Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Here We Go Again

I'm not a fan of change, but I am one of the few authors who does enjoy Facebook. I use it a lot to keep up with friends and readers. So today, when I logged in, I saw something I had been expecting for a while. The pages are now being swapped over to the new timeline feature, the same as regular pages were.

Now, part of me wants to cling to my old format, which I loved, but I don't much see the point. I'm one of those rip off the bandaid people I guess. I mean, change is coming and there's no sidestepping it. Might as well face it head on and accept the update.

When I made the switch, I did think it was cool that there's now an admin panel positioned above your page. It shows you notifications, new likes, insights, and messages. Now that could come in handy. Especially since the new format is so wonky.

Do you have a preference--old FB or new? Or have you given up keeping up with their changes?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Love Geometry and a Giveaway

The love triangle is one of the oldest and grandest forms of romantic storytelling.  From soap operas to Harlequin romances to today's best shows on television.  Why do we love the triangle so much?  Consider that a triangle in nature, a perfect, equilateral triangle consists of three sides, equal in length, joined at a 60 degree angle.  Not only is this shape 'perfect' and 'balanced' - it means that all the parties are equal.

Perfect Triangle
In a perfect love triangle, you see all the ways each man is perfect for the woman in his life.  You know they each have flaws, but that she brings out the best in him. It's easy to root for both sides of the coupling. In some cases, you're desperate to figure out if they could make a true menage or at least a polyamorous relationship work because you want to maintain that perfect balance.

Imperfect Triangle
When the triangle isn't balanced, however, and one side seems to have a clear advantage over the other, you may find yourself rooting for only one player.  For example, on Hart of Dixie, Zoe has an unmistakable chemistry with both George and Wade.  These two friends are extremely different and George is engaged to be married to someone else.  Wade is jealous of their closeness, but regularly shoots himself and his chances in the foot where Zoe is concerned. 

Wistful Triangle
In a love triangle, someone always loses. The natural assumption is the woman torn between two men will find her happily ever after, but sometimes, even she loses.  Ilsa Lund loved Rick Blaine more than her own life, they had a passionate, torrid love, but Rick didn't need her the way her husband did. Rick sent Ilsa away to support her husband Victor's war efforts and went on with his life.  Did he love Ilsa? Absolutely, but he loved her enough to let her go.  Sacrifice, passion, commitment and bittersweet ever after are every bit as much a part of a love triangle.

Imperfect Triangle
Not all love triangles work, particularly the ones where the heroine thinks she is in love with one man and it's not her passion for this man, but her desire for absolute control and the 'fairytale' life she thinks she should have.  In the case of Scarlett O'Hara, she always thought she loved Ashley, but her passion for the milktoast neighbor was a fantasy that cost her a real life and passion with the tempestuous Rhett.  I think you could even argue that in the center of this triangle was a fourth point: Scarlett's love for her ancestral home Tara.

A Love Affair with Love Geometry

I love a great love triangle. I love to see the passion, the angst, the desire to love two men (or two women) and how that desire can tear them apart. I really love it when the men involved have a close relationship, too.  One of the things I find so perfect about the Damon-Elena-Stefan dynamic is that the brothers do love each other and keep sacrificing for each other even as they compete for the woman they both love.  It's complicated and messy. It's passionate and bittersweet.  It's triumph and tragedy.

But that's a triangle for you.
Book 2 of the Fevered Hearts

In both my recent novel Cassandra's Dilemma and the soon to be released Brave are the Lonely (March 6), love geometry plays a significant part.  In the first, Cassandra Belle is torn between two powerful men, men who's animosity and antipathy for the other threatens to keep her in the path of danger unless they can find a way past it.  In the second, Cody is torn between the love his wolf half committed to and the desire he discovers with Mariska.  It's a twist on the love triangle, one that presented all the elements of a lost first love and a discovery of a true passion and more.
Book 1 of the Forbidden Legacy
In real life, love triangles are messy (see Elizabeth Taylor-Eddie Fisher-Debbie Reynolds,  Princess Diana-Prince Charles-Camilla Parker Bowles), but they are just as captivating because at the end of the day, we're not just rooting for the people.  We're rooting for love.

What is your favorite love triangle?  Or do you not like them?  I'd love to hear your thoughts, I am giving one lucky commentator their choice of  Cassandra's Dilemma or Brave are the Lonely.  You can read the first chapter of both books at my website!

