Monthly Archives: March 2015

So I blame Jessica Jarman for collateral damage

It’s true. I blame my amazing gal pal for infecting me with what we now know is the “series bug”. That’s right. It’s been confirmed that Jessica Jarman is patient zero. She is the queen of having an amazing story then creating secondary characters that beg for their own book. No, not beg… demand and rightly so. She writes incredibly emotional, three-demensional characters that won’t rest until they have their story—and I’ve caught that bug.

When I started writing Force of Nature, there was no thought of a series. I have them, but I usually clue in pretty quickly. If it’s not something that’s already in the works, it’s generally there before you finish. But as this was supposed to be part of a set, I pushed those thoughts away.

Until Jonah and Gibson wouldn’t leave me alone. Those two…it’s like nonstop chatter in my head. So, I took the only recourse I had—I made Force of Nature book 1 in a series, now entitled, COLLATERAL DAMAGE.

Thankfully, as I made the cover, it was nothing to update it and add in a bit to the interior. And it’ll all still be out on the 6th. I’ll also have it available in print! The proof looks amazing. I’m so happy with this book. And so excited about writing Jonah’s  story that I might have already made a cover, lol. It’ll also be my first strictly MM novel. I’ve incorporated MM storylines in a few books — Centerfold, Forgotten, Reckoning — but never tried a full-fledged one. But I think that perhaps it’s time.

So stay tuned. I hope to have book two in this series out late summer early fall.

It’s my life…

Welcome to Wednesday randomness. This week’s post is one I’m not sure I want to be honest about, lol. It’s how Writing Affects my Life and Vice Versa. It’s not that it’s a bad answer…more that I have to admit how much of my life revolves around writing. Because anyone who’s ever had an idea that just won’t quit knows that it can be all-encompassing. And for me, once I get a story in my head—it’s hard to focus on other things, because that story just keeps on playing. A never-ending loop of sorts. Even when you try to push it out.

Writing has lots of positive affects on my life.

1—It helps pay the bills. Not quite as much as I want, yet, but I’m hopeful. Working hard in this area.

2—It brings me extreme pleasure. There’s just something indescribable about having an idea manifest inside your head, then seeing it materialize on the page. Satisfying doesn’t even begin to put it into words.

3—It keeps me sane. Seriously. If I didn’t have a venue for expressing all the stories that rattle around inside my head, I’d probably go crazy. Having characters talk to you… yeah, not so cool if you can’t do something with that.

4—Being able to set my own work schedule. With kids, I can’t begin to say how lucky I am I have this. I get to ensure I don’t miss their lives just trying to do something with mine.

Of course there are some negative aspects.

1—While working from home is great, it also has its drawbacks. Mainly—interruptions. When you don’t go somewhere to work, everyone around you seems to think you’re, in fact, not working. So it seems you have to put in twelve hours just to get six. Which gives the illusion that you’re ALWAYS WORKING. While this is sort of true. I do have my laptop open most of the time, it’s not really a fair assessment. Those interruptions mean that a good portion of that time isn’t spent working at all.

2—It seems that things always pile up. Deadlines have a way of popping up when you have a thousand other things due, too. And that means stress—which means late nights, little sleep. Times when you feel you have to chose between family/friends and getting something finished. And stress…it leads to writer’s block and just crappy times in general.

As for how my life affects my writing?

Wow…that’s hard. Obviously, stress in other parts of my life makes it hard to write. Being worried or upset—yeah, hard to write a scorching love scene if a simple commercial on TV brings you to tears. Being unhappy at all, about anything, is a writer’s block in the making.

However, there are positive aspects. Having done a ‘variety’ of jobs, I have a lot of real-world experience to draw on. And let’s face it…writing 101…write what you know. And when things are going well—I have a great run. My kids have a great day. It flows over into my ability to get words on the page. In enjoying the process more.

It sounds corny, but it all comes down to one thing—writing isn’t something I do…it’s part of who I am.

All in all, I wouldn’t change having writing be a part of my life for anything. After years of jumping from profession to profession, I’ve finally found something that makes me feel as if I belong. A career that seems to fit every aspect of me. I get to be a doctor, a federal officer—a shifter or vampire. I can live in the future, the past or in a galaxy far, far away. I get to expand my knowledge researching aspects I’d never have considered before. But most of all, it makes me happy. And even if everything else falls through—if I have to support myself, my family other ways—I’ll always write because it’s the best part of me.

Go check out the other ladies. They probably have much deeper realizations than I, lol.

Jessica Jarman  |  Bronwyn Green  |  Jessica De La Rosa

Gwendolyn Cease  |  Kellie St. James

Force of nature…

Available for Pre-Order

General Release April 6, 2015

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  iBookstore  |  ARe

Whenever someone asks me what my favourite book is, I tend to reply the same way — the last one I wrote. And I’m fairly certain most authors feel that way. After all, you’ve just invested a large amount of time and emotional energy telling their story…makes sense those characters are the ones that stuck in your head. Closest to your heart.

And generally, that’s the case. Except for this book. I can honestly say, without hesitation, that Force of Nature is my favourite book thus far. Coen and Finley have literally stolen my heart. And I’m having a hard time moving on from them. I just want to stay in their world. Stay with them. I only hope everyone else loves them as much as I do.

Force of Nature is currently available for pre-order and will be officially released April 6th! Here’s the blurb and a short excerpt. And links where you can order.

Love—an unparalleled force of nature.

Conservation Officer, Finley McKay, isn’t a stranger to criticism. Taking risks to protect delicate ecosystems doesn’t impress most people—including the doctor renting the cabin beside hers. The man’s arrogant, opinionated and far too sexy in his faded jeans and tees. She already knows he’s an ass—she just wished it mattered enough to make her keep her distance.

Dr. Coen Brady isn’t looking to fit in. Having recently retired from the military, he’s hoping to spend a few months hiding from the world in a small, out-of-the-way town in northern Washington. But just his luck, he has the misfortune of running into his next-door neighbor. A girl who seems determined to get herself killed before his time there is up. She’s reckless, stubborn and slowly driving him insane.

When anger morphs into angry sex, Coen knows taking her to bed is a calculated risk—one he might regret when her investigation turns deadly, leaving Finley’s life hanging in the balance. Breaking a few rules to keep her in the game doesn’t seem that dangerous, until it becomes painfully obvious she won’t stop until justice is served—even if the price is her life.

