Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Year's Blog Hop

I absolutely love New Year's. Not the partying of New Year's Eve, but instead the day after, the first of the calendar year, the day that marks the beginning of whatever you want it to be. Anything can happen. The slate is completely clean. Beginnings are like a breath of fresh air.

I don't do resolutions, however. Anything important shouldn't be put off until the first of the year, and frankly, if I'm not committed to trying something in September, for instance, I can be pretty sure I won't be any more committed in January.

But that notion of starting over? Oh yeah. Maybe it's a holdover from when I was a child and do-overs were so popular. It's another reason why I'm so fond of reunion stories. People get a second chance, the opportunity to do it over and fix what went wrong the first time. I've written a fair few of them, and there are more on my horizon.

My most recent release is a reunion story of another type. Set in the San Francisco area over a century in the future, A Soul Remembered is about Adam Silver, a young man who's on the hunt for the love of his life. The thing is, it's not the love of his current life. Adam is looking for the soul of the husband he lost over a hundred years ago, the man he hoped to save by developing a chip technology that preserves all the brain activity of its host. When he manages to find him again, in the burly form of Dr. David Bogart, he has two different obstacles to overcome.

First, there's the fact that Bogart doesn't remember anything, a design of the chip technology Adam planned for. The second is how everybody connected to Bogart ends up dead, so much so that he's earned the nickname of "Dr. Death" with the media. Can he trust the man his love has become?

More importantly, can he survive the curse that seems to follow Bogart around?

You can read an excerpt at Amber Allure.

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How do you feel about reunion stories? Leave a comment, and on January 5, I'll pick two random entries for prizes:

1. A $20 Amazon gift certificate
2. A 4 GB Swarovski USB drive (available for US addresses only)


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Don't forget to keep on clicking through the blog hop! Lots of great authors are involved, with a ton of prizes. Have fun!


Monday, December 29, 2014

Coming Soon

I've taken time off over the holiday, but I'll be back on New Year's Eve for real for the new Happily Ever Afters blog hop. Make sure you stop on by!


Monday, December 22, 2014

New Release - A Soul Remembered

Yesterday, my long novella in the A Cure For What Ails You pax came out, woo hoo! The pax is hospital-themed, and my contribution is a futuristic story about souls being reunited. It's called A Soul Remembered. Here's the blurb:

The Reborn project began out of the desperate need to keep a dying man alive. It turned into a century-long hunt for his soul.

Until everything changes one fateful night in a Bayside alley.

Bleeding out from an unexpected attack, prostitute Adam Silver is convinced he’s going to die again without finding the man he’s been looking for since his very first death over a hundred years ago. He gets lucky. Rescue comes in the form of Dr. David Bogart and his friends who happen to be in the area, but it’s in the ambulance on the way to the hospital that Adam sees the birthmark he created to designate the reincarnation of his long lost love. For the first time in years, he feels hope.

But it turns out, finding Bogart was the easy part. Staying alive as he fights to help the man the media has dubbed “Dr. Death” is a hell of a lot harder...

I will be blogging about it over at the pax blog on Christmas Day, but in the meantime, you can check out an excerpt at the publisher site, or head over to the pax and start commenting on other stories in the pax collection for a chance to win all five stories.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Soul Remembered at the Amber Pax blog today

In anticipation of my newest story coming out this weekend at Amber Allure, there's a blurb and excerpt up over at the Amber Pax blog today. Check it out!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sale on Menages at Amber Quill

For the next three days, all menages are on sale at Amber Quill for 50% off! There are over 130 titles available in the sale, including some of my solo titles and a number of Jamie Craig books:




Check it out!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Officially teenagers

My son turned thirteen yesterday. I am officially the mother of two teenagers. As proud as I am of the people they're growing into, it makes me sad to lose my babies. And feel a wee bit old, if I'm being completely honest.

It's one reason why I always love this time of year. Growing up, Christmas was more than presents. It was about family. It was the one time of the year I was guaranteed to see all my cousins, aunts and uncles, in one place for more than a couple hours. It's about sitting down and playing games, laughing and chatting with each other, curling up under blankets because my uncle always turned the heat down at night, even getting snow down the back of my neck when the boys would be overzealous with snowball fights.

We don't really get a lot of that here in California so I have to make the most of what I have. I try to put work on the back burner (which is funny this year because I have a story coming out in this weekend's Amber Allure pax release day and my author day is on Christmas) and spend as much time with them as possible.

