Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Important News! Ellora's Cave Publishing

Good morning everyone! I've important news to share with readers. As you may know from previous blog posts (not my own), social media, and various other forums, my former publisher, Ellora's Cave Publishing has announced they will be closing at the end of December 2016. Fortunately, I'd received notification a couple of weeks ago that all of my remaining titles (I'd previously received 5) would revert to me as of October 12, 2016! While I am relieved and excited about the opportunity to re-release every title, and more that were planned but never came to be due to the stress and circumstances beyond my control since 2014, I am also very saddened by this news. I've never wished ill will toward anyone at EC, ever. In all honesty, I am grateful to the staff, editors, cover designers, and Jaid Black for creating a venue for authors to write as hot as they wanted and not feel ashamed or hide. Along the way, I've been fortunate to meet the most amazing, incredible authors, my editor, cover artists, models, and readers at RomantiCon and RT conventions, and lately, Wild Wicked Weekend. They were a blast! With thanks to Facebook and Twitter, etc, those relationships have continued, and I will be at WWW, which is always a fun time.

Currently on my to-be-released schedule is Pride, The Abcynians Book II, and the second of my Brandt's Dozen series, featuring Kristian Rodriquez. Soon after, I will begin revising, revamping, and in some cases re-titling, all of the books previously published by EC, the first of which will be Quarterback Blitz. While characters will remain the same, I intend to update the books so that they're more current, for example phones/technology/computers/social media, and the series formerly known as 'Ink and Kink', that included 6 titles, will be divided into two different series, the Alexandria Griffins and Maddox Ink  though characters such as Phalen Maddox or Alexander Grant will crossover. Likewise, the 'Dare' books will be reworked and re-titled, with two additional stories to complete the series! In other words, there are going to be a lot of books next year. Between the re-releases, Brandt's Dozen and The Abcynians will continue to thrive.

While I intend to write more for the Major Crimes Unit (MCU), it could be a while before a new one comes out, as I'll be a very busy writer in 2017 and 2018! Stay tuned for release dates, news, and up-to-date information. To my readers, thank YOU for standing by Kyran and Anna, Dallas and Grace, Phalen and Cassie, Alex and Ryan, Ethan and Morgan, Avery and Hazard, Taran and Samantha, Eve, Jaxon, and Remy, and a standalone, Pleasure Trove's, Callie and Maksim/Julian. They will all return in the future!

Until next time,
Frances Stockton  

Friday, July 15, 2016

Persuasion, The Abcynians Book I, is Available Now!

Greetings one and all! I'm so pleased and honored to announce the re-imagined world of The Abcynians with the release Persuasion!

Before I go any further, please note that Persuasion and three other books were previously published with Ellora's Cave for their Cerridwen Press/Blush lines under the series title Panthera. The rights have been returned to me, and with them, I not only intend to release the re-titled and retold series, I will be writing two new books featuring some of the more compelling characters introduced early in the series.

If you're a fan of sensual Paranormal Romance featuring hot, sexy historical heroes, and strong, courageous women, shifters, were-panthers, or stories set in the past, including Medieval, Renaissance, Golden Age of Piracy, Early and Late Georgian, Regency, and more, I hope you'll give The Abcynians a chance!

Now, let's have some fun! Here's a glimpse into Garrick and Aisley's story: Persuasion

They have lived for centuries. An ancient, secretive race of were-panthers faced with near extinction. To assure their survival they must conceal their identities and abilities, while protecting mankind from an unimaginable, primordial evil.

Persuasion: The Abcynians, Book I

As an Abcynian Elder, Garrick Forrester has survived wars, plagues, and arranged marriages. Nothing he’s experienced prepares him for the discovery of his mate living in his demesne, or for her resistance.
While aiding a child, Aisley Reeves is rescued by the Earl of Danford, whom a village healer should never dare approach without being summoned. At first, she is fascinated with the dark, mesmerizing lord who tempts her in a way no man has ever done. After he claims she’s to become his betrothed, she balks.
Already fearful her work and red hair might cause some to brand her as a witch, she believes it is best to keep her distance. When Aisley suffers a near mortal injury at the hands of his enemies, Garrick must gain her trust so that he can protect her. But can she trust her life to a man who is far more than…human?

