Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Haunted Garden Halloween Hop

Welcome to my contribution to The Wild Rose Press' Haunted Garden Halloween Hop! I know you have a lot of blogs to hit, so I've kept my post on the short side.
 


     It’s October, and in Northeastern Pennsylvania it’s that time of the year for cool, crisp nights, wind blowing through the trees and fallen leaves scattered across sidewalks, streets and yards. The beauty isn’t lost on this warm, weather person. Nor is the pull to watch scary movies or ghost hunting reality TV. Yep, you read right. I watch ghost hunting shows. I find them both, entertaining and intriguing. Some are pure bull, but a few leave me wondering.   
     Just recently, I attended a lecture at a local university given by paranormal investigators. They shared some interesting stories and compelling evidence, confirming my belief that there are groups out there who take their investigating serious and help people with unusual problems. Do you remember the story of the Smurls? I live about seven minutes from their old house. Yeah, that’s a bit scary.
     Last year, my son, and his then fiance, took one of those haunted ghost tours at Gettysburg and snapped this photo. If you look close, you can see several orbs. While I need much more convincing than something like this, it is interesting. The orbs were in a few photos where another 'light' source wasn't involved, and they were also absent in similar shots. Camera malfunction? Lighting? Maybe...maybe not...



     Given the chance, would you hunt?
     I think you can tell I would. I’m open-minded and curious, but I also realize it is something not to be taken lightly. You need to be prepared both, mentally and spiritually, before you go anywhere near a haunt. As much as I would love to do this, my career doesn’t allow the time and effort required, so I’ll have to leave ghost hunting to the professionals, and perhaps...a future heroine?
     While my latest release COWBOY-SEXY doesn’t have ghost hunters, it does have a former Navy SEAL hero and Marine heroine who are both forces to be reckoned with, and of course, they butt heads at every turn.


Blurb
Finn Brennan was used to his brother playing practical jokes, but this time he’d gone too far--sending him a woman as a ranch hand, and not just a woman, but a Marine.
When Lt. Camilla Walker's CO asks her to help out at his family's dude ranch until he returns from deployment, she never expected to be thrust into a mistaken engagement to his sexy, cowboy twin--a former Navy SEAL who hates the Corps.
The Corps took Finn’s father, his girlfriend and threatened his naval career. He’s worked hard for another shot at getting back to active duty and won’t let his brother’s prank interfere. The last thing he needs is the temptation of a headstrong, unyielding, hot Marine getting in the way.

     COWBOY-SEXY's official release isn’t until January, but it is available right now exclusively on Amazon, and for a few days it’ll be FREE. That’s right! Yeehaaw!  Starting on Halloween thru Nov. 3, then again on Nov. 5th Amazon is offering my book for FREE. I hope you’ll all take advantage and spread the word! Finn wants you to download him, honest, he does. lol

Cowboy-Sexy available now, but FREE   Oct. 31st  - Nov 3rd  + Nov. 5th!

Amazon Link:

Contest:
 
Do you have a ghost story? I’d love to hear it. Please tell me about it in a comment and you’ll be entered for a chance to win my Halloween contest.
Prize:
Since you can get COWBOY-SEXY for FREE, I’m not going to offer it up as a prize, but I will draw a random Trick or Treat winner by the end of the day on Nov. 1 and give them an eBook of their choice from any of my releases! Winner will be announced here on Nov. 1, so make sure you check back.
 
You can view my backlist here: www.donnamichaelsauthor.com
 
Make sure you keep the HAUNTED HALLOWWEN HOP going! Head to the following participating blogs:

Thanks so much for stopping by, don't forget to leave a comment, and good luck!

 

My first Self-publishing attempt will soon be live!


     Several years ago, I wrote my first time-shift story and pitched it to the wonderful Kate Duffy from Kennsington. To my thrill, she requested the full, loving how, when the hero is plucked from WWII and brought back to the heroine's present--he thinks the heroine is a German spy. Sadly, Ms. Duffy unexpectedly passed away before she gave me a thumbs up or thumbs down. I let the MS sit on my hard drive ever since.

