Guest Author

#FiveOnFriday with Valerie Ullmer

Please welcome Valerie Ullmer! She’s spicing things up for us today with her new book!

Unexpected (A Unexpected Novel Book One)

Valerie Ullmer

Genre:  Contemporary M/M Romance

Five on Friday 

How long does it usually take you to write a book?  It truly depends on the book.  A longer novel, of 50,000 or more words, about three months.  A novella, from outline to completed story is about a month.  For Unexpected, I was working on another book that just didn’t come together and I had to scrap the project at the end of March.  So between outlining, which I started in the beginning of April, and writing, I finished the book on May 11th, the 42,000 word book took me about six weeks.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?  I’ve come to read several M/M or gay contemporary romances in the past couple of months and I loved the fact that on paper, two people of the same sex could fall in love, but still have the same insecurities, the same conflicts that heterosexual couples do.  But gay romance stories do have an intensity that some romance novels miss and I was intrigued.  That is how Unexpected came about.

What do you think makes a good story?  Characters.  I have read books with no plot, but the characters are so intriguing that I never want the story to end.  I love well-developed characters who aren’t contrary because it fills the pages.  I need characters that are flawed, but who are willing to change and try anything because they feel it might be the best thing for them.

Do you use images to develop your character’s looks?  I actually do.  For this book, I used images of Alex Pettyfer, the actor, for Caleb and Teen Wolf (the TV series) star Tyler Hoechlin as Ronan.  It helps me picture my characters as I write.

What do you love best about your current book?  Everything.  I love how Caleb and Ronan take a chance on a relationship even though neither of them had ever dated another man and they act based on their feelings, instead of overthinking each moment that presents itself.  I love how they realize how compatible they are and learn to lean on one another as outside forces try to tear them apart.

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Amazon UK

Amazon AU

BLURB

A chance meeting will change their lives forever…

From the moment he entered the dark taproom, Caleb Hunt found himself drawn to the handsome man who sat alone at the end of the bar, away from the crowd. His interest in the dark-haired, muscled adonis took him by surprise, not remembering when he’d felt such hunger from a simple glimpse. Unable to stay away, he quickly found an open seat next to him and slid into it. When Ronan turned his ice-blue eyes to Caleb and introduced himself, his warm hand sent shivers of desire through his body and he was enthralled.

Ronan Scott’s boring Friday night had taken a turn for the better when Caleb took the seat next to him. Over the next few hours, he found Caleb easy to talk to and at the same time, he found that he couldn’t tear his gaze away from the beautiful man. Caleb captured his attention in a way that no other had for as long as he could remember. Taking a chance, he leaned forward and captured Caleb’s lips with his. And with the simple kiss, Ronan understood that Caleb would become an essential part of his life.

As Ronan and Caleb explore their new relationship and integrate their lives together, they realize that not everything will be so seamless…

EXCERPT

That’s when he spotted him and everything stopped.

His breathing hitched in his chest and his heart thudded once, hard, and even the music seemed to fade as his gaze landed on a dark-haired man who sat by himself at the bar.  As Caleb’s eyes slid down the man’s body of their own accord, he noted the fitted black tee that emphasized the muscles of his arms, back, and shoulders, before his gaze dropped lower to his legs encased in denim.

When he lifted a beer to his mouth and swallowed, Caleb felt his own throat tighten.  A shiver of desire passed over him.  Never had he felt this way about a man or woman in his life.

Before he could analyze his actions or talk himself out of his stupid plan, he walked toward the man.  Part of him wanted to see if the man was as stunning as he believed from across the bar or if he’d been alone for so long that his mind had conjured the perfect man.

Before Caleb could reach the stool next to him, a beautiful blonde glided up to him, running her hand down his chest.  Her smile flirty and sensual.  Although Caleb had never been propositioned in any way close to resembling what he witnessed, he knew that she offered the man a brazen invitation to get to know her better.

Disappointment flooded Caleb’s chest.

