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Coming Thursday, September 20!
Prologue: The Storm Gloats as the Dead Man Sleeps

“The candlelight was failing.” (page 1)

And so it begins… and ends.

No, no, nobody rush to dial 9-1-1. My mental “irregularities” have not taken me to that point. I am talking storylines here, folks. I’m talking characters who have been living inside of my head for over a year and a half. I am talking Hellesgate, Kansas closing up its shop windows and everybody going back home.

*sighs*

My thirteenth novel, A Torch Kept, concluding the Hellesgate Series will be released this Thursday, September 20 by Ravenous Romance. It is the fifth installment of the first series I have ever written. Talk about bittersweet…

*kicks herself in the butt*

My THIRTEENTH novel!! Wow, ok, just wow! Who’d have thunk it? Certainly not my ninth grade English teacher. Hah! Stick that in your ear, Mr. James.

*slaps herself hard on the side of the head and checks that the meds have been taken on schedule*

Getting back to business… May I please welcome you to Day One of Hellesgate’s Long Goodbye. In short, we’re calling this puppy ATK (A Torch Kept) Day 1. Yes, this is a twitter-ification. Ahh, I wonder what Mr. James has to say about Twitter-ese? I can hear his teeth grinding right now. Hee-hee.

*checks warning labels on meds for “bitter-laced childhood regression”*

Moving quickly on… For anybody new to this little venture I have dubbed preview blogging, here’s what you can expect in the next five days. Every day you’ll get a blog entry complete with 2 chapter titles and 2 tiny excerpts from each chapter of A Torch Kept (out this Thursday, did I mention?). Along with these juicy tidbits, my blog of the day’s subject matter will be based on that days titles or excerpts. Got it? If not, don’t sweat it. Just follow along and you’ll get the swing of things real soon.

Hardcore fans might notice that I’m doubling up on the titles and excerpts this time around. Well, release day kind of happened a lot quicker than I had thought, so, yes, I’ve essentially been caught with my pants down… Yes, appropriate for a smut writer, I know.

No worries, though. You will still get your fill of author trivia, hysteria, manic thoughts and chicanery. Our ride might be short this time, my friends, but damn will it be bumpy!

To start things off with a roar, I am proud to present to you the back cover blurb to my THIRTEENTH novel, A Torch Kept…

Six years have passed since a lone house burning on the Kansas horizon brought Matthew Archer into Cane Summerfield’s life. The love of the New York real estate mogul and the wounded Iraqi War hero has steadily burned brighter with each passing year, enveloping marriage, parenthood, tragedy and triumph.

 

Nothing, however, had prepared the lovers for Memphis.

 

The last Archer brother has been found.

 

Matthew and Cane travel to Tennessee, hoping to finally reunite their fractured family. But Fate has other plans.

 

The final story of the Hellesgate Series has been written. Endings are had, beginnings made. Who will survive the storm that is life?

 

It is said that a torch kept alight through a storm will burn forever. Is love such a fire when death is the night?

Intense, huh? Got you circling Thursday on your calendar with a big red pen, right? This one is super good, ladies and gentlemen. You’re going to love it.

And never fear, just because Hellesgate might be shuttering its doors and windows doesn’t mean Chloe Stowe is cutting a trail. I am thrilled to announce that I have just signed with Ravenous to write my 14th novel… a novel which you’ll get the name and a sneak peek of at the end of ATK Days.

Yes, that’s right, Mr. James, my 14th novel… Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Until tomorrow, when hopefully clearer heads will prevail…

Chloe Stowe

Chapter One: The Riot of Silence

“Dimas Cabral slept. The dreams, as always, came quickly and vibrantly. Being a strange cocktail of memory, fantasy, and something much more, Dimas never tried to understand them. He simply imbibed them hungrily, hoping to wake hours later punch-drunk with the taste of Alanyo on his lips.” (page 14)


 
 
Leverage.” Mitchell didn’t bother sugarcoating it. “That’s what runs my world. You have got to grab it whenever you’re given the chance.” (page 17)

Welcome to Day Two of the -Cock Fight- Dailies, a hopefully enjoyable way for me to introduce you all to my 11th novel, the love story of an underground cage fighter and the man hired to save him.

