Friday, November 28, 2014

Just a few days until The Mule Man arrives!

The edits are done now and it's moving into the queue to be released on December 7. My editor, who is an avid horsewoman, said she liked it. She did not know that I had quite a lot of experience with mules when I was a young woman; now she does!

I promised a bit on this so here you go. I got my first horses when I was about ten, a couple of old mares who were retired cowponies. It was love at first pat, ride and so on, and that fondness has never left me. A year of so later, a mule joined the menagerie and very quickly found a place in my affections too.

Louie was dark blackish-brown and about fourteen hands high. He had a tan nose that I said was the color of peanut butter! He really was a dear and we had a lot of fun trips together. That is me in the saddle with him on the right. The 30-30 saddle gun was strictly practical because there were cougars, coyotes and other potential dangers out in the hills where we went. And yes, I could and did use it. I really was a "cowboy girl" back in those days!

 If you are not "horsey" let me explain that equines are measured in terms of "hands" which is four inches. The height is taken at the withers which is equivalent to that little bumpy vertebra at the back of our necks and on them is right above the forelegs at the shoulder. As the name implies, Louie was a male and male mules are called "jacks" or now mostly "johns." A mule is a hybrid creature with a female horse for the mother and a male donkey or burro for the father. About 99.9% of mules are sterile but there has been a documented case or two where a female mule (called a "mollie") had a foal with either a stallion (un-neutered male horse) or a jack donkey.

Anyway, I was lucky enough to associate with several old cowboys and expert horsemen who swore by mules. I learned how to manage the long eared beasts and found they were very sure footed, much smarter than horses in terms of taking care of themselves--and the rider, within reason--and the legendary stubbornness and even meanness were far overstated. They make a really great saddle animal if they are properly trained! One old cowboy joked, "First ya gotta be smarter than the mule." Trust me, that is not always easy because they really are very intelligent and crafty creatures! You just have to use that to your advantage. I put a lot of this background into my story, of course. Although I did not neglect the romance and some very hot sex!!

Anyway, between my mid-teens and my delayed departure to start college, my dad and I trained and sold a lot of mules, mostly for trail riders. At that time this was just becoming a popular sport across the country. I probably rode and worked with somewhere between fifty and seventy five mules in that time and only came across a few who fit all the bad stereotypes. Now mules are quite popular in many equestrian circles and some are jumping, doing dressage, used in gymkhana and other competitive performance events and yes, still ridden on trail rides. It is pretty awesome!

To the left I am riding a little spotted mule we called Beano. A similar photo appeared in an ad we ran in the Western Horseman magazine during the time I describe. Those rugged hills are on the west side of Arizona's scenic Verde Valley. Great training ground!

Naturally with this background, I knew I had to come up with a mule story, and The Mule Man is that. There may be others and I may follow the adventures of Orr and Jase a bit further in a sequel. That will partly depend on the readership and sales because I do try to give my readers what they want and a great indicator of that is good sales. But there are also times when my muse takes the bit in her teeth and just tells me what we are going to write about, so you never can tell!

On the 6th of December I'll have a couple of posts on Amber Quill's Author Blog. That's at https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=18545575#allposts
(https//amberquillauthors.blogspot.com ) I will be doing a give-away with a free download or two of this story or the winner's choice from my back list and also have an interview with one or both of the leads in this story so be sure to stop by and check on that!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Amber Quill Friday Fun

AQ has special sales most Fridays now. Today's feature is mystery, detective and crime stories. There are several Deirdre titles in the list as well as lots of cool books by my fellow authors. Click out and take a look and snap up a bunch at a special price!  http://www.amberquill.com/store/c/176-Mystery-Detective.aspx?ps=75  You don't even have to do a special knock or use a secret handshake to get in!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mules and Me--Part 1

I told you yesterday that I had a history with mules. I know I am kinda weird and a lot of that is due to the way I grew up. I went to one and two room schools from second through seventh grade and most of the time my dad was my teacher. A friend in a local writing group where we're doing memoir type essays laughingly called it "home schooled with an audience." True, and that's just part of it.

Among other things, my dad was a writer for outdoor adventure magazines and got deeply involved in hunting and photography expeditions. By the time I was about ten we had gotten horses and then mules to use on these trips. As the eldest kid I became the main wrangler and by the time I was in high school I was working at close to a professional level breaking and training horses and mules! That led to a lot of bumps, bruises and crazy adventures, I can tell you! I'm starting to write non-fiction articles and essays about some of them.

I have written a lot more about this past life on the other blog Gwynn and I share, https://deirdre-fourds.blogspot.com but will just say that from an old mule named Louie who was the first one I rode and handled through about fifty others, I got to knew mules well and became a fan of the long eared critters. They are smart, sure footed, sturdy and healthy and their reputed stubbornness is more about keeping themselves--and incidentally their rider--safe than just ornery ways. The concessionaire at the Grand Canyon for the cross-canyon rides uses mules exclusively because they are safer for inexperienced riders, rarely trip or fall and stay calm.

Awhile back the Amber Allure writers got together and did a PAX called Heavy Petting. I had a dog story in it. When another was planned, I jumped in and decided to do a mule story. Because of my Alaska trip, I got it in a bit late and five other authors beat me to the punch, so my story wound up being released as a stand-alone tale. More on that next time.

Meanwhile, here is the cover shot from Mules and More Magazine, March 2014 issue. Yes, that is your intrepid author in her late teens on a mule named Beano --'cause he was spotted like a pinto bean--in the rough foothills of central Arizona's Black Hills Range. It lies along the west side of the Verde Valley, renowned as the locale of Sedona's famous red rocks. The pictured rocks were on the opposite side and white rather than red, and also rougher than Hades! Lots of cactus, too; a big inducement to be sure you stayed in that saddle! Most of the time I did, even on the wilder and unreliable mules, but Beano was a good little guy and was eventually sold to a lady who did a lot of trail riding. She loved him.

This same photo also appeared in an advertisement in Western Horseman Magazine when we were selling mules for trail riding etc. Mules are now a big fad and they are a lot slicker and fancier than the ones I knew but still very impressive animals. I tried to make the mule characters in The Mule Man just as true to type and real life as I could!
I hope you will enjoy them and the mule man as well, totally a figment of my imagination but I would have liked to meet him, even if he isn't into girls...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Mule Man is coming!

It's less than a month now until my new story, The Mule Man, will be released! I'm excited about this one because of a number of reasons that I will be sharing in the next week or two but right now I want everyone to see the fabulous cover the very talented Trace Edward Zaber has created for this story!

I swear that man is a genius and he must read my mind because he gets stuff so perfectly right about 99.9% of the time! The background looks soooo much like the real area I visualized as the setting for my first hero's ranch! Now how could he know that? I am sure he has never been to Cliff/Gila New Mexico!! And they are pretty obscure little bergs, too. All the mules in my story are not red (sorrel) but one key one is, like the first one on the right side there. Her name is Penny...


So here it is. I'll be telling you about me and mules in a prior life (not literally but it sure feels that way) and very likely doing an interview with my two heroes in this tale, Orr and Jase. I recently discovered that in many equestrian circles mules are now the "in thing" which delights me no end. They are doing jumps, dressage, racing, and of course trail riding and gymkana. How cool is that? I am a real mule fan, right after trains and sled dogs!! Yee-haw!!

Friday, October 17, 2014

An Anniversary

This month Amber Quill, who are both Deirdre's sole publisher to date and now Gwynn's main publisher celebrates twelve years in business. That is twelve years of producing some great fiction and growing by leaps and bounds. In the dog-eat-dog world of small press and independent publishers, that is a pretty major feat.

