November News

November is shaping up to be a busy month! Here's some of what I have going on:

 #1. The first book in my Children of Night series, In the Dark, is going to be on sale for just .99 until November 13. 
In the Dark
When you live forever, you’re bound to make a few mistakes.
Children of Night, Book 1
1969 San Francisco. World-weary Conrad Quintano should have known better than to fall in love with a human—much less Suzanne Fischer, the barely legal, adventure-seeking hippie beauty known as Desert Rose. And the very last thing he should have agreed to do was to raise her babies and protect them with his life. But even twelve-hundred-year-old master vampires can find it hard to reject a deathbed request—especially when issues of love, guilt and blood are involved.
Present day. Raised in virtual isolation, twins Marc and Julie Fischer have always known they are vampires. But they never knew their parentage—or their unique status in the vampire world—until their “uncle” Damian comes to fetch them home. The family reunion, however, isn’t what they expect. They’re thrust into a world for which they’re totally unprepared. And the father they expected to see, Conrad, is missing.
How to find him…and whom to trust? Solving the mystery of betrayal and vampire family values will prove the Beatles had it right. All you needis love…and an occasional side of blood.
Product Warnings
While reading this book you may experience any of the following, an increased desire to wear flowers in your hair, dress in tie-dye or nap during the day. Other symptoms may include an intolerance to sunlight, an aversion to garlic-flavored tofu and a pronounced urge to bake…or get baked.

When you live forever, you’re bound to make a few mistakes. Children of Night, Book 1 1969 San Francisco. World-weary Conrad Quintano should have known better than to fall in love with a human—much less Suzanne Fischer, the barely legal, adventure-seeking hippie beauty known as Desert Rose. And the…


#2 I'm also taking part in a PTSD and Wounded Warrior fundraiser happening now through November 8 on Facebook. 

There's a ton of great books available. I've donated a couple of print copies of Midnight Ink--the book is no longer available ANYWHERE, so if you want one, here's your chance to get it and give back a little to our warriors. 

One tattoo shop in one infamous city sets the stage for 8 ALL NEW stories about resolutions, kink, love and ink. Get ready to let the good times roll! 

#1 All Romance Ebooks Best Seller
Top 10 Amazon Best Seller
Top 50 Barnes & Noble Best Seller

#3. Both In the Dark and Inked Memories (my story in the Midnight Ink antho) are part of Heavenly Sent's second book review bash happening now! 

Welcome To the Book Review Bash the 2nd!

We all know that reviews are a big part of the Authors world. I also know that there are a ton of you that love helping Authors out! 

So this event is to designed to help those Authors we know and love, and maybe some amazing new ones, get those reviews that can help them in ways we just couldn't imagine!

So sit back and prepare to get your reading on. 

#4. Finally, I'll be in Huntington, WV next weekend (November 7 and 8) at the Rebels & Readers Author Event, a two day book signing event. Woohoo! I'll be signing books from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. both days at the Pullman Plaza Hotel. 

Hope to see you there!



Hello and welcome to day 6 of the 13 Days of Halloween Blog Hop! If you missed yesterday's post it's at: All Things Candi http://allthingscandi.blogspot.com/2015/10/lokis-revenge.html?zx=9a14eea0ace70c3e

Today's post offers a look at the lighter side of haunting...although I suspect I find the story more amusing than most of the people involved. Oh, did I mention this is a true story?

I'm no stranger to bi-location. For those of you who aren't sure what that is, it's basically the ability to be in two places at once. It's a form of astral projection, the main distinction being that, when you bi-locate, people can see your astral form and you retain some (usually very slight) ability to interact with them or with physical objects that you come into contact with.

For example, the first time I recall bi-locating was when I was about two-and-a-half years old. We were visiting my grandparents (who lived next door) and as this was in an era before child monitors, my parents chose to put me down for my nap there rather than carry me home where I'd be alone and too far to be heard. This did not suit me nearly as well as it did them. I was uncomfortable sleeping in an unfamiliar location and worse yet, I was missing my favorite stuffed animal. So I traveled home and retrieved it from my crib--much to everyone's consternation when they went to get me up. It was generally assumed that one of my older cousins must have felt bad for me and took it upon themselves to go and get it for me (and then subsequently refused to come forward and admit it, thinking that they'd get in trouble). Obviously, no one thought to ask me, but if they had...eh, they probably wouldn't have believed me anyway.

Apparently, the ability runs in my family, as I'm not the only one who's done it. When my sister was in college she used to come back for visits periodically. The first time it happened I thought I'd simply dreamed it--until my sister called the next morning and was able to recount our entire conversation. 

