All posts by michelezurloauthor

I’m Michele Zurlo, author of over 20 romance novels. During the day, I teach English, and in the evenings, romantic tales flow from my fingertips.

Characters I’d Name a Baby After

This is the perfect spot to share some of my all-time favorite characters with you.

  1. Sabrina from Letting Go (Awakenings 1). This is the second heroine I created–the first is in an unpublished book that will never see the light of day–and I named her a name I wanted for myself. I also liked it as a baby name, buy my significant other hated it, and she can’t control what I name a character. Sabrina is smart, driven, and emotionally strong. She’s searching for something more in her life, and she embraces the journey of life. I love that about her.
  2. Samantha Carter from Stargate: SG-1. She inspired Samantha Spencer who appeared as a supporting character in Letting Go, and she’s the heroine of Owning Up (Awakenings 3) which won’t be out until June 2019. Dr. Samantha Carter is a scientist who is great at computers, engineering, and all sorts of physics. She can math like nobody’s business. (Yeah, I used “math” as a verb. I’m creative with words, not numbers.) My character is an artist, not a scientist, but she’s sensitive and caring like Major Carter.
  3. Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird. She’s a beloved character for a reason. I’d name a dog Atticus. I read this book as a teen, and I liked it. I read it again as an adult, and I loved it.
  4. Darcy from Re/Bound (Doms of the FBI 1). Darcy is also another name I wanted that my SO rejected. She’s also strong (I prefer strong and intelligent heroines, so that’s what I write.) Life has dealt her a fistful of tragedy, but she won’t let it break her. I’d like to think I’d react with the same resiliency, though I wouldn’t wish her life on any baby.
  5. Jolinar, also from SG-1. This is the name of the Tok’ra symbiote who was briefly melded with Samantha Carter. Jolinar is a derivation of the name of Thor’s hammer from Norse mythology. We threw this name around when I was pregnant with twins, but ultimately we gave that name to our cat. Jolo was feral when we got her, but toward the end, she turned into a sweet kitty who liked to roll around the floor while we sang to her.
  6. Patrick from Auntie Mame. This is one of my all-time favorite movies, and I hate musicals, so that’s saying something. Watching him grow as a person throughout the movie always tugs at my heartstrings. If one of my kids had turned out to be a boy (I had twin girls,) I would have considered Patrick. Knowing me, I would have called him Trick for short.
  7. Westley from The Princess Bride. It shortens to Wes, which I like, or West, which I’d do because it’s unique. Westley was always calm in the face of anything. In the book, which I also loved, he spent years studying to master his crafts. The book also goes into great detail about the backstory of Inigo and Fezzik, so I highly recommend reading it, especially if you love the movie.

Here is the part where I burst bubbles. I don’t believe in naming kids after anybody. I caved when my wife wanted to give her grandmother’s name as one of the girls’ middle name, but that’s it. The girls each have names we liked and considered strong (and also weren’t names my students had) but that weren’t ones other people we knew had. Names are powerful, and I think everybody deserves a blank slate to fill in for themselves. I know lots of people disagree and like to name kids, particularly sons, after other people. To each their own.

Favorite Things to do in Winter

Living in Michigan, winter vacillates from cold to freezing to “holy shit, it hurts to breathe” and then we’ll get a day in the 40’s to remind us that spring will eventually return. I’m not a fan of being cold, so much of my winter time is spent inside. To me, this is the perfect time to corral my kids and spend some quality time with them.

People who love the snow go snowboarding, skiing, or ice skating. I lack things like balance and athleticism, so I avoid those things. I have a pond behind my house that’s perfect for skating. If it’s not too cold (in the 20’s is okay) I like sledding or “ice skating” on my shoes. In this first picture, it’s after the first snowfall, and the pond isn’t yet frozen. It’s up to 12-feet deep, so it freezes relatively quickly. (It’s frozen now, but it’s -10 and windy, so I’m not going outside to snap a more recent picture.

