Dress Up Dress Down with Helen B. Henderson

In this week’s post, Anastasia of Clan Weiss shows off her style from Dragon Destiny(Book 1 of the Dragshi Chronicles.) 

Tell us about your heroine’s typical style of dress. What is the condition of the clothing?

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Unlike the ladies who reside in towns and even some of her own kin, Anastasia of Dragon Destinyis usually found in pants rather than skirts. A jacket keeps out the worst of the crisp breeze and winter’s grasp.

Is this how she wants to dress?  If yes, why? If not, what would she choose to wear and why?

As t why she dresses in something other than the popular style? Anastasia is the teacher for her train and teaching little ones often requires speed and flexibility unhampered by a long skirt. Another reason she wears pants is that by her own choice, she often rides rear guard for the caravan for the solitude it provides. Her trail clothes are well worn leathers suitable for long hours in a saddle or the seat of a wagon.

There are times in the Dragshi Chronicles where Anastasia dreams of wearing a fancy gown at a formal ball, but practicality takes precedence. 

Does your heroine change her style of dress over the course of the book? If so, how, and what does it mean, if anything?

As one of the few true humans who can communicate using mindspeech with either true dragons or the dragshi (humans with a twinned dragon soul), she is chosen for a special mission to find a missing dragon. To accomplish her goal she goes undercover as a sailor and trades in her leathers for the garb of the sea. Among the changes she makes is to cut her hair short. The impromptu disguise causes heartache when she wonders if the man she loves with hate her new look, but saves her life when she comes face to face with his enemy, the pirate Lady Broch. At least at that encounter, Broch did not see her enemy, the black-haired trader girl with long tresses, in the short-haired sailor with sun-streaked curls.

This was not the only time that Anastasia was in disguise. During her training with the Ceoltier Guild which she was given in preparation of serving the dragshi, she wore boy’s clothing. There were those who would have hunted her down and killed her. But since everyone knew that no female could be a ceoltier, her role as an apprentice (and as such a boy) gave her added protection beyond that provided by the weapons training provided by the guild.

How do his or her outfits set your hero apart from other characters?

At a special birthday dance, even though she wore a long skirt and vest for the event, her outfit still set her apart as a trader rather than a townsman. The dark blue fabric contrasted with the browns and reds worn by the local girls. The new vest she wore showed how she was neither a local nor a trader. The one was by birth and the other by circumstances as Anastasia was trapped by duty with no foreseeable escape. The vest did not have the usual colored embroidery of a trader’s clothing. In fact, the only adornment was a stylized dragon in flight embroidered in gold on the shoulder. It might be just a simple design, but it meant more to her than the fanciest gown worn by any of the other girls. Anastasia’s mother once told her the flying dragon marked a bond between the old ones and her kin, Clan Weiss.

How can readers keep in touch with you?

I love to hear from my readers and I always invite them to join me on journeys to worlds of imagination. They can find me in the virtual world on my blog: helenhenderson-author.blogspot.comor at the following spots:

Facebook— www.facebook.com/HelenHenderson.author

Twitter— twitter.com/history2write

Goodreads— www.goodreads.com/author/show/777491.Helen_Henderson

Dragon Destiny

Blurb:

Lord Branin of the dragshi, is more than just a man, but two beings—one a dragon, the other a human. The pair share one body in space and time and are able to change forms with the other at will. From the time Branin's twinned soul, Llewlyn, awoke, Branin knew the freedom of flight. However, being a shifter came with a price. Branin and Llewlyn are the only two of their kind who have not found their intended mates, despite millennia of waiting... and searching.

When a faint thought impinged on Branin's mind, hope for an ending to eons of loneliness soared. Plagued by doubts because no signs of a dragon shifter's birth have been seen, he searches the world for the mysterious girl he only knows by the name, Anastasia.

However, the firebrand raider, Lady Broch of Ky'port has her own plan--to wed the dragon lord -- with or without his willing cooperation. And she will not tolerate anyone, not even a dragon lord or his twinned soul, from standing in her way.

Since we’ve been discussing clothing, an excerpt dealing with her presentation ceremony. The event is made even more special since it is being held on Anastasia’s birthday. Her life on the trail meant that celebrating her birthday was a simple affair and the customary presentation party was not held when she became of age.


 

Excerpt from Dragon Destiny:

A soft knock on the door shifted Anastasia’s attention and changed her mood to a more dignified one. At her lilting, “Come,” Lady Eirwen entered on Ranald’s arm. Dealan and Karenina followed close behind in a hiss of starlton. Chains of silver-filigreed rosettes and beads circled all three women’s upswept hair. The cut of Eirwen’s pale blue gown and the embroidered silk trim on the bodice and sleeves reflected a style long out of fashion. Anastasia smiled at her aunt’s own vintage dress, which harmonized perfectly with the ones worn by Eirwen and Dealan.

“You look beautiful, Anastasia,” Karenina said. Tears shimmered in her eyes. “Your mother would be so proud of you. Here, dear, it’s almost time to leave, let me finish your hair.”

A hint of winter roses wafted past. Anastasia bent her head for Karenina to complete a final detail of crystals.

The strains of an old mountain tune floated into the room when the servant opened the double doors that led outside. A glance in the mirror showed a shimmering crown of sparkling diamonds woven into the curls of her dark braids. With a deep breath, Anastasia stood, took Ranald’s offered arm, and followed her aunt and the two dragshi out the door to her future… and she hoped... Branin.

Anastasia clung to Ranald’s arm. She kept her gaze focused on the backs of her aunt, Eirwen, and Dealan, as they led the way toward the great hall where the presentation guests waited. One corridor led to another, each one brightly lit by hundreds of candles. Although she had traveled the same path many times since arriving at Cloud Eyrie, the walls seemed to glow with a special magic. The river of light ended at a staircase that curved down to the main hall. Granite treads gleamed from the moonbeams filtering through massive skylights.

