Friday, June 23, 2017

RustCity 17 Flash Fiction: Rue Allyn

Today we have a third alumni of both RustCity and Alpha Heroes Five Words -- please welcome Rue Allyn, who's going to start us off in the Contemporary Realistic category!

Welcome back, Rue, it's great to see you again! Would you like to introduce yourself?

Hi, I’m Rue Allyn author of historical, contemporary, and erotic heart melting romance novels. I can’t think of a better way to start the Rust City Contemporary Flash Fiction than with a man in a tool-belt.

Well when you put it that way, it's pretty hard to disagree.  Shall we get right to it?  In this category, authors can sample any genre or mainstream story they'd like; bring in or kill off characters-- as long as they use normal human powers to do so. What's the catch? I gave Rue five random... ish... words to incorporate into her story. They were: Escapism, Detroit, Rust, Alpha, and Herald. And I must say, she delivered!


It just wasn’t right. From his position balanced just above the gutters, Van (short for Donovan) Herald stared at the new arrival stepping onto the roof from the ladder at the far end of the early art-deco period house. He was boss, the alpha-dog, on this Detroit rehab project and no hoity toity woman from Bloomfield with a rep for ball-busting was about to tell him how to do his job. That the network paying him and his crew insisted Arielle Feroce be allowed to inspect all work was irrelevant. He and the gorgeous preservation specialist had a history. One he’d prefer to forget.

July was a damned hot time to install a copper-clad roof. He mopped sweat from his forehead and bare chest and watched disaster approach.

She walked confidently toward him, showing no fear of falling from the edge of the three-story building—four if you included the attic rooms sheltered by the cooper clad roof. Skin-tight jeans covered her long legs and were tucked safely into quality steel-toed boots Her toolbelt emphasized the sway of her curvy hips. The yellow construction site vest did a poor job of hiding the shape of her generous breasts, unlike the white helmet that covered every lock of her long auburn hair. He met her blue-eyed challenge through the lenses of her safety glasses. The gaze was sharp and assessing despite the smile that curved her pink mouth revealing a glimpse of her pearly whites.

She was made for sexual escapism, and he couldn’t suppress a man’s natural response to a pretty woman. Nonetheless, he didn’t want her here. Women on a construction site always brought trouble. This woman more than most.

He focused on sorting through the box of period accurate cleats used for fastening the copper panels to the roof deck. Let her wait. She needed to know who was in charge.

Her steel-toed boot began to tap.

“Something I can do for you, Honey?” She hated being called ‘honey.’ But the name should do the job of putting her in her place. He didn’t bother looking up as he chose a cleat and set it into position.

She sighed. “Why yes, doll-face. I need you to come with me to check some rust stains on the foundation. We may have a serious problem.”

They had a problem all right.

Hee hee! I gave this piece its working title, but it may change when we see where the story goes. In the meantime, I love Doll-Face! There's definitely gonna be some sparks here. Find more from Rue at her website.

Con Information:

Don’t miss your chance to meet some amazing authors at Rust City Book Con next August! Come join us as we celebrate the authors who write the stories we love to read in the Motor City!
Be sure to keep up with all things Rust City 2017, by following it via your own personal social media drug of choice: Facebook |Twitter | Google+ | Tumblr | Instagram | RSVP at the Facebook Event.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

RustCity 17 Flash Fiction: Suzanne Sabol

I'm delighted to welcome back to Alpha Heroes another veteran of the RustCity Five Words Flash Fiction game!  Good to see you back, Suzanne -- please introduce yourself:

Hi Nicola! I'm Suzanne M. Sabol and I write Urban Fantasy with a little bit of Paranormal Romance. I tend to favor the more graphic and dark plot lines. There's a lot of action and violence in my books. So, if you like action packed, my books going to hit the spot. I love books - of course - and Disney, especially the secondary characters. That's weird, I know, but I'm a total Disney girl.

I have a definite soft spot for Disney myself. What is your favorite kind of hero?

I like heroes that are damaged. James Bond (books, not the movies) was my favorite growing up and I think that probably shaped more about me than I should probably admit.

Bond certainly sets a high standard for heroes!  Are you ready to play?

You know it!

OK! Suzanne is continuing our "Anything Goes" category for this round. Authors are welcome to bring in any kind of element they wish to this category, from time travel to zombies. What's the catch? Incorporate five random words from the previous player! Suzanne's challenge words: violet, abyss, book, curse, tombstone.  OK, Suzanne, take it away!

