Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cover Reveal: "The Brightest Day" A Historical Romance Anthology

I'm excited to officially announce the upcoming release of our anthology, The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology with authors Kianna Alexander, Alyssa Cole, and Piper Huguley, and includes a foreword by the pioneer of African American historical romance, Ms. Beverly Jenkins!

The anthology (slated for release June 1st) features four novellas of love, hope, and freedom that span 100 years of American history after the end of slavery:

Amazing Grace, by Lena Hart:
It’s the year 1866—the Civil War is over and slavery has ended. Life for 18-year-old Gracie Shaw takes an unexpected turn when she is “encouraged” to marry a man sight-unseen. Boarded on a train headed West—to lawless territory—she is faced with misfortune at every turn and must accept the help of former Confederate soldier, Logan Finley, while denying herself the one thing she wants most. Him.

Drifting to You, by Kianna Alexander:
During the sultry Carolina summer of 1875, baker Rosaline Rhodes boards a Juneteenth cruise down the Cape Fear River. She's there to serve her famous cinnamon spice cake; shipbuilder Will Pruett is there for pleasure. They've denied their mutual attraction for months, but now the river won't be the only thing ebbing and flowing.

A Sweet Way to Freedom, by Piper Huguley:
In 1910, schoolteacher Missouri Baxter refuses to return home with a big belly and no husband. She’s got nine months to teach juke joint owner Arlo Tucker—a most reluctant student—an important lesson about what marriage means to their people. With God on her side, she'll show him “A Sweet Way to Freedom.”

Let It Shine, by Alyssa Cole:

Sofronia Wallis knows that proper Black women don't court trouble by upending the status quo, and they most certainly don't associate with roughneck Jewish boxers like Ivan Friedman. But it’s 1961 and the Civil Rights movement is in full swing. Change—and love—are coming whether Sofie is ready or not.
Available now for pre-order!
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Saturday, March 14, 2015

#MySexySaturday #MSS83

Welcome to another Sexy Saturday!

This weekend, I'm featuring my latest erotic short, B IS FOR BEDPOST, which now has a new--and even sexier--cover. (Check it down below. Isn't he hawt!)

I'm also excited to be featuring another sexy excerpt from the story. It's the scene that leads up right to the #balconysex. I hope you enjoy! 
~~~
“Are you sure about this, sweets?”

She rolled her hips back against him in response then pulled open the sash of her robe. The heavy material fell open and the cool night air brushed against her warm skin. In that moment, she was grateful for the cover of night because she wanted to make love to him here. Now.

She turned to face him and found desire etched across his handsome face, along with a tenderness that left her breathless and desperate for his touch. She let her robe fall from her body and, for the second time that night, stood before him gloriously naked. His nostrils flared as his eyes swept down the length of her.

She stepped toward him and pulled off his shirt, never taking her eyes away from his. “I want you to make love to me here, under the moon and stars, with the waves crashing behind us.” She reached for his buckle and yanked at the strap. “I want you to take me anyway you want, how hard you want. I want to feel you come inside me. I want us to make new memories.”

She pulled open his pants and jerked him to her. He fell forward, bracing himself against the rail behind her. She was effectively trapped between him, the banister, and the ocean that yawned in the distance.

“New memories, huh?” His lips curved into a sensual grin as he rubbed his thumb across her hardening nipple then smoothed his hand down the curve of her waist.

Her body clenched with need, and she flattened her palm on his chest, enjoying his hardness and the heat radiating from him. “Yes. Lots of sexy ones.”
~~~
About B IS FOR BEDPOST
 
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Newly engaged couple Athena Lewis and David Carrone are off to celebrate the best way they know how—in bed someplace far from the glittering lights of Las Vegas. They arrive on a private island where pleasure, fun, and relaxation awaits—or so they believe.

