Friday, February 23, 2018

Changing Tides




Blurb:

Brett DeMarco is a First Lieutenant in Aelland’s Security Forces and hopes to become the head of intelligence someday. After the death of his fiancĂ©, Brett threw himself into his work, dodging his father’s attempts to get him to marry the right woman, never doubting the career path he’d chosen.

Orion Hellman is the base commander’s personal assistant, has never spoken a word to anyone, and follows orders exactly, helping to ensure the base runs smoothly by any means the general deems necessary. Classified as a manual laborer with marriage out of the question, Orion has no intention of getting involved with anyone.

A chance meeting ignites Brett’s long dead desire, changes everything he knew and gives Orion everything he never thought he wanted.
 

 
Excerpt


Tension eased in Lieutenant Brett DeMarco’s shoulders as he neared his base, Fort Tottenham. The lights from the city and surrounding businesses had faded away miles ago. Unlike his father’s base, Fort Landry, a Strategic Military Command base, the government required a ten-mile business and city free zone with a limited number of people allowed to live in all directions from any Tactical Command base or installation. Farmers were given permission to reside there so long as their property measured between five and two hundred and fifty acres. In exchange for inexpensive land and lower taxes, the owners agreed to abide by a curfew and lights out whenever the order came down from the base.
Light from the car’s headlights caught movement on the side of the narrow, two-lane road. Brett tapped the brakes, slowing the vehicle as a trio of deer stared at him. The way his week was going, hitting a deer would be the perfect way to end the one vacation he took each year.
His one full week of leave coincided with the anniversary of General Vanessa Landry’s accidence to the Presidency and the day celebrated as the date of rebirth of the country. He’d been spent it with his parents. The visit had started off with another fight with his father about who Brett should marry. He’d been reminded that the time to make his choices was coming up and they needed to be submitted in writing with his signature as approval. Brett had countered by stating he needed a sponsor but it didn’t have to be a parent. He could ask his boss or the base commander to sign off if he needed to. His father had threatened him and Brett had started to walk away until his mother had interceded.
The week had ended with his father trying to set him up with younger men he personally deemed appropriate. Brett did not. He couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off. After years of yelling at him to marry a woman instead of a man, his father had conceded too easily. It made him suspicious, even as his father began suggesting younger men to him. Those his father found acceptable were all good-looking men with the manners and intellect found in the children of officers and high-level public administrators. They’d all seemed stiff and emotionless next to Brett’s memories of Orion Hellman, and none had the golden-brown eyes and uncommonly long brown hair.
A figure stumbled out into the middle of the road pulling him from his thoughts. Brett slammed on his brakes, yanked the wheel and prayed he’d miss the person. The car skidded to a halt several feet beyond where the man stood. Brett looked in his rearview mirror and saw him fall. Throwing the car into park, Brett jumped out and ran over to them.
“Are you okay?” Brett asked, kneeling. The red from his taillights cast an eerie glow over the scene. The man wasn’t someone he recognized. While they were closer to the medical clinic on the base than to other facilities, it was reserved for military personnel only. The civilian medical center was about fifteen miles away, close to the center of town. Blood coated the man’s face and hair, and bruises were starting to form. “I’m going to call for help. I’ll be right back.” Brett started to stand.
The man grabbed his arm and pulled, shaking his head.
“You need help,” Brett replied.
The man shook his head again.
Brett stared down at the man. If he did nothing, the man would die. He wasn’t even sure if the civilian medical center would send a response team this far out. The military emergency personnel travelled off base only for military personnel or their dependents. The man’s shirt was bloodied and torn, exposing more of his battered body.
Brett squeezed his eyes shut, trying to prevent the familiar images of his deceased fiancĂ©e from pressing forward. The similarities were too close to be discounted, but left him no closer to knowing who was responsible. “I-I need to take you to the base.”
The man tried to push himself up.
“Stop, you’re going to make everything worse. You don’t want me to take you to the base, right?”
“No base,” the man said, his voice soft and cracking.
“I suppose I can take you to the clinic instead. You’re a civilian?”
“Yes.”
“All right, let’s get you into the car.” Brett helped the man up, trying not to dwell on the fact that he was probably breaking another rule or wonder why the man was so far from the residential areas. But the man needed help, and as a military officer, he was duty bound to help. More than that, he knew, was Taren’s influence. No one should suffer as his lover had.
The ride into the city’s center was quiet. Brett’s passenger refused to answer questions or talk until Brett tried to turn down the road leading to the medical center. The man adamantly refused to go to the large clinic, instead giving Brett directions to a different place, in an area of the city Brett had never been to. Nerves taut, he made his way through the winding streets until he came to an area of abandoned and crumbling buildings, most of which looked as if they might have been warehouses at one point. He stopped at the edge of an alley.
“Here?” Brett asked hesitantly, unable to hide his dismay.
The man nodded. “Thanks for the ride, but you should’ve left me where you found me.”
Brett turned and stared at the man, astounded at the first full sentence he’d said. “You need medical help, I can—”
“You’ve done enough. I don’t like medical centers.” It was eerily similar to what Orion had basically “told” him.
“How—”
“End of the road. Turn left. Two miles turn left again. First working light, turn right. You can find your way from there.”
Brett nodded and watched the man pull himself out of the car then disappear into the shadows. Had he helped an enemy of the state get away? Noise from the other side of the street caught his attention, reminding him why he didn’t want to wait around. He carefully followed the other man’s directions until he was familiar with the area then made his way back to base. Parking in his assigned spot in front of his building, he turned off the car and grabbed his bags. His heart was heavy with another secret he couldn’t tell.



