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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Diary of a Workaholic - Post by Suzanne Rock #RB4U

The theme for this month is diaries. I used to keep a diary when I was a kid. In it I wrote about all of the important stuff in a fourth grader's world: who was talking to whom, which boys were the cutest, and which teacher liked to give homework over the weekend. (What a meanie! *shakes fist*)

As an adult, I don't keep a diary, but a schedule. Those who know me laugh at my computer full of spreadsheets and office full of Post-It notes. What they don't realize is that without them, I'm lost. 


I'll let you in on a little secret: I get easily overwhelmed. It doesn't take too many tasks to pile up before I'm crawling under the covers and sobbing into my pillow. To-Do lists, schedules and deadlines do more than help me get organized. They help me break down my responsibilities into bite-sized pieces so I don't get overloaded.

Task lists are especially handy this time of year. In the fall, my two girls are heading back to school, and all of their after-school activities are beginning. Forms need to be signed, summer projects need to be completed, and signups for extra-curricular activities occur. (Limited space, better hurry!) My youngest daughter also has her birthday on September first, so yeah, you can see how I tend to get overwhelmed. 

I have been creating To-Do lists for years and over time I've come up with a few key things that make them work for me. 

1) Keep the list managable. Don't write down twenty tasks because you won't have time to finish them all. When there are items left on your "to-do" list at the end of the day, it can really put a damper on your motivation.

2) Keep it simple and specific. A goal like "clean the house" can be overwhelming. Try breaking it down into bite-sized chunks like "clean the kitchen" or "do one load of laundry." A good rule of thumb is to make sure you can finish each task in an hour timeframe.

3) Schedule time for youself. It is unrealistic to think that you can work twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Suffering from mental and emotional burnout isn'tpretty, and the best way to stop it is to work on your overall health. On your schedule, make sure you do one thing for yourself each day. It could be as simple as "take a 30 minute walk," or "read a short story." By taking time for yourself, you ensure you are mentally and physically ready to deal with the tasks on your list tomorrow.

4) Schedule time with loved ones. This is just as important. Time goes by so fast. You don't know how long you are going to live on this earth, so make sure you spend some time each day with those people who are important to you.

5) Be rigid, yet flexible. When you create a schedule or a task list, try not to get distracted. Focus on one item at a time and work your way down the list until you have accomplished everything you want to do. At the same time, know that life happens. Emergencies come up, plans change, and people show up unexpectedly. Be easy on yourself. If something happens and you can't finish your task list, don't beat yourself up over it. There is always tomorrow.

How about you? Do you live and die by task lists and schedules like me, or are you more spontaneous? Tell me about it in the comments section. I'd love to hear from you!

And check out my FREE and NEW RELEASE books below!


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Free on iBooks through August 29!  
Book 1 in the Ecstasy Spa series
Dumped by her boyfriend and down on her luck, Annabelle accepts her best friend's gift and goes to the Ecstasy Spa for an afternoon of escape. She expects the service to be mechanical and the staff to have more brawn than brains, but she couldn't be more mistaken. 

Instead of cold and clinical, Seth is everything she has ever wanted in a man. Smart and sexy, it's easy to see why he is the most requested staff member at the spa. Together they embark on a mind-blowing journey of self-discovery that takes them both to heights that neither thought possible. As physical attraction turns into something deeper, Annabelle wonders if she should risk going against spa policy to see if the "quick fix" she ordered can be changed into something more permanent.

New Release - Ecstasy Spa Volume III - available NOW!
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This contemporary erotic romance anthology features books 6 and 7 of the Ecstasy Spa series.
Mind and Body – Celeste gets a lot of satisfaction seeing others have their sexual fantasies fulfilled at her spa. Unfortunately, her own sex life has been non-existent. Theo, her boyfriend and co-owner, has been ignoring her for the temporary contractor building a new addition to the spa. As Celeste watches the two men interact, she wonders if there’s something deeper between them than friendship, and decides to arrange an erotic interlude for all three of them to find out.
Hydrotherapy – When Jenna Sanders leaves her dead end job and accepts a management position at exclusive spa on the island of Eden, she hopes to put the past behind her and move on with her life. Unfortunately, the past refuses to be buried, and when she discovers that her sexy boss is her former lover, old wounds reopen and shake the walls she has so carefully built around her heart. Caine is offering her everything she’s ever wanted, but can she trust him? As they rekindle their passion in the bedroom, secrets rise up from Eden’s waters and threaten to tear them apart. Only by diving deeper can they move forward, and Jenna must decide if she is willing to risk her heart for a second chance at love.

