Constance Bretes hot new release, Blue As Sapphires, an R-rated contemporary romance brings to spousal abuse front and center in this tender love story.
Connie began her career as a secretary in 1977 for the State of Michigan as a civil servant. She retired from the Michigan Department of Transportation after 38 years as the department’s forms analyst. She has an MBA in Business Administration – Leadership Studies, and a BA in Business Management.
She has six books published, with five more on the way.
Connie spends most of her time behind her computer, writing, editing and researching for her next story. When she’s not there, she can be found checking out ghost towns, sapphire mining, and gold panning with her best friend and husband, Jim. Her other hobbies consists of basket weaving, and jewelry making.
She is a member of RWA’s From The Heart Romance Writers, and Kiss of Death Romance Writers, and lives in Basin, Montana.
National Statistics. On average, nearly twenty people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States…one in three women and one in four men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
Blue As Sapphires was born from my love of sapphire digging, and gold panning in the beautiful Gem Mountains and Rock Creek River that runs through Philipsburg, Montana. Another issue that I’m passionate about is doing away with domestic abuse. I took the two subjects and combined them into a story that made Marissa determined to survive and overcome her ex-husband’s physical and emotional abuse, and the sheriff, Riley McCade, who is determined to love and protect her.
Escaping from her abusive ex-husband, Marissa Simpson came back to her hometown to start over. She had no intention of getting involved with another man, or with the community she left behind all those years ago. That is, until Riley McCade showed up.
Riley was the Sheriff of Granite County and he commanded a work force of fifteen deputies. He loved his community and went out of his way to protect and serve. When he met up with Marissa, he was bound and determined to get to know her even though she said she wasn’t interested.
The more he got to know her, the more he learned of her past. Could he protect her and earn her love?
Marissa laid back and wrapped her arms around Riley’s neck. She brought her lips to within an inch of his. She stared into his eyes and noticed how tender they looked. She moved in a little more, and her lips met his. He moved his mouth over hers, devouring it. While the fireworks were going off in the sky, Marissa felt her own fireworks. His kiss sent a shock wave through her entire body. Riley guided Marissa so she was on her back and he was partially on her. His Stetson concealed their faces. They continued to kiss and touch, looking lovingly at each other, and then kiss again.
The fireworks lasted for fifteen minutes, and suddenly a flashlight shone on them and voices interrupted them. Three firefighters stood in front of them singing a line from Burning Love.
Riley and Marissa quickly broke apart.
“What the hell?” Riley said. A hint of irritation laced his voice. He abruptly stood up, grabbed Marissa’s hand, and pulled her up.
“We were told that there was sparks on the ground, and we were asked to put it out,” Mitch said, laughing.
“Just who the hell told you that?” Riley asked.
“Heidi,” John, second firefighter, said with an amused smile on his face.
Riley and Marissa shot Heidi a glance.
“We can see that the sparks have been put out so we’ll head back to the truck.” Mitch smiled even wider.
Dave and Cindy stood off to the side chuckling. Someone from the crowd that had gathered around them asked, “Hey, Sheriff, got a new girlfriend?” Ripples of laughter rang through the crowd.
Marissa continued to glare at Heidi. She couldn’t believe her friend would do something like that. As the party broke up, Marissa said to Heidi, “We will talk later.”
Best selling author, Tena Stetler, uses her over-active imagination to spin tales of paranormal romance/suspense and cozy mysteries. Her spicy romances spin the adventures of magical kick-ass women and mystical alpha males that dare to love them. From demons to faeries and witches to vampires her intriguing characters take roads less traveled to draw you into exciting tales that engage the imagination and warm the heart. We ar excited to feature Tena Stetler as our ABA’s Awesome Bewitching Authors Highlight.
A Demon’s Witch was my debut novel and has remained close to my heart. A Demon’s Witch hit the market and garnered best seller status. It earned The Romantic Reviews Readers Choice 2016 Nominee in the paranormal romance category. I love talking about this story.
