Wednesday, August 31, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Since Moon-Touched has gone on to the editing phase, I'm choosing another WIP to showcase today. A while back, I started a sequel to Two Lives in Waltz Time, my paranormal time travel release from Samhain. It's called All The Devils Here, and continues Cash and Maddy's story as well as introduces another couple, Quin and Colette. This is from Quin's introduction into the story...

*****

He stared at a ghost.

Ghosts appeared out of nowhere, echoes of the people they used to be. They created havoc not through what they did, but through their mere existence, shocking those who witnessed them and inevitably frightening them away. Whether they held malice or not mattered little. The end result was always the same.

Even with a blade inches from his carotid, Cash refused to yield to fear. Because Quin Brenner would always be his friend, no matter how many years separated them.

“You’re still the master of shrouds,” he said, with a smile he had to force. “I never knew you were there.”

Quin glanced at Maddy. “She did.”

Hearing Quin’s voice without seeing his lips move sent an array of goose bumps down Cash’s spine. That was actually harder than seeing the scarring mutilating his old friend’s face.

“I didn’t know.” The fact that Maddy piped up to answer Quin’s allegation meant she heard him, too. Cash tucked away the little tidbit for dissecting later. “Not that it was you, anyway. Or anyone.” Her wide blue eyes tilted up to meet Cash’s, silently imploring him for clarification.

“Guess my girl’s got more gifts than I realized.” Cash curled a protective arm around her waist, but when he attempted to retreat a step, Quin matched the movement with his own slide forward. The sword never bobbled. “Now is that any way to greet an old friend?”

You’re supposed to be dead.”

“I think we were both supposed to be dead, mate. Put the blade down so we can talk.”

Quin made a soft snorting sound under his breath. “Is that supposed to be funny?

“It wasn’t?” Cash pretended to pout. “I must be losing my touch.”

“Cash…” Maddy’s gaze had returned to Quin, and while she held herself stiffly, she gave no other indications of alarm. “Why don’t you introduce us?”

Don’t. Let the girl go.

The mere fact that Quin didn’t want Maddy included in this was enough to convince Cash to keep her around, at least until he knew more about what was going on. “Bit rude, isn’t that? Especially since you’ve made such a sparkling entrance. That deserves names, at the very least.” He swept a free arm between them. “Maddy Cardinale, Quin Brenner. Quin’s part of the old gang, the one I told you about, remember?”

He didn’t want to clarify any further, not with death written across Quin’s features. He just hoped Maddy would understand the reference.

Her sharp inhalation said she did.

“So now that introductions are out of the way,” he went on, “let’s say we do something about the sword. Can’t very well buy you a pint and catch up on old times if you’ve got me shished and kebabed.”

I’m not here for fun and games. Let the girl go, and I promise you, she won’t get hurt.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Maddy said before Cash could chime in. Infuriatingly, she stepped more in front of him, placing herself in direct line with the deadly blade. When they got home, he was going to have a serious talk to her about her predilection for getting in the way. She’d already taken a bullet that was meant for him. Once should have been more than enough.

So be it.

Sparks danced from the tip of Quin’s sword. Cash barely threw his arm up in time to shield her from the magic leaping across the distance.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Do you want to live forever?

An article appeared in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend, discussing the possibilities of extending human life expectancy. While the discussion is hardly a new topic, the growing population certainly makes it an interesting one. There are social and economic realities we live in that weren't applicable a hundred years ago. Our world is a shrinking one. Is it really worth it to continue this type of research?

I write about paranormal creatures with extended lives all the time, but the reality is a much different story. We have problems with overcrowdedness and lack of resources already. Can you imagine the strain the world would take if the population didn't have a natural break to it? Of course, if extending lives meant those people would then be able to produce more that would be of benefit to the world at large, I wouldn't hesitate in the slightest. But how likely is that to happen? I just don't know. I'd like to believe in altruism, but the cynic in me calls that part foolish.

And what about relationships? Divorce is a defining reality for a lot of people. Would we be forced to reimagine our concept of marriage? If someone spends over a hundred years as an adult, is it realistic to think they'd do so with a single person?

