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Weekly Author Spotlight-Michele Zurlo

Check out Sunshine Reads for lots of great reading ideas!

Welcome to Sunshine Reads!

Website banner 2Re/Bound

Doms of the FBI Book 1

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Picking herself up after the devastating loss of her master is more difficult than Darcy anticipated. Just when she needs someone the most, a handsome Dom steps in. Theo is  thoughtful, dominant, and demanding—everything she needs. He pushes her boundaries, tests her limits, and takes her to new heights. With him, she remembers what it is to feel joy and love and a firm hand on her ass.
rebound fb2Agent Malcolm Legato is after a corrupt businessman, and Darcy is his ticket into the upper echelon of Snyder Corp. As he cultivates her as an asset, he falls hard for this feisty submissive, and he knows he’ll break her heart the moment she finds out he’s been lying to her all along.
When it all falls apart, will Darcy be able to find the strength to forgive Malcolm so they can build a life…

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KB Update: What’s Up With Michele?

Spring is always a busy time. This year it’s even more so! Here’s some flowers for you:

Re/Viewed came out in March. Readers and bloggers seem to love it. They keep saying great things about it.

May 2017

In May, I plan to release Discovering Desires, a reissue of three novellas originally released through Loose ID.  Here’s a little more about those:

Three Kinky Novellas

Yes, Justin, Out of My League, and By My Side were originally appeared as novellas in part of the Safeword Oasis series. All three titles have been revised, and they no longer are part of the Oasis series. Additionally Yes, Justin has been expanded.

Sexy Blurbs

Yes, Justin

After fifteen years and two kids, the romance has fled from Trish’s marriage. When a friend introduces her to BDSM, she decides it’s what she wants—to have her body and soul mastered by a man who is completely focused on her. And that’s not her husband, whose life revolves around his career.

Justin isn’t shocked when he finds out his wife is planning to cheat on him. They’ve been drifting apart for years, and he hates it. To save their marriage, he’ll carry out her kidnap fantasy, fulfill her desire to be dominated, and force her to confront the reasons she wanted to be there in the first place.

Out of My League

The reconstructive surgery that gave Mia the confidence to ask a friend to set her up with someone who resembles Kaelen didn’t erase her insecurities, but she’s hoping it will start healing the emotional scars she’s carried for far too long.

Whenever he’s around the breathtaking teaching assistant, Kaelen can’t seem to keep from sticking his foot in his mouth. He’ll do anything to show her that he’s so much more than the incompetent graduate student he always appears to be.

When the two of them show up at the designated spot, they’re both shocked to discover that Warren had granted the wish neither had the courage to make. After a mind-blowing day together, neither can find the courage to ask for more. They part ways only to end up assigned to the same room at a Caribbean resort. Will the sultry atmosphere help them both make their deepest wishes come true?

By My Side

Marcella Abbot has worked for Sean Winquist for more than a year. As his personal assistant, she manages nearly every aspect of his life. He’s a Dom and she’s a submissive. Through their year working together, they’ve become friends and colleagues, but Marcella yearns for more. She’s in love with Sean, and she’s frustrated that he can’t see past her efficient exterior.

When Sean’s submissive for a BDSM benefit show cancels unexpectedly two days before the event, Marcella jumps at the chance to take her place. Sean wants Marcella, but he’s afraid to let the walls of professionalism come tumbling down and risk losing her.

If you haven’t had a chance to read these yet, this is your chance to pick up three hot, sexy novellas for one low price.

Also in May 2017

I’m releasing a Spanish-language version of Re/Bound!

August 2017

I’m working on revisions to Switching It Up (SAFE Security #2) which is due out in August. As a bonus, I plan to release a novella featuring Jessica and Jesse at the same time.

October 2017

I’ve been invited to join an anthology next fall, so I’m working on a Halloween story featuring David and Brea.