When they are invited to the island’s most exclusive club, they soon discover that the “Mansion” is no ordinary nightclub. Luckily, David and Tena are no ordinary couple. Looking to add more excitement to their relationship, they take the opportunity to explore their secret desires. But a night of passionate exploration brings back painful memories from Tena’s past and pushes them further from each other.

Afraid to let her past sever their special bond, Tena sets out to prove to David just how much she trusts him with her body—even if it means balancing on the edge of danger…


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Remembering Black History: The Black West, pt. 2

It's the last day of Black History Month and though this is late in coming, I didn't forget! I mentioned earlier in the month that would be featuring the fascinating black characters of the Old West and I have delivered: my top 5 rugged black cowhands, rodeo riders, pioneers, and businessmen of the Wild West. In my last post, I featured my top 5 women of the West so if you missed that be sure to check it out! In the meantime, here is just a brief list of black frontiersmen of the Old West... Enjoy!

1. Bill Pickett (1870-1932): Born to Black Cherokees in the Midwest, Pickett was a cowhand who invented "bulldogging," one of the 8 rodeo sports performed and credited to an individual. In 1971, he was the first African American  to be voted into Oklahoma City's Cowboy Hall of Fame.

2. George Bonga (1802-1880): A fur trapper, trader, and negotiator from Minnesota, Bonga was of African American and Indian descent and was made legend for his size and strength--he was over 6-feet tall, 200 pounds and once carried 700 pounds across northeastern Minnesota!

3. Alvin A. Coffey (1822-1902): Born a slave in Kentucky, Coffey was one of the first few black men to arrive in California in 1849 during the height of the Gold Rush. He managed to raise enough money to purchase his freedom, along with his wife and children's and later moved them to California. In 1887, he was inducted into the California Society of Pioneers--the only African American to receive that distinction.

4. Jean Baptiste Point du Sable (1745-1818): Did you know a Haitian man founded the city of Chicago? Well du Sable is that man. Born to a French seaman and an African slave woman, du Sable established a trading post at the mouth of the Chicago River, which would grow to become the great city it is today.

5. Nat Love (1854-1921): Also known as Deadwood Dick, Love was one of the most popular cowboys of the West. Born a slave, he later became a "cowpuncher" (I hope it doesn't mean what I think it means!) who was a loud and proud gunslinger full of tall tales. He entered a rodeo contest in Deadwood City in the Dakota Territory and won every contest, which landed him the nickname "Deadwood Dick."

Nat Love's wrote of his adventures as a cowboy in the Wild West and his book can be purchased here. Whether it's February or June, it's important to remember Black History 365 days a year.

#RememberBlackHistory365

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cold Nights, Hot Reads Blog Hop

Welcome to the Cold Nights, Hot Reads blog hop! Join me and several authors and bloggers as we feature some of our steamy excerpts, offer lot prizes, and bring you some good old-fashioned, sexy fun! Enjoy. ;)

**New Release**
B IS FOR BEDPOST
a short erotic romance

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Newly engaged couple Athena Lewis and David Carrone are off to celebrate the best way they know how—in bed someplace far from the glittering lights of Las Vegas. They arrive on a private island where pleasure, fun, and relaxation await—or so they believe.

When they are invited to the island’s most exclusive club, they soon discover that the “Mansion” is no ordinary nightclub. Luckily, David and Tena are no ordinary couple. Looking to add more excitement to their relationship, they take the opportunity to explore their secret desires. But a night of passionate exploration brings back painful memories from Tena’s past and pushes them apart.

Afraid to let her phobia sever their special bond, Tena sets out to prove to David just how much she trusts him with her body—even if it means balancing on the edge of danger…
 
Note: this short story is a continuation of the novel, HIS BEDPOST QUEEN. Both stories, however, can be read as standalones.
~*~*~
(Excerpt is rated R. For readers 18+)
 
“You know, your eyes turn a light shade of blue when you’re angry. It’s sexy.”

His eyes widened then he shook his head. “Are you trying to change the subject?”

