Wednesday, September 30, 2020

New Release, and the Silver Foxes for the Win!

About a year ago, USA Today Bestselling Author Tasha Black reached out and invited me to write three books for the Intergalactic Dating Agency's Fall 2020 season.

For those of you who don’t know, the IDA is a shared concept, which is different from a shared world. Shared concept means the authors write whatever stories they want within the community’s guidelines. In this case, the stories must include a dating agency that matches alien males with Earthling females. A shared world allows the authors to write stories within an already existing world created by someone else. (S. E. Smith’s, The Worlds of Magic, New Mexico is an excellent example of a shared world.)

So, my IDA stories could be set in my Prophecy series universe, or I could create a whole new universe and series. I, of course, chose to start from scratch. Because why use something that already exists when I could drive myself crazy creating something brand spanking new in less than twelve months? (Crazy being the operative word in that sentence.)

And to take crazy to a whole new level, I made my heroes and heroines over fifty. There are not a lot of Silver Foxes in Sci-Fi Romance at this point, which needs to change. Someday you younger folks will thank me for this!

The planning stage was going along swimmingly. I had three novella length stories to write, and the first two were flowing from my fingers…until the hero in book one decided that what he really needed was a set of wings. And the heroine got all hot and bothered by this idea. And then, the other two couples chimed in their agreement.

Of course, any author reading this blog is nodding because they already know that there was no way I was going to win that argument.

This is how my Silverstar Mates series was born. Book one, Above the Storm, released last Friday. Book two, Wingand a Prayer, will release October 19, 2020. And Book three, Trial by Fire, is scheduled for a November 12, 2020 release. (Books 2 & 3 are available for preorder now.)

So, without further ado, meet Kyzel and Robyn, my couple from Above the Storm!


Love can be as elusive as stardust.

After thirty-five years married to a controlling husband, Robyn Martin Donahue now has her freedom, friends, and a job she adores. And there’s still room in her heart for a special someone. Where in the galaxy can she find a man who will love and respect her, not try to rule her?

By law, a monarch cannot govern alone. 

Recently widowed Kyzel Raptorclaw, the remaining sovereign of his clan, is on the hunt for a new mate. This time he wants more than just an ally; he wants love. But breaking with his peoples’ ancient mating tradition comes at a personal price—one his new mate may not accept.

Can Kyzel convince Robyn they are better together, or will their happily ever after crash and burn before it has a chance to soar?

Welcome to the Silverstar Agency, specializing in intergalactic love matches for those over fifty.

Buy Above the Storm


Excerpt from Above the Storm

(Setting: Robyn has just gotten home from work, is going through the mail trying to clear her mind of an annoying text conversation with her ex. Little does she know, she’s about to have her first startling close encounter.)

The rap of knuckles against her front door drew a groan from deep inside. Guess Kevin wasn’t finished talking. Once an idiot….

No, no, no. She’d sworn she’d never treat anyone the way Kevin had treated her, and that promise had included Kevin. But that didn’t mean she couldn’t give him a piece of her mind.

She stomped toward the door, grasped the knob, and yanked the door open. “Why, Kevin? Why can’t you just…? Ohh.”

Man-nipples. She was looking at man-nipples, not Kevin’s face. How…unexpected.

A vaguely nutmeggy scent floated on the subtle evening breeze as she tipped her head back…and back, and back. Her gaze roved over the leather straps across the smooth, bare chest, until she met the piercing ice-blue gaze of her rather enormous…and ridiculously handsome…visitor. The guy had to be pushing seven feet; too tall to pass through her doorway without ducking.

And his hair—which wasn’t really hair, it was thin, sleeked-back feathers that ran over his head from a widow’s peak back—looked a lot like a bald eagle’s, with more varying shades of gray than white.

“Good evening, Ms. Donahue.” Her ridiculously handsome visitor had a ridiculously deep and sexy voice. The kind of voice that reached out and caressed her in all the places she hadn’t been caressed in, well, way too long. And never properly.

A subtle motion drew her attention to something big, silver, and feathery behind his broad shoulders.

Her breath hitched in her chest. “OhdearGod!”

She slammed the door.

Breathe, Robbi. Breathe.

But the guy has wings!

Honest-to-God wings. What was she going to do with this?


September’s IDA releases

 Coming in October

To learn more about the authors and stories of the IDA, check out the website.


~Lea Kirk


USA Today Bestselling Author, Lea Kirk, loves to transport her readers to other worlds with her sci-fi romances. 

