Wednesday, May 31, 2023

An unwilling shapeshifter -- #MFRWHooks #PNR #ShapeShifter

The Eyes of Bast Banner

Greetings and Happy Wednesday!

It’s time again for the MFRW Book Hooks blog hop. I’ve got an exclusive excerpt from my newly released paranormal erotic romance, The Eyes of Bast. Hope you like it!


Trust your heart. Follow your dreams.

When instinct tells Shaina to visit the feral cat trap she’s set in Central Park, she listens to that inner voice. The sleek black cat she finds has a terrible secret. Tom is an unwilling shape shifter, cursed by a sorceress who craved a human plaything. Shaina vows to defeat the vicious but seductive witch and save the man she believes is her soul mate—though it might mean losing him forever.

The Hook 

Thank God it was Sunday. Otherwise, I’d have had to call in sick. There was no way I was going to leave Tom alone in my apartment. I honestly had no idea what he’d do. Something told me I needed to keep him safe.

The creature who’d been my dream lover only hours previously crouched in a corner, his tense body compact, his black fur bristling. His wary gaze followed my every move, but he’d emit an ominous growl whenever I tried to approach him. I ached to touch him, to soothe him. He wouldn’t let me come any closer than about three feet.

Tom, please. It’s okay. It’s me—Shaina. You can trust me, you know that…”

His feral manner made me wonder, though, how much he could recall in his animal state. Did he in fact recognize me as his amorous partner from the night before? Or even as the woman who’d freed him and tended to his wound? Had fear and instinctive caution so overwhelmed his humanity that he viewed me as a potential threat?

Still, he’d been far friendlier before I’d learned his secret. Why had his behavior changed? He must somehow be concerned that I’d hurt him because of his dual nature.

In the end, I gave up trying to coax him. I knew from long experience that a cat’s stubbornness will wear out a human’s patience every time. Placing food and water bowls within the reach of his corner, I retreated to the far end of the apartment, curled up on the sofa, and picked up the mystery I’d been reading for the past few days.

I tried not to think too much of what I’d seen that morning. It was impossible, unbelievable, and yet I knew very well I hadn’t been asleep. “Don’t let your beliefs blind you to reality.” I could almost hear Gram’s voice. I didn’t believe that a man could turn into a cat—but I’d seen it happen. Unfortunately, it seemed the cat wouldn’t forgive me for that mistake. His rejection hurt more than I would ever have expected.

The long day wore on. Every now and again, I’d hazard a glance in Tom’s direction. Although he seemed uninterested in the kibble, I was heartened to see him taking a drink. Around five p.m., he slunk off to the bathroom to use the litter box, giving the couch a wide berth as he did so.

On the return trip, he stopped in the middle of the room, settled onto his haunches and stared at me.

What is it? How can I help you, Tom?”

Mrew.” He tilted his head toward the open Venetian blinds. I understood immediately, hastening to the window and pulling the cord to close them tight. I blinked in the sudden dimness.


I couldn’t quite interpret this vocalization. “Is that what you wanted?” When I took a step toward him, he backed away. My chest hurt—I wanted so much to run my hand along his back, smoothing and caressing his sleek black coat—but he still would not allow it.

Mrowr,” the feline repeated. He rose, paced in the direction of the bathroom then turned back to me, fixing those gleaming eyes on my face. “Mreeor.”

The room grew darker. I began to switch on the overhead light but stopped as I suddenly understood.

The sun had nearly set. And he didn’t want me to see him change.

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Be sure to visit the other authors participating in today's Book Hooks hop!

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

An honest invitation to a kiss? #HistoricalRomance #MarriageOfConvenience #MilitaryRomance @Jenna_Jaxon

Until I'm Safe in Your Arms cover


Can a wager to find a wife turn into a true love match?

Entered into a wager that he can wed within a week, Captain Alex Bancroft pursues the first pretty woman he meets: Miss Emma Washer. Their courtship proceeds at a furious pace, including a dalliance that might ruin them both. Before it can, Alex proposes and is stunned when Emma agrees to marry him. Alex desperately tries to keep word of the wager from his new wife, not knowing Emma has secrets of her own to keep.

