- 2013 (98)
- 2012 (299)
- 2011 (392)
- DOUBLE DARE by Jeanne St. James
- ALL GROWN UP
- iPad of the Future, A Return to Sanity and 'Mortal...
- This way, there be dragons...
- Why Do We Need Romance?
- Meet the Nosferatu Brothers
- Rip Cord by Jeanne St. James
- From My POV
- Within the Shadows of Mortals (Ashen Twilight Seri...
- Paranormals everywhere
- Interview with Sara Brookes
- Turn up the HEAT!
- Ode to Royo
- How Do You Solve a Problem Like My Muse's?
- I'm so lucky: First Dimension and Yes, Captain.
- Choosing Your Paranormal Creature
- This Week's Paranormal Recs in Books, TV and Movie...
- Hatching a plot
- Interview with Susan Hanniford Crowley
- Are You BAIT?
- 2010 is here!
- 2009 (174)
What could be better than waking up next to a hot guy? Waking up sandwiched between two of them.
Quinn Preston, a financial analyst, is not happy when her friends dare her to pick up a handsome stranger at a wedding reception. What better reason to give up men when her previous long-term relationship had not only been lackluster in the bedroom but he had cheated.
Logan Reed, a successful business owner, can’t believe that he’s attracted to the woman in the ugly, Pepto-Bismol colored bridesmaid dress. And to boot, she’s more than tipsy. After turning down her invitation for a one-night stand, he finds her in the parking lot too impaired to drive. He rescues her and takes her home. His home.
The next morning Quinn’s conservative life turns on its ear when Logan introduces her to pleasures she never even considered before. And to make things more complicated, Logan already has a lover…
Tyson White, ex-pro football player, is completely in love with Logan. He has mixed emotions when Logan brings home Quinn. But the dares keep coming and things heat up with the three of them. Nevertheless Ty wonders: will adding Quinn to the mix end up enhancing or destroying Logan’s and his relationship?
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, BDSM theme & content, male/male sexual practices, ménage (m/m/f).
Quinn Preston almost choked on her Alabama slammer when her friend elbowed her in the ribs. "Ooof."
She saved her drink before it could spill all over her ugly bridesmaid dress. Yeah, that would have been a shame: to ruin such a nice, frumpy, pukey pink taffeta dress. One the bride had said she would be able to wear in the future. Like to a cocktail party. Or maybe her own funeral. Yeah, right. No one in their right mind would want to get caught dead in this thing.
Ruining the dress wouldn't have been a loss, but losing her drink would have. She was drinking slammers for a reason -- to get good and drunk.
Lana nudged her again. "You see that?" She nodded her head toward the back of the room.
"What?" Quinn really didn't care what Lana was excited about. She just wanted to get this day over with.
She was tired of watching the happy couple. She was tired of pasting on a plastic smile for the photographer. And she was really tired of listening to the sappy congratulations. All things she might never have -- the wedding, the husband, the bridal bliss. And something her parents never failed to remind her. Especially now that she was in her early thirties. And single. Again.
"Not what. Who."
"Huh?" She sucked on the dainty little straw the bartender had put in her drink. Hardly anything would come out of it. Maybe it was designed just for stirring. She pulled it out and threw it onto the bar. She really needed one of those big giant straws that came in those fancy frozen drinks.
"Him. Over there." Lana grabbed Quinn by the shoulders and turned her around to face whatever had caught her friend's attention.
"Oh, him." She took a deep draw of the punchlike drink, only there wasn't a bit of punch in it. Not the fruit kind anyway.
"Yeah, him." Lana dragged out him like she was sucking on a maraschino cherry and enjoying the sweetness on her tongue.
Quinn didn't even take a good look. Men were on her shit list at the moment. She didn't care how hot they were. The potent drink in her hands was all the company she needed. She smiled into her glass; it was the best date she'd had in a while.
Another pink taffeta blur whizzed up to them, out of breath.
"Jeez Louise. Did you see that hunk of man meat?" Paula, another victim of the wedding fashion nightmare, was flushed and had a bead of sweat running down her chipmunk-like cheeks. "Do you think he's single?"
Quinn raised one shoulder in a half shrug and turned back to the bar. It was bad enough when the three of them had to stand next to each other at the altar, then throughout the grueling pictures, followed by having to sit beside each other at the head table. All in that awful pink froth. But now that it was all over, and they had done their duty for their friend Gina, there was no reason they all had to stand there looking like someone threw up Pepto-Bismol.
She leaned into the bar and asked the semicute bartender the time. When he answered that it was six, she gritted her teeth. They had only been at the reception for an hour. It was way too early to bail.
With a sigh, she turned back to her friends. They were still ogling the male eye candy across the room.
Paula's sigh drifted over her. "I wonder if he likes women with a little meat on their bones."
A little meat? She opened her mouth to correct Paula, but shut it quickly. Her friend didn't need to be on the receiving end of her miserable mood.
"Quinn, I bet he'd make you forget Peanut."
Quinn winced and took another long draw from her drink. She loved the flavor and the tanginess on her tongue. And she was trying to forget Peanut. She hated the nickname her friends had called her ex-boyfriend, Peter. Once they had actually called him Peanut in front of his face -- by accident, of course. Right. It had taken her a while to brush that one under the rug. He had never liked her friends after that.
On the other hand, her friends had never liked Peter from the beginning. Unlike her parents, who loved the bastard. Probably more than they loved her.
"Yeah, Quinn, he could probably fuck your brains out, and you'd never remember that douche again."
Quinn frowned at Paula. She noticed her friend's string of pearls hiding in the skin around her neck. Quinn's hands automatically want to her neck to finger a similar necklace -- a part of the stupid wedding costume.
Ugh. She hated pearls!
She hated taffeta. She hated pink. She hated frilly dresses.
