Monday, March 20, 2023

Welcome Guest Author Kelli Wilkins: You Can Write-Really!


Have you always wanted to write? Get started with…

You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction

by Kelli A. Wilkins


Hi everyone,

My name is Kelli Wilkins and I’m an eclectic writer. That means I write everything—short horror fiction, steamy full-length romance novels, science fiction, and even non-fiction. People are always asking me, “How can you write in so many different genres and styles?”

It’s really not that difficult. Why? Because the basic mechanics of good storytelling are universal, no matter what genre you write. Every fiction story contains the same ingredients: an interesting and engaging plot, characters the reader cares about and roots for, supporting details, and background that draws the reader into the story.

As an author of 100+ short stories and 20 romance novels, I’m often asked: Where do you get your ideas? How do I get published? How do you write a book? What advice do you have for writers who are just starting out? Do you have any writing tips? 

I’ve answered these questions many times in interviews and addressed them in guest blogs, but I always wanted to say more. One day, I started thinking about everything I’ve learned over the years, and inspiration hit me: Why not write a book on how to write? The result? You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction.

This fun and practical book walks you through the story-creating process step-by-step: from getting a great idea to meeting your characters, developing a plot, and on to writing, revising, and submitting your work.

Each easy-to-read chapter is based on my years of experience as a writer, advice I’ve received over the years, and the technical “know-how” I’ve gained in writing classes and workshops. I also included helpful tips all writers can use, plus easy writing exercises to get you motivated.

Once you have the basics down, you can write—really! Here are two fun writing exercises:

EXERCISE 1: Write three to five dialogue exchanges where two characters meet for the first time. What do they talk about? What is happening in the scene or around them?

EXERCISE 2: All characters want something, whether it’s a cup of coffee, a new car, to escape from jail, to eat lunch, or to finish a big project. Brainstorm five things your character wants, large or small. Here are some examples: woman wants to escape her abusive husband; man wants to bury a body; private investigator wants to find a blackmailer; fifth grade kid wants to get away with cheating on a math test.

Here’s the book summary:

You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction

If you’ve always dreamed of writing and getting published, but have no idea where or how to start—THIS is the book for you!

You Can Write—Really! is an easy guide designed for beginner writers who need a boost of motivation and simple instructions on how to get started.

Award-winning author Kelli A. Wilkins takes you step-by-step through the writing process, covering the basics of plotting, editing, revising, and submitting. In addition, she explores ways to get your creativity flowing, explains where authors get ideas, and shows you how to create interesting characters for your story.

Helpful tips and fun writing exercises throughout the book get you started.


Ready to write? Order your copy here:




All other platforms:


Read reviews here:

Happy Reading (and Writing!)

Kelli A. Wilkins



Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

Follow Kelli on her Facebook author page: and visit her website/blog for a full title list and social media links.


Saturday, March 18, 2023

Discover Andrew Grey's Newest book, Fireman's Rescue today


Check out the next book in Andrew Grey's Heroes in Helmets series,  Fireman's Rescue.

Title: Fireman’s Rescue

Author: Andrew Grey

Series: Heroes in Helmets #2

Genre:  M/M Contemporary Romance/Law Enforcement

Release Date: Mar 14, 2023

Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print


Heroes in Helmets Novel

The last thing Dash Wheaton expects when his home goes up in flames is to catch his firefighter rescuer’s heart.

When computer security expert Dash wakes to his house on fire, he manages to escape, but realizes his dog, Taffy, is still inside. Heartbroken, he watches everything he has burn, worrying about Taffy, until a firefighter hero shows up with her, covered in soot. With his home gone and no place to go, Dash does his best to find shelter.

Firefighter Stone Jacobs lives for his job, and his life is ordered just the way he likes it. So when he finds Dash sleeping in a shed, he’s as surprised as anyone when he offers him a place to stay. But what he really doesn’t expect is the way Dash gets under his skin and into his heart.