As passion erupts between the newly wed pair, the circumstances of Emma’s past threaten to tear them asunder. Alex’s regiment is directed to sail to a place Emma dares not go.

She refuses to accompany him, leaving Alex with a devastating choice: leave England to fulfil duty to Queen and country or stay and revel in his newfound love for his wife?


He led her to the French windows and, with a strange little flutter in her stomach, Emma followed him outside onto the veranda.

The night air was soft and warm with a slight breeze that brought the faint scent of roses wafting from the nearby garden. Oil lamps suspended from the ceiling of the veranda at perfect intervals provided a gentle glow while still allowing for a shadowy, romantic atmosphere. The perfect setting to further her acquaintance with the captain.

They slowed to a stop halfway between the lamps, in enough shadow that Emma need not fear Captain Bancroft could see her face. Her cheeks were already hot from the knowledge of what she intended to do. Turning to gaze out over the manicured lawn, Emma released her grip on his arm and leaned against the railing. “It’s such a lovely night, isn’t it?”

The loveliest one I’ve ever seen.”

The strange timbre of his voice made her jerk her head toward him. He wasn’t looking out at the darkened vista she’d been peering at. His gaze rested squarely on her.

Emma’s heart beat so hard against her breast she feared he could hear it. But she couldn’t dwell on that. This was the chance she’d hoped for. She swayed toward him, tilting her head back so she looked directly into his eyes. “Shall we make it even better, Captain?”

Seeming much darker than their normal blue, his eyes widened, then his head lowered until his lips rested against her ear. “Are you merely flirting with me, Miss Washer, or was that an honest invitation to a kiss?”

About the Author


Jenna Jaxon is a best-selling author of historical romance, writing in a variety of time periods because she believes that passion is timeless. She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, Jenna has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all these elements into her own stories.

She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets--including Olive, an almost silent cat, Earl Grey, a very curious bunny, and a Shar-pei mix named Frenchie.




Instagram: passionistimeless

TicTok: @jennajaxon1

Jenna will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner. 


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Monday, May 29, 2023

Cover Reveal! Ripening Passion, by Adriana Kraft (@AdrianaKraft) #ComingSoon #EroticRomance @ExtasyBooks

Ripening Passion cover

Thanks to Lisabet for letting me show off our latest cover!

Cover artist Martine Jardin did a marvelous job placing the story in New York City and capturing our svelte, icy heroine and her nemesis.

Ripening Passion releases at Extasy Books next Friday and will be available at all vendors within a week after that.

Length: 254 pages, 75813 words

Publication Date: June 2, 2023

Genres: Erotic Romance, LGBTQIA, Contemporary Romance 

Tags: Menage, Bisexual, New York City, Later in Life

Heat Level: Four Flames

Pairings: MF, FF, FFF, FMF, MFM


Can Max melt the Ice Queen? Should he even try?

Claire Johnson’s dedication to sex—the cornerstone of her career—led her to help found the Center for Sexuality and Sex Practices. Now in her fifties, she knows the Center must keep pace with the rapidly growing Baby Boomer market, so she agrees to go back on camera for a series on sex and aging. But work with her nemesis?

Former English Professor Max Wilson has championed the cause of the Center ever since his now deceased wife sought the Center’s help to rekindle the nearly extinguished sexual flames of their relationship. He loves working on camera and welcomes the challenge to perform with the svelte but icy temptress.

Sparks fly immediately on and off camera. The jury is out on whether either Max or Claire can transform those sparks into a fire of sexual desire for their viewers—let alone for each other.

About the Author

Adriana Kraft is the pen name for a married pair of retired professors writing erotic romance and erotic romantic suspense together. We like to think we’ve broken the mold for staid, fusty academics, and we hope lots of former profs are enjoying life as much as we are.