She took a long swig from her glass.
And she hated Peter. The asshole.
His gift to her last Valentine's Day wasn't an engagement ring. Oh no, after five long, wasted years of dating the shit, he couldn't have gotten her a ring. Nope. Instead he sent her a text message.
That was it.
A stupid little text message. One line.
We've grown apart and I've found someone new.
She deserved more than that. Something better. After all those years of loyalty, standing by his side, being the "good, proper" girlfriend. As Peter had expected. As her parents had expected. The girlfriend any decent man would want on his arm. Right?
Not even a sorry. Not even an explanation. Nothing.
And the next day, FedEx had delivered a box with all the things she had left over at his apartment during the last half decade.
Quinn emptied her glass and turned back to the bar, blocking out her friends' chattering over that man.
She needed another man like she needed a hole in the head.
She slid her glass over the bar top, and before she could ask for another, a deep voice washed over her.
"Put her next drink on me."
Dumb ass. The drinks are on the house. She turned to ream whoever it was, and stopped. Her mouth opened, but nothing escaped.
"You look like a fish out of water with your mouth hanging open like that." When he smiled, the lines around his eyes crinkled. He was tan, an outdoorsy tan, not a manmade one. And he had beautiful green eyes. Shit.
She had never seen such beautiful eyes on a man. His nose was a little crooked, like it had been broken, and it made him even more beautiful. No. Not beautiful. He was. He was.
Quinn closed her mouth and swallowed hard. He was so unperfect, he was perfect. His hair was a dark brown with natural highlights, more proof he liked being outdoors. It was long and pulled back into a neat ponytail.
She hated long hair on men. But it was right on him.
He had a beard that wasn't a beard. It was like a longer five-o'clock shadow.
She hated facial hair.
He had a strong, corded neck that disappeared into a stiff dress shirt. The collar had been already released and one more button undone below that. The knot of his tie was loose and hung crookedly from around his neck.
The sleeves of his crispy white shirt were rolled up to his elbows, and his forearms were tan covered in dark hair. His hands.
His hands were large. They were working hands. They weren't soft and pampered. But calloused and thick and strong.
Capable. Capable of doing all kinds of things.
Quinn's nipples hardened under the scratchy taffeta.
His hands could do all kinds of dirty, nasty things.
Things Peter had never wanted to do.
Quinn ripped her gaze from him and spun back around to the bar, bracing herself against it for a second to catch her breath. She grabbed her fresh drink and took a gulp.
"Whoa. Slow down there."
She pressed the cold drink against her forehead in an attempt to cool herself off.
She needed to go change her panties, she was so freaking wet.
She could feel his heat next to her; his body was like a furnace. She wanted to plant her hands on his chest and feel how hot he really was. Her fingers convulsed around her glass.
"Are you okay?" The deep timbre of his voice sent a shot of lightning down her body, landing right in her pussy.
Quinn could only nod her answer.
He palmed her bare shoulder and turned her to him. He stared down into her eyes, his lips widening into a smile.
His lips. Oh man. Those lips probably could do all sorts of things to her, with her. Lips that were made for more than kissing.
"Yes." Oh my God, she thought. That was the kind of yes she blurted when she was in the midst of an orgasm. At least from what she could remember. It had been so long since she'd come.with a partner, anyway.
She felt the heat crawl up her neck, and she stepped back, breaking the contact.
"I.I'm fine." She cleared her throat. "Thank you for the drink." She took another sip before raising the glass to him in thanks.
"It was nothing." When he laughed, her knees almost buckled. "Enjoy it."
He stepped away and then paused. But it looked as though he thought better of whatever he was contemplating, and he continued on his way.
Quinn leaned back against the bar and let out a shaky breath.
She was suddenly flanked on either side by her friends. She had been so distracted, she hadn't even realized that they disappeared.
"Oh. My. God!"
"I told you he was hot!"
"Oh! I wish I weren't married already."
"I wish he liked chubby chicks."
Quinn couldn't take any more. She raised her palms in surrender. "Stop. Enough."
"But, Quinn --"
"But nothing," Quinn answered Paula.
"You're just going to let him walk away?"
"Paula, he isn't going anywhere. Unfortunately I'm not going anywhere. We have to be here for two more hours, at least."
Lana said, "Are you going to let Peter ruin the rest of your life? All men aren't assholes like him."
Quinn harrumphed and took another sip of her slammer.
"Why don't you at least dance with him?"
"Why not?" Lana asked.
Why not? Because if she did, she might come right on the dance floor? Because she might end up in a puddle of her own juices? The picture in her head shocked her: it was of her lying in a heap in the middle of the dance floor in the throes of an orgasm. Surrounded by all the wedding guests.
This drink was stronger than she thought.
"Because no one is dancing yet."
"Sure they are. Look."
Quinn glanced over at the area cleared for dancing, and sure enough, a crowd of people were out there shaking their groove thing. Quinn had been too busy trying to get her drink on to notice.
From the looks of the participants on the dance floor, a few of them had been partaking in the open bar also. Even the bride and her new husband were bouncing and shimmying in the crowd.
At least they were a happy couple.
Quinn took another drink.
Lana frowned at her. "Are you just going to drink tonight, or are you going to do something about your situation?"
"Situation? What situation?"
Quinn checked over her shoulder to see if the bartender was listening. He was. He had a big grin plastered on his face. Great.
The father of the bride came up and asked for a gin and tonic. While he was waiting, he turned to them. "Hi, girls. Enjoying yourselves? You look great in those dresses. My wife picked them out."
Oh joy. Quinn would have to remember to smack -- she meant thank -- her. She couldn't wait to rip the scratchy, ugly piece of shit off.
All three women gave him a smile but bit their tongues. Eventually he wandered away, and Lana and Paula jumped right back to harassing her. Good thing they were her friends.
