- 2013 (115)
- 2012 (299)
- 2011 (392)
- If I could...
- Series vs Stand Alone
- I hold these truths to be self-evident
- In Praise of Nerds
- Links to Knowledge
- What color was that?
- Cover Artist Spotlight: Natalie Winters
- OMG, I've contracted a disease!
- Since it's still Tuesday, I thought I'd add a seco...
- My Thoughts on Things...
- Judging a Book by its Cover
- Winged Creatures
- Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself...
- The Art of A Great Ending
- Happy Valentine's Day...Ah Almost...
- Red Dawn
- Banged Up by Jeanne St James
- It's Friday...
- Paranormal Releases For Your Shopping List & a Min...
- Release of Cupid in Blue
- Story Casting
- When did I lose control?
- 2009 (174)
Well, as I watched women's figure skating finals for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics last night, the respect I have for these athletes rose to new heights! Not that I have not noticed it before because Ice skating is my favorite part of the Winter Olympics with Ice Dancing being my all-time fav. However, I’m not going to talk about that here today. I missed the powerful music this year! What can I say...
Let me say this—Kim Yu-Na. The young woman from South Korea is phenomenal and her scores proved it to the world. If you didn't see this event, find it, watch it--you won't be disappointed!
As I was going through my books I wondered about the prevalence of series to stand-alone novels.
I prefer a great character whose adventures I can follow through a series. I also like series (like Christine Feehan's) where the books are set in a world and are stand-alone-but-connected with sometimes an appearance by characters revealed in previous books. I think a great series which sells well would enable the author to write full time. (Always a plus!) I don't read (or see) too many stand-alone books anymore, except in straight romance, horror and fiction. Is this a growing trend in paranormal romance & other genres?
What do you think?
And do you prefer series over stand-alone books?
I’m reminded of the line from Pocahontas: “If you walk the footsteps of a stranger, you’ll learn things you never knew you never knew.” Boy, I never knew I didn’t know so much about writing until I became a serious writer.
Now keep in mind, these are just things I’ve learned. Your walk might be different.
“If you write about a plus-sized heroine, you’ll never get the book published.”
I find this one funny and fascinating all at once. Let’s face facts, folks. Most of us women aren’t slim. Do we wish we were? That’s debatable. Who better to write about the struggles, joys and triumphs of a chubby girl than, well, a chubby girl? Women have hips. We’ve got curves, and ya know something else? Men like it. And what’s more? These like-minded women find it refreshing to read about a curvy heroine.
Busted: A good portion of the heroines I write about have meat on their bones and I’ve found publishers for each one of them.
“If you choose to go into e-publishing, you’ll shoot your career in the foot before you even start.”
Someone told me this before I’d ever signed my first contract and the advice came from a print author that’s seen pretty good success. Needless to say, I was devastated. I agonized over this conversation for weeks. In the end, I said screw it and so began my career. I may not be deemed a success by her standards, but then, the last time I checked, she wasn’t signing my paycheck. The e-pub business is a bright and shining star on the horizon. There’s never been a better time to be an e-pubbed writer.
Busted: visit my website if you don’t believe this one.
“The use of ‘was’, ‘ly-words’ or ‘ing-words’ are strictly forbidden in writing today.”
Think again baby! Everything in moderation. Sure, if you have a paragraph littered with ‘ly-words’ and ‘ing-words’, it’s gonna stick out and maybe you’re weakening the impact. Reevaluate the writing. You can use these things. Don’t clog your narrative with them. Think less is more and choose your words wisely. These things are like glittering jewels. The greater frequency you use them, the gaudier your prose. Just saying.
Busted: listen to your editors. They’ll let you know when enough is enough
“If you find a storyline that ‘works’, keep doing it. Just be sure to change the names and location.”
Nothing has the capacity to kill a writing career or make your readers grow bored with reading your stuff faster than seeing the same thing over and over again. I know there have been plenty of times when I’ve bought a new paperback book from a best selling author or bought an e-book from big names or small that I’ve looked forward to only to get two chapters in and say “Haven’t I already read this before?” Sometimes I’ll halfheartedly scan to the end and sure enough, predictability all the way. Sometimes, I don’t finish the book. That’s sad.
Busted: Not this time. Always stay fresh in your writing. It’s vital.
“Can’t figure out the plot of a story? Dump sex in it and no one will notice. You’ll sell tons!”
This may fly with some people, but readers are getting smarter about where to spend their dollars. I know I’ve been ticked spending bucks on a book that seems to be one sex scene after the other with no “meat” in between. I need to know why the characters are doing it, what drives them, how it’s going to help or hurt their relationship, will there be something lasting afterwards. Sometimes I read a book and at the end I’m asking “What was the point of all that?”
Busted: Not this time. Think up a plot then fit the rest in accordingly. The book can still be hot, but in the end, it’s always a story. Beginning, middle, end. Period.