During that time as well as before AQ began, many 'e-book' producers have come and gone, some leaving a very sour taste and bad odor behind them. In fact, sharing just such experiences is why the team that incorporated to create Amber Quill Press originally came together and vowed to do it right. And do it right they have. In my opinion they combine the best aspects of a friendly, family-like environment with a totally professional and ethical business model. The original crew mostly remains and each person has a specialty and one or more jobs to fill. Each does his or her part with efficiency and professional skill and dedication. I love them and enjoy working with them, feeling very lucky to have such a great support team.

I feel myself to be very blessed that a couple of friends urged me to enter my first little foray into the new "erotic romance" genre in the initial Amber Heat contest that was held early in 2004. I did, with little expectation of getting anywhere. I was a relatively new widow at the time and trying to find a new voice and muse after having lost not only my spouse but my first critique partner, my tech adviser on military and law enforcement which form the background for many of my fiction works and even an occasional co-author.

When I got the email (the modern version of 'the call') on April Fools Day in 2004 I was sure it was a joke! But no, it was for real and that JuneKarola's Hunt was released. As the old cliche goes, the rest is history. I reached beyond heterosexual erotic romance to another new genre, the GLBT romance and some sixty titles later, Deirdre O'Dare is still writing steadily
I suppose most authors have their 'up' and 'down' times. I tend to write in spurts and the last year or two it has been slower. I have gotten caught up in some new endeavors and perhaps it is just a matter of slowing down a little with the inevitable passage of time. However, I never intend to stop writing and there are at least two contracted tales awaiting release in the next few months and I am committed to produce others. Gwynn Morgan is also working on some new projects as well as getting her out-of-print books reissued. You can bet there will be new things to talk about here in the coming months!

I do know that The Mule Man will be coming out in December. It hasn't gotten to the edit or the cover stage yet but you will be hearing about it before the mid-month release, I promise. It is another stand alone tale as was Red Tails in the Sunset earlier this year. Then Midnight Cowboys will be part of a 1960's Amber PAX group, release TBA. I'm looking forward to them both and will pique your interest with tidbits and behind the scenes background as the release dates approach!

Meanwhile enjoy the fall, which has been my favorite season all of my life, and get ready to settle in for the cold nights which are so great for reading! If cold and snow is your favored milieu, check out my newest blog about one project that has really grabbed my attention and is taking shape bit by bit. You can visit http://gwynnmorganalaska.blogspot.com  to read about my summer trip to the northernmost state and the objective of that and future planned trips. Sled dogs! Mushers!! Thousand mile races!!! There is some awesome stuff up there.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Game of Hearts is out today!

The Silver Foxes PAX has been released and you can find it on the Amber Quill home page for awhile as new releases. I blogged about it on both the Amber Quill Author's Blog and the PAX blog. That having been done I don't think I will do more here than to say it's out there and I am waiting on more pins and needles than usual for reviews to come it. I'm just a little afraid it may be too outre for some folks. But then again, maybe not!

Here is a shot of me with the baby brother whose untimely death was one of the inspirations for A Game of Hearts. I signed organ donor permission after he had passed suddenly from an aneruysm. By then he was grown but just starting on his career as an attorney.

Anyway the URLS for those other blogs are:

AQ Authors: http://aqpaiuthors.blogspot.com
Amber PAX: http://amberpax/blogspot.com

As I think I said, I'm not sure when my next story will be available but it is part of a PAX about the Sixties. That was a decade where many changes came about and events left their mark on many of us who lived it as kids or young adults. The title of my tale is Midnight Cowboys and I explain that in an author's note and will elaborate here as well when the release date gets closer.

I'm almost done with yet another PAX story, this one for Heavy Petting II, where animals belonging to one or more of the principals play important parts in the story. For once the animal or animals in my story are not dogs! I chose to write some mules into this one and the title is The Mule Man. Anyone who follows my fourds blog (http://deirdre-fourds.blogspot.com) knows I worked with mules in my earlier days and still have a fondness for the long eared equine family members. I'll tell you more about that in time too!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Check in Time

Wow, what a month it has been! Red Tails in the Sunset has been out for a month now and I hope a lot of readers have been enjoying it. It is still a special story to me and always will be. I have over fifty works now in the Deirdre O'Dare backlist at Amber Quill  (www.amberquill.com/store/m/137-Deirdre-O-Dare.aspx) and of course I do have my favorites.

I know, that is not quite politically correct because like the mom of many kids, we are supposed to deny that we have a fave and just smile sweetly and say each one is special in his or her own way! And that is also true. I would not write a story I really didn't like but some are just a little bit closer and dearer and maybe hold a little more of me--past, dreams, fancies and passions--than others. Certainly Red Tails was one of those. If you haven't at least taken a peek, please do. Prior blogs posts cover it pretty well!

Oh, I almost forgot--there is a special sale today at the Amber Quill main page on our collection of stories, Working Stiffs, featuring blue collar guys. Another of my faves, Workin' on the Railroad is a part of that group. Go check it out!!

Now it's time to look ahead, though. Coming in September is the Silver Foxes PAX while will contain my somewhat out-of-the box tale,  A Game of Hearts. It's a love affair of an older man and a younger one who has a case of hero-worship on the former. And it is very much a "heart" story. I am a strong believer in organ donation and in letting loved ones live on by using parts from their bodies to help others survive or improve the quality of their lives. I carry a card in my wallet that says I want to contribute anything that can be taken when I am gone to help another. I approved the process for my youngest brother when an aneurysm took him far too young back in 2005. We have the science and technology to do this and I feel it should be done whenever possible. That premise is a part of this tale.

It will be released the third weekend of the month as most of our PAX collections are and I will share more of it when that date nears. After that, at a date not yet determined, we'll be doing a 1960s PAX and it will have my story Midnight Cowboys which is submitted, contracted but not yet edited nor a cover done. It could be out in November, I think, and I will let you know as soon as I do.

One more note in passing: yes, I was gone for three weeks to our northernmost state and very much fell in love with Alaska. For a desert rat who lives on sunshine that is a strange admission perhaps, but true, If I could have I would've stayed at least until the snow began to fly. As it is, I may be back well before this winter melts and fades because I have set myself a project of doing a non-fiction book about the heroic and tough women who train and run sled dogs in the great endurance races such as the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest. I met a few of these ladies and their wonderful canines on my trip and was totally swept off my feet. They are truly awesome!!  Now I know beyond a doubt this is a project I am meant to accomplish!

To follow this adventure as it takes shape, please visit my new blog: http://gwynnmorganalaska.blogspot.com  I have also set up a "go fund me" page to help raise the funds to cover the expenses of several more trips to Alaska to gather more information and get my boots in the snow for a real feel of what this mushing business is like! I'm seeking to become a volunteer for one or both races in the 2015 season. The linkto my funding page  will appear often on that blog if you are moved to help me on the endeavor. Every small donation will help, be deeply appreciated and acknowledged with a personal note of thanks. I'm not a registered charity so it is probably not tax deductible but there will be free copies of the book for all of my supporters when it is published!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Red Tails reminder and what is next

Just a final reminder that Red Tails in the Sunset will be on sale tomorrow, maybe even this evening as they sometimes get new releases posted the previous night! Be sure to check out my posts on the Amber Quill authors blog tomorrow. That's at https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=18545575#allposts  New excerpt, some behind the scenes stuff etc.