"C'mon. It's not going to hurt to have a one-night stand. Look at him."
"I already saw him." Holy moley, she knew they meant well, but they were getting on her last nerve.
"Yeah, and we saw how you were drooling too."
She had not drooled. Her hand automatically went up to her mouth.
Paula said, "He probably isn't interested in you anyway."
"Yeah, you couldn't get someone like that. You attract losers like Peter," Lana said.
If they thought their reverse psychology was going to work, well, it wasn't.
"Looks like he's with Paige Reed, anyway."
Quinn's gaze shot over to the corner of the ballroom where the tall man stood next to the petite, dark-haired beauty. Paige Reed. Figures.
"I thought Paige was dating Connor Morgan," Quinn mumbled.
She must have mumbled loud enough, because Lana answered her. "She is. Connor had to fly to Australia for something to do with his job."
"So why is she with him?" Quinn asked. Why was she so curious all of a sudden? Why did she care?
She didn't. She nursed her drink. After one and a half Alabama slammers, she was starting to feel pretty tipsy. She wasn't used to drinking. And when she did drink, she usually had wine, not hard liquor, and especially not such a hard-hitting mix of liquors.
Paula leaned into the both of them and said in an exaggerated whisper, "Maybe he's an escort," like it was a scandal, and then laughed.
Maybe he was an escort.
He was probably worth every penny too.
His back was to them now, but that just gave Quinn the opportunity to study how broad those shoulders were in his dress shirt. When he moved, the fabric bunched and pulled with his muscles.
Lana gasped, jerking Quinn out of her thoughts. "He's not an escort! That's Logan Reed, Paige's brother. I haven't seen him since we were kids. Holy shit, did he grow up."
"I'll say." Paula agreed. "Quinn, I dare you to go ask him to dance."
Lana joined in. "Yeah, I dare you too. Don't be a wuss."
If she were a wuss, she wouldn't have come out in public in this pink atrocity. And the matching shoes were killing her feet. The last thing she needed was to be dancing. She'd be crippled.
"That's a double dare, you know, with the two of us daring you.."
Oh, boy, a double dare. She would definitely do it now -- not. "You're crazy."
"No, you are, if you pass up this opportunity. "
"How do you know he's available?" Quinn asked them.
"You don't know until you ask him," Lana said. "But if I remember correctly, his wife left him a while ago.
There had been some rumors."
There had been some rumors about her and Peter too, but rumors were just that: rumors. She didn't take any stock in them.
Paula suddenly shouted, "Truth or dare?" making Quinn jump. It was like they were teenagers all over again.
Lana quickly said, "Truth." And bounced on her toes like she was fifteen.
Jesus, would someone please put a bullet in my head? Quinn needed to be put out of her misery.
Paula asked Lana, "Do you shave or wax?"
"Shave. Okay, Quinn, your turn. Truth or dare?"
Quinn was not playing this juvenile game. It was stupid; she was not going to fall into what was clearly a trap.
"How bad was Peter in bed?" Lana asked.
Damn. She wasn't going to answer that one. Even as drunk as she was. She didn't want to relive their vanilla, boring lovemaking. And she definitely didn't want to admit it or talk about it.
There was only one thing left for her to do.
Trent Dallion was screwed. Much older than him, the wily little cougar had him by the balls—and he couldn’t get loose. She’d thanked him for killing her brother. Did she mean it? Or was she playing a game of cat and mouse, waiting for revenge.
Peri Montana tasted her destiny in the blood of the jaguar who took her diseased brother’s life. Mountain born and bred, she wanted nothing to do with the desert cat that possessed more vampyre abilities than she was comfortable with. Could she return to the hot desert nights without literally losing her tail?
Wading waist-deep into the pool, she sat on a natural seat cut out by the water, and taking a deep breath, she lay back. Blissfully, her eyelids drooped and the minerals began to do their job as tiny waves lapped at her breasts.
She sent a silent prayer up for her younger sibling, hoping he was at peace. He’d chosen his own path. She had adjusted to the fact that he wouldn’t survive long. The life of a transgressor was gruesome and he wouldn’t have been happy living that way. Thank you, Trent.
“I’d do anything for you.”
Peri practically jumped out of her skin as her eyes snapped open. What the fuck! How the hell had he snuck up on her?
“Come on, you didn’t think I’d let you get away. Baby, you left a trail that smelled like heaven.” The man stood stark naked at the edge of the pool, gazing at her. “Plus, you belong to me. Like it or not.”
“Go to hell,” she snarled and slipped further into the water. “Jesus, give me some privacy.” Shit, he’d found her far too easily. Glad she’d fed from Zader this morning, Peri locked her mind as tight as she could and mentally scrambled to assess her situation.
Her senses had told her the minute she tasted him they were mates, but Peri wasn’t ready for that. She’d hoped by some long shot she was wrong because no way could she be mated to a jungle cub. He was not just any compound furball, but a Sovereign warrior -- Trent was Reign.
Lord, he looked good though. The warrior was over six feet tall and his engorged cock bobbed in front of him like a joystick. Hell, he was just a boy. Bingo! She hadn’t lived this long for nothing. He was young, and Peri could use that to her advantage.
“Slide over, I’m coming in.”
“You are not!”
“Peri, right? Get used to this, honey. It’s all yours.”
Tell me he didn’t just wiggle his dick at me?
He splashed into the pool like a mongrel dog and sat down across from her with a shit-eating grin on his face. “Yup, all yours.”
“And who says I want it?”
“Don’t you? Anyway, I’m not sure either of us has a choice.”
She had to play this right. Heck, have a little fun with the youngster, then send him scampering back home. She hadn’t been fucked really well in a long time. Youth had its place.
