Swoonworthy

September 2019: Guest Blog, H. H. Roulo

Finding Romance in a Zombie Apocalypse

Contact: Plaguemastermail@gmail.com

By H.E. Roulo

Zombie apocalypse don’t seem like the most romantic of situations. Unlike other horror monsters, like elegant vampires and muscular werewolves, these shambling and decaying horror staples aren’t typically objects of adoration.

Romance and zombies have been brought together before, most memorably in Warm Bodies, a book from Isaac Marion, that came out in 2010 and three years later became a movie. 

In my book, Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome, Trevor is trying to find a cure for his infected friend, Kristin. In order to pass tests that will allow them into the Sanctuary, Trevor and Kristin must kiss. Sadly, their tentative interest in each other is never as strong as the impending zombie destruction. When the dome fails, Trevor tries to get the cure to Kristin before she completes her change. He is only partially successful.

Sanctuary Dome starts with a bang, is complicated by a kiss, and ends with a promise. This is a YA zombie love story like no other.”

-Jennifer Brozek, author of Apocalypse Girl Dreaming

There’s even less time for romance in the second book, Plague Master: Rebel Infection. Trevor has sworn to find and rescue Kristin from the Plague Master that controls her. He has a cure, though it sometimes fails. Confused and looking for answers, he travels with his companions to a snowy planet where they crash and are surrounded by the diseased undead. Trapped with two mercenaries, his young friend Russ, and Elena, there are still moments for lightness. Elena and Trevor have fought side-by-side for two books and share a unique bond that could become something more:

 Excerpt from Plague Master: Rebel Infection Chapter 14 (440 words)

“Remember, just draw them away long enough for Sigrid to get a look at the damage. The more zombies you draw off, the safer she’ll be. I’ll cover her from above and only kill the ones that endanger us, but I won’t hesitate. If the ship’s repairable, the best thing would be to fly to safety,” said Gerd.

“Amen,” added Sigrid.

Russ slipped a mitten over his hand and off again. “This stuff is amazing.”

“So is snow,” said Gerd, plopping a hat on the boy. “My grandmother knitted caps like this.”

“Will the zombies even know I’m a person? Or think a ball of yarn is escaping?” Trevor wagged his lumpy arms. Sweat pooled in his armpits. No need to mention he’d never seen snow before, either.

“The ambassador carried traditional gear.” Elena finished rolling a scarf around his neck and yanked it over his mouth. “Better.”

His cheeks mounded in a hidden grin, but Elena saw it and winked back.

Sigrid settled a knitted cap over Gerd’s shaved head, and he left it there. He made no other concession to the weather.

Having worked up his courage, Trevor nodded to Elena. She and Russ would remain aboard, attempting to contact her father. He braced himself against the door, counting down.

“I have something for you,” said Elena.

Trevor figured she was once again offering him her handgun and shook his head. He liked her having it.

“Keep it,” he said. “I’d rather not kill them. If I get into trouble, I have this.” He patted the heavy wrench in the inner pocket of his winter coat, reassured by the weight of cold metal.

She surprised him by pressing pink and orange fabric into his mitten. He couldn’t feel her fingers but gripped her hand anyway, noticing she’d painted her nails. He stroked a padded thumb across the smooth pink surface and released her. Feeling like a breathless storybook knight about to enter the tournament with a lady’s token, he wrapped the filmy fabric around his white mitten.

“For the zombies,” she said, releasing the end of the scarf. She kissed his cheek. “For you.”

Someday he’d have to tell her not to aim for the numb spot.

Saluting the others, he threw open the door and leaped over the zombies. His boots slammed into the ground. He skidded across rock, crushed golden scrub, and slush. Twenty feet away, seeing the slow-moving zombies turning, he held his ground. Toknan smelled foreign, cold, and piney. He inhaled deeply and whooped, waving Elena’s pink and orange scarf above his head to flash the bright colors like a flag.

“C’mon! I’m a tasty, tasty meal!” he said.

Read more excerpts and see behind the scenes of the PLAGUE MASTER trilogy.

