Thursday, January 21, 2021

Spotlight on Rawhide: Ace in the Hole, by Desiree Holt

At the very exclusive dungeon, where only those with connections gather to indulge their sexual fantasies, a new twist has been added—a deck of cards. For each Master and sub, the choice of cards from their deck determines their play for the night. Who knows what twists a game of chance can bring. 

Cut the Cards

Kelly LeBlanc was hot and aroused at being selected to be part of a demonstration for Rawhide’s members and guests. A card game for sex? What fun. But then she met the Dom, Tanner Sloat, and she found all her wildest fantasies about to come true. 


He was everything Nia March had ever dreamed about in a Master, and more. And as he took her to levels higher than she’d even been, touching something deep inside her, she wondered if she could protect her heart.

Texas Hold ‘em

Sage Drummond thought she’d never recover from the effects of a relationship filled with cruelty, but she craved the role of sub. When she tentatively dipped her toe in the waters at Rawhide, that last thing she expected to find was a Master who would satisfy her needs as well as heal her heart. Could it last?

Dealer’s Choice

Cade Sullivan was one the most in demand Dom, until a tragedy sent him hiding from the world and out of the D/s life. Working at Rawhide gave Fiona Wilder the urge to try the D/s life. Could she be the key to make Cade forget the past and build a life with a sub that was all his?

Two of a Kind

They each brought their baggage to a night at Rawhide that was supposed to be nothing but fun. A night of intense D/s play. Neither expected the intense connections they made or how it would change their lives.


From Cut the Cards:

If Tanner hadn’t come vetted by Reulas, Kelly might have had second thoughts about this. She was very selective with her Doms, but the club owner wouldn’t put her with a man unless he trusted him. Besides, she couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt such a strong sexual pull, such a desire to do anything and everything with anyone, no restrictions.

She smiled at him and waited for him to precede her, following him with her head down and hands clasped behind her back, already in her submissive role. 

The alcove was barely more than a niche in the wall as it curved back toward the hallway. It contained a café table and two chairs and provided a modicum of privacy for two people to conduct their negotiations away from the crowd. Tanner nodded for her to sit, then opened the deck of cards.

“This is a new game to you,” he told her, “so I would like you to make the first choices.”

She took a deep breath, fanned out the cards, and started turning them over.

All Buy links found here:

Rawhide: Ace in the Hole | Desiree Holt » Books

But first he had business to take care of. Their manager was leaving due to a family emergency and Clint Chavez, his partner, had searched for a replacement. After whittling down the possibilities to one, tonight Reece would put his stamp of approval on the applicant. Or not.

He knew nothing about the person except it was a female, not all that strange for a fetish club. He knew women often made the best managers. 

“She’s waiting in my office,” Clint told him when Reece came in through the back door. “She apparently got a job working in a club not too long after she graduated college and has worked her way up through the system.”

Reece cocked an eyebrow. “Yeah? Wonder what she majored in to start working the fetish circuit.”

Clint laughed. “She’s got a college degree in business management and I literally stole her from a top private club in Atlanta. You can ask her yourself why she’s doing this instead of working in the corporate world.”

“What would make her leave? Didn’t they pay her well?”

“More than well.” He shook his head. “She was very honest with me. Although she’s a very strong manager, her nature is that of a sexual submissive. She’s just coming out of a long relationship that ended badly and needed a change.”

Reece grunted. “I hope she doesn’t intend to poach on the clients. That could be very bad for our reputation.”

“Don’t worry. She knows the score. She comes highly—and grudgingly—recommended.”

“All right. Let me talk to her, but if you’re sold on her I’m sure she’s fine. India knows she’s supposed to be waiting for me?”

Clint grinned. “Yeah. What a good little subbie she is, waiting on her knees for you for thirty minutes.”

Reece chuckled. “At least I told her she could use a kneeling pad.”

“Yeah. You’re a damn prince. Okay, let’s go talk to the other lady who’s waiting for you.”

Clint opened the door to his office and gestured to the woman sitting in a chair in front of his desk. Reece was halfway inside before she registered with his brain. When she did, he stopped feeling as if he’d just taken a punch to the gut.

