Thursday, July 24, 2014

Author, author... Cold Warriors & Ice and Peace with Clare Dargin

A Journey Into A New World

            I love watching sci-fi movies that draw me in.  When I go to the movies and the lights are turned down and film flickers to life and that space ship blasts across the screen I am in a different world.  Lately I've been totally into JJ Abrams interpretation of the Star Trek Universe. 

            It's like when I watch it, I'm enthralled because he immerses us in that world.  From the clothes, the technology, the sounds and the people.  They are just as vested in what they do in their extraordinary lives as we are in our normal ones.  And that's the best part.  JJ draws us into the amazing and makes it appear mundane enough for us to believe that it is plausible. 

            The same thing goes for an amazing book, the first few pages are key for creating an atmosphere of reality to where we as the reader are right there from the beginning to the very end.  And that's what I try to do in every book that I write. 

            For instance, when I was writing Cold Warriors, I would often have long periods between writing (mostly because life got in the way).  But when I wanted to regain the feel of the book, I never had to dig deep in the middle to find it, I just clicked on the first page:

            Excerpt from Cold Warriors-

            Lieutenant Zale Melbyrne, of the U.S. Marines First Platoon Combat Search And Rescue Squadron (CSAR), climbed wearily out of his yellow Harsh Terrain Snow Tractor (HTST). It was his squadron’s fourth check in an eighty-kilometer zone, and there was no sign of the missing Expeditionary Team. He had a sinking feeling that their luck was running out. He stepped forward. His foot crunched against the steadily hardening snow. Greeted by an icy wind, he shuddered. He zipped up his black parka and pulled his hood tight over his cap-covered head to protect himself from the subzero temperatures. Tau Ceti III’s bitter cold was legendary, along with its ability to give cold injuries so deep, muscles and even bones were permanently ruined.

            He squinted and gazed at the snow-covered landscape. Over two miles thick, and in some locations, crusted with long stretches of ice, Tau Ceti III was Satan’s frozen equivalent of Antarctica back on Earth except not as pretty and with no animals or life to speak of whatsoever. Essentially a white desert, the piercingly dry air could rip the moisture right out of a person’s body in a matter of minutes.

            Freezing and thirsty, it was a miserable way to die.

            If I wanted easy then I should have picked a desk job.

            To me, that scene with Zale Melbyrne framed the type of life that the Hero and Heroine have to overcome in order to obtain happiness.  By the way, even though Zale is a minor character, he has developed a little following of his own!

            In the second book in The Cold Warriors Universe, 'Ice and Peace,' the hero and heroine are faced with new challenges to overcome. 

            A quick blurb-

A New Threat? After a long and vicious war, peace is on the horizon for Earth and its allies. However, a series of mysterious attacks on several secret military installations causes hostilities to rise once again.

Redemption. Having left under a cloud of disgrace, retired Marine Colonel Medoro Keegan is called back to duty.

Bound. His wife Caitlin, the only surviving member of her team, chooses to embrace life, albeit grudgingly, as a cryo soldier. Seen as sub-human, she is forced to serve a planet that denies her rights as a person.

Driven. Guided by their sense of duty and belief that some things are bigger than them, they are determined to risk it all.

Hope. The cost of war is high. Can their love and marriage survive? Or will it be killed off by the very same mission that brought them together?


Caitlin was a sight for sore eyes. She was beautiful. Her petite frame was perfectly accented by the curves of her figure. And her brown eyes and coffee-brown skin was smooth, creamy.

Standing at attention, she did not meet his gaze. Though it was customary not to do as a sign of military courtesy, he could tell she was not doing it for that reason. Her gaze was different. Circling her, he tried to see if he could catch her watching him out of the corner of her eye. In fact, she appeared to be staring blankly ahead.

Peering directly at her, he spoke in a soft tone. “At ease.”

She relaxed.

“Cate. Can you hear me?”

“Yes, sir,” she responded mechanically.

Pain pierced his insides. She was definitely not there. Keegan placed his hands on his hips and hung his head in defeat. The one thing that was supposed to go right did not. For whatever reason, they had placed her in a deeper state of mental control than she’d ever been in. He controlled the hostile emotions brewing with him. Touching her face gently, he felt her icy skin.

This is unacceptable! Not here. I will not let this happen here. Not under my command.