When she’s not busy writing about the blue and green aliens of her Prophecy series, she's hanging out with her hubby, five kids (the nerd herd), and their spoiled yet adorable pup. 

She is currently working on the fourth book in her Prophecy series, and her Silverstar Mates series featuring age 50+ protagonists for the Intergalactic Dating Agency.

For more on Lea's books (past, present, and future), check out her:

Newsletter | Website | Facebook | Twitter | BookBub | Amazon | GoodReads



Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Firelit Magic by @wendizwaduk #witches #magic #pnr #romance #erom

 Firelit Magic by Wendi Zwaduk 

Contemporary, Paranormal, Witches



Totally Bound


Cian's coming into her own with her magic. She's happy rescuing the black cats society doesn't want, but she's lonely. A sexy man to warm her nights would be perfect. Too bad the man in question isn't interested--or is he?

 Officer Tommy Barnes noticed Cian and her red hair the first time he stepped into her store, but a witch and a cop should mix--should they? And what's with her interest in black cats? His investigative sense has him stopping back at the store over and over. He can't deny his attraction to her. His sixth sense says she's harmless, but a little investigative work between the sheets never hurt.

 Can Tommy withstand the red-hot fire or will this witch get the best of him?

 This book follows secondary characters from Candlelit Magic. This book also contains scenes of magic and sex between a witch and her human.


Available here:

Universal Link:




Google Play:





©Wendi Zwaduk 2014

“Cian, I need the full story.” And her phone number. Or at least a longer conversation not involving her potential as a thief. He bit his tongue to keep from saying something he’d regret. When she pursed her crimson lips, he wondered what she’d taste like. He shouldn’t be attracted to her. A cop and a witch couldn’t mix...could they? He didn’t believe in spells or sacrifices. He needed logic and order, but he couldn’t deny the attraction.

Tommy shook his head. He needed to stop looking at her as anything other than a sexual human being.

Cian scooped up one of the cats, then sat on the arm chair. Yet again, she rubbed her cheek on the top of the feline’s head. “Heya Joey.” She scratched under the animal’s chin. “You’re a good baby.” She continued to pet the cat, but turned her attention to Tommy. “You said you wanted the full story. What do you want to know?”

“Everything.” He stood opposite her, unsure of how to unseat the cats. Besides, standing made him focus. “Start from the beginning. Why would someone accuse you of killing black cats? How’d you get into the rescue business and what are you doing tonight?”


Sunday, September 27, 2020

Drafting the Rough Draft by L. A. Kelley


Drafting the Rough Draft


Without bones, people are nothing but floppy meat sacks. Fiction is the same. It needs support to flesh out the story and that starts with the rough draft. The meat on the bones are plot, characterization and a building a logical flow to the story. They polish a manuscript, but excessive details aren’t necessary in the beginning and can even bog the writer down, so that the story comes to a screaming halt and never leaves the planning process.

How do you begin a rough draft? First, select the voice. Should it be first person, second or third? Some writing blogs will tell you to avoid a certain voice (usually first person). Ignore them and go with your gut. It’s never wrong. One of the voices will “feel right.” Next, chose a theme. This isn’t a big deal. If you have an idea for a story, you already have a theme, but you may not have put voice to it. Common themes such overcoming adversity, coming of age, and redemption. A theme helps keep the plot focused. When you come to a sticking point, consider the themes. How can it advance from here?


To schedule or not to schedule? That is the question.

It’s important to have a place to work that’s comfortable and relatively free of distractions. You don’t need a desk. Want to work in your jammies? Go right ahead, but set aside time to write. How much is up to you, but try to have some consistency. You’ll never finish that Great American Novel if you don’t give yourself time to work on it.

Should you strive for a daily word count, page count, or paragraph goal? Decide what stresses you out the least and go with that. Remember, even if you only do three paragraphs a day, keep at it and in about six months you’ll have a novel. It takes more time than that to make a baby.


“The first draft reveals the art; revision reveals the artist.” Michael Lee


How much research does a rough draft need?

