Utterly Random Things For Which I’m Thankful

I know the American version of Thanksgiving was last week, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be thankful today, does it? Besides, it’s Monday, the Monday after a long weekend (whether that was defined by too much eating, drinking, and shopping, or because you were one of the “lucky” few who had to work all weekend; either way, if you live in the US, this was a hell of a looooong weekend.), and who doesn’t need a distraction from the waiting pile of emails and voicemails? Let ’em wait a little longer. It won’t take long. I don’t have a great attention span, anyway. So, here you go… utterly random things for which I’m thankful:

The exhaust fan in my bathroom.

Water. What? Did you expect more? It’s self-explanatory, isn’t it?

Wine. Although I wish it had less calories.

About ten hours after a night of heavy drinking, McDonald’s hamburger, fries, and a fountain Coke.

My pink bathroom. If it were white, I’d have to clean it a hell of a lot more frequently.

Cotton. Because wool scratches.

My GM vehicle, because I never, ever have to remember to turn on my headlights.

Four distinct seasons, because gawd, I love my sandals and gawd, I love my boots, and I just don’t think I could ever choose one over the other for eternity.

That I am a writer, so my husband has no justification to bitch when my phone is full of pictures of half-naked men. It’s research, honey.

The people in my family who like to cook—and are good at it—because I am neither good at it nor do I enjoy doing it. But I’m happy to express my gratitude over the food everyone else prepared.

My dog, because without her I would probably never exercise (refer to wine thankfulness).

How about you? Other than the obvious, what are you thankful for?

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Here’s a not-quite-random thing for which I’m thankful: My Facebook group, Come Wine with Tami. It’s all about hanging out and getting to know (new) favorite authors. Once a month, we have a featured author Q&A, too. Don’t miss it!

Come Wine With Tami Lund-2

Book Review & Drink Recipe – Love and Libations by Patricia Eddy

So I read this book. It’s called Love and Libations. Seems appropriate for Jello Shot June, eh? It’s about a guy who owns a bar. Okay, yeah, that’s part of the story, but no, that’s not what it’s about. What it’s about is two lost souls who figure out how to grow as individuals, and then, eventually, as a couple. It’s about realizing you need to let someone go, in order to get them back again, once they are whole.

And it’s about abuse.

True confession: Before I read this book, I was one of those people who didn’t quite understand why a woman would stay with a man who so obviously abused her. Just freaking leave, already, lady! That was my advice, born largely from the fact that I used to work in nonprofit, and I know there is help out there for abused women. So many charities available, and who the hell cares if you have to accept charity? In the long run, your life will be better, you will be healthier, and, frankly, alive.

After reading this book, I now realize the situation goes so much deeper than that. First, many women may not realize they are being abused, if the abuse is psychological, which is what happens in many cases (including in this book). Unfortunately, psychological abuse is a hell of a lot harder to combat than physical abuse. It’s far less black and white. Hell, it isn’t black and white at all.

To a certain extent, it’s a very gray area. I know people who are in co-dependant relationships, to the point where I question whether they could function as individuals. Some would argue that’s psychological abuse. Yet those I know are truly, legitimately happy with their lives. Of course, when that relationship involves beating down one person’s ego or self-esteem for the sake of the other person – or, frankly, for any reason whatsoever – that is abuse, straight up.

This book made me question my own beliefs. It forced me to like a heroine that initially I might not be inclined to like. Lilah grew so much in this story. So. Much. I was so proud, as if I were her parent, and watched her grow up.

And then there was Garrett. Oh, Garrett. We didn’t get to see his growth; it happened before the book began, but that’s okay, because the place he was at the beginning of the book was integral to how it all played out. The way he so clearly had feelings for Lilah, yet he knew damn well he had to walk away, because she was not in the right place yet. And he did it. God, I don’t know if I could have, if I were in the same situation. How the hell do you walk away from someone you love – for their own good?

If you haven’t guess it already, I gave this book five stars. It’s a great read – emotional, heartwarming, sexy – a perfect romance. Oh yeah, and since it’s Jello Shot June, let’s not forget it’s about a guy who owns a bar. That guy – Garrett – creates his own specialty drinks, including a grunge version of Rock & Rye. Want the recipe? Guess what I have for you…

Rock & Rye is a rather traditional cocktail made from rye whiskey and rock candy (yes, really). Garrett makes his own according to this recipe. But while Rock & Rye is delicious, it’s not very Seattle. That’s where the Grunge comes in. Seattle was the birthplace of Grunge and Garrett has an affinity for the music. He hopes you’ll enjoy his recipe as well as his book, Love and Libations.

Love & Libations CoverGrunge Rock & Rye

  • 2 oz Rock & Rye
  • 1 oz Grenadine
  • Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin

Mix the Rock & Rye and the grenadine in a cocktail shaker with an ice cube to chill. Pour into your glass of choice (a schooner or a chalice). Top with at least six ounces of beer.

Note: Garrett used Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin, but he also fancies Fresh Squeezed IPA for a more local and less spicy flare or Elysian’s Space Dust IPA for the essence of Seattle.

 

About the Author:

Patricia Eddy_Head ShotPatricia D. Eddy can’t stop writing. Not that she’s tried. Her characters won’t let her.

She fuels her writing with copious amounts of caffeine-she lives in Seattle, after all-and rewards herself with good Scotch and red wine.

In between writng, editing, and mentoring other authors, she runs around lakes, reads late into the night, and is terribly addicted to Doctor Who and Sherlock. She has a thing for quirky British men and isn’t ashamed to admit it.