Off the lower patio, which is covered in snow (look for the grid pattern that’s the same as the upper patio,) the yard drops a little more than a story. When the pond is frozen, we can sled down the hill and onto the pond. After a few trials to tamp down the snow, you can get up quite a lot of speed, especially if you go to the right, where the pond stretches for a ways. (It’s a huge body of water, but there’s a lake across the street that hosts at least 6 subdivisions, so this is called a pond.) Here’s a summer picture to compare. That’s the lower patio and the view to the right, including the beach. We sled to the left of the maple in the foreground, and with enough weight, we can make it halfway across the pond on a sled.

As I said above, my favorite thing to do is spend time with my family. We have teenage twins who are growing up too fast. This winter, we’ve played Telestrations. It’s fun to play the original way, but we’ve combined it with our Cards Against Humanity set, so we’re illustrating things like “Three dicks at once” and “micropenis” and “not reciprocating oral sex.” We laugh so hard that it hurts. I highly recommend it, which is why I’ve embedded a link in the name of the game above. We also play trivia games a lot. It’s a house of nerds and geeks. One of the coolest things about game nights is the fact that my kids talk to me in a low pressure situation–no schoolwork is mentioned–and the dumb things that end up on the illustration cards trigger some great conversation topics that I never would have thought to bring up. Plus, it’s nice to just laugh with the people you love.

I also do a lot of writing. This winter, I’ve written about 90K words. I finished up a draft of Owning Up (Awakenings 3) that’s 124K words and I’m about 50K in on Doms of the FBI 8 (untitled). I’ve also prepared Letting Go for re-release. (Details below.)

An Impulsive Proposal…

The terms of Sabrina’s grandfather’s will require for her to be married in order to gain her inheritance. In a moment of weakness, she proposes to a handsome stranger at work. She needs someone to play a part, and she’s willing to sleep with him to sweeten the deal.

A Promise of Passion…

With a failed marriage haunting him and something to prove, Jonas Spencer jumps at the chance to have sex with a beautiful, intelligent woman for a whole year. It would be fun, and he could use some fun in his life—as long as she lives by his rules. He is a Dominant, after all.

A Powerful Desire…

No man has ever satisfied Sabrina in bed, but Jonas is willing to peel away her carefully constructed façade. Layer by layer, he reveals the depths of her passion. As Sabrina falls in love with Jonas, she forces him to confront his dark secrets.

Can she help him let go of the past, or will he use it to throw away the future?

Pre-Order Today!

Buy from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07M7XJ8CL

Universal Link: https://www.books2read.com/u/brGDe7

Buy now from Michele’s Indie Store: https://payhip.com/b/1w6G

Come Meet Me in 2019

I went to my first convention a couple of years ago, and I met some amazing people. I’m very introverted, so this was huge for me. Though I enjoyed it, I wasn’t sure I had it in me to do it again. Until I met Lydia Michaels. I’m pretty sure she’s a force of nature, because before I knew it, I found myself on the roster for TWO conventions in 2019.

The first is SaSS, also known as the Sexy and Sassy Signing. This shindig is being hosted by Amy Marie, one of my street team buddies at Read Between the Wines. It’s in Charlotte, NC on July 11-14. It’ll be my first time in NC since I was about ten years old. And I’m struggling to say “CHAR-lit” and not “Char-LOTTE” because I’m a Michigander and that’s the name of a city outside Lansing. Anyway, pronunciation issues aside, I’m really excited to be part of this event. It’s the 5th Annual event, and it’s huge.

To join our FB group, use this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/390057791146512/

If you want to attend, ticket are available here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sass19-racy-readers-weekend-affair-tickets-46768193927?aff=affiliate1

Tickets are $15-75, depending on how long you want to stay and what you want to get done.

As if THAT wasn’t enough, Lydia HERSELF is throwing her first ever reader’s convention, the East Coast Author’s Conference. Even though this is during the school year, I’ll be taking time away from my lovely students to attend. (Don’t worry–I have something like 75 sick days saved up.)

