Saturday, December 31, 2011
Happy New Year!
Friday, December 30, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Two new stories coming soon.
Here are the blurbs:
When Mercedes, the town librarian, enters a place no good girl would dare to tread, she meets a man who says he’s an incubus, who has an offer too tempting to pass. After the encounter with the stranger, sanity returns and Mercedes begins to wonder if she’s lost her mind along with her memory, or was the man in the back of the adult toy store really who he claimed to be?
Thousands of years have passed. Azael has returned to Jezebel, and he’s brought her memories with him. Now that Jezebel has them back, she doesn’t intend to lose them again by starving herself of life energies. So, when she encounters a broken heart in the seedy strip club where she works, she knows dinner will be special that night. This time, the feeding will be on her terms, and the man who’s wandered into her snare, shouldn’t miss the small bite of soul she takes.
Have a wonderful holiday, everyone.
Friday, December 23, 2011
However, snow seems to be synonymous with the upcoming holidays, so the following pretty places are for all the winter lovers who seek the perfect powder to snow board, ski, or make snow angels!
Link to full story by Colleen Kane, CNBC.com: http://realestate.yahoo.com/promo/inside-the-5-most-luxurious-ski-homes.html
Photo credits: Dena Fleming CHIN | MACQUOID | FLEMING | HARRIS Prudential Utah Real Estate
Craig Morris of Morris & Fyrwald Sotheby’s International Realty
Cam Boyd and Pam Vanatta, Prudential Steamboat Realty
Thursday, December 22, 2011
A Return to Paranormal
But I did want to talk about one of my new releases last week, because it was a return, of sorts, for me to paranormal. Everything I've released since July of this year has been where I seem to gotten the most comfortable--erotic romance w/ elements of BDSM. But I started out publishing in paranormal/urban fantasy romance. I'm not certain if my brain needed a bit of a break from the two genres I was playing around with the most at the time (futuristic/sci-fi & contemporary) but I pulled up an old file I had sitting within the depths of my hard drive. It was a paranormal romance I'd started very early last year. But I abandoned it when I couldn't seem to get the storyline to work as I wanted to. Something about it just wasn't right.
The story was to be of a female doctor who lost a patient (a child) on the table in her emergency room. It's not the first time and it's happened frequently enough recently, it breaks her. She flees to an old Gothic church in downtown Chicago where she seeks solace inside the building. Stressed and feeling as if she has nowhere else to turn, she falls asleep in one of the pews. The POV switches to a beat cop standing over her and he's not all that he seems to be. He's not actually a beat cop, but a watcher/guardian for the doctor. An immortal of sorts who is tasked with watching over humanity to keep it from destroying itself. And therein enter the paranormal aspect - by day he is a gargoyle on the outside of the church.
I had other bits and pieces from there, but reading over what I had down, I'd realized I'd approached the story wrong, had the wrong characters and even had the whole scope of what I wanted to do wrong. So I took the concept of what I intended and started again. And the results of my second go at the story was released last week from Ellora's Cave under their Spectrum Line - GLBT. Quite the change...
Brady thrives on saving patients in his busy emergency room, but when things don’t go according to plan, nothing prepares him for a chance encounter. There’s something familiar, and mysterious, about the downright sexy-as-hell stranger he encounters on a busy Chicago street.
In Garrett’s world there are no coincidences. He’s been standing as the doctor’s secret guardian for years. Driven by a burning need Brady unknowingly awakened more than a decade ago, Garrett finally breaks his silence. He steps in to show Brady there’s more to life than rescuing those in need.
Roused by their desperate passion for one another, their desire reaches an explosive breaking point. Brady realizes one night isn’t enough, but Garrett is bound by rules he can’t change. Now Brady’s healing touch may save more than just a life—it may just save Garrett’s soul.
Can I just add here that this novella wrecked me emotionally for a few days after I finished the first draft. Going through my personal edits wasn't so bad because I knew what to expect. However, I got a few months reprieve from it while my editor considered the submission and when she accepted it, it didn't even dawn on me that I was going to have to read the story again a few times for edits. Needless to say, I was wreck again the first round of edits. *g*
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Facebook is a Changin'
So this is how my new page looks...
