Thursday, July 24, 2014

On Conversations: #paranormal #romance #author Skye Genaro

Please join me in welcoming paranormal romance author, Skye Genaro to Conversations today! Skye is here to talk about her teen paranormal romance novel, Echo Across Time, Book 1 in the Echo Saga. So be sure and check out the cover, blurb and excerpt below. Plus, Skye has a wonderfull Q&A for us, so be sure and check that out too and get to know Skye and her work!

Lisa ~
__________________________________________


http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GXHXBGO/?tag=crlaofsu-20ECHO ACROSS TIME
Book 1 in the Echo Saga

Fall in love with the achingly beautiful story of Echo and Connor, supernaturally gifted teens, as they fight to live out their destiny together.

Telekinesis. Aura sensing. These abilities wreak havoc on Echo's life, and she will do just about anything to get rid of them. Even if it means sharing her secret with Connor, the gorgeous, frightening stranger who appears out of thin air and possesses shocking supernatural abilities. He promises to teach her things beyond her wildest imagination—if Echo has the courage to trust him.

 Soon, she is pulled into a world of mystical possibility and starts falling hard for the enigmatic Connor. As Echo uncovers the truth about him, she discovers a dark secret brewing within her city: people with paranormal gifts are being kidnapped and murdered. Escaping with Connor would keep Echo alive, but at a high cost to Connor and to the future they both believe in. Echo must choose between her love for Connor and her own safety, but she can't have both.



Excerpt from ECHO ACROSS TIME 

      Connor stepped toward me, closing that cushion of space he always maintained. Slowly, he moved near enough to touch.
      My senses sparked back to life. For a moment, I could only watch his chest rise and fall. My eyes shifted to his forearm when his tendons flexed. Then to his bicep, full and round. His breath moved steadily in and out.
      Any doubts I had about his humanness left in a hurry. This was no ghost. This was a pure flesh-and-blood male, radiant and very much alive.
      Even this close, Connor's aura was little more than gentle tendrils against my skin, sweeping lightly through my hair, down my cheek. Was it my imagination, or was his aura exploring me? A gentle heat brushed across my throat, then my collarbone. My lids closed, and a chill curled up my spine. Then the feeling receded, and I was left with the impression I'd been kissed.
      Connor cleared his throat and I opened my eyes. He smiled self-consciously.
      "We’re going to center your energy now, so when we walk out of here, you're less likely to lose control," he said.
      The warmth of his closeness overrode my focus. My throat parched and I couldn't find my voice, so I nodded.
      "Close your eyes. Feel your heart. The soft, rhythmic beat."
      I closed my eyes. Finding my heartbeat was simple because my pulse had jumped with each step he came nearer. I didn't know why, but for once, I had control over my rising emotion. With a bit of effort, I managed to clear the sensation from my brow.
      "Put your hand over your heart," he said.
      I settled my palm on my breastbone and tried to block out the sound of his breathing.
      "Imagine all of your energy, your emotion, settling into that space beneath your hand. Center it there."
      He paused, and then he whispered, so close, the sultriness of his words left moisture on my ear. "Can you feel it? The heat building in your chest?"
      Oh, could I ever. I opened my eyes. His palm rested in the valley between solid pectoral muscles. I had to know, right then, his warmth, his aliveness.
      I lifted my hand away from my heart and reached for his.
      Connor's eyes snapped open. He stepped out of reach and raised a hand to deflect me.
      "No, Echo."
      His words were as harsh as a slap in the face. Shame flooded my cheeks.
      "Sorry," I stuttered. "I need a break, 'kay?" I hurried out the door.
      I broke into a run as soon as I left the warehouse. The control I struggled to maintain while Connor trained me snapped, and my energy whipped wildly. Cardboard boxes tumbled down the alley. Flotsam twirled out of the dumpster and scattered into the city.


 

Q&A with SKYE GENARO

Tell us a little about yourself and what you write.
I write teen paranormal and teen paranormal romance stories. I focus on the supernatural branch of the paranormal: characters with abilities like telekinesis, psychics, mediums, aura reading, abilities like that.

How did you get the idea for the series?

I came up with the idea when I was researching supernatural topics. As I read about people with actual supernatural gifts (empaths, precogs, spoon benders), I wondered what it would be like to wake up one morning and find out you had an ability. Who would you tell? What would you do with it? What if you couldn't control it and were trying to hide it because you felt like a freak?

What draws you to this genre?

I love the idea of having supernatural abilities. I have very strong intuition, but think it would be pretty cool to be able to move objects with my mind, or levitate, or walk through walls. I like creating stories where these things are an everyday reality in someone's life.

Is there an underlying theme running through the series?

Yes! The Echo Series is all about personal power—repressing it, learning to embrace it and then deciding how to use it--hopefully for the betterment of society.

Echo, for example, hates her power. She hates being different and having to hide who she really is. So, like so many young women do, she represses her individual power because she wants to fit in.

What type of audience do you have in mind when you are writing?
Most of my readers are teenage girls and woman, so I tend to write stories where relationships are very central.
 

Readers have told me they like my stories because they are very visually descriptive and have heart, so I've worked to develop this for my audience as well.

Are the paranormal experiences you write about based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I use a combination of my own experiences, those of my gifted friends and research when developing characters or scenarios for my books and novelettes.

I have a friend who is a very gifted intuitive, and another who is a gifted medium. Another one of my friends is an empath, which means she's highly sensitive to the emotional environment around her. She feels the energy coming off a place or a person very viscerally—it might feel frenetic or staticky for instance. She feels this sensation on her skin or her internal organs.




Skye Genaro's fascination with psychics and other gifted individuals sparked when her own clairvoyant and clairaudient abilities began to grow. As a young girl, she experienced flashes of "knowing", but she didn't recognize her intuitive insight until many years into adulthood.

When she's not writing, Skye is seeking out her next adventure. She and her husband can be found buzzing through the streets of Delhi on a tuk-tuk, rock climbing in Thailand, and canoeing whitewater rapids closer to home. She's been heard more than once saying "whoa, maybe that wasn't such a great idea," but she's usually smiling when she says it.

Skye writes short stories and novels featuring characters with paranormal gifts. She has also written movie scripts, one of which spent time in that mysterious entertainment industry labyrinth called "development."


You can find Skye at:
http://skyegenaro.com/
https://www.facebook.com/skye.genaro




Wednesday, July 23, 2014

On Conversations: #Interview with #AAMBookclub #author Blu Daniels

Please welcome AAMBookclub author Blu Daniels to Conversations today. Blu is here to talk about her novel, Misconceptions. So, check out the cover, blurb and excerpt below! And don't forget to check out her interview too, and get to know Blu.

Lisa ~
_____________________________________________


http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00INA9V54/?tag=crlaofsu-20Misconceptions

Having a baby is one thing. But having FOUR of them with the jerk who used you…now that’s another.

