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Weekly Word Count: 2/6/2019

Word Count: 4505

What story I’m currently working on:

Even though I’m only at 10k with Forged Redemption, I’m another thousand words closer to my normal weekly pace, and I’m hoping to really step it up the rest of February. A lot of the book is already crystallizing in my head, so I’m excited to really sink into it and start feeling along with the characters. I’m really freaking excited to finish the Tribal Spirits series, but also a little sad, considering this wild ride started just two years ago when I was writing this piece in response to a call for shifter stories.

What I’m editing/marketing:

So, not only was Forged Futures contracted but I’m already neck deep in content edits! And I’ve got some more news on the horizon too, so stay tuned. I did turn in the initial Scrying for Summer edits and launched into the Rising for Autumn ones, and I’m hoping by March at least this editing fervor has died down and gives me more time to write. If you haven’t gotten it yet, pre-order Of Tinkers and Technomancers, which comes out March 12th! And if you’re an audio book fan, you can get the entire Take to the Skies series on audio book now that The Airship Also Rises is out!

Join my brigade:

The best ways to get involved with my work is by joining my ARC List, my Facebook Group, my Newsletter, or if you want exclusive content and a free sci-fi romance, sign up for my Patreon!

Teaser of the week:

He didn_t know what he searched for out there in all the blue. Maybe the faintest glimmer of hope, like the sun gliding off the rippling surface of the lake.(1)

Currently listening to:

Line of the week:

Ally let out a low whistle. “When did you become more than just a pretty face?”

“Let’s be real, I’m not much without my looks,” Drew drawled in response. “I blame Lucas and his band of Tribe for all this planning ahead nonsense.”

“Sure, all that bad Tribe influence,” Ally shot back. “Just like the Boy Scouts are out to corrupt wayward kids into learning discipline.”

Drew pumped on the gas, speeding up to catch up with the car they were tailing. All the dips in the road made it that much harder to keep track of. “Hey, we start teaching kids discipline and the next thing you’ll have is upstanding citizens. No one wants that. Chaos and malarkey for all.”

“Malarkey? What are you, eighty?” Ally cracked the window as she leaned her arm out the side. Her golden hair streamed in the breeze, silken strands he longed to run his fingers through. Spirits above, every inch of her body was pure temptation for him.

“Yep. Mackey better watch out, because I’m coming for him, walker and all.”

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Weekly Word Count: 11/15/18

Word Count: 11771

What story I’m currently working on:

I’m midway through Forged Futures and ramping up to the big twist in the middle. I was rolling really fast on this book, but the last couple of chapters I feel like I’ve been sputtering a bit, so I’m about to get back on track. I’m currently at 30k, so I’ve put a significant dent into this book. To be quite frank, I’ll probably be done it by the end of the month, if not the end of the year, which is hella cool.

What I’m editing/marketing:

I started sending out more submissions for The Lies We Weave, though I’m debating on doing one more editing run through. But most of my focus this week was on Forged Alliances’ release day, which was Tuesday! A little over a year since it was last out, it’s now back with a LOT of fuel behind it. After all, I’ve got the next two already stacked to go, and I’m working on the fourth in the series. I will absolutely be finished the Tribal Spirits series by next year, and that’s pretty awesome. If you haven’t grabbed Bustles and Bells yet, I’d recommend it! An Airship Carol is a super fun caper. Next on the agenda is the pre-order for Forged Decisions on November 20th, which I’m super excited for.

Join my brigade:

The best ways to get involved with my work is by joining my ARC List, my Facebook Group, my Newsletter, or if you want exclusive content and a free sci-fi romance, sign up for my Patreon!

Teaser of the week:

“Except here he crouched before her, all breakable brown eyes, old scars and the shortest temper she’d ever encountered. And unlike every other guy she’d messed around with before, this was the one man she couldn’t s.jpg

Currently listening to:

Line of the week:

For this single moment, she could exist here with him. For this single moment, she wasn’t a widow, she wasn’t the wife of Greg Bennett. For this single moment, he wasn’t one of the Tribe. For this single moment, he could stay.