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
New Cover Goodness
Monday, December 19, 2011
A Visit From the Boys of Christmas
HAPPY HOLIDAYS ALL!
Short Bread Cookie recipe with video.
Don't forget to pick up your FREE copy of BAIT at these following links. My Christmas gift to all.
All formats including mobi for Kindle: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-bait-516185-139.html
Sunday, December 18, 2011
A Book Lover’s Holiday by Jess Macallan
Hello Paranormal Romantics! I’m thrilled to be here today. The holidays are upon us, and if you’re anything like me, you still have a lot to do. Don’t get me wrong, I love the whirlwind of activity, and I love when it’s over. I have extra compassion and patience for fellow shoppers (which is easy when you shop online). I love snow days because it means I can stay inside and read. And I especially love gift giving. There’s nothing better than picking out the perfect gift and seeing the recipient glow with appreciation.
If I have to shop in a brick and mortar store, I try to make it a bookstore. My gift-giving list this year included calendars, a journal, stocking stuffers, a magazine subscription, and books (naturally). While I’m there, I indulge in a hot drink and sit back to people watch. I love seeing shoppers with arms full of books. There’s magic in the season and books truly illustrate that. When you gift a book to a loved one, you’re opening up a new world, new friends, and possibly even new ideas for them.
When I receive a gift certificate for a bookstore, I feel like a kid in a candy store. Where do I start? A sweet romance? Dark and sexy urban fantasy? A new mystery maybe? The possibilities are endless. After I have my new book in hand, I savor every page, much like a box of chocolates. Except better, because I can reread a great book as many times as I please.
Some of my personal favorites to gift are:
1) The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. This is one of my favorite urban fantasy series of all time. Shifters, werewolves, vamps, and fae...’nuff said.
2) The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordian. This is a great middle grade series even adults will enjoy. Egyptian mythology and lots of action adds up to an entertaining series.
3) The Eat Clean Diet by Tosca Reno for all of the New Year’s resolution enthusiasts.
4) The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. This book is perfect for creative types.
5) A blank journal for recording dreams, wishes and everything in between.
It’s the thrill of turning a new page and exploring a new world that lead me to give books as gifts. Books are my escape, my addiction and my pleasure all wrapped into one. I can only hope everyone else finds their perfect book and experiences the same.
What was the best book-related gift you’ve ever received?
Thanks again for having me here today! Best wishes to all of you as you celebrate the holidays and gear up for the new year. You can connect with me at | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | JessMacallan |
About Jess Macallan
Jess lives in the Inland Northwest with her husband and three children. She thrives on creative chaos. Curiosity drives her to try new things as often as possible. When not writing or chasing trouble, she teaches yoga, reads, runs a mini farm, watches MMA and gardens. The only things she takes seriously are chocolate, tea and world domination. But mostly chocolate.
Get your copy of STONE COLD SEDUCTION at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books On Board | Powell's | BAM | Diesel Look for Stone Cold Revenge and Stone Cold Destiny coming in 2012 from Entangled Publishing!
About STONE COLD SEDUCTION
“Elle. It’s just Elle.”
When a regular night of Robin Hood-ery results in the manifestation of some, um, unusual paranormal abilities, perfume-maker Elleodora Fredricks realizes the normal world she lives in isn’t quite… normal. And neither is she, thanks to her father, king of the shadow elves. Not only is he evil incarnate and the reason Elle moonlights as a burglar—someone has to take care of all his victims—he’s stolen her memories.
And only reading her fate can fix that.
Good thing she’s got a trio of hotties willing to help her find said fate. Saving her oracle BFF’s fiancée, falling in love with the gargoyle, and making up for breaking the phoenix’s heart ought to be a piece of cake for the princess of the shadow elves.
If only the king didn’t want his daughter dead…
An excerpt from STONE COLD SEDUCTION
“You are my true mate.”