After finally ending her year-long fling with a man she only refers to as Bad Habit, the narcissistic, temperamental Alexandria Stone moves back home to New York to start her dream job. That is, until she discovers she’s pregnant, with quadruplets. When a business merger leaves her jobless and penniless, she has no other choice but to move to Atlanta with Bad Habit, a seductive, callous man she despises due to their rocky past. Desperate to have a picture-perfect life, Alex becomes convinced she must make Bad Habit fall in love with her, no matter the cost. Misconceptions is a hilarious and sexy nine-month chronicle of Alexandria’s doomed quest for a perfect life.




Excerpt from Misconceptions

     “If you keep eating like that you won’t have enough food to last the weekend,” Bad Habit said while coming down the stairs, carrying an overnight bag. I looked up from my plate of barbeque chicken wings, sucking the remnants off my fingers.
      “And it’s only nine a.m.” he added while trashing the empty cartons of orange juice I left on the counter.
      “I’m eating for five. Piss off,” I snapped, my mouth full of smothered meat. It had been weeks since I had a real appetite and now all I was craving was chicken. Mountains of chicken. Legs, thighs, wings, breast stacked to the ceiling.
      He shook his head in disgust. “Weren’t you in the kitchen earlier this morning?”
      He must be referring to the six packs of his favorite instant oatmeal I ate at four-thirty.
      I nodded my head in between bites.
     “You were asleep. I guess another looooong night. Humph!”
      Bad Habit left for work every day like clockwork and he went out almost every night. A mixture of various undefined meetings, happy hours, and random fuckery kept him out late while I stayed home alone for thirteen hours a day. He ignored my side eye and zipped up his bag.
      “I’m heading to Vegas for a conference this weekend. I’ll be back Sunday.”
      “Sure, whatever,” I said with zero care while scavenging through the fridge with my sticky fingers.
      I could’ve sworn we had some potato salad in here.
      “You know,” he began. “Maybe you shouldn’t be eating so much.”
      I froze and spun around, catching him checking out my ass.
      “Why not?”
      “Well, maybe you should…exercise a bit.”
      My mouth dropped and the relief of the cold breeze from the freezer vanished.
      No. He. Didn’t.
      “Are you calling me fat?”
      He shrugged while walking toward the pantry.
      “No, but you have been eating a lot more lately. And aren’t you supposed to be taking some vitamins or something?”
      “They’re horse pills. You take them. And quit changing the subject. You think I’m fat!”

      “No, but…well…it may just help with your…anxiety.”
      He took out the last pack of instant oatmeal and waved the empty box at me. Furious, I held my hands on my hips.
      “Oh well gee thanks for the marvelous advice! Let me just unzip out of this fucking fat suit and go for a brisk run. Hmmm…can’t seem to find the zipper. You think you could help me out?”
      Rolling his eyes, he grabbed his bag and headed for the door. I followed.
      “Alexandria, it’s perfectly acceptable to engage in physical activity while you’re pregnant. Plenty of women do. I’ve seen them at the gym.”
      “Yeah, well THOSE women aren’t the size of a damn planet at four months!”
      You never ever call a woman fat, especially when she’s pregnant! Even callous bastards like him should know that much.
      He stopped at the hall console to comb through an unopened pile of mail. I stood behind him.
      “What, no response?”
      Say something. Anything. Please give me an excuse to rip out your tongue with rusty pliers.
      “Given your current condition, I’ve chosen to disregard your shenanigans as mere hormonal outbursts,” he said using his normal cold formalness.
      He finds his car keys and turns around with a smirk.
      Ugh. His audacity disgusts me.
      “I may be pregnant, hormonal, and maybe even fat, but this is temporary. You however are a permanent dick! How about you try not to say or do anything stupid from now on?”
      He grinned, amused by my outburst, and opened the door.
      He thinks this is funny. So I’m a joke now?
      “Alexandria, do you need another spanking?”
      I gasped, mortified by what we did the night before and took a step back. He laughed.
      “That’s what I thought. I wouldn’t mind, but I have a flight to catch. Be back on Sunday. Hopefully the food will hold out until I return.”
      And with a smirk, he shut the door behind him.



Interview with Blu Daniels

What is your book about?

MISCONCEPTIONS is the story of a young woman, Alexandria Stone, who moves back home to New York, finally ending her year-long fling with a man she calls Bad Habit. She starts her dream job then discovers she’s pregnant, with quadruplets. When a business merger leaves her jobless and penniless, she has no other choice but to move to Atlanta with Bad Habit, a seductive.  Desperate to have a picture-perfect life, Alex becomes convinced she must make Bad Habit fall in love with her, no matter the cost.

MISCONCEPTIONS is a hilarious and sexy nine-month chronicle of Alexandria’s doomed quest for a perfect life.

Inspiration behind the Book

The Bad Habit in the book was loosely inspired by a real bad habit I had dated. He was horrible to me and for me, but yet somehow I found myself attracted, almost addicted to him. There are direct conversations had in the book that are verbatim of what was said in real life. One night, I had a dream I was pregnant with twins, and when I told him, it didn’t change the way he treated me or felt about me. When I woke up, I immediately dumped my Bad Habit. Even when he tried to occasionally hit me up, I’d declined seeing him. If that dream was ever a glimmer into my future, I wanted no part of it.

But then I thought, imagine if it was four babies…

Five words to describe the book


Chemistry: Bad Habit and Alex’s chemistry is palatable.  Their love/hate relationship creates the perfect friction to ignite their passion. From the very beginning, you witness it, experiencing the frustrating back and forth. (i.e that sex scene in the beginning…whewwwww!).

Dominance: Bad Habit has a control over Alex both in and out the bedroom. Most of the time, he appears to be uninterested in her, yet still craves authority leaving Alex left wondering why she loves him.

Insanity: Imagine being pregnant with quadruplets with a man who has been an asshole from the very beginning? How do you navigate that?

Hilarious: Alex’s humor and sarcasm helps her deal with the array of situations and hiccups she, at times, puts herself in. You’ll die laughing at her shenanigans.

Determination: Alex will stop at nothing to get Bad Habit, even at the expense of her self-respect, dignity and even her health.

Five Fun Facts about Character

  1. She is a Cancer: highly emotional and dramatic, even without the help of the extra hormones.
  2. Size 7, 32 C: She’s not a skinny model type girl. It was important for her to be a REAL girl. Think some books have characters that are size zero with 34DD.
  3. She mentions in the book she skips period, which could mean she suffers from something called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
  4. She graduated from Georgetown University with her MBA. (The same school Bad Habit went to, except for Law).
  5. Is it possible to have quadruplets? Why Yes! Yes it is! Quadruplets is the most babies women can conceive naturally, without the assistance from invitro. It’s extremely EXTREMLY rare. Which makes for a great story.
Why is this book so relatable?

Every girl has had a Bad Habit. That one guy who’s like the unhealthiest of food you know you shouldn’t have, but can’t leave alone. Similar to the bad boy complex, attracted to the you just can’t stop yourself from seeing or dealing with him.