The “you can’t do that” theory. People will tell you “you have to write darker”, “you can’t use humor in every situation”, “you can’t make your hero an xxxxx”, “if you’re not writing this way, it’s not correct”, or (my personal pet peeve) “if you read this person, you can really improve your own writing.”
My answer to this? It’s my story and I’ll write how I want to. Writing is as unique to a person as a fingerprint. You have to find your own voice and style. Don’t model someone else. Be different. Be fresh and realize truths about yourself. Sit down and find out what you really like to write. What makes you happy. For me, I’m a comedic writer. I’ll always be this way. I believe that making someone laugh can go a long way in helping through the ills of life. Can I write dark? Yes, but it doesn’t make me happy and it sounds stilted and forced. This is me. And it’s okay.
Busted: Absolutely! Don’t be someone else, because ten to one, they’re trying to be someone else, too. Find your niche and let your imagination soar. You’ll be glad you did.
Well, thanks for reading along with me today. Do you have a myth of your own to bust or have you found a solid truth over the years? I want to hear it!
So my two year old was walking through the house yesterday holding a balloon my husband had given to me for Valentine’s Day. It’s shaped like a heart and it says I LOVE YOU on it. Very cute. He’s talking to himself and saying things like ‘This balloon (sounding a lot like Baoon in his two year old speak) is for Mama. This Balloon is for Maw-Maw (my mother in law). This balloon is for Uma (My Mother.) It was so cute. He really wanted to give his I Love You Balloon (and somehow even though it was my balloon, it is now his balloon. LOL) to all of the women in his life that he loves.
This isn’t necessarily related to this post. I just thought it was a cute story.
My blog today is about fixing the bad boys. When we read these books—and especially the Paranormals because in the Paranormals we are adding an element of what is standardly thought of as evil and making it what some might call good or heroish—we know right off the bat that most of these guys are not upstanding young men on the right path in life. (I mean how did they get bit my that Vamp in the first place…)
But in my current WIP (that’s Work in Progress for those of you who don’t speak writer) my hero is a bit of a nerd. Unlike his brothers, he’s not always darting out into fights or trying to kill the bad guy.
So my question for all of you out there is how do you feel about nerds and have you ever read one in a book that you really liked?
Best to all of you
I remembered how I happy I’d get when I found a place with a bunch of links like this so I’m passing it on.
Article on Synopsis
Writing the Perfect Scene
How to make a book trailer
How to write erotica
So far I’m not worried because I did a chart when I started these stories. It got lost in my computer crash but it only takes 30 seconds to find it using my backup program. No big deal. I go hunting and pecking through documents and there it is. Actually there are about 20 of them—all titled Character Traits. A couple did have Character Traits and the story initials behind them. Anyway, I open a few. OMG!
I ask myself, “Self, what were you thinking?”
Self replied, “Guess you weren’t thinking. You gave them all the same color eyes, it should be okay. Green if they’re cats, blue if they’re angels, right?” A sly smirk appeared on Self’s face. “If they were human you didn’t seem to care much one way or the other—you gave them brown or hazel for the most part.”
Self is such a smart ass.
“Yes, Self, the cats are all green, angels are all blue. Humans have different color eyes, too. But aren’t there variations of those colors?”
emerald to jade to forest green. With the blue, I’ll bet you had a few sapphires, some blue as a summer sky and even a couple of twinkling, starry midnight blues.” Self is really grinning snidely now. “Didn’t someone have eyes the color of whiskey, amber or chocolate?”
Right. I don’t like Self much at the moment. Mainly because the smart ass is right. However, Self didn’t do the chart—I did! And for each character the note says either green, blue, even brown—period! Who the heck has whiskey colored eyes anyway, or chocolate eyes? Isn’t amber the color of whiskey?
“Umm, amber varies in color, and so does chocolate. There’s light and dark-”
Self looks thoughtful. “Well, if you’re sure you didn’t specify, I guess it’s okay. Wouldn’t look good though for sky blue eyes to suddenly become midnight blue or violet? I guess blue would work as long as you’re sure you said blue without the added colorful description resembling the one you just added to that character.” Self’s finger was pointed at my computer screen. “Probably nothing to worry about.”
Finally, Self is making sense.
“Yeah, you’re right.”
Still, I felt my brow furrow in worry. Who the hell had violet blue eyes, that’s a freaking flower? I peered at Self, who has one green eye and one brown eye—both were filled with devilishness. Here it comes!
“Remember what your editor said though when you gave someone sienna colored skin and later called it brown. She made you clarify that because sienna varies from light brown to dark brown depending on whether or not it’s raw sienna, burnt sienna. And there was the time with the platinum blonde and the ash -”
**THUMP! CLASH!! BANG!!!**
I locked the door, checked it twice. Enough of that. Wringing my hands together, I headed back to my computer.