My lips were still tingling, and my brain was fuzzy. “Jax, I’m not sure what that means.”
He didn’t answer, but instead pressed a kiss to my temple. And another to my cheek. Slowly, he nuzzled his way to my neck. I let my head drop to one side, giving him better access.
He whispered his approval, and lightly nipped at my neck. “It is a connection between souls. A bond determined by fate. I will show you what it means.”
His lips and tongue were doing a slow, erotic dance along the oh-so-sensitive skin down my neck, and coherent thought was impossible. He could show me whatever he wanted, as long as he didn’t stop.
I sighed, and Jax took that as acceptance. Before I knew what he was going to do, he’d scooped me up and was halfway up the stairs.
“Jax!” I yelped.
He stopped, but his muscles were vibrating with energy. He waited until he had my full attention before repeating, “I will show you. We are mates, connected in ways you and the phoenix will never be.”
His silver eyes were bright and intense. I could admit to having had many, many fantasies where he’d carried me upstairs, and all sorts of amazing things had happened. But this was real. And he was dead serious. It scared me, thrilled me, and seriously confused me.
When I didn’t respond, he lowered my feet to the floor and pressed me up against the wall in the narrow stairwell. His eyes held mine as he leaned close. “I will show you, so there are no doubts.”
Then he kissed me again, and this time, he held nothing back. Possession, need, and barely leashed control. Jax’s mouth told me more than words ever could. He leaned against me so our bodies were in full contact. Need burned through me. His taste, his touch, drowned out my worries. His scent surrounded me. He smelled crisp and clean. Like a sunny, winter day. But the heat he created inside me was intense. Just like the man himself.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Paranormal With a Cause
The holidays are upon us. Quite literally. Today is the day my little family of four opens gifts. We’re topping the day with a concert tonight from a local guy who’s taking Nashville by storm (and puts on one hell of a show). Within the next few days, Hanukkah starts, Yule occurs, and then Christmas Eve & Christmas, followed closely by Kwanzaa. (If I missed your holiday, apologies…)
It is the busiest time of the year for most people. Sometimes in that frenzy of activity, we forget a couple things:
1) Take time for yourself. You might not have time for a mani/pedi or a massage or whatever helps you relax, but a soak in the tub or curling up by the fire (or in a blanket) with a book can make a world of difference in both your productivity and your outlook on the season. Stress makes the holidays fun for no one. So be sure to take care of yourself in the midst of taking care of everyone else.
2) Often when we’re busy thinking about cooking, baking and gift buying, we forget about those in need and worthy causes. Don’t forget to take a moment to give to something you believe in and spread the magic of the season around. Again, you’ll feel better for it.
What does this have to do with the paranormal? After all, the magic of the season is usually relegated to virgin births and a jolly old elf being pulled through the sky by flying deer. But every year, more and more authors are embracing the season to bring you stories set in the worlds of their creation. The supernatural is no exception to this.
I’ve been told it’s a fun read, and for the rest of this month, whenever you buy my paranormal novella, The Ghost of Vampire Present, Decadent Publishing will donate all their profits from the sale to the American Cancer Society. In addition, I’m donating fifty cents for every copy sold this month to Relay for Life (on top of my normal annual donation). Taking time for you and donating to a good cause all in one handy package. How’s that for holiday multi-tasking?
A huge thanks to Seleste for guest-posting today and a bigger thanks for allowing us to be a part of her Relay for Life endeavors.
Have a great Saturday,
Friday, December 16, 2011
Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-J. Hali Steele
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Tell me, what would you like to see on an author's website?
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
What makes you want to buy the book?
Monday, December 12, 2011
My First Christmas Memory
It being a quiet day, my parents decide to take us skiing that afternoon in the local woods not far from our home.
Exhausted, I couldn't keep up anymore. My mother pulled me by my long red scarf as I whined about frozen toes and fingers. (Being a mom now, I could imagine the horror my mother must have been feeling at this moment.) The sun had set and we skied in the dark. (Yep, we'd been lost that long.) A light shone in the distance between some trees. We'd found someone's backyard and skied across it to the street light that had been our beacon.