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ALSO: I just learned that all of my books published through Electric Ink Press are 50% off at KOBO through Monday. Use coupon code SALE50 to get the discount! 
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A lifetime New Englander, Suzanne married her college sweetheart and has been with him for over twenty years. Every summer she drags her husband and two daughters to Maine on a quest for the perfect lobster dinner. Every fall she can be found down in Foxboro, Massachusetts cheering on her favorite football team. In between those trips, she’s a chauffeur, a maid, a chef, an event planner, a hairdresser, a wardrobe stylist, a tutor and a sometimes masseuse. To keep her sanity, she often drinks copious amounts of coffee and stares at the blank screen of her laptop, dreaming of great adventures. Sometimes she even writes them down for others to enjoy.
Suzanne is represented by Deidre Knight of The Knight Agency and writes mainstream romances under the pen name Ava Conway.

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Romance on a Budget Blog


Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Diary of Dreams... #RB4U #MFRWauthor #RomFantasy


Our August theme is Dear Diary – and when I was younger, I tried several times to keep a diary. I discovered rather quickly that I had a terribly boring life, and not much worth recording for future perusal. So, my diary quickly became something else entirely, which perhaps should have given me a clue about things to come. I started writing down my dreams when I remembered them, because some of them were pretty cool. In the end, this grew into detailed notes for stories that I didn’t realize were stories I would one day write into books.

Recently, I found several old-fashioned diaries I’d forgotten about. The ones young girls seem to all have been given as a gift at one time or another, the one with the cute picture and the little lock to keep all those secrets we think are so scared they need to be protected. When I started reading some of the things I’d recorded, I began to remember the many intriguing dreams and ideas that shaped so many of the entries. Things from the television shows I used to love watching that evolved and expanded the scripts I’d been seeing come to life. Movies that I continued to write after the end credits rolled… it’s no real wonder I started writing those stories and became involved in fan fiction for many years, it was so much fun to write these things!

Amid all the schoolgirl tales there were also original worlds I’d imagined and detailed, some of which have been used in my publishing books over the past ten years. So, long before there was a conscious decision to write books professionally, the groundwork was being done. Who knew? Not me for sure!

I’ve always loved the idea of diaries and journals, and on more than one occasion they have played key plot roles in several stories I’ve had published. No doubt they will come into the plot again at some time, especially in the historical works where this type of journal truly is a glimpse of the past, or the insight into a heart and soul. And, while I don’t keep my journals locked, or call them diaries now, believe me, there are still plenty of records and notes, handwritten and carefully organized. Books in the making, maybe…

The storyteller who narrates my newest release might have a journal, too – it would certainly be interesting to consider. If you like fairytales, feel free to check out Favola, which is Italian for fairytale, by the way.



In the town of Favola, a prince and a lovely girl imprisoned by her mother's jealousy find passion and love... but will it be enough to outsmart the machinations and fury that their devotion inspires in the beautiful Bella Venezia? An Italian fairytale is re-told for an adult audience....

Short Excerpt:

“Her name is Capricia,” someone informed him, and he turned to see an old man working next to him, arranging steaming pies and fresh fruit into appealing displays. He was smiling with affection and appreciation. Francesco turned away just in time to see the girl vanish into the throng of people.

“Where can I find her?” He was craning his neck, trying to catch sight of her again. Francesco grabbed the man’s arm and shook him. “Where?”

The old man laughed. “La Locanda di Pericoli Nascosti,” he replied with a knowing wink at the baker, who was watching the exchange. “She is the daughter of the woman who owns the place.”

“And where might I find this Inn of Hidden Dangers, old one?” Francesco’s question was curt, he was eager now to seek out the girl and see if she could be charmed into being his companion for the night. The old man’s gaze was shrewd, the heat of embarrassment warmed Francesco’s face, the other man had all but read his intentions.

“Be careful of her mother, boy,” was all the old man said. “End of the road there,” he added, crooked finger aimed in the general direction where the girl had disappeared. “It’s easily found.”

Puzzling over the old man’s vague warning, Francesco turned in the direction he’d been shown and continued. It took only minutes to discover the busy inn. He tied his horse to a rail, and went inside.

The common room was filled with travelers and local people. As he approached the counter, he saw the lovely woman who ran the place and stopped to listen as she spoke with a newly arrived patron.

“Tell me, signore,” she all but purred, leaning forward so the stranger could see the lush swells of her breasts, “have you seen a more beautiful woman than me?”

The man shook his head and swore he had never set eyes on anyone more beautiful than her, Bella Venezia. Satisfied, she told him he could have his room that night for half the usual price.

Francesco stepped forward, and once again she turned on her charm.