Surprisingly little or none. J. K. Rowling and Vladimir Nabokov plotted their stories out first on little notecards. Frankly, that would drive me bat nuts. You can get so bogged down in the fiddly bits, that the meat of the story is lost. Research can lead you off on too many tangents. Instead, when you get to the point where data is needed, put in a placeholder and move on. The heroine in your ancient Mesopotamian time travel tale doesn’t need to know the dimensions of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon right away. Simply put INSERT GARDEN INFO here and keep writing. A rough draft means rough. On a side note: I would never do NaNoRiMo, the pressure of 2,000 words a day is too much. Do what’s comfortable for you. Writing isn’t punishment. If it’s not fun, why are you doing it? I wouldn’t. Life is too short to make yourself miserable.


Ack, I’m stuck.

You’ve hit the wall and can’t go farther, but that ending is still dynamite. The question is how to get there if you’re stuck someplace else? The writing police won’t arrest you if you write out of order. Write that dynamite ending first and then go back to the middle.  Or write the ending first before starting the first chapter and maybe a few scenes that stick in your mind. Then go back to the beginning and work your way forward.


“Good stories are not written. They are rewritten.” 

Phyllis Whitney


Forgive us this day our daily crappy writing.

I don’t care what your mommy said, she lied. Your first draft isn’t special, it’s garbage. Everyone’s first draft is garbage, even William Shakespeare. His best friend would have raised an eyebrow and said, “Will, this reeketh.”

Apply the polish later. Don’t overedit as you write and feedback isn’t necessary.  You don’t need feedback on garbage. You know it’s garbage. You need feedback when you have something better and need honest opinions for improvement.


When to give up.

I’m not one of those people who believes it’s important to suffer for art. That’s nonsense. I wake up excited to work on a project, but if I dread looking at it, then it’s time to shelve the rough draft and start something else. Never delete a draft, because you may come back to it later. After a time, new ideas surface. It’s okay to use only part of it, too. Take a scene you love, work on that instead, and send your story in a whole new direction.


Now get started on that rough draft and remember it will be garbage, but garbage can turn into compost and that can fertilize a lovely garden.

L. A. Kelley writes science fiction and fantasy adventures with humor, romance, and a touch of sass. Her life is a rough draft for the the real thing.

Friday, September 25, 2020

THAT PAUSE THAT REFRESHES (part deux) by Nancy Gideon

It’s been a loooong several months getting my latest release out into the world and even a longer 10 years completing my “By Moonlight” 15-book series. Frantic promo is done, notes and outlines are put away as a huge chapter closes in my writing career. The next fresh page is daunting . . . What next? Before jumping onto that bandwagon it’s time to take the pause that refreshes (this time in a COVID world), relaxing spirit, body, and brain. That’s how I’ve unapologetically spent my September – stepping away, relaxing and rejuvenating with these tension-purging steps . . .

1. Unwind. Put creative thoughts away and just relax (with a friend-binging Netflix, in my case); 

2. Get outside, soak up that Vitamin D, and jam with the sounds of nature; 

3. Dream happy dreams of where you could be right now (in my case, Ireland or Arizona);

4. Hang (for now, virtually) with creative friends to stir the muse and set creative fires. Zooming with critique partners and writers’ groups, in my case. Can’t wait for those brainstorming weekends with my PotL pals; and, 

5. Wait for it . . . and be ready to follow inspiration when it strikes. 

Simple steps. What are some of yours? My results I’ll get to in next month’s post. Until then, HAPPY WRITING!!

Nancy Gideon on the Web

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Halloween Monsters: Demons & Devils

I decorated for Halloween this weekend. Maybe a tad early, but 2020 has sucked, so I get to enjoy one of my favorite holidays early, darn it. While putting up my fun d├ęcor, it made me think of my blog posts on different kinds of Halloween Monsters.

I bring you the 2020 edition - Demons & Devils!

You've seen the pitch forks and the devil horns in costumes and depictions of demons in popular culture and mythology. Dressing up as a devil or demon for Halloween is one of the more common costumes.

But where did this Halloween monster originate from?

By today's generally accepted definition, a demon is a supernatural being, typically associated with evil. Demons tend to be associated with hell and sometimes with possessions and exorcisms.

Based on my admittedly brief research, there does not appear to be a specific origin for demons. Possibly, because humanity has always seemed to believe in evil in some form.

There are cultures that didn't necessarily have demons or the equivalent. Some ancient cultures had legends of specific monsters (like the wendigo in Algonquian lore), or tales of supernatural beings, some of which were tricksters or had malevolent personalities or powers. But the idea of a general group of evil spirits didn't necessarily exist, and the underworld, or where the dead went, was about the punishment or reward for humans.