“Now where the hell is that list…”
Finally, I have a free read about a stallion shifter at: http://www.longandshortreviews.com/WC/story.htm CHECK IT OUT!
He has whiskey brown eyes!
Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-© J. Hali Steele
She does freelance work for Samhain Publishing, Loose ID, Total E-Bound, and Sapphire Blue Publishing.
Natalie also does bookmarks, biz cards, display boards, websites, and covers for authors.
So diseases. Not suffering, I am, however, in something of a pickle. I’m dealing with a huge case of writer’s block—not block exactly, it’s more like brain fatigue. I know where I want this book to go. I’ve even got it outlined. I just can’t get my brain fired enough to propel my fingers to actually type the words.
Oh jeez, words. Where do they come from? How do I know they’re gonna be the right choice?
Do you see how it is?
In this situation, I would tell myself to take my own advice and work on a new short piece. Fat chance! Yes, I’ve got ideas for stories that should get me through 2011, but my brain refuses to unstick itself from the giant suck of the Molasses Swamp. Some people will say go read a book and that’ll get my pistons firing. Been there, tried that. Nope. Others will say get out of the house, go see a movie, etc. Yeah, did that too. Nothing. Still searching for that miracle cure for this disease.
How did I even get to this pass? This sort of thing just does not happen to me. I’m always busy with writing. I never stop, right? Well, hello brick wall. I’ve smacked into it so hard you can see the impressions on my forehead. Sigh.
I think there are a number of things that have contributed to brain fatigue. Constantly thinking up topics for blogs, doing promotions for releasing books, dealing with edits, getting together submission packets, blah, blah, blah. Some of the promotional stuff I really like. Some, not so much. You may not think these types of things sap a writer’s strength, but have them build up over time and baby, they’re deadly. A writer is pulled in hundreds of directions and eventually, there will be no more energy.
Add on top of that housework, laundry, cooking countless dinners, cleaning up the kitchen, yada, yada, yada, and it’s a wonder I’m not dead every night.
And don’t even get me started on the social networking aspect of life. If I don’t log on, my fans don’t feel connected. If I post too much, then some people get annoyed. Where’s the happy medium? What am I supposed to be doing?
I still don’t understand the concept of Twitter. Is this site supposed to be for promotions or what? If not and I don’t have the followers, what’s the point of putting anything in the status line? In this, I’m so glad there’s a limit of 140 characters. Any more than that and I might have to stab out my eyes with a pen.
Quite frankly, I have found Twitter to be very pro-print author books and not a whole lot of chatter about e-published ones. I mean, while I hear every once in awhile about e-published books buzz, the great bulk of it is about New York authors. While that’s great and everything, it’s frustrating for us in the e-publishing (or “minor league”) world.
And while, I’ll admit, I find it supremely funny when agents make fun of submissions (because, let’s face it, we’ve all done the same stupid stuff they’re making fun of—actually, I just did one of those things last week and I’m snarky like that too) I’m not sure it’s professional to put it out there in a social networking forum.
Not to mention I really think Twitter is serving book pirates more than anyone else.
Then there are the Yahoo loops, email, on and on it goes—all time sucks. To infinity—except I’ve dropped out of a lot of Yahoo groups because I don’t have the time and I really don’t think they make that big a difference…
…and Yahoo blows. I had to change my email address because of them.
Do the big authors in the literary world ever deal with this? Maybe, maybe not. The biggest ones have their ghost writers, promotional companies, events planners, assistants, etc., so I personally think the jury is out on that one. Of course, maybe they do have time what with writing the same book over and over, just changing the location and names of the characters… (Yeah, I went there and you know you’ve read authors who do exactly that)
But I digress from my original statement that I have a disease. My brain’s apparently tired and I really need my muse to kick in and tell me where to go—in my writing that is. Of course, there’s always the chance I’ve intimidated myself with this super cool outline of what will be an awesome book—if I can just write it…
Sigh. Having multiple books contracted is great, don’t get me wrong, but I’m looking forward to the next few months because I won’t have a book releasing then. Maybe I can finally relax and the words will flow again.
Of course, I’ve never been really productive in the winter months anyway. Stupid groundhog. When is open hunting season for that rodent, anyway?
So, that’s where I am. Stuck in the quicksand and needing someone, anyone, to pull me out and get me going. Hint, hint. Friends, anyone, are you reading this?
I honestly think that being a writer is a bit like being a contestant on Survivor. Outwit, Outlast, Outplay. Is it more a concept of writing the best, writing in a popular, trendy genre, kissing the most butt, talking to the right people, having a better voice, a better publisher, the best idea? Who has the ins and outs of the writing game? The endurance to continue? Who will be the last writer standing?
