Monday, December 19, 2011

Giveaway - Lesserblood Lies by Ainsley Davidson

A couple years ago, I read an EPPIE winner called A Greater Art. It was a rich, fantastic sci-fi romance. So color me surprised to see that the author has revised and republished it with Carina! I loved it before, so I can't even begin to imagine how much better it must be now.

To protect her children from the despotic Trueblood, Merianne defied them by taking her girls and fleeing the planet. Even though Merianne's daughters are Lesserblood, they have the Talents. The Trueblood would train her children to use their dangerous gifts, but their methods are cruel, and Merianne would never see her girls again.

Merianne tries to give her girls a safe, quiet life, but when they befriend Thorne, a brilliant scientist, she finds herself drawn to the kind and captivating man—despite his uncanny resemblance to the Trueblood.

Thorne wants to help the girls control their emerging Talents, and he's intrigued by their mother. But just as Merianne finally accepts Thorne's help, two of her children are seized. To rescue the girls, Merianne and Thorne must risk death at the hands of the Trueblood, who will kill to protect their lies.

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, December 18, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! For the next two months, I'm highlighting one of my Zodiac books, Capricorn: Forgotten Faces. Caleb and Leandro have kissed, but afterward, Caleb discovered that Leandro bears a tattoo on his chest that only Caleb has, and that only Caleb could infuse with the power it has. Problem is, he doesn't remember Leandro or ever sharing his tattoo with anyone.

“...If I’d had anything at all to do with sharing my design, I’d remember.”

The shake of his head could only be described as forlorn. “Not if you’d erased me.”

“If I’d erased you, you wouldn’t be standing right there, annoying me to death.”

“You can’t die.”

“How do you know that?”

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

Monday, December 12, 2011

Jingle Bell Hop winner

I hope everyone had a blast with the Jingle Bell Blog Hop! Thank you to everyone who took the time to stop by. I loved having the chance to share Rayce and my little story with you.

And now, it's time to pick the winner of an Amazon gift card and a free book from my backlist. I've picked a random number from everybody who commented and the winner is...

Meagan B!

I have your email address, so expect a message from me soon! :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! For the next two months, I'm highlighting one of my Zodiac books, Capricorn: Forgotten Faces. Last week, I introduced Caleb, a creature created by the Higher Powers to erase lives. He's given an assignment that sends him to Alaska and a man named Leandro. The man has proved a real puzzle, and Caleb figures that perhaps a more intimate approach will help fathom him out. This is their first kiss, one Leandro actually initiates.

The first caress was almost chaste, his ripe mouth catching on my lower lip where my skin was dryer than his. I smelled coffee on his warm breath, which inexplicably prickled my taste buds. I’d only just sipped my own, but this hinted at something richer, more sunshine like that created by his music beating down on the back of my neck. My lips parted for more of it.

He took that as an invitation.

I think, perhaps, it was.

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

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Three French Hens

Welcome! Thanks for stopping by today. If you're following the Jingle Bell Hop, you've come to the Third Day of Christmas. If you've just stumbled upon my blog, well, this weekend, I'm taking part in a multi-author blog hop, celebrating the holidays. If you're interested in following the whole hop, just follow this link to take you back to the hop's central page. A lot of excellent authors are participating, and there are a ton of prizes up for grabs. Go ahead! It'll be fun!

For my post, I've written a short story, using my day as inspiration. I hope you enjoy!

Three French Hens

Simon didn't mind so much not getting home for Christmas. He wouldn't miss the way Aunt Penny always got smashed on Southern Comfort and forced everyone to sing along with her as she played every Barry Manilow song ever written on the piano. He'd be free of Dad's new tool frenzy, where anyone with testosterone--and a few without--were herded into the garage to play with whatever Mom had bought him this year. He'd especially be free of the New Year's clean-up where he and Dad were left fixing everything he'd broken during said frenzy, like new holes in the garage walls or wiring that suddenly made the coffeemaker turn on every time somebody used the nightstand lamp in the upstairs guest bedroom. There'd be no game night with all the sore losers, or getting sick from eating too many of Grandma's rum-laced mince pies, or listening to his little sister Kim prattle on and on about her new boyfriend.

He sighed as he turned off his laptop. Who was he kidding? He was going to miss the whole shebang. As well as the fact that the only person who didn't mock him for using the word shebang in everyday conversation was his nephew Cooper who still thought Simon was the coolest guy ever even though Christmas was the only time he ever got to see the kid.

The faint strains of Christmas music filtered through his closed door. Though the party wasn't in the office, everybody else had stopped working at lunchtime, getting prepared early to walk over as a group to the restaurant down the street the company had reserved for their holiday blowout tonight. The Paris satellite office wasn't that big--only eighteen people, almost half of which were out on a daily basis on face-to-faces with clients--but VMI believed in celebrating success. Simon had seen the numbers for the Christmas budget. Small countries could run on what VMI was throwing at their employees this holiday season.

He wasn't going. Though he'd been working in the Paris office for a few weeks now, he didn't feel like pretending he was happy about spending Christmas alone. The conversion to the new warehousing system had to be fully operational--which meant coded, tested, and installed--before the New Year. Nine days to get it done, which was why he couldn't afford to lose any of them by flying back to San Francisco to see his family. Add in the fact that he didn't really need to watch his office crush--a guy named Rayce with killer blue-green eyes who zipped through the streets of Paris on his motorcycle like he had a death wish--flirt with everyone with a pulse except Simon, and the whole night had misery written all over it.

So he had a plan. Because he didn't normally log off work before six, if he was already gone by the time the others came looking for him, he'd be safe.

Safe went out the window when the doorknob turned in his grasp and he was brought up short by the one person guaranteed to foil his plans.

"There you are." Claudie's upturned smile beamed as bright and innocent as always, but the calculating gleam in her brown eyes gave away the fact she knew exactly what he'd been about to do. Her pixie-like youth fooled almost everyone. Only those in the inner circle understood how dangerous that facade truly made her. But a woman didn't reach a VP position like hers by the age of twenty-six without a few tricks. "Just the man we're looking for."

We included Claudie and the two women flanking her. The Juliettes. Juliette #1 was the office receptionist, a voluptuous fortysomething divorced mom with a Brad Pitt fetish and a yen for Buttery Nipples, while Juliette #2 ranked low girl on the marketing totem pole, a soft-spoken, bottle blonde who'd shocked Simon his first day with her encyclopedic knowledge on all things eight-legged. The trio dogged Simon's free, and not so free, time. Not maliciously. He didn't think there was a malicious bone between all three bodies. He liked to imagine them as the three fairies from Sleeping Beauty. Except more organized. And French.

"You found me," he said. "What can I do for you ladies?"

"Now how's that in the spirit of Christmas?" Stepping forward, Claudie looped her arm through his, trapping his laptop case between them. "Christmas is about giving, what we can do for you."

"And good will," chimed in Juliette #1.

"Don't forget mistletoe," came from Juliette #2.

"Which, of course, leads to kissing."

"And then more kissing."

"And we're getting a little ahead of ourselves," Claudie said. "Come. Let's go to the party, shall we?"

The party was the last place he wanted to be. "Actually, I'm not feeling very well," he tried. He hunched his shoulders a little and grimaced to simulate a stomachache. "Something at lunch disagreed with me, I think."

"You had half a cheese sandwich and coffee," Juliette #1 said. "How could that make you sick? You eat it every day."

His lips tightened into a hard line. Damn it. He'd forgotten she knew everything on everyone when it came to their schedules and eating habits.

"You just need something to distract you." Claudie tugged at his arm, but he kept his feet glued to the floor which only ended up in him bowing over even farther. "The party is perfect for that."

Technically, Claudie outranked him. His director position back in San Francisco was vital, certainly important enough to make him the go-to guy in the international conversions, but this wasn't his native soil and her title carried more weight than his. If she wanted, she could order his attendance and not bat a thickly mascaraed eyelash. That wasn't her style, though.

"We have a surprise, just for you."

That was.

As gracefully as his overladen shoulder allowed, he extricated himself from her grip and stepped back. "I'm not so good with surprises."

"You don't have to be." Juliette #2 came around to his other side, leaving #1 blocking the doorway. He wouldn't get through it now without bowling her over. "We've done all the work for you."


