New Release: Sealed With a Kiss

For immediate release! On January 29,  Boroughs Publishing Group will release a double-stacked Valentine’s Day compendium, Sealed With a Kiss. (Available now for pre-order in multiple digital formats.)

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As readers of this blog may be aware, last year I started writing romance under the pen name, Becca A. Miles. My project is a romantic suspense series, set in Wilmington, N.C., which is one of my favorite places to vacation. This Valentine’s Day, one of my stories, “Sweetheart,” a novella that follows up my debut novel, Negotiating Her Release, will be available as part of a two-story collection with Marilyn Baxter’s “The Last Take-Away.” I’ve invited Marilyn to join me as we talk about our stories.

MARILYN: The Last Take-Away is contemporary romance and tells the story of both the hero (Drew Paxton) and heroine (Maggie Sullivan).  Because my editor liked the story so much, she’s asked me to develop this into a series, so it’s the beginning of the larger universe of St. Magnus Island, a small fictional barrier island off the coast of Georgia.

BECCA/IS: I love the idea of a novella that introduces us to a larger world. That is one of the reasons why I enjoy reading romance–in many cases, authors write not just books, but whole series, that allow the reader to spend time in the worlds that they love. My story, “Sweetheart,” is a romantic suspense that takes the characters from my first book, and puts them in a new predicament. It also introduces a few more of the characters that I’ll be sharing with readers in future stories. For example, there are two characters who seem like total and complete opposites. But here’s a romance pro-tip: If a character declares that another character is absolutely, totally, and definitely “Hot, but not my type …” well, I’ll let you be the judge.

I came to writing romance first as a reader who enjoyed the genre, but didn’t have much luck getting any ideas off the ground. Luckily, I had a mentor, romance author Emmy Curtis, who saw promise in my other writing and encouraged, bribed, tricked, and offered me resources to start plotting and creating this series.

Dancing on the Sand, by Marilyn Baxter.

MARILYN: My first published work was in my ex-husband’s government agency’s professional journal.  He was a federal auditor, and we were gypsies living all over the southeastern US for the first two years we were married.  I wrote a humorous article about living out of a suitcase for the southeast field office newsletter, and the regional manager liked it so much he sent it to Washington, DC for inclusion in the national journal.  I even got a nice plaque from the Comptroller General of the United States!  Fast forward to the early 2000’s.  I read in spurts in the years after college (Stephen King, Robert Ludlum, Sidney Sheldon, Belva Plain to name a few) but in 2004 I discovered romance, and oh my gosh, I was captivated!  I especially loved category romance and devoured them.  I got to know a couple authors online and was asked to work for a now-defunct website as a reviewer.  A couple of those authors (one of whom is a brainstorming partner) encouraged me to write.  I dabbled and dawdled and took five years to finish my first book.  And a month after I finished it, my marriage fell apart.  It’s hard to write happily ever after when your own has ended.  But fast forward again a few years, and Boroughs had a novella contest I was a finalist in, and they not only published my novella but invited me to submit a full-length novel.  That novel was the five-year endeavor.  And I haven’t looked back.  Also, in and around the romance, I began writing for the confessions and romance magazines (True Confessions, True Romance, True Story) and sold about 50 stories and features to them before they closed shop last year.

BECCA/IS: One of the ways that I began to get a handle on how to write was to review the various romance novel tropes, and see which ones spoke to me. With a background that includes military service, a degree in criminal justice, and an interest in politics and high stakes, it seemed that romantic suspense was my most natural genre, and the alpha male/law enforcement/military was one of the tropes I was drawn to–with a twist! I love it when my male and female characters both live in that world. I also really enjoy opposites attract, friends to lovers, and character in peril, especially when they save themselves with the support and love of the other character. Surprisingly, my first novel, NHR, also uses a virgin trope. I’m not sure why that spoke to me, but I hope that people give it a chance!

Negotiating Her Release, by Becca A. Miles

MARILYN: I love marriage of convenience, friends to lovers, jilted bride and accidental pregnancy.  Least favorite?  Uhm… I haven’t read one yet I didn’t like.  Some are just more favorite than others.