My parents were still lost not recognizing the street name however I did. My school bus passed by here all the time. I didn't know the street names but knew certain land marks that lead us home to everyone's surprise. LOL
This is my very first Christmas memory, and unfortunately, not the only time I've been lost in the woods.
What are some of your memorable Christmas moments?
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Are you a Dragon or a Phoenix by Boone Brux!
The dragon is the mightiest of the symbols. They prefer to march to their own drum, make their own rules, and are driven to succeed. They tend to be morning people and prefer to take the lead on projects. In the realm of romance, dragons are willing to fall in love, but refuse to give up their independence.
Dragons are colorful, love to wear patterns and are outgoing. Their downfall is that they tend to be workaholics and have a hard time asking for help. The passion that makes a dragon so vibrant can also leave them feeling drained and unfulfilled.
The Phoenix is the king of the winged kingdom. Their strength is the ability to rejuvenate and transform to rise from the ashes. The Phoenix garners respect from others. They keep their dignity during difficult situations.
They tend to be night owls, wear dark colors, and prefer to stay behind the scene. Their downfall can be their difficulty to toot their own horns. They tend to be too nice, often times at the detriment to their own desires.
The marriage of the two symbols represents love and a happy marriage. The merging of both symbols makes for a well-rounded character.
So which are you, a Dragon, a Phoenix, or both?
Protecting humans is the Bringers’ duty. Sending demons to the Shadow World is their pleasure.
In one night, Ravyn’s life plunges from barely tolerable to deadly. Forced to flee the only home she’s known, she stumbles headlong into the clutches of Icarus, a powerful demon intent on stealing her powers. Unfortunately for him, she has no intention of cooperating.
When Rhys realizes the woman he’s rescued from the Bane Demon is no mere human, his obligation as a Bringer dictates he protect and train her in the ways of his people. But he’s unprepared for the intense desire he feels for the fiery Ravyn. To surrender to his need may mean her death.
As the Demon King’s desire for ultimate power escalates, fathers are slated against sons, and foes are made allies. The Bane threat upon them, Rhys and Ravyn must quest to unite the last of the Bringers—and explore a passion too powerful to ignore.
© 2011 Boone Brux
Menda Abbey, Itta Territory, Inness
One Thousand Years after the Bane War
The demon’s gaze narrowed. “Let me see her.”
Beautiful and horrifying, Icarus moved toward Brother Powell with frightening grace. Sinewy muscles rippled under taut, black skin as he prowled toward the crumbled wall of the abbey. His leathery wings scraped the tree branches overhead and waves of ebony hair, banded with rings of gold, cradled two spiraling horns that jutted upward.
Powell glanced away, refusing to gaze into the mesmerizing, reptilian eyes.
The demon’s deep purr poured over him. “What troubles you, Brother? Are you not happy to see me?”
The monk ignored the question and swiped the cold rain from his eyes. He held the hissing torch higher to reveal a young woman. She stood unnaturally still, compelled by the monk’s hypnosis—a spell taught to him by the demon. Her thin shift clung to her bony frame, and her dull eyes stared ahead. Angela had been lovely once, but like so many, she hadn’t been woman enough to withstand the honor of his attentions. They never were, always crying and pleading to be left alone. Lucky for them, the Demon Bane preferred their sacrifices pure.
“This is not what I asked for.” The deadly calm of Icarus’s voice belied the danger of his statement. “Where is the other woman—the gifted one?”
“In her cell. She doesn’t trust me.” Powell stroked Angela’s limp, blonde hair. “But she’ll not be able to resist the cries of her closest friend.”
“For your sake, monk, I hope you are right.” Icarus held out his hand. “Come to me.”
The compulsion whispered past Powell, sweeping across his skin with the promise of pleasure. He slipped his hand under his robe and adjusted his erection.