Many years later, I was living on the other side of the country. My parents had sold the house where I'd grown up by that point and I wasn't handling it well. I don't like change--I feel like I should mention that point. It bothered me that I no longer had access to the house, or that my children would never get to see where I grew up. It bothered me more than it should, to the point where I began visiting it in my dreams.

These dreams were oddly unsatisfying due to the fact that I was perplexed by the obvious changes that had been made to the house. There was a different carpet on the floor. The furniture was different. And I didn't recognize any of the people I encountered sleeping in the various bedrooms. I assumed they were guests, so mostly I left them alone. But sometimes I'd wake them up to ask them if they knew about the changes. 

Unfortunately, they rarely seemed to understand what I was saying. None of them wanted to talk to me. Some of the time they'd pull the covers over their heads. Other times, they'd run from the room. It was rude and annoying...and then I'd wake up back in my own bed on the opposite coast wondering what my subconscious mind was trying to tell me with these crazy dreams!

This went on for several months. 

On one of my visits, I discovered that someone had attached several flimsy looking book shelves to one of the walls in the living room. Did I mention I don't like change? I really don't. So no one who knows me would be surprised that I could not just leave things as they were. I decided to put the books back where they belonged--on the built in shelves that flanked the large bow window on the other side of the room. 

This, however, proved to be a surprisingly difficult task. For some reason the books kept slipping from my hands. Eventually I got so angry I knocked a whole bunch of them off the shelf and onto the floor.  I guess I must have woken someone up because I heard a noise behind me and, when I turned around, I found a strange man staring at me in horror. I started towards him, intending to ask him to help me move the books but he turned and ran from the room too.Like I said: Rude. And annoying. 

On my last visit, I found myself up on the roof trying to gain access to the house via my former bedroom window. My grandmother (who was dead) appeared floating in the air nearby and called me away from the house. She told me I didn't belong there anymore and made me promise not to go there anymore...a promise I've mostly kept. 

The dreams stopped at that point and I didn't think any more about it until one day--I think it was about a year or so later--I received a phone call from my brother who had moved back into the neighborhood where we used to live. He told me he'd been introduced to the man who now owned our family's house, and that this man immediately began to ask him a series of very strange questions. Like had anyone ever died in the house? Had anyone ever complained that it was haunted? Did we ever have any trouble with books falling off shelves in the middle of the night?

That's when it hit me. I'd become a ghost without even realizing it. Uh...oops? 

I hope you're enjoying our hop. The next post in the hop goes up tomorrow at: https://www.facebook.com/michael.f.troy

If you enjoy romantic suspense with a psychic twist I hope you'll check out the Oberon series.

 There’s something magical about the California Coast town. Oberon’s idyllic setting makes it a perennial favorite with tourists, but danger lurks beneath the bright surface and things there are seldom what they seem. Visitors and residents alike find their lives forever changed by mystery, romance and intrigue. 

Contemporary romance meets magic realism in this engaging series by PG Forte. This first set, Welcome to Oberon, contains three full-length novels. While each book can be read on its own, you’ll want to return again and again to visit with the friends you’ve met within their pages. 


 Welcome back to bewitching Oberon, California! This small, coastal town is an enchanting place. Anything can happen here – and all too often it does! Clinging to corrugated cliffs above a windswept beach, and isolated amid a tangled network of canyons and creeks, Oberon can be a hard place to get to. But, as all too many visitors have learned over the years, it can be an even harder place to leave behind. 

The series continues with books four through six. Once again, these are full-length novels. Although many of the same characters appear in each one, all the books in this collection can be read as stand-alone stories. 


Mystical forces are once again at work in Oberon, the quirky small town set amid the beaches, wineries and forests of California’s Central Coast. Evil has come home to roost, an evil that threatens everyone’s happy endings and that brings with it a darkness that only love can dispel. 

The exciting Oberon series concludes in Happily Ever After in Oberon, a collection that contains books seven through nine. Once again, these are full-length novels in whose pages you will re-visit many of the characters you’ve previously met. Unlike the first two collections, however, a familiarity with those earlier books is recommended.


Summer Solstice scene from The Oak King

Welcome to the Midsummer Night's Tea Party! You can find more participating blogs HERE.

The Oak King is one of my latest releases. It's a re-telling of the Oak King/Holly King story, which means that many of the scenes take place during either the summer solstice or the winter solstice.

Here's a scene from very early in the book. It's when Kieran (the current Holly King) meets Fionn (the future Oak King) for the very first time.

But first, the blurb:

 Twice each year, Aine Murphy ventures into the woods to hold ceremonies to honor the Oak King and the Holly King, never dreaming these Lords of the Forest could be anything more than myth. When the legends spring to life in front of her, how can she help but fall for the sexy demi-gods she's loved all her life?