Excerpt

“Damn it, Coen, I’m not going to argue my worth to you, so just fuck off, already.”

He snapped—the pain in her eyes, her choice of words hitting him like a physical blow. He moved his hand off the wall, palming the back of her head as he drew his thumb forward, tracing a line along the edge of her ear to her jaw as he claimed her mouth, thrusting his tongue inside when she gasped in surprise. Womanly sweetness with a hint of coffee filled his senses, the firm drag of her tongue across his only making him more desperate.

Her fingers clenched around his sweater—not quite pushing him away but not drawing him closer as he finally eased back, his breath mixing with hers as he hovered an inch away. A thousand thoughts tumbled through his head, and he didn’t know whether to leave or kiss her again.

Finley swallowed noisily, her good hand trembling slightly against his chest. “If you think I’m going to admit I’m wrong just because you kissed me…”

“God no. You’d never be that reasonable.” He brushed his lips along hers. “And I don’t give up when I’m not wrong, either.”

Her fingers tightened, inching him closer as she nipped at his bottom lip. “Don’t you ever shut up?”

He accepted her challenge, eating at her mouth as he crushed her chest against his. Her nipples peaked against his pecs, the hard tips spiking his dick against his zipper. All the reasons for not taking her as his lover blurred into the scratch of her nails across his scalp as she speared one hand through his hair, tugging on the short strands. He shifted his hips, aligning his cock with her mound. Finley moaned into his mouth, tilting her groin forward as she ground herself against his length.

Coen broke the kiss, anger still clouding his head. If he hadn’t followed her… He maintained eye contact, resisting the smile that twitched his lips when her eyelids fluttered open, her eyes glassy with arousal. “Fuck, Finley.”

“That had better be your plan.”

“This doesn’t change what you did. You’re still reckless.”

“And you’re still an ass.”

He growled, fisting her hair as he tugged her head to the side, biting at the lean muscle threading into her shoulder. “It’s not going to be gentle, sweetheart.”

“Did I ask for gentle?” She pulled against his hold, moaning when he simply repeated his action. “God, Coen.”

“I knew you’d taste just a bit wild.” He eased back enough to squeeze one hand between them, leaving the other buried in her hair. He flicked open the buttons on her shirt, pushing it aside before shoving his hand inside her bra top. Her nipple pebbled against his palm as he lifted her breast out of the cloth, baring it to the harsh light of the cabin. “So fucking pretty.”

He dipped down, taking the hard bud in his mouth, pressing it between his tongue and the roof of his mouth. Finley arched against him, her head connecting with the wall. He glanced up at her, enjoying the way her eyes squeezed shut as she seemed to force air in and out through her nose.

He licked at her flesh, chuckling when she pressed her groin against his cock again, a shiver trembling through her. “Are you trying to get yourself off without me? Dangerous decision.”

“I need—”

“What you need is to take what I fucking give you.”

 

Thanks for checking it out. I hope you enjoy Force of Nature and Coen and Finley as much as I have.

 

Available for Pre-Order

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  iBookstore  |  ARe

THERE ARE NO WORDS…

So you think having a Wordless Wednesday would be a grand idea. And in theory, it is. Except this month, the topic—MY PAST! I stare at those two words and think…dear god, what the hell am I supposed to post without words that relate or signify my past? That was before digital photos, so hello, I’d have to find stuff my parents took. And yeah, we’re not going there. NO ONE NEEDS TO SEE MY BAD PERM WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL.

NO. ONE.

But, I will prevail. So, here’s the thing. I’ll do some headers then post pics that relate to that. I can adapt, people. (especially since I’m already breaking the rules with words.) Hold on to your butts, here we go…

Growing up…

Toronto at Night—Harbour view

 

Nathan Phillips Square and City Hall

 

University of Toronto

Jobs…

 

Helicopter Pilot

911 Dispatcher

 

 

Movies and Music…

 

Don’t ask how many times I saw this movie. Just. Don’t.

Why? I have no answers.

Yes, I’ve probably seen ALL of them.

One of my Favourites of all time.

The originals…

Star Trek

As Genesis, too

:)

 

I could go on and on with music and movies, but…check out the others. I’m sure they have some fascinating posts.

Jessica Jarman  |  Bronwyn Green  |  Jessica De La Rosa

Kayleigh Jones  |  Kellie St. James  |  Paige Prince

The hammer’s coming down — song fiction

YES! It’s here. The song fiction you’ve all been waiting for because this month, the band is my freaking favourite. And please, it’s no surprise who chose this one, is it? NICKELBACK!!! The song is titled… The Hammer’s Coming Down and it’s off their new album, No Fixed Address. And can I just say… this album… damn. They just keep getting better.

Now, I know there’s a lot of Nickelback haters out there. I really don’t care. I love them. And this album has some new sounds for them. Also…I’m the only Canadian in the group, and I HAD to put some Canadian content in this subject. So, all of my song choices that come up are from Canadian artists. I’m just thrilled Nickelback came up first. So we’ll see if you can spot all four throughout the year.

And ladies… just remember. I COULD HAVE CHOSEN FOUR NICKELBACK SONGS. I COULD HAVE. But I didn’t. Because they’re only one of my favourite Canadian bands. And hey, this isn’t a drinking song or a sex song. I love it!

Okay… for those of you who don’t know the song, give it a listen…

Now, when I listen to this song, honestly what plays in my head, is one of my upcoming epic battle scenes from my serial—RED SKY DAWNING—which is starting in April!!!! Yes April. So please drop by then. It’s an all-out magical/sword fighting contest that happens near the end of the story. So you won’t see it for some time, but…yes. I can just imagine the dust, the clanging of swords, the glow of Aelwyn’s magic.

But alas, I can’t write THAT scene because…well, it’s part of the book. So, I’ve decided to write a battle scene with Rylan, the hero. Long before the story takes place. If you want to get a sense of who Rylan is, please check out the photo flash fiction from March…A picture’s worth a thousand words…. it’s a prologue into who he is. Or, just jump right in because it’s just another glimpse into that world.

 

“They’re flanking right.” Rylan pointed toward the moors on the other side of the river. “Don’t let them take the bridge or we’ll be cut off.”

Garreth gathered a group of soldiers together, barking out orders before sending them toward the stone structure, a tremble rumbling through the earth as their feet struck the ground in perfect precision. He turned toward Rylan, face weathered, blood smeared across his jaw and down his mail vest. His shoulders drooped for a moment before he drew himself up, heading across the open space.