The demon’s call slithered toward Angela and wrapped around her like a sensual net. Before the force could ensnare him as well, Powell released his hold and backed away. She glided forward.
He watched, immobilized with morbid fascination. Her progress faltered when she reached the holy ground’s boundaries. He leaned toward Angela, willing her to cross the invisible barrier.
“Come to me,” Icarus repeated.
Weak of mind and body, she lumbered forward through the opening in the wall and away from the protection of the abbey’s sanctified ground.
The demon stood before her and grasped her frail arm. With the smooth curve of his talon, he caressed Angela’s cheek.
She didn’t move.
Powell cringed, excited and repulsed at the same time. He ached for a taste of the power Icarus would give him one day.
“So pure,” Icarus crooned. He trailed his talon down her neck. “So sweet.”
Powell squeezed his holy medallion, its ornate embellishments biting deep into his skin. The pain kept him present and protected against the call of the Bane, a call he wanted to answer. Riveted, he held the torch higher, trying to shed more light on the black demon.
Icarus slid his claw lower, coming to rest between Angela’s breasts. His energy pulsed and reached for its prey. The compulsion grazed Powell’s mind. The medallion slipped from his grasp, the chain catching on his fingers to hang loose. Forgotten.
“Awaken, little bird, and let me see your fear,” Icarus whispered.
Like a parting veil, Angela’s deadened expression cleared. She gasped, frozen by the sight of the towering demon before her. She twisted and fought for her freedom. Bare heels dug into the soggy earth, but the slick grass provided no traction. Icarus jerked her hard, his hold unbreakable.
“No!” Her scream shattered the silence of the night, its echoes hanging in the air like a heavy mist.
He pressed his fingers against her heart and pricked her delicate skin.
She convulsed, her strangled cry dying in her throat. With whispers as soft as the lightest breeze, the silvery essence of her soul sighed and bled from her body. Gossamer threads slithered around Icarus’s hand like small, white snakes, encircling his arm and swirling along the planes of his rounded biceps in an achingly slow, erotically sublime dance. The demon tilted his head and closed his eyes. Angela’s shimmering purity crept up his neck and hovered at his lips. He inhaled and drew her in, stiffening as if in the throes of passion, absorbing every delicate wisp.
The intimate union between predator and prey mesmerized Powell. He crept forward, forgetting the danger. The seductive and deadly act held a perverse beauty. Powell stroked himself, dragging the rough material of his robe over his erection, losing himself in The Taking. Time had no place; the tap, tap of rain on the leaves the only disruption brave enough to break through the reticence of the night.
When the sparkling vapor faded around her heart, Icarus retracted his talons and released his hold. Angela’s body slumped to the ground, dead. He stretched and smiled, his fangs glimmering in the torchlight. “That’s better.”
Powell’s heavy breathing punctuated the quiet. His body quivered from the demon’s feral presence. As the pleasurable effect began to fade, he opened his senses and scrambled to ingest the lingering scraps of Bane essence. Its pure power raced through his body and filled his veins with an intoxicating fire.
Icarus bent and scooped up Angela’s body. Four powerful strides brought him to the abbey’s border. He heaved his burden at Powell. The monk shrieked and jumped back, his euphoric haze evaporating. Bones snapped as the body landed in a crumpled heap at his feet. Bile rose in his throat. For a fraction of a second, remorse pawed at him, but, just as quickly, the sentiment disappeared.
“Bring me the other—now.” Icarus’s wings unfurled and stretched behind him. “Do not fail me, monk.” He crouched and pinned Powell with a yellow stare. “Or I won’t be as kind to you as I was to the girl.”
Powell glanced at the broken body at his feet and swallowed hard. Meeting the demon’s stare, he nodded.
With a powerful leap, Icarus launched into the sky and was instantly swallowed by the darkness.
Ravyn jolted upright in bed. She pushed her mass of black curls out of her face and looked around. Had somebody screamed, or was it only her nightmares?