"It's not work," Claudie said quickly. She shot #2 a sharp glare that vanished as fast as it had appeared when she swiveled back to Simon. "Why would we give you a Christmas gift that was work?"

"So...this is a gift."

"Of course."

"And you couldn't just give it to me here?"

All three of them tittered. Only French girls could do that and not make it sound ridiculous.

"It's not wrapped," #1 said.

#2 looked thoughtful. "It's got a bow."

Another round of titters.

"It's too big to carry through the office," Claudie explained. "You have to come out and get it."

Her trap was so blatant, he was almost disappointed. Of course, there wasn't a gift. This was their way of making sure he went to the party. Somehow, Claudie had figured out he didn't want to go and planned this ambush to guarantee he attended.

He made one last ditch effort for freedom. "This seriously couldn't wait until tomorrow? I could get it when I come in."

Claudie shook her head. "Now."

With a sigh, he turned on his heel and went back to drop his laptop onto his desk. The three women waited patiently for him to come back, both Claudie and #2 linking arms with him in case he tried to make a run for it once they were clear of the door.

The music grew louder as they approached the receptionist area. At the last minute, Claudie steered him away from the clustered desks and into the narrow corridor that led to the conference rooms. He frowned. Had he got it wrong? Maybe they really did have a present for him and they'd feared his antisocial behavior would trump their generosity.

They stopped at a closed door, one without a window so he couldn't get a glimpse of what might be inside. Claudie disengaged from his arm and reached for the doorknob, glancing back and smiling as she pushed it open. "Merry Christmas, Simon."

The light was on, but the only thing the long conference table had on it was Rayce's backside as he leaned against it. He straightened when they appeared, pulling to his full height and drawing all eyes up and down his long form. Six-three, the body of an Olympic swimmer, legs encased in jeans Simon knew for a fact had the most delicious wear across the seat, a white, long-sleeved sweater molded over his broad shoulders...and a big red bow hanging around his neck.

Rayce smiled, and everything inside Simon knotted together into a bow Martha Stewart would be jealous of. "Merry Christmas, Simon." His English wasn't quite as good as most of the office's, but his heavier accent gave his baritone a lilt that was better than any vibrator Simon could've bought and laid directly on his balls.

"What's this?" Simon croaked.

"Your gift," Claudie announced proudly. "Nobody should be alone for Christmas."

"But..." Words failed him. He didn't get it.

"You don't have to go to the party." Claudie's voice had taken on a gentler tone, as if she could feel his confusion. "It's been obvious you didn't want to for days."

"This was my idea," Rayce added. "We'll finally get the chance to get to know each other."

His face went hot, probably beet-red from the feel of it. "I'm not...I didn't..."

"Oh, cherie." Claudie patted his arm. "You are, and you do, but I knew you'd never say a word to Rayce. And he likes you, too, so all is good, non?"

He didn't know about good, but short of skittering away like a roach away from the light, he didn't have much choice but to try and brave this with as much dignity as possible. Rayce's amazing eyes twinkled warm and steady on him, too, appreciative in ways Simon had only witnessed aimed at others, never at himself. As far as presents go, he wasn't sure if he could've come up with something he'd wanted more this year, outside of going home for the holiday.

"You wanted this?" he said carefully. "You've barely talked to me since I got here."

Rayce tilted his head. "What I say...I thought you'd be bored. You're the smartest man here." He laughed. "And I'm not."

But there was more to a potential date than being an intellectual match, even if that actually mattered to Simon which it didn't. There was also compassion and laughter. Simon had known about the latter, but until now, he'd wondered about Rayce's capacity for the former. This banished any lingering doubts.

"All right." He smiled, hoping he didn't still look nervous. "I'm game if you are."

With a bold laugh, Rayce pulled the bow over his head and sauntered forward until Simon could feel the heat radiating from his body. "I like this." He looped the bow around Simon's neck, using it as a rein to draw him closer, close enough for his hot breath to fan over Simon's ear. "We'll both be game."

Behind him, the Juliettes tittered before Claudie shushed them. As she herded them out the door, leaving Simon and Rayce alone to discuss the particulars of their evening, he made a mental note to take a long lunch the next day to go buy Claudie the best Christmas gift he could find.

He already had his.


In case you're curious about Rayce, this is how I envision him:
That's French model, Willy Monfret. I'm absolutely in love.

Remember those prizes I mentioned? I'm giving away an e-book from my backlist and a $25 Amazon gift card to a random commenter, as well as adding a copy of my 2012 Epic finalist, Capricorn: Forgotten Faces, to the Kindle Fire we're giving away as a grand prize. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the rest of the tour!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Look what's coming!

This weekend, I'll be taking part in the Jingle Bell Hop with a ton of other fantastic authors. Wonderful prizes, great posts to read...there's no way you can go wrong.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Giveaway Winner

I'm still in love with all my restructured fairytales, and today I get to announce the winner of last week's story inspired by Rapunzel.

The winner is...Alanna Coca!

I've got your email, so expect a message from me very soon!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! For the next two months, I'm going to highlight one of my Zodiac books, Capricorn: Forgotten Faces. It's a finalist in the Paranormal Romance category for the 2012 Epic eBook Awards this year, but I figure it's appropriate for the upcoming months.

Some call Caleb the Angel of Death, but he knows better. He doesn’t kill. He erases life. Centuries ago, the Higher Powers created him to walk the terrestrial plane, eradicating those from existence who have either earned punishment or asked for dissolution. This is the story about one assignment that doesn't go as usual.

Were it not for the instruction "fast," I could find it simple to indulge in the man’s allure before eradicating him from the terrestrial plane. His was a body that wouldn’t break easily. I knew that without even having seen it in all its glory.

But time was not a flexible mistress. I lacked it and would lack even more if I didn’t start moving.

The paper went into my pocket, unnecessary for now, but not forgotten.

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Memorable characters

There's a new book out on the market, a biography about classic film actress Hedy Lamarr. One of the sex symbols of her time, the new look at her life talks about more than her acting career. It discusses her passion for inventing, and goes into detail how this beauty was smart, too.

Who would've thought it? I certainly didn't. I've always dismissed Lamarr as a second-rate actress who skated by on her looks, and while that might be true, it's not the whole story. In fact, she's an excellent model for any of us writers, not just that beautiful women can be smart, too, but by showing that there's always more to a person that meets the eye.

It's easy to give a character a lot of positive attributes. We want our readers to like them, to be able to relate to them. But giving them diversity without sacrificing the core of who they are? Giving them weaknesses so they can make mistakes? That's harder. A lot harder. Some writers miss the mark, but then again, there are readers out there who like the perfect people, too. There's something for everybody.

But most of us want some realism in what we read. We want characters we can believe in, even if they happen to be vampires or live on a different planet where everybody has mental telepathy. It's the need for emotional truth as well a desire for someone who isn't always what they seem to be. We go through our lives in a constant learning state. The people we know the best can still find ways to surprise us years after we think we know everything about them. It keeps us engaged and interested when people show new depths, and the same holds true for fictional characters.

So the next time you sit down to sketch out a protagonist, think about not just what makes them strong, but what makes them weak. What makes them human. The most exciting plot in the world doesn't mean a damn if the reader doesn't care about the people involved in it. And it's our job to make sure that happens.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Giveaway - Braided Silk by Ella Drake

Everybody must've got distracted by the holiday and holiday shopping last week, since nobody signed up for the giveaway. Oh well, I hope people still go out and buy it. Toni's an outstanding author.

Since there's no winner to announce today, I'm going to have another giveaway. This one's in honor of my newfound love for Once Upon a Time.

Rapunzel was made with technologically advanced hair. As a trained Mother agent, Zel can't escape the DNA that makes her a pawn in corporate espionage. Kidnapped and held in a tower on Gothel Island, she falls prey to the sexual allure of her captor’s son, Langley, a man whose every tantalizing touch makes her forget she wasn’t born human.

Langley Gothel protests the existence of creations such as Zel, but when faced with losing her, he sees the truth: Life is precious, whether born, modified, or shaped in a Petri dish. He does the one thing he thought he'd never do. He has to give up Zel, or become a mod. But will that be enough go get them down from the floating islands and safely to ground?

You can read an excerpt at Liquid Silver.

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, November 27, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! For the month of November, I've been highlighting snippets from my LSB m/m/f vampire erotic romance, Mercy of These Bones. Mathias got shot, bringing them more unwanted attention from the police, but when he says he's leaving town, it sparks a fight with Edmund, one in which Darby intercedes.

