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Guest Post by Shari Elder about Unnatural Allies

Unnatural Allies (Shifting Alliances, #2 by Shari Elder)

Thank you so much for having me on your blog. I’m very excited to share Unnatural Allies, Book Two in the paranormal romance series, Shifting Alliances. Although part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone novel.

Unnatural Allies (Shifting Alliances Book 2)
By: Shari Elder
Genre: M/F Paranormal Romance
Release Date:
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer

Blurb

A World in Transition
Violent fae encroachment on shifter land is heating up. With death tolls rising, the impossible becomes necessary – an alliance among predator and prey shifters.

An Inconceivable Love
Nicca Baron, lone wolf and wolf clan beta, finds herself under the command of Evan Grant, the rat alpha. In different circumstances, he’d be dinner. Or so her wolf keeps reminding her. Evan proves to be a perceptive leader, a skilled fighter and irresistible to her lonely heart.

To rule the rats, you have to rule the pack. Evan is a whiz at managing people and groups. Until he finds himself leading a mission made up of every single large animal that thrives on rat flesh. And not the kind between his legs. The only bright light is Nicca. Her storm gray eyes miss nothing, her brilliant mind comprehends everything and her succulent curves offer the perfect place for a rat to nestle.

An Impossible Future
In each other’s arms, Nicca and Evan discover love and a new perspective in an off-kilter world. But a wolf cannot mate with a rat, no matter the strength of the human attraction.

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Excerpt

Evan had never seen Nicca look frightened before. Those silver eyes expanded into saucers, and they were still beautiful. He wanted to wrap her in his arms, just hold her close as they both tried to process a world spinning out of control. Even his rat wanted to comfort her.
She was getting under skin and fur.
The last leaves hung limp on the branches, resisting winter’s pull. Away from the sidhe, the air had warmed, although the sky retained a grayish winter hue. Shifter bodies held heat, keeping them comfortable in the most brutal frost. Evan burned hot from continuous movement, the too frequent adrenaline spikes, and Nicca’s nearness. Everything about her fit, like she was made for him. That agile mind, open-mindedness, those lush curves. Hell, she even spouted poetry. He yearned to put a sign around her neck—no trespassing, this woman belongs to Evan Grant.
Except for that whole wolf thing…
“Why don’t we find a comfortable place to set up camp near Fairy Falls and call it a day?” he said to get his mind back to practical things, not wishing for something he couldn’t have. He told himself he selected the location as part of the mission. All species declared the pristine, wild falls a safe zone, so they wouldn’t need the wolves or eagles to stand guard. The fact that it was the number one rated site for shifter romances had nothing to do with the selection. Nothing at all.
No one would ever accuse Nicca of talking too much, but she was withdrawn even for her on the hike to the Falls. “Any suggestions on places to sleep?” he asked when her silence got too loud for him.
“I’ve, uh, never really been here,” she whispered, looking at the ground. “Just run by it on patrols sometimes.”
“And that makes you sad?” He itched to run his hand down her cheek.
“This mission makes me sad.” Her gaze stayed lowered as she walked.
His rat senses perceived a deep despondency wrapped around her like a black aura.
“This mission makes you angry, anxious, and confused. Not sad.”
“Who are you to correct my assessment of my emotional state?” She gave him a half-hearted snarl. He figured he’d hit an open, raw nerve.
“I lead this mission, and I will not have you fall apart on me. Right now, you are not okay.” He opened his arm, aping Rafe’s earlier action, inviting her to him to take comfort. “Let me help.” Let me touch you.
She visibly shook herself, ignoring his outstretched limb. “You’re right. I need space. Let me run as wolf.”
He dropped his hand, then nodded to cover the ripping sound his heart was making. “Stay close,” he said over the lump of disappointment lodged in his throat. “Give me your backpack, and I’ll find a place to sleep. Meet me at the falls when you’re done.”
Relief brightened her eyes. Once shifted, she brushed against his leg, then licked at his hand dangling by his side. He ran his fingers through her thick, gray fur touched with black and silver as she trotted off. “Grab some happy, Nicca,” he said into the air, as she raced out of sight. Come back to me. Accept me.
Alone, he hummed as he walked toward the falls. The low tune soothed his skittish rat, who hated being alone and wasn’t too fond of the woods. Rats felt secure in the pack. The human in him appreciated the red gold of the sunset streaking across the powder blue of the sky, weaving in and out of spiky, hunter green firs that ate up the landscape. Beauty truly did soothe an aching heart. The whirr of winter birds, a chorus to his ears, unnerved the rat. He picked up his pace, following the smell of ice and the roar of the falling water.
When he arrived at the falls, he saw Nicca standing at the edge of the descending water, running her fingers through the stream. That sadness he’d sensed earlier scented the air and dulled those unique gray eyes. Following a powerful intuition, he approached quietly, staying upwind so she wouldn’t notice until he stood directly behind her. She may have rejected his offer of support earlier, but he was determined to try again. His way.
She turned to face him, and tilted her head up to meet his gaze. He pushed behind one ear a lock of hair that was draped along her cheek. The tresses felt like silk, the skin velvet against his fingertips.
“Evan?”
He leaned over, touching lips to lips ever so gently. Giving comfort. Sneaking a taste. Exploring what might be. She pressed back, her mouth opening slightly beneath his. He sank into cherry and cinnamon, shyness and heat. She didn’t require a friend; she needed a lover. He desperately wanted to be that man.
He pulled back, falling hard for the blush staining her cheeks a bright pink.
“Follow me,” he said, taking her hand, and led her to the camping spot he noticed along the way.
To love a wolf.