Having lived in many states across the Midwest, we now make our home in southern Arizona, where we enjoy hiking, golf, and travel, especially to the many Arizona Native American historical sites.

Together we have published more than fifty romance novels and novellas to outstanding reviews. Whether readers open our romantic suspense or our erotic romance, they can expect characters they care about, hot sex scenes, and a compelling story.

Author Links


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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Charity Sunday: In Search of Safety – #CharitySunday #Immigration #LegalAssistance #Compassion

Charity Sunday banner

Conflict, poverty, famine, disasters, repression – there are many reasons why people migrate from their homes to another country. The media in wealthy Western countries love to showcase the tattered, dirty, desperate multitudes massed on the borders, ready to risk almost anything for the chance at a new life. A streak of paranoia runs through the official narratives about immigration. They’re all criminals. They’ll steal our jobs. They’ll infect us with disease.

Even if you reject these stereotypes, migrants and refugees pose significant practical problems, since they must be fed, housed and eased into society. Sometimes it seems as though it would be easier just to keep them out.

Immigration is a complex issue, not something that can be resolved with slogans. I’d like to see people take a reasoned, constructive approach that balances everyone’s rights and needs. Meanwhile, I try to remember that every one of those people at the border has a personal story. They’re not just a faceless mob.

As it happens, a shocking number of migrants are children or teens traveling on their own. Minors are even more vulnerable than adult migrants. They’re not intellectually equipped to deal with the intricate requirements of immigration law. They’re often physically fragile. They can be subject to human trafficking and other forms of exploitation.

The organization I’m supporting this Charity Sunday is quite specialized, focusing on the plight of these child migrants. KIND (Kids in Need of Defense) offers practical assistance to unaccompanied children seeking entrance to the U.S. This includes kids whose families are already settled in the States, who must navigate the immigration bureaucracy in an attempt to join them


KIND provides free legal counsel and representation during immigration hearings, detailed and up-to-date information on the latest laws related to immigration and asylum claims, and social services to meet pressing physical and emotional needs. KIND also works on the policy level to help craft laws that are both effective and compassionate, and cooperates with international partners in Central America, Europe and the UK.

Anyway, as I normally do on Charity Sunday, I will donate two dollars to KIND for each comment I receive on this post. My own grandparents were immigrants. What about yours?

As for my excerpt – I think I’ve already shared snippets from my refugee story. So, stretching the question of relevance (quite a bit!), I’ve got an excerpt from my erotic suspense novel Exposure, whose heroine, Stella Xanathakeos, is a first generation American, daughter of a Greek immigrant. Stella is an exotic dancer in Pittsburgh, who through no fault of her own witnesses a double murder. Now she’s a target herself. Unless she can unravel the web of lies that surround her, she may well be the next victim.

In this snippet, Stella disguises herself to attend the funeral of Tony Pinelli, the murdered mayoral candidate, in order to look for clues.


I start by pulling my hair into a tight bun, no easy task given how thick and wavy it is. I need half a package of bobby pins to keep the stray curls in place. Then, closing my eyes, I dust my head with talcum powder until my jet locks are a convincingly dull gray.

I put on a pair of black opaque stockings and a heavily wired black bra. I have to use a safety pin on the waistband of the skirt I bought at Salvation Army so that it doesn’t fall off. Next, I pull two bulky sweaters over my head, the outer one a rusty black. My arms feel like sausages, wrapped in the layers of padding, but when I slip on the suit jacket and button it up, the effect is just as I had imagined. I look like one of those stocky old women with barrel chests and no waist that are so common in the back pews of churches. The klutzy shoes, the cross, and a pair of my dad’s old reading glasses perched on my nose complete the picture.

I limp over to the mirror, noticing that my injury makes the disguise even more convincing. No sign of Stella the stripper, just a frumpy and pious old lady shuffling off to Mass. I need something to cover my head, I realize. I dig out a black chiffon scarf that I sometimes use as a veil in my act, and drape it over the gray-streaked bun. Perfect!

