Thursday, July 28, 2016

Lita Lawson: Rust City Featured Author

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Welcome to your introduction to some of the fantastic authors who are already signed up for the conference. Today I'm showcasing
Lita Lawson


I write contemporary romance which feature alpha males (love them, can't get enough of them!) My most recent release is Candidate For Love, and I am working on several books at the moment. One will be part a boxed set, my first ever, and more steamy than I normally write. I have two other books I'm working one, one features a firefighter and the other a prince!

Wow, that's quite a jump! I look forward to hearing more about this variety at the conference. Oh hey, the conference! let's talk about RustCity!

1. Fill in the blank: "I used to be really good at shorthand , but these days I'm pretty rusty." Now that's an answer I haven't gotten before! shorthand is truly a dying art.

2. Eminem or Aretha? Explain.  Aretha. R-E-S-P-E-C-T .  Yup. Can't argue with that.

3. Choose One:
Vernors
Faygo
I'm confused. And not from around here.
Coke

4. What are you looking forward to most at the RustCity conference? Connecting with new readers and the other authors at the signing.   The signing is definitely shaping up to be a highlight!

5. What is an off-the-cuff association you have with Michigan, Detroit, or Troy? I'm from Ohio...need I say more on the college football rivalry?  Well... you might need to say more. I think that the overlap between booknerds and sports fans might be a little narrower than the general population...

6. Your latest work of fiction features a wealthy industrialist and an R&B singer. What's the first sentence? Raine needed a refuge, and the only person who could keep the paparazzi at bay was her old flame, mega-millionaire Troy Steele. OK, I could not come up with a better Detroit-hero name than Troy Steele if I worked on it for a year. You win! 

Optional: What's it about? Raine needs space away from rabid fans and paparazzi always hounding her after her voice froze up on stage. Would hiding out in her former lovers mansion be the refuge she need, or would being near him again make her more vulnerable.

7. And finally, would you like to participate in the Alpha Heroes Five Words Fiction Game?

I'd love to!

Wonderful! You chose to write for the contemporary story, Hook and Curve. The world-building rules are: set in contemporary times, with no magic or paranormal elements. It's not required to be a romance. Have fun! Your challenge words are:  Lantern, tangle, kitten, ocean, mushroom.


Part One, by Shelly Bell
Part Two, by Josie Kerr
Part Three, by MK Schiller
Part Four, by Rue Allyn
Part Five, by Vanessa Knight

Part Six, by Elizabeth Harmon

Part 7 by Lita Lawson
Hunter woke slowly to the sound of thunder. It didn’t do much for his throbbing headache. The good news was he had signed the boxer known to millions simply as “Lantern”. The bad news was they had celebrated with too many shots of tequila.

He slid his legs out from the tangle of sheets. Sitting up, he grabbed his cell phone and scrolled through his messages. One was from his airline notifying him his flight had been delayed. Well, luck was on his side in that regard since he needed time to grab a quick shower, pack and check out of the hotel. Not to mention swallow several aspirin to keep his headache from mushrooming.

In the shower, his mind drifted to thoughts of Maddie. Smelling her perfume and seeing her last night after all the years was a sucker punch to his heart. And it was a big reason he’d had so many celebratory tequila shots with his new client.

She had lost so much weight he hadn’t recognized her right away. The dark curls surrounding her face had shielded her eyes from him. But then he caught her familiar gaze, the same he remembered from all those years ago. the gaze that tortured him in many of his dreams, demanding he drown in his ocean of guilt.

Maddie, how she must hate him.

They had goofed off together until they were older, when they’d shared those first awkward moments of sexual awakening. She’d practically purred like a kitten afterward, so happy to be with him. But he had been conflicted. He wanted her, but he didn’t want her. As a jock, he wasn’t supposed to date a girl like Maddie. It didn’t matter how funny or smart or giving she was, she was overweight. Jocks were supposed to date the popular, attractive, thin girls. None of them were near as interesting as Maddie. But like most teenagers trying to fit in, he let peer pressure get the better of him. In order to keep his popular status, he knew he had to forsake Maddie. Like an ass, he’d never gone back to her eager embrace again.

Maddie had deserved better.

There were so many times he wanted to reach out to her high school. He wanted to grab her hand in the hallway, but yet didn’t want anyone else to see that. Hunter knew that was wrong. He couldn’t do that to her. Treat her like a dirty little secret. So he never reached out. Never called. Never stopped by her house to explain, apologize, grovel. For her forgiveness until her infectious laugh forgave him. Frustration at how he handled things back then ate him up off and on over the years. This morning was no different.

