4 Stars Out of 5

I hate working out, y’all.  Not a fan of sweat.  But I’ve been doing it.

Back in the fall, I registered to attend the Tampa Indie Author Book Convention which is happening July 16.  I’ll tell you more about that later.   Right now, my point is that I realized that by July, I wanted to look more like a svelte, sexy romance writer, and less like Jabba the Hutt.

To that end, in January I started being careful about carbs, eating lots of salad and veggies, and walking away from bread and pasta.  And I’ve lost over 20 lbs so far.

Most days, Coach Kozak from HasFit on YouTube kicks my ass, but today I wanted to do something different.  A little investigation led me to a bunch of virtual treadmill videos.  They make it seem like you’re running someplace magical rather than in your living room.  And yes, I could just run outside in the neighborhood.  But it’s summer, y’all, and it’s HOT.

So today I took a run along the beach in Queensland, Australia.  It was beautiful, and I nearly forgot I was running.  The half hour passed quickly.  I would give the video 4 out of 5 stars.

Why did I dock it a star?  We passed a bar TWICE and the fucker refused to stop.

The Next Adventure

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I’ve been counting down the days and it’s finally here.  I am no longer employed by the School District of Palm Beach County.  I finished up my duties, cleaned out my room, brought WAY too much stuff home, and said goodbye to folks who’ve been my colleagues for the last thirteen years.  Okay, maybe not ‘goodbye’, we’ll be getting together over adult beverages on a regular basis for the foreseeable future.  But we won’t be working together.

Lots of people have asked the question, “What are you going to do now?”  Having left the District, I’m finally free to answer.

Two years ago, June 7, I (accidentally) published my first novel.  How I did that accidentally is a long story.  Suffice it to say, there has been a steep learning curve. And had I understood the depth of my ignorance about marketing, promotion, SEO, graphic design, formatting, etc., I would never have had the courage to try.  Ignorance can be a huge asset, it turns out.

Let me put in a plug for self publishing.  Indie publishing is a growing industry.  In the past, the large publishing houses have been the “gatekeepers,” determining what literature the reading public has access to.  That meant little variety–they’re only interested in a return on their investment.  But like iTunes and YouTube did for Indie music, and Sundance did for Indie films, Kindle Direct Publishing and Draft2Digital are allowing authors to get their work out in front of the reading public.  Buying an Indie book is the literary equivalent of ‘buying local.’

A few years ago, under the pen name Pandora Spocks, I started writing literary steamy romance just as a hobby, really, a creative outlet.  After a while, I began publishing chapters online, and I discovered that people liked what they read.  Eventually, I published the entire book, chapter by chapter, on a blog.  Along the way, I met other writers who independently publish their work and I began to wonder about doing it myself.

My books are spicy, y’all.  I promote them as ‘Smart, Sexy Romance’.  They’re heartfelt, deeply character-driven stories punctuated by the occasional steamy love scene.  Think of them as the thinking-girl’s romance.  Like Fifty Shades, but more literary.

Today, I have seven books available on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, and several other outlets you probably never heard of.  My goal by the end of August is to publish my next steamy novel, and to write a nonfiction book about classroom management, to be published under my own name.

I mentioned marketing.  I’m active on social media every day as Pandora.  You can find me in these places:

Website: PandoraSpocksAuthor.com
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2rwR5Lv
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PandoraSpocksAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PandoraSpocksWP
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+PandoraSpocksAuthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14080322.Pandora_Spocks
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pandora.spocks.author/

Steamy romance isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.  But if you enjoy a nice hot love story, I hope you’ll check it out.

Shameless Book Promotion–LOST & BOUND Is Out Today!

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LOST & BOUND is out today!

It’s the second book in the Dream Dominant Collection, a series of stand-alone novels featuring sexy, Dominant men, and the strong, red-haired submissives who find them irresistible.  It is a contemporary erotic romance novel with a light BDSM theme, and features a DD/lg relationship, and is intended for mature audiences.

What is LOST & BOUND all about?

Blake Walker is no stranger to tragedy.  Immediately following a horrific event years earlier, he was lost for a while until he embraced his Dominant nature and found his true calling.  But things change and now he’s back where he started, helping to run his family’s secluded lake lodge.

When pampered Hollywood starlet Shasta Pyke gets into trouble with the law, she’s sent to the wilderness of northern Ontario to cool her heels for a few weeks.  There she meets sexy bush pilot Blake, who is tasked with seeing to her needs as the sole guest at the lodge.