Her gaze landed on his lips, but Lucas pulled away first, shattering that fragile, quavering ray they’d clung to. Lana stepped back to grab her coffee, as if the heat from the mug could dispel the way her fingers tingled from mere touch.

“So, taking down Ganzorig?” Lana said before taking a quick sip. Not like she could evade the heat in Lucas’s eyes, or the way her body flushed.

He nodded. “Yeah, we’re taking down the Landsliders.”

Even as their mouths formed different words, Lana recognized them for what they were.

Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.

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Music Monday- Forged Alliances

Getting my Music Monday on with the release of Forged Alliances tomorrow!

1. I Don’t Wanna Live Forever- ZAYN/Taylor Swift

This song had a kinda sexy vibe to it which worked for the scorching chemistry between Dax and Sierra. Even though Sierra’s all blunt edges, stubbornness, and flames, Dax was lazy seduction with a cocky confidence that worked so well with her.

2. Friction- Imagine Dragons

This book had a lot of shifter fights involved, and this was my favorite song to play when I was working on the challenger fights. It has an intense beat and a pulse-pounding intensity that got me in the right mindset.

3. Begging for Thread- Banks

Another sensual song, this one worked perfectly for the sex scenes later on. As Dax and Sierra get to know each other more and more, their chemistry becomes explosive and undeniable, which the inexorable seduction of this melody highlighted.

4. Wolves- Selena Gomez

How could I not have this song on the playlist? Since this was the kick-off of my shifter series, I had to include this one, for the energetic beat and the lyrics.

5. Revolution- The Score

I especially loved the line ‘all my wolves begin to howl’ because within seconds of starting this series, they were ‘my wolves’ and ‘my mountain lions’. I fell hard for the Red Rock and Silver Spring packs, and the energy in this song made it perfect for big scenes between the packs.

What’s your next project on the horizon: The fourth book in the Tribal Spirits series! Book two, Forged Decisions is coming out January 1st, and book three, Forged Contracts, is coming out May 21st!

Dive into the first book of the Tribal Spirits series now: Forged Alliances!

Sierra and Dax’s alliance is already rocky. He’s a cocky wiseass, and she doesn’t put up with bullshit. So, when a mating bond appears between them, it threatens to send them both running.

Sierra Kanoska fought hard for her position as wolf alpha of the Red Rock pack, and intruders in her territory receive the full brunt of what her claws, fangs and smarts can accomplish. So, when Dax Williams, de facto alpha of the Silver Springs pack, pays an unwelcome visit, Sierra’s ready to toss him out. However, the pack elders sabotaged Dax’s fight for alpha against his brother, driving him from his lands. Sierra hates underhanded crap like that, so she agrees on an alliance.

As they work together, she witnesses an alpha who wants to do right by his pack, not just a cocky wiseass. Their growing attraction blazes hot, but the moment she and Dax lock lips, a mating bond emerges. Sierra sure as hell isn’t ready to share that intimate connection with a stranger and the thought of forever sends Dax running.

Before they can talk, the Tribe commanding the East Coast shifters arrives to settle the dispute. Dax and his brother’s punishment for their pack’s civil war is a free-for-all on their lands. Not only does he have to defeat his brother, but any challenger in the region. Despite Dax and Sierra’s initial resistance, his wily charm relaxes her control-freak tendencies while her steadfast support bolsters his strength. Yet every new opponent places their newfound relationship under siege—one misstep, one wrong blow in the ring, and Dax could leave in a bodybag.

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Music Monday- What You Want

Musical Mondays for all!

Today let’s welcome Landra Graf with her book What You Want to discuss her musical inspiration for the book!


Say You Do by Dierks Bentley – This song makes me think of early on in the story, when both hero and heroine have met, but she’s trying to convince him to agree to a little dessert.

Come a Little Closer Baby by Dierks Bentley – This is an end of the book song. One that has all the Happily Ever After and sexy I could dream of. Also, this guy’s voice… if you can’t tell I love it.