On October 4-6, 2019, I’ll be at the East Coast Author’s Conference as a sponsoring author. Though I’m there as a signing author, I half think I’m really there to meet authors I’m going to embarrass myself fangirling over, LOL.

This one also has a FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EastCoastAuthorConvention/

Schedule: https://www.eastcoastauthorcon.com/schedule-2019/

I’m co-hosting Naughty Night with the Authors on Friday night with Pam Godwin, Lydia Michaels, and Amy Marie.

You can purchase tickets here: https://www.eastcoastauthorcon.com/tickets/

Extra fun: If you’re going to either of these conventions (even just the Saturday signing) you can pre-order my books. This means I buy them from Amazon, autograph them, and then I bring them to the signing to deliver them to you! Great times. Here is the LINK PRE-ORDER PRINT BOOKS.

 

 

Awakenings is Back!

You’ve been waiting for a long, long time for this, and now the wait is finally (almost) over! The Awakenings series returns, and it’s even better than you remember! Here’s the scoop:

Valentine’s Day brings Sabrina and Jonas back to you. With added scenes from his POV, he’s even more intense and volatile. I’ve cleaned up some scenes, added in their trip to Europe and Australia, and extended the ending. It has over 30K more words, and it brings you deeper into the love story than ever before. It’s an Author’s Cut because, for this, I went back to my original manuscript so that it was truer to my original vision (before I had to change it to fit a publisher’s guidelines. Yeah–I’m an indie rebel now!)

Pre-Order Link for Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07M7XJ8CL

Pre-Order Link for all other outlets: https://books2read.com/u/brGDe7

If you have previously purchased this title, it won’t update with the changes because it’s being put out by a different publisher (me.) However, I promise it’s worth the price!

In the Coming Months–

April 11 brings Hanging On, Sophia and Drew’s love story. This one has also been updated to reflect my original vision with an Author’s Cut version. Some of the original content has been altered or removed, and some additional content has been added. I added more chapters from Drew’s POV, and we get to know his family a little better.

This story has always held a special place in my heart because I’ve known too many people who’ve gone through what Sophia went through. When I see her happy ending, it gives me hope for all my loved ones still searching for theirs.

Lastly, Owning Up (Awakenings 3) is coming at you in June 2019. I don’t have firm dates for this one. You might be thinking–hey, wasn’t Two Masters for Samantha next?–and you’d be right. I’ve significantly changed that story. There were elements of it that never sat right with me, and this was my chance to give Samantha the love story she deserved. About 30% of the story is the same, and 70% is completely new. It’s a longer, deeper, better story guaranteed to tug at your heartstrings, frustrate you, and make you need a cold shower or a hot partner with some frequency, LOL.

Cover Reveal–Letting Go and Hanging On

After years of waiting, it’s finally happening. The rights to the Awakenings series are reverting to me, and I’ll be able to publish them again. This series launched my career, and it’s very special to me. More information coming soon, but I’m planning to launch Letting Go on February 14, 2019 and Hanging On in April 2019.

Here are the covers, made with love by Pyroclastic.

Yep, that’s a foreword by Lydia Michaels and Allyson Young!

I hope you’re as excited for the return of some of my greatest titles as I am!

Those People Who Sit Outside the Polls

I voted today. I’ve voted in every primary and election since I turned 18–except one. (I missed a special millage vote that happened in May one year. May elections are rare in these parts, and the postcard from the school asking for the tax increase came two days after the special election. I still feel bad about missing it.)

Voting is not only a privilege, but a civic responsibility. If you don’t vote, I question whether you deserve citizenship. (I also an in favor of automatic registration and removing impediments that interfere with people finding time to vote. The system should work FOR people.)

Every time I vote, there are people standing outside that 100-yard perimeter handing out pamphlets for candidates. I’ve done this myself, mostly in school board elections and when Wife ran for Township Supervisor.