Since you’ve never been pregnant, what are some of the things you did to help you write this book?

I read a lot of baby blogs, books and watched some detailed movies. The funniest thing I did was attend a birthing class. It gave me a chance to really witness the humor in their struggles, like getting up from their seats and interview some expectant mothers.  I even pretended to be preggos and PUSH!

What’s up next?

Next I’m writing the sequel to Misconceptions called BAD HABIT, as told by our favorite character we love and hate. Then I’ll finish the final chapter in their trilogy.



Blu Daniels is a TV professional by day, novelist by night, awkward black girl 24/7. A Howard University graduate and Brooklyn native, she is a lover of naps, cookie dough, beaches and randomly nerdy stuff. She currently resides in BK with her adorable chihuahua, Oscar, working on her next two novels.

Find the author:
www.twitter.com/bludaniels
www.twitter.com/Writeinbk

http://bludaniels.blogspot.com/



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Read Chapter One of HER DAKOTA MAN by Lisa Mondello

HER DAKOTA MAN ~ Dakota Hearts Book 1

Everyone knows that the Dakotas didn’t get the name Badlands for nothing.  Harsh weather and rough living are a way of life.  But single dad, Logan McKinnon, had seen more than his share of bad times after the death of his wife a year ago.  The last thing he needs is Poppy Erickson, an old flame and his late wife’s best friend, showing up unannounced to help after devastating floods nearly washed away their hometown.  With no place to stay in town, he has no choice but to offer her a bed at his house.  But can he live under the same roof with a woman he’d once loved passionately without feeling he’s betraying his late wife?

Poppy Erickson had spent the year wondering how all their lives might have been different after hearing the death bed confession of her childhood friend.  She’d left South Dakota years ago because she couldn’t bear to watch the man she loved loving another woman.  But now she knows the truth.  She’ll keep the promise she made to a friend, but will Logan understand when he learns the truth?  More important, can they again recapture the passion that had been between them all those years ago?


