Sunday, March 31, 2013

Weekend Writing Warriors

Time for the Weekend Writing Warriors!

For the next couple months, I'm highlighting sentences from my Boys of the Zodiac novel, the m/m action/adventure erotic romance, Aries: Riddle Me Wicked. Museum curator Ian has been captured on a dig and dropped into a cavern where he's discovered American photographer Lucas. The two join forces and look for a way out, eventually discovering a hole near the ceiling. Lucas climbs up, but Ian is more reluctant to do so, convinced he's gone around the bend when he ultimately agrees. Lucas takes his acceptance as a compliment, which leads to...

That earned him a glance upward, through one of the thickest fringes of lashes he had ever seen. “Somehow, that doesn’t surprise me.”

Ian started to reach for the wall, to try the same trek upward Lucas had taken, only to pause in mid-stretch. He still held the flashlight. The obvious question was, what was he going to do with it so he had use of both hands without losing the advantage of the light?

“Tuck it into your waistband,” Lucas suggested.

“And if it slips and falls down the leg of my trousers?”

“Wear tighter pants next time.”

To check out all the other weekend writing warriors, head over to the official website.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

What I'm reading this weekend

I'm actually reading two books this weekend, but that's only because I discovered that I'd missed the last book in the series by this author, and there is no way I'm not devouring it as well.

These are books six and seven of Frank Tuttle's Markhat series. I have loved this series since the very first book came out. It's funny and fantastic, especially since I'm a hard sell on most fantasy-type stories. Tuttle reminds me a lot of Jim Butcher, to be honest, so if you like him, I would bet you'd enjoy these, too.

Expect to see a giveaway on Monday. I wholeheartedly recommend this author now, and I don't see that changing after reading these two titles.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Week in Review

In some ways, it's been a tough week. I've been fighting pain in my head and jaw for almost two months now, and this week, went back to the doctor to try another round of antibiotics. This time, we're going to see if it's sinusitis. The pain's not gone, but I've not even half way through the run, so we'll reassess next week to see if I need to go back and maybe get a referral to an ENT specialist. Yuck. Please keep your fingers crossed for me!

Because of the pain, it's been tougher to concentrate on writing. I have about 5k on The Hearts of Yesteryear, but I would've wanted to be further by this point. I've had other distractions, too, though. Wednesday was my husband's birthday, and the kids had two games and two practices to take up our evenings. Add onto that all the drama happening with the Supreme Court, and my head has been in a million other places than my story. The kids go back to school next week, however, so hopefully it'll get better.

Oh! But this week over at the Amber Pax Collection blog, the authors of the Office Affairs pax that came out last Sunday have been talking about their stories. If you head over and comment on any or all of the posts, you'll have the chance to win the entire collection. The winner gets drawn on Saturday. That's five stories by some pretty great authors. Go! What do you have to lose?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Weekly weigh-in

Yesterday was my weigh-in, and it was a great one. I'm down another 2.4 pounds, for a total of 14.6 pounds in the eight weeks I've been doing this. Woo hoo!

The walking is helping tremendously. Both of my kids play ball, and they have to be at their games an hour before it starts to warm-up. In the past, I'd either drop them off and come back for the game, or sit there and read for an hour. Now, I drop them off and then do laps around the park for 45 minutes. Between those and walking the dog, I put in almost twenty miles last week. It adds up, that's for sure.

I know the loss will slow down, but I'm enjoying this stage for as long as it lasts.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Maple-mustard pork chops

I'm always on the lookout for new ways to dress up pork, and though this isn't necessarily a unique combination, the recipe turned out so good that it's definitely going into our menu rotation.


