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Marketing for Romance Writers is a peer mentoring group for authors. It was founded in 2006 by Kayelle Allen.

The Ugly Christmas Sweater, T-shirt version #ChristmasRomance #UglyChristmasSweater

The Ugly Christmas Sweater, T-shirt version

 

The Ugly Christmas Sweater... Shirt.

In this scene, the hero, Scott, finds the dreaded ugly Christmas sweater, his in shirt form, a gift from his mother.

The Christmas Sweater / Shirt

In his old room, Scott stripped out of his uniform and put on sweatpants and slippers. On his bed was the loose T-shirt with a blond-haired elf on the front that his mother had given him the year before. The elf was shirtless, wearing red boxer shorts with holly on them, and he was licking a candy cane while dangling a round ornament on one finger of his other hand. Some people got an ugly Christmas sweater. His mom gave him the T-shirt version he could wear all year. Yay. Lucky him.

Upon seeing the shirt when Scott unwrapped it, a cousin had started singing, "Don we now our gay apparel..." and had broken into riotous laughter. That didn't stop the family from insisting he wear it. He was sure he'd asked Mary to give it to Goodwill, so how it had shown up again this year he couldn't explain. Yet, there it was. It could only have come from one person.

"The things we do for our mothers." Scott slipped it on over his head and headed for the kitchen.

He leaned against the door jamb, enjoying the sight. His mother was chopping things for the stuffing and adding them to her biggest bowl. His dad sat at the end of the counter, reading a Popular Science magazine. Neither seemed to pay attention to the other, but while his mother was cooking, Dad always kept her company. She'd crochet in a wooden rocker in the garage while he worked on the boat he was building. As if they couldn't bear to be parted from one another, even though they didn't talk much. Maybe they didn't need words.

Scott had thought he and his wife would be the same, but he and Mary had shared a different lifestyle. Both were often busy, and sometimes saw each other only in passing. He'd worked nights, and she'd worked days. She'd had a downtown office, working as an architect for government housing. Time spent outdoors had given her a great tan, but exposed her to hazardous toxins no one had known were in the old buildings being demolished. When she fainted at work, the company sent her in for a check up. After the diagnosis, the project had been shut down immediately, but cancer took a quick toll. Mary was gone in six months. A government investigation into the cause was still ongoing.

Scott now had sole custody of a four-year old daughter and a job that took him into danger every day. He'd shifted to the downtown beat and day shift because it seemed safer, and he could still do what he loved doing: Helping people.

A Romance for Christmas

On Amazon, when you purchase the paperback for a friend, you can get a Kindle version for yourself at no cost. Once you buy the paperback, go to the Kindle version of the book and refresh the page. It will tell you the book is available at no cost. Merry Christmas!

Paperback: http://amzn.to/2nBb37J

 

Image credits: In my honest opinion, this elf is the cutest thing ever!
Created by author/artist Janet E Jones

It's Christmas Eve and a cop is at the door... #SweetRomance #MFRWhooks

Trouble follows Tornahdo (excerpt from Lights Out) #SciFi #MFRWhooks #FreeBook

Trouble follows Tornahdo (excerpt from Lights Out) #SciFi #MFRWhooks #FreeBook

 

Trouble follows Tornahdo

In this scene, Tornahdo is having a quiet drink at the bar when a member of Ghost Corps shows up and tells him to go home. Trouble follows.

Tornahdo knows it's trouble when this guy shows up...

Ravenstongue sauntered toward him. "Why you here?"

Tornahdo kicked back in his chair. After stretching out his legs, he crossed his ankles. "Why do you care?"

"Big ops tomorrow. Lights out in ten. Time for you to go home and go to bed."

Behind the bar, the keeper closed up shelves and battened down doors.

"Yeah?" Tornahdo flicked a hand toward the door. "I'll follow you out."

"I'm not leavin'. Didn't you hear? We passed inspection with the highest scores. Got a free night out." Ravenstongue jabbed a finger toward Tornahdo. "But you gotta go home like a good boy."

In no kingdom in the galaxy would that happen.

Ravenstongue lifted two fingers, signaling his cohorts.

The keeper ducked behind the bar while the goons flanked their wannabe boss, imbecilic grins in place.

A pair of demons usually sat on Tornahdo's shoulders. They were usually trouble. The bad demon laid out strategy while the good demon discouraged action. Tonight, the good demon flipped a middle finger toward Ravenstongue with a not-so-subtle suggestion to kick his ass.