“ case that’s not enough, I’m also the only one who really cares what happens to the pair of you. If I had any sense at all, I’d turn you both over to this Assembly myself. But I’m not doing that, and do you know why?”

Apparently there was no stopping Mathias when it came to Darby. “Because of those little noises we get you to make when you come?”

Heedless of his other injuries, Edmund smacked Mathias on the side of the head.

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

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What I'm grateful for

Today is Thanksgiving here in the US, which means different things for different people. Being married to a Brit and living in the UK, I didn't celebrate it for a few years, but since we've moved back, it's slowly trickled back into our lives. I don't get to have dinner with family as mine lives primarily on the east coast. Instead, we have friends over, and the day turns into a three-day fest of everything we're most grateful for.

This year has been a lot of ups and downs in a lot of ways, but focusing on what I'm grateful for will help me not focus on the downs so much.

Like... husband. I met my husband at a very low point in my life, an awful situation he helped extract me from. Since then, he's been my best friend and biggest fan, and I'm grateful every day that I was lucky enough to find him when I did. kids. My daughter is 11 about to be 12, my son turns 10 in three weeks. They're at ages where they're asserting independence far more than they ever did before, so we've had some minor tiffs as we find a new balance in the house, but honestly, they're such great kids. They're smart and polite, so well-behaved it's embarrassing sometimes. And they still think I'm cool, which is always great to hear. I love them to the moon and back, and am grateful every day I have them.

...not having to worry about day to day economic problems. My husband has job security up the wazoo, which in this economy is a godsend. I'm grateful that I can still have fun with my writing without feeling the pressure. It's about creating stories I want, which is always a bonus.

...knowing so many truly cool people. I can't begin to list the people who inspire me to be better on a daily basis, just because of who they are. But I'd like to think they know who they are.

I could go on and list silly, individual items like my iPad, or Starbucks mocha light frappuccinos, or pretty jewelry, but I won't. These are nice, but transitory items. The real gems to treasure are those that don't disappear after a day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Garen dreams...


Garen dreamed of gossamer winds and pale limbs, both entwining around him in bonds he couldn't break even if he wanted to. Though the air hinted at an approaching winter, his flesh was heated, ready and throbbing as if he waited to spring upon an unsuspecting prey. Here, though, he wasn't a hunter. He wasn't a guard. He had no duties to protect a family that wasn't truly his. He existed because he could, because free will wasn't a privilege but a right.

He could stand tall and proud, dismissing any who claimed otherwise.

When he slept, his thoughts often went to the land of his birth, a lush, verdant paradise compared to Dhivin and its surrounding provinces. In xxx, cities were considered a plague. Villages never grew beyond a few dozen people, because when they reached numbers too great for the earth to sustain, the younger members were forced to move on, encouraged to create their own village, a place to call home that was unique to them and them alone.

Garen had left his village before being requested. His pride had demanded it. He'd outgrown the education his elders could provide, gone through all the books, asked questions they could no longer answer. The only way not to choke on their ignorance was to find different teachers.

He'd never found them. But in spite of that, he continued to yearn for the gentler way of life of his youth, escaping there in his dreams.

Until today, he'd always been alone.

The body curled into his on the thick, sun-soft grass stirred, adding gentle breath to the wind that ruffled his hair. He knew without looking down that it was Klea. The scent of her skin transplanted him from the harsh brightness of Dhivin. Only her generous curves fit against him like this, like a secondary self to master and keep. She moved when he moved, allowing the perfect balance without him having to utter a single word.

His arms tightened around her. He couldn't risk letting her go, not when he'd only just found her.

When he woke up on his narrow bed, the winds that had whispered through his sleep now raged in fury, the storm outside still unsettled. His body was hard, aroused and alert, but his mind wasn't frustrated from the lack of release. If anything, he was more alert, blithely uncaring of the day's cruel magician that usually whisked away the good temper created from his nightly escape. He dressed with speed and efficiency, eager to see Jae and learn what new developments had transpired while he rested.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Black Friday

I used to be an avid Black Friday shopper. I was never so insane to be out the door at 4am, but I still went out at 8 or 9 and shopped for most of the day. It was all about the deal and saving money at a time of year when we typically spend far more than usual.

When stores started going online, that all changed. I've been an avid online shopper for over a decade, and now that stores are finally seeing the benefits in providing the same kind of sales to virtual customers, I don't go out anymore. Instead, I go to all my favorite stores' websites and shop that way. The benefits are tremendous:

1. No searching for a parking spot.
2. No dealing with insane customers.
3. No rooting through racks trying to find that one great deal.
4. I don't even have to put on shoes, lol.

Amazon's sale started yesterday. I know a lot of authors have problems with Amazon, but honestly, I love them. I can get great deals, we get free shipping for our annual prime membership, and I can find items I might not be able to get locally. I still shop brick-and-mortar stores as much as I can, especially Barnes & Noble, but at this time of year, it seems insane not to take advantage of saving a few dollars where I can.

Other stores have started their sales early. Last Saturday, Old Navy did a store promotion where adult outerwear was 75% off for a few hours. I ended up getting two wool coats for $35 total, and my daughter got her new coat for $15. Seriously, how can I say no to those kind of sales?

Do you do Black Friday shopping? Where do you like to go?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Giveaway - Edge of Survival by Toni Anderson

I love me some romantic suspense, so I was thrilled when I discovered Toni Anderson at Carina. I read Sea of Suspicion and loved it, so how excited am I that she has a new release today? Enough to get another copy for this week's giveaway!

Dr. Cameran Young knew her assignment wouldn't be easy. As lead biologist on the Environment Impact Assessment team, her findings would determine the future of a large mining project in the northern Canadian bush. She expected rough conditions and hostile miners—but she didn't expect to find a dead body her first day on the job.

Former SAS Sergeant Daniel Fox forged a career as a helicopter pilot, working as far from the rest of the human race as possible. The thrill of flying makes his civilian life bearable, and he lives by his mantra: don't get involved. But when he's charged with transporting the biologist to her research vessel, he can't help but get involved in the murder investigation—and with Cameran, who awakens emotions he's desperate to suppress.

In the harsh and rugged wilderness, Daniel and Cameran must battle their intense and growing attraction while keeping ahead of a killer who will stop at nothing to silence her...

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, November 20, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! For the month of November, I've been highlighting snippets from my LSB m/m/f vampire erotic romance, Mercy of These Bones. Darby and Mathias had a go last week. Now it's time for a little Mathias and Edmund.

There was no time to gauge Edmund’s reaction before the other vampire’s mouth crashed to his, fangs tearing through his lip to coat them both in blood. Mathias opened to the assault, welcoming the ravenous sweeps of Edmund’s tongue, but all too soon, Edmund was breaking away, the tight hold he had on Mat’s head all he needed to start pushing him to his knees.

“Should have fucked you into submission four years ago,” he said. His eyes gleamed silver as he regarded Mathias kneeling in front of him. “Or chained you to the bed to keep you from doing something as stupid as breaking the siring laws.”

Mathias would have come back with some smart remark, but his brain had stopped working at the sight of Edmund’s thick cock visible at the open vee of his pants.

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

Monday, November 14, 2011

Giveaway Winner

Welcome to Monday, which means it's time to give away a new book!

Last week, I offered a copy of Reaper to one lucky reader. And this week's winner is...Super Happy Jen!

I've got your email, so expect a message from me soon!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! For the month of November, I'm highlighting snippets from my LSB m/m/f vampire erotic romance, Mercy of These Bones. Last week, Darby found Edmund pinning Mathias in her storeroom. This week, she's learned they're vampires and found Mathias cuffed naked to Edmund's guest bed.

“Is this really the woman who wouldn’t kiss me this morning?” he taunted. “Or is it just because you get to be on top? Don’t deny you weren’t creaming at the thought of cuffing me when I mentioned it at the club.”

Fire crept along every spare inch of her skin. She blamed that for what came out of her mouth next.

“That was nothing compared to what dreaming of Edmund fucking you did to me.”

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

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Where I've been

I have struggled with my weight my entire life. I was a chubby baby, a plump child, a curvy teenager. I moved away for college a size 14, a size I maintained for several years until an abusive relationship sent my weight upward. When I finally managed to escape that five very long years later, I worked through diet and exercise to get some of it off, and eventually found my 14s - and occasional 12s - again.