Twitter: @hroulo

Facebook: www.facebook.com/heroulo

Blog: www.heatherroulo.com

Author Central: www.amazon.com/author/heatherroulo

Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome (Book 1): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CKAPXWW

Plague Master: Rebel Infection (Book 2): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WTQV6M7

July 2019

Just wanted to update folks about the podcast.  I had some difficulty with recording.  I FINALLY figured out the problem and not I’m back in the studio RE-recording all of the chapters.  The bad news is that I only have 3 done.  The good news is that these recordings are MUCH better and will likely even qualify for the Agent For the Orchestra to be an audio book on Audible (fingers crossed.)

Until then, go to the free reads section and read through some of the rough draft chapters (sure the podcast and final novel will be different but that’s what makes it fun!)

 

May 2019

Just an update to announce that Agent for the Orchestra will be ready for podcasting platforms (for free) this July 2019!  Jack and Yvonne’s adventures (in rough draft) can be read in the free reads section of the website.  The two agents have also inspired a new podcast musical theme that I wrote last month.  I’m so excited to bring you both new writing and music!

January 2019

Agent For the Orchestra

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Love comes in all kinds of forms.  Sometimes it’s the neighbor next door.  Sometimes it’s your lifelong best friend.   Sometimes it’s a mysterious stranger.

Books can be like that too.  Traditionally, I’ve stuck to print and ebook formats for my stories.  Recently, I’ve dipped my toe into the audio world.  If you skip over to the “FREE” section of this website, you’ll find some of my latest audio book.  What you’ll be sampling are the early rough drafts but the basic story all the same.  It’s my sincere hope to begin a podcast leading to an audio book in the weeks and months to come.  Check back once a month for a new chapter and you can always see new updates at my publisher’s website, Meant to Be Press.

Meant to Be Kissed…I’m in This One!

I contributed a bit of flash fiction to this new holiday romance anthology.

Here’s an excerpt:

Will I miss James? We’ve never been apart but there is a sick part of me that looks forward to writing him long, aching emails. I might even be driven to pen and paper, which is strangely even more exciting when I think about it. My mother has warned me, “It’s going to feel like a piece of your heart has been taken from you.”

Meant To Be Kissed by Meant To Be Press is now available for pre-order at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KGK8RDP

Meant To Be Kissed: A Second Story

From the talented writers of Meant to Be Press, comes the new, holiday romance anthology, “Meant To Be Kissed.”

Love sweet romance? Meant to Be – KISSED is a collection of short stories for you to get a sampling of Meant to Be Press romance authors.

Excerpt from “Lady Montague’s Winter Kiss” by Emmy Z. Madrigal

 

“I wouldn’t think you the dancing sort,” she said, once they had joined the set.

“On the contrary, I am always willing to dance. I believe I won my wife because…” The word wife stuck in his throat and he swallowed hard. They danced a few steps away from each other and he could not look in her eyes when they met again.

“I’m sorry I caused you pain,” she said.

“Oh no.” He gripped her gloved hand above her head and one at her waist and they spun slowly, looking into one another’s eyes. “You’ve done nothing of the sort.”

They split and went round the outside before meeting again and grasping hands for the next set.

“I…” She paused, letting out a sigh. “I would never wish to.”

He smiled. “I believe that. After all, we’ve saved each other. What more could one do for another?”

“What indeed.” Her right eyebrow arched as she smiled a mischievous smile.

Meant To Be Kissed is coming soon! Visit www.meanttobepress.wordpress.com.

Meant To Be Kissed, A New Holiday Anthology To Be Released

From the talented writers of Meant to Be Press, comes the new, holiday romance anthology, “Meant To Be Kissed.”

Love sweet romance? Meant to Be – KISSED is a collection of short stories for you to get a sampling of Meant to Be Press romance authors.

“The Grand Gesture” by Lela Bay, takes a public humiliation and turns it into an act of heroism. Rosamund Windham, daughter to the duke, literally drops herself into a pool of filth to save an innocent and in the process befriends the girl’s brother.