“Nope. Just making an observation.” She took a small step back and peeled off her white top. His gaze remained transfixed on her as she slid down her beige capri pants and stood before him in only her underwear. “If you want, we can keep arguing or…” She reached for his belt and began unbuckling it. “You can take a shower with me.”

He remained still as she pushed the buckle aside and slid down the zipper. Slipping her hand inside his pants, she grabbed his lengthening shaft and began slowly stroking him. Her movements were firm but gentle as she continued to caress him. In little time, he was steel hard against her palm, but still she didn’t stop.

His breathing came out rough as she squeezed and stroked his long length. She kept her gaze trained on his, loving the way his light eyes darkened and his cheeks flushed slightly. They continued to stare at each other, and when she sensed he was close, she leaned up and kissed him. It was a sweet, tender kiss. One meant to express her love.

“God, I need you,” he rasped thickly against her lips.

“I need you too.”

With a harsh groan, he grabbed the edge of her panties and began tugging them down.
~*~*~
**Giveaway**
To me, "B" is for #bedpost #bedroomgames #balconysex #bringit! What does "B" mean for you? In honor of my latest release, I'm offering an ebook copy of HIS BEDPOST QUEEN to 3 lucky commenters.

Support my ThunderClap campaign!
http://thndr.it/1D0yGC1
Don't forget to enter for the grand prizes!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Continue the hop!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

My Sexy Saturday #79

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Welcome to another Sexy Saturday! Today's Valentine's Day and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take part. Today I'm featuring my upcoming release, B IS FOR BEDPOST, which will be released next week. It's a short erotic romance featuring my favorite couple, David and Tena, from HIS BEDPOST QUEEN.

This story first started off as a project to be part of an anthology but when that project fell through, I decided to release it on it's own, which made for a nice segue to their full-length sequel coming this fall.

In this short, the story literally starts off where their last story ended and follows them on their vacation far from Las Vegas. If you haven't already read their story in HIS BEDPOST QUEEN—what are you waiting for?!? ;)

In the meantime, enjoy the sneak peek! 
~~~
Without warning, Davie grabbed her towel and pulled her over him. She braced herself against his chest, but was in no hurry to rise from his hard frame.

“What are you doing?”

He smiled crookedly. “What does it look like I’m doing?” He wrapped his arms around her. “I’m about to start our own dance party right here on this bed.”

“Hmm…” She closed her eyes briefly, enjoying the pleasure of his warm lips against her neck. “You know dancing with you gets me all wet.”

His arms tightened around her and his eyes turned a stormy gray. “Oh, yeah?”

“Yeah…” she murmured, staring down at his lips, trying to hold back a laugh. “You sweat a lot.”

He burst out laughing then pinched her butt. “Well, I can’t help it,” he said, his bright eyes gleaming mischievously, “when you use all your best moves.”

~~~
Newly engaged couple Athena Lewis and David Carrone are off to celebrate the best way they know how—in bed someplace far from the glittering lights of Las Vegas. They arrive on a private island where pleasure, fun, and relaxation awaits—or so they believe.

When they are invited to the island’s most exclusive club, they soon discover that the “Mansion” is no ordinary nightclub. Luckily, David and Tena are no ordinary couple. Looking to add more excitement to their relationship, they take the opportunity to explore their secret desires. But a night of passionate exploration brings back painful memories from Tena’s past and pushes them further from each other.

Afraid to let her past sever their special bond, Tena sets out to prove to David just how much she trusts him with her body—even if it means balancing on the edge of danger…


Coming 2•20•15

Happy (Sexy) Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Remembering Black History: The Black West, pt. 1

Last year, I featured some of my favorite poets and poetry in honor of Black History Month. This year, I want to continue that with black men and women of the Old West.

As I prepare to write my historical western romance, I am in awe of the many black men and women who were just influential in the Western Expansion--those who had built a life for themselves out in the west and Midwest, but who are sadly very rarely mentioned in the history books or Hollywood.