The romantic in me would like to say yes, but I know that it wouldn't necessarily work out that way. Relationships take work, especially over longer periods of time.

What are your thoughts?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Giveaway Winner

Another Monday which means new inspiration. With the end of summer fast approaching, I'm appreciating the wonder of beaches. Well, the wonder of pretty men on beaches.

It also means it's time to announce the winner of "Dark Edge of Honor." Drumroll...

Dropbear!

I have your email, so expect an email from me soon. :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome! Thanks for stopping by today. For the month of August, I'm highlighting segments from my het werewolf erotic romance Under a Rogue Moon. This comes towards the end, as Flanna comes face to face with the man who's been hunting her.


The gun now nuzzled the back of Jason’s skull. “Go ahead, bitch,” Romm said. “Keep on talking. Your boyfriend did so much of that already that I’m this close to saying to hell with it and killing both of you right now.”

She pressed her lips together. She didn’t know what had happened to put Jason in the submissive position, but she wasn’t willing to stand there while Romm scattered his brains across the pavement.



To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Project Runway

Remember how much I said I loved Bert a few weeks ago?

Yeah, not so much anymore.

I loved his outfit last night, don't get me wrong. But his attitude and constant negativity is really annoying me. He reminds me of Emilio from a couple seasons ago - talented but with such an ego and a chip on his shoulder that it's hard to like or root for him.

And Josh! Okay, I get that the judges liked that he compartmentalized his team, but if they hadn't, Becky would've been totally screwed. Plus, they gave him the win when that maxi dress was really Anya's?!? What kind of sense does that make?

Victor completely deserved his win, on the other hand. That jacket he made was fabulous, and even though I thought their collection was a little dull palette-wise, it was definitely the strongest and most cohesive of the four. Funny, how my top favorites all came from different collections.

And yes, Bert's was one of them, I'm sad to say. He can make really pretty clothes, but that attitude needs to change. Stat.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Sometimes I think I will never be done with this story. My family hasn't had the greatest week and my writing time has been severely curtailed. I have a ton of editing to do on this before I submit it, so I'm not even sure what's going to end up surviving, lol. Oh well, let's find something to share anyway.

*****


Mention of Amy drove Andre’s eyes to the house, giving Thomas valuable seconds to study him without fear of being caught. He’d worn his hair loose today, and the sunlight filtered through the ends, gilding his skin more golden than usual. His strong profile should’ve been captured on Roman coins, or something else equally magnificent. The more Thomas saw of him, the more convinced he became he belonged elsewhere, not in some backwater town that couldn’t see what it had. Even with the scars, he’d bet Andre could model. He was hotter than anybody Thomas saw gracing his magazines.

When Andre came back to him, a definite sadness pervaded the pale depths of his eyes. The hand that had been branding Thomas’s stomach lifted, and a shadow fell across his face when the same fingertips that had caressed his abdomen now fluttered over his brow.

Thomas closed his eyes automatically. A smart man would push the contact away. He knew what Andre was doing, this soothing of his torturous thoughts, and would have laughed at ever submitting to such vulnerability. He was stronger than that. He didn’t need another man’s gentleness.

At the same time, nothing had ever felt so good. The firm press of their bodies that morning had been exhilarating, the taste of Andre’s skin delightful, but this surpassed all of that. This opened a door in the back of his heart he’d locked the last time he’d been left alone. He’d vowed he didn’t need anyone else again, and he’d stuck to that promise for over a year now. Until the call from Pastor, he’d been content with the solitude he’d embraced.

Now he’d met a man even more lonely than him. Someone bearing the physical scars of fighting for what he loved. Someone who continued to walk along the fringe of the very thing that had nearly destroyed him and did so willingly, because he preferred it to the alternative. Andre’s strength in the face of that overwhelming force put Thomas’s to shame. After all, what kind of strength came in running from life?