Come Over by Kenny Chesney – I easily got into the mood for writing Kanoa and Laney’s scenes leading up to the big smexy moments listening to this song.

Just a Kiss by Lady Antebellum – This song means a ton for my heroine, Laney. I can’t say specifically why, but kisses are a big deal.

Like a Wrecking Ball by Eric Church – One of the naughtiest country songs I’ve heard in a while. It fits my characters and came in handy for the more sensual moments in this book.

What’s your next project on the horizon? What You Want is the second in the Desperately Seeking Submissive series. The third one, What You Desire, is coming in April and features one of the characters from this story. What You Crave, the first book in the series, is available now.

Where can your readers find you? I’m always wandering Facebook via Landra Graf. My website is another way to check out my books and what I’m up to. If you want the latest news I highly suggest signing up for my newsletter, which I share with the awesome Catherine Peace.


What You Want

When her sister gets sick on the night of her 1Night Stand date, Laney Malcolm is asked to fill in and pretend to be her twin. Treating it as a lark, she looks forward to an adventurous event with a free dinner and not much else. She isn’t prepared for the fierce attraction nor the urge to help the Hawaiian, tattooed submissive she’s introduced to.

Kanoa Mahelona has spent the last year trying to find himself, but he’s tired of random hook-ups and women who only want him for his bad-boy image. Madame Eve helped his boss, so he turns to her for assistance. Attractive and damn good at breaking through his barriers, the blonde Domme challenges him in a way he can’t seem to turn down.

Only she’s not who she appears to be, and, once the truth comes out, it may be too late to go back.

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Music Monday- Tyburn

Start your Monday off with some awesome new music!

Today we’re welcoming Jessica Cale with Tyburn, book one of the Southwark Saga!

Un Jeune Homme Chantait – Edith Piaf

This song is a terrific prologue for the book. It’s moody, beautiful, and a little eerie. It’s about a girl who gets seduced by a boy on a highway, thinking they’ll be together forever. He leaves her there, broken, and goes on his merry way, singing. When Tyburn starts, Sally is a disillusioned prostitute who had been abused or abandoned by multiple men. Plus, the song is in French and she’s from Normandy, so to me it sounds like her backstory.

Do You Love Me? – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

I listened to so much Nick Cave while writing this book that it was difficult choosing just one song. This one has a certain addictive mania to it that I love, plus the amazing line “I found God and all his devils inside her.” Yes. Exactly that. There’s this wonderful angel/monster duality here that suits Sally down to her toes. If I could pick a theme song for the book, this would probably be it.

Little Drop of Poison – Tom Waits

Poison plays a part in Tyburn, literally and metaphorically. Many of the medicines and cosmetics at the time like mercury, lead, and wormwood are recognized as poison now. You also have the lines “Nobody knows they’re lining up to go insane/I’m all alone, I smoke my friends down to the filter.” This is very much Sally’s mentality. She’s an alcoholic who regularly hallucinates the Death is following her, and her friends keep dying. Spot on.

One More Cup of Coffee – Bob Dylan

I love the shuffle of the intro to this song. It has this terrific folky, off-beat thing going on. It doesn’t scan and it should drive me crazy (I’m a drummer), but I’m crazy about it. This is a kind of tribute to a mysterious gypsy woman. I find the chorus asking for coffee is both comfortably relatable and oddly ominous. Sally is an orphan, and is raised believing her mother was a gypsy. During the seventeenth century when I’m writing, coffee was a hugely popular drink and tea was almost exclusively enjoyed by the wealthiest classes. Most of my characters are firmly working class or lower — carpenters, barmaids, prostitutes, highwaymen — and they drink a lot of coffee!

Stand and Deliver – Adam & The Ants

My hero, Nick Virtue, is a highwayman, and if highwaymen ever had an anthem, it’s this one! This song is a lot of fun and a welcome break from the sexy gloom of the rest of the playlist. This would be a good song to play over the closing credits. 😉

What’s your next project on the horizon?