So each week this month, in honor of the 1860's set western romance I'm working on (which will be part of a historical romance anthology with authors Alyssa Cole, Piper Hughley, and Kianna Alexander) I will be featuring some of the fascinating stories I've discovered during my research.

This week I want to feature the top 5 "badass" black women of the Old West:

1. Cathay Williams aka "William Cathay" (1842-1892), born to a slave woman in Missouri, served as a Buffalo Solider during the Civil War for 3 years before her identity was discovered and she was discharged from the Army. All I have to say is: WOW. What a badass. She is my hero! =)

2. Mary Fields aka "Stagecoach Mary" (1832-1914) was another badass. This tall, riffle-slinging, cigar-smoking, saloon-patronizing former slave became legendary in Montana and also became the first black woman to work for the United States Postal Service, driving their stagecoach doggedly through the wild terrain to get the mail delivered on time.

3. Elizabeth "Bessie" Coleman (1892-1926) was born in Texas then later moved to Chicago, where racial injustices and discrimination followed her. But this determined Midwesterner didn't let the fact that she was black and a woman keep her from seeking out her dream. In 1920, she moved to France to obtain her aviators license and after 7 months came back to the States as the first African American woman pilot. Unfortunately, a tragic plane crash ended her life in 1926 but she will always be remembered as "a full-fledged aviatrix, the first of her race."

4. Lucy Parsons (1853-1943) was a vocal advocate for justice and equality in Texas and then later in Chicago. This former slave was a mix of African, Hispanic, and Native American ancestry and married a white, former Confederate solider but together they went on to become radical writers and speakers against injustices based on race, gender, or class. Goes to show, white or black, love does conquer all.

5. Bridget "Biddy" Mason (1818-1891) was a former slave who sued for her and her family's freedom and won. She moved out west, purchased land in the heart of what is now downtown Los Angeles, and organized the First African Methodist Episcopal (FAME) church in the city. With her wealth, she educated her children and became an influential philanthropist to the community.

I hope you enjoyed learning about my "badass" women of the old west. Next week, I'll feature the black Cowboys and frontiersmen of the Wild West.

Until then, check out more cool info on black women of the west in Black Women of the Old West by William Loren Katz, African American Women of the Old West by Tricia Martineau Wagner, or this very informative website on African American history: http://www.blackpast.org/.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Author Interview: Alyssa Cole + Giveaway!

Happy Hump Day! I'm excited to welcome friend and fellow author Alyssa Cole on my blog today as she shares with us what the hardest part of being a writer entails, why tears bring her joy, and what thinks of critique groups. She's also offering a cool giveaway to one lucky commenter in celebration of her new release, RADIO SILENCE. Be sure to check it out!

Okay, I've hogged the mic enough... ;)

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?Hm, it can’t involve writing at all?? I’m not sure…a wealthy restaurateur, perhaps, because then I’d get to eat delicious food all the time, in addition to being wealthy.  Or the inventor of strange, but useful enough to be lucrative, inventions that are sold via infomercial. Or a professional Ikea furniture assembly person. I’m pretty good at that.

Which TV show(s) can you absolutely not miss every week?Sleepy Hollow! Even though season 2 is dragging, I still have hope for the show. It has a great diverse cast with amazing chemistry---when the writers give them something to work with. I do a recap every week for Romance at Random, which shows my dedication because this season has had some rough patches.

Besides writing, what other things do you enjoy doing in your spare time?Right now it feels like I don’t have time for much else, but I enjoy watching anime with my husband, perfecting my bread pudding recipe, singing nonsense songs to my dog, and trying to practice the banjo (emphasis on trying).

Are you an early bird or night owl?I’m a night owl who is in a weird transition stage to early bird. That means I set my alarm for very early in the morning with plans to be productive, then I just keep hitting snooze for two hours. Then I’m even more tired than if I had just slept in. I think I might just go back to being a night owl.

