Why I love #romance by GuestBlogger @EliseManion #AuthorInterview #amreading #books

Say hello to BHC Author and guest blogger, Elise Manion. Not only is Elise one of our July Author Spotlights at BHC Authors, today is also the release of Jason’s Princess—book one in the stand-alone King Brothers series. Read on to find out why Elise loves romance and why it’s the genre she loves to write.

Don’t Shame Me For Wanting “The Feels”

Paul McCartney asked this question: Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs. What’s wrong with that?

I say there’s nothing wrong with that, Paul. I am a junkie for all things silly and romantic. I’ve got a sweet tooth for the sweet stuff. Give me a good laugh, a good cry, maybe even a steamy love scene and I’m happy, just as long as it all works out in the end. I think we all want a little happily ever after in our lives. I see nothing wrong with that.

Unfortunately, there are those in some circles who try to shame us silly-little-love-story readers for our choice in literary entertainment. You know the ones, they’re usually sitting around a table at the local Starbucks embellishing on Little Johnny’s latest achievement, or arguing over who’s daughter has the largest bra size. (True story, I actually witnessed a passive aggressive argument between two mommies over who’s daughter had achieved the coveted D-cup first. Their daughters were in middle school at the time.) They’ve joined Oprah’s book club and look down their noses at your well-worn paperback with the ravishing rake leaning over his scantily-clad lover, and can’t figure out why you would read such “trash”, all while handing you a DVD of Million Dollar Baby proclaiming, “It’s an amazing story and you just have to watch it.” Now there’s two hours and twelve minutes of my life that I’ll never get back. If I wanted to be depressed, I would’ve turned on the news. No offense, Clint.

I don’t claim to know the root cause of romance shaming. I often wonder if those people are secret lovers of romance who can’t admit it because they, too, have been shamed in the past about their reading preferences. Kind of like the wimpy kid who got bullied on the playground only to grow up and become the bully himself to mask the hurt he felt as a child. Or, maybe they’re just pretentious asses. Who knows?

People can be mean, which is one reason why I love romance. The meanie usually gets it in the end. Here’s a few more reasons why I love the romance genre:

  • The heroine is stronger than she appears.
  • The hero is more sensitive than he appears.
  • Romance is not Erotica, but it can be just as steamy if that’s your thing.
  • Romance can happen between anyone, anywhere, and in any time, even in other dimensions.
  • Romance is limitless.

So, here’s the thing: I write romance because I love Romance. I want my readers to feel the same things that I feel while I’m writing my silly little love stories. I want you to laugh, I want you to cry, I want you to “feel.” In the end, I want you to be happy you read them. But, most of all, I want you to feel no shame about reading the genre you love.

Check Out Jason’s Princess

Don’t Judge a Prince by his Tattoos

Five years after her parents tragic death, Julie Armstrong is still managing to raise her seventeen year old brother, Charlie. Barely making ends meet, there’s no time to seek out her Prince Charming, even if one exists. This is the real world, after all, and the only eligible men in her town resemble toads with ink.

Jason King might have ink, but he’s definitely no toad, even if Julie thinks he’s one. He wants nothing more than ride in on his dark horse and protect Julie and her young brother. He’s sat on the sidelines way too long, keeping them safe.

But when trouble finds its way back home, Julie must rely on the one man whom she’s held responsible for all her troubles for the past five years. Will she ever find her Prince?

Jason's Princess by Elise Manion

Available now in trade softcover and eBook

Jarod's Heart by Elise Manionion

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Hope, Harleys and the #Supernatural—by @TomMohan_Author #amreading #books

Who doesn’t love a good tale of the supernatural? Guest blogger and author Tom Mohan talks about:

Eve of Redemption by Tom Mohan

Back in the 1995-96 time frame I had a vision of a homeless man standing in the rain staring at a gun in a pawnshop window. I had no idea who this guy was or why he wanted to end his life, but the vision was clear and the idea stuck. I didn’t write much back then, and finished even less. I had thought about writing and knew that someday, when the stars aligned and I had lots of free time, I wanted to write a book. Procrastination and a natural born gift for laziness didn’t help, either.

Fast forward to 2011 when I attended my first writer’s conference—The Ragged Edge. The Ragged Edge was an intimate conference hosted by Ted Dekker and was open to only 100 participants. I left this conference on fire for writing and decided it was time to find out just who this homeless guy with the death wish was.