In the next moment, however, she frowned and backed away from him as quickly as she arrived, leaving an empty chair.

Not questioning his good luck, Caleb hurried over and shed his coat, dropping it over the back.  He flagged down the bartender and indicated the beer he wanted.

He sensed the man’s eyes on him, but for the moment, he wasn’t brave enough to turn and catch his gaze.  Not when his breath had stuck in his throat, and he didn’t know if he could speak without sounding choked.

As soon as the bartender handed him his mug, the man turned his body toward him and leaned over to speak, close to his ear.

“Are you here alone?”

Caleb had to bite the inside of his lip in order not to moan out loud at the sexy, deep voice.  Remembering the question, he shook his head and pointed toward Dylan and Garrett across the room.  Dylan, of course, had a woman on his lap and was tracing a finger down her neck, before he leaned toward her and his mouth followed the same trail.

Garrett was looking down at his phone.  The shy woman he’d been talking to had disappeared, much to Caleb’s disappointment, and another was trying, unsuccessfully, to get his attention.  She looked drunk and very loud by the way he flinched every time she spoke.

“Dylan, the one on the right with a woman on his lap, is the biggest flirt in the world.  He’s never serious about any woman he takes home.  Garrett is his best friend, the complete opposite of Dylan, but he’s loyal.”

The man laughed and Caleb couldn’t help the lift of his lips at the sound.  It was deep, rich, and addictive.  But when the man turned his ice-blue eyes on him, something unidentifiable swelled in his chest.  He could sense that he should speak, to keep this gorgeous man talking for as long as possible.  “Are you here alone?”

Smart, Caleb.  Just parrot the same question back.

The man smiled before he nodded over to his group of friends.  Some were flirting, but others were enjoying the company of their friends on a Friday night.

“The ginger is Hawk; he’s a divorce lawyer who is handling Ryan’s divorce.  That’s why they’re hunched over their beers.  Ryan’s wife apparently hadn’t been faithful during their entire four-year marriage, and he found out when he came home early from a business trip.  Jack is the one who is flirting with the group of women; he’s like Dylan in that way, never serious.  He’s a CEO of a tech company and he could have any woman with his looks and the power he exudes, but he’s never been in a serious relationship.  Sam is my second-in-command, the one who looks faintly sick, because Adam is a forensic scientist who loves talking about his work.”

Caleb found himself smiling at the group of friends.  When he glanced at the man, who had turned back to Caleb after pointing out his friends, he snagged Caleb’s gaze.  “So, do you have a girlfriend at home?”

“No.  I can’t remember the last time I had a date, much less a successful one.  You?”

Caleb breathed a sigh of relief when he shook his head.

“I’m Ronan Scott.”  He held his hand out.

Shit, even the man’s name is sexy.

He had to clear his throat before he reached out and grasped Ronan’s large, warm hand in his.  “Caleb Hunt.”

Something inside Caleb warmed in increments until fireworks exploded behind his skin, all from a simple touch.

ABOUT AUTHOR

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.

SOCIAL MEDIA

FACEBOOK ~ TWITTER ~ PINTEREST ~ INSTAGRAM ~ GOODREADS ~ AMAZON

#FiveOnFriday with Mageela Troche

Please say hi to Mageela Troche! She has a great sounding Scottish medieval romance coming soon!

The Scottish medieval romance The Marriage Alliance is set for release on August 15, 2017.

What inspired you to create your heroine, Ailsa Cameron in The Marriage Alliance?

Ailsa is a lot like me. I am clumsy (though I danced ballet for 12 years) and my plans never work out the way I planned. And when I met the love of my life, I decided that he was going to fall in love with me. Hey, he put a ring on it. That’s a whole other story.

Why did you set The Marriage Alliance in Medieval Scotland?

It started with Braveheart. When I first saw the movie, I wondered about the true history and learned about King Alexander III and the peace that Scotland enjoyed during his reign. My imagination was caught and I had to write about it.