Dealan sneaked a look over the railing at those below. “It looks like everything is ready,” she whispered. “It just needs you, Anastasia.”

Anastasia’s fought to slow her racing pulse. Not trusting her voice, she nodded.

Dealan waved at Vivel and Oran, before moving to stand behind Eirwen.

Oran left the small gathering of dragshi and strode to the bottom of the staircase. Pride showed in the journeyman’s face. “Lords and ladies, honored guests. Acting on behalf of Arianrhod, matriarch of Clan Miller, Lady Eirwen of Cloud Eyrie claims the right of eldest kin.”

Anastasia, watching Eirwen glide down the stairs, hoped her descent would be as graceful as the dragshi’s.

Next Oran introduced Dealan, sponsoring Anastasia on behalf of the women of Clan Miller who had passed beyond the veil. Dealan walked with a light step down the stairs to her waiting husband. Karenina stepped forward. Silence filled the hall, enabling her voice to carry to the far ends and echo back. “As head mistress of Clan Miller, I present to you Anastasia, daughter of Voirrey and Yunka.” After a final smile at Anastasia, Karenina, her head high with a reserved dignity, joined the others gathered below.

Despite having Ranald for support, Anastasia felt alone standing at the top of the stairs. Don’t trip. The light embrace Ranald gave her reminded Anastasia of her mother’s hugs. The trembling in her legs vanished. “I’m ready,” she whispered.

Trumpet flourishes rang out. On the third bar, Anastasia started down the stairs in the stately tread of the presentation march.

Ranald stopped on the lowest landing, a mere dozen steps from the bottom. “I’m glad I claimed the right of elder kin,” he murmured. Anastasia felt his lips graze her cheek in a chaste kiss, then, he stepped to the side, leaving her standing alone. Although she heard the words with her ears, Anastasia swore she also heard in silver tones in her mind, “Welcome, Anastasia of Clan Miller.”

Straightening from her deep curtsy, Anastasia now had no choice but to look out over the crowded hall. Cloud Eyrie was so big she had not realized there were so many people living there. Her eyes searched the throng until she found Branin standing off to one side. The wink he tossed removed the last of her nerves.

Dress Up Dress Down with Viviana MacKade

Join me in welcoming author Viviana MacKade to Living After Midnight

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•   Tell us about your hero’s or heroine’s typical style of dress.

Summer is very casual. She likes to be comfortable, especially at work (she’s a GP). Her signature style is jeans and sneakers, hair in a ponytail.

Aidan doesn’t care. Much like Summer, he wants to be comfortable. Jeans and boots, throw in a leather jacket, and he’s perfectly at ease. Now, the state of said clothes changes based on his work (he’s a sculptor). He can end up covered in dust and crumbles of stone, or with only a few specks. 

•   What happens when or if your character wears the opposite style?

Summer enjoys the occasional dressing up, but to her is a game, something to do for fun every once in a while. 

The only time Aidan ever accepted formal wear was for his wedding. In that occasion, wearing a suit and tie wasn’t a stretch or an imposition, he was actually happy to do it. 

•   What would she/ he never wear? Why?

Summer would never wear something extremely sexy. She’d probably laugh and shake her head. 

Aidan would probably shred to pieces any suit coming his way. 

•   Does your hero or heroine change his style of dress over the course of the book? If so, how, and what does it mean, if anything?

No, they stay the same. There’s no reason for them to change it. 

His Midnight Sun 

by Viviana MacKade

Tormented, fierce, and broken, sculptor Aidan Murphy has judged himself guilty. He yearns for love but pushes everyone away. He longs for acceptance but has lost the key to open his heart. Until he meets Summer Williams. Beautiful and smart, Dr. Williams promises haven for a man who believes he deserves none. All he has to do is let her in and risk his heart and soul.

Summer’s managed to keep her inner light alive, even through tragedy. She’s created a new life for herself and her daughter in Crescent Creek with loving, caring and fun friends–well, except brooding, breathtaking Aidan. She’s used to keeping away from his type, though. All she has to do is ignore the pull of a man who’s turning up to be much more than snarls and storms. Will her compassion and medical instincts let her?

Love can heal a broken soul and shake up a timid heart. Or it can unleash devastation and revenge. 

Will Aidan and Summer survive the hurricane?

Release September 15, available for pre-sale 

$ 0.99 FREE with KU

Buy Link

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GDP26VB?

https://goo.gl/L8okF6

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THE AUTHOR

Beach bum and country music addicted, Viviana lives in a small Floridian town with her husband and her son, her die-hard fans and personal cheer squad. She spends her days between typing on her beloved keyboard, playing in the pool with her boy, and eating whatever her husband puts on her plate (the guy is that good, and she really loves eating). Besides beaching, she enjoys long walks, horse-riding, hiking, and pretty much whatever she can do outside with her family.

Find me:

On my websitehttp://www.viviana-mackade.blog/

On FB

On Twitter

Amazon Author page


Excerpt

Prolog

Fire.

Fire would eat all.

The simple, brown casket entered the cremation chamber accompanied by the soft crying of the mourners.

A sister. So-called friends. No mother or father in the crowd–a small blessing, as no parent should live to see a son’s death. Even more so when he’d committed suicide. Grabbed a gun, let the black hole of desperation drench his mind and pulled the trigger. The maid said he’d cursed one name right before he ended all: Summer.

Pain and anger rattled through Lilith Chapman. Along with Stephen’s brain, her heart had shattered that day.

Lilith had known she could save him, had always known. With time, she’d have made him forget he’d ever loved anybody but her.

He didn’t give her time.

His sister had pressed him to visit doctors. Depression, she’d called it.

Bullshit.

Love killed Stephen.

Sweet Stephen. A gentle, caring soul who only wanted affection and care. No harsh word ever left his mouth; his hands knew no fists.