Turning off the shower, he shook her from his thoughts. He had to pack and get to the airport and hope his flight wasn’t cancelled.

Ooo, very nice job on the angsty backstory! This hero has some groveling to do, methinks.  Thanks so much for joining me on Alpha Heroes today, Lita!  Where else can my adoring public find you, besides, of course, Troy Michigan from August 12-14?

My pleasure, Nicola! Please check out my books at my Amazon Author Page, come like me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter.


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Be sure to keep up with all things Rust City 2016, by following it via your own personal social media drug of choice: Facebook |Twitter | Google+ | Tumblr | Instagram | RSVP at the Facebook Event.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Gina Sterling: Rust City Featured Author

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Welcome to your introduction to some of the fantastic authors who are already signed up for the conference. Today I'm showcasing 
Gina Sterling

Hi Gina, welcome to Alpha Heroes! What's your angle?

Hi Nicola! I like to write romantic suspense but I am thinking about trying out a new genre with the next book I write. I am a new author with two RomSuspense books set in the Detroit area in the hopper, targeting a publishing date in the next few months.  Standing Ovation will likely come out first, and is about a woman who goes on a reality show and gets caught up in a scandal and later a murder investigation. She befriends Will, a full-time repo man and part-time private investigator.

Reality show + murder + RepoMan Romance?  That sounds amazing! But now let's talk about RustCity.

1. Fill in the blank: "I used to be really good at being adventurous , but these days I'm pretty rusty."

2. Eminem or Aretha? Explain.

Aretha!! I love Eminem, but he can't compete with Aretha, Otis, Stevie, Sam, etc. Motown music is timeless and better each time I hear it.  I suspect people will say the same about Eminem in 20 or 30 years, but in the meantime, Motown already has that patina.

3. Choose One:
Vernors
Faygo
I'm confused. And not from around here.

4. What are you looking forward to most at the RustCity conference? I belong to Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America. A number of the members of the chapter will be at Rust City, so I am looking forward to a weekend with this group of fun and Inspiring ladies.  RWA is a lovely clan, I agree!

5. What is an off-the-cuff association you have with Michigan, Detroit, or Troy? Born and raised.

6. Your latest work of fiction features a wealthy industrialist and an R&B singer. What's the first sentence? His steps echoed around the dank alley as he raced toward the shaft of light spilling out from beneath a steel door.

Optional: What's it about? Set in 1920's. He's being chased and ends up in rough area of Detroit. He'll beg to be let into the speakeasy. The singer will walk up from the shadows and sweet talk the doorman into letting the rich industrialist into the secret club. Of course he'll fall for her when she starts to sing.  Oh, I really like the 1920s/speakeasy twist.  Yum.

7. And finally, would you like to participate in the Alpha Heroes Five Words Fiction Game?  I'd love to!

Yay! Gina was kind enough to let me choose which story needed another installment, so without further ado, here is the HOT addition to

THE INFERNAL ENGINE

Part 1, by Lorelei Brown
Part 2, by Marie Piper
Part 3, by Seleste deLaney
Part 4, by Cindy Spencer Pape

Challenge words: Glue, Jaundice, Barracks, Climb and Solvent
Part 5, by Gina Sterling

Jessa watched the woman’s dainty white gloved fingers climb her ridiculous curls up to the ugly feathers on her hat. The woman needlessly adjusted the set of her hat then returned her attention to her drink. She had yet to take one real sip. Jessa couldn’t believe this was the woman the Frenchman had sent her to find. This woman was too fragile, too innocent, and too butter on bacon to have had a rendezvous with a man in the middle of the night.

The Frenchman wanted Jessa to approach the woman in the bar. However, Jessa preferred to conduct such business in private since one never knew how such things would go. The Frenchman wouldn’t like it, but if he wanted it done his way, he should have come himself.

Jessa pulled out some coins and dropped them on the bar. She motioned with her head for Oates to follow her out of the pub. She never looked back to see if he did. Like a hungry dog, he always stuck to her like glue. Maybe if he were more financially solvent, he would stop. However, Jessa doubted Oates had more than a few weeks left on this side of hell since Oates’s eyes had recently taken on the unmistakable yellow color of jaundice.

Back on the street, Jessa went half a block before she ducked into an alley. She pulled out the note her fellow Badger had left at the bar. He’d written the woman’s address and a description of the machine. Jessa assumed the Badger at the bar had blown his cover and was leaving town before the mission was further compromised. This was good for her plan. However, if she was going to double-cross the Badgers, she had to kill the man from the bar before he reported to the organization that she and Oates were taking his place.