While we’re on the subject, isn’t it interesting that everyone thinks they can write a book? And what’s even sadder is this dreck sells. Oh, my husband cheated on me with a woman from South America so I divorced him and now I wrote a book. Oh, I’m a quirky former governor who did questionable things and can see foreign countries from my backyard, I think I’ll write a book. Oh, I’m a celebrity who has kids, I think it qualifies me to write children’s books. Oh, I’m married to a popular 1990’s comedian so I think I’ll write a cookbook. I could go on (and so could you I’m sure)
Seriously? I wish I had that kind of luck and not have to work at getting a book published with New York.
Ugh. See, my brain’s working, but that power’s not being funneled to where it needs to be. Suffice it to say, being part of the publishing world is still a mystery and I don’t understand a lot of it, don’t know if I ever will. I just try to keep my head down and write—except it’s not working for me right now LOL
While you’re waiting for me to get my act writing together, let me share this good news with you. This past Monday, I had a new book release. Unraveled Souls is my historical/paranormal book and is near and dear to my heart. Honestly, I think I love writing historical more than any other genre, so add a bit of the paranormal to it and I’m golden.
I hope you’ll consider adding it to your electronic library. It’s one of the best things I’ve written so far.
Blurb: Noelle Radliffe can communicate with ghosts. They haunt her nights and show her dreams of things that haven’t yet occurred. When she has a vision of a dead lion and sees the name of a man, she searches the city to find him only to become sidetracked by an addiction she can’t fight.
Enter Nicholas Pemberton. Although charming and charismatic, he hides a secret, one that is deadly as well as mysterious. He’s a shape shifter and the urge to change into a lion is a battle he constantly wages with himself, second to the recently discovered obsession he feels for Noelle.
As the two fight their mutual attraction to each other, Nicholas attempts to elude the local police force intent on linking recent murders to his name, while Noelle continues to seek peace in her life and to understand her purpose. Their connection is too strong to ignore. As passion ignites, so does the danger. Lives are threatened and destinies collide, but will love be enough to save their souls?
Buy Link: http://tinyurl.com/yhs7jp4
Author website: http://www.sandrasookoo.com
Book video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7K54iCYvt_A
When browsing for a new book to read I first have to check out the covers. If it draws my attention then I’ll check out the blurb. Now that I’m a writer I begin to understand how at the mercy of the artist we are. We can make suggestions but no one has to listen to us. In my short experience, in this business, my hottest cover is my best seller even though, in my opinion, it’s my least skilled story. LOL
Another example is R.A. Salvatore’s Drizzt books. I’d seen them on the shelves for years. Book after book, they listed quite a series, must be a good story then. Did I buy one? No. I hated the covers.
Then the publisher must have heard my opinion of them and got another artist to remake the covers. Much more attractive elf with better action scenes, I bought one. Then I bought the whole series. There’s power in pictures.
What have been your experiences?
Ooh! After you look at the pictures hop over to http://booknibbles.com/blogtour There is one REALLY big Valentine Blog Tour happening and you won't want to miss out on the prizes.
Beautiful beings with wings... ENJOY!
I'm very honored to be a part of Paranormal Romantics.
Until that day comes, let me post a few last lines from famous books, then I'll treat you to my last line :-)
Robinson Crusoe: “All these things, with some very surprising incidents in new adventures of my own, for ten years more, I may perhaps give a farther account of hereafter.”
Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885) "But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me and I can't stand it. I been there before."
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale (1986) "Are there any questions?"
And my personal favorite and the line that agonized me for months after reading this book my junior year in high school...Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind (1936) "Tomorrow, I'll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day."
You see, even though an opening line is vital to the success or failure of a book, the last line of a novel will stay with you always, as in the case with me. I even went so far, years later, to read the sequel and even then, the last line caused me no end of grief LOL
But I'll never forget them. Not even one.
So, next time you read a great book or write one, think about that last line. Will you remember it a month from now? A year? You should :-)
Now, here's the last line of my novella:
"He might be annoying, but after all, the finest vampires were merely men at their best and they were damn hard to live with." - Sandra Sookoo
Have a great week everyone and remember that line. I hope you'll be seeing it soon ;-)
How did I go from paranormal romance to space opera? Well, I actually started in sci-fi. It’s my first love. At the tender age of thirteen my older brother introduced me to Larry Niven and Orson Scott Card and so my journey began. I’m on a CJ Cherryh kick lately but am open to any suggestions. *hint* I grew up watching Star Trek, the original version, and have been a fan of all the new shows that have developed since such as Stargate, Battle Star Galatica, and Firefly.
My mind is a full universe. I hope to one day share it with you
Assigned as an interpreter to the Cyngi, Liaison Sadie Beckit is left in the dark. Knowledge is power when dealing with multiple races of aliens but this mysterious species has chosen to withhold most of their culture and language information.
Crossing multiple star systems to the remote Cyngi world on an old space freighter, she has come to accompany Ambassador Nual back to Central Station. On their return journey the crew and passengers end up fighting for their lives.
Sadie is forced to confront her past. Difficult choices must be made and the survival of a whole race depends on her decisions. Can she abandon her heart and sacrifice the Red Dawn?
