they were ordered to keep searching.
Xander stood close enough that he could see her curves underneath the heavy white parka. And having the worst timing in the world, Xander felt himself harden. He took a deep, cleansing breath of sharp mountain air that instantly cooled his overheated body.
Yes, I can hear you. These men, seven in total, are looking for immortals. They have been contracted by my boss at U.S. Fish and Wildlife to kill them. Apparently the immortals are supposed to become animals. Can you help me without hurting yourself? They are heavily armed.
Xander was taken completely by surprise. She didn’t question their connection but instead relayed vital information that he would need. He could also start to feel her emotions. She wasn’t scared, just determined. He could hear her heart beating at a fast rate and her breathing strained from either the hike up the mountain or the tension in the air. He watched as she subtly shifted her head around as she searched for him, unable to spot him in the trees.
We can help. I’m going to communicate with my team and we’ll take out the men. Are you okay with that?
Yes, I know they are paid mercenaries and I’m pissed that they killed a wolf two days ago for no other reason than they wanted to shoot something.
What’s your name?
Frost, I’m Xander. When I tell you to run, run south. Okay?
Yes, I understand.
Xander relayed the conversation he had with Frost. We are going to have to kill them, there’s no other way around it. They couldn’t have a threat looming over them, especially if one escaped and brought in a stronger, more trained group of mercenaries. Although they could easily defeat any group of fighters, keeping their existence a secret was crucial. The more humans that knew about them, the bigger the danger it posed.
Working as a team, they closed in on the unsuspecting mercenaries. At first, they quietly removed those men who were stationed on the outer perimeter, using knives to subdue them, or in Xander’s case, using his bare hands and quickly snapping their necks. He didn’t want Frost to see blood on him. The only sound he could hear detect was the grunts of the men who were dispatched. By the time Gunnar, Kane, and he closed in on their ranks, there were only three mercenaries remaining.
The older man spotted movement in Gunnar’s direction and without hesitation raised his weapon and started firing. The wolf easily dodged the shots before melting farther into the trees. Silence descended upon the area as the man searched for Gunnar.
Frost, run south, keep as low as you can and use the trees as cover.
Valerie writes paranormal and contemporary romances with strong alpha males and brilliant, beautiful heroines. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her wonderfully supportive husband and their funny and wise black lab. She’s addicted to coffee, crime shows, and reading and writing character driven romances.
Please welcome Alanna Lucas! She’s sharing five random thoughts with us today about her book, Only a Hero Will Do.
What is your hero most embarrassed about?
He doesn’t know how to dance. But never fear, his best friend comes to his rescue 😉
What is the inspiration for Only a Hero Will Do?
Captain America was the inspiration for this story (Captain Grant Alexander is his Regency-era doppelgänger). I spent a lot of time researching the history of the comic book series (and yes, the movies!). It is quite fascinating.
Heroine’s favorite line in Only a Hero Will Do:
She might look the part of a viscount’s daughter, but inside beat the heart of a spy.
Music is very important to me while I’m developing any story. The top five songs on my playlist while writing Only a Hero Will Do are (in no particular order):
Stories of Old by Depeche Mode
Taking a Stand by Henry Jackman
Holding out for a Hero by Bonnie Tyler
Castle by Halsey
The Phoenix by Fall Out Boy
One of my biggest quirks — that I don’t mind sharing 😉
I like to vacuum. In fact, I find it relaxing.
Only a Hero will Do: Alanna Lucas
Defender of the realm…and his wary heart…
Captain Grant Alexander is an enigma in London society. Dashing and handsome, he coldly eschews marriage. But the ton knows nothing of his role in the Legion: to bring Typhon, the traitor who seeks to destroy the British monarchy, to justice.
When Grant is thrown together with fellow Legion member Elizabeth Atwell, he’s instantly beguiled yet exasperated by this beautiful viscount’s daughter. She has little interest in combing the marriage mart for a well-bred, well-heeled husband, but is adept at code-breaking and handling a bow and arrow. She also refuses to do as she is told, insisting she accompany Grant on his mission.