Changing Tides available now from Resplendence Publishing

*Changing Tides is the 14th book in the New Realities Collection from Resplendence Publishing. Books are by a variety of authors and world settings.  

Friday, February 16, 2018

Line of Fire




Blurb:



Christian Williams has lived with his secret his whole life and he’s not ready to give it up, he’s especially not ready to face the consequences.

Consequences be damned, Hayden Medema is tired of living a lie. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is dead and gays are serving openly in the rest of the military, the Navy SEALs should be no different.

After coming face to face at a gay bar in a different city and a whirlwind weekend of sex, Christian and Hayden along with fourteen other SEALs are sent on what appears to be another routine mission, until someone learns their secret and everything goes horribly wrong. 

Excerpt:


Christian Williams pulled into the parking lot of Diversions, turned off his car and stretched. The hour drive from base to one of the city’s five gay bars had helped him relax. They were gearing up for several months of intense training and the scene here was just what he needed. He knew the gay bar close to the base was a hit with both the civilians and military guys. Still hadn’t told anyone other than his dive buddy, Jason Morganstern, that he’d preferred men to women for as long as he could remember, so going there wasn’t a possibility. SEALs weren’t gay, just ask anyone. He also had no desire to be a daddy, which he was certain many of the younger guys wanted. He’d been surprised to learn Jason was also gay. Jason was picky, he wanted a boy in the bedroom and a partner outside of it. Christian had no such desires. He wanted a partner who gave as good as he took and, more importantly, could deal with life in the Navy.

Withdrawing his driver’s license and sixty dollars, he tossed his wallet in the glove compartment. Keys in hand and several condoms and a small bottle of lube in the pocket of his jeans, Christian locked the door of his Jeep Grand Cherokee and made his way across the mostly full parking lot. After showing his ID to the bouncer and paying the cover charge, he strode through two sets of double doors and was immediately hit by the loud music. Surveying his surroundings, he automatically noted the exits, potential partners, problem areas and the people and places to avoid.
           
The dance floor and the bar were crowded. Men in snug tee shirts and even tighter jeans filled the room. This was one of his favorite places to play and hunt. There was little doubt in his mind that he’d find a partner or two tonight with the same needs. Tonight he wasn’t looking for a life partner, tonight was about no strings attached sex. A quick fuck. Hard. Fast. Sweaty. All male. The US military may finally be okay with gays serving openly, but several of his teammates were less than accepting. A couple of them had gone as far as making threats during several rounds of pool and more than a few beers at Hell’s Dune, the SEALs favorite bar. It was run by a grizzled former SEAL known only as Brick. Decent food and decent beer were great unless you were looking for bed companions. Those, he wouldn’t find at Hell’s Dune.

