Animation by Kayelle Allen at The Author's Secret

Monday, December 17, 2018

A Christmas Gift from Me to You #free brand new short story - Christmas week only

Diane and Roger are "empty-nesters" and the prospect of another dull, quiet Christmas does not exactly fill them with the joys of the festive season, until Roger has an idea to invite a dozen strangers to spend Christmas day with them.  

If you would like to read this short Christmas tale completely free, please visit my website, which contains a link to email me directly, and I will be happy to send it to you.  Don't forget to let me know your preferred e-format.  This story is not available anywhere else.

And hurry.  This free offer will only last during Christmas week.

Happy reading.  I wish all my readers and friends a Joy-filled Christmas and a Happy and Successful New Year.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Read Lights Out in The Expanding Universe #SpaceOpera #NewRelease by @KayelleAllen

What if today was "lights out?"

Read Lights Out in The Expanding Universe #SpaceOpera #NewRelease by @KayelleAllen
If you knew this was your last day to live, what would you do? Would you face the end with a clear conscience? Would you fight for one more day?
Look for that person you wronged and make it right? Run away? Turn and fight? What would you do?

In Lights Out by Kayelle Allen, the hero knows his end is near. Instead of running, Tornahdo makes a choice. He will face death with a clear conscience and the knowledge that his death will serve mankind. He will join...

He can save mankind. After he does one important thing. Die.

Join the Ghost Corps, they said. You'll live forever, they said. You'll save mankind, they said. They didn't say that to do it, first he had to die.

When Tornahdo signs on the dotted line, he puts his life into the steady hands of the mighty Ghost Corps. Three grisly deaths and three agonizing resurrections later, he's assigned duty on Enderium Six.

He's facing his most dangerous mission yet, the very reason the corps exists.

Do they expect him to win? Fat chance. Tornahdo and his team are already dead and this mission is codenamed "Lights Out." No, there's more to this than he can see.

To discover the truth, he must face an unbeatable, unkillable enemy, and this time--somehow--find a way to keep himself alive...

Excerpt, Lights Out by Kayelle Allen

The air reeked of antiseptic and starch stiffened the pillowcase. If only the mind-numbing jabbering would stop.

Tornahdo pried open his eyes. The flattened blood bag above him, stenciled equipment and gray walls screamed military hospital.

He'd died. Again.

Spanish curses slipped out. His abuela would've taken a switch to him. He made the sign of the cross and kissed his fingertips.

After yanking the tube out of his arm, he pressed a thumb over the entry point. Thankfully, this time, he wasn't writhing on the floor in agony. Well, not yet.

A faceless android in a Ghost Corps uniform loomed over a bank of equipment displaying Tornahdo's name and vitals. First impression was right. Military hospital.

The weapons-grade yapping continued.

"Did you hear?" a youthful voice bragged. "He killed six of 'em last night."

"Yeah, but they don't stay dead. They never do."

"If Ultras didn't come back to life, their plasma wouldn't bring our own people back."

The transfusion of enemy blood healed the hole in Tornahdo's arm in seconds. He thumbed off the red smear and rolled over on the gurney.

An open door led to a sink and toilet built to let gravity do its work. Which meant this was a planet. You hadn't lived until you were in space, floating in zero gravity while your body's final twitches sent your corpse spinning.

Notices on the wall confirmed this was San Xavier in the Colonies of Man. Same place he'd bought it the first time.

This was getting old.

Lights Out
part of the Science Fiction/Space Opera anthology
The Expanding Universe Vol 4
edited by Craig Martelle
Available Sept 17, 2018
Exclusively on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited

Peek Inside Lights Out

Go behind the scenes with the world and characters of Lights Out with an exclusive illustrated PDF book. Nothing to sign for or opt in to get. Just click and read:
Read Lights Out in The Expanding Universe #SpaceOpera #NewRelease by @KayelleAllen

About Kayelle Allen

Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi and Space Opera with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She's a US Navy veteran who's been married so long she's tenured. She is the author of seven books, three novellas, and multiple short stories.