Read a sample of The Grand Gesture:

“My dear!” Lady Termington, their hostess, reached the bottom of the stairs in time to wheel back from the rising, mud-coated form of Miss Shelby. “You must… you must…”

With great certainty, Lady Rosamund Windham knew that her mother’s lifelong friend and adversary was going to suggest the child be bundled off in her carriage. The story would be retold at every ball the girl attended in the future. Her soft blue eyes, so eager, would fall with shame and even her stammering attempts at conversation would leave her. The girl was not equipped to handle a long season of subtle jibes about clean dresses and absent grace.

“Oh, my!” Rosamund cried loudly. Her feet went out from under her and she slipped off the step into the hearty mud. She landed on her hip, ensuring mud clung to her from top to bottom and stared upward at the hapless footman, who stumbled back with his hands raised, as if to show he had not shoved her. Her sister loomed on the step above, mouth opened in an appalled ‘o’.”

Get your copy by visiting Meant to Be Press at www.meanttobepress.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

September 20, 2018

The Harpist has arrived.  One part mystery, one part horror novel, all romance….  Join Detective Mike Flannery and Harpist Elizabeth O’Toole as they look for clues in both the worlds of the living and dead to solve the murder of Senator Brady’s daughter.  While Elizabeth may need Mike’s protection as the hauntings become more and more terrifying, Mike will need Elizabeth’s ability to cross over to the world of the dead thanks to channeling through her harp.  Get your copy

 

 

 

July 6, 2018: An excerpt from this Fall’s up and coming release, “Cursed: The Harpist,” :

From the prologue

His ghostly form instinctively knew to squeeze itself in between the particles that made up the wood.  His molecular, invisible, dark matter fused with the vibrating sound board.  As each string ascended chromatically upwards, octave after octave, so too did his form take on the instrument’s form.  The harp’s stable feet became his feet.  The strings became his voice.  His toned muscles and spine became one with the harmonic arch.  Pipes felt the electricity of Elizabeth’s body against his.  For the first time in decades, he could feel the physical embrace of a beautiful woman.  He could see the memories of the harp she’d called Aiden and all of life they had shared.  It’s memories were Elizabeth’s secrets and in that metamorphosis, her song was his song too.

 

 

 

March 23, 2018

My Latest Meet-Cute Blog at Meant to Be Press

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 9, 2018

Interview with Cassandra Flemming, lead female character in the book, “The Clever Courtesan,” Book 1 in the Lady of Keys series.

1 Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a tiny village in England.  My mother died giving birth to me and I’ve never known my father.  I was raised by the Sisters in the St. Francis Orphanage.

2 Where do you live now?

On the English coast, near the White Cliffs of Dover

3 What’s the difference between the two towns?

Growing up, I was just an orphan.  The villagers felt bad for me but I was no one.  Now, as a Lady of Keys, I have my own money.  I’m a Lady of means.

4 What is your favorite season?

I love summer.  When I can pull Lord Maddox away from his work, I love spending nights skinny dipping with him under the moonlight.

5 What is your favorite vacation spot?

I’ve never been on a vacation.  I’m always working in some way or another.

6 Where would you like to travel?

I’ve recently spent some time at French Court.  I would like to see Paris.

7 What is your favorite city?

I’ve only been to London once, as a child.  The whole orphanage went to visit the a Cathedral with the nuns.

8 What have you learned from Lord Maddox?

All of my lovers have taught me things about money, power and high society England.  Lord Maddox has taught me what it means to fall in love.

9 What is the first thing you notice about someone?

As a Lady of Keys, it is my job to size up everyone in the room or at a party.  I’m always asking ‘Who is the richest or most powerful person in the room?’  The first thing I look for is a quality of their jewels.

10 What is your favorite breakfast?

When I was in the castle in France, sometimes the servants would bring us cakes and pastries for breakfast.  My favorite are these little cakes with sugared almonds on top.  The cake is actually called the Nipples of Venus.

11 What is your favorite meal?

Lord Maddox gave me a falcon as a gift.  At first I thought it was a stupid thing to give a Lady.  Now, I like going out and hunting with him.  Together, my falcon and I hunt and kill rabbits.  Our cook makes rabbit stew simmered in red wine.  It’s delicious.