Her quirky-but-not-British husband never gives her grief for working long hours or occasionally talking to herself when she has disagreements with her characters, for which she is very thankful.

Social Media Info:

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Thank you for reading today’s episode of Jello Shot June! We’ll be back with more drink recipes, more bartenders, and more great books!

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Mad May: Antagonistic Co-Workers

Thanks for hosting me on your blog, Tami, and especially for turning the spotlight on villains. They always complain that they never get enough credit for setting a book’s action in motion, so on their behalf, many thanks. The inspiration for the antagonist  in The Body Business came from a work experience I had, where the undertone of sexual favors for job promotions was incredibly strong. I added a homicidal element to the character, and a lot of humor, too.

Ever had a co-worker who drove you bonkers? Or made you contemplate homicide? Or itch for revenge? Almost anyone who’s ever held a job has encountered someone who made their life miserable. That’s Samantha Newman’s predicament in The Body Business, Book #1 in the romantic suspense series by Gay Yellen, a 2015 RONE Award Nominee.

Samantha’s nemesis is E.B., a ruthlessly ambitious vixen who one book reviewer named “The Cruella DeVille of 2014.” Here’s the first time we meet her in The Body Business. Samantha & Derek have just ended their relationship. As they wait for the elevator at work, E.B. saunters up:

Freshly enhanced from another plastic surgery, salon-coiffed and expensively tailored, E.B. bore little resemblance to her former self: Miss Eula Beth Bewley, the dry stick of a bumpkin who’d started work at the company the same day as Samantha. For years, she’d clawed her way through hapless co-workers to the top echelon of executives. She’d also killed off all remnants of the old Eula Beth, except for the stiletto heels and the long fingernails, now lacquered blood-red and featuring a diamond imbedded in the right index talon.

“Good morning you two,” E.B. giggled. To Samantha, it sounded more like a viper’s rattle.

E.B. slipped her arm through Derek’s and whispered loud enough for Samantha to hear. “My goodness, Derek, what did you do to Ms. Newman this morning? She looks positively ravished!”

Derek knew better than to flirt with E.B. in front of Samantha. He winked at her and stared ahead.

Samantha concentrated on the numbers over the elevator as they lit up, trying to speed them telepathically. At last they opened. Samantha pushed the 4th floor button. Derek hit three.

“I’m coming with you, Derek,” E.B. cooed. She squeezed his arm and glared at Samantha. Her office was down the hall from Samantha’s on the executive 4th floor, but she seldom missed a chance to flirt with Derek, or most any man, for that matter. Too weary to rise to the challenge, Samantha shrank into a back corner.

E.B. was on a roll. “Samantha dear, it’s obvious from your sad little face that this gorgeous man is too much for you. You should have sent him to me sooner. Handling discipline cases is part of my job, you know.” She grinned up at Derek.

“Get off, E.B.,” Samantha said, icicles dripping from each word.

“I beg your pardon?”

“You can get off now. This is three.”

“Oh, so it is!” E.B. giggled again.

Snake. Samantha bit her tongue before she said something she’d be sorry for.

“Come, Derek. Come play with me,” E.B. said. “Your old girlfriend’s no fun anymore.”

Derek offered an apologetic glance over his shoulder as he followed E.B. out. The doors closed, and Samantha took a long breath. By the time she reached the 4th floor, she was ready to chew tacks.

More about The Body Business:

Great job. Fantastic boyfriend. Samantha Newman thinks she has it all. But when her best friend vanishes, doubt creeps in. Is there some ugly reality behind her firm’s success? When she asks the FBI for help, they send a man with secrets of his own. How can she find her friend without getting caught in the web of deceit?
Carter Chapman’s on a mission. But it wasn’t supposed to include a beautiful corporate executive with her own set of problems, until a terrible event puts them on the same path to discovery, and they each have to decide if some secrets are worth the price.

TheBodyBusiness3_300dpi (1)

Buy The Body Business today! http://amazon.com/author/gayyellen

About Gay Yellen: I began my working life as an actress in theatre, film, and television commercials, then moved behind the camera to be the Assistant to the Director of Production at The American Film Institute. I’m a former magazine editor and national journalism award winner, and was the contributing book editor for Five Minutes to Midnight (Delacorte Press), an international thriller. I’m happy to say that Book #2 of the Samantha Newman Series is almost finished!

10702213_1487380251526384_520542406725382197_nConnect with Gay Yellen:

http://gayyellen.com

Linkedin.com/in/gayyellen

Facebook Gay Yellen, Author

Twitter @GayYellen

Interview With An Antagonist

More Than Words is the second book in the Madison Falls series. Ben and Tracy, best friends of Reed and Sophie, get their turn for romance.

Tracy King, the cupcake queen, has given up on getting her prince charming to notice her. After over a year of coming to her bakery, Ben Carrington, tall, dark, and…quiet, has yet to ask her out. Little does she know that Ben likes sampling her cupcakes, but his real craving is for a taste of Tracy.

A leaky roof on a rainy night leaves Tracy swamped, literally. Ben brings her home with him, knowing that actions speak louder than words. Tempting Tracy into romance is easier said than done when secrets from her past come back to Madison Falls with a vengeance. Ben has a secret of his own but can’t let it keep him from protecting his lady love. Will he finally tell her his true feelings or will he be silenced for good?

We all know how important antagonists are to romance. They help readers relate to the hero and heroine, and they often help the hero and heroine grow and fall in love, even as they are usually working to keep them apart. All month, I’ve been featuring antagonists on my blog, affectionally nicknamed Mad May. Today is no exception. I’m interviewing Luke King, the antagonist from the second book in Susan Behon’s Madison Falls series.