“Chief, listen up,” he said in an authoritative tone. He knew in this state, it was the only way he could speak to her and still have her respond.

“Yes, sir.” Her gaze became even more distant.

Her response fueled his anger. “You are going to hightail it down to the doc and receive a full examination. Tell him it is based on my orders. He will know what to do. Is that clear?”

“Yes, sir.”

Knowing that she was under the influence of cryo neurotransmitters, Keegan figured the only way to combat it was to get someone to reverse it. They usually wore off once she was away from the stimulus triggers for a long period of time. But considering her stimulus triggers were high-ranking officers in uniform and combat situations, being around here meant she was going to be in a drone zone for a very long time. The last thing he needed was a zombie on board, especially one in charge of the lives others.

Only the jerks in psyche warfare thought doing this to someone would be a good idea. As long as he was running the ship, none of that would be allowed. There weren’t going to be any super zombies soldiers on board his ship. And he’d rollover in his grave before he let them do it to his wife.

“After you come back from the doc, you will report to me, understood?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Are there any questions?”

“No, sir.”


She did an about face before leaving the room. Keegan clasped his hands behind his back. In the blink of an eye, his joy had turned to sorrow. Now faced with the responsibility of looking after his wife, he wondered how could he handle the burden of command and still protect the woman he loved.

Cold Warriors and Ice Peace is not your typical military read.  Futuristic Romances with a science fiction twist, they will draw you in and keep you there, and no doubt you'll love the ride!

Both Cold Warriors and Ice and Peace are available at all e-book retailers including Amazon--

Clare's Blog 2:  The Haven-


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Author, author... Her Secret, His Surprise by Paula Altenburg + #giveaway all about it !!

Her Secret, His Surprise
by Paula Altenburg

9781633750241Book Synopsis:

Conflict of interest is an understatement… Since being disowned by her strict father, Cass Stone has spent her adulthood trying to prove him wrong. Her drive has led to more success than her family ever thought she’d achieve, and life is looking great. Not even an incredible and mysterious one night stand that leaves her a single mom can trip her up...until the father of her baby stumbles back into her life, as sexy and unreliable as ever.

Logan Alexander hasn’t forgotten the night he spent with Cass two years ago, but he never expects to end up undercover as her assistant. His job saves lives—like it should have saved his brother—and he can’t afford complications. It’s difficult enough to maintain his cover as a carefree wanderer when he realizes his attraction to Cass hasn’t faded...and then he meets Cass’s daughter.  

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 Author Bio: Paula Altenburg lives in rural Nova Scotia, Canada, with her husband and two sons. Once a manager in the aerospace industry, she now enjoys the freedom of working from home and writing fulltime. Paula currently writes fantasy, fantasy romance and category romance. Visit her and follow her on Twitter @PaulaAltenburg.  

Giveaway Info: Copy of Desire by Design by Paula Altenburg  

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Author, author... Her Temporary Hero by Jennifer Apodaca + #giveaway all about it !!

Her Temporary Hero 
by Jennifer Apodaca


Former beauty queen Becky Holmes and her baby are on the run from her dangerous ex. With her dreams of love and marriage destroyed, she’ll do anything to protect her child…even agree to hide out in her boss’s cousin’s house while he’s away.  

Wealthy, sexy, and emotionally haunted Logan Knight needs a temporary wife to get his land, per his dad’s rules. No wife, no inheritance. But when that wife lands on his doorstep and comes with a baby, his darkest memories are triggered. He tries to keep his distance, but his efforts are shattered when he starts to have real feelings for his fake wife and child.  

 Just as Logan begins to think he may have a future with Becky, his attempt to have it all backfires into a betrayal that forces Becky into a heart-wrenching choice no woman should ever have to make.    

Buy Links:  
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About the Author:

Jennifer Apodaca is an award-winning author and an unrepentant coffee-and-book addict. She’s written mysteries, romances, paranormals and grocery lists under the names of Jennifer Lyon and Jennifer Apodaca. She loves creating powerfully sexy alpha heroes and the heroines who tame them.

Find Jen at:

Giveaway: $100 Amazon or B&N Gift Card

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Author, author... Fiancee for Hire by Tawna Fenske + #giveaway all about it !!