After we talked about tropes, I asked Marilyn, what’s the most challenging thing about writing romance?

MARILYN: EVERYTHING!  I hear people say “I could write that,” and I want to challenge them to do it.  Creating a world and relatable characters with good motivation and conflict isn’t easy.  Or it isn’t easy for me.  Then you have to put it all together into a compelling story.  But struggle as I might, I always love the end result!

BECCA/IS: I don’t have much to add to that!

So what’s coming up next for us?

MARILYN: In addition to writing for Boroughs Publishing Group, I also write for Amazon Kindle Worlds, specifically Roxanne St. Claire’s Barefoot Bay Kindle World.  I’ve had two BBKW novellas released so far and my next project is another one to be released in July of this year.  It will feature a trope I haven’t tackled yet – the billionaire hero.  And I have no idea who he is yet.  ACK!

BECCA/IS: I’ve just submitted another novel in the series to Boroughs, and am currently working on researching and plotting the next book in the series. It’s been challenging, because I’m working on spending more time in my characters’ heads–and one of them is a serial killer! My goal is to share more of these stories, including writing more holiday-themed novellas, as they are just so much fun.

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If you enjoyed our conversation, please stop by our Facebook release party on Tuesday, January 30, from 5-10 pm! There will be some terrific authors present, awesome prizes, and much fun to be had. Also, you can check us out online, drop us a Tweet or a Facebook comment–we’d love to hear from you!

Visit Marilyn Baxter at her Web site:,

or via Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram


Visit me online at Facebook or Twitter! And stay tuned for more news and musings…

Flash Fiction … Maps

I made a terrible mistake when I subscribed to Chuck Wendig’s blog. Now, every Friday I get these little writing challenges emailed to me. Sometimes, I’m able to read and file(writing coaches need prompt ideas), but some other times, an idea comes swinging its way out of my head, demanding some screen time. This Friday’s Flash Fiction Challenge was just such a thing. Because maps.

I’ll get into why I love maps at some point in the future, but until then, here is up to 1,000 words of Friday prompt. Thanks, Chuck Wendig. You distracting distractor.

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The lines on the map faded the moment Rose picked it up off the floor. She cursed out loud as first the shadings, then the characters, and finally the lines faded to a light gray–and then nothing. A deranged ghost of a giggle echoed in the air. Once again, she was forced to admit, she’d come off the worst in a bargain with the Fae.

Beside her, Frank chuffed and shook himself, Basset ears and drool flying in opposite directions. Jimmy bent over and wiped off his calf, then wiped his hand on his shorts.

“So where do we go now?” He squinted against the glare.

“It’s not like we have much choice.” Rose folded the blank map and stuffed it in her back pocket. Try as she could, she found herself unable to Grasp anything around her, the Magic curiously unresponsive under the harsh double sun. “We either follow him into the maze or we stand out here and die of boredom.”

Jimmy’s eyes did the focus-unfocus thing they always did when Frank was feeling conversational. “And starvation.”

“That, too.” From somewhere in the maze, something that sounded like a truck backfiring startled a flock of leather-winged creatures. They broke from cover, streaking in a disturbed circle, screaming. Just as abruptly, they re-settled on the walls, looking down into the maze. They weren’t too far away that Rose couldn’t pick out a distinctly eager vibe on their visages, as if the only thing they were missing was a bucket of popcorn.

“On the other hand, there are worse ways to go, so maybe we should just stay here.” Jimmy took a step back, almost falling over Frank, who had sheltered valiantly behind him.

“For real?” Rose shook her head and stepped off, choosing to head down the center path, straight into the maze.

A few yards into the labyrinth, Jimmy’s running steps thudded behind, and he and Frank pulled up next to her. They slowed, walking casually.

“So, interesting weather they’re having here.” Jimmy’s voice only shook a tiny bit. “This jerk couldn’t have picked a crossword for his big showdown?”

Rose snorted. “A crossword puzzle?”

“I don’t know–Find-A-Word? Maybe Sudoku?” His eyes unfocused again. “Trail of dog bones?”

