Friday, July 31, 2015

RURAL MEMORIES by Katya Armock

Join The Roses and me in welcoming Katya Armock as our guest blogger today. She has a prize for some lucky person, so read on!

Even though I live in a large city now, I still love the country and respect my rural roots, which is why I wanted to write a romance series that took place in rural Michigan. So my latest series, Perry Grove, incorporates some of my childhood memories, as well as stories told by my parents and in-laws.
I grew up four miles outside a village of 600 people, on a dirt road, and surrounded by fields on a rotating crop of soybeans, corn, and winter wheat. We had one close neighbor, who had three boys, the oldest of whom  was four years younger than me. I had no siblings, so I spent a lot of time roaming on my own. Our other neighbors were more than a quarter mile away.

About a mile away was a cattle operation, which was far enough away we didn’t smell manure too often, but close enough that sometimes we did. Worse was the smell of fermenting corn used as their feed, which sometimes got carted by our house in large bins towed by tractors. The upside to being on the path between grain storage and cows was that the farmer always made sure our road was plowed in the winter. I decided to make my first hero, Jeremiah, a dairy farmer, although the cattle operation near my childhood home was a beef operation. On the closest main road, there was a sign that proudly proclaimed: “Beef. It’s what’s for dinner!”

I, of course, went to school with a lot of farmers, although my family never farmed—we just lived in an old farmhouse built in the 1870s, with an addition built at some later date I don’t recall. We did garden, though.

Mostly what I remember are the summer days spent outdoors. I wiled away hours in a maple tree in our backyard. I loved the years corn was planted because I could hide among the stalks (thank goodness I have an excellent sense of direction since I sometimes wandered farther than I probably should have). Growing up in such a remote area made me feel safe to explore, and I rarely encountered other people. Instead, I found fertile ground in my imagination. I hope you will find some of my love of the rural Midwest in Monica’s Match.

I’d love to hear your stories about time spent in rural areas. Leave a comment about your experiences and one winner will get an ebook copy of Monica’s Match.

Monica has the ability to see a guy’s aura light up the first time he touches his soul mate, but she’s kept it a secret since her parents shamed her as a child. Still, she decides to start her own matchmaking company—even if she doesn’t advertise her unique ability. Business is so-so until she gets a call to find matches for the singles of the small town of Perry Grove. She’s not looking for love herself but has an immediate attraction to one of her clients. Too bad another woman lit up his aura.
Hunky dairy farmer Jeremiah wants nothing to do with his grandpa’s hare-brained matchmaking scheme but agrees to play along to appease the man who raised him.  But when he meets the sexy matchmaker, he starts to rethink his single status. Too bad she’s intent on pairing him up with another woman. If there’s one thing he knows, though, it’s how to be stubborn.

Jeremiah scooted until his back rested against the tree and then patted the ground next to him with that charming, dimpled grin back on his almost painfully handsome face. “Give me ten more minutes. You haven’t relaxed yet, and under this tree is the best place to unwind.” His voice was a smooth drawl with just the right amount of pleading to batter at her defenses.

Monica hesitated and glanced at her smartphone to note the time. No one expected her back for about thirty-five minutes. Time was just not on her side.

“Come on. You told me yourself you haven’t spent much time in the country. Take a few moments to smell the fresh air and listen to the wilds.”

Oh, what the heck? They could easily spend the next ten minutes arguing about whether to go or stay. She sank next to him on the grass and leaned against the tree so her shoulder brushed his. The electric sizzle she felt whenever she touched him was back.

He inhaled deeply and let it out with a pleased sigh. He looked completely in his element, his face relaxed and boyish. He shifted one leg over the other, and the move pulled his T-shirt tight across his chest so she could clearly see just how defined his pecs were. He took a deep breath.

Oh. Mama. She was sure the sun had just gotten hotter.

He let the breath out with a contented sigh. “Do you smell the grass warmed by the sun? All the oxygen from the trees carried on the cool breeze?”

She paid a bit more attention to her next breath as she wiggled to try to find a more comfortable position. The air did smell fresh, although there was still an undercurrent of cow. “It’s nice.”

He looked at her sidelong. “It’s more than nice. The country air around here is the best smell you’ll ever experience.”

His impassioned statement had her wanting to believe. She closed her eyes, relaxed against the tree, and…what was poking her in the tailbone? She scooted forward enough to pull the blanket back and find the offending rock. She’d had quite enough of the outdoors for the day and started to stand, but Jeremiah’s hand shot out and held her in a crouch.

“It’s just a rock. Move it and sit back down. You haven’t fully smelled the air yet.”

Her glare didn’t inspire him to remove his hand, as she’d hoped it would. His clear, blue eyes stared at her with equal parts challenge and amusement. He wanted her to smell the cow-filled air? Fine. She’d smell the damned cow-filled air.

With a huff she plunked back down, and he released her arm so she could get herself situated. Nothing poked her in the behind this time, and she leaned back against the rough bark. His eyes burned into her, but she refused to acknowledge his watchful stare or how very much she’d like him to touch her again.
She needed to relax and get this over with. She closed her eyes once more and drew the air into her lungs. Now that she was paying attention, she caught the floral fragrance of the grasses and weeds and wildflowers and trees. The air was fresh. No sooty, dirty, city smell from the cars and houses and people.