4 6-oz pork chops (I used boneless, but bone-in will work, too)
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp pepper
Cooking spray
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp mustard (flavor is up to you, the original recipe calls for dijon but I used a sweet-hot specialty mustard that was just divine)
2 tbsp maple syrup

1. Sprinkle both sides of pork with 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper.
2. Coat a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add pork; cook 3 minutes on each side or until cooked through, but with a slight blush in center. Remove from pan and keep warm.
3. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add butter to coat.
4. Add onions and saute until tender and translucent.
5. Add broth, bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Stir in mustard, syrup, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook 1 minute or until slightly thick.
6. Return pork to pan and cook for 1 minute on each side or until thoroughly heated. Serve pork with sauce.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekend Writing Warriors

Time for the Weekend Writing Warriors!

For the next couple months, I'm highlighting sentences from my Boys of the Zodiac novel, Aries: Riddle Me Wicked. Last week, you met Ian, just captured after his archaeological dig was attacked. They drop him into an underground cavern to keep him contained, where he discovers he's not alone. He meets an American who doesn't seem surprised to see him at all. In fact, he knows their captor, too...

“...The man’s a thug with delusions of grandeur. He wouldn’t know a treasure if it had Jack Sparrow sitting on it with a giant X.”

Ian stared at him, unsure what to make of any of this. “What on earth are you talking about? And who are you?”

The smile never wavered. “Lucas Arpini. And I’m the man who’s going to put both of us in the record books.”

To check out all the other weekend writing warriors, head over to the official website.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

What I'm reading this weekend

Thanks to the fabulous Karla Doyle, I now know where to read excerpts on Ellora's Cave site. Thanks again, Karla!

This weekend's reading, however, doesn't come from there. It comes from Total-e-bound.

Eric is a fire chief in Mesa, Arizona where he’s lived all of his life. A hunky Norse god like man, he has finally come out of the closet after twenty years of marriage. Now his wife hates him, his son won’t speak to him, a town crazy wants him fired, and there’s a rash of arson fires destroying some of the beautiful historic homes in the area. To let off steam, he’s been tempted to explore his long repressed sexuality with his son’s twenty year-old friend.

Tom, a twenty-eight year-old fire-fighter from Texas, is desperate to get away from his dad’s prejudice about his sexuality, and an unstable relationship that just recently ended. He takes a temporary position in Mesa where he sets eyes on the most gorgeous male specimen he’s ever seen in the form of the fire chief, Eric Anderson. Convinced the chief is straight, he accidentally catches him one night with a young guy, and is now determined to let the chief know he’s interested.

Eric is adamant that they can only be friends, even though he finds the sweet young Tom adorable. The pressures on Eric increase as his ex-wife becomes a suspect, and the town crazy tries to blame the arson fires on him. Will he allow himself to find real love with the sexy Tom, or will his world be destroyed by all of the city’s accusations and his family’s lack of acceptance?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Weekly wrap-up

I can't believe it's Friday already. My kids are on spring break right now, which you would think would mean I have more time on my hands since I'm not doing school runs or fighting with homework, but not in my world. Yesterday was the first day I was able to get any writing done. We've had games and/or practice every night this week. There's another practice tonight, a game in the morning, and then a piano recital for both of them tomorrow afternoon.

This time of year is always killer for me. I know this, and yet, somehow, I always think it won't be that bad this year.

I did manage to get title approval for my story for the upcoming entertainment-themed pax at Amber Allure. It's called "The Hearts of Yesteryear" and is about an aging actor and a renovated moviehouse theater. It'll be a short one, too, probably somewhere between 13 and 15k. Since it's been percolating in my head all week (in the lack of actual time to write), I'm starting it first thing tomorrow. I imagine it will go swiftly. This is one of those stories that is already written in my imagination. I just have to transcribe it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Weekly weigh-in

I missed my weigh-in last week due to doctor's appointments and my sick son, so today was my first one in two weeks. I knew it was going to be a good one. Now that my foot is healing, I'm able to move more without having to ice it for long hours at a time. Consequently, I did a lot of walking last week.

So how much was it? Well, I lost 2.8 pounds in two weeks, bringing my seven week total up to 12.2 pounds.

Needless to say, I'm quite chuffed. Slow and steady is going to win this race, and I know I can do it this time.

Monday, March 18, 2013

EPIC eBook Award winner!