Heather Long lives in Texas with her family and their menagerie of animals. As a child, Heather skipped picture books and enjoyed the Harlequin romance novels by Penny Jordan and Nora Roberts that her grandmother read to her. Heather believes that laughter is as important to life as breathing and that the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus are very real. In the meanwhile, she is hard at work on her next novel. Keep up with Heather via her website

Monday, February 27, 2012

Fire Baptized by Kenya Wright

SUPERNATURAL COLLEGE 101: Everything I learned my freshmen year.
                I’m Lanore Vesta. Most know me as the first Mixbreed to enroll into Maya Luna University. Others may recognize me from my involvement with Mixbreeds for Equality. Regardless, here are the five things I learned during my freshmen year.
1- Never date a Kappa Sigma Que fraternity brother!
The fraternity is the only all Shapeshifter organization on campus. My roommate is a Kappa guy. He took me on a tour of his fraternity house. In the basement, there is a Pound Chart. It announces every female that fraternity brothers have slept with. It includes her yearbook picture, sexual ability scores, and body measurements.
2- Don’t bring your pet Pixie on campus!
Pixies aren’t allowed inside classes because their poop, although very pretty, is impossible to clean. According to university policy, if a campus security Troll catches a student with a Pixie, they have the right to eat it. I learned the hard way that a Troll can sniff out a Pixie a mile away.
3- Never take a course by Professor Brinkjoy!
She is a powerful Earth Witch. If you are late to class, she will order her spelled vines to grab your hands and feet, and attach you to the ceiling. Once I was stuck the whole class period, which sucked because I really had to go to the bathroom. Additionally, if you disrupt her class, hand in assignments late, or chew gum, she will attach you to the ceiling.
4- Never take evening courses!
All of the night professors are Vampires. Personally, I believe Vamps are the most narcissistic species in the city. Every Vamp professor I’ve had covers the classroom walls with pictures of themselves. Four out of five of my Vamp professors assigned their biographies as required reading, and the biographies had nothing to do with the course.
5-Never eat in Storm cafeteria on Spaghetti Day!
After a few minutes, the pasta will move and slide off the plate. I’ve made several complaints and turned in a petition signed by a hundred students. To this date, the university president has ignored my efforts and Spaghetti Day is still happening.



Blurb:

            Since the 1970’s humans have forced supernaturals to live in caged cities. Silver brands embedded in their foreheads identify them by species: a full moon for Vampires, a crescent moon for Shifters, a pair of wings for Fairies, and the list goes on, for each supernatural species has been tagged and categorized by humans.
            Lanore Vesta is marked with a silver X, the brand of Mixbreeds, second-class citizens shunned by society. She stays to herself, revealing her ability to create fire only during emergencies. All she wants to do is graduate college and stop having to steal to survive. But when she stumbles upon a murder in progress, she catches the attention of a supernatural killer. Now all she wants is to stop finding dead bodies in her apartment.
            Enlisting help from her Were-cheetah ex-boyfriend Meshach and a new mysterious friend named Zulu, she is steered through the habitat’s raunchy nightlife. But their presence sometimes proves to be more burden than help, as they fight for her attention.   
            While the corpses pile up, and the scent of blood fills the air, Lanore is left wondering: will she find the psycho or die trying?






Kenya will be giving away a $10 Amazon.com gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Here’s an excerpt from my novel Fire Baptized.
“Miss Lanore Vesta.” Professor Rodriguez applauded. “I’m so glad you decided to attend my class today.”
I didn’t respond, shuffling up the stairs toward the back seats.
Supernaturals giggled.
Arguing with Zulu’s guard had made me thirty minutes late. I glared at the Fairy as he marched behind me. His hot red suit contrasted with his tan complexion and short height. Standing only five feet tall, he came to my chest. I could see the ceiling’s light shining on his bald head.
Zulu and I had agreed the guard would not follow me into my classes. The problem was, when Zulu hired him, the contract said, “stay with Lanore, guard her, and keep her safe.” This Fairy was a Spriggan which meant all contracts were taken literally. Disregarding anything I said, the guard remained by my side, only leaving me alone for bathroom breaks.
Thankfully.
“Miss Vesta.” Professor Rodriguez pointed to a chair in front of her. “Due to your tardiness, you’ll be sitting in the front row. And you’ve brought a guest, without requesting my permission. How considerate of you.”
Professor Rodriguez looked down at the Spriggan, shaking her head. She chanted a spell. Paragraphs appeared in front of the class. Each word was black, a foot long, and floated in the air. I scanned the air for the page number. It hovered above the professor’s desk. The class’s discussion had completed the pages I’d read.
 Out-freaking-standing.
“You’re one of a few Mixbreeds at this university.” Professor Rodriguez glared at me. “If you graduate in the spring, you’ll be the first Mixbreed to do it. You should try to be a positive example instead of a confirmation of Mixbreeds’ failures.”
I pulled out my copy of American Supernatural History while the people behind me snickered.
“Miss Vesta. Stand up and discuss the Black Panther Party and its significance in our history.” She walked through the words and sat down in her seat.
I stood up. “The Black Panther party was a group of Africans who---”
“African Americans, Miss Vesta. With your skin color, I’d assume you’d know what that means.” She waved her hands. A black and white photograph of the Black Panther party members appeared next to her magicked text. I cleared my throat.
“They were African American Shapeshifters. Most of the members were black fur-coated Were-leopards and Were-jaguars. The government monitored them for suspicion of terrorist activities.” I twisted the bottom of my shirt around my finger. “One night, the Humans saw the members shifting after a meeting in the woods---”
“The Humans?” Professor Rodriguez shook her head. “This isn’t one of your remedial Mixbreed classes. You’ll need to say the government agency here.”
A few students raised their hands. I wiped the sweat off of my forehead. Professor Rodriguez pointed to a female Supe with green hair.
“The FBI,” said the green haired female.
“Thank you, Gloria.” The professor stared back at me. “Continue.”
I tapped my right foot. “The Human president ordered a national state of emergency.”
“Is that what your textbook says?”
“I didn’t get to finish reading that section.”
“That’s clear. You’re also wasting my time and your peers’. Please leave.” She pointed to the door. “I expect a paper on Chapter Five by Friday.”
Of course you do.
 I avoided her eyes and walked out of class. Ray followed. Motherpounder. I’d fought to get into her class.
Professor Rodriguez was from the old school of thought, believing Mixbreeds were abominations, and should be euthanized. When she denied my registration for her class, she wrote me a letter, explaining that most interspecies’ offspring had serious mental illnesses and the rest were only fit to be criminals or janitors.
I found her statistics to be Were-bullshit and wrote letters to the university board, threatening to contact PETA and other human organizations that supported Mixbreed rights. Not wanting negative news, the university forced the professor to let me enroll.