The ideas begin to percolate as I sat in a beauty salon listening to the chatter from other customers. One woman swore she’d been approached by a vampire want-to-be.
This got me to thinking, which is scary in and of itself. What if the hairdresser was an alpha male, Demon Overlord of the Western Hemisphere that owned a multi-species salon in Washington DC? Enter a powerful witch, whose beauty caught the eye of the demon on a rainy day when she rushed into his salon. Now, unbeknownst to him, she is not any ordinary witch, but the little sister of the demon’s enforcer. Now you have a romance with unbelievable complications.
The story became a series, but the other planned books in the series took a strange turn when the majority of readers and reviewers clamored for the enforcer, Tristian’s story to be next in line. I’d never considered writing a book on the witch’s brother, the demon’s enforcer. But after mulling it over for several months and publishing three unrelated books. I am excited to announce A Warlock’s Secrets (Tristian’s story) is awaiting cover art and will be published spring 2017. So please watch for it!
A Demon’s Witch
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Keeping a lid on all the paranormal beings inhabiting Washington D.C., is a daunting job. Bruce, a six hundred year old demon and the Territory Overlord of the Western Hemisphere, keeps his finger on the pulse of DC’s power players through the activities at his highly successful Wycked Hair Salon. His movie star good looks and body builder physique keeps his dance card full and the rumor mills running. Within these walls, his anonymity is safe, mostly.
Bruce’s world spins out of control when Angelique, a pint size, gorgeous witch, with an attitude breezes through the doors of his salon. She is the younger sister of Tristian, Bruce’s long time trusted enforcer, whose professional skills are second to none. Tristian is furious at the relationship between Bruce and Angelique, a dangerous situation, but something darker threatens them all. Will undeniable attraction between demon and witch tear their worlds apart?
At two in the morning he awoke feeling her restlessness, listening he heard her soft sobs. He pulled on his black silk lounge pants and grabbed the robe from the foot of his bed. Padding silently in his bare feet down the hall, he paused at her bedroom door just as her anguished scream filled the room. He was at the side of her bed a second later. Gathering her onto his lap, he held her unyielding body to his until her flailing limbs quieted and her troubled violet eyes opened. Cognizant of where she was now and with whom, she flung her arms around his neck and clung tight as shivers racked her slight frame.
Megan came running from the other wing of the house where the staff lived during the week. “Is everything all right?” She peeked inside Angie’s bedroom door.
“Just a nightmare, nothing to worry about. She’s awake now.
“Oh no my Lord,” Megan said in a low frantic whisper.
“Don’t call me that,” he growled, his amber eyes tinged with orange glowed in the dark room.
“Sorry. There’s something dark and dangerous chasing that one.” She nodded in Angie’s direction. “It’s not of this world.”
He lowered his voice and spoke kindly. “Go back to bed, I’ve got this handled.” He paused for a beat exhaling slowly. “For now.”
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When Settings Won’t Let Go
Don’t we all have our favorite places we love to visit over and over again? Those places where we get a chance to rejuvenate our souls so we can continue along life’s journey? For some people it might even be your home or a room or chair in your home. Maybe some people might prefer to visit new places. As a writer I am always looking for places where I know I can get new inspiration for my next book.
But sometimes it is fun to go back to those old places, the locations where you first came up with a story idea and it blossomed from there into a wonderful story. I know for me, the city of Vancouver, B.C. has always been a special location. I love walking along the sea wall and listening to the water lapping at the shore and the cry of the sea gulls overhead. I’ve often told about getting the idea for my romantic suspense book, Deadly Messages from a walk along the seawall. But there is more than a peaceful feeling involved. I know I appalled a reader when I told her I didn’t just get energized from that walk, I also started thinking about all the places a killer might stash a body or what might happen if two sisters became separated and one was never seen again. Ah, the joys of plotting a mystery!