With him, Lilith never had to face fear. She knew all about it thanks to her father first, and her deceased husband later. Not with Stephen. Never with him. For the first time in her life, she’d been the strong one, the one leading. Day after day she’d listened to him, to the winnings and the losses of a man who possessed everything. Money, power, a place in society. Not someone to share it with, though. Until, silly man, he’d believed he’d found The One: Doctor Summer Williams. A woman who had left him with a few words and no remorse.

Lilith had heard his heart shatter with a singing soul. With patience, had watched Stephen spiraling down and downer in a place always darker and more desperate. She only had to wait. Once he hit the bottom, he’d realize Summer was not worth it. Stephen would finally open his eyes and see her, Lilith.

At the bottom though, he’d found a gun.

And now she had nothing.

Sure, he’d left money to her, a lot of it, enough she didn’t have to worry about working or anything else anymore. Too bad she didn’t care for it.

She wanted Stephen, but Summer Williams had taken him away forever.

And for that, Lilith would bring tears and blood.

Summer’s tears and blood.

She, Lilith, was going to own his final words of hate, carry on his vengeance and make sure Summer Williams witnessed the crumbling of her world. Everyone she held dear would perish in front of her eyes. And then Lilith could go to him where they would be together. Forever.

“I promise you,” she whispered to the burning casket. “I promise you, love will kill again.”

FanGirl Forever

You should have seen me when I found this little gem in Dollar Tree. I had to contain my giddy voice and behavior while making sure to put two of these babies in my basket before anyone else could grab them.

I’ve had the fortune to meet Jason Momoa a few times at fan events. At one of them, I spent a lot of time with him, including having breakfast with him. He remembered me, too. When he would pass me in the hall he’d yell out “Connecticut!”. It was awesome.

At that event and every other one, he was exactly the man you think he is. Gorgeous. Hyperactive. Hilariously funny. A little goofy. And did I say extremely gorgeous?

Of course, intellectually I knew that no one was going to snatch the bags out of my hands, but my excited fangirl-self wasn’t going to take a chance. I mean: Jason Momoa. Aquaman. Can you blame me?

My only regret is not buying three.

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Dress Up Dress Down with Kayelle Allen

 Join me in welcoming Kayelle Allen to Living After Midnight!

~~~~~~~~

Trevann, thank you for inviting me over to share with your readers. I'm excited to share my new short space opera, featured in The Expanding Universe Vol 4. How about an insight into the hero? I'll tell you about what he wears, because in this military-oriented story, his uniform is as much a part of the plot as his weapons.

Let me start by introducing the hero. Tornahdo -- no other name -- is a ghost. Not the Halloween type and certainly not a spirit. He's flesh and blood. As a special ops soldier, he fought a race of immortals called the Ultras. They are nearly impossible to kill, but mankind discovered a secret. If they infused the blood of an Ultra into a human, they could bring the human back to life.

That gave them the idea of resurrecting special ops warriors who could do the most damage on the front lines. That's where Tornahdo comes in. As Lights Out opens, he's died once before and is waking on a gurney, aware he's failed again. When he's later sent on a mission to capture the Ultra's king, he knows this is it. If he fails this time, he won't be brought back, because failure means the Ultras could rule for another thousand years.

Tornahdo's uniform is mostly grey or black, or a grayish camouflage. But what sets it apart from regular army is the Ghost Corps insignia, a black funerary urn on a white field. To him, the white part forms half a ghost, but no one else seems to see it. He is proud of his uniform. After all, he had to die to get it.

The fact that he wears his uniform on and off duty reveals a lot about his character. It isn't so much that he's gung-ho military as it is there is nowhere else to go but the base. Tornahdo's family thinks he's dead. He can't be seen in public and has even given up his real name so no one can track from him to those he left behind. He has truly become a ghost.

Near the end of the story, Tornahdo recognizes the true meaning behind the Ghost Corps symbol. His actions then change the course of his entire life. I can't tell you what that is. You'll have to read Lights Out to discover that for yourself.

Tornahdo was reared by his maternal grandmother and has a strong sense of family. Even so, he's always harbored a desire to belong. The corps, a tight knit bond of soldiers who survived even death -- how great would it be to belong with them? As Tornahdo proceeds through the story, his intellect, emotions, and even his loyalties are tested. He must decide whether to accept death is final, or embrace a new ending.

Here's a snippet from the opening of the story.

Excerpt from Lights Out

The air reeked of antiseptic and starch stiffened the pillowcase. If only the mind-numbing jabbering would stop.

Tornahdo pried open his eyes. The flattened blood bag above him, stenciled equipment and gray walls screamed military hospital.

He'd died. Again.

Spanish curses slipped out. His abuelawould've taken a switch to him. He made the sign of the cross and kissed his fingertips.

After yanking the tube out of his arm, he pressed a thumb over the entry point. Thankfully, this time, he wasn't writhing on the floor in agony. Well, not yet.

A faceless android in a Ghost Corps uniform loomed over a bank of equipment displaying Tornahdo's name and vitals. First impression was right. Military hospital.

The weapons-grade yapping continued.

"Did you hear?" a youthful voice bragged. "He killed six of 'em last night."

"Yeah, but they don't stay dead. They never do."

"If Ultras didn't come back to life, their plasma wouldn't bring our own people back."

The transfusion of enemy blood healed the hole in Tornahdo's arm in seconds. He thumbed off the red smear and rolled over on the gurney.

An open door led to a sink and toilet built to let gravity do its work. Which meant this was a planet. You hadn't lived until you were in space, floating in zero gravity while your body's final twitches sent your corpse spinning.

Notices on the wall confirmed this was San Xavier in the Colonies of Man. Same place he'd bought it the first time.

This was getting old.

Lights Out by Kayelle Allen
He can save mankind. Afterhe does one important thing. Die.
Join the Ghost Corps, they said. You'll live forever, they said. You'll save mankind, they said. They didn't say that to do it, first he had to die.
When Tornahdo signs on the dotted line, he puts his life into the steady hands of the mighty Ghost Corps. Three grisly deaths and three agonizing resurrections later, he's assigned duty on the space station Enderium Six.
He's facing his most dangerous mission yet, the very reason the corps exists.
Do they expect him to win? Fat chance. Tornahdo and his team are already dead and this mission is codenamed "Lights Out." No, there's more to this than he can see.
To discover the truth, he must face an unbeatable, unkillable enemy, and this time--somehow--find a way to keep himself alive...
Lights Out is in the Science Fiction/Space Opera anthology The Expanding Universe Vol 4, edited by Craig Martelle.
https://kayelleallen.com/lights-out-save-mankind/

Buy Link https://amzn.to/2QxKBGB

Lights Out Inside Peek

Go behind the scenes with the world and characters of Lights Out, a free downloadable illustrated book with inside information, exclusive character insights, and links to the author's research.

https://bit.ly/peek-lights-out

Kayelle Allenwrites Sci Fi and Space Opera with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She's a US Navy veteran who's been married so long she's tenured.
Join one of Kayelle's reader groups and get four free books right away. You'll get the inside scoop about current books and access to special contests limited to members only. When a book releases, members get exclusive sneak peeks. Choose whether you want your newsletter to feature Sci Fi, Space Opera and Fantasy, or Sci Fi, Space Opera and Fantasy PLUS romance. https://kayelleallen.com/reader-groups
Homeworld https://kayelleallen.com
Twitter https://twitter.com/kayelleallen
Facebook https://facebook.com/kayelleallen.author
Join one of Kayelle's Reader Groups. You can download four free books and get news about books coming soon. You can unsubscribe at any time. https://kayelleallen.com/reader-groups

 

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Dress up Dress Down Featuring Ann Raina

Please join me in welcoming Ann Raina to Living After Midnight. 

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•   Tell us about your hero’s typical style of dress. What is the condition of the clothing?

Nicolas Hayes is an FBI agent which means he has to follow the bureau’s dress code while on duty. This includes a dark, not necessarily black suit, white dress shirt with a matching, unobtrusive tie, and shined shoes. There’s no deviation from this rule even if he sweats buckets in summer.

•   What does the choice of clothing tell us about him?

Nick’s dedicated to his job and wouldn’t dare show up at work in jeans and t-shirt. It’d be against his nature to appear sloppy even if only he’d think of himself as an addlebrained wood worker with a predilection for red-checkered flannel shirts and baggy pants.

•   How do his outfits set your hero apart from other characters?

Nick always dresses to the nines—not only while working. His lover, Jacklyn, appreciates his dedication to detail when he takes her out. He matches his suit to the colors of her dress, and he’s circumspect to never outshine her—if that’s ever possible.

•   Is this how he wants to dress? If yes, why? If not, what would he choose to wear and why?

While at work, Nick represents the FBI and its high standards in dress code and behavior. During the private and very intimate time with his lover he’s more into wearing little to nothing…if you leave out the handcuffs and other stylish leather and metal accessories that the couple associates with their special love life.

About Ann

Ann Raina lives and works in Germany with cats and a horse. Riding and writing are her favorite hobbies. So far, she has written twenty novels for eXtasy Books with more to come. Her latest series, starting with Twisted Mind,revolves around an FBI agent, his very dominant lover, and cases of violent crime.

In all her books, she combines romance, suspense, and humorous elements, for no thrilling story can stand without a comic relief. 

You can reach Ann at annraina@yahoo.com

On Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ann.raina.7