Check out an excerpt!
“Come one, come all! Merchant and peasant, come one, come all!”
From within her small cottage, Aisley heard a stranger’s beckoning. Curious, she went to the door, opening it, listening. Something felt terribly wrong.
“For a coin, no more than a farthing or two, lend your ears to my traveling minstrel. Five pence will earn merriment with a jester trained amongst the best in London. Peruse the candles, spices and incense found in the most exotic lands. Come one, come all!”
Finding it odd a stranger had entered the village soon after a rainstorm, she grew more concerned. The gray sky was getting darker, the clouds obscuring the moon’s glow.
Leaving the safety of the doorway, she hesitated to look back at the woods separating her home from Danford Manor. The Earl had recently returned after spending years at war with France. It was his duty to protect the people living and serving on his land.
Alas, she did not know him other than by title. Few did, though she was certain he would send guards if the stranger meant anyone harm.
Years ago, her father had served Lord Danford as the physician to his household and tenants. She’d been so proud, often begging Papa to tell her of life inside the manor house. For unknown reasons, she’d always been curious about the lord that other villagers spoke of in whispers.
When she grew to marriageable age, Papa ceased telling her fanciful tales, reminding her to not to be petulant and mind her lessons. Yet, she’d often wondered about the Earl, saying her nightly prayers for his wellbeing and safe return.
Realizing she was spending too much time thinking about matters that were not her concern, she rushed onward to the village common.
“Come one, come all! For I have yet to reveal the best of all. A glimpse will cost each of you a penny. Full reveal will take a shilling.”
Finally, she spotted villagers circling around the caller a bit warily. Horse-drawn wagons rested in a straight line. Aisley spied unlit torches attached to the wagons. Did the stranger plan to stay when it was dark?
Two older villagers, Howard Jones and his wife, inspected the wares and concoctions displayed on a market stand. A handful of coins were tossed to the ground and a small lad scuttled to pick them up.
In a thrice, a jester danced about the villagers. His antics induced a trickle of laughter from them but a chill of fear along her spine. At the same time, an eerie grumble emanated from the forest, lifting the tiny hairs on the back of her neck.
Frightened, she rushed for the safety of the crowd and it wasn’t long before she stood amongst them.
“Pay your tribute to Ruck, dear friends,” the stranger touted, swinging his right arm about as the jester continued to dance. Coins sprinkled the dirt almost as fast as the boy swiped them into a purse. “The finale is near. You have my word, one and all, Sedgewick Haywood will not fail your call.”
Aisley hesitated to admit she was intrigued by what was to be revealed. Pennies were spread on the ground at Haywood’s feet. How odd that the villagers would give up their coin.
“Wait!” Aisley called out, stepping forward. “What brings you to our village on such a night as this?”
“I mean no one harm,” Haywood promised. His smile was little more than a gap-toothed leer. Repulsed, she stepped back, only to have the rumbling sound she’d heard from the forest grow impossibly louder.
Looking back toward the trees, she tried to determine if an animal hovered nearby, hoping it wasn’t a pack of wolves. They were said to prey upon people, namely the weak and injured. Unable to see anything other than blackness, she turned back to the wagons.
“I have traveled far through the day’s rain in the hope of warding away your troubles for at least a night,” Haywood contended, leering at her. “Might I inquire as to whom quells my efforts?”
“Aisley, a healer, and I speak not for myself. This village has not gone unscathed by plague. I would not wish for the sickness to return.”
“Nor would I, fair lady.” Feigning elegance, the man bowed at the hips. The expense of his green and tan robe and the silk of his gypon made him appear a man of means. At the hem of his robe, Aisley caught a glimpse of a sword. “I am free of plague. You may inspect me for lesions if it would set your mind at ease.”
The rumbling she’d heard grew more prominent, frightening. It felt as if the beast was warning her against touching the man. Oddly, no one else seemed to hear it.
“I think it best if you leave,” she said.
Inspecting this man would require three areas, the armpit, neck and the inner thighs. Touching him was not something she relished, regardless of her vow to attend those in need.
“Aisley, do not rush him off. He promises to reveal the creature behind that curtain, and I, for one, have paid to see it,” Howard Jones argued.
It was difficult to avoid staring at the curtained stage resting behind the stranger. The jester had tumbled his way to one side of the wheeled contraption. The minstrel strolled toward the opposite.
“Throwing away coin can only lead to trouble,” Aisley warned.
“How is it that a woman speaks so bold?” Sedgewick Haywood demanded.
“It is common for Aisley to do so,” Andrew White answered. “Her father was the trusted physician for the Earl of Danford. She is valued amongst us.”
“Then why have you given what this man has asked for?” Aisley wondered aloud.
“We want to see what he has to offer.”
“Worry not, Aisley. All will be well.”
The villagers relayed their wishes and Aisley stepped back. She could not deny them a few moments pleasure. More coins hit the ground as Sedgewick demanded. Apparently pleased with the villagers, the visitor bowed once again in acceptance.
“Ah, at last my performers will grant your due,” Haywood pronounced. Proudly, he moved to the side.
Both the minstrel and the jester beckoned to the crowd and the curtain before them. Whispers filled the air, but they could not mask the eerie sawing drawing ever closer to the village. Did no one else hear the beast? It sounded as if he boomed from a mountaintop.
“Is someone cutting branches in the forest?” she asked.
“I hear nothing of the sort, Aisley,” Howard said.
Cease, little one, only you can hear me. I am close. Do not provoke the strangers, I will protect you and my tenants, someone said, a man, with a deep, gruff voice spoken so close to her ear, she swore his breath brushed her ear.
Unbidden, the scent of cinnamon tickled her nose, the memory it triggered bittersweet. Her father had always favored it in his porridge, a rarity to be certain, as it’d been a gift from Lord Danford in return for his physician’s fealty.
You like cinnamon, I shall procure some from the kitchens for you by the morrow. Ease your worry, it will be all right. Again, that voice, so compelling, so distinct and male, reached her.
“Who spoke to me of cinnamon?” Aisley demanded, glancing about. The villagers stared back as though she’d gone mad.
“Your attention, healer,” Haywood insisted. “To one and all, I give you living proof of werewolves in England!”
“Werewolves…are you mad, Haywood?” Andrew asked.
“Nay, I tell you true, feast your eyes on a werewolf’s babe.” Sedgewick swept his right hand toward the jester, who sliced a rope and the curtain shushed to the ground.

If you'd like to read Persuasion, you can find it at Amazon, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, and Scribd! FYI: Scribd is a subscription service and they're having a trial offer for 14 days. Below, I'll include links to each vendor! 

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1134367874

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/persuasion-frances-stockton/1124098352;jsessionid=C8C9A5266DA39D8BF500C09904087F5C.prodny_store01-atgap02?ean=2940153338590

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/persuasion-214

Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/book/318252879/Persuasion-The-Abcynians-1

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IG0OW90#nav-subnav

Thank you for giving Garrick and Aisley and The Abcynians a chance! I'm on Facebook and Twitter, too! http://www.twitter.com/francesstockton and https://www.facebook.com/frances.stockton or my author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorFrancesStockton/

Monday, June 27, 2016

Coming Soon! The Abcynians and Persuasion

Hi everyone,
I know it's been a while since I've updated my website. I wanted to reassure you all that I am still here. Soon, I'll be relaunching a four-book series that'd formerly been with Ellora's Cave for their Cerridwen Press/Blush imprints, but had the rights reverted to me.