The Hunters

Part One, by Stacy McKitrick
Part Two:

Rising from the upturned earth, a giant worm slithered and screamed through a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth. It opened its hideous maw, revealing a black abyss of nothingness. He’d read about Mongolian death worms in the book of magic and mythos. But he had never seen one. Hadn’t really believed they’d existed until he was staring one down in a cemetery.

Twelve feet long and three feet in diameter, the death worm thrashed back and forth as it broke itself free of the grave’s hold. Slamming against two tombstones with its heavy body, the worm extricated itself with a force that shook the ground clear over to Rick.

“Shit,” Rick hissed, dropping the stake in his grip.

“Um,” Suzie stammered. “Please tell me you brought a knife.”

“In the car.”

“Shit,” Suzie parroted.

Yep, that about sums it up, Rick thought. But this wasn’t new. When a curse had been cast, damning him all those centuries ago to hunt creatures like this, he hadn’t been prepared then either. Not for the unending years. Not for the knowledge of the creatures that haunted the darkness.

Inching back from the enormous creature, he held his breath as its stench of sulfur and ruptured bowls filled his nose. The slime the worm left in its wake shimmered violet in the full moonlight, giving it an eerie glow as he plotted his next move.

“Rick,” Suzie whispered but not quite soft enough. The worm snapped in our direction, finding prey. The death worm slithered between the car and their position. Suzie would have to make a run for it which would leave her open. They didn’t have a choice.

“Run for the car and get the knife. Hell, get the sword,” Rick barked.

“What are you going to do?” she shrieked.

“Don’t worry about me. Just go.”

She hesitated for a moment but then took several steps back, circling around the back of the shed to take the long way around. The worm might be large but it was quick. It was now or never.

With a deep breath, he pounced.


Whoa! Vampires or zombies would've been way too predictable, don't you agree? This is what I love about this game!  Find more from Suzanne at her website.
Don’t miss your chance to meet some amazing authors at Rust City Book Con next August! Come join us as we celebrate the authors who write the stories we love to read in the Motor City!
Be sure to keep up with all things Rust City 2017, by following it via your own personal social media drug of choice: Facebook |Twitter | Google+ | Tumblr | Instagram | RSVP at the Facebook Event.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

RustCity 17 Flash Fiction: Stacy McKitrick


Please welcome Stacy McKitrick back to Alpha Heroes!  Stacy is returning to Rust City this year, and I'm so happy to have her back for the increasingly famous Five Words Game!

Welcome to Alpha Heroes, Stacy -- can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi Nicola! I’m Stacy McKitrick. I love the Penguins, Steelers, Red, and Rams. I hate exercising, but I do it anyway. Oh wait, you want to know what I write? I write paranormal romance with vampires and ghosts (so far).

Well, that's right up our alley here.  What's your favorite kind of hero?

I’m not a fan of the alpha hero, I find them to be too much like Tom Brady (who I despise). If you prefer your guys toward the beta-side, then you’ll enjoy my books.

Honestly, in spite of the blog name, I like all kinds of heroes -- and heroines!

So let's jump right into our game!  Stacy is kicking off our "Anything Goes" category for this round. Authors are welcome to bring in any kind of element they wish to this category, from time travel to zombies. What's the catch? Incorporate five random words from the previous player!  I get to start off the first one with this list: escapism, Detroit, rust, alpha, ghostly
OK, Stacy, bring it on!

On The Hunt

On the eve of the new moon like every new moon before, Rick lifted the rusty latch to the gate of eternal doom. Well, not his eternal doom, yet, but could certainly be one day.

But unlike most eves of the new moon, fog settled onto the permanent residents. Most paid no mind to the ghostly wetness and Rick would make sure they all would be oblivious. As he stepped into the graveyard—one of the largest in the Detroit area—the stake in his hand shook. He’d been here numerous times, through snow, rain, and clear skies, but for some reason fog creeped him out the most.

Probably because the monsters could hide better in it. Which was funny since some would consider him a monster.

Suzie closed the gate behind them. She also held a stake, her hand just as shaky as his. Maybe the fog was creeping her out, too. “Wait up, Mr. Alpha. What’s your hurry?”

Rick cringed at the nickname. Just because he was the oldest didn’t make him—okay, maybe it did. Didn’t mean he liked it. “Maybe if you hadn’t stopped to answer your phone, you wouldn’t have had to catch up. Come on. Let’s get in position.”

A path led them to the dark caretaker’s shed. They hunkered beside the weathered building.

“I can’t see anything through this soup,” Suzie said. “Maybe we’ll get lucky and there won’t be any tonight. Wouldn’t mind a bit of escapism every now and then.”

He hadn’t been lucky for ten years and didn’t see tonight being any different. But before he could tell her, the hair on the nape of his neck stood on end and the sound of the earth ripping broke through the silence. Definitely not lucky.