What inspired your hero, Duncan MacLean?

Duncan came to me after Ailsa had come to life for me. He came to me fully formed. I have this imagine in my head of him from the waist up with his arms crossed and a sexy scowl (if possible) on his face. Duncan is the only man from Ailsa.

What curious fact/ research tidbit did you discover?

I didn’t just learn one tidbit. During my research, I came across a book entitled Five Euphemias by Elizabeth Sutherland. It’s a biography about five women named Euphemia and women in Medieval Scotland.

Why did you write this book?

I wanted to write a light-hearted novel that was fun. It is something that is pure entertainment. I wanted to have a good time and I want my readers to have one too.

Book Blurb:

Her hand in marriage could secure peace and safety for those she longs to protect.

Lady Ailsa Cameron is not the most patient of souls. She has even slept through a few high masses. Still, this gentle lass never did anything wicked enough to deserve her father’s pronouncement that she must wed the dread Black Duncan, Laird of Clan MacLean.

As leader of the Spartans of the North, Duncan MacLean has inspired many a gruesome tale throughout the majestic highlands and beyond. Duncan accepts Laird Cameron’s offer of his daughter’s hand in marriage and pledges to make war against their shared enemy, Clan MacKinnon.

Duncan aches to possess his ravishing bride as passionately as he vows never to lower his defenses again. Love blooms between them nonetheless, until betrayal incites a war. Clan MacLean is in danger as are Ailsa and Duncan – but the thing in most peril is their love.

Can past enemies become lovers at last? Or will the flame in their hearts be consumed by the fires of war?

Excerpt: The Marriage Alliance

Scottish Highlands, 1256

Surely, Ailsa Cameron never managed anything in her score of a lifetime so wicked to deserve this cruel punishment. She never took the life of another. Admittedly, she dozed through a few masses in her lifetime. Others were guilty of such sin and never punished so harshly. Maybe, it was the many times she took the Lord’s name in vain. That vile curse hadn’t passed her lips for some time, not since her last penance forbade her from speaking for a sennight. She had remained silent until the noon meal but her guilt still lingered. Even that did not warrant her wedding the dreaded Duncan MacLean.

Nay, she journeyed along the stone-littered tract to the MacLean fortress because of men and one in particular, her father—Laird Cameron. His fierce desire to merge with the Spartans of the North appointed Ailsa the maiden sacrifice to appease the ferocious dragon. Who was the dragon—her father or her husband-to-be?

Either way, Saint Peter would throw open the pearly gates for her since she behaved as the dutiful daughter, pledging the rest of her days to Laird MacLean.

Not that she had many days to live.

MacLeans would rather kill a Cameron than share the air…of course, after they cut out her tongue.

Especially since bloodthirsty MacLeans enjoyed a savory meal of human flesh.

Would her tongue be roasted before consumed or eaten raw?

No doubt raw.

That meal probably accounted for the clan’s immense proportions. Few men towered over highland men yet most highlanders struggled to stand shoulder to shoulder with MacLean men. Muscular forms of others appeared scrawny beside the mighty MacLeans. And the women were no smaller, just about the height of an average highlander, convenient since both sexes lugged around basketfuls of enemies’ fingers. Ailsa strained to reach her brother’s wide shoulders. She’ll never fit in.

She wanted to escape to the mountains rising in the distance behind her. If she veered her mare around, she could gallop away to freedom in the harsh environment, where she could starve to death or, if luck were on her side, be eaten by wild animals.

Maybe, it wasn’t too late to be a bride of Christ. She could live in a convent and not starve or have her flesh ripped from her bones by the sharp fangs of wolves. Then again, the nunnery might not be the best place. Even though Ailsa perfected the serene visage her talents rested elsewhere. Besides, she had slumbered through quite a few more masses than she admitted. Another sin she added to her mental count. Taking the veil would be a disaster for her and the nuns.