MoreThanWords

TT: Tell us about yourself. Do you consider yourself your author’s muse or bane of her existence?

LK: (Takes a long drag from his cigarette and gives a smarmy grin) I’m Luke King. I’m Tracy’s dad. I’m out of prison and looking for my share of my daughter’s success. I’ll do whatever it takes (legal or not) to get my due. She owes me. I suppose I’m my author’s muse since she had fun writing my dialogue.

TT: What do you think readers will like best about you? Worst?

LK: Readers won’t like me much. There’s nothing to recommend me, except that I’m damn good at being bad. The readers will probably hate me, in fact, but so what? I’m getting my money from my daughter no matter what it takes. That girl will learn to respect her kin.

TT: Wow, that’s a, um, unique perspective coming from a parent. Let’s see if we can lighten this interview up a bit. What’s your favorite beverage?

LK: (Stubs out cigarette and lights another. Blows out a stream of smoke through yellow teeth) I got a fondness for Wild Turkey and Southern Comfort. Give me the hard stuff. Beer’s for pansies.

TT: How about food? Do you prefer vegetables or meat?

LK: (Leans back and leers) I like meat. How about you, honey?

TT: (Looks down at notes and dreads the next question.) Um, do you prefer to sleep in the nude or in your pajamas?

LK: Hell, I don’t know. Most times I pass out in my boxers. What kind of man wears pajamas?

TT: (Hesitates. I should have come up with different interview questions.) Lights on or lights out?

LK: They’re all the same in the dark, darlin’. I don’t need to look at them when I fu… (Clears throat, likely after my outraged look) when I’m knockin’ boots.

TT: (Folds paper with pre-written interview questions and pushes it to the side.) Okay, let’s take this in a different direction. Are you married?

LK: Nah, the bitch left me years ago. I got my eye on lots of women. (Gives me a once-over as he takes a drag of his cigarette.) Ain’t you a pretty little thing?

TT: Um, thanks. But I’m taken. And no offense, but I like a guy who’s more into seduction, treating a girl like she’s a queen.

LK: Seduce? I don’t need to seduce when they’re asking for it. A slut might say no, but she means yes. Not that I’m listening.

TT: Well, this interview is certainly veering far, far off track. Can we focus on Tracy, your daughter, for a moment? Do you want to talk about your relationship?

LK: I wish that selfish kid of mine would see that I need that money more than she does. A girl’s supposed to take care of her daddy.

TT: Especially one who clearly loves her like you do.

(Luke sneers. I can’t tell if he gets my sarcasm or if he just doesn’t care.)

TT: If you could rewrite one scene in the book, what would it be? How would you rewrite?

LK: Now that would spoil the surprise, baby girl. I would rewrite one scene, but you’ll know what I mean when you read it.

TT: Fair enough. Here’s another one. Has your author ever put you into an embarrassing situation?

LK: Embarrassing? I don’t get embarrassed. What do I care what uppity people think?

TT: How about this. Is there anything specific in this book of which you are particularly proud?

LK: I got a few spots I’m right proud of. I teach Tracy and Ben, that boyfriend of hers, what happens when you don’t show due respect.

TT: I have a real bad feeling that isn’t exactly something a normal person would be proud of. Well, I think maybe it’s time we bring this interview to a close. Do you want to add anything before we part ways?

LK: Buy the book and you’ll see just how far I’m willing to go to get what I want. Ben tries to stop me, but he can’t stick with Tracy all the time.

TT: (Shudder) Well, thank you for this enlightening interview. I have to say, I want to read this book just to ensure you get your come-upance, to tell you the truth. And that’s a wrap, readers. Thank you to Luke King for taking the time to meet with me today. I think. Anyway, if you’re as curious as I am, you can pick upLuke’s book, More Than Words, below, and you can check out Luke’s very talented author via her social media links as well.

AuthorPhotoSusanBehonSusan Behon Social Media Links:

Website: www.susanbehon.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/suebeehny

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1dD86dc

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1GFiuIg

Amazon Author: http://amzn.to/1zn8Igz

 

 

 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1QaaQwA

Nook Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1QYuixA

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1GP4wpL

Google Play: http://bit.ly/1DKFOSY

iTunes: http://apple.co/1dD5uf7

Website Order Page: http://bit.ly/1FcO2IV

 Thank you for joining us for another entertaining Mad May blog post! Keep checking back. There’s one more on May 27, before we move into Jello Shot June!

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Wanna Be A Book Reviewer? You Can Review Naked Truth!

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If yes, well then consider checking out a book from the Book Enthusiast Promotions Library or request a book from us on NetGalley.

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Join us for the BEP Reading Challenge. During this challenge readers can request books from our Library and/or our catalog of books on NetGalley. Join now and enter to win Amazon gift cards, signed paperbacks, SWAG and ebooks! Click the BEP Reading Challenge button below for details.

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Request to read and review books in our catalog here ➜ ➜ http://bit.ly/1c72433

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Book Enthusiast Promotions is proud to announce the addition of NetGalley to our list of available services. NetGalley–for those of you who are wondering “what the heck is that?”–is essentially a database that connects readers to books for the purpose of securing reviews for that book. It’s a lot more than that, but that’s the concept boiled down to the bare bones. NetGalley has an excellent track record and success rate. Here, we’ll let them tell you a little about themselves…

About NetGalley

Book Discovery Begins Here! Promote your titles directly to NetGalley’s growing, active member community of professional readers and influencers to launch titles, spur reviews and ignite word-of-mouth.