Fiance for Hire
Tawna Fenske

Book Synopsis:
A satisfying category romance from Entangled’s brand new Lovestruck imprint…
Falling in love was never part of the plan…
Former Marine MacArthur Patton has made a small fortune on top-secret government contracts and black-ops missions, but his new assignment involves something more dangerous—marriage.
Well, fake marriage anyway.
To keep weapons out of the hands of terrorists, Mac has to secure a fiancée. A sweet, demure, compliant fiancée to serve as his arm candy for a few weeks while he completes the covert arms deal in Mexico. His sister claims to know just the woman, and sends her best friend to play the role.
“Sweet” and “demure” aren’t in Kelli Landers’s repertoire. A badass veterinarian who neuters big dogs and bigger men on a regular basis, she can’t wait to bring Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Detached to his knees. Her longtime crush on the commitment-phobe makes her plan to seduce him even sweeter.
Love wasn’t part of the plan, but the deeper Mac and Kelli fall into their ruse, the more danger they attract, until more than just their hearts are on the line…


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Author Bio:
Tawna Fenske traveled a career path that took her from newspaper reporter to English teacher in Venezuela to marketing geek to PR manager for her city's tourism bureau. An avid globetrotter and social media fiend, Tawna is the author of the popular blog, Don't Pet Me, I'm Writing, and a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives with her fiance in Bend, Oregon, where she'll invent any excuse to hike, bike, snowshoe, float the river, or sip wine on her back deck. She's published several romantic comedies with Sourcebooks, including Making Waves, which was nominated for contemporary romance of the year by RT Book Reviews. She also writes interactive fiction capers for Coliloquy and the steamy, heartwarming Front and Center series for Entangled Publishing. Tawna's quirky brand of comedy and romance has won praises from Kirkus Reviews, which noted, "Up-and-coming romance author Fenske sets up impeccable interna and external conflict and sizzling sexual tension for a poignant love story between two engaging characters, then infuses it with witty dialogue and lively humor.  An appealing blend of lighthearted fun and emotional tenderness."

Giveaway Info:  Fiancee for Hire charm necklace

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Author, author... Guest Post with May Williams and Raising Her Hopes #giveaway all about it !!

Please welcome May Williams with a Guest Post for us today !!

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Finding Heroes in Everyday Life

When I create heroes for my romance novels, I like them to be real guys. Men you might actually know. Sure, they need to possess alpha qualities since no one wants a wimpy hero, but they need to have elements of the guy next door. Consequently, I’m always on the lookout for heroes, and I live in a fortunate location for hero watching. From my front porch, I have an excellent view of my local police and fire stations. I spend the nicer months of the year watching how my local emergency personnel walk, joke around with each other, swing into moving vehicles with turnout gear on, peel out of the station on the way to a call, and cook dinner on the beat up grill next to the fire station. Bits and pieces of these men have formed characteristics of my heroes.( I hope they never realize why I’m out on my porch so much with a notebook.)
Recently, I found material for a different kind of hero from the porch. On a beautiful Saturday when I was settling into my Adirondacks chair to write this blog (and keep an eye on the basketball game at the fire station), I noticed an extraordinary quantity of insects in my front yard. We live near a body of water that spawns some irritating but harmless flying bugs so at first I didn’t pay much attention. Then the steady drone of bees caught my ear. I followed the flight of several bees to a quivering cluster of honeybees the size of a basketball on my ornamental plum tree. After watching in fascination (and telling the kids to stay far away), I pondered what to do.
Like a rational adult, I called my parents. My parents always seem to know the right people. Sure enough, my dad made a call and within an hour, the beekeeper (we’ll call him Jim) appeared at my house suited up in sturdy white fabric and screening. Gently, he moved the mass of bees into a wooden box and stood by while the stragglers made their way into the box to join the queen. Since he was a talker (and I’m a professional listener and observer), I got a thorough lesson on the art of beekeeping.
Late that night, Jim returned to collect his prize by light of flashlight. After herding in a few bees who lingered on the outside of the box, Jim secured the box with duct tape and stowed it in his car (in his car!) to drive home. He pulled out of my driveway still fully suited up in beekeeping gear in case any of the bees escaped the box and flew around in the car’s interior.
Jim was my hero that day. He responded quickly, saved me from the peril of the bees, and gave me tons of information about beekeeping. Everyday heroes doing what they do. Now, Jim’s on the other side of sixty so he won’t directly make an appearance as a hero in one of my books, but he’ll be the prototype.  He’ll evolve into the beekeeper who gets called to an old house where my heroine (maybe a young widow with a son) has bees in the walls. Or maybe she’s not a widow, but inherited the family farm and is trying to revitalize it, but the bees keep causing her problems. Or the fictional Jim might be teaching a class on beekeeping which my heroine takes and gets lots of private instruction on the uses of honey.
You get the idea. The possibilities are nearly endless, but one way or the other, everyday men make great heroes.