In many religions and cultures demons exist as the counterpoint to gods. Sort of the yin to the gods yang. Or demons are evil spirits sent to keep humans from whatever version of heaven might exist for that culture. In addition, the concept of evil spirts or demons shows up in multiple cultures that deal with the "occult" or "magical" elements. Many "witches" were killed due to a belief of a tie between witchcraft and the devil. Then, of course, there are those religions or cultures which directly worship, celebrate, or pray to/conjure demons or demonic entities.

As far as I can tell, the modern depiction of demons and the devil comes from Judeo-Christian origins. Most Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, & Islam) acknowledge and deal with demons in some form. In ancient Mesopotamia, the underworld was populated with demons who could periodically come to the mortal realm to terrorize humans. Of course, in modern Christianity we have the belief that Jesus cast out demons. In addition, depending on the denomination, specific demons have been named or classified, much like angels.

Most of today's iconography (at least for Halloween) related to demons comes from medieval Europe primarily, which is no huge surprise, as that's where the holiday generally originates as well.

Roman Catholic images of Satan often depict him as a horned, muscular, bat-winged man. This may come from earlier "pagan" beliefs. In many ancient religious traditions, horns were associated with the crescent moon and thus with fertility, night, darkness, death, and the underworld. Most ancient cultures seem to depict demons with some kind of animalistic quality. However, many trace the current image of Satan to Dante who portrayed the Devil as a grotesque, winged creature with three faces—each chewing on a devious sinner—whose wings blew freezing cold winds throughout Hell’s domain.

It makes sense that this would be one of the costumes in the traditional line up for Halloween. The wearing of costumes at Halloween may come from the belief that supernatural beings, or the souls of the dead, roamed the earth on that night, and traditional costumes represent the dead (ghosts and ghouls) as well as frightening supernatural or folkloric beings (which has changed over time). The earliest known reference to the practice of costumes dates to the 1500s in Scotland, but probably predates that in practice. 

So will you be donning some devil horns for Halloween this year? Maybe a red tail? Wings? Or will you go with something else?

P.S. My upcoming novella, Try As I Smite, coming 10.26.2020 might, just might, feature this Halloween monster (in a Christmas Carol twist!). Preorder isn't up yet, but feel free to add to your Goodreads wishlist!

Halloween Monster Posts:


    Saturday, September 19, 2020

    Astrology 101 or Signs of the Times by Elizabeth Alsobrooks

    Imagine my chagrin when I discovered the ‘fun’ and ‘easy’ course I signed up for to balance my tough semester in college turned out to be  astrophysics (astronomy) instead of celestial configurations and zodiac signs (astrology)? With no aspiriations to be an astronaught, the bottom line is that I still find birth astrology more interesting than physics. Unfortunately I had to education myself in Astrology 101 for dummies.

    For your own crash coarse, here’s a chart of the zodia signs, symbols and the basic traits and planets under which people are born:


    Take a look at your birth sign and the traits. Can you see anything about yourself in your sign? If you’re not sure, it may make more sense if you look at the ‘ruler’ or heavy influencer on your personality and character traits. Match your ruler to the chart below.

    I saw some clear truths about my own personality and motivations when I compared this. However, I think if your influence is North node, South node, or Chiron (an asteroid), it may be more difficult to understand. Maybe this will help: The nodes are also known as the nodes of fate and destiny, and they are actually lunar nodes that guide you toward your most fulfilling spiritual life path. To further explain, they symbolize the position of the moon and sun at the time of your birth, where the moon’s monthly path crosses the sun's annual path near the time of your birth. These are theoretical, not literal, which makes the fact that they represent your spiritual realms clearer.

    They also help you understand what baggage you must leave behind to get there. A South Node stands for where you’re coming from, your birth baggage such as past life lessons not yet learned or gifts and qualities you have already mastered and possess. The North Node indicates what you are learning in this life, your destiny. It may not be easy, but if you do you will be more fulfilled.

    Chiron, on the other hand, is actually an asteroid that orbits our solar system somewhere between Uranus and Saturn, though some feel that like Pluto it is a dwarf planet. If this is your influencer, it’s providing an opportunity for healing. Is there some area of your life in which you seem always to struggle? Perhaps it’s finance, or family relations. Focus on this area and find ways in which you must deal with these issues, ways to solve problems and release baggage. Now is the time to seek spiritual healing. Some feel it’s past life healing that needs to be addressed and worked through. But whether you believe it’s past baggage or current issues, you need to face and deal with these things that are holding you back from achieving spiritual growth and healing.