She handed him a silver foil package, “Here’s a nutrient pack,” then retreated to the bathroom.
A blush burned across her cheeks. He caught her trying to steal. Must be losing her edge. The temptation had seduced her, and the things on his head caught her off guard. Those weak excuses didn’t offer much comfort.
After relieving herself, she stripped and turned the shower on. The hot water pounded on her back. She heard Nual use the facilities. At least their species had that in common and chuckled to herself until the shower door slid open.
“What’s so funny?” He stepped in and hogged the hot water.
Pressed into the corner her laughter died. She crossed her arms over her breasts and sucked in a breath. The water poured over his upturned face, bounced off his broad shoulders, and down his sculpted chest. Was this proper Cyngi behavior? She hated being kept in the dark. For all she knew Cyngi males and females always showered together.
She lowered her arms and allowed herself a peek at his abdomen. Dark blue freckles gathered in the center and trailed down. Did they reach all the way?
He held out the soap. “Can you wash my back?” Then he turned to give her an excellent view of his firm ass.
A little soap went a long way. It spread over his broad shoulders as she scrubbed down the line of his spine. The muscles flexed as he leaned into her hands. His skin felt smooth, and she resisted the urge to use more than her hands to rub against him.
This crossed her professional limits but she didn’t mind. When did she lose her discretion? Probably the moment this luscious piece of blue male flesh walked through the airlock.
Some Liaisons slept with their charges, but this urge never applied to her. Without more info on Cyngi culture, she wouldn’t make the first move. She’d learned from personal experience not to mistake alien mannerisms for flirtation. It could cost her what dignity she had left.
After he rinsed, he took the soap from her hands. “Turn. I’ll wash yours.”
She spun around to face the wall, anxious to feel his large hands. In quick sure strokes, he lathered her skin then kneaded the knots from her shoulders. They melted away and left her feeling like putty.
“You were so tense.” He traced his fingers along the scars between her shoulder blades. They thrilled from his touch. “Claw marks. How does a protected member of the Galactic Liaison get such a scratch?”
“By not running fast enough from a Tegany beast in a Zair desert.”
“I heard of your expedition to Zairan. You should have had a guard detail. The Zair are too aggressive for you to travel alone.”
“None of my guards survived the trip.” The memory hurt enough to steal her voice leaving it a whisper.
He applied soap to her head and scrubbed the tight, short curls of her hair.
“They shouldn’t send you to such places, Sadie. The military should have gone instead.”
It surprised her that he heard her emotionally strangled words over the rushing water as she rinsed her head.
Reluctant to leave his hands, she dragged her body out of the shower.
He followed and accepted the towel she offered him.
“They didn’t send me. I volunteered. The people of Zairan deserve a chance for change. Not all of them are from the warrior clans. Some want a different life.” She twisted away from him.
The frustration and pain caused by the convoluted politics brought tears to her eyes. She’d left behind those people, unable to help them and possibly making things worse.
“They needed a teacher.”
“I’m glad you agreed to my contract instead of going back there.”
“I wasn’t given a choice.” She managed a small smile. “I want to be here and am honored by your request, but my work is incomplete and no one else wants to help.”
The Galactic Liaison office had made it an order to make sure she couldn’t refuse. She never would have denied such an opportunity. The Zair Warlords who had placed a price on her head made the decision to leave Central Station even easier. Sent to the outer edges of space should keep her out of trouble until a solution could be found.
“You want to return?”
“If the Earth Liaison gave up so easily on humans I’d never be standing here.” She glanced down at herself. “Naked.”
His chuckle followed her out of the bathroom where she pulled out a camisole and underwear set with the red one-piece suit from under the cot and dressed.
He came from behind and caressed the other scar that went through her left shoulder. “This is from a blaster. Seems you need to learn to duck faster as well.” His hands stopped her from tugging on the suit any further. “Lay down on the cot. I’ll work out the rest of the knots in your back.”
She pivoted to face him, grasping the half-done suit to her breasts. If only he knew he caused most of those knots.
“Did I offend?” His brow knitted together.
“No.” He scrambled all her internal circuits with his charm. She needed to gather her wits. “Even though I’m a Liaison, I am still human and cannot control all my primal instincts. I’m attracted to you, and the physical contact makes me uncomfortable.”
“No need to feel this way.” He grinned.
But his skin paled to a lighter shade of blue. As he sat on the edge of the bunk she could see his hands trembling.
“There’s something wrong. Are you ill?”
“The nutrient packs were not enough. How long were we in Jump?”
“Two days. What do you think you need?”
“Days?” He rested his head in his hands. The dull hue of his skin made his freckles appear darker. She should have noticed this earlier in the shower. “Can you get me to my storage bin? The one we were going to check on before Jump.”
She knelt next to him to gaze up at his face. A thin sheen of sweat covered his forehead. “I think we should have Kaille take a look at you. She’s the ship medic.”