Thick masses of auburn curls tumbling past her shoulders framed a heart-shaped face. Hazel eyes that seemed to change color even as he looked at her stared back from beneath thick lashed. A very sedate tailored navy sheath was little camouflage for lush curves. Slim legs were crossed at the knees. Feet encased in navy pumps.

His eyes were drawn again to her face and the full, sensuous lips painted with a soft peach lip gloss. He knew those lips, knew them nearly as well as his own. He’d tasted them often enough in years gone by. As well as the rest of that body. Only then it had belonged to a girl. Now she was a woman and he couldn’t seem to stop staring at her.

And the sudden explosion of emotion shook him to his core. 

USA Today best-selling and award-winning author Desiree Holt writes everything from romantic suspense and paranormal to erotic. and has been referred to by USA Today as the Nora Roberts of erotic romance, and is a winner of the EPIC E-Book Award, the Holt Medallion and a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice nominee. She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The (London) Daily Mail, The New Delhi Times and numerous other national and international publications.


Where else can you find me:

Twitter @desireeholt

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Monday, January 18, 2021

It's A New Monday

The house is empty and I have a ton of work to get done, which is good, because it keeps me from missing the girls—even now, I look at my bare counters and reminisce about all their junk spread where it doesn’t belong. Sigh.

My husband is supposed to be off today, but he has work obligations, so I told him to pretend it’s any other day and not to talk to be before six thirty. Every time he walks into the kitchen and I say hello, he says to pretend he’s not here.


So, there is nothing keeping me from doing my work.


The group of authors I collaborate with for the Ticket to True Love series is rebranding and relaunching our series. There’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff that went on in order to achieve this relaunch, and now I get to announce everything to my newsletter subscribers, which is exciting. Except it requires me to understand the newsletter interface, which somehow always changes slightly each time I use it.


I had to reupload files and a cover and some selling options for my book in the series, Whispers in Washington. That requires a whole lot of technical knowledge that I eventually figure out but isn’t easy to find (at least for me). So I think I did it, but there’s a chance I didn’t.


We’re having a Facebook party this weekend to celebrate, and I’m helping to coordinate it, which requires a lot of planning and nagging. Those skills I’m good at, but these people don’t know me quite as well as my usual people whom I nag, so it requires some finesse on my part. 


There’s marketing I have to do, a blog I have to write—HI!—and editing I have to get to (especially the edits I remembered last night before I fell asleep). And of course stuff around the house, since a lot that fell by the wayside while getting the girls off to school. Once again, I have to adjust to a schedule that I determine, and isn’t controlled by others. You’d think that would be easy, but without a set time that I know I have to finish by, it’s easy to procrastinate.


So here’s to a productive Monday. And no matter what you’re doing, you’re probably doing it more successfully (or at least, getting made fun of less) than I am! J



Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Get to Know Kristal Harris

Favorite color:  Red

Favorite Movie:  Under the Tuscan Sun

Favorite Paranormal Author:  Christine Feehan

Favorite ice cream:  Butter Pecan or Mint Choc Chip

Favorite Chocolate:  Dark chocolate

Favorite Candy:  Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate

Favorite Vacation:  Badlands, South Dakota

Favorite Genre Romance:  Historical romance

Favorite female actor:  Kate Winslet

Favorite male actor:  Alexander Skarsgard

Favorite TV shows:  Ancient Aliens, What on Earth, UFO files, The Abandoned, The Unexplained. (I’m a true nerd, and embrace it fully…lol)


Kristal Dawn Harris is an award-winning, Rone nominated, American romance author. She has been married for 27 years and has two children. Kristal finished a degree from Miami University in Accounting Technology, but quickly realized she preferred words over numbers. She is an avid reader and, in particular, loves darker paranormal romance. Her hobbies include coin collecting, physical fitness, stained-glass art (beginner), poetry, and song writing.

Kristal primarily writes for her publisher, The Wild Rose Press, although it should be noted she has self-released several books. She writes paranormal, fantasy, erotic, as well as contemporary romance in different lengths.