Initially, Blake isn’t impressed with the spoiled actress, but he’s happy that her visit allows for his sister Jackie and her kids to go on a much-needed vacation.  Try as he might, he can’t figure out what the hell Shasta Pyke is doing so far out of her element.

Shasta’s attracted to Blake’s obvious good looks, but there’s more to him than that.  He sees through her armor to the vulnerable little girl she hides from the world.  The Daddy Dominant in him craves to shelter her, to make her his own.

Is there any way Shasta will agree to submit to Blake’s Dominance?

Intrigued?  How about an exclusive new sample from LOST & BOUND?

By the time the kitchen timer went off, she’d finally stopped shaking.  Shasta pulled the chain, dislodging the rubber plug and the water began to drain from the tub.  She used the towel to dry herself and quickly slipped into the flannel shirt Blake had left for her.  It was miles too big and deliciously soft as she wrapped it around her bare flesh.  In the bathroom mirror, her eyes were haunted.  She had no idea of the time, and she was tired.  He’d told her to sit on the bed and wait for him.

Carefully, she picked up the oil lamp and carried it into the bedroom.  The full-sized bed was neatly made with a steel-grey duvet.  She’d half-expected a camouflage bedspread for the rugged mountain man.

The thought would have amused her if she hadn’t been so upset.  Blake was angry with her, really angry.  He’d called her Shasta, and that had broken her heart.  She’d thought that they had a special understanding between them, a budding friendship that was possibly romantic.  She loved that he called her Amy.  But she’d ruined that, like she ruined everything, it seemed.

She put the lamp on the bedside table and sank onto the edge of the bed.  Although she felt warm from the bath, her feet were cold, so she folded her legs under her to keep them warm.  She wondered where Blake had gone.

Outside, the storm continued to rage.  It was quieter here than in her cabin, but it made her uneasy nevertheless.  She wanted him back with her.  When he’d picked her up, held her against his chest, she’d felt the safety she’d sought.  She wanted to be in his arms until the storm passed.  It was the safest place she’d ever known.

The outside door opened and closed, and her heart jumped into her throat.  She heard him speak to the dog but she couldn’t make out his words.  Her eyes were glued to the closed bedroom door, and she watched as the knob turned.

Blake’s eyes went straight to her.  “Good.  Just like I asked.  Come with me.”

Shasta followed him into the living room where he stood leaning his right hip on the breakfast bar separating that room from the kitchen.  Not knowing what else to do, she simply stopped and anxiously twisted her hands in front of her.

When he didn’t say anything, she jumped in.  “I’m so sorry.  I didn’t mean to cause trouble, I was just so scared, and I don’t think I really even knew what I was doing, just…the next thing I knew, I was halfway across the lake.  I know it was stupid.  I’m so sorry, please don’t be mad at me.”

Blake sighed deeply, his mouth a hard line.  “What you did was beyond dangerous and irresponsible.  If anything had happened to you, Amy, I don’t know how I would be able to live with myself.”

Pleased that he’d returned to her real name, she took a step closer.  “I know.  And again, I’m so sorry.  Please forgive me.”

He stood straight and crossed his arms.  “I can forgive you.  The trouble is, you need discipline.  You’re out of control, and you need someone to help you rein yourself in.”

Shasta frowned, uncertain of what he meant.

“Tonight, you need to make a decision.  Option one, you can stay here.  Or option two, I’ll take you back to the island.”  At that moment, a deafening thunderclap rattled the cabin’s windows.

She furrowed her brow.  “Why would I want to go back there?”

“Because if you stay here, you go by my rules.  Without exception.”  He arched an eyebrow menacingly.

Chills ran up her arms.  His rules?  She thought of the way he’d taken over, putting her in the tub, his explicit instructions.

“Remember, there’s your other choice.  I grabbed a t-shirt and a pair of jeans from Jackie’s closet.  You can get dressed, and I’ll take you back.  I’ll see about fixing the window in the morning and we can go on our merry way.”

His expression was impassive, as if either option was fine by him.  Shasta fidgeted with the buttons on the flannel shirt.  “I want to stay.”  Her voice was barely above a whisper.

“You should know that if you stay, you will be receiving a spanking.”

Shasta’s eyes bugged out.  “What?”

“You’re out of control,” he repeated gently.  “You need discipline to help you remember that your safety always comes first.”

She turned from him, crossing to the window where she looked out over the lake.  A bolt of lightning illuminated the lake, revealing whitecaps as large as they’d been when she’d been out there, and the thunder crashed immediately afterward.