Killing the Badger would require stealth and skill. Oates, who had made it to the alley and was swaying on his feet, had neither. She hit Oates’s chest and motioned him in closer. “Wait here. I’ll take care of the turncoat then meet you at our usual spot.” Oates nodded and said something barely coherent before he fell backward.

Jessa left Oates snoring atop a pile of broken crates and walked toward the train station. As she passed the gates to an abandoned barracks, someone yanked her inside. She was pushed against a stone wall and held with her hands above her head. She readied herself to scream, but her breath caught when she locked eyes with the damn Badger himself.

His head tilted to the side as he looked her up and down. His one hand imprisoned her wrists with just enough force to bruise her ego while his other hand slipped under her coat and found the soft curve of her breast. A smile teased the corners of his lips. “I knew it,” he whispered.
I love how these stories twist and turn, and I am in love with this twist. I can't wait to see how it resolves! Thanks so much for appearing hear on Alpha Heroes, Gina!  Where can fans of your work find you?

I'm so glad I played, Nicola! this was fun!  Readers can find me at my  website  or on  Facebook while we wait for Standing Ovation!

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Be sure to keep up with all things Rust City 2016, by following it via your own personal social media drug of choice: Facebook |Twitter | Google+ | Tumblr | Instagram | RSVP at the Facebook Event.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Sylvia Hubbard: Rust City Featured Author

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Welcome to your introduction to some of the fantastic authors who'll be joining us for the conference. Today I'm showcasing:
 
SYLVIA HUBBARD

Hi Sylvia, can you tell us a little about yourself and your work?

Sure Nicola! I'm a Detroit-loving, happily-divorced mother of three, and author of Suspense Romance. My love for the city and being a mother have strengthened my writing skills over the years and I've loved to tell stories since I was six years old, according to my mother. Intertwining Romance and Suspense has always been my forte. I think a good love story should always have people who fall in love, have a lot of drama and then throw in a lot of people who die by the end. Hah! I'm a huge romance fan, as you might tell from the stuff all over this blog, but dying characters? I guess I can take or leave that. :p

What are you working on now? I just released Tanner's Devil that involves a duke, an ex-prostitute,  and her pimp in 21st Century Detroit, and a short-short, Forbidden Fruit: If I Was Your Woman. Also, I'm involved in writing live stories on my website. You can find out more about how that works here. I do invite lovers of suspense and romance to join me.

Ok, Sylvia, let's talk about RustCity!

1. Fill in the blank: "I used to be really good at bike riding , but these days I'm pretty rusty."  OK, but wait, isn't riding a bike the definitive thing that you don't get rusty at? *scratches head*

2. Eminem or Aretha? Explain.

Aretha. Why? Because of the way she sang You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman. It's just such a beautiful song. It really is. I love everything about that song, especially now that I have daughters.

3. Choose One:
Vernors
Faygo
I'm confused. And not from around here.

4. What are you looking forward to most at the RustCity conference? Meeting new readers and hoping to meet new writers. Share talents, network and just have literary fun. In fact, I started Motown Writers Network to help writers get to their literary goal and to connect readers to Michigan Authors.   Wow, this sort of conference seems right up your alley, then. Very happy to have you on board!

5. Your latest work of fiction features a wealthy industrialist and an R&B singer. What's the first sentence? The moment he heard her sing, he knew he had to have her heart.

Optional: What's it about? A soulful R&B singer --hurt, used, and desperately trying to get away from her controlling fatherly manager-- is pursued by a wealthy industrialist who currently is fighting his family for his right to run his company. Love it. The element of the controlling manager feels very "ripped from the headlines".

Thanks Sylvia! It's been a pleasure having you hear on Alpha Heroes, and I'm really looking forward to seeing you at the conference!  Where else can we find your work on the web?

You're very welcome Nicola!  Here are some places you can find me:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Youtube  |  Motown Writers  |  Tumblr  | Amazon Author Page



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Be sure to keep up with all things Rust City 2016, by following it via your own personal social media drug of choice: Facebook |Twitter | Google+ | Tumblr | Instagram | RSVP at the Facebook Event.

Friday, July 22, 2016

C. K. Brooke: Rust City Featured Author

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Welcome to your introduction to some of the fantastic authors who are headed for the conference in just a few short weeks! Today I'm showcasing
C.K. Brooke

Welcome, Caity, can you tell us a little about your work?