So, Ailsa rode onward, up the cresting hill. The impressive fortified castle soared on the rocky outcrop overlooking the loch at the path’s end. A towering curtain wall hugged the craggy contours as the loch’s water lapped gently against the rocks. Harsh highland elements weathered the structure’s limestone to a mixture of grays, browns, and whites cloaking the structure with a dismal aura Ailsa believed her life would become once behind its walls.

Even her gentle mare, dismayed by the sight ahead, stumbled on a stone strewn on the trail meandering to the gatehouse and her doom.

“We shall be well, Joy.” Her mare tossed back her head and neighed, not believing her.

Patting her lean crest, she peeked through the veil of her hair to her father. He wore a pleased looked on his face that bode ill for others. She glanced at her elder brother. Alec sent her tentative smile then turned his gaze. He was as happy about this marriage as she was. As the heir, Alec tried to persuade their father from his determined course but to no avail. Father had a plan, and his children must submit to his commands.

“Come along,” Laird Cameron demanded, placing himself between the two siblings. She sucked in a lungful of crisp highland air, slowly exhaling until the straining muscles in her face eased. Unlike the countless other times, her calming technique failed so she decided to ignore him.

Glancing upward to the lofty battlements, she spotted two heads. Oh God’s eyes, she forgot that gruesome tale! She gawked and swallowed her squeak.

MacLeans decorated their parapets with their enemies’ heads on spikes as a warning to those foolish enough to attack. For the rest of her short days, she’d have to see ghastly heads…until she was propped next to them.

Biography:

An Air Force brat, Mageela Troche landed in New York City and wanted to leave the same day she arrived. Yet, with her stubbornness, she learned to like the place and the libraries were the main reason.  Once she learned to read and write, she decided to be an author and an actress. Once in college, she changed her life plan in the pursuit of money. After all, college loans must be repaid.

With life’s twists and turns, she returned to writing and focused on the romance genre. Mageela Troche’s first break came when she sold a short story to a magazine. She sold two more before the publication of her historical romance novel. She has gone on to write four more novels and a novella.

She is currently writing in the cramped corner of her Big Apple apartment. She is the proud owner of a Black-masked lovebird named Boobula. She loves to hear from her readers and can found online at MageelaTroche.com.

Links:

Website: http://www.MageelaTroche.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorMageelaTroche

Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/MageelaTroche

Pinterest: http://www.Pinterest.com/MageelaTroche

Amazon Pre-order link: The Marriage Alliance 

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#FiveOnFriday with Patricia Preston

Please welcome Patricia Preston to Five On Friday with us today! It sounds great, plus read the first chapter!

Let’s start with a few questions for Patricia…

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Writing is like my everything. Isn’t that romantic? Anyway, I love to write and I’m happiest when I’m working on a story. I love the creative process and how the story develops in my head. I live alone and I think of myself as a loner and yet I am never lonely or alone because of all my story people who run amuck in my imagination. I probably should get a cat.

Which 3 Books would you take to a desert island and why?

If they were available, I’d take the following and why is self-explanatory

BOUNTIFUL: The Guide to Eating What Nature Provides

JUNGLE LIVING: How to Decorate Caves and Tree Houses Artfully

A WILD WOMAN’S SURVIVAL GUIDE:

Learn how to make coconut-shell bras and grass skirts

How to bathe in a waterfall without drowning yourself

Swing on a grapevine gracefully

What five people would you invite to dinner and why?

Marilyn Monroe:  I’d like to know if she really killed herself over JFK.

Cleopatra:   I’d love to know more about her life and her culture.

Rick Bragg:  Because it would be a great dinner with cornbread, fried okra, sliced

tomatoes, etc. We’d both pig out and talk writing and I’d sit there being oh so envious

of his wonderful descriptions.

Rhett Butler:  Scarlett O’Hara?  Seriously?

Have you ever used an incident from real life in one of your books?

Many times, all cleverly disguised.

In regard to your new release, what are some of the best things about it?