The excerpt above is from Chapter One, a jaunty little piece called “Blue Crab and Cold Beer.” Every day of this 13 day event you can expect an excerpt and a chapter title. One or both will then be tied into the accompanying blog.

Now, isn’t that a tidy little morsel of fun for you to enjoy every day?...

Ok, here we go…

(hours pass as I stare blankly at the computer)

Or not…

I’m stuck. Leverage, cold beer or blue crab? What am I supposed to do with that?

In theory, the idea of using the chapter titles and excerpt as a “jumping off point” for the blog is a good idea. But come on! A crustacean? A blue one at that? If I detail my drinking a cold beer while I watch Timothy Hutton steal stuff on TNT can I leave off the funny colored sea creature and call this blog done?

I didn’t think so.

Alright. I’ve got to pick one… And as usual, I will pick the hardest and go for the blue crab.

After an in depth study of the ultimate blue crab website (bluecrab.info… yes, there really is such a place and a fine place it is), I have come up with the perfect way to tie in our little sea critter to today’s blog.

Please see below.   

I proudly introduce to one and all Brewster the Big, Bad Blue Crab, the new mascot to the Words and Madness of Chloe Stowe Blog… (silence)… Come on! Every blog’s got to have a cute little creature to lure the wayward readers its way… (crickets chirp)… It is not a cop out! I can defend myself and Brewster and I will…

First, blue is my favorite color… ok, now that one is a cop out.

Second, since I lost my mind twenty years ago, I no longer eat crab. Seafood is just asking for trouble when you’re convinced even drinking the wrong tap water will surely do you in… yeah, don’t expect me to explain that one. Just consider it an endearing quirk and we’ll all move on, ok?

Third, just like blue crab I am an acquired taste… See? Can’t argue with that one, can you?

So, join me in welcoming Brewster the Big, Bad Blue Crab to our little family! And while Brewster might bite, there will be no biting or chewing or swallowing with contented sighs of him.

Until tomorrow, when I better be getting better key words or we’re scrapping this whole crab tamale…

Chloe Stowe… and Brewster

 
 
“The air was thick with sweat and beer.” (page 1)

Welcome to the -Cock Fight- Dailies, a 13 day blogging event to celebrate the release of my 11th novel, Cock Fight!

For you old hands at this, you’ll notice that I’m trying something a little different this go around. The title of each day’s blog will be one of the chapter titles from the novel. Immediately following is an excerpt from that chapter, a tease as to what you can expect when you pick up Cock Fight. The accompanying blog will somehow incorporate either the excerpt or the title into its daily theme.

I’d love to hear feedback, so please don’t hesitate to comment. I will gladly respond to each one, hopefully honing my response skills to razor sharpness (a skill, I’m sure, will come in handy in case of petulance, plague or other Biblical-sized disasters that might come calling).

Now, let’s get this party started!

Cages have always interested me. I think they interest us all in some manner. I, however, will not attempt to speak for everyone. This is all me, a woman heavily medicated for chronic panic attacks the last 20 years, a woman crazy in love with life in spite of being stuck in the quicksand of mental illness. So, please feel free to color your opinion of me and my thoughts in this light. I don’t mind.

The concept of cages is intriguing. They are meant to keep a person from moving from a spot but not to stop them from moving. Struggle and crawl and claw all you like. There’s no way in hell you’re making it to that door you can see across the room that means freedom. It’s a particular kind of cruel.

I’m sure a lot of my “regulars” know where I’m going with this. Mental illness is a cage. It’s bars of steel around your brain. Worse yet, they’re invisible bars; no one can see them and only you can feel them. Unfortunately, half the time people won’t believe in what they can’t see. Imagine half of the world standing outside your jail cell constantly taunting you to come on outside and play. Some even throw little trinkets of affection at you, promising you more if you’d just slip between those bars.

Yeah, color me bitter. But color me so lightly.

There are so many other crayons, brighter more beautiful crayons coloring my life. Look behind the bars and you’ll see them. Periwinkle, cornflower, copper, magenta, meadow, marigold… they’re all there. Sometimes, you just have to look deep within the cage’s shadows to find them.