Fortunately the weather has turned cool again. As I lock the door behind me, I sniff the air. There’s a promise of rain. I go back and retrieve my father’s big black umbrella, which can double as a cane. Then it’s back to the corner to wait for the bus. An old lady on a pension wouldn’t be likely to take a taxi.

I had expected that Tony would be buried near Shadyside, his home territory. Instead, his funeral is taking place at Saint Benedict’s, in the old Italian district of Bloomfield. It’s lucky for me, actually. Saint Benedict’s cathedral apparently has its own cemetery adjoining the church. That way, I can easily attend both the service and the burial. I definitely want to see who stands at the edge of Tony’s grave.

Mass is already in progress when I slip into the sanctuary. St. Benedict’s is huge, a relic of the time when the faithful were more numerous than today. Still, it’s packed. Apparently, Tony had many people who loved him. There are probably quite a few who hated him, too, but who are here to keep up appearances. Even at the back, every pew is full.

Standing just inside the door is a familiar figure: Jimmy Ostermann. My heart quickens when I see him. I honestly don’t know whether this is from excitement or fear. Bending over my umbrella so that my face is in shadow, I shuffle right past him. He hardly seems to notice. His attention is focused on a row of men seated not far from the door, wearing identical black cashmere coats and, oddly, sunglasses.

My ankle throbbing, I make my labored way down the side aisle toward the nave. There are no seats here, either, but there’s a shrine to Our Lady of Sorrows in an alcove not far from the front. I kneel awkwardly in front of the life-sized plaster image of the Virgin and clasp my hands reverently below my chin. Hopefully, no one will notice me. However, if I turn my head slightly, I can see the priest, the coffin, and the occupants of the first few rows.

Francesca, of course, is right in front. Her extreme paleness, contrasted with her widow’s garb, make me think of an old black and white photo. As far as I can tell, she’s not crying. Her lips are pressed together, as if she is trying to keep herself from screaming.

There are others whom I don’t recognize, but who have enough resemblance to Francesca that I suspect they’re her family. There’s nobody who looks even remotely like Tony. I vaguely remember reading that he was abandoned at birth and brought up in a Catholic orphanage. Figures. He probably learned to rely on himself at a pretty early age.

My knees are starting to hurt. The stone church is cool and dank, but still, I’m sweating in my many layers of clothing. I begin to wonder if this whole thing was a good idea, when I have the sense that someone is looking at me. I bow my head, checking around as best I can with peripheral vision.

It takes me a few minutes to locate him. He’s in the shadows, to the left of the altar. It’s Bill the detective, Jimmy Ostermann’s office mate at the precinct, and he seems to be staring right at me. Of course, he’s far enough away that it’s hard to tell, but still I feel the hairs rising on the back of my neck. I make the sign of the cross, an old gesture from my childhood, trying to make my character more convincing. The familiar motions are oddly comforting, though I stopped believing long ago.

When I peek again in Bill’s direction, his eyes are elsewhere. My heart pounds against my ribs, under my padding. Come on, Stella. It makes sense that he’d be here. After all, Jimmy’s here. Jimmy told you the police planned to have a presence at the funeral. There are probably lots of other cops here. No reason to be alarmed. I try to reason with myself, but it’s several minutes before my breathing returns to normal.

The priest’s voice rises and falls, chanting the ancient ritual. The service reminds me of the Greek litany, when my mother used to take me to the onion-domed St. Nicholas’ Cathedral. I close my eyes, letting the music and rhythm of the Mass fill me. I remember the scent of incense and perfumed oil, the flickering of the candles, the bearded priest’s gentle hand on my hair when he blessed me. I couldn’t have been older than five.

Resolutely, I push the memories away. Memories will just make me vulnerable. I need to be clever and alert, to focus my attention on my enemies. Tony’s enemies. I gaze up at the pastel-hued statue of the Madonna, noticing the realistic tears on her pink cheeks.