~~~~

Book : Twisted Mind, released 06/29/18 by eXtasy books

Link http://www.extasybooks.com/ann-raina/978-1-4874-1595-2-twisted-mind/

After four murders of young men along the east coast, the FBI realizes they’re dealing with a serial killer. Agent Nicolas Hayes is assigned to lead the investigation. Besides solving the crimes, he tries to spend time with his new flame, Jacky, who’s got ideas of her own about how their love life should develop. Things turn ugly once a fifth kidnap victim is reported. Time is running out to find him alive.

Excerpt

Nicolas put his elbows on the table. “Can I ask you a question and expect you’ll answer it seriously without the usual mocking?” 

Jason stopped chewing his hamburger to look intently at him, mouth full. He put down his lunch, wiped his lips clean and took his time to swallow the bite. “If you start like that, it sounds so damn serious I feel ants trampling down my spine.”

“I’ve heard better metaphors before. But, honestly, will you answer me?”

“Yep.” Jason took a swig of his Diet Pepsi without losing eye contact.

Nicolas still doubted his friend’s seriousness but went on quietly. “Jacklyn proposed some…games in the bedroom. She calls me a chicken because I’m not familiar with them and not really at ease with ropes and other shackles.”

Jason’s eyes widened, but he kept his mouth shut. The waitress came to ask if the food was all right, and they both agreed. She left with a professional smile.

Once again, Nicolas thought it hadn’t been the smartest idea to bring up the subject. “See, she stopped when she realized I was uncomfortable, but I see it in her eyes. She wants to…play.” He wrung his hands and stopped once he became aware. “She gets aroused by chains and gags and what she’s got in her closet.”

“You didn’t check? I’d have checked what she’s got in store. Maybe there’s a roll of barbed wire. That, honestly, I wouldn’t want around my wrists or any other body part.”

Nicolas cocked his head and sighed. “I just need…a hint. A direction. It’s nothing I’ve ever come across.”

“Yeah, and since you’re the most experienced man under thirty in this country, you’ve got the right to—”

“Hell, Jason, can you for once be serious?”

Jason pursed his lips, and the flicker of amusement left his eyes. “She asked you to be frank from the first moment on, right? Right. She’s been frank with you and asked you about kinky games in the bedroom. It’s something she wants. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have asked you. Why not play along? She’s fond of you, on the way toward coming to love you. Don’t think…too conservatively. As an FBI agent, you’ve learned to think outside the box. Only when it comes to a love affair, you want to do it strictly by the book? Get real! Jacklyn wants to have fun with you, and her fun includes some toys. As long as she stops when you…chicken out, you’ll both be fine.”