Then I moved to England to get married. I got pregnant quickly, and the weight crept back on. I got pregnant again when my daughter was a year old, and more weight came back. After my son's birth, I decided to do something about it since I was done being the baby factory, and worked to get down to the lowest weight I'd had as an adult, even getting into size 10s, which I'd never done before in my life.

When we moved back to the US, everything went to hell again. American-sized portions. Foods I hadn't had in five years. The stress of living in a part of the world where my nearest family was thousands of miles away, and I had two children under the age of four. The weight came back. And more.

Fast-forward to January 2011. I'd been having problems with my hip, and an appointment with an orthopedist confirmed it was arthritis. "You're obviously too young for a hip transplant," he said, "so this will be about pain management for quite a while." The one thing I knew for sure would help would be finally losing weight for good. For every pound lost, that's four pounds of pressure off my joints. It was healthier for me, too. I have a history of adult-onset diabetes in my family as well as heart problems. Now was the time to start taking care of myself.

Well, now turned out to be May 30, lol. I needed the right mindset, as well as time to really tackle it. As of today, just over 5 months later, I've lost 33 pounds and have gone from an 18/20 to 12/14. I'm not done. I'm a little over halfway to the goal I set for myself, though if I can get to it, I might end up aiming a little lower. We'll see how my health is when I get there.

Part of what I'm hoping to do as I get healthier is create accountability. That means talking about what I'm doing, passing along my tools, using Thursdays on my blog as a sounding board. Today, that means talking about where I've been. Next Thursday, it'll mean talking about how I'm getting to my final destination.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Still working away at my het romance, still don't have a title for it...


Her hair hung loose over her pale gown, falling over her shoulders to hide the shadows of her nipples from his sight. She'd scrubbed her face clean of the artifice she didn't require to be beautiful, and her wide eyes tilted up at him, made even wider by the shadows hollowing below them. In some ways, she appeared a child caught in the aftermath of a nightmare. In need of comfort. In search of aid.

His initial instinct was to take her into his arms and soothe it all away. He actually took a step toward her before he realized what he was doing.

"Mistress." He bowed his head, holding the pose in hopes that would help him regain some control. His effort was in vain. The vision of her standing there was already burned onto his consciousness.

"Since you're here, I would guess you had no luck tonight." She spoke softly, though nobody was around to hear her. "Did you learn anything at all?"

"No." To admit it aloud hurt more than he'd imagined. "But I will not give up until you're safe."

"I know."

He didn't dare lift his head yet. "You should be asleep."

"So should you."

"It's my duty to watch you through the night. Jae will return at dawn to relieve me."

"And you'll sleep then?"

"Yes." For a few hours, at least. Only what he absolutely needed to function before resuming the hunt.

"I can't." Her confession was a whisper, and yet it boomed within his soul. He glanced up at her through his lashes to see her lower lip quivering a split second before she sucked it between her teeth. Even now, she fought to maintain her dignity, to prove to him she was strong, but the simple gesture undid every resolution he'd made for himself. "I've been trying. My thoughts won't settle."

"I could call for Physic Ragan. He can give you something to help."

"No, I've been enough trouble as it is. I don't want to disrupt everyone even more than I have."

Not a single person within the canton would ever begrudge her for this kind of disruption, but he had the sneaking feeling she wasn't fully aware of how warmly she was regarded by everyone. Even if it was his place, he couldn't argue with her on this one point, either. She would never agree unless dire straits required it, and a little insomnia hardly counted.

"What about Shani?" he offered. "She would be more than--"

"Would you come in?" she said, too quickly, as if afraid she'd lose the nerve. Considering the events of the past couple days, he thought that might actually be the case. He was seeing more of the true Klea than he ever had before, and she was far more vulnerable--and infinitely braver--than he would've guessed. "You could just stand by the door. Perhaps knowing you're so close will help me relax."

Such a move was dangerous. Too dangerous. "You'll know I'm close if I stand on this side of the door as well," he said gently.

She looked crestfallen. "I'm not asking for another lesson." The first sign of color was returning to her face, twin spots of bright pink blooming high upon her cheeks. "I just want some company."

"You can have Shani."

"I don't want Shani. I want you, Garen."

The fierceness in her voice surprised both of them. Klea caught her breath, while Garen finally straightened. He'd witnessed hints of the depths of her passions, both the morning she'd first made her proposal and then when he'd come to her chambers, but this surmounted it all. How much did she hold back because of her station in life? What kind of powerhouse could she truly be if she wasn't restrained by this region's stringent social codes? The more Garen discovered, the more convinced he became she was too good for all of it, not just a union with Rey Bonsu.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Giveaway - Reaper by Mina Carter

This week's giveaway is a Samhain release from last week that has me all kinds of intrigued. It's one of their End of Days titles and looks fascinating.

Sanctuary. Clich├ęd name, but the sentiment is still the same. Ten years after the end of the world, ex-soldier Mason and a small group of humans defend their fortified town against creatures of myth and legend made real. But with dwindling game to hunt and a lycan pack in the area looking for an easy meal, just surviving is getting harder every day.

Andy has a few screws loose, and she knows it. She’s been on the road since the bombs fell and changed humanity forever. Driven by inhuman instincts, she tracks the newly and soon-to-be dead and dispatches their souls to the afterlife. Sometimes they go quietly, most put up a fight. She doesn’t care either way. Her ambition in life is to find her next hit of coffee and one day, maybe, sleep in a real bed again.

Then Andy’s instincts bring her to Sanctuary and its enigmatic leader, Mason, and even the world after the end of the world will never be the same again…

You can read an excerpt at Samhain.

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, November 6, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! I've done m/m for the past two months, and het the month before that, so for the month of November, I'm doing snippets from my LSB m/m/f title Mercy of These Bones. It's an erotic romance about Edmund, a vampire, who's in love with a human, Darby, but then the vampire he sired and spent decades with returns to town, with his own problems to deal with.

“Thought I was going to have to throw Tati in your face again to get you well and truly brassed off.”

Edmund scowled, but before he had the chance to say anything, the door flew open to reveal a very determined Darby, her pistol firmly in her hands.

“I’ll call…” she started to threaten, only to stop when she saw Edmund. Her eyes widened, and the gun lowered for a moment. Then she saw Mathias, looking very much like he’d just been hit, and she lifted it again, aiming it at him this time.

“Oh, I like her,” Mathias taunted.

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

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Amber Allure Bestseller List

I got some good news this week. Amber Allure's bestseller list for October came out, and guess who was at #3?

1. Love's Baggage - T. A. Chase (Gay / Dark Fantasy / Werewolf)
2. Tame - A. J. Llewellyn (Gay / Dark Fantasy / Werewolf)
3. Moon-Touched - Vivien Dean (Gay / Dark Fantasy / Werewolf)
4. Conway - D. J. Manly (Gay / Dark Fantasy / Werewolf)
5. Nathan's Angel - Melissa Bradley (Gay / Dark Fantasy / Werewolf)
6. Pushing The Envelope 2: RSVP - Kim Dare (Gay / Contemp. / BDSM)
7. Devotedly His - Shawn Lane (Gay / Contemporary)
8. More Than Anything - Shawn Lane (Gay / Contemporary)
9. The Institute, Book I: Healer - Cassandra Gold (Gay / Paranormal)
10. Blood On The Mountain - India Harper (Gay / Contemp. / Suspense)

I'm definitely chuffed about it, especially since it's been a slower writing year for me this year.

A few people have asked me about whether or not there will be a sequel. The answer is YES. With the pax collections, we have a 40k word limit, so I had to find a natural break in their story in order to meet that. However, there's more to be told, mostly because Andre and Thomas still have a lot to overcome. It's probably going to be novel-length, and it will be out at Amber Allure as early next year as I can manage it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Though I love movies, I don't get to see as many as I used to, at least, none of the grown-up variety. Ah, the joys of having kids, lol. But one of the few that I've managed to see this year just came out on DVD, and if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend you get out there and grab it up.

What's the movie? Crazy, Stupid, Love

I had zero expectations going into it. I'm not normally a fan of Steve Carell, and all I knew was that it was a man in his forties whose wife asks for a divorce out of the blue. What I got instead was a fantastic ensemble piece reminiscent of some of my favorite Robert Altman movies, with amazing insights into all the different kinds of love there are in this world.