Tornahdo took his time rising, slid his chair under the table. "What did you say?"

"I said, 'You gotta go home like a good boy.'"

Hanging his thumbs in his belt, Tornahdo gave him a slow smile. "Go back to the bar, finish your drink and we'll pretend we're all friends and leave together. This is your last chance for a peaceful end."

"Peaceful." With a scoff, Ravenstongue jerked his head toward Short Goon. "You hear that?"

"Yeah. Maybe we oughta do what--"

Ravenstongue jabbed him with an elbow.

"I mean, yeah! I heard that." He leaned closer to his boss. "We gonna?"

"No, you idiot. Shut your face and back me up."

How did these hotheads enlist? Ghost Corps must have been desperate for bodies. Literally. A fighter's corpse they could reanimate. Which was a sobering thought.

Was that what the corps thought of him?

Lights Out by Kayelle Allen

He can save mankind. After he does one important thing. Die.
Join the Ghost Corps, they said. You'll live forever, they said. You'll save mankind, they said. They didn't say that to do it, first he had to die.
When Tornahdo signs on the dotted line, he puts his life into the steady hands of the mighty Ghost Corps. Three grisly deaths and three agonizing resurrections later, he's assigned duty on the space station Enderium Six.
He's facing his most dangerous mission yet, the very reason the corps exists.
Do they expect him to win? Fat chance. Tornahdo and his team are already dead and this mission is codenamed "Lights Out." No, there's more to this than he can see.
To discover the truth, he must face an unbeatable, unkillable enemy, and this time--somehow--find a way to keep himself alive...


Pick up Lights Out free by joining a reader group!
https://kayelleallen.com/reader-groups
Origin of Pietas is 99 cents thru Dec 31st

Origin of Pietas

Forged in Fire

Lights Out


JOIN US FOR BOOKHOOKS
Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or previously published books by possibly new-to-you authors. Thank you for stopping by. Please say hello or leave a note in the comments.

Weird Eyes: a toddler’s view of Luc #SciFi #MFRWhooks #MFRWauthor

Weird Eyes: a toddler's view of Luc #SciFi #MFRWhooks #MFRWauthor

Weird Eyes: a scene from A Stolen Heart

(Be sure to scroll to the bottom to see all the authors taking part in today's blog hop.)

In this scene, Luc has been comforting a crying three-year-old boy whom he rescued. The child has cornflower blue eyes with the slashed pupils of a Kin, a feline-humanoid species. But his aren't the weird eyes...

 

Luc handed the boy a handkerchief.

Senthys dragged it across his wet nose and eyes, smearing the mess across his entire face. He offered the handkerchief back.

Gingerly, Luc accepted it, folded the wet side in and used the other to wipe the child's face. How did parents and caretakers manage such unsanitary duties on a daily basis?

He dangled the damp cloth by a corner. "I think you should keep this."

"Thank you." The boy stuffed it into a pocket. Winding his curls around a finger, he leaned against Luc's chest, looking up at him. "You have hair like me." Senthys pulled out a long strand. "See?"

"Hmm." Indeed, the boy had loose curls like his, but there, the resemblance stopped. "I think your hair is lighter." By dozens of shades compared to his ebony. "And longer."

Pietas would never believe any of this. Neither would his friends. Nor anyone who knew Luc by any name in any empire.

The boy twisted around. Assuming he wanted down, Luc moved back, but the child knelt between Luc's thighs.

Jerking back, Luc took the boy's hands to steady him. "What are you doing?"

Senthys planted one foot on the seat between Luc's thighs.

"Careful!" Scooting even further back, he shifted his grip to the boy's waist.

"I wanna see your eyes." Senthys stood and leaned in closer, staring at first one eye, then the other. "Wow! They're weird."

"Are they?" His true eyes were the stuff of childhood nightmares. Since Luc had no trouble seeing, his lenses hadn't slipped or been damaged. The weirdness likely referred to their blackness. "I'm sure you think so. Do you know colors?"

"Uh huh."

"What color are my eyes?"

With a clawless, human fingertip, he poked Luc's cheek. "Same as this."

"You mean my skin?"

"Skin," he repeated, patting Luc's cheeks and then his own. "Real Kin have furskin. I don't. I'm not a real Kin. I'm HalfKin."