“Till the last sentence, I was close to believing you.”

Jason folded his arms and tried in vain to remain serious. “In my humble opinion, you’ve been overrun by her self-confidence so badly you’re still struggling to crawl out and get back in shape.”

“Right now, I see Wile E. Coyote.”

“You’re afraid she’s going to dictate every part of your relationship.”

“Isn’t it always like that? The woman controls the relationship? If she doesn’t want what the man proposes, you don’t stand a chance.”

Jason rolled his eyes and blew out air. “That’s too philosophical for lunch.” He continued eating his hamburger.

“So you think I should let her tie me up?”

Jason’s expression changed from amused to mock compassion. Again, he needed a moment to swallow the bite. “Nick, if that woman fucks you blind and sends you to heaven just because you’re tied up and gagged—why the hell not?”

“You make it sound so easy.”

“You’re making everything too difficult. Do you need your hands when she’s doing all the work? Do you have to talk while having sex? If you can say no to both without throwing up the steak you just had, then give up control to Mrs. France and be happy.”

Nicolas chuckled as he looked down on his empty plate. “Okay, that sounds simple enough, even for me.”

“Glad I could help.”

~~~~

Thanks, Ann. It's been a pleasure to have you on LAM. Come back any time!

Dress Up, Dress Down with Addison Brae

 Allison Brae

Allison Brae

Please join me in welcoming author Addison Brae!

~~~~~

Harvard honors graduate. Accountant. Bartender. Narcotics dealer. Can Gillian’s clothes cover all roles?

1) What does the choice of clothing tell us about your heroine?

Becker Circle’s opening line starts with Gillian, the main character and heroine, heading to her first night bartending, her second job. She lacks confidence and feels like she’s jumping into uncomfortable territory. Her only boyfriend controlled her every move, cut her down, and sucked away her self-esteem.

I peek back at my butt in these loose-fitting jeans and all I see is sad.

2) Does your heroine change her style of dress over the course of the book? If so, how, and what does it mean, if anything?

Clothes often make a character—just like the way we dress can help us feel good about ourselves. So much to experience. Giant past to forget. Change is certain for Gillian. She’s determined to do whatever it takes to reach her dreams to believe in herself and find love.

3) Is this how she wants to dress? If yes, why? If not, what would she choose to wear and why?

Gillian asks a stylish neighbor to help her pick out new clothes the new Gillian would wear. She likes the results—at first.

All it takes is a haircut and new clothes for a three-hundred buck tip night? Until someone comments on her new look.

4) What happens when or if your character wears the opposite style

I’d rather crawl under the bar rather than believe someone really thinks I’m pretty. 

Some of you will understand how Gillian feels as she rebuilds her confidence whittled down by a narcissistic boyfriend. I’ve certainly had those moments. The way she dresses affects how her co-workers, customers, and guys respond to her. It takes time to grow into her new look that takes her down a rollercoaster path:

Harvard honors graduate. Accountant. Bartender. Narcotics dealer.

Can she live up to her style by the end of Becker Circle?

Bio

Addison Brae lives in Dallas, Texas on the edge of downtown. As a child, she was constantly in trouble for hiding under the bed to read when she was supposed to be napping. She has been writing since childhood starting with diaries, letters and short stories. She continues today with articles, video scripts and other content as an independent marketing consultant. 

When she’s not writing, Addison spends her time traveling the world, collecting interesting cocktail recipes and hosting parties. She’s still addicted to reading and enjoys jogging in her neighborhood park, sipping red wine, binge-watching TV series, vintage clothing, and hanging out with her artistic other half and their neurotic cat Lucy.

Learn more about Addison on her website. Connect with Addison on TwitterFacebookGoodreadsBookbub, her Amazon author pageTirgearr Publishing, and YouTube.

Purchase Becker Circle on Amazon USAAmazon UKAmazon CanadaSmashwordsiTunesKoboB&N Nook.

Book Blurb

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My first and only boyfriend believed I was too gutless to leave. He was dead wrong. My name’s Gillian, and I graduated Harvard early and left his hot temper and everyone else behind for Dallas. Determined to make it on my own, I land a second job bartending at the neighborhood pub smack in drama central where most every jerk in the neighborhood hits on me—at a huge price.

A week into the job, the neighborhood’s very popular drug dealer falls to his death a few feet from the table I’m serving. The cops say suicide, but the hot guitar player in the house band and I suspect foul play, and I intend to prove it. We dig deeper, grow closer, and make a shocking discovery. We know the murderer. Watch the trailer.

A portion of the author proceeds will go to Hope’s Door New Beginning Center to help fight domestic abuse.

Excerpt from chapter three

All it takes is a haircut and new clothes for a three-hundred buck tip night? And the pub was pretty slow for a Saturday. If I can top that today, or even come close, I’ll buy more.

It’s a football Sunday, so beer has to be well-stocked. On the way to the back, I check for my new Harvard opener in my back pocket and smooth the fitted blue top Julie picked out over my new jeans. At least it’s the game in some tropical destination between the playoffs and championship. People might actually pay more attention to eating and drinking. They might stay in a happier mood so they don’t skimp on tips.

Kyle’s at his usual table outside, bottle of his usual beer in hand and glued to the game. When I pop up from stocking the fridge, Moneybags Bobby stands next to the bar. The chair where the mystery guy sits and watches him remains empty.

“Usual?” I ask even though I’ve already started pouring. He nods and hands me the two twenties I’ve come to expect, and then works his way around the bar speaking to each person. Every time he walks near the sofa, I wonder if someone else dives in deeper with another score.

The TV by the fireplace isn’t tuned to ESPN yet, and it’s the blasted one that doesn’t work right. The remote has to be about five inches from the TV, so I climb onto a barstool, and then I feel a sting on my butt. “Ahhh!” I wave my arms to get my balance.

