Friday, January 19, 2018

Five ways to combat those winter blues.

I'm not one for winter. Not even when it comes to the holidays. I hate the cold, the ice, the snow. I hate being cooped inside my house for days on end, only leaving to pick up my kids for school and occasionally going to the doctor and grocery store. Seriously. Nothing says depressing to me like grey snow and dirty cars along the road ways.

This winter has been especially rough. My husband has been suffering from a back injury for months, only having surgery a week ago today. He's better now. BUT he's also home with me, and now I feel like the two of us are suffering through the winter blues together. Ugh.

Don't get me wrong. I've come up with some things to keep me functioning throughout the winter. So, thought I'd share with you all what those are. 

In the comments, talk to me about what YOU do to keep yourself sane over the winter months. :)

1. Netflixing: 

There was a time long ago when I didn't think I'd ever become a binge TV watcher. That, has obviously gone by the way side because I am currently a Netflix junkie. The show that's been getting me thought? Jane the Virgin. HOLY CRAP. This show is life to me, surpassing even my TWD obsession. Jane is the worlds best heroine--and the fact that she's a romance writer is even better. Seriously. If you haven't watched this one, I highly HIGHLY recommend it.

2. Reading:  

Of course this has gotten me through some icky, snowy days. And since my TBR pile is endless, it's been a welcome distraction. I've been on an LJ Shen binge lately. I love her grumpy heroes. So much. 

3. Mall-walking:

Don't laugh... But I've been doing this a lot more than I ever thought I would at the age of 36. I try to go at least once a week, usually before the crowds hit, because the flu is practically an epidemic around my parts right now. Doing this not only helps keep me active, but it also gives me a chance to people watch. And I'm a HUGE people watcher. There's always bound to be one person that gets my writerly brain going. 

4. Closet organizing:

Ugh. This is totally NOT fun. But, in the end, I feel a sense of accomplishment. Like, I've actually done something other than sit on my butt all day Netflixing and Reading. As someone who suffers from major writer's block at times, I find my mundane closet organizing to be pretty damn fulfilling for my  under worked brain. Obviously I don't do this a lot, but when I do, it honestly fills my days, and sometimes, that all I need.

5. Writing:

This shouldn't come as a huge surprise. I've actually been working pretty hard on getting new words down. Not only am I co-writing my first book, but it's for a story that hit me pretty hard last year after a grocery store mishap and a one certain bag boy at the grocery store. It's a long story. One you may or may not have heard about if you follow me on Twitter. But with the help of my friend Jessica Calla, we are bringing this reality to our book, of course. I'm also hard at work on a bull riding story about a man and lingerie, and the spicy little red head who loves to make things cowgirl sexy. That's all I can give you at the moment. I'm hoping to hear more on the release of book three in my Reckless Hearts series, Recklessly Ever After. I have finished that story and now I'm waiting on edits and a cover. Right now, a tentative release date of October is set.

So, there you have it. The five ways I've been able to combat the winter blues. They are not the most exciting of things, but hey! A girls gotta do, what a girls gotta do.

Reckless Hearts and The Right Kind of Reckless are now available! 


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Linda Broday: Snow, a Giveaway and a Sale!

I know everyone in various part of the country are sick of snow and ice. This weather has sure played havoc. Down here in Texas our weather has been really wonky. One day it's in the teens or twenties and the next day the 70s. We never know what it'll be.

Two years ago my oldest daughter got married after years of being single and raising two daughters. A week before the wedding, weathermen said the day would be sunny and 60. The day before the happy event, it snowed and snowed. Roads were a mess and the entire town of Lubbock basically shut down. Guests had a difficult time arriving and some opted to stay home.

But that's not the worst part.

The florist didn't deliver the flowers. The bakery didn't make the cake. The Tux rental shop gave the groom's tux to someone else and he had to make do with one that was a little too large. Everything you can imagine went wrong.

At first, my daughter was in tears then she said the wedding would go on and they'd make the best with what they had.

It was a beautiful ceremony and she was so lovely.

This is what we do. We make the best of the hand we're dealt. The bundt cake at the reception was very tasty. The flowers bought at a grocery store were beautiful. And watching my daughter and her new husband smile through it all brought happy tears.

That's my snow story. Now I have a Goodreads Giveaway for my Feb. re-issue THE COWBOY WHO CAME CALLING. Four autographed copies! The giveaway ends on Feb. 6th. Click on the image to enter.

Also...Book #1 of the series KNIGHT ON THE TEXAS PLAINS is on sale at all outlets for $1.99! Pick it up and be ready for Book #2.


