Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Better late than never...

by Cheryl Brooks

Wouldn't you know it? My first time to blog here in ages, and I forget about it until the last minute. Well, maybe not all that late. I'm at least hitting it on the right day.

Unless you've been following this blog forever, you might not remember me. I wrote the Cat Star Chronicles and the Cowboy Heaven series. Right now, I'm about to launch a spinoff series about the kids that were born during the ten-book span of the original Cat Star Chronicles. We're calling it Cat Star Legacy.

I have covers for the first two books, Maverick and Mystic, and I'm currently writing the third book, which has yet to be pitched to the acquisitions people, so I have no idea if or when that book will hit the shelves.

Maverick will be released on September 4, 2018. After all the headless torsos of the Cat Star Chronicles, they finally gave me a guy with a head on the cover. He kinda reminds me of Ben Browder (from the Farscape era). I always liked him, so I was happy with the model, even if he doesn't look exactly like my sexy Zetithians, who are supposed to have eyebrows and ears like Mr. Spock, fangs, cat-like eyes, and long curly hair.

The second book is Mystic, which has a January 29, 2019 release date. This one marks the first cover with a guy who actually looks Zetithian! In the original version, I thought his lips looked a little too pink, and I asked the cover artist to tone them down a bit. Imagine my surprise (and delight!) when I realized they'd not only fixed the lipstick issue, they'd given him green cat eyes and pointed ears! *waving arms and cheering* Now if they could just give him more hair...

I'll tell you more about Maverick closer to the release date, but for all you Cat Star fans, here's a review that I hope will whet your appetite!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Brave New Earl Nearly Here

It’s two weeks until the release of Brave New Earl, the first book in my new Way to a Lord’s Heart series. This is the story of an earl overcome by melancholy and a determined woman who eventually shakes him out of it.
Widower Benjamin Romilly, Earl of Furness, has given up hope of finding happiness. His wife died in childbirth five years ago, leaving him with a broken heart and a child who only reminds him of his loss.
Miss Jean Saunders, a cousin by marriage, hears rumors that the earl is too bereaved to care for his young son. Her own history has made her particularly sensitive to this story. She arrives on the scene to evaluate his fitness as a father, and if necessary, to take his son away.
Jean's sudden eruption into the earl's household simultaneously infuriates and invigorates him. She may be the only person who can breathe life into his neglected homeand his aching heart.

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Monday, July 9, 2018

To Catch a Texas Star Is Here!

To Catch a Texas Star hit bookshelves and online vendors last week and I’m so excited to have it in readers’ hands at last. This story is different from any I’ve written. This is the first time I’ve created a character who’s an author and I kind of liked that.

An Overview of the Story:

Marley McClain is heading into town one morning and spies a man lying just off the road. She sees that he’s in bad shape so she gets him into the back of her wagon and takes him to her family ranch—the Aces ‘n Eights. Roan Penny lies unconscious for two days then as he slowly recovers, he finds an attraction between him and Marley growing. But first, he has to make the men pay who killed his friend and dragged him almost to his death.

Marley knows that he’s a drifter and doesn’t intend to stick around but her heart tells her she’ll have trouble living without him. Roan is everything she’d looked for but never dreamed of finding. A frightening stranger appears along with foreboding. Then a long-held secret that her parents have kept comes out and shatters everything she thought she knew about herself.

Danger, adventure, and deepening, lasting love make this a story you can’t put down. Will Marley and Roan live to see their happy future? It’s anyone’s guess.

“You’re like those shooting stars. You blaze across my life with such a streak of color and pageantry it steals my breath. You’re my Texas star, Marley Rose McClain.”

Marley loves to write children’s stories that she reads to the orphans in her parent’s care. She wants to get them published but doesn’t know how. Roan tells her about an ad he saw in the mercantile and that sets the wheels in motion.

I loved this extra layer that making her a writer added to the story. The children can’t get enough of what she pens and the stories spark their imaginations.

Here a few of the books they would’ve had access to in 1899:

Cinderella – published in 1697
Aesop’s Fables – published 600 BC
Arabian Nights – the 8th century
Mother Goose – 1729
The Swiss Family Robinson – 1812
Ivanhoe – 1819
Rip Van Winkle – 1820
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – 1819
Grimm’s Fairy Tales – 1823
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – 1865
Little Women – 1868
Robin Hood – 1883
Tom Sawyer – 1876
Treasure Island – 1883

There were lots, lots more. Children had plenty to choose from. One of the stories that one little boy loved of Marley’s was about pirates and Jean Lafitte.

