Guest Author

#FiveOnFriday Marketing Tips from Ann Everett

Please welcome Ann Everett back to the blog today! Need any marketing tips? She’s got five great ones for you!

Join HARO (Help a Reporter Out)

Sign-up–(the subscription is free)

Read–You’ll receive three emails every day with requests from sources in specific areas (e.g., travel, tech, general)

Respond–If any of the sources listed have something you can speak to, then respond directly to the reporter making the request. Authors who responded to a request have been featured on multiple news and talk shows from CNN to Fox & Friends, and mentioned in the largest outlets including Cosmo, Essence, The Saturday Evening Post, Woman’s Day, American Baby, Consumer’s Digest Magazine, the BBC, US News & World Report, The Wall Street Journal, ABC.com, The Huffington Post, FoxBusiness.com, MSN Money, AOL and Yahoo.

Just make sure you don’t waste their time. Don’t respond unless you meet their criteria.

I have been interviewed by an editor for Good Housekeeping Magazine, featured on a blog with many followers, interviewed by two college professors writing a book, and contributed to a book of motherly advice.

Getting your name out there regardless if you connect it to your books, will bring people to your site, and they’ll see your books. The subjects I responded to concerned marriage, advice, and Amazon.

DO AMAZON GIVEAWAYS

This is an Amazon promotion often overlooked. To set it up, go to your Amazon author book page.

Click on any of your books, then scroll down past the reviews and you’ll see, “set up a giveaway.” Amazon will walk you through the procedure. Since you’re giving the book away, you’ll get no royalties, so what is the advantage?

Followers: You can require contestants to follow you on Facebook, twitter, or your author page on Amazon. I choose my author page because all those followers get a notice each time I have a new book released. Amazon does that work for me, and it will help get my book off to a good start.

Traffic: According to Amazon, Giveaways increase traffic more than 40% during the promotion.

Twitter Exposure: If you tweet #AmazonGiveaway, everyone searching for Amazon Giveaways will see that tweet and you!

Minimal investment: The only cost to you is the cost of your book. You choose how many you want to giveaway, so you control the investment. I’ve done one book per fifty followers and gave away five books. That netted me 250 followers with each giveaway. Keep in mind, you will make a royalty off each book because you’ve purchased them at regular price, so that reduces your cost. You can choose print or digital.

Audience: Readers who love your genre will search out those giveaways, therefore targeting the exact reader you’re looking for. This fine tunes your followers.

You can run a giveaway and a Kindle Countdown at the same time for the same book. If you do that, then your cost will be less because you’re not paying full price for the giveaway book, AND you’re making the higher royalty because it’s in KDP Select.

SET UP PINTEREST BOARDS

Pinterest is the largest driver of traffic of all social media with over 110 million active monthly users.

The first thing you want to do on Pinterest is sign up for a business account. That way, you’ll have access to analytics and your website will get verified. Once that’s done, the images you post will have a better chance of getting search results.

Use your author name as your username because that helps brand you, so use it as it appears on your books.

Just like every other site, you’ll enter a profile, headshot, keywords, etc.

Profile photo—165 X165

Board display—22 X 150

Pin sizes—236 pixels wide

You’ll also want to add an icon Pinterest button to your website, so visitors can check out your boards by clicking the icon and going directly to your Pinterest page.

Not a good idea to connect your Pinterest account to any other social sites. If it automatically posts on Twitter, the pin will only be a link and not an actual photo.

You’ll want to add a Pinterest bookmark to your browser and you can find those instructions here: http://www.pinterest.com/about/goodies

On Pinterest, you can follow pinners (members) or their individual boards. Now, about those boards. Maybe you love jewelry or fashion or cars or like me, everything Texas. You can make boards for all your favorites, but don’t forget to make a board for each of your books! More on that later.

Look at other pinners, even authors, to get ideas of what they pin.