Chapter One
 
One look on Logan McKinnon’s face told Poppy that his foul mood had very little to do with the devastating destruction all around the Badlands of South Dakota…and everything to do with her showing up in town after nearly ten years.
     She didn’t have to be standing next to him to feel his anger simmering just below the surface of his composure. Sitting in her rental sedan was close enough. What the hell was she thinking coming back home? Why had she made that ridiculous promise to Kelly?
     She parked the car next to his truck and took a deep breath, mumbling under her breath as she pulled the door handle, “This may just turn out to be the stupidest thing you have ever done, girl.”
     Truth was, even as pissed off as Logan looked, he was still an amazing sight to see. Part of her had hoped that she was wrong. That she’d gotten over him a long time ago. That she’d take one look at him, make sure he and Keith were okay, and be able to get back in her car and drive right to the airport in Rapids City.
     He turned to her, standing tall and proud. His thick dark hair blew in the March wind, fluttering around his face and making him all the more strikingly handsome.
     Yep. Stupid.
     He was taller than she’d remembered, and he’d long since lost that too-lean teenage body that had driven her crazy in her youth. He worked hard on his ranch and it showed in how much his arms and chest had filled with muscles.
     Despite the cold, he’d taken off his jacket while he worked in the yard and Poppy had a clear view of just how much his male body had filled out in places she’d dreamed of touching.
     Lord, help her. She was in trouble. And she hadn’t even stepped out of the car yet. She pushed the door open and stepped outside to get it over with. It was either going to be the shortest visit on record…or the life changing experience she’d been dreaming of ever since she was a teenager.
     “Hi, Logan.”
     Logan starred at her for a long, agonizing moment. She read the emotional tug of war playing on his face as the sudden chill from the South Dakota winds bit into her exposed skin like a whipping.
     Then his expression turned hard. “What are you doing here?”
     He must have heard the car drive up. But Logan’s four-year-old son, Keith, remained so focused on the mud puddle he was poking a stick into to even notice anyone was around. That was good. The next few minutes would go easier for both of them if Keith weren’t aware of the tension.
     Logan stared at her as if he’d been startled. Or maybe too focused on making sure his son was safely playing nearby to notice her car had driven up.
     Or perhaps he’d been too pre-occupied with assessing the damage the recent angry South Dakota weather had done to his property. Poppy had seen just how Mother Nature had shown no mercy to her childhood town as she drove from the airport to the ranch. She couldn’t exactly blame Logan for being in a foul mood because of that.
     Seeing her was just the icing on the cake.
     “What the hell are you doing here, Poppy?” he repeated.
     She took in a deep breath, smelled the muddy earth and decay all around her, and said, “I came to help.”
     He took one long look at her, from her high-heeled boots, up the length of her legs, pausing at her hips. She could almost feel his eyes as if he were staring at the flesh beneath her fresh pair of blue jeans. When his gaze finally reached her face again, she slid her sunglasses to the tip of her nose and stared right back at him in challenge. A slow smile played on her lips. She could never last as long at this as Logan before caving into laughter. But she knew Logan was in no laughing mood.
     “Poppy Ericksen. Rudolph was practically washed off the map from all that rain we had. After all this time, what makes you think I need anything from you?”
     Even though his voice was even, she could tell he was still pissed. But he’d never show it. Keith was still poking at the mud and puddles on the driveway just a little ways away, completely unaware of present company.
     “What’s the matter, Logan? You don’t look happy to see me,” Poppy said, pulling her sunglasses off her face with a wary smile.
     A big splash had them both quickly looking over at Keith, who’d apparently gotten sick of the noise the stick in water was making and had graduated to a rock in favor of something more dramatic. Even though Logan had outfitted his boy in a heavy jacket and rubber boots, Keith still managed to find every puddle in the yard. What was left of it. Yeah, this kid was a McKinnon through and through.
     Turning back to Logan, she caught a fleeting smile aimed at his son before he brought his attention back to her.
     As if just noticing a car had driven into the driveway, Keith paused just before testing another puddle and called over to his father, “Who's that, Daddy?”
     Poppy's face brightened with Keith’s attention. “Hey, little big man! Remember me? Auntie Poppy?”
     Keith gave a quick glance to Logan and then ran over to him, offering up his dirt-covered arms. Logan picked up his son without hesitation.
     Logan's jaw tightened as he glared at Poppy. “What did you expect? He doesn't even know you.”
     Poppy's smile faltered. “Well, of course he doesn’t know me to see me. But we talk on the phone all the time.”
     Logan’s brow knit tight. “You talk… When?”
     “Just about every day when he's at your Mom's house. Don’t we, Keith? I’m mommy’s friend from New York.”
     Keith smiled with sudden recognition. “Auntie Poppy,” he said sweetly.
     “That’s right.”
     Irritation replaced the angry look. Apparently Kate McKinnon never told her son that Keith had a phone friend. Why, she didn’t know. But Kate McKinnon always had a reason for what she did.
     “Mom didn’t say anything about it.”
     Poppy shrugged. “It wasn’t a secret. I’m sure it just slipped her mind.”
     “Every week?”
     Their gazes locked for a brief moment, but the connection was cut short as Keith wiggled in Logan’s arms, a signal he wanted to get down.
     “Hey, little man,” Logan said, gently putting Keith back on the ground. “I need a big job done. Can you help me out?”
     “I can give you big help,” Keith said, jumping up and down.
     “I know you can. You're the best.” Logan pointed to a small pile of twigs a few yards down the driveway. “We're going to do some burning a little later and I'm going to need those little twigs put in that wheelbarrow over there. Can you do that big job for me?”
     “I can pick up the big sticks.” Keith stretched his little arms wide and lifted on his toes for added emphasis.
     Logan laughed. “I know you can. But I don't need the big ones. Just the little twigs. Can you do that big job for me while I talk for a bit?”
     “Okay, Daddy.” Keith ran off and quickly moved into task as Logan turned his attention back to Poppy.
     “He's doing good,” Poppy said quietly. “Getting big.”
     “We're managing. You didn't answer my question.”
     Her lips twitched. “I didn't think I needed an invitation to come home.”
     “This isn't your home. Not anymore.”
     His words hurt her more than he knew. Or maybe he did and that was why he said it. Regardless, Poppy refused to let her emotions show on her face and quickly added, “I, ah, didn’t mean this house. I meant back to Rudolph. I know this house isn't my home anymore.” She glanced quickly at Keith, and shifted her weight to one leg as she crossed her arms. A move she always did when she was nervous. “After all the damage the storm did around here, I thought you could use some help.”
     “We had a bad few weeks, I'll give you that.”
     “It was all over the news.”
     “New York City news?”
     “National news. But you forget I have connections here in South Dakota, Logan. I don't need the news to have me riveted to what's going on back home.”
     “You could have fooled me,” he said under his breath.
     “What's that?”
     He didn’t answer. Instead, he looked around at the devastation that had once been her home as a child. In some ways it was unrecognizable. Trees that had been standing in the pasture for over a hundred years were toppled over, their roots pulled from the ground by the softening soil from the rising water.
     Poppy took a moment to take it all in, holding back emotion.
     “The house was spared,” he said.
      She nodded. “Thankfully.”
     The rest of the place was a disaster. There was debris and run off from all the water that wind and icy rain had dumped on the Badlands over the past two weeks.
      Yet, as upsetting as it was to see, they’d been blessed. Poppy knew from Logan’s mom that Logan and Keith had been at the house during the worst of it. They’d survived. Everything else could be replaced.
     “Lot of folks close to the river lost everything.”
     “I heard.”
     Kelly and Logan had been married for nearly eight years before she’d died last year. It had been over ten years since she’d stepped foot on this ranch. Kelly had convinced Logan to buy the property when it came on the market again the year Kelly had been pregnant with Keith. “The house always had good memories,” Kelly had told her. And yet standing there in front of Logan, the years between then melted away and Poppy felt as if she were still the young girl who’d dreamed of one day loving this man as passionately has she had in her teenage dreams.
     They’d stood across from each other on summer nights hundreds of times. They'd been inseparable back then. Sometimes the three of them. Many times just her and Logan. Yet Kelly had been the one to love Logan the way that Poppy had dreamed. How it happened no longer mattered. Especially since Logan was glaring at Poppy as if she’d let Kelly down in the cruelest and most unforgivable way, not knowing it was actually the other way around.
     She was a stupid woman! What had convinced her he’d care about the truth now?
     For a fleeting second, Poppy wanted to climb back into her rental car and drive as fast as she could until she reached Rapid City. She didn’t belong here. To hell with the promise she’d made to Kelly. But she’d be damned if she spent her entire life wondering if things would have been different if Logan had only learned the truth. If she left, she’d never know.
     “How’s this, Daddy?”
      Logan’s attention turned to Keith, who was quite pleased with the pile of sticks he'd made in the middle of the driveway. Walking over to him, he said. “Little buddy, that's a fine pile you just started. I’m so proud of you. But we can't have the fire in the middle of the driveway. Do you think you can move these sticks over to big pile over there?”
     “Okay!” Unaffected by Logan pointing out his error, Keith quickly went on his way of picking away at the pile a stick at a time and running over to drop it in another pile off the driveway. Poppy was grateful for the slight reprieve of talking with Logan.
     Glancing back at Poppy, Logan sighed. He didn’t want her there. That much was evident. Her determination renewed, she lifted her chin and decided she was digging in if she had to dig a hole to do it. Logan was going to have to deal with her at some point, like it or not, so they might as well get it over with now.
     As if he’d come to the same conclusion, he took a few long strides toward her. “Look, I can appreciate you wanting to come out and check on your family home and all. You lived here your whole life, so that's understandable. But as you can see, the house is still standing.”
     “You can appreciate? Well, that's very dignified of you to say it that way.”
     “In case you hadn’t noticed, I'm not feeling very dignified right now. So you can just get in your car and head back to New York if you don’t like it. I don't need you here.”
     “You say that. But I know different, Logan McKinnon. You need me now more than ever.”
     Logan watched Poppy’s expression collapse, saw the hurt on her face that he didn't want to acknowledge he'd caused with his words. There was a time when his sole purpose in a day was to make Poppy Ericksen smile. To hear her musical laugh. Not today. But despite his anger, hurting her didn’t make him feel any better.
      In the distance, echoes of chainsaws and other equipment resonated from all the surrounding houses and across the fields. Now that the rain had stopped, everybody was outside trying to do their best with whatever resources they had at their disposal to try to get life back to normal.
      The small town he'd grown up in wasn’t a stranger to floods or other natural disasters. Harsh Dakota weather was a way of life for the people in these parts. But they’d never seen anything like the floods that had swept through his town this past week. Ice, rain and the drought from last year had made the ground prime to nearly wipe some parts of South Dakota clean off the map. There had been little warning and scarcely any time to prepare for it.
      Did he need help? Sure. Every single landowner around here was sorely lacking in resources despite the fact people were traveling from out of state to help. He'd be stupid to pass up help from anyone willing to pitch in and get dirty. But Poppy wasn't talking about the flood.
     “Why now? You weren’t here when Kelly got sick. You didn't come back to see her when she'd spent those last months in the hospital dying. What makes you think anything you do now will make a difference?”
     She looked at him directly. And damned he'd always admired the woman for that. Poppy had never been one to sink back from an argument. She'd always met it head on. And if she got caught in a wrong, she quickly owned up to it. Damn her. Logan didn't want to admire Poppy Ericksen for anything.
     “Because Kelly asked me to.”
     It was like he'd just been sucker punched in the gut. Kelly had asked her?
     He chuckled sarcastically. “Those words are pretty easy coming from your mouth with Kelly not here to dispute them.”
     “Say what you want about me, Logan. But when have I ever lied to you?” Poppy asked.
     He was angry. He'd even go as far as saying he was disappointed in Poppy given the history the three of them had together. But a liar? No, she'd never been that.
     He looked at her designer boots standing in the mud. Her blue jeans must have cost a small fortune and the tailored coat she was wearing probably cost as much as his mortgage payment. This wasn't the Poppy he remembered, the young girl who always turned his eye with the unexpected. That girl didn’t need designer threads.
     “What makes you think I'd welcome any help you offered?”
     Before he could even process the cruelty of that statement, she said, “Because right now there isn't a person in this county who doesn't already have too much work to do on their own property who is standing here offering help. So you're hardly in a position to turn me away.”
     Logan couldn't argue that point. The magnitude of the cleanup work that lay ahead of him was overwhelming. When he and Keith had emerged from the house yesterday and he saw just how bad the world outside around him was, it nearly leveled him. And he hadn’t even had the chance to survey the entire property.
     Her chest rose and fell on a heavy sigh, then she walked to the back of the car and opened her trunk, pulling out a large designer suitcase. She kept the trunk open.
     “Unless of course, you'd prefer I stay somewhere else.”
     “There is no place else in this county that has space available,” he said quickly. “Hotels are all full up with people who lost their homes or workers from out of town who are here for the cleanup.”
     “I was talking about your mother's house.”
     “My…my mother?”
     She chuckled, shaking her head. “Don't look so shocked. I always got along with your family just fine. I've known Kate McKinnon since I was able to walk across the floor of her restaurant. When I stopped in town at the diner earlier today, she offered to put me up if you turned me away.”
     “You talked to my mother about staying here?”
     She laughed and looked up at the sky. “Men. Am I speaking a foreign language? I don't know what you're having such a hard time with, Logan. It’s not like we haven’t slept under the same roof before. Your mom thought maybe you could use some help with Keith while you cleaned up since she's going to be too busy feeding people doing cleanup to keep an eye on him.”
     His mom had told Logan as much earlier in the day. Keith loved spending time with his mom at the diner, but too many other people were in need right now for him to monopolize her time or any of his relations. His brothers would be coming to help when they had spare time, but in truth, Hawk was too busy at the clinic, dealing with injuries and Ethan, his twin brother, was working down at the police station coordinating search and rescue efforts. His military training was too much of an asset to those in need for Logan to expect him to rush over here. Word had it Sam was on his way home from Colorado at some point, but he wasn’t sure when. And Wade… After four years missing, the notion of his older brother showing up in Rudolph was just a wish, not a likely reality.
     And Keith was his responsibility alone. Truth be known, Logan didn't want Keith anywhere but with him after hearing stories of flash flooding that swept people right out of the arms of loved ones. It had been scary enough worrying about Keith with all that water coming in around them during that long night of heavy rains and river swells. The fact that the house was still standing the next morning was enough to put his brothers’ minds at ease for the time being.
     And yet, here was Poppy. She’d come all the way here from New York City like she’d appeared out of a dream. Damn her. He didn’t want to think about Poppy as a dream at all. He’d let that go years ago.
     Poppy reached up and slammed the trunk closed.
     “So what's it going to be? Am I moving into your old bed at your mom's house or my old room here?”
     “You can't.”
     Poppy's shoulders sagged as she nodded slowly.
     “Keith has that room now. I moved him in there after Kelly died so he'd be closer to my bedroom. You can take the room down the end of the hall. It's bigger anyway.”
     She picked up her bag and walked slowly toward him, a crooked smile playing on her lips, one that made him feel like smooth velvet rubbing against his skin.
     “You afraid of what your mom would have said if you turned me away?” she said, quietly goading him. “Or are you afraid of people talking.”
     People were talking already if Poppy Ericksen rolled into town and stopped by the diner. Rudolph was a small town and everyone knew everyone.
     He rolled his eyes, then glanced down at her. She was incredibly close. And she smelled damned good. She always had, he remembered. She’d never been one to wear heavy perfume or makeup. And today wasn’t any different. It was just Poppy. He hated that he was reminded of that. He didn't want those memories, so he pushed them back where they belonged. In the past. He was only allowing Poppy to stay for one reason.
     “As you pointed out, I could use help with Keith while I do some cleanup here. If you could do that for me...it'd be good.”
     She smiled then and her eyes lit up. He'd forgotten just how much they twinkled when she smiled. Something deep in his gut tightened.
     “Good.” She started walking away, then turned back. “I'll just bring these upstairs and get changed. Be back in a minute.”
     Logan took a moment to steady himself while checking on Keith's progress. The little guy had managed to transfer all the wood, one stick at a time, to a pile about ten yards away from the one he'd made in the driveway. Logan smiled at his son's tenacity. “Great job, little man!”
     Keith beamed with pride. Logan heard the screen door creak and saw Poppy standing on the porch holding the door open, one foot on the threshold and the other on the porch. Her wide smile was genuine as she gazed over at Keith. The look she gave him was one of pure affection and admiration.
     “Awesome job, Keith,” she called out before walking inside.
     He wanted to stay angry at Poppy. Deep down it was easier that way than dealing with the feelings stirring inside of him from seeing her again.