A sigh escaped his lips. The strokes along his forehead went down the side of his face, tickling at the edge of his beard, to feather over his mouth. Just as gentle. Just as giving. His tongue darted out, and there was the salty skin he remembered, the heat more so because it had been warmed by the afternoon sun. He licked at the callused pad, picturing the long, slender fingers dancing across his body as he tasted it.

Hands like that were sinful. The things they could do. Pulling him apart. Putting him back together. Delving deep and deep and deep until the line of separation between them disappeared. Thomas topped more than he bottomed, but for this man, he’d crawl on his hands and knees to be taken and consumed. Something told him Andre would make it worth it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Storylines revisited

Yesterday, a story from NPR showed up in my Google Reader about a Shakespeare production that has been re-invented to reflect modern issues, and it got me thinking about various plays and movies I've seen that have played with traditional set-ups like this. One of the earliest examples I can remember was a production of Taming of the Shrew that I saw in junior high. It was done at the state college in town, and the director chose to reimagine it in a wild west setting. I was enthralled. To this day, it remains one of my favorite theater experiences ever, and considering I was a theater major for a good chunk of college and still go whenever I can, that says a lot.

Movies do this all the time. Remember Clueless? Jane Austen's Emma moved to the LA high school world. And we constantly see an influx of books that try the same thing. It's magical when it works well, but while I'm in awe of writers who can pull it off, I also find myself more critical of the end result. Stories like that have to compete with more well-known versions, as well as reader expectations. Some readers are purists and don't like having things tampered with. Others prefer to be surprised. I tend to fall in the latter camp, but I do wonder how big that camp really is. In so many ways, genre fiction is highly predictable, and the author who breaks ranks to switch things up often becomes the target of debate.

Round hole/square peg analogies abound because sometimes the reinventions just don't work. But when they do...it's amazing. Memories can be created that will last for years. I'm sure the director of that Taming production never thought an audience member would be reminiscing about it fondly decades later. I'd like to hope it would please him or her to no end to realize it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Giveaway - Dark Edge of Honor by Aleksandr Voinov & Rhianon Etzweiler

Since last week's giveaway didn't have any takers (you don't know what you're missing, Alice Gaines is a fantastic writer!), there's no winner to announce today. So instead, I picked a different release from Carina to give away this week.

I already have this one on my iPad to read, because honestly, Aleksandr Voinov's earlier 2011 release, Scorpion, is one of the best books I've read this year. After I finished it, he went straight to my autobuy list, regardless of whether he's writing solo or collaborating. His prose stands out from much in the genre, rich and meaty, and he's not afraid of making less than popular choices in his stories. I love that he's willing to go to dark places, but he does so with style and finesse. If you haven't discovered him yet, you should really try something out.

But this isn't a review, since I'm working on deadline and haven't had any time to read in the past week. This is your chance to try him out on your own with his latest collaborative title from Carina.

Sergei Stolkov is a faithful officer, though his deepest desires go against the Doctrine. A captain with the invading Coalition forces, he believes that self-sacrifice is the most heroic act and his own needs are only valid if they serve the state.

Mike, an operative planted within Cirokko's rebels, has been ordered to seduce Sergei and pry from him the Coalition's military secrets. His mission is a success, but as he captures Sergei's heart, Mike is tempted by his own charade and falls in love.

When the hostile natives of the planet Cirokko make their move, all seems lost. Can Mike and Sergei survive when the Coalition's internal affairs division takes an interest in what happened in the dusty mountains of Zasidka Pass...?


You can read an excerpt at Carina.

All you have to do to enter is comment to this post. That's it. Next Monday at 9am PST, I'll choose a comment at random to win.

You don't need an account to leave a comment, but if you don't have one, please consider leaving an email address you can be contacted at. That guarantees I can get a hold of you in case you win.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome! Thanks for stopping by on this beautiful Sunday. For the month of August, I'm highlighting segments from my het werewolf erotic romance Under a Rogue Moon. This is from Flanna and Jason's first time together.


“There’s nothing wrong in asking for what you want, Flanna. If I don’t show you anything else before this is all over, I’m going to prove to you that it’s OK to say what you’re thinking. How can you expect to get any kind of happiness if nobody knows how to give it to you?”