From midwinter to midsummer, Fionn O'Dair rules the Greenworld as the Oak King--a role he feels is beyond his abilities, and one that dooms him to a loveless future, forever craving the one man he can never allow himself to have. How can he resist what Aine offers--the sweet devotion that soothes his aching soul, and the slim chance to live a "normal" life as her husband, if only for half a year?

Holly King Kieran Mac Cuilenn never desired a human lover--until now. Seeing Fionn and Aine together fills him with longing for the love he threw away and awakens feelings he thought he'd buried with the last Oak King. Is there enough magic in the solstice to correct the mistakes he made years ago? Or is he doomed to be forever left out in the cold?

Available in digital format at AmazonLoose IdAll Romance eBooksKobo, and Barnes & Noble

June 1837
At the time of the summer solstice

The Holly King was not happy. Kieran Mac Cuilenn, Lord of Misrule and Ruler of the Waning Year, had been awake since before the dawn, intent on making the most of every last minute of freedom before his six-month reign began. He was also eager to be reunited with his lover, if only for a few short hours. But the day was swiftly passing, and the Oak King had yet to make an appearance. This made the third time since sunrise that Kieran had climbed to the top of this lonely hill to stand beside the Oak King’s tree, to lay a hand against the oak’s rough bark and whisper words of encouragement. But, just like the last two times, his pleas went unanswered. Naught but the faintest of pulses emanated from within the massive trunk, letting him know that his friend and lover continued to slumber.

“Damn you, Rory,” Kieran grumbled as worry and disappointment ate away at his temper. “What ails you? Why won’t you wake up?” He struck the tree with his fist, feeling more like a petulant child than a mature dru just settling into midlife.

He sighed in exasperation. It was getting harder each summer to coax the older tree spirit from his tree. If things kept up at this pace, Kieran imagined it would not be very long before the two of them would see each other only at the winter solstice when it was Kieran who would set the pace. If that was to be the way of it, he was half-tempted to play the same sort of game this next December.

Why should he not pay the Oak King back in kind for worrying him so? But he knew he would never do so. They already had so short a time to be together that anything less was unacceptable. All the same, however, something would have to be done. Kieran had been as patient as he knew how, but the time had come for action.

“I’ll be back soon, you old goat,” Kieran promised, dealing the heavy trunk another sharp blow. “And I’m warning you now, I will have you out of there this day if I have to set fire to your roots to do so.” Then he turned and headed back down the hill, a foggy idea already beginning to take shape.

He’d tried soft words and sweet enticements—they hadn’t worked—and Kieran was no longer in the mood for gentle coaxing. He would find another way to rouse Rory and draw him forth. All he needed was the proper goad, something to ignite the Oak King’s passion and force him from slumber. But what?

He’d gone no distance at all before the exact thing he needed appeared to him in the person of a handsome young dru lurking in the shadows of the trees adjacent to the path Kieran trod.

Kieran’s footsteps slowed. The lad was vaguely familiar, though Kieran did not know him by name. Something about the self-conscious expression on the youth’s face, the flush on his cheeks, the awkward way he dived for the shelter of the trees as though attempting to conceal himself, caught Kieran’s attention. He stopped in his tracks and fixed the lad with a piercing gaze. “You, there. Come out here at once and tell me what you are doing.”

The young man flushed even harder. “Why, n-nothing, sire. I mean, Y-your Majesty.” Taking a deep breath, he squared his shoulders, then stepped boldly onto the path. “I was just… I hoped… I wanted to wish you a H-happy Solstice, m-my liege.”

“Happy?” Kieran repeated the word thoughtfully. He did not consider either of the solstices to be joyful occasions. Once he might have done so, he supposed, but they’d long since become the dreariest of days, forever associated with sacrifice and loss.

“Aye, Your Majesty. And also…to wish you well as your reign commences.” He paused, tongue darting nervously out to wet his lips, then continued in a rush. “I know you are always with us, my liege, whether we see you or no. But the world will seem a bleaker place until you return again to grace us with your presence.”

“I see.” Kieran felt a rush of attraction such as he could not remember feeling in a very long time. It was followed almost immediately, however, by one of regret. What a shame they had not crossed paths earlier in the year. As it was, he now had no time to pursue anything with… “Tell me, what is your name, lad?”

“F-fionn, m-my liege. Fionn O’Dair.”

Fionn. Kieran repeated the name silently. He would really have to try and remember that. “Well, I thank you, Fionn, for your well wishes.” The boy was delightful, bright as a summer morn—an oak, obviously—and, perhaps because of that, Kieran was suddenly reminded, most forcefully, of Rory.
It was then that the half-realized ideas in Kieran’s head coalesced into a plan. What better way to gain the Oak King’s attention than to flaunt a new lover in front of him, to make love to this lad right in the shade of Rory’s branches? Why, nothing could be more perfect! He could indulge in a harmless flirtation with Fionn and roust Rory from his bed at the same time.