So what's next? Well my next story will be out on September 21 as part of the Silver Foxes PAX which is five stories with younger men hooking up with older ones, thus the silver and of course they are foxy! My contribution is called A Game of Hearts and I do have a cover, drool-worthy of course! Here is a sneak peek--you all are the first to see it!  Right now I will only tell you that the story has nothing to do with a card game of that name but much more would be too close to a spoiler. Look for a  few more hints late in August when I get home from my vacation of a lifetime, three weeks in Alaska! And here is the collection cover; I love older men, they are confident, suave,  mostly well-to-do and of course sexy as the blazes!!!

Meanwhile go in peace and happy reading.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

One more for Red Tails...

Just a few days now before Red Tails in the Sunset hits the market. You can tell I am excited about this story. Even with my rapidly approaching trip to Alaska just a long week away--I depart on July 30--Red Tails has s big place in my thoughts. I'm sure some of these planes and pilots are hard at work in Washington right now and elsewhere in the fire-challenged west.


The story will be featured on the Amber Quill home page https://www.amberquill.com and on the Amber Quill author's blog at https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=18545575#allposts

Here is one more little snippet excerpt to whet your appetite, the first meeting of Blaine and Daz.

****
Blaine brought the plane in and set it down. It settled so lightly he wouldn’t have broken a china plate. He smiled to himself. Still got the touch, ole man. A plane is like a good horse, a good dog, a good lover. Responds to the right handling, every damn time.
At first he’d thought he’d miss the sheer power of the military jets he used to fly, but this old prop plane was the sweetest bird he’d ever flown. Even though it might not be as fast or capable of busting the sound barrier in a flash of balls-to-the-wall full military power, he could thread it through a canyon and counter crosswinds and unexpected updrafts at minimal altitudes no jet could maintain for long.
As he climbed down, Mike Morrissey, his second-in-command, came running to meet him. “Hey, I know you want to get in another run today, maybe two, but there’s somebody you need to talk to. Although I could be wrong, I think this is big…maybe the break we’ve been looking for on these fires. You know, the arson angle and who and why.”
Blaine glanced at his watch. “I can give it thirty minutes. That’s about how long it’ll take the crew to refuel and reload the bird. No more than that. While news is great, getting this fire out is greater. Though I’m not sure I buy the official ‘fifty percent contained,’ bullshit, we’re starting to get a handle on it and stopping the rapid advance. A few more runs will make a big difference.”
He matched Mike’s fast pace across to the big hangar, more intrigued than he wanted to be, much more than he’d admit. Yeah, they’d had suspicions and had even glimpsed some inexplicable activity on the ground at times. For some reason, the powers that be were not interested in hearing any wild theories, maybe not any theories at all. It was as if the government wanted to attribute it all to the drought and global climate change and let it go at that.
It took a few seconds for his eyes to adjust to the shadowy interior of the hangar after being out in the bright sky all morning. Then he saw and recognized the man who waited in the lounge area, the man who jumped up and almost ran across to greet him.
“You! I know who you are—that freelance muckraking ‘investigative reporter.’ Haven’t my people told you to get the hell out of here and stay out? If they haven’t, I’m going to tell you myself and make sure you get the word.”
“B-b-b-ut, Mr.—er—Major Darby, you’re the man of the hour. You’re flying tricky drops and missions that have to be as fraught with danger as any you completed in the Middle East. You’re a hero twice over.”
“What I did in the Middle East is fucking irrelevant, and there’s no new dirt to be dug there, Reporter Contreras. I don’t have anything to say to you. Whatever you told Mike here to get him to let you in, I’m not buying. None of it.”
Mike held up a cautioning hand. “No, Blaine, hang on. Hear him out. He admits it may be an iffy lead, but he’s got a line on some sightings of trespassers in the forest who damn well are not Mexican nationals, people carrying stuff that appeared to be chemicals and electronic equipment and speaking some language that sure as shit isn’t Spanish.”
He turned to the reporter. “Tell him. Show him the pictures.”
“Let me get a soda and something to eat,” Blaine muttered. “Then I’ll sit and listen—for twenty minutes, not a second longer.”
“I’ll get it,” Mike volunteered. “Sit and start listening.”
More tired than he cared to admit, Blaine dropped into a chair. The young Latino snagged another and turned it to face him. He began talking at once, speaking so fast Blaine could not get a word in edgewise.
“I talked to a couple of guys two days ago, guys who live up in the hills. They may be growing pot for all I know. Still, they know the forest and the canyons up there. I can’t doubt that for a minute. They’ve seen stuff, watched and listened. When they’ve tried to tell the border patrol and the forest service, no one will listen, so one of them tracked me down. Right now, though there’s not too much proof. for some reason I believe them. We’ve got terrorists setting fires. I’d bet my life on that. I need you to help me prove it.”
He paused to gulp a fast breath and charged right on. “Mr. Morrissey told me you’d both seen things that didn’t look right. Ms. Cahill, too. You aren’t flying those fast jets, thousands of feet up in the air…you’re coming in low and slow over those fires and the smoke doesn’t always hide the ground.”
Mike returned and set a sandwich and a cola in front of Blaine, sliding into yet another chair by the beat-up table.
“That’s Captain Cahill; she’s still Air National Guard.” Blaine knew it was controversial to have a female pilot in his crew, at least among the old-timers. He didn’t care. Margie Cahill was one of the best. He’d welcome her as a wingman any day of the year. In fact, she had flown beside him in the Middle East, and he’d been proud and happy to hire her last summer when she came off active duty. Every one of his employees was former military, and most of them had served with him.
The young reporter had the grace to nod and accept the mild rebuke. Maybe he wasn’t a total lost cause after all. Blaine’s thoughts jerked back to the issue at hand as the Latino went on.
“What I’m asking –and I know it’s almost over the top—is to ride along with one of you and observe for myself…see what you all see.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Blaine saw Mike stiffen as a shock wave swept over his face. Over the top wasn’t even close. However, he didn’t blurt out a categorical denial. He thought about it for all of thirty seconds, if not more. The reporter squirmed in his chair like a kindergartner needing to go pee. Blaine could see in his eyes the eagerness coupled with raw fear that he’d gone way too far too fast.
“It’s completely against rules and policy,” he began. “The forest service would freak out. They can’t fire my ass or pull my contract because they can’t afford to with planes like mine at a premium while two other fleets are grounded for mechanical issues, but they’ll chew me a new one. Still, I own my planes outright and insure them and my company for damn near everything. If you’d sign a waiver releasing us from any liability if something goes wrong, I might consider it. You won’t fly with anyone else on my crew, though. I wouldn’t put that onus on another pilot.”
“Oh, man; oh wow. That’s like awesome.” For a breath, the reporter’s demeanor was fifteen years younger, like a kid meeting his rock star hero or sports idol. “I mean I really appreciate it. This could let me break my biggest story ever. I swear, I’ll do absolutely and exactly what you tell me to do. You’ll hardly know I’m there.”

Blaine gave him a tolerant half-smile. “Yeah, and the moon is made of blue cheese.” He shook his head before he went on, yet it wasn’t a negative gesture. He held up a cautioning hand. “Not today and not tomorrow. We’re at a critical point on containing this blaze, and I’ll be making some real risky maneuvers. Possibly the next fire. It’s a bit less dangerous when I make the first recon flight or two to size things up.”

Friday, July 18, 2014

Red Tails in the Sunset debuts in just over a week!

I am really excited about this story. Even if it is releasing just a few days before I take off on a big bucket-list trip of a lifetime --going to Alaska!!--I do want to remind my readers about this very special story. On the 27th of July, I'll have three posts on the Amber Quill Authors' Blog at
https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=18545575#allposts   That's  the day the story hits the market. I'd love for you to pop over there and read them!