“What I need is in the bin.”
“Okay, maybe I can bring your stuff here instead of making you move. You look like hell, Nual.”
“No, I have to go there. I have to feed, Liaison.” He stared at her and gave a soft smile. “Please.”
Who says a sexy man has to be human?
Mace Walker can’t wait to get home.
Being buried deep undercover for the past two years, on the most complex case of his career, has torn him down physically and mentally. Now the FBI agent has come home to recover after having his leg badly injured from a gunshot wound. Arriving home late one night, his relief is short-lived as he’s faced with a stranger pointing a gun to his head, acting like he is the one who doesn’t belong there!
Colby Parks, a biochemist at the local university, had come to town a year earlier to escape an abusive relationship. She vows never to put herself in that situation again.
Then the perfect opportunity comes along: house-sitting for Mace’s sister while making the house she purchased habitable. But she couldn’t anticipate this big snag: the one wearing the tight Levi’s and worn leather jacket, looking like he had just escaped prison.
Being forced to share a house creates sparks between them in more ways than one. However, things take a turn when their pasts catch up to them, threatening to pull them apart forever.
Relief flooded over Mace Walker as he twisted the key in the lock, gave the front door a shove, and stepped over the threshold. Finally home. About time.
Time to heal.
The foyer was dark, but he didn’t need to hit the light switch. Even being gone for as long as he had been, he still knew the house well enough. He made his way to the stairs and set down his bags. Those two small duffels didn’t hold much evidence of his life for the past couple of years. Just some toiletries and a few basic items of clothing.
As he straightened, the foyer lit up, blinding him for a second. He blinked when a young voice rang out from the top of the steps. “Hold it right there! Put your arms up and back away from the stairs.”
What the fuck?
Mace had expected to see his sister bounding down the stairway of his two-story colonial, excited after not seeing her brother for the past two years. Actually, more like one year, eleven months and fifteen days. Not that he was counting. But instead, he stared up into the deadly eye of a Glock. And from his viewpoint it looked like a model 23, a .40 caliber. A compact but still a decent sized gun in a very small, very uneasy hand. Instantly, the hairs on the back of his neck rose.
Damn. He’d dealt with crime bosses and their flunkies--from drug to porno rings--and had managed to survive. Now he was going to be killed by some measly punk he surprised while burglarizing his house? The cruel irony made him want to laugh. Instead, he did as he was instructed. With caution, he raised his hands above his head before stepping back toward the middle of the foyer. He avoided standing directly under the light, trying to get a better view of the top of the steps. But he didn’t have much success; the upstairs hallway and the upper section of the stairway were hidden in shadows.
If he played his cards right, this little situation would be under his control in no time at all. He just had to keep the kid calm and make the skinny punk believe he was the one in command. From experience, Mace knew the Glock didn’t have a conventional safety. All the kid had to do was pull the trigger and pull it again and again until all the rounds in the clip emptied into Mace’s body. And from what he could see in the limited light, the kid’s fingers were twitching from nervousness.
Not a good sign.
Where had a young punk gotten an expensive handgun like that? It certainly hadn’t been in the house. And if it had been, it would have been locked up in the gun safe.
If only he could see the boy’s face. He needed to see the eyes. Without seeing his eyes, Mace couldn’t even begin to predict what the kid would do.
“Don’t you dare move or I’ll blow your face off!” The kid’s voice raised an octave, making him sound more and more like ... a girl.
Tension ran through Mace’s body as the person started down the steps. At first he could see bare toes, a slim calf, then another. His gaze flicked to the gun, before returning to the shapely naked thighs which couldn’t belong to a kid--no way. Especially not a boy. Those smooth legs definitely belonged to a woman--and he couldn’t wait to see the rest of her. So far, the view almost made it worth being held at gunpoint. Almost.
He was disappointed when an oversized T-shirt--shit, was that Marmaduke on it?--blocked his view of creamy flesh. His arms were tired, his leg throbbed painfully, and his patience was wearing thin. But he still wasn’t going to move, since he had no idea who this woman descending the stairs was. His curiosity piqued when she stepped down into the light, which highlighted her long, curly red hair and made her wide, green--glaring--eyes sparkle and snap.
A twitch shot through his lower stomach and landed in his groin. Fear or pain didn’t make him suck in his breath. It was her unrestricted breasts bobbing under the cotton shirt with each step she took. Her nipples stood out like two beacons under the worn cotton. Jesus.
He had to clear his throat twice before he could ask her, “Are you robbing this house, dressed like that?”
5 diamonds at Got Erotic Romance!
"Banged Up is an action packed, erotic adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. The sexual tension starts building as soon as Mace and Colby lay eyes on one another, and their relationship just gets hotter and hotter until their passion explodes. The dialog is fast paced and evocative, leading their relationship along at a fast pace. There’s humor, drama, tragedy, and some really hot sex. This book has something for everyone and will keep you guessing about the ending right up to the last page. I couldn’t put it away and I plan to read it again. I definitely give this book 5 Heats and recommend you read it as soon as possible."