You can find out more about Kristal and her books at MEDIA LINKS


Website     Twitter    Facebook    Instagram     Goodreads    YouTube   BookBub


Amazon Author Page   Pinterest


Vampire and warlock, Roman Lee, spent centuries alone as ringmaster of the carnival. After befriending and healing a scarred, young woman, Roman realizes Mariah is his mate. He waits for her, but when she departs from his life, his torture knows no bounds. Now he's risen, unforgiving and angry, forced from his grave by the one woman who captured his heart, but will another secret and the call of his mate change everything?

The steady call of Roman's blood and the promise of peace brings Mariah Stone home to the carnival and the vampire she left behind. He ignores her until she forces him from the grave with her blood. His anger crushes her already broken spirit, but she is determined to win Roman's forgiveness and free him from their bond. Denied passion leads them down a path of magic and desire, while a devastating secret threatens eternal love.


Rise for Me | Universal Book Links Help You Find Books at Your Favorite Store! ( 


Mariah stopped directly over where she knew Roman rested. Her own blood surged in her veins every time she stepped on the worn plank. She tilted her head, listening to the call of his blood and the beat of his heart. Lizzie said he wasn’t feeding as much as he should, so there was one sure way to bring Roman out of his grave. She searched the room for something sharp until her gaze landed on a small, jeweled pocketknife. She grabbed it off the table and pulled the blade out of its slot. It was dull, but it would work.

Mariah placed the small blade against her left palm, then held it over the spot where she knew Roman rested. With one downward swipe, the blade pierced her flesh, opening a one-inch gash. Blood poured from the wound and dripped onto the rough, wooden floor planks. She crouched and held her palm over the crack between the boards, making sure the blood reached Roman. With a deep breath, she gathered her courage as her blood continued to splatter in droplets between the planks. The room seemed to groan, and every trinket vibrated when she finally called to the other half of her soul in a loud, demanding voice. “Rise for me, Roman Lee.”

Monday, December 28, 2020

The End of 2020--FINALLY

It is finally the end of 2020, and I don’t know about you, but I will be staying up past midnight to kick this year out the door! I feel like the writer’s room mistakenly put all the action and cliff hangers and disasters into one year, rather then spreading them out over a century (or two)—yes, I stole this from a meme, but it resonated with me.

Anyway, there were some good things to come out of this year. We learned resilience. We cherished family and friends. We preserved hope, sometimes digging really, really deep to find even a sliver. We discovered our true selves—and found out how selfish or selfless we were—and that’s always a good thing. And hey, we learned how to clean!


My wish for the New Year is as follows: 


Be kind, not cowardly.

Hug a lot and often (when we’re allowed).

Find the joy, get rid of the germs.

Appreciate the small things, they are sometimes all you have.



Sending you all health and happiness for a glorious 2021. We deserve it (well, most of us).


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Welcome Jeny Heckman


hen I first wrote, the Catch, back in 2008, I'd never written anything before in my life. My father-in-law, Chuck, was in the final stages of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and I was a nursing student. Rather than go back to school, I chose to stay home and help take care of him. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life. I got to know him on a level I hadn't in the fifteen years I’d been married to his son. Not that we weren’t close, we were, it was just different. 

I knew he was dying, but my family wasn't accepting it very well. He'd battled the same disease for nineteen years and beat it every time. I'd come home in the early evening, a little stressed because I didn't know how to get through to them, that his time was limited. So, I walked... a lot.

My favorite show at the time was, Deadliest Catch, the reality show about Alaska crab fishermen on the Bering Sea, and their incredibly dangerous job. I watched everything they produced on it, including the little vignettes on their website. Things like how does a crab pot work? The anatomy of a rogue wave, and my personal favorite... superstitions. I found out one of the biggest omens involved women onboard a fishing vessel and how they aren’t very welcome. Taboo, I think they said, during one season. Being someone that has always beat to my own drum, naturally I thought, what a crock of shit! One evening after staying with Chuck, I watched that little side show on superstitions, and started coming up with a story.

