Friday, August 27, 2021

WILDE TEMPTATION - My First Shared World Novel

I am super excited to share my new release WILDE TEMPTATION with you. 


Writing small-town contemporary romance has been a fun and exciting change from my usual alien abduction science fiction romance and paranormal romance. However, I couldn't resist mixing a little taste of both into this story. The heroine, Faith, owns a New Age shop called Witchy Woman, where she reads tarot, palms, and apple peels (yes, you read that right - apple peels). She also has visions, but isn’t quite successful with them at first. There is also a hint of sci-fi as my plant geneticist hero creates a genetically modified apple that increases happiness. Read the blurb to find out what happens when New Age meets genetically engineered. :)


The Candlewood Falls series (named for the fictional small town of Candlewood Falls, NJ) is a shared-world series in which two other authors (Stacey Wilk and USA TODAY Bestselling Author Jen Talty) also write in. Our characters and businesses show up in each other’s books which is super fun! This was my first time writing in a shared-world series and I had a blast collaborating with Jen and Stacey. 


Would you be tempted?

Plant geneticist Sam Wilde has spent his life savings engineering a unique apple variety that increases happiness. But when fortune-teller Faith Shields mixes Sam's new apples into an Old World recipe, the result does more than make people happy—it makes them hot for love!

As the small town of Candlewood Falls hungers for the forbidden fruit, Sam and Faith experiment with their arousal hypothesis and soon discover their test subjects aren't the only ones tempted by desire. Is the impassioned pair’s attraction a byproduct of the aphrodisiac or do they have true chemistry?

Add into the equation the only investor who could save Sam's orchard from foreclosure—Faith's jealous ex-boyfriend—and Wilde Orchards is about to live up to its name.


Enjoy this excerpt from Wilde Temptation:


Sam knocked on Faith’s door half an hour before his normal tutoring time, as requested. What did she want to discuss in person that she couldn’t over the phone or in front of Lily? 


She opened the door, breathless, her cheeks pink and glowing. Wisps of long brown hair that didn’t make it into her braid curled around her face. She wore the same pretty floral shirt she’d had on in the shop that morning. 


Did she have any idea how beautiful she was?


The tightness in his chest reminded him to breathe. “Hi—” 


Faith grabbed his wrist and pulled him into the apartment. “I’m glad you’re here. There’s something awkward yet important I need to tell you.”


Was she interested in him? Did she want to tell him she liked him? He bit down on a smile and repressed the urge to confess his feelings before she did.


“It’s about the chutney.”


As if stuck in mud, his body suddenly grew heavy. Of course, it was. Beautiful women weren’t interested in lanky, redheaded apple nerds. He was an idiot for even entertaining the thought. “What’s wrong? Are you ill? You look a little flushed.”


“No. I’m fine. Come with me.” 


He followed her into the kitchen, pausing at the refrigerator to check out Lily’s artwork and homework stuck to it by glass stone refrigerator magnets. Something spicy permeated the air, making his mouth water. “Smells delicious.”


“I’m cooking chutney.”


“Great. Everyone at Wilde Orchards Market wants more.”


“That’s not all they want,” she muttered. 


“What do you mean?”


She flitted around the room, getting out a small bowl and a spoon, and ladling a scoop of chutney. She didn’t meet his eyes when she blurted, “They’re all horny.”


“What? Who?”


“The customers. They’re all horny. It’s an aphrodisiac.”


Did he miss a part of the conversation while distracted with her beauty? “What is?”


“The chutney. It’s an aphrodisiac. That’s why it’s such a hit. People are eating it and getting turned on.”


He laughed. “That’s ridiculous.” 


“That’s what I thought at first, but it’s true. Did you eat any?”


“Not yet.”


She thrust the small bowl and spoon into his hands. “Try it.”


“Uh, okay.” He slid a heaping spoonful into his mouth. Delicious sweet and spicy flavors danced across his taste buds, without a trace of bitterness. He swallowed and licked his lips. “This is really good.”




“I mean it. Nice texture and taste.” He took another spoonful. No wonder it sold out at the market. It was a flavorful product and a welcome change from all the sweet goods they made at the orchard. 


Her hands clasped in front of her mouth, she watched intently, as if waiting for him to turn into the Hulk or something. “How do you feel?” 


“I feel fine.”


“I mean, are you turned on?” Her brown eyes sparkled with anticipation, and his mouth dried. 


If he wasn’t before, he was now. “I, uh. Is this a trick question?”


“No, it’s a straightforward question.”


It was forward all right. She was a unique woman, but this was odd, even for her. “I don’t understand what’s going on here. Are you… flirting with me?”


Her head flinched as if he’d jumped out of the closet yelling surprise. “Of course, not.”