The characters in NOT THROUGH LOVING YOU were great fun to write. Aaron’s brother, Stevie, is the comic sidekick. He just kinda appeared in the first chapter and as soon as he showed up, I knew he was going to play a role in the book, plus bring a ton of humor with him. I loved creating Gilda, who is a hippie from the 60’s turned spiritualist and the heroine Lia’s surrogate mother. Gilda brought a lot to the story in the way of wonderful oddities. It’s one of the most romantic books I’ve written. Lia, a singer songwriter, is such a lovely heroine struggling with the illusions in her life. Of course, Aaron, who has been a character in my other books, is a pediatrician and a man who really wants a family and his bond with the unwanted baby he is going to adopt is heartwarming. He loves that baby so much. The copy editor wrote me note when she was reading the scene when Aaron did kangaroo care with the baby, she was like swooning. Lia loves Old West outlaws, which Aaron doesn’t understand at all.

If you want, you can Read Chapter 1 where Lia crashes the bachelor party at Aaron’s house and upends his life.

Not Through Loving You

In the Southern town of Lafayette Falls, a new life brings together a woman with everything to lose and a doctor with everything to prove.

When a sickly infant is surrendered at the Lafayette Falls Medical Center, and orphaned soon after, pediatrician Aaron Kendall arranges to adopt him. After a painful divorce, the busy baby doc is about to realize his own dream of becoming a father when the baby’s beautiful estranged aunt turns up. She doesn’t exactly approve of the Kendall bachelor pad complete with Aaron’s cranky dad and wacky brother, forcing Aaron to form a risky alliance with her.

Country singer-songwriter Lia Montgomery barely knew her half-sister, but she’s determined her tiny nephew goes to a good home. If only she fit the bill herself, but her stressful life on the road is no place for a baby. Yet despite her misgivings, as she gets to know Aaron, she realizes the smart and sexy doctor is everything a child could want in a dad and more unsettling, everything she’s ever hoped for in a man. After all she’s put him through, is it too late to form a family and maybe put a song in the good doctor’s heart?

Amazon  http://amzn.to/2p0U63y 

Barnes and Noble   http://ow.ly/vuIs30brDgY

Kobo    https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/not-through-loving-you

Author Bio

Award-winning author Patricia Preston writes mainstream humorous romance, historical romance and comedy. She is represented by the Seymour Agency. Her newest titles are part of a standalone series, Love Heals All, for Kensington Books/Lyrical Press imprint. She has several other e-book titles available including a historical romance, TO SAVE A LADY, set in the French Quarter during the Battle of New Orleans. She also has a comic short story anthology, DIXIE DARLINGS, available in print. Besides writing she loves music, photography, graphic design, and visiting her favorite historical locales including the French Quarter and the Natchez Trace.

You can visit her website at http://www.patricia-preston.com

Follow her on Amazon  and BookBub 

Facebook   Twitter    Goodreads  Newsletter

#FiveOnFriday with Ashley York

Please welcome Ashley York back today! Check out her novel, Curse of the Healer!

Curse of the Healer

After the death of Brian Boru in 1014, a legend arose of a healer so great she could raise a man from the dead, with a power so strong it could make any warrior the next high king of Éire…and to steal it away from her, he need only possess her. 

Fated to be a healer…

Aednat has spent her entire life training to be the great healer, knowing she must remain alone. When she meets Diarmuid, the intense attraction she feels toward him shakes her resolve to believe in such a legend. If she gives in to the passion he ignites in her, can she settle for being less?

Destined to be his…

Diarmuid of Clonascra is renowned for his bravery in battle. Only one thing daunts him: the prospect of taking a wife. The safest course would be to keep his distance from Aednat, the bold, headstrong healer who’s far too tempting for his peace of mind. But his overking orders him to protect her from a group of craven warriors intent on kidnapping her to steal her power.

What starts as duty for Diarmuid quickly transforms into something more. Aednat’s power might be at risk, but so is his closed-off heart.