    Each ‘sign’ is also represented by a ‘house’. Your birth month reveals your house number, like your astrological address. They are as follows:



    Area of Influence

    First House

    Appearance, outward personality

    Second House

    Money, possessions, values

    Third House

    Communication, immediate environment, brothers and sisters

    Fourth House

    Home, parents, roots, circumstances at the end of life

    Fifth House

    Romance, children, creativity, fun

    Sixth House

    Work, health, service

    Seventh House

    Marriage and other partnerships

    Eighth House

    Sex, death, regeneration, other people’s money

    Ninth House

    Higher education, travel, religion, philosophy, publishing,

    Tenth House

    Career, status, reputation

    Eleventh House

    Friends, groups, goals, aspirations

    Twelfth House

    Seclusion, secrets, spirituality, self-sabotage,


    There is some disagreement in how to calculate houses. Some astronomers use noon or midnight to calculate a birth house if the exact time of birth is unknown. The mapping of these houses relates to the position of the sun’s orbit. For your purpose of understanding, these houses refer to probable physical settings as well as life experiences.

    Anyone who’s taken existentialism (the study of self as it relates to each person's individual free will to make life choices and the impact personal setting and cultural influence or rules has upon free will and human potential) understands the cultural and social differences experienced in various locations. So settings do influence life experiences as well as our perceptions and emotional responses to them. Our experiences are often relative to our setting, and our world views are influenced by that diversity or lack thereof. This is why excellent universities refuse to hire their own graduates for tenure-track positions until they have worked a number of years in a different environment. They want to ensure a diversity of thought and influence so students can achieve their highest potential.

    The same holds true for astrological houses. If you know and understand yours, you probably understand your comfort zone, but you should also understand areas that need further development or exploration.

    Using these houses, along with birth signs, horoscope astrologers achieve those popular “daily” predictions of influences for your present days, upcoming weeks, and future.

    Believe it or not, but at least now you should have gained a general understanding of Astrology VS Astronomy.


    Wednesday, September 16, 2020

    Literary terms 101

    You've picked up a craft book, and the writer is giving you loads of great advice but they're dropping a lot of words that sound vaguely familiar from middle school English class and you can't quite remember what they mean. Since there's a lot of lingo in the writing world, let's do a break down for our new-to-writing friends or those that need a refresher. 


    This is the beginning of the novel and it's setting (because setting changes throughout a story there can be multiple sections of exposition). Where are we? When are we? Who's point of view are we in? Exposition keeps the reader grounded so that they can focus on the events surrounding the main character. But too much exposition can be a bad thing. We want to know how the grass feels under the protagonist's feet, but only if that's important to establish a solid setting, otherwise it's overkill. 


    The main character. 


    The person OR thing standing in the way of the main character's success. For stories about survival in nature, the antagonist wouldn't be a person, but rather nature itself because that is the very thing making our poor protagonist's life hard. 

    Inciting Incident: 

    This is the singular event that takes our main character out of their normal day-to-day lives and thrusts them into something different. For example, Harry Potter's inciting incident in book 1 is when he receives his acceptance to Hogwarts. That one letter changes his whole life from being shoved into a cupboard to becoming one of the greatest wizards.

    Rising Actions:

    These are the scenes that take the story problem and make it more challenging in order to built tension within a story. It's where the writer adds complications to the problem the main character is trying to solve. These scenes lead us to the climax.


    This is the most exciting part of the story. Will our protagonist make it out alive? We're bitting our nails and staying up well past our bedtimes to read these chapters. Usually, the protagonist will have a direct faceoff with the antagonist here. 

    Falling Actions:

    After the climax, comes the scenes that lead us to the resolution. In these chapters, we can see how the protagonist will manage to make it through the crux of the story problem, but things haven't fully settled yet. These chapters give your reader a sense of tying up loose ends and ultimately help the reader find satisfaction in the story. Remember to not use coincidence to solve problems here, otherwise, your readers will feel frustrated instead. 


    Our main character has gone on quite a journey from the start to the finish of the book, and they find a new normal in their day-to-day lives. For Harry, he returns to Privet Drive, but we know his life will never be the same. The same will be true for your main character, after facing their biggest challenge, they will return a little different than they were at the start of the story. 

    Until next time, friends, happy writing.

