Wednesday, April 23, 2014

You Want Me to Do WHAT?!

When my editor asked me to write a contemporary romance story, of course I said yes. I was thrilled with the opportunity and the faith she had in me. But inside, I was worried. What was I thinking to agree? I’d been writing romantic suspense for so long I wasn’t sure I could pull off a contemporary romance. I mean, no chases, no bomb threats, no gunfire. Would I be able to come off the ledge and work on personal issues between the characters WITHOUT a death threat?

But then I thought about it…

And thought some more…

And I soon listened to the whispers around me.

One of the secondary characters in my first Decadent book, Her Highland Champion, reminded me she and her husband deserved their story to be told. It was difficult story to write and I’d given myself a 3-week deadline. I wanted to impress the publisher and prove to myself that I could “pull off” a contemporary. And in the heat of a Texas summer, Carry Me Home was created.

The romance in the story is between a husband and a wife who have drifted apart after a horrible tragedy. It was difficult to write for so many reasons: I’m not married so I don’t know what it’s like to have a husband, I haven’t suffered the tragedy they have so I’m not familiar with that level of grieving, I didn’t agree with all of the decisions each character made, and the emotion I ended up pouring into the book literally drained me.

I’m so happy my editor challenged me to write this book, to push myself out of my comfort zone. In the end, it became one of my favorite books of my own. I’m proud of it, I’m proud of how readers have responded to it, and Mary and Jamie have a cushioned place in my heart.

Carry Me Home
Book Blurb:
After six months in the city, Mary MacDougall returns to the Scottish Highlands to finalize her divorce. Because of a past tragedy, she doubts her husband Jamie can possibly love her with the same unbridled passion as before and insists ending the marriage is best for both of them. But Jamie has other ideas….
Jamie MacDougall has no intention of letting his bonnie lass go. At least not without a fight. Aye, they’ve suffered heartache, and she may be ready to call it quits, but he refuses to throw away the partnership they’ve built since they were children. Instead, he’ll remind her they were meant to be together, forever.
Can this marriage survive pride and grief to allow love to carry them home?


A sweet story that I read quickly, this story had a bit of everything. A tad naughty, with a rich emotional story about two people finding their way again after catastrophe. This is the first Alexa Bourne book I've read but most definitely will not be my last. ~~~Brunette Librarian

This is a beautiful and believable story of two people finding each other again. ~~~Irene Preston, author of Infamous

The chemistry is blistering hot. The sex scenes were sizzling hot. Overall, I loved this book…. ~~~Romancing the Book

My favorite part of this story was watching Jamie fight to get Mary back. It also shows how lack of communication can tear people apart when they need each other the most. I was swooning over some of the things Jamie did. ~~~Sarah Says Read Romance 


#alexabourne, , #decadentpub

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How Does The Weather Factor Into Prepping?

When I was six, my family lived outside Ogallala, Nebraska in a trailer park called Hillcrest. This place became my first encounter with the destructive forces of Mother Nature.

Sure, I’d seen the power of blizzards, but not something so powerful mankind has no shield against it. Sure, a blizzard is a force to be reckoned with, but you can avoid it by staying off the roads and indoors. A tornado is a whole different beast. Even if you escape into a cellar, it will, and can, wreck your world.

I remember so clearly the details of that day. My family was out in the garden working, putting fresh-mowed grass around strawberries in a bed my father built. The sky didn’t look particularly threatening that day, more like rain than anything else. There was a flash of lightening in the sky. My father looked up and said, “Time to go in.” So we put our tools in the shed and headed for the front door.

My father was the last to go through the door, and as he was pulling it shut, the storm hit. My father is not a little man. He is well over 6’4” and strong from years of working on my grandfather’s ranch. That burst of wind ripped the door off the hinges and out of his grip before he could shut it, nearly taking him with it.

You know how they say there is always a warning a tornado is coming. There isn’t. We had no warning whatsoever. No ugly green skies. No high wind, hail and rain. It just hit. The trailer began to rock, squawking as it shook, the walls literally moved in and out like the trailer was breathing, flexing in the force that threatened to consume us. The storm had this sound, and the only way I can describe it is that it was a growling freight train—a groaning, whistling growl. I could not hear my sister who was on the floor beside me it was so loud.

Then I remember thinking, this thing is going to eat us. I started to cry. Seconds later, it stopped. The world went silent and for several seconds the members of my family just stared at each other. I know my heart pounded, and though I didn’t really understand death at that time, I knew something quite profound had happened and I was lucky to be there.

Outside was a war zone. The front steps of our trailer were gone, along with the camper shell that had been on my father’s truck. The truck remained, but the shell was torn off it. My dad’s motorcycle was gone, along with several petrified rocks from the flower garden—some weighing over 1000 pounds, plucked from the ground like pebbles. The house that had been across from us was gone. The one behind us, the roof had been peeled away like the lid on a can of sardines. All of these things were found in a field five miles down the road.