I am getting ready to release the third book of The Southwark Saga, The Long Way Home. I’m hoping to have it out this Spring!

Where can your readers find you?

You can find me on my website at I’m also very active on Facebook ( and Twitter (



When survival is impossible, love is everything.

Sally Green is about to die.

She sees Death in the streets. She can taste it in her gin. She can feel it in the very walls of the ramshackle brothel where she is kept to satisfy the perversions of the wealthy. She had come to London as a runaway in search of her Cavalier father. Instead, she found Wrath, a sadistic nobleman determined to use her to fulfill a sinister ambition. As the last of her friends are murdered one by one, survival hinges on escape.

Nick Virtue is a tutor with a secret. By night he operates as a highwayman, relieving nobles of their riches to further his brother’s criminal enterprise. It’s a difficult balance at the best of times, and any day that doesn’t end in a noose is a good one. Saving Sally means risking his reputation, and may end up costing him his life.

As a brutal attack throws them together, Sally finds she has been given a second chance. She is torn between the tutor and the highwayman, but she knows she can have neither. Love is an unwanted complication while Wrath haunts the streets. Nick holds the key to Wrath’s identity, and Sally will risk everything to bring him to justice.

Unless the gallows take her first.


Buy links:

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Ten Songs to Write Sexy Scenes to

Part of my writing ritual always includes hopping onto Spotify and putting on a playlist. While occasionally I free write without music, I find that it really helps me keep focused when I play something in the background. When it comes to writing sex scenes, since they’re such an intense, intimate thing, I always need accompanying music.

So, today I’m sharing my current top ten songs to write sex to! Granted, as different situations and characters arise, I do change up which ones fit. Sometimes it takes finding the song to get the right theme to emerge from the encounter.

1. Rev 22:20- Puscifer

This is one intense and sexy song. It’s got a lot of power, and Maynard has the sort of seductive voice to deliver.

2. Gravity of Love- Enigma

For more romantic sex, I like to use this song. (Even though my preference usually lies with raunchy rather than sweet :P) This one has the necessary “gravity” tee hee, to deliver the depth of emotion in those circumstances.

3. Inside of You, In Spite of You- Thoushaltnot

This industrial song is not the normal sexy fare, but when I was writing Hunting for Spring set amid grungy buildings and gritty themes, the song just fit the mood for Conor and Brenna.
4. Not a Virgin- Poe
I’ve written many a sex scene to this song. It’s one of my favorites because Poe’s just deliciously bold and raunchy. Since I tend to write a lot of sassy, take-charge ladies, this is the perfect anthem for them.
5. Sex and Candy-Marcy Playground
There’s a great sensuality to this song that works really well for flirty foreplay, and the first time I heard it, I knew it would be a good addition.
6. Fucked My Way Up to the Top- Lana Del Rey
To be honest, most of Lana Del Rey’s music has that hint of sexy that just works so well for cynical romance. This song in particular has a rough edge to the sweetness that I really enjoyed, and her voice gives any song a sexual edge.
7. Virgin State of Mind- K’s Choice
Dark music seems to work really well to put me in the mindset. This woman’s lower voice combined with the intensity of the music do a fantastic job of capturing a private moment, probably why I dug it in the first place.
8. Bad Things- Jace Everett
Just throwing it out there-who DOESN’T think of sex when they hear this song? Dark country just does it for me, and even the bit of twang gives it a raunchier vibe that fits in with the style of sex I normally write.
9. Beggin for Thread- Banks
Had this one on repeat yesterday when I was working on my most recent sex scene. I like the underlying desperation in it, which is why it jived for the rough sex the characters were having. Both clashed together, needing to feel something other than sadness.
10. Rough Sex- Lords of Acid
Can I spell it out more blatantly? Probably not. This band is usually the first to broadcast sex in your face, and I think this one also fits the bill for hot and rough, rather than any sort of sweet intimacy.

I’m probably missing a couple in the lineup, and I’m sure to discover more along the way, but these are my favorites at the moment. Did I miss any that you think should be on the list? Do you have any suggestions for new ones to listen to?