Hey there! I'm C.K. Brooke. I write fantasy and romance novels for 48fourteen and Limitless Publishing. Eight of my novels are currently published, with number nine completed and in the publishing pipeline, and the tenth in progress.  That's an amazing schedule, CK! What genre do you write?

I write about everything from lost duchesses and charming rogues to Indiana Jones-style adventures and swashbuckling treasure hunts and rescues.

Well, Caity, let's talk about RustCity!

1. Fill in the blank: "I used to be really good at writing non-fiction , but these days I'm pretty rusty." You know what's funny? I can hardly stand to read non-fiction, but I'm not too bad at writing it. And I can't write fiction to save my life...

2. Eminem or Aretha? Explain.

Hmm. I grew up listening to Eminem, and I actually live right near him. But I'd have to pick Aretha because her songs truly represented people and gave an iconic voice to the era.  "Iconic" is the perfect word. I think they both are, in their own way.

3. Choose One:
Vernors
Faygo
I'm confused. And not from around here.

4. What are you looking forward to most at the RustCity conference? I'm most looking forward to meeting people. As a stay-at-home mom, I don't have a lot of social outlets, so this will be a welcome retreat! And for once, I don't have to feel awkward, because we're all there on account of the same passion: our books!   We can always be awkward together, right?

5. What is an off-the-cuff association you have with Michigan, Detroit, or Troy?
Michigan: It's my husband's home state, and where I moved in 2014.
Detroit: Motown!
Troy: Where my son goes to speech therapy.

It's always good to have a local perspective!

6. Your latest work of fiction features a wealthy industrialist and an R&B singer. What's the first sentence? "This book was not actually written by C.K. Brooke because C.K. Brooke does NOT write contemporary." LOL   Awww, I tried to make the parameters loose! maybe an opera singer and a duke then.

Thanks so much for coming, CK. Any final words?

I can't wait to connect with you at RustCity! In the meantime, here are some other ways you can get in contact with me or learn more about my books. Official Website - And if you subscribe to my newsletter there, you'll get a FREE eBook!

Social MediaAmazon | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Thanks so much for taking the time to be here! See you in just a few weeks!

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Be sure to keep up with all things Rust City 2016, by following it via your own personal social media drug of choice: Facebook |Twitter | Google+ | Tumblr | Instagram | RSVP at the Facebook Event.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Elizabeth Harmon: Rust City Featured Author

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Welcome to your early-bird peek at some of the fantastic authors who are already signed up for the conference. Today I'm showcasing
 
ELIZABETH HARMON!

Hi Elizabeth, can you tell us a little about yourself and your work?

Hi Nicola! I am a contemporary romance author who loves to write and read romances that are just a bit different. My latest release "Getting It Back," came out in April. It's the third book in my Red Hot Russians sports romance series which features sexy and swoon-worthy Russian figure skater heroes. My debut novel Pairing Off is a 2016 Romance Writers of America RITA Finalist for Best First Book.   Congratulations on the RITA! And wow, who doesn't love figure skaters? Hmmmph, those *thighs*...

Ok, Elizabeth, let's talk about RustCity!

1. Fill in the blank: "I used to be really good at doing the splits , but these days I'm pretty rusty." Pretty sure I can't remember a time when I could do the splits...

2. Eminem or Aretha? Explain.
Aretha, please. She's the queen of soul, and has so many great songs.  Can't really argue with that!

3. Choose One:
Vernors
Faygo
I'm confused. And not from around here.

4. What are you looking forward to most at the RustCity conference? Meeting readers and other authors. Well, that's perfect, since that's the main plan!

5. What is an off-the-cuff association you have with Michigan, Detroit, or Troy?
Love, love, love the Petoskey area! My husband and I have stayed at the Perry Hotel a couple of times, and I even found a Petoskey stone, which I still have. Someday, when I become fabulously wealthy romance novelist, I plan to buy a quaint 27-room Victorian summer cottage in Bayview. :) Well that was a pretty cool little sidetrip down Google Alley for me. For anyone else in the dark: Petoskey Stones. When you buy that cottage, I'll come visit!

6. Your latest work of fiction features a wealthy industrialist and an R&B singer. What's the first sentence?
Sylvester Elliot's sweet voice soared above the down 'n dirty throb of bass and drums. The rhythm was tight, but not as tight as his half-naked body as he moved across the stage. Cassandra licked her lips. The man sang like an angel, but the way he moved would make the devil blush.

What's it about?
Overachiever Cassandra Heath's dying father chose her to lead his billion-dollar corporation. It's the career she's been groomed for all her life... but is she about to throw it all away for the love of the wrong man?
Ooo, I like it! I kind of want her to be an arrogant alpha who gets brought to her knees for the first time by the love of a good man.