Order HER DAKOTA MAN:
https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=IDa5AgAAQBAJ

Monday, July 21, 2014

On Conversations: #westerm #romance #author Mary J. McCoy-Dressel

Please join me in giving a very warm welcome to contemporary western romance author Mary J. McCoy-Dressel!

Lisa ~
______________________________________________
 
Hi, Lisa and blog readers,

I’m happy to be spotlighting my cover, blurb, and a short excerpt today, and honored to be here. I hope you’re having a fantastic day.

Love at First Sight? This is the first book in my Double Dutch Ranch Series: Love at First Sight. Why “love at first sight” you might ask? Some people believe in it, some don’t. I’m one who does because I had my own love at first sight. How about you?

When the idea for this series popped into my head, I didn’t know it would be four full novels and a novella. Who knows where it will go after that. Tristan Carlson, our hero here in book one, is the middle brother.
 
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00INIXETA/?tag=crlaofsu-20COWBOY BOSS AND HIS DESTINY
A sensual contemporary western romance.


Romantic and Passionate
Warm your heart and give your nerve endings a tingle at the same time


Tristan Carlson does the best he can to raise his four-year-old daughter on his own. His mother remains on the Double Dutch to lend a hand--giving him the ability to maintain the ranch, tend to his horses, and keep up his small-time ranching magazine. His attractive, new assistant is everything he wants in a woman, including her ginger-red hair. He finds it hard to keep her out of his arms—especially since she doesn't mind being in his embrace. But from his experience with women lately, he's learned that some don't want a ready-made family. This one seems different, and he's falling hard. But, there's his little blue-eyed girl, and he'll protect Destiny's heart with everything within him. Until he knows for sure...