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Music Mondays- An Airship Named Desire

Well, we’ve got music to brighten up your Monday, and this time it’s of the steampunk variety! Let’s dip into my playlist for An Airship Named Desire and see what gems we uncover!

So what songs did I listen to?

Airship Pirate by Abney Park

Come on now, I’ll kick it off with the obvious. Anyone with half a brain could expect this one on the playlist. Even though it’s not shocking, the song’s worth a listen. I love the whirring in the beginning and the way it ramps up into the chorus. It’s got that trademark Abney Park sound, and epitomizes the steampunk movement for me–probably why my own contribution is of the airship pirate variety.

Iron Rose by Clockwork Dolls

The compositions this band did for their Dramatis Personae album are phenomenal and quite worth listening to. This song in particular gets a mention due to the frequency with which I played it during the writing of the final battle. What better to put you in the mood for the crescendo of your story than a song with such rises and swells as this one?

Captain Morgan’s Revenge by Alestorm

Of course I’m tackling regular pirate songs. It’s only proper. Alestorm, with their Scottish brogue that sounds all to reminiscent of piratey ‘arrghs’ fits the bill perfectly. I loved this song as it had a storytelling all on its own, and the fact that it was longer meant that I didn’t have to repeat quite as frequently.

She by Abney Park

I may have listened to a lot of Abney Park melodies while writing Airship, but this one strikes near and dear to me. It involved writing one of the most difficult scenes I’ve ever tackled, and I listened to it on repeat for most of a day to put myself in that dark of a place. The song has heartbreak, sadness, and longing, wrapped into one neat melody, and it really helped take me there.

Pirate Song by Alestorm

While this song is about the sea version of pirates, the spirit remains the same, and by gods what a spirit it is. If this song doesn’t make you want to take to the seas (or skies in my case), then the pirating spirit just might not be with you. It’s got the cadence of a shanty with a glorious refrain that you can just imagine sitting around a bar and caterwauling at the top of your lungs. (I may have.)

An Airship Named Desire

Airships, sky-pirates, smugglers, and soldiers…An Airship Named Desire will take you for a thrilling ride.

Ever since their last botched smuggling job, First Mate Bea and the crew of her airship can barely afford fuel, let alone a barrel of grog. So when a gentleman from Old Germany offers them a fortune to steal a locked box from a British merchant airship, they jump on the opportunity. However, their employer forgot to mention the box’s military escort and the Morlock mercenaries who would slit throats to get their hands on it. Oh, and if made public, the contents could engulf Europe in another devastating war.

Stealing the box was the easy part. Now, with a target on their back and some of the toughest characters in the skies after them, if the crew of the Desire doesn’t polish their pistols and prepare for a hell of a fight, they’ll end up worse than grounded. After all, everyone from the Brits to the Morlocks will kill for the contents of that box, and no one survives an airship crash.

As for new projects on the horizon, as promised, I’m writing the sequel to this book. A Tale of Two Airships is set to arrive next year, and it’ll be quite a riveting journey.

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Music Monday- Conquest of the Heart

Just another Music Monday (try to not get Manic Monday stuck in your head…).

Today let’s welcome Michele Stegman to the blog to discuss Conquest of the Heart!


I don’t really listen to music when I write. If the radio happens to be on, I “tune” it out. Music is so powerful, that it becomes a distraction for me. But I do love music, especially classical music and opera, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Mussorgsky, Puccini, etc. I also love movie sound tracks such as Last of the Mohicans, Pirates of the Carribean, and Dances With Wolves. But my favorite way to enjoy music is to play the piano.

Sometimes I will stay up late and play the piano into the night, until 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. It seems such a personal time for me, alone with my piano and my music. And here I am living in a log cabin way out in the woods, with no neighbors nearby. I can’t even see the road from my cabin. And when my husband is at work, I am here by myself. But those nighttime hours are still special.

When I was a child, my first album was Nutcracker Suite. Sure, I liked popular music, too, and listened to it with friends, but classical music was what I really enjoyed, even in grade school.