He gripped his stake. Showtime.
Well, I love that, and can't wait to see where our next players take us!  Check back often as the game is going to run frequently between now and August!
Find more from Stacy at her website.

Con Information:

Don’t miss your chance to meet some amazing authors at Rust City Book Con next August! Come join us as we celebrate the authors who write the stories we love to read in the Motor City!
Be sure to keep up with all things Rust City 2017, by following it via your own personal social media drug of choice: Facebook |Twitter | Google+ | Tumblr | Instagram | RSVP at the Facebook Event.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Book Plug Blog Tour: Love Overboard Series

Welcome to Alpha Heroes' stop on the Book Plug blog tour for the Love Overboard series, a fun new series from the writing team of Andrea K. Stein and Sawyer Stone.

First I'll give you a quick review for Way Too Deep and Up Too Close. The third book is also out but I haven't had a chance to read it yet. (I'm really digging the character descriptions for it, though).  Along with the reviews you'll find blurbs for all three books, AND an excerpt from Way Too Deep; plus good extras like author bios and buy links.  I will apologize in advance that the formatting is a bit wonky in places -- the HTML was provided to me and I was not able to totally debug the spots where it conflicted with my template. I think everything should be readable if not perfectly pretty.

Title: Way Too Deep and Up Too Close
Series: Love Overboard
Author: Andrea K. Stein and Sawyer Stone
Publisher: Muirgen® Publishing, LLC
Release Date: May 2
Reviewing: e-copy directly from the authors

Reason for reading: Friendly with Sawyer

The Short Answer

Quirky characters and influences from reality TV make these splashy rom-coms a lot of fun. A dash of suspense keeps the pages turning, and at no time do these books take themselves too seriously.  Although I'm not anything like an expert on sailing, there's a love for and an authority about this topic that shines through the pages. The reader can really imagine themselves on the boat with the characters.

On a sample size of two, I would say these guys behave a little less like what I expect from romance heroes, and a little more like a real dude with real insecurities and a realistic contemporary masculine viewpoint. At times I would've liked a little more rose-colored fiction and a little less real-feeling awkwardness, but it's also refreshing in its way. If you like your heroes a little dorky, ahoy matey, these books are for you.

I will say that I wasn't too keen on the love scenes. It's a hard thing to critique; what one person loves will completely turn off someone else. I'm just not doing great with their style.

Way Too Deep

Captain Lindsay is a great heroine - intrepid, adventurous, uber-confident but a little rough around the edges. I really liked the interplay with the polished, maybe a little spoiled celebrity chef hero.  There are also a lot of secondary characters in this book, adding to the madcap, anything-could-happen feel. I am particularly intrigued by a shadowy secret-agent-like character; I can't decide if I love him or hate him. Little of both, I think!

What really sings about Way Too Deep is how the main characters go into their zone when they are doing what they love. When Lindsay is sailing through challenging waters, and when Alton is up to his elbows in chopping and sauteing, they go into that state of "flow," and the reader gets to experience that vicariously. If you haven't heard of it, there's a great Ted Talk by the researcher that coined the term-- well worth a watch.  I also really liked how the Lindsay and Alton compromise on what their ideal life would be like once they get past their hurdles.

On the downside, there is kind of a lot going on in this book -- side plots and literal side trips that sometimes feel a little bit wandery. There's a fairly extended chunk in the beginning where each of them speculate that the other might be gay-- NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT-- that felt a little clunky to me.


Captain Lindsay Fisher has committed the unthinkable in the tight little world of superyachting. She's lost not one but two ships under her command. She takes chances, she’s a little too abrasive, and, oh yeah, she’s taken swearing like a sailor to a whole new level.

Celebrity Chef Alton Maura earned the acclaimed “Kitchen God” title and basked in the international limelight for years until his affairs with his kitchen staff landed him twice in a poisonous stew.

When Lindsay and Alton are thrown together on an uneasy cruise through the Grenadines, sparks fly. She doesn’t like his shoes or his attitude. He can’t believe a woman who looks that good in a captain’s uniform can be such a hard ass. This is their last chance to prove themselves, but the worst thing you can do when trying to save your career is to fall in love…WAY TOO DEEP.

Up Too Close
In this title, we start to see how tight knit the sailing world can be. Several side characters from Way Too Deep return for their moment on center stage and they have a whole raft of other problems. This one didn't work quite as well for me; the conflict seemed a bit forced and the several reveals of CeCe's "secret" (which was instantly and painfully obvious) were awfully over the top. I think the characters lacked a clear anchor, which was what I particularly liked about WTD. This book might be better viewed as a coming of age story for both hero and heroine, with their sail across the Atlantic serving as a metaphor for their journey to a certain maturity. The portrayal of CeCe's family is vivid and rollicking, and the sailing adventure a thrill a minute, and the elderly dog has some adorable moments, but I didn't love these characters, unfortunately.