Kayelle's Contact Information

Amazon Author page
Join one of Kayelle's reader groups and get four free books right away
Buy link for Lights Out

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Digital Marketing: An Author's Best Friend? by Guest Blogger Nicole Allen

Many authors have numerous story ideas running through their mind—but they don't know how to market themselves in this day and age. How can an aspiring author rise above the ranks in a digital world? Digital marketing may be an author's new best friend.

The written word remains one of the powerful forms of media until now. Even with the existence of photos, audio, and videos, nothing sends a message across more efficiently than words. This is why the world constantly needs authors of different kinds—authors of books, poems, articles, prose, among many others.

Image courtesy of
The writer's mind is unlike any other--even with the development of artificial intelligence, there's still no skill that can compare to the writer's ability to weave thoughts and feelings and put them into a string of words with such beauty and power. Now, more people discover that they have this talent and wish to share their writings with a bigger audience.

The author's dilemma

Many authors face the same dilemma—they have the desire to launch themselves as self-published writers, but they don't have the foundations to begin with. They don't know how to promote themselves, or find an audience that would appreciate their work. In this scenario, it is important for any author not just to master their craft. It is also essential for them to understand the basics of digital marketing to succeed in getting recognized.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing, explained simply, is a set of techniques that authors can use to promote themselves online. Now that information is best accessed on the internet, businesses and professionals use the power of internet promotion to get more clients, bring in a larger audience, and to rake in more customers.

As an author, you can also utilize digital marketing to find more readers for your work. We will be discussing the two main techniques for digital marketing.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Image courtesy of
Search engine optimization or SEO is one of the main ways to get readers for your work. Have you ever tried to input a phrase on Google and seen a list of websites that seemed to match the phrase you were looking for? Most likely you clicked on the top three links that you found. These websites have utilized SEO strategies to become the top link during your search. If you're ever wondering what kind of tactics are currently being used and implemented you simply need to look at some highly competitive niches. Take a deeper look into the gold IRA niche, addiction niche or the car insurance niche. These types of businesses have lot of money set aside for research and development and often times are at the cutting edge of SEO R&D.

SEO is comprised of these processes:

      Content creation: This is the process of building content for your website. In order for potential readers to find you, you need to create content that matches the keywords that they might be looking for. An example would be making a blog post about "romance novels" or "children's book about being thankful". It is important to use these keywords as you create your content. As you do this, there is a higher chance that you will get ranked at search engines.

      Link building: This next process is creating links within your website, and creating content that links back to your author website. Link building is important because it helps search engines crawl through your website to understand it better. The better your website is understood, the more chances it will also be ranked in the search engines. To perform link building, you need to link to other articles or content within your website as you make blog posts. You can also ask to guest post in other people's websites and asked to be linked back to your website. This strategy also helps in your ranking.

The continuous process of content creation and link building is essential if you want to promote yourself as a budding author.

Social media marketing

Image courtesy of Green Tornado
Another source of potential readers is through social media. At present, there are 2.62 billion users who are constantly checking their social media. One way to leverage this as an author is to promote yourself using a variety of popular social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Similar to SEO, you can also post useful content in your social media accounts to attract an audience. You can also post links that lead to your website through these social media accounts. When you have a large following in your social media accounts, the likelihood of your audience clicking through your links will be higher. Alternatively, you can also pay for sponsored posts where your ad will appear for with targeted interests in your niche as an author.

Tips for Digital Marketing as an Author

Do proper keyword research.

Image courtesy of
If you are a budding author, it may not be wise to use your name as a keyword to target when you are right keywords will also increase the possibility that people will land in your website.
writing blog posts. It may be best to use popular but low competition keywords to use. There are apps that can help you understand what people are searching for, such as Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush. Finding the

Post consistently and regularly.

It is also important to have a posting schedule both in your website and social media. Letting your audience know that they can expect you to always be around also keeps them hanging around for more. Search engines can also detect websites that regularly post content. When crawlers notice that you put fresh content consistently, they will rank your websites better.

Be engaging with your audience.

Sure, you may have caught you audience's attention, but it is also essential to keep them interested. As an author, it is important to always engage your audience with interesting content, respond to questions, and to understand what they want. Interacting with your audience gives you a better feel of what direction you should go as an author.