Knowing Rory as he did, Kieran was certain the oak would waste no time in making Kieran pay for his insolence. He’d be wont to take his wayward lover hard and fast—very much in the same manner as Kieran planned on taking Fionn, if he were willing. The thought only added to Kieran’s excitement.

A smile overspread Kieran’s face. “I wonder, young Fionn, how sincere you are in wishing me happy. For, if you’re willing, I can think of a way in which you might assist me in making this solstice a very happy one indeed.”

* * * *

The world was not what it once was. Of that Rory Tighearnach, high king of the drus—the tree spirits of Éire—was certain. Why, he had only to look around him to see the proof of that! His home grove was naught but a memory now. All of his family, stately creatures, tall and proud, trees that had once clustered about him, that had sheltered him from wind and rain when he was but a sapling, were long gone. Even the deer and the squirrels that had once lingered in their shade, or browsed upon the abundance of acorns and nuts the trees let fall, had deserted him. He alone remained now, surrounded by gorse and furze and heather, with only a handful of birds—who still returned, year after year, to make their nests in his branches—for company.

Were he a simple dru, like others of his kind, he would have long since moved on. For contrary to what the legends claimed, tree spirits were not solitary by nature, nor must they remain always where their trees were rooted. But Rory’s life was no longer his own. He was the Oak King, Lord of the Forest, Protector of the Greenworld, Ruler of the Waxing Year, and it was these responsibilities that kept him bound here.

For six months—midwinter to midsummer—Rory was held in a kind of stasis, unable to take shape or venture forth. That was his body, but his mind was also not his own. Though not similarly constrained to remain in one place, it was almost completely subsumed by the Forestmind. His awareness flowed outward, through a wide and varied network of root and branch, rhizome and filament. Working its way through lichen and algae, through seaweed and moss, it circled the globe. It was everywhere at once, cognizant of all that transpired within the entirety of the Greenworld.
It was an honor to have been chosen for so exalted a purpose. And there was a certain amount of bliss to be had in his yearly melding with a will so much greater than his own. But it was a burden also. Some years, he’d been scarcely able to wait for the summer solstice to arrive. He’d been so eager to be released from his service—freed him to be just himself once again—that he’d fair burst from his tree the first moment he was able.

More and more often, however, he’d begun to find it hard to return to regular consciousness. The magic needed to extricate himself from his tree seemed more elusive than in years past. The Greenworld continued to pull at his soul in a way it had not done before. He could feel it calling him, urging him to stay submersed in its depths, to lose himself within it. Perhaps to lose himself permanently.

Today, for example, though the morning had fled—and most of the afternoon as well—he had yet to make the slightest effort to free himself. He could not recall a single reason why he should. Did the noonday sun not feel pleasant as it caressed his leaves? Was not the warm breeze that stirred amid his topmost branches a delight to experience? Why not tarry a while longer, right where he was, dreaming of days gone by? Why force himself to face the reality of a world grown bleak and dismal?

The sound of laughter filtered into his thoughts, such a gentle, rousing sound. Rory smiled when its source was revealed. Two drus were at play upon his hill, pursuing each other through the brush—naked and unafraid. As well they might be. For even if there had been humans present, they would not be seen. No human senses could pierce the magic veil that had been erected to keep the two species separated, and no dru would ever be so foolish to do so.

But ah, their laughter took him back, it did. Once upon a time he too had played such games. It warmed his heart to realize there was still some joy left in the world. His heart heated even more when he recognized one of the two men. Kieran Mac Cuilenn, the Holly King, he who ruled over the Waning Year.

The other dru was as yet unknown to him. Rory studied the newcomer with some interest. He was tall, though still somewhat gangly, with a curly mop of copper-colored hair bleached gold in places by the sun. Judging by his coloration and his build, Rory could tell he was an oak, but a very young one, little more than a stripling.

Kieran led his playmate to the very foot of Rory’s tree. There the chase ended. Kieran turned and fixed his pursuer with a heated gaze—part challenge, part invitation. The second dru halted but a few steps away. He glanced up briefly, uncertainly, hazel eyes growing wider as his gaze took in the spread of Rory’s branches, the majestic bulk of his trunk; then his eyes focused once again on Kieran.

The reverence with which the lad regarded the holly was as obvious as it was understandable. In his human form Kieran was stunning. Long limbs. Lean, sinewy muscles. His bare skin was winter-pale. His hair, dark as a crow’s back for the most part, was laced with starlight threads. And his eyes, as Rory well remembered, were the deep, pure green of a pine forest reflected in a moonlit lake.