My son's birthday is a reminder not to waste that time. He won't be a child forever. In a few years, he'll be off to college, and I'll be missing yelling for him three times because he's wearing headphones while he plays videogames.

But in my heart, he'll always be my baby.

Friday, December 12, 2014

EPIC eBook Award Finalist!

Woo hoo! Earlier this week, I found out that my paranormal menage, Enthralled in Silver, is a finalist for Best Erotica for the 2015 EPIC eBook Awards! I'm over the moon, especially because I love this story so much. I really do think it's one of the hottest stories I've written, and I love these characters to pieces.

To see the full list of finalists, in categories ranging from children's to sci-fi romance, check it out at EPIC's website. There are a ton of great writers, so you just might find a new to you author to try!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

More about music

Since I talked about all the musicals I have on CD just a couple days ago, I thought I'd talk about some of my favorite non-musical CDs today. I don't tend to play music in the house. I turn the TV on for noise. These days, most of my music listening happens in the car, and I rotate CDs out consistently. I'm kind of old-fashioned in that I just don't download songs. I don't listen to music on portable devices, so it seems like a waste. Plus, some of my favorite songs of all time were never released as singles. If I hadn't purchased the whole album, I never would've discovered them.

So while I have some current favorites - A Great Big World, John Newman, Lorde - they haven't been around nearly long enough to entrench themselves as all-time favorites. So when I pick my top three, they're all older.

1. Nothing Like the Sun by Sting: I LOVE Sting. I have loved Sting since I was in junior high and I was a huge Police fan. "Dream of the Blue Turtles" was the second album I bought with my own money when I was in high school. It's not on this list because his second album was just so much better. The pop songs are still there - "Englishman in New York" is impossible not to bop along to - but then there's sheer beauty like his cover of "Little Wing" and the moody "Sister Moon." I've seen him live more than any other artist, and he never fails to move me.

2. Bigger, Better, Faster, More! by 4 Non Blondes: I'm going to bet a lot of people have never heard of 4 Non Blondes unless they're a fan of Linda Perry. They were a girl rock band in the early 90s and only did a single album before Perry left the group. But I have probably listened to that album more than any other non-musical album I own. There's a bluesy, rock sound to most of their songs that just crawls under your skin. Add in Perry's raw voice, and oh god, it's a drug. The songs are poetry with an edge. "What's Up" was the only song to hit the charts, and it's great, don't get me wrong, but "Dear Mr. President" is some powerful stuff, and "Spaceman" is amazing. I followed Perry's career closely after that, and for those who don't think they know her, she's achieved most of her fame songwriting. She did Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" for instance. And in recent years, she married Sara Gilbert. And yet, I will always remember her for this gorgeous album.

3. The Cost by The Frames: I discovered The Frames after the movie Once, which made me fall in love with Glen Hansard. I own a ton of his music because of that movie, whether it's his band from before the movie or The Swell Season, which was his duo with Marketa Irglova. I got to see him and Marketa perform at a club in Salt Lake City a few years ago, and it was absolutely amazing. But this Frames album is probably my favorite of his outside of the Once soundtrack. I'm cheating slightly because it has "Falling Slowly" on it, which is probably in my top 10 songs of all time, but it has so much more. This one is more stripped down than a lot of their other work, which might be one reason why I love it so much. Glen and his guitar seem to be enough for me most of the time. His tone is both haunting and uplifting, displaying such vulnerability at times that it makes me ache. This whole album is like a quiet storm that just sneaks up on you. Spellbinding.

I think if I have a common theme on my music tastes...it's storytelling. I fall in love with songs that tell stories. In hindsight, that's not very surprising, now is it?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Special sale at Amber Allure

Today only at Amber Allure, all nostalgic contemporaries are on sale for 50% off! That includes a number of Jamie Craig titles as well as one of mine.

Check out these and more!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas and musicals

This past weekend, we got our Christmas decorations up, which generated a lot of talk about what our holiday is going to entail this year. See, my family is scattered throughout the US. Getting together at holidays doesn't happen. My husband's family is in the UK. His parents came to spend Christmas with us every year after we moved to CA in 2004, but when my mother-in-law passed away in 2012, things changed a bit. This year, my father-in-law is staying home, which means it's just the four of us to celebrate the day. For the first time ever, we're considering going to see a movie on Christmas Day. What could compel us to do that? Into the Woods.