And, oh yeah, Ryan Gosling.

I have to admit, I've never seen him in a movie before. Part of that is the reason stated above. With two kids under the age of 12, most of what I've seen in the theater in the last ten years has been animated. I've had Half-Nelson in my Netflix queue forever, but never found the urge to actually watch it. But he was amazing in this. His character could've come off as so terribly smarmy that you hate him, but he manages to find the pathos of the character and show his growth. It's a fantastic performance.

Plus, well, pretty. :)

So for those few who haven't seen it, I strongly recommend giving it a go. It's funny and romantic and too good to miss. I put it on my Christmas wishlist. And if the hubby doesn't get it for me, I'll be picking it up myself the day after the holiday, lol.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Halloween and a stupid sinus infection slowed me down a little this past week, so my word count on this isn't as far along as I'd like it to be. Well, and there's a new bunny that distracted me a little bit before I got it under control again, lol.

Klea's station doesn't afford her many friends. Her handmaiden, Shani, is the only one who really fits that bill...



Shani’s curious call shattered the spell winding around Klea. Her arms jerked to her side, and she met the handmaiden’s eyes as directly as she could. “Is the bath ready?”

“Yes.” She stepped aside to allow Klea room to enter. The questions were there, lurking in her gaze, but she wisely held her tongue from further queries. “Do you wish privacy?”

Part of Klea did. She wanted free rein to think of Garen without fear of being watched. But being alone would lead her thoughts down darker paths, which wasn’t necessarily best. Besides, Shani knew everything that was going on, as well as had been with Jae and possibly Garen prior to coming to Klea’s chambers. She might have answers to some of Klea’s questions.

“Stay, please.” She stepped over the edge of the polished white tub, the crystals from the sand from which it had been forged glittering in the light of the lamps. The water was hot and silken, perfumed with one of her favorite massage oils, and she sank into it with an audible sigh, closing her eyes as she leaned her head back against the rim.

Water splashed. Shani’s sure hands swept the soft wash rag along Klea’s arms, moving in slow, hypnotic circles that erased all memory. In the water’s sanctuary, Klea was tempted to fall asleep and let Shani see to her ablutions, but Shani would never speak unless spoken to first, and if Klea wanted answers, she had to be the one to address the topic.

“Somehow, I did not see these events transpiring when I rose this morning,” she said, trying to keep her tone light. “Who knew accepting a marriage proposal could create such havoc?”

Shani laughed at her small joke. “That seems like something far more suited to one of your sisters than you, Mistress.”

“Perhaps. Though I don’t think they would have waited until the seventh proposal like I did.” When Shani didn’t immediately respond, Klea opened her eyes to find her friend gnawing on her lower lip. “What? Is something wrong?”

Shani lowered her lashes, concentrating on dipping the rag in the scented water. “I guess I just wondered if you’ll still go through with the ceremony.”

“Why wouldn’t I go through with it? It’s hardly Sire Bonsu’s fault.”

“No, but…” She weighed her words while running the cloth over Klea’s arm again. “Nobody wishes to see you hurt, Mistress.”

“I won’t be. The guards shall see to that.”

“I know. Jae and Garen would give their lives before seeing harm befall you.”

Klea frowned. “I thought nobody else was to know of the threats that were made.”

Shani’s attention snapped upward again. “They don’t. Not…directly. But it’s clear someone meant to hurt you this evening, and the servants, well…” She blurted the rest, speaking so quickly Klea almost didn’t catch it all. “Many think you deserve better than the Bonsu house, Mistress. You don’t need this union like the Sire does, and we’d rather you stay here and be safe than go off and marry him just because it’s good for trade.”

Her jaw clicked shut as soon as she was done, and she sat back on her heels like the effort she’d expended admitting the latter had exhausted her. Klea took the cloth from her limp hand and set it aside, sitting up in the bath to speak with her on the same level.

“I’m grateful you’re worried about me,” she said with a smile. “But I’m not entering this union lightly. Too many people depend on this marriage to work, and I don’t want to let them down.”

“And if the next attack succeeds?”

“It won’t. I trust Jae and Garen to do everything they can, and if that means I have to spend the next month locked in my room, then that’s what I must do.” Though admitting that aloud weighed on her spirit far more than it had letting it fester unspoken.

Shani didn’t seem pleased by her response. “It’s hardly a fitting place for you,” she complained. “It would be simpler to call off the ceremony.”

“Perhaps. But the things with the most worth are often those that require the greatest effort. It’ll all work out in the end, Shani. Trust me.”

As Shani nodded and resumed her washing, Klea wished she believed whole-heartedly in her own assertions. So much could happen in the span of thirty days. So much had already happened in just one. If, for any reason, Garen wasn’t quite as quick the next time, or her enemies a little bit smarter, she might not live to appreciate a wedding at all.

The understanding chilled her to her bones. She shivered, in spite of the warm water.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Today marks Nanowrimo for a lot of my friends, a month-long event to try and write 50k. I wish them all the best, but I'll be honest, I don't participate. For a few reasons.

First of all, November is the second worst month of the year to try and get stuff done in this country. There's Thankgiving to worry about, plus the upcoming Christmas holidays, with a whole host of educational/school-related events that can affect you whether you're a student or a parent. My time comes at a premium from now until mid-February (my kids both have birthdays in that time period on top of the holiday stuff), and I have to be very strict in how I portion it out.

Which leads me to two. A 50k goal is fantastic, mostly because it really pushes people to stop dawdling and just write. But honestly? I already treat my writing like it's my full-time career. I have word counts I do everything I can to meet every week. So I already put out that much every month, not just one month a year. Now, some of that never sees the light of day, while some is purely for my own entertainment, but there's enough that I don't ever feel like I'm slacking.

Nano is great for the push and support it provides writers, though. For everyone out there giving it a go this year, I wish you all the best!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Giveaway Winner

Happy Halloween, everybody!

I don't have tricks, but I do have a special treat for one lucky reader. It's time to announce the winner of last week's giveaway.

And the winner is...qbee2!

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

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! For the month of October, I've been featuring snippets from my Boys of the Zodiac novel, Libra: Outlined in Ink. In this last installment, Eli and Jarrett finally get some peaceful alone time.

With his arms wrapped tightly around Jarrett’s shoulders, he poured his heart into their kisses, for better or worse, and silently begged Jarrett to fill in the blanks.

It felt like he did.

His lips moved in the same ways, his tongue sought out the same corners of Eli’s mouth, yet, Eli knew the difference, there in the touch of a hand or the small sound Jarrett couldn’t hold back. He hooked a leg around the back of Jarrett’s calf, the only reminder he could create about what they’d been leading toward. If they didn’t get around to fucking, he’d miss it, but he wouldn’t regret what was likely to take its place. Curtained within the walls of Jarrett’s arms, his body sang, more alive than he could remember it ever being before.

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

Friday, October 28, 2011

Project Runway - The Season That Wasn't

I was a latecomer to Project Runway. This is only the third season I've watched all the way through. But this season more than the others felt far more manipulated.

First of all, this incessant need to keep saving Anya? I don't get it. Yes, I liked her in the beginning, but honestly, she hasn't earned the right to be in the finale like this. Her mini-collection was miles worse than everybody else's. They saved her the week she lost her money by giving the designers a second part to their challenge. They've made excuses for her time and time again. So I wasn't really thrilled going into this last episode.

I really thought Victor should have been the winner. He was the most consistent throughout the season and the smartest when it came to tackling real problems. He had a couple misses in his final collection, but compared to everything else he created this season, it shouldn't have mattered.

I mean, what were the judges smoking to give it to Anya? Oh, right, she's got a point of view. Her gowns flow beautifully, and yes, she's got a great eye for print. But...she's got one silhouette that she does. It's the same silhouette she's shown all season. She can't figure out how to get people into her clothes without sewing them in. She...oh, I can't. I'm still annoyed.

Who did you want to win?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Where do we draw the line?

Recently, NPR ran an article about a recent book, Sybil Exposed, that discussed how the woman the book Sybil was based on basically admitted she was faking it, and yet, the psychiatrist continued to treat her as well as publicize the story for her own financial gain. While it has its own merits for discussing journalistic integrity, or pop psychology becoming the norm, or the problem of real psychiatric issues being clouded by fake data, what still strikes me is the writer's aspect of it.