What do you think is the hardest thing about being a writer? Finding the time to do it. Unless you’re really rich, it’s really tough fitting in time to write between work, home responsibilities, family life, and seeing your friends. Something’s gotta give, and it’s usually your sanity.

Out of all of the stories you’ve written so far, what would be your favorite and why?There’s a tie between book one (Radio Silence) and book two (Signal Boost) of my Off the Grid series. I love both of the couples and their journeys so much. The tension, the angst, the getting it on. J They’re both special to me in different ways.

What advice would you offer to aspiring writers or writers in general?This is actually harder to answer than I thought. I can say “believe in yourself!” but the inverse of that is “don’t think anyone owes you anything.” I can say “don’t push yourself too hard!” but, again, the inverse of that is “you have to bust your ass if you want to be a writer.” I think the most useful advice I can give is to find yourself a critique group or a critique partner who understands your genre. I add that emphasis because getting feedback from someone who disdains your genre can be very damaging to a new author. But when you find the right people to work with, it’s amazing. They’ll tell you when something is garbage, but they’ll also help you brainstorm a million ways to fix it. When you’re down, they’ll help keep you going. And when you succeed, you’ll have your own personal cheer squad!

What was the nicest comment or most interesting question you’ve received from a reader?
W
ell, I really enjoy when people tell me that I made them cry because the tears of readers bring me joy. (Kidding…kind  of.) The comment that stands out to me was from an Albanian reader who reached out after reading Eagle’s Heart. She told me that she appreciated the research I’d done and that I’d made the hero Albanian and not just the villain---Albanians are usually the bad guys. That made me really happy because, when you get down to it, I write romance for people who aren’t used to seeing themselves portrayed as attractive, multi-faceted, and worthy of love. If that resonates with a reader, I feel like I’ve accomplished something.

What can readers expect from you next?Right now, I’m finishing up the third book in the Off the Grid series and revising a Civil War espionage romance. This summer, I’ll be releasing a 1960s-set novella in an anthology with you, Piper Hughley, and Kianna Alexander. (A short story featuring the couple can be found on my blog.) After that, I’ll be starting a fun New Adult series. I have a lot of plans for 2015!

Tell us about something crazy you’ve done.Oh dear. I have lots of crazy stories from my misbegotten youth…my favorite involves a Viennese bordello, but if people want to know about that, they’ll have to ask me in person. ;)
~~~
Thanks Alyssa for a fun interview! (We're gonna have to chat about this Viennese bordello...) For more on Alyssa's new release and awesome giveaway, please see below and be sure to leave a comment!  

**NEW RELEASE**

No one expects the apocalypse.
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Arden Highmore was living your average postgrad life in Rochester, New York, when someone flipped the "off" switch on the world. No cell phones, no power, no running water—and no one knows why. All she and her roommate, John, know for sure is that they have to get out, stat. His family's cabin near the Canadian border seemed like the safest choice.

It turns out isolation doesn't necessarily equal safety.
 
When scavengers attack, it's John's ridiculously handsome brother, Gabriel, who comes to the rescue. He saves Arden's life, so he can't be all bad…but he's also a controlling jerk who treats her like an idiot. Now their parents are missing and it seems John, Gabriel, their kid sister, Maggie, and Arden are the only people left alive who aren't bloodthirsty maniacs.
 
No one knows when—or if—the lights will come back on and, in the midst of all that, Arden and Gabriel are finding that there's a fine line indeed between love and hate. How long can they expect to last in this terrifying new world, be it together or apart?

**GIVEAWAY**
Are you prepared for the apocalypse? If not, don't worry----Alyssa has got you covered. One of you can win this customized survival kit! Once you've used the contents, you can use it to make a postapoclyptic mason jar salad. To enter, leave a comment describing the first thing you'd grab when the apocalypse struck, and why.

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