“You’ve always known.”

The simple declaration spilled from her lips before she could stop it, taking both of them by surprise. Jason’s tongue darted over his lips, and then he was moving up, climbing her body, his mouth adoring her flesh along the way.



To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Daniel Tammet - Born on a Blue Day

Like a lot of writers, I was a reader first. That hasn't changed. Even though my time is limited, I find every nook and cranny of my day to read a little bit. I don't just read romance, either. To be honest, I read almost anything. If I didn't switch up my genres and categories, I'd get bored way too fast.

This past weekend, I finished Daniel Tammet's autobiography, Born on a Blue Day. If you're not aware, Daniel is a highly functioning autistic savant, but rather than listen to me tell you about him, why don't you listen to him?

The following video is one Daniel did to promote his second book, Embracing the Wide Sky, but he explains his particular abilities and weaknesses so clearly in it, it might as well be part of his first:



The autobiography was a fantastic read, detailing Daniel's life in a very nonsentimental way. It would've been easy to play the sympathy card, but instead he just tells it like it is/was, making no apology for his flaws or boasts about his strengths. It could've become quite maudlin, because his childhood was not an easy one. Neither was his transition to adulthood, either, as he comes to terms with his homosexuality and falling in love for the first time. As a math lover, I was transfixed by the way he described numbers, but I do realize that some non-math people might glaze over in those sections.

Just don't stop reading. The whole is greater than its parts, and putting this down - or worse, not reading it at all - will deny you discovering a very incredible man.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursday Thirteen

Yesterday marked Sean Penn's 51st birthday, so in celebration of such a talented man, I'm picking my thirteen favorites of his movies.

1. I Am SamThis is my cry movie. You know, the movie you can pop in and know 200% that you're going to cry to. I pretty much cry throughout this entire film. The relationship between Sam and Lucy makes my heart ache.

2. Dead Man WalkingLike a lot of Penn films, it's a hard movie to watch, but both Penn and Sarandon give amazing performances in this.

3. The Falcon and the SnowmanThis drama/thriller marked the first serious Sean Penn movie I ever saw, and while it's flawed, there are glimmers of the talent he displays in later works. I actually watched this the first time because I was so in love with Timothy Hutton (who I still adore and finally get to see on my TV in Leverage lol).

4. Fast Times at Ridgemont HighNo list would be complete without his breakout role, but it's funny seeing the new posters of this movie. He was nobody in a throwaway comic role, and yet, he is the one everybody remembers. Can you remember the other actors in this movie?

5. Milk.As far as I'm concerned, he owns this movie.

6. Mystic RiverThere's much I love about this movie - the cinematography, Clint Eastwood's direction, the ensemble. But again, Penn is brilliant.

7. The GameI like this for the movie's twists rather than specifically for Penn's performance. It's not aged well, but I still enjoy it.

8. 21 GramsThis is not an easy to watch. It's not told linearly, the performances are raw, and the emotions more so. But it's worth it anyway, for Benicio del Toro as much as for Sean Penn.

9. Carlito's WayThis movie is all about what a chameleon Penn really is. It's a fantastic gangster movie on its own, but Penn's performance is just as strong as Pacino's in my opinion.

10. State of GraceI'll be honest. While Penn is good in this, my fond feelings for this film arise from his costar. Gary Oldman is one of those actors I've been obsessed with since his Sid and Nancy days. I've even sat through Coppola's Dracula too many times to count just because of him.

11. Racing with the MoonI know. It's not really a great movie. But it was one of those gentler movies I fell in love with when I discovered it in college. Elizabeth McGovern was stunning, Nicolas Cage hasn't gone overboard yet on some of his acting shtick, and Penn is solid.

12. The Thin Red LineI'll admit I've only watched it once, but that's not the movie's fault. It's a mesmerizing war movie, but war movies and I don't always get along. I find them difficult to live with, to be honest, and can't deal well with the emotions they churn. That being said, this is one of the better films in Penn's catalog.