The unknown dru stared longingly at Kieran. His hazel eyes held a stormy mix of doubt and desire. “Your Majesty?” He addressed Kieran hesitantly, clearly eager for more of his attention yet reluctant to overstep his bounds.

To read more about this title, please visit my website: http://www.pgforte.com/CelticLegends.htm

To read another Summer Solstice excerpt from The Oak King at: http://www.loose-id.com/the-oak-king.html#product_tabs_Excert

To read a Summer Solstice excerpt  from Scent of the Roses visit my other blog: http://oberoncalifornia.blogspot.com/

PG Forte inhabits a world only slightly less strange than the ones she creates. Filled with serendipity, coincidence, love at first sight and dreams come true.

She wrote her first serialized story when she was still in her teens. The sexy, ongoing adventure tales were very popular at her oh-so-proper, all girls, Catholic High School, where they helped to liven up otherwise dull classes...even if her teachers didn't always think so.

Originally a Jersey girl, PG now resides with her family on the extreme left coast where she writes contemporary and paranormal romance in a variety of sub-genres.

PG can be reached directly at: pgforte@pgforte.com


California Dreaming

Well. We've arrived at the last day of my pity party. So I guess I'd better get this last contest link posted! Today's prize is a digital copy of any book in my backlist. I haven't decided how many winners I'll pick. It depends on how many entries I get! That is not to say I'm giving books away to everyone who enters! My publishers might object to that! But the more entries, the more prizes. That's all I'm saying.

Today I'm featuring books from my LA Love Lessons series. Because, they're the only books I haven't really talked about yet this week. But first the contest link.

An aspiring actress, an amnesiac heiress, a tarnished movie star...and the men who love them. Love like this could only happen in LA. 

Includes: Waiting for the Big One, Love, From A to Z, and Let Me count the Ways

The entire trilogy is now available in print! Available at AmazonCreateSpace and Barnes & Noble

I love the cover. I think it was the first one I designed myself. 

I wrote this series right after Oberon, still riding the California high!

Gabby Brown refuses to consider her best friend Derek for the role of soul mate because she fears sex will ruin their friendship. 

When she meets Zach, she’s convinced that he could be The One. But, Derek has ideas of his own, and they don’t include sharing Gabby with anybody.


Total amnesia is not what Richie Valenzuela had planned on when he drugged his cousin. A few missing hours, which could easily be blamed on April’s having had too much to drink, was all he was aiming for. And he certainly never expected the reclusive heiress to slip out the club’s back door with the sexy guitarist she’d been making eyes at all night. 


As the owner of The Body Electric, LA’s hottest new exercise studio, sexy, former film star Claire Calhoun has her pick of studly young men eager to do her bidding. Small wonder she’s used to calling the shots, both in and out of bed. But everything changes the night the actress-turned-entrepreneur has one mojito too many at a party and decides it would be fun to pick up her accountant, Mike Sherman. She's thinking fling. He's thinking forever. 


Waiting for the Big One is also available on audiobook!

Everyone in LA is waiting for The Big One - the big break or the big quake. Gabby's no different, but she's also waiting for the Big O - the elusive, G-spot, ultra orgasm. She thinks Zach, the super hot musician who's just moved into her building, might be able to give it to her. But her friend Derek, a martial arts instructor with whom she's co-writing a screenplay, keeps getting in the way.
Gabby refuses to even consider Derek for the role of soul mate because she fears sex will ruin their friendship. Derek has his own script in mind, and it doesn't include sharing Gabby with anybody.
When an early morning earthquake hits LA, Gabby realizes who her leading man has always been. As for the Big O...well...she's ready for her close up.


N is for Naughty!

Today I'm celebrating my connection with the Nine Naughty Novelists. In case you don't know us, we're nine authors who've been blogging together, writing together, partying and drinking wine together, laughing together...and occasionally getting on each other's nerves. As you do. 

In the process, we've created two insanely funny romance parody stories and a collection of  short stories set in New Orleans. 

We're throwing a little party this Thursday and we'd love for you all to stop by. 

                   You can join the fun here: https://www.facebook.com/events/366255046903250/

We'll be giving away books and other goodies, playing games, posting excerpts and eye candy. partying it up 9NN style. And if you don't know what that means..maybe this video will explain.

Also, don't forget to enter today's contest.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And now I'm going to leave you with a few links and teasers to our collected works. *snort*

 Theirs was a love that nature never intended. Bigger than Texas. Hotter than Hades. Weirder than…a lot of other things you might have read about up until now.