“Steve! What the…?”

“You’re looking pretty hot in those jeans, Gillian.”

“Don’t smack me again. Scared the crap out of me!” I right myself and put both feet safely on the ground. “Do you fancy taking this shift solo tonight while they put me back together in the emergency room?”

“Sorry, love, didn’t mean to.” His braided beard bounces as he chuckles. “You just look different than when we first met. The hair. The clothes and makeup. Lookin’ good.”

He’s the first one to notice and actually say something. “You think so?” I’m never sure if people really mean what they say or if they just want something.

He stops wiping down the bar and looks straight at me. “Wouldn’t say it if I didn’t.”

“Thank you.” I’m glad my hair covers my ears so Steve doesn’t notice they’ve turned fiery red.

“Have you seen yourself?”

I look up and Steve’s pointing his phone at me. “Did you take my picture?”

“Look. Especially the smile.” He shows me the photo he took. “You look so much happier with yourself. You’re very pretty.”

I’d rather crawl under the bar rather than believe someone really thinks I’m pretty.

“I’m sending this to you so you remember.” Then he turns his attention to the bar.

Dress Up Dress Down With James DiBenedetto #MFRWAuthor

Join me in welcoming Jamies DiBenedetto to LAM!

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•   Tell us about your hero’s or heroine’s typical style of dress. What is the condition of the clothing?

Sara is the heroine of the Dream Doctor Mysteries. She starts off as a quiet and studious college student, but over the course of the series, she gets married, becomes a doctor, has a family, and solves murders and other mysteries with the help of her supernatural dreams.

Sara is a pretty conservative dresser, which goes along with her shy and reserved personality, especially when we first meet her. She’s in college, so it’s usually jeans and a sweatshirt, without regard to style as long as it’s clean.  But as events force her out of her shell, and she finds herself in new situations, she changes things up on a few occasions.

•   What does the choice of clothing tell us about him/her?

Sara’s preferred style goes along with who she is at first – she’s quiet, and her clothes don’t make a big impression, either. When she does dress up (for a New Year’s Eve dinner at a fancy restaurant with her new boyfriend), she barely recognizes herself in the mirror.  

•   What happens when or if your character wears the opposite style?

When Sara dresses against her usual style, she usually finds herself acting against her usual behavior, too – almost as if she’s wearing a costume and acting out a part.

•   Does your hero or heroine change his style of dress over the course of the book? If so, how, and what does it mean, if anything?

As the book goes on, and in later books, Sara becomes a lot more confident, and while she’s still has a pretty conservative style, she’s much more willing to try new things, and to try to make a statement with her outfits when the occasion calls for it.

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EXCERPT:

It’s nine o’clock, and everyone’s waiting downstairs for Beth and me.  She looks great, which is no surprise.  She generally does.  What isa little surprising, at least to me, is just how good Ilook.  That sounds immodest, but what the heck.  I’m allowed to be immodest once in a while, right?   

Beth spent the last two hours helping me do my hair and makeup, and she absolutely demanded that I wear the dress I bought with my birthday money.  It doesn’t quite say “do me”–nothing I own says that–but it might say “buy me some drinks and dance with me and I’ll think about it” if I wear it with the proper attitude.  It’s black and strapless and–for me, at least–very short.  It’s such a change from my usual wardrobe that I barely recognize myself in the mirror.   Especially with my hair up and the way-more-than-usual makeup job.

She gives me a final once over, and claps her hands.  She’s thrilled.  “There may be hope for you yet!”  She doesn’t need me to check her over, she knows without even looking in the mirror that everything’s right, not a hair or anything else out of place.  

I have to take one last good long look at myself, though.  The woman staring back at me has my eyes, but the rest of her…

I hear my own voice asking, “Who is that?”  

Blurb:

 College junior Sara Barnes thought her life was totally under control.  All she had to worry about was her final exams, Christmas shopping, applying to medical school – and what to do about the cute freshman in the next dorm with a crush on her.  Everything was going according to plan, until the night she started seeing other people’s dreams.

It’s bad enough that Sara is learning more than she ever needed to know about her friends and classmates, watching their most secret fantasies whether she wants to or not. Much worse are the other dreams, the ones she sees nearly every night, featuring a strange, terrifying man who commits unspeakable crimes.  Now Sara wonders if she’s the only witness to a serial killer – and the only one who knows when and where he’s going to strike next.

Dream Student is the prequel to the Dream Doctor Mysteries.

BIO:

J.J. DiBenedetto is author of the Dream Series and the Jane Barnaby Adventures and lives in Arlington, Virginia with the love of his life and a white cat who rules the roost. 

His passions are photography, travel, the opera, the New York Giants, and of course writing. 

Mr. DiBenedetto is devoted to writing books with a sense of mysticism to entertain and perhaps invite his readers to suspend belief in a way they might never have.

Since he was very young , he has always been intrigued with the supernatural and things that can't be explained rationally.

By always asking way too many questions, it piqued his interest to the point of setting his writing off and running when he grew up! All the curiosity building up all those years were finally getting put into words to captivate readers. And it hasn't ended. His main goal is to share all the stories he has inside, putting pen to paper. And that's how the Dream Doctor Mysteries were born.

Mr. DiBenedetto welcomes queries and feedback from his loyal readers. You can email him at jj@jjdibenedetto.com or at his website www.jjdibenedetto.com.

The next Jane Barnaby Adventure will be ready soon and he's anxious to hear what you think!

Social Media:

www.jjdibenedetto.com

www.facebook.com/jjdibenedettoauthor

www.twitter.com/jjdibenedetto

www.tinyurl.com/jjdaudio

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http://viewAuthor.at/JJDiBenedetto

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Thanks for stopping by, James!

Dress up Dress Down Tuesday Featuring Daryl Devore #MFRWAuthor

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Please Welcome Daryl Devore to Living After Midnight!