I'm pleased to let you know that I've revamped the books extensively, added scenes and content, re-imagining the series in a way I wish I could've done the first time. The books are going to have new titles, reflecting the story, as well as new covers, and I'm planning on completing two more books, which had been placed on hold.

The first book, Persuasion, is almost ready to go. In the meantime, I thought I'd share the awesome cover design, as well as a little insight into the world of the Abcynians. 

They have lived for centuries. An ancient, secretive race faced with near extinction. To assure their survival they must conceal their identities and abilities, while protecting mankind from an unimaginable, primordial enemy.

Persuasion: The Abcynians, Book I
As an Elder of a diminishing race, Garrick Forrester has survived wars, plagues, and two arranged marriages. Nothing he’s experienced prepares him for the discovery of his mate living in his demesne, or for her resistance.
While aiding a child in the clutches of a dastardly man, Aisley Reeves is rescued by the Earl of Danford, whom a village healer should never dare approach without being summoned. At first, she is fascinated, especially when he grants permission to speak at will and seems wise beyond his years.
But when he claims she’s to become his betrothed, she balks. Already fearful her work and red hair might tempt some to brand her as a witch, she believes it is best to keep her distance from the dark, mesmerizing lord whose thoughts she can hear and reminds her of the black leopard guarding his earldom.
To protect her from an unimaginable evil, Garrick must persuade Aisley to trust him, a man who is far more than…human!

The Abcynians
They have lived for centuries. An ancient, secretive race faced with near extinction. To assure their survival they must conceal their identities and abilities, while protecting mankind from an unimaginable, primordial enemy.
Elder: The equivalent of the peerage, an Elder is a term of respect for an Abcynian capable of shifting into their alternate form.  
Sustenance: A mixture of herbs and spices from Abcynia, the former homeland of the Abcynians, added to food or drink, enabling them to adapt to their environments and heal if injured or ill.
Essence: Within each Abcynian is the soul of a panther, known as essence, which manifests itself as an iridescent mark on the skin. When converting, mating, or healing, it is given through a bite, providing nourishment, excitement, and increasing the mate’s arousal.
Abcynian Guard: Humans who have vowed fealty or loyalty to protecting the Abcynians from false accusations or misunderstandings.  
Duke: Primarily granted to those in the royal family.
Marcher Lord: In England, marcher lords were appointed by the King to guard the Welsh border. Eventually, they would become the second highest of the peerage, known as a marquess or marquis.
Earl: Highest of the English titles/peerage during the Middle Ages.
Baron: In England, one who held tenured land for the King. Before Parliament was formed, the Great Council could grant a writ or charter.
Healers/Midwives: While there were physicians, often healers tended those who were sick, injured, and those with child.
Palfrey: A riding horse.
Destrier: A battle-tested warhorse.
Sennight: A week or seven days.
Fortnight: Two weeks or fourteen days.
Ell: A measure of distance, about 4 feet.
Firkin: 50+ pounds.
Furlong: 220 yards.
Hand: 4 inches
Pace: 2 ½ feet.
Coins: Mark=12 shillings, Pound=20 shillings, Shilling=12 pence, Pence=penny, Noble=1/2 a mark.
Hurdy-gurdy: A stringed musical instrument, earliest form required 2 musicians to play, may have been an early predecessor to the violin.
Lute: A stringed instrument, resembled a pear-shaped guitar.
Great Hall: Usually where the lord held feasts or gathered guests for midday a feast or midday meal, which tended to be the most significant with multiple courses.
Livery: A small cupboard where a simple meal and wine or drink was kept for a lord or lady’s evening repast.
Supper: A simple meal, served later in the evening.
Solar: Private quarters or room for the lord or lady and guests to gather. Note: Garrick has a solar, which he keeps well away from his tower/area of his manor house, which is large enough to resemble a Norman castle.
Nursery: Room/area in a house or castle for children.
Squire: A boy training for knighthood.
Knight Errant: One who has attained knighthood, but may not have lands of his own and wanders.
Banneret: A man who is knighted, but leads other soldiers or knights under his own banner.
For further information or vocabulary custom to the Middle Ages, I highly recommend Sherrilyn Keynon’s Everyday Life in the Middle Ages. It’s an excellent source for readers, authors, and historians, alike.

Panthera Leo/Lions: It is important to introduce Lucien Montgomery and his family. As he is the oldest of their kind, Lucien is the Abcynian King, his sons and daughters considered princes and princesses. The location of his pride is known only to a few and never spoken of when they are assuming human identities.
Lucien and Catarina Montgomery=Abcynian King and Queen. In England, Lord and Lady Raybourne.
Valiant Montgomery = Crown Prince. In England, Squire training for knighthood
Adrian Montgomery= Prince, desires to become a sailor, explorer.
Dante Luciano=Raised, adopted, and protected by Lucien and Catarina.
Elena and Mercedes Montgomery-Princesses, reside beyond Europe.
Panthera Pardus/Leopards: Amongst Abcynians, the leopards are considered the best hunters, strategists, and warriors. Garrick Forrester is the second eldest of his kind, an English earl who has dedicated himself to the protection of England and his demesne.
Elder Garrick Forrester, Earl of Danford.
Aisley Forrester, Countess of Danford
Lady Angelica Forrester=Garrick and Aisley’s newly adopted daughter.
Elder Grayson Forrester, Baron Somerton, Garrick’s brother.
Elder Colton Forrester, Baron Wolcott, Garrick’s youngest brother.
Jillian Forrester, Baroness Wolcott, Colton’s wife.  
Panthera Tigris/Tigers: The most elusive of the Abcynians, the were-tigers prefer to cloak themselves with their human titles. Thus far only Lucien and Garrick know their identities, though if called upon, they will stand up and defend their panthera cousins.
Due to their need for secrecy, names and titles withheld until later in the series. 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Friday, June 3, 2016

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Cinema After Dark Radio: Interview with Max Cole!