I got amazing news on Saturday night. My Christmas short story, 'Tis the Season, won Best Short Story at the EPIC eBook Awards!

For divorced dad Alex Tunney, the Christmas choir concert seems like the perfect time to show his son he's ready to work on their relationship. Arriving late isn't his fault, but the last thing he expects is for Jake to take off without a word once the concert's over. He's not the only abandoned father, though. Marty Osterberg waits for his daughter, and when they discover the teenagers have left together, they team up to find them.

Of course, he'd have a much easier time if Marty didn't look exactly like the perfect present to find under his Christmas tree...

I'm quite chuffed. I wanted to write a Christmas story that was sweet without being sappy, and this one still makes me laugh.

To celebrate, I'm going to give away a free copy of it to one commenter on today's post. I'll pick a winner at random on Friday.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Weekend Writing Warriors

I've been meaning to have a substitute for Six Sentence Sunday, but real life has been too much for me to see what others have been doing instead. At least, until now.

Weekend Writing Warriors does eight sentences instead of six, but if you check out the list, you might see a lot of familiar names.

Since it's almost time for it, I'm going to highlight sentences from my Boys of the Zodiac novel, Aries: Riddle Me Wicked. It's an action/adventure, m/m erotic romance about Ian, an assistant curator of classical antiquities at the British Museum, and Lucas, an American photographer who convinces Ian to help him find an artifact nobody believes is real. The story starts out with Ian getting woken up by gunshots at the dig he's on, but when he tries to flee for safety, he gets caught by the attackers.

“My apologies if my survival instincts got in your way,” Ian said as soon as his breathing had calmed enough for him to speak. “I have a rather averse reaction to guns, you see. They tend to make me do irrational things. Such as run for my life.”

“Who ever said your life was in danger?”

Ian stiffened. There was no way he had imagined the attack on the camp. “Perhaps it was the random gunfire around my head, and, oh yes, the fact that you killed my team.”

To check out all the other weekend writing warriors, head over to the official website.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

No book for me

I'm not posting a book I'm reading this weekend, because I'm too frustrated. Nothing interested me very much out of the new releases this week, but when I found the one title that did, an Ellora's Cave sci-fi, I could not for the life of me find a link to read an excerpt. I asked on Twitter and Facebook for help to no avail.

Has EC taken them down? Was it a momentary glitch? Am I just that blind? Because I don't buy 95% of my ebooks without reading an excerpt first.

So in my ongoing frustration, I didn't buy anything at all. EC lost a sale. And if the lack of excerpts on the site is a permanent thing, they've lost me as a customer, unfortunately. That makes me sad. :(

Friday, March 15, 2013

Weekly wrap--up

Well, it's Friday, which was when I was going to announce the winner of my book giveaway this week, but nobody commented on the post. It's disappointing, but I hope that means you went out and bought it instead. It really was a very hot menage and deserves a lot of sales.

My son came home from school on Wednesday sick with the nasty stomach bug that is running rampant through our town, so I've been in Super Mom mode the past two days. Writing has taken a back seat to that. He's on the mend, though now I'm crossing my fingers that none of the rest of us get it.

This weekend is EPICon, and Saturday night is the awards ceremony for the EPIC eBook awards. I have two stories that finaled this year - my solo title, 'Tis the Season, in the Short Story category, and a Jamie Craig title, A Line in the Ice, in the Science Fiction Romance category. I don't get to go this year, which makes me sad. But I made the decision that, with my foot surgery in January, I wouldn't do any traveling this spring at all, because I couldn't know how my recovery would be. But I'll be keeping a close eye when the winners are announced on Saturday night. I have friends who are going to be there who have also finaled, like the amazingly talented Rick Reed (and how glad am I that I'm not in a category with him!), so I'll be thinking positive thoughts for them, too.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

New cover art!

On April 21, the music-themed pax comes out at Amber Allure. My long novella, Aria of the Eclipse, is one of the five stories in it (and the only sci-fi, the other four are contemporaries). Yesterday, I got my cover art:

Simply put, I love it. It's got the sci-fi feel to it, that would be my lovely Tylen on the right there, and its stark elegance really appeals to me.

