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.

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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.