It is possible to succeed

The questions most authors ask when overwhelmed with SEO and social media strategies is "Will I succeed?" The simple answer is "Yes!" as long as authors are always willing to adopt to changing technologies and techniques that affect their profession.

About the Author

Nicole is a freelance writer and educator based in Michigan, and believes that her writing is an extension of her career as a tutor,  since they both encourage learning and discussing new things. When she isn’t writing, you might find Nicole running, hiking, or swimming. She has participated in several 10K races and hopes to compete in a marathon one day.

Disclosure: The author has links to specific organizations/companies in the article ,which are in no way affiliated with this website or its owner.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Congratulations @JennyTwist1 - voted 2018 Top Female Author

Regular readers of my blog will know by now how much I admire the stories of my good friend and fellow author, Jenny Twist, so they will understand me wanting to shout out a few words of congratulations to her on her recent success.  In fact, I shouted so loudly, I managed to rouse her from her beautiful idyll in Spain, and persuade her to come and tell us a bit more about her award-winning book, 'All in the Mind'.  

Welcome Jenny, and many congratulations on your win.  Before we talk about the winning novel, do tell us about the competition, how you came to enter it, and your reaction when you heard the news.

My very good friend, Tara FoxHall, did a radio interview for TheAuthors’ Show and told me that as well as doing interviews, they were running a top female authors competition. You couldn’t enter yourself but had to be nominated and it was FREE. So naturally I wrote to all my friends asking if they would be prepared to nominate one of my books. It turned out they all were (I have some lovely friends) and between them they nominated all my books. I also nominated all my own favourite authors.
So I duly filled in all the forms they sent me and then forgot all about it. On Monday morning Tara emailed me to say I’d won. I thought she was joking. I’ve entered so many competitions and never got further than the shortlist before. So thank you so much, Tara.

What a great friend!  All in the Mind is a beautiful story and a worthy winner.  When I read it, I described it as 'a sweet and haunting feel-good story, which will immerse you totally in its fictional world and leave you feeling deeply satisfied'.  Would you like to outline the story in more detail for us.

All in the Mind is the story of Tilly, who wakes up from a dream of her youth, dancing in the street on VE Day, to discover she is in her 80s and has been suffering from Alzheimers. Miraculously a new treatment has restored her memory and she wonders if it can be applied to her beloved husband, Johnny, who has had a stroke. But the treatment has an interesting side effect. Soon she realises she is gradually getting younger.

It's a fascinating idea.  I'd love to know what inspired you to write this.

Years ago I read about an old folks’ home where they did the experiment of making the resident’s environment like that of their youth. I can’t remember where I read this or what they were attempting to achieve but I do remember that one surprising result was that the subjects’ hair darkened.

I’ve had this idea lurking in the back of my mind ever since. What if you carried the experiment to its logical conclusion?
Spookily only the other night I caught the tail end of a ‘Horizon’ programme. They were doing an experiment with old people – surrounding them with things from their youth and treating them as if they were still young. Result, they became fitter, their cognitive ability improved and, to the amazement of the scientists, even their eyesight and hearing improved! Maybe this isn’t science fiction but science fact.

Will you share an excerpt with us?