Rylan scanned the surrounding countryside. The sun dipped low against the distant hills, the last rays of light just cresting the rocky slopes, bleeding the sky into a deep violet off to the east. Long shadows stretched across the land, slowly covering the mangled bodies littering the battlefield. He glanced down, hating the splatter of blood caking his armor and skin.

He’d lost count of the number of men he’d slain as he’d cut his way through the writing mass of flesh, his only focus on avoiding injury. Staying alive long enough to get what remained of his legion to safety. Save those still breathing. Blood dripped from his blade, but he didn’t have the strength to wipe it off—aware more would simply take its place.

Arglwydd’s troops had struck at dawn, the attack more calculated and brutal than any Rylan had faced yet. The sheer number of men, alone, had cost him a quarter of his warriors, the rest merely trying to keep the advancing lines in check—hold their position until they could rally…or retreat. They’d managed to limit the skirmishes to the outskirts of the small village nestled on the river, but it wouldn’t be long before one of the lines broke through—before those still seeking shelter within the tattered huts became casualties of a much greater war.

Garreth grabbed his shoulder, his hand trembling slightly as his breathing roughened. “We won’t last much longer. Not like this. For every man we cut down, three more take his place.” He shook his head. “I swear Arglwydd emptied every damn settlement between here and his precious castle to garner this much presence. Some of his soldiers look as if they’ve never swung a sword before today.”

“Skilled or not, they’re slowly gaining.”

“Aye.” He met Rylan’s gaze. “We both know there’s only one way we might come out of this alive.”

Rylan’s magic snapped just below his skin, threatening to break free of his hold. Ever since the first clash of metal, it’d been writhing within him—coiling tighter until every breath stung from the sheer force of it. Flickers of red sparked along his arms, tiny curls of smoke disappearing on the steady breeze.

He took a deep breath, once again pushing down the energy. “You know I don’t have that kind of control. Not here, with my men dying around me. Once I release it, there’ll be no stopping until I either kill them all—or it kills me.”

Garreth pursed his lips. “We’re outnumbered, Rylan. And this is just his foot soldiers. Soon, there’ll be archers, horsemen. What then? We can’t last out here against that kind of offense.”

Rylan glared at his friend, taking a few heavy steps away before turning. “Those houses are made of wood and straw. What do you think will happen to them once I release a wall of fire?”

“Better to burn our own village to the ground than to wait for Aldhaven soldiers to do it for us.”

“And the women and children hiding inside? What of them?”

“They’re dead for certain if Arglwydd’s men break through.” He glanced away. “Or they’ll wish they were.”

Rylan pushed a hand through his hair. “Maybe if I had a chance to rest. To meditate. I’d have the kind of control I need to be discriminate about what I burn, but here. Now.” He sighed. “If my father had spent more time allowing me to hone this power instead of just assuming I could wield it, perhaps I could live up to everyone’s expectations for it.”

“Roan only cares about winning. At any cost.”

“Including his son.”

“We’re all expendable. Pawns for his games.”

“Well, perhaps I want more.” He waved at the battles waging around them. “What kind of king sits on his throne when his warriors fight for his kingdom? He should be here—leading his men—not watching the sky fill with smoke from the walls of Ravendale.”

“Then call the retreat.”

Rylan snapped his head around. “We’ve never pulled back before, Garreth. Roan—”

“I don’t give a fuck about Roan or his orders. You’re my king, Rylan. Since you first saved my life in battle along with fifty other soldiers…you’ve been my king. I don’t care about ceremonies or crowns. Save your men. Live to fight another day, my friend. There’s more to your future than blood and death.”

He chuckled. “Just because one witch saw something other than swirling blackness in her crystal orb doesn’t mean anything. You know that.”

“Perhaps. Or maybe it’s a sign.”

Rylan closed his eyes for a moment, trying to block out the clattering of swords and the lingering screams of men dying on the battlefield. Garreth was right. It was pointless to fight a battle they had no chance of winning.

He glanced at his friend, nodding. “We’ll fall back. Take as many villagers with us as we can. Make our stand on more favorable ground. Sound the retreat, I’ll cover…”

A whoosh of air made him pause a moment before Garreth grunted, slamming backwards into the ground. A lone shaft poked out of his shoulder, the feathered end fluttering in the breeze.

“Garreth!” Rylan knelt beside the man, fingering the arrow. “Hold still.”

“No. Save…”

Garreth’s voice keened into a ragged cry as Rylan yanked the shaft free, tossing it aside. Blood flowed from the open the wound, pooling on the parched ground before slowly sinking into the earth—staining it an eerie red. Rylan gathered his magic, allowing a small stream to discharge, sending a finger of heat into the other man’s flesh. Garreth’s hand locked around Rylan’s, his eyes wide before his head tipped back, his scream echoing across the moors. His friend clenched Rylan’s forearm, his nails biting into Rylan’s leather cuff before Garreth’s hold weakened, his arm falling limply to the ground.

Another volley of arrows landed in a scattered pattern around Rylan, one grazing a slice across his biceps. Rylan turned, his vision bleeding into red as sparks erupted along his flesh, flaring into flames as they raced up his arms then down his torso, consuming his upper body in a blaze of fire.

He stood, his magic pushing outwards, pressing against his fragile hold until it broke, tearing a scream from within his chest. The energy billowed outwards, coalescing into a ever-increasing wall as it raced toward the river, leaving a path of charred soot in its wake. A cloud of arrows rained down toward him, the shafts hissing into flames as they struct the barrier, the remnants falling to the ground as burning shards of ash. Shouts sounded from his troops as the men dove off the bridge, sinking beneath the water in an attempt to escape the raging fire. Agonizing cries rose above the roar of the flames, the pungent aroma of burnt flesh filling the air.

A horn blared off to his left and Rylan turned, watching as a unit of Aldhaven soldiers breeched the village, torches already setting some of the huts ablaze. Women and children fled the homes, only to be struck down as they tried to run past the advancing line of men. Rylan’s magic pulsed in response, extinguishing the last of his reservations. He glanced at his friend, whispering his apologies as he started across the field, an arc of fire preceding each step. Men charged at him, none breaking through the fiery barrier as he made his way to the edge of the settlement, the dirt path baking into cracked stone-like chunks beneath his feet.