It turned out the guy’s name was John Burke. Four years ago John’s wife and daughter had disappeared along with some other members of a church youth group and the pastor. Burke had put everything he had into finding his family but they seemed to have vanished from the Earth. This much I knew fairly quickly but there was a lot more to his story that I had to uncover. I have loved reading horror for as long as I can remember and then, while deployed in the U.S. Navy, I discovered epic fantasy. This was in the early 1980s, before fantasy had really taken off. One thing I knew from my love of these genres was that I wanted to make stuff up. I didn’t want to limit myself to the real world but be able to open up any door that came along, the weirder the better. That is one of the reasons I set Eve of Redemption in the year 2032—it is far enough in the future that I can change some current reality without being so far away as to be completely detached from our current world.

Eve Of Redemption by Tom Mohan

Another thing I knew about John Burke was that he needed redemption. His guilt and shame were killing him and he could be no help to anyone until he was able to forgive himself. As authors, I think we often use our characters to work out some of our own issues. There is probably more of me in John Burke than I care to admit. The original character was much more of a mess than the man who shows up in the book. Fortunately I had enough early readers who were not afraid to tell me the guy was quite unlikable in his current state and that I should make him a bit less of a whiny-wretch. I did and I think he is a much better character for it.

When I started writing Eve I knew three things: the beginning, then end, and the scene that ends part one of the book. Everything else grew organically from the writing process, which is, to me, what makes writing so much fun. About 200 pages into the first draft I realized there were still too many things I didn’t know. In order to figure them out I began delving into the life of Sara Burke, John’s missing daughter. Suddenly a whole new story line opened up that not only answered the questions, but also introduced a new world where nothing was as it seemed.

Eve of Redemption contains many of those vital details that keep life interesting, or do when we allow ourselves to step out of real life—strange children, animated corpses, demons, ghosts, Harley Davidsons (missing from my reality, anyway) and a dragon that surprised even me when he showed up.

That’s my writing journey…so far.

About Eve of Redemption

John Burke’s life is filled with despair. Four years after the mysterious disappearance of his wife and daughter, he wants nothing more than to end his own misery—until a confrontation with a peculiar little girl alters his life. Burke’s world collides with supernatural chaos, forcing him to face the reality of his past.

Now he must find his family and destroy the ancestral curse. Teaming up with a former policeman and his blind wife, along with a boisterous motorcycle gang, Burke discovers the one thing he thought he lost forever—hope.

Eve of Redemption by Tom Mohan

Eve of Redemption by Tom Mohan is available now in trade softcover or eBook

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Hope, Harleys & the Supernatural—Welcome to Eve of Redemption by @TomMohan_Author #supernatural #amreading #books

Who doesn’t love a good tale of the supernatural? Guest blogger and author Tom Mohan talks about:

Eve of Redemption by Tom Mohan

Back in the 1995-96 time frame I had a vision of a homeless man standing in the rain staring at a gun in a pawnshop window. I had no idea who this guy was or why he wanted to end his life, but the vision was clear and the idea stuck. I didn’t write much back then, and finished even less. I had thought about writing and knew that someday, when the stars aligned and I had lots of free time, I wanted to write a book. Procrastination and a natural born gift for laziness didn’t help, either.

Fast forward to 2011 when I attended my first writer’s conference—The Ragged Edge. The Ragged Edge was an intimate conference hosted by Ted Dekker and was open to only 100 participants. I left this conference on fire for writing and decided it was time to find out just who this homeless guy with the death wish was.

It turned out the guy’s name was John Burke. Four years ago John’s wife and daughter had disappeared along with some other members of a church youth group and the pastor. Burke had put everything he had into finding his family but they seemed to have vanished from the Earth. This much I knew fairly quickly but there was a lot more to his story that I had to uncover. I have loved reading horror for as long as I can remember and then, while deployed in the U.S. Navy, I discovered epic fantasy. This was in the early 1980s, before fantasy had really taken off. One thing I knew from my love of these genres was that I wanted to make stuff up. I didn’t want to limit myself to the real world but be able to open up any door that came along, the weirder the better. That is one of the reasons I set Eve of Redemption in the year 2032—it is far enough in the future that I can change some current reality without being so far away as to be completely detached from our current world.

Eve Of Redemption by Tom Mohan

Another thing I knew about John Burke was that he needed redemption. His guilt and shame were killing him and he could be no help to anyone until he was able to forgive himself. As authors, I think we often use our characters to work out some of our own issues. There is probably more of me in John Burke than I care to admit. The original character was much more of a mess than the man who shows up in the book. Fortunately I had enough early readers who were not afraid to tell me the guy was quite unlikable in his current state and that I should make him a bit less of a whiny-wretch. I did and I think he is a much better character for it.