    Monday, September 14, 2020

    Space Opera versus Soap Opera by Toni V. Sweeney

    Today, I am happy to welcome a friend and author Toni V. Sweeney to discuss her new series Star
    Smuggler from Aethon Books. I'll pass the mic to Toni.  Here you go.

    Space Opera versus Soap Opera

    by Toni V. Sweeney


    When I wrote the series Star Smuggler, I didn’t think of it as a “space opera.”  I considered it a “romantic adventure.”  Studying it now, I realize that’s exactly what it is…just one gigantic soap opera set in the future on a planet far, far away. The publisher calls it Star Wars Meets Firefly, and fans of those two entertainments know what that means: Emphasis on fun and adventure rather than technology and science.


    The introduction to this sudsy space saga might go something like this;

     Welcome, dear reader, to Star Smuggler, Book 1: The Last Voyage. This may prompt someone to ask, “If this is the last voyage, how can it be the first book?”


    A better question would be: Can a halfbreed human-hating smuggler find happiness with an adopted Navajo in spite of threats from the United Terran Federation and many of his nefarious criminal cohorts


    STAR SMUGGLER: The Last Voyage introduces Sinbad sh’en Singh and Andrea Talltrees, the most mismatched pair in the universe.


    Andi is a member of the Naturals, a group who don’t utilize anything that wasn’t around in the early to mid-twentieth century, and they definitely don’t go flying off into space in rocketships. Sin is a half-Felidan smuggler.  He’s big, he’s beautiful, he’s sexy, and he hates humans with a passion because they framed his father, a Terran soldier, and killed him. 


    Sin’s way of life naturally clashes with Andi’s beliefs, and when she isn’t preaching to him about the immorality of his ways, and he isn’t laughing at her attempts to reform him, they reach a rapport that gradually blossoms into something that might be love, though neither will admit it. They spend most of the novel visiting various dens of iniquity trying to find Andi’s husband, Tran,  who is accused of being a spy and has lit out for parts unknown…and then a secret is discovered that threatens the Earth and the Federation and demands a sacrifice neither wants to make.

     Inevitably, the husband is out of the way, and Andi marries Sin. Then the problems REALLY begin, as Book 2: A Course of Action reveals.

     Married life with a part-Felidan ex-smuggler seems to be nothing but one crisis after another. 

     In the current novel (Book 3, A Matter of Pride), Sin’s been pardoned for his own crimes as well as those trumped-up charges against his deceased father. He whisks Andi away to his home planet, where he wants his expected daughter to be born. 

     Being law-abiding simply isn’t part of Sin’s lifestyle, however, and he’s already found a way to legally restore Felida’s pre-war glory by making it a prime smuggling planet—and the Federation can’t do a thing about it!  In order to succeed, however, he needs the cooperation of the second and third most powerful Prides on Felida (and that’s where the title comes in…A Matter of Pride), and they in turn want to cement the deal through a family relationship. 

     Thus, Sin finds he has more adjustments to make other than those of married life…like trying to explain to Andi why he’s taking not one but two concubines, though he swears he adores her, worships her, and would never be unfaithful in a million years. 

     So Sinbad finds himself with two concubines and a very angry Prime Wife, as well as a future which may involve sleeping on a sofa until he’s an ocotogenerian, when he not busy dealing with an old enemy who won’t give up…

     …and then, things REALLY get complicated…




    Family life won’t necessarily make a smuggler into a good little Law-Abider, especially when that smuggler has just discovered a loophole in Felida’s treaty with the Federation.

    With that leverage, Sinbad plans to return to his former occupation, and this time, he’s involving the entire planet in the venture.

    All the Pride Chiefs, even the emperor himself, are behind him one hundred per cent. In fact, two of the chiefs offer their daughters as Sin’s concubines to make certain they’re included.

    His wife Andi isn’t a bit happy. In fact, she’s downright furious.

    It’s going to take a great deal of sweet talk to make her accept either proposition.

    …and there’s also that smuggler who received Sin’s territories and won’t give them up without a fight…

    Overconfident as always, Sin believes he can handle it all.



    EXCERPT: (from Book 3)


    “I’ve received a message from Kroa Province,” Murad announced, glancing at the screen of the PCU he held.

    “What does the message say?”

    “He’s eager to become part of your operation, Andrew, so eager in fact he’s requesting permission to join and offering part of his personal fleet.”

    “Grandsire, that’s great. With the Khans’ participation, we’ll have one hundred percent of the prides behind us.”