Living the good life in a big city for many years, Nora Trinity ends up a statistic after the magazine she works for makes cutbacks. Despite a family betrayal from her past that still needs mending, she moves back home to the small town of Canyon Junction, Arizona, with forgiveness on her mind. When she is hired by a local rancher to help with his ranching magazine, she finds herself profoundly attracted to him, and the feeling is mutual. The thing is, her sexy boss comes as a package deal, and his little girl is immediately drawn to her. It's not just about two hearts taking a chance now—or two people falling in love... Nora has to be sure of what she wants before she takes on the cowboy and his child.


Reader Advisory: Sensual Love Scenes





Excerpt from COWBOY BOSS AND HIS DESTINY 
PG Rating      

       Tristan tied the horses to a low tree branch and spread out a blanket. “Be my guest, girls.”
       When Nora sat, Destiny leaned against her, and laid her head on Nora’s lap.
       “Des, you should sit up and eat that so you don’t choke,” said Tristan.
       “Okey-dokie-pokey Daddy.”
       He laughed, and when he did, Destiny did too and couldn’t stop.
       Nora sat quiet watching the two of them. Each got so much joy from the other. The next thing she knew Tristan tackled her, pushing her down against the blanket and he tickled her. “Not a laugher, huh? Well, we’ll see about that.” He and Destiny both found a spot beneath her ribs to dig in and tickle until she let loose, screaming out like a hyena.
       “Stop you two. You won, you won, and I’m laughing!”
       When they stopped Tristan stretched out alongside her, leaning on one elbow, Destiny between them. He reached over and moved a strand of hair from her forehead, his hand lingering until Destiny took hold of his arm, tickling with little finger wiggles. It didn’t break their eye contact.
       A heated rousing spread over her body like wildfire through dry bushes. She wanted to hold him. Her attraction to this man was almost uncontrollable. She sat up and took a long drink of water, then glanced back at him. She studied his face, finding a look that held the same need as hers. Oh. My. Goodness. She laid back on the blanket and peered at clouds streaming through the blue and beyond. If only her heart beat settled, she’d be able to speak.
       Destiny poked her in the side. Nora turned to the child. “Are you asleep?” she whispered.
       “My eyes are open.” She pointed to the sky. “Look, there’s a horsy cloud.”
       Destiny flopped down on her back and scanned the clouds. “I don’t see it,” she said, her voice low. She moved closer to Nora, her cheek practically touching hers. “Where?”
       Nora took hold of her hand and held it up within her own, using her index finger to point. “Right there.”
       Tristan rose from the blanket and went to his horse, his back to them, but he glanced upward toward the sky once. Nora had a very big knot stuck in her throat. This one might not go down. When Destiny wrapped her fingers around hers and squeezed her hand tight, it grew bigger.
       “It’s about time to go.” He looked over at his daughter. “Dad has a date tonight.”
       Destiny sat up. She turned and looked at Nora. Her bottom lip curled. She glared at her dad. “With who? We’re having fun with Nora.” She glanced back at Nora again.
       “Come on over here and get your helmet.”
       “With who, Dad?” She stood with her hands on her waist like a grown up.
       Tristan laughed. “Baby cakes, I’m taking Nora to dinner tonight. Is that okay with you?”
       Her little rosy lips quirked when she looked back at Nora, and nodded. She went for the helmet and Tristan knelt and hooked it. Destiny whispered something to him Nora couldn’t hear.
       “You’re next, Ms. Trinity,” said Tristan, holding up her helmet.
       She folded the blanket, handed it to him, and fit the helmet over her head while he attached the rolled blanket to his saddle.
       He reached out and shoved a lock of hair into her helmet, his palm lingering against her cheek. He gave a wink. “Ready?”
       “I am.”
       “For anything?” he asked, his voice low.
       Nora paused, lost in him, struggling to get the words out. “I believe so.”



My website has information on books, works in progress, and series information. You’ll find a sign-up form to be notified of new releases. Book two is coming summer 2014.

Thank you!

Cowboy Boss and his Destiny The Romance Reviews Top Pick— “If you're looking for a yummy, feel-good read that has all the elements of a fine romance told at an easy pace, prepare your hammock and a cool drink, pray for a gentle breeze, and lay back and enjoy this gem of a keeper. It's solidly enjoyable.”




Early days of reading romance novels and women's fiction laid the groundwork for Mary to take up the pen and write her own memorable love stories.

She writes sensual contemporary western romance, paranormal, and romantic fiction. She’s the author of Howdy, Ma’am, the first book in the Bull Rider Series, with Hey, Cowboy, Bk #2 out this spring. Mary loves having the ability to put her thoughts into words for readers to enjoy. Two previously published books—time-travel romance, are now out of print, but might be reissued in the future.


Photography is another way she likes to be creative. It gives a warm rush to focus in on an object and capture a moment. Her home is in the Great Lake State of Michigan, U.S.A. Mary loves communicating with readers and friends.



Website http://www.maryjdresselbooks.com
Follow Mary on Twitter https://twitter.com/maryjdressel
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Mary.j.McCoy.Dressel.Books




Saturday, July 19, 2014

On Conversations: #bestselling #romance #author Debra Salonen

Please join me in welcoming bestselling romance author, Debra Salonen to Conversations today! Debra is here to talk about her new release, Cowgirl Come Home, A Summer Fair Novel. So be sure and check out the cover and blurb below. Plus, Debra has a wonderfully fun guest post, "Top 10 Reasons to read Cowgirl Come Home" and don't forget to leave a comment because Debra's offering an awesome prize package to one lucky commenter!

Lisa ~
__________________________________________


http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LW78OS0/?tag=crlaofsu-20COWGIRL COME HOME
Montana Born Fair Book 2

Some dreams come with a big price tag.

Bailey Jenkins left her hometown of Marietta, Montana, at eighteen, poised to take college and the rodeo world by storm–despite Paul Zabrinski. On the eve of her great escape, at the top of the Ferris Wheel at the Big Marietta Fair, he invoked his great-grandmother Hilda's curse. “If you do this, Bailey Jenkins, I will hate you forever. And I'll call on my great-grandmother to curse you. She was a Gypsy witch, you know.”

Fifteen years later, Bailey's back–shattered, humbled by fate and bruised at the soul level but determined to rebuild–once she helps her parents get back their feet. She didn't expect her Paul Zabrinski to meet her plane, but seeing him strong, handsome and successful is somehow fitting. After all, Bailey didn't need Paul's gypsy great-grandmother to put a curse on her–Bailey already had the worst luck on the planet.

Never say never.

One look at Bailey Jenkins–his first love, the woman he adored…and cursed–and every emotion Paul Zabrinski felt fifteen years earlier comes rushing back. The love of his life broke his heart and made him hate her…or so he thought. The line between love and hate is very narrow, with only so much room for forgiveness. But Paul Zabrinski owns Big Z Hardware and Construction. If anyone is capable of building a bridge for them to cross together, it's him.