Taking a deep breath, he inhaled the scent of men and relaxed. He knew the bartenders and a couple of the bouncers by name, but no one knew he was the military, let alone that he was a SEAL, so he could be himself. Almost. Christian made his way to the bar and ordered a beer before he turned and watched the crowd. Most of the patrons tonight appeared to be college age, but he’d already seen one or two potential partners.

“Hey baby,” a tall, lithe twenty-something with big blue eyes and dark hair said, squeezing in next to him at the bar. “Has anyone told you that you give new meaning to the phrase tall, gorgeous and yummy?”

Christian rolled his eyes, praying the man hadn’t been talking to him.

“Let there be a God and tell me you’re not here with anyone,” the younger man purred, trailing his fingers over Christian’s arm.

His cock stirred at the promise the man wanted to deliver. It’d been too long since he’d fucked someone and even longer since he’d been in any sort of relationship where tender touches and caresses were normal. Looking down at the man, Christian shook his head.

“Sorry kid, I’m not interested.” He gave the guy points for approaching him, but the younger man wasn’t his type, and Christian wasn’t willing to act like he was. The man was cute, but Christian could probably snap him in half if he wanted. He needed to let loose, not worrying about whether his partner could handle it.

“Aw, don’t be like that. I’ll show you a real good time.” The man’s hand slid over his stomach and started working his shirt out.

“Back off,” Christian snarled, pushing past the other man and ignoring the whimper of protest. Stomping across the building, he looked for another vantage point.

Christian sighed. As though he’d needed any more proof on how long it had been since he’d been here. At one point in time, despite the low profile he preferred to keep, the young twenty-somethings, at least the regulars, kept their distance.

A firm ass clad in tight denim caught his attention. The other man danced at the edge of the dance-floor with a group of men. Taking a long drink from his beer, Christian set it on the table, knowing and not caring that it would be gone and the table taken over by others before he reached his quarry. He was two feet from his destination when the dancer turned and faced him. Christian stopped and stared.

“Medema! What the hell are you doing here?” Christian asked as the music was interrupted by the DJ announcing a slow song.

“Same thing you are, looking for a good time tonight,” Hayden replied and took a step forward.

Sparkling blue eyes peered out at him as Christian looked the man up and down as though he hadn’t seen him before, hadn’t seen him in little more than swim trunks. Short brown hair topped the long, lean frame. Hayden Medema matched him in height, but with more of a swimmer’s build, the man wasn’t nearly as wide. Still, Christian had seen him carry a fallen comrade fifty yards to safety. As long as he’d known the man, Christian had never guessed he was gay.

“I—” Christian began, at a loss for words. Dressed in snug blue jeans and a white-fitted polo-style shirt, the other man was gorgeous.

“I didn’t expect to see you in a gay bar.” Hayden smiled, stepping into Christian’s personal space. “I’m certainly glad you’re not in denial.”

Christian swallowed and shook his head, willing his blood to continue flowing to his brain. “Nope, not in denial. Just extremely cautious. It’s not like we have the most gay-friendly job or employer. Or even co-workers.”

“Agreed,” Hayden shrugged, “but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little bit of fun together now and then.” Hayden’s fingers trailed slowly up Christian’s abdomen and over his nipples. Gasping, Christian let out a full body shiver as the sensations went straight to his cock. It hardened and strained against his jeans. “Very nice,” Hayden said stepping closer and pressing into him. “Come home with me,” Hayden whispered, flicking his tongue across the sensitive part of Christian’s ear.

 Line of Fire - Available from Resplendence Publishing.

Blessings, 
Simone.
 




Monday, February 12, 2018

From the Writer's Desk - Is It Spring Yet?

I am so ready for spring! It's interesting. I don't have a diagnosis for Seasonal Affected Disorder (S.A.D). I know people who do, but I know this weekend I was definitely after some natural light.
The fact that 2 feet of snow fell in just about 24 hours sucked, but I don't think it had anything to do with needing natural light. 

I have crappy windows in my house that let the wind in, so every fall I cover them with plastic, then I hang blankets over them followed by curtains. So, for pretty much the entire winter, there is no natural light in my house.