It's not just me. My kids know the music back to front. I've taken them to see it live. I'm proud of the fact that I've passed along my love of musical theater to them.

Of course, it helps that I have a ton of soundtracks, some from more than one production. The one nearest to my heart is Les Miserables. It was the very first professional musical I saw live. It was spring break of 1988. I was a freshman in college, and I spent ten days in New York City. In that time period, I saw John Malkovich and Joan Allen in Burn This, Kiri Te Kenawa in Cosi Fan Tutte at the Met, and Les Miserables on Broadway. All three were once in a lifetime experiences, but it was Les Miz that tore me apart. We had cheap student seats. For less than $20, we had a seat in the last two rows in the very top and back of the theater, but from that vantage, I got to see the full effect of the choreography. The voices carried all the way to us without fail, and as someone who didn't know the story (I read the book afterward), it was heart wrenching. What young girl hasn't felt like Eponine at some point in her lives? I was ready to join in the revolution myself. It was just the first time for me. I've seen it in four major American cities, in London, and it is the one show I own in the most incarnations. I have the original London cast, the original Broadway cast, the complete symphonic, and the 10th anniversary all on CD. I also own the 25th anniversary on DVD. So...yeah. That one's my favorite.

There is no way I can list all the individual shows I own. I probably own most of Stephen Sondheim's work. As much as I love Les Miz, the original Broadway cast performing the first act of Sunday in the Park of George might be as close to perfect theater as I have ever seen/heard. I mean, come on. Mandy Patinkin in one of his greatest roles. A heartbreaking Bernadette Peters. An incredible supporting cast that includes Charles Kimbrough, Dana Ivey, Brent Spiner, and Robert Westenberg. Its commentary on the creative process as well as how brilliantly it mirrored pointillism in the score is masterful to say the least.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed about Into the Woods. I ended up being disappointed by the screen adaptation of Les Miz, so I was holding out on getting excited. Then the trailers started popping up, and it looks and sounds great.

I just have to work out my issue with spending Christmas afternoon sitting in a theater.

Monday, December 8, 2014

New Cover - Against a Wounded Landscape

That was fast! I already have the cover art for January release, "Against a Wounded Landscape."

That's Sir Tanash, the knight in my fantasy story. He sets off to rescue the kidnapped son of his king in an attempt to help bring prosperity back to the kingdom and discovers a lot more than he expected.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Remember this week

Some weeks, you just want to turn your back on and forget. I won't be able to do it with this week, if only because part of what I wish I could block from memory were headlines that both sadden and infuriate me - the news about Eric Garner and the religious freedom act in Michigan making it out of the House and on its way to the State Senate. The only way to make change happen so that everyone is treated equally in a public place is to remember the steps that took us backward and fight against them.

I won't argue about it here. I'll just say that legalizing openly discriminatory acts - which if you refuse public service to someone absolutely is - is narrow-minded, and nobody will ever be able to convince me otherwise. Perhaps I assume the worst in people in believing legislation like this would totally be abused, or that those same people who demand to treat people with hate would show outrage if the same behavior came from an opposing religious belief, but I've seen both firsthand. It only takes one or two extremists to sully an entire group. 

So I won't forget about this week. I'll just do my best to teach my children to treat everyone with the same respect and grace. Intolerance is a learned behavior. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

New Contract - Against a Wounded Landscape

I just signed a new contract for a fantasy novella at Amber Allure! It's called Against a Wounded Landscape, and it's part of the knights pax that will come out in January. Here's the blurb:

Sir Tanash, the greatest knight Tasora has ever known, has one quest—to rescue his king’s only son. Fifteen years ago, Princy Liseny was kidnapped, and in the time since, Tasora has crumbled. By bringing the prince home, Tanash hopes to return the kingdom to its former glory.

As captive in a rival land, Liseny has spent most of his life locked away from the world, brought out as the ultimate prize while his real home is slowly destroyed. Escape is a godsend. So is Tanash, but neither is as simple as Liseny hopes. He has to learn to adjust in more ways than one. Though Tanash refuses to act on their mutual attraction, he does agree to help Liseny seek out an alliance to take back to Tasora.