Greetings! I know it's been awhile since I last posted, but I wanted to take a moment to update you all on some awesome news.

First, on June 1, 2016, my first ever short (very short) novella, Paradise Found, will be launched as part of Naughty Literati's Naughty Heatwave anthology featuring some incredibly talented authors. I'll have more information on the anthology soon, everything from links, excerpts, and a video showcasing every story.

I've also obtained the rights of four former full-length Paranormal Historical Romances previously released with Ellora's Cave Publishing. As many know, changes at the publisher have been very complicated and I'm very, very happy to be relaunching these books in a multi-book series The Abcynians. Currently in edits, Persuasion. Be on the lookout for more information coming soon.

Now, if you've noticed the subject line of this post, I wanted to share with an amazing opportunity that came to me recently. A few years ago, Max Cole, a producer, creator, and director of independent films followed me on Twitter, since then, he's touched base professionally, inquiring about my books with EC and now, my Indie published titles. Incredibly, he invited me to be a part of his radio show for an in-depth interview. It was an awesome experience and we discussed everything from creating characters and writing, to favorite movies, TV shows, and, yes, even my favorite football team. Just a hint? I live in New England, so you can guess which team I support.

I'd also like to preface one thing during the interview. If anyone wishes to learn more about my former publisher and my personal experience, please scroll through previous posts right here on my blog. That said, I'd like to add that the months of non-payment of royalties mentioned during the Podcast reflect the time period from July 2015 to May 2016. I have received payment to reflect dates preceding July 2015. Just wanted to clarify that.

If you'd like to check out the interview, please visit the following link:  http://cinemaafterdark.com/ep39-frances-stockton/

My thanks to Max Cole. It was an honor! Let's do it again sometime.

Frances Stocktom

Monday, February 29, 2016

Celebrating Lipstick and Camouflage! Blog Tour/Contest

Greetings everyone!

I hope this post finds you all well. Since my last, I've been writing, re-writing, revamping, and recreating my PNR series The Abcynians, which had previously been published with Ellora's Cave Publishing's Blush/Cerridwen Press imprint.

Today, I'm celebrating the release of my Romantic Suspense, Lipstick and Camouflage, Book One in the Brandt's Dozen series featuring former military and Special Operatives. Yep, the book released last month, but I had a couple of things on my schedule and a reader/author con known as Wild Wicked Weekend.

Now that I've recovered, somewhat, okay, there's a lot of caffeine pumping through my system today, I wanted to post a link to Lipstick and Camouflage on WLK Promotions. There's an excerpt, blurb, links, bio, all sorts of helpful information about a great book, set at a great price. It's my sincere hope that you'll take time to check it out, join the contest for either an Amazon gift card and some lovely soaps from Charm City Soaps, LLC, located in Baltimore City. As the book's set in Baltimore, I thought it would be fun for folks to check out soaps named after Baltimore icons, traditions, and places.

Here's the link: http://www.wlkbookpromotions.com/lipstick-and-camouflage-brandts-dozen-1-by-frances-stockton-book-tour-giveaway/

It's also up on Twitter and Facebook!
Until next time,
Frances Stockton

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Abcynians: Lions, Tigers, and Leopards, Oh My!

I'm so very, very excited to make a big announcement today. I've already posted hints on various social media sites, but, I simply had to elaborate.

Many may know that there's been a lot of changes at Ellora's Cave Publishing. I'm not going to go into specifics, as it's been addressed previously on this blog and by others, however, I'm excited to let you all know that the first books published with EC under the Cerridwen Press/Blush imprints, known as the Panthera, has been reverted to me. The books, Seductive Persuasion, Rhiannon's Pride, Sea Captain's Ghost, and Arrington's Claim, are currently being revamped, re-imagined, the world of the Abcynians reborn into a bigger, better series, with at least two never-before-seen full length novels.

If you like PNR/Shapeshifters, and, are a history buff like me, it's my sincere hope that you'll welcome the Abcynians on your favorite reading devices or bookshelves. Set in my favorite time periods in history, Medieval, Renaissance, Golden Age of Piracy, Georgian, England, and, of course the Regency among them, an ancient race capable of shifting into their panthers' souls, face the trials and tribulations of defending mankind, taking on wars, plague, piracy, treachery, oftentimes facing scandal and betrayals from sanguinary rivals.

Currently, I'm working on Book One, Persuasion, and I'm truly enjoying the chance to return to favorite characters' stories that I'd thought had already been told. To those who read the old series, thank you! Hopefully, you'll enjoy the retelling of Garrick Forrester, Earl of Danford, and gifted healer, Aisley Reeves' story. Admittedly, changes have been made to the book, things I wished I'd have done from the very beginning, refining secondary characters whose stories need to be told, and expanding the sensuality and love scenes.

Incredibly, early on in the original series' release, I received many emails and messages asking about Valiant Montgomery, who first appeared in Seductive Persuasion as Garrick's squire, and each of the books that followed. My answer to those inquiries, yes! Yes, Valiant will have his due. In the meantime, I'll keep everyone updated on release dates, tease covers, blog tours, everything I can to reach readers.

The Abcynians are coming! Stay tuned!

Until next time,
Frances Stockton

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

News! 5 Stars, Updates, and More, Oh My!

I'm so excited! I recently found out that Lipstick and Camouflage received an awesome 5 Star review on Amazon.

