Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Stolen Kiss Beneath an Underground Waterfall #Romance

Welcome to the Scintillating Sunday blog hop where multiple authors share 8 paragraphs of their work that they believe captures the word 'scintillating.' Ready? Let's plunge into Proximity, book two of the Wanderlust romance adventure series. 

A peek inside...

"You need to stop saying my name like you're shocked that I want to kiss you." A fraction away, he looked her in the eye. "Am I that unappealing?"

"No, I just—"

"Isn't this a romantic setting? Just the two of us sitting in front of a waterfall in a secluded cave far beneath the surface of the earth? How many people do you think have kissed in this spot?" His lips were a whisper away from hers. "We could be the first."

Desire stirred deep in her gut. She slid her mouth against his, feeling like this exploration was more dangerous than any other adventure she'd ever dared. An electric current sizzled across her lips before zapping across the skin of her face. Even her hair tingled. Hands clenched against the cool rock shelf beneath them, she smiled against his mouth.

"Surprised?" he asked before teasing his tongue over hers.

"Shocked," she admitted.

"And here I thought my reputation preceded me." He sucked at her lower lip, hazel eyes gleaming with mischief.

"Oh, it definitely does, but that works against you, my friend." She laughed before he plunged his tongue deep into her mouth and made her forget her apprehension. She pushed his mask from the top of his head and gripped his wet hair as if her life depended on being close to him.

From the back cover...
Love sometimes hides in plain sight.  

Savannah is one of the boys—fun loving, adventurous, a general contractor, and dive master extraordinaire. There isn't much she takes seriously about herself, or at least that's the impression she likes to give off. Women often misjudge her based on her looks so she's gravitated toward a group of men who accept her 'as is'—her Scuba diving club.

Bill has known Savannah's wild side for years and has been comfortable playing the role of best friend. As part of the Dallas Divers, he's shared many adventures with the group from diving the Blue Hole in Belize to exploring the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. When the team heads out to Costa Rica for a series of cave dives, he knows something is off but can't justify his nerves.

Catastrophe happens shortly after their immersion in the cave. With the entrance blocked from an earthquake and separated from the rest of their team, Savannah and Bill are forced to find another way out while battling aftershocks, rising tides, and an undeniable attraction that they've ignored for too long. The question becomes, what's more dangerous...the earthquake or love?

**The Wanderlust Series consists of stand-alone adventure romance novels. Occasionally, characters from previous novels may make a cameo, but each story truly does stand on its own merits.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

My Intense Love Affair and the Rocky Journey to Happiness

I've been involved in a rocky somewhat hostile relationship that has evolved into the greatest love affair of my life. It took some work--a lot of self-evaluation and some brutal honesty--but now it's downright amazing. Breaking up was never an option.

For the ten years since my husband's death, people have hounded me about "moving on" with another man. It seems that's the only way I would appear healed in their eyes. I'm a romance author, after all, so what's the problem?

Well, I've been a little consumed by the relationship with myself.

I've beaten myself up for not being a good enough wife to my husband while he lived. What could I have done better? What did I not see? Could I have saved him?

I've abused myself for not being a better parent, even though I've been parenting for two. Why don't you know how to do everything? You're dropping the ball! You're too stressed out and irritable, how dare you be weak? 

I've chastised myself for gaining weight amidst the stress and business of being a solo parent on top of being a solopreneur. Doing it all alone isn't easy. Friendships suffered and disappeared. You are unloveable. You aren't worth anyone's time so deserve to be by yourself. Look at all those beautiful clothes in your closet that you can't wear--what is wrong with you? 

Oh, how nasty it became...the abuse never ended and came in the quiet hours when distractions were few and far between. So I worked to stay busy to avoid facing the silence that was never truly silent.

The relationship simply wasn't working. It was time for an intervention.

A lot of self-help books ranging from business management to time management, to meditation and spiritual quests, filled my bookshelves and my kindle. I took back the reins. I started to turn things around.

I loved my husband. We were young. I did the best I could and so did he. Forgiveness. 

My kids are now ambitious and kind young adults who I am proud to know. Satisfaction. 

My career has been built through chaos due to a singular focus on succeeding. No one can write seventeen books as an only parent and establish a thriving editing business without self-discipline and motivation. Self-respect. 

My health has suffered, yes, but I no longer need a wake up call to terrify me into getting it together. I'm prioritizing my time, respecting the sacrifices I made, and understanding that my self-worth isn't tied to a clothing size. Self-love.

I listen to the words I speak to myself and stop them if they are negative. I deserve better than to be treated like that by anyone--especially myself. If anyone else said those hateful things to me, I would have called them an asshole and kicked them out of my life!

I know the path I've traveled has been lined with potholes and goblins--and I know I am scarred from some of the battles I've lost along the way. Because I know better than anyone else how strong I am, how resourceful I've needed to be, how much I love the people in my life, then how dare I be my number one enemy?