Both on Saturday and Sunday, I threw the blankets over the curtain rods and opened the curtains. I at least got filtered natural light.

I had a long, productive weekend. Friday, I took the day off from the day job for appointments. I decided to teach myself to knit. Saturday, I spent cleaning and decluttering and helping R with Algebra homework. Sunday, I stitched and shoveled. Sunday night, I finally wrote.  I wrote 834 words in an hour and 15 minutes.  That was the extent of my writing and writing related activities for the week. Well, that and deciding I need my current WIP finished by February 21st, so I can submit it by my birthday in March.

My goals this week are unchanged, because I didn't meet them last week.

* Write 15 minutes EVERY day
* Work on the Smuggler's Cove Story Bible - 2 hours.

Whatever yours goals this week, I hope you are successful.

Blessings,
Simone.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

2018 Reading Goals

I will be the first to admit that 26 is a completely random number. There is no real significance to it. If there is, I don't remember, so it obviously wasn't that important to me. Last year I chose 26 as the number of books I wanted to read in 2017. I would love to read more, but I have a day job on top of writing and a family and other hobbies, and I have a very hard time with audio books - love the idea. I listened to Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee all the way down to Atlanta for GRL a few years back. But, most of the time, the audio isn't actually loud enough for me to hear and understand. I'm hard of hearing and I am missing a good portion of the conversational ranges. If people aren't looking at me when they are talking to me, 9 times out of 10 I will miss everything that is said. Last year, I knew I wanted to expand my reading so my goal was 3 non-fiction, 3 classics, and 20 whatever.

According to Goodreads, I read 14 Books last year.

I read 6 Non-Fiction books -





I read 5 Classics






 
I read 3 that fall under the whatever Category
 



This year, I went with the same number of books 26 - because I didn't make it last year. But, I decided to add more categories - a way to read more - to expand not just my horizons, but point of view.

Same 26 Books:

3 - Non-Fiction - because I want to be the best me I can be, as well as, the best writer I can be.

3 - Classics - because I actually haven't read a lot of them.

1 - Native American Author

1 - African American Author

1- European Author

1- Non-European Author

1- Banned Book (current/previous)

15 - Whatever I Want.


I got the idea of expanding my reading horizons because of the Writing Excuses Podcast I found in November. Listening to it has motivated me in my writing and kept me from having a complete meltdown with the stupid number of hours and piles of stress I was under from the day job. While binging on the episodes, I was interested and kind of amazed at these Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Horror authors reading Romance, Literary Fiction, Fiction from international authors, and Young Adult. And not poo-pooing any of it.

I know some reading  challenges add things like a book by a female or male author or a political novel or a large novel, but I didn't want to do that. I generally don't care what the gender the author is of the book I'm reading. I wanted to challenge myself - to learn and relax. Maybe become a little uncomfortable with what is being said.

I do know that I want to read a book by Maya Angelou this year. I was fortunate enough to listen to her speak in person at a leadership conference I attended while I was in college - 2007 or 2008 I believe, but I still have yet to read anything by her.

So far this year I have read --


I have started:

 


I have added several books to my To Be Read pile and I know I will be adding more through-out the year. I love hearing about new authors and new books from authors I already know. I'm excited for what 2018 will bring. And if I'm lucky, I'll read more than 26 books!

Blessings,
Simone.






Monday, February 5, 2018

From the Writer's Desk - January in Review

It is the first full week of February. By this time I should have February mapped out in my Bullet Journal, along with my review of January and my focus for February plus a couple of other things I need to write down - like gifts for people. I'm no where I need to be.  The last couple of weeks feel like a crappy mixture of the flu-cold combination crap trying to take over and stress.  At the day job we are going through a leadership change and staffing changes which is causing more work and stress for everyone. I haven't really felt like doing a whole lot of anything. Which really sucks because 2018 feels really promising. 

January Review:
My primary goals were:
+ Write 15 minutes everyday
+ Finish Behind the Masque
+ Work on the Story Bibles for Smuggler's Cove and Bissari Confederation.