About Shari Elder

Hello, I’m Shari. By day, I crawl out of bed, mainline coffee, walk the dog, get my kid off to school, hop on the metro, and save cities within the four walls of my office. Usually by email.

At night, the other Shari emerges. I take off the suit, curl up on the couch and let my imagination play, with words and images until stories take shape (while periodically checking on my teen-ager, hiding out in the bedroom and plotting world domination). As my alter ego, I save cities in a cape and spangled tights, wander space and time on a surfboard, fly over the Himalayas on feathered wings, make six-toed footprints in indigo talc snow on the sixth planet in the Andromeda galaxy or eavesdrop on Olympian gods while pretending to whip up a bowl of ambrosia.

In all these wondrous worlds, romance and passion blossom. I can’t resist a happy ending. And I am particularly prone to writing happy endings for those who have given up on ever getting one. That gives me immense satisfaction.

Join me on my journey. The best ideas emerge from team work.

Hang out with Shari on the Web

Website – www.sharielder.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ShariElderStories/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ShariElderBooks
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/ShariElder
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/ShariElderBooks/

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RWA Chapters — A Great Place to Meet Aspiring and Published Authors

Check out this great interview about the Yosemite Romance Writers–one of the many fantastic RWA chapters where aspiring writers and published writers get together to talk craft, marketing, and everything that matters to the writing process.

Guest Post–Vicki Batman

Today’s guest is award-winning and Amazon best-selling author, Vicki Batman, who has sold many romantic comedy works to the True magazines, several publishers, and most recently, two romantic comedy mysteries to The Wild Rose Press. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and several writing groups. An avid Jazzerciser. Handbag lover. Mahjong player. Yoga practitioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Chocoaholic. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome Hubby. Most days begin with her hands set to the keyboard and thinking “What if??”

Hi, everyone! I’m Vicki Batman and I like to write romantic comedy. Releasing June 1 is “Raving Beauty,” a fun short story, from the Just You and Me boxed set:

What if the love of your life was in front of you all along?

It began innocently with a few margaritas… Kelly Stinson is persuaded to represent Yahoo! Ranch Steakhouse in the Chamber of Commerce’s beauty contest. After an unexpected swan dive off stage, her heart goes pitter patter over the orthopedic surgeon who repaired her ripped up ankle.

Daniel Ackerman has always had the hots for his twin sister’s best friend. Much to his dismay, her doctor has taken notice of the dark-haired beauty and invaded his territory. That’s about to change when he moves in to help Kelly recover physically and open her eyes to what’s been in front of her all along.

Excerpt:

“I can’t believe I let your loony brother, who’s tormented me all my life, talk me into this.” With my eye on the teenage competition, I tugged the leg opening of my swimsuit into place to better cover my hip. “Just because I did some modeling in college doesn’t make me a pageant diva. Back then, I was incredibly skinny, and clothes fit easily.”