He stopped, drawing his magic tighter, allowing it to swirl into a raging wall around him. The flames crackled and hissed, the heat setting everything within reach alight. Another horn sounded as he drew his magic inward, allowing it to gain momentum before he forcefully released it, feeding the fire until the very air sparked. Pleas and cries fell beneath the weight of his power, his echoed heartbeat the only tangible link back.

Time faded into shades of red, his surroundings nothing more than the dancing flames scouring the land. It wasn’t until water lapped at his thighs that he realized he’d fallen to his knees at the river’s edge, a blanket of steam rising from the surface. His lungs burned as he sucked in a few labored breaths, his focus slowly clawing its way out of the fiery haze.

An eerie silence covered the land, the distant squawking of birds ringing through his head. Flames still flickered in the surrounding trees, every inch of the earth within his field of view charred a deathly shade of black. Moans rose above the crackle of burning wood, the mournful sound like a knife to his soul.

Rylan palmed the shoreline, head bowed, muscles cramping with fatigue when a hand landed on his shoulder.

“Rylan.”

He stared straight ahead, unable to look away from the utter devastation, even to met Garreth’s gaze. “Dark hells. What have I done?”

“We need to gather what’s left of our legion and leave. Before Arglwydd’s troops find a way to launch another attack.”

“Another attack?” Rylan stumbled to his feet, kicking up a spray of water as he took a few shaky steps before turning. “Look around you! There’s no one left alive to launch an attack. I’ve killed them.” He released a choking breath. “By all that’s holy, I’ve killed them all.”

Garreth moved forward. “They brought this on, themselves, Rylan. They—”

“No one deserves the magnitude of violence I displayed here. They’re soldiers following the orders of their king. They’re no different than us.”

“Then the blame rests with me. If I hadn’t gotten hit…”

Rylan palmed his friend’s good shoulder. “We both know it was only a matter of time before I lost control. Seeing you struck down…” He released his hold, allowing his arm to fall to his side. “The blood spilled here is on my conscience. I’m merely lucky I didn’t decimate my own men, as well.”

Garreth sighed. “What’s done is done. Even you can’t change the past.”

“No. But I can shape the future. This is only the beginning. Once Aldhaven hears of this massacre, none of the border villages will be safe. Arglwydd will send his men to destroy every living soul born of this kingdom…unless I stop him.” He waved at the desolate landscape. “Stop this.”

Garreth pursed his mouth. “Do you honestly believe Arglwydd will listen to reason? To you?”

“It’s unlikely. But I have to try.” He shook his head. “I’d rather die trying to ascertain peace than live like this. There has to be a glimmer of hope—some kind of light to end the darkness.”

“Then I’ll grab our mounts. Gather supplies—”

“Not this time, my friend. I have to go alone.”

“Rylan. I pledged my allegiance to you, and you alone. You just saved my life. I won’t turn my back on you, now.”

“I need someone I trust to lead the men. Help whoever’s left standing find their way back to the Keep. If I fail…”

“Then there won’t be enough swords—enough magic—to keep me from seeing Arglwydd’s blood spilled.”

Rylan nodded. “Ornery as always.” He took a few steps, glancing sideways at Garreth. “I owe you far more than just my life. Thank you.”

“For what? As I recall, it’s you who’s saved me.”

“For never seeing me as Roan’s son. Godspeed.”

Garreth grabbed his arm, stopping him. “I meant what I said. I’ll be waiting for your return.”

Rylan smiled. “Then I’ll expect you to save me some of the good mead and not that swill you usually try to pawn off as my share of the victory.”

“Don’t die on me.”

“I’ll do my best.”

 

Now go and check out the other ladies for their take on an awesome song from my favourite band… and no, I’m not even SOREry for picking it.

Jessica Jarman  |  Bronwyn Green  |  Jessica De La Rosa

Gwendolyn Cease  |  Kellie St. James  |  Paige Prince  |  Kayleigh Jones

A, you’re adorable…

Welcome to Wednesday randomness…and it’s March! How did it suddenly become March? Sigh. That’s what happens when you get busy, people. Freaking life just keeps on going. I always feel as if I’m running to catch up. Oh, is it summer vacation yet? Seriously, for whatever reason, we’re all just done early this year. I wanted hockey over sooner, now we’re patiently waiting for spring break, because ours is sooooooo late.

But I digress…This week’s post is different. It’s an A to Z of inspiration. Now, I’m not a hundred percent sure I know exactly what this entails, but…it seems to be anything that inspires me. So…here goes.

A — action/adventure.   Mostly, I love to write these kinds of scenes if not entire books. Like they say, if you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space. And I try to do a lot of what I write. Rock climbing, mountaineering. I can fly helicopters. Worked for 911…etc, so…

B — Badass. It’s a word. And I like my heroines to be a version of it. And it’s not necessarily physically. Intelligence is one hell of a turn-on.

C — Cover Art. Because nothing makes you want to write a book more than a beautiful cover. And sometimes if I’m making a cover for me, it helps me visualize the characters and the book even more.

D — Dog. I know, but…if it weren’t for Bandit, I might not run every day, and if I didn’t run every day I wouldn’t solve as many plot issues or have ideas for cover art near as often.

E — Exercise. Seriously, nothing frees up the brain more than working the body. Blood flow isn’t just to the heart, folks.

F — Fantasy. In movies or books. Or just in your head. I love this genre and find it so motivating. Sometimes watching a great show brings new ideas. How inspiring is watching epic films like Hobbit or Lord of the Rings.

G — Google. Because I would be lost without the prowess of the Internet. This video right here.. and there are three of these, folks…

H — Happily ever after. Mostly because we all need to believe in a happy ending. That sacrifice and suffering is worth it in the end. That even if you don’t currently have that in place, that it’s still possible. Even if it’s like a rainbow—mostly illusion—it gives us peace. A goal.

I — Imagination. Or there’d be no stories.

J — Journey. ( And no, Bron, not the musical group, though I love me some Steve Perry.) It’s like the saying for mountaineers…somewhere between the base and the summit is why you climb. It’s all about the journey.

K — (Stephen) King. For writing books that inspired me to try my own. He will always be my favourite of all authors.

L — Lyrics. Because they are stories woven to music and a giver of ideas.

M — Music. I often listen to music and it amazes me how songwriters can capture so much in so few lines. I know some of my buddies hate Rascal Flats, but damn. They have such a talent for painting a picture from a few words and nothing more

N — Novel. ( I wanted to put Nickelback here, but Paige already did, so… yeah, had to downshift into something else.)