Not only did it make me do a little Snoopy dance, the reader totally 'got' it. This means the world to me as an author, and, while not everyone will share that same opinion, it was the first review for this book so I simply had to share.

As many readers might know, reviews help a book's algorithms so that readers of the same or similar genre might be able to see a new book, especially so with Amazon, but I believe all vendors are important. Hopefully, a reader will see the review, read the book's excerpt and blurb and like it enough to add it to their bookshelf or cart.

Now, I'm a huge fan and author of several genres, predominately Romantic Suspense and Paranormal/Shapeshifter, and when I'm hunting on Amazon for a new book for my tablet, thanks to the Kindle app, I'll see a row of books in those genres.

If you'd like to see the review, it can be viewed here:

Maybe, it'll help a reader who is on the fence about the book or the genre or an author new to them. It would be wonderful, but I'm grateful for the post nonetheless.

Note, also, that I've updated my website, details on Lipstick and Camouflage and my previously released Indie title, UnMAsKed  are on the home page on the Romantic Suspense bookshelf.

Also, in coming weeks, my very first books published with Ellora's Cave under the Cerridwen Press/Blush imprints, will be going away. That does not mean the Abcynians, introduced in the Panthera series, are disappearing or going instinct, I promise they will return revamped and re-imagined. And, though they are set during my favorite eras in History, the Abcynians are a force to be reckoned with.

As soon as I'm able, I will share more details about the changes and the new release dates, including updates on my website.  In the meantime, I'm hard at work re-imagining the first book and plotting the next title in my Major Crimes Unit series set in Ocean City, Maryland and began with UnMAsKed.

Until next time,
Frances Stockton

Monday, January 25, 2016

Available Now: Lipstick and Camouflage! Updated Links!

Greetings! In the wake of a wild, snowy weekend in the Mid-Atlantic, where many in my family are located, I received word that Lipstick and Camouflage was ready for prime time! I've huge news in this regard, not only was it ready, the indie publishing process was much easier the second time around, as I've another Romantic Suspense available, check out www.francesstockton.com for details of my indie title/titles, but it's available now from Amazon.com, Kobo, iBooks, and Scribd, and coming soon from B&N for Nook. Down the road, it'll be in print. But for now, Lipstick and Camouflage is available in digital format, at a fantastic price $2.99!

Please note that soon, the following titles through Ellora's Cave will no longer be available, Seductive Persuasion, Rhiannon's Pride, Sea Captain's Ghost, and Arrington's Claim. I can't divulge much in this regard, I apologize, but do look for them re-imagined in the future. More on that when I'm able to open up.

Let's get back to Lipstick and Camouflage! Do you like suspense, romance, hot, secretive, former Special Operatives turned bodyguards? Maybe a hunky Texan with a Joe M. jawline, and a seriously deep drawl, darlin', Travis Blake is the man for you! And, the first hero introduced in my Brandt's Dozen series, featuring a team of former military specialists, each with his or her own specialties. Travis, a former SEAL and MMA fighter can make a woman melt, Cassidy, too!

Lipstick and Camouflage
Brandt’s Dozen: Book One

Security specialist Travis Blake’s undercover assignment should be easy. The former Navy SEAL has to protect Cassidy O'Neal from an elusive assassin. Yet, nothing about this case is simple.

For Cassidy, it’s easier to believe in ghosts than to think she’s in danger. Despite a series of unusual happenings around her apartment, she never suspects why she’s felt so uneasy, or that her hot new neighbor is far more than he seems.

What starts off as simple flirtation quickly turns passionate. But, as the danger intensifies, more than just their hearts are on the line. Travis must do whatever it takes to protect Cassidy, including revealing who he really is.  

I've got awesome links to the book, please see below!

In coming days, expect to see Lipstick and Camouflage at B&N for Nook!!! I assure you all, it will be there, it simply takes a little longer than some vendors.

Please feel free to share or comment on this blog post, reviews are welcome, especially for indie authors.

Lipstick and Camouflage available at the following vendors! Stay tuned!

Please help an indie author out and share! It's available for a great price, too! 

Until next time,
Frances Stockton

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Lipstick and Camouflage! Confession!

In anticipation of Lipstick and Camouflage's upcoming release, it's really almost here, I thought I'd share a little backstory on the creation of this story.

I'm not sure if you've heard of Belle Femme authors ( a group of very talented authors) awesome reader-author gathering in San Antonio, Texas known as Wild Wicked Weekend. If you haven't, consider going next year. It is coming up again in February but I'm told it's pretty much sold out. It's held at the historic and haunted, yes, haunted Menger Hotel, which is so close to The Alamo, you can literally look out a window and see the infamous site. If you were to travel back in time, and who wouldn't want to, it's likely that the hotel sits right on the actual grounds. When you walk around San Antonio, you're probably walking where William Travis and Jim Bowie (who was gravely ill at the time of the siege) had given their lives for a cause they believed just.

It's no wonder the hotel and the grounds are said to be haunted. Last year, I saw Sally White, I've no doubt about this, but someone else's version may vary. During WWW last February, one of the authors attending found a hidden compartment in her room. That, for some reason, inspired the story that became Lipstick and Camouflage. And, though it's set in Baltimore (born and raised Marylander, here), and some elements are set in Salem, Massachusetts, I'd wondered what would happen if an innocent hotel guest were to inadvertently take something home with them and end up in an assassin's path without realizing it.

I happen to love history and The Alamo, especially William Travis' story, also resonated with me and I decided to create a hero named after him, thus I went with Travis. I won't give away the ending of Lipstick and Camouflage, but let me say, you might see elements of The Alamo and The Menger Hotel pop up!

That said, I recently shared an excerpt from Lipstick and Camouflage, and wanted to add a little more romantic one. Here it is! Enjoy!