Coming back to today

And lastly, I’ve brainstormed a number of stories, including ones in the Doms of the FBI series and ones I’m considering for a new series. I have a lot on my plate right now, but rest assured that I’m dedicated to putting out quality reads.

On a personal front, the Twins are getting ready for high school. Did you know that some freshman sports start in June of the previous school year? How about marching band starting in April? Yikes. The Twins aren’t even sure if they want to do marching band, and I’m fielding all these emails from the band director! I don’t remember transitioning to high school being this much of a big deal back in the day. And I think my tax guy might have lost his marbles, so I’m trying my hand at Turbo Tax. Yikes! Math and I are not close friends. Okay, I’m off to format Re/Viewed for print and get that uploaded to Createspace.

Wishing you all the best,

Michele Z.

Notebook vs. Laptop

writing-imageFor the last month, I’ve been writing in a notebook. In the past, I’ve almost always defaulted to writing directly on my laptop. [Funny sidestory: I started writing because I won a laptop in a contest and it didn’t come with games. We didn’t have the internet at home in 2007 because I’m resistant to change, and so I started writing novels.]

My muse was flowing, but I my words rang hollow. I didn’t feel connected to my characters—characters I loved enough to launch a new series featuring them. One of my writer friends responded to a desperate FB post by recommending that I use a notebook. I’ve always had a writer’s notebook, but I used it for brainstorming, research, character descriptions, and plot notes. Once in a while, I would write out a page or two, but this was a sporadic effort, mostly due to lack of access to my laptop.notebook

It’s well known to people who read research on the teaching of writing that our brains function differently when we write on a computer versus a piece of paper. As one of those people, I shoved that knowledge to the back of my mind because it’s convenient to compose on a laptop. After all, I’m going to have to type it eventually, right? Why not skip right to that part?

purple-energel-pen
I love this pen, but I can’t find them around here lately 😦

I’ve realized a couple things this past month:
1. Writing in a notebook is slower.
2. Writing in a notebook is better.

I can type as fast as I think, but my writing is a tad bit slower—if I want to be able to read what I’ve written later. My handwriting gets worse the quicker I go. Being forced to slow down gives me time to really think about what I’m writing. It allows me time to connect with my characters and the words that create their story. The quality of my writing improves because I have more time to consider details, word choice, and phrasing. Each time I write, I go back a few paragraphs and make revisions. It’s somehow easier to find where I need a word or phrase to clarify and where I need to expand or deepen the level of detail.

Another thing writing in a notebook does is gets me through writer’s block. It takes me away from the distractions of the internet—the place where I look up an image of Mt. Rainier and find myself LOL-ing to the antics of a friend’s child on FB or getting bent out of shape because of an article that came up in my Twitter feed.keep-calm-and-use-your-purple-pen-2

Maybe it won’t help me put out books faster—I may have to dial back my goal of putting out 3 this year to 2—but I’m hoping they’ll provide a satisfying reading experience.

[Note: This was originally published on RB4U 2-26-17]

Kissing Bandits Interview: Meadows Shore Series by Eva Charles

KB welcomes Eva Charles, author of the Meadows Shore series

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Interview:

KB: Welcome to Kissing Bandits Blog! Tell us a little bit about yourself!

First, thank you so very much for having me today! I’m the author of the Meadows Shore series, sweet contemporary romance with some sizzle. Before embarking on my writing journey last year, I spent decades as an advocate, counselor and attorney, working on behalf of women and children, most of it in the field of domestic violence, and child abuse and neglect. I have two adult sons, and I live with the love of my life and two adorable dogs in Western Massachusetts.

KB: Tell us a little bit about your most recent release.

The most recent release is Petite Madeleine, a second chance romance. Cassie and Drew were college sweethearts, separated by tragedy, but after ten long years they meet again by chance. He’s now the sexy general manager of the Boston Blues baseball team, and she’s an award-winning baker in Baltimore. But ten years is a long time, and while Drew’s life is back on track, Cassie is struggling with the aftermath of breast cancer.