Since then I’ve set my books in many different places, from the mountains of Colorado, to sunny Southern California. But there is still the lure of the Northwest and a recent visit had me thinking again of one of my favorite “story” places—Redfern Manor—the spooky gothic house in my book, Shadows from the Past. In that book, a wounded TV anchorman is writing a book about a young actress who once lived at Redfern and he moves there to get more of a feel of who she was. I loved writing that story and while the mystery of the murder was solved, I realized I wasn’t finished with Redfern. I wanted to go back.
And so I made the decision to do it. Just like Mack Warren who was so obsessed with the house, I will be returning and revisiting Redfern Manor. I’ve just started working on it, but like all good things, sometimes we just want more. We want to go back and re-visit those places that brought us spiritual joy.
Shadows From The Past:
When Stacey Moreno goes undercover on Evergreen Island, she’s looking for answers to a friend’s mysterious death, not trouble. After all, Stacey is not adventuresome–she lives vicariously through her cartoon creations and can’t tell left from right. But from the moment she moves into spooky Redfern Manor and meets her sexy new boss, trouble starts and sparks fly. Hobbled by injuries from a plane crash, former journalist Mack Warren came to Redfern Manor looking for escape, not romance. He’s more interested in a story than a relationship.
But it’s hard to ignore Stacey. With danger drawing near, can Stacey persuade Mack to face the shadows from the past that threaten to destroy their future?
About Rebecca Grace
Rebecca Grace is an award-winning former broadcast journalist who writes romance, mystery and romantic suspense. Her latest work, a short story, “One More Romance” was published in the anthology, Sealed with Love. Her last mystery novel, Blues at 11, was published by The Wild Rose Press. She is currently writing the next entry in that mystery plus developing a series set at Redfern Manor, the scene of her novella, Shadows from the Past.
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*** I TOTALLY agree with J.L.’s article below and, after bouncing ideas off of several ABA authors, I’ve come up with a NOVEL SOLUTION, but I need your participation to make this work. All TWRP or ABA authors who want a 4-star or 5-star review on a book, just click here: http://casimclean.com/aba-review-interchange/
AFTER YOU READ THIS AWESOME POST:
I’m all for reviews. Reviews are great. They give you a preview of what’s to come. What you may like or dislike, etc. Don’t know about you, but I don’t have much time on my hands. I have a toddler. Enough said. For those of you who don’t have kids, maybe you’ve been around some. Multiply that child’s activity by ten maybe twenty, and that’s my boy. He’s special. I love him to death, beyond imaginable, but the kid is work.
With the little time I have, I’ve learned to appreciate reviews. Honestly, before baby, I appreciated reviews. I hated spending hours reading to be let down. We all have our preferences, after all. Reading is a form of escapism. I read to escape, to relax. I read because I love it. And I loved reading before I decided to write books. I’ll always love it.
Life’s imperfect, uncertain, and as beautiful as it is, it can also be devastating. We work so hard, love too much, and sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. There are too many things in life we cannot control, except how we escape, how we for a moment take ourselves away from our lives and do something we love. My beautiful boy is work, and I love him, but mommies need breaks too. For me, that’s reading.
What do I prefer to read? HEA’s all the way! I love happily-ever-afters. But I love them with conditions. The hero’s a jerk, borderline abusive to the heroine, and she ends up with him? No. Cliffhangers? Ugh.
What can I say? I’m human. I like to read what I like to read. And everyone is different. We all have our preferences: what we like, what we don’t.
Bringing me back to the point—reviews are helpful. I read them. Sometimes, they let me know if I’d like a book before I buy it and spend hours reading. Over the years, I’ve noticed reviews have become sort of like an art form. There are even graphics, and distinct tone.
From the cover and blurb, you should be able to tell what you’re getting into. Why choose to review a book you won’t like? Yet, we still see a wide range of reviews: the helpful, the stellar, the mocking, and the nasty, distasteful, and the down right mean.
And then there are the 1-star reviews with no comments at all. Why?