“It’s so quiet. I don’t hear a single car.”

He chuckled. “Sit here long enough and you’ll learn just how much racket a single car makes. But it’s not quiet out here. Nature is a symphony.”

She listened for those other sounds now. Birds tweeting to each other, insects buzzing, the rustling of leaves overhead. She even heard something scurrying through the taller grasses.

It was beautiful. Peaceful. She felt herself relax farther against the tree, the bark biting into her back but not uncomfortably. She felt almost…happy. When was the last time she’d truly felt that way?
Buy Links:
·                     Amazon
·                     Amazon CA
·                     Amazon UK
·                     Amazon AU
·                     Google Play
·                     BN
About Kayta:
These days you’ll find me writing, pet sitting, juggling a number of freelance gigs, and reigning as my home’s domestic goddess. I live in the Midwestern U.S. with my husband and cats. Alas, I have, as of yet, been unable to teach my husband how to purr.
You can contact me at
·                     Amazon Author Page
·                     Facebook
·                     Twitter
·                     Goodreads
·                     Pinterest
·                     Tumblr

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A New Release by Diane Burton

Has this been a busy summer for you? Wow. Has it gone by fast for me. Here it is the end of July already. I visited my brand-new granddaughter in Arizona in May. In June, it was off to Indy and then to St. Louis with my sisters. And next week, baby granddaughter is visiting us. Well, her parents are coming, too.

Amidst all the traveling, I finally finished The Protector, third in my science fiction romance Outer Rim series, and it was released last week. I've never written an older woman/younger man story before. Usually, I keep them close in age with him a bit older. Rissa is eight years old than Dillan. She's forty and considers herself way too old for the "kid" she met when he was sixteen. After a six-year absence, Dillan (now 32) has to convince her he isn't a kid anymore.

Besides the age difference between heroine & hero, this book has another first. I usually write light-hearted romance with action, adventure, and humor. While there are aspects of all that in The Protector, it is much more emotional than my other books, which made it more difficult to write. How can you have funny scenes in a story about human trafficking and stolen babies? There are a few to give the reader a break. In researching for this story, I learned more than I ever wanted to know about trafficking. Scary.


After tavern owner Rissa Dix rescues two girls from a slave ship, she must rally the townsfolk to prevent traffickers from returning. Mining heir Dillan Rusteran has loved her for years. Little do they know that by rescuing more children they're tangling with a trafficking ring that puts Rissa in danger.


Dillan woke up to a steady thump-thump-thump. Damn, the sublight engine was acting up again. He rolled over and almost fell out of bed.
Two things hit him at the same time. He wasn’t in the wide, comfortable bed in his quarters aboard ship and the thumping wasn’t his sublight. Thank the stars for that. Still, it had been acting a little wonky lately. He’d have to check it out.
After dressing and taking care of his needs in the small san-fac near the stairs, he ambled down carrying his boots in the event the big Zebori was still asleep. Although how anyone could sleep through all that thumping he had no idea. He followed the noise into the kitchen.
Rissa stood at the island kneading dough. Last night he remembered how much higher than normal the island was. She’d built it to accommodate her height. For a moment, he just watched her as she concentrated on the dough. Several lumps of grayish-brown dough sat on the flour-covered table waiting their turn. Even though he was a few meters away, the yeasty scent hit his nose and brought back memories of the times he’d been there before. And how much he enjoyed her company. Despite her treating him like a kid.
The dark haired teen—Pela?—worked alongside Rissa. She noticed him first. Panic crossed her strong features before she murmured to Rissa.
“Good morning, sleepyhead.” She laughed as she turned the dough she’d been punishing into a long, loaf pan. She picked up another lump and went to work on it.
Dillan yawned. “What time is it?”
“Almost Mid-Day.” When she looked up, she did a double take. “Your beard is gone.”
“It itched. When I find the barber, I’ll get my hair cut, too.” He ran his fingers across the top of his head. “It’s Mid-Day? Damn. I wanted to get an early start.”
Without stopping her kneading, she asked, “Early start on what?”
“Going into the mountains.”
“Did you come here to go climbing again?”
Grief hit Dillan the way it had for the past six years any time someone mentioned his former favorite sport. He hadn’t climbed since his best friend died in a freak rock slide. Or so he thought until a year ago.
Rissa’s dark eyes reflected guilt. She stopped working the dough. “I’m sorry, Dillan. I forgot.”
“Apparently, so did Konner.” He didn’t conceal the hurt he’d felt when he learned Konner was not only alive but had a family. “Turns out I was wrong about some things. I’ll, uh, leave you to your work.”
With her forearm, she wiped the sweat off her brow then went back to kneading. “Pela, you did fine. Turn that one into the next pan then get Dillan a cup of sheelonga tea.”
Pela eyed him with uncertainty.
“I can get it.” He sure didn’t want to upset the girl. “Mugs still next to the sink?”
Rissa looked surprised that he remembered. He remembered everything about her. She’d stayed in his mind after every trip from the time he was sixteen. Konner had teased him about being infatuated. Dillan knew it was more than infatuation. Especially after that last visit.

Buy links Amazon ~ Kobo ~ Smashwords

When Diane Burton isn’t blogging here on the 8th and 30th of each month or on her own site on Mondays, she’s writing romantic adventure stories that take place on Earth and beyond.