4.5 hearts at The Romance Studio!
"Ms. Jeanne St. James has written a great book full of explicit sexuality and overloaded with suspense. There was more than one problem facing these main characters and St. James has integrated the storyline into love/hate/fear in such a way that it was impossible to put down. These two people were both full of past problems which continued to invade their presents and futures. Again, the author has presented the conflicts, as well as the sexual exploitations, in a great way.
There were other characters that made the story complete. They enhanced the plot and kept the story fast-paced and interesting. The actions, both sexual as well as the suspense-filled pursuits were fascinating. This book is definitely not for the faint of heart. I recommend that you read this book. You will enjoy it, I’m sure."
4 blue ribbons at Romance Junkies!
"Jeanne St. James has written an exceptional high action drama. From page one you will be captured by BANGED UP.The dialogue is superbly written and the plot allows you to be kept on the edge of your seat. For those seeking an action packed thriller, I highly recommend to add this title to your must read list."
4 whips at Bella's Erotic Reviews!
"Jeanne St. James writes an exciting action packed romance drawing the reader in from page one and never letting go. I was hooked from the first page of this story. I loved Colby and her fierceness and how she overcame all that was done to her and of course Mace the brooding Alpha Male was a great character to. Even with all his macho pride he still had his doubts and insecurities. The bond that formed between these two was a beautiful thing to read. Both Mace and Colby must learn to trust each other before time runs out and it is to late. Full of action and hot romance Banged Up is a page-turner that is not to be missed."
4 heart review at Night Owl Romance Book Reviews!
"Banged up is an entertaining read..."
"... an enjoyable story."
But first: I am not a technology wizard. Went out with a friend yesterday to see The Book of Eli which wasn't what I expected. Was he blind or what? I won't say anymore on that subject in case you havent' seen it yet.
Anyhoo...My sister used my computer! I know--why didn't I shut it down, lock it or something right? Because she has an account and would surely have used hers. Well, somehow she ended up using mine and everything I tried to enter for the last hour or so asked for a password and wouldn't accept mine...it continuously showed her email address and wanted her password.
After an hour of trying to figure it out, my weak little brain screamed the phrase that every computer geek in the world knows and spouts all too often "turn off the computer, reboot!"
So here I am. Didn't really have a whole lot to say, just wanted to post a link to a really good recipe I learned of at a blog that featured Mary Kennedy, author of Dead Air (Penguin, January 2010), for Killer Kahlua Brownies.
I don't bake at all but this looked so easy and so good--I got up at 5 this morning, and carefully following the directions, I whipped up a batch.
So I hope Mary doesn't mind that I post the link to her recipe at Dying for Chocolate's blogspot for you all to see the whole story. I could have typed the recipe but I hope you go check the site out. As well this recipe, there is a lot of other chocolate delites to be found.
I promise you won't be disappointed.
And that's all she wrote folks!
Remember: Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-© J. Hali Steele
In other news, I'll be taking a break from the paranormal genre a bit. I'm using this month to boost my interest and works in multicultural YA. After the constant fails with misrepresentation in the genre and the lack of diverse books for young readers of color growing up with their noses in books, I really want to bring some stories from history and speculative and one project has been sitting for too long. So I shall bid adieu to paranormal for now. I hope all you readers have enjoyed the excerpts from 'Mortals'. That will be my next release and I'll be writing 'Inheritance of Ashes' shortly thereafter to finish up the series. More research this time around because this one will be opening with feudal Japan and the African Moorish occupation of Spain. Lots to look forward to!
For now, onward with the goodies!
The Iron King (Iron Fey, #1) by Julie Kagawa
Meghan Chase has never fit in at her small-town high school, and now, on the eve of her 16th birthday, she discovers why. When her half brother is kidnapped, Meghan is drawn into a fantastical world she never imagined--the world of Faery, where anything you see may try to eat you, and Meghan is the daughter of the summer faery king. Now she will journey into the depths of Faery to face an unknown enemy . . . and beg the help of a winter prince who might as soon kill her as let her touch his icy heart. The Iron King is the first book in the Iron Fey series.
Spider's Bite (Elemental Assassin, #1) by Jennifer Estep
"My name is Gin, and I kill people."
My name is Gin Blanco. They call me the Spider — the most feared assassin in the South (and a part-time cook at the Pork Pit BBQ joint.) As a Stone elemental, I can hear the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet and feel the vibrations of the soaring mountains above me, though I don't use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride.
After a ruthless Air elemental double-crossed me and killed my handler, I'm out for revenge. And I'll exterminate anyone who gets in my way. I may look hot in a miniskirt, but I'm still one of the bad guys. Which is why I'm in trouble when irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine agrees to help. The last thing a coldhearted killer needs when she's battling a magic more powerful than her own is a sexy distraction ... especially when he wants her dead just as much as the enemy.