When the fire is ruled as arson, suspicion falls on Dash, making it even harder for him to move forward. Thankfully, Stone believes in his innocence and helps Dash begin to rebuild his life and business. Time together leads to white-hot attraction and trust, but the truth behind the fire could separate them... permanently


Book Links


Excerpt 2

“Let’s give her a little more time,” the vet said with a smile. “She’s doing okay.” Taffy tried to get up again, her big eyes opening. Dash petted her and said soothing, gentle things. “I’d like to take her back to the clinic for the night. We can watch her and get the smoke out of her system. She got a lot of it.”

“But she’s going to be okay, right?” Dash was ready to climb into the back of the truck and ride with Taffy anywhere. Hell, he’d sleep on the floor of the clinic to watch over her himself if it meant she would be okay. That was all that counted right now.

“I think so, yes,” he said with a smile. “Thanks to Stone, here.” The big firefighter with the nice eyes was named Stone. Dash almost laughed as he wondered if he had somehow been transported into a soap opera.

For a second, Dash wondered why anyone’s mother would name someone Stone. Was his brother Rock and his sister Pebbles? He suppressed a grin from the ridiculous turns his brain took. “Okay,” he agreed. “But I don’t know how I can pay you for this.” He was quite literally down to his last few dollars until he got paid. The vet bills, finding someplace to live—hell, he had nothing but the jeans he was wearing. He didn’t even have shoes or a shirt. Very literally, Dash had nothing at all.

“It’s okay. The fire department will take care of this.” He smirked like it was some kind of inside joke. Then he turned back to Taffy, getting her settled in a crate from the truck before closing it up. “The clinic is just up the road. North Side Veterinary. I’m Dr. Gregory. You should be okay to come get her in the morning.” He took Dash’s information, though the address was now the burned-out shell of a house and his cell phone was probably a lump of plastic and aluminum for all he knew. “Call in the morning, okay?”

Dash nodded absently, and the vet got into his truck and left the scene of the disaster that Dash’s life had become. Taffy would hopefully be okay, and now he had to figure out where he was going to stay for the night. He headed for the shelter of the ambulance again.

“Sir.” One of the other firefighters came over, his suit wet and stained black, followed by Taffy’s rescuer. “We believe we have the fire out. It’s best if you let us finish up here. We’ve called the fire marshal so they can look into the cause.”

“Okay,” he answered absently, his mind numbing out. “What do I do until then?” He had a blanket wrapped around him and his jeans.

“The captain is on the phone with the Red Cross….” He turned to where a man in rain gear talked on the phone. He shrugged, and Dash knew he was out of luck…. again.

 Author Information


Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble Page

Dreamspinner Press


Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey


Twitter @andrewgreybooks



For Other Works by Andrew Grey

(Please Be Sure To Stop by His Website to See All of His Works)

Friday, March 17, 2023

New Release Spotlight/Giveaway: Rhyme of Loss by Emily Carrington

Title:  Rhyme of Loss

Series: Jack and Gil 2

Author: Emily Carrington

Publisher: Changeling Press

Release Date: March 17

Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 121 pages

Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense, Action Adventure, Paranormal, Dark Fantasy, Gay, Multicultural & Interracial, Shapeshifters , Elves, Dragons & Magical Creatures

Add to Goodreads


Jack is falling apart, but no one seems to notice. He’s transforming into an animal with the ability to rend flesh and kill with little thought, and there’s no one but Gil who can save him. But as Jack withdraws into himself, the tide of war rises. Jack must find a way to regain his strength and determination or SearchLight will fall. And he is convinced he must do it alone.

Gil has resolved never to leave Jack, but that’s hard when his beloved smells of another man and he keeps pulling away. Convinced he’s been replaced, Gil tries to play mean games, but his love for Jack trumps pettiness. Will change destroy them?


All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2023 Emily Carrington

Gil sat in the business-class airplane seat and fidgeted. He’d put his bag up. His suitcase was under the aircraft. And now the Great Herd would enter the confined space and make him feel common and --

And do I really feel common? After being told I’m loved by such a man as Jack Sowerby?

No. What he felt was heartsore. Homesick for a place he’d never lived. Because where Jack was, there Gil’s soul and mind were also. He acknowledged he was putting on a front for himself, pretending to feel the arrogance that he’d worn as a shield for years. Which Jack had wiped away with three words.