Lipstick and Camouflage
Brandt’s Dozen: Book One

Security specialist Travis Blake’s undercover assignment should be easy. The former Navy SEAL has to protect Cassidy O'Neal from an elusive assassin. Yet, nothing about this case is simple.

For Cassidy, it’s easier to believe in ghosts than to think she’s in danger. .Despite a series of unusual happenings around her apartment that make her feel uneasy, she has no idea her hot new neighbor is far more than he seems.

What starts off as simple flirtation quickly turns passionate. But, as danger intensifies, more than just their hearts are on the line. Travis must do whatever it takes to protect Cassidy, including revealing who he really is. 

“I, umm, think this is where I should go back to my dorm,” Justin suddenly decided, pushing his paper plate aside. “I’m sorry, Cass, didn’t know I was interrupting a date.”
“You didn’t interrupt anything,” she reassured.
“Yep, you can say that. You’re not getting the stink eye from your neighbor. Who, by the way, can kick my ass from here to UMBC and back again. I’ll make myself scarce.”
“At least take another slice of pizza,” Cassidy offered.
“I’ve had enough, thanks.” Justin stood up, went to the family room and grabbed his hoodie.
“What do I owe you for the food?” Travis got up, walking over to Justin, his hand in his back pocket. The two talked quietly and Travis pulled out his wallet, handing Justin money.
Shortly, Justin turned back, thanked her for dinner, and whispered, “I’m sorry,” as he left.
“He could’ve stayed,” Cassidy said after Travis closed and locked the door. “I’ll call him tomorrow and make sure he got back to the dorm okay.”
“Sorry about that, Travis. I honestly wasn’t expecting him,” she said softly, her cheeks heating up.
“No need to apologize,” Travis replied. “What’s the matter?”
Cassidy pushed back from the table and stood, suddenly feeling as if she was being interrogated. Then again, he’d been part of Special Forces. He was trained to look dangerous when he needed to be.
“It’s a little embarrassing,” she confessed. “The other night, he asked me out.”
“Why’s that embarrassing?” Travis questioned.
“Because he’s my brother’s best friend,” Cassidy said. “Have to admit, I’m glad he came over, if only to make things right, I just didn’t want you to think I was a cougar or something.”
“I wasn’t worried about that. I’m wondering why you can’t see that Justin likely asked you out because you’re an attractive woman, more so, why you’re embarrassed.”
“Honestly, it’s been so long since I’ve gone on an actual date that I was tempted to accept just so I didn’t have to rely on a book boyfriend for a night. Why? Are you thinking about asking me out?”
Cassidy stopped cleaning up the table and looked across the room. Travis remained by the door, but his intensity increased, seeming to be zeroed in on her, even her slight movements drawing his eye.
“I’d like to, but I can’t, not yet,” he answered.
“Why, is there something wrong with me?”
“No, this is all on me. After getting shot, I needed to reevaluate things, make changes. If my dojo doesn’t succeed, I’ll either go back to Texas or my old job in Virginia.”
Drawn to look back at him, Cassidy shifted around, watching him jerk his shirt down his left shoulder, revealing a still angry-looking scar about the size of a quarter. Jesus, if that bullet had gone a little more to the right, if he’d not worn a protective vest, he could’ve been shot through the heart.
Feeling as if a balloon had just popped in her chest, Cassidy found herself rubbing her sternum to ward off the pain. It made absolutely no sense that she was suddenly afraid for him. After all, she and Travis met a few hours ago. The trauma with Mr. Milner and the elevator must’ve created a false sense of attachment to him.
“You’re right, it’s best we stay friends,” she said, breaking eye contact with him to continue stacking paper plates and tossing crumpled napkins on top.
Funny, she did such a good job of ignoring him, she hadn’t heard him move. It wasn’t until his big hand gently circled her wrist, turning her so she’d face him.
“SEAL training kicking in, Hero?” she dared, though she wasn’t quite able to look at him.
“That’s something I’d never forget,” he whispered, his mouth almost touching her ear. His other hand went to her waist, slipping around to the small of her back, making her feel tiny, protected, soft, and girly.
“What do you want?” she suddenly demanded, his mixed signals confusing her.
“I think you know the answer,” he murmured, his lips brushing her earlobe. “You felt what happened when you were on top of me earlier, didn’t you?”
“Yes, you got an erection. It’s a natural physical reaction. I was turned on, too, same reason. Nothing more, nothing less, I get it.”
“Do you? Because it’s more than physical, that’s the God’s honest truth.”
Cassidy shook her head, still confused by how easy it was to be this close to him, to feel his incredible heat, his strength, to smell his clean male scent, everything. Even now, she could feel the throb of his hardness brushing close, so damn close, to her apex between her thighs. It was temptation incarnate, something she didn’t want to ignore.
“Is it the ghost hunting that’s turning you off? If that’s your hang up, get over yourself.”
“Does it feel like I’m turned off right now?” he countered, shifting until his thigh slipped between her legs. “Honestly, I’ve no idea if there are ghosts or what goes into finding them, maybe you can teach me. As it is, I’m hard as a spike.”
“In case you haven’t noticed, you came to me just now, not the other way around,” she said.
“Don’t you understand? You’re the kind of woman a man keeps for himself,” he said, easing off slightly only to catch her chin in his big hand and bring her face upward. “Me? I could be here for a while or gone tomorrow, there’s no way to know yet. You deserve more than that, more than sex.”
“Maybe sex is all I want, ever think of that? You seem like the kind of guy who can give a woman a good time in bed, without unrealistic expectations afterwards.”
Trying to toss her head, to dislodge him, anything, Cassidy only managed to shift his hand until he stroked her face, gently, sweetly. This wasn’t the touch of a man out to seduce or conquer. It was the caress of a lover, of someone who cared.
“Darlin’, you’re sweet-natured and maybe too trusting for your own good, but I’d never suspect you were a liar.”
“Fine, you’re right,” she said. “But I’m not begging you to stay either, nor will I, ever.”
“Fair enough,” he replied. “Tell me to go, slap me if you need to.”
“I don’t want to slap you.” What did she want? She wanted him, same as he claimed to want her. It was crazy, but there it was.
“Ah, to hell with why I shouldn’t do this,” he said, his head bending toward her a second before she closed her eyes and his lips touched hers, briefly, as if he thought she might shove him away.
Instead, her arms went up, wrapping around his big, broad shoulders, her fingers lacing behind his neck. Next thing she knew, he swept her up close, his mouth increasing pressure against hers, his tongue slipping between her lips, entering, dueling with hers.
Cassidy had never, ever experienced a sexier kiss. The brush of his trimmed beard tickled, enhancing their differences. He was hard, strong, sexy, tasted incredibly masterful yet she wasn’t afraid or intimidated. She felt desired, soft, and feminine.
All she really knew in that moment was that this was Travis Blake, the man who’d come to her aid twice in one day, like a guardian angel. With him, she felt safe, even though his kiss rocked her world, tilting it right on its axis.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Lipstick and Camouflage, Coming Soon!