Did any of the dates on these classic books surprise you? For me, I didn’t realize that Aesop's Fables went so far back. That's amazing.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Excerpt from Sarah Castille's Strong Hold

Strong Hold, the last book (#5) in the Redemption Series, features the story of Shayla Tanner and Zack Grayson.

Seven years have passed since Zack left Shayla. Seven years of regret and emptiness. Will she ever let down her guard and give Zack a second chance at love?

Enjoy this excerpt from Strong Hold:

 “Christ, Shay.” He scrapes his hand through his hair. “You’ve always been too trusting. Reg Knight is as far from a decent guy as you can get. He’s a piece of scum who plans to use you personally and professionally, and I’m not going to let that happen.”
“It’s my choice. My choice.” I thump my chest, looking away so he doesn’t see how close his comment about being too trusting hit to home. He needs to understand that it’s a decision I have to make, and the price will be mine to pay. “If I want to go out for a drink with him, I will. If I want to fight Gordon, I will. If I want to accept an offer from Radical Power, then I’ll accept the offer, and I’ll be the best damn fighter they’ve ever had.”
“No, you won’t.” He thuds his fist on the low stone wall surrounding the courtyard. “I won’t let him do to you what I’ve seen him do to other female fighters.”
“I don’t need you to protect me.” I struggle to keep my voice low so the people in the courtyard don’t overhear. “I’m not the teenage girl who knew nothing of the world except what you showed her. I don’t even understand what’s going on with you. We’re professional, and then we’re not professional. We’re friends, and then we’re not friends. You’re my coach, and then we have sex, and you run away to Seattle and leave me thinking I’m back to training with Torment and Fuzzy for three whole days.”
“I needed some time to get my head around the fact that all you ever wanted from me was physical.”
My hands curl into fists so tight, my nails bite into my palms. “That’s not fair.”
“That’s what you told me the other night.”
“Right now, I don’t want to get involved. Back then, I wanted everything. I was devastated when you left. I felt like a huge piece of me was missing. I was a young girl in a new city I never wanted to live in, with a new ballet company I didn’t want to dance for, and I’d never been alone before. I always had you.”
“And then you traded me in for him.” His voice rises in pitch. “What were you thinking? I left you so you could have a career, so you could go out and live your life, not tie yourself down to some…what? What did he do? What was so compelling about him that you would get married at fucking nineteen years old?”
Bristling, I throw caution to the wind, giving him information I know I should keep to myself. “He was the company’s artistic director.”
“Jesus Christ.” He groans and tips his head back. “He was your boss.”
“It doesn’t work like that in a ballet company, and you know it.”
I hate this. Zack and I never fought when we were together. We disagreed about things like sports teams—I was a Cubs fan; he supported the White Sox—how long I spent at the studio, or whether my plans to run/jump/ride/dive were too dangerous—yes, they were, and I always did them with Zack by my side.
“I know the artistic director has a lot of power,” Zack says. “I know you don’t get the job in a world-famous ballet company without a shitload of experience and a lot of years behind you. And I know you don’t sleep with a much younger, innocent corps dancer unless you’re a fucking bastard who has no morals and who misuses his power to get what he wants.”
Anger surges inside me. Not because he’s wrong, but because these were the questions I should have asked myself, the red flags I shouldn’t have ignored.
“You didn’t want me,” I shout, the words I have never been able to say ripping from my throat. “What was I supposed to do? It never got better for me. Every day without you was like dying all over again. Even after a year, the pain didn’t fade. I was empty inside, and there was nothing to fill that space, because it was meant for you. Damian was kind to me. He cared. He looked after me, and he helped my career. He wasn’t my soul mate, and he never pretended to be, but in the beginning, we both got something out of that relationship that made us happy.”
If the words that spill from my heart have any effect on him, he doesn’t let me know. Instead, his eyes narrow, and he deepens his tone.
“Do you think I felt any different? Do you think I didn’t feel your loss every fucking day? But I didn’t give up on you. I didn’t throw away a ten-year relationship on the first woman who crossed my path. I still felt you, Shay.” He thuds his fist on his chest above his heart. “Right here. And when I knew I could do right by you, when I could give you everything you deserved, I came for you, and you were gone.”