O — Ocean. I live on an island… a couple of blocks up from the ocean. Hell, I can see it out my window… There’s just something about waves, water…the tides. Watching eagles catch fish, whales breech. It’s alluring, soothing and oh so deadly.

P — Pandora’s Box. We should all open one… just cause.

Q — Quarrel. Because as one of my fave writers has as her tagline…sometimes a fist fight is foreplay. How true is this… (shoutout to BA Tortuga, here)

R — Running. I call this my attitude adjustment. And I get some of my best plots figured out on a run.

S — Shifter. Because who doesn’t find a man who can change form motivational. And I love the challenge of writing these.

T — Thriller. Still my favourite of all the genres. And a great album by Michael Jackson. Shh, it really was. You know it. And one of the best music videos EVER.

U — Uniform. While a lot of my heroes don’t where actual uniforms, I still consider them men or women in uniform because they’ve dedicated their lives to protecting others. And they are so deserving of being a muse.

V — Vista. Hey… bet you thought I couldn’t think of a V word. And they are breathtaking out here on the west coast.

W — Woods. The only place to run and the best place to find peace and inspiration.

X — XC (cross country) I stole this from Bronwyn. But it fits. Most of my soul sisters live far away. And I wouldn’t finish half of my books without their support and wisdom. Hell, they were the ones who gave me the spark for FORCE OF NATURE, just in idle chatting. I love you guys.

Y — Yonder. Hey, it’s Y people. And I often go, yonder, to write. To find ideas. Work with me on this one. IT’S Y!!!!

Z — Zombie. WHEN THEY COME, AND THEY WILL, I’LL BE READY!

Wow… why was that so hard? Anyway, check out all the other ladies…including our new partner in crime, Paige Prince. Welcome honey!

Jessica Jarman  |  Bronwyn Green  |  Jessica De La Rosa

Paige Prince  |  Gwendolyn Cease  | Kellie St. James  |  Kayleigh Jones

Bad Boy Next Door Box Set Cover Reveal

 

 

Bad Boys Next Door Box Set — Available March 16, 2015

 

There’s just something about a bad boy… It could be that neighbor you’ve had the hots for forever. Or maybe the guy in the cabin or office next door. It might even be a guy you meet on vacation or one you’ve known since you were a kid.

 

Twelve prolific authors, including New York Times Bestseller and USA Today Bestseller, Selena Kitt, and USA Today Bestseller, Jenny Trout writing as Abigail Barnette, present a sizzling collection of erotic romance sure to bring you to your knees and make you believe in love again – or, at least, lust at first sight!

 

Set also includes: Gwendolyn Cease, Bronwyn Green, Tilly Greene, Elise Hepner, Jessica Jarman, Sommer Marsden, Kris Norris, Paige Prince, Charlotte Stein, and Alison Tyler.

 

Abigail Barnette (Jenny Trout) – Bad Boy, Good Man

 

Newly independent real-life adult Ellie McCormack loves everything about her first apartment…except her neighbor. His bi-weekly sex fests keep her up at night in more ways than one as she wonders about the man who’s making all the noise—and what he’s doing to make his women so damn loud.

 

But even her wildest fantasies couldn’t conjure up a man like Antony DeLuca. When she works up the nerve to confront him, she’s expecting a player, but there’s more to Antony than his carefree sexual escapades. One hot night with him helps Ellie see through the man who drives women wild, to the good guy beneath it all. A guy that she just might be able to fall for…

 

Gwendolyn Cease – No Strings

 

All Kaitlin O’Neal wants to do is fix her sink. She’s intelligent and resourceful. Plus, she’s got her own tools. How hard could it be? Apparently, extremely hard, since her attempt left the sink in an unusable condition. When her next-door neighbor, Cameron Sinclair, offers to help her fix the mess and renovate the rest of the kitchen, she jumps at the chance. She’d be a fool not to, right? Cameron, though, is hotter than hot and makes her an offer she can’t refuse.

 

Cameron has wanted Kaitlin since she moved next door. So what if she’s older than him? She’s beautiful, sexy, and he wants to get to know her better. He offers her a no strings affair—one he hopes will keep her coming back to his bed. Between home improvements and steamy sex, Cameron realizes that their no strings fling will never be enough, but can he convince Kaitlin he’s worth the risk?

 

Bronwyn Green – Drawn That Way

 

Tristan Weaver, accountant for a successful video game company, is in way over her head. Honestly answering a company-wide survey and criticizing the sexist stereotypes used in the company’s games was enough to catch her boss’ attention.  But speculating on his sex life within his earshot has unexpected consequences when her hot, but nerdy, boss invites her to model for him.

 

Owner, artist and lead developer of Brecken Games, Rory Brecken, has a strict no fraternizing with employees rule. However, when he overhears Tristan’s conversation with her friend about his rumored kinks and begins to suspect her curiosity in the submissive side of sex, he’s more than a little tempted. When her interest is undeniably confirmed, he suggests a onetime only, colleagues with benefits hook-up.

 

Though neither want a relationship, once isn’t enough for either one of them. As their encounters become more intense, Rory makes a huge mistake that may cost him the woman he’s coming to love.

 

Tilly Greene – Her Wicked Ride

 

Mike Mulligan co-owns a garage and fixes cars. He rides a Harley, is covered in tattoos and has spent time in jail. Since being released he’s tried to live a clean life, but he’s a bad boy with women, very bad and terribly sexy. Bondage, domination, and so much more, are his preferences when playing with the ladies, and there have been a variety until the last one.

 

For the first time, he had to work for a yes. All summer, they’ve had fabulously wild no-holds-barred sex, but one morning everything changes.  With chaos in the garage, a cup of coffee in hand, and a half-naked Sherry Gonzales in his lap, his eyes are opened to wanting more than sex with her. Mike’s solution is to go on a date, their first date.

 

The night starts out fine. But things get wicked on the back of his bike before taking a turn, but for the good or bad?

 

Elise Hepner – A Marriage of Inconvenience

 

When Izzy Thorton’s mother falls ill and is given a terminal diagnosis the last thing Izzy anticipates is a proposal from her best friend, Sebastian Leery, to fulfill her mother’s dying wish. Only one snafu keeps Izzy from saying yes—she’s in love with him. But before she can say much of anything to his proposal, Bash takes the reins by telling her mother the good news.