She stretched her leg across the pool, then gently nudged between his legs and flicked his balls with her toenails. “Maybe.” His nuts were hotter than the pool. Her legs squeezed together, tried to stem the flow of cream that slid from her body. “Come here.”
He ducked under the water and came up beside her. His long, striped hair dripped on her shoulder until he slung it to get some of the moisture out.
“Hey,” she yelled. “That was such a doglike thing to do.”
Trent’s emerald eyes resembled thunderclouds, and that’s the last thing she saw before his lips descended on hers.
Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-© J. Hali Steele
Meanwhile, I'm getting some work done, throwing more things on the fire and getting back to my creative brain. It's strange how you never know what goes into books and the industry until you're knee deep in it. I wrote a post earlier about how I, like most readers, just saw the end result of books ending up stores. I never knew how they got there. But even as we speak, distribution is changing and that quick, satisfying feeling ordering a book in minutes has become a bit of an addiction. I've tested the Kindle publishing end myself and am really enjoying the process of bringing some of my works directly to readers. Of course, that's another end result process. I'm still working the indie level with creating my covers, have beta readers and editors help me clean up the manuscript, formatting, copy editing, etc. everything but it's always awesome to hear from a reader who won of my books and/or who's bought them, read it and enjoyed it. I can't wait to see how the Apple tablet and the next gen readers make the industry change, hopefully for the better.
I want to toss something out to readers, so I'd like to do a giveaway along with posting this week's excerpt of Within the Shadows of Mortals. Leave a comment here about how you buy your books (whether ordering them online, at e-stores, at the good ole traditional bricks and mortar, etc) and I'll pick a random person who will win their choice of a book from my backlists. If anyone gets a chance to try out the new iPad come on back and let us know what you think of it!
On to the excerpt after the jump!
…that’s okay, I’ll wait while you ponder the vast question…
The answer is, no, not really, but that’s going to change, as God is my witness (for those of you Scarlett O’Hara fans)
So, you’d think that since this is the Paranormal Romantics blog that I’ve chosen to talk about dragons in the paranormal sense. You’re wrong—well, not really. I am writing a dragon book and that’s part of the problem.
Think figuratively, friends. Dragons, in this instance, mean the trials and tribulations that trip us up as we go about our daily lives and chase our dreams.
They can come in many forms, some the obvious of technology, spouses, pets, kids, the day job, whatever. I’ll bet if you really sat down, you could come up with a far longer list than I did.
Being a writer is a solitary existence, and by nature, I think it needs to be in order for said writer to concentrate on all the other people who crowd through our brains. Perhaps two centuries ago, we could easily be considered mad, as we frequently talk to the residents of our minds, ask them to lay bare their souls for us so that we might write about them.
I think writing is like a balancing act. We must gently craft out a plot backbone then skillfully add in characters, tone, emotions, motivation, back story and many other components without falling off the track and getting lost.
However, these things happen. They did to me this week. My novella came to a screeching halt. I was lost, trapped in the dark without a light, afraid, alone, annoyed. So I switched gears and wrote the opening chapter of my dragon book. Went down in flames, leaving the stink of failure behind to hang heavy in the air.
My self-confidence fled to a warm, dark place, away from prying eyes. My old insidious companions Doubt and Panic crept back in to fill the void. I committed the biggest sin a writer can make: I doubted myself and my ability. I chose to believe the evil little voice inside that tells me all the time I’m a hack, I can’t cut it in this business, that I’ll never amount to anything.
I don’t know why this occurs with me because deep down, I know I’m a great writer. Some of the pieces I’ve written are unforgettable, deeply emotional gems.
But you know how it feels, right? You can’t shake that feeling. The one that yells you’ll never be good enough, you’ll never break the edge.
Don’t go there. I warned you there’d be dragons, and this is where they reside, waiting, snaking out their forked tongues in case I stumble so they can snap me up.
I seem to blow off course with the least ill wind and it’s annoying.
Luckily, there was an “intervention” of sorts from my wonderful husband and a good friend, who slapped some verbal sense into me, made me reiterate a confirmation that I could indeed to this calling that has chased me since childhood.
And so, once again, I believe. I’m ready to tackle my taunting dragons and fix the novella, make it better, and write the book the way I know I can.
Now, if only I could make that damn backbone stick permanently. I have no hankering to become an appetizer for dragon-kind any time soon—well, unless he was really convincing…
The moral of this story, kids? If you give up on yourself, so will everyone else. They'll turn their attention faster than lovers in a Hollywood drama. Your faith in your confidence may feel as if it were built on shifting sand, but you gotta dig deep, hold fast to those trusted ones around you and plunge through the fire. It won’t kill you and it will make you a stronger person.
As for me, I’m still working on it. Luckily, I’m perfectly capable of handling my own sword.
Its not that the writing wasn’t good. It was. It was just that it wasn’t necessarily as I remembered it. Things I’d thought she’d said, she didn’t quite say, things I thought he did, he didn’t quite do.
So I’m still writing…a lot. And that’s why I don’t have much of a blog today.
I do, however, have a question and I know how you all love my questions.
Why do you read romance?
I read it for the Happy Ever After, even in the Paranormal.
Why do you read it?
Tane: Sometimes. What family doesn’t have issues? *crosses arms and glares at Dragos*
Tane: Love is only a hormonal response.
Daedalus: You’re only saying that because you haven’t fallen in love in centuries.
Tane: More like millennia.
Annie: Can someone answer the question instead?
Dragos: We’re gods in comparison to modern vampires. Their existence stems from ours. We rule, they obey.
Annie: Really? You’re always an inspiration for more stories Dragos. *jots mental note for future reference*. What about your physical features?
Tane: Why focus on that? What about the power?
Daedalus: Bald is the new sexy. *winks at Annie, who blushes and gets dizzy*.
