Crossing Genres – A Guest Post

I love this post by Tabitha Conall. It’s about mixing genres, not coloring within the lines. I love when authors do that – and do it well. Check out this post on Crossing Genres!

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Have you been enjoying these posts? Be sure to check my website often, because I’m sure I’ll have more for you soon!

Oh yeah, and if you haven’t yet, you should check out 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!

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On Writing Wolves: Best Alpha Females

It’s Shifter Saturday! I’ve given you a bunch of posts from a bunch of authors, all talking shifters. And I have one more for you …

Heather Long is featured in this post, writing about something near and dear to my heart: Strong women. Specifically strong alpha shifter women. There are no simpering maidens in this post!

 

On Writing Wolves: Best Alpha Females

 

Have you been enjoying these posts? Be sure to check my website often, because I’m sure I’ll have more for you soon!

Oh yeah, and if you haven’t yet, you should check out 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!

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Looking for a Good Shifter Read?

Love shifters? Just finished that last book, and looking for a new read? Some of these aren’t exactly new reads, but that makes them no less worthy. Take a look at Kim Faulks’s blog post about her favorite shifter romances:

 

My Five Favorite Shifter Romance

 

Be sure to check back soon. There’s bound to be another post by another author, and probably about shifters.

Oh yeah, and if you like this concept (learning about all sorts of new authors), you should check out 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!

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True Confessions from the Green-Eyed Monster

It’s July, and that means a brand new blog theme. This month is Jealous July on my blog, and we’re starting with a guest post from a friend and fellow author. It’s interesting, when I came up with the idea of featuring specific themes on my blog each month, I made it simple: I used words starting with the same letter as the month. Mad May, Jello Shot June, Jealous July, Anything Goes August, etc.

Then, when it came time to invite other authors to takeover my blog, I considered the words I’d chosen. Mad May, I decided, would focus on antagonists, such as whether it’s how authors write them or what made them tick. It’s my opinion that a great story needs a fabulous antagonist. Jello Shot June was another easy one – so many books involve drinking, whether it causes characters to make good or bad decisions, or one of the characters is a bartender or restaurant owner by trade. I gathered lots of new drink recipes from that feature.

And then there’s Jealous July. In truth, I presumed authors would feature characters from their books. Jealousy is a powerful emotion, and it’s a great motivator to move a story forward. In fact, jealousy is a key aspect of the book I am currently working on (Lightbearer #4). It’s an especially common aspect of romance novels.

While that is, indeed, what most of my guests will discuss this month, it is not what my very first guest chose to write about. And in truth, I’m super excited to bring you her guest post, because as I read it for the first time, I thought, I feel exactly the same way. Because she wrote about jealousy – her own jealousy. You know, reality. The way we have all felt (or do feel) at one time or another. It’s such a real post, so honest, and so raw. And I’m so proud she chose to let me publish it on my blog. With that intro, I bring you Sheri Williams, and her Jealous July guest post:

Today I’m going to talk about the dark side of being an author. Or even better, being an author who has a lot of friends who are authors. Friends who have sold more books. Or gotten signed to a really good publishing house. Or who have hit the top of the Amazon best sellers list. Friends who have done all that while I’m still plugging away, trying desperately to get people to see me standing next to them. Jealousy. It’s an ugly thing. Hell I don’t even like the look of the word. It stares at you, looking deep, and finding all those little black spots in your soul that you thought you had under control.

And no one talks about it. No one acknowledges that it’s normal. Cause it is. It’s an absolutely normal part of the human condition. We all try to fight it. We all try to deny it, but it’s there. Never going away. I’m not saying it’s good or cool. It’s not. But it’s not the worst thing in the world, either. I’m not a liar. I’m not a thief. I’m not a murder. But I am jealous. I want to be doing great. Selling books. Winning awards. Going to conferences. But right now, all I can do it keep working toward those goals. Because someday I will get there. And it will more than likely be with the help of those I am jealous of. Because I love them. And they are awesome. And despite my jealousy, I am also proud as fuck of them. Because they are doing it. Every day working toward the same goals.And I bet if you asked and they chose to be honest, they might admit to being a tiny bit jealous, too.

Jealousy PicAnd ya know what? I’m gonna own that shit. I am jealous. It doesn’t make me love you or respect them less. If anything it makes me work harder. And anything that makes me work harder is a good thing in my mind. And now it sounds like I’m saying jealousy is a good thing, and I’m not sure if that is true. But for me, in this one case, being jealous of my friends’ accomplishments is making me work harder so I can have those accomplishments, too, (not the same exact ones, that would be greedy) and those opportunities that come with being accomplished. So there. That’s my big secret. I love my author friends. But I’m jealous of their success. But, I’m not letting it eat at me and tear me down. I’m using it as a kick in the ass to get me to their level. So then maybe someone starting out will be jealous of me, too. And maybe I’ll extend the same hand my friends have given me and I’ll help someone out. Because that would be awesome! Don’t you think?

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Sheri Williams Author PicSheri Williams is an author who suffers from self diagnosed Author Multiple Personality Disorder. She started writing Romance, sweet and sexy, and has since started Gothic Horror, with a side project in Psychological Horror.

As well as being a writer, she is a wife, a mom, a geek. When not writing she can be found playing outside with her two daughters or binging on BBC shows on Netflix.

She is currently working on two projects for Booktrope’s new Forsaken Imprint, and a short that will be a part of Bewitching Desires, an anthology put out with some fellow Writing Wenches.

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.

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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

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.

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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?

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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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AmyQuinton

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/108235160756248116825/posts

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/amyqu11/amy-quinton-author/

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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Shore Feels Like Food with Annette Mardis

Thanks so much, Tami, for hosting me. My 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, dine on local seafood specialties, 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.