Hello. I’m happy to be on Dress Up Dress Down Tuesday.

Dark Chocolate and Strawberries revolves around junior accountant Esmerelda “Red” Hood. She works at Hood’s Chocolatier -the largest independent chocolate maker in the country.

Her work wear is “Corporate World”. She prefers to wear slacks than dresses. As her personality is more laid back and casual, she feels more comfortable wearing slacks. But there are days when she’s feeling sexy and flirty and a designer dress and heels is her clothing style of choice. 

When the story begins it’s in the middle of a miserably cold Chicago winter. Parka, scarf, mitts, thick wool sweaters and snow boots make up the majority of her clothing.

An unexpected cruise to the Caribbean makes a rapid change in her attire and summery shirts, shorts and sandals fill her suitcase. Oh and of course – a bathing suit.

On the cruise, she meets two men – Chopper and Willem.

Chopper is a low paid, over worked teacher. His style is super dress downcasual – scruffy blue jeans, and a crumpled shirt.

Willem is a fashion photographer. His style is a casual jacket over a white T and well fitting jeans.

The really interesting parts happen when no one is wearing anything – but I’ll leave that to your imagination.

I’ve created a Pinterest board for this - https://www.pinterest.ca/daryldevore2013/dark-chocolate-and-strawberries/

Plus there are boards for my other books.

Here’s an excerpt – The moment Red meets Willem and Chopper

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“My grandmother is a passenger. Can you tell me if she’s boarded yet?”

The purser clicked a few keys on her keyboard and asked, “Her name?”

“Sarah Hood or Mrs. S. Hood. I'd suggest Grandma but there seems to be a lot of them on the ship.”

“Yes, we're close to full. We do two senior cruises a year and this is the busier one. Yes, she boarded earlier.”

Red checked her own cabin number. “Even numbers on port side, right?”

“Yes. Is there anything else?”

“No, thank you.” Red walked in the direction of the elevators.

The immaculate gleam of the polished brass fittings sparkled in the late morning sunshine. Passengers passed by excitedly chatting to each other. Standing near the railing was a tall, dark haired, heart-melting, and close to her age, hunk of masculinity. Red pulled in her stomach and arched her back as she passed him. Her knees buckled when she caught a whiff of his aftershave. 

Two strong hands caught her. “Guess you don't have your sea legs yet,” a deep voice whispered in her ear as he helped her stand.

“And we're only in port. I'm going to be a disaster once we get out to sea.” She flashed her emerald green eyes at him and her best sexy smile.

“I guess I'll have to watch out for you and be ready to catch you if you fall.” His grin seemed to stretch from ear to ear displaying Hollywood white teeth. He reached for her hand and brushed a kiss across the back of it. “Willem Olf. My friends call me Will.”

“Red Hood. Pleasure to meet you.”

“Pleasure is all mine.” He bowed his head then slid his sunglasses on. “Much too bright. I'm more of a night creature.”

Stifling a giggle, Red said, “I gotta go. Still have to unpack and—”

The blast of the ship's horn cut off her sentence. She waved good-bye. That's one hot piece of man. Kinda continental. Sexy. And damn, he smells good.

Waiting for the elevator, Red checked her cell phone. Clicking through the messages, she found one titled Sara Hood's cabin number. She opened it and was pleased to discover she wouldn't be neighbors with her grandmother.

Room 1231, three floors apart and opposite sides of the ship. Good, this way hot and sexy Will can sneak into my room and not be seen by curious grandmother eyes.

The elevator doors opened. Red stood aside for the occupants to depart, then stepped inside, pressed button 15, port side. The ride was swift and silent. She held her plastic key card and checked her ticket as the doors opened. She stepped out as he stepped in…to her.

After bouncing off the stranger, Red picked up her purse and smartphone. “Oh my God. I'm so sorry. I wasn't paying attention.”

“No, no. My fault. I'm so lost.” He picked up his ticket and Red's, glanced at them then handed Red's to her. Adjusting his shoulder bag, he asked, “You wouldn't happen to know…” He held out his ticket.

Red checked his room location and tapped the elevator call button. “This side of the ship. When you get out of the elevator go left. Room should be on your right.”

“You seem to know your way around. Do you work on a cruise ship?”

She laughed and looked past the ticket at the man. He was nicely built, blue eyes and sandy blond hair and cheeks with adorable dimples. “No, I've cruised before.”

“This is my first. I'm so lost. Oh, I said that already.” He took a big breath and released it. “Andrew Woodsman. My friends call me Chopper.”

“Hi Chopper. I'm Red Hood.” Second cute introduction inside of ten minutes. And on a senior's cruise, at that.“You know, I have to ask - why Chopper?” Sexy helicopter fighter pilot?

“I'm gonna go for broke here. How about I tell you at lunch? Burgers and beer?”

His face had that lost puppy look that could melt any girl's heart. It melted Red's. Smiling, she nodded. “Sounds good.”

The elevator doors opened. He put his hand on it to hold it until he entered. “I'll come and get you, say, 12:15?”