"I see." He reseated the boy on his lap. "Can you tell me what color they are?"

"Uh huh." Senthys swung one foot, making Luc think of Pietas. "Pink."

Chuckling, Luc tidied the boy's shirt. "Black."

"I get pink mixed up." He gave a huge yawn. "When are you taking me home?"

"Home?" The child likely thought he was being adopted. "I'm here to talk to the headmistress. I'm sure you'll find a home soon."

Senthys sniffed, blinking up at him. "But..." He rubbed his nose. "I wanna go with you. I'll be good. I don't bite." He held up his fingers. "I don't have claws."

Those words wrenched his heart. This innocent had no idea how dangerous Luc was. The poor child would be trading one monster for another.

"Senthys." Careful not to pull the boy's curls, Luc brushed them back from the lad's face. "Saving you from a big bad monster doesn't mean I'm not one."

He rescued a toddler from a big bad monster. But now, who is rescuing whom? A scene from A Stolen Heart #scifi #spaceopera Click To Tweet

Luc's "weird eyes" are solid black due to full-eye contacts. But what about the real eyes he's hiding? Why does he hide them? Tune in for a new excerpt from A Stolen Heart next week.

The Antonello Brothers Series

~ visit the series page ~

You'll find Pietas and Luc mentioned in nearly every book in my story universe.
Download a printable book list and check them off as you read.


JOIN US FOR BOOKHOOKS
Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or previously published books by possibly new-to-you authors. Thank you for stopping by. Please say hello or leave a note in the comments.

If this is good news, why hide behind a fake face? #SpaceOpera #FreeBooks

If this is such a good day, why hide behind a fake face? #SpaceOpera #FreeBooks

Fake Face

We've spent the last few weeks talking about the cosplay for Pietas.

However, the single most important person in Pietas's life, other than his family, is a man called Six. Today's post is a scene from the story Lights Out, which chronicles how Six and Pietas met. I'll give you a hint. There was instant respect, but not instant friendship.

In Origin of Pietas, Tornahdo receives the name Six, and it's a direct result of what happens in Lights Out.

The Ghost Corps consists of special ops soldiers who have died, and have been resurrected with the blood of an immortal Ultra.

This scene begins with the delivery of a mission by a man wearing a "fake face" -- which the hero knows right away does not bode well.

Fake Face

The unlit room where Tornahdo and his crew waited closed in as if the walls pulled together and the ceiling sank. The longer they waited, the thicker the air. Warm, heavy with sweat and the tart bite of fear, every breath choked the senses.

More than one ghost pulled at his collar. Tension arced through the room, lightning skating over a metal fence.

Was the anti-emo chip even working?

After half an hour of waiting, no one had spoken.

Probably another test.

Tornahdo, for one, wasn't failing it.

The door opened, bringing a shock of icy air.

They all knew they were being sent to die. They were ghosts. That's what ghosts did. They hammered at Ultras until they perma-killed them or they kept Ultras busy until others escaped. But at least they were getting to breathe first.

In walked a person close to seven Terran feet. Silhouette looked male. Tall enough to be an Ultra. He strode into the center of the room and beckoned everyone closer.

No clue who hid behind the full-body fake-face. It cycled through various images, too fast to keep up. Like trying to count air bubbles rising in a pool.

Remaining at the back, Tornahdo stood at ease.

"This is the best day in human recollection." Speaking through a voice changer, the voice took on genderless robotic tones. "Today, we make history."

If it was such a good day, why hide behind a fake-face and a voice changer?

The chip in Tornahdo's head pinged a stinging reminder to avoid such thoughts. He reined in his doubt and focused.

"This mission is called Lights Out. Your duty is simple. Chancellor Pietas is unconscious. You'll put him in a lifepod. That's it." The guy paused. "Questions?"

A tall ghost removed his helmet. "How can Ultras be unconscious?"

"The peace talks were a trap. When Pietas and the Council arrived, we told them we'd jettison their module unless they entered their lifepods, which they did. Except Pietas, of course, so we siphoned the air out of the room. Before you go in, you'll hyperventilate, store up oxygen. This room is being pumped full at a high rate. Your chip will aid you."

Ultras held their breath ten times longer than humans. Tornahdo had trained to hold his five times longer. Pietas probably managed fifteen or twenty times.

Twelve of them. In a vacuum. Against the Ultra called Bringer of Chaos. Whose motto was, "Pain is a warrior's ally."