I love you.

The first person Gil had ever bedded more than once, although three times wasn’t such a high number -- he wished for three hundred or three thousand. He wished, in short, that either he wasn’t leaving the United States for South Africa or that Jack was with him.

He glanced to his right as someone human took the seat beside him. Here in business class, there were two wider seats to each row instead of three, but it still meant he had to share his personal space. He didn’t want to do that with anyone but Jack. Gil had purposely taken the aisle seat, hoping to feel less restricted.

The man was large and had a flushed visage. Gil smiled gamely at him, but the man totally ignored him and turned his face to the window. There was something in the man’s profile that looked familiar to Gil. He couldn’t place him, except that he was human, he wore an expensive suit, and he looked oddly slovenly in his finery.

I’m just being uncharitable again.

Maybe that was true. It was also true that the man’s appearance still struck Gil as familiar. He opened his eyes, gazed at the man for a moment, then closed his lids again. The chin was weak, the cheeks fleshy, and the hair was an odd shade.

In surprise, Gil realized where he knew the man from. Human television. The gent was some sort of politician, wasn’t he?

Huh, Gil thought. Well, I’ll just ignore him as he seems bent on doing to me, and we’ll pass this ungodly long flight in uncompanionable silence.

Someone made a startled noise up near the front door of the plane. Gil didn’t pay much attention. He tended to live by the adage “not my circus, not my monkeys.” It had served him well over the last two centuries. Probably the humans were jostling each other or grumbling over the rows and letters they’d been assigned.

There was another noise, louder than the first, which had been more like a gasp. This was a grunt. Mildly curious, Gil focused his hearing in that direction without opening his eyes.

“Go on. Open it.”

The snarled order had Gil looking toward the cockpit. There were a couple of humans directly in his path, but there seemed to be some sort of disturbance up in front.

Not my circus, he thought, not my --

There was a soft pop.

And the humans were shoving each other, trying to get either farther into the plane or back out of it. There seemed to be two currents, one pushing in each direction.

Gil was out of his seat and forcing his way through the straining crowd. He didn’t know that sound, but he felt the press of panic all around him. He ducked under one man’s arm and slipped sideways by a woman with terror in her deep brown eyes.

Now he was standing beyond the crush of people. Despite their struggles, none had quite dared to come close to the cockpit door. A flight attendant, identifiable by the uniform she wore, lay crumpled on the floor. Gil couldn’t see any reason for her to be down until he saw the small hole up near her hairline. She’d been shot.

There was another flight attendant between the person with the weapon and the sealed cockpit door. She was talking very fast, trying to calm the gunman down, Gil supposed. The hostile man waved the gun in her face, but she didn’t stop talking.

Gil launched himself on the man from behind. Just before his hands would have closed over the man’s wrists, the flight attendant’s eyes widened. By such a little warning was the man able to turn with what seemed to be speed only possible by magical creatures. He collided with Gil and tried to bring up his weapon.

Gil broke the man’s wrist with a quick movement born more of fear and instinct than training. The gun thudded to the floor. Gil waited for it to go off, but it didn’t. A small blessing.

But he didn’t have a firm enough grip on the assailant’s wrist. Proving that he had a magical creature’s strength as well as swiftness, the man seized Gil’s arm and tried to break it. The pain in Gil’s elbow was excruciating. He screamed and, again acting on impulse, slammed his free palm into the man’s nose, rocking his head back and spurting blood everywhere within a three-foot radius.

He took advantage of the man’s surprise to wrench his arm free. Then he was shoving his opponent backward, slamming him into the cockpit door.

Panting, he risked a glance at the flight attendant. “Call security.”

She had taken charge of the gun. Competent. She put it into a locker of some sort and stood guard with her back against the closed compartment hatch. “I already have. Plus, the captain will have radioed from the cockpit.”

Gil wasn’t looking at her anymore. In his grip, the assailant gave a tremendous jerk. Gil grunted in amazement at the other’s strength and shoved him harder. He recognized this was a difficult position to maintain and, risking losing his grip entirely, spun the struggling man around and smashed him face-first into the door. Then he seized both of the man’s wrists and pinioned them behind his back.