        Kenya Wright always knew she would be famous since the ripe old age of six when she sung the Michael Jackson thriller song in her bathroom mirror. She has tried her hand at many things from enlisting in the Navy for six years as a Persian-Farsi linguist to being a nude model at an art university.

        However, writing has been the only constant love in her life.

        Now Kenya is publishing her first book, Fire Baptized, the urban fantasy novel she always wanted to read. This novel is the first book in a series.

        Will she succeed? Of course.

        For she has been coined The Urban Fantasy Queen, the Super Iconic Writer of this Age, The Lyrical Genius of Our Generation. Granted, these are all terms coined by her, within the private walls of her bathroom as she still sings the Michael Jackson thriller song.

            Kenya Wright currently resides in Miami with her three amazing, overactive children, a supportive, gorgeous husband, and three cool black cats that refuse to stop sleeping on Kenya’s head at night.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Whatcha reading?!

Happy Sunday!! Just this past week I finished TAMING TAI by Chloe Cole. It's a novella, so it's a nice short read and was exactly what I needed. Sometimes it's just great to start a book and finish it in a night! And this was HOT! But it was sure packed full of emotion too! A really heartfelt romance that just hit all the right spots for me!

This is book three in the ROCK HARD series and I recommend them all! Her writing always leaves me smiling and fanning myself!!

Since Christa Reilly broke his heart ten years ago, Tai-Nan Rivera has steered clear of emotional attachments. Life’s okay, though. He’s in an amazing band, has great friends and has put his troubles with the law behind him. He’s even managed to forget about Christa…almost. Until she comes barreling back into his life, talking about forgiveness. He lets her know that a reunion isn’t on the menu but he’d be happy talk to her…after some hot, sweaty sex, of course. The thought of slumming again will surely send her running back to Daddy. Then maybe he can put their past behind him for good.

When Christa sees Tai’s face on a billboard after years of searching, she drops everything to find him. But the boy she’d loved is now a man who can’t forgive her for their tumultuous past. He finally agrees to talk to her, but for a price. She’ll risk everything to prove she’s worthy of his heart, if only he would trust her with it…one more time.


BUY LINK


So whatcha reading?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

So, My Boy Joined the Army.

Here goes another series.

As an Army veteran, I understand what it is to serve, but I never really appreciated the way my mother felt until my oldest son joined the Marines and was deployed to Afghanistan. While researching EOD, a job he was considering, I developed a series called Blown Away.

Since then, I've written many more stories, inspired by men and women in uniform. In my 1NS story, Cinderella Wore Combat Boots, you will see a dedication to the boys of the 2-26.

As you know, Cinderella Wore Combat Boots was written for the men and women of our military, my real life heroes. Everyday, they put their lives on the line to protect freedoms we sometimes take for granted.
Unfortunately many of our young men and women suffer mentally and physically from war. This affects their lives and their family's lives on a grand scale. It's why I support organizations like The Wounded Warrior Project, who help these young men and women to reclaim normal, healthy lives.

So what's the latest WIP about. Why, a combat medic of course. Finding Mercy is about a young man who suffers Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, struggling to come to terms with what he'd done while deployed, and his fight to live a normal life again. 