I will leave you here for today wishing you cornflower blue skies out your window or between your bars, whichever the case may be.

Until tomorrow…

Chloe Stowe

 
 
Day One has been thrust upon us with nary a warning, like a blizzard that jumps out from behind the innocent looking mountains yelling “Surprise!” in Icelandic tongues. Well, grab your parkas and your mittens, folks. This is going to be one heck of a super slalom-esque previewing ride!

Ready?

Here we go!

Stripped Asset is my 10th published novel, and honestly it is one of my very favorites. The characters of Heath and Lachlan just wrote themselves, weaving a simple romantic tale into a dynamic, hopefully unforgettable read. Here’s why (in lovely synopsis/sell copy form)…

Love is rarely played more beautifully than to the heartfelt strings of sacrifice…

Thirty-two year old Lachlan Hayes is a successful Hollywood screenwriter who’s just bought a beautiful but neglected house on the sea. Words are his life; imagination his playground. But he’s never known love as more than a meeting of hungry bodies in the night.

Heath Isles is a twenty-seven year old landscape architect whose every moment is spent fighting for custody of his little brother. The work that pays for this legal battle is Heath’s life, giving his brother the future he deserves is his calling. But Heath’s never known true love as more than a common prelude to a common divorce.

When Lachlan hires Heath to renovate his beachfront property, a passion fierce and playful is alighted and a romance true and embattled is born. 

 Theirs is a story of irony, a story of when surrendering to the odds is love’s only hope of survival.

 Theirs is a tale of a sacrifice made and kept.

 Theirs is a song of hope and happy endings.

Excuse me while I bounce around in utter excitement. Please feel free to join in. The more bouncers the merrier, I always say. *grins*

Tomorrow, I will give you all the chapter titles and their excerpts in one grand rush of previewing goodiness. (I, too, am having to hurriedly throw on the gloves and big furry boots. The blizzard is unexpectedly barreling down on me as well… Ahh, the publishing world!)

As for all my faithful blog readers who have been following the escapades of my teetering mental health, an update awaits you tomorrow as well. I’d add more today but a good portion of my working brain matter leaked out of my head this morning as Tuesdays and I rarely get along. Don’t ask. I don’t have a heck of a clue as to why. You know, somebody could write a darn fine doctorate thesis on the mysterious mis-workings of my mind. Anything for science after all, right?

Well, I will leave you here for today. I hope everyone is well kitted out in their winter wear as the eye of the previewing blizzard hits tomorrow!

Until then…

Chloe Stowe and her enigmatic brain

 
 
Good morning one and all. I hope Day Two has found you festively bedecked in both mind and spirit. If not allow me the pleasure of festooning you with holiday cheer and sleigh bells in the snow… or I could just get to the smut and allow any further festooning to be done by your own hand. *winks*

Chapter One: Slow and Dirty Kisses on Cocoa Flavored Lips

“The closet was dark. Cane had intentionally left the overhead light off when he had shoved a lost-looking, quickly fraying Matthew into the tiny room. He had thought that the less distractions the better, not realizing that Matthew was looking for a fight. The fact that the fight Matthew chose was with their hanging wardrobe had Cane wanting to bang his head repeatedly on their tie rack.” (page 15)

 
Whew! Now don’t we all feel better now that we’ve got a little romance/sex in the closet under our belts? I know it always loosens up these crazy bones of mine. Insanity is always better when you’re flexible.

Today is a shaky day. One of those days when my orange juice arrives at my mouth shaken not stirred. My elbows and knees are as weak as lemmings and my thoughts are bouncing and zinging around my head like kernels of corn in a popcorn maker. It’s real fun in Stowe-land this morning and all I want to do is to crawl under a ton of covers and take a long winter’s nap…

Sometimes mental illness is crap, folks.