The original writer, psychiatrist Dr. Connie Wilbur, received her patient's confession in the middle of writing her book, after she was already committed to completing, after she was already speaking publicly about her subject matter. She chose to go on with it, explaining everything away, that it was just more subterfuge on her patient's part. In the end, her story was more important than truth. How often do genre writers face the same dilemma?

I won't touch the issue of journalistic integrity. What I'm talking about is how writers can sometimes take shortcuts, either by choice, ignorance, or market necessity. It gets explained away as, "Well, I'm writing escapist fiction. The reader doesn't want the truth. They just want to get lost in the story." Which is true, to a degree. The question becomes, then, where do we draw the line?

Readers often put a lot of trust into the writers they read. They trust historical writers to get their facts straight. They expect internal world logic. They want genre norms to be met. What happens when we give them false information? Well, if it's factual, it'll yank a reader in the know out of the story. They might not commit to the writer whole-heartedly again. It's the reason so many readers don't like to read about what they already know, i.e. lawyers reading about lawyers, medical professionals reading about doctors and nurses, and so on. Because they are the most intimately aware of the milieu, they're usually the first to spot the errors, thus destroying the illusion reading is meant to evoke.

Wrong facts also present the danger of perpetuating falsehoods. How many of us actually believe a silencer is quiet? We take these interpretations, gleaned from books, from TV, from movies, and apply to them to future situations. That's dangerous, through and through.

The matter of artistic license is one every writer needs to answer for themselves. Some lines get drawn in the sand because of genre. For instance, romance readers expect protagonists to be sexually faithful, yet in real life, for instance, gay men tend to be more accepting of sex for the sake of sex, able to dissociate the act from the emotion. Put that into an m/m romance, and you better have some darn good explanations for it, or some readers will be most unhappy.

I'll admit, it's frustrating sometimes. I do everything I can to research details before seeing a story go out to the world, and still, sometimes something gets by. I push boundaries as much as I can on genre expectations, but I'm well aware that I skirt the edges of it too much for a lot of readers.

If you're a writer, where do you draw the line? What about readers? Do you prefer the fantasy if the truth gets in the way of the story?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I really need to come up with a title for my WIP at some point, but I'm concentrating at this point on just getting words on the screen for a first draft. It currently stands at 36k and chugging along quite nicely.

Klea has just survived the first attack on her life...


Klea turned her face into his chest, her quick breaths tickling along his bare skin. It wasn’t sexual. She sought comfort, he told himself. Still, placing her gently atop her blankets was more difficult than it should have been, his disloyal flesh responding to her femininity when it had no right to.

He put a safe distance between him and the edge of the bed, though he suspected no such thing existed any more. She tracked his movements without speaking, not arguing when he conducted the rest of his search to secure her rooms. He ended at her terrace windows, spending more time than necessary examining the hinges, the locks, the curtains. There wasn’t even a rough edge where careless housekeeping had splintered at the frame. Nobody had attempted entry from this point.


It was the first word she’d spoken since coming upstairs, and he turned to see her attempting to sit up. At her first sway, he was there, at her side, bending over to provide a strong arm upon which she could brace.

Her fingers fluttered, hovering over his tense wrist. The fragile skin at the hollow of her throat dipped as she swallowed, and he fully expected the touch of her hand to be just as brittle.

It wasn’t. The fingers that curled around his forearm radiated strength, and she branded his skin with hers as she sat up.

“It surprises me that I was so unprepared.” She spoke with her eyes downcast, perhaps regarding the join of her body to his. “I've grown up with guards in every corner of my life, and yet, this is the first time I’ve ever felt truly threatened.”

“My apologies, Mistress. It should never have happened.”

“Because you would have stopped it?”

“Because I should have.”

Klea looked up at that, and her trusting gaze slashed through the command he’d forced upon himself. Garen had no choice but to retreat, unfolding her hand from his arm, then resting it on her lap so he could stand back.

“But you saved me,” she said. “How did you know?”

The memory of the metallic glint flashed before his mind’s eye. “I saw it, though too late. I cannot say for certain the architrave was checked today, but I can assure you that nothing will be overlooked again, Mistress.”

The corners of her mouth drooped. “I preferred it when you called me by my first name.”

He glanced at the door, ensuring she saw his notice and understood. “There's a time and place for that. This is not one of those.”

“Will there ever be one again?”

Yes, he wanted to say. Oh, yes. Then, he would sink to his knees and banish any memory of her near-miss with searing kisses along her delectable curves. He would teach her more of what it meant to know her body’s responses, how it could crave both a firm hand and a gentle touch, all at the same time.

He almost did it. Then and there. She made it so easy, looking upon him as if he was a man and not her slave.

The only reason he didn't was because of the knock at her door.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Giveaway - Long Way Home by Carolyn Gray

I know, I know, I usually do giveaways on Mondays, but a very dear friend of mine had a book come out last week on Tuesday, and since I want to shout to the world about how fantastic she is, I'm changing my usual. Because she deserves it.

This book has been a long time coming. It's the sequel to her first, the wonderful A Red-Tainted Silence. But luckily for all of us, she won't be waiting nearly as long to get her next story out.

Musician Lee Nelson is determinedly single. His bandmates don't even know he is gay. He's managed to keep that important fact about himself, as well as any details of his painful past, out of conversation. But the past starts to catch up with him when the band travels to Dallas, Texas, and an anonymous gift of ballet tickets leads him to ballet dancer Gevan Sinclair--his first love's brother.

Gev is a professional ballet dancer, but just as the past has its grip on Lee Nelson, so too does Gev struggle--namely, with the disappearance of his brother, Stefan. Gev had always had a crush on Lee Nelson, but crushes are for kids and he'd forgotten all about Lee until the day he looked up after a performance and saw him in the balcony, hungrily watching his every move.

Gev and Lee are drawn together when Gev's roommate is killed, and they must face their fears and escape the stranglehold of the past to solve the mystery that keeps them apart...and make a long journey home.

You can read an excerpt at Loose Id.

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.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Giveaway Winner

A new week, a new winner! Last Monday, I had a giveaway for Elizabeth Lister's "The Crush."

And the winner is...Sarah Ballance!

I've got your email so expect a message from me very soon!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I've been chipping away at my current WIP, though my writing time slips away on the weekend. It's currently at 27k. I imagine that's not quite the halfway point, though I fear it's much longer than that.

I really should title it soon. :P

Accepting the marriage proposal has broader ramifications than Klea expected.


As Jae launched into yet another diatribe about the puppet Bonsu, it dawned on Garen that if he kept on with the bargain, he would not be present for all the changes he professed to fear. He could be well on his way home by then. Four pearls would be ample payment for his freedom.

Four nights with Klea.

To prepare her for union with a man who would never appreciate the woman she was.

Disgusted, he rose from the bench, scooping up his full plate and cup. Cool tea sloshed over the rim, but he refrained from wiping off his hand until after he’d thrust them into a serving girl’s waiting hands. He didn’t linger to chat, much to her disappointed chagrin.

Jae fell into step beside him, their pace matching from years of service. Garen was thankful he didn’t pursue their conversation. His last desire was to debate a future he couldn’t predict. There were too many variables to account for, though he realized as they turned the corner toward the meeting room that they were not necessarily beyond his control. For the first time since that awful night he’d been captured, he could choose his own destiny. He could decide for himself when to rise, where to go, who to serve. He could be his own man.

Sire Kander beckoned them to approach his desk. Papers were strewn across its surface, and the blue-gray eyes he lifted to greet them were slightly bloodshot. He didn’t appear as if he’d slept at all. He even wore the same tunic he’d worn to the dinner the night before, though now its collar was open and noticeably less stiff.

“I’m reassigning the guard details for the unforeseen future.” He pushed a single piece of paper toward them. “The two of you are responsible for meting out the specific duties, but these are the men you may use. Only these men. No one else.”

Garen picked up the list and scanned it over. Most slave owners would never deign to put something in writing. Most slaves wouldn’t be able to read it. Jae couldn’t. But Zamar Kander behaved as none of the other owners Garen knew. As it was turning out, none of the Kander clan was behaving as they should.

The list itself was unremarkable. Only a handful of men--the best, Garen believed. The outlined duties at the bottom of the page, however, alarmed him.