Self-made zillionaire Rock Fangsworthy is your typical Texas cowboy…well, sort of. Typical in that the only thing this lethally sexy lady-charmer with the hair trigger temper loves more than his horse is his ranch, The Double Fang. Or maybe his boots. Less typical in the fact he's also a four hundred year old vampire with a shocking secret—he can't stand the sight of blood.

Buffi Van Pelt is just your average girl-next-door winery owner…or is she? The spunky single mom to twin boys also happens to be a winsome werewolf with secrets and troubles of her own. The winery that the gutsy good-girl recently inherited from her grandmother is on the verge of ruin. If Buffi can't find a use for the mysteriously tainted wine before time and her pantry's limited supply of red meat runs out, she and her pups will be left homeless, destitute and very, very hungry. Worse yet, her baby-daddy is the same hunky, bad-boy vampire rancher who's out to steal The Best Little Winery in Bloodsuck from under her paws.

Once upon a time their passion flamed hotter'n a summer's night in Dallas with three Cheerleaders and a side of habanero sauce. Tonight, love's lightning might just strike them twice…but only if the wine don't kill them first. 

Welcome, gentle reader, to this, our second literary offering entitled, If You Give a Duke a Duchy, or alternatively, Love's Savage Whiplash. 

This is not your ordinary Regency Novel--oh, no. Rather, it is a Tall Tale of Panting Passion wherein a Disaffected Duke runs away to Sea to become a Pirate and ends up becoming Love Slave to a Ninja Queen, whilst at home he is replaced by a Nefarious Highwayman and ne’er-do-well who is, in turn, Ultimately Redeemed by his love for a Poor but Virtuous Governess.

Once upon a time, there were nine naughty novelists. They were from all over the United States and Canada, and through the magic of the Internet, they came together for blog hijinks, friendship, and more. They bonded over their shared love of wine, chocolate, shoes, and good books. But they had never been in the same place at once. Until one lucky weekend in New Orleans.

There was much walking and sightseeing. There were beignets and hurricanes and Voodoo shops. Plans were made and projects were started. Copious amounts of writing occurred. Amazing food was consumed. Much laughter filled the air. There may have been wine involved. Okay, there may have been a lot of wine involved.


It's Mardi Gras in May!

Woo-hoo! It's Mardi Gras! Laissez le bon temps rouler!

Okay, so, yeah, I know it's not really Mardi Gras. I mean, c'mon, it's not even TUESDAY! But for one day we're going to pretend like it is. Because I'm in the mood to give away some beads and trinkets and books and a variety of New Orleans-themed goodies. Y'all with me?

All right then. Here we go. I've always loved New Orleans. I've been there on more than a few occasions and enjoyed myself each and every time. I also love tattoos, which is why I was thrilled when I was asked to be part of the Midnight Ink anthology. Although, of course, when I was asked, we didn't know it would be called Midnight Ink. All we knew was we wanted to write connected stories involving a tattoo shop in New Orleans. 

The collection turned out awesome, but it's no longer being sold. Which is sad--for me. Not so much for one of YOU, because it happens that I still have a copy of the collection which I will be giving away to one lucky person. 

I'll also be giving away several digital copies of Inked Memories, which is my story from the Midnight Ink collection. Inked Memories is also the start of a brand new series I'm currently writing and hope to start releasing within a few months. You can find more about the Inked in O-Town series on my website...because, hey, everyone needs inspiration, and I find nothing inspires me as much as pretty covers. 

But wait! I'm not finished yet! I'll be giving away a prize pack of New Orleans-themed goodies that I yet another series. Because I do love my series. 
picked up on my last visit there. AND a copy of Nine Nights in New Orleans, the short story anthology the Nine Naughty Novelists released after our trip to New Orleans...you're seeing a pattern here, aren't you? Go to NOLA, get inspired. My story in NNiNO, is titled Blame It On The Voodoo, and I'm working on a second story in what I hope will be

So enter below and please enjoy the following excerpt from Inked Memories. Oh! and don't forget all the other fun happening this weekend! 

And the Indie Box blog hop: https://www.facebook.com/tonyasindiebox

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Every memory leaves its mark.

All Sophie wants is a tattoo to commemorate her battle with cancer. What she gets is celebrity tattoo artist Declan Ross, the same sexy bad-boy who used to rock her world. This time, they’ve both got scars, and the ones you can’t see are still the hardest to cover.

Available in digital format at AmazonAll Romance eBooksBarnes & Noble, and Kobo

And in paperback at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

“If the last few years had taught Sophie anything,
it was that life was uncertain and one should always eat dessert first.”