Today, there was a “pro-life” advocate. Normally I’d ignore those people, but today the pair of women got under my skin. Two white, over-50 women who, from the way they were dressed, do not have the slightest clue what it’s like to scramble for a meal, stood there, smiling and making snide comments. (My main issue with “pro-life” people is that they abandon the child/family as soon as the kid is born. Also, my cousin’s wife was forced to carry a dead fetus from the 7th to the 9th month because of a ban on late-term abortions. Put yourself in her shoes for a day and let that horror sink in.)

In their “discussion” as Wife and I left, they made negative comments about candidates who were not vehemently “pro-life”–and then they started bitching about the gays being allowed to marry.

I did not punch anyone.

I did turn around and say, wide-eyed, “Oh, no! Not the gays!” I would have said more, but Wife pulled me away. Seriously–they’re upset about marriage equality. I spent the next two hours fuming. I hate that I let these bigots get under my skin. Hate it.

And that is my voting adventure for today.

Workout 2018: Working Out is a Hoax

About 18 months ago, I started gaining weight rapidly, like a half pound a day. I’d gain 2-3 pounds, and then it would plateau long enough to give me time to come to terms with it. My eating and exercise habits hadn’t changed. Then I’d gain more. Eventually, I was up about 15 pounds. That may not seem like a lot, but I’m short, so everything shows up.

Last November, I made a point of recording a workout diary. Since this a blind blog (no readers,) these posts are mostly for me. I’d actually been working out since October, when my doctor diagnosed me with low blood pressure. It turned out that low blood pressure was just as bad as high blood pressure. Now that I’m wearing compression socks (and making some bold fashion statements,) I have energy, my hair isn’t falling out, my oral health is better, and my heart isn’t doing weird things anymore. Oh, and I don’t swell up, get nauseous, or pass out when I’m physically active. That’s always a bonus.

Despite doing some serious aerobics and weight training faithfully for months, I lost no weight. Yes, I moderated my diet. I ate three small meals a day, and I had two small snacks (like an apple or piece of Dove chocolate. I’ve never been a big eater. My wife openly worried for my  health because she didn’t think I was eating enough.

I felt good. My ass tightened up. My weight stayed the same.

Desperate, I even utilized my accidental fall-back plan. Years ago, at my peak weight, I lost 30 pounds by taking Claritin-D. It’s not a diet med, but it speeds up my metabolism and takes away my appetite. Also, I don’t sleep, so I found I could only take half of one.

It didn’t help.

Fast forward to the past two weeks. Since summer vacation has started, I’ve been going for walks outside instead of hitting the gym, and I’ve been binge-watching House and The Closer like a boss. And I cut my Claritin-D intake down to a quarter tablet, mostly because I like to sleep, and yet I have the snotty allergies.

In the past two weeks, I’ve lost 6 pounds. It’s mostly fat. I can tell because my fat areas are thinner. Like magic, the weight is melting off. Eating healthy and working out didn’t help, but walking my dog and having popcorn for dinner while watching Brenda Lee close another case did the trick.

Or was it just hormones? I don’t know, but I’ll be happy to get back into some of my nicer work clothes this fall.

Shelter: The Reckoning by Allyson Young!





Blurb:

Captain Jesse Forbes was understandably mistaken in his original assessment of Colonel Mitchell Stone. But his method of gathering that intel has blown up in his face.
Given Addison Longwood’s history, he knows she’ll never offer him a second chance, and working together against a common foe is going to be torture in more ways than one.

Addison hopes for the best but expects the worst as she and her fellow defenders gain reinforcements and take it to the enemy, unaware another betrayal awaits them.
Survivors change sides and lines are blurred—good guys and bad guys wear camo.

Buy links:

https://www.books2read.com/u/3R16Lj 
https://www.amazon.com//dp/B07F3ND3YT

 

 Excerpt: 

Stepping right into her space, he grasped her by the upper arms and yanked her close. The familiar feel of his body against her own, his scent, thrust her into memories—the good ones that had temporarily replaced the ones from her childhood—and nearly overwhelmed her common sense.