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Antagonists in Romance: The Unrepentant Mean Girl with Annette Mardis

Thanks so much, Tami, for hosting me. I’m very happy to introduce you to Monica Sims, who is an unrepentant mean girl for the majority of The Shore Thing, the debut book in my Gulf Shore contemporary romance series. Most of the action takes place at Gulf Shore Aquarium, where Monica is a marine biologist.

The Shore ThingMonica’s misbehavior costs her a relationship with aquarium photographer/videographer Evan Sanders, who dumps her after catching her cheating with the marketing director, who not only is married but also the father of newborn twins. Then, after that coworker breaks up with her, Monica files a sexual harassment claim against him, and he loses his job.

As if all that isn’t bad enough, Monica goes on to stir up trouble between Evan and his new love, aquarium education specialist Danielle “Dani” Davidson. Monica starts harassing Dani even before she and Evan officially become a couple. Here’s an example of Monica’s spiteful misbehavior:

The next day, Dani had just placed her purse in her locker when Monica strutted in, unzipping her wet suit as she went. It was obvious she didn’t have anything on beneath the neoprene, at least on top. Dani averted her eyes, not wanting to give Monica the satisfaction of noticing, but the woman veered straight for her.

“Well, if it isn’t Dori.” She peeled the wet suit down to her waist. “I almost didn’t recognize you without your puppy dog trotting along at your heels.”

“My what?”

“Your puppy dog. Evan. Last time I saw you two together, he was panting and I was waiting for him to lick your hand and sniff your ass. Maybe even lift his leg and mark his territory.”

Monica laughed as if her cutting comments were uproariously funny. Her unfettered breasts jiggled, and Dani had no doubt it was intentional. She figured it was the female equivalent of a pissing contest.

“What do you want?” Dani didn’t hide her irritation.

“I don’t want a thing, not from you, because I don’t think you can hold Evan’s interest for long.”

“Look, Evan and I are not dating. I don’t know how much clearer I can be on that. Whatever competition you think there is between you and me is all in your head. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got work to do.”

Dani slammed her locker door shut, jammed on the combination lock, and started to leave.

“Did I say we were done talking?” Monica snapped.

Dani stopped and stared her nemesis straight in the eye. “No, I did.”

“This isn’t over,” Monica warned, but Dani didn’t bother to reply as she walked away.

Monica gets her comeuppance later in the book and is forced to examine her life after her sister calls her on her bitchiness. By that point, Monica has become a pariah among her coworkers and has an Alps-sized mountain to climb to redeem herself. She eats so much crow that she nearly chokes on it.

Want to read more about how Monica gets what she deserves? Buy The Shore Thing at http://tinyurl.com/lwmdck2.

Shore Feels RightBy the opening of Shore Feels Right, Gulf Shore Book 2, Monica has become a regular at “snipe and gripe” girls’ night out gatherings at Bikini Barb’s Bar & Grill. There, she has a chance meeting with Cosby Williams, the new co-owner of Nauti-Toys watercraft rentals. He’s captivated by her beauty, intelligence, and sassiness. When she gives him and his shark-crazy nephews a personal tour of the aquarium, including a behind-the-scenes experience at Shark Pier, he finds himself falling for her.

But Monica’s bad-girl past comes back to haunt her later in the book and threatens to spoil the most promising relationship she’s ever had.

Want to find out what happens next? Buy the book at http://amzn.com/B00OFBXJIU and other e-book retailers.

* * * *

Redemption also is a big theme in Shore to Please, Gulf Shore Book 3, coming June 22 from Liquid Silver Books. Animal rights activist Tara Langley, who objects to the aquarium keeping dolphins in captivity, hasn’t made many friends around town. Gulf Shore Aquarium is the jewel of the city’s tourist district, and the locals don’t take kindly to anyone who makes trouble for the signature attraction.Shore To Please Cover

Things get even more prickly when Tara and head dolphin trainer Paul “Flipper” O’Riley become better acquainted. His boss, Kenshin Hamasaki, considers Flipper disloyal for even giving “that woman” the time of day. How will Kenshin handle it if Flipper and Tara dare to act on their mutual desire?

Kenshin’s penchant for self-preservation and playing politics may keep him in the aquarium director’s good graces, but it doesn’t endear him to Flipper and many of his coworkers. Has Kenshin forgotten the meaning of friendship and selflessness? Will he manage to redeem himself?

Unfortunately for the crew at Gulf Shore Aquarium, a more serious situation is overshadowing those personal dramas. An anonymous anti-captivity advocate is threatening increasingly vile punishments despite the fact the aquarium’s dolphins wouldn’t survive if returned to the wild.

And those threats become even more personal when Flipper finds one of the nasty notes nailed to the front door of his cottage. Will police Detective Joanna Tompkins catch the culprit(s) before someone gets badly hurt or even killed?

Shore to Please is available for preorder now at Liquid Silver Books’ website, www.lsbooks.com/pre-order-coming-soon-romance-books-c322.php. Buy it now and get a 20 percent discount!

About the series

The Gulf Shore contemporary romance series is set in the fictional west-central Florida beach town of Gulf Shore, where you’ll feel sugary white sand between your toes, the warm sun on your shoulders, and a sea breeze ruffling your hair.
You’ll meet swoon-worthy alpha males who aren’t embarrassed to cuddle a rescued baby dolphin in their muscular arms, and accomplished women looking for an equal partner who thinks that smart is sexy.
You’ll get up close and personal with sea life, join the “snipe and gripe” club for girls’ nights out, and fall in love with a talking parrot who acts like a little boy in a bird suit.
You’ll go behind-the-scenes at the local aquarium and out to the beach to rescue marine animals in distress. And once you visit Gulf Shore, you just may find yourself wishing you could stay.