You can use the search bar in Pinterest to find items/images. It is quickly becoming a popular search engine!  You can pin directly from the web, or if you have personal images on your desktop, you can pin those. When you pin a personal image, be sure and include your website URL in the description/comment section.

By clicking the Pinterest logo at the top of your Pinterest page, you can navigate to the Newsfeed and find everything pinned by people you follow. Click Analytics and discover how many of your pins are getting RE-pinned. On average, a Pin, is RE-pinned 11 times!

Board Ideas 

Here are the boards I have related to my books.

A board for each book with fantasy cast, quotes, covers, etc.

Images of wedding dresses

A collection of jewelry

One of my characters loved Boho-chic, so I have a board for that.

Beautiful Men

Beautiful women

Quotes that will make you laugh, cry and think

Recipes from my Sweet Thangs Cookbook

Books I love

Boot and hats

All things Texas

DIY

As you can see, your boards should be all about what you like. Go crazy! You can even have secret boards. Why? Well, if you’re a Stuart Reardon fan, like me, and have a hard time finding a photo of him suitable for public viewing, a secret board is a good thing!!

Here’s a fun site to make beautiful posts for social media. They have 1000’s of templates. http://www.easil.com

INCLUDE BOOK BACK MATTER

Make sure you have sample chapters or excerpts from all your books in the back of each book published. Along with buy links. This is constant marketing working for you every single day!

DO PUBLIC SPEAKING

In high school, I was a twirler, and everyone knew when I dropped the baton.

I’ve sung solos, and everyone knew when I hit a wrong note.

But as a speaker, no one in the audience knows what I’m going to say, so they don’t know if I’ve messed anything up or not! That’s the beauty of public speaking…and it’s a good source of marketing. Because you’re not marketing your books…you’re marketing yourself.

All you need is WANT AND WILLPOWER. I find my program info from reading blogs, books, and doing searches. Once I have that, it’s easy to put together a power point presentation.

I generally sell some books, but more importantly, I get other speaking engagements, friends, followers, and it adds to my credibility to answer some of those HARO requests!

Meet Ann Everett

Award winning and Amazon Best-Selling author, Ann Everett embraces her small town upbringing and thinks Texans are some of the funniest people on earth. When speaking at conferences and to writing groups, businesses, book clubs, and non-profit organizations, she incorporates her special brand of wit, making her programs on marketing, self-publishing, and the benefits of laughter, informative and fun.

Her short stories have appeared in The Green Silk Journal, Snag Today, and Story Teller Magazine.

A top reviewer on thenextbigwriter.com, she lives on a small lake in Northeast Texas where she writes, bakes, and fights her addiction to Diet Dr. Peppers.

She’s been featured on:

Proud of East Texas with Joan Hallmark, KLTV-TV, Tyler, Texas

East Texas Live and Mid-day, KETK-TV, Tyler, Texas

KTSS-TV, Hope, Arkansas

The Authors Show with Don McCauley, Internet radio show

The Chandler & Brownsboro Statesman, Chandler, Texas

The Daily Tribune, Mt. Pleasant, Texas

Tyler Morning Telegraph, Tyler, Texas

InMagazine, East Texas

Ten things you won’t know about Ann by reading her bio:

She’s been married to her high school sweetheart.
She loves shopping at thrift stores.
She doesn’t remember her first kiss.
She hates talking on the telephone.
A really sharp pencil makes her happy.
She secretly wants to get a tattoo.
A charter member of National Honor Society in high school remains one of her proudest moments.
She’s thankful wrinkles aren’t painful.
She sucks at math.

Ann’s Books:

Tizzy/Ridge romantic suspense trilogy

Laid Out and Candle Lit

You’re Busting My Nuptials

Tied With a Bow and No Place to Go

Contemporary romance companion books

Tell Me a Secret

Two Wrongs Make a Right

Say You’ll Never Love Me

Non-fiction

Strong Verbs Strong Voice: A quick reference to improve your writing and impress readers (Amazon best seller)

Body Language: A quick reference for character action and description

Sweet Thangs: Southern Sweets from Two Sassy Sisters

Find Ann on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon, and Goodreads!