Dragos: *gags* “Keep it in your pants, brother.”
Annie: Okay then, Tane. What about your powers?
Dragos: I’ve had enough of this. *storms from blog*
Annie: *stands* Wait. What’s his problem?
Annie: Hey! Call me?
Tane: It best you don’t remember this, Annie. *passes a hand over her face and leaves*
From Seriously Reviewed:
Gil Davis couldn’t believe it had been ten years since he’d last walked through these doors. Where had the time gone?
He was not into reliving his high school years.
No way, no how.
But something on the invitation had caught his eye… this time they were holding it at the school. So instead of immediately pitching it, he had thrown the invitation on his kitchen table. Unfortunately, Katie, his best friend and roommate, found it and hounded him relentlessly until he agreed to RSVP.
And, of course, Katie insisted on being his date.
Which thrilled him to no end… Not.
Now he wasn’t so sure if he wanted to go in.
He wasn’t sure he was ready for a night of teasing from his former schoolmates.
Yet, here he stood, just inside the double doors of his old high school staring at the registration table by the gymnasium doors.
Someone grabbed his elbow. Firmly.
“You’re not chickening out are you?”
Gil just shook his head and swallowed hard. “Did you find the restroom all right?”
“Fine,” Katie said in her little no-nonsense tone. “Let’s go.”
The harder she tugged on his arm, the more he dug in his heels. He didn’t want to leave his little corner of safety yet. “Hold on.”
“No, Gil. It’s not going to get any easier. You look fine. We’ve – okay, I’ve worked really hard to get you to this point.” She smoothed the hair back from his eyes. Gil was surprised she hadn’t spat on her fingers first like a hovering mother hen.
The problem was, he was still a nerd at heart.
“Now, get your shit together and let’s go!” She gave his arm one last hard yank and dragged him over to the table.
Sucking in a breath, he steeled himself for what was to come.
The two women sitting at the table wore big predatory smiles.
“Gilbert? Gilbert Davis is that you?” the toothy piranha on the right asked. “I swear I didn’t recognize you without your bottle-bottom glasses and pocket protector.”
Those glasses were long gone thanks to Katie dragging him years ago to the optometrist for contacts.
Gil leaned forward to read her name tag. Bonnie (Trusk) Smith.
Bonnie Trusk. He remembered her. She had been part of the Homecoming Court their senior year.
“Just Gil,” he corrected her.
She laughed and waved a hand toward him, clearly dismissing him.
He was a geek. He knew it. He had been one ever since he could remember. And his classmates had always teased him about it.
She sized up Katie. “Are you his wife?”
Katie laughed and patted Gil’s arm. “Oh, no.”
Gil gave her a quick warning look.
Katie just gave him a sugary smile and a noisy kiss on the cheek.
A woman’s shrill scream shot a bolt of pain through his head.
Gil stumbled back a step from the table, barely avoiding Katie’s toes.
Holy hell, he never should have agreed to come to this thing. Especially if he’d known Rip would be here.
Gil had a crush on Rip since high school. Unfortunately, Rip was definitely of the heterosexual persuasion. Being captain of the football team, he’d had every girl in school chasing after him, one way or another.
So he’d admired the well-built, handsome jock from afar. Very afar.
Hearing Rip’s name brought all those old feelings back to the surface.
All the insecurities.
Gil certainly had never expected his secret crush to come back to town for a ten-year class reunion. Rip had become way too famous for that.
Gil grabbed Katie’s arm and, with her squeaky protest, dragged her through the double doors into the gym.
“Did you hear that?” He struggled not to hyperventilate.
“Rip is going to be here.”
“Rip?” She wrinkled her nose. “What the hell is rip?”
“Okay, okay. Calm down. And let up a little more please.”
He released her and wiped his sweaty palms along his slacks. He never should have worn slacks. Slacks were nerd-wear.
Why didn’t Katie talk him out of wearing them? He should have worn torn jeans or leather pants or --
“Wait. What?” Gil shook his head. “First of all, why would they need music?”
“Dance?” Gil swallowed hard. He cocked his head. He did hear music. He hadn’t noticed it because he’d been too panicked about Rip being there. “Okay, just don’t ask me to dance.”
She had the nerve to laugh. As if his lack of rhythm was something to laugh about. His coordination left something to be desired. Gil considered it a handicap – maybe not one recognized by the government. But no one should make fun of the handicapped!
Gil frowned. “I didn’t see anything on the invitation about dancing.”
“Okay, Gil. So if Rip isn’t a band then who or what is it?”
Warner Brothers trailer on YouTube (from mearbhrach):
I read hero driven books. Is it because I grew up reading these types of stories? Probably. I’m sure a good bit of it also has to do with the time period I grew up in. Another reason is—I like them—my stories always start with the hero’s POV.
No, I don’t want heroines to be doormats. They need to be smart and have the strength and compassion to understand the hero. After all, they need to save him from himself! Sometimes she needs to give him hell then she needs to know when to back off and let him be the man. She needs to know how to be a woman—that makes her stronger than a man can ever be—and he’ll treat her like one when she becomes his.
But it will always be his story.
This brings me to my Purple P Rose’s SCREWED series. Okay, I had to go here. *laughing*-honestly, this was an accident that I’m still not sure I’m glad happened. The story has gotten my best reviews and she is at the top of my list of fav characters—which shocks the hell out of me considering my feeling about heroines. Purple even graced the cover alone in SCREWED AGAIN, not a hunk in sight. And it's my favorite cover. *gasps*
Considering some of today’s bestsellers, I'm not sure I have to ask which readers like best, but feel free to give me your opinion.