 I’ve done this all my life, having ideas for stories and making them up in my head, or reading stories and thinking how I would have written them differently. As I walked, I started wondering what would happen if I wrote my imagination down. So, I did. Four hours later, I had my plot and a fleshed-out outline. I wrote the story, in a few months, but painfully we lost my father-in-law, and were all devastated. 

Both of my children were in middle school and heavy into sports and their friends, whom always congregated at our house, and we had a business we needed to run. So, the Catch, stayed shelved. However, after a time, my son, Charlie, asked me about it and even read some. Not being a huge reader, I was tremendously happy he deemed me worthy, and when he asked me to publish it, I decided to do it. 

I decided to self-publish it, and as time moved on, I started writing down more stories and going to conferences to learn more about my craft. My second book, The Sea Archer, was picked up by New York publisher, the Wild Rose Press, and thus began the award-winning, Heaven & Earthseries. However, I always thought about the Catch, because I’d learned a lot and believed so much of the story was still rough. My grammar, and other mechanics weren’t as polished as I wanted, but I loved the story about survival, fathers and daughters and a woman in a man’s world. I decided to improve it, make it cleaner and republish it. However, certain story arcs changed a lot in the re-telling, thereby changing the tenor of the story somewhat. So, I decided to create a new book and entitle it, Releasing the Catch, which is actually a better name for the story, in many different ways. The result of which now lies in your hands and is published five years after the first. I’m very proud of it.

 There’s a million memories for me in this book. You’ll probably wonder how or why by the end of it or what I have in common with rough talking salty sea dogs. More than you might think, down in my core. I love Faith and Mack’s strength and growth in this story and sincerely hope you do to! 

Thank you for taking this journey with me.



Mack Carter’s life is circling the drain. When he hears about how lucrative the fishing industry is in Alaska, he decides to try his luck on the frigid Aleutian Chain. There he meets, Nels Pearson, who teaches the younger man how to be a crab fisherman on the deadly Bering Sea and becomes the friend and father-figure Mack’s never known. Carter must learn to navigate both the foreign world on the water and home life on land, finding a tenuous balance with both.


Through circumstances beyond her control, Faith Pearson is inserted into the dangerous life the men live in. To most fishermen in this high-velocity world, women onboard a crab boat is a bad omen. Faith finds life on the sea difficult to maneuver, not just the conditions but the men and superstitions she must also endure.

When tragedy strikes her life again, Faith strives to overcome great obstacles, and prove herself worthy mentally and physically, as she navigates self-discovery in a man’s bleak yet adventurous world. She also discovers lessons about love from a delicious new co-worker and just how deadly the Bering Sea can be when her own life is on the line, possibly never releasing her from the catch.

Releasing the Catch, is a story of fathers and daughters, letting go of the past, self-discovery, and overcoming odds made harder simply for your gender. It’s the story of two individuals at different times in an intertwined and extraordinary life, with so much to teach one another.





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“Oh no, I think we’re good here, thanks sweetheart,” Andy said, mistaking her for the waitress and darted a questioning gaze back at the men. “Unless anyone needs another round?”

Faith drew in a deep, irritated breath, lifted her chin and peered down her nose at Jake, who gazed back with a hesitant twitch at the corner of his mouth. Oh, yeah, he’s getting it. At least she’d give him marks for some intelligence.

Squaring her shoulders, she shifted her eyes back to Andy and stuck out a hand. “Actually, I’m Faith. Mack says you’re looking for a seasoned deckhand to help you through the winter, that, right?”

Confused, Andy’s stared first at her face, then her chest region, then at her outstretched hand. In complete bewilderment, he checked Mack’s face, then his brother’s.

Jake, long legs sprawled out in front of him, an elbow on the table, and hand supporting his chin, serpentined a slow, genuine smile across his face. He flicked his index finger up over his lips and used only his eyes to measure his brother’s reaction. Since the skipper didn’t appear to snap out of it any time soon, his younger brother outstretched his own hand, and shifted his gaze back up to Faith.

“That’s right. I’m Jakob Rassmussen, deck boss. You can call me Jake. This is my brother, Andy, he’s capt’n.” They shook hands and Jake returned his observation to Andy, whose face started to turn colors. A gurgle of laughter escaped from the younger man, before covering it up with a cough. Mack never stopped peering into his drink.