KB: Describe how you came up with the idea for your series?

My own ethnicity was the inspiration for the series. I gave the characters a Portuguese heritage because there are few, if any, romance novels written in the United States about Portuguese families. As a first generation Portuguese-American woman, the series has afforded me an opportunity to share bits and pieces about the culture, like the food, customs, and the central role that family plays in the lives of individuals. Some of the books have more cultural references than others, but family plays a significant role in each story.

If you could have drinks with anybody (real/fiction, living/dead,) who would you choose and why? What would be the topic of conversation?

Mary Rose Tudor, the fun-loving youngest sister of Henry VIII. I’m a history buff, especially drawn toward the role women played in shaping our world. I’m currently revisiting the Tudor era through the eyes of Antonia Fraser, whose work is flawless. As the darling of Henry’s Court, Mary enjoyed an unusual amount of freedom, and was privy to many things that others were not privy to. She wasn’t afraid to stand up to the king, and risked everything to be with the man she loved. I would ask her about her relationship with Katherine of Aragon, Henry’s first wife, and beg her to dish on Anne Boleyn

What is something nobody would guess about you?

I collect perfume—especially hard to find perfume. If you rummage through my bedroom, you’ll find my vast collection in the second drawer of an antique dresser, away from damaging light. I hoard it, wear it, and occasionally share it with others who are drawn to scent. My harmless addiction shows up in all my books. I try to match the character with the kind of scent that best suits her personality. For example, classy Sophie Clayton wears the light and beautiful Après L’Ondee on her wedding day, Alexa Petersen falls in love with Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune, a dark grapefruit fragrance, and Ella Clayton will wear Tobacco Vanilla and Carnal Flower in an upcoming book that takes place in New Orleans.

Tell us about your first kiss.

My very first kiss was during a game of spin the bottle, played in a friend’s basement after school. We were twelve, and the only thing special about it was that it was illicit. My real first kiss happened a few years later on a deserted beach, behind the seawall, under a moonlit sky. The boy was two years older, and had a lot of experience with kissing. I still remember the breathless feeling, and the heat that swept through me while his mouth explored mine. His kisses were intoxicating. I often summon that night when I’m writing about a first kiss.

BLURB:

mediakit_bookcover_mysweetsashaPrepare to fall in love with the Claytons and Harringtons and their rich Portuguese heritage. A Wedding at Meadows Shore is the first book in the series. In it, you’ll meet the family and visit their beloved Meadows Shore nestled along the moody Atlantic in the charming seaside town of Fair Harbor.

It all begins with Sophie’s story, where she discards the past and learns to trust herself and others. The series follows the lives of her sisters and cousins while they, too, sort through their baggage and fall in love. Travel with them on their romantic journeys, stopping in rural Minnesota, New Orleans, and other enchanted places along the way.

They are wealthy and powerful, but suffer pain and loss much like the rest of us. Even great privilege can’t shield them from those experiences. But despite their wealth and power, I think you’ll find them approachable and down-to-earth—or as Cole Harrington would say: “We put our pants on one leg at a time, same as everybody else.”

There’s an old Portuguese adage, “the rooster crows loudly, but it’s the hen who’s in charge.” And so it is with the Claytons and Harringtons: strong women, alpha males, and of course, Avó Angelina, the family matriarch who keeps them all on their best behavior.

Bem vindo à família, Welcome to the family!

Excerpt Three:

Petite Madeleine

mediakit_bookcover_petitemadeleineThe waitress brought a dish of plump dumplings with golden, crispy skins. “These little suckers are amazing. Close your eyes,” he said carefully lifting the plumpest dumpling off the plate with chopsticks, and giving it a quick dunk in the sauce.

“Close my eyes?”

“Yeah. Everything’s better with your eyes closed. Your sense of smell, and all the sensations on your tongue, will be heightened.”