“I’d prefer to not find any bones.” Rose stopped. “Speaking of which…”

The center path came to an abrupt end. They had been unable to see from entrance, because the makers of the labyrinth had shrouded the block with an optical illusion of slightly disjointed walls and an abundance of concealing ivy.

“Well, shit.” Rose stretched out her hand, sweeping the ivy to the side. In front of her, there was only more brick wall under the hanging leaves. To her right, she had more luck–a narrow path, barely large enough to walk through with her shoulders touching each side.

“I’ve got something over here,” Jimmy said. He pulled the ivy on the left side away for Rose to see. Instead of another path, this side was blocked by a large, wood door with thick iron ornamental hinges, and an old-fashioned key hole. Next to the door, a large church key hung from a rusted post. “You got any ideas?”

Frank lay down, resting his head on his front paws. It was the Basset version of a shrug.

“No ideas,” Rose replied. “Not even a coin to flip.”

She considered the two choices. An open path with no barriers–if narrow enough to set off her claustrophobia if it didn’t end soon. On the other hand, a door with a conveniently-placed key was definitely untrustworthy. Unless she was reading too much into the situation. Which was also possible. On the other hand…

Rose closed her eyes and shuffled sideways a few feet down the path. She waited. Nothing.

“Um, Rose?” Jimmy cocked his head and frowned, looking somewhat like Frank as he did so.

“Hang on.” Rose waited, then shuffled back to Jimmy’s side. Slowly, she reached for the key, pausing just before touching it. Nothing. “Here goes nothing.”

She picked the large, iron key off the post and placed it in the door. “Ow, crap. Crap, crap, crap.” Leaving the key in the keyhole, she grabbed at her behind. Jimmy watched in bemusement as she fumbled with her back pockets, then finally drew out the map.

Rose spread the paper out, holding it so Jimmy could see. The previously blank parchment now contained a small illustration–the two of them and Frank, standing before a door. She realized Jimmy was staring at her instead of the map.

“It got hot,” she said by way of explanation. “What the hell does this mean?”

“Maybe we’re supposed to go through the door?” Jimmy suggested.

“Or maybe we’re not supposed to go through the door.” Rolling her eyes at the supreme unhelpfulness of the Electric Fae, Rose re-folded the map, cool now to the touch. “Who knows. Let’s just do it and get going before something finds us.”

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So, that wasn’t the total distraction it could have been. Instead, it was some good drafting for a future scene/showdown for Steel-Toed Blues or a future book in the series. I count it as good words, and I’m going to go and figure out where to stick it in my outline.

Thanks, Chuck Wendig. Happy writing!

Mail call!

I woke up this morning and opened up Goodreads, just to find out how many people had eventually ended up signing up for my Soft Target giveaway. My goal had been to reach about 250 people–even if they were only signing up for free for a free book, at least that would be 250 people aware of its existence. I still have a bit of stock from the copies I ordered to send to bookstores and use for marketing, and figured this would be a good use of them.

Apparently, more than 700 people decided to take their shot at winning a copy. I am about to head out to the post office and send two copies to people who live in my state, one copy way across country, and two across international borders. Which is way exciting.

And then, I’ll come back here and sit down with my laptop and a giant cup of coffee because my to-do list is, as for most writers, growing longer with each page I don’t write.

Thanks to all who participated!

Heading out to their new homes!

Heading out to their new homes!

Writing round-up…

After posting about how I didn’t lack for content and wish that spammers would vamoose, I actually spent the next week writing everything except something for my own blog. Which is good, because I’m writing stuff that will posted for larger audiences than just my personal network, and will also mean a paycheck (or two). And actually, one of the pieces that went to another site was a long-ish piece I originally meant to post here. So, in the interest of providing some reading material, and of convincing myself that I have been working, just not on my own stuff, here is a run-down of some of the articles and material that I’ve had pop up elsewhere on the Internet this week.

Fiction: My short story, “The Peacemaker,” was originally written for a friend’s anthology. The theme was broke-down superheroes, and what happens when they don’t get there in the nick of time to save the day. I didn’t want to make any promises, so I was noncomittal about providing a piece, but later that day I had this idea show up about a reality show for crappy superheroes. After some generous feedback from friends and a couple of submission mis-fires, (and some more editing), Fantasy Scroll Mag has published it in their third issue. Check it out, and if you like it, please share!