Early December
The café’s owner must have seen her coming. Rousseau had Sophie’s usual order—iced coffee and a chocolate caramel roll—all ready and waiting when she walked through the door of Café Bwe. She smiled her thanks then quickly took her food back outside to her usual table on the banquette. She never ate inside if she could help it. That man was simply too gorgeous for anyone’s peace of mind—whether they were male or female. If she sat inside, she’d only end up drooling over him. Once again she found herself wondering how much truth there was to the rumors about him.

She’d heard it said his touch was magic, that his sexual healing could cure whatever ailed you, whether physical or emotional or anything in between. It had been awhile, however, since there’d been so much as a single whisper about him. These days, she suspected he was a reformed character, very much like herself.

Not that it mattered. Even if she’d believed the whispers, or believed in magic, even if Rousseau weren’t, by all accounts, happily married, the new Sophie would still have to think long and hard before she gambled what was left of her uncertain future on voodoo. Who knew what kind of price you’d have to pay for something like that?

The old Sophie wouldn’t have cared about any of that. Then again, the old Sophie would have been eating breakfast inside the café. She’d have done Rousseau in a heartbeat—probably right there on the counter—without thinking twice about the voodoo or the happily married.

The old Sophie had been kind of a bitch, now that she thought about it.

Not that one, cher, a soft voice seemed to whisper in her ear. He’s not for you.

Sophie heaved a sigh. Yeah, yeah. Tell me something I don’t already know. Not that one and not any other one either, as far as she could see. That was okay. She was used to it by now. She’d made her peace with the idea that she’d likely be spending the rest of her life alone at about the same time she opted against having her breasts reconstructed.

If she’d only lost one, things might have been different. She might have had a reason then to go through more surgery and another lengthy recovery in order to build a new breast that would kind-of-sort-of- no-not-really match her existing one. But to put herself through all that torture just to set herself up with an entirely fake rack? Two featureless mounds that would never look right or feel authentic and that would only serve as a constant reminder of what she’d lost? Yeah, that was so not happening.

How on earth was tacking two alien appendages onto her already ravaged body supposed to help her overcome her new aversion to viewing herself naked? There was only one thing they’d be good for—helping her to attract new lovers into her bed. Lovers who, in all likelihood, would be gone in a flash anyway, once they’d figured things out.

Seriously, who needed that?

She might as well spare everyone the disappointment in store for them by letting them know up front exactly what they were getting—or not getting—where her body was concerned. If they couldn’t accept her as she was, did she really want them anyway?

Brave words. Do you really mean them?

Yes, damn it, she did. Much as she mourned what she’d lost, if she’d had it to do over again, if she were to be presented once more with the exact same set of shitty-assed circumstances, she was pretty sure she’d make the very same choices.

Life was more than just her breasts. She was more than just her breasts. If she had to sacrifice a part to safeguard the whole, so be it. As long as she could open her eyes every morning and continue to put one foot in front of another all day, as long as she could stay healthy, stay cancer free, stay alive, she intended to at least try to enjoy the moments she was given and live each one to the fullest. She might not be raking in as many beads as before at Mardi Gras, and her steadiest beau might always be the one who lived in the drawer of her bedside table, but on the plus side, she was saving one helluva lot on sports bras.

Sophie started as a passerby stumbling along the banquette suddenly lost his footing and slammed into her table. She grabbed for her coffee to keep it from spilling when the wrought iron table tilted precariously under the man’s unsteady weight.

“Watch out!” Glancing up, she found herself staring into the bleary blue eyes of a drunken, storefront Santa. Well, that was life in the Quarter for you, she supposed as her heart continued its attempts to beat itself right out of her chest. The smell of whisky and peppermint schnapps wafting off the man was so strong it made her head spin. She pressed her free hand to her chest, willing her heart to slow the fuck down.

Santa blinked back at her, still resting his weight on the tabletop, a crumpled piece of paper clutched in one fist. A slow smile curved his lips. Eyes twinkling, he leaned in closer and leered.

“Well, hey there, boo.Where y’at? You bein’ naughty or nice?”

Before Sophie could even fashion a reply, Rousseau appeared in the doorway. He scowled menacingly at the man. “Get out of here. Quit harassing my customer.”
Santa straightened up, his expression one of affronted dignity as he glared at Rousseau. “Ain’t harassin’ no one. She tripped me.” 

 “I did no such thing,” Sophie spluttered. She flashed the man an indignant look, then watched in relief as he lurched stiffly away. A flicker of motion from her tabletop caught her eye. The badly creased paper Santa had left behind fluttered weakly in the slight breeze. “Hey, wait!” she said as she snatched it up, intending to return it. Then she took a closer look.