#FiveOnFriday Tattoo Killer by AJ Norris

Please welcome A.J. Norris here today! She’s telling us a few things about her novel, Tattoo Killer!

Thank you, Mary, for allowing me to talk about my five favorite things about my romantic suspense, Tattoo Killer.

  1. My most favorite thing about Tattoo Killer is the characters themselves. I know, I know, authors should like their characters, right? But of all the books I’ve written, I love the detective in this book, Harry, more than any other character. He’s a grumpy and lovable character and a two fisted coffee drinker for a reason. I don’t want to tell you too much about him, because it would spoil the story. 😉
  2. I love that Harry thinks he’s the main character and acts like one. LOL
  3. My favorite scene is when Grace and her father are driving in her car and Harry back seat drives, making her nuts. The excerpt is below. 😉
  4. I like that the main characters all have some issue they are dealing with. The hero has a crazy ex-wife but still is able to maintain a good relationship with his son; the heroine worries about her dad (who’s a detective) more than the average daughter, because her mother had died and she doesn’t want to lose him too; the detective, Harry, feels guilt for having put his best friend in prison many years ago.
  5. The best thing I liked about writing this book is it allowed me to write about a darker subject matter and still inject some humor into it.

Blurb:

Mikey Hardin is a murderer. At least that’s what his ex-wife wants the police to believe…

A tattoo artist and single father, Mikey becomes a suspect in a series of homicides thanks to an anonymous tip from his ex. The case against him seems straightforward, especially since Mikey is connected to the victims, but police detective Harry Hunter knows finding the psychopath isn’t that simple. The physical evidence doesn’t add up. After Mikey is released and amid the turmoil of his life, he meets Grace Bell, a beautiful divorcee, in a chance encounter.

Mikey is everything that straight-laced Grace isn’t…

Grace is tired of living a rigid existence and wants to break free from the routine of her mundane life. The tattoo artist’s free spirit and charm quickly draw her into his world. From the back of his Harley, he teaches her how to let go and have fun, leading to a sizzling passion she never knew existed.

Another woman is found dead, and the killer isn’t finished yet…

Grace is unaware of Mikey’s part in the investigation of the local homicides, but when her estranged father, detective Harry Hunter, finds out who she’s dating, he’s quick to fill her in. Even though he thinks Mikey is innocent, there is a killer in Webster and he’s not stopping until he gets what he wants. Every victim is connected to Mikey, and her father fears Grace will be next.

After Detective Hunter receives a threatening phone call from the killer, he rushes to protect his daughter, but is Grace really the next target of the…

Tattoo Killer?

Excerpt:

Grace’s father pointed out the front windshield of her car. “Eyes on the road, honey.”

“Oh my God, how old am I? I know how to drive.”

She worked her jaw, her father’s passenger-seat driving only adding to her irritation. Harry had shamed her, not only into celebrating her deceased mother’s birthday again, but now they were on their way to pick up the damn cake.

“Dad?” Grace had meant to ask him to promise her again that this would be the last time they marked this day, but lost the energy.

“Did you have a question? Because it sounded like you had a question.”

“No. Never mind.” Grace glanced over at her father. He contorted and twisted his body at the flow of traffic as if he were bracing for impact, his feet pushing imaginary pedals into the floor. Rolling her eyes, she continued gripping the wheel with one hand on the bottom to annoy him. “Please stop doing that.”

“What?” he asked, pressing his foot down on his invisible brake. The light up ahead turned red.

“That.” Grace gestured in the direction of his feet. “My foot is on the brake. You’re making me crazy. Gawd. This is the absolute last time I’m driving with you anywhere. And this is the last time I’m celebrating Mom’s birthday with you. I’m so sick of this.” The words flew out of her mouth. She couldn’t even stop them. Pacifying him all these years not only kept him in the past, but her too. She was done.