Life is amazing and the way we deal with it determines how satisfying and happy we are. Do you have a snow story? Or any story when things went wrong on as special day?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Love is the Antidote by Abbie Roads

Love is the Antidote

When the son of a serial killer falls for his father’s only surviving victim...

The first thing Mercy became aware of was her facing throbbing a low level beat. Her bones ached and her muscles felt too heavy to move. Her side burned with every inhale and exhale. Her stomach felt oddly distended and empty at the same time.

And she was going to milk it for all it was worth.

She finally had a viable excuse to stay in her room, avoid group, and cancel her session with Dr. Payne. The flu. She’d tell everyone she had the flu. Couldn’t be too far from the truth. It wasn’t like she was faking how bad her body felt. She would spend the entire day lying here, eyes closed pretending to sleep, and luxuriating the rare bit of isolation.

“Are you awake?” A masculine voice whispered.

Her heart slammed against her spine, her muscles leaped. She gasped a sound of undiluted shock and wrenched her eyes open.

The world around her had changed. Gone was the sterile room with bars on the windows. Gone was the stench of industrial cleaning products laced with cafeteria food. Gone was the entire Center. In its place was a cozy wood paneled room with a quaint stone fireplace and a man.

His hair was the color of dark caramel and cut just long enough to be swept messily the side. His features were angular and hard and so damned masculine it almost hurt to look at him. His eyes were the color of a changing sky—light in the center of the iris like a cloudless summer day and dark like a winter’s night toward the outer edge.

She knew him. Recognition stabbed her in the neck—in the scar she bore across her throat. The echo of that past pain stole her breath. She grabbed her throat, hand pressing over the cold scar. Her heart turned into a battering ram and beat against the bars of her ribs.

She went from lying on the bed to fully upright and ready to run.

“You.” The word was an accusation, a condemnation, a judgment, scraping its way up her throat and out her lips. She wasn’t going to show him an ounce of fear. He’d swallowed her fear twenty years ago and enjoyed the flavor.

He blinked a long lazy closing of his eyes and when he reopened them, the light in his gaze had been swallowed by the dark. “I’m not him.” He spoke with just as much conviction as her allegation had contained.

His words turtle-crawled from her ears to her brain, their meaning finally firing along her synapse and she understood.

Her body unclenched and she relaxed against the headboard with an exaggerated sigh. As the initial in-your-face shock wore off, she could actually see him. See the humanity in his features. Something his father would never possess. And if he’d intended her harm, she would have felt the energy of his foul intentions.

“I know you.” Her voice was softer and held a bit of wonder in its palm.

“I’m not him.” He repeated the sentence, nothing in his tone changing, but she saw something in his eyes—through his eyes. Sadness. Resolve. And just a hint of fear. That was her undoing. That he could be scared of her—wow.

“I—I—know. You’re Cain.” His name came out hard vowels and sharp consonants.

He held her gaze for moment, then shoved his hands in his jeans pockets and looked down at the floor.

Silence stretched between them.

For years she’d imagined what it would be like to have a conversation with him. Even from her first glimpse of him as a child on the TV, she’d recognized something in his eyes. Her eyes had that same scarred look. The look of having experienced something so painful it marked more than their bodies—it left gaping wounds on their souls. There was an unspoken solidarity in their shared pain.

But in all her fantasies of connecting with the only other person who knew first hand the evils of Killion, she’d never once thought there’d be this much silence.

Obviously, it was going to be up to her to make the first move.

“You know—” She cleared her throat, trying to go for a friendly tone. “—over the years I had thought about finding you. It always seemed like we had a bad bond of sorts. I just never did it because I didn’t know how you’d react.”

He raised his gaze to meet hers, the hard angles of his face easing just a bit.

That got his attention.

He looked at the scar on her neck while he spoke. “I’d thought about the same thing.” His words were spoken with a tentative quality, as if he worried about her response. “But I always wondered if I would remind you of…” He didn’t say the name.

“You look similar to him on the surface, but I see beyond the surface to you.”  She emphasized the word you. Wanted him to understand she didn’t equate him with his father. “You also look different to me somehow. Maybe it’s your eyes. Maybe it’s how you look at me. So different than he did.” She held her hand out to him. “Nice to meet you Cain. I’m Mercy.”