“Addy, I need to you to listen to me. Please.”
For an instant, she longed to melt into him, to let him kiss her the way he did, to escape from the reality that was to come. To allow what usually followed such a kiss. Her innate sense of survival overrode the impulse. Trust was such a fragile thing… Fool me once. She carried enough shame.

Twisting free, the strength of his fingers likely leaving marks, she put distance between them. “Don’t. Not ever.”
The words, spoken so adamantly, quietly and so coldly, fell between them and rose up like an invisible wall only the two of them could see.

Jesse stilled, staring at her, his whiskey-golden eyes morphing into solid amber. “You’ll never forgive me.”

“There’s nothing to forgive.” She repeated what she’d said to Marcia and would repeat forever, if necessary. “Means to an end. I get it. I’d be stupid to let it get to me. But that doesn’t mean I’ll let you use me again. We can’t afford to allow anything get in the way of what’s coming next. We can’t afford to be … distracted. You have everything you need.”

“This is about what happened to you growing up.”
The wistful, arbitrary feeling about her own needs burned away with white-hot rage. Damn him.

She managed a shrug but then hit back, forgetting her resolve to remain distanced. “Such a clever spy, Forbes. You know all my secrets. Good on you. Hope your real boss appreciates your diligence. Anything for the cause. It’ll look good in your report. Make sure you spell my name right.”

“That’s not—” He growled something under his breath and stalked over to a folding table, kicking a chair out of the way.

“I’m leaving. And don’t pull anything like this again.” She made her weak knees stiffen so her legs could carry her past him.

“It became so much more, Addison.” He turned and spread his hands. “I can’t go back. I wish I could. If I’d known what it could become, I’d have waited. Until you knew who I really was.”

She shut her eyes tightly against a new shard of pain in her chest before gaining the exit, not able to form a coherent response. A terrible sense of loss hollowed her senseless, but she schooled her features.

About the author:

Allyson Young aka Peri Elizabeth Scott lives in cottage country, Manitoba, Canada. She and her husband pretend to work well together in their seasonal business.
She has always enjoyed the written word, and after reading an erotic romance, quite by mistake, decided to try her hand at penning one. That was followed by a mix of spicy (Ally) and sweet (Peribeth) romances in various genres as well as a post-apocalyptic adventure without a lick of romance by Peribeth.
A bestselling Amazon author, a hybrid, and a coauthor, as of April 2018 she has published seven series and several standalones, with others in the works.

Shards of Love (Jesse and Jessica 3) is Now Available

Wow–I’ve heard from a number of people about how much they LOVE this trilogy. It’s heartfelt, poignant, and unexpected.

The final book in the Jesse and Jessica trilogy is here! It’s a poignant story of love, loss, family, and forgiveness–and I hope you love it as much as I do!

When I set out to write this story, I had no idea it would be a trilogy. As I got to the end of Drawing On Love, I had to face the fact that their story could not be contained in one book. Once I got to the end of Broken Love, I knew that two books wasn’t enough. So I pushed on, and in ten days of marathon writing, I finished Shards of Love. My daughter named it during a family brainstorm session, and it perfectly captured the mess Jesse and Jessica had made of their relationship and the hardships they were set to endure.

Nobody is perfect, and I set out to capture that with this story. Jesse and Jessica are both deeply flawed. She’s spent her life trying to survive, and he’s about to endure things that are all too common in war zones around the world. This story of heartbreak, family, friendship, and love will leave you pleasantly battered.

For this one, you’re going to need a box of tissues.

And, if you can, please leave a review. I hate asking, but reviews drive algorithms, which make my books visible to readers. Thanks so much!

Blurb:

“I’d wanted the fairy tale, and somewhere along the line I’d forgotten that everyone in a fairy tale paid a price.”

All Jessica ever wanted was a family.

When the unthinkable happens, Jessica finds herself adrift in a sea of grief. It’s going to take everything she has to pull her life together and fight for the life she wants.