7. And finally, would you like to participate in the Alpha Heroes Five Words Fiction Game?  Absolutely!

Fantastic! You chose to work on our Contemporary story, Hook and Curve (or possibly Curve and Hook?), which is shaping up to be a reunion romance between Maddie, a formerly-curvy romance writer, and Hunter, a booking agent for MMA fighters. They have a past... but do they have a future?

The world-building rules are: set in contemporary times, with no magic or paranormal elements. It's not required to be a romance. Have fun! Your challenge words are:  balloon, slipper, hot dog, scotch, nap


Part One, by Shelly Bell
Part Two, by Josie Kerr
Part Three, by MK Schiller
Part Four, by Rue Allyn
Part Five, by Vanessa Knight

Part 6:
Jenna took forever to answer her phone, and Maddie kicked off her painful stilettos. Why couldn’t her SpongeBob slippers be considered fashionably acceptable footwear? And where the heck was Jenna? It was ten in the morning, and her friend owned a souvenir shop in downtown Detroit. Was there a crazed demand on “Mad 4 Motown” balloons this early?

Maddie hoped she wouldn’t have to leave a message, as she wanted the element of surprise on her side. When Jenna answered, breathless, Maddie pounced. “How did you know Hunter Allen would be at McGreevey’s last night?”

“Uhh…good morning to you too, Maddie. Having a rough day already?”

She sighed. “I’m stuck at the airport. Everything is grounded because of weather problems.”

“But it’s---“

“Elsewhere,” Maddie snapped. She didn’t want to talk about thunderstorms, she wanted answers. “But sitting here gave me time to think, and it hit me, that running into Hunter last night was too much of a coincidence. You insisted on going to that particular bar. You told me to take an afternoon nap to rest up for a big night, coached me on being sexy, and when we got there, bought me Scotch for courage. You also made yourself scarce when Hunter showed up. You must have known!”

“Hey, it was luck. You know, the Universe was on your side!”

“No,” Maddie said. “There’s more to it. What’s going on, Jenna?”

In the pause the followed, Maddie stroked the tattoo on her wrist. LOV and a date. So far, it was the only anniversary she and Hunter shared, though she doubted he even remembered. Jenna’s subdued voice brought her back to the moment. “Yes, I knew he would be there.”

Maddie’s chest hitched and her stomach rolled, the smell of roasting hot dogs from the nearby food court, made her vaguely nauseous. How could Jenna have known? She wasn’t part of Maddie’s high school years. They’d been neighbors in New York, before Jenna moved back here to run her family’s business. And while Maddie had told her a little about Hunter—at least the significance of the tattoo—she’d not shared much else, including Hunter’s name. Heart pounding, and breath shallow, she asked, “How?”

Jenna’s answer was barely more than a whisper. “Because we’ve been dating for the last three months.”
I never did trust Jenna! What the actual heck?

Hah, right? you never know about those secondary characters.  See you in August at #RustCity16!

Can't wait! and thanks so much for playing!  Meanwhile, here are a few places around the web you can find more from Elizabeth:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google + | Goodreads Author Page | Goodreads Book Page | BookBub | BookLikes | Blog | Amazon Author Page

Book Links for Getting It Back: Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Kobo



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Be sure to keep up with all things Rust City 2016, by following it via your own personal social media drug of choice: Facebook |Twitter | Google+ | Tumblr | Instagram | RSVP at the Facebook Event.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Vanessa Knight: Rust City Featured Author

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Welcome to your early-bird peek at some of the fantastic authors who are already signed up for the conference. Today I'm showcasing
Vanessa Knight!

Hi Vanessa! Can you tell us a little about your work?
 
Hi Nicola! I have always enjoyed writing and once I found romance, that was it. I was addicted. It's only fitting that I when I started writing, I'd gravitate toward stories with a strong romantic element. I write contemporary romance with a dash of humor and splash of snark.
Personally, I think almost everything is better with a *liberal* splash of snark.

Ok, Vanessa, let's talk about RustCity!

1. Fill in the blank: "I used to be really good at singing , but these days I'm pretty rusty." You do know, there's a rumor about karaoke at RustCity--or possibly I'm just starting one...

2. Eminem or Aretha? Explain.

Aretha. Eminem is great but you can't help but love Aretha. The songs stay with you. Her voice just resonates within you.