She knew the window over her bed was shattered, the wind and rain would be howling through the cabin.  There was no telling when the storm would let up.  Blake offered to take her back there, which would mean he’d have to risk himself, to the island and back.  No, that wouldn’t do.

Turning back to him, she answered softly.  “I’ll stay.”  She met his eyes briefly before moving her gaze to the floor.

LOST & BOUND is out now, and available at this Universal link:

books2read.com/LostandBound

The Best Indie Book You’re Not Reading

Looking for your next great read?  And no, I’m not talking about erotic romance.  This time.

Image result for larry louderback

I want to share a great new memoir I just read called Martial Arts Soul: One Man’s Journey by Larry Louderback.  Larry is a martial arts expert (and a personal friend) and in the book he shares an intimate look at his life-path through martial arts.  By the way, that’s Larry on the front cover.

Here’s the review I left on Amazon.

I loved this book! Martial Arts Soul: One Man’s Journey by martial arts expert Larry Louderback is a deeply personal and heartfelt portrait of his life experience through martial arts. Through story after story, some poignant and others humorous (the time he inadvertently karate-kicked his wife was hilarious), Louderback invites us to take the journey along with him, learning not only about martial arts, but about life.
Great book, 5 well-deserved stars!

I have even better news.  While the book is priced at $2.99 on Amazon, it’s available FREE on Smashwords.  Use THIS LINK to get your free copy today.  And please remember to leave a review.

Saturday Night Serenade–Norah Jones

Happy Small Business Saturday!  Hopefully you were able to support small local business at some point today.  You could always buy a book by an Indie author, just saying…

Mr. R. and I went out looking to help out the local economy today.  First, we took my new car to a mom and pop car wash.  Next, we attempted to buy some goodies from a small Cuban bakery, but we were thwarted by long lines and slow clerks.

So instead, we ended up at one of our favorite bars, Square Grouper, on the Jupiter Inlet.  It’s everything that’s great about an outdoor tiki bar.  It’s directly on the water, right across from the Jupiter lighthouse, which has been decorated for the holidays.  The floor is sand, the ‘ceiling’ is made up of the fronds of the many coconut palms planted throughout the property.  You can order your pirate punch and sip while watching boats going in and out, dodging the stand-up paddle boarders.  Flocks of pelicans bob on the swells, occasionally dipping their beaks and scooping up fish.  We’ve even seen stingrays gliding along beneath the surface of the water.

And, more often than not, they have live music.  Today, there was a lone chick, who was playing East Bound and Down when we first arrived.  Later on, she slipped into a bluesy vibe and covered Norah Jones.  Which brings us to tonight’s serenade.  I love Norah Jones and I love this song.

I hope you’re still feeling thankful and that you’re surrounded by those you love.  Hug them extra tight, and remember that every day is a good day to support small business.

Happy Saturday night!

Rannigan’s Redemption Collection Cover Reveal!

Shameless book plug here! This is the cover reveal for the Rannigan’s Redemption boxed set, out July 26. There’s an excerpt, too, but be forewarned…it’s a little naughty. 😉

Pandora Spocks

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Introducing…

The Rannigan’s Redemption Collection boxed set!

This set is Michael and Maggie’s entire story and includes all three novels: Resisting Risk, Running Rogue, and Ransoming Redemption.

In a nutshell, what is Rannigan’s Redemption all about?

Rannigan’s Redemption is contemporary erotic romance.  It’s the story of the complicated relationship between sexy high-profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan and sassy red-haired fellow lawyer Maggie Flynn.

Michael and Maggie meet at a job fair, where he hires her practically on the spot. She’s smart and good her job. But there’s more to it than he’s willing to admit. He’s attracted to her. Which doesn’t make sense. She’s nothing like the women he dates. She’s way too smart, for one thing.

And Maggie’s in love with him, too. Realizing the situation is all but hopeless, she contents herself with working with him.

One night of passion tears them apart. And from…

View original post 1,403 more words

A 4th of July Freebie

I hope everyone’s having a fabulous Fourth!  I love this day–all the picnics, barbecues, trips to the beach (Unless it’s crusted over with blue green algae, don’t even get me started!).

There will be fireworks tonight.  Mr. R. took himself to the fireworks store and returned with enough pyrotechnics to power us into the next millennium.

JON July 4a NEW

But I wanted to let you know that today is also the last day you can get my latest book, a naughty little summer novella called Just One Night, for FREE.  It’s exclusively on Amazon and here’s the LINK.