“Daniel’s a rat. He took advantage of your third or was it your fourth margarita, Kelly?” Maggie Ackerman, my best friend and roommate, adjusted the scarlet satin sash draped across my body. Glittery stick-on letters spelled out Miss Yahoo! Ranch Steakhouse. “Hold still.”

With an old-fashioned teasing comb, she picked my brown hair into place at the crown of my head. The eerie suspicion I resembled a scary dame with Big Texas hair from the television show, Dallas, caused me to avoid looking in the mirror.

“Close your eyes.” She hit me with super freeze-it hairspray. “Now, that ain’t goin’ nowhere.”

My personal stylist needed to work on her aim, preferably with both of her eyes open. I spit-wiped the sticky spot on my right cheek. I hope nobody I know sees me like this.

“There.” The scrunch of her nose reflected how pleased she was with herself. “Feeling better?”

Like a slab of beef.

Preorder Just You and Me boxed set at:

Find Vicki at:

World Book Night Suspends Operations

733dd-world_book_nightNot all great ideas can survive the demands of economic reality. Today, World Book Night, the non-profit organization that has brought books to millions for the past three years, announced that it will suspend operations because, despite significant support, it cannot keep up with the cost of its noble cause.

Below is the full announcement from World Book Night. Our hats are off to its remarkable accomplishments and we keep hope that somehow the cause will be revived.

From World Book Night, July 2, 2014:

Dear World Book Night U.S. friend,

After three years in which thousands and thousands of you distributed over a million and half specially-printed World Book Night paperbacks across America, we are sad to announce that we are suspending operations. The expenses of running World Book Night U.S., even given the significant financial and time commitment from publishers, writers, booksellers, librarians, printers, distributors, shippers–and you, our amazing givers!–are too high to sustain.

This has been a remarkable, passionate undertaking, and it has been a success by all measures, except for one: Outside funding. For three years, the publishing industry and book community have very generously footed the bill and contributed enormous time and effort, and we are so very grateful for all the support.

We did receive some funds via individual donations, and we worked very hard to get grants. We did get some, but there are a lot of other worthy causes out there and only so much money available. We can’t carry on without significant, sustainable outside funding.

From World Book Night U.S. Board Chairman Michael Pietsch: “World Book Night’s first three years have been a profound experience for everyone involved. The altruistic spirit of the givers and of industry supporters have reminded us all of the transformative impact books have on people’s lives, and of the power of a book as a gift. The World Book Night Board joins me in extending their deep gratitude to all who have taken part.”

WBN U.S. Exec Director Carl Lennertz added: “Some of you know our names here, but I want to be sure you know these–Laura Peraza and Carolyn Schwartz. They have been here since day one, and they, along with you, are my heroes. Alia Almeida joined us this year and was a creative force. A list of all the booksellers, librarians, authors, and folks in publishing and at Ingram would be too long to include here, but they know who they are and I know they have loved being a part of this beautiful thing we did together.”

We are staying on hand through the summer without pay to maintain social media contact with you all, to talk good books, and to announce the winner of the giver essay contest.

YOU, the givers, made it possible for WBN to reach its full potential. For us here at World Book Night, this experience has been life-changing, as we hope it has been for you and recipients of the books. Our gratitude to you is simply immeasurable.

With much love, appreciation, and admiration, thank you!

Team WBN U.S.

 

Flash of Romance Supports Mental Health Awareness Month

 In 2013, United States President Obama proclaimed May as National Mental Health Awareness Month and brought the issue of mental health to the forefront of our thoughts. In support of mental health awareness, there are many good books and written accounts of the struggle to deal with major mental illness, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression and other conditions viewed as disorders.

Below is a small selection of material worth considering. For more ideas, visit NAMI’s national site (National Alliance on Mental Illness), or explore the many other resources available online.

 

The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness
by Elyn R. Saks (Hyperion, Reprint edition 2008)

 

Elyn Saks is a success by any measure: she’s an endowed professor at the prestigious University of Southern California Gould School of Law. She has managed to achieve this in spite of being diagnosed as schizophrenic and given a “grave” prognosis — and suffering the effects of her illness throughout her life.

 

In The Center Cannot Hold, Elyn Saks discusses frankly and movingly the paranoia, the inability to tell imaginary fears from real ones, and the voices in her head insisting she do terrible things, as well as the many obstacles she overcame to become the woman she is today. It is destined to become a classic in the genre.