Meanwhile I throw a few special tidbits out here. Like, since Blaine Darby is featured on the cover, I thought I'd share a shot that was one inspiration for my Latin Lover journalist, Daz Contreras. (BTW, one of the posts over at the AQ blog is an interview with our Daz. Don't miss that one!)

Over at my deirdre-fourds blog, I will talk a little bit about the summer my parents ran a forest lookout in the North Kaibab forest one summer when I was just a wee tyke. It was an amazing summer even if I did not have any kids to play with. Raised by two eccentric and sometimes reclusive parents, I was used to entertaining myself and it's probably a big factor in my becoming a writer!

Here is one more look at the fantabulous cover of Red Tails. I really want it poster size to hang on my wall. I am just loving it! Those eyes and my amazing cover artist just read my mind and portrayed Blaine just the way I had visualized him!

I am also totally in awe of the pilots who fly those "slurry bombers" and other fire fighting aircraft. They put military and stunt pilots to shame with some of their incredible feats. That was one reason I was driven or drawn to write this particular story. The title was a gift--came to me as I watched one of those red tailed crafts take off from the local general aviation (not commercial with scheduled flights) airport which is a base for some of them here in southern New Mexico. They often flew right over my house last summer. No big, bad fires close to here so far this year. XX --fingers and toes all crossed! May the Powers watch over all who are fighting fires all over the west as I type this.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

First Peek at luscious, perfect Cover!!

Oh my golly but I am totally blown away. This is just one of the most awesome covers yet!! I had to share it and will give you just a teensy clip --unedited right now--of this special stand alone story that will be released the last weekend of July. I've mentioned it before briefly but here you are! Isn't that just beautiful? It is the right plane and the guy looks like I imagined my pilot hero to look, too! Love those eyes!

So anyway here is the blurb and I'll do just a wee snip of the opening scene even though it has not been edited yet.So just get the feel and don't look at any boo-boos that my wonderful editor will catch for me in a week or three, okay?

Blurb: Former military pilot Blaine Darby carries a load of guilt and pain from harm he may have caused in wartime. Now he seeks to earn some balancing good karma by fighting wild land fires while he holds on to his great love of flying. Reporters like young Daz Contreras scare him, one of the few things that do, because he shuns the public eye. When a near tragedy develops he puts his life on the line to save a trapped hotshot firefighting crew. Will all this make the news?

Freelance investigative journalist Daz Contreras is convinced terrorists are behind at least some of the wild land fires plaguing New Mexico. All he needs is enough proof to break a story. As he pursues this he begins to follow pilot Blaine Darby and develops a big case of hero worship. Allowed to ride with his hero one time, he may have gotten the proof he seeks. But a heroic rescue may be an even bigger story. Will the reclusive Darby allow him to do it? 

Excerpt: 
Vista MontaƱo, NM
Mid June

The powerful plane floated down through the fiery-hued haze of smoke and dust, engines muted to a dull roar. The wheels touched the runway, stirring yet more dust as it rolled along, slowing to stop near the terminal. The service crew swarmed out to the aircraft, which now looked as clumsy as an albatross on the ground. Lilliputian ants, the crew milled around the soot-streaked bird to check every aspect of its airworthiness, fill the fuel and retardant tanks, top off all the fluids and prepare it for the next mission. Nothing would go unchecked.
Watching from the edge of the runway, as close as he was allowed to get to the action, free lance investigative reporter Durazo “Daz” Contreras scanned the scene. He raised his videocam and taped a few minutes but mostly he absorbing the atmosphere, the hectic yet orderly routine.
The scene put him in mind of a team of first responders, dealing with a major accident or tragedy. Make haste slowly, everything controlled and precise, urgent yet never frantic… The adrenaline rush always took hold of him when he covered such action. And as a reporter known for tracking down the bizarre, scandalous and deeply hidden stories, jerking the camouflage off cover-ups, he made ambulance chasing and disasters his stock in trade.
As he watched, a tall, lean figure emerged from the cockpit and descended to the tarmac. From the man’s lanky build, he identified Blaine Darby, the owner of this and two more slurry bombers now contracted to the U. S. Forest Service for fighting the spreading epidemic of wildfires in the drought-stricken west. After some research into a subject that had become a passion, Daz knew this one, clearly Darby’s favorite, was a P-2V Neptune. It had the size and power to deliver over 2250 gallons of water or slurry to a blaze but also the maneuverability to deal with the confined spaces of the rugged southwestern terrain.
Daz started in Darby’s direction as the pilot headed toward the terminal. Although exhaustion etched every line of the man’s body, he did not slouch or stumble. His pace slow, he still marched rather than trudged. From the little Daz had learned about him so far, that probably reflected his military background. As if he sensed someone closing on him, Darby speeded up and slipped in through a door marked “Official Personnel Only” in screaming scarlet letters. He’d been just a few strides ahead of Daz.
From experience, Daz knew the door was locked and would remain so. Knocking was always useless as the press was emphatically not welcome. He shook his head, cast a last look at the parked airplane and then headed for his SUV in the parking lot. No interview this evening, no close up shots of the latest hero of the battle against the brutal Mescalero blaze.
Daz had a hunch there was more to the recent epidemic of fires than merely weather extremes and bad luck for those who lived in the areas. The word arson had floated past him more than once. They used the “human caused” euphemism in most of the official reports as if the fires were only an accident, but the bottom line seemed to be someone or several someones were kindling wildfires with ruthless determination.
Although Darby shunned the public eye as much as possible, Daz had learned he’d been a US Air Force pilot in the Middle East and seen combat in both Iraq and Afghanistan. After his second tour, he resigned his commission as soon as he got home. Again there were whispers as to why but they were mere rumors and so wildly diverse it was hard to take any of them as valid. Obviously it wasn’t cowardice since fighting wildfires ranked right up there beside combat as far as danger went. Still, it seemed clear the pilot had secrets, deep, dark ones. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Life Long Love Affair

The past few weeks I have started attending a small writer's group at the local Senior Center. (Yes, I do qualify as a senior although I am sure I look, act and think about thirty!! And if you believe that I can sell you some great Arizona ocean front property!) Anyway, the focus of this group is encouraging folks to get down stories from the past, their stories, because in the last fifty or seventy or ninety years things have changed so much! So I join in and write a short essay each Friday afternoon and read it aloud as the rest of the group does. We laugh, sigh, even tear up a bit at times. It is fun!

I've shared a few of those short pieces over at the deirdre-fourds blog but this one may fit better here. Bits and pieces of it have appeared on both I gusss so if you have read some of it, just skip a few lines!

I titled this one "A Love Affair With the Written Word."

As the first child and an only for eight and a half years, I was the focus of much of my parents' attention during my early years. Some of my first memories involve sitting in Mom or Dad's lap while they read me a bedtime story. A favorite was a big red book of Mother Goose Rhymes which was illustrated with lovely Victorian line drawings. I still have that book, a bit faded and dog-eared but no less beloved.

The ritual was they'd read several rhymes and then color one drawing with colored pencils which my Dad used for drafting and schematics stuff as he had worked for an early electronics firm for awhile and been in ham radio as a boy. It wasn't long before I began to recognize those odd black squiggles were a kind of code and that certain ones had sounds and groups of them made words!

By the time I started school, I had pretty well claimed the alphabet and phonics came easily. I zipped through the little paperback pre-primers and was into the bigger 'real' book in a few weeks while many classmates were still struggling with, "Run, Spot, run. See Spot run."