3. Choose One:
Vernors
Faygo
I'm confused. And not from around here.

4. What are you looking forward to most at the RustCity conference?
There's so much I'm looking forward to when I visit. I hear that I have to visit the Summerset Collection Mall. I'm all for a trip to the mall. I've also been told that I haven't experienced BBQ until I've had Slows BBQ. I'm a Chicagoan. We love BBQ and I can't wait to ""officially"" experience it.

I'm looking forward to meeting all the fans and learning new things in the workshops.

BBQ, the mall, and learning stuff! doesn't get much better than that.

5. What is an off-the-cuff association you have with Michigan, Detroit, or Troy? Detroit Rock City, the Pistons

6. Your latest work of fiction features a wealthy industrialist and an R&B singer. What's the first sentence?
David Troughby couldn't dance to the hum of the cash counting machine, but the hiss and clatter of money streaming through the prongs was a rhythm he'd learned to love.

Very nice -- makes me think of the opening to Pink Floyd's Money.

7. And finally, would you like to participate in the Alpha Heroes Five Words Fiction Game?  Yes please!
 
Hurray! You chose to work on our Contemporary story, Hook and Curve (or possibly Curve and Hook?), which is shaping up to be a reunion romance between Maddie, a formerly-curvy romance writer, and Hunter, a booking agent for MMA fighters. They have a past... but do they have a future?

The world-building rules are: set in contemporary times, with no magic or paranormal elements. It's not required to be a romance. Have fun! Your challenge words are:

Administrative assistant (one word), Maui, shark, sun-streaked, lazy
 

Part One, by Shelly Bell
Part Two, by Josie Kerr
Part Three, by MK Schiller
Part Four, by Rue Allyn
Part Five:
Delayed. The word flashed red and bold the next morning, taunting Maddie as she tried to Jedi-mind-trick the board to change the status to on-time. Alas, Obi-Wan she was not, she wasn't even fit to be his Administrative Assistant. Her mind tricks were severely lacking. She kept watching as more flights changed from the on-time designation to delayed. At least they hadn't switched to cancelled. Yet.

Maddie looked out the floor to ceiling windows. Sunlight shimmied along the ripples in the glass, sun-streaked mini rainbows reflected on the red patterned floor. Her heels clicked as she walked away from the monitor and stood in front of the terminal counter.

“Good morning.” A woman in navy blue airline garb attempted a smile, her hair falling from the clip at the back of her head. “I'm sorry about the delay.”

“Morning. Any idea when they might let us fly out?”

“The weather is keeping all flights grounded.” They both looked out the window at the fluffy white clouds hovering against a bright blue sky. The question about the weather must have hung in Maddie’s eyes, because the attendant kept talking.

“There's a storm covering the Midwest and moving toward the eastern seaboard.” She cringed with a bit of pity pinching her eyes. “I'm not sure when or if they'll let anyone fly out today—maybe not even tomorrow. Do you want me to help you find a hotel room? I think they might be full, but we might be able to get lucky.”

Luck. That wasn’t a force Maddie was channeling these days. If she were lucky, she'd be on a plane far, far away from Hunter and all the drama of last night. Instead she was looking at a night or two on metal airline chairs. “No thanks. I'm sure the hotel rooms are booked.”

And she was sure she'd have a heck of a time finding a hotel room, which meant she’d have to call Jenna—which meant she might see him again.

Maddie made her way across the room and sat in the hard chair. Uncomfortable. Awful. But not nearly as bad as the alternative. She didn't want to think about Hunter, but after seeing him that's all that seemed to float in her brain. His hands. His lips. Everything about him was different, he wasn't that boy from long ago. He was a man now. A man that made all her lady parts clench.

Ugh! She slid down the chair and groaned as the arm rest dug into her side. There was no way she'd make it all night here. She wanted to be anywhere but here. Maybe Maui, drinking Mai Tais and spending a lazy day in the ocean. Of course, with her luck she'd end up as shark food.

Not that any of that mattered. Right now she was here and there was only one way to leave. Maddie pulled out her cell phone and clicked Jenna’s picture.

It was time to confront her past.
That was great! I love the details, like "pity pinching her eyes" and "jedi-mind-trick" as a verb. Thanks so much for playing, Vanessa! If you'd like to see more from Vanessa Knight, here are some places where you can find her -- other than Troy, Michigan in August, of course!
 
Twitter | Facebook | Amazon Author page   |  Website


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Be sure to keep up with all things Rust City 2016, by following it via your own personal social media drug of choice: Facebook |Twitter | Google+ | Tumblr | Instagram | RSVP at the Facebook Event.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Gina Conkle: Rust City Book Con Featured Author

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Welcome to your early-bird peek at some of the fantastic authors who are already signed up for the conference. Today I'm showcasing GINA CONKLE !!