“I’m sorry.”

A car horn drowned him out. The beep wasn’t for her but the noise got her eyes back on the road. A bright red sports car whipped in between her and the car ahead of them. Grace laid on the horn while she slammed on her brakes, the vibration and grinding sound of the anti-locks kicked in. Harry’s coffee went flying.

“Aw, dammit!” Harry brushed at his pants.

“Oh, what are you so upset about? Your bad habit is going to stain the carpet,” she breathed.

“No it’s not…it’s black.” He set his Styrofoam cup into the center console holder.

“It’s going to stink up my Lincoln.”

“It’s not going to…well, maybe.”

“Dad,” she groaned.

“It’s not my fault. You should pay attention.”

“I was. I can’t help it if someone pulls out in front of me. Don’t you have some napkins or something to mop this up with?”

Her father reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad. Using the sole of his loafer he pressed the napkins into the carpet and soaked up the spill the best he could. However, what they needed was a wet vac.

Grace turned into the strip mall parking lot where the bakery was located. When her dad started to get out of the car, she stopped him, consumed with guilt. “I’ll get the cake, Dad.”

Harry looked at her like he was about to protest, but kept his mouth shut and closed his door.

After paying for the cake, she placed it on the floor of the back seat. The buttercream frosting aroma filled the car. It smelled delicious. The confection was the only thing she enjoyed about this day. Her mouth watered as she started the engine.

Silence hung like smog in the car. Grace knew her father would eventually choke on the silence between them. She was right. He ran a finger along the inside of his collar and buzzed the window down even though the A/C blasted cold air.

One. Two. Three… 

“So, are you getting out much?”

I knew it. 

“Getting out?”

“Yeah, you know? Dating anyone?”

Grace grinned. “Really? Do you really want to hear about my sex lif—?”

“Grace.” Harry grimaced and sliced a hand through the space between them. “Ehhh.”

She stifled a giggle.

“I don’t want to know about that. I’m only curious how you spend your time away from work. That’s all.”

“Hmmm…well, since you brought it up, actually, I have met someone. He seems pretty cool and kind of the opposite of me. Which isn’t bad. I like it, I guess.”

Her father exhaled loudly. “He isn’t a weirdo is he?”

“What? What do ya mean, weirdo?”

“I mean is he normal?”

“Harry, I told you he’s not. I mean, he is normal.” She sighed. “He’s free-spirited.”

“Okay fine. I’ll trust your judgment, and don’t call me Harry.”

Grace thought the investigation was over. She relaxed into her seat for a few minutes. When they turned into her father’s subdivision he spoke again.

“Did you run a background check on—?”

“Dad.”

“What?”

“You know what. This subject is closed. Discussion over.”

BUY LINK: https://www.amazon.com/Tattoo-Killer-Crimes-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B01LXOQFPZ/

About A.J.

A.J. Norris is a romantic suspense and dark paranormal romance author. She enjoys being able to get inside someone else’s head, even a fictional one, and see what they see. Watching how her characters deal with difficult situations or squirm with the uncomfortable ones makes the hard work of writing all worth it. However, writing and reading weren’t always in her foremost thoughts. In fact, her love affair with writing came as a shock to everyone she knows, including herself. At a young age, she rarely opened a book, unless forced to read something for school. But that’s all behind her now. She wrote her first book several years ago, which turned out to be a surprisingly cathartic process, and she hasn’t been able to stop writing since.

A.J. is a movie buff, loves watching her son play baseball, and communing with other writers. She’s a member of two writer’s groups and RWA. She lives in southeastern Michigan with her family, who are extremely tolerant (at least most of the time) of all her late nights behind the computer. Along with contributing to Magical Pages Book Blog & Reviews, she’s currently working on book two of her Tattoo Crimes Series, and hopes to have it published sometime in 2017.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website: http://www.ajnorrisauthor.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/alisajnorris/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AJNorris_Author

Instagram: https://instagram.com/ajnorris_author

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/ajnorris50/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14888581.A_J_Norris

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#FiveOnFriday In Your Arms by Shannyn Schroeder

Please say hi to Shannyn Schroeder! I can’t wait to dive into her latest, In Your Arms!