When I started writing Eve I knew three things: the beginning, then end, and the scene that ends part one of the book. Everything else grew organically from the writing process, which is, to me, what makes writing so much fun. About 200 pages into the first draft I realized there were still too many things I didn’t know. In order to figure them out I began delving into the life of Sara Burke, John’s missing daughter. Suddenly a whole new story line opened up that not only answered the questions, but also introduced a new world where nothing was as it seemed.

Eve of Redemption contains many of those vital details that keep life interesting, or do when we allow ourselves to step out of real life—strange children, animated corpses, demons, ghosts, Harley Davidsons (missing from my reality, anyway) and a dragon that surprised even me when he showed up.

That’s my writing journey…so far.

About Eve of Redemption

John Burke’s life is filled with despair. Four years after the mysterious disappearance of his wife and daughter, he wants nothing more than to end his own misery—until a confrontation with a peculiar little girl alters his life. Burke’s world collides with supernatural chaos, forcing him to face the reality of his past.

Now he must find his family and destroy the ancestral curse. Teaming up with a former policeman and his blind wife, along with a boisterous motorcycle gang, Burke discovers the one thing he thought he lost forever—hope.

Eve of Redemption by Tom Mohan

Eve of Redemption by Tom Mohan is available now in trade softcover or eBook

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Why Does #Steampunk Matter? By Guest Blogger @ARMeyering

Are you a fan of steampunk? And what exactly is it? Guest blogger and award-winning author A.R. Meyering, creator of The Dawn Mirror Chronicles (and who specialized in Victorian/Neo-Victorian Literature in college) delves into the importance of steampunk and why it matters.

Fans of this genre will enjoy her latest release The Hunter’s Bond, as well as the other novels in The Dawn Mirror Chronicles.

Why Does Steampunk Matter?

Steampunk, put lightly, is a fringe genre. Images leap to mind—elaborate DIY gizmos, outlandish costumes, and that eccentrically brilliant handful of people who crave historical fantasy come to life. During my study of Neo-Victorian literature during college, a professor once described steampunk as a genre that boasted “machines that exist far before their time, all which are on the brink of falling apart.” It was a throwaway line during a lecture, but I personally found it to be an illuminating description of the genre.

As of late, steampunk has been creeping further and further into popular culture, flavoring otherwise unrelated games, music, and movies with its eye-catching designs. Where fans may have learned to recognize it for its token gears and antique flair, I regularly see curiosity in those who wonder what the hell steampunk actually is. Just glue some gears on it and call it steampunk, right?

The Hunter's Bond by A.R. Meyering

What Is Steampunk, Anyway?

Steampunk, in its simplest form, is any type of fiction that features two distinct elements: anachronistic technology and a 19th century aesthetic. That’s really just a fancy way of saying highly-advanced inventions in a Victorian (give or take a few decades) setting. At least that’s how it began to be defined after it was coined in the 1980s by science fiction author K.W. Jeter. I believe the beauty of steampunk is how many die-hard aficionados you will meet who will whole-heartedly argue these points. For all intents and purposes, however, steampunk is a flight of science fancy centered on this time period during which steam-powered machines seemed to be the way of the future.

Steampunk has many fascinating offshoots, such as cattlepunk, a similar genre set in the wild west of the United States, dieselpunk, a mid-20th century variant, and clockpunk, where the trademark cogs so often associated with steampunk might actually feel more at home.

The amazing thing about steampunk, to me, is that it feels like it belongs to the fans more than many other genre of fiction. The spirit of steampunk is ingenuity blended with imagination—it’s that surviving spark of nostalgia mixed with the brave urge to burn recklessly into the future. Steampunk is its own type of music; it’s a warm community of retrophiliacs, of people who create magic out of spare parts, of inventors and artists and dreamers. However, for all its whimsy, there is an undercurrent of darkness that runs throughout it—an unflinching social critique that highlights the monstrosity of the 19th century.

History Happens in Patterns

And no matter what we do, we are doomed to repeat it. 19th century British folks, particularly the Pre-Raphaelites, were somewhat fixated on romanticizing medieval Britain through art and literature, despite its undeniable brutality. I suspect that our modern day Neo-Victorian subcultures look back on the 19th century with the same sort of confused, aching belief that we have lost something special to the past, that we can idealize it to be cleaner and rosier than we want to believe it was, and that we can amend its missteps with our modern outlooks on life and society.

