This blog is for those 18 and older.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Winter Austin and a Giveaway

When it All Ends

Reckoning, the final book in my Degrees of Darkness series has been out for a few months now in both e-format and print. This was a bittersweet ending for me as I said good-bye to two longtime characters of mine, Detective Remy LeBeau and cowgirl Cody Lewis. These two have walked around in my head for years, pushing me to write their stories. Now their stories are out there for all the world to read and it’s time for me to move on.

When I completed the final draft of Reckoning in November 2013, I’ll admit, I was sad to see it end. I had invested years—I’m not kidding on the years part—in this series and the characters. New characters popped up along the way as I wrote the books, but the main characters and their friends and family members had always been there. I loved meeting the new people, and delving deeper into Remy’s and Cody’s lives. Pulling out all the stops on how much danger and conflict I could create between the two. Oh, and the cast of antagonists that appeared still linger in my head. I wrote some truly awful bad guys and gals.

During the process of writing all four books in the Degrees of Darkness series I had the privilege of “meeting” some truly awesome professionals in the law enforcement world. Their knowledge helped me get a better understanding of how officers of the law would do their jobs. And how some of them can walk across the line and become crooks themselves. All of this showed me that those are the types of characters I enjoy writing and will continue to do so.

Is this it for some of the Degrees of Darkness secondary characters? I don’t know. One character, Detective Heath Anderson, sort of took over and became an integral part of Remy and Cody’s stories. Heath has proven to be an interesting character in his own right; good ole Texas boy, former Marine Recon sniper with a blank past, a man who Remy trusts, and a loyal friend to both Remy and Cody. In fact, some of my readers have asked to read a book about Heath. I would like to explore him more. He has intrigued me enough that I’d love to see where his story takes me, but right now a new set of characters have taken over in a different book. So, Heath Anderson waits.

For now, it’s time to move on. One day I hope to come back to this cast of characters and see what they’ve been up to since the end of Reckoning. They did worm their way into my heart. And I hope they do the same for you, the reader.

About Winter:

Winter Austin was once asked by her husband if he could meet some of the people who took residence in her head. She warned they weren’t all characters he wanted to meet, as killers walked among them. Needless to say, that conversation ended abruptly.
A lifelong Mid-West gal, Winter swears she should have been born in the South, Texas or Louisiana preferably. But then she’d miss the snowy winters.

Dividing her day between her four children and their various activities, a growing pet population, and her Beta-with-Alpha-tendencies Hero, Winter manages to find time to write chilling thrillers between loads of laundry.

Don’t worry. You won’t find any of her mouthwatering culinary dishes poisoned. Unless you’re one of her fictional creations. 

For a chance to win the first book in this series Relentless, leave a comment below.

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Romance Author's Vacation...Part One

You may wonder what kind of vacation a romance author takes…the main difference from your vacation and mine is that I’m still constantly thinking of a plot for the next great American romance!

I just returned from a tour of the United Kingdom…England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and Wales.  I’m not a historical writer, just reader, so I think about how I can turn this tranquil kingdom into a suspenseful arena. 

Yes, I saw beautiful castles, cathedrals, landscape, and ate English food.  I’m sure you’ve all seen documentaries and magazines depicting all of the above, so I’m going to relate a few personal adventures.

After an eventful flight from O’Hare to Heathrow, yes I got sick on the plane probably from too many “relaxers”, my husband and I exited the spacecraft.  The atmosphere of Heathrow was, to say the least, a bit spooky.  The two story walls were glass and stark.  We were directed through a series of turns, stairs, and escalators with only the light from fluorescents. 

Not too bad until I noticed not a single shop or kiosk, only the people from arriving planes, and police everywhere.  It was quiet.  The bathrooms had one toilet.  England’s terrorist alert had raised a level the day before.

Led to a long line of travelers, almost two hours later we handed our travel documents, passport and card explaining who we were and our reason for arriving, to one of a dozen officers.  

I can’t help but add a little controversy.  My card read…JOB:  Govt.  I do work for the govt. (USA), but I didn’t expand.  The officer looked me up and down-no I looked a wreck at this hour.  He rummaged through my carry-on, looked me up and down again, then said, “You work for the government?”

I said, “Yes.”  Could I be more obtuse, or what?  I felt the thrill of a challenge brewing already.  With the bobbies of England!  I was messing with the police!  My heart thumped and thudded as I waited for his dark eyes and thin lips to respond.  I have a former Marine at my side and wasn’t afraid to use him.

It ended well as he chuckled, stamped my card, and moved the long line forward.  I think I was a bit relieved.

Now I am in London!  Our hotel was two blocks from the Thames and we had legs ready to go with no sleep for twenty-seven hours. 

One more story about the infamously bad English food…

That first day our stomachs drove us to find a cafĂ© for breakfast.  We eagerly tried an “English breakfast.”  I thought I over reacted, but my husband didn’t like it either.  Imagine, a poached egg, tiny hash brown (not too bad yet), a mushy tasteless sausage, and flavorless baked beans.  Don’t forget that a cup of coffee comes in halfsies and no refills.  Tea is abundant, but I couldn’t solely rely on it.

Sorry, but I won’t be gaining weight in England.

So much more to tell…Our hostess, Alexis, will need to give me more time to relate the interesting parts of the tripJ

Always travel with a mission and get the most out of it!


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tina Donahue's WICKED TAKEOVER and Giveaway!

She’s just inherited a tattoo parlor…and the hunk who comes with it.