Hi Mary. Thanks so much for hosting me today and giving me a chance to chat about my books.

Mary: I’m so excited to have you with us, Shannyn! I have to know… You write about both nerds and bad boys? Which guy is your favorite? 

Shannyn: I definitely have a love for bad boys. Nerds have their charm, but there’s something about a bad boy, especially a dirty talking one.

M: Ooh, I totally agree! Since you unwind with TV, I have to know, what shows fill up your DVR?

S: So many. No joke. SO. MANY. I used to say cop shows. You name it, I probably watched it. I still do, but I think there are fewer of them that I’m into now. I am really into many of the super hero shows. Personally, I’m a DC girl, so while I watch Agents of Shield, I prefer Arrow, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Gotham… yeah, I told you— too many.

M: You had me at Arrow! I’ve recently become addicted to Arrow, Flash, and Legends. Hard to say no to them! In your unheard of free time you said you bake cookies. On the rare occasion your kids let you make your favorite, what kind of cookies are you baking?

S: My love of baking cookies really does come from the process not the consumption, so I don’t know that I really have a favorite. You can’t go wrong with basic chocolate chip. But if I’m looking to indulge, I’ll make Comfort Cookies, which is a recipe I created for my first book, More Than This. The recipe is on my web site – http://www.shannynschroeder.com/comfort-cookies/

M: That’s so awesome! Since we’re talking books… What scene from In Your Arms was your favorite to write?

S: My favorite scene to write is the Saturday afternoon that Sean and Emma spend together. They meet Friday night, and although Emma spends the night in Sean’s bed, it’s only because she drank too much. He convinces her to spend the day with him. They go to the beach and to a street fest.

It’s nothing really special, but I think that scene really highlights part of what I love most about Chicago in the summertime. Plus, we get to see who Emma and Sean are and experience the chemistry they have with each other.

M: Last question… I have to know, as a writer now, do you have any sympathy for the students who dubbed you ‘The Torture Master,’ and the work you made them do? 

S: When my students gave me the nickname, I laughed because it was quite appropriate. Looking back now, as a parent, as a writer, as a teacher…nope—no sympathy. I say that because every time I “tortured” them it was to make them stronger, better students. I worked with gifted students who were used to skating through school. Everything was easy for them. I made things hard. They needed to know what it meant to be challenged. No real learning happens without struggle.

I’ll forever wear that name as a badge of honor ☺

M: Good for you! Thanks for sharing with us! Now let’s hear about In Your Arms!

In Your Arms

A KNIGHT IN SHINING LEATHER… 

Sean O’Malley has never tried to hide who he is. He shows it in the motorcycle thrumming between the legs of his tight jeans…the shaggy hair that falls in his gorgeous eyes…the wicked gleam in his smile when he asks Emma out for a drink. Sean is a rebel, a bad boy, and a ton of fun: exactly the kind of guy she’s sworn off forever.

Emma isn’t just the prim kindergarten teacher she appears to be. And somehow Sean can tell. As soon as he pulls up to her overheated car he knows that a fast bike and a cold beer will fix her rotten day better than compliments or a bubble bath. Her straitlaced exterior and her wild heart light him up. But Emma wants to escape her past and settle down—and if her desk jockey dates don’t understand where she comes from, at least she doesn’t worry about them bringing her back.

One weekend of intense connection can’t change the paths Sean and Emma have chosen. But with a little space to be themselves together, maybe the rest of the world can wait…

Buy Now from Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, or BAM!