* * * *

Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll visit the other blogs participating in today’s Charity Sunday hop. And please, please, leave a comment – for the kids seeking safety.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Villain as Mirror – #AmWriting #Villains #NewRelease

Image by Angela from Pixabay

I've been writing all my life, and publishing for more than twenty years, but I'm still learning how to write believable villains. It's all too easy to go off the deep end, to make them so loathsome that they're boring. Pure evil is just too predictable to be interesting.

When my crit partner Chris read my first attempt at a serious villain, Teodoro Raphael Remorros in my Mayan-themed paranormal Serpent's Kiss, he commented diplomatically, “He's a bit of a mustache-twirler, isn't he?” And Chris was absolutely on target. In version one of the book, Remorros was a cartoon. He oozed cruelty from every pore. No one would trust him for a minute – most certainly not my somewhat cynical heroine Dr. Elena. Despite his magical powers, readers would understand immediately that Remorros didn't stand a chance of vanquishing Jorge, the hero. And that removed a significant source of suspense and excitement.

Chris taught me that villains need to be ambiguous, with some flash of brilliance or beauty to balance their darkness. Even more important, villains need a reason to be bad. Their evil deeds must make internal sense, given their situation, goals or history. The most memorable villains believe their actions are justified.

In the most compelling stories, the villain in some way mirrors or resembles the hero (or heroine). The two characters have some fundamental traits in common. This sets up a tension, keeping the tale a bit off balance, because there's always some possibility that the hero or heroine might slip over the line and be lost to the dark side.

Consider Frodo Baggins, the heroic young hobbit in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. His mirror is Gollum, once a hobbit himself, but so corrupted by magic of the one Ring that he has become a vicious and tenacious wraith eaten alive by desire to reclaim that lost talisman. At the climax of that epic, Frodo, who has journeyed and suffered in the quest to destroy the Ring, finds he cannot bring himself to discard it. In fact, the Lord of the Rings saga features multiple reflecting pairs of characters, one “evil” and one “good”.

In The Eyes of Bast, I introduce a female antagonist, a centuries-old sorceress named Delphine Montserrat. She's malicious and cruel, but has a seductive presence that makes her difficult to resist.

My heroine Shaina Williams appears at first to be an ordinary woman, a compassionate animal lover who falls in love with the feline shape shifter whom Delphine created to be her familiar and her sexual plaything. As Shaina fights for her lover's freedom, however, it becomes clear that she's more like Delphine than she'd realized. She's the heir to her own hereditary magic. And like the sorceress, she's susceptible to the temptation of power and immortality.

Meanwhile, Delphine reveals her history as a victim of sexual and magical exploitation, a history that poisoned her heart and mind. My goal was to kindle some sympathy for the broken, world-weary witch, to demonstrate how evil begets evil.

I actually feel that Delphine is one of the more effective villains I’ve created. I hope that my readers agree.

I’ll give you a quick snippet that highlights Delphine’s paradoxical attractiveness.


I was refilling the litter boxes when Carla stuck her head in the door to the cat room. “Shaina, there’s someone asking for you.”

Be there in a sec.” I slipped the current box back into the relevant cage and went to wash my hands. The old black tom’s gaze followed me as I headed for the front office. “Showtime, kitty,” I murmured, wiping my hands on the apron and swallowing the lump of fear in my throat.

A woman leaned on the counter, trying to catch a glimpse of the back rooms through the half-frosted glass door. She was not particularly tall. She was casually dressed in muted shades of rust and brown. There was nothing obviously remarkable about her and yet once I caught sight of her slender form, I couldn’t look away.

She could have been any age between twenty-five and sixty. Her face was a perfect oval framed by a fashionable, shoulder-length sweep of auburn hair. Her flawless skin was the color of honey. Flustered, my heart pumping a mile a minute, I took in her pointed chin, delicate nose, and the hazel eyes that fixed me like lasers. When she favored me with a smile, I felt bathed in warmth.