12 What is the favorite thing you own?

My own money

13 What do you aspire to be?

If I could, I would like to own my own land and titles.  It’s a rare thing for a woman in England.

14 What is your favorite song?

“Will Ye Go Lassie, Go?” It’s a song about a man asking the woman he loves to go walking with him up a mountain to pick wild flowers.

15 Do you like to sing?

No.  But I’ve taken lessons and I can play the lute.

16 What other instruments would you like to learn?

Very wealthy Ladies learn to play the harp.  I hope someday I can learn to play one.

17 Who is your best friend?

I don’t really have a best friend, really.  But I am grateful to my Lady-in-Waiting, Lilly.  She saved my life in a fire and I owe her a great deal for being so brave and helping me.

18 What have you learned from Lilly?

People rarely surprise me.  I usually have them figured out in just a few moments.  Lilly has taught me that there are still good people in the world.

19 If you got a tattoo, what would it be?

A Lady of Keys would never brand herself in such a way.  One Keeper of Keys pleasure might be a complete disappointment to the next Keeper.

20 What is your guilty pleasure?

I love beautiful clothes.  I love the way that silk feels on my skin.  I love dressing up in the latest fashions.

21 What is your hope for the future?

Now that I have found a man who truly loves me, and I him, war is at our back door step.  I hope that in supporting the Prince’s coup, the mad king of France can be overthrown.  Then, Lord Maddox and I can see if our love can last.

 

 

 

January 30, 2018: Love Your Body

It took me a long time to be “sex positive.”  Somewhere between college and divorce, I discovered I had a different view of myself, my body and how I felt about pleasure.  My transformation in thought came when I listened to a podcast where the interviewer was talking to a woman who was dying of cancer.

When he asked what she would miss most about her life, she said her body.  Hearing this, I thought there were just about a million things other than my body that I would miss.  Still, I continued to listen and her point changed my whole perspective.

Her body had been with her lover turned husband and felt the most amazing pleasure while she had been with him.  Then, she gave birth to their children.  While most women hyper focus on “returning” their body to a pre-birth shape, she didn’t.  All of her curves meant her body has housed, sheltered and cared for her babies as they developed in her womb.  Her larger, albeit less than perky boobs meant that she had fed those babies.  She joked that her husband hadn’t needed coffee creamer for months either.

That night, as I was changing out of my work clothes, my body was no longer a perpetual work in progress on a winding road to improvement.  Instead, it was a temple.  My temple!  I wanted to invite my partner to worship there, experience sex for the fun and pleasure that it should be between two people who care for one another.

Listening to the end of the same podcast on my commute into work, I learned that the woman died before the broadcast of the show.  Where ever she is, if there is even a place that we go after we die, I hope you can hear me.  Thank you for changing the way I see my feminine self.  Thank you for helping me love my body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Blog Entry:

From M.M. Genet:

“For years, rarely did I ever read romance or erotic novels, simply because I disliked the typical weakness of the female character.  That goes to say, I wasn’t fond of the male characters either; practically raping their female counterparts and then somehow the two falling passionately in love.

Barf.

Hence, for much of my reading life, where I have been a print addict, I stuck to science fiction and horror.  Somewhere along the lines, thanks to super heroes, the speculative fiction world understood that confidence, strength and depth of character could be sexy too.

When I began writing,  my stories as a female horror author (under a different pen name) my leading characters were often brave, brazen women who could think their way through a problem or fight until they drew their very last breath.  The women in my stories took risks to save lives, including their own.

Hence, “The Clever Courtesan” is all of that wrapped up in an erotic romance.  Cassandra is beautiful, smart and afraid of nothing…except maybe falling in love.  Taking her destiny into her own hands, she chooses a life she has to carve out for herself in British society instead of taking the marriage proposal that’s been handed to her.

Keeping some of the romance genre in mind, my only hint about the conclusion of the story is this.  With great risk, comes great reward. Arriving just in time for Valentine’s Day, enjoy the high heat of this story alone, or read aloud to your lover.  Enjoy!”