Warning: Bondage, D/s, rape (not romanticized)

Amazon buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FZ8H14S

All other retailers: https://www.books2read.com/u/brGyZk

Excerpt:

“Brat, that’s enough. Jesse didn’t do this job for the money. None of us do. We do this because we know we make a positive difference in this world.”

“Bullshit,” she sneered. “You aren’t fooling anyone.” She slammed the heels of her palms into my chest.

This was different from when she’d slapped me before. She’d been stunned by her reaction as much as I had, and I saw immediately that she hadn’t meant to hit me as much as she’d wanted to smack away the information.

But now she was attacking me. She was in pain and lashing out.

With a neat twist of my arms, I captured her wrists and pinned them behind her back. “Brat, I know you’re upset, so let’s take a minute to calm down.”

She struggled against my hold. “I don’t want to calm down. I’ve been calm for months, and it hasn’t helped. I’m tired of being rational and good. I’m tired of feeling all this pain, and no matter what I do, it doesn’t go away. I’m tired of pretending for all of you that I’m fine when I feel like I died months ago.”

My heart broke at the raw pain written on her features and trembling in her voice. Without further thought, I lifted her onto my lap and held her against me.

Her whole body softened, and she melted into me. I cradled her head, and she rested her cheek against my chest. Her hand grasped at my shirt.

Though the wrong circumstances had landed her in my arms, protectiveness and pure joy surged through me. After all this time, we finally had more than a surface-level connection.

Broken Love

Broken Love

A SAFE Security Trilogy: Jesse and Jessica 2

Jesse: Four months after Jessica walked away from me, I returned to find that she’d removed herself from my life as much as possible—even from her art studio and storefront on the first floor of the SAFE Security building. She couldn’t run far since she was carrying my child, and one night of playing nice landed me in her bed. While it didn’t repair the broken love between us, it renewed my determination to win her back.

Jessica: Ending up in the back of Jesse’s truck while he was on vacation wasn’t what I’d intended, but it gave us time to talk in a way we hadn’t before. Now that he understood I wasn’t a submissive, maybe we had a chance to be friends and co-parents?

I just wish I could stop yearning for his touch.

Excerpt:

She sat up as I came in, revealing that she wore my shirt. “You were gone a long time.” Her lips pressed together, probably quelling the urge to ask where I’d been.

“I called Dean.”

“Oh.” Her gaze flickered away. “I’m finished in the bathroom. I used one of your disposable razors for my legs. I hope you don’t mind.”

This woman was completely at odds with the portrait Dean had in his head. To reaffirm that idea, I took a chance on Dean’s question. If she wasn’t on SAFE Security’s insurance, I needed to know she was covered somewhere. If she wasn’t, I’d change that situation immediately.

“Jessica, Dean said that he tried to cut off your health care by firing you from SAFE Security.”

“Let’s not talk about any of that unpleasantness. I’ve landed on my feet, okay?” She rolled to her other side and pulled the covers up, signaling that she was finished with the conversation.

Nothing got to me faster than an uncooperative Jessica. I sat on the edge of her bed and eased the covers from over her face. “Who is paying for your insurance?”

Her chest heaved a sigh. “You are.” She didn’t meet my gaze.

I was meticulous about my bank accounts. I hadn’t seen an increase in money flowing to health insurance. Actually, my monthly premium cost had dropped a few dollars. “How?”

She chewed at her bottom lip in a rare show of nerves. “Maybe you should ask David? It was his idea.”

Now my curiosity was piqued. I peeled back the covers and lifted her until she sat up and faced me. “Darlin’, I’d like an explanation.”

“We’re married.”

Shock that she would marry anyone was superseded only by the fact of who she claimed to have married. How the fuck could she marry David? He was already married. “How? Did he divorce Brea and not tell anyone?”

She winced. “No, I’m married to you.”

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FKPGY25

All other retailers: https://www.books2read.com/u/boZ8M0