“What? This weekend?”
They were in the hospital cafeteria; Tilly leading the way, looking for a free table, Johnny following on behind with a tray of tea and cakes.
“I'm being posted next week and I don't know when I'll get another chance.”
Tilly found a table and sat down, placing her bag carefully between her feet.
Johnny placed the tray on the table and sat opposite.
“I'm supposed to be on duty,” she said.
“Supposed?” Johnny began, taking a mouthful of tea. He spluttered, but managed manfully to swallow it.
“For f – heaven's sake,” he exclaimed, suppressing the more robust army oath which had risen to his lips. “What on earth is this?”
Tilly smiled. “The general consensus amongst the staff is that it's the floor sweepings from the tea warehouse, but some of us think it comes from a less salubrious place – a stable, for example. Of course,” she mused, “its unique flavour is enhanced by making it with lukewarm water and leaving it to stand for at least twenty minutes.”
“Jesus,” Johnny muttered under his breath, afraid the other customers might hear him blaspheming, “It's worse than the stuff they give us in the NAAFI.”
“You should try the cakes,” Tilly said sweetly.
Beneath the merry banter, she was in a terrible stew. She was terrified of meeting Johnny's parents. She saw them in her mind's eye – his father, stern and forbidding with a military bearing and mutton chop sideburns, looking, now she came to think of it, very much like Kaiser Bill - his mother very stiff in bombazine, her grey hair piled on top of her head, a lorgnette held before her piercing grey eyes – both of them scrutinizing her with obvious disapproval.
She found herself tracing the rings on the table left by countless tea cups and wondered how long she could postpone the fateful meeting. Her instinct was to put it off as long as possible. There was no way they could possibly find her acceptable. She had been foolish to even consider it. The minute they met it would be all over for her and Johnny. They would put a stop to it and look around for a more suitable daughter-in-law.
“I can't wait to get home and have some real food for a change.”
“What? Tilly said, startled out of her thoughts.
“Real food, you know. Fresh eggs, proper meat, butter.”
She fixed her eyes on his face, searching to see whether he was joking. He wasn't.
“Fresh eggs,” she repeated in reverential tones.
Suddenly they were sitting in a circle of silence. Tilly realised that the customers at the nearby tables were all looking at them with an identical hungry look. She could feel the same expression on her own face. It wasn't that they were starving exactly, the ration was adequate, but that was all it was and everyone craved more interesting food.
“Yeah.” Johnny seemed entirely unaware of the effect he was having. “I can't wait to get my teeth round a nice pork chop or a leg of chicken.”
Tilly felt her mouth water and was afraid she might begin to dribble.
“How come?” she whispered.
Johnny looked startled for a moment. “Well, the farm, you know.”
“I didn't know your parents were farmers,” Tilly said, the image of Kaiser Bill wavering somewhat.
“No, not at all.” Johnny shook his head. “It's just a home farm, you know. Attached to the house. Just for the family. We don't sell the produce or anything.” He hesitated. “Although I expect my mother does swaps and things. She's very good at organising.”
“So what have you got on the farm?” Tilly's mouth was now very dry and she took a long drink of the odious tea. Johnny put out a hand, too late, to stop her.
“Don't drink that! I'm convinced it's poisonous.”

Wonderful stuff, Jenny.  In fact I'm going to re-read All in the Mind immediately.  As always, it's been a real pleasure to host you on my blog, and thank you so much for taking the time to share your great news with us.

Buy Links for 'All in the Mind' 

About the Author:

Jenny Twist was born in York and brought up in the West Yorkshire mill town of Heckmondwike, the eldest grandchild of a huge extended family.

She left school at fifteen and went to work in an asbestos factory. After working in various jobs, including bacon-packer and escapologist’s assistant (she was The Lovely Tanya), she returned to full-time education and did a BA in history, at Manchester and post-graduate studies at Oxford.
She stayed in Oxford working as a recruitment consultant for many years and it was there that she met and married her husband, Vic.
In 2001 they retired and moved to Southern Spain where they live with their rather eccentric dogs  and cat. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, knitting and attempting to do fiendishly difficult logic puzzles.
Jenny's published works include: Take One at Bedtime, Domingo's Angel, All in the Mind, An Open Letter to Stephen King, The Mantequero series, The Owl Goddess, For the Love of a Child, Doppelganger, Flipside, Tales from the Dark Side and Six Tales of Christmas.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Released Tuesday: Worth the Risk. A sizzling new title from @JLoweryauthor

Hello peeps, Jennifer here to rock your military romance socks off!  My new release, Worth the Risk, Book #2 in my Wolff Securities Series, is available now for pre-order—Woot! It will release March 20th so get your orders in now! 
If you haven’t read the first two books, no worries, these are standalone as well as part of a series—although I do hope you’ll read them all ;) The Wolff brothers are a tight-lipped bunch but I managed to get them talking long enough to write their books, lol, so the more support the better!