The right wrist, which had been broken mere moments ago, felt solid in Gil’s grip. He inhaled, trying to distinguish what kind of magical creature this was. And all he could smell was human. He inhaled again, caught a brief whiff of clay, and then all that was in his nose was the press of too many panicked humans in a small space.

As he set his feet in a wider stance, hoping to hold the -- well, the whatever-he-was until security got here, Gil began to worry that two, three, or even ten guards wouldn’t be able to subdue this creature. Because Gil, a basilisk, strong and powerful, was having difficulty holding the man still. “Get the” -- he swallowed the word “herd” -- ”people to give me a little more space. I’m going to try and get him off the plane.”


Changeling Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

Emily Carrington is a multipublished author of male/male and transgender erotica. Seeking a world made of equality, she created SearchLight to live out her dreams. But even SearchLight has its problems, and Emily is looking forward to working all of these out with a host of characters from dragons and genies to psychic vampires. 

Fantasy creatures not your thing? Emily has also created a contemporary romance world, called Sticks and Stones, where she explores being “different” in a small town.

Website | Facebook | Twitter


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Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Check out Faking It With the Grump today and Enter the Tour Wide Giveaway


Check out the newest book by Kate O'Keefee today with this sweet and fun romance, Faking It With the Grump, today and make sure to enter the tour wide giveaway as well for a chance to win $20 Amazon gift card from the author.

Faking It With the Grump
by Kate O’Keeffe
(Second Chance Café, #1)
Publication date: March 14th 2023
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance


He’s grumpy, boring, and thinks it’s okay to wear a suit and tie to a smalltown bar full of lumberjacks. But when I kiss him? Let’s just say I wasn’t expecting THAT.

Harper Cole

It’s one thing to be dumped by the huge Hollywood star you thought you were going to marry. It’s quite another to move back to the small town you’re both from.

As a booby prize for being shown the door by Dex Ryan, everyone is trying to set me up with their son, their nephew, or their long-lost cousin’s gardener. Either that or they’re throwing me pitying looks that say, “You’re a big loser.”

I’m not going to put up with their patronizing sympathy anymore.

So, when I spot new-guy-in-town Christopher Young, I set out to make him mine. Or you know, pretend to make him mine. I’m still in a horrible funk over Dex, and Christopher is an uptight grump. Not exactly my type.

The fact that despite appearances, he’s gorgeous and doing weird things to my blood pressure doesn’t mean a thing.


Not. A. Thing.

Christopher Young

Hunter’s Creek, population next to nothing, is the reason I work all the time. I’m solely focused on buying the town’s lumber mill so I can go back to NYC and get my big promotion. This small town is a means to an end. Nothing more.

That is until the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen superglues her lips to mine in an unexpected and very public way. She’s not the kind of woman I usually go for with her boho dress and ankle boots, but that kiss…

I’m disappointed when she comes up for air and tells me it’s all for show. But if Harper Cole wants me to be her fake boyfriend while I’m here in town, who am I to turn her down? Being attached to a local might ingratiate me to the townsfolk and make my job that much the easier.

After all, dating Harper can only be make believe. Nothing more. Not when my entire future is at stake.

Faking It With The Grump is a grumpy-sunshine, opposites attract, fake relationship romance set in the small town of Hunter’s Creek, Washington. It’s the first book in the new Second Chance Café series. Each book follows a different sister’s love story and can be read as a standalone novel or as part of a series.

Excerpt 1:

She looks suddenly nervous. “Okay, here’s the thing. I kind of told some people today that you and I are…well, that we’re…”

When she doesn’t complete her sentence, I lean in and ask, “You and I are what?”

She glances around nervously before she says, “Dating.”

I straighten, shocked.

As my brain tries to comprehend what she just said, I blink at her a few times.

I need clarification. In my experience, beautiful women don’t usually go around telling people they’re dating you without your knowledge.

Well, not sane, beautiful women, anyway.

“Did you say you’ve told people you and I are dating?” I ask.

She nibbles on her lip, reminding me of a rabbit. It only adds to her appeal. Despite my concern, she’s confirmed she’s not exactly sane. “I did warn you it was weird.”