So you’ll excuse me if today’s blog is a little jumpy and short. Fear not, however, you will still get your reindeer game of the day! I would never leave your imaginations hanging. *smiles*

I imagine Dancer to be…

A spy. In the dance halls of Vienna, he spins war widows around the parquet floors, offering both a shoulder and an ear to their woes. With their husbands away to the front, the women are hungry for warmth, companionship and illicit love. Dancer offers it all to them… in return for a secret shared here and there. Dancer’s male lover awaits him stateside. Will the young spy return to his old love or will a new Viennese heart waltz our hero away?

Well, that’s it for today. I wish you an afternoon of sturdy elbows and knees and little or no popcorn-ing grey matter.

Until tomorrow…

Chloe Stowe

 
 
Welcome one and all to the Shafts of Torchlight Preview Event, an 8 day blogging extravaganza that is part sneak peek, part mental illness expose and part “laugh until you cry” or “cry until you laugh” madness brought to you by Chloe Stowe.

As keen holiday aficionados may have already guessed, this event has latched onto Santa’s eight tiny reindeer as its titling theme. Original? Not very, but I think it should be fun. A little dash of holiday magic is always welcome in my world.

Shall we get right to it then?

Synopsis first…

It’s Christmas night in Hellesgate, Kansas and all the world is bright.

Former New York real estate mogul Matthew Archer and injured war hero Cane Summerfield are enjoying their first holiday season together with their adopted daughter, Sahara. While the men had endured many hardships on their paths to discovering one another, their lives had finally grown peaceful while their love had only grown more vibrant…

But when you have everything, you have everything to lose.

An estranged family member with a heart of ice, a buried past that lives in a murderer’s hungry gaze, memories born of sweet violence and delicious pain… all must be met and overcome for Matthew and Cane to keep the lives and the love for which they have fought so fiercely.

However… when the path is darkest, it takes only the smallest shafts of light to lead a man home again.

As always, every day you will get a chapter title and a tiny little excerpt from that chapter. Be careful, sometimes I like to lead you astray with my choice of excerpts. I’ve got to leave some surprises for the actual novel, after all. *evil mad scientist laugh… or, in this case, mad novelist laugh*

 Prologue: A Guileless Voyeur

 “Rain slapped the window. The reflection of the Eiffel Tower in the glass lost all definition melting into just a stain of orange light.

“Please,” a man’s voice broke with the lightning.”  (page 1)

Shafts of Torchlight was a joy to write. It was like slipping into your favorite pair of pajamas and sharing a glass of wine with an old, treasured friend. It is the third book in the Hellesgate Series, a series of novels that follow the ever-deepening relationship between former New York real estate shark Matthew Archer and Iraq War veteran Cane Summerfield. Shafts of Torchlight follows Torched and Blow Torch.

This series really resonates deeply within me as the character Cane suffers from PTSD. His battles are often a reflection of some of my mine (particularly his fight with panic attacks). I love the idea that the former soldier is able to find breathtaking love with another. Maybe this whole series is my guilty pleasure? I don’t know, but I don’t think I’ll apologize even if it is.

Two more novels in the Hellesgate Series are already in the pipeline so expect Matthew and Cane to follow you well into the new year!

This go-around I’m adding a little something extra to each of these blog posts. As I’ve chosen Santa’s 8 reindeer as my title them, I thought it was only fair to give each reindeer a little time in the romantic smut limelight. So, as I’m not too up on the ins and outs of reindeer sex, I decided to make each of the little fellas’ names a codename for a World War II soldier / spy / combatant, you get the picture. Yes, I am boldly stroking my historical romance tendencies with this, but it’s actually turned out really well and the seed of a novel has been planted in this heavily medicated brain of mine. Scary, I know.

So without further adieu or nonsense, here’s your first WWII reindeer game.

I imagine Dasher to be…

A brave WWII soldier who has been dropped behind enemy lines to set up a line of communications with resistance fighters. Finally, after a week of breathless escapes from the enemy, he manages to set up an old-fashioned telegraph network. The dots and dashes of morse code soon fill the wires. The resistance will survive but will our young Dasher?...

Keep a careful eye on each of these guys because their stories just might begin to interweave.

Now, I will let you get back to your holiday madness as my madness is calling me to pop a few Prozac. I hope you enjoyed!

Until tomorrow…

Chloe Stowe