One second. Two. Three. Four. Five—finally he stepped toward her and grasped her hand in his. His grip was firm and dry, his skin rough and wonderful, his touch magnetic and hypnotizing. She got lost in the sensation of total connection. Of there being no boundaries between them, almost as if their skin muscle and bones had melded together into one—

He yanked his hand away from her so suddenly, hers was left out there in midair still holding the shadow of where his had once been. Something was wrong. She just didn’t know him well enough to understand.

He aimed his eyes toward the floor again. “You’ve been pretty sick. You went through the vomit stage. The fever stage. The drunk flirty stage was my personal favorite.” A smile almost grabbed a hold of his lips, but missed. “The crying stage.” He sucked in a breath and spoke while he exhaled. “The scared of me stage.”

The way he said those last words made him sound more like a little boy trying to be brave, rather than the six feet of hard muscled male—who also happened to resemble a serial killer. His tone made her want to reach out to him and offer comfort, but he was so skittish with her that she didn’t dare.

*Sharing is Caring*


Abbie Roads writes dark emotional novels featuring damaged characters, but always gives her characters a happy ending... After torturing them for three hundred pages.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


Highland Promise, the first book in my series, The Sons Of Gregor MacLeod, is on sale for $1.99 all this week (e-book only)! A great price for hours of time spent with the brawny Darach MacKenzie and the rest of his drool-worthy foster brothers!!

A wee excerpt for you!!

“I’ll not be marrying the lass, Oslow, but if I did, she’d more than likely give me daughters. All of them looking like her, causing trouble. I’d be an old man in my grave before I was forty.”
“Nay. She’d give you sons. Braw lads as strong-minded and fearless as her. But if you’re not interested in the lass, I’ll introduce her to my Angus. He needs a wife, and I’m sure he’d be as smitten with her as Gare and Brodie.”
The blood heated in Darach’s veins, flushing his face. He looked toward the field, trying to make out what Caitlin and the two younger men were doing. Naught of consequence. Just playing with the kittens.
Playing with the kittens—like hell. Brodie was a right rogue with the lasses, and Gare was such a pitiful lad, caught betwixt man and boy, she’d want to save him just like she’d saved the baby bird. Most likely he’d try to make himself look as pathetic as possible with the hopes of ensnaring her, the devil.
Darach stood abruptly and made his way across the rocky shore to the field. Lachlan’s snort followed him. Sure enough, Gare and Brodie sat beside her, hanging on to every word. Scoundrels, both of them. He frowned, and they jumped to their feet. Let Caitlin see who was master and laird here—the most dominant MacKenzie male.
After sending them to Oslow, he sat on the grass beside her. She looked pleased to see him. Maybe now would be the time to tell her the kittens were going to the miller’s. He willed himself to begin, but one of the cats tumbled into his lap and mewed up at him. Bloody fiend.
“Och, would you look at that. He loves you, Darach. Maybe he will be called Justice, for he is drawn to you and you are the most just man I know.”
He puffed up and deflated at the same time. ’Twas a good decision to send the cats to the miller. Not only did it show Justice, but also Prudence, Fortitude, and Temperance. Surely she would see the right of it.
The kit ran up his body and batted his hair. Darach started in surprise. Grabbing it, he held the wee thing in front of him. The cat reached out and swatted his chin.
Caitlin fell sideways onto the grass, laughing. “You’ve ne’er had a cat before, have you?”
Darach grunted and brought the kitten closer. He had to admit it was sweet—big eyes and downy, soft fur. It suckled the stubble of his beard, and his heart turned over.
“They’re starved, poor babies,” she said. “He’s trying to nurse. All we had was water. It helped, but their bellies are empty.”

There would be lots of milk at the miller’s.

“Caitlin, I doona think…”She gazed at him, her eyes wide, trusting. A happy glow surrounded her, and the words stuck in his throat. Maybe she could keep the kits ’til they were old enough to be on their own. House them in the kitchens and out of his sight and the sight of his dogs for a week or two. Then they could go to the miller.
“Aye, Darach?”
“’Tis naught, lass. We’ll be home soon and they can have their meal.”
Picking up a kitten, she held it close. “I think this little lass will be Temperance, for she’s the only female and needs to have much restraint to live with three brothers. It must be a trial, doona you think?”
“I lived with four brothers, and aye, ’twas a trial.”
A wistful look crossed her face. “I did so wish for a brother. Or a sister. But my parents were not blessed with bairns after me. Instead, I had lots of pets—cats, dogs, horses, and pigs.”
“Aye, pigs are wonderful pets. Although I caused such a fankle when my father wanted to butcher the dear thing, I was ne’er allowed to bond with a pig again.”
“And what happened to it?”
“I doona know. I lost more than just my parents the night of the fire. Verily, ’twas a torment. I longed for pets after that, but I feared to show favor to any creature, lest my uncle hurt the animal. I was verra careful when I fed Cloud apples. The guards who followed me knew, I’m sure, but one older guard in particular didn’t mind.” She turned to smile at the stallion tethered with the other horses. “I’m thankful you saved him too.”
His stomach soured at the insight into her life after her parents’ death, at how afraid, alone and sad she must have been. Yet she’d shown none of that to him or his men. And he knew she must have felt it—her heart was as big as the loch.
“I want you to have, Cloud,” he said suddenly. It was the least he could do.
Her eyes grew round. “Truly?”
“Aye. But wait to ride him until we return to the keep. I doona want him to spook and throw you out here. Let him get used to you in the stables first, aye?” Where he could have a healer on hand and spread out some hay to soften her fall.