Here's an excerpt:
“This one’s alive.” Someone hoisted the weight from a large chunk of wreckage off him, and pressed fingers against his throat, feeling for a pulse. Hands under his shoulders and knees. Up. Lifted and set on a stretcher. “No,” he screamed, begging for an end to it. He wasn’t alive. This couldn’t be real. Another screamed gurgled from his throat and he began to convulse, unable to hold his limbs still.
"Hold him down so I can sedate him.” Hands grasped his wounded limbs and he arched up. A stick with a needle. Burning.

He turned his head toward the medic who stuck him as the seizure eased.
“You’re going to be okay.”
Let me die. God. Please. Let me die. Pain rode his nerves like an electrical wire, sending jolts of agony to the tips of his fingers and toes. He opened his mouth to scream again, but nothing came from his throat. Thrum, thrum, thrum, his heartbeat slowed as the anesthetic began to take effect. Every step the medics took as they hauled him toward reprieve, hurt. Broken bones, burns, and knowing he’d killed them all and survived to see his handy work. Justin wasn’t sure what was worse.
Whump, whump, whump, the chopper’s blades beat against the air. The pressure seemed to pound down on him as they loaded him onboard. He turned his head, opened his eyes and stared out over the battlefield, now a large crater. Below, a graveyard covered the landscape. Soldiers picked through the debris, searching for survivors. It was amazing they’d found any. From the looks of it, the bombs had tried to punch a hole through the planet.
Have a great Saturday,

D L

Friday, February 24, 2012

It's Friday

Okay, is anyone wondering if I have a weird fetish? I come upon the oddest looking, off the beaten path, pics of houses and I can't resist looking at them. And there's a bad part to this coming later. Someone only has to say a word to jog my mind and like a flash, I'm running around the web like a crazy woman. :) This happened last week when a coworker and I talked about lighthouses. Conversation turned to sea captains, waiting wives, and of course--ghosts.

I've never written a ghost story. I write about bloodsucking cats, howling shepherd shifters, over-sexed stone people, and angels gone wild. No ghost. Ghost don't make me shiver or go gooey inside. They're too nice, too sedate. The idea of my hero rattling chains, and brooding around a dark, dank lighthouse... well, there's not enough death, bite, or blood[sucking] there. Even as I think about it, I'm not really thinking about it. Writing about ghosts that is. I've rambled enough.

Have you read a scary good ghost story? Feel free to share it because I might yet read something that may change my mind about them.

Now, here's the bad thing about me stumbling upon the odd houses--I can't resist sharing them with all of you! *grin* Enjoy.

Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-J. Hali Steele
Photos: Zillow.com

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Making It Up As You Go Along

I'm on a business trip for my DJ this week.

Being on a trip like this necessitates eating out all three meals of the day. It also means crowds (my hotel is in Waikiki) and waiting, sometimes for about an hour, just for a table. This means I do a lot of people watching.

As an author, people watching is an interesting pastime. Where are these people from? Are they here on vacation? Honeymoon? Getting engaged? Everyone has a story to tell and most of them are willing to share it, especially after they've had a few drinks at the bar while they wait for their table.

I'm a naturally quiet person, however, especially when I'm around people I don't know. So I sit back and just listen to all the conversations around me. Some talk a mile a minute. Some sit and watch, as I do. Some are loud and boisterous, surrounded by their friends and family and enjoying their vacation. (As I write this, two families who've never met are sitting behind me laughing and carrying on. Their only commonality? Seattle. One family is from there, one family used to live there.)

In a way, this cause a bit of an ache in my heart  See, my family has never come on the many business trips I make here (this is my 10th trip here since 2006). So while I am here with people I know--co-workers--I've never gotten to experience relaxing here with those close to me.

Instead, I'll just sit here and make up stories.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Evermine

He can be a slave to his past…or allow her love to free him.

There’s such a thing as too much change. Emma’s sister is mated. Revolution is brewing in her home realm. The last straw: her would-be mate is back from the dead and back under her skin—yet when it comes to the last five years, he’s not talking.

Desperate for a chance to start her own life, she answers the queen’s call to ensure equality for all of Askara’s newly freed slaves. It’s the perfect opportunity to escape a heartbreak in the making named Harper.

Harper loses a piece of his fractured soul when Emma walks away. His lies were meant to protect her from torturous years that drove him to the point of madness. Instead, when he comes to her a year later to help avert a crisis in a freed-slave community, the wedge those lies drove between them is firmly in place.

As their new lives collide with old wounds, they race to stop a threat that could not only destroy the queen, but send Harper back to the hell he escaped. Emma must decide if the man she still loves deserves equal rights to her heart.

Warning: This title contains torn pants, ripped gowns, and sand in uncomfortable places. It also includes one overcompensating villain, one gnarly priest, and two battered hearts willing to give this thing called love one last chance.   

Click here to read an excerpt from Evermine. Click here for more information on my upcoming releases, including the third book in the Daughters of Askara series, Eversworn.

I'm giving away copies of Everlong and Evermine at Book Addicts and Anna's Book Blog!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dulldrums

Ten more days...

until Feb. is over. Yay!!!