“That’s true, you did. But that doesn’t explain why, exactly.”

She clasps her hands together, clearly uncomfortable.

I’m overcome with the strangest sensation, wanting to reach out and place my hand over hers to reassure her it’s okay.

I don’t.

She takes a breath. “I know this makes me sound crazy. And I’m not crazy. Really, I’m not.”

Said no crazy person ever.

“I don’t know if you recognize me or know what happened, but even if you don’t, I really, really need you to pretend to date me because—”

Wait. Pretend?

Her eyes dart to something behind me, and before I fully realize what’s happening, she’s pushed the bar stool to one side, closed the distance between us, a decidedly wild look in her eyes.

“Everything all right?” I ask her tentatively.

“Okay if I kiss you?” she murmurs out of the corner of her mouth.

I blink at her. “Now you want to…kiss me?”

She nods, her eyes darting behind me and then back to my face. “That okay with you?”

This gorgeous woman who smells like a meadow, the double threat, the woman who only just told me she wants to pretend to date me, now wants to kiss me.

As confusing as this situation may be, I’d be an idiot not to leap at this.

“Sure,” I tell her, the thought of having her soft lips pressed against mine making my belly clench.

It would appear she’s not a woman to be told twice.

Immediately, she pulls herself up onto her toes, places her hands at the back of my head, and before I can utter another word—like “why?”—she leans in toward me and kisses me.

I don’t move for fear this is some kind of mirage. Not that I think mirages are all that common in Washington, what with it not being a desert. But seriously, this sort of thing doesn’t happen to me a whole lot. Or, you know, ever.

And I’ll be honest, as far as kisses go, it’s easily the most surprising of my life, hands down. One second, she’s explaining to me why she wants me to fake date her, and the next she’s kissing me, like it’s no big deal at all.

The problem is, for me to kiss someone like Harper Cole, it should be a big deal.



USA TODAY Bestselling Author Kate O'Keeffe writes exactly what she loves to read: laugh-out-loud romantic comedies with swoon-worthy heroes and gorgeous feel-good happily ever afters. She lives and loves in beautiful Hawke's Bay, New Zealand with her family and two scruffy dogs. When she's not penning her latest story, Kate can be found hiking up hills (slowly), traveling to different countries, and eating chocolate. A lot of it.

Visit to sign up to her newsletter and you'll receive a FREE romcom.

Tour Stop/Giveaway: Moon Life


Check out this new to me authors' book, Moon Life today and make sure to enter the tour wide giveaway as One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $25 Amazon/ gift card. You can find all the tour stops Here and the tour is sponsored by Goddess Fish Promotions.


by Marlene Fabian Stiles and Hank Fabian

GENRE:  Science Fiction

Check out the fun interview the author did recently:

It is the year 2051 and the International Space Institute has just sent two rival astrobiologists to search for extraterrestrial life on Europa, the mysterious ice moon of Jupiter. What they encounter could not only revolutionize science, it might make one of them the most famous person on Earth. Or does the Universe have other plans? 

Amazon Buy Link


Excerpt Two:


Charlie was right, the phenomenon was curious. If these holes had been created by gas bubbles, why were they uniform and spaced so evenly? Dismissing the peculiarity, she began a photographic assessment of the tunnel wall.


At one point, she discovered a fissure wide enough to squeeze through and marked her location on MySpeak’s guidance system so she could retrace her steps. Then she crawled into the fissure on her hands and knees. As her light relaxed the shadows’ grip, she stared in amazement at the spacious chamber before her. Her headlamp revealed a domed ceiling interlaced with natural archways reminiscent of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Shimmering bulbs of water the size of walnuts hung from the arches like crystal ornaments. One by one they broke loose and fell in a reluctant rain, delicately splashing into a shallow pool cradled on the rocky floor.


A translucent brilliance caught her eye, and she centered her light on a glimmering mineral cluster that resembled a cache of rare gemstones. Pale green crystals seemed to come alive as her light danced across their facets. This is what he saw, it must be. Now she was grateful for her hammer. Striking the crystal as hard as she could multiple times, she finally broke off a small sample.