Flash forward two years.
My family moved from that trailer park on the bluff overlooking Ogallala. We now live down in the valley. I am in elementary school and tornado alarms are wailing across the town. We are lined up in the hallways, face to face, heads tucked into our knees, hands over our heads as we’ve been drilled to do. I’m terrified and it doesn’t help. A teacher is on the floor next to me, rubbing my back and I know from the look in her eyes, she is scared to death. Her touch does little to assure me “everything will be okay.” Which she keeps repeating over and over. Again I hear the roaring as the storm rolls across the valley and over our heads, leaving our school intact. When it’s over, students are crying, teachers are shell-shocked and trying their best to keep it together. If not for the school sitting down in the valley, the tornado would have destroyed the building. We were lucky.

At the age of sixteen, I witnessed my third tornado. This time, there was no doubt the bully was in the school yard. The sky was an ugly green and it boiled, churning in on itself. The first show of its teeth came as sudden wind that bent trees, followed by hail and downpour so heavy, you couldn’t see someone standing five feet from you. I am doing my best to get my horse in the barn and under cover from the hail stones. She’s terrified and fighting me. She rears, pulls the lead out of my hands and runs for the other end of the pasture. That’s when it hits and I find myself ducking into the barn to avoid the hard quarter-sized ice pellets that are pinging off everything. After about two minutes of the most intense rain, wind and hail I’ve ever experienced, it went dead silent and still. There was no transition. One moment all hell was busting loose, the next, you could hear a cricket chirp from a mile away, if it had been inclined to do so.

That’s when I heard the roar. I looked out of the barn and about two miles down the road, a twister dropped from a cloud that looked like it could almost touch the ground. My father yelled from the house and we all made for the well house, the only place underground. There we sat in the dark, listening to a battery operated radio until the local radio station declared it all clear.

Again that day, we were spared. Later that summer at the county fair, a tractor tire with a two-by-four was on display, one from the very storm we’d run from that day, from a farm just a bit up the road. The tire was completely inflated, the board rammed through the middle. The force of the storm had twisted the rubber on this thick tire and shoved that board through it, leaving all the air inside. If that doesn’t speak of the power a tornado possesses, I don’t know what does.

Over the years, I have had several other brushes with these terrifying storms, some in places people say they would never happen. When the wind hits all of a sudden in the middle of the night, you will see me fly out of bed, press my face to the window and strain out into the dark to see if the beast approaches. My husband laughs at my behavior when I call him from work or home. I’m terrified of thunder and wind storms. To this day, I will pace when they hit, especially if it is sudden.

During my life, I have learned a healthy respect for Mother Nature. So why a storm in a Prepper novel. Are you prepared to face the beast?

When it comes, you better be.

Dry Spell Blurb:

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the eastern parts of Sublette and western and middle Fremont counties until seven p.m. CST. Doppler radar has indicated a line of thunderstorms with possible rotation moving east toward Sublette county....
Army vet Quinn Smith is just passing through Evans Point, or so she says. When she blows through town driving ninety-miles-an-hour, she snags the eye of the local Sheriff, Jake North.
Jake catches her climbing over a fence onto private property. Quinn claims to be chasing a storm, but Jake’s not buying it. There’s more to the beautiful woman’s story than she's told him. A dangerous maelstrom forces them to take shelter in a culvert, and sparks fly. Stranded in the prepper community of Evans Point, Quinn must face the truth about her past before she can move toward a possible future with the town’s sexy sheriff.

Dry Spell Excerpt:

“I could sell video of this storm for a profit and have change to spare. Best shot was from up there. Just trying to make a little money to get home. I didn’t mean any harm and, I promise you, I don’t break the law often—ever—never. I don’t break the law. I really, really need this. Please, can you let it go?”
The hair on his neck rose in response to a funny electricity in the air, like he stood near a high-voltage wire. Jake shook off the warning and focused on the pretty woman before him. “So you were going to stand in the rain and film, hoping something would happen?” 
“Actually,” she said, “something is going to happen.” She gestured with her thumb to the sky behind her. “See all those bumps in that cloud that dip down like a bunch of breasts? That’s a cumulonimbus. Those pockets hold hailstones. A supercell is created when a cold and warm front collide. I’ve been tracking this weather, watching and waiting. And see how low they are—the little wisps and the rotation? Incredible. I can’t put words to it. It’s….”
He looked up and noticed not only the rotation, but the twister that dropped down as she spoke. “A tornado.” Though he could appreciate the graphic description, breasts in the clouds and all, there were much bigger things than titties in the sky to worry about. He grabbed her hand. “This way.” Jake dragged her at full run a hundred yards down the interstate toward a culvert that ran under the highway. They were lucky she’d stopped so close to the only shelter for miles around, or they’d be out of luck.