CeCe Ahlstrom, massage therapist to the rich and famous, is done with men. Her last rich boyfriend tried to kill her on an ill-fated cruise through the Grenadines. Now she’s determined to get on with her life but can’t find the funds to get to her next spa gig in Portugal.

Then along comes notorious womanizer Captain Rene Baudouin. He’s hell on the hearts of women, he can handle any storm at sea, yet he might have met his match in a leaky old boat. He needs a first mate crazy enough to help crew the wreck knows as the Tourbillon across the Atlantic.

Destiny draws CeCe And Rene together, but things are not what they seem. Rene struggles with a family secret that could destroy his future and CeCe will have to face a truth not even she knows yet.

Out on the open sea, Rene and CeCe soon find themselves…UP TOO CLOSE.

Rania Elsaeid is the brilliant engineer aboard the 115-foot yacht, the Bonnie Blue. She’s also a deadly, well-trained security guard. She keeps her cool when everything around her heats up.

Morris “Moj” Johnston, internationally famous music producer, is on a much-needed vacation cruise through the islands of the Indian Ocean. He’s not looking for love but trying to heal a broken heart.

When Moj meets Rania, everything changes. Suddenly they find themselves on the run from pirates, lost on a deserted island, and dangerously close to going…OUT TOO FAR.

Way Too Deep (Love Overboard Series Book 1)