By second grade I had met Nancy Drew, gotten through most of the Little Golden Books and was looking for new worlds to conquer. During the summer between second and third grade while my parents operated a US Forest Service fire lookout, I wrote my first verses, original spelling and all. I even illustrated them with line drawings in bright crayons. By then I was hooked and have remained so all the passing years. I devoured books by the score and was reading outside the kids' section of the library before I was a teen if not sooner.And soon I was rewriting some of those tales as I thought they should be and then inventing or interpreting my own.

The idea of writing never seemed strange to me. Shortly after my parents with toddler-aged me moved to Arizona from the Midwest, my father spent a year or two writing what was to be the next great American novel. It was never published but already I saw writing as a thing grown ups did and I was going to get a head start. He went on to write for a number of outdoor adventure type magazines so the role model continued.

From Nancy Drew and some girl-and-horse stories, I soon moved on to classic westerns like Zane Grey and the tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs, especially the Tarzan series. Somehow I didn't get into science fiction for many years. From there it was a natural step to historical novels and I read many: Thomas Costain, Willa Cather, Anya Seton, Frank Yerby and so on. But none of them had enough of my favorite part--Romance!! Still, books were my friends, my escape, my substitute for the movies and TV I seldom saw. I read and read and read.

And I wrote--what one might call 'ranch romances' scribbled in many steno notebooks and sometimes shared with my mostly younger girlfriends. They all were sure I'd be a famous author even though most were not avid readers. I also wrote lots of bad poetry, mostly maudlin, mushy and filled with teenage angst. But now and then one was not too bad. In between high school and college--a period of a few years since with my Dad I operated a business training and selling horses and mules for trail riding and did some guiding--I even wrote my own girl-and-horse story. It's now painfully outdated but might work as a "this was how grandma lived" sort of book--if young girls still read in this day of electronic wonders.

Even though college I still read, nights when I should have been studying or felt I was caught up enough. Once I went to work and then soon married, time got scarcer but I also discovered science fiction and fantasy from my husband's reading habits and delved deep into that. I met the wonderful characters and worlds of Ursula LeGuin, C.J. Cherryh, Tolkein, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Andre Norton to name just a few. Finally it was 1986 and I discovered category romance. Oh wow, just what I always wanted. Real love stories!!

Everything I had ever written had a love story as a big part of the plot from early teens on. This new genre was wonderful and I had to try my hand. But lo and behold, after a time, a steady diet of love did get a bit cloying. I wanted adventure, too. So that was what I wrote. My tales never quite fit the mold for Harlequin and Silhouette even though I got "good" personal rejection letters from several of the editors. I wasn't fluent enough then in editor-speak to figure out exactly what they wanted.  I never sold there but about that time e-books came to be and a flock of small indy publishers sprang up. The good, the bad and the ugly were well represented and I got burned a few times but eventually some of my books were published and finally I found some good publishers and have made a happy home there! If you are a reader of mine, you know who they are!

So that is my life long love affair with the written word, fiction that always includes some kind of a love story and poetry that always has a romantic slant, either in the literary or the 'true love' way. Now you know the rest of the Gwynn Morgan/Deirdre O'Dare story! And I will read and write until I die, may the Powers That Be grant me that privilege.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Yikes and darn!

Boy does the time get away from me. Catastrophe has been out almost two weeks and I didn't remind everyone. They tell me it is selling well along with the other four tales in the Purrfect Tales  Amber PAX(c) all featuring feline shifter characters.

I will be featuring it in the Urban Fantasy themed Book Brew event over at Coffee Time Romance and More's blog site, www/coffeetimeromance/CoffeeThoughts/ this coming Monday, June 2. There will be other good urban fantasy tales as well as we have about ten guest authors appearing. I serve as host for the event under my "AzGaye" alias! The party runs from noon until eight pm EDT so factor in the hour by hour across the US for your time but you can check in any time until midnight and comment. Most authors do have giveaways as will I--a download of Catastrophe or the winner's choice from my backlist. (comment to get your name in the hopper) There is also a $25 gift certificate to the Coffee Time Bookstore and a good number of publishers and authors are featured there.

The second heads up concerns Kit's Ultimate Deal. For the die-hard 'real book' fans, it is now available in paperback from Amazon.com (under Gwynn Morgan) and I will have a few signed copies available at 40% of list plus postage to ship them to you--by your choice of priority or media mail. Email me at azwriter427@yahoo.com  to order one and I do take Paypal!

I just turned in a new story, release date TBA and will have another in by June 1 which is set to come out the last week of June. The first one is called A Game of Hearts and has a very unusual plot twist. It's part of the upcoming Silver Foxes PAX group that features stories of older and younger men hooking up. The latter is called Red Tails in the Sunset and is about a reclusive former military pilot who now flies the "slurry bombers" to fight wild land fires and a persistent investigative reporter determined to track down some fire-related stories. Stay tuned for much more about both of these upcoming offerings in the weeks ahead. I am on pins and needles to see the covers and will share as soon as they hit my desktop!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Fun stuff from Amber Quill Press

Amber Quill sports a new and redesigned web site with lots of new user friendly features for readers and fans. Be sure to stop by and look around. As part of the grand opening events check out this contest on our Facebook page! If you are staying home from RT this year here is one celebration you can still be involved in and a chance at some kewl freebies!  You might even be able to win my new Gwynn Morgan release Kit's Ultimate Deal or perhaps Deirdre's Catastrophe, which will be out on the 18th--if it isn't included since it is not yet on the market, well, comment to me here and I will pick one or more winners for it!!


Contest Time!

June 1-14, 2014

From June 1 through June 14, 2014, Amber Quill Press will be running a contest via the Facebook Page at (www.facebook.com/AmberQuillPressPublishing). The name of the contest is “Rediscovery Roulette.”

The ultimate prize to be given away for this contest will be a Kindle Fire, although there are lesser prizes to be won. There will be 3 ways to win during this contest:

1. People who “share” the contest notice (which will be pinned to the top of the AQP Facebook page) will be entered to receive a $10 AQP gift certificate. This “Share” Contest will run from now through the end of the contest period (June 14th).

2. Each day of the contest, running June 1-14th, an ebook will be given away. To enter this contest, people should do the following:

a. Go to www.facebook.com/AmberQuillPressPublishing and “Like” this page.

b. Go to www.amberquill.com and search for a book you would like to win from one of three imprints, Amber Quill Press, Amber Allure, or Amber Heat. On the AmberQuillPressPublishing Facebook page, in the comment section for the appropriate message for the day’s contest graphic (which will have the specific date), provide the following information: (i) name of book; (ii) a one-sentence line quote from the excerpt on the site; AND (iii) the link to the book sales page. One entry per day per person.

One winner will be picked each day.

3. From the winners of the ebooks, on June 15th, one grand prize winner will be drawn from the 14 ebook daily winners, the prize being a Kindle Fire.

Full rules are posted on the AQP Blog at: http://aqpauthors.blogspot.com/2014/05/rediscovery-roulette-rules-to-play-game.html.

We have a range of graphics that authors may use if they wish to promote this contest and their AQP books. I’ve uploaded them to the AQP_Promo files section in the “Rediscovery Roulette” folder. If you are unable to access the folder, please let me know and I can send graphics for you to use via email.

If you have not already “liked” the Facebook page, feel free to do so, and perhaps comment on the page, post excerpts, etc., to help keep the energy level up, and perhaps to get people to check out your book page at AQP and post to perhaps win your book.