13. HurlyburlyOkay, this one's cheating. I don't really care for the movie, but I love the play so I have to include it.

What's your favorite Sean Penn movie?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

WIP Wednesday

So we've met both guys now. How about the first time Thomas sees Andre naked?

*****

He tried to shake it away to no avail. Of course he was going to find Andre attractive. Even with the scars. Thomas was a healthy gay man with an active sex drive, and Andre had a feral Adonis quality that would make straight boys look twice. But lusting after his mother’s caretaker was a complication he didn’t need. Andre was a nice enough guy, but he was clearly a loner—like you—with a tendency to skirt confrontation—like you. Thomas made him nervous, too.

Lots of reasons to let it go.

But his dick was hard when he turned back to the guest room, and a little demon in the back of his head was already running through the best scenarios to use as wanking material once he got back in bed.

He made it two steps when the shower clicked off. A moment later, the door opened and the lust object in question stepped out, drying himself off.

They both froze.

Andre hadn’t even bothered to wrap a towel around his waist. Water dripped down his wet skin, beading along his shoulders where it collected from the ends of his hair. In his left hand was the towel he’d been using to pat down his arms, but otherwise, the rest of him was as bare as the day he’d been born.

His upper body was tanned all over, taut skin stretching over finely hewn muscles, light hair covering his pecs. It narrowed to a slender trail, straight to a limp but still impressively thick cock. Heavy balls hung beneath, brushing against hard thighs which slimmed to shapely calves. Thomas’s mouth suddenly watered to sink his teeth into the firm flesh, test the muscle’s resilience, its strength. The scars at his throat, made more vivid by the contrast of his otherwise healthy skin, didn’t mar the overall effect. They enhanced it, hinting at a barely controlled ferocity.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Patience

Today will be one of those days that require a lot of patience, something you would think I have in abundance since writers need so much of it. I woke up to minor problems from every corner of my life, and when they all hit you in the space of ten minutes, well...sometimes you lose your temper. A little.

And then go out and buy yourself a frappuccino to make yourself feel better.

I would've thought I'd have cultivated more of it by now. Writing is so much a waiting game most of the time. It takes time to write the story, it takes time to hear back after you've submitted it, it takes time to get through the editing process, it takes time to get to your release date. It's these long periods of nothing happening on a project, punctuated by flurries of "oh my god, I'll never get all of this done in time." Patience is your best friend then, but sometimes it's very hard to come by.

Especially when your eleven-year-old daughter insists on going to school looking like she just crawled out of the dryer.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Giveaway - Always a Princess by Alice Gaines

My most recent release isn't a solo title, but instead a sci-fi/fantasy erotic romance as Jamie Craig. It's out at one of my favorite publishers, Carina Press, so I thought that this week's giveaway should be from there. I was especially thrilled when I saw one of the new releases last week was from Alice Gaines. I loved her first release with Carina, Miss Foster's Folly. This one looks to be just as good.

Eve Stanhope masquerades as a foreign princess at ton parties, stealing jewels from the nobility she despises and returning to her London slum at the end of the night. She's carefully plotting revenge on her former employer—a society cad who's ruined her reputation. Now it's her turn to ruin him. What she doesn't expect is to encounter the criminally handsome Orchid Thief on one of her heists...

Philip Rosemont, Viscount Wesley, is also in disguise. Bored and stifled by society, he steals jewels for fun and leaves orchids as his calling cards. He knows the woman he's cornered at the ball is no aristocrat, much less the Princess of Valdastock. But something tells him she's not exactly common, either. Now he must uncover her motives while he enjoys her illicit kisses. Can these two become partners in crime even as they give in to their mutual seduction?


You can read an excerpt at Carina.

All you have to do to enter is comment to this post. That's it. Next Monday at 9am PST, I'll choose a comment at random to win.

You don't need an account to leave a comment, but if you don't have one, please consider leaving an email address you can be contacted at. That guarantees I can get a hold of you in case you win.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome! Thank you to everyone for the warm welcome last week. I've decided to stick with Under a Rogue Moon for the month of August, and give everybody a good taste of Jason and Flanna. Jason, especially. He's always been one of my favorite heroes.