“You wish to place constant guards on Mistress Klea?” Even Jae jerked at Garen’s query. “Why?”

Zamar glanced at the closed door. “Anything I say to you now is not to be repeated. Not even to your men.”

“Of course, Sire.” An automatic response, but Garen still worried why such an order was necessary.

“I received a visitor late last night in regards to the celebrations. Apparently, there are factions here in Dhivin who do not wish to see the Kander and Bonsu houses joined. Who will do anything it takes to stop such a union.”

Though Zamar did not mention her by name, Garen heard what he wasn’t saying. Klea was in danger. Opponents to the marriage would kill her if they thought it would gain the advantage. There was always an element of danger to the Kander household anyway, but generally speaking, Dhivin was a peaceful city. The Kanders, especially, were held in high regard. This response had to be a response to the Bonsu house.

“Perhaps it would be better for the Mistress to leave now and have the ceremony beyond Dhivin borders,” Jae said. “If the threat to her lies here, she would obviously be safer elsewhere.”

Garen held silent while he watched Zamar contemplate Jae’s suggestion. There was logic there. Before last night, he would have agreed without fail. After last night, he knew he should still agree without fail. Yet, his lips remained seal in wait.

“I have no doubt Sire Bonsu would prefer such an arrangement.” Zamar steepled his fingers and stared at the door beyond them. “But I do not know his men, and I would not trust something so precious to me without being more certain of their abilities. No, she must remain here until she is Bonsu’s wife. Sort through the list to your satisfaction.”

Though Garen nodded in acquiescence to the order, he couldn’t help but wonder why Zamar would wed his eldest daughter into a household he placed such little trust. If he feared Klea would come to harm under the Bonsu aegis, why allow the union to transpire in the first place? Some of the respect he’d garnered over the years for his owner faded with new understanding. Economics. The Bonsu-Kander bond would be a hard one to break, especially with Bonsu’s resources.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New release - Moon-Touched

On Sunday, my contribution to Amber Allure's werewolf pax came out. This one was a labor of love, because I tried to normalize the paranormal aspect by focusing on the contemporary issues with the couple, rather than the werewolf aspects. The result really got to me.

Thomas Durling escaped his small-town upbringing for over ten years, until a single phone call draws him back. Told his mother has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, Thomas returns to the small northern Michigan town he once called home to find a mute stranger named Andre taking care of her in his stead. On the surface, Andre seems harmless enough, but Thomas has enough problems trying to deal with his mother’s illness. He doesn’t need a gorgeous young man to distract him, especially in a town that already drove him away once with its homophobia.

But Andre Nezat has nowhere else to go. A wolf without a pack, he’s been on the run since witnessing his father’s murder, always looking over his shoulder, never looking ahead. Taking care of Thomas’s mother has given him a welcome sanctuary, as well as a place he can call home for a couple months. He wants to stay, but more importantly, he wants to help, even if Thomas isn’t ready to accept that they can actually be friends...

It's at new release prices this week, so head over to the publisher's page and take a look. There's an excerpt there to sample it, too.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Giveaway - The Crush by Elizabeth Lister

I didn't get to go to New Orleans for GayRomLit this past weekend, so I'm going to make up for it by giving away a book from one of my m/m exclusive publishers, MLR.

Jack Claridge's sister, Amy, has a big crush on her English professor, Michael Donovan. When Jack agrees to accompany her on an outing with the object of her affection, the last thing he expects is the professor's reaction to him. One surreptitious hand-job later and Michael is hooked. But will Jack 'use him and lose him' or does Jack care for the professor more than he thinks? And what will he tell Amy?

You can read an excerpt at MLR.

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, October 16, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! For the month of October, I'm continuing with snippets from my Boys of the Zodiac novel, Libra: Outlined in Ink. You've met Jarrett and Eli. Now experience their first kiss. Or part of it anyway. ;)

Eli barely got his hand out of the way before Jarrett sealed their mouths together, muscles twitching like they’d been Tased, then leaping with newfound energy to fold around Jarrett’s upper body. The kiss was supposed to be functional, the kind given as the precursor to abandoning any sense of foreplay and going right for the cock. Jarrett had given enough of those in his lifetime, even if occasionally, he’d wanted more.

But from the instant their lips met, supposed to be flew out the window. Eli opened to him with a surprised little whimper that went straight to Jarrett’s cock, all need and delight and hunger rolled into one tight, bleached, electrified package. He drank down Jarrett’s kiss like he’d been parched for it, and though he held his own, twisting his tongue around Jarrett’s until Jarrett’s brain was ready to explode, he let Jarrett lead the whole way.

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

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I'm continuing on with my het fantasy. Klea offered to pay Garen for his tutelage, enough to be able to buy his freedom. Garen, however, did not say yes. She waits for him the first night to see if he will accept her terms.


The shadows coagulated into something more solid, and the outline of broad shoulders etched in the open window.

Her cheeks burned. Garen.

She was afraid to exhale in case she was dreaming, afraid to blink for the very same reason. She couldn’t see his face. He had yet to cross the threshold from terrace to room, and stood as part of the velvety darkness, but she knew his form better than she knew her own.

“Where is your handmaiden?”

His low voice rippled through her. “At the servants’ celebration.”

“Are you alone?”

“Yes.”Slowly, she released her stranglehold on her bed coverings and stood. “I wasn’t sure you would come.”

“Neither was I.”

“But you’re here now.”

When she took a tentative step forward, Garen finally moved. He held up a hand. “Stop.”

She obeyed without hesitation, though the violent thundering of her heart made it feel like she was still moving.

“I haven't fully decided the wisdom of this,” he said. “I’m not convinced you're aware of what you ask of me.”

Klea felt like laughing. “No, I’m fully aware.”

“Really? Your father trusts me with his life, trusts me with your life, and yet, you’d ask me to deceive him on a daily basis should I agree.”

“He won’t know.”

“I will.”

And there it was. That honor that drew her to him would be the wall she wouldn’t be able to surmount. “Why did you come then?” It perplexed her. He could have let the entire matter drop by simply ignoring her request. “If you don’t want to do this, don’t. I already told you. I don’t wish to compel you into anything you won’t enter freely.”

“Ah, but I never said I didn’t want this.” Though his face remained in shadows, he prowled closer, stepping over the threshold without ever disturbing the gauzy curtains. He wore the loose trousers of sleepwear, and the waistband rode low on his hips, low enough for the rough border of dark hair disappearing below the tie to be visible. “Do not put words into my mouth.”

They were the most commanding words she had ever heard from a servant, let alone a slave. She was so struck by the raw honesty, it took several moments to realize what exactly he had said.

He wanted her. Or at the very least, he wanted what she had to offer.

“So answer my question, then.” Emboldened by his admission, Klea lifted her chin and braved his response. “I cannot put words into your mouth if it is already filled with your own.”

The corner of his wide mouth twitched. “Would a woman who wishes to learn the ways of the flesh prefer to hear poetic lies that feed her ego, or truth that will likely prick it?”

As dismayed as she was by her options, there was only one way to answer. “The truth. Always. I cannot expect you to put your faith in me if you believe me to desire falsehoods.”

His chest rose. Fell. The muscle in his cheek smoothed, and the mask returned. “I couldn't sleep.”

Neither could she. “Why?”

“I think you know why. You offer the one thing I don't know how to refuse. Was it deliberate?”

“Yes.” The confession slashed at her hope. Now he would see her as manipulative, when in truth, all she wished was to guarantee an agreement. “Does this mean you’re going now?”

“No. But this is a dangerous game you play. You have no notion what kind of lover I might be…Klea.”

He uttered her name like a test, weighing it upon his tongue in deliberation as if to see how she would react. She was certain it wasn’t how he anticipated. Just the sound of his voice had been enough to make her nipples tighten, but now, hearing him address her as a woman and not as his Mistress, her body hummed to have more.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Giveaway Winner

It's Monday, which means announcing who won last week's giveaway!

And the winner is...Carla Krae!

I've got your email so expect a message from me very soon!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! For the month of October, I'm continuing with snippets from my Boys of the Zodiac novel, Libra: Outlined in Ink. Last week, you met Jarrett and Eli, reconnecting after not seeing each other for a few years. This week, Jarrett has given Eli refuge with the intention of helping him clear his name. A surprise visitor in the middle of the night doesn't believe Jarrett isn't holding back on what he knows.