Greetings one and all! First, let me thank everyone, and I mean everyone, for the support and comments on my last blog post. And, I wanted to wish everyone a Happy 2016! Wow, what a year 2015 was, and though this world has lost some of the greatest talents, artists, and musicians this month, they will not be forgotten, ever! IMO, David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Natalie Cole, Lemmy, and, of course, so many others from jazz greats to drummers, must have formed a helluva band already.

Not to mention, Alan Rickman, who will always be Colonel Brandon to me, though should also be commended for his presence on the big screen and on stage.

But, I digress, I'm here today to share some awesome information. My latest Romantic Suspense, the first of a multi-book series titled Brandt's Dozen, is coming soon. I'm currently doing a final read-through and then it'll be ready to go. You'll be able to find Lipstick and Camouflage at most digital vendors, Amazon, B&N for Nook, Kobo, iBooks, etc, and if all the stars align, in print at a later date.

How about an introduction to Travis and Cassidy's story?

Lipstick and Camouflage
Brandt’s Dozen: Book One

Security specialist Travis Blake’s undercover assignment should be easy. The former Navy SEAL has to protect Cassidy O'Neal from an elusive assassin. Yet, nothing about this case is simple.

For Cassidy, it’s easier to believe in ghosts than to think she’s in danger. Despite a series of unusual happenings around her apartment, she never suspects why she’s felt so uneasy, or that her hot new neighbor is far more than he seems.

What starts off as simple flirtation quickly turns passionate. But, as the danger intensifies, more than just their hearts are on the line. Travis must do whatever it takes to protect Cassidy, including revealing who he really is.  