Essentially all of us will look back on the economic and social inequity of 19th century Britain and agree that it was shocking, to say the least. Who wouldn’t recoil when faced with the realities of the lower class struggling to survive in the industrial revolution? At the horror of British imperialism? At a world where the atrocities of slavery were commonplace? Who wouldn’t take issue with the fact that aristocrats earned around 1,200 times as much as soldiers? Of the devastating spread of disease and the reality that it took until the year 1875 before the government stepped in to protect the health of the masses—resistance to this reform came largely from the factory owners who would be taxed to pay for it. And this hardly grazes the surface of the abject suffering that the majority of people lived through in the 19th century, all while a handful of well-to-do families built up the facades of grandeur and austerity that popular culture readily associates with this time period. All while these same well-to-do families rationalized their behavior through flimsy, racist pseudo-science and the nearly unchecked ambition to guard their ill-earned wealth.

Starting to Sound Familiar?

For all of its flaws and eccentricities, I believe that Steampunk’s historical context features a great potential for meaningful social critique. Instead of trying to ignore the unfortunate truths of the past, they can be addressed and discussed. Steampunk is a bizarre sort of abstract microcosm of our own society, all wrapped up in a quirky package, and it matters because it is a way we can recognize the glaring flaws of bygone times­—flaws that are still very much a problem in today’s world—without the interference of our contemporary egos.

It matters, also, because it simultaneously fixates around just the sort of hopeful spirit that ushers in the anachronistic, before-its-time brilliance that leads to a better world. I say, let’s keep dreaming about clanking, aether-run airships en route to the stars because it shows us not only where we have been, but where we are going.

About The Hunter’s Bond

A storybook life ended in one bloody night…

Left injured, alone, and penniless, noblewoman Beatrice Langford can only think of exacting revenge on the ones who took everything from her. After getting a job as a barmaid from tavern-owner Miles Creedy, she soon discovers his dark secret. Following Creedy into the underworld of crime and vigilante punishment, she is tempted by an opportunity to learn skills deadly enough to carry out her vengeful plan. Beatrice may need to sacrifice everything in order to succeed, including her humanity.

From award-winning author A.R. Meyering comes this prelude to the final installment of the steampunk fantasy series The Dawn Mirror Chronicles.

The Hunter's Bond by A.R. Meyering

The Hunter’s Bond by A.R. Meyering is available now in trade softcover or eBook

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Chasing Vengeance with Author @DreaDamara

Fans of spy thrillers will enjoy Drea Damara’s latest offering Chasing Vengeance, mission one in the Trinity Missions series. Read on to learn about the author’s experience stationed overseas and her inspiration for this novel.

Chasing Vengeance by Drea Damara

“The Birth of the Trinity Missions” by Drea Damara

I’ve never felt such miserable, suffocating heat and stench as I did in Iraq and Afghanistan while wearing all of my military gear. It left me constantly dreaming and wishing for snow and fresh air. So when I imagined what I would do after the war, I envisioned chasing an enemy through the snow. I couldn’t picture doing anything else at the time—it’s what I thought I was meant to do; what I had to do. The only peculiarity which struck me was dreaming about snow and wishing for a less wretched battlefield.

Chasing Vengeance by Drea Damara

One night my colleagues were standing around discussing what they would do after the war: buy a fancy car, travel, apply for a particular job. One of them chimed in, “I want crickets,” which made all the guys laugh. He wanted to sit in silence on his back porch, in peace, and listen to the sound of crickets at night. I knew then that all I wanted too was crickets—to live in peace, and that was okay. I packed up the dream of hunting a new enemy in the snow, came home to the crickets, and began to write the missions that had kept my mind entertained during all those sleepless nights overseas.

People in a combat zone are like worker bees in a hive. Everyone has their own role to focus on, sometimes blinding them to how everyone’s actions are interwoven into a bigger picture. Intel workers have to keep that bigger picture constant in their minds with every move. The physical dangers are often less taxing than those of infantry soldiers, but the mental pressure of keeping those soldiers alive by solving puzzles is a constant torment.

There seems to be a stereotypical portrayal in literature and film about espionage heroes being tough CIA agents or former Navy SEALs. The intel community encompasses all walks of life: the physically weak and the mild mannered along with the mighty. I wanted to show the true diversity in Chasing Vengeance, to show indigenous people who take great risks fighting against their own countries, that women are involved and highly capable in this field, and to never discredit the elderly who’ve been in the game long enough to know things the young could never possibly understand.

These people aren’t glamorous. The work is not glamorous. It’s frustrating. As an intel collector, you’re usually all alone, left with only your wits and judgment. Someone is always trying to kill people of any nation. People in this field are aware of that. They never receive accolades. Rather, they are haunted by the secrets they’ve seen and can never reveal, jaded by the harsh realities of the darkest forms of mankind.

This combination constructs a band of comrades who are what I have deemed “all alone together.” There’s never just one hero, because no one will ever be a hero. Chasing Vengeance has three main protagonists for this very reason. In writing this, I wanted to create a fresh spin on the espionage/thriller genre while also mirroring reality.