Top Ten Reasons to read Cowgirl Come Home
by Debra Salonen

Thank you, Lisa, for inviting to be part of your blog. You know how it is with new releases, you blog yourself into a tizzy. I decided to have some fun with this one. So, here are my Top 10 Reasons to read Cowgirl Come Home:

#10. Even at full price ($2.99), it's cheaper than a caramel ribbon crunch frappuchino and way less calories. But, if you hurry, you can still buy it for the bargain basement release date sale price of 99¢.


#9. You don't have time to drive to Montana to attend The Big Marietta Fair. (Nor could you possibly meet all twelve heroes and heroines without employing superpowers that you may or may not have.) So, take the easy way and visit the Big Marietta Fair from the comfort of your own home. (Note: all MontanaBorn authors start to believe Marietta is a real town.)


#8. Ferris Wheels can induce motion sickness. With your feet firmly on the ground, you can still enjoy the ride and share in a romantic proposal--or two (have you read Beauty and the Cowboy by Nancy Robards Thompson?)--atop a Ferris Wheel with the silhouette of Copper Mountain in the background. Altogether now..."Say, yes, Bailey. Say, yes."


#7. Yogo sapphires. You might not have heard of Montana sapphires, but the beautiful, custom jewelry from B. Dazzled Western Bling will make you consider hocking your firstborn.


#6. Sex in the barn. Think Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis in Witness...only he's not a cop and she's not Amish and nobody is trying to kill them. But who doesn't harbor a secret fantasy about making love in a hayloft (with a thick sleeping bag to keep from getting poked by the straw)?


 
#5. The Fish Whisperer's Beer Batter Fish Fry is better than sex. (Or so they claim.) You can download the recipe on my blog and see for yourself HERE!

#4. You've always known librarians are superheroes. In Cowgirl Come Home, Marietta Children's Librarian Louise Jenkins single-handedly reunites two star-crossed lovers, helps her husband--the love of her life--return from the brink of despair, and organizes a Read-A-Thon for the Big Marietta Fair (while dealing with health issues of her own). Go, Louise!


#3. Forgive You-Know-Who just moved to the top of your To Do List. Yeah, we all know. Hate is easy to come by. Anger, too. Especially if you have good reason to be mad, right? But lugging around a burdensome grudge takes a toll. Learn from Bailey's and Paul's story...forgiveness is liberating.


#2. The "Big Sky" effect: readers burn more calories while reading books set in Montana.* There's just something about the air, the positive vibes, the great sex...you'll see. *Exact calorie count varies by reader and amount of chocolate consumed while reading.


AND THE #1 REASON TO READ "COWGIRL COME HOME" - everybody deserves a Happy Ending.

Can you tell I was getting a little "guest-blog punch happy" when I wrote this? Hope it made you smile. Please leave a comment to be entered to win this prize package:


Two Debra Salonen autographed backlist titles, CLUE - The Movie (DVD), note cards, post-its, mini gel pens, cookies and cool Tule Publishing swag.




Former award-winning newspaper journalist Debra Salonen is a nationally bestselling author with 26 published novels for Harlequin’s Superromance and American lines and one single title release for Harlequin Signature. Several of her titles were nominated for “Best Superromance,” including UNTIL HE MET RACHEL, which took home that honor in 2010. Debra was named Romantic Times Reviewer’s Career Achievement “Series Storyteller of the Year” in 2006. Debra lives in the foothills near Yosemite National Park in California with her husband and two dogs. Luckily, her two children and three grandchildren live close by to keep Debra connected to the real world.

You can find Debra at:

http://debrasalonen.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DebraSalonenAuthor
https://twitter.com/DebSalonen
http://www.pinterest.com/debrasalonen/
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/326855.Debra_Salonen


Friday, July 18, 2014

On Conversations: #awardwinning #author Jami Gray

Please join me in welcoming the award-winning urban fantasy and paranormal suspense author, Jami Gray to Conversations today! Jami is here to talk about her two new summer releases, Shadow's Moon, the third book in The Kyn Kronicles series, and Hunted by the Past, the first book in her PSY-IV Teams series. So be sure and check out the covers and blurbs below and don't forget to check out Jami's guest post "It's a Family Thing"!

Lisa ~
__________________________________________


http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K8AZZES/?tag=crlaofsu-20SHADOW'S MOON
The Kyn Kronicles, Book 3

Even a wild heart can be broken…

A blonde, a brunette and a monster walk into a bar and all hell breaks loose.


It should have been the start of a bad joke, but days from a full moon Xander Cade, Tracker for the Northwest Motoki Pack, finds nothing funny about confronting an enraged Shifter in a crowded Portland nightclub filled with unsuspecting humans. The resulting carnage frays an already thin veil of secrecy shielding the supernatural Kyn community from public scrutiny, and ensures she can’t escape the one man she’s been determined to avoid, her Alpha and mate, Warrick Vidis.  Dominating, protective and compelling, Warrick threatens her individuality like no other.

As the Northwest Alpha wolf, compromise isn’t in Warrick Vidis’s vocabulary, but when his reluctant mate, Xander Cade, refuses to leave off the hunt for a killer, he has no qualms using whoever or whatever necessary to protect her or his pack. A series of unusual deaths involving lone wolves, along with anonymous threats against him and his Pack, begin to jeopardize his normal steely control. Add in Xander’s continual reluctance to fully accept their Soul bond, and the line between intellect and instinct begins to blur, leaving him wondering if one woman’s love and acceptance will be enough to save both man and wolf.

As the danger escalates, threatening not just their Pack but those closest to them, Warrick and Xander must find a way to trust each other and accept their rare bond or risk losing everything-their pack, their friends and each other.






http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hunted-by-the-past-jami-gray/1119776913?ean=9781771275538&isbn=9781771275538&itm=1&usri=9781771275538
HUNTED BY THE PAST
PSY-IV Teams, Book 1

Sometimes death is the only way to out run the past…

A reluctant psychic who can relive the past, a man well versed in keeping secrets, and a psychopathic killer enter a deadly game where the past determines the future.

Changing the past is an impossibility ex-Marine, Cynthia “Cyn” Arden, understands all too well. Struggling in the aftermath of a botched mission, which cost her two teammates, her military career, and a fledging relationship, she’s brought home by a panicked phone call.  The psychic killer behind her nightmares has escaped military custody to hunt down the remaining teammates, one by one. Next on his murderous list--Cyn. Her only chance at survival is to master the psychic ability she’s spent years denying.

The killer’s game brings her face to face with the one person guaranteed to throw her off kilter—the unsettling and distracting man she left behind, Kayden Shaw.  Once she believed he’d stand by her side, until he chose his job and his secrets over her.  A choice that’s left the scars of the past etched deep on her mind and heart.

To survive this twisted game, Cyn must risk trusting her heart and accepting who and what she is, or lose not only her life, but the man she loves.



It's a Family Thing
by Jami Gray

Whenever someone actually reads my bio and notes the amount of siblings—36—I grew up with, there tend to be a few questions.  Such as:

“Ummm….is that a typo?”

“How many wives did your dad have?”

“All from the same mom?”