Meet Shannyn

Shannyn Schroeder is the author of the O’Leary series, contemporary romances centered around a large Irish-American family in Chicago and the Hot & Nerdy series about 3 nerdy friends finding love. Her new series (For Your Love) released last summer with the first title Under Your Skin. When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies. Find out more at: http://www.ShannynSchroeder.com and make sure you follow her on Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook.

#FiveOnFriday Unimaginable Lover by Rosalie Redd

Please say hi to Rosalie Redd. She’s sharing an interview with her sexy shifter, Tanen, hero of Unimaginable Lover!

Want to meet Tanen, the hero of Unimaginable Lover, book 3 in the Warriors of Lemuria series? I sat down with him for a brief interview…

Rosalie: Did you turn out the way your parents predicted?

Tanen adjusts himself in the chair and straightens the collar on his shirt. His brow furrows. “Much to my chagrin, no. My father was a warrior. I was a disappointment to him.”

I squirm in my seat. I am uncomfortable in the presence of this large male. “Why is that?”

He crosses his arms, his biceps bulging tight against his shirt sleeves. “Because I didn’t follow in his footsteps. Instead, I chose to pursue knowledge and my love of the ancient scriptures.”

R: What is your most treasured possession?

Tanen traces his finger along the pin that graces his collar. The silver metal, in the shape of the letter M, reflects the overhead lights with an unearthly glint. “My pin. It signifies my status as council leader and represents Lemuria and life ever after.”

I stroke my fingers over the keyboard as I record his comments. The sound echoes around the large chamber, and a cool breeze runs over my shoulder. Goosebumps form.

He leans back in his chair and touches one of the sunstones lining the cave walls. The gem flares, brightening the room and the air warms. “Is that better? The crystals will take away the chill.”

“Thank you, Tanen.”

R: What do you value most?

He studies me for a moment before answering, his gaze flicking over my features. “King Noeh’s respect. I will do whatever he asks to help win this war against our enemy, the Gossum, and for our goddess, Alora.”

I can’t help but smile at his sincerity.

R: What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

The muscles in his arms visibly tense. His gaze tracks to my necklace, and he cracks his knuckles. “I’d rather not say.”

My unease is once again forefront in my mind. The chair is suddenly rock-hard beneath my bottom and no amount of heat in the room will take away the chill running down my back.

R: What is the trait you most deplore in others?

The smile returns to his face. His blue eyes swirl with gold flecks, mixing together in a beautiful dance.

Despite my nervousness, I’m mesmerized.

He winks. “Ignorance.”

When he didn’t elaborate further, I clear my throat. “Time to move on.”

R: What scares you?

He places his arms on his thighs and leans forward. “Failing my king.”

I wouldn’t want to face this warrior in a dark alley.

R: What happens after you die?

A slow smile curls his lips, twinkling the blue in his eyes once again. “When a warrior dies his soul returns to Lemuria, back to the character board to fight again in another war on another planet.”

“Thank you, Tanen, for the interview.”

He places his hand over mine and gives it a gentle squeeze. “You’re welcome, Rosalie.”

Unimaginable Lover
Rosalie Redd

A shifter and a human together? Unimaginable…

One careless decision. The colony betrayed. Tanen’s only course is a desperate hunt for justice, but his solo mission is cut short when he’s mortally wounded during a fight. Rescued by a sweet, innocent female who nurses him back to health, he can’t deny the passion that burns between them. Now he must choose between his duty and honor or his desire for the precious, but forbidden, human female.

Broken promises and ruined love hardened Sheri’s heart. When she finds an injured and extraordinarily sexy man on her property, she’s pulled into a world she never imagined. As she nurses him back to health and they bond over their love of books, she’s torn between the lessons she learned from her rough past and the need to seek solace in Tanen’s arms, but she must learn to trust him, and herself, in order to survive.

Excerpt from Unimaginable Lover

Sheri’s pulse raced as a strange mixture of shock and desire coursed through her veins. The tall, muscular stranger pinned her against the wall. One second she’d pressed 9-1—on her phone and the next, she was here, in his arms.