She leaned toward him, resting a hand on his thigh. “Are we talking about dumplings? Because I remember that you liked me to keep my eyes open.”

His groan sent a shudder, a powerful surge through him that nearly dislodged the dumpling from the chopsticks and sent it toppling into her lap.

His Adam’s apple bobbed, and he leaned closer to her. “We’ll try it both ways, first with your eyes open so I can watch you come apart, and then you’ll close them, and I’ll use my imagination when you begin to tumble…” He leaned in even closer. “But I’m not sure if I can trust you not to peek, we may need a blindfold to keep you honest.”

She gulped softly, and a small moan escaped from her lips.

He smiled. “Just remember, I’m not the one who keeps steering the conversation in that direction. Now close ‘em,” he commanded, bringing the succulent morsel to her mouth.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

mediakit_bookcover_aweddingatmeadowsshoreEva Charles is the author of the multi-titled Meadows Shore Series chronicling the lives and loves of the Clayton-Harrington family. She invites you to visit their beloved Meadows Shore, nestled in the charming seaside town of Fair Harbor, where you’ll enjoy love, laughter, loyalty, and an abundance of mouth-watering food, Portuguese style.

After being a confirmed city-girl for more than thirty-five years, Eva moved to beautiful western Massachusetts in 2014. There, she found herself living in the woods with no job, no friends (unless you count the turkeys, deer, and coyotes roaming the backyard), and no children underfoot, wondering what on earth she’d been thinking. But as it turned out, it was the perfect setting to take all those yarns spinning in her head and weave them into a romantic tale.

When she’s not writing, trying to squeeze information out of her tight-lipped sons or playing with the two cutest dogs you’ve ever seen, Eva’s creating chapters in her own love story.

Website:   evacharles.com

Amazon author page:  https://www.amazon.com/Eva-Charles/e/B0140FZ442

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14223913.Eva_Charles

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

Eva Charles will be awarding a $75 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $75 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kissing Bandits Interview: Detective Madison Knight Series by Carolyn Arnold

Kissing Bandits Welcomes Carolyn Arnold, author of the Detective Madison Knight Series!

KB: Have you ever been on a manhunt or at the scene where a dead body was found?

mediakit_bookcover_lifesentenceI took part in my local police department’s Citizen’s Academy. As part of this, I received an inside look at seventeen divisions over a ten-week period. As an added benefit, each student was afforded a ride-along. And mine… Well, I went on the perfect one for a crime writer.

My ride-along actually started out with a manhunt. I experienced the excitement of wanting to find the guy and found myself scrutinizing every male I spotted in the area just to make sure he wasn’t the one we were after. Unfortunately, the search moved to the downtown area from the eastern end of the city where the hunt had begun, and the sergeant signed off the investigation. By the end of my ride-along, about five hours later, the man still hadn’t been found.

After the sergeant left the investigation, he turned to me as he was driving and asked if I had ever seen a dead body. I told him I had at memorials and funerals and then asked why. I soon found out that our next stop involved one.

I figured I’d catch a glimpse of the deceased under a tarp or being wheeled away, but I got far more than that. I received a front-row seat to a death investigation. For hours, the sergeant and I were mere feet away from the body. I witnessed firsthand how it changed color over time, but I also found that I went into detective-mode. The forensic identification unit—essentially CSIs—was called in and arrived with collection kits. The team members gloved up, snapped photographs, took fingerprints from the deceased, and more.

The entire time that I was on scene, I noticed myself going into a detached state—the result of adrenaline. Later that evening, it began to sink in that I had spent hours with a dead body, and I was nauseated. As more time passed, I became weepy as it sank in that the deceased had been a husband, a father, a lover, a friend…a person. That night I dreamed about the man. It wasn’t a nightmare, but I was an officer trying to figure out what had happened to him.

I couldn’t imagine returning to the field the next day and having a similar experience or witnessing something even worse, like a violent murder scene or that of a fatal car accident.