The raw beauty of this chamber invoked an overwhelming sense of awe as well as a realization that nothing could live on this barren moon; her mother had nothing to fear. Ming Yue conceded that she was relieved as well.


She took one final picture, then closed her eyes and spoke a silent prayer. Please let Pleiades find us so my brother can see these. A sobering possibility crept over her: she was the  first human to see this fantastic grotto, and she might also be the last.


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AUTHOR Bios and Links:


The family that writes together stays together, so siblings Marlene Fabian Stiles and Hank Fabian co-authored a science fiction adventure that explores Jupiter’s moon Europa as two rival astrobiologists race to be the first to find extraterrestrial life. This discovery should ensure the winner fame and fortune, but the Universe has other plans.


Hank is the guy walking around with a long lens camera and binoculars, a tourist of the world fascinated by every creature that moves and every plant that grows. He teaches biology and helped devise a college genetics program. As a scientist he likes to work with facts, so there's a possibility that the creatures he’s created actually exist!


Marlene is the president of a nonprofit, The I Will Projects, dedicated to advancing educational venues that include a middle school aquaponics program in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club which received a NASA grant. She writes in multiple genres and also has published “Elderchild,” an Alzheimer’s narrative written in the first person. She shares Hank’s love of the natural world and is dazzled by the interconnectivity of all living things.

Hank Fabian Amazon Page:

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

New Release from Carrie Ann Ryan: Happily Never After

“All I had were nevers before you.
Now, you’re my happily ever after.”

Happily Ever Never, an all-new steamy Montgomery Ink Legacy novella from New York Times bestselling author Carrie Ann Ryan is available now!

New York Times bestselling author Carrie Ann Ryan returns to the Montgomery Ink world with a blind date romance between two unlikely strangers.

I love falling in love.
Only I’m the worst at it.

My friends call me a serial first dater and I can’t blame them.
All I want is a happy ever after, yet all I find are happy ever nevers.

This is my last chance. After this set up with my friend’s tattoo artist, I’m done.
No more dating. No more chances.

If I don’t fall in love with Leo Johnson, I’ll give up on dating.
Even if it shatters my dreams in the process.

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you'll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

Fall in love today!
Amazon Worldwide:
Amazon Paperback:

Add to Goodreads:

Keep reading for a look inside Happily Ever Never!

Was it me?
The common denominator was me. Maybe I just wasn’t good at first dates. Perhaps I needed to get over myself and ignore the NO column completely. After all, I was nervous on first dates. On the other hand, maybe my dates were, too, and that was why everything ended up going horribly wrong.
In fact, the only first date I’d had recently that had been nice, albeit without sparks, had ended up being with my new employer—my friend currently in love with one of my best friends.
That wasn’t awkward at all.
“As for paying my half of the bill…I just want to get out of here. Not that I don’t love the food. You guys do make an amazing bisque.”
“We do. Will we see you soon?” the hostess asked, then cringed. “With your friends,” she amended.
I smiled, nodded, and waved, ignoring the twinge in my chest. She likely assumed I would be here again for another first date that would inevitably crash and burn.
There was that one time the guy bailed on me. Or the time another had shown up with his four kids—which was fine when I assumed it was a childcare issue. But no, he’d wanted to go on a date with his wife, needed a babysitter, and thought I could do it since I was sitting alone at the next table over.
There was the time the man showed up, grinned at me, and ended up arrested on a bench warrant halfway through the hors d’oeuvres.
At another restaurant, my date had tried to grope me under the table before we could even finish introducing ourselves.
Then there was the other married guy.
And the widower who cried in my arms as I cried with him, holding him as the waitstaff walked around us, nervously wondering what to do.
That one had broken my heart. I still talked to him and had even introduced him to his new wife, a soft and sweet woman who wasn’t the first person he’d tried to date after his late wife passed.
I had been through my share of first dates. And I hated it.
I got to my car and checked my phone for the time.
“Six-thirty p.m. That’s a new record for me.”
I rolled my eyes and started my car, heading out of the parking lot. With a sigh, I saw a familiar lit sign and smiled. I did not want to go home. I didn’t want to watch TV, read a book, or study the latest articles and research for my field. I didn’t want to prep for my day with Luke, the little boy that I adored and cared for during the day. I didn’t want to focus on my childcare management classes or the lessons I would be teaching at upcoming seminars.
I didn’t want to do any of that. So, instead, I pulled into the parking lot of Montgomery Ink Legacy, turned off the car, and hoped to see a familiar face or two.
Some days when I came here, I even brought Luke since he loved to see the man I knew would one day be his stepfather.