     A few months ago, a traditionally published author and friend of mine posted about her success at self publishing. I decided I wanted to give it a try, too. What better way to release CAPTIVE HERO! So, I dusted off the MS, decided this was going to be the first book in a Time-shift Heroes Series, added several chapters, then found an editor and sent her my story. My baby.

     She loved it. Phew! Thank goodness, because so do I! lol


Here's the tentative blurb and an excerpt:

Blurb

When Marine Corp test pilot, Captain Samantha Sheppard accidentally flies back in time, inadvertently saving the life of a WWII VMF Black Sheep pilot, she changes history. Making a crack decision to abduct the flying Ace back to the present in hopes of righting the past, she hides the handsome pilot at her secluded cabin in the Colorado wilderness until she can figure out what to do with him.
Yet, convincing her sexy, stubborn captive that he is now in another century altogether proves harder than she thought—almost as hard as fighting the strong attraction pulsing between them. It soon becomes difficult to tell who is captor and who is captive when the more he learns about the future, the more Sam discovers about the past, and the soul-deep connection between them.
But as her heart takes wing and their flames of desire burn into overdrive, her flying Ace makes a discovery that once again brings history into jeopardy and threatens her family’s very existence. Sam's worst nightmare is realized when the only way to fix the time-line is to sacrifice her captive hero...or is it?
Can love truly survive the test of time?
Excerpt
This is it. My chance.
Anticipation and excitement sparked to life, heating Sam’s body with a pounding determination to succeed. A successful mission today would pad her already sparkling record. She turned and slapped the upheld hand of Lieutenant Maria Garcia, her copilot and best friend since boot camp.
The redheaded beauty silenced communications before pinning her with a soulful stare. “Your grandfather would be so proud.”
A swift onslaught of tears burned behind Sam’s eyes. Maria knew Edward Sheppard, Sr. was Sam’s hero. Fond childhood memories abounded of her climbing onto his lap, head resting on his chest, enthralled by his deep, animated tone, while he recanted his days as a VMA Black Sheep pilot in the South Pacific. She’d imagined herself beside him in the cockpit, flying battles with his comrades—each of whom she’d come to know and admire through his exhilarating tales. Thanks to those memoirs, her blazing desire to become a Marine pilot had sparked at an early age.
“Yes,” she finally answered her friend, reaching for the patch she’d sown into the left arm of her black flight suit the previous night. “He would’ve been thrilled.”
Tight stitching and jagged edges met the pad of her forefinger as she gently stroked her slightly charred but dearly cherished good luck charm. Captain Edward Sheppard Sr. had presented Sam with his Black Sheep patch four years ago, a few days before a massive heart attack had claimed his life.
She closed her eyes and brought to mind the firm, albeit proud tone of the beloved eighty-eight year old Vet. “Give ‘em hell, Sam.”
And she did, whenever she climbed into a cockpit. Sam never flew anywhere without her grandfather. He’d been to Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and now, she blinked and swallowed a laugh, he was going invisible.
Gramps always did have a love for unidentified flying objects. A smile tugged her lips. Today, he would fly in one. The Phantombird certainly qualified as a UFO to those who weren’t aware of its existence. Pride straightened her spine. History was just around the corner—their corner. Captain Samantha Sheppard was about to be the first pilot to go invisible.
Or she could also be about to blow up.
That would suck. Especially for her dream of one day piloting the space shuttle. Her smile disappeared. NASA was tough enough to get into. As an apparition, she wouldn’t stand a ghost of a chance.
A quick glance to the right had her raising her brow. “Ready, Lieutenant?”
Maria reopened communications and held up her thumb. “All clear here, Ma’am.”
“Roger.” Sam nodded before facing forward.
A crowd of military and government brass, their medals glinting under the bright mid-October Nevada sun, sat on a set of metal bleachers, hoping to witness history. Ordered to take the Phantombird to only a thousand feet, Sam prayed their flight would be the one logged in and recorded as a success.