Now that you've gotten a look at the blurb, here's a fun excerpt!
Federal Hill—Fletcher Street Apartments
The whir and tumble of an old dryer accompanied Cassidy’s reading choice of the afternoon, The Count of Monte Cristo. Having been an avid reader as long as she could remember, she enjoyed the chance to get lost reading about a French sailor’s false imprisonment only to emerge as and reinvent himself as a nobleman to exact revenge on those who’d wronged him.
Hmm, at least Edmond, the hero, had a love life, albeit a complicated one. Today, in this cramped old laundry room that served the apartments upstairs, Cass had nothing but a book, a mound of laundry, and her headphones to keep her company.
She wished she could remember the last time she’d had a real date, much less an orgasm with someone other than herself and her imaginary book boyfriend of the night. Yeah, sad, but even though her brother’s roommate had asked her out on a date, she didn’t have it in her to be a cougar.
Maybe Justin was the reason she was so jumpy lately. He’d not exactly left that night with a smile and she’d wondered if he’d come back and try again.
Or, maybe it was something else, something unexplained. Ever since she’d gone to Salem and took Mike Smith’s place as the lead cameraman in a ghost hunt, something had been off kilter about her apartment and the building itself. Granted, they’d caught some amazing EVPs that night, but the experienced investigators in her group, Jerome and Sam, concluded what they’d caught on audio was residual and non-threatening.
If it wasn’t Justin Myers or a ghost, maybe it was that surveyor who’d staked out the neighborhood. He’d claimed to be doing a favor for a friend looking to move into the area and open a new business. She hadn’t believed him. That man had an aura about him that was mysterious and dark, maybe dangerous. She’d run him off, and as far as she knew, he’d not returned.
Frustrated, she snapped her book closed and set it aside, going over to check the last load of laundry for the day. Being Friday, she’d worked a half day and had plans to do laundry, eat rocky road ice cream for dinner, and continue reading Edmond’s tale of revenge, justice, and romance until he skewed his best friend with a sword.
Okay, she’d read the book a couple of times. Next week, she’d open up The Three Musketeers and have four book boyfriends, though her personal favorite was Aramis.
Yeah, like anything that exciting would happen to her, but one could dream a tale of fiction even if her day job wasn’t exactly the same as a French sailor’s false imprisonment or Musketeers saving a king from a treacherous cardinal.
Taking a moment to switch up her music, she chose her classic rock playlist and increased the volume, singing, well, mostly humming until her favorite line, We were making it,” came out loud and clear.
As if it mattered how badly she was singing while pulling bras and panties out of the dryer and tossing them into the hip-hugging basket on the floor beneath the machine.
Slamming the dryer door home and picking up her basket, she turned to go back to where she’d been sitting when movement caught her eye. Whipping around, she saw a tall, impressively built man standing in the doorway, as if he’d stepped right out of the pages of one of her novel.
A heartbeat later, he came toward her, proving he was no figment of her active imagination and seeming to get bigger with every step. Unsure what to do, Cassidy threw her basket at him and rushed for the door, getting less than two feet before her bare foot caught his boot and she went tumbling.
Certain she’d break something when she hit the stone floor, she tried to brace herself for the impact…only she never hit. The man caught her, shifting her momentum so that she landed right on top of him.
Breath caught, her headphones clattering to the floor, she would’ve scrambled to her feet if it wasn’t for the fact that she could not move. Good God Almighty, he looked a lot like Joe M. No, of course it wasn’t possible that an actor who made women everywhere drool over werewolves and male strippers could be in a laundry room with her.
If that was the case, maybe she had knocked herself out and was dreaming about her current book boyfriend, Edmond. His hands were incredibly big. She knew because they were braced right on her ass. His chest was broad, muscles beneath his black tee shirt strong as steel.
The beard that so reminded her of Joe’s, trimmed, defining a face that was incredibly good looking and sexy, tempted her to trail a finger along his jaw to see if it was scratchy or soft. His piercing amber eyes fitting to a lion’s captivated her. He was looking right up at her, unapologetic, his grip strong, maybe there was even concern in his eyes.
The only problem she could see at the moment was the bra on his head that skewed her ability to make out the length of his shaggy sable-brown hair.
Wait! That leopard-print bra was hers!
“Darlin’, it doesn’t matter who Joe and Edmond are right now, if you keep grinding your hips like that, I’m gonna make sure you forget anyone else’s name but mine, Travis.”
His hands on her ass tightened, bringing her into better alignment with his hips. No, not his hips! Jeez, he was real, she was wide awake, and still on top of him, between his spread thighs. His hard as stone fly brushed her exactly where she needed it most. Her clit woke up, she was soaking wet, preparing…for what, sex with a stranger on the laundry room floor?
“Please tell me I didn’t talk out loud,” she grumbled, dropping her head to his chest and didn’t feel the least bit ready to move.
What the hell was wrong with her? Something about him warned her that he could be as dangerous as that surveyor, yet she was not afraid of him.
“All I know is that you called me Joe and compared me to Edmond, your book boyfriend, whatever that means,” he answered, the timber in his voice so deep, his drawl southern, everything in her that was a woman was screaming ‘how do you do’ and ‘where have you been all my life’?
“And, the longer you stay here, the less likely I am to ask your name. But, take your time. There are all kinds of advantages to having you on top.”
Snapping her head back up, she growled, “Stop talking like that!” Although she wouldn’t mind having him talk to her for hours, days, however long he wanted, so long as that deep drawl of his whispered sweet nothings in her ear.
“Sorry, couldn’t help teasing,” he countered. “I sure didn’t mean to scare you. What do you say? Think we can get back on equal footing?”
Realizing that this was actually happening, common sense returned and Cassidy got to her knees, hindered in her efforts by his hands. “Let go of my ass, cowboy. As it is, I think your fingers left marks. I bruise easy.”
“Dammit, don’t say that. Now I’m gonna want to check that out,” he warned, showing absolutely no compunction to let go, not that she really wanted him to. As big as his hands were, he cupped, not injured.
In the end, he let go and she scrambled to her feet. Considering her knees were all wobbly and her legs felt as if they’d turned to jelly, it was nothing short of a miracle that she didn’t fall over him or stomp on his balls in her efforts. Would’ve served him right for being an unrepentant, cocky bastard, though he was a really, really hot cocky bastard.
And, that didn’t help anything, neither did her bra.
“Easy, I’m not going to hurt you,” he said, getting back on his feet with nimbleness that no ordinary man should possess. It was catlike, or maybe a lion.
“Okay, who are you and where the hell did you come from?” she demanded, ignoring her embarrassment by punching her fists to her hips, hoping to look more formidable.
The guy was big, like Superman or Thor, big, tall, and muscular. He should be slow as molasses going uphill in winter. How tall was this guy anyway? She was a hair under 6’ and felt tiny compared to him.
“My name’s Travis Blake, moved into apartment 2 B a couple hours ago. Came down to do laundry and found you rocking out, wanted to alert you that I was there. Never meant to scare you, I’m sorry. I’ve ID on me, if you need to take a look,” he said, pulling his wallet out of his back pocket and flipping it open.
Taking a glance at his ID, she saw he had a Virginia license, but the photo was accurate. Finally, she nodded and stepped back, assessing him with the benefit of distance. Okay, it wasn’t that much of a distance since the laundry room was only big enough for three coin-operated washer and dryer units, a couple of plastic chairs, a mini-vending machine for detergent and fabric softener, a rack for hanging clothes, and the counter where her clean clothes were neatly arranged.
“Hey, you still with me, darlin’?” he asked, sounding genuinely concerned. “Did I hurt you?”
“No, no, I’m fine. I’m Cassidy O’Neal, tenants here call me Cass, take your pick. We’re neighbors, Mr. Blake.” Vaguely, she recalled the building manager putting notices on everyone’s doors about a new tenant fitting Travis’ description moving in today.
“Mr. Blake’s my dad, nice guy. When he visits sometime, maybe you’ll like him.”
“I’m sure I would,” she replied, her eyes drawn to his head. “Can I, ah, have that back?”
“What?” he asked, as if he wasn’t aware that her bra was on his head. He acted as if he didn’t care, cool as cucumber.
“My bra, although I’m not sure why you’re wearing it,” she said, gesturing to his head.

“Got to admit, never had a woman throw her clothes at me, but, damn, you stopped me in my tracks,” he replied as if she’d earned his respect.

Stay tuned for more, excerpts, links for where to find Lipstick and Camouflage, and any related information.

Until next time,
Frances Stockton