A friend and author asked me why the hero of this book had me falling in love with him. A great question and one I am happy to answer here for all of you. Kell Wolff, the hero of Worth the Risk, was one of the most forth-coming Wolff brothers, even if he didn’t say much, lol. I knew from day one he was running—literally—from his past and the woman who tore his heart out. He was a fun mix of thrill-seeker and loyal, the one you wanted watching your six. He had kind of a warped sense of humor his brothers don’t care for, but Kell gets a kick out of needling them. He was kind of dark, but not in a tall, dark and brooding way. More, haunted. And I’m a sucker for the strong, silent types. He did manage to surprise me at the end of the book—sorry, no spoilers here—and I was so touched I fell for him all over again. I enjoyed watching Kell come to life and I hope you do, too!

If you’d like to read Kell’s story, click on this link: Amazon
If you would like to read the first two books, Maximum Risk and Not Without Risk please go to my website HERE for purchase links.
P.S. The first book in the series, Maximum Risk, is on sale for .99 cents for a limited time!


He’s a risk-taker…
Private security specialist, Kell Wolff, lives life on the edge. Falling for CIA agent, Shea Morrissey, fit his risk-taking lifestyle. Until she walked away without as much as a goodbye. Now, four years later she’s in trouble and needs his help, but the thought of seeing her again risks having his heart ripped out of his chest a second time. But Shea’s agenda coincides with his own so he can’t say no.
She’s the biggest risk of all…
Shea Morrissey has gone off the grid in pursuit of the man responsible for the death of her sister. Determined to take Ramil Diakameli down, she’s given up everything. Including the man she loved. Now, she’s in danger, her mission in jeopardy and the only person she can trust to help her is the man she walked away from. In order to survive, she and Kell must fight side by side and put their past to rest so they can work together.

Copyright ©2018 by Jennifer Lowery

     Suddenly more gunshots rang out. Men started falling around them. Kell pulled his K-Bar out of the chest of one man and let him crumple to the ground. Their saviors in robes and sandals advanced on them, bleeding and battered, but alive.
            He turned to see more villagers behind them. They looked terrified, shocked.
            But it was Shea who he ran to. Blood covered her from head to toe. Or so it seemed to his addled brain. He couldnt think straight. Could barely stand. Something was wrong with his legs.
            He watched Shea crumple to the ground and reached out to catch her. He did, but his strength had sapped away and he dropped to his knees, Shea in his arms. He stared down at her white face, willing her to open her eyes. But, she didn’t.
            Terrified hed lost her he pulled her to his chest and toppled over as everything went black around him.

Author Bio:

New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer Lowery is a romantic at heart. She believes that happily ever after is only the beginning of her stories. And the road to that happy ending is paved with action, adventure, and romance.
She debuted her first book in 2012 which made her dreams of being a writer come true, followed with her SEAL Team Alpha series and loves her job as much today as she did then. She is delighted to bring you stories from the heart and hopes you enjoy reading them as much as she did writing them.

Connect with Jennifer:

Read more about her books on her website:
Please "like" her Facebook author page!
Sign up on her website with your email and never miss another update from Jennifer:
Join Jennifer’s Street Team:
Love my books? Want to receive news, releases, giveaways, and more directly to your inbox? No spam, just the info you want to know!
Sign up with your email today and dont miss out on news from me!

Thank you for having me today, Manic Scribbler!!  I just want to send out a big THANK YOU to all my readers out there! Without you I wouldnt be here. My wish is to one-day meet each and every one of you so I can personally thank you for your generosity and support! 
All my best, 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Here at last! A great new #romance #chicklit from @StacyJuba

Do you love sweet romance novels that make you laugh? Then you'll want to check out Stacy Juba's brand new chick lit novel, Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty, the second book in the Storybook Valley series. The book was released March 5, and while it's a follow-up to the popular Fooling Around With Cinderella, both novels can also be read as stand-alones. Come discover Storybook Valley, a fictional theme park in the Catskills of New York. If you love small town romance with humorous characters, theme parks, fairy tale fun, and amazing love stories, then Storybook Valley will be your new favorite series.
Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty funny chick lit
This Sleeping Beauty isn’t sure she wants to wake up…
Dance instructor Rory Callahan likes to play it safe. When she meets Kyle, he’s impulsive, persistent, and her exact opposite. He’s pushing her to tango way past her comfort zone and keeping Rory on her toes more than twenty years of dance teachers ever had.
Unfortunately, he’s the grandson of her family’s arch-rival and she doesn’t want to disappoint them. After all, her parents imagine her as a proper princess - hence her namesake Aurora, AKA Sleeping Beauty. Complicating matters, Rory’s also dealing with a surgeon boyfriend who’s perfect for her (sort of), an obnoxious boss, and desperate dance moms. Kyle wants to change her whole life, but Rory doesn’t like the stakes. After all, princesses are the ones who get the happy endings. . .aren’t they?