Annette MardisConnect with Annette

Website: www.annettemardis.com/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorAnnetteMardis

Twitter: @AnnetteMardis48

Amazon: www.amazon.com/Annette-Mardis/e/B00E5UHPMM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/annettemardis/

Smashwords: www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Shelbypie

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=221177296&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic

Google+ https://plus.google.com/+AnnetteMardis/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nx6WNGA94bQ

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Thank you for taking the time to read another Mad May blog post. There are still a few days left in the month – and a few more posts – so be sure to check back regularly!

Can Antagonists be Redeemed? What Does Historical Romance Author Amy Quinton Think?

Thanks, everyone, for joining me on Tami Lund’s Mad May Blog. And thank you, Tami, for having me here. I am so happy to be celebrating the release of my first book, What the Duke Wants, a fun, new regency romance, on your site. And we’ll have more about the book later…

What the Duke Wants

…But for now, I’m talking… villains. A story is just plain boring without them. You might as well watch paint dry or grass grow rather than read a book without at least one good villain.

Villains come in all shapes and sizes – from hulking brutes who threaten our well-being… or foul weather that destroys our best laid plans… to the little pestering voice inside our head that feeds on our deepest fears.

But for the purposes of this post, let’s talk about the villains who are people in our stories. The question inquiring minds want to know is:

Do villains deserve redemption?

Well, let me say right off… Yes, I believe they do. To a point.

I do think there is a line a villain can cross at which time they become completely irredeemable. Antagonist Post Pic
Absolutely. It isn’t black and white to me, but many shades of grey. Does a man who has spent his life robbing and swindling the poor deserve a chance at redemption when he sees the error of his ways?

Or say two people are caught stealing. One comes from an impoverished family and steals food to eat. The other comes from wealth and steals food just to slake their desire to take from others. Is one ‘villain’ more deserving of redemption than the other? Sure. Are both even truly villains? Probably not.

Of course, life is rarely as simple as all that. Many factors come in to play: upbringing, environmental factors, physiological & psychological problems, extent of the ‘damage’ inflicted… I could go on… but I won’t… let’s not get carried away here.

I have a better idea. Let’s look at two villains in What the Duke Wants and decide if they are worthy of a happily ever after – or worthy of even living for that matter…

 

Villain 1: Lady Beatryce Beckett.

Lady Beatryce is a stunningly beautiful debutante, and a cousin to our heroine in What the Duke Wants, Miss Grace Radclyffe. Lady B is generally spoiled, dishonest, and vain… She’s utterly horrid. Let’s join Lady Beatryce at a ball in London (This is an attempt to compromise our heroine – planned in advance between Lady B and another villain, Lord Middlebury):

During a break in the dancing, Lady Beatryce glanced about her court of admirers and smiled behind her fan. There were a dozen young dandies vying for her attention, all of them worse gossips than any woman she knew.

One particularly young buck leaned near. “The lady dancing the cotillion with Dansbury earlier, I understand she is your cousin?”

Antagonist Pic 2Beatryce smiled to herself. This was going to be all too easy. She assumed a somber look before replying, “Yes, I’m afraid so.”

The young fop, noticing her subdued countenance, responded all too predictably, “Is that a bad thing?”

Beatryce sighed dramatically. “No, for we love her dearly and have opened our hearts to her despite her b…” Beatryce blushed convincingly. “Well, I shouldn’t say.”

“Oh please, Lady Beatryce, do tell, we shan’t tell a soul nor hold it against you. Your generosity is well known,” said the love-sick, and lying, fool. They hung on her every word in the hopes of acquiring new gossip.

“Please see that you do then, as many would frown upon what I’m about to tell you…But, well, you see, her family was in trade.” A collective gasp sounded from her circle of admirers. “And I’m afraid she has had little instruction in the art of being a lady. Now, I see you are surprised by this, yet despite how most of the ton feels about people in trade, we have opened our home to her, inviting her in when she was orphaned last year.”

The dandies panted—trade? Oh, the scandal. The horror. They tried to mask their fervor for gossip by nodding solemnly at the Beckett family’s obvious benevolence; however, eager eyes gave them away. Beatryce smiled and continued, “And though we’ve tried to give her some rudimentary instruction in proper decorum, I’m afraid she doesn’t seem to understand that there are certain…things…a lady must never, ever do in order to safeguard her reputation.”

The men around her salivated and leaned forward on their toes as Beatryce lowered her voice scandalously. They couldn’t afford to miss a word. Their faces well-nigh shouted at her to be more specific.

One particularly bold peacock said, “For instance…” his voice trailing off for Beatryce to fill in the blank.

Beatryce wanted to thank him and kiss his feet for the lead-in. “Well, I’m sure it’s because she is so kind and loving, but we cannot seem to make her realize that she cannot go off unescorted with certain…people…Men. Who are not relations, you see.”

The men’s eyes widened at the news, and Beatryce could practically read their wicked thoughts as they wondered who Grace was running off with unescorted, and more to the point, who they should relate the news to first.

Beatryce sighed with feigned exasperation as she looked pointedly across the room.

Right on cue, Middlebury.

“And there she goes again,” she said with a nod toward the potted palms across the way. “Excuse me, while I attempt to save my cousin from herself.” And before Beatryce could take another breath, the young swains scattered like cockroaches at dawn, gossip ready to slide off their wagging tongues.

Beatryce headed to the ladies’ retiring room rather than make her way across the dance floor. As if she had any intention of saving her cousin. Ha!