I’m done. Etah wants her last great love scene…
Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-© J. Hali Steele
For those who haven't had a chance to take a look at the Ashen Twilight series "Mortals" takes place right after the short story "Upon a Tide of Wintry Morn". Each story has it's own arc connected to the ongoing series arc so you shouldn't be too lost if you're just hopping in.
Grab a cup of your favorite drink and settle in!
More after the jump!
So, I'll just tell you what I've been working on and what's coming down the pike.
Today, I'll be finishing the final chapter on a modern retelling of Rumpelstiltskin then hopefully by Friday I'll finish my latest vampire novella, which I hope will be the first in a series of novellas. Monday, I plan to buckle down and get to work on my third full length novel in the paranormal genre. This one about dragons.
This should keep my busy through the middle of March.
Hopefully next week my brain will be back on track! :-) Until then, happy writing.
Hi Sara, thanks for being here with us!!! Congratulations on the new release.
Thanks, Rebecca and thanks for having me here!
Let’s get started.
Tell me about your new release, Flash of Dark, available now from Liquid Silver Books.
Flash of Dark is an erotic paranormal romance/urban fantasy set in Cincinnati, Ohio and deals with the beginnings of something happening between the Tuatha Dé Danann, or the Fae, and vampires. Plus, there’s one stubborn human in the mix that just won’t leave Ana, the lead character – and a Fae – alone. There’s even a bit of a murder mystery in this one and, of course, a love story with some wonderfully hot sex scenes.
Here’s the blurb to tell you a bit more:
Remember when you were little and your parents warned you to stay away from certain things and told you that there were no creatures that hid in your closet? Guess what? They weren’t telling the truth. My name is Ana Sullivan and I’m one of those things that go bump in the night…
As a member of the immortal Tuatha Dé Danann, Ana was sent to the human realm three hundred and fifty years ago by the Fae council to keep tabs on the self-banished High King. Once a Celtic god with a talent for stealing souls, she does her best to keep her life on as even of a keel as possible, despite the fact that her best friend, Lucas Edwards, is a vampire. Keep as low a profile as you can, that’s Ana’s motto while she’s here. After all, she can live vicariously though Lucas.
Her tranquil life is thrown into a tailspin when an incident outside of her club points to her as the prime suspect in a high profile murder. As if that wasn’t enough trouble, handsome, rich and a media darling, Stark Grantham walks into her life she can see her peace and calm being chipped away one precious chunk at a time. Not to mention, Stark’s very, very human, as high profile as they come and everything Ana’s spent her life trying to avoid.
Given Ana’s Fae ability, a toxic touch that can be lethal to mortals, will his choice to be with Ana cost Stark his life?
I see that this book is called Rebirth Series I. Does that mean there will be more? Will it be the same characters?
Yes, I’m currently finishing up the second book in the series. I actually have one more chapter to write and it’ll go off to my critique partner for a bit. This is probably the sixth or seventh draft of it, so I’m hoping everything fell into place this time. While Flash of Dark deals with the Fae side of this fight, the next book will deal with the vampire side. It will be characters you’re familiar with from the first book, but not told from the same perspective.
Do you prefer to write series or stand alone books?
Actually, series are harder. Though stand alone stories are their own beasts as well. With a series, you have to really pay attention to timelimes and histories of the characters – especially when you’re working with characters several hundred years old. I actually have notebooks and scribbles on sticky notes to try to keep track of everything. With a stand alone, I always find I want to know more about characters and situations beyond just the book itself. That’s what makes series an attractive draw, you’re not just seeing this one small slice of time in the characters life and get to see a bigger picture.
What led you to the paranormal? Do you read a lot of it?
I’ve always been fascinated with paranormal, since I was a kid. I remember reading Christopher Pike and L J Smith’s Vampire Diaries and getting sucked into the stories almost immediately. I just read a lot period, but if the story has a paranormal element – all the better.
Do you have a favorite holiday?
Not anymore, it used to be St. Patrick’s Day, but my daughter’s dancing takes over that entire week. Because she’s an Irish dancer, St Patrick’s Day is probably a week long for us and there’s just a limit to how much green beer you can see.
Flash of Dark is a first person point of view book. Do you usually write in first person?
I’d say I balance between the two. Whichever way the story happens to come out, whichever character feels they need to tell it, that’s how the story gets told. I actually have a fantasy I’m working on that’s in its beginning stages and its third person POV from the male lead.
I always ask everyone to tell me about their muse, what is yours like?
I don’t have ONE muse, per say. It’s more a collection and it’s really the characters themselves. Which is helpful as it lets me learn their moods and personalities better but on the other hand, it lets me learn their moods and personalities better, if you know what I mean. It’s both good and bad and sometimes, those muses just have to be beat into submission.
What advice could you give new authors just starting out?
The same piece of advice I was given: write what you’d want to read. First and foremost, I write a story I would want to curl up with and read myself.
What do you do to combat writers block?
I work on several stories at once. If I get stuck with one story, I will move on to something else and work on it for a while. It usually it gives my brain a chance to focus on something else and not thinking about one for a while can get me un-stuck. It took me years to figure out that was what worked for me though and it was a frustrating – and long road – to get to that point.
Thanks for being with us today!!!
Thanks for having me, I had a great time!
Pull up a chair, grab a cup of hot chocolate, or chocolate sauce *grins*, and enjoy the view.
And there are beautiful creatures out there with the real thing...http://www.freelionpictures.com/
HAWT! enough for you?
Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-© J. Hali Steele
Now, she’s back and apparently she’s got her own ideas that don’t necessarily coincide with my schedule or even what I want to write.
Not to mention she's acquired a leather corset and leather boots and I think I've even seen a riding crop somewhere around.
This is not a good sign for the garden variety writer, but I'll take her on.
Why? Well, over the last several months I've seen my writing style morph into something different from where it was when I started on this long, convoluted, exciting, frightening journey.