*   *   *

Raising Her Hopes

May Williams
A Historical Victorian Romance
Turquoise Morning Press Vintage

When Sidney White arrives in England, he seems like the perfect man for Belinda Ferguson. 
She wants to love him, but first she must overcome her past before she is free to raise her hopes.

Sidney Ferguson has one objective when he arrives in Bath, England. He plans to leave his daughter with relatives before returning to the United States to embark on a dangerous mission for the Union Army.

An encounter with the beautiful Belinda Ferguson strikes like lightning at his heart, but she doesn’t give her love or attention freely. Belinda’s past makes her cautious about placing her trust, especially in a man who must leave her to complete his task.

 Despite the separation his work requires, Sidney convinces her to risk loving him and she dares to raise her hopes.

Buy Links:    Turquoise Morning Press    Amazon     B&N    ARe

Belinda barely made it twenty paces outside the Hazel’s door when Sidney came alongside her and fell into step. He didn’t reach for her arm as she expected, but he was close enough that they bumped shoulders.

“I believe it was my job to see you home this evening,” he said as they crossed the center of the square.

“You’re undoing years worth of work on my part.” She tried for a light, breezy tone as if his presence were entirely superfluous.

“How so?”

“I’d finally convinced Benjamin that I didn’t need an escort. After you return to the States, I’m sure he’ll go back to walking me home and I shall have to start all over again.”

“My apologies, but there’s an obvious difference between his intentions and mine.”

“Is there?” she questioned. “The walk is the same.”

“I’m sure Benjamin does not wish to kiss you as I do.”

“Mr. White.” She stopped in the glow of a street light and faced him, trying to formulate a firm rebuff and control her rapidly beating pulse.

“Please, will you call me Sidney?”

“No, I don’t think I shall. You may turn back now. I can see my gate.” She resumed walking. Any man of sense would cease following her.

“Do you dismiss Mr. Barth in the same way? Or is he allowed a kiss and entrance past your door?”

“My relationship with Mr. Barth is not your concern. Please leave me or I shall have to assume Benjamin’s ill opinion of you is correct and my hasty judgment a few nights ago was erroneous.” She tried for a haughty tone to use as a weapon against him, but as usual it failed her. Being too nice could be a curse at times. “Perhaps you are a rogue after all,” she finished, slightly breathless, with one hand on her gate and the other held out in a gesture meant to stop him.

Brushing by her upraised hand, he closed the distance between them. “I hate the thought of proving my brother-in-law correct,” he put a finger under her chin and tipped her face up, “but some things are worth the risk.”

His lips were soft, yet demanding, as they met hers. She wanted to resist, to seal her lips tight, but the stirring of passion she felt in him under the controlled surface matched hers. When his arms circled her, she placed her hands on his lapels not to push him back, but to touch him, to have the impression of his strength on her fingers.
He broke the kiss she’d been unable and unwilling to resist and mercifully stayed silent while her world righted itself. No man other than Heath had ever kissed her, held her like this. She’d evaded Mr. Barth and he was too nice to press her. This man was different. He had no fear of demanding what he wanted. She had every fear of giving in to his demands.

“Goodnight, Belinda,” he whispered close to her ear.

About the Author:
May loves romance. Big pink roses, chocolate hearts, sunset walks, but, most of all, she loves romance novels. She’s been reading romances since she first discovered the public library where the librarians didn't notice or didn't care what she was checking out even though she hadn't hit puberty yet.
Since then, May has continued to read every genre of romance, but she writes mostly historical. Places and time periods have stories to tell. And she likes to listen. Her most recent novels are Victorian era pieces where she can imagine beautiful gowns and elegant teas. 

When May’s not writing, she manages a houseful of children, pets, and flowers grown in her garden.

Twitter: @maywilliams2

Giveaway:   $15 Amazon Gift Card

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