For More Information about Carrie Ann Ryan, visit her website:

For More Information about 1001 Dark Nights, visit:

Monday, March 13, 2023

Discover Absolute Perfection and Enter the Tour Wide Giveaway

Title:  Absolute Perfection

Author: Stephanie Burke

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC

Release Date: March 10

Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 153 pages

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Action Adventure, Dark Fantasy, Romantic Comedy, Urban Fantasy, Gay, Multicultural & Interracial, shapeshifters

Add to Goodreads


Prince Taza is a seahorse, the sole male offspring of the Coushrin king, and heir to the throne. Sounds great, right? Not really. For one thing, two crazy female seahorses are vying to impregnate him and become the next queen of the Coushrin dynasty because seahorses mate for life. He doesn’t want to be just a breeder while his wife rules the seas. But if being the prey and intended brood-stallion of two insane females isn’t bad enough, Taza’s also being chased by a human who’s determined to attain immortality by eating him. Stir fried, easy on the garlic.

What does he do? Flee to a vampire bar on the surface world, where he meets Astika, a Hindu Naga god. Astika’s been dispatched on a fool’s errand, because his advice to his uncle and grandfather’s harems is causing mayhem in the kingdom. He wasn’t supposed to meet a seahorse prince, save his life, and end up mated in the process. But when Astika saves Prince Taza from the human who might just be crazier than the two seahorses chasing him, Taza does the only smart thing and pledges himself to the Naga. For life. Since they’re stuck with each other, Astika might as well see what it’s like with a seahorse. Together, out of the wildest circumstances imaginable, these two lovers create Absolute Perfection.

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2023 Stephanie Burke

“You’re a dick, and I don’t think I like you.”

Chris growled the words while leaning with arms braced on his bar.

“I have a mighty fine dick, thank you very much, and I really don’t care what you think.” Astika stared at the bartender as he answered with all the sarcasm he could muster. “I just need some information and some quiet, and in that order.”

“I can tell you the same thing I told your contacts. I don’t have the information you seek no matter what your family told you” -- the bartender began to grin a little maniacally -- “but boy, do I have the perfect drink for you.”

“I don’t drink.”

“Maybe you should start.” This came from what must be the bastard of a bartender’s wife, the Naga decided. She peeked out from behind the swinging doors to the kitchen before she disappeared again, no doubt to fry up some small, defenseless creature for consumption. “It just might soften your disposition a bit.”

Everyone knew that the vampires who operated this bar worked as a team, and it was said that the female was often more trouble than the male.

“I really don’t care if you do or if you don’t” -- the vampire shrugged inelegantly -- “but I have to agree with her and say that maybe drinking would improve your attitude.” Chris gave him his words back, smiling as a small frown curved down the corners of Astika’s rather thin lips. “You came into my bar tossing your name and title around and demanding things, Naga, and it’s my job as the best bartender in the tristate area to see to it that you leave with exactly what you need.”

“But not what I want.”

“Buddy, haven’t you heard that you can’t always get what you want?” called a youngish female voice.

Astika felt his frown grow deeper as he looked around the place. There were two small children staring back at him. It was the girl child who had spoken the sarcastic words, her dark eyes glowing as she stared up at him. Her brown hair was styled into two ponytails, and she had the same countenance as Chris, the bearded asshole of a bartender who refused to give him straight answers. She appeared to be around seven or eight -- with vampires it was hard to tell the age of their young ones -- but her eyes looked ancient.

The boy child was a bit smaller than her, with dark blond hair and green eyes and looked just like the female who’d popped out of the kitchen earlier to add sage bits of advice. The family resemblance was stunning.