I write Viking and Georgian romance (talk about polar opposites!). My next release 'To Find a Viking Treasure' is a fast-paced enemies-to-lovers romance where the hero and heroine try to steal back a Viking hoard. That one releases in September (pre-order available!). The follow-up, To Heal a Viking Heart, comes out in November. It's about a bad-boy Viking outlaw who finds unusual redemption with a healer.
Oooo, I've been a sucker for Viking romance ever since I read the Wolf and the Dove by Woodiwiss back in the day. *one-clicks*

Ok, Gina, let's talk about RustCity!

1. Fill in the blank: "I used to be really good at time management , but these days I'm pretty rusty." What would you pay for Hermione's time-turner? Ooof, so many books, so little time.

2. Eminem or Aretha? Explain.
Aretha. My favorite musical era is late 1960s through 1979.
That's a hard stop! I love 80s music too, but in a totally different way. Like 70s music and 80s music are brother and sister and I love them both, but not the same.

3. Choose One:
Vernors
Faygo
I'm confused.  Diet Coke?

4. What are you looking forward to most at the RustCity conference? Meeting local readers.

5. What is an off-the-cuff association you have with Michigan, Detroit, or Troy?
Everything's so green. Bad roads. Funny what we notice, isn't it?

6. Your latest work of fiction features a wealthy industrialist and an R&B singer. What's the first sentence? Her mouth touched the microphone.
Provocative!

Optional: What's it about? Girl from the wrong side of the tracks conquers uptight industrialist.
Classic. I love it.

7. And finally, would you like to participate in the Alpha Heroes Five Words Fiction Game?

Yes!

Yay!!  You chose to work on Alchemy Rusts, our paranormal, anything-goes story.  Your challenge words are:
 
lunar, sacred, rite, finicky, and vain

Part 1, by Laura Bickle
Part 2, by Calandra Usher
Part 3, by AJ Norris
Part 4, by Roselynn Cannes

Part 5:
The testy dragon blew three smoke rings on Izyk's chest. Tiny ice crystals formed on pasty white skin, the sign of changeling suspension. Mara dropped to her knees beside his lifeless body. Her dry mouth worked, but no words came. She needed to touch him, tried to, but Spike hissed at her outstretched hand.

"Dragons prefer to do CPR alone." A cool voice spoke from the shadows.

"CPR? Spike's saving his life?" Mara's voice notched higher. She checked the dark room. Soiled cloths shrouded laboratory instruments. Aquariums sat empty, green bits of algae stuck to tainted glass. The algae glimmered as though small diamonds clung to the slime.

Water slapped the floor, the sound echoing off high ceilings. "Behind you, dear."

Mara scooted around. A woman hovered on the surface of a giant tank, her slender fingers gripping the glass rim with authority. Long blonde hair draped one shoulder, floating like white silk in cerulean blue water. Hard light shined in her eyes, eyes the same shade as the water, the same blue as Izyk's. Mara swallowed hard.

The woman's lips split in what could be called a smile. "No need to be afraid. I'm Ayla, a distant...relative of Izyk's."

A chill walked slowly up Mara's spine. Ayla didn't say relative, rather it slithered off her tongue.

"Funny," Mara said, pushing to her feet, hiding the astrolabe in the folds of her cloak. "He's never mentioned you."

Ayla stroked her hair, preening the way a vain woman would. "Impertinent little piece."

Metal warmed Mara's hand. The plate-sized orb buzzed to life, its cogs and gears ticking behind three small, glass windows. The machine was coming to life. But who started it?

"Give me that." Ayla's arm stuck over the rim.

Mara hefted the instrument. "This?"

"Yes. It belongs to me."

The water woman's fingernails scraped the bronze casing. Alarm bells rang in Mara's head, and she stepped back. "Let's wait for Spike to revive Izyk first."

"No!" A violent wave crashed over the tank's edge. It splattered on the floor, but the water didn't go down the drain. This water slid across concrete, slipping past Mara's shoes as if on a mission. To reach Izyk's body.

She swung around fast. Water surrounded Izyk, lifted him an inch off the floor. Spike carried on his dragon's remedy, blowing smoke over Izyk's body. Hazy concentric circles floated over well-muscled legs formed from long runs. Sluggish wisps of indigo and purple swirled over Izyk's nicely cut lips before funneling sylph-like into his mouth. Much of his color came back, but he lay perfectly still covered in ice crystals. Not dead. Nor alive.