Already tested twice in the past six weeks by two different teams, the Phantombird was O for two. The first run barely got off the ground when the hydraulics froze for Captain Daughtry. Then last month, Lt. Colonel Hanson went airborne, but had absolutely no response after he hit the invisibility switch. Scientists and mechanics had worked around the clock ever since and reassured the higher-ups they’d fixed the glitch. Sam hoped so. Her gut told her this test flight would change her life.
“Phantombird VL Zero Three initiating invisibility,” she stated, another warm rush of adrenaline heating her blood. 
Okay baby, her thumb hovered over the red toggle switch as she silently implored the craft, Maria and I are allergic to flames so this is no time for fireworks.
With a dry throat and sweaty palms, Sam gazed out at the sparkling blue horizon and flipped the switch.
“Did it work?” Maria asked a moment later.
“I’m not sure.” Outside, the bright blue sky took on a gray, almost smoky sheen. Odd. Sam frowned. “Command, this is Phantombi—”
A sudden intense jarring cut off her attempt to contact base and rattled the aircraft. With a tight grip on the stick, she increased their altitude, her brain seeking a reason for the jerking while she worked to regain control of their shaking craft. Only one explanation came to mind.
“That felt like…we were fired at.”
“Because we were.” Maria’s finger shook as she pointed to the radar.
Multiple green blips glared out a warning. There shouldn’t be any blips, and yet dozens of planes filled the skies seven hundred feet below.
“Who the hell is that?”
A deep male tone barked in Sam’s headset, sending shivers straight to her booted toes.
That was not Command Central.
“Mitch, Mitch, are you okay? You’re smoking,” a slightly familiar male voice blasted over the radio.
Sam’s heart stopped. The urgency in his tone bespoke concern for a comrade in battle.
“That Zero let loose, but only three rounds hit you,” the familiar voice continued.
Zero? Her pulse resumed thumping at a frantic rate. No friggin’ way!
“Are you sure, Shep? Only three? How’s that possible?” The deeper tone asked, reactivating Sam’s shivers.
“Because he hit us,” Maria answered, flipping an internal extinguisher switch to douse the sparks inside their cabin.
“Who the hell said that?” The one called Mitch barked again. “Sounded like a woman.”
Sam shook her head at Maria and, finger to throat, made a slicing motion to silence audio. They mustn’t make contact, at least, not until they figured out what in the world was going on.
“No idea,” Shep replied to Mitch. “But the Zero shot at you and half of his bullets stopped in mid air.”
“Okay, Shep.” Mitch’s voice changed into a calm, take-charge tone. “You need to shake of this dementia. Are you feeling all right? Dizzy? The Zeroes are still out here, buddy. Buck it up before you end up in the drink.”
Shep? Dementia? Drink? Sam swallowed the hysterical laughter bubbling up her throat. Okay, Sammie, you can wake up now. Her gaze traveled to her copilot. Maria jabbed a finger at the radio.
“I swear, Sam, if Hanson and Daughtry are playing tricks, I’m going to have their asses for lunch.”
“I—I don’t think it is.” She shook her head, unable to voice her crazy notion one of those men was her dead grandfather.
“You should fly to Torokina while you’re still capable, Captain.” Concern deepened Shep’s tone. “You’re really starting to smoke now.”
As if on cue, dark gray plumes billowed up from below. Trepidation pinched Sam’s shoulders. Not good. She tipped the Phantombird to obtain a better view, and promptly stopped breathing.
“This can’t be…”
Maria’s sharp intake confirmed otherwise. “Holy friggin’ shit.”
Sam’s mind worked feverishly to rationalize the battle-ravaged scene below. Corsairs, bullets, smoke, and Mitsubishi Reisens with unmistakable red circles painted on the sides and wings filled the sky.
“Dammit, Mitchell!”
The fear vibrating in Shep’s voice startled Sam from her shock.
“Quit being such a stubborn ass. You’d better land before December 28th, 1943 turns into your last day on this earth.”
Cool air funneled into Sam’s lungs until it backed up and lodged in her throat. She coughed. “Oh my God!” Reality hit hard and squeezed her chest. “What have we done?”
One of the smoking Corsairs broke away and took a northeast heading. She consulted the radar and noted several points of land in that area.
“What, Sam?” Maria asked, alarm lifting her tone. “What’s wrong?”
Sam expelled her breath and slowly turned to face her copilot. A pair of dark rounded eyes stared back. Through her grandfather’s tales, Sam knew who survived the war and who didn’t…
“We just changed history.”
 