But the young male vamp said nothing about the antics of the adults, merely shaking his head at their childish behavior. He absently rolled a chess piece between two fingers before boldly reaching out to the board that sat between him and the small female who could only be his sister. He then blithely moved her queen a box over before making his own move. “Checkmate,” he declared, his face looking as innocent as a preacher’s daughter.

“Cheater!” his sister squawked, turning back to their game, and then the familial arguing commenced as the pair proceeded to ignore the adults once more.

“You make that sound like a threat.” The blue-haired Naga disregarded the goings-on of the young ones and focused his attention on the bartender again.

“It sounds like fact to me.” Chris sucked at his front fangs as he reached for a collection of tall bottles and a metal shaker. “You would do well to listen.”

Then with a few deft moves, Chris made the bottles dance. It was an art form the way the muscular brunet juggled three uncapped bottles, tossing them over his head, behind his back, and twisting them in midair, never allowing a drop to spill where it wasn’t supposed to.

Finally, in short, controlled flicks of his wrist, measured amounts of liquor were poured midjuggle into a tall metal shaker. Once the proper amounts were reached, he flipped the bottles back into their places and took up the metal container.

The bartender capped it and began to shake it gently as he eyed the blue-haired man. After a moment and a few considering looks, he placed the shaker on the bar and retrieved a tall, frosty glass. He poured the pale-colored mixed drink with a flourish. And after a final squirt of juice from his bar gun, he whipped out a cherry from its dispenser and tossed it into the glass before he slid the drink in front of the frowning Naga.

“Not impressed?” Chris asked, flashing just a bit of fang from behind his neatly trimmed mustache as he grinned widely at his customer.

Astika just glared.

“Too bad.” He attempted to sound remorseful and failed. “And I gave you the free show and everything.”

“I don’t drink.”

“You’ll drink this.” Chris chuckled. “After all, it was tailor-made just for you.”

Astika reached out with long, thin fingers and tapped at the condensation beading up on the glass before him. He pulled it closer to himself, eyeing the slightly blue liquid, before inhaling deeply. He raised an eyebrow as he stared at Chris.

“I’m not getting anything out of you until I drink this, right?”

“Smarter than you look.” And from the look in Chris’s eye, his estimation of him put him somewhere between arrogant ass and airhead lackey.

He looked behind Chris to stare at the mirrored wall behind the bar and tilted his head, trying to see what the vampire was seeing.

He had long, flowing deep blue hair -- not the electric stuff you find in bottles, but a deep dark blue that had subtle purple highlights. His eyes were beetle black, no light escaping and allowing no emotion to show. His nose was rather aquiline, his nostrils thin and flaring, his face narrow with a slightly pointy chin.

His body gave off a useless-pretty-boy facade as well; he was thin and tall with a model’s body and tight musculature. But most damning was that he was quite feminine in the face. He knew he was the epitome of the word twink. He appeared childlike but was saved from being almost too cute to be male by his height, the thin lips, and attitude.

“Gee, thanks,” he deadpanned before lifting the drink to his mouth. “What is this called, anyway?”

“Well, they don’t have a drink called jackass yet, so I did you one better. This, my friend, is perfect for you. It’s called an Absolut Fucker.”

“I’m not your friend.” The Naga paused with the drink in his hand, nearly to his lips. “And you may call me Astika.”

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Meet the Author

Stephanie is a USA Today Best Selling, multi published, multi award-winning author, Master Costumer, handicapped, wife and mother of two.

From sex-shifting, shape-shifting dragons to undersea worlds, sexually confused elemental Fey and homo-erotic mysteries, all the way to pastel-challenged urban sprites, Stephanie has done it all, and hopes to do more.

Stephanie is an orator on her favorite subjects of writing and world-building, a sometime teacher when you feed her enough tea and donuts, an anime nut, a costumer, and a frequent guest of various sci-fi and writing cons where she can be found leading panel discussions or researching varied legends and theories to improve her writing skills.

Stephanie is known for her love of the outrageous, strong female characters, believable worlds, male characters filled with depth, and multi-cultural stories that make the reader sit up and take notice.

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