If you like your romance spicy, follow my Pandora Spocks author blog for the latest news and updates.  I often post excerpts of my books and occasionally from my works in progress.

And…I’m having a major book launch before the end of July.  How’s that for a teaser?

For today, hurry on over and get a great beach book for FREE.  Happy 4th of July!

Shameless Book Plug–Launch Day!

RR3 out todayToday launches Ransoming Redemption, the final book of the Rannigan’s Redemption series.  It’s been a long labor of love and while I’m thrilled that the whole story is now available, there’s a bit of sadness mixed in.  I’ve loved these characters and it’s hard to say goodbye.

But, neurotic soul that I am, I’m already hip-deep in two more projects to be released in the not-too-distant future.

You can get the entire Rannigan’s Redemption erotic romance trilogy at these fine online booksellers.

Amazon, iBooks, B&N, Kobo, & Smashwords

 

Shameless Book Plug–Ransoming Redemption

Book 3 3DIt’s that time again, friends.  Thanks so much for indulging me.  My newest book, Ransoming Redemption, the third and final chapter in the Rannigan’s Redemption series, comes out on April 18.  It’s the story of the complicated relationship between Manhattan attorneys Michael Rannigan and Maggie Flynn.  The advance buzz is very positive.

Here’s an excerpt.

Standing in the empty parlor three steps down from the entry, Maggie’s gaze traveled from the intricately designed hardwood floors to the crisp white crown molding, halting in amazement on the ornate stone federalist fireplace.  Winnie was giving a running narrative though Maggie only half heard her.  “Now you’ll notice lots of original details throughout this property.”

“When was this house built?” Michael asked.

“Got to be late 1800s,” Maggie murmured thoughtfully.

“1890 to be precise,” said Winnie sounding pleased.  “You know your architecture.  It’s believed that it was originally built to be the home of a gentleman’s mistress.  He set her up in grand style.”

Maggie giggled.  “Ooh, how scandalous!  What an interesting history.”  She walked the perimeter of the room.  “Michael, do you see the wood inlay in the floor all around the edge?” she asked, stooping to lightly caress the design.  “This is just exquisite.”

She turned to Michael suddenly.  “You’re not seriously considering moving?”

He shook his head.  “Nah, this would be an investment.  I wanted your opinion on the place, though.”  Crossing to a bay window that overlooked the sidewalk and street, he sank onto the seat and put his oxygen back in.  “How about you look it over for me and see what you think.”

Winnie nodded.  “If you go on back, you’ll see they’ve upgraded the kitchen while keeping the original style of the place intact.”

Maggie continued down the hallway past a formal dining room and into the kitchen.  As Winnie had said, it was spacious and open, boasting high end stainless steel appliances and stone counter tops, but nothing overpowered the original stone floor and fireplace.  At the end of the room was a space for a breakfast table and beyond that, tall vintage French doors.

“Oh, Michael, there’s a yard back here,” she called, letting herself out into a small gravel courtyard dominated by a huge old oak tree and edged by landscaping beds.  There are probably tulip and daffodil bulbs that pop up in the spring, Maggie mused.  The brick walls of the garden were covered with ivy.

She returned to the parlor.  “Michael, this is absolutely amazing.”

“You like it, then?” he asked, seeming pleased.

“It’s beautiful.  Maybe you should think about moving,” she said.

“You haven’t seen the upstairs yet,” Winnie reminded her.  “This house has four bedrooms and four and a half baths.  The master suite takes up the entire second floor.  Two bedrooms are on the third floor, and there’s a smaller attic bedroom at the top.  Oh, and the basement is finished.  It’s perfect for a home office or a gym.”

Maggie had just started up the stairs when Michael called from the window seat.  “Hey, Mags?  Do you have a couple of dollars?”

“A couple of dollars?”

“Yeah.  I want to buy a newspaper.”

“Michael, I’ll buy you a paper on the way home.”

“There’s a little store on the corner,” he hooked his thumb toward the window, “I just forgot my wallet.  Can you loan me some money?”

Maggie returned to the living room.  “Oh, for fu-,” she glanced at Winnie, “I mean, for Pete’s sake,” she muttered as she dug though her purse.  “Here’s five bucks.  Honestly, I would be happy to get your paper when we’re finished here.”

Michael flashed his best grin.  “Thanks, Mags.  By the way, can you sign as a witness?  I’ve decided to buy the house.”

Maggie frowned at the document in his hand.  “We haven’t even looked at the rest of it yet.”

“I’ve seen the pictures.  And judging by the way you like this floor, I’m thinking this is a good deal.”