Yikes! Can we say Manipulative… Deceitful… Damaged?

And I could go on. A B@#%$ with a capital B, is our Lady Beatryce. And there are numerous examples of this in What the Duke Wants. She insults our heroine in public and private. She destroys some of our heroine’s things by burning them in the fireplace. She lies. She cheats. She steals. And everything she does is because she refuses to allow anything to stand in the way of what she wants.
Does a woman like that deserve a happily ever after? Is she redeemable at all? Hmmm. Before we answer that, let’s look at another villain…

 Antagonist Pic 3

Villain 2: Lord George Beckett, Earl Swindon.

Swindon is a rather disgusting, slovenly person (an understatement) who has zero respect for women. He’s selfish, stupid, intolerant and powerful – a dangerous combination to be sure. Let’s step in on a scene where he is questioning his daughter, Lady Beatryce, for not yet managing to get our hero to ask her to marry him in What the Duke Wants:

“Daughter, I ask you this. Have I not raised you and given you every comfort? Every opportunity? Your every desire?”

“Yes, Papa.” She knew better than to disagree, and she did have many fine things.Antaonist Pic 4

“Then why do you not show more gratitude by obeying me when I ask something of you? Do you not owe me? Do you not feel obliged to please me for providing for you? For giving you food and shelter and clothing?”

She knew better than to answer. No matter her response, it would be the wrong thing to say, so she sat still and attempted to look contrite yet sure, while she waited impatiently for him to continue. He would prey on her fear if he saw it.

“I’ve explained the facts of life to you many, many times before, yet for some inexplicable reason, you seem unable to remember these simple truths as I have illuminated them to you. If I didn’t know any better, I would question whether or not you are mine. It’s too late for that now, though; the world believes you are and that makes it real. So, I will remind you one more time—you are either with me, or you are against me. Period. There is no middle ground.”

He began to walk around his desk. Her eyes widened with alarm. She couldn’t help that as her fear escalated.

“So with that lesson fresh in your mind, do you recall what one specific task I asked of you this year?”

“Yes, Papa.”

“Let me hear you repeat it, daughter.” He was directly in front of her now, looking down upon her seated self. He leaned back against the desk—he was too lazy to remain standing for long—and he involuntarily grunted as the air was forced from his lungs when he did. The desk groaned ominously beneath the added load. He was breathless simply from talking and walking the short distance around his desk, so little did he get out of the house. Yet still, he was a strong man, despite the excess weight, and she was right to be scared.

Her voice was barely a whisper as she said, “I am to bring the Duke of Stonebridge u-up to scratch.” She hated that her voice caught as she spoke. She wanted desperately to stand up to this man she despised, her own father, and she hated herself for being intimidated by him.

He smiled, though it came across as a grimace as if he had just stepped on a bug or in a pile of shite—certainly no joy was reflected in his beady, piggy eyes.

“Indeed. Perhaps there is hope for you yet. Your mind might not be as unstable as I have feared. At least you are listening, at any rate. However,” and here he unfolded his arms and grabbed ahold of the riding crop with his hand. She was well and truly afraid now. “You have yet to bring Stonebridge up to scratch and that leads me to believe that rather than working with me, you are working against me. I realize you are not a beauty, and anyone who tells you otherwise is outright lying to your face; however, I do not expect that to stop you from achieving our goals. Need I remind you what is at stake should you fail?”

He raised the riding crop as he said those last words, and she screamed in terror.

“Papa! No! Please don’t hurt me!”

Her mind raced as she grasped for a way to break through to him. He had a manic look now; his anger was so fierce.

“You mustn’t strike me. It will cause unnecessarily delays. I must be seen with the duke…to further our plans. If I am injured…” She choked on her last words, too frightened to speak further. She cowered in fear in her chair and attempted to make herself small. To offer him less of a target for his fury.

However, her father simply lowered his riding crop; sense seemed to penetrate his haze of anger.

“True. Too true. Yes, you are correct, daughter, this once. I shall let you off easy then, this time, but I’m warning you. Do whatever you must to bring about the duke’s proposal, or you will dislike the consequences. For if you fail, I will have to find some other way to proceed, and you will then become completely unnecessary to me. To this family.”

He threw the riding crop across the room, knocking over a vase in the corner. It shattered when it hit the floor. Her relief at having reached through to her father was short-lived. She flinched, expecting her father’s wrath to return so he could blame her for the loss of the vase, but instead he looked at her, the smile on his face proving, as always, that he was completely unpredictable…or insane.

“You may be excused, daughter, but first, how about a kiss and a hug for your father?”

She stood and reached out to hug the man she loathed with every fiber of her being.

He was so large that her hands were unable to reach fully around his wide girth. He smelled sour, of onions and rotten turnips, and she struggled not to gag. She bussed him, reluctantly, on the cheek and tried again not to gag; then she pulled back to look up at him.

She masked her revulsion and drew on every ounce of inner strength. She forced a smile and appeared every inch the dutiful daughter as she said with conviction, “I shall make you proud, Papa.”

She would do anything to bring the duke up to scratch. And confident her father was temporarily appeased, she turned and slowly quit the room, almost regally, yet all the while, her lip quivered with suppressed emotion.

*

Antagonist Fail 5The earl watched his daughter leave, satisfied she would do what was necessary to secure his future. He began to whistle, a jovial tune, as he made his way back around to his comfy chair. His whistling didn’t last long, for he was already out of breath again with the effort…And he knew that, too, was somehow Beatryce’s fault.