The Shore Thing

Like many of us, Danielle “Dani” Davidson, leading lady of The Shore Thing, Gulf Shore Book 1, is tired at the end of her workday at Gulf Shore Aquarium. As an education specialist, she’s on her feet all day, giving tours, interacting with guests, and in general teaching people about marine life. The last thing Dani wants to do when she gets home is cook a big meal. So she relies a lot on her trusty slow-cooker.

One of her favorite sources of easy dinner ideas is the Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook: Feasting with Your Slow Cooker by Dawn J. Ranck and Phyllis Pellman Good. Dani particularly is partial to this pizza rice recipe contributed by Sue Hamilton of Minooka, IL.

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Makes six servings

Pizza Rice 

2 cups rice, uncooked

3 cups chunky pizza (or pasta) sauce

2 ½ cups water

7-oz. can mushrooms, undrained

4 oz. pepperoni, sliced

1 cup grated cheese

 

  1. Combine rice, sauce, water, mushrooms, and pepperoni. Stir.
  2. Cover. Cook on low ten hours or on high six hours. Sprinkle with cheese before serving.

 

Dani likes her pizza rice with extra tomato flavor, so she adds a 14.5-ounce can or two of crushed or diced tomatoes. And for a little more oomph, she often supplements the recipe with black or green olives. Pizza rice can be a tasty side dish or a main course. And it’s a great contribution to a potluck meal or a party.

Dani is all for sharing her pizza rice with someone special in her life. But she vows to just say no to workplace romances after her first post-college job is soured by a messy breakup with a manipulative coworker at a fish hatchery. That’s just one reason she doesn’t trust any man with her heart, let alone one who swims with sharks for a living. So why can’t she get cameraman Evan Sanders out of her mind?

Evan is twice shy, too, after an alluring but self-absorbed colleague at the aquarium takes a bite out of his heart. Thought he’s dead set against dating anyone else he works with, he’s intrigued by Dani’s shyness and tempted by her intelligence and low-key sexiness.

Their attraction smolders until an unfortunate encounter with a stingray sends Dani to the emergency room and Evan steps up to help her through her recovery. The two also bond over the rescue of an orphaned baby dolphin. But will Evan’s vindictive ex-lover, his career ambitions, and Dani’s inhibitions tear the young lovers apart?

Marine biologist Monica Sims, the woman who trampled Evan’s heart, decides to mend her mean girl ways after her bad behavior makes her a pariah among her coworkers. She spends months reinventing herself as she seeks redemption.

A history of failed relationships leaves Monica leery of romantic involvement until she meets Cosby Williams, the new co-owner of Nauti-Toys Watercraft Rentals. Their story unfolds in Shore Feels Right, Gulf Shore Book 2.Shore Feels Right

When Monica finds out that Cosby is living on a steady diet of burgers, foot-long subs and pizza, she takes him to task for his unhealthy bachelor cuisine.

“That’s no way to eat,” she scolds.

“Good thing you came along or I might starve,” he teases.

“I’m serious. You need to treat yourself better than that,” she insists. “It doesn’t take much effort to stick a pork loin roast or a couple of chicken breasts into a slow cooker before you leave for work. Or just throw together a salad when you get home.”

“Salad? That’s chick food.” At her indignant look, Cosby grins and winks.

“So buy precooked chicken or beef strips to throw in with the greens if your inner carnivore can’t conceive of an evening meal without meat,” Monica suggests.

She invites Cosby over for dinner and prepares Asian-marinated baked chicken, which she describes as “nothing fancy, but very tasty.”

“You soak the meat overnight in soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and a little brown sugar,” she explains. “Then you bake it for forty minutes. So simple, even a marine biologist can do it.”

As a side dish, Monica serves her favorite veggie, green beans, which just happens to be Cosby’s preference on the rare occasions he eats something green. To spice them up, they drizzle some of the marinade over the beans.

Like most couples, Monica and Cosby get to know each other over a few good meals. They first dine together at the aquarium’s Gulf Breeze Café, where they order Asian chicken salads for lunch. Their first dinner is at a seafood restaurant called Captain Clem’s.

Cosby can’t believe Monica favors the place. The ramshackle exterior resembles an old bait and tackle shop, and the view doesn’t improve when they stroll through the front door. Crab traps, fishing nets, floats, rubber boots, and other work-worn gear cover the walls and hang from the ceiling, and most of the seating is crude picnic-style tables.

It’s not exactly a quiet, romantic interlude, but the food at least makes up for it. Cosby gobbles down a succulent pile of fried shrimp and clams, while Monica opts for broiled grouper.

As things heat up between the pair, Gulf Shore Aquarium responds to the stranding of a group of pilot whales. When a billionaire bachelor lends his private plane to the rescue effort, Monica catches his eye—and an obsession is born.

How will she cope with the unwanted attention? And will her past sins come back to doom her newfound happiness with Cosby?

~~~

 Well, what do you think? You had to know food would be involved in books based on the Gulf, right? I bet that pizza rice recipe would be delicious with shrimp as one of the toppings! Oh, and heads up: get to reading these two books, because I hear rumor number three is releasing this summer! Click HERE to check out Annette’s books on Amazon. And if you want to stalk her, the means are below. Enjoy your reading – and eating!

Connect with Annette

Annette Mardis

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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I hope you’ve enjoyed these Appetizing April posts. The next one will be April 27 – and will feature my latest release, Light Beyond the Darkness, Lightbearer #3. The hero and heroine meet in a restaurant, of all places. I’ll post an excerpt, for your reading pleasure. Until then, happy reading!

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