What he doesn’t expect is to fall for the young prince along the way…

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The rose of Sons of Anarchy

I've been a fan of Sons of Anarchy almost from the beginning, coaxing friends to watch then later begging them not to because it'd wreck them. For the first few seasons, I mainlined it. I let all the shows stack up on the DVR so I could watch them while the kids were in school the last week before Christmas break. I couldn't watch it while they were home, after all. They were too young to be exposed to just how violent the show is.

That changed in season 5. I got spoiled for a major character death on Twitter, by the actor himself, so from midway through, all the way through last night's episode, I've watched it as it aired.

I'm going to talk about last night's episode now. If you haven't watched it and don't want to be spoiled, turn back now.

Go ahead. I'll wait.

.
.
.

Holy. Crap.

I knew Gemma would have to pay for her lies sooner or later. But I've been firmly in the Nero camp in the hopes that Jax wouldn't take that step. Nero's line to Unser, "It's about saving Jax," killed me, one of numerous moments that make last night's episode so fantastic. At this point, I'm waiting in dread for the series finale next week, because I'm so terrified it's all going to end so horribly tragic for Jax. It's going to totally break my heart.

But man, so many amazing moments. My top 3:

1. Unser's death. Unser was the one person I'd thought would walk away from all this intact, as a kind of irony that the guy with terminal cancer outlives them all. Shooting Unser was my biggest gasp of the night, even more so than Gemma, since I always knew Gemma's death was a distinct possibility.
2. After months (maybe years) of hating Gemma, the scene between her and her father at the home made me cry. Hal Holbrook was just one of many scene stealers of the night.
3. The dignity in Juice's last moments. Juice has been living on borrowed time for a couple of seasons now, but his devotion to the club to the end was heartwrenching.

The questions for next week are still huge. What's the deal with Jax's limp? Is that part of a scheme for the club to think there's a reason if he ends up driving J.T.'s bike to his death? Will Nero somehow save him? What the hell was Nero's big deal about looking in the garage if not to find a way to save Jax? What was the deal Jax made with the presidents (I think it's about being all-inclusive after he's gone)?

This is going to be one very long week.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The science in your fiction

Last night, I was reading up on NASA's upcoming spacecraft launch for the Orion, and while the article was interesting, what was more intriguing were the comments. It devolved into how science fiction really screwed up the space program because of layman expectations.

Now, I'll be the first to admit science is not one of my favorite subjects. I did well in it in school, but it's not something I pursued in my own free time. But I live in a house of scientists. My husband designs computer software and worked for Marconi before coming to the US in 1997. My fourteen-year-old daughter has been planning in going into some form of robotics since she was nine. My twelve-year-son has been all about how things work since he could put blocks together. And don't get me started on how this household appreciates what Neil deGrasse Tyson has done to try and inspire people with science. These are people who take their science very seriously. They are all invested in seeing organizations like NASA thrive, and yet, few in my regular circle were even aware that the Orion project was still alive. One friend even thought NASA had been closed down. That's how bad the current PR for them really is.

But is there some merit to the argument that science fiction has distorted what we expect in our space exploration? A little bit, yeah. There are legitimate problems that get overlooked when writing about space flight. It's worked the other way, of course. Gene Roddenberry and the world of Star Trek is an excellent example. Where do we draw the line in the sand? How creative can we actually be when we're telling our stories? Supposedly, genre fiction is all about the escape. Mundane details need not apply.

Or should they? If you're reading sci-fi romance, it has to be for a legitimate reason. Isn't science a part of that? Realism gives genre the verisimilitude it needs. Where's the balance?

Monday, December 1, 2014

A brand new month

I am emerging from my Thanksgiving cave, though not without stress. Too much stuff to do that's not holiday related, but at least I have time to myself again to tackle it all and a house that's been recovered from all our company.

Thanksgiving itself went great. We had some real winners when it came to recipes this year. I made a slow cooker pumpkin cake for Wednesday night that turned out so good, and the pumpkin pecan cinnamon rolls I made for Thursday breakfast were divine with a couple tweaks (I do not understand this need to melt the butter that so many more modern cinnamon roll recipes use. The butter melts in the oven anyway, and when it's melted beforehand, it makes a real mess. Plus, the cream cheese icing on this was way too sweet so I cut back on the sugar and added more cream cheese to get it to our preferences.) One of our guests made a Bananas Foster bread pudding that I died over. I basically ignored all other desserts just to have that, lol.

But now it's back to the grind. I've got a new long novella coming out this month, a new contract on its way, and more stories to tell. Lots to accomplish before the next holiday is upon us!