==========================

Keep an eye on my website for the official release!

www.donnamichaelsauthor.com

Thanks for reading,

~Donna

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Early Release of COWBOY-SEXY

My addition to the Honky Tonk Hearts Series with The Wild Rose Press
 is released early on Amazon Kindle!



Blurb

Finn Brennan was used to his brother playing practical jokes, but this time he’d gone too far--sending him a woman as a ranch hand, and not just a woman, but a Marine.

When Lt. Camilla Walker's CO asks her to help out at his family's dude ranch until he returns from deployment, she never expected to be thrust into a mistaken engagement to his sexy, cowboy twin--a former Navy SEAL who hates the Corps.

The Corps took Finn’s father, his girlfriend and threatened his naval career. He’s worked hard for another shot at getting back to active duty and won’t let his brother’s prank interfere. The last thing he needs is the temptation of a headstrong, unyielding, hot Marine getting in the way.

 

Excerpt:

 

She straightened to her full height and stared him down, brown eyes flashing like fire water. “You’re not my C.O. You can’t order me around.”

“Wrong. Brett’s the only one who can order you to go home,” he corrected, lowering his voice when the two college stable hands entered the building. “But I am the one who can tell you where to work on this ranch.”

She softened her expression, then sauntered closer to finger his collar.

“And what would you have me do, Finn?” she asked in a quiet, sultry voice.

Her complete about-face had his heartbeats kicking the hell out of his ribcage. He stiffened. What was she up to?

Stifled snickers quickly enlightened him. She was keeping up appearance, playing the dutiful fiancĂ©e, you idiot. For a moment there he thought…

Didn’t matter what he thought.

Terry sent the boys a look. They grabbed pitchforks before disappearing into a nearby stall.

Cammie removed her hands from his chest and stepped back. “Well? Where do you want me to work? With you?”

“No.” The last thing he needed was her around, countermanding his orders as he guided guests on the horse trail. “Why don’t you help my mom and Aunt Lettie with the party details?”

She blinked, then smiled broadly, her gaze bouncing between him and Terry. “No, I mean really. What do you want me to do?”

“I told you, help my mother. Most women enjoy planning parties.”

She stiffened, every trace of amusement gone from her face. “I’m not most women, Navy. Don’t confuse me with your ex-girlfriend. I’m not Heather.”

He inhaled strong and swift. “No, you’re not.”

Heather was sweet and non-confrontational, not a willful control freak like the lieutenant in front of him.

He was the boss, not her, and it was high time he showed her just who was in charge.

Finn stepped forward, slowly stalking the woman, purposefully invading her personal space until she was forced to retreat. The Marine backed up until her incredible backside hit the wall, stopping her escape. Satisfaction warmed his blood. Chalk one up for Navy.

“Wh-what are you doing?” she whispered.

Brown eyes widened with a mixture of apprehension, and God help him, desire. He palmed the wall on either side of her head and smiled down, beginning to enjoy the situation.

“I’m showing those college boys, and you, who’s boss.”

The instant she opened her mouth to protest, he pressed into her delectable curves and captured those tempting, objectionable lips.

The Stetson fell off his head, but he didn’t care. Over and over, he nipped, drank and tasted, taking advantage of her surprised state. He was on a mission. A mission to teach the headstrong Marine a lesson.

Now was the time to pull away, to leave her staring after him, wanting more. Everything was perfect. He had an audience of three who could verify he had effectively shut the woman up.

But when her tense body unexpectedly softened, his goal became fuzzy. The hands on his chest, holding him at bay, suddenly snaked around his back and pulled him in closer. Her sweet, yielding mouth turned hot and demanding, and Finn had all he could do to hold back a groan.

She tasted incredible, and her lack of resistance fueled his hunger. He deepened the kiss, sliding his tongue into her mouth to capture her essence for his very own. She trembled against him and his body responded with a slow, consuming burn.

Instead of drawing away, he dropped his hands to her waist and held tight as their tongues tangled and explored. Heaven help him, he never wanted any woman so bad or so fast in his life. She took him from zero to sixty inside of two seconds.

 

Available now at  Amazon
 
Thanks for reading,
 
~Donna