We will be promoting this contest at RT next week via business cards available to hand out. If you are attending RT, and would like to pass out a few of these promotional business cards, please let me know. (Look for Adrianna Dane/Darcy Abriel at RT). I will be at the “Pimp Your Badge” reader event at the very beginning of the conference, so that might be an easy way to find me. Other than that I will be out and around the conference.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

First Peek at Kit's Ultimate Deal

I'm now reading the galley for any final typos and fixes so feel safe to give you all an excerpt. The book will be out the first weekend of May in electronic formats with the print version to follow later in the month. I still want to put that lovely cover on my wall  and am tempted to give away a nice print of it on glossy photo paper. Any takers?

Anyway, here's an excerpt from near the beginning when Kit and Bret first meet! Enjoy!. Buy link and related info will be along in the next couple of days and probably dates and possible links for some guest blogs etc. BTW, this is longer than the usual novella excerpt but this one is a full length novel!

Excerpt:
Bret McClintock peered through the windshield of his Dodge Ram, straining to find traces of the road. Even though he knew it almost as well as his own drive—make that the drive at Aunt Melba-Jean’s, where he’d lived the past eight years—nothing looked normal. The snow covered everything, and visibility was down to a nose and a half.
He should have stayed home, but when Jason called last night to tell him old Tracks Three was willing to talk, he’d jumped at the chance. The oldest man in the White River Apache tribe, Tracks Three had first-hand knowledge of events long forgotten by most people. He’d heard tales of the legendary Apache leaders from people who had actually fought and fled with them. The old man’s tales might confirm some of Bret’s personal theories. Though not yet accepted by anyone else, they were ideas that, once published, could change the academic view of Native American tribes of the Southwest and their history. Storm or no storm, he couldn’t miss this opportunity.
The clouds brought an early twilight. Even with the truck’s lights on, Bret couldn’t see much besides snow. Then he saw a dark shape, only half-covered with white, loomed ahead. The sight sent jumbled thoughts racing through his mind. A car? What’s someone doing out here on a night like this? I bet whoever it was missed the turn-off to Sunrise. Hope he had sense enough to stay in the car’s shelter. The wind chill must be twenty below.
Bret braked gently so he wouldn’t skid. The truck crunched to a stop behind the stalled vehicle. Leaving the engine running, he got out to investigate. As he approached the driver’s side, the door cracked open to reveal a woman’s pale face, surrounded by a damp, fur-edged hood.
“Oh, thank God! I was beginning to think nobody would evah come by. Surely there ought to be more people going to Sunrise. The skiing will be great once this storm cleahs.”
The voice sounded feminine, a strong hint of Boston in the dropped Rs. In the dim light, Bret couldn’t clearly see her face.
“You aren’t on the road to Sunrise, miss. You passed that turn-off three miles back. This road leads to an Apache settlement down in White River Canyon.” Darn newcomers, why can’t they stay out of harm’s way?
“Oh, no! How am I going to get to Sunrise? Would it be asking too much for you to pull me out and help me get turned around?”
Bret shook his head; snow fell off his battered Stetson. “Wouldn’t do much good. Your little car’ll never get there in this weather. There’s one more steep grade before you reach the lodge. I’m starting to have trouble on the level here, even with high clearance and four-wheel drive.”
The woman sat silent for a moment, apparently contemplating his statements.
“What am I going to do?” Her voice held both a plaintive note and a touch of frustrated arrogance—almost as if the storm was a personal affront, interfering with her plans.
“Come with me. We’ll get your car tomorrow or the next day, whenever it clears. I’m going to try to make it to a cabin, about a mile farther on. It’d be suicide to go down into White River or attempt to get to the lodge tonight.”
He heard her ragged sigh.
“Oh-kay. My car won’t start again, and without the heater, I’m chilled to the bone. I guess I can’t stay here, can I?”
“Not unless you want to freeze.”
She clambered out, sinking into the snow. “I’ve got to get some things in the trunk: my overnight bag, my briefcase.” She waded toward the rear of the car, weaving as if the whirling whiteness made her dizzy. Once there, she fumbled, scraping snow away to find the lock, while she struggled not to drop her keys.
“Here.” Bret took the key from her stiff fingers and jabbed it into the icy lock. After he twisted hard, there was a grating sound and then the trunk swung open. Snow slid in soft chunks to the ground. He reached in, grabbed the cases, and slammed the lid shut. “You’ll have to get into the truck on my side. Try to step in my tracks—that way you’ll get less snow in your boots.”
When she followed him without protest, instinct told him she was being uncharacteristically mild and obedient. Bret snorted.
She sounds like a real New England princess, so it’s probably a safe bet she’s never suffered much discomfort. Like Barb—she thought roughing it was a regular motel instead of the five-star hotels she was accustomed to. Might do her good to learn how being scared and miserable feels. Why do I always have to get mixed up with these damned society women?
After Bret boosted the woman into the cab, she slid across the wide bench seat to let him in. He shoved her bags onto the floor at her feet before he settled behind the wheel. Gingerly, he backed up enough to clear her car, then started on once more.
He stared into the gray infinity ahead, mesmerized by the slow sweep of the wipers. They shoved sluggishly at the accumulating snow, barely clearing the glass. The headlights faded into the grayness; he couldn’t see more than one truck-length ahead. Bret swore under his breath. Another mile was going to be tricky. He didn’t attempt to make conversation. Distraction from the difficult task of driving was the last thing he needed. Tracks Three and his stories would have to wait. Right now, Bret’s primary goal was survival.
This must be the longest mile I’ve ever traveled. Even worse than the last mile of the Mule Mountain Double Marathon last May. Probably slower, too. Bret wiggled his shoulders, fighting off the ache of tension that tightened his back and arms. He relaxed one hand at a time, flexing fingers going numb and stiff.
Finally, he recognized the lightning-blasted old Ponderosa pine that marked the turn-off to the cabin. A solid, ageless structure, the stone and log building belonged to an old family friend. Over the years, he’d spent a lot of time there. He eased the truck off the road, rolling to a stop with the bumper almost touching the porch rails.
Turning to his passenger, he saw she’d slumped, leaning against the door. He flicked on the cab lights so he could look at her. Somehow, she’d gotten wet before he picked her up. Even the blast of the truck’s heater hadn’t counteracted the resulting chill. He realized she was slipping into hypothermia. Bet she started to walk and changed her mind. Lucky for her, or she’d be as good as dead now.
“Wake up. We’re here.”
She jumped, shook her head, and muttered something. Yep, she was overcome with the typical grogginess brought on by drastically lowered body temperature.
“Le’ me ’lone. Wanna sleep.”
“No way. Come on.” He reached over and grabbed her arm, pulling her toward him. She moved, floppy as an old rag doll. Scooping her up, he backed out of the truck, heading for the cabin door. Hope the old key still works. Hope Bill Kent hasn’t sold the place or changed the lock. Ms. Boston needs to get warmed up fast, and I’m feeling a bit chilled myself. Good thing I brought the old sleeping bag along.
***
Kit came awake slowly, loathe to leave the warmth of sleep, the comfort of a pleasant dream in which she snuggled in the arms of a man, the perfect man she’d never had time to look for. His masculine strength and heat surrounded her, protective yet not restricting… She jerked upright, shoving aside the restraining flap of a down-filled sleeping bag in the process.
“What the hell’s wrong? You’re letting the warmth out. Get back here before we both freeze.”
The surly words were not part of her dream. This voice didn’t murmur sweet assurances or tender phrases of tribute, but it was a masculine voice with a pleasant western drawl. Panic briefly arrested, Kit turned, peering down at her companion by the uncertain light of smoldering logs, flickering dimly in the massive fireplace to her right.
“Where am I and why am I in my underwear? What are you doing in my bed with me?”
“This is my bedding, Boston. My grandpa gave me this sleeping bag in 1998 when I joined the Boy Scouts.”
Kit refused to be mollified. She wanted to hit something, to jump up and get the blazes out of here, to scream for help—none of which were feasible. From the looks of things, she was totally alone with this stranger in a place she’d never seen before. She wanted answers and she wanted them five minutes ago. “Who are you and how did I get here?”
“My name is Bret, and I carried you in here. Now lie down and pull up the damned bag, okay? You aren’t in any danger except from the cold.”
Kit still couldn’t make out the man’s face, but his voice sounded gruff, unfriendly.
He probably isn’t bent on rape or he’d already have done it. Anyway, I’m getting cold again—fast. She scooted into the warm cocoon of the bag, drawing the edge up over her bare shoulders. She didn’t want to touch him, but she had to until she turned on her side and scrunched away as far as she could. Then she touched the zipper, which felt like a long narrow ice cube.
“So you say you rescued me?”
“You got stuck in the snow yesterday evening, remember? I came along and brought you here to this cabin. You were getting hypothermic, so I did the best I could—rolled out this sleeping bag and got in with you. Works best if everyone’s nude, but I figured I could leave our skivvies on.”
“Oh God.” Kit remembered, all right. She almost wished she hadn’t. She didn’t want to think about how he’d undressed her while she was unconscious. All she needed to do was figure out how to extract herself from the current situation and get to the lodge. “Has the snow stopped yet?”
“I doubt it. Storms like this usually lasts at least twenty-four hours. I don’t intend to look either because that would mean opening the door and letting more cold in. But I’d better put some more wood on the fire.” As he spoke, he began to move, wiggling backward until he could sit up without dislodging the bag from around Kit’s shoulders.
Even in the dim firelight, she saw his chest was bare. He scooted a little farther. She knew she should look away, but she couldn’t. He wore briefs, and that’s what they were, brief. A very minimal patch of navy blue in the strategic area, nothing more.
Oh for goodness sake! Cowboys and outdoorsmen are supposed to wear woolly red union suits that cover them from neck to ankles, not some thong, like a dancer in a male strip club! Still, he does look delicious. With that thought, Kit no longer felt cold.
He stood in a single, smooth motion and stepped out of sight behind her head. A moment later, he reappeared, crouching inches from her, and began to stack an armload of logs in the fireplace. Bending forward, his elegant nearly-bare tush almost in her face, he blew into the coals until the flames jumped to begin their greedy work on the new fuel. He sat back on his haunches for a moment, then gave a self-satisfied grunt. Crawling around behind Kit’s head, he wormed into the sleeping bag.
Kit stiffened and held still. It was difficult, but she tried to banish the image of his beautiful, tanned body, to ignore the touches of his warm flesh against hers.
“Do you have any idea what time it is?” She ground out the question through gritted teeth.
“Prob’ly about three or four in the morning. Go back to sleep. We can’t do a thing until daybreak, anyway.” Moments later, he began to snore.
Every nerve hummed and tingled. She stared into the flickering flames, but that only made her feel hotter, itchier, and more out-of-sorts. She had never been more aware of anyone than she was of the sleeping man behind her. All the while, he slept on, snoring in contented peace. There was no justice in the world, none at all! She should be tucked into a comfy bed at Sunrise Lodge, anticipating a gorgeous day on the slopes. Instead, she lay on a hard floor, with only the inadequate padding of half a sleeping bag between her and what felt like stone. She couldn’t turn over because that would leave her face to face with…a gorgeous man who snored.
He shifted, edging closer, until his hairy, muscular legs pressed against hers. She couldn’t move away. There was nowhere to go. Now, she felt his chest against her back. Its furring of coppery hair, just on the soft side of prickly, brushed her. Her sensitized skin tried to ripple like a horse’s hide shaking off flies, with even less effect.
“Damn it, I’m not cold anymore. Give me some room!” Though her sharp whisper sounded thunderously loud in the silence, he didn’t stir. The snores changed rhythm, but there was no movement to prove he’d heard her. Kit didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. What a dilemma. Any one of her friends, finding themselves in bed with such a hunk, would make the most of the opportunity. Trouble was, she didn’t know how to proceed. Especially since the man seemed completely unaffected by her proximity. Even if she wanted to make the first move, to let him know she was definitely interested, what should that first move be?
Starting college at sixteen, she’d been too busy racking up courses that guaranteed success to spend much time socializing. Dating was for girls who sought a MRS rather than an MBA. What did one do with a man who climbed into bed with you only to fall asleep?
“Try an elbow in the ribs,” an imp whispered in her ear. No, that could hardly excite anything but his wrath.
A Poindexter has certain standards. We make the best of every situation and capitalize on the appearance of misfortune. Her father’s oft-repeated admonishment echoed through her mind. What would you do, Daddy, if you were in my…er…my place? If her father’s ghost heard her plaintive query, he chose not to reply. She was on her own.
Nothing learned at Harvard had prepared her for such an occasion. She could visualize no way to turn a profit from this chance encounter. Probably the best she could hope for was that the storm would end the coming day, they’d get her car out and turned around, and she’d get back to Tucson before Monday morning—with nothing at all to report to Les Bernard. Sheesh! She’d figure out something plausible to tell Joy and Madge, who she was supposed to meet at Sunrise.
Her companion shifted again, slinging one arm across her. His broad, warm hand splayed out, seeming to cover all the exposed flesh between her bra and panties, and there was plenty of that. She bit back a groan. I can’t believe this is happening.



Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cover and Count Down to Kit's Ultimate Deal

Good Saturday! Gwynn here today because my book is coming out the soonest. ;-) Right around May 1, Kit's Ultimate Deal will be available in e-versions and it will be out in print later in May. This is another reissue but I updated it quite a bit. The plot is still basically the same and so are my two lead characters: hard-charging financial adviser Kit Poindexter, fresh out from Boston with her Harvard MBA and poor easy-going Bret McClintock, anthropology prof and handsome dude often mistaken for being just another  pretty face. They run into each other in an Arizona blizzard up in the high country and travel a very bumpy road before they become the perfect mismatch HEA pair.

I just got the cover a few days ago and I love, love, love it!  Our wonderful cover artist at Amber Quill never disappoints but now and then he outdoes himself and this is one of those times. I want this one in frame-able art style to put up on the wall!! It's just yummy and like Trace read my mind. See for yourself:

I'm doing the edits right now and will share an excerpt or two as soon as my editor gets the final version back in my hands. I don't like to share unedited mss stuff although this one isn't getting too much red ink for me to fix. Actually it is blue Track Changes (c) but you get the idea. I had a tremendous amount of fun with the first writing of this some years ago and modernizing it was just as much fun. I injected a good deal more humor, although mostly of the dry and droll type, than often appears in  my novels although there is plenty of angst, sexual tension and even a bit of sizzle before we get to the end. I think you'll enjoy it. It's been off the market quite awhile and was not a huge seller so I expect it will be brand new to most of my readers. I'll be offering a freebie or two once it is out so watch for links to chats and such elsewhere where these will be given.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Catastrophe cover and guest blog at All Romance Ebooks

I was a guest blogger today over at ARe. I talked about some of my menage tales so if you'd like to check that out, here is the link: http://www.arecafe.com/cafe-news/deirdre-odare-three-tango-triad/

And I got my cover for Catastrophe! You are the first besides me to see it. I just love it and I'm very excited for this story to come out--just a bit over a month now since PAX releases come out the middle weekend of each month. For May that should be the weekend of the 17th-18th. I want to get my hands on the rest of those tales too.  Don't you want to take this pair home and make pets of them??