What I Accomplished --

I didn't write 15 minutes everyday. In fact, I only wrote 7 days out of the whole month. Here is the interesting part though.  If I only wrote 15 minutes every day in January that equals 465 minutes or 7.75 hours (7 hours 45 minutes). However, 5 out of those 7 days, I wrote more than 15 minutes. I actually wrote 510 minutes or 8.5 hours. If you average 1000 words in an hour, that works out to be 250 words in 15 minutes. So, that would have a monthly total of  7,750 words. What I actually wrote was 6,230 words. That's because some of those 15 minutes I only managed 25 or 85 words, while others I hit 409. A quick scan through my log, shows I average probably 150-175 words every 15 minutes. That's not too bad. Not really. 

I didn't finish Behind the Masque. I thought I was closer to being done. My original word count goal is 7,000 words away. The story end is actually about 30,000 words away. Oh well. I will tell the story to it's completion then worry about word count. I do want to submit Behind the Masque to my publisher by my birthday, so that means I need to have the first draft finished by about the 21st of February. I need to put it up for a couple weeks before I start revising it. 

Working on the story bibles is nice and non-specific. I started them, so the goal is technically accomplished. But, I'm not finished. So, not really.

 Getting sick combined with stress from work definitely worked against me in January. So did I. There were too many days where I didn't feel like it or didn't have enough energy or had too many other things going on to sit down and write. Writing is a very solitary activity, but I really don't solitude. Sometimes I do. I like my own space and my own area. But, I don't have an office right now and I really do need to replace my desk top computer. I also don't meet up with writerly friends. Part of that is - I won't drive far in the wintertime - Michigan roads - especially the highways - can really suck - and be down right dangerous. The other part is money - I don't always have the ability to pay for an extra tank of gas or food if we are meeting someplace for lunch. I need to find a way to meet up with other writers though. I love being around writers and artists - they get it. Most are supportive and encouraging. 





Goals for February:

Finish Behind the Masque by February 21
Write 15 minutes Every Day
Finish the Story Bibles for Smuggler's Cove and Bissari Confederation. 

Goals for THIS WEEK

Write 15 minutes Every day
Spend 2 hours on the Smuggler's Cove Story Bible.

Blessings, 
Simone.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Finally Over Being Sick

For the record, getting sick sucks. Big Time. I had planned on finishing Behind the Masque this month. It needed to be finished this month because there are other things I want to write. Getting sick was not in the cards, because I couldn't write. The couple of days I took off from the day job were mostly spent sleeping and coughing. With a little bit of stitching, because dragging myself out to the computer wasn't happening.

Ursula LeGuin passed away yesterday. You can read the story here. Today, I'm starting A Wizard of Earthsea. I have several of her books in my To Be Read pile, but haven't read any of them. I also have Left Hand of Darkness that I intend on reading this year.

I did make progress towards my goals until I got sick, and I do intend to write at least 15 minutes a day for the rest of the week. Hopefully more than that. I missed writing.


Blessings,
Simone.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Smuggler's Cove - Knight of Pleasure





Book one in the Smuggler's Cove Series.

Wounded in Iraq, Dean Hudson is forced to give up his dream of a career in the Marine Corps. Nearly recovered from the physical wounds that left him scarred, he resigns himself to a life alone, and begins to deal with the emotional and mental scars the war left behind while he tries to rebuild a life. Having kept his homosexuality a secret for so long, he doesn't expect to find love or acceptance in the arms of a knight.

On the weekends, successful brewery co-owner, Dom Ethan Moreland dons armour and a sword and fights other knights. The adrenaline rush and stress relief provided by the atmosphere of the renaissance faire also serve as a constant reminder of the love he still hasn't found and can't remember having.

When Dean meets Ethan dressed as a knight, he never dreams that he will find happiness and love on his knees while submitting to Ethan.
 
Excerpt:



Dean nodded and shifted uncomfortably in his seat, wanting to bolt. The crowded open area of the faire set his nerves on edge, and he longed for peace and quiet and solitude. Jennie wriggled out of his lap, and he waited for her to climb down to the bench in front of them to join her two brothers before he edged away from Carla. 

Dean rubbed his sweating palms on his jeans, thankful the breezy day spared him the awkwardness of explaining why he wasn’t wearing shorts. He hadn’t worn shorts since before his last deployment, when his body and life were changed forever. It was a day like any other, but one he would never forget the day of his last patrol. Two years later, he was looking at an uncertain future as a disabled vet who couldn’t stand on his own two feet without the aid of a cane.