Ms. Williams! Thank you for calling me.” She extended a graceful hand. Every finger, including her thumb, wore a ring with a different color stone. This ostentation was so at odds with the rest of her appearance that I hesitated for a moment before I accepted her offered hand. When her cool fingers brushed mine, a sense of well-being flooded my body.

Ah… Oh… That’s okay.”

Can I see Melchior, please? He has been gone for more than a week, and I was terribly worried. I’ve missed him desperately.”

Her concern sounded completely sincere. I wanted nothing more than to put her fears to rest. With a huge effort, I wrenched my mind back to the awful stories Tom had told me about her cruel lusts.

I…uh… Certainly, Ms. Montserrat. Follow me, please.”

I led the way to the cat room, acutely conscious of her stare drilling into my back. Blacky’s cage was toward the back. As we approached, he sat up and stared as if in amazement at the woman by my side. He looked dignified, even handsome, though nowhere near as beautiful as my Tom.

Delphine Montserrat hardly gave the poor cat a glance before turning on me. “This isn’t my Melchior! This is not the cat in your poster!” Her eyes flashed and her smooth brow wrinkled into a scowl.

All the delicious feelings she’d engendered by her mere presence fled. I was paralyzed with sudden terror.

Ah—I’m sorry, Ms. Montserrat, but it is.”

This mangy creature? What have you done with my Melchior?”

Nothing—nothing—this is the black cat we spoke about, I swear!”

Don’t lie to me, you little bitch. The picture on your poster—that cat looked nothing like this disgusting beast!” Her fingers curled into claws by her sides. She seemed to be contemplating raking her fingernails across my face.

The picture? Oh—that came from the Internet.” Ideas started flowing, though where they came from, I had no notion. “I…uh… I told you that I decided to put up notices after the cat had been adopted. I didn’t have Blacky’s picture and since he was gone, I couldn’t take a new one. So I found a photo that looked more or less the same—”

The same?” Her bitter laugh was edged with barely detectable desperation. I wondered whether her desire to reclaim Tom was solely for her own carnal satisfaction. Perhaps without her familiar, her powers were somewhat diminished. “Your Blacky is no more similar to Melchior than…than…than your homely black face is to my lovely visage.”

I hung my head in shame. My personal knowledge of her wickedness did nothing to assuage the misery I felt at having failed her. The weird duality of feelings persisted as she glared at me in frustration and wrath.

You’ve wasted my time for nothing, you stupid girl,” she said finally. “But I suppose it’s possible that someone might find Melchior in the future and bring him here to the shelter. If that happens, you must contact me immediately, do you understand?”

Ah… Yes, ma’am.” I felt as chastened as I sounded.

How many animal shelters are there in New York City, anyway?”

A dozen or so, I believe.”

She released an exasperated sigh. “I suppose I’ll have to visit them all. Get me a list. Names and addresses. Phone numbers too. Now.” She practically dragged me back to the front office and sat me in front of the computer. Carla sent a look of surprise in my direction as I obeyed the witch’s command. She knew I was not normally so compliant.

I searched for the information Delphine Montserrat required, printed it and handed her the sheet of paper. “Here you are, ma’am.”

Thank you.” Her voice had recovered its mellifluous, soothing tones. “I do appreciate your help, Shaina. Be sure to get in touch if you hear anything about my Melchior.”

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Friday, May 26, 2023

Perfectionism versus Practicality -- #AmWriting #SelfPublishing #Editing

Image by Free Fun Art from Pixabay

Like most writers, I’m a voracious reader. I’ve also edited a dozen or so anthologies by other authors. Hence I’m pretty sensitive to problems in other people’s prose: grammar errors, misspellings, typos, missing or inappropriate words, and so on. Even when I’m deeply engrossed in some fabulous story, I can’t completely ignore this kind of issue. It’s frustrating to encounter these slips. I’ll admit that they affect my evaluation of the writer. Indeed, more than once I’ve given up on books because of their persistent errors.