“Are you here for a room, signore, or merely to enjoy my company?”

Francesco smiled. She was a fine-looking woman, and it would have been very easy to be swept away by her ample charms, but another face haunted his heart now, and stirred his desires as no other woman had. Francesco had escaped his family for a time, tired of the endless parade of potential brides being brought before him. None had appealed to him, yet this stranger had captured his heart, and his imagination. He’d return home with the bride of his choosing, once he found her again.

“Your charm and beauty is undeniable, signora,” he replied smoothly. “But my heart has been stolen by one so fair I cannot live without her. Your own daughter, Capricia.”

When Bella’s eyes narrowed and she glared at him, Francesco knew he had made a grave error in allowing his heart to speak before he could think. He had been foolish enough to believe a mother would be pleased to have her daughter admired.

“Then you may pay twice the price for the privilege of admiring her, signore,” she informed him.

“Then I have still been granted a bargain, signora,” he assured her, resisting laughter at the anger seething in the woman’s eyes. Her striking face set into hard lines of resentment, and her eyes were glacial. He paid her and she told him what room was his for the night.

Francesco went to settle in and wait for nightfall. He did not plan on spending his time alone, not when the girl of his heart’s dreams was only a short distance away.

Available now at:

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Writing a report in Matrix Crystal Hunters by Janice Seagraves





I don't keep journals or diaries. I had one when I was eight, I wrote in it only for a little bit then stopped.  

Here's a scene where my heroine is writing a report she's to present to her commander.

Matrix Crystal Hunters:

After breakfast, she got out her computer and set it up at the dining table, while Vach did the dishes, and Momma Roosa went out to putter about in her garden.

Typing a few sentences, she stopped to stare at Vach’s muscular physique. How does a rich boy get a tight butt? They don’t have gyms here that I know of. Several erotic scenarios flickered through her mind. Then she realized she had completely lost her train of thought. Maybe I should have set up my computer in my room?

Vach brought her a cup of tea. “How far have you gotten?”

“Dear sir, How are you?”

Vach frowned. “That’s not far.”

“Nope.” She stirred the sweetener into her tea and then took a sip. “I’m trying to think of how to word the part about the Mother’s womb.” Clearing her throat, she continued, “I need to word it just right, so my commander won’t try to send out a search party to find it.” She coughed, cleared her throat some more and stared at her cup. Feeling her glands, she noticed they were swollen.

“What tea is this?”

“Zena’s Special Choice. Why?”

“Oh, God. I can’t drink that.” She hurried to a cabinet.

Vach followed her. “I thought it was only seasonings you couldn’t have?”

“It’s more than that.” Maya found the epinephrine she was looking for. A dizzy spell hit her. “There are teas and food I can’t have either. They cause an allergic reaction.” Taking the syringe out of the package, she hit it on her thigh. The sharp bite of the needle broke her skin as it instantly injected the medicine into her bloodstream.

“What are you doing to yourself?” He stared at her thigh.

“I gave myself an emergency injection.” She dropped the syringe onto the countertop. As another wave of dizziness swept over her, she braced herself against the wall.

He moved to her side. “Why? Was it that serious?”

“Yes, you almost killed me.” She slumped to the floor. 

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Matrix Crystal Hunters is available:
US Kindle

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Easing Into Science Fiction Romance by Sam Cheever

I love science fiction romance. In fact, I find myself inserting a bit of sci fi into most of my paranormal stuff. I didn’t even realize I was doing this until I started seeing the books described as science fiction, futuristic romance. Then I realized reviewers were right. I’ve written flying cars, futuristic food machines and hybrid communication devices since I created my first paranormal series.

I guess that genesis should have told me something about my style of science fiction…I don’t write complex worlds with elaborate naming conventions and multifaceted ruling structures. That type of sci fi is wonderfully intricate and compelling, but it can often take a good third of the first book to get acclimated to it all. I don’t have a problem with those books, it’s just that…well…sigh…I guess I’m a lazy reader.

My world building is a fairly straight forward amalgam of the world as we know it now, the world as we expect it to be in the future, and stuff we haven’t even imagined yet. My characters fly around in space ships (or flying cars) that are fueled by Hydrogen gas, fire O2 guns and lasers, and wear space suits when they’re on planets with non-compatible air.

They might have an altered density so that gravity affects them differently. But they mostly look like us and they’re enough like us to make them easy to understand and accept. My aliens speak a language that is similar enough to ours that they can acclimate easily. They are tied to us in some way through shared history but they’ve evolved differently. They’re distinct enough that dropping them into our world creates instant entertainment. They eat enough like us to survive easily on Earth, but have fun discovering things like chocolate and popcorn. They appreciate our computers and technology, while laughing at our use of paper and street art to communicate.