KB: What do members of law enforcement say about how you portray the mediakit_bookcover_foundinnocentpolice?

Many testimonials attest that I am pleasing readers in law enforcement. They love that my mysteries are accurate in that regard, and they view that alone as a sign of my respect for them.

One female deputy from Oklahoma wrote in to tell me that she feels like I based Madison Knight on her: “The way Carolyn wrote Madison describes me and the way I work and even my personal life to a T. I have never felt more connected to a character. Thank you for creating something so real.”

Expanding on this deputy’s feedback, other law enforcement officers have also commented on the fact that I show the human side of policing in my books just as accurately as I depict the procedure. A retired patrolman from Illinois said, “I found Eleven to be very [life-like] and exciting. It showed that officers—even the FBI—have personal issues or problems that can interfere with their thinking on the job. Also it was presented so [realistically] that I almost felt like I was an officer in the case…”

In regards to In the Line of Duty, an ERT training officer, stated, “Carolyn Arnold’s love for law enforcement and providing an accurate depiction of [the] job is clearly evident in her writing. She is eager to have police procedures spot on, both in tactics and investigations… You experience the emotions, distractions, frustrations, and successes of the characters in every chapter of In the Line of Duty. I found her heartfelt details to be spot on with a line-of-duty death. Being able to put such a tragic situation into words is difficult in itself, but she does it with compassion, knowledge, and respect for those in uniform who know what it is like to lose a brother or sister in blue.”

mediakit_bookcover_tiesthatbind_detectivemadisonknightKB: What did you do before you became a bestselling author?

For a living, I worked in accounts receivable for a few different companies collecting from businesses. Yet, despite working full time, in 2006 I was reunited with writing. I wrote every chance I got—before work, on lunch breaks, after work, on the weekends. I became so focused on writing and the publishing world that hardly a day went by without them being a part of my life, and since the summer of 2014, I’ve been a full-time author.

KB: How are your three mystery series different from one another?

I offer my readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures. Let me tell you a little about them:

The Brandon Fisher FBI series follows a rookie FBI agent and a team of profilers with the Behavioral Analysis Unit as they hunt serial killers.

The Detective Madison Knight series has readers teaming up with a hard-boiled female detective and her partner as they search for justice for murder victims.

McKinley Mysteries will have readers sleuthing around with a murder-solving duo, Sean and Sara McKinley, as they do whatever it takes to unravel each mystery while romancing it up along the way.

KB: How do you know so much about what criminals think?

I can’t answer that without incriminating myself… Just kidding.

Everyone has what we call a “dark side.” In writing these books, I suppose you could say I tap into this side of my psyche. Whatever I can scheme up is possible, and I write that which scares and excites me.

In the Line of Duty

Slated for release September 29 2016.

Book 7 in the series.

MediaKit_BookCover_InTheLineOfDutyHe devoted his life to seeking justice. But would she get any for him?

It was an ordinary day for police officer Barry Weir. It was the end of shift, he was tired, and he just wanted to get home to his wife and kids. But someone had other plans for him, shooting him down and forcing him to make the ultimate sacrifice.

When news of Weir’s murder reaches the department, it leaves Detective Madison Knight and every cop in the Stiles PD itching for revenge. It cuts Madison’s boyfriend, colleague, and Weir’s childhood friend, Troy Matthews, deepest of all, driving him away from everyone he loves just when they need one another the most.

With evidence pointing to a gang-related drive-by, Madison and her team investigate the town’s seedy underbelly in search of justice for their fallen brother. But the deeper they dig, the more convoluted the case becomes. Now they need to figure out if this was a random shooting as part of a gang initiation, a straight-up hate crime, or a targeted kill. But with members of the Stiles PD under attack, they have to do it fast…before more officers pay with their lives.