His biceps bulged, and she had a sudden urge to run her fingers over them, feel the steel that was below the surface, but her hands were trapped at his hips. She gripped his taut waist, and his heat bore into her, warming her fingers, tingling the sensitive nerves. Although caged in his embrace, he was gentle with her, holding back the strength that ebbed from him in waves. As he leaned in, his breath cascaded over her shoulder, warm and enticing.

“No infirmary.” His gravelly, rough command came out on a whisper.

She should’ve feared him, this stranger in her home trapping her in his arms, but instead, her insides melted, warmed by his touch, his voice, his scent. Something about him made her long for more.

So focused on the man who held her so close, she hadn’t noticed Coop. His insistent barks echoed through the house.

The man tensed, and in the process his lean body pressed tighter against hers. Her skin prickled at the contact.

With a quick glance over his shoulder, she caught sight of her pet. He growled, his lips curled over his fangs.

“No, Coop. Stop!”

His back legs bunched in preparation for his attack.

The man didn’t release her, but turned to face her dog. He held out one hand, palm open. “Halt.”

Coop’s growl faded.

He took a tentative step forward.

His nose quivered, and a small whimper eased from his chest. Her pet, an ex-police dog trained to track and defend, placed his muzzle under the stranger’s palm.

She gasped. If she hadn’t seen this for herself, she wouldn’t have believed it. He patted Coop on the head, and the dog’s tail beat against the floor.

The man’s eyes were red-rimmed, and sweat coated his forehead. “I have to leave…”

His eyes glazed over, and his grip around her waist loosened.

As her hands traveled along the space between them, her fingers trailed over the firm muscles of his abdomen and chest. The strength and power under his skin lit up her nerves. She moved a stray hair away from his brow and focused on his eyes. Bottomless pools of blue, they reflected the pain hidden behind his features.

Her chest constricted. “Please, let me help you.”

His gaze fell to her mouth, and he reached up to stroke her bottom lip with his thumb, teasing her. “How? Like this?”

Before she could stop him, he slipped his hand around the base of her neck and pulled her close. His mouth hovered over hers for the briefest moment. She closed her eyes, aware that doing so was an invitation all its own. Warm and welcoming, his lips tasted of musk and pepper. With unexpected tenderness, he teased her with his tongue, caressing the crease between her lips. The sensitive nerves tingled at the contact and she inhaled, parting her mouth.

Moaning softly, he deepened the kiss, and explored her. His tongue brushed the sore spot in her mouth, but instead of pain, his smooth caress eased some of the ache. The passionate need in his kiss bore into her, sending a wave of desire to her core. Beneath the thin material of her shirt, her nipples peaked, and she couldn’t hide her reaction to him. A slow groan rumbled in his chest.

Buy it now from Amazon US, Amazon AU, Amazon UK, Amazon CA, B&N, Kobo, or iBooks!

Meet Rosalie

After finishing a rewarding career in finance and accounting, it was time for award-winning author Rosalie Redd to put away the spreadsheets and take out the word processor. She pens paranormal, science fiction, and fantasy romance in her office cave located in Oregon, where rain is just another excuse to keep writing.

Website:  http://www.rosalieredd.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rosaliereddauthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/RosalieRedd

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/34148783-rosalie-redd

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/rosalieredd/

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/rosalieredd

Strokes on a Canvas by H. Lewis-Foster

Please welcome H. Lewis-Foster here today. Dive right in and say hi!

It’s lovely to be here at Mary’s blog to tell you a little about my latest novella Strokes on a Canvas. It’s set in 1920s London and tells the story of Evan, a bank clerk who finds himself in a more bohemian world when he meets artist and former soldier Milo. Like many of my stories, it’s a historical romance about two men from very different backgrounds. Evan is used to keeping his sexuality secret, and it’s quite a surprise to meet Milo and his artistic circle, who take a far more liberal attitude in such matters. As Evan and Milo grow closer, not only do they have to overcome their social differences but also figures from the past who threaten their burgeoning romance. I thoroughly enjoyed writing this story of true friendship and love, and do hope you’ll enjoy reading it too.

strokes-on-a-canvas-h-lewis-fosterStrokes on a Canvas is now available at Amazon.