Every winter I dread this month because no matter what I try it drags me down. This one was particularly hard since we had no snow so the skiing sucked and we couldn't tobbagan. Super downer for both me and the boys.

March is around the corner and I have release in that month! That gives me a lift to coming exciting months of Spring and the Romance Times convention being held in Chicago.

To beat the dulldrums of this month I've boosted my Vitamin D intake and tried to walk the icy streets. (That's a good core workout if you don't break your ankle)

Next week Kenya Wright will be visiting on Monday discussing Supernatural College 101.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Review of Kiss and Make Up by Faye Robertson


The Opportunity of a Lifetime…

Makeup artist Tabby Rogers is thrilled to land a job on a New Zealand movie set with lots of perks, including getting her hands on sexy Kiwi stunt man, Eli Black. The sexual electricity zapping between them can’t be denied, but neither of them is in a position to handle happily-ever-after. Eli’s jetting off to Hollywood, Tabby’s next assignment is in the UK. But there’s nothing wrong with a short-term fling, right?

Except as the sparks burn hotter and responsibilities pull at them from opposite ends of the globe, it quickly becomes clear that something’s gotta give. Must Tabby sacrifice her hard-won career for love? Or will Eli forever be the one that got away?

BUY LINK

MY REVIEW:

Oh my! Eli Black is sex packaged into a hot stunt man's body!

I LOVED this story and was glued to every word written! At first I wanted to read the story because of Eli being a stunt man and I suspected he'd be a sexy character to read...and damn, I wasn't disappointed. He not only had a humorous side that I simply drooled over, but he was sweet at times and held a dominant side that made my body temperature rise!

Tabby Rogers was charming with her wit, playful personality and heart that seemed to leap off the page. She's definitely a woman I'd love to know and I found myself cheering her on through the story.

With fantastic lead characters, equally as interesting secondary characters, an intriguing plot and a deeply emotional tale of love--and I'd say Faye Robertson has delivered one helluva book!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What's in a Cover?

http://www.rwa.org/cs/readership_stats

Above you see a link to the RWA's readership survey for 2011 and the results were somewhat surprising. I did notice that covers were important to the reader in deciding if they want to purchase a book--the back cover.

Makes you think about your blurbs, doesn't it?

For me, I'm a sucker for a pretty cover and that's what draws my attention first. If the cover leaps out at me, I'll click on it or pick it up and read the first page--of the fifth chapter.Which I do for one reason, and one reason only. I want to know if the entire story will engage me. Too many authors put so much focus on the opening they forget about the rest of the book. If you want to know if the writing is consistent, go to a later chapter and check out the opening page. If that interests me, I flip to the back and read the blurb. Do I like it? Now I go back to the book and ask myself, is this part of a series or does that author have other books. If not, it doesn't stop me from buying it, but it might affect my searches for e-books by this author in the future (You want to be on the future buy list). As with most readers, I like the adventure to continue, and continue, and continue.

Back to the covers. So if most romance readers place little stock on the cover, why should authors get all worked up when a cover goes wrong, mind you, this has never happened to me yet, but I have seen poor authors receive some ugly and just plain horrible covers.

Well, my mind is on covers because I have two in production I'm waiting for. Now, I know Decadent does pretty covers, so I'm not worried, just antsy because I want to show everyone the covers for my upcoming stories.

So while I wait for covers for my science fiction romance, let me show you a few that I just love.





The Scarlet Empress/Cover has changed




Okay, I'll leave you with one last bit of artwork, the new banner on my website, because hey, the survey says...

Have a great weekend,

D L

Thursday, February 16, 2012

There is No One True Way

Let me just say right out of the gate before I go on, I know this is going to be a hot button for some people. Be courteous if you want to offer your own opinion.

The hot thing in publishing right now seems to lean toward self-publishing. "Get rich quick!" "Self-publishing is the only TRUE way to publish!" "If you're not self-publishing, you're a fool!" etc, etc, ad nauseam. The fact of the matter is, despite what some people say, there is no TRUE way to publish a book. But there is a correct way. Let me stop here for a moment and say I myself do not self-publish.  But that doesn't mean I haven't looked into it or haven't considered it. I have. Why have I chosen not to go that route? Time. I simply do not have the motivation or the time that must be invested in what it takes to correctly self-publish.

So, picking back up again, there is no true way to publish a book, but there is a correct way. Just because you've chosen the self-publishing path doesn't mean that you get to skip the steps necessary for getting a quality product out to the masses. Notice the key word: QUALITY When you chose the self-publishing route, it doesn't give you a pass to skip the editing process. (Hint: You're not perfect, really. You're going to have mistakes.) Nor does it give you a pass in the art department. (Hint: Crappy cover art can turn away readers. Seriously.)