 Midnight Ink. New Beginnings Special. Discounted rates for survivor and memorial ink. Are you ready for a new beginning? Say it in ink. Call, or visit us online for more information…

It’s a sign, that same soft voice insisted.

Oh, it was a sign all right. Sophie bit back a sigh. Hearing voices was a definite sign that she was losing her mind. Still, she couldn’t help but appreciate the irony. It wasn’t as if New Orleans was hurting for tattoo shops, so what were the odds she’d be handed a flyer for the very shop where she’d gone for her own tattoos?  Come to think of it, maybe it was a sign after all.

 “What you got there?” Rousseau asked as he ambled closer. He tilted his head to read the flyer. “Are you thinking of getting another tattoo?”

Was she? She already had several, but she hadn’t added anything to her “collection” in several years.

“Oh, I don’t know.” But even as she said it, an image flashed through her mind of a picture she’d recently seen online. It had shown a woman’s heavily tattooed torso, flowers and elaborate scrollwork covering over the scars from her mastectomies.

That tattoo hadn’t really been Sophie’s style, but the idea of once again being able to celebrate her body, of enjoying it, flaws and all, of showing it off rather than always feeling the need to hide it away beneath layers of clothing, that had appealed to her. A lot. She wasn’t even sure if it was possible for her to feel that way about herself ever again, but if it was, if there was any chance at all…

Sophie felt a thrill of excitement as the idea took hold. A new beginning, huh? Well, why the fuck not? “You know what?” Smiling, she unzipped her jacket pocket to get to her phone. “I think maybe I am.”

Sophie dialed the number quickly before she could chicken out and change her mind. It was before noon, so she wasn’t even sure the shop would be open yet, but the phone was picked up on the second ring.

“Midnight Ink.” The lilting voice on the phone was female; she sounded young and perky, carefree—everything Sophie wasn’t. Sophie’s heart lurched. Shit was about to get real.

“Hi. I’m, uh…I’m calling about your new beginnings special.” Sophie fingered the flyer in her hand.
“I…I had surgery a couple of years ago for breast cancer, and I’m interested in getting a chest piece done. You know, to cover the scars? Would that qualify for your special rates?”

“Yes, of course,” the voice replied, no longer quite so perky. “Um…let me see where I can fit you in, okay? Did you have a particular artist in mind? Or a particular time frame that was better for you?”

“No. Not really. I mean, I just saw your flyer and…I haven’t actually had time to think about it all that much.” Sign or no sign, Sophie suddenly found herself wondering if getting a new tattoo was such a stellar idea after all. Memories of the last time she’d gotten inked flashed through her mind bringing heat and longing and even more uncertainty.

Declan’s voice teasing her through the worst of it; his hands, firm yet gentle on her flesh, reassuring; the expression on his face, focused, patient, intent

Sometimes a tattoo was not just a tattoo; it was personal, almost too personal to trust to a stranger.  At the moment, it seemed that her exhibitionist streak had gone the way of her breasts. Could she really go through with this? Did she really want to bare her chest to a stranger when she could hardly stand to look in the mirror at herself? Maybe she could ask about a female artist? Maybe that would help. Or maybe she should just forget the whole idea. “Maybe I should think about it some more.”

“Hmm. Okay, well, actually, it looks like all our regular artists are pretty booked up right now,” the voice on the phone told her.

Sophie exhaled. Her shoulders sagged—relief, mixed with just a trace of disappointment. “Oh. All right. Well, thanks anyway for checking. I guess it’s not meant to be. Maybe another time then.”

“Whoa, hold on there. Not so fast. I wasn’t done yet. I’m sure we can squeeze you in somewhere. You know, we’re also making appointments for our guest artist, Declan Ross. He’ll be tattooing here for a few weeks. Is there any chance you’d be interested in working with him?”

“Declan’s back?”  Talk about signs! This one was billboard-sized and covered in day-glo neon. “Isn’t he…I mean, I guess I thought he was still out on the West Coast.”

“Oh, yeah. Well, I mean, he’s not here yet. Like I said, he’s coming in primarily for the fundraiser at the end of the month. So…I take it you’re interested then?”

Having Declan here—that was a game changer. If he was the one tattooing her, it would be just like old times. And the chance to see him again… That alone could make it all worthwhile. Maybe she could do this after all. “Yes. Yes, I think I am.”

“Well, good! Why don’t you go ahead and give me your information, and we’ll get you signed up.”

“Yeah, okay. Sure,” Sophie answered, barely aware of what she was saying. Declan was coming back. It was the last thing she’d been expecting. And, now, in just a few weeks she’d be seeing him again.

Now, that one you can have, cher. This time, Sophie would swear the voice laughed out loud. That one’s all yours. He’s got your name written all over him.