If we don't advocate for ourselves, if we aren't our own greatest cheerleaders in the face of life's challenges, if we can't look ourselves in the mirror and appreciate how beautiful we are despite all the crap we've been through, then we are lost.

So, no, I am not remarried nor do I wish to be. I have been consumed with raising children, starting two businesses, scrambling to make ends meet, and repairing my relationship to self.

The greatest love of all, the one we will certainly die with, is the person dwelling in our own skin. Isn't that worth fighting for and nurturing?


Sunday, August 23, 2015

She Wants an Anonymous Fling, Love has Other Plans #RomanceNovels #AmReading

One week to forget...
One week to indulge in some wild fun adventure...
One week that changes her life forever...
Welcome to the Scintillating Sunday Blog Hop! Multiple authors are sharing 8 paragraphs of their work that they believe captures the word 'scintillating.' Fun, fun, fun! Today we're checking out an enticing tidbit from Anonymity, book one of the Wanderlust Series.


"Insatiable...I like it." His teeth gently tugged her lower lip.

"Best. Vacation. Ever." She kissed him with each word.

"On fire, I'm telling you." He dropped her wrists and smoothed his hands over her breasts. "You're like an inferno."

"Only with you." Curls danced in front of her eyes as she pulled him back for another kiss. "I'm not lying. If I'm on fire, it's because you found the fuse."

"That sounds like a bad song lyric. I think you've been exposed to Dave the Gringo's music too long, we'd better get you inside and away from his influence." He kissed her, not wanting to step away from the tree but knowing they were pushing the limits by staying here too long. Something stirred deep in his chest with her words, with the kiss, with this entire scenario.

She laughed against his mouth before dropping her legs from around him and sliding down his chest. He felt like the entire world would know what they'd been doing in the bushes. He laughed to himself as he stuffed her panties in his pocket. He had never had sex against a palm tree before and definitely never within yards of a group of people.  Exhilaration hammered through his heart.

She smoothed hair from his eyes. "You look like you've been having sex on the beach."

 "So do you." He turned them into an impromptu dance on the sand, his mouth clinging to hers in a slow kiss while he held her tight against his chest. 

From the back cover...

Alyssa McNeil is through with romance. In Belize on a solo vacation designed to make her forget that her ex is marrying someone else on New Year's Eve, she's determined to break free of her comfort zone. Meeting Luke Picket falls perfectly into her plans for indulging fantasy, letting go of inhibition, and having uncomplicated fun under the sun. Falling in love with him is definitely not on the agenda.

Luke Picket is more than happy to go along with her idea of a no strings, first-name only weeklong fling. He embraces his solo lifestyle and can't see that changing any time soon. When they find themselves trekking through the jungle and facing turbulent seas together, the feelings he'd fought so hard to avoid in his life start stirring in his closed-off permanent bachelor heart.   

But they'd agreed on anonymity, on a first-name-only-no-strings love affair, and neither wants to ruin the moment with unwanted declarations. Old beliefs are challenged. Doubts questioned. Will they stick to their deal and go their separate ways when the week is over? Or will the new year bring them a new attitude about love?

**Anonymity is book one of the Wanderlust Series, which is a series of romance adventure novels written as stand-alone books. In future series, some characters may make cameo appearances, but all are true stand-alone novels.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Happier than a Billionaire #BookReview #Memoir

My review of 

I'm a dreamer. I'm also someone who craves an adventure and enjoys exploring new places. Because of those things, I often daydream about selling everything I own, packing up my pets, and relocating to a tropical paradise where I can open a beach bar and chill with the tourists by night--write by day in a hammock.

The older I get--and I'm not that old in the big scheme, I know--the more the fantasy feels like a possibility. I've been following Happier than a Billionaire on Facebook along with several other ex-pat groups in Belize and Costa Rica. I mainly lurk and watch their discussions about the "real life" of living in such a place. Is it as good as it seems in my dreams?

Last week, I picked up the memoir by Nadine Hays Pisani called, Happier than a Billionaire, which is a memoir of her big move to Costa Rica. I couldn't have been happier myself for giving it a read. I enjoyed her descriptions of the country's magic and mayhem. She's honest about her reasons for giving up her career as a chiropractor and making the leap to becoming an expat. I felt myself laughing out loud at times with her descriptions of her husband--who I would love to meet in person--and the somewhat crazy characters she encounters on their journey. I teared up at times, perhaps because her observations about life touched something deep within my heart that I related to on core level. My one and only criticsm is that I felt there were too many recollections from the past that could have been shortened a bit or outright eliminated to keep the focus on the move. None of it took away from my enjoyment of the book, however, and I strongly recommend it to those of you who love a good laugh and enjoy living vicariously through others. I will definitely read the sequel.

Want to know more? Follow Happier than a Billionaire via their blog or Facebook page. And pick up the book! Not only is it funny, but it's also an education about immersing oneself in another culture.

Smashwords (for all other e-readers)