With an excited holler, she threw her arms around his neck and almost knocked him backward. One arm settled around her waist, the other hovered just above her hair. The devil take him, he wanted to touch her, to hold her still for his kiss.

Sale ends January 21st. Buy your copy now!!!

—Alyson McLayne

Monday, January 15, 2018

I Can Be a Greedy Reader

I’m sure you know the moment – when you desperately wish one of your favorite writers could write faster. I just finished Persepolis Rising, the latest in James S. A. Corey’s Expanse series, and I want the next book now. Must know what happens! 
Sadly, I’m well aware that I won’t have the next installment for months and months. 
I know that better than most because ten pages of a new draft is a hefty day’s work for me. Very rarely have I written any more than that – a section that could be read in, what, twenty minutes? And that’s only the draft. There’s revising and polishing and… It just takes a LOT longer to write a book than to read one. No help for it.
It’s lucky there are so many wonderful storytellers out there to choose from. For the Expanse there’s even a TV series as well.
Which writers you particularly wish could write faster?

Friday, January 12, 2018

Living in the Moment

Usually on New Year's Eve, I'm reflective. What happened during the year? What can I change for next year? What are my thoughts, memories, goals?

This year, my daughter was home for the holiday for the first time in years. I had my (grown) children, my dogs, my husband, a full glass of champagne, and nothing but sheer joy in the moment. 

And I realized that my theme of 2018 is just that, living in the moment. Not on my phone. Not in my head. Not stuck on what I should have said, done, or need to do next. Just taking it all as it comes, being present to enjoy every minute as it unfolds. 

My daughter with her dog, Henry (a Havanese), and her boyfriend,  Joe. Not pictured, my son, Nick. 
Bandit and Pepper, my Pembroke Welsh Corgis (looking at my not-pictured husband, probably  holding treats).
 So far, so good. I hope your year is going well and brings you everything you wish for and more. I'm leaving the Casablanca Authors blog, but I will come back to check in with you all from time to time, and I welcome you to pop in and visit with me on my social media sites. 

Cheers and best wishes to all! 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Brooklyn Ann says goodbye... but not really.

Hey everyone! Brooklyn Ann here. I've had to make a tough decision. With my publishing schedule for the year and the fact that now that I've released The Highwayman's Bite, I won't be having any Scandals With Bite books releasing in 2018, (Though don't worry. I have a feeling that there are more stories in that world to be told.) I've decided to leave the Casablanca Author blog for now.

However, I WILL remain on the Team Sourcebooks Facebook Page (If you're not following our page, do it so you don't miss out!) because then I'll still be able to spread the word when one of my books goes on sale or if I have any fun giveaways or appearances.

Speaking of appearances, I will be attending the 2018 RT Booklover's Convention in Reno this May, along with many other Sourcebooks authors. In fact, the fantabulous Paige Tyler and I will be on a panel together AND be hosting two amazing parties along with other amazing authors! Check out my Appearances page on my website to see where to find me!

Also, you can keep in touch with me, either on my blog, but if you want more freebies and access to more giveaways, you can sign up for my Newsletter.

Other places to follow me: 

For New Release and Sale alerts:


For a full dose of my weirdness and news:


And speaking of upcoming releases, my 6th Hearts of Metal novel, Forbidden Song, comes out on the 11th! You can PreOrder it now!

So as you can see, even though I won't be blogging here, I'll still be around. I'll always remember the wonderful times I've had interacting with readers here and keeping company with all the amazing Sourcebooks authors.

I hope you all had fun having me here as well and that you'll follow me on my adventures.


Brooklyn Ann