She took the document from him, her brow furrowed in thought.

“Maggie, wait until you see the claw foot tubs in the bathrooms,” Winnie said.  “And they’ve maintained the vintage tile on the floors and walls.”  Maggie looked up from the contract.

“Just sign below me, Mags,” Michael said, pointing to the line.  Distractedly, she took the pen from him and quickly signed her name as Winnie continued talking.

“And the master suite has its own original fireplace similar to the one down here.  Let me show you.”

Taking one last look at Michael, Maggie dutifully followed the realtor up the stairs.  Michael smiled smugly to himself.

On the ride back to the east side, Maggie couldn’t stop talking about the house.  “Michael, it’s an amazing find.  A townhouse from the 1890s in such pristine condition?  It’s absolutely beautiful.”  She looked at him sharply.  “What about your newspaper?”

Michael waved dismissively.  “Oh, I changed my mind.”

Maggie shook her head.  “Unbelievable.  And I can’t get over you making an appointment to buy a house on Christmas Eve.  Who does that?”

Michael and Maggie shared a Christmas Eve dinner of Chinese take-out on the living room coffee table in the sparkling glow of the tree.  Following dinner, Maggie completed her preparations for the next day, including an inventory of the bar.

“Michael, what is all this champagne for?”  With her head in the cabinet, her voice sounded muffled.

He waved a dismissive hand.  “It’s left over from your birthday.”

“That’s a lot of leftover champagne.”

When she finished checking on the turkey brining out on the terrace, she returned to the living room and sank onto the huge leather sectional.  Michael poured bourbon for both of them and they sat in comfortable silence, sipping and admiring the holiday lights reflected in the windows.

“It’s pretty,” Michael murmured, nodding toward the tree.  “I can’t remember the last time I bothered to get a tree.  Can’t remember the last time I stayed in town on purpose for the holiday, come to think of it.”

Maggie sipped her drink.  “Yes, the tree is beautiful.  And it’s nice, having Christmas at your place this year.”

He smiled.  “It is.  But I say that before we’re overrun with guests.”  They both laughed.

Michael’s expression turned contemplative.  “Are you happy, Mags?”

Bobby’s face popped into her mind and she turned to him, smiling.  “I am very happy, Michael.”

His eyes narrowed thoughtfully.  “I mean everything.  Bobby, work?”

Her left shoulder came up and she tilted her head.  “Well, work, you know.”  She pursed her lips and looked down.  “I realized something recently.  Since my time in law school, I wanted to be a prosecutor because I wanted to make sure that justice was served.”

She snorted, shaking her head.  “How fucking arrogant is that?  I’m going to right all the wrongs, protect the public from the bad guys.  I’ve been so full of shit.”

Michael smiled sardonically.  “Yeah, I wasn’t going to bring that up, but…”

“You’re an asshole, you know that?” she laughed, tossing a wadded up napkin at him.

“It’s just who you are, passionate about everything.  I’ll never forget Mary Margaret Flynn, marching herself into my office and telling me that we should support local business instead of corporate greed.”  They both laughed and resumed watching the tree in silence for a while.

Michael retrieved the bourbon bottle to top them off again.  “Ever think about finding a different job, maybe with a firm that doesn’t do criminal law?”

She shrugged lightly.  “Maybe, I don’t know.  Bobby and I have talked about it a little.”

He met her eyes, his gaze intense.  “He’s a good man.”

“Yes, he is,” she agreed.  “I’m a lucky girl.”

Michael looked into his glass and swirled it gently.  “When I go, I want to know that you’re happy.  It’s important to me.”

“Stop it!  I hate it when you talk like that.”

“It’s going to happen,” he said softly, not looking away from his drink.  “Not talking about it doesn’t change anything.”  His eyes met hers.  “You deserve to be happy, to have everything you want.”

“Well, I can’t think of anything I need.  I’m gainfully employed, I have a man who loves me, I have friends who support me.  In a week Bobby’s moving in with me and we’ll start looking for a place together.  I’d say I’m pretty much set.”

He watched her thoughtfully for a moment then lifted his glass.  “Merry Christmas, Mary Margaret Flynn.”

Maggie smiled ruefully at his use of her full name.  Again.  “Merry Christmas, Sean Michael Rannigan.”

Ransoming Redemption is out April 18, and it’s available now for pre-order at these fine online booksellers.

Amazon, iBooks, B&N, Kobo, & Smashwords

Not all caught up on Rannigan’s Redemption?  No problem.  Resisting Risk and Running Rogue are available now at those same retailers.