Only five weeks until it's released!

Don't forget, I'm giving away a copy of the menage I read on the weekend. Nobody's commented on the post yet, so your odds of winning are great right now.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

In love with Warrior(s)

Sunday afternoon, I had to bury myself under ice packs on the couch, which meant I could watch a movie of my choice. I always try to chip away at Oscar-nominated films first, so when I saw Warrior was streamable on Netflix, I decided to watch it.

I have not been so wrapped up in a movie in a very long time.

The movie is about two estranged brothers, played by Tom Hardy and Joel Edgarton, whose lives are converging again after fourteen years apart. Tommy (Hardy) escaped with his mother when she left her abusive and alcoholic husband Paddy (played by Nick Nolte). He returns to see his father as an adult, but only because he wants Paddy to train him for the ultimate MMA tournament. Paddy has been dry for almost a thousand days, and since he wants to have a relationship with Tommy, agrees.

Meanwhile, the older brother Brendan is married with two young girls, teaches high school physics, and is struggling financially. In order to try and get money to keep from having to declare bankruptcy, he's taking part in underground fights. When his school finds out, they suspend him, giving him no choice but to try and fight again to make ends meet.

Tommy becomes an online sensation when a video of him giving a champion a beat down goes viral. That leads to the knowledge that he was a Marine and saved a group of soldiers from drowning by literally tearing the door off a tank. Though he's winning everything, his disdain for any celebrity only makes the public love him more.

Needless to say, their worlds collide.

Simply put, this movie was STUNNING. Some people characterize this as a sports movie, and while the action scenes with the fights are breathtakingly tense and extremely well-done, they are just a backdrop for what is essentially a family drama. This is about three men, each with their battle to fight, struggling to find a way to live with the other and themselves. Each actor brings both a strength and a fragility to their performances that engages within minutes of the film's beginning. I loved all of them, but...

Hardy's portrayal of Tommy is the one that broke me. I have a soft spot for dangerous, damaged men, and Tommy is as complex and broken as they come. I cried over him more than once, as well as cheered. Because his battle is more poignant to me than his brother's. Brendan is fighting for external reasons - the prize money to save his family - while Tommy's fight is truly with himself. He is trying to beat the demons that are devouring him alive, and the only way he knows to keep them at bay is to focus on winning.

And this is where Warrior's true magic comes. You can appreciate it for the fighting. You can appreciate it for the family drama. But you could also appreciate it for the fact you can analyze it for all the metaphors that abound in it. The movie is just chock-full of them, like how Paddy listens to Moby Dick throughout the whole thing, which introduces the question of how Ahab is a parallel to Paddy.

But I'm not going to spoil you for any more. I think you should watch it and find them for yourself. At the very least, watch to be entertained.

It's all that and more.
I'm giving away a copy of Marie Harte's Raising the Bar this week. Go leave a comment on the post for a chance to win!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Giveaway - Raising the Bar by Marie Harte

This past weekend, I read Raising the Bar by Marie Harte. Because I really enjoyed it, I'm going to do a giveaway of it this week to a random commenter on today's post. Leave a comment, and on Friday, I'll pick one at random to win a free e-book of it. It's that easy.

Dr. Dylan Warren is too old to be swapping places with his twin brother, but to save a million-dollar deal, he’ll play along. He never counted on a sexy, nosy male contractor being able to tell the difference between them. In order to protect his brother’s reputation, Dylan agrees to meet Harper for dinner—at what turns out to be a high-class club that caters to its patrons’ every need.

Dylan has never made any bones about being bi, but he’s never had two lovers at once. Suddenly, he’s in lust with not only Harper but the hot female bartender intent on serving them more than drinks. Between Freddy, a beautiful woman who seems to know him better than he knows himself, and Harper, a man who pushes his every boundary, Dylan finds himself in that most uncomfortable of places—falling in love without a safety net.