Blurb

~~~~~

What's a naughty fairy tale like Red Riding Hood without Red, the huntsman, grandma and especially, the big bad wolf?

Esmerelda 'Red' Hood is summoned to her mother's executive suite only to learn her sweet granny is headed for a romantic cruise with a gigolo. Horrified, Red races off to save her grandma before it's too late.

On board, Red meets Andrew Woodsman and Willem Olf. One a cutie with the biggest puppy eyes and the other a dark, sophisticated predator. Her grandmother's warning rings in Red's ear "Never trust a wolf in sheep's clothing."

Even with the warning, Red has trouble choosing which man could be the big bad wolf and which could be her happily ever after.

Note: This book was previously published by New Dawning Bookfair under the title Sexy Red Hood.

Tag line:

What's a naughty fairy tale like Red Riding Hood without Red, the huntsman, grandma and especially, the big bad wolf?

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Where to Find Daryl Devoré 

Blog - Romance - Sweet to Heat

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Thanks for stopping by, Daryl! You’re welcome any time!

All That Remains the Same is Change

Welcome to Living After Midnight 2.0. It was time to upgrade and to explore new horizons. That, and my other host made my site vulnerable to too many spam comments. So please, while you’re here, take a moment to look around and let me know what you think. 

I’m one of those people who loves change. I like exploring new places and meeting new people. I like rearranging the furniture and painting a room in a wild new color. I like moving, although admittedly I don’t do it as often as I used to. I even enjoy learning about why people resist change so vehemently.

What about you? Do you embrace change?

A Viking Weekend

My partner and I headed off to Mystic, Connecticut for Viking Weekend at Mystic Seaport. I’m not sure why we were so interested (other than we’re members of the Seaport and it was a gorgeous weekend), but off we went for a two day adventure. It was a blast. On the Commons, a settlement of tents depicted how they may have lived. Many men and women of all ages, shapes, and sizes were dressed in Viking warrior or period garb. (Some were actors paid by the Seaport but most were simply Viking enthusiasts.) There were Viking ships, exhibits of tools, battle gear and weapons. Vendors sold all sorts of paraphernalia, from hand crafted satchels to leather sword shields. Still other sellers offered authentic food of the period, or so they claimed.  And if you wanted to learn how to make mead, they had you covered too.

Knowing little about Viking culture, we attended three lectures. My favorite was given by one of the Seaport’s boat builders and lead shipwrights . He’d spent three months reconstructing a Viking ship using only the tools available in that time and shared his experiences through stories, pictures and videos of his journey.

The two other lectures were given by purported experts in Viking culture, but interestingly they contradicted each other on many points so I can’t vouch for accuracy. Here’s a smattering of what was said:

  • Vikings were not pillaging raiders, but young sons seeking their fortunes.
  • Viking warriors operated under a strict moral code, never stealing or hurting the weak.
  • They routinely raided monasteries, sometimes returning to ones previously attacked.
  • Their raids extended as far as Northern Africa.
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See what I mean? What they both agreed on, however, was that we have scant records of this time period, leaving much for experts to interpret from a few stories and reverse engineering. For example, there is no information about fighting strategies, but what we believe to be true was gleaned from a small handful of personal accounts, as well as assumed from artifacts and remains.

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All in all, it was a great event. The weather was beautiful, the people were friendly, and we learned a thing or two. Now to find some Viking clothes and gear for our next excursion. Any idea where we can find a good leather arm guard?

A Concert to Remember: Sir Tom Jones

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It should be no surprise to those who know me that I go to as many concerts as I can. Even in the wake of the passing of the One and Only (Prince), I still have an appetite for good music and talented musicians. When I had the opportunity to see Tom Jones in concert, I knew I had to do it.

I was just a kid when he was on TV, but I remember watching his variety show with my mother. She, like many women in her day, was entirely smitten by him. Not only could the man sing, but he could Move. That's Move, with a capital M. Move in the way that, even just watching, your body remembers. Yeah, my mother would have been one to toss her bra and panties on stage if she'd gone to a show. (They don't still do that, by the way. I wish they did. I probably would have joined in.)

Today, Sir Tom is 78. It would be untrue to say that he is sexy for a man of his age. He is gorgeous and sexy for ANY age! The salt and pepper hair and beard, that freaking twinkle in his eyes...The man still has it. But when he started to sing, I nearly slid off of my seat. His voice is exquisite. It has always been extraordinary and it is still. Strong. Perfect. One of the songs he sang was Tower of Song, by Leonard Cohen. It is so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. Tower of Song.  He also did a slow, uber sexy version of his hit, Sex Bomb. Sexy with a capital S. Sexy in the way that even just listening, your body remembers--Listen for yourself::Sex Bomb on YouTube

Unfortunately, the Foxwoods audience wasn't well-behaved enough for me to completely immerse myself in the music. The group of entitled, middle-aged beer drinkers sitting right in front of me (six deep, men and women) were loud, continually in and out of their seats getting--guess what--more beer. When they weren't shouting to each other or drinking, they were on their phones or drunkenly begging my friend to dance with them. I guess I looked too irritated to bother asking.

Sir Tom sang and played with the audience for a full two hours, no break. When he broke into his fast hits like  Delilah, What's New Pussycat?, She's a Lady and It's Not Unusual, the crowd went wild. So did I.

And its no wonder. Guess when he was born? June 7th.Same day as Prince.

Ladies and gentlemen, there are no coincidences.

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Characters and Settings: How I Keep It Together #MFRWAuthors

I stumbled around for a long time trying to work out a system of getting characters and settings settled in my mind. I usually start with an actor who could play the character I have in mind. Being able to see real people makes their physical characteristics easier to describe.But after awhile I tended to mix them up with other characters in the book—or even another book. Sometimes I totally forget what I’ve written. My haphazard records didn’t ensure that my characters eye color or hair didn’t change from one page to the next. In 2009, everything changed. I discovered a book called Break Into Fiction by Mary Buckham and Dianna Love. I worked through all the exercises and pulled all my notes together. I didn’t have to generate new information about my characters but this book gave me a record keeping system.

Since then I’ve looked at several systems for creating characters and settings but none have been as helpful as this book. Moreover, I attended two weekend workshops with Ms. Buckham which cleared up questions I had.

I’m afraid I’m not as particular about settings. The ones in my books tend to be real places I have been or seen. For example, Zander’s apartment in House of the Rising Son is modeled after Brian Kinney’s loft in Queer as Folk. Although I may change a few things, having concrete places in mind keeps me from having settings change constantly.

Today when I have a new plot percolating, one of the first things I do is to pull out my copy of Break Into Fiction and tackle those worksheets. I may not come up with all the answers when I start but this system reminds me that I need to know them to finish.