Buy Links:


Monday, April 21, 2014

I’ve Mastered (almost) Twitter! #Giveaway

I’m happy to say I’ve finally figured out Twitter! This is very exciting for me, since once upon a time #s, @s, etc. was an alien language that confused me to no end. Now, I’ve mastered much of it, and in doing so I’ve found another outlet for procrastination. (Though admittedly, my two Pinterest accounts are feeling put out right now.)

I follow many of my favorite authors and friends, but I also follow fellow geeks and fandoms, such as Wil Wheaton and about ten different Doctor Who accounts. And of course, cute kittens. Lots of cute kittens.

I hope if you have a Twitter account I’ll bump into you sometime! And feel free to follow me, I do my best to follow everyone back J

Leave a comment with email about your favorite social network and you might win something from my Decadent Publishing backlist!

Olivia Starke



Buy Link HERE
BLURB

Kat goes on the prowl looking for a one night stand to rile up her new friends. A little shock and awe to keep her sane in a life no longer hers. When she’s matched with Jared through 1Night Stand, he seems perfect for her plans. Conservative, sweet, and sexy as sin, she’s ready for one hell of a ride.
But Jared is more than she bargained for—much more. And when her plans for amusement turn dangerous will the two find a way to stay alive?

EXCERPT

"Come on.” She winked. “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.”
"I thought these things were urban legend. I never imagined I’d see one in real life.”
His date’s gaze glimmered with mischief. “There are lots of big hairy surprises out there for those brave enough to search for them.”
“Like you, for one.” He cleared his throat. “Except for the hairy part. I hope, anyway.”
A slight blush colored her cheeks, and he brushed his knuckles over the soft skin there. Shadows marred the smoothness beneath her eyes. Had she been sick? Or maybe her party girl lifestyle drew out too much. She stepped back.
“Cowboy up, sugar.” She grasped his hand and pulled him forward, again surprising him with her power. Under the softness of her curves lay a fair amount of muscle. It’d take all night to spend the pent up energy boiling in his veins. He’d passed the point of return…. Without sex, and soon, he’d run howling through the streets, a crazed animal.
After taking an elevator to the basement level of the parking garage, she led him to a red door and rapped on its freshly painted surface. Dark corners closed in on them. The hairs on his arms and neck rose. He sensed being watched. More cameras. Were as many inside? And maybe a live Internet feed his family could run across in some improbable way?
Don’t create imaginary monsters. He squared his shoulders.
A partition slid open. Dark eyes narrowed, focusing on Kat who lifted a pale brow. The panel slammed closed, and Jared let a small sigh slip. Could he be off the hook? This night had turned out to be more than he’d bargained for, leaving him ready to tuck tail and run. Find somewhere else to indulge his feral wants with his date. The door swung open, and the odor of incense assaulted him. His escape option evaporated.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Top 5 Reasons for a Massage

   by Sara Daniel

Would you like a massage? I sure would! If a hot man of my dreams wants to offer me one, even better! 
   Romance offers the ultimate fantasy escape, and nothing quite fills all a person’s emotional and physical needs (without having sex!) like a massage. 
   Here are my top 5 reasons to have a massage. Give me some suggestions in the comments, and we’ll turn it into a top ten!

It relieves stress.
Even if you’re not stressed, it still relaxes your muscles.
It can help you learn to trust.
It helps you connect emotionally.
It gives you an intimate physical connection without committing to an intimate sexual act.

In More Than a Fantasy, Regina has a lot of trust issues, and nothing helps her move beyond them until Gabriel convinces her to let him give her a massage.

Regina’s fantasies about her hot marketing assistant, Gabriel, are interfering with her focus at work. In desperation, she turns to Madame Eve to give her a one-night stand with a man who looks just like him. When the Gabriel arrives in her hotel room, she must choose between walking away and playing out her daydreams with the real thing. Their one night becomes a wrestling match for control as Regina strives to keep the upper hand. But Gabriel is just as determined to show her how to work together for business and for pleasure.

As passion trumps protocol, their one-night stand quickly becomes much more than a fantasy.

In Captivating the CEO, the heroine Willow is a massage therapist. All the hero Colin wants her to do is help him relieve his stress-related muscle pain. He has no idea how much of a connection her simple, innocent massages will lead too.

When live-for-the-moment massage therapist Willow Jeffries bursts into Colin Vanderhayden's office, she makes it her mission to loosen up the future-focused CEO, knowing each moment of the present is too precious to waste. Despite her immediate attraction, the only future she can offer is one full of heartache.

The last thing Colin needs is a flighty woman messing up his carefully-constructed plans, but her heavenly massages and addictive personality prove hard to resist. But he has no idea how sick she is.

No longer able to ignore her life-threatening medical condition, Willow slips away to spare Colin a miserable future with her. Is Colin willing to sacrifice his well-laid future plans to get Willow back?

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