That's a good thing. Stories are more edgy, different, definitely sexier and some are even jumping straight into hot.
So, what's drawn me off my regimented schedule so soon into the New Year? The first novella in a paranormal series. The glimmer of the idea was given to me by my CP. Now it's grown into this whole big thing that's wearing me out. :-) Also I've been trying my hand at dabbling in the erotic. Still in process but we'll see how it turns out and hopefully I won't go down in flames.
Really, I do plan to get that book started this month...
While I go slink off to a corner a fret, let me share my two most recent releases with you. THE ART OF FANG SHUI, a full length, funny, sexy paranormal quest to save the world and ANGEL'S MASTER, a hot and sexy pirate novella with a paranormal twist at the end.
Blurb for THE ART OF FANG SHUI. Hannah doesn’t believe in things that go bump in the night – until they start accumulating on her doorstep. A Power Enhancer, her gift jumps to the forefront of her life, and she has no choice but to take notice when dishy, arrogant Edwin attempts to kidnap her as part of a covert mission to save the Eight Realms.
Edwin is a half-vamp, intent on collecting the bounty on errant paranormal beings. His best-laid plans go awry when he meets stubborn Hannah. He needs her energies in order to vanquish the power-hungry Demon Lord, Andre who’s bent on destroying the world. He’s thrown off guard as she bewitches him with her sarcastic nature as well as her tempting curves.
Together the unlikely duo finds themselves flung into a sticky web of supernatural foes and dark deceit in their quest to protect the world’s magic. If they’re lucky, love will meet them on the other side.
You can buy this book at the Eirelander Publishing website. I don't mind asking (okay shamelessly begging) that you buy this book. If I sell 50 copies, it'll go to print. Help a fellow author out! I'd do it for you!
Blurb of ANGEL'S MASTER. The year is 1822 and life on the high seas just became more complicated for Ethan Williams. He’s a pirate with a conscience, and even though killing and plundering are his way of life, he’s searching for much more—and he’s tired of being alone.
Jacqueline Massey is connected with the American Navy. It’s her job to trick men into revealing they are indeed pirates. The guilt she feels about sending them to their doom is equaled only by her longing to be loved. But Jacqueline has a secret—one that has intertwined her fate with Ethan’s for longer than he’s known.
Can destiny bring together a pirate and an angel during the season of miracles, or will a watery death by Davy Jones locker drown their love?
You can buy this book at the Liquid Silver Books website.
Thanks so much for your support and for listening!
I’m the luckiest of all authors this week because I have…Two books released! Last week, I was so pleased to see First Dimension become published by Liquid Silver Books and now this week, my short story Yes, Captain has released.
Both of these books hold dear places in my heart as they were steps away from the ‘norm’ also known as the Westervelt Wolves and the Outsiders for me. Sometimes, my muse simply demands that I go live in other worlds for a while before she will consent to go back to the trials of the Wolves and the near death heartaches of the Outsiders.
Having said that, I think I must really never be able to let anything go, as First Dimension has become a series called Safe Haven and the back of my mind is twittering away with the idea that Acton and Lizbeth could once again romp around the galaxy together.
Maybe it was that I didn’t have a lot of friends as a child. I’m serious. It’s kind of hard for a person to make friends when they basically want to stick their noses in a book all of the time. LOL. But if the characters in my head live with me for a period of time while I am writing the books, it could be that my muse is just not willing to say goodbye to her friends. Ever. LOL.
My poor critique partner is desperate for me to write single titles but clearly I am needy and too hard on my characters in that I never give them a rest and keep dragging them out to play whenever I have the need for them. Or maybe it’s the opposite, maybe they keep dragging me out to play whenever they have a story to tell.
I sometimes wonder how I will explain this to my children. “Well sons” (I have three) “Mommy has to go live in different worlds for a while and write them down so that she can fulfill a need to be creative.” Maybe they’ll just ‘get it.’ They are, after all, my children.
So this week, I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who come here and comment and a huge shout of gratitude to all of who have read and continue to read my books. My muse and I are so unbelievably grateful.
Enough rambling, I promise. Next week: Marriage proposals written up in a coherent way.
Vampire or werewolf? Demon or elf? Ghost or ghoul or unknown creature that goes bump in the night?
One of the earliest decisions most writers make when conceptualizing a novel is the characters. When writing a paranormal, one of the most important aspects of character is, obviously, the paranormal element. It's easy enough to choose if you only like vampires, or have a contract to write a story about a demon, or just got a nifty new book about pookas. But sometimes you have no guidelines, or want to try something new. How do you decide?
That, I think, is the most important part of choosing a creature: seamlessly blending the myth with character and plot and theme, to make it intriguing and surprising to the reader.
I could have chosen other approaches. Many non-European people participated in World War One, and I could have chosen a creature from African or Indian mythology who had traveled with the soldiers, but that choice would have required mythological and cultural research in addition to the historical research, and I had a limited period in which to complete the novel. I'd still like to try that for a future story, though, and have been keeping an eye out for resource material. In that case, I could perhaps explore themes related to colonialism.
For another example, I might have used vampires as a way of underlining the vast loss of life. Ghost stories were common in World War One, and would have easily tied in to themes such as grief, mourning, and memory. The possibilities are endless, and worth thinking through before you begin to write.
The Moonlight Mistress, an erotic novel from Harlequin Spice.
Nominated for an RT Reviewers' Choice Award!
Having an opinion is everyone’s right.
I’m not going to say anymore, I’ll leave it up to a song and the various interpretations of what people saw and did with "it". Someone will like one better, others will like another more. Some won’t like “it” at all. It doesn’t mean that either of them are wrong, bad, or not good. They are only different. It’s their interpretation.