 

Unable to fight her undeniable attraction to her playboy best friend—Izzy goes through with the best and worst mistake of her life. No sooner are the rings exchanged when they both realize their friendship can only bridge so many gaps. Sebastian has no hope of keeping his skeletons in the closet and Izzy doesn’t know how much longer she can keep her heart out of the equation.

 

Together they fumble through the darkness of their past to a future that might just be a little more clear–if they can fight their chemistry long enough to talk.

 

Jessica Jarman – London Bound

 

After losing her husband six years ago, Meg Stevens has focused on the day-to-day and being a mother, not sparing a thought for anything beyond—no dates, no excitement, no life other than what she already had. A six-week vacation to London, all but forced on her by her two children, changes all of that. Meg meets the man of her dreams—gorgeous, dominant, and completely on board with a short-term fling—despite the fact he’s far too young for her.

 

Nathan Harris is more than a bit curious about the beautiful woman renting the upstairs flat, and once he talks to her, curiosity is quickly replaced by arousal and desire. It doesn’t take long before it’s clear she longs to experience sexual submission, and Nathan finds himself desperate to be the one she submits to.

 

Her days spent exploring the city, her nights exploring Nathan and the pleasure submitting to him brings, Meg discovers the trip she’d taken out of obligation has turned into something she doesn’t want to walk away from. However, the life she left behind beckons, and there’s no room there for dreaming of something she can never have.

 

Selena Kitt – Working for the Weigands

 

Lloyd “Boone” Goodhart has been working for the Weigands since he was in high school, mowing their ornamental lawn, shoveling their long, winding driveway and skimming their enormous in-ground pool for extra cash, much of which he gives to his mom, a single-mother who has worked in the Wal-Mart bakery for twenty years. Boone, more apathetic cynic than true slacker, is also attending community college, bagging groceries at a local supermarket, and rebuilding his dead-beat dad’s old Harley.

 

His second summer after high school graduation starts out just as mundane and routine as the first, but Boone’s world turns upside down when Mrs. Weigand tells him her husband has left her, and her daughter has returned from boarding school in Europe, where Danielle “Ellie” Weigand has spent the past five years.

 

Before he knows which way is up, Mrs. Weigand starts requesting extra services of Boone—in more ways than one—while her daughter, Ellie, teases him mercilessly, just like she did in junior high. He soon finds himself immersed in a desperate, passionate affair, with not just one woman, but two.

 

Will the attention of both mother and daughter be more than he can handle, or will his growing feelings for them be more than he can bear?

 

Sommer Marsden – The Anniversary Party

 

Kylie Walker is cracking under the stress of hosting a thirtieth anniversary party for her parents and trying to keep up with her freelance writing deadlines. With a new house, a well-meaning but useless sister, and roughly forty people about to descend on her home, she doesn’t think it can get much worse. Until her mother’s friend, Mrs. Sinclair, calls to ask if they might bring one more person. Her son, Wade. The man who up and left Kylie eight years before.

 

Wade Sinclair has come back to town with one hope—to make things right with his high school sweetheart. Still hopelessly in love with Kylie, Wade knows he must come clean about why he left her all those years ago so he can finally set about reclaiming what he never should have let go of in the first place—her love.

 

Can they put their past behind them and look toward the future? Or will the anniversary party be the end of them altogether?

 

Kris Norris – Force of Nature

 

Love—an unparalleled force of nature.

 

Conservation Officer, Finley McKay, isn’t a stranger to criticism. Taking risks to protect delicate ecosystems doesn’t impress most people—including the doctor renting the cabin beside hers. The man’s arrogant, opinionated and far too sexy in his faded jeans and tees. She already knows he’s an ass—she just wished it mattered enough to make her keep her distance.

 

Dr. Coen Brady isn’t looking to fit in. Having recently retired from the military, he’s hoping to spend a few months hiding from the world in a small, out-of-the-way town in northern Washington.

 

But just his luck, he has the misfortune of running into his next-door neighbor. A girl who seems determined to get herself killed before his time there is up. She’s reckless, stubborn and slowly driving him insane.

 

When anger morphs into angry sex, Coen knows taking her to bed is a calculated risk—one he might regret when her investigation turns deadly, leaving Finley’s life hanging in the balance. Breaking a few rules to keep her in the game doesn’t seem that dangerous, until it becomes painfully obvious she won’t stop until justice is served—even if the price is her life.

 

Paige Prince – Lost Treasure

 

Danielle Almasi-Epperson’s parents were killed in a tragic car accident when she was eight years old, leaving her world famous, Egyptologist grandfather to raise her in their stead. While she had the pleasure of growing up on archaeological digs, he never believed that the field was a woman’s place. All she’s ever dreamed of is adventure and the kind of love her parents had.

 

Jareth Riley was the boy in the tent next door to Danielle’s at every dig she could remember while growing up. Her grandfather and his father labeled him a troublemaker from day one. So, when Danielle and Jareth fall in love and lose their virginity to each other, it takes no time at all for her grandfather to ship her off to Harvard.

 

Ten years later, she’s working as a curator at a museum and he’s a treasure hunter. When he shows up on her doorstep asking for help to find a lost artifact with supposed mystical powers, she can’t help but say yes. In no time at all, they’re on the run from mad men with guns and rekindling the romance that had never quite died. Will they be able to restore the lost treasure to the rightful owners, or will they destroy their chance at happiness or lose their lives in the attempt?

 

Charlotte Stein – Curveball

 

When Judy Myers is offered a relaxing vacation to get away from her latest heartbreak, she can’t say no. A cruise on her brother’s yacht sounds like heaven…until she realizes her brother’s best friend has been invited along for the ride.

 

Steven Stark is big, he’s loud, and he’s obviously not interested in the plump, plain little sister he used to tease unmercifully. In fact, he’s still quite happy to tease her – until she turns the tables on him. Now, Steven can’t seem to keep his thoughts, or his hands, to himself. And worse, Judy’s not sure she can resist the attraction she’s kept buried for so many years.

 

Being trapped on a boat isn’t the best place to be, when you’re suddenly thrown a hunky curveball.

 

Alison Tyler – The Spanking House

 

The Spanking House is a fantastical tale of a writer struggling against the beast known as “writer’s block.” Mia Rogers rents a cozy cottage in a small town in hopes of jumpstarting the novel she can’t seem to finish. When she meets Tripp Johnson, she becomes motivated in ways she previously hadn’t thought possible.