“Funny, but I have this distinct feeling that you’re not going to need too much of my help.”

“Then why stick around?”

His tongue darted across his lips, his gaze falling for a fraction of a second to her mouth before he replied. “I told you. I don’t give up. Even when I know the damsel in distress can probably kick my ass.”



To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Merlin

I have company visiting, a dear friend I only get to see once a year. Earlier this week, she emailed me to discuss what we were going to do while she's here, and said she had one request. She wanted to see a couple episodes of Merlin, as that has been a recent obsession of mine.

I wholeheartedly agreed.



Now, I'm not an Arthurian purist, or really paid much attention to the bare bones of the legends before starting to watch the show. I'm well aware that it was pitched as the Smallville for the legend of Merlin. It's also a family show, so plotting is simplified, characterizations sometimes broad.

And yet...I'm rather enamored with this show right now.

I'll be shallow and say some of it is the pretty men.





But only some of it. I'm rather in love with the potential of it all. I've loved seeing how Arthur has grown from the bullying prat of the first episode to someone who could actually lead Camelot. I've adored seeing the journey Merlin has taken, from the earnest bumpkin to the confident young man who will guide Arthur to his destiny. I'm excited about seeing where it's going. Lucky for me there's at least two more seasons.

Even luckier that I get to share it this weekend with somebody who's going to experience it for the first time.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thursday Thirteen

With all the unrest going on in the UK, today's Thirteen was an easy one. Thirteen things I am grateful for in this world.

1. My husbandWe met online in 1997. I was an American finishing school in Florida, and he was a Brit working in Annapolis. I wasn't in a great place, but meeting him gave me a best friend, the return of my self-confidence, and a whole new world to explore.

2. My kidsThey drive me crazy sometimes, and they're getting too big to cuddle, but every day they find ways to astound me about the people they're becoming.

3. My dog, LucyThis is our Boston Terrier, Lucy, in the most common position you'll find her in. I complain about Lucy all the time, but the truth of the matter is, she's the sweetest, most docile dog you can imagine, and I'm so lucky that she's part of our family.

4. My iPadIn 2010, my husband surprised me with an iPad for Mother's Day. Having one pretty much changed how I do a lot of things. It goes almost everywhere with me, and has saved me from boredom too many times to count.

5. LoseItOkay, this one might seem odd, but hear me out. I suck at measuring stuff, or counting calories, or anything like that. I've always hated it. When my husband started using this application to track what he was eating this last spring, he almost immediately started losing weight. So I gave it a go. And wouldn't you know it, but it's been a godsend. I've lost 18 pounds since May 30, and this app is a big part of that.

6. BooksIf I didn't have stories to lose myself in, I'd go mad. Every day I'm grateful there are people out there creating them for me.

7. Working from homeMy husband and I always knew we wanted someone home full time with the kids if we could work it out, but I've always worked my entire adult life. I needed something else to keep my brain engaged. I'm so thankful I have a job that allows me to satisfy both needs.

8. Our jet tubWhen we got our new house a couple years ago, one of the things we splurged on was our bathroom. The husband wanted a jet tub, and while I didn't think it was all that necessary, he let me get the backsplash in the kitchen without any argument so I figured I owed him the same. Fast forward two years later, I'm the one who uses that tub the most, lol.

9. Where I liveI've lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2004, when we moved back to the US from the UK. I grew up in the Midwest and lived on the East Coast prior to getting married and going to England, but I have to say that I don't want to live anywhere else right now. I love that I live in a part of the country that recognizes and accepts love isn't restricted by gender. I love the moderate weather, too.

10. People who smileIt takes so little to smile at someone - your partner, your kids, a stranger you pass at the store. Getting a random smile in response to one of mine always lifts my mood.

11. Starbucks Mocha Light FrappuccinosWhen I want to reward myself, or when I've had a crappy day and need a boost, this is my treat of choice. It always works.