The song is Town Without Pity by (IMHO) the great Gene Pitney
From eltogotogo1 on YouTube—Gene Pitney singing:
Same song interpreted by Laylacalif. Interesting comments and opinions galore with this one! Read a few to learn how others interpreted her "video":
carolr8’s interpretation using TV’s Supernatural (with a version by the awesome guitarist, Ronnie Montrose):
Let’s not miss the one by Ronnie Montrose (from MrNachural on YouTube):
TheCinera’s take on Town Without Pity using ghost towns:
Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-© J. Hali Steele
Inked Anthology ~ January 5th
This one looks like a goodie. I was impressed with Marjorie M. Liu's and Yasmine Galenorn's short stories in the Never After Anthology (reviewed here last week) and it looks like they're together again. Woo hoo! Galenorn adds another Otherworld short story entry and Liu's story is one from her Hunter Kiss series. With Karen Chance and Eileen Wilks joining, I'm looking forward to sampling some new-to-me authors. Add this to your list if you're looking to check out any of these author's series.
Four of today's hottest urban fantasy writers together for the first time! From today's most provocative authors come four tales of urban fantasy and paranormal romance exploring body art that is more than it seems-in a world of magic and mayhem that always leaves its mark. This captivating tattoo theme surrounds each author's popular characters and worlds: Karen Chance's war mage Lia de Croissets, Marjorie M. Liu's demon-hunter Maxine Kiss, Yasmine Galenorn's Otherworld Intelligence Agency operative Camille D'Artigo, and Eileen Wilk's Lupi world.
Firespell (Dark Elite #1) by Chloe Neill ~ January 5th
I love this cover and I'm tempted to buy it on that alone. The blurb sounds awesome and I'm jonesing to finally dive into some young adult urban fantasy. A boarding school filled with hidden kick butt teenagers who live to keep the world safe from evil creatures? Sign me up please!
As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia’s boarding school, Lily Parker thinks her classmates are the most monstrous things she’ll have to face…
When Lily’s guardians decided to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, she was shocked. So was St. Sophia’s. Lily’s ultra-rich brat pack classmates think Lily should be the punchline to every joke, and on top of that, she’s hearing strange noises and seeing bizarre things in the shadows of the creepy building.
The only thing keeping her sane is her roommate, Scout, but even Scout’s a little weird—she keeps disappearing late at night and won’t tell Lily where she’s been. But when a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school, Lily finds Scout running from a real monster.
Scout’s a member of a splinter group of rebel teens with unique magical talents, who’ve sworn to protect the city against demons, vampires, and Reapers, magic users who’ve been corrupted by their power. And when Lily finds herself in the line of a firespell, Scout tells her the truth about her secret life, even though Lily has no powers of her own—at least none that she’s discovered yet…
Beyond the Night (Awakening Heroes #1) by Joss Ware ~ January 1st
Post Apocalyptic with a dash of action adventure and romance grabbed my attention from this book. I have yet to read the Colleen Gleason Gardella Vampire books but I hear they're pretty good reads. I'm definitely interested in checking out this series to see how it pans out.
A man with no future... When Dr. Elliott Drake wakes from a mysterious fifty-year sleep, the world as he knew it is gone. Cities are now desolate, and civilization is controlled by deadly immortals. Stranger still is Elliott's extraordinary new "gift"—he has the power to heal, but it comes with fatal consequences. A woman with a past... Jade barely escaped the immortals and is now hell-bent on revenge. She trusts no one... until Elliott. His piercing gaze and tempting touch shatter her defenses, but the handsome doctor seems to have dangerous secrets of his own. Is it safe to trust him with her heart? If they are to survive in this dark new world, Jade and Elliott must work together to fight the forces that take them beyond danger. Beyond desire.
Legend of the Seeker
After a holiday hiatus, Legend of the Seeker is finally back! This premiere there's a surprise return of a character very close to Richard (in a sick and twisted way) who died last season. Now that the underworld has opened up any and everybody can come back to life with a bloodthirsty killing streak on their mind and this chick will definitely be coming after our heroes. I'd like to see what Cara does to her once she sees one of her "sisters" are back.
If you haven't checked out this series yet, run don't walk to see it. It's an amazing fantasy series with great kick butt characters, a fun adventure story and a dose of humor and chemistry. They're loosely based off Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series so they take a bit of leeway with the storytelling but don't let that stop you from enjoying each incarnation on its own.
Sundays starting January 10
Our favorite paranormal roomies are back with a vengeance in Series 2 of Being Human. UKers and satelliters can enjoy the beginning of the season this Sunday which means the BBCA versions shouldn't be too far behind.
When last we left off, resident vampire Mitchell was stabbed and near dying, werewolf George was trying to help him stay alive and ghost Annie's door opened for her final resting place. Seeing as the trio is together again in the promos, I imagine Annie stayed and it'd be interesting to see how they got Mitchell back in tip top condition.
Definitely check out this series if you want something new in the paranormal realm. It's funny, it's dark, it's awesome and very fresh even though the blurb doesn't sound like much. Great writing and acting on this show. I hope there will be more than six eps this time around!
Check out the awesome new trailer. The song is Howl by Florence and the Machine and it's been in my head all week!
Starring Ethan Hawke, Sam Neil and Willem Dafoe to name a few, this is another original goodie in the vampire department. Daybreakers features a future in 2019 where humans are going extinct, vampires have taken over the world and are using humans to harvest blood. Now, as the human population is dwindling, both sides are taking drastic measures to sustain both the human side and the vampire side. It looks like there will be all out war between the two and in the middle is Ethan Hawke's character, a hematologist.
The trailer has been making the rounds for months now with the awesome Placebo/Kate Hill cover Running Up That Hill and there's also a pretty cool PSA promo vid.
Really looking forward to this one!
Enjoy the goodies and let us know what you think of them or if you have any recs for us!