These are a few…

So, it’s another Randomness blog, and another Favourite things edition. Only, this month it’s— Favourite Websites. Now I’m going to be honest…I’m not sure i even understand what they mean. Is it favourite websites you like to visit? Ones you find visually pleasing? Ones I’ve built, lol. Yeah, pretty sure it’s not that last one. But hey, I can dream.

Also, I’m wondering how I’ll be judged. What if one of my favourite sites is…um…adult oriented. Is that politically correct? Of course, none will (I will take those to the grave, people). And really, I’m not sure I have a lot. Yes, I spend too much time on the internet, but not sure I have a bunch of favourite sites. I’m usually just surfing.

But in the spirit of the blog, here is a list of some of my favourite websites, in no particular order…

1 — Tumblr. And I’ll come clean. I like the naughtier side of Tumblr. Some of the beautiful images…hotter than the sun, folks.

2 — All Romance ebooks. I do enjoy this site. I often pick up books from here. And I’ll even just use it to look at cover art, especially in genres I don’t write.

3 — MEC. This stands for Mountain Equipment Co-op. It’s a Canadian Outfitting store and I buy most of my clothes from here. For running, riding, and just hanging out. I love their stuff and I love seeing what’s new. I have technical gear from here, too. Climbing gear, mountaineering gear…you name it.

4 — Beachbody. They have a great forum with tons of folks that answer fitness questions and groups to join to help motivate you if you need that. And I love their stuff, so…I still love this site.

5 — FaceBook/Twitter. Not sure this is a favourite by choice. It’s more a necessity. Honestly, I’m not a great doer of social media. I’m trying. So…I guess that counts.

6 —Amazon. I do look at this for lots of reasons. Again, it feels like a bit of a necessity, but… I do use it to look stuff up.

7 —Wiki. This has to be hands down one of the places I turn for research all the time. There are some great resources there and a place I go to for more books.

Now, I could mention, Pinterest. I enjoy it but I rarely go. Not sure why. There’s lots of shit on there but… And I know there are probably other places I go. I just can’t think of any. Honestly, I mostly want to look something up then google it. It’s that simple.

Now go check out the other ladies. And I swear if Jess Jarman put on Web MD…

Jessica Jarman |  Bronwyn Green  | Jessica De La Rosa

Gwendolyn Cease  |  Kellie St. James

A picture’s worth a 1000 words—March

It’s picture flash fiction Monday. And wow… lookie what the image is this month. It’s so pretty. I’d love to have one of these in my house, or in the yard—reflecting sunlight. But alas, I’ve got nothing people. And the dog would probably use it as a toy, anyway.

So I’ll have to be content with just writing my tale. I know the past two images were part of a continuing story. And honestly, I’d thought about revisiting my favourite college kids, but…this image ties in nicely with my upcoming Serial…what will undoubtedly be an obscenely long novel—I’m predicting 100K. It’s titled… RED SKY DAWNING. It’s a fantasy adventure story with a theme of enemies to lovers. I have a couple of partners in crime that are going to be joining me with their own amazing stories—but that’s for later.

For now, I’m going to offer you a short prequel of sorts. A glimpse at a moment in the hero’s life long before he becomes the focus of my book. I hope you enjoy it…

 

 

“No.”

Rylan stood outside the worn tent, feet braced apart, arms crossed on his chest, staring at the tattered flaps that snapped in the late evening breeze. Shadows played inside the small space, glimpses of flickering candlelight visible between the fluttering pieces of canvas.

Garreth slapped him on the shoulder, stepping up beside him. “Ah, come on, Rylan. It’s all in good fun.”

Rylan glared at his friend. “If you’re so enthusiastic, be my guest.” He waved at the opening. “Have the old witch read your fortune because I already know my future.”

“Do you, now? And what’s that? That you’ll be king? Find yourself a pretty maiden and make a few heirs to the throne?”

Rylan firmed his jaw, ignoring the flash of power beneath his flesh. Garreth was just trying to lighten the mood. Give Rylan something other than war and battles to focus on. Perhaps a glimmer of hope.

He held his magic in check, glancing at the tent. “We both know maidens and heirs aren’t in my future. Blood. Death. A kingdom with little hope of ever seeing peace—those are what lie in store for me.”

“There’s more to life than fighting your father’s battles, Rylan. You’ve done nothing but train and wage war since you were old enough to hold a sword. Since your magic gave your father a far more powerful weapon than he ever imaged.” Garreth placed his hand on Rylan’s shoulder. “Maybe it’s time to consider ending this fight with Aldhaven. Find a way to do what Roan never could.”

“And what’s that, Garreth? Win?”

“Make peace.”

Rylan scoffed, breaking his friend’s hold and taking a few heavy steps away. “Peace? They raid our lands, pillage our towns. They kill women and children alike over a patch of earth that barely grows enough food to feed a family, let alone a village. Don’t you think my father would make peace if there was peace to be found?”

“We do the same to them. Kill them just as swiftly, as indiscriminately. Over that same piece of parched ground. My sword bears as much innocent blood as any Ravendale soldier. Maybe more.” Garreth paced over to stand next to him. “Tell me. Do you even know why we’re at war? Does anyone even remember?”

Rylan held Garreth’s gaze, the truth of the man’s words settling hard in his gut. How many times had he pondered that very question? Asked his father—King Roan—what stood between them and a world without bloodshed?

Rylan ran a hand through his hair. “What would you have me do? I’m not king. Not yet.” He snorted. “Chances are, I’ll give my life for Ravendale long before I sit on any throne.”

“Make Aldhaven an offer. A show of good faith. Give them a reason to want to end this war as much as we do.”

“And what shall I give them? My life? Yours? My father’s crown?” Rylan shook his head. “I’ve heard the rumours, same as you. They say King Arglwydd merely sits on a pedestal like a puppet on a string. Controlled by a sorcerer whose magic is equalled only by his thirst for more power.” His shoulders drooped, the sheer weight of the knowledge draining his strength. “We both know there’s no reasoning with men like that.”

“Then be the kind of man that dares them to walk away. To decline your offering. I’ll stand beside you. Every warrior you’ve ever accompanied into battle will stand beside you. You’re more than our prince. You know that.”