To be honest, you're not doing yourself any service by skimping on these things. And I have to ask, why would you want to really? Why would you not want to have something you've toiled over for weeks, months or heck, even years, that's a quality product you can be proud of? Your work deserves to shine at it's very best. Experienced editors and cover artists are going to help you achieve that goal.

There is no one true way to publish a book, there's only the way that works for you. And remember, what works for you, won't necessarily work for anyone else.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wednesday Whoa

I'm a fan of crazy blogs. I like to laugh. I like to go WHOA. A couple of blogs have given me that reaction this week. The Bloggess, of course, is always good for a laugh. Juanita, anyone?

The best thing I've seen this week is a series of photos called Underwater Dogs by Seth Casteel. Let me show you...


To experience the Full Scope of Awesomeness, you can see more gallery images here.

How about you? Is there a specific blog you frequent? A type of funny break you enjoy between projects? Or are you more like me, and let Twitter lead you straight to RandomLandia?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Welcome Carrie Ann Ryan!

Happy V-Day everyone. To celebrate today, we have Carrie Ann Ryan visiting us to tell us about her HOT new Werewolf romance called A Taste For A Mate. One lucky commentator will win some signed stuff so please be sure to comment at the end!

Take it away Carrie.

When Reality Invades the Paranormal

I love reading paranormal romance. That’s why I write it. I love finding new worlds, new mythologies, now species. I’m a huge fan of werewolves. Hence my Redwood Pack boys.

But sometimes those worlds take me in too deep and scare me. Or they are just so detailed and so farfetched from everything I’ve ever known, that I need something to pull me back. I need reality to grab me and shake the paranormal away before I can dive in again.

Like the fact that each of the Jamensons has a job. Silly right? But Jasper and Kade Jamenson own a contracting business. Jasper, the hero of A Taste for a Mate, is the builder of the family. He loves working with his hands. Yes, he growls and can turn into a midnight black wolf when he needs to, but he’s also part human. He’s a woodworker who makes things for his family, his Pack, and his Willow.

I like the fact that Jasper can go from howling at the moon and shifting in to a wolf in order to attack a demon bent on destroying his family to sitting on his front porch with his mate and wife, Willow and whittle something from a hunk of wood.

Willow herself is a human who owns a bakery. I love writing about her cooking and their eating scenes. It pulls me out of the dark and scary paranormal world and makes it a reality if just for a moment. I love teeth, fur and magic. But sometimes I need a bit of realness, too.

Do you guys do the same thing? Do you need that little dose of reality to counter the paranormal?

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

The scent of cinnamon and sugar danced on the air as Willow Delton heaved opened the heavy oven door to remove her prized cinnamon rolls. The plump, buttery pastries were baked to perfection, and she set them on the counter to cool. The only thing missing was her thick and creamy frosting, but that would have to wait.

Willow stood back and stared around her commercial grade kitchen. She’d started her bakery from scratch, and it had grown into a successful, albeit small, business. Incredible, really. She’d never thought the day would arrive when she finally had a place to call her own. She was right where she wanted to be. Her favorite part of the day was being able to meet one-on-one with her customers. She loved the looks on their faces when they bit into her temptations, that look of ecstasy not seen on this side of the bedroom door that flashed across their eyes.

Of course, that particular look as the result of a man was long absent from Willow’s face. Too excruciatingly long.

She stood back and closed her eyes, conjuring the memory of her mystery man’s face. The image that filled her mind made her forget the lack of human contact. The thought of his deep, husky voice tickled her spine whenever he spoke. Green eyes caught her in his web with only a glance. She’d fallen for a stranger and didn’t even know his name. He’d come into her store every morning and ordered a cinnamon roll and coffee with only a few words. Then he ‘d pay cash before lifting up the corner of his mouth in a semblance of a smile and walking out of her store. Was it strange she worried he’d keep walking and never return?

A bell’s tinkle pulled Willow from her reverie and self-pity. As she turned to greet her customer, her heart leapt to her throat. Him. Her mysterious fantasy man. As she tried to regain her senses, she took all of him in. He had to be one of the tallest men she’d ever seen, easily over six and a half feet. The tight black T-shirt he wore hugged his biceps and cut into his muscular physique, while his broad shoulders stretched and strained the seams. His body tapered down to a narrow waist and hips as they met his thighs. His long legs she wanted to grip, encased in worn jeans lead to work boots. Hmm, construction perhaps? She glanced back up his body to his striking face.

He wasn’t beautiful, but he did have a face most women would dream about. A strong jaw and cheekbones gave him an aura of strength, the kind of strength that would be protective. His hair was midnight black and long enough to brush his shoulders, however, today, a band held it back, showcasing his face more. He studied her, his green eyes calm and calculating. Willow let out a surprised gasp at the sexual heat radiating from him. Could she possibly be imagining things?