This sounded like a car door slamming, but it was nothing compared to the way the blood sprayed out the other side of Baptiste’s neck, splattering across the beige wall and the frame of his Aagaard print.

Baptiste crumpled sideways. He landed like a broken doll at the edge of the glass end table.

Swallowing down the bile in his throat, Jarrett swung his gaze back up to Sandora. The gun was now aimed directly at Jarrett’s chest.

“How’s that memory of yours now?” Sandora asked.

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

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

WIP Wednesday

People are going to start getting whiplash from all my different WIP excerpts. But after reviewing my outline for what I was working last week, I realized one of my major plot points relied on the heroine cheating. Not on the hero, but well, that's a hard sell in romance, regardless. So that story has been shelved, yet again, and I went to my WIP folder to see what else I might want to work on.

I chose a het fantasy piece that I've been chipping away at in bits and pieces. I originally wrote it as a short story and realized it needed to be longer. It's set in an alternate world, in a land of sand and raging storms. The heroine, Klea, is the eldest daughter in the canton's wealthiest, most influential family, and she has finally agreed to accept a marriage proposal. She doesn't love the man, but it's a strong union for the families economically. She's actually in love with her father's head guard, a man that was captured from a different land and sold into slavery. Before she gets married, she wants to experience passion and comes up with a scheme to finally get what she wants.


When he strode toward her exit, Klea backed away, reluctant to lose sight of him but knowing she must for a few precious seconds. Her heart pounded, and her skin scorched, too tight around her soft curves. She had been planning this meeting for weeks. It needed to go perfectly, but the thought of actually speaking to Garen, of giving voice to the words she practiced every night before falling asleep, had her breathless with excitement.

He hummed under his breath as he stepped into the murky corridor. Klea swallowed as she listened to him approach, holding her ground even when her feet wished to run in the opposite direction. The rest of her had different ideas, and it was the tingle through her thighs, the flush along her neck, that kept her from fleeing.

Garen rounded the corner and took only a single step before noticing her presence. He immediately straightened, broad shoulders lifting, head bowing. “Mistress,” he murmured. Just the deep rumble of his voice was enough to make her blood run icy hot.

“Hello, Garen.” Somehow, Klea managed the greeting without sounding like an infatuated idiot. “May I have a word with you, please?”

Her request made him glance up through his lashes, his slim brows drawing together into a quick frown. “Is there something amiss?”

“No, no, nothing like that.” Hidden in the pocket of her dress, her fingers toyed with the soft sack she’d brought along, her bargaining power found form. In reality, its contents did nothing for her, but now, caressing the soft silk offered needed comfort. “How are you?”

A moment passed before he responded. “I am well, Mistress.” He weighed each word, his black eyes gleaming in confusion. She had never been so bold to inquire after his wellbeing before.

Now that she had his attention, Klea’s long-practiced speeches escaped her. It was hard not to stare at his beauty, the slight slant in his eyes, the wide mouth. With his shoulder-length hair pulled back at his nape, it sharpened the angles of his face so they appeared even more sculptured. The entire effect heightened the sense of danger he always exuded.

Garen cleared his throat. “Is there some service you require, Mistress?”

“Yes.” She latched gratefully onto his query and gestured toward the hall that led away from her father’s quarters. “Will you walk with me?”

She phrased it as a request, but Klea knew he wouldn’t refuse. Couldn’t. Garen fell into step beside her after only a cursory glance in the other direction, his arm solid and warm where it brushed against hers.

Klea took a steadying breath. “I have been meaning to speak with you for quite some time.”

“I hope I have not given you reason to doubt my service. I assure you--”

“Oh, no.” She was hasty to cut him off. The last thing she wanted was to remind him of the differences in their stations. “I simply wondered…have you ever considered purchasing your freedom?”

He visibly started, halting in his path. When she stopped and looked back at him, he regarded her with more than a little shock.

“Have you?” she prompted when he didn’t respond.

The hesitation warred in his eyes. “Has someone told you I’m unhappy, Mistress?”

“No, but I didn’t ask if you were unhappy.” Klea edged a step closer. “Your freedom, Garen. Do you ever consider what it would be like to have it?”

He was an exemplary servant. Even now, in the face of direct interrogation from a member of the Kander household, Garen struggled to provide the answer that any other would have offered without hesitation. It would likely be a lie, of course. Servants rarely uttered truths that might deem them rebellious. But Klea was counting on Garen to be different.

His powerful hands balled into fists at his side, but when she noticed, he thrust them behind his back. “Every day, Mistress Klea.” His nostrils flared. “And I would say so to anyone who insisted I tell them.”

Of course, he would. Only the most honorable men were entrusted to serve as family guards. Klea expected nothing less.

“I’m not here to condemn you.” Her hand tightened on the sack. “I’m interested in making a trade with you.”

Though he didn’t move, Garen tensed. “I own nothing of value.”

No, she wanted to tell him. You are someone of value.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Just because Borders is gone...

While I'm a staunch supporter of ebooks, I'll admit that I do everything I can to help keep our local Barnes & Noble afloat. The fact of the matter is, I don't want to see bookstores die. It's not because of the print format. In this day and age, devoting our dwindling resources exclusively to this medium is wasteful and unreasonable.

No, it's because I think of bookstores as refuges. Places to escape. It's not just about buying books. It's about having a safe haven for readers to congregate, more so than what a library might provide. Economics have hit them hard, too.

When I walk into B&N, a sense of freedom washes over me. I know I'm pretty much surrounded by people who want to be there as much as I do. People who understand the value of books enough to buy them for their own. It doesn't matter that we might have different interests. When I take my husband with me, he invariably goes off to business and computers, while I head straight to romance and sci-fi. But that love of the written word bonds us together, just like sports or other hobbies might bond other couples.

I'm teaching my kids to see bookstores as something to be excited about. We go at least twice a month and stay for a couple hours. They get to browse, sit and read, maybe play (since my son is young enough still to do so), and we always take the time to sit and have a coffee/milk/pastry in the cafe. Buying them books is the one thing I never deny them.

They go to the library, too, but that hasn't diminished our trips to the store. If anything, it's made them better, because it's turning them into more discerning purchasers. Plus, the library has introduced both of them to series that we then went out and bought because they were keepers.

I sincerely hope they never lose the thrill of what it feels like to go to the bookstore. But the only way to make sure that happens is by supporting our local store as much as we can. The big box stores can't win. We can't let them.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Giveaway - Blue Moon by Mackenzie McKade

I've been very fortunate to work with some wonderful publishers, and Samhain definitely ranks up there. This week's giveaway is a hot contemporary from one of their most popular authors.

Two years ago Samantha Dawson had everything she wanted—a close family, a promising career, and a man she loved. Until the fateful night before her oldest sister’s wedding, a night of celebration and too much alcohol that tore her world apart. Devastated, she fled Oregon for Phoenix.

Now she’s home for her little sister’s wedding, and just her luck, the best man is her ex-boyfriend. Worse, no one involved in that ugly night seems to want to let the past die an ugly death.

Kyle Ackland has no memory of the events that destroyed his life, but he’ll never forget the woman who set his body on fire. Sam’s emotional barriers are as solid as the Cascade Mountains, but he’s determined to chip them away one sensual kiss at a time.

Yet even if he succeeds, what’s left of their love could crumble under the weight of past sins…and present secrets.

You can read an excerpt at Samhain.

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, October 2, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! For the month of October, I'm featuring snippets from my Boys of the Zodiac novel, Libra: Outlined in Ink. It's an action/suspense novel about Jarrett Kessel, a mayor's aide, who gets pulled in by the FBI to locate a young man in connection with a murder. The man is Eli Locke, the younger brother of Jarrett's best friend from college, and the reason the Feds think Jarrett can smoke him out is because Eli has created an online superhero comic based on Jarrett. This is Jarrett's first time seeing him since Eli graduated from high school.

Though he’d bleached his hair, the shade complemented his tawny skin. The eyes he fixed on Jarrett smiled as warmly as his mouth did, a honeyed brown that threatened to drown anyone who met them too long. He’d been a cute teenager, but time had chiseled him into a striking young man, the body that rose to greet Jarrett solidly built beneath the faded jeans and tan T-shirt.

“Wow,” Eli said as he approached. He had to look up a little to meet Jarrett’s gaze. “I had completely forgotten how much room you take up.”

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