Rylan scrubbed his hand down his face, giving Garreth a smile as he laid his hand on his friend’s shoulder. “And here I thought you wanted me to seek my fortune? If this is what the witch will tell me, I don’t think I want to venture inside.”

Garreth slapped him on the back. “You’re just afraid she might tell you, you’ll live long enough to have a woman rule over you. That the mighty Rylan—heir to the throne of Ravendale—will be struck down by love, not a blade.”

“There are a number of possible futures in store for me, my friend, but love isn’t be one of them. That I’m certain of. My father’s already had my fortune read by every gypsy in the kingdom.”

“Then this one won’t come as a surprise.” Garreth motioned to the flap. “Need I remind you that you lost our bet three moons ago. I will consider that debt paid if you simply go inside. Give the lady a chance to see something new.”

“If it’ll stop this endless chattering, it’ll be worth hearing my dismal fortune yet again.”

Rylan ignored the smug grin Garreth flashed him as he strode toward the tent, brushing aside the flaps in one quick motion before entering the dim interior. Coloured scarves hung around the perimeter of the small space, creating a rainbow of speckled dots across the ground. Candles bathed the area in a soft glow, the scent of sage and jasmine heavy in the air. He looked over his shoulder when the flaps snapped behind him, fluttering a few more times before suddenly stilling—the beige cloth hanging limp in the doorway.

“Come in, Prince Rylan. I’ve been waiting for you.”

Rylan snapped his head around, staring at the beautiful woman standing beside a small, round table. Golden hair hung down to her waist, her green eyes sparkling amidst the shadows.

She motioned to a chair angled in front of the table. “Please. Sit.”

He covered half the distance, still gawking at her. “How do you know my name?”

“You’re the Prince of Ravendale. Everyone knows your name.”

“Not this close to the border. Most people wouldn’t give me a second look.” He frowned. “But you’re…”

“What?” She smiled. “Not what you expected?” She moved gracefully to the chair opposite the one she’d offered him. “Would it ease your mind if I were older? If my hair was a dingy shade of grey? If my skin showed signs of experience—of days spent labouring in the fields? Does my appearance unnerve you, My Prince?”

“This has nothing to do with your appearance and everything to do with the fact you claim to be a witch.”

She laughed, the lilting sound oddly relaxing. “I believe the word you seek is seer. I’ve never claimed to be a witch. I don’t possess magic in the way you do. Mine is the gift of sight.”

“And that precludes you from being a witch, how, exactly?”

“Are you so hardened that you can only see the world in black and white?” She motioned to the chair again. “We both know your curiosity outweighs your hesitation. So please…sit.”

Rylan eyed her for several heartbeats, glaring at the doorway when he heard Garreth mumble something about paying his debt through the flaps of the tent, before continuing over to the seat. He pulled it out, scanning the room once more then sliding onto the hard wood. The legs creaked as he shifted forward, placing his elbows on the woven cloth covering the surface of the  table. His gaze focused on the large, crystal orb centered on the fabric, a multitude of colours swirled through the glass.

She joined him, studying him in return. Her gaze felt strangely intimate, as if she could somehow see inside him. A frown curved her lips, her brows furrowing. “You carry a heavy burden, young Prince.”

He didn’t reply, wondering if this was the best she could do.

She nodded toward the ball. “You don’t believe I can see your future, do you?”

“I believe you want me to believe you can.”

“You think all you have before you is death. Blood to be spilled on the battlefield. Your blood.”

He grinned, wrapping one arm around the back of the chair as he leaned against it. “I’m a warrior. That’s to be expected.”

“And you believe this is where you’ll die? On the battlefield, serving your father—your kingdom?”

“Even if it had not been foretold by countless seers, such as yourself, my future holds no mysteries, madam. No one wins every battle.”

“What if I were to tell you, they were wrong? That they couldn’t possibly foresee what your future holds because it becomes a black mist within the ball?”

“A black mist?” He edged toward her. “Is that not my death?”

“It symbolizes change. The end of one life but the beginning of another.”

“Must you speak in riddles?”

She shrugged, waving her fingers over the smooth glass. A white cloud stirred within the crystal, swirling like a building storm. She hovered over the ball, gaze fixed within it debts. “So much pain. So much suffering.”

Rylan squared his shoulders. He knew how this story ended. Had been told it numerous times. Why Garreth seemed to think Rylan would get a different version mystified him. He was a warrior. He’d die in battle.

The woman gasped as pure, golden light burst from the orb, filling the room with an angelic glow. Heat warmed his skin, stirring his cock beneath his breeches until it sat hard and heavy against his stomach.

Rylan pushed to his feet, drawing his sword as the light gathered strength, curling around him like a loving caress. His skin prickled in response, the image of a woman wavering in his mind before quickly vanishing. The light dimmed, turning to orange before slowly fading, nothing but the ghostly echo of his name ringing in his ears. He spun around, searching the small space before settling his gaze on the woman. Sweat beaded her brow, dark circles smudging the flesh beneath her eyes.

He stormed to the table, grabbing her by the collar. “What foul sorcery do you practice, witch? What do you hope to gain by lying to me?”

The woman’s breath raked across his wrist, the harsh sound catching him by surprise. Rylan released her, uncertainty building in his muscles.

She took a few laboured gasps before finally lifting her gaze to his. Tears shone in her eyes, her obvious pain etched in the fine lines around her mouth. “It cannot be.”

He huffed, rounding the table—grasping her arm and lifting her to her feet. “What? What did you see?”

She stared at him, eyes rounded in horror, mouth slightly open.

He gave her a firm shake. “Speak, seer. What did you see?”

“Light. Pure, light unlike any I’ve ever seen. It’s…inside her.”

“Her? Who?”

The woman sobbed, tugging against his hold. “I must go. It’s not safe…”

“Tell me what you saw, witch, or I’ll strike you down.”

The woman looked up at him, all traces of smugness gone. “I saw a woman…standing beside you. Her arm marked by the gods, themselves. She’s…”

Rylan shook her again. “She’s what?”

“The answer. To everything.” She leaned in close. “To you.”

 

And that’s it for me, folks. My introduction into my serial… I can’t wait to show off the cover I made and start in on this new adventure. I hope you’ll join me alternating Mondays starting soon. It promises to be a fun ride.

Now dash off and visit the other ladies. See what they came up with this month.

Jessica Jarman  |  Bronwyn Green  |  Kayleigh Jones

Jessica De La Rosa  |  Gwendolyn Cease