Non-Fiction: As part of my plan to return to freelance journalism, I contacted a local magazine, CityView, and asked if they were looking for writers. Happily enough, I received an invitation to write a piece for their living section, about the first couple to move into a new, local apartment complex. I wasn’t sure if it was what they were looking for (it’s been a while since I tried my hand at feature writing), but they invited me to do another piece, and so I just sent off an article about a local couple who have done amazing renovations on a local historical property.

Additionally, I’ve had a few more pieces show up in Task & Purpose, including a three-part piece on innovation, which I’m particularly happy with. Part One and Part Two are up now, and will be followed soon by the conclusion. I say I’m happy with them not because they are perfect, but because T&P allowed me to write on a topic that I find particularly interesting and fascinating. The sources in the article were extremely helpful and forthcoming, and these three pieces have whet my appetite to continue researching the topic, perhaps in a larger format.

And finally, that piece that started out as a blog and ended up as a T&P article? 3 Lessons Colleges Can Learn About Sexual Assault From the Military. I wrote this mostly as a reaction to the naysayers profiled in the NY Times analysis of the recent California legislation requiring colleges to develop consent policies – naysaying that was echoed in the comments on the piece. The primary objection appears to be that we don’t know if it will work, so why do it? This mindset was so foreign to me—coming from the military where we tend to tackle a problem with the idea that we’ll MAKE it work, whether it’s possible or not—that I sat down and wrote what I thought might be a more helpful set of lessons learned.

Now it’s on to sharing some of the links, re-sharing others, and then taking a break to head back to work and continue my transition. I’ve got three or four more freelance stories to finish up before taking a short hiatus, as well as two manuscripts that are in desperate need of some TLC and attention. I also hope to have an interview with an author from Iceland who writes in two languages, which I am in awe of and also think is pretty neat. Hope everyone is having a fabulous week!


Blog Tour Ahead!

Rick Keller and the rest of the team are going to be getting out and about from now until the end of the month. Check out these “Coming Soon” dates, including reviews, promos, excerpts, and even a few guest blogs from Yours Truly. Thanks!



Author Sandra Love (Promo)


Literature Litehouse – Fun with Books (Promo)



Paperback Cowgirl (Review)


CDyess Writes (Sci/Fi Fantasy pg13 and below)



Lady Amber’s Reviews



Bella Harte Books (Promo)



Sweet Treat Reading Reviews (Promo & Excerpt)



Author Jen Wylie’s Blog (Review)



Word to Dreams (Guest Post)



Out There & Stuff (Promo & Excerpt)



BookwormKaseyJo (Promo)



Book Infatuation (Promo)


A Book Addict’s Delight (Promo)


( UnorthodoxBlog (Guest Post)


That Bite’s Book Talk Reviews (Promo & Excerpt)


Angela McPherson (Promo)


Cold Run is live!!


Three years ago I sat down with a character who had surfaced during one of my writing exercise sessions. A grumpy, disgruntled werewolf, Rick Keller showed up in my notes the night that the organization he used to work for came to get him.

Throughout the next year or so, this short excerpt stayed on my mind. The organization Rick used to work for gathered a name — MONIKER — and a history, namely a genesis in an unnamed office of an unnamed department of the Office of Strategic Services. Rick lost one homeland and gained another, and by the time he started to tell me his story, he had quit all vestiges of secret-agent hood and was retired out in the Vermont wilderness.

For the 2011 National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo), I began writing a novel flavored by some of the research I was doing on World War II, partisan warfare, and combating human trafficking. And today Untold Press releases that novel, Cold Run, available on Amazon and Goodreads.

We have a couple of cool events planned to help celebrate. The first is a giveaway, open from August 3 − 30, that could net you a $20 Amazon gift certificate, or free copies of Cold Run. You can check it out on the Untold Press Web site, or at a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Untold Press has also scheduled a Book Blitz for August 5-10, and a Book Tour from August 15-28. I’ll be Tweeting and Pinging, so stay tuned for more information!