My answers are—Nope, totally accurate—Just one, the same woman he’s been with for forty plus years—and for the last question—Seriously? If that was at all possible, I don’t think my mom would go anywhere near a man, I know I wouldn’t.
 

For logistics I do need to explain that we do have three generations since at one time our ages spanned newborn to mid-thirties. I was part of the first batch—the older generation.  By the time I left for college we had turned over the torch to the middle generation. Now that most of the older gen’s have families of our own and the loss of our dad a couple years back, my mom is left with the younger generation, all thirteen of them.

I was twelve when I became part of the mock United Nations clan that masquerades as our family. I slid right in to the fifth eldest spot, which was huge considering most things were done based on age.  Of course, my sister who’s two months younger probably has a different outlook on the whole situation, but still… My arrival meant over the next few years our family could proudly boast about having at least one child in a University, in High School, in Middle School, in Elementary School and Pre-School.  Yes, we helped keep our local educational institutions in business.

Strangely, Lindsay’s been the only one to ask about how being from such a large family impacted me so I was tickled do this post.  There are tons of stories, and yes, I have been asked when I’ll do a book.  Here’s my answer…never.  Let’s be honest, I write Urban Fantasy for a reason, I like fiction.  Besides, every single one of us in the family has a different point of view of our various experiences, so since I’ve got the fiction market covered, I’ll let someone else tackle the non-fiction!

Growing up in a large family comes with its own set of challenges and rewards, but I thought I’d share a some life lessons I garnered during the ride.

Time Management

I am proud to admit that I can be ready to go anywhere faster than my husband.  It’s a holdover from having to share a one sink bathroom with seven other teenagers all through high school. The concept of having that special alone time with a hot shower was never a reality.  Seriously, I don’t think there’s a water heater out there even now that could hold that much hot water.  So when I finally managed to either sneak in or body check someone else out of the bathroom, barricade the door, it was hop in, get wet with luke-warm water, soap body with one hand, shampoo hair with the other, quick rinse, then shave, shave (I did have to slow down a bit there otherwise I came out looking like my legs went a round with a lawn mower), hop out as water turned arctic and snicker at the impending misery of those to follow me, dry, throw on lotion and clothes and then yank open the door before the homemade battering ram of older brothers and younger sisters made it through my barricade. Total elapsed time-10 minutes.  Make-up application was a luxury and tended to resemble a mosh-pit in front of the downstairs hall mirror.  And using a hair dryer? Puleeze, that’s for wussies. Nope back then it was mousse it up and let it go!  Now, decades later, I can still manage make myself presentable in under fifteen minutes, including make-up and a hair dryer.  And the sink in my bathroom is all mine!

Bargaining skills (includes: compromising, negotiations, trading, and occasional blackmail)

As you can imagine (you’re readers and/or writers, you have great imaginations!) growing up in my household there were certain survival skills that were quickly acquired.  Bargaining , also known as compromising, negotiating, and occasionally blackmailing, was key in getting what you wanted.  There were so many opportunities to sharpen this skill, and some of us were way better than others at it.  Take for instance, chores.  Say you were up as part of the dishwashing team on Friday night, but your friends were hitting an early movie.  Your social life was a priority but if you failed to do your part in the home office, your bosses (mom and dad) would hear the grumbles of your co-workers (jealous partner who had no social life) and your friends would be left hanging while you ended up doing dishes a lot longer than you expected. So the key was to find that one irresistible lure that would convince your co-worker that doing all the dishes by themselves was a rewarding endeavor.  Experience gave you an edge, because the older you were and the younger your partner, your ability to make doing the dishes by themselves sound like winning the lottery was pretty high.  If you teamed up with some with equal bargaining power, then it was like a meeting between two opposing factions.  Treaties were drawn up so neither side could get out of their obligations and official documentation of ownership would exist for various objects of worth.
 

Investigative skills (Including, but not limited to: eliminating suspects, tracing evidence, uncovering manic plots of evil, property retrieval, and treasure hunting)
 
When you have a household of teenagers one key element guaranteed to start any argument was the disappearance of personal items.  The ability to track down your stuff, identify the culprit and exact restitution was a specialized skill, one I made sure to excel at.  Let me share one particular case—The Missing tank top.  I was putting away laundry and realized I seemed to missing an article of clothing—my white tank top.  It was a necessary item as it went with a variety of outfits, not to mention the fact that I bought it myself.  So after going through the clothes belonging to my roommates (3 girls to a room!) and coming up empty handed, I determined that a laundry mix-up was out of the question.  I began a series of interviews with eyewitnesses (all  14 kids in the house).  Each one swore they had no idea where the tank was, nor had they seen it. However, there were mentions of possible sightings.  Culling my suspect pool down, I began to hunt for trace evidence.  Room by room, I swept for any sign.  White cloth teased me in various locations, but each turned out not to be the one I was looking for.  Then I struck pay dirt. Waded up in the back of closet belonging to a younger brother was my tank—stained beyond redemption with oil.  The horror was almost unbearable.  The need to find the culprit burned and I went after each of my suspects without mercy.  I was able to cross off the younger brother whose closet it was found it.  No way was he wearing something that would hang like a dress on him.  The next two crumple and began to point me in the right direction.  Finally, a confrontation with an older brother revealed that during an auto repair session, he needed a shirt and lo and behold there was a white tank top just sitting there.  When he was done with his repairs he noticed the stains and realized whoever the owner was, they were not going to be happy about it, so he disposed of the evidence, burying it a closet not belonging to him.  I made sure to relieve him of a very nice, white dress shirt and make it mine.

My family consists of every skin color, every nationality, every disability, every physical attribute and every emotional state you could probably imagine.  Probably the greatest gift my family has given me is the ability to see the world around me without restrictions.  No matter what you look like, where you come from, what you’ve had to deal with in the past, or what you can physically do—it will not define you.  Instead your individuality comes from the decisions you make, how you treat others, and what you do with your place in the world.





Jami Gray grew up on the Arizona-Mexico border, and was adopted at the age of 14 to suddenly become the fifth eldest of 37 children. She graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and three minors-History, English, and Theater. (Decision-making was not her forte at the time.)  Shortly after marrying her techie-geek hubby (who moonlighted as her best friend in high school) she completed a Masters in Organizational Management from University of Phoenix Oregon.

Now, years later, she’s back in the Southwest where she’s outnumbered in her own home by two Star Wars obsessed boys, one Star Wars obsessed husband, and an overly-friendly, 105-pound male lab.  Delving into the wild paranormal worlds where romance collides with suspense and Urban Fantasy is queen, manages to salvage her sanity. Or so we let her believe...


You can find Jami at:

Black Opal Books: www.BlackOpalBooks.com 
Muse It Up Publishing: http://museituppublishing.com
Website: www.JamiGray.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jamigray.author
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/JamiGrayUFWriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JamiGrayAuthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/JamiGray
Google+: https://google.com/+JamiGray
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.com/e/B006HU3HJI
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Good Reads Review

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