It’s a lot easier to see nits in someone else’s story, though. We tend to be a bit blind to typos and such in our own work, partly because we’re not just reading the text. We know what we intended to say, and all too often that’s what we see on the page.

Back before self-publishing, our publishers supplied dedicated editors to help us find and fix this sort of issue. That was part of deal – the publishing company supplied editing, a professionally designed cover, maybe even some marketing, in return for a significant chunk of the profits. Of course, these editors varied in their level of skill – I remember arguing with one woman who insisted that passive voice was ungrammatical – but it was still extremely helpful to have another set of eyes scrutinizing your prose. (On the other hand, now that I am reclaiming the rights to many of my traditionally published tales, I’m noticing nits that the editors missed.)

When you move to publishing your work directly, though, you’re on your own. Obviously you can pay for a professional editor, but given that I am unwilling to go into the red with my writing business, that’s not something I can afford. So I read, and re-read, edit and re-edit. When I can, I run my works in progress through the Storytime critique group, where we have a number of very sharp-eyed members. I think my books are fairly clean. (In terms of errors, not the sexual content!)

But I can’t claim they’re perfect.

Ignorance is bliss. As long as I don’t know about the errors, I can pretend they don’t exist. The other day, though, as I was preparing an excerpt for a blog post, I noticed two ugly typos in the same paragraph. I fixed the problems in the post, of course. Now I’m wondering what I should do about the book itself.

Since the title is self-published and only available as an ebook, it’s not a huge amount of work to upload new manuscripts to Smashwords and Amazon. There will of course be a lag before the new version is available. And anyone who bought the book before the correction may notice the error. Still, I tell myself that this is what I should do, that I owe it to my readers.

Suppose, though, that after I do this, I happen across another nit. Should I upload yet another version? When do I stop? Is it feasible for me to aspire to a perfect manuscript (from an editing perspective)?

Do other readers notice these bugs?

I’m in a quandary here, balanced between perfectionism and practicality. I have more than sixty self-published titles currently available. I also have a very demanding day job. I can’t spend hours every day editing and uploading.

But I hate the idea that readers are reacting the way I do when I hit errors – shaking their heads and thinking that I really don’t care.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Join us for Charity Sunday, 28 May 2023! #CharitySundaySignup #Altruism #Marketing

Forget Me Nots
Image by Mariya from Pixabay

Since 2017, I’ve been devoting the last Sunday in each month to a post which features some worthy cause. Often, other bloggers join me in this effort, turning the event into a blog hop. This month’s Charity Sunday blog hop will take place on Sunday the 28th of May.

Charity Sunday is a meme designed to give authors and bloggers a chance to give back to the world—as well as, hopefully, to attract new readers.

How does it work? Each participant selects a favorite charity. Before
the date, you should prepare a blog post that: 1) talks about the charity and why you support it; 2) provides a link to the charity; 3) includes an excerpt from one of your books; 4) includes the code to show links to other participating blogs.

It’s fun if you can make the excerpt relate somehow to your chosen charity, but this isn’t required.

For every comment left on your post, you commit to giving some amount to the relevant charity. The specific charity and the amount to donate are up to you. You can set an upper limit to your donation if you want.

If you’d like to participate in the next Charity Sunday
on April 30th, just sign up using the Linky List below. Please be sure that the link you enter will lead directly to your Charity Sunday post, not just to the home page of your blog.

I’ve created a new banner image for 2023. You can download it from here:

For more detailed instructions, go here:

For an example
post, check out this link from my last Charity Sunday:

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Not a typical guy from Wisconsin – #99Cents #LustyMonthOfMay #MFRWHooks

Lusty Month of May banner

It’s Wednesday again, time for another round of the MFRW Books Hooks blog hop. I’m sharing a snippet from my multi-partner erotic romance Incognito: Secret Lives, Forbidden Loves. This full length novel, usually $4.99, is only 99 cents as part of my Lusty Month of May celebration.