Cold Runsm


Excerpt from Cold Run (available on Amazon and Goodreads):


The man behind the weapon was a ghost, a black tactical suit concealing his form, expensive scope mounted on some sort of rifle. I howled again and lurched at him, brought down short by another surge of the change. I struggled to remain upright but found myself on my knees.

Another man appeared to the side, shining a bright, piercing strobe light at my eyes, disorienting me as I tried to turn to face the new threat, my traitorous body rendering my reactions unreliable.

I scrambled to get my feet under me, but the final throes of the change robbed the ground from me. I flailed my paws against the last remnants of my work clothes, now torn and scattered on the ground.

I heard the explosion of gases from the chamber of the first man’s rifle a split second after the bullet pierced my side. I yelped and fell sideways, trying to relieve the pressure. I rolled to all fours and lunged toward the man, intent on relieving the pain by ripping the screams from his throat.

He shot again and again as I reached him, bowling him over and aiming for the soft pieces exposed to my grip.

Instead of soft viscera beneath my teeth, the next sensation I felt came as intense pain, which slowed and disjointed my movements. I raised my head, snapping and gnarling in vain against the folds of the net suddenly enveloping me. Ignoring the second man–stupid mistake. From the burning the lines of the net raised against my hide, I could tell the wires were laced with silver filaments.

The man with the rifle scrambled away from me. I let him go, rolling on the ground, trying to escape the clutching net.

“He’s a big one.” The second man spoke the words, looking down on me from an impossible height as the pain began to outweigh the panic. I could feel the silver working against my struggling.

“He always was.” The first man hocked and spat. It smelled of Copenhagen. “It’s going to be a bitch dragging him down to the truck.”

The words made no sense. I listened, but could not understand.

“If we let you up, do you promise to be a good doggie?” The man with the rifle prodded the barrel into my side.

I growled, but it was mostly wishful thinking, the energy from the night and the change suddenly sapped by the ensilvered net. I lay on my side and simply lolled.

“Good boy.” The man kept his rifle trained at me as his partner knelt down and fiddled with the edge of the net. Grasping a loop from the edge, he pulled. The line must have been attached in some ingenious way so when he pulled on it, it contracted the net into a small, compact circle around my neck.

“Come on.” The second man jerked at my neck, holding the line as a leash. “I’m not carrying you down this hill in the dark.”

The net continued to burn against my neck as he dragged me to my feet. Head hanging, I padded after him through the snow.

Just keep swimming…

You ever have that moment where you travel from New Jersey to Georgia to go to your husband’s military ball, with a dress carefully packed away that you bought in a NY Macy’s — you get to Georgia, unpack the dress, put it on, do the hair and the shoes and the makeup, link arms with your spouse (who is rocking his dress blues), head to the ball…

…and as you’re walking up the steps and stop to chat with some other couple, what do you see but a woman walking toward you, wearing the SAME DRESS, and — even worse — rocking it harder than you? Oh yeah, totally been there, done that. This happened to me last weekend as well. It wasn’t necessarily a formal dress, but apparently fashionable, attractive, put-together women and I shop at the same place. (I was wearing Converse … she was wearing the right kind of shoes…)

I had this same experience this morning. First, I noticed an article on women veteran entrepreneurs that a LinkedIn contact posted. I checked it out and quickly realized that the writer not only cited an article I had written on the same topic for Task & Purpose, but I apparently wrote half his article for him. At least he cited and linked, but still, I had that sense of wearing the same dress to the ball.

What really topped this morning off, was not ten minutes later, as I was scrolling through my Twitter feed, I came upon something that had me shaking my head and laughing … because what else are you going to do? Remember this graphic that includes the cover of my novel, Cold Run, that is supposed to be released on Saturday?

quote3Here is a closer look…

Cold Runsm

Apparently my publisher and I aren’t the only ones who think this guy makes a pretty good werewolf. One of my Twitter followers retweeted the novel, New Beginnings, which proves, once again, that I have an unerring knack for wearing someone else’s dress to the ball.