****

Jasper Jamenson fought himself as he walked into the bakery that morning. This would be the seventh week in a row he’d come here, every day but Sunday. And that was only because the damn store was closed. As good as the cinnamon rolls were, and they were little tastes of heaven, it was the woman behind the counter that brought him there every morning.

Following a particularly bad night in the forest on a hunt, Jasper had been pissed and hungry. Another wolf had tried to play a dominant game, forcing Jasper to hurt him. The stench of the other’s defeat had remained on him, only angering Jasper that much more. The scent of the morning’s freshly baked goods pulled him through the quaint and welcoming door, and the slender goddess who served him brought thoughts of a different form of servicing to mind.

Slightly above average in height – he would guess about five foot seven – she was the perfect height to settle against his body. For someone who owned and operated a bakery, she was as skinny as a rail. However, if he looked close enough he could see the telltale signs possible of curves. And with just a little bit of his help and pampering she would gain some well-needed cushion. No matter what, she’d look amazing underneath him. Her long, light brown hair curled in a bun on the top of her head. His fingers ached to pull out the pins and watch it tumble down her back. Hazel eyes sought him and begged for his protection. Damn, he was willing.

Her look made the wolf within him perk up and growl.

“Mate? I want her”. His wolf paced beneath the surface of his skin, calculating the best way to quickly claim their mate.

What his wolf spoke of was a possibility. There were only a few women in the world through time that carried the scent to signal the potential mating. Unlike his brother Kade, who had met two women recently that carried the scent, Jasper had never in his one-hundred and three years come across a woman who brought forth the mating urge. However, if all encounters were like this one, Jasper didn’t know how others walked away. The urge rode him hard and he fought his wolf for control if only for a moment, something that hadn’t happened since he was a pup.

He mentally spoke to his wolf. “We are not ready for a mate. And a human no less. She knows nothing of us. If, and that is a big if, we chose her to be our mate, we will have to go slowly into this. I don’t want us to scare her. But she is beautiful, no”

His wolf growled in response.

“Do you want to scare her away? Let’s get to know her first, see if she is a good match, other than that incredible cinnamon scent. I’ll talk to Adam and find out everything I can about her. I am the Beta; I cannot put my Pack in jeopardy.”

God, he really sucked at this. This time he needed to put on his big wolf panties and actually ask her out.

Then we could mark her.”

He snorted at his wolf. Yeah, that was taking it slow.

Jasper shook himself from his inner thoughts and looked into those hazel eyes. The spot of flour on her cheek begged for his hand to brush it way. He fought the urge. No need to freak her out. Her chest moved slowly, her small breasts rising and falling. The cinnamon scent of her filled his nostrils and he took a deep breath, the aroma going straight to his cock. The slight gasp that escaped from her kissable lips almost broke his control, and he fisted his hands to regain it.

“Good morning.” His voice lowered an octave and became a growl. He cleared his throat and started again. “I come here every morning and I don’t think I ever gave you my name. Let me rectify that.” He closed the distance between them so only the counter separated them. “I’m Jasper Jamenson. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” He held out his hand in hopes of touching her skin.

Willow blinked up at him and seemed at a loss for words. Her lips opened slightly, begging him to lean down and taste her.

“Uh… yeah… I’m Willow Delton.” She shook her head, gave him a small smile and placed her slender hand in his. He’d been right – her skin was incredibly soft and made him want to take a bite.

“Yes, I know, you own this place.” He gave her hand a squeeze and released her.

“So, Jasper, do you want your usual?” The sound of his name on her lips hardened his cock. Without waiting for him to respond, she turned back to her work-table to ice her cinnamon rolls.

“Sounds good.” He watched as her hands moved swiftly and confidently across the baking sheets. “What time do you get off?”

“Smooth, Romeo. Why don’t you just ask her to bend over the work table for you?”

Ignoring his wolf Jasper continued, “I thought that we could grab a bite to eat tonight and go see to the arts fest they have running in town.”

Oh dear Lord. Why didn’t he ease into this?

“Oh, are you asking me out on a date?” She wrinkled her brow and looked utterly confused at the prospect.

“Yes, I am. I’ve been in here for over a month every morning, and as much as I love your food, I had an ulterior motive.”

Surprise flashed across her face before her eyes lit up with excitement. “I’ve never been to the arts fest in town. I didn’t want to go by myself and didn’t have anyone to go with me.” Her mouth snapped shut at her revealing statement.

Laughing quietly, he shook his head. “So what time do you get off?”

“You really need to stop putting it like that; it gives me ideas.” Again, he ignored his wolf’s sarcasm.

“I close at four and should be done cleaning up by five. It’s only me here today so it’s going to take me an hour to close.”

“What do you say I come back at six and we go to dinner from here?”

Her smile almost blinded him as she nodded before taking off her apron. “Okay. Sounds good. Here’s your breakfast.” She handed him his black coffee and a small brown bag with a pink logo.

Taking everything from her hands, he set them down along with the cash to pay for it. Giving into temptation he leaned over the counter to brush the flour from her cheek.