    “Salu Khan wants more than a business association, I’m afraid,” Murad went on. He lay the unit on the desk and looked down at his grandson.

    “What do you mean?”

    “He has a daughter of breeding age. He’s requesting a union with our den through marriage.”

    “Doesn’t he know Amir-Kasdan’s bonded?”

    Sin was astonished to hear his grandfather heave a great sigh, as if he were facing something extremely unpleasant.

    “He wants you for his daughter, Andrew...”

    “Guess he’s out of luck since I’m already married.” It wasn’t respectful in that particular moment to laugh, but Sin couldn’t help it.

    “…and I’ve sent him my reply, agreeing to the affiliation,” Murad continued, as if he hadn’t spoken.

    “But I can’t… Grandsire, I already have a mate,” Sin protested.

    “Salu Khan’s aware of that and accepts the fact his daughter will be merely a concubine,” Murad answered, imperturbably.

    Felidan law allowed a pride leader, and also his heir, one legal wife and as many as three concubines. Lesser members of a clan could have only one wife and a leman.

    “Concu…I don’t want a concubine,” Sin exclaimed. “Besides, Andi wou…” He didn’t finish. He almost said Andi would never allow it, and that was definitely the wrong thing to tell the head of his clan.

    “Andrea went through a Felidan marriage ceremony with you, Andrew,” his grandfather reminded him. “She agreed to follow our customs and laws, and Felidan law allows a kh’ta concubines. Plural. Your mate has no say-so in the matter.”

    Murad’s tone made it final, the matter settled, but Sin wasn’t about to accept his grandfather’s command so easily.

    “What about my say-so? I say I don’t want another female, either as a wife or a concubine. I…”

    “As you just pointed out, Andrew, we need Salu Khan’s backing. In something this important, there can’t be any dissension among the participants. One hundred percent? Remember?”

    Gathering his robes about him, Murad seated himself at the desk. He forced himself to remain calm, since he understood how his grandson felt about his wife, having himself been so in love with his own mate he never thought to take another after she died.

    “As my heir, you must obey. You have to do this. For the Pride.”

    “Forget it,” Sin retorted, stalking to the window.

    From Grandsire’s side of the house, he could see the high cliffs rising above them and the trees trembling in the winter wind. He looked back at Murad. “If Salu Khan simply wants a marriage with our clan, you marry the female. You don’t have a mate.”

    Murad gave him a slight smile and shook his gray-maned head. “As much as I hate to admit it, your grandsire isn’t as virile as he used to be, Andrew. A young female needs a young mate. She needs you.

    Sin stared at his grandfather.


    Just that one word. Nothing else.

    Murad sighed again. Secretly, he wondered if the gods were punishing him for some past sin by making both grandcubs so individually stubborn.

    “I’m afraid you have to, Andrew. Our clan can’t afford to insult Salu Khan’s clan a second time.”

    “Second time?” Sin frowned. “As far as I’m concerned, we didn’t insult him the first time. My father won that duel fair and square.”

     “As the eldest surviving offspring,” Murad continued, “Salu inherited leadership of his clan, but he’s never forgiven the sh’en Singhs for the dishonor done his family and if we now refuse his request…” He paused, then said decisively and in a way brooking no argument, “The female will arrive in four days. On that afternoon, the ceremony will take place. You will receive her and make her your concubine.”

    Silently Sin glared at his grandfather, wanting to argue but knowing there was nothing he could say. Murad sh’en Singh had spoken. The pride heir had to obey. To do otherwise could bring about exile, and if Grandsire pushed it and it came to that, then where would his plans be?

    Ducking his head in a quick bow, he answered, “I’ll obey, Grandfather, but I wish to go on record as protesting this union, and state I’m definitely entering into it unwillingly.”

    Before Murad could reply, he whirled and stalked out.

    Oh, God. How am I going to tell Andi?


    STAR SMUGGLER: The Last Voyage is available in Kindle, paperback, and Audible; Other books are available in Kindle and paperback and will soon also be in Audible.


    Book 1:


    Book 2:


    Book 3:




    Toni V. Sweeney was born in Georgia after the War between the States but before the Gulf War. She has lived 30 years in the South, a score in the Middle West, and a decade on the Pacific Coast and now she’s trying for her second 30 on the Great Plains.


    Toni writes in various genres, under her own name and various pennames, and now is adding “TS Snow” to the list with the publishing of the Star Smuggler series.