“Oh, for chrissake!” Faith said, disgusted, and all three men jerked their attention toward her, as if slapped. “My father,” she gestured at Mack. “Is an asshole. It’s not his fault, he was just born that way. He didn’t tell me about any of this,” -she waved a hand at them and the table- “Until I got here, a little over an hour ago.” 

She flicked an accusatory glare at Mack, who had the excellent sense to stay quiet. “Look, I don’t have time for any of your good-ole-boy superstitious bullshit. I’ve lived on a crab boat since I was eight-years-old. I became a full share deckhand at sixteen, and I’ve worked as deck boss and as an engineer.” Her glare now fell on Jake, who stared back in fascination. “I just left my last job because it was time for a change, not because I couldn’t hack it. I work well on the hydraulics, stack, rail, bait, wherever the hell you want to put me. I’m a fast learner and I don’t expect to find your boat to be the space shuttle. Either you want me or not. I’ll be on the pier tomorrow at seven a.m., so you have the night to decide. Right now, I’m tired and I want to go to bed.”

She grabbed Jake’s drink, the closest and fullest, with three fingers of some strange, yet horrific alcohol, she discovered. She drained it in one large gulp, turned on her heel and left the bar. All three men stared in her wake, open-mouthed. Her stomach roiled by the time she got upstairs, and puked.

“What the hell was in that?” she asked the room at large. The idiot didn’t even have the sense to drink whiskey. She shuddered with disgust and lifted a hand to her mouth at the lingering taste of vomit and licorice, before sitting down next to the toilet, and flinging her arm across the closed lid. At least the first pissing match went to her. She reached up and grabbed her toothbrush off the counter, smiled for a few seconds, then put a hand back to her stomach as it roiled again, lifting the lid for another digestive pyrotechnic experience.

Author Bio: 

Jeny Heckman is the award-winning author of the paranormal-romance series, Heaven & Earth. When she isn’t writing, you will find her boating with her husband, enjoying game night with her kids, cocktails with her friends, getting frustrated with photography or dreaming and plotting her next adventure. Jeny lives in Washington state with her husband of over twenty-eight years.


            Amazon Author Central:










Monday, December 14, 2020

Hanukkah 2020

Hanukkah in a pandemic.

I didn’t think it would bother me as much as it does. It’s a holiday I treasure because it brings us, as a family, closer together. While it’s not a major holiday by any means, reserving time each night to gather around the menorahs, light the candles, and find a little something special to do each evening, is the equivalent of sharing a family meal together. We bond. We laugh. We talk. 


This year, we still do those things. I’m lucky enough to have my girls home for the holiday. They are both healthy. The four of us can be together. Our immediate family traditions haven’t changed.


But other things have. 


We didn’t have our big family Hanukkah party this year. Instead, we FaceTimed and texted and did quick present drop-offs. No cousins going off laugh together, no hugs.


We celebrated one night with my parents, from a distance. How do you do that? Well, here’s one suggestion:


Plan for celebrating Hanukkah with grandparents, COVID edition:

1) If possible, FaceTime. If not (for example, if suggesting FT will cause a riot), move onto step 2

2) Invite them to arrive at sundown--since that occurs at 4:30, no dinner is involved (aka, no eating without a mask).

3) Wear masks. No hugs or kisses. Sit over THERE and don't move!

4) Provide candles for grandparents' menorah, having determined that our orphan candles burn waaaayyyy faster than their fancy ones. 

5) Strategically arrange menorahs so we are far away from each other, but in some sort of line so that six people can be in the photo (probably not possible, but...)

6) Do not serve latkes or fried Oreos (see reason #2).

7) You may only drink if you're willing to drink through a straw. Yeah, I didn't think so.

8) Spend the half hour the candles are burning yelling back and forth since you're sitting across the room wearing masks (I knew an open floor plan would come in handy).

9) Candles burn out, BYE!! 

Miss Manners is gonna kill me. Unless of course, she wants to be safe, too. Then maybe I’ll get a one-year pass.