Twilight had descended over the strip mall which also contained a pizza place, children’s art studio, New Age shop, bakery, and a consignment store with identical brick facades. A long sidewalk connected the storefronts. Rory’s phone chirped and she scanned a text as she strolled through the parking lot. A message from her older brother Jake, who lived in Maine.

Happy 25th. What new rose crap did you get this year?

Instead of making her chuckle, his joke elicited a sigh. She missed Jake and his toddler Quinn, but he never came home anymore thanks to a stupid fight with their parents. They went ballistic after he got a girl pregnant and accused him of ruining his life. Jake and the mother broke up, not surprising since she was a total flake, but he got an apartment a couple blocks away from her to be near his daughter. His absence meant he couldn’t take over the theme park, leaving room for Dylan to step forward.

Heading toward her car, she replied: Don’t know yet. I’m on my

Augh! Rory stumbled over something and toppled to the ground, her phone sailing through the air. Her right hand slammed against the pavement, and pain seared through her. Sitting up, she glared at the object that had blocked her path. A spiky creature in a plastic carrier glared back at her.

Rory blinked. She could accept a black cat crossing her path, but she owed her unceremonious spill to a needle-infested rodent?

“Who leaves a porcupine in the middle of the parking lot?” she demanded.

“Who trips over a huge animal carrier? Oh, right, someone who’s texting while walking.” A brown-haired guy in a khaki zookeeper uniform and boots loomed over her. She stiffened at his words until she noticed the dimples sprinkled with cinnamon freckles. He wasn’t mad, just amused. “And it’s not a porcupine. It’s a hedgehog.”

“What’s the difference? It was still in the middle of the parking lot.”

He crouched beside her. “For starters, hedgehogs have shorter quills that can’t easily come off their bodies, while a porcupine’s quills can easily detach themselves. On average a hedgehog has 7,000 quills while a porcupine has approximately 30,000. And a porcupine can grow to triple the size, between 25-and-36 inches.”

“It was a rhetorical question.” Rory risked a glance at her throbbing hand and winced. Blood dripped down her finger.

“I’ll admit that you’re worse off than Turbo. Don’t go anywhere. I’ll get the first aid kit.”

Mr. Porcupine Expert disappeared into a green van so garish, it almost distracted Rory from her pain. Painted animal heads peered out of big circles and orange letters proclaimed the monstrosity a Zoo Mobile—with paw prints forming the double ‘o’ in zoo. It wouldn’t surprise Rory if a white rabbit in a waistcoat popped out from the Day-Glo monstrosity, muttering about being late . . . for a tea party at her house using Wendy’s bumpy place-mats. She groaned, deciphering the smaller words beneath the paw prints. ‘Duke’s Animal World.’

She’d always considered her family’s rivalry with Duke Thorne a bit ridiculous, but now Rory related to her granddad’s agitation. Thanks to sprawling over one of Duke’s stupid hedgehogs, she might have sprained her finger.

Shifting position, Rory glowered through the cage at the spiky black ball that had caused all the trouble. It huffed and puffed, quills poking outward, a breathing pincushion. My . . . she hadn’t realized hedgehogs had such tiny eyes. And what a cute button nose. This little guy—Turbo?—seemed skittish.

“Hey, there, Turbo,” she murmured. “Guess it was my fault, too. Did I scare you?”

“He’ll be okay.” The dimpled zookeeper reappeared with her cell phone, along with a toolbox-sized red first aid kit. He unlatched the kit, opened a box of gauze pads, and bent beside her. “Let’s apply pressure to stop the bleeding.”

“I can do it.” Rory squashed the pad against the cut, her cheeks heating, whether from his boyish good looks, or the mortification of falling over a hedgehog, she didn’t know. She hoped he couldn’t detect her blush under the lampposts’ dim glow. She rested her wrist on her knee. “What are you and Turbo doing here, anyway?”