A little more information on it...though it doesn't say it on the website, this is the third part of Marie's series called the Wicked Warrens. Each part is a standalone, however, so it's not necessary to have read the first two titles. It's also m/m/f, with mild BDSM elements. Very hot!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

February Amber Allure bestsellers

The February bestseller list at Amber Allure is up, and Iron Eyes is on there at #6!

1. The Whore Of New Slum - T. A. Chase
2. Admiring Jesse - Shawn Lane
3. It Might Be Magic - Carolyn Gray
4. Collusion - Eden Winters
5. They Walk Among Us - T. A. Chase
6. Iron Eyes - Vivien Dean
7. Eye Candy And Achy Hearts - Adrianna Dane
8. The Tinkered Pinkerton - Helen Louise Caroll
9. Harnessing - D. J. Manly
10. Balthazar Starblitz - A. J. Llewellyn

I'm thrilled to see Carolyn's first release at AQP on there, too, as well as other friends.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

What I'm reading this weekend

Man, I have been so bad about blogging this week. Spring does that to me. The busier schedules distract me from online stuff, and if I don't have an immediate deadline I'm working toward...

Do I sound like a broken record if I say I'll be better next week?'s Saturday, so time to show what I'm reading this weekend.

Dr. Dylan Warren is too old to be swapping places with his twin brother, but to save a million-dollar deal, he’ll play along. He never counted on a sexy, nosy male contractor being able to tell the difference between them. In order to protect his brother’s reputation, Dylan agrees to meet Harper for dinner—at what turns out to be a high-class club that caters to its patrons’ every need.

Dylan has never made any bones about being bi, but he’s never had two lovers at once. Suddenly, he’s in lust with not only Harper but the hot female bartender intent on serving them more than drinks. Between Freddy, a beautiful woman who seems to know him better than he knows himself, and Harper, a man who pushes his every boundary, Dylan finds himself in that most uncomfortable of places—falling in love without a safety net.

I've always enjoyed Marie Harte, but it's been a while since I've read anything by her. Since I always liked her best for the hot, this looked like a good read to get back to.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

What I'm reading this weekend

I'm going for the what looks to be hot this weekend.

Vampire, Tristan Deveraux, savored the night with his young progeny, Caleb, by his side. Satisfying his shameless desires, he took what he wanted without reprisal or regret, until Gauge Roberts darkened his door.

Gauge, an ex-Navy Seal, offered more than muscles and brawn when he became Tristan’s personal security coordinator. Surrendering to an undeniable attraction, the dominating soldier scratched an itch both had ignored far too long.

A remarkable bond is quickly formed between the three very different men, allowing each to fulfill individual needs while maintaining separate but equal relationships, until a surprising enemy threatens to destroy it all.

Will they survive the deadly fight, or is heartbreak the only price for satisfying their kind’s immortal thirst?

I've never read anything by this author or from the publisher before, but I do love my kinky vamps, so I'm giving this one a try.

Friday, March 1, 2013

A busy week

Oh, no. It happened again. I got caught up in real life this week and totally forgot about blogging. Oops.

So what was I doing?

Well, on Monday I had the six-week follow-up on my foot surgery. After x-rays and exams, the doctor said I am done with the orthopedic shoe and I can go back to my real shoes now. There's no reason to see him again, and it's just a matter of my foot adjusting to regular movement. Healing fast and well is a blessing. :)

Tuesday was my weigh-in. Oh, I didn't mention that before? Well, in my determination to finally get fit and healthy, I joined Weight Watchers so I'd have the accountability. In 4 weeks, I've lost 9.2 pounds, which I'm really pleased about since I've had severely restricted mobility and can't exercise. Now that I'm back in real shoes, I can work up to introducing regular exercise back into my life, so hopefully losing that steadily will continue.

Wednesday was all about seeing my daughter off to LA where her jazz band will be performing at Disneyland, and then running my son around for all the stuff he's involved in.

I finally started to get back to the writing world on Thursday, which meant I could finally throw something together for the blog today.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?