Normally I do not do excerpts from unedited mss but I will give you a very small sneak peek here from the opening scene. Enjoy! 

San Mirabal Zoo
Southern Arizona
Late spring

Carlton Donahue wiped his dripping nose yet again and shoved the wadded paper towel into the hip pocket of his jeans. He might as well start carrying a roll of them. Regular tissues were totally inadequate. So far this new allergy drug wasn’t doing squat for him, either. Although the idea was almost as palatable as a pile of steaming dung, the thought of seeking a new career sometimes crossed his mind.
No. He’d stick it out. There had to be a way to deal with these damned allergies. A new drug, some miracle no one had thought to try for him. Animals were his life, his love. From the time he’d been a small kid, he’d worked toward this very job—a vet tech in a zoo. Not that working to help and save animals in the wild wouldn’t be even better, if it were possible, but at least here he could be sure his charges got the best possible care and protect them from the worst harm and abuse. He might even help save some rare creatures from extinction.
If only he wasn’t the most allergic of all to anything in the feline family. Of course that was the section of the zoo to which he was especially drawn as well as his current assignment…  Cats drew him like iron to a magnet. It didn’t matter what size, color or type. From a house cat to a giant tiger or African lion, they all had the same miserable effects on him: running nose, itchy, dripping eyes and at times mild to severe hives if his unprotected skin came into contact with their fur. They also made his heart beat faster and sent a thrill to the depths of his soul.
This new allergist had him on desensitizing treatments, plus the latest corticosteroids and antihistamines. So far he could discern no improvement, none at all. He must be crazy to put up with it but he felt a connection to the cats near to an obsession.
He paused for a moment and looked into the habitat area where the cheetahs were housed. Ye Gods, they were beautiful. Their very appearance said swift. Lean and lithe, the sheer artistry of their sleek bodies enthralled him. They were endangered now, a fact that tore his heart. How much poorer the world would be with such marvelous creatures gone. He’d wracked his brain for things he could do to help save them but so far had come up with little.
Some yards away, one of the lean, spotted cats stopped and looked at him. A shiver passed over his body. Those keen green eyes touched him with the jolt of an electric current. He’d almost say the creature was trying to tell him something, but what? In that fierce gaze, he read intent although not meaning. After a moment, the cat turned away shaking its head in a near-human motion that seemed to speak of disgust. It glided off into the thicker foliage, vanishing in an instant.
With a sigh, Carl moved on, headed for the puma area where a female was due to give birth soon. He checked his belt for the dart gun should he have a need to tranquilize the lioness for her safety or that of the unborn cubs—Dr. Moreno believed she carried twins, fairly common among the American clan of lions.
At least the puma or cougar as they were also called were not endangered—yet. Although habitat had been reduced by growing towns and suburbs, they seemed to be adapting well in the wild and mostly staying in the remote wilderness areas where they safest. However, the jaguar tribe, increasingly working north from Mexico and Central American, were crowding them a bit. Jaguars were larger and warier. Various experts were still not sure how the two species would get along in closer proximity, or if the food supply would adequately support both groups. Yet another worry Carl nursed in private moments. There were so many needs and so little he could do.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Spring is coming



and with it the month of May right around the corner.

That month will see the release of a Gwynn Morgan novel, Kit's Ultimate Deal and a new Deirdre O'Dare AmberPAX story, in Purrfect Tales, Catastrophe. I don't have the cover for either of mine but here is the yummy cover for the PAX. If that does not get your attention you may be dead!! You can bet these will be hot and exciting tales featuring cat shifters as main characters. All kinds of cats! I may be allergic to felines but I bet these will cause no symptoms except make me purrrrr! There is just something awfully sexy about a sleek, fluid and powerful cat, isn't there?

As soon as I have my covers, I will share them too and there will be some snippets from both tailes--er, tales--in the coming days as well. Oh, I amost forgot!!. AQP is unveiling a brand new spiffy and user-friendly web site for our fans and customers. The basic URL is still the same but those to reach author pages and other areas will be different. I think the old ones will hand you over for awhile but I will post my new key ones in the next few days . One change is that author pages will now show all books by that author and not divide them by the line they appear in. Still, Gwynn and Deirdre will each have a page.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Quick Look Back

In a few days I will mark the anniversary of the day I joined Amber Quill Press as one of their authors!  At the urging of a dear friend who had also entered the first contest the firm held to find some new authors for their erotic romance line, I had entered my fanciful myth-based story, Karola's Hunt. To learn that I was one of the winners and that my tale would soon be published just took my breath away! I got the call, or in this case the email, on April 1, 2004.

At that point, I'd struggled through five months without my partner and best friend of thirty two years who had passed from this world on November 3, 2003. Delving into the then-newly emerging genre of erotic romance was an effort to break free of a major writers block. We'd been working on some stories together and he had also been my first reader, biggest fan, technical adviser on military, law enforcement, weapons and other subjects and most of all my support, inspiration and sometimes butt-kicker as needed. It was damned hard to pick myself up and try to move forward. That surprising email--which at first I thought was an April Fool's joke--was a shot of vitamin B-12 that I sorely needed. Before 2004 was over I had some other tales submitted and accepted and a couple even on the market., Pickup Man, the first of my Rodeo Girls series, and The Taming of Jaelle'n, a fanciful novella set on a different but perhaps parallel world to ours.

 Wrenching was, by my count, my sixty fifth release, counting nine anthologies (print collections of previously e-published stories), so my fifty sixth original erotic romance under Amber Quill 's Amber Heat and Amber Allure imprints! What an amazing and rewarding ten years. My first gay romance was Treading Dangerous Ground, which came out in November 2006. It became my best seller to that date and was soon followed by Doggone Love, the first of my very popular Canine Cupids series. It's been quite a journey!


I've scattered along in this post a few covers to celebrate this ten years that I've been writing for Amber Quill. I cannot say too much about the wonderful folks there. They treat authors very well, always pay on time with a full accounting of what sold where, provide totally awesome cover art and have editors that are keen-eyed, tough but also kind and willing to discuss things when they and the author whose work they are improving disagree, AQ staff, I love you guys to the max!!!

In my next few posts I'll share a bit about others in this list of my books and since some of my more recent fans and readers may not have fully explored the back list, I'll try to tickle your fancy into going after a few from that collection! It won't be long until this blog hits the 125 posts mark, too, and I do plan a bit of a celebration! Stay tuned. I guarantee Deirdre plans to be around telling hot and sweet stories for a long, long time. Love is the One True Thing and I love to write about it in all its diversity and glory.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

It's for sale!

Wrenching and its four companion tales are now for sale! I would say get them while they are hot but I do not think the heat level is going to go away any time soon. But they are hot off the presses... Actually Wrenching is not the hottest of my gay romance stories although there is quite a lot of sexual tension and a bit of sizzle here and there. Just as they tell me their story, my characters also set the limits of how far they are willing to go in sharing the intimate details of their bond with the world. These guys were a little bit shy, I guess, but I don't think you will be disappointed! They do go well beyond a chaste smooch or two!

Be sure to stop by over at www.amberpax.blogspot.com to see all the cool covers and read excerpts and this coming week, some inside scoop from the authors. I always share some story-behind-the-story there and this time is no exception. Others may share all kinds of odd tidbits so be sure to take a look. Freebies are up for grabs as well.  Here's one more look at my cover with the hunky mechanic and his big ---wrench!!! He can adjust my attitude any time!