“The art studio had a zoo night. The kids decorated animal statues and then I did a presentation. I was just about to load my last animal, Turbo, into the van when you went flying.” He jerked his thumb toward the Zoo Mobile. “I’ve also got a red-eyed tree frog, bearded dragon, chinchilla, and domestic rabbit.”

“Is it a white rabbit?” Rory muttered.

Mr. Porcupine Expert elevated a brow. “Not this time. What’s your story? What were you doing here?”

“I’m an instructor at the dance studio. We were having an open house. I got a text, and apparently, I wasn’t watching where I was going.” Rory battled the temptation to peek under the gauze.

“Let me get this straight. You’re a dancer? I thought dancers were graceful.” His brown eyes crinkled with amusement. Their shade reminded her of a caramel latte, warm and inviting.

“I am graceful! This was an isolated incident.”

“Uh-huh. I’m Kyle, by the way. And you’re . . .?”


“How about I make it up to you with free zoo tickets? You can come meet Turbo’s parents. I’m sure they’ll forgive you if I explain that you’re a dancer with two left feet.”

He wore such a deadpan expression that Rory almost laughed. His dry comic delivery must enliven his presentations. Her grandmother Lois, Storybook Valley’s self-appointed entertainment director, would remark that Kyle had charisma.

Rory might enjoy touring the zoo with him, but her granddad would lock her in with the lions if she ventured onto his rival’s property. Growing up, she had never been allowed to visit Duke’s. “Thanks, but that’s okay. As I was telling Turbo here, it was my fault. I should have been more aware of my surroundings.”

She peered into the cage. Was it her imagination, or did Turbo look calmer now in Kyle’s presence? His quills had relaxed, laying down and pointing toward the back.

Kyle picked up the animal carrier and straightened to his full height. “How about I show you my passengers while you’re applying pressure? The least I can do is keep you entertained during your misery.”

After a hesitation, Rory climbed to her feet and trailed him to the Zoo Mobile. With her left hand, she finished a clumsily misspelled text to Jake, omitting mention of the accident. Otherwise, her brothers would ask her for the next month if she had tripped over any hedgehogs lately.

She leaned against the van as Kyle slid the bearded dragon’s carrier out the side door and positioned Turbo’s cage in its place. Over the next ten minutes, he explained how many bearded dragon species existed (nine) and what they ate (insects). If Rory ever appeared on a TV game show, she hoped they quizzed her on bearded dragons, porcupines, and hedgehogs.

Kyle discussed animals the same way Brad talked about robotic-assisted surgery. She wondered if Kyle had a college degree. Her guess was no. After all, how much schooling did it take to drive a Zoo Mobile? Once you memorized the spiel and learned how to care for the animals, what else was there to learn? As an employee that far down the company ladder, Kyle probably wasn’t aware of the Callahan feud.

After the bearded dragon lecture, Rory washed her cut and rubbed in bacitracin ointment. Kyle unwrapped a large Band-Aid, but instead of extending it to her, he pressed the patch over her skin. As their fingers touched, a shivery sensation whispered down Rory’s spine.

I am not attracted to the zoo guy.
Buy it on:

Fooling Around With Cinderella funny chick litEver wondered what those cheerful theme park princesses are really thinking? When twenty-five-year-old Jaine Andersen proposes a new marketing role to the local amusement park, general manager Dylan Callahan charms her into filling Cinderella’s glass slippers for the summer. Her reign transforms Jaine’s ordinary life into chaos that would bewilder a fairy godmother. Secretly dating her bad boy boss, running wedding errands for her ungrateful sisters, and defending herself from the park’s resident villain means Jaine needs lots more than a comfy pair of shoes to restore order in her kingdom...