I use a background in chemistry and biology (I studied to be a nutritionist before I decided I’d rather write #:0) to create my characters and space experiences. I’m like the mad scientist who mixes and matches new and untried science with common, well-known tech.

But my overarching goal is always to make my world-building simple enough to quickly grasp so that the reader can focus on the characters and their antics. The world they interact in is vital…but it mustn’t overwhelm the characters. It should wrap quietly around them, enhancing rather than eclipsing. It’s a flavor rather than an entity…white noise instead of a soundtrack.


I know I’ve succeeded in creating a sci fi world that’s comfortable to newcomers when readers who generally don’t read sci fi enjoy the stories I’ve created. My goal is to help unfamiliar, maybe downright resistant, readers discover this wonderful genre. And I’m happy to ease them into SFR, so writers who create more intricate worlds can pull them more deeply into the sci fi web. *grin* 

Happy Reading, Everybody!

In case you're curious, the following are the first books in all three of my sci fi paranormal romance series:

***New Release***

Bedeviled & Beguiled - Book 1: Bedeviled & Beyond Series

Astra Q Phelps is on the side of the good guys in the war between good and evil. Unfortunately for her, the bad guys have been making inroads on her soul. And when a particularly dark and sexy dark worlder fixes his heated gaze on Astra, the lighter side of her nature quickly finds itself kicked to the curb by her slut-monkey side. But Astra doesn't have time to deal with her love life. She's in the middle of a war between two dark factions...a war that just might mean the end of the human population...and it seems the fate of the world rests uneasily on her shoulders. It's a lot of pressure to put on one feisty halfling...but Astra Q Phelps is definitely...erm...certainly...ahh...possibly up to the challenge.

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0145TLCN0

Amazon.ca: http://www.amazon.ca/Bedeviled-Beguiled-Beyond-Book-ebook/dp/B0145TLCN0

Amazon.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bedeviled-Beguiled-Beyond-Book-ebook/dp/B0145TLCN0

All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-bedeviledbeguiled-1872888-150.html

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bedeviled-beguiled-sam-cheever/1122535085?ean=2940150772571

Kobo Books: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/bedeviled-beguiled

iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1031327993

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Sam_Cheever_Bedeviled_Beguiled?id=chpgCgAAQBAJ Website page: http://www.samcheever.com/bedeviled&beguiled.html


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Apocalyptic Mojo - Book 1: Apocalyptic Series

The Epoch Mages and the Sorceri Bounty Hunters are ALWAYS on opposite sides of any issue. They H-A-T-E each other. But when a rogue witch decides to take over the world using flesh-eating zombies, Ardith and Draigh have to work together to stop her. And though they’ve twisted themselves inside out trying to deny their blistering desire for each other, they soon learn they'll need to work together to accomplish what many before them have failed to do. Yep, it's all gonna be uphill from there!

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OU6O9XE

Amazon.de: http://www.amazon.de/Apocalyptic-Mojo-English-Sam-Cheever-ebook/dp/B00OU6O9XE

Amazon.ca: http://www.amazon.ca/Apocalyptic-Mojo-Sam-Cheever-ebook/dp/B00OU6O9XE

Amazon.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Apocalyptic-Mojo-Sam-Cheever-ebook/dp/B00OU6O9XE

Amazon.com.au: http://www.amazon.com.au/Apocalyptic-Mojo-Sam-Cheever-ebook/dp/B00OU6O9XE

All Romance eBook: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-apocalypticmojo-1722001-153.html

Barnes & Noble US: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/apocalyptic-mojo-sam-cheever/1121027684?ean=2940150237537

Barnes & Noble UK: http://www.nook.com/gb/ebooks/apocalyptic-mojo-by-sam-cheever/2940150237537

Kobo books: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/apocalyptic-mojo-1 Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Sam_Cheever_Apocalyptic_Mojo?id=94huBgAAQBAJ


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Sangui - Book 1: Alphas of the Blood Series

The Alphas of the Blood are an elite, alien race of vampires. They escaped a devastated planet that was overrun with plague-infected beasts and came to Earth for a chance at a new life…a new beginning. The change is bitter-sweet for Zeenon Akba, who lost much of his family in the plague wars and fears his only brother might have carried the infection to Earth with him. But when Zee stumbles upon a pretty human female being stalked by an infected, he’s determined to help her, even if it means killing his own brother. Aware of their many differences and the necessity of finding a blood slave to be his mate, Zee doesn’t intend to lose his heart to pretty and spunky Brooke Carlin. So why can’t he get her out of his mind?

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