Blurb

London, 1924. Bank clerk Evan Calver is enjoying a quiet pint and notices a man smiling at him across the bar. While the Rose and Crown isn’t that kind of pub, Evan thinks his luck might be in, and he narrowly escapes humiliation when he realises the man is smiling at a friend. Eavesdropping on their conversation, Evan discovers the man is named Milo Halstead and served as an army captain during the war.

The next day Evan goes to the British Museum, where he bumps into Milo again. This time Milo introduces himself, explaining he’s an art teacher and would like to paint Evan’s portrait for a competition. Evan can’t believe an upper-class artist would want to paint the son of a miner, but he agrees to sit for Milo. Their acquaintance blossoms into friendship, and Evan hopes it might become more, but when a dense smog descends over the city, their future is as unclear as the London sky.

Excerpt

On the opposite side of the cabinet, a man was gazing intently at Evan’s favourite amphora. Evan doubted he was having the same thoughts as himself as he scrutinized the naked athletes, but he seemed transfixed by its sporting design. The dark-haired man was wearing a brown pinstripe suit, the kind seen in newspaper photographs of famous actors and royalty, and which Evan could never hope to afford. The stranger looked born to wear his stylish attire, his confident posture showing the suit’s fine cut to full advantage. Then he raised his eyes, and Evan saw the man was not a total stranger. His hair was smooth with brilliantine, and he wasn’t wearing his gold-rimmed glasses, but he was unmistakably Captain Milo Halstead.

Evan was about to make a hasty exit, when he realised the former soldier was smiling at him through the glass. He may have looked smarter than he had last night, but his smile was still as warm and kind as one of Miss Nightingale’s nurses. Evan didn’t imagine the captain remembered him, but he smiled back, thinking it would be impolite not to, then turned to walk away. To his surprise, Evan’s action was mirrored on the other side of the cabinet as Captain Halstead moved in the same direction. He was still looking at Evan, still smiling, and as they both reached the end of the cabinet, Evan wondered what would happen next. Would words be exchanged? And what would those words be? If Milo remembered him from last night and wasn’t the genial man he seemed, they might hint at blackmail or violence.

Evan was tempted to put his head down and make a run for it, but he didn’t want to attract the attention of the museum guards. He took a breath and steadily stepped forward, only to find Milo standing in his way.

“Excuse me. Could I get past?”

“Of course, but…” Milo’s smile was uncertain now, but he didn’t move from Evan’s path. “It was you I saw in the Rose and Crown last night, wasn’t it?”

Evan lowered his eyes and weighed up his options. He could admit he was at the pub and ask to know what business of Milo’s it was. Or he could deny being anywhere near the place, or even knowing of its existence. The latter seemed the most sensible choice, avoiding all confrontation, but when Evan looked up and saw Milo’s blue eyes sparkling cheerfully back at him, he was overwhelmed by a longing to spend a few seconds more in his company.

With no idea of Milo’s intentions, Evan answered, “That’s right. I saw you there too.”

About H. Lewis-Foster

h-lewis-foster-logoH. Lewis-Foster lives in the north of England and has always worked with books in one form or another. As a keen reader of gay fiction, she decided to try writing herself and is now the proud author of several short stories and a debut novel ‘Burning Ashes’.

H. creates characters that are talented, funny and quite often gorgeous, but who all have their faults and vulnerable sides, and she hopes you’ll enjoy reading their stories as much as she loves writing them. H. has also ventured into playwriting and was thrilled to see her first play performed at the Southend Playwriting Festival.

Website: http://hlewisfoster.wix.com/books

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