She jumped and a flash of alarm raced across her face.

Chuckling under his breath, he reassured her. “Just some flour. I’ll see you at six, Willow.” He grabbed his breakfast and walked to the door, taking one last look behind him at the woman who was his mate. He was one lucky bastard.

Whistling a jaunty tune, he walked toward his Jeep, unconcerned and happy while leaving his mate to do her work. The hairs on the back of his neck lifted, and his wolf came to attention. The street was empty but for a few people; nothing looked out of place. Jasper took a deep breath but didn’t detect another presence. With one last look toward his slender brunette, he shrugged off the uneasy feeling and continued to his Jeep.


Carrie Ann Ryan is a paranormal and contemporary romance author. After spending too much time behind a lab bench, she decided to dive into the romance world and find her werewolf mate - even if its just in her books. Happy endings are always near - even if you have to get over the challenges of falling in love first.

Her first book, An Alpha's Path, is the first in her Redwood Pack series. She's also an avid reader and lover of romance and fiction novels. She love meeting new authors and new worlds. Any recommendations you have are appreciated. Carrie Ann lives in New England with her husband and two kittens.

Carrie Ann loves hearing from readers. You can find her at:

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Twitter: @CarrieAnnRyan

An Alpha’s Path

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Alphas-Path-Redwood-Pack-ebook/dp/B006GHBSA2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326396851&sr=8-1

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/an-alphas-path-carrie-ann-ryan/1107828923

A Taste for a Mate

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Taste-Mate-Redwood-Pack-ebook/dp/B0073WA12K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328133523&sr=8-1

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1108508709?ean=2940014077125&itm=1&usri=a+taste+for+a+mate


Monday, February 13, 2012

Romance


ro/mance:

noun- A feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.
verb- Court; woo: "the wealthy owner romanced her".

Sounds simple, but we all know there's more to it then this definition. It's one of the strongest driving forces in our known universe. This whole blog is dedicated to it. Heck, my writing career hinges on it.

I think we all have individual ideas of what romance means. Just like food and books, we all have different tastes. I cringe at the idea of someone reading poetry to me. (It's happened and I wanted to crawl under a rock and die.) But damn, if my man does the laundry without me asking, it's better than a dozen roses any day.

As a romance writer, I've become sensitve to others opinions on the matter since I don't just write my books for me but others. I like to reflect different concepts of romance in my stories.

What do you think is romantic? An unasked for kiss, flowers, poetry (cringe)?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whatcha reading?!

Happy Sunday!! I'm taking it back to books this week and sharing what's got me excited. Recently, I read the Knights in Boardroom series by Joey W. Hill, and I LOVED the books. I haven't read all of them yet, but I've read all the ones not in an anthology and I have no doubt I'll get to the others soon.

If you enjoy BDSM erotic romance then you're sure to love these ones. All the men are totally drool worthy and the scenes are SEXY! Of all the books in the series my favorite was HOSTILE TAKEOVER. Good God, my eyes were glued to every page.

Definitely an awesome series to check out!!

Ben is the last unattached member of the five-man executive team of K&A Associates. The other four, all Masters, have found the submissives of their dreams. That’s fine. The sharp-edged lawyer knows he’s the most hardcore of them all, with extreme tastes as a Master he satisfies physically through experienced club submissives. He doesn’t really need anything more.

Marcie has loved Ben since she was sixteen. He’s never behaved as anything more than a protective big brother, a family friend. But now she’s twenty-three and starting her career as a corporate investigator. She may be a blood-and-bone-deep submissive, but she won’t hesitate to use her aggressive talents to prove she’s meant to be his. With a Master as tough as Ben, she’ll have to take whatever measures are needed—even if her deepest desire isn’t a hostile takeover of his heart, but an unconditional surrender to it.

WHAT I'M READING NOW:

Next up for me is Ascension by Sable Grace. I'm always on the look out for new urban fantasy romance series and this one sounds right up my alley! There are two books available in the series now and I can hardly wait to dive in!!


The gates of hell have opened, and one woman will stand in the crossfire as the Dark Breed -- vampyre, demons, shape shifters -- and mankind fight their last battle for survival.

Kyana is half Vampyre, half Lychen... And the last of her kind. Determined, dangerous, and damned, she has no love for the mortals who have imprisoned and misused her. But when the Order of Ancients entrusts her with a mission -- to find the key that will send the Dark Breed back into Hell for eternity -- Kyana has no choice but to accept.

She is furious to learn her assignment comes with an escort... Ryker, a demigod and fierce warrior who long ago found a way under her skin and stayed there. In a shaky alliance, they discover an ancient cult with dangerous motive and a god who seeks to destroy all others. And as Kyana begins to feel the heat that threatens to bind her to Ryker, she knows she has to resist. For it could only mean the undoing of them both...


So whatcha reading?