I have read books from authors I LOVE and did not like one of their books. I have left reviews explaining why I did not like this particular book, but I did’t feel the need to leave a nasty review. I’ve never felt that need, even if the book was by a new author and I really didn’t like the book. Maybe I have too much empathy and realize that a book is a form of expression, a story the author spent countless hours writing, editing, rereading. Not my cup of tea, but it still has merit.
There will be people who will like it, love it, just not me, so there’s no need to bash an author, a person, and their work because I didn’t enjoy a book they spent countless hours writing, editing, and rereading. If it were a song, I’d delete it or not listen to it––not write the station, artist, producer, or writer. Maybe I’m too compassionate, or just polite. But there are ways to express your opinions without being nasty, rude or completely unaware that words hurt, and what’s the point of hurting each other when life hands us a bunch of hurt already?
What do you think?
She runs from her perfect life into his—a life of bikers who play and ride by their own rules.
Hard as it is, he keeps his distance. But when she kisses him, all bets are off.Whose rules would she play by…his or hers.
Research is key to a novel, but diving into background can also inspire the writer’s muse. M. S. Spencer should know. She’s lived in Chicago, Boston, New York, France, Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, and England, and the last 30 years were spent primarily in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and “domestic engineer”, aka parent. Once she escaped academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Whew! Here’s her take on the topic:
Authors must do quite a bit of research for their books even when they know the subject well. The Mason’s Mark, my newest release, is set in my former home town of Alexandria, Virginia at the George Washington National Masonic Memorial. A landmark of the Washington skyline, the building is not only a Masonic lodge, but a memorial to our first president. I began with the idea that my heroine would find a dead body on the ninth floor observation platform, with no rational explanation of how it got there.
To ensure authenticity I set about Googling both freemasonry and George Washington, but my search soon led me into a strange world of global intrigue and crime. I followed one thread to a remarkable Italian scam artist named Licio Gelli.
Starting in the 1940s Gelli embarked on a lifetime of bizarre scams and crimes. Alternately linked to rightists and leftists, he bilked or used people from Italian politicians, to the Nazis, the Communists, the CIA, even to Juan Peron, dictator of Argentina. His exploits cross the globe and spanned four decades. He was still alive in December 2015, in his nineties and writing poetry from prison. In 1996 he was even nominated for the Nobel prize in literature.
Note: He died December 15, 2015.
Here is a link to an obituary: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/12054716/Licio-Gelli-financier-obituary.html
Gelli is most famous for founding a Masonic lodge called Propaganda Due, a renegade group that was first dissolved, then reinstated, then erased by the Grand Orient de Italia. He had ensnared many prominent Italians into P2, which ultimately led to several huge scandals.
How could I resist? I added him to the mysterious corpse. Further Googling on George Washington tossed up lots of fascinating scandal rumors. So now I had a body, a renegade Mason and scam artist, and long-lost George Washington letters. Voila! The Mason’s Mark: Love and Death in the Tower, a contemporary tale about old scandals. And a dynamite love story.
Sneak peek of The Mason’s Mark:
In both the best and worst first day at work ever, docent Claire Wilding meets the man of her dreams, but her carefully rehearsed guided tour of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial collapses when she discovers a body and is drawn into a dark world of black ops and Italian renegade masons, of secret cabals and hidden treasure. Also cloaked in mystery is handsome Gideon Bliss, a George Washington expert who haunts the Memorial, his manner evasive. What is his secret? Claire fears she’ll fall in love with him only to learn he’s a thief or even a murderer. Juggling two eccentric mothers, an inquisitive sister, and an increasingly smitten detective, Claire must find answers to a complex web of intrigue, including who to trust and who to love.
Wild Rose Press, May 6, 2016 (Crimson Rose imprint)
Mystery/Cozy Mystery, Romantic suspense
ebook 79,000 words; print 322 pp.
M/F; 3 flames
AllRomanceEBooks (pre-order): https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-themason039smarkloveanddeathinthetower-2017038-149.html
If you like the Mason’s Mark, you might want to check out The Penhallow Train Incident, also from the Wild Rose Press.