Check out the Storybook Valley series at these retailers:
Barnes & Noble
And if you discover that you love the Storybook Valley books, be sure to join Stacy's street team, the Storybook Valley Sweethearts, on Facebook for book launch activities and exclusive sneak peeks. Members will get to hear the latest Storybook Valley news before anyone else, and even read excerpts of works-in-progress and give input on cover design.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

New Release: Wickedly Used by @KryssieFortune

Here's a brand new, dark Regency romance from author Kryssie Fortune

Wickedly Used
Release date – 17th February.
Publisher – Stormy Night Publications

Buy links


While he is no stranger to pleasurable company from ladies of the night, Major Richard Rothbury of the royal dragoons is not the kind of man who will stand idly by as a woman is taken against her will, and when he witnesses a disreputable cad attempting to force himself on a girl in a back alley, he does not hesitate to intervene.

But after the grateful young woman offers herself to Rothbury, he is shocked to discover that not only was she no harlot, she was a maiden and he has deflowered her. Furious at the girl’s scandalous behavior and her carelessness with her own safety, Rothbury chastises her soundly.

Though she is due to inherit one of the largest fortunes in England, the fact that she cannot touch the money until she marries or turns thirty has kept Elizabeth completely at the mercy of her cruel uncle, and for years she has been treated as if she were a servant. Her encounter with Lord Rothbury is by far the most exciting thing that has ever happened to her, but while he shows great concern for her safety, he refuses to believe that she is anything more than a serving girl.

Despite having made it clear that he doesn’t consider a match between them to be possible, when Elizabeth disobeys him Rothbury proves more than ready to strip her bare, punish her harshly, and then enjoy her beautiful body in the most shameful of ways. But can she dare to hope that he will one day make her his wife, or is she destined to spend her life being wickedly used?

Publisher’s Note: Wickedly Used: A Dark Regency Romance includes spankings and sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.

Where to find Kryssie Fortune on Social Media

Amazon Author Page

Questioning Kryssie:

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
My heroine, Lady Elizabeth Blayneton is an heiress, but she can’t inherit until she marries or turns thirty. Her uncle and guardian is determined she will marry his slack-mouthed son, but she’d rather not marry at all than wed him. Only she doesn’t want to die a virgin.
Tell us about your hero
Brigade Major Lord Rothbury carries the wounds his first love inflicted when she threw him over for his father. To silence the gossip, his father packed him off to fight in the Peninsula war and squandered the family fortune on his new bride. When the current Lord Rothbury inherited, there was nothing but mortgages and debts. He’s been trying to put things right and provide for his sisters ever since. Waterloo looms, and he’s recalled to Wellington’s staff. Then there’s this serving girl who keeps ending up in his bed, only wedding her would cause another scandal and ruin his sisters’ future.
 What genre are your books?
I write romance. Any sort. Paranormal or contemporary. Wickedly Used is my first Regency Romance, although it’s darker than many.
What draws you to this genre?
I write the books I like to read. There’s always a strong plot, with lots of adventure. Then there’s the sex. My pet hate is cliff hangers. Each book in either of my series can be read as stand-alone romance. Add in that I’m a sucker for a happy-ever-after, and you’ve got my writing style.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
It’s one of Mohamed Ali’s catchphrases. “If my head can conceive it and my heart can believe it, then I can achieve it.”
How do you select the names of your characters?
I try to pick a name that fits the world they live in. My paranormal heroines are often named for herbs and flowers. For my contemporary characters, I look at popular names in the year they were born. Sometimes they shout at me that I’ve named them wrongly, but that doesn’t happen often. The heroine in my book Claimed by Vampire, Seduced by the Werewolf went through three name changes before I got her name right.

More about Kryssie Fortune.

Kryssie reads everything and anything, from literary fiction to sizzling romance. Her earliest memory is going to the library with her mother. She can’t have been more than two at the time. Reading, especially when a book’s hot and explicit, is more than a guilty pleasure. It’s an obsession.
Kryssie loves to visit historic sites, from Hadrian’s wall to Regency Bath. The first book she fell in love with was Georgette Heyer’s The Unkown Ajax. After that, she devoured every regency book she could. After a while, they went out of fashion, but part of Kryssie’s psyche lives in in in Regency London. She longs to dance quadrilles and flirt behind fans. Of course, Kryssie’s heroines do far more than flirt.
Kryssie lives in Bridlington on the Yorkshire coast–about thirty miles from Whitby, where Bram Stoker wrote Dracula. She enjoys gardening, travel, and socializing with her author friends. You’d be surprised how many erotic romance authors live in the North of England.