Lauren’s in a helluva mess. Not only has she lost her corporate job, her long-absent father just left her a struggling tattoo parlor along with the virile dude who runs it. Dante’s sinfully hot with a killer smile and inked biceps. Lauren’s full-figured, sorta pretty and wanting him badly. Dream on. She’s here to sell the place as quickly as possible for some much-needed cash.
Dante sees the heat in Lauren’s eyes despite her conservative appearance. He recognizes the dynamite woman she could be if she’d just loosen up and have some wicked fun. Dominance and submission. Making love in a public place. Having her lush body always accessible to and ready for his.
Carnal games that seduce them until lust turns to surprising need and friendship to something deeper that might just change their futures.

Longing, and something else, played across her sweet features. His shaft stiffened in response. His balls began to hurt. When she didn’t say anything, Dante wasn’t certain he should. She might shut down and take off. At last, he murmured, “What?”
Lauren sucked her lower lip.
Adorable didn’t begin to describe how she looked. He wondered if she was going to ask him out. If that’s what Jasmina had been alluding to. Dante smiled inwardly at the thought.
Lauren cleared her throat. “I…” She didn’t continue.
Feeling playful, he smiled. “You what?”
“Don’t know how to say this,” she mumbled.
Her uncertainty shifted something within Dante. He had an overwhelming urge to protect Lauren, hold her close, tell her everything would be all right. Hell, he was onboard with whatever she wanted. Not that his sentimental feelings made him any less mischievous. “Want me to help?”
Lauren gave him an odd look then frowned.
He hadn’t expected that. Usually he was damn good at reading women. Not tonight. “Just say what you want to say,” he coaxed then softened his voice even more. “I’ll listen.”
She looked doubtful.
“Come on.” He smiled.
Her attention moved to his mouth. Color stained her cheeks and throat. She swallowed then blurted, “I don’t want you dating any of our customers.”
It was a moment before Dante understood what she’d said. His grin felt stupid. He killed it. “Excuse me?”
Lauren backed away then moved forward as though reconsidering her retreat. “You’re getting too friendly with the clients. The female ones,” she added quickly. “There’s too much horsing around. All that laughing and those giggles.” She rolled her eyes. “None of them are dressed. Good god, this isn’t a brothel, it’s a legitimate business.”
Her delicate nostrils flared with her harsh breathing. The ends of her hair seemed even blonder against her reddened cheeks. She parted her lips as though she had something else to tell him.
“Go on,” he said quietly.
Lauren hesitated at his mild tone then squared her shoulders. Dante doubted she knew how that thrust out her chest. If her nipples got any harder, they’d poke through her stretchy top, possibly killing him with desire.
“I don’t want a lawsuit,” she said. “So your female clients have to stay dressed.”
“While I ink them through their clothes.”
“Of course not.” She glared. “You uncover the part, and only the part, that needs to be inked.”
“What if that’s their entire body?” He murmured, “Want me to use a blindfold? On me, not them.”
Her jaw tightened. “You know what I mean. No one’s come in here yet wanting a full body tat. If a guy does, you can ink him from the top of his head to the tips of his toes with my blessing.”
“Lucky me.”
She narrowed her eyes. “I own the place now, so I have to do what’s right for it.”
“And that would be?”
“What I’ve already said.” She lifted her chin. “You can’t have naked women in your station. You can’t date any of them. Ever.”
“Uh-huh.” She sounded really jealous. That encouraged Dante to move closer.
Lauren froze for a moment then stepped back. Dante followed. Surprise, and what seemed to be irrepressible yearning, passed over her face. Her ass and shoulders hit the wall. She glanced over to it then back at him.
Dante planted one hand on the wall next to her head. He leaned close enough to smell her perfume and the shampoo she’d used. Peaches, he thought. A light female scent that did indescribable things to him. “You don’t want me screwing any of the customers after hours, is that it?”
She stared at his mouth. “Uh-huh. It’s the new policy.”
“I see.” He edged a bit closer, driven to kiss her beauty mark, to run his tongue over her lips. His pulse pounded with desire. His body tensed with need. “Then who exactly would you like me to fuck?”

Buy Link:
Ellora's Cave

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Second Step in the New Home Process

First Step: My husband and I decide to leave the island that we love for a more affordable place to live where I can write fulltime, and we move off the island.
Second Step: Design a log home we are happy with and find the land to put it on.

Two weeks ago my husband and I finalized the very small, custom designed log home we wanted. So now we needed to buy land… somewhere. We had two requirements for where we wanted to settle. It had to be somewhere warm on the mainland where there was no state income tax. That narrowed it down to Texas and Florida, both of which will be a bit chilly for me, but the warmest we can get :-)

My DH preferred Florida and did some scouting around back in April.  So last week we flew to Tampa and drove up the west coast. Our destination was the Crystal Springs/Homosassa area.

First stop was the Marina Bar so DH could show me the water and the atmosphere. I loved it! Then we moved on to some land that was close by that had a very tropical feel.

Then it was a trip up to Bronson to meet the builders. Even their office was a log place. After a tour of the factory and a couple sample homes, the land search began in earnest.

I won’t bore you with the details we learned about building in Florida, but after days of looking at all types of land in the area, we made an offer on a piece of land and it was accepted. We have a contract! Whoohoo! Four dry acres that will give us lots of privacy and plenty of room to expand if we want. 

Now to the next step. Architectural blueprints, pricing and the contractor. This is going to take a while, but we are thrilled to have started the process.

Always, Lexi