Still, what are you going to do? I like my cover — I think that Untold Press did a great job with it. I don’t think anyone reading our two blurbs would mix up which was which (the other woman’s is paranormal romance — mine is paranormal kickass.) So, I would invite everyone to enjoy the view on both of our covers, and this Saturday, think about picking up a copy of Cold Run! Thanks. 😀



Pics from the upcoming release of Cold Run…

While I’m definitely getting excited about the August 2nd release of my novel, Cold Run, from Untold Press, any attempts to force myself to relax and enjoy the anticipation are in vain. I keep thinking that I need to research the ever elusive sources for a piece I’m trying to put together about innovation in the military, or that I need to immediately come up with an amazing crowdfunding strategy RIGHT NOW for our documentary, or heck, even finish editing a novel that I need to start querying. And soon. Because I need to write the next two or three planned novels.

So, in the spirit of relaxing and enjoying the anticipation, I would like to share some of the graphics that Untold Press has put together for the release.

First, a little glimpse into Rick’s habit of indulging his inner child…


Next, a look over one of the geographical settings of the book, the Nürnberg Altstadt…


And last, but not least, one of the reasons he is so darned grumpy all the time…


If you feel so inclined or inspired, please head over to Goodreads and add Cold Run to your “Want to Read” list. Thanks!

New anthology release! Luna’s Children: Full Moon Mayhem

About 11 months ago, I received word that my short story, “Night Run,” had been accepted in a werewolf anthology published by Dark Oak Press. At the time, I wrote a whole long blog post about how the short story was part of a larger universe, and that I hoped getting accepted would raise my chances of having other parts of that universe, namely my novel Cold Run, accepted for publication.

Fast forward a few months, and Cold Run was indeed accepted by Untold Press. After several rounds of editing (What?!? More editing?!? Yes, silly writer, more editing…), the publisher scheduled a release date of August 2, 2014. Woohoo! Writing win.

At this time, I realized that it had been a while since I heard from the editor of the anthology. Although I’ve been down this road before, I still get a little neurotic when I don’t hear from anyone for a while. Is the anthology still coming out? Did they un-accept my story and just didn’t want to tell me? What’s going on? AAGH, I NEED A CLUE!!

Most especially, though, I wondered if the anthology would release before the book. This morning, an email from the editor, D. Alan Lewis, contained first the .jpg of the soon-to-be-released cover. It was quickly followed by another email to inform us that the anthology had been released and was now available on Kindle, with the print version soon to follow. So, if you are interested in werewolves, urban fantasy, or just what it is I do all day other than obsess about Basset hounds, blues licks and Internet privacy, check out Luna’s Children: Full Moon Mayhem from Dark Oak Press.


FMM  cover

Night Run: Retired country werewolf Rick Keller reluctantly leaves his northern Vermont sanctuary to come to the aid of an old friend, whose work with a NYC church youth group is jeopardized by strange energies gathering in the stone cathedral.

From the Amazon description: 

“Luna’s Children: Full Moon Mayhem is a collection of 22 stories of the werewolf. From the halls of a local high school to the bowels of a Civil War-era church, from the deserts of the American Southwest to the distant lands across the seas, from the horrors of the first kill to a lycanthropy support group, Full Moon Mayhem explores the many stories and possibilities of werewolves in the modern world.”

Grab a copy and enjoy!

Birthday Month Sale!

“I’m going to do the story either way,” said Mark. “But if I’m going to get anywhere, I need your help.”

“Every time I help you, I end up in front of a camera or in the hospital,” said Mark.

Mark is a cub reporter looking for his big break. Scott is a New York City cop, trying to fit back into his life after a tour of duty in the Middle East. They’re about to discover a plot that will bring the city to its knees.

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It’s March, which means my birthday is coming soon, so I am having a sale! I’ve got five signed, softcover copies of Soft Target available … for the price of the Kindle version. That’s right. The first five readers to reserve their birthday copies will pay $2.99 (plus shipping) for a book readers are calling “…a terrific, fast-paced read…” (Amazon reviewer) and “A must read for anyone interested in suspenseful thrillers.” (TnT Reviews)

But wait, how can one take advantage of this offer? Glad you asked. Email me at infamous_scribbler -at- Yahoo! Payments accepted via check and PayPal (preferred).

Reserve your copy today!

Reserve your copy today!