 

Ugh. How vile. So… Still think Lady Beatryce is completely irredeemable or unworthy of redemption? Clearly, she’s motivated to do whatever it takes to get away from her abusive father. And what about the earl? Is he even worth consideration?

To me, the earl has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. And he doesn’t have a single excuse to justify his behavior. But then, I know a lot more about his character than I’ve shown here…. And you’ll have to read the book to learn more…

But what about Lady B? What we’ve seen here leads us to an interesting premise: Does the end result ever justify the means to get there?

We’ve all heard the sentiment before. In the case of Lady Beatryce, she absolutely believes it. She’ll do whatever it takes – even destroy other people – to be free of her father.

So, I believe that, yes, she is redeemable. Possibly. And I’m testing out that theory in my next book – What the Marquess Sees (still a work in progress). In it, our heroine is none other than Lady Beatryce Beckett herself… And I think it will take just the right kind of man to see through her numerous negative qualities to discover if she is worth saving…

What do you think?

~~~~

Amy QuintonAuthor Bio
Amy Quinton is an author and full time mom living in Summerville, SC. She enjoys writing (and reading!) sexy, historical romances. She lives with her husband, two boys, and two cats. In her spare time, she likes to go camping, hiking, and canoeing/kayaking… And did she mention reading? When she’s not reading, cleaning, or traveling, she likes to make jewelry, sew, knit, and crochet (Yay for Ravelry!).

https://amyquinton.net/

 

Curious about Amy’s books?

EBook:

LS Books: https://www.lsbooks.com/p986.php

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/What-Duke-Wants-Agents-Change-ebook/dp/B00RUBIDZ6/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/what-the-duke-wants-amy-quinton/1121008848?ean=9781622101849

KOBO: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/what-the-duke-wants-1

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Amy_Quinton_What_the_Duke_Wants?id=6ogVBgAAQBAJ

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/what-the-duke-wants/id956337561?mt=11

 

Print:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/What-Duke-Wants-Agents-Change/dp/1503304698/ref=la_B00RUHIXZ0_1_1_title_1_pap?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1421252744&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/what-the-duke-wants-amy-quinton/1121008848?ean=9781503304697&itm=1&usri=what+the+duke+wants

CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/5116025   

 

Social Links:

Email:  AmyQuintonAuthor@gmail.com

Web site:  http://amyquinton.net

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Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/amyquinton

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00RUHIXZ0

Goodreads Author Page: https:/www.goodreads.com/author/show/10912294

TSU: https://www.tsu.co/AmyQuintonAuthor
Thanks for checking out today’s #MadMay blog post. The month isn’t over, and there are plenty more guest posts with other authors, talking different types of antagonists. Because as we all know, a good antagonist makes for a great read!

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Antagonists – A Necessary Component To All Good Romance

It’s still Mad May on my blog, and today, I welcome Anneka Ever, a fantastic contemporary romance author, who explains why antagonists are so vital to any good story. Thank you, Anneka, for this enriching addition to Mad May!

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Antagonists. They are the anti-heroes. They entertain us because they bring conflict, a vital component of most good stories.

Think about the books, television shows, and movies you consume. Now think about them without the antagonists. Game of Thrones would be pretty boring if Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen had no one opposing their goals. The Avengers face external conflict due to antagonists like Loki and Ultron, but they also deal with internal conflict due to the clashing personalities of all the superheroes. In the quieter moments of the movies, the protagonists become antagonists. That little trick maintains conflict and enriches the plot.

That’s something that happens in romance stories. We want the couple to get together, but not right away. Those little bits of conflict between them suck us into the story. Add external conflict to it with an interesting antagonist and you’ve got a good tale.

How do you make the antagonist interesting?

Writers use difference devices. I start with the physical aspects of the person. In my novel Riverswept, I rely on the traditional symbolism of light versus dark. While hero Finnley Moran is blond, full of light and warmth, antagonist Bart Martin is dark and cold, from his clothes to his attitude.

When Molly Duncan thinks of Finn, she pictures him as Helios. “Warmth radiated from him. She remembered the first time they had made love, when she had pictured him a sun god.” Bart is the opposite of Finn. The first time she meets him, he’s dressed in dark clothes: “He wore a black blazer of Italian leather, black pants, grey shirt, and expensive-looking loafers.” He gazes at her “with a dark and serious expression.”

Even the way the men move illustrates their differences. “Why would she ever crawl into bed with Bart Martin? Sure, he was handsome in his own way, but rather starchy in his bearing. Finn, on the other hand, was so laidback that he reminded Molly of a T-shirt that had been washed too often. Tattered, but comfortable.”

Near the end of the book, Bart’s wicked personality begins to manifest itself outwardly. “Behind Finn, a dark shape emerged from the water. Covered in mud, Bart looked like a monster rising up from the depths of the Burns River. He wrapped his arms around Finn’s knees and pulled. Molly tried to hold him, but she wasn’t strong enough. His hand slipped from hers and he fell backward into the river with Bart.”

The origin of the word “antagonist” includes the concept of contending for a prize. In romance the prize may be a person or, in the case of Riverswept, the prize may be the HEA (happily ever after). Whatever the case may be, the antagonist enhances the story.

Riverswept

Riverswept Buy Link: http://www.lsbooks.com/riverswept-p1013.php

__________

Anneka Ever is a romance author. Her contemporary love stories are set in the mountains and small towns of Virginia. Her strong heroes and independent heroines explore their passion against the beautiful backdrop of rivers, meadows, and forests.