48°37’17”N, 20°12’20”W
Aboard the Boadicea
One Day Southwest of Falmouth
Captain Lindsay Fisher jolted awake to thundering pain centered over a golfball-sized knot on the right side of her forehead. Hot, sticky blood trickled from a gash on her scalp.
The cabin lights were out, but in the gloom she could hear the roar of seawater cascading along the floor of her starboard aft cabin. She’d fallen into her bunk a few hours before encased in foul weather gear -- and a life jacket.
The ship was in a severe list. Dazed and still barefooted, she used handholds to make her way to the main saloon. The dim glow from the overhead deck bevels illuminated water pouring through the galley from the forward cabin. Shit. The custom glass top over the owner’s cabin had shattered.
The sixty-four-foot Hallberg-Rassy must have done a full roll. Lindsay had been asleep on the floor of her cabin and had probably smacked her head sometime during the spin.
They were sinking. Fast. And her first mate, her uncle Tommy, had been on watch at the helm.
She ignored the stuttering of her heart and snatched the ditch bag carabineer, clipped to the galley counter rail. She nearly collided with her second crewman in a race to the top deck.
“Jim, deploy the life raft. Now.” she shouted, shoving the bag at him.
“Got it,” he yelled, and pounded up the companionway ahead of her.
She hauled herself up, two steps at a time, and called out, “Tommy.” She didn’t wait for an answer but hit the top deck running.
The wreckage above sickened her. Anything not tied down was gone. The rigging still stood, but the sails were soaked, twisted and ripped. The top quarter of the mast had broken off.
A late, fierce storm, at least Force 11, was kicking up monster size waves, and sixty-knot winds whipped the surface water into a roiling mist. Airborne spray and foam narrowed visibility to nearly zero.
The earlier weather faxes she’d checked had shown the storm passing west of them. Mother Ocean must have changed her mind.
Tommy. I have to get to him.
Lindsay exhaled hard at the sight of the lifeboat valise still lashed to the safety rail. Her third crewman Jim worked at the straps to free the big rubber inflatable, the only thing between them and the frigid North Atlantic waters.
When the huge raft was prepped, he would splash the lifeboat into the savage waves battering the broken yacht. He’d already attached the raft’s painter to the ship to keep it from blowing overboard. When the ship sank, the emergency tether would break free.
The steep tilt of the deck meant she had only minutes to call for help and find her first mate before the yacht plummeted to the bottom of the sea.
She punched the DSC button on the waterproof radio strapped on her chest to broadcast their GPS coordinates. Then she pushed transmit and spoke calmly.
“Mayday, Mayday, Mayday. This is Captain Lindsay Fisher on the Boadicea, Boadicea, Boadicea. We’re a day southwest of Falmouth at 48°37’17”N, 20°12’20”W, and sinking. The ship has rolled with three passengers aboard. One crew member possibly overboard. We are deploying the lifeboat and EPIRB beacon.”
She waited a minute and repeated the plea while crossing to the wheel where Tommy should be.
They were still less than two hundred miles out of the English Channel. If she didn’t get a response soon from the Brits, she hoped another nearby ship listening to Channel 16 would relay her call for help.
When she reached the stern behind the wheel, the only sign of Tommy was a taut portion of his six-foot safety tether. Lindsay squinted through the spray peppering her face like needles. The strap wound down the backside of the wallowing yacht and disappeared into the black waves.
There was still tension on the line. She heaved up on the tether, but the weight on the other end wouldn’t budge. She didn’t dare divert Jim from getting the life raft ready.
Lindsay heaved again on the strap, this time using her whole body weight but lost her grip when her bare feet slipped on the wave-soaked deck. No dice.
She stood for a moment, scanned the waves around the ship, and then plunged into the cold seawater. The towering waves pounded her senseless like a mass of ice mallets pelting her back. Breathe. Focus.
The roll had knocked out their running lights, and the water below the surface was as black as an oil slick. She clutched her lifeline, still clipped to the ship’s jack line, with one hand while groping along the hull beneath the waves searching for Tommy. She swept a 180-degree arc before realizing his tether was stuck on a piece of the swim ladder twisted during the yacht’s violent revolution. Dammit.
The tension on the end of the line wasn’t Tommy.
She unclipped her safety line and left her life jacket on the ladder to begin a frantic free swim along the keel beneath the hull. The creaks and whines of the straining ship shrieked in her ears. Not much time left.
Lindsay resurfaced, gasped in a few breaths, and dived again to the bottom of the keel. Huge thrashing waves exacerbated the wallowing motion of the ship, and the black water threatened to suck her into the claustrophobic darkness.
Her hands and feet were numb, and she wanted nothing more than to close her eyes and let the frigid water take her.
No. She wouldn’t give in to the cold, but she was out of options. One more dive was all her body had left.
She was all in, no backup plan. In a flash, something brushed against her hand. A fish? Not bloody likely this close to the surface in a storm.
She made a wild grab and grasped a sleeve of her uncle’s foul weather gear. His life vest must have hooked onto a protruding piece of a sensor on the keel during the roll.
She pulled with her last surge of strength, and his body broke free. Kicking them both to the surface, she hung on to his life vest and gave silent thanks for her barefoot state. Sea boots would have filled and pulled her down.
The doomed yacht’s loud groans and creaks filled the air when she came up, gulping breaths. They were out of time.
But there, the big yellow raft bobbed in the water, surrounded by the wake of the sinking ship.
Jim’s face in the low light was grim, the most beautiful sight she’d ever seen. He’d found them with the battery-operated spotlight. The EPIRB’s beacon flashed behind him as he thrashed through the waves. He grasped Tommy by his jacket and pulled him aboard, then extended a hand to Lindsay.
Once inside the small canopied raft, she rolled her uncle to his back and leaned over his chest, listening for breathing. The screaming winds and rain pelting the raft’s rubber top made hearing next to impossible.
Her frozen fingers were useless. She couldn’t use them to detect a pulse, so instead she looked for a rise in his chest. Nothing. She started compressions and after only two or three, Tommy jerked to life and slapped her hands away.
“You tryin’ to kill me or what?” He took the bucket Jim shoved toward him, and in a matter of seconds, puked up seawater. “Son of a--.”
“He’s back,” Lindsay said, her voice ragged with relief and exhaustion. Painful needles of feeling returned to her fingers and toes. She collapsed onto the inflated rubber floor and stared at the peaked roof.
Her career was over.

Andrea K. Stein’s daddy was a trucker, her momma was an artist, and she's a scribbler. The stories just spilled out—the pony escaped, the window magically shattered. Not her fault. Twenty years as a journalist couldn't stifle the yarns. Yacht delivery up and down the Caribbean only increased the flow. Now those tales celebrate romance on the high seas. As a sailing captain and instructor since 1996, she's logged nearly 30,000 miles to destinations around the world. She now lives in the Rocky Mountains and is the author of four historical sailing romances available on

Sawyer Stone grew up dreaming of far-off cities and far-flung continents even though those exotic locations seemed way out of reach. But the dreams of travel and love never left. It wasn’t long before Sawyer walked the alleys of Istanbul, watched the sunsets from the island of Santorini, trekked the Himalayas, and dove through shipwrecks in the Andaman Sea. Now, while still traveling, Sawyer writes all kinds of books under all kinds of names. The world needs more stories about quirky characters falling in love.

Come find us on Facebook at:

To sign up for our newsletter go to:

Join Andrea on Facebook at:

Sail on over to her website at:

Keep track of Sawyer Stone’s travels at:


  © Blogger template Coozie by 2008

Back to TOP