BUY LINKS – Curse of the Healer

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Curse-Healer-Descendants-High-King-ebook/dp/B06XC1J99P

iTunes   https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1210186885

KOBO   https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/curse-of-the-healer

Ashley’s Bio:

Aside from two years spent in the wilds of the Colorado mountains, Ashley York is a proud life-long New Englander and a hardcore romantic. She has an MA in History which brings with it, through many years of research, a love for primary documents and the smell of musty old libraries. With her author’s imagination, she likes to write about people who could have lived alongside those well-known giants from the past.

Connect with her online at:

Website: http://www.ashleyyorkauthor.com

Email: ashleyyork1066@gmail.com

Twitter: @ashleyyork1066

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#FiveOnFriday with H.O. Knight

Please welcome H.O. Knight here today! I think you guys are going to love her, and her book!

When you get writer’s block and need inspiration, how do you get through that?

I turn to my evil twin, whom I ate while we were still in our mother’s womb.  That, or my cat, Mangus.

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?  

I had a sneaking suspicion when I graduated from college and didn’t want to get a real job.

Why do you like to write about disasters?   

All kidding aside, I love to put my characters in difficult situations and then see what they’re capable of.  It’s interesting to watch them make decisions that change them into people they never would have become, otherwise.  Traumatic events can push people apart or draw them closer, you know?  I also like to imagine what life would be like if all of our modern conveniences were snatched away.  Since I love flush toilets and air conditioning, I’m sort of hoping that doesn’t ever happen.

Do you ever write people you know into your books?  

As a matter of fact, I do.  My cat, Mangus—an 18 pound tuxedo kitty who looks more cow than cat.  He was the inspiration in my Yellowstone Series for the heroine’s adored pet, Moo.  Moo likes to flatter her the same way my cat likes to flatter me—by turning his butt to her face and wiggling his tail.  High praise, indeed!

Any final words?

Yes!  Muse of Fire, the third and final book in my YA apocalyptic Yellowstone series, debuts on Tuesday, June 6.  Book 1, Life After Chocolate, is on Amazon right now for 99-cents, so if you’d like to take a low-risk look at what my YA’s are like, now’s a great time!

Life After ChocolateBLURB:

Life After Chocolate, by H.O. Knight

Until that day, I’d never heard of a super-volcano…

I didn’t know how good I had it. All I had to worry about was college in the fall and avoiding Connor Falk, the guy I stupidly bared my soul to. Then the Yellowstone volcano blew. Now half the country is buried under a thick layer of ash, the temperature is falling, and crops are failing worldwide. My prepper grandfather used to be an embarrassment, but it’s his stores that keep us alive. For now our family is safe—or are we?

My name is Emmaline Dohring, and this is my story.

AUTHOR BIO:

H.O. Knight doesn’t go for billionaires with helicopters or country club fellas who sip Moscow Mules by the pool. She likes her men Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to know.  She began reading romance when she was thirteen and apocalyptic fiction during college.  She’s combined her love for the two genres in her Young Adult Apocalyptic Adventure/Romance (the Yellowstone Series), which is set during a catastrophic worldwide event.

Ms. Knight lives in the Mid-Atlantic with her own bad boy and dreams of one day leaving that snow behind forever.

H.O. Knight

SOCIAL MEDIA:

FACEBOOK:  https://www.facebook.com/H.O.Knight.author

TWITTER:  https://twitter.com/HeatherOKnight

AMAZON:  https://www.amazon.com/Heather-Knight/e/B01E8XDDUI/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

BOOKBUB:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/heather-knight

WEBSITE   http://www.hoknightauthor.com

NEWSLETTER: TEXT “Snow-n-Ash” to 444999 OR visit this page:  http://heatherknight.net/newsletter-sign-up/

BOOKS.

All are available on Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon (links below): 

The Yellowstone Series

Life After Chocolate

A Pocket Full of Ash

Muse of Fire

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