We also didn’t celebrate with our friends. No “have menorah, will travel” and no “fried Oreo extravaganza.” Not this year. Traveling and extravaganzas are frowned upon. 


I get it. I really do. I support being extra careful. I’m the one who tells everyone not to do anything, not to forget their masks, to wash their hands again, to skip the hugs. But it’s been nine months and it’s getting old.


We still have the light and the warmth of the candles. Especially this year, lighting the darkness is important. And maybe, this year, we ARE the light in the darkness. The ones (of many, but not nearly enough) who follow the rules, who keep others safe, who find joys in the forced proximity. Maybe we’re showing our will to survive so that when this is finally over, we’ll celebrate the darkness that didn’t overtake us, and the light that we passed on to others.


Wear a mask. Get vaccinated. Be the light.


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Welcome, Joan Koster/Zara West!

 The Question that Is Key to Any Successful Revision

One of the hardest parts of revising my novels is knowing what to keep in and what to take out. Every word is precious. For a long time, I resisted taking out a single word, and then I was asked to remove 20,000 words from a romance novel I had submitted to an agent.

20,000 words?

What in the world could I remove that wouldn’t destroy the story? I had already tightened up everything as much as possible. I’d cut out every unneeded and overused word. I’d shortened my long paragraphs and sentences. I’d even removed a lot of my lovely description of the small town and bay where the story was set. How could I remove anything else?

I thumbed through the manuscript. I had used Gwen Hayes’ Romancing the Beat as my template. There was the cute meet and initial attraction, the first rejection of the possibility of love, the point where the hero and heroine were thrown together on the boat, the moment the attraction became irresistible, the first touch, the first kiss, then the moment of doubt, the betrayal, the break up, the regret, the grand gesture on both parts, and the final coming together.

Then it struck me. I set the manuscript down. I was asking the wrong question. The question I needed to ask—the question that is key to any successful revision—is what absolutely has to be in the draft to make the story whole?

I went through the manuscript again, highlighting in bright yellow all the scenes that related to the romance plotline. By looking at what had to be kept, I suddenly saw the things that were extraneous—extra characters in the bar scenes, a side trip added because I wanted to share a place I had visited, the long-winded description of a sunset over the ocean that was lovely, but irrelevant to the romantic couple who had other things on their minds. 

It wasn’t easy, but in the end, I did remove 20,000 words. Hopefully, you will never have to do the same. 

But if you do need to tighten up a draft, looking for what has to be kept instead what should be cut may make the process less stressful and more productive. That’s because it is always better to see the positives instead of the negatives. 

Give it a try and let me know what you think.





You’ve finished your rough draft—great! Here’s how to quickly and easily revise it to show off your true writing skills.

From the award-winning author and educator who brought you the Fast Drafting method comes an easy, effective way to approach the often daunting task of revising your work. It doesn’t have to be difficult or frustrating! Revise Your Draft: And Make Your Writing Shine.


About the series:

Don’t just write…write for success! From award-winning author and educator Joan Bouza Koster comes a revolutionary series of guides showing you the steps that helped her writing not just land an agent and book deal but win praise from readers and literary tastemakers. Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, romance, thriller, or historical, this series delivers behind-the-scenes tips, inspiration when you need it most, and the flexibility to fit your writing career. Write with confidence and write for success.


Available from AMAZON


About the Author

When she is not writing in her studio by the sea, Joan Koster lives with her historian husband and a coon cat named Cleo in an 1860s farmhouse stacked to the ceiling with books. In a life full of adventures, she has scaled mountains, chased sheep, and been abandoned on an island for longer than she wants to remember.


An award-winning author who loves mentoring writers, Joan blends her love of history, and romance into historical novels about women who shouldn’t be forgotten and into romantic thrillers under the pen name, Zara West. She is the author of the award-winning romantic suspense series The Skin Quartet and the top-selling Write for Success series.


Joan blogs at JoanKoster.comWomen Words and WisdomAmerican Civil War VoiceZara West Romance, and Zara West’s Journal and teaches numerous online writing courses. Her 30 Days of revision Tips will be offered by From the Heart Romance Writers this January.