12. The InternetWithout the Internet, I wouldn't have my husband, or many of my friends, or my life, really. It's introduced me to people and information I never would have had otherwise.

13. Mornings I get to sleep inAs someone who was never a morning person, having kids really messed with my body clock. Any time I get to sleep in past eight is a godsend.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I'm in the climax of my current WIP, Moon-Touched, and I'm so eager to get it done so I can clean it up and submit it. Not much longer before it's due!

Since I introduced Andre last week, I figure Thomas deserves a chance now...

*****

Thomas Durling’s arrival made him wonder if his last option had just been taken away from him.

He’d seen pictures but they were all a decade old, evidence of more youthful times. The image he’d learned was a tall, rangy young man, dark hair a little too long, blue eyes laughing as much as his ready smile. Not a single picture where Thomas wasn’t smiling. Even the candids had dancing eyes, a small quirk of lips, like he responded to some inner joy when the outside world was less bleak.

That wasn’t the man who confronted him in the back yard. Thomas Durling in the flesh was bulkier than his photos suggested, arms finely muscled in the stiffly ironed T-shirt, thighs straining against the new denim of his jeans. The hair was shot through with gray, shorn almost militaristically short. The same gray stippled the trimmed moustache and goatee he wore, but none of the facial hair hid the laugh lines bracketing his wide mouth, or the tiny lines at the edge of his cheekbones where endless smiles had forever marked his skin.

But something had happened in the years since he’d left Mellowbush to steal away his joy. Or perhaps, leaving had done it. Because the distrustful, angry man who questioned his motives was not the one he’d expected to arrive.

The smile at the end had startled him. He’d gone off as Thomas had suggested, but the memory of the deep dimple, an echo from the fading photographs Amy pulled out almost every day, had slowed his exit. He couldn’t decide which was the real Thomas. Both? Neither? Sometimes the mask a person chose became permanent.

He certainly understood about that.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

UK unrest

Rather than talk on and on about some inane topic today, I just want to extend my sincerest hopes and prayers to everybody in the UK in the face of the events of the last few days. The UK is very much my second home, and to say I've been left feeling sick by everything that's happening over there right now is an understatement.

I can only hope it ends soon. We have so much badness in the world already. Do we really need more?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Giveaway Winner

A brand new week! I put up a new picture of inspiration to mark this Monday, the model Chris Vanderweir. He's a slightly younger version of how I see Andre, my damaged wolf, in my current WIP.

It also means it's time to pick the winner from last week's giveaway. Drumroll....

The winner is...JUDI!

Judi, I have your email, so expect a message from me very soon!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome! This is my first go at Six Sentence Sunday (ha, I'm definitely an erotic romance writer, I wrote Sex Sentence Sunday twice before I got it right, lol). Since I'm currently at work on a werewolf story, I thought I'd share something from the very first werewolf story I wrote, a het erotic romance called Under a Rogue Moon. This is a snippet between the hero Jason and the heroine Flanna:


He shifted, turning so that he faced her full on. “The things I’ve heard about your marksmanship. You’re going to have to show me how much of an Annie Oakley you really are.”

“Do I get to use you for target practice?”

His smile was anything but coy. “You’ve got to catch me first.”


To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sharing Saturday - Black Bean and Couscous Salad

First of all, don't forget to sign up for this week's giveaway! The title is Jane Davitt's m/m new release, Gambling on Love.

Okay, now that that's out of the way...Saturdays around here are going to be share days. Meaning, I'm going to be sharing some of my favorite recipes, projects, etc. If I get too busy to post one of mine, I'll share links to some of my favorites.

Today's is a staple in my house, especially in the summertime. It's light, healthy, and so full of flavor.

Black Bean and Couscous Salad

INGREDIENTS
1 cup uncooked couscous
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp ground cumin
4 green onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

DIRECTIONS
1. Bring broth to a boil in a 2 quart or larger sauce pan and stir in the couscous. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes.
2. Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar and cumin.
3. Combine green onions, red pepper, cilantro, corn, and beans in a bowl.
4. Drizzle dressing over vegetables and toss to coat.
5. Fluff the couscous well, breaking up any chunks. Add vegetables and mix well.