No number of chips made that doable.

Two ways to get Lights Out for free.
Join a reader group on my site and it's yours right away.
Or, pick it up on StoryOrigin, where it's part of a host of free Sci Fi and Space Opera books.

If this is such a good day, why hide behind a fake face? #SpaceOpera #FreeBooks

Origin of Pietas

Forged in Fire

Lights Out


JOIN US FOR BOOKHOOKS
Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or previously published books by possibly new-to-you authors. Thank you for stopping by. Please say hello or leave a note in the comments.

Share a sweet but awkward father and son moment with Senth (from Bro) #MFRWhooks #YA #SpaceOpera

 

 

In this scene, Luc and his son share a typical father and son moment. Awkward, sweet, and filled with memory.

Father and Son

"Is that the info?" Senthys nudged his chin toward the reader. "What else does it say?"

"In good time," Luc responded. "I adopted you but didn't change your last name to Saint-Cyr so if your family looked for you, they'd find you, and that's how it happened. A worker at the Guild mentioned to this person that he knew another Antonello. One thing led to another."

"That's why you kept my name?"

"Of course." Luc frowned. "Why else?"

"I thought--" Senthys eased back into his chair. "Never mind."

"Say what you're thinking."

His son didn't react at first, but finally lifted his head. "I figured... you were--you know." He gave a small shrug. "Ashamed of me."

"What? No! I am inordinately proud of you." Why did his son not see that? "Why would you think I wasn't?"

The youth traced a pattern in the wood. "I figured if you were proud, you'd have wanted to tell people about me." He peeked up under his lashes. "Instead of making me hide."

His son could not have cut out Luc's heart any better with a knife.

"No! That was never why. Son." He reached for Senthys but placed his hand flat on the table. "I promise you." He held his son's gaze, willing him to understand. "I am indeed proud of you. I hide you to protect you."

"You're my father. It's public record. You own the house where I live. You sponsored me into the Guild. I don't see how that's hiding."

Luc sagged in his chair. "Do you have any idea how much it costs to buy off the media? There are almost two dozen planets in this empire. The media exacts a heavy toll on silence when--" He stopped himself. Lowered his voice. "You don't need to know the deals I make and you don't need to make it more difficult--or expensive--for me to protect you from the fame that dogs my every step. A thief can't work in a spotlight." He drew back. "Most of the time, neither can I."

"What you're saying is--you've been protecting me?"

How many times had he said that exact thing? Did this child never listen? With yet another reminder to pick his battles, Luc tamped down his frustration. "Yes."

The adorable blue eyes and shy smile that had charmed Luc when Senthys was a toddler flashed across his son's face and then was gone.

No sweet little kitten remained a kitten forever. No matter how much you wished they could.

 

The Antonello Brothers Series

You'll find Luc mentioned in many books in my story universe.
Download a printable book list and check them off as you read.


JOIN US FOR BOOKHOOKS
Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or previously published books by possibly new-to-you authors. Thank you for stopping by. Please say hello or leave a note in the comments.

Note? What note? #SciFi by Kayelle Allen #MFRWhooks #MFRWorg

Note? What note? #SciFi by Kayelle Allen #MFRWhooks #MFRWorg

 

In this scene NarrAy gets a very un-memorable note from an android.

 

 

Royal District, Royal Arms Hotel Suite 1221   

NarrAy tipped the hotel android and tucked the note he'd delivered into the pocket of her robe. "Senth?" She walked back into the bedroom, heard water running, and poked her head inside the bathroom. Steam frosted the glass-enclosed shower. "Senth, honey, there's a--Whoa!"

Senth was pressed against the glass from his firm behind all the way up to his shoulders.

NarrAy gulped against a rush of pheromones. "Uh, there's a...a note."

"What?" Senth stepped away from the glass and came to the opening, both hands in his soapy hair.  Shampoo bubbles trickled down his upraised arms, onto his shoulders, and down across his chest. Senth's nose wriggled. He'd done that several times during the night, inhaling her scent. It shot a tinge of warmth down her body. "I couldn't hear you, sweetie. There's a what?"

"Nothing." NarrAy cast off her robe and stepped into the shower, right into Senth's slippery, soapy, slick, sexy, and open arms. 

 


JOIN US FOR BOOKHOOKS
Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or previously published books by possibly new-to-you authors. Thank you for stopping by. Please say hello or leave a note in the comments.

 
 
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