Mara sank to floor beside Izyk, yet her legs, her shoes were dry. Spike flew to a stainless steel table. Onyx eyes glittering, he squawked twice at Ayla and folded his wings.

A long-suffering sigh came from the water woman. "Everyone's conspiring against me today."

"Why isn't he awake?" Mara brushed a soft brown curl off his forehead.

"Our little dragon friend won't share the final, healing breath until I..." Water sloshed. "Never mind. Spike and Izyk are up to something."

The dragon and Izyk?

"But--" Mara turned, gasping.

Ayla's pearlescent torso pressed the glass, a long, graceful fishtail twisting sideways, flicking water impatiently. A thousand diamonds sparkled on her tail. Mara blinked twice at diamond tipped nipples squished against the aquarium. The Mermaid Queen of the North Seas wore diamonds. She was the only person in the half-world who could make them.

The elegant tail snapped to and fro. "Don't gape. It's bad manners."

Mara's chin dropped to her chest. It was no business of hers how the Mermaid Queen dressed. Izyk was her business as were his cheeks warming under her hand. "What's happening?"

"He's still in suspension."

A faint hue colored his skin. "No. Tonight. My being here."

"Izyk used you."

"Used me?" Mara's feet shifted on the strange water that didn't wet her feet.

"Your silly book of spells, the flame of anthor--" The queen's nose wrinkled at Spike like a finicky cat sniffing at a bad morsel. "--even my friend the dragon. All meant to bring the astrolabe to me with the bladeless sword hilt," she paused. "Which you obviously forgot."

The bladeless sword grip. Mara flashed on the rusted hilt with its dirt-smeared stone on the pommel. She rubbed her hip covered by her cloak about to say something, but a hint of breath pushed from Izyk's lungs.

"He's breathing." Mara bent over him all the better to watch the gentle rise and fall of his chest.

"We needed a full-blooded human to get the relics," the Queen went on. "If The Others smelled a changeling..." she shivered visibly. "Well, even a queen in her element is no match for their magic."

The elements --the natural order of humans in their world and changelings in theirs. Every being served a purpose. The Mermaid Queen of the North Sea and her people made diamonds from ice. The Hind Deer people of the forest, Izyk's kind, wove forests and greenery. Landsmen of the South manufactured metal from stone. Each faction guarded their process jealously. Humans lived with this delicate balance, taking but never giving. It was why they were the lowest order.

"Wait." Mara squinted at the Queen. "Is someone trying to change the half-world?"

Wind whistled outside the laboratory. Spike cawed at the building's lone window, his talons clanking steel as he tried to sink them into the table.

The Mermaid Queen swished back and forth in the aquarium. "We need the bladeless sword. We've only this lunar cycle to perform the sacred rite."

Ayla's gaze flit to the window as sheets of water spilled over the glass rim. The strange liquid lifted Izyk and Mara higher. Mara had heard a distant tale, a prophecy of breaking the half-world's unseen chains. Is that why her wise-cracking mentor tricked her into this daring quest? But, why risk death and kiss her?

"They're coming." The Mermaid Queen hoisted herself up and balanced her body on the rim where skin met scales. "There's no time. Give me the astrolabe," she ordered. A thin line of blood oozed where glass edged her scales.

Leaves flew against the laboratory window. The pane rattled from gale force winds.

Mara handed over the astrolabe to the queen. "What about Izyk?"

"He'll live! Grab his hand."

Mara squeezed Izyk's lukewarm hand. If he survived this, she'd kill him for not telling her the truth.

Ayla's frenzied fingers twisted black and bronze knobs. The machine hummed until the bronze shell radiated brilliant light. Fierce winds rattled the lone window. Pitch black shapes loomed outside, their eyes bottomless holes. Glass cracked, the rending sound a sharp chill on Mara's skin. Against her hip inside her cloak another piece of metal pressed hard. The bladeless sword.

The laboratory shook. Empty aquariums snapped in two, raining glass on the floor.

"Hold on," Ayla yelled above the storm.

"The bladeless sword," Mara yelled back, hair blowing across her face. "What does it do?"

The laboratory's shattering window swallowed her words. Shards flew at them like daggers sent to destroy, the power of The Others on full display. A jagged glass knife flew at Mara's eye. She screamed. Her back hit the Queen's aquarium, and all went black.

Fantastic! I love that you brought the mermaid back, and wow, you made the Aquarium so creepy and atmospheric!

Thanks so much! I had way too much fun with this; could hardly stop writing!  I look forward to connecting with readers and writers at Rust City. Until then, please find me in these places:



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