About Chasing Vengeance

Never reveal your secrets…

Trinity, an intelligence organization known only through whispers, specializes in covert action. Heading up this modern-day operation is founder Gerry Strakner and his team of skilled misfits. The key to staying alive lies within their code: never divulge your greatest fears or darkest secrets. But sometimes the past refuses to stay buried…

While his organization is under attack, Gerry must let his favorite operative, Caria, fend for herself against a vicious arms dealer. When he learns that she is caught in the crosshairs, his only hope is he’s taught her enough to stay alive.

Now Gerry must call in an old favor to save Caria. Ivan Skavinsk, a reclusive mercenary, is the one man skilled enough to infiltrate the playing field of assassins. But which side is he truly working for? Does loyalty have an expiration date or will deception burn everyone within its reach?

Chasing Vengeance by Drea Damara

 

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February Book Giveaway—Deny Tomorrow and The Legacy #MilitaryRomance #RomanticSuspense

Now through February 29th, you can enter to win these great reads at BHCAuthors.com. This month we are giving away a signed print copy of the sizzling military romance Deny Tomorrow from author Ann Heathman and Judith Blevins’  The Legacy, a romantic supernatural suspense set against the backdrop of New Orleans.

BHC Authors February 2016 Book Giveaway—Ann Heathman and Judith Blevins

Click HERE to enter to win one or both through February 29th, 2016

About Deny Tomorrow

When truth leads to heartache and death, it’s easier to deny truth than to face it…

Special Ops leader Zach Acevedo takes his team undercover to assassinate the region’s prominent warlord. He finds Arianna Garrett, a beautiful investigative journalist hiding beneath a burqa. Zach fights to protect Arianna from the danger she faces if discovered, while Arianna strives to expose the team’s covert activities. When the truth surfaces and lives are at risk, who will compromise integrity to hold onto love?

About The Legacy

One night…one moment…changed her life forever… 

Blood is a most peculiar essence, or so the ancient mystics say. A mysterious flow—the carrier of life. Even the demons know the power it can unleash. But such things never entered into the minds of Grant and Caroline Alexander. They were the perfect couple, deeply in love and lost in Grant’s music and the sweet rhapsody of their lives. He was an acclaimed piano virtuoso rocketing toward stardom.

Everything seemed perfect until tragedy struck one dark, stormy night. In that instant, everything changed. Caroline struggles to come to terms with what has happened but she is rapidly drawn into a strange and foreboding world in which she has no control. Convinced she is going crazy, she seeks the help of a psychic, Quinton Lucas. This encounter plunges her into a place of terror and discovery.

Will she be strong enough to break free from what reaches out to her from the grave? Follow Judith Blevins’ spell-binding tale of love, hate, deceit and terror as she takes you on an exciting journey set in the mystique and intrigue of New Orleans’ French Quarter.

Purchase Deny Tomorrow or The Legacy in eBook or paperback on Amazon.

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Creating Young Adult Contemporary Fiction: Anything Goes On A Friday Night by Sara Daniell

We’re pleased to present our book design for Anything Goes On A Friday Night, a contemporary young adult novel from Sara Daniell. Anything Goes On A Friday Night is a powerful coming-of-age novel that will keep you riveted until the final page.

Jack Magnus from Readers’ Favorite says: A beautifully told tale of a teen who somehow, despite all the challenges and abusive situations thrown at her, manages to stay true to herself and to trust in love, no matter how vulnerable it makes her. Daniell’s plot is inspired, and her writing is a joy to read. Anything Goes on a Friday Night is most highly recommended.

To purchase the book in either paperback or eBook, click HERE

Blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Elena lived a vibrant life with a great boyfriend and great friends. Little did she know that turning in her pom-poms was the least of the changes she would experience in the upcoming year. Life-changing, heart-shattering circumstances would soon cause her happy life to crumble right in front of her.

The once fun-loving Elena retreated into herself, finding it easier to push people out than chance more heartache. Just when she figured out how to keep herself busy enough to ignore the imperfections of her life, Finn Kerr showed up with one mission: to prove that life could be more than disappointment and betrayal. Life could be fun and exciting. Life could be unexpected. Life could be forgiving.

Read a sample chapter of Anything Goes On A Friday Night by clicking HERE

Anything Goes On A Friday Night by Sara Daniell

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Anything Goes On A Friday Night by Sara Daniell

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Anything Goes On A Friday Night by Sara Daniell

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Anything Goes On A Friday Night by Sara Daniell

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Anything Goes On A Friday Night by Sara Daniell

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Anything Goes On A Friday Night by Sara Daniell

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