As Typhon continues to evade capture and dark forces are at work, Grant realizes he must act, not only to protect the realm but Elizabeth too…not to mention his heart, which is in danger of thawing every time she comes close…
Alanna Lucas writes sweet, spicy, seductive historical romances. When not daydreaming of her next hero and bygone eras, Alanna can be found reading, spending time with family, or plotting her next travel destination. For more information about Alanna and her novels please visit her website- http://www.alannalucas.com
Please welcome Elizabeth Harmon here today. She has some great books out there that you guys won’t want to miss!
Hi everyone, and thanks Mary for having me as a #FiveOnFriday guest!
I write contemporary romance with a dash of different, featuring unusual characters and settings. I write stories that I’d like to read, but that no one else is writing. My current series, Red Hot Russians, is a sports romance series set in the world of elite competitive figure skating. My fascination with Antarctica led me to use it as the setting for Heating It Up: A Red Hot Russians Novella, came out in February.
I’m hard at work on book five in the series, “Shining Through,” which releases in September.
#1-Plotter or Pantser?
I’m more of a plotter and really enjoy the process of thinking through the plot, romance and character arc beats. It helps me feel more confident as I write the first draft. While it’s still a challenge to turn that clunky first-draft into the story I’ve envisioned, plotting helps me stay on track, when I don’t know what to write next. If a scene isn’t working, an outline lets me jump around in the story and write a scene I’m more excited about.
#2-Do you feel it’s important to write what you know?
When I first wanted to write I believed that it was important. I feared my life wasn’t dramatic or interesting enough make me a good writer. It wasn’t until I started writing my first historical that I realized my journalism background and love of research meant I could write about anything I wanted. It’s less about writing what you know and more about writing what you want to know.
#3-What gets your creative juices flowing?
Music. I make playlists for all of my books and this helps me get into the rhythm of the story. I also find it easiest when I’m able to work on the project steadily, and not lose the flow of the story and characters. Coming back to a story after a few days away is a struggle.
#4-Tell me about the heroes in your book/s.
As the series title suggests, they’re all Russian and they’re hot! But they’re also really good guys who’ve faced personal challenges and still treat others with kindness and respect —no Alphaholes here! Anton, Misha and Daniil, are famous figure skaters who are charming, handsome, sexy celebrities. Vlad is a former skater turned male stripper, who has survived a trauma that’s left him drifting, and feeling unworthy of love. Alexei grew up poor and dreamed of adventure. Now that he’s carved out a life and career in Antarctica, he’s determined to keep the station he calls home from closing.
#5-Do you have a favorite trope?
Every book I’ve written seems to have a Fish Out Of Water element. In the series debut, Pairing Off, I put a sunny Southern-belle pair skater in Moscow. In Turning It On, a shy, bookish heroine becomes a contestant on a cut-throat reality dating show. In Getting It Back, the fish is the hero, who ends up adrift in small-town USA after an injury puts a premature end to his skating career. In Heating It Up: A Red Hot Russians Novella, a sophisticated architect from San Francisco must forge a new life in remote and rustic Amity Bay, Antarctica.
Do you have a favorite romance trope? Post your favorite romance trope and why you love it in the comments section for a chance to win a digital copy of any book in the Red Hot Russians series.
Thanks for reading! Elizabeth
Red Hot Russian Alexei is king of the Ice…Antarctic style
Alexei Zaikov loves his life in remote Amity Bay, Antarctica, until a new luxury guesthouse threatens the community’s future. As head of Amity Bay, he’s driven to save it, but first must discover who is hiding out in the supposedly deserted lodge…and why.
Nora Bradford has lost everything; a promising career and the man she loved. Glacier Ridge Lodge, the architectural masterpiece she designed but was denied credit for, seems like the perfect place to grieve her loss, until a ruggedly handsome Russian arrives on her doorstep, determined to bring her in from the cold.
Desire sparks, leaving them hungry for more. But will the truth about Nora’s role in Amity Bay’s demise, doom their romance?
Warm hearts, cold nights, Southern Lights. Welcome to Amity Bay, Antarctica.
Don’t miss the rest of the series…
Contemporary romance author Elizabeth Harmon loves to read and write romances with a dash of different. She is the author of the Red Hot Russians sports romance series. Her debut novel Pairing Off is a 2016 RITA® Award Finalist.