An award-winning poet and short story writer, Anneka brings a fresh perspective to stories of dating and relationships.

She lives in far Southwestern Virginia with her husband and three dogs.

Anneka’s website is www.AnnekaEver.com

Social media links

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnnekaEver

Google+: https://www.google.com/+AuthorAnnekaEver

Tumblr: http://anneka4ever.tumblr.com/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/annekaeverroman/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/AnnekaEver

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Who’s the Bad Guy with Victoria Pinder

It’s Mad May, and today I’m featuring a book written by Victoria Pinder. I’ll let you in on a secret: I love, love, love books with a twist. Especially the kind of twist where the reader thinks someone else is the bad guy, when really… Boom! Surprise antagonist. The kind that keeps you reading well past a sane person’s bedtime. Did I mention how much I love books like that?

Borrowing the Doctor is THAT kind of book. First, check out the excerpt. Then, check out the blurb. Then click the buy link. You know you want to. I know I do.

*

‘My sister Kate thinks she’s so much better than me. I’m the one Daddy trained to run the fashion empire, not her. I’m the one who found myself a rich guy to marry to ensure we stayed on top, no matter what. All Kate does is patronize me. She’s so stupid. I hate her. She lives in her little condo with her dog and avoids me. I sent her my wedding invitation though, so with luck she’ll come. I need her to get momma’s necklace. It’s in the bank. First I have to get her to the Grand Cayman which I can with this wedding. Second I’ll have to get her to the bank as the security box is in her name. Third I’ll have to get her to give me the necklace. Then I’ll have everything and she’ll have nothing.’

“Stephanie, where are you?”

“Here, my sweet love.”

Eric’s such an idiot. She smiled at him and lifted her shoulders as he came toward her. As he pressed his lips toward her, she sighed. At least he’s good in bed.

“What were you doing?”

“Writing in my diary.”

“Why?”

“Collecting wedding thoughts so I can ensure our day is perfect, my love.”

“My parents can’t come.”

“Why?”

“My sister is missing. My cousins will be there.”

“I sent our invitation to my sister. Part of me wants her to come. Part of me is scared she’ll ruin everything. Eric, please help me find someone who can babysit Kate and keep her out of my hair.”

“I will think of someone, sweetheart.”

He walked out of the room. She rolled her eyes. Eric was a means to an end. She needed his money, for now. She clutched her hands together. Kate Sparrow had to give her what she wanted. Stephanie Sparrow deserved to have it all.

 

 

 

Borrowing_the_Doctor_#3A_copyBorrowing the Doctor by Victoria Pinder

Link: http://amzn.to/1wc1u6X

What’s it about?

Party girl. Art thief. All around bad girl. It’s what all the newspapers call socialite and heiress Kate Sparrow. It’s all untrue. Kate’s been set up and she’s following the orders of the FBI to get the real criminal, her father. She’ll have to put up with her sister, the wedding fiasco, and her own fears that someone is after her, trying to stop her to get what she needs to prove her innocence.

Doctor Daniel Collins joins his brothers on a cruise to the wedding of his young cousin. His cousin begs him to keep a close watch on the bride’s sister, Kate. He’s to keep her from ruining the wedding.

Kate doesn’t trust Daniel’s help in her life, but the man’s interference is blocking a few problems. She lets him. After all, he spent a few years in the military and having a friend like Daniel is nice. But when her fears become true, someone is after her, pretending to be in a relationship with the sexy doctor has its benefits. What she hadn’t planned was opening her heart to trusting him. But if she doesn’t open up, she’s going to lose out on far more than her life, she’d lose out on love.

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/VUcbTGD7UnE

 

 

Victoria’s Bio:

Victoria Pinder grew up in Irish Catholic Boston then moved to Miami. Eventually, found that writing is her passion.

She always wrote stories to entertain herself. Her parents are practical minded people demanding a job, but when she sat down to see what she enjoyed doing, writing became obvious.

The Zoastra Affair, Chaperoning Paris, Borrowing the Doctor, and Electing Love, Mything the Throne and Favorite Coffee, Favorite Crush will be published in 2014.

Now she is represented by Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge Literary Agency.

Also she’s the Vice President for the Florida Romance Writers.

Victoria’s info, if you wanna stalk her:

Website: http://www.victoriapinder.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/victoriapinder1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/victoriapinder

Blog: http://victoriapinder.com/?cat=6

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8120316.Victoria_Pinder

 

Another Excerpt!

Daniel slid into his seat and away from Eric, but his arms remained tense. His brothers wouldn’t like this plan. He didn’t like this plan. “I’m to babysit the spoiled rich princess and keep her away from the cops and the alcohol, this trip.”

He pressed his lips together. He expected his brothers to have an opinion, but silence greeted his ears.

All eyes went back to the door.

His collar grew warmer. Daniel glanced around to stare in the same direction. He assumed Kate Sparrow had stepped into the club.

His eyes scanned the room, and then the crowds parted. He had his first look. Time might have stopped, and he heard his own heartbeat. Brown hair with a bit of a curl, brown eyes, small frame, unusually large breasts for a woman her size, and an energy that took his breath away. He also noted that Kate’s eyes held a gleam, and Daniel’s mouth fell open. Kate Sparrow was the most beautiful woman he’d seen in a long while.

Beauty meant trouble. He turned back to his beer and refused to stare at her.

The pictures in the papers hadn’t done her justice at all. How did they turn that pretty woman into a viper with a camera? His mind raced. Did she have a Jekyll and Hyde personality that came out at night?

*

 Go ahead, pick it up today. You know you want to. And when you’re done reading it, come on back to my blog. All month, I’m featuring antagonists – those characters we love to hate!

 

 

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