Don't forget to check out Spider's Bargain, a free short story prequel to the series,
And for the AB fans...
Flirt ( mini novel Anita Blake #18) by Laurell K Hamilton
When Anita Blake meets with prospective client Tony Bennington, who is desperate to have her reanimate his recently deceased wife, she is full of sympathy for his loss. Anita knows something about love, and she knows everything there is to know about loss. But what she also knows, though Tony Bennington seems unwilling to be convinced, is that the thing she can do as a necromancer isn't the miracle he thinks he needs. The creature that Anita could coerce to step out of the late Mrs. Bennington's grave would not be the lovely Mrs. Bennington. Not really. And not for long.
Sales alert! Freya's Bower and Wild Child are having a Valentine's Day sale all month long for their newsletter subscribers! You can sign up to both now and take advantage of the discounts here for Freya's Bower & here for Wild Child.
Blurb: Aaron Bernhart -- the new Cupid -- finds previous experience in love is a prerequisite for the job. He’s all ready with a golden bow and a quiver of magical red arrows. Sadly, what he’s lacking is a girlfriend. On his first day at work he meets Catherine, and literally tumbles head over wings…from the sky that is.
Catherine is a skeptic regarding all things romance, but finds herself turned on by Cupid’s wings. The only thing holding her back from a happily ever after is herself.
Can Aaron convince the lovely loner to take a chance on romance with him, or will he be the only single Cupid in the history of the world?
“You said you’d pick me up.”
“I am.” Before she could protest, Aaron plucked her from the balcony and held her against him as he descended to the ground. “I just didn’t tell you how I’d be doing it.” For long moments, his arms remained wrapped around her as he gazed into the deep blue pools of her eyes. He could easily stay there for hours. Desire slithered through his gut when she shivered against him.
The box of chocolates slipped to the ground unnoticed and she pulled out of his arms as he leaned in to kiss her. “Back off, Lover Boy.”
Aaron stepped away, acutely aware she was the one who broke the embrace. “I’m sorry.”
By willpower alone, he kept the warmth in his neck from spreading to his face. “So, are you ready for dinner?”
Confusion clouded her eyes. “I’m not going anywhere unless you put those things away.” She glanced pointedly at his wings. “But before you do, can I touch them?”
“Why?” Suddenly suspicious, he retreated another step. Curiosity blazed in her eyes as she closed the distance between them. “Why are you so interested in them? They’re just wings.”
“I’ve never seen anything like them before.” Her eyes sparkled when she smiled. “Did you think I’d be afraid and run away? Maybe call one of the tabloids and sell your story for a couple thousand bucks?” She stretched out her right hand then stroked the feathers of his left wing.
Tremors rocked his body at her touch. Aaron had no idea his wings could bring such intense spikes of pleasure, but as Catherine drew her fingers over the soft, downy feathers, his knees buckled. Intense waves of need crashed into him with enough force to make him flinch. “Catherine…” His voice was rough with a passion he couldn’t explain.
“You’d better be careful, Cupid. If a simple touch has you nearly doing cartwheels, I can’t imagine what a kiss would make you do.”
He met her gaze and almost pleaded with her to stop her torment, but he quelled the urge. He wanted to know what else would happen. “Catherine.” Urgency flooded his voice. She swept her palm down the length of his wing. Aaron shivered and clutched at the hand she placed on his chest. He groaned as his arousal strained against the front of his jeans. Never had he felt this way, and all because a woman touched his wing. “Enough.”
Catherine’s laugh was throaty and smugly feminine, but she removed her hand. “I can honestly say I’ve never turned a guy on quite like this before.”
“Damn.” He felt the loss of contact immediately, as the extreme sensations subsided and his ragged breathing returned to normal. “You almost killed me.” He stared at her with newfound respect and a healthy dose of shock.
“In order to be the authority on love and passion, wouldn’t you need to experience it for yourself?” She shrugged then turned away. “I’m going to the diner. You’re welcome to join me when you’re able.” At the last moment, she glanced over her shoulder. “I don’t know how you men function with those things between your legs. Seems to me they spring to life at the most inopportune moments.”
His jaw dropped. He stared after her for long moments as “that thing” calmed down enough so he could walk about town without embarrassing himself. Not for the first time did he wonder what exactly went on behind Catherine’s confident façade.
Aaron folded his wings beneath his skin, cringing when joints snapped and the skin on his back stretched. He’d never get used to that sensation. He took a deep breath and let it hiss out between his teeth. Being Cupid was not the problem. Being Cupid with the hots for an unattainable woman definitely was.
Publisher’s Website: http://www.lyricalpress.com
Book video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQPZUyRdIvI
Author website: http://www.sandrasookoo.com
So hello there fellow readers and writers. How are you?