He watched the maroon-clad knight, Ethan, round on his opponent, swing his sword and drive the man to his knees. Kicking him in the chest, he raised his hands in celebration as the man toppled backwards. Half of the crowd cheered. The other half booed. An armour-less man dressed in a black and white tunic bearing the colours and crest of the entertainment troop rushed forward to help the defeated knight to his feet.

“Honour her majesty!”

One after another, the armoured men dropped to one knee, heads bowed in the direction of a short, round, blonde-haired woman, who despite her smile, looked as though she’d just tasted something disgusting. Ethan stuck his sword into the dirt, removed his helmet then knelt on one knee.
Dean inhaled sharply. Long, light-brown hair was tied at the nape of the man’s neck, and beads of sweat ran down the sides of his face. His angular jaw gave way to the subtle lines hidden beneath armour.

“Ethan’s gay, by the way, and single,” Carla whispered in his ear. “I thought you might like him.”

“You told me in one of the letters you sent me. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were trying to play matchmaker,” Dean said good-naturedly, hugging his sister.

“Why shouldn’t I want my brother to find true love?”

He wasn’t sure about true love, but Dean wondered what it would be like to get fucked by Ethan. The single photograph Carla had sent him of Ethan was decidedly less sexy than the sight on the field in front of him. Dean started. How long had it been since he’d thought about another guy? Too long, he chastised himself. There was no guarantee that Ethan was single, and Dean had to meet a player he liked. He strongly suspected Ethan was a top, which suited him fine. Dean had topped before, but he preferred bottoming. So had Brad, his ex, so he’d ended up topping more often than not, wanting to make his lover happy. It hadn’t been enough to keep Brad from cheating on him.

Dean remembered the day he’d come home early and found Brad in their bed, technically Dean’s bed, with one of the company clerks. Dean shook his head, pulling himself from his memories, surprised to find all of the armoured men standing in the centre of the ring. The combatants squared off. Dean winced when Ethan was hit first in the leg by one person followed closely on the back of the helmet by the knight in the green and yellow tunic.

“Come on, I’ll introduce you to him. You’ll like him.” Carla giggled.

Dean smiled and nodded trying to keep his excitement at bay.

“Ethan! Lord Blackmoore!” Carla called out, drawing the attention of several knights.

“You fought wonderfully, as always,” Carla said, hugging Ethan.

“Ethan, this is my brother Dean Hudson,” Carla said, reaching for Dean. “Dean, this is one of my best friends, Ethan Moreland, also known as Lord Blackmoore, one of the Knights of Steel.”

“Nice to meet you, Dean. Welcome home.” Ethan held out his hand.

Dean moved his cane to the other hand and shook hands with Ethan, who ran his thumb over Dean’s knuckles. Desire ran rampant through Dean’s body, pooling in his groin at the contact. “Nice to meet you too,” Dean replied, wishing he knew Ethan well enough to move the errant strand of light brown hair that fell across one dark eye.

“You’re being summoned my lord,” Carla said, turning from them towards the arena where the other knights had gathered.

“You will be staying for a while right?” Ethan asked, looking from Dean to Carla and back again.
Dean saw the plea in sister’s eyes, pushed aside his growing discomfort and nodded. He wanted today to be special for her. On top of working, raising her kids and trying to have a life, she’d been looking after him since he’d returned home.

“It was nice to meet you,” Dean said, half hoping he’d get to know Ethan better.

“My pleasure, Dean. My pleasure,” Ethan answered, running two knuckles along Dean jaw line. Dean thought he saw a look of possession in Ethan’s eyes before the man turned and left them.

“Come on. Let’s go see more of the faire,” Carla began as soon as Ethan was out of hearing distance. She hooked an arm through his and pulled him away from the arena. “So, what do you think?”

“They do this for fun?” Dean looked around at the vast array of costumes ranging from elegant to gaudy. He leaned heavily on his cane, carefully picking his way over the rough terrain.

** You can find Knight of Pleasure Here** 

Blessings, 
Simone.