NBTM_TourBanner_Goddess-Fish-Detective-Madison-Knight-Series-Banner

The Interview

 

The Giveaway

Carolyn will be awarding $25.00 USD via PayPal International to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter, as well as 1 hardcover of Ties That Bind to another randomly drawn winner and 1 paperback copy of Ties That Bind to one more randomly drawn winner – all via rafflecopter. These are available to the US, Canada, and the UK during the tour, and a 1 hardcover copy of Ties That Bind to a randomly drawn host,available to the US, Canada, and the UK.

 Enter to win $25 payable through PayPal or a copy of the book – a Rafflecopter giveaway

The more you comment, the better your chances of winning: https://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2016/07/nbtm-tour-detective-madison-knight.html

The Well Guarded Secrets of Success in Book Publishing

This is from a friend of mine—she makes some great points!

Authors of Main Street

We often talk about success and we do so in BIG ways! But for those of us who have kicked around in this business, we know that success is actually quite small. Many a good book is ignored and will fall through the cracks before it’s even had a chance in the world. Plenty more need to fall through those cracks! But way too many people think that if they write this one book, it’s going to be so terrific that everyone will want to read it, and they will achieve overnight success, be chosen for Oprah’s book club, and they will make a few million dollars. And all the seasoned authors are either nodding their heads or are laughing, because we know better!

So what happens when someone who has no experience with publishing or indie publishing writes a book and turns it loose into the big ocean? Virtually…

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Do We Even Want to be Entertained?

As a writer and an English teacher, this is what I want for my readers/students–to think/judge for themselves, and to formulate their own opinions regardless of what others think.

Legends of Windemere

So, I’ve been wondering this for a while now.  I wasn’t sure how to write this up either and have gone through it in my head many times.  Then I stumbled onto this part from a Suicide Squad review:

“In my sensible critical opinion, Suicide Squad wasn’t a complete disaster, but inexcusably mediocre. To be fair, the audience I saw the film with appeared to love every frame: big laughter, cheers for the action and clapping as the credits rolled. Is there a disconnect between critics and audiences?”

Now, I’m not going to touch on the question because I have another one.  Are people disconnecting themselves from movies, shows, and books before they even start?  I’ve seen so many people swear that something will be bad for months and then they begrudgingly indulge.  SURPRISE!  They didn’t like it for exactly the reasons either they said or the critics declared.  Sometimes word for…

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Labor Day and “I Hate Unions”

It’s almost like I wrote it myself…

The Pagan & the Pen ~ An Online Magazine!

Labor Day and Dislike of Unions

Union meme 2It’s funny that the nation takes a day off the first Monday in September (unless you have a minimum wage job, in which case you’re probably selling grills or hot dogs) to celebrate the creation of unions. So many people are anti-union, especially when it comes to teachers unions.

I can’t tell you how many articles and comments I’ve read that denigrate teachers unions. They talk about teachers as if we’re demanding raises at the expense of everything else. They paint us as nameless, faceless greedy Grinches who will sell your kid’s soul to the devil for ten cents more a year. This comes after the month long lovefest of articles celebrating the generosity of underpaid teachers who dip into their own meager resources to provide pencils and glue sticks for needy kids. Isn’t that ironic?Union thug meme

Anyway, back to the union thing. In national…

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What it is like to be married to a romance writer ?

Michele Zurlo’s Aug 2, 2016 Update

Hello out there!

I’ve been gone for a couple of weeks. The family and I took a road trip to explore the west coast of US. We drove from Michigan to Washington. From there, we explored natural wonders from Mt. Rainier to Monterey, CA. I’ll post some thoughts and pictures later, but I wanted to pop in to let you know that I’m back.

I haven’t been working on writing for the past 16 days, but I’ve been doing plenty of research. Tru Martin, the heroine of the upcoming Re/Viewed (Doms of the FBI 6), is quite the adventurer. Her story takes place mostly on the West coast, and she does some things that I had never done before–until this vacation, that is! My next step is to revise some of the scenes I’ve written to make them true to the real-life experience. After that, I’m back to working on SAFE Security #1.