Too bad. A little flirting could’ve been fun. 


“I told you. It’s the chutney. It makes people horny. Are you horny?” 


Well, damn, when a woman you have a crush on asks—with breathy eagerness—if you’re horny, your penis can’t help but answer the question for you.


WILDE TEMPTATION (A Candlewood Falls Novel) is available now in paperback. And releases 9/1/21 on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited!


Amazon US

Amazon CA

Amazon UK

Amazon AU


USA TODAY Bestselling Author Jen Talty's Candlewood Falls book RIVERS EDGE and Stacey Wilk's Candlewood Falls book TAKING ROOT are also available on Amazon.


Stay safe out there!



Romance with a rebel heart


Friday, August 20, 2021

What exactly is a thunder egg?


My Pets in Space story, The Thunder Egg, started as an opening scene probably a year ago. I was doing the writer's equivalent of doodling, playing around with ideas. I started off with a female freighter captain walking back to her ship after making a delivery. She is regretting taking the short cut to the spaceport through the oldest, seediest section of Old Port as one of the frequent fogs descends. It's a haven for thugs and muggers and she's grateful for the pistol in her pocket. 

That looked promising, so I asked the Muse what happened next. "Ah," said the Muse, "As she walks, something hits her chest and clings, staring into her eyes."

And just like that, I had a snippet of a story.

But what hit her? What stared at her? I asked the Muse. "Let's see. It can fly. It isn't a bird or a bat. Something cute and alien."  

"But what is it?" I wailed. "Where does it come from?"

 The Muse wasn't happy. "Come on. Work it out for yourself. She's - I don't know - a cross between a Pern dragon and a pterodactyl." Then she flounced off for a Bex and a lie-down.

Both of those species hatch from eggs so after some deep and detailed navel-gazing I decided that little Neyru was hatched from an egg that looked an awful lot like a thunder egg.

Yes, thunder eggs are real. No, they're not fossilized, unhatched dinosaur eggs. But many of them have fascinating contents – if not quite so fascinating as Neyru. They are formed by volcanic activity, as described by Don, the owner of the Mt Hay gemstone tourist park, one of several places in Australia where thunder eggs can be found.

“Mt. Hay is the remains of an extinct ancient volcano, which was last active about 120 million years ago. When it was a rumbling volcano millions of gas bubbles were present in the molten rhyolite lava …. it is these gas ‘pockets’ that became thunder eggs. Thunder eggs or volcanic birthstones are the result of these “pockets” filling with siliceous liquids containing impurities and trace elements, which crystallize as they cool, and when cut in half, reveal many different colours and patterns.” 

A thunder egg my husband and I found at Mt Hay.

It's an interesting enough rock… but when you cut it open…

Neyru hatched from an egg that looked superficially like a thunder egg. Her protector, Professor Drew Torson, bought the rock during a visit to the famous markets at Laremenssa, which appear in several of my Dryden Universe stories. Drew was on his Sabbatical, touring some of the Empire's outer planets, and Neyru's egg attracted him because of certain iridescence in the stone. He was astonished when Neyru came out of a shell that looked like a rock. She wolfed down his steak dinner, too – clearly a committed carnivore. She's totally alien and Drew has no idea what she is or where she comes from.

The Thunder Egg is essentially a quest. Drew finds an artifact that turns out to be Neyru and he takes it upon himself to protect her and take her home. Wherever that may be. Just as well he bumps into freighter pilot Afra. He wouldn't be able to do it on his own.

Here's the blurb.

No ordinary rock…

History Professor Drew Torson’s purchase of a thunder egg at a market leads to an astonishing discovery when what should have been just a rock… hatches. He isn’t the only one who wants the unusual creature that emerges. When thieves attempt to capture his new friend, Neyru, Drew is left stunned and bleeding in an alley.

Freighter captain Afra Abrussen is shocked when a strange, but beautiful creature named Neyru seeks her help. She’s no heroine. She has cargo to haul and debts to pay. The last thing she needs to do right now is get drawn into Drew and Neyru's plight.

Drew insists that all they need to do is find out what Neyru is, where she comes from, and get her home without being caught by pursuers who will stop at nothing to get hold of the little creature. Afra thinks Drew forgot one important clause: They need to do all of the above without falling in love during their dangerous mission.

Can a freighter captain and an academic stay one step ahead of the thieves determined to capture Neyru, and if they do, what will happen when they discover they broke the all too important clause about not falling in love?

Pets in Space 6 is available for pre-order, with delivery on 5th October. Costing US$4.99, the anthology includes stories from eleven authors. But don’t forget to buy your copy while you can. The book will be taken off sale in November.