In case you missed my earlier post, I’m also giving away a $25 bookstore gift certificate. To enter the drawing, just complete a short survey here (only four questions):

If you’re on my VIP email list, your entry counts twice. Want to join? Nothing is easier!



During the day, Miranda Cahill works diligently on her doctoral thesis. At night, she has sex with strangers. Her secret life explodes when she realizes her masked partner at a kink club and the charismatic colleague courting her are in fact the same person – the one man who can teach her to accept her diverse desires, as well as to trust her heart.

The Hook

Mark pushed open the screen door at the stroke of eight. She saw him before he noticed her, and she definitely liked what she saw. Mark was clearly oppressed by the heat, as much as she was. He wore a loose Hawaiian print shirt, shorts, and sandals. Normally Miranda found men in shorts unappealing. However, Mark’s bronzed, muscular calves and thighs were more than attractive. At the sight of so much of his flesh, her stomach fluttered crazily. She waved, and he hurried toward her, pushing his way through the crowd.

Miranda, you look fantastic,” he said, hugging her. She returned his embrace, enjoying the brief sensation of his arms around her. He released her quickly, apparently striving for a fraternal tone.

Thanks. I could say the same about you.”

Well, I’ll have you know, this is a real Hawaiian shirt, not some cheap replica. I bought it on a surfing trip to Maui three years ago.”

You surf? Not a typical hobby for a guy from Wisconsin.”

Mark looked her squarely in the eye. “Well, I’m not a typical guy from Wisconsin.”

Miranda was flustered by his intensity. “Well, I’m not sure that I’ve ever met anyone else from Wisconsin, so for now you’re my Wisconsin archetype.”

Their laughter defused the strangeness of the moment.

Before long they were seated, and had ordered, Mark requesting the spiciest dish on the menu. “Compared to Thai food,” he commented with a laugh, “Mexican food is mild.” The waitress brought Miranda another tart, salty margarita, incredibly refreshing after the sweltering day. Mark took a few swigs of his beer, then held the condensation-dewed bottle up to his forehead.

So, weather hot enough for ya?” Mark drawled, adopting a Midwestern yokel accent.

This is bizarre. It’s only May and it feels like July. I hate to think what July will be like.”

Well, who cares, we’ll be in cool, foggy London in July.”

Miranda sighed. “Maybe you’ll be in London. As you may recall, the AML rejected my submission. I’ll be toiling away here, in boiling Cambridge.”

Mark grabbed her hands unexpectedly. “Didn’t Harold tell you?”

No. Tell me what?”

He wants you to go to London and present his research. He doesn’t feel like making the trip.”

Really? You’re not pulling my leg?”

No, really, I was just talking to him about it today. He was looking for you, to discuss the paper, but he couldn’t find you in your office.”

No, thought Miranda with a twinge of guilt, because I was in the library, playing with myself. She forced her attention back to her companion.

So Dr. Scofield is really sending me to London?” Miranda thought her face would split, her smile was so broad. “I can hardly believe it. I wanted to go so badly!”

He told me that he’s also arranged for you to sit on a panel discussing Victorian erotica. You should be getting a formal invitation from the panel moderator soon. So you see, you’ll have the chance to expound on your theory after all.”

Miranda felt deliriously happy. Impulsively, she grabbed Mark’s hand and squeezed it. “And you’ll be there, too?”

Mark looked devilish. “I will indeed. And I’ll show you the many faces of London, as I promised.”

There was another potent moment of silence. Miranda tried to take her hand away. After a few seconds, Mark released it, smiling into her eyes. She reflected that she had known Mark only a week or so. He kept hinting that there was more to him than what she saw. The thought of having him as her guide to London’s underside filled her with nervous anticipation.

Awkwardness was averted by the arrival of their food. Their dinner conversation was light and comfortable. Miranda found that she was not giving it her full attention. She could not help watching Mark, his expressive brown eyes, his full lips, his extravagant hand gestures as he described some event in one of his lectures. I want him, thought Miranda, joy surging at the realization. I want him, and I’m not afraid.


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