Now, classical music is still my very favorite, but as the pianist for my church, I am appreciating anew the music I grew up with in church. I especially love finding new arrangements of hymns.

So how do I use music to help me write? Music has rhythm, of course, and so does writing. In the best music, there is a growing tension and then a release that is similar to writing those climatic scenes. I also find inspiration when I listen to grand, sweeping music. I can “see” what is happening when the music plays. And sometimes, that inspires scenes and ideas for new books. I just don’t listen while I write!

I’m working on a western romance set in Texas in 1869. It’s about a man who isn’t as bad as he thinks he is, but who still needs redemption and forgiveness, mainly from himself.

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MicheleStegmanAuthor on Facebook

@MicheleStegman on Twitter

Conquest of the Heart

Her people conquered his country.

In 1067 England, Madeline, a Norman, wants a big, brash, never-defeated-in-battle, Norman knight. What she gets, by order of the king, is a wiry Saxon who once studied for the priesthood instead of warfare. But is this gentle man she is falling in love with entangled in the rebellion now sweeping the land?

Now she must conquer his heart.

Ranulf wants to marry the girl next door. What he gets, by order of the king, is a lush, strong Norman woman who just might be a spy reporting his every move. He wants her in every way a man can possibly want a woman. But can he trust his heart to a woman who might have been sent to root out the struggle for freedom his people are engaged in? How can they overcome the distrust they feel to find love?

Buy it at: Amazon and Mythical Press

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Music Monday- Picture This

One of my favorite ways to push through writer’s block and attract some inspiration is through music, and I’ve taken to making playlists. That’s why I wanted to start this feature–to find out what songs served as inspiration for some of your favorite books!

Today let’s welcome Marilyn Baxter onto the blog to discuss Picture This:

Picture This_FINAL

Most of my writing is done to instrumental music playlist because if it’s a song I know, I’ll end up singing instead of writing. And on that playlist is music by Enya, Secret Garden and Ennio Morricone (whose Cinema Paradiso soundtrack is nothing short of pure heaven). I also like Alan Silvestri’s soundtrack from the film Romancing the Stone because it’s good music, it has both soft romantic tracks in addition to more intense tracks, and the heroine of that movie is a romance novelist! I had a few specific songs that really fit this book at certain parts of the story and they are:

So Close (from the movie Enchanted) fits when I’m at the black moment because the characters are so close to reaching that famous happy end. But they’re still so far – until I kick them in the backside and get them to happily ever after.

Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N Roses fits on two levels because when the hero sees the heroine’s face she takes him to a special place. And they’re having a baby together – their sweet child.

Holding Out for a Hero by Bonnie Tyler actually fits every book I write because what woman isn’t holding out for a hero? Doesn’t she toss and turn and dream of what she needs?

Open Arms by Journey worked during part of the book because the hero and heroine sailed on together and then drifted apart and now he’s come back with open arms though she’s not quite ready to take him back.

At Last by the inimitable Etta James – I listen to this at the end of every book because at last the hero or heroine’s love has come along and the lonely days are over. And at last I’ve written “The End!”

My as-yet-untitled WIP involved the sister of PICTURE THIS’s hero, a forty-something woman with two disastrous relationships in her past. Then she meets a cute, hot, smart, talented guy who is obviously interested in her, but can she get over the last two guys who hurt her AND the eight-year age difference between the two of them. Stay tuned for further developments. I can already tell one of the songs on this playlist will be Make You Feel My Love by Adele.



Twitter: @marilyn_baxter

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Musical Inspiration for Soul Solution

One part of the writing process for me will always be listening to music. I find it so inspiring to place myself in the setting, and I usually form a playlist. When it came to working on Soul Solution, I needed something filled with pristine, heartwrenching longing, and this song happened to fit the bill. While writing certain sections, I would listen to this song in particular over and over. First time I heard it was in How I Met Your Mother, and I remember how much it gripped me in that scene, how my heart soared and I wanted to emulate that feeling in this book.