 

 

Fall to Pieces: a Memoir of Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Mental Illness
by Mary Forsberg Weiland and Larkin Warren (William Morrow 2009)

 

Authors Mary Forsberg Weiland and Larkin Warren write about Mary’s experience as a highly paid fashion model and her marriage to rock star “Scott Weiland.” The book details her experiences with Bipolar Disorder and her drug abuse.

 

“Mary Weiland describes the depths of madness and addiction with surprising clarity. Fall to Pieces is a wild, gripping story, told with intense emotional honesty.” — Terri Cheney, New York Times bestselling author ofManic

 

 

Undercurrents, a Life Beneath the Surface
by Martha Manning (HarperOne 1995)

 

Written by Martha Manning, this remarkable memoir describes a yearlong descent into, and eventually out of, the unbearable hell of depression–and does so with eloquence, grace and humor.

 

“Like the lucid madness chronicled in “Girl, Interrupted,” this riveting memoir traces the devastating path of clinical depression through the diaries of Martha Manning–a psychotherapist who became a patient and underwent electroshock therapy.”

 

 

Soul Repair
by Rita Nakashima Brock and Gabriella Lettini (Beacon Press 2012)

 

Soul Repair explores the idea and effect of moral injury on veterans, their families, and their communities. Although veterans make up only 7 percent of the U.S. population, they account for an alarming 20 percent of all suicides. Research by Veterans Administration health professionals and veterans’ own experiences now suggest an ancient but unaddressed wound of war may be a factor: moral injury. Brock and Lettini, who both grew up in families deeply affected by war, have been working closely with vets on what moral injury looks like, how vets cope with it, and what can be done to heal the damage inflicted on soldiers’ consciences.

 

Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety
by Daniel Smith (Simon & Schuster 2012)

 

Told with a journalist’s ear for language and an eye for detail, Monkey Mind is one man’s story of a life inhibited by anxiety. Smith illustrates how his ancious responses led to missed opportunities, loss of employment, stress and alienation. Aaron Beck, the most influential doctor in modern psychotherapy, says that “Monkey Mind does for anxiety what William Styron’s Darkness Visible did for depression.” Neurologist and bestselling writer Oliver Sacks says, “I read Monkey Mind with admiration for its bravery and clarity. . . . I broke out into explosive laughter again and again.” Here, finally, comes relief and recognition to all those who want someone to put what they feel, or what their loved ones feel, into words.

 

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In Praise of World Book Night

Each year on April 23, tens of thousands of people go out into their communities and give half a million free World Book Night paperbacks to light and non-readers. In 2012, World Book Night was celebrated in the U.S., the UK, Ireland, and Germany. In the United States, World Book Night, a nonprofit dedicated to spreading the love of reading, person to person, is again turning to over 25,000 passionate volunteers to give away copies of specially chosen and printed WBN editions in their community.

In addition, World Book Night will have 23 simultaneous WBN Kick-Off events TONIGHT, April 22, 2014 around the country, demonstrated on the map below (click the map to link to a larger version)–very exciting, fun events at select stores and libraries featuring some of this year’s authors.

Among the many fine books included this year is the historical romance in a series inspired by Jane Austin, Miss Darcy Falls in Love by Sharon Lathan.

“I am honored to have my novel Miss Darcy Falls in Love chosen as one of the 35 titles for 2014. To help kick-off this years extravaganza, I will be doing what most of the chosen authors are doing, and that is appearing at a local book store.”—Sharon Lathan

“One little guy held his book so tight and said, ‘this is the first new book I have ever had!’ He’s in fourth grade.” —Anonymous from Ohio

“I cannot express how amazing an idea this is…And my heartfelt thanks goes out to you, the authors, and the publishers of these books.” —Cheryl, recipient 2013

“In my experience, when people like what they are doing, they do more of it. This is the genius of World Book Night — it gets people reading by connecting them  with amazing, enjoyable books. I’m honored to be a part of it.”James Patterson

“All those people giving books out are proof that people DO care a whole awful lot, and we will always have books, stories, writers and – most importantly – READERS.”Markus Zusak

Participate, watch, praise, do what you can to encourage this wonderful effort. World Book Night can be followed on Twitter: @wbnamerica.

It’s website is: http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/ and it’s on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/worldbooknightusa

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