NOTES: Serves 8 as a side dish, and is good both warm and cold.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Project Runway

As much as I occasionally get sucked into reality competition shows, Project Runway is one that slipped by me until two seasons ago. My writing partner Pepper kept talking about it, and I finally caved (ha, that seems to happen a lot with things she gets obsessed with) and watched.

And got sucked in. Because honestly, I love clothes, I love competition, and I love Tim Gunn. I even bought his book. I'm not ashamed to admit that.

So Thursday nights are all about PR now. I can't delete it when I'm done, because in the time I got addicted, so did my kids. I'm sincerely hoping this year will scrub away the memory of Gretchen's win last year (Mondo was so cheated). Last week's episode was already fantastic just because I got to see Seth Aaron again (I was a Seth Aaron fangirl his season, I would still kill for some of his clothes).

Which brings us to this season...I won't spoil anyone about who specifically has left yet. I'll just talk about whose clothes I love.




Anya. I didn't want to like her. I mean, look at her. She's stunning. She's an ex-beauty queen. She hasn't been sewing for very long. But I have loved, loved, loved both of her entries so far. She's got a very definite point of view, she's colorful, and she's interesting.





Bert. Okay, so maybe he coasted on his immunity this week, but I find his timeless, simple styles just beautiful. He needs to adjust his attitude, though.






Becky. Okay, I know she won't make it too far into the competition, most likely. She's too quirky and doesn't have the strongest skill set compared to some of the others. But I find myself really liking both of her entries so far. I thought the riot of color in her pet shop challenge fun and eye-catching.



There are a few others who have done some interesting things, though nobody I've loved from start to finish. Anthony Ryan's birdseed dress looked so elegant, but I thought his outfit the first week looked trashy. Olivier impressed me the first week, but I wasn't a fan of his pet shop challenge at all. I'm probably alone on that, lol.

But we'll see. The season is young, and there are many meltdowns to come, I'm sure.

And in the end, only one will end up making it work. I can only hope it's one that I like better than last year's Gretchen. ;)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thursday Thirteen

Since I've been struggling to find my schedule this week with the kids back in school, this week's Thursday Thirteen are things that suck away my time...even when I know they shouldn't, lol.

1. Facebook.I wasn't even on Facebook until a year ago when my sister whined at me for the millionth time about how that was the only way to keep up with our scattered family. Now it's got its own window open all the time, lol.

2. Buffy the Vampire SlayerI was a huge Buffy fan back in the day, and one of my very good friends told me last year she hadn't seen it yet and wanted to. So we planned to start watching it together once the kids went back to school. It's hard to limit ourselves once we get started!

3. New babyThat same friend just had a baby five weeks ago, which means I have been doting, let me cuddle that baby for hours, mode. It's hard to give her back when it's time for the visit to end!

4. School runsI've got a daughter in middle school and a son in elementary school, which means lots and lots of running around.

5. Twitter Twitter is my social platform of choice. It's more succinct and I can do it on the fly. I'm far too addicted to it.

6. Making jewelry I've become obsessed recently with beading and making jewelry. I'm currently in the throes of education because what I really want to do is make chainmail jewelry.

7. Email We've got a blog tour going on for our latest Jamie Craig release, A Line in the Ice, which means answering a lot of interview questions and responding to emails.

8. Gardening It's that time of year when my tomatoes are going nuts. So I'm spending far too much time trimming, watering, and picking tomatoes. Good thing we love them!

9. Skype None of my family nor my husband's even lives in the same time zone we do. Skype is the way we stay in contact.

10. Reading I've never been able to stop reading, no matter how busy I get. I always have at least two or three books going at a time.

11. Knitting I've picked up my knitting again, since I have a new baby to actually make things for.

12. Netflix When they started streaming, I was doomed.

13. Michael's Michael's gets its own category. Time seems to disappear when I'm there.