Darkness blanketed her cell, and rain pounded a steady beat against the ledge of her narrow window. Shivers crawled down her spine like a dozen tiny spiders. The abbey, the wind, and the rain had a natural rhythm she had come to know. Like an off-key note, she heard the wrongness of the night’s cadence.
She closed her eyes and released her awareness. It flowed down the dark corridors of the ancient abbey, seeping into the corners and rooms, making its way toward the chapel. Malevolence strummed along the mental threads of Ravyn’s consciousness as it ghosted across the chapel door. Heat skittered along her arms, awakening the protective fire within her. She flexed her fingers and relaxed into the sensation. Always the awareness was bittersweet. The same power that made her an outcast with the Sisters now rallied to protect her from the evil housed inside the supposed holy space.
She yanked her senses back and pressed the heels of her hands to her eyes, trying to steady herself against the draining presence. Only one evil dwelled within the abbey: Brother Powell.
Ravyn threw off the worn blanket and crammed her feet into the only pair of slippers she owned. She stood and tiptoed across her room. The cell’s heavy oak door loomed before her. Pulling on the iron handle, she prayed the hinges remained quiet for once. A soft squeak of protest pierced the silence and she flinched. Hopefully, the other girls were sound asleep. She poked her head into the corridor. Empty. Good. Their safety was one less problem to worry about.
Two sparsely placed torches threw small circles of light around themselves but did little to illuminate the passage. Ravyn darted from her room and blended with the shadows. To most, the dark passages appeared empty, but for her, people and memories of the past whispered around her, longing to tell their tales. Despite the Sisters’ efforts to beat this evilness out of her, knowing and listening had always felt right.
The spirit of a young woman materialized in front of her. Dressed in The Order’s habit, she was immediately recognizable to Ravyn as Sister Amalee. She smiled, but the ghost did not smile back. Instead, Amalee stood close, wringing her hands and shaking her head. Ravyn stepped around the spirit, not wanting to experience the staggering punch of emotion she felt when passing through the dead.
Blackness pulsated around the edges of the chapel door as Ravyn approached. The sensation of a thousand biting needles abraded her skin. She rubbed her arms, trying to scrub away the sting. The assault was all too familiar.
Powell waited inside.
She shook her arms. Tonight, his presence felt more caustic than usual. He was a venomous snake coiled within the delicate flowers of a garden.
Amalee slid forward and blocked Ravyn’s path.
“Move,” Ravyn whispered.
The ghost shook her head and held her hands out in a silent plea.
“I have to go in.”
Amalee threw her slightly transparent arms across the opening.
“You can’t stop me.” The spirit’s attempt to protect her was touching, but she needed to get inside the chapel. “Please move.”
Amalee bowed her head and folded her hands in front of her chest. Her mouth moved with a silent tirade of prayers. Without looking up, she floated forward and passed through Ravyn.
Waves of distress flowed from the center of Ravyn’s body and out toward her limbs, unbalancing her. She bit her lower lip and silently cursed, trying to calm the spirit’s tumultuous essence. After a few seconds, she shook her head and opened her eyes. She was alone.
Blackness bled around the edges of the door, reaching for her.
The Sisters sealed the chapel after evening prayers and, not surprisingly, as she shoved against it, the door yielded to her push. She’d learned long ago evil had a way of unlocking what should be locked, and unbinding what should be bound.
The groan of the old hinges announced her entry and echoed through the chapel. She grimaced, knowing now she was exposed to whoever waited. The prickling sensation on her arms increased.
Torches burned in their sconces. She swallowed hard and stepped inside. This hallowed chamber had never felt welcoming. She glanced up at the altar. The carved and still faces of The Sainted Ones scowled down at her.
“Good evening, gentlemen.”
Their sightless eyes seemed to judge her, finding her unworthy to enter such a holy place. Their condemnatory glares followed her, but like always, she ignored them and drifted deeper into the chapel.
She scanned the shadows. Madness and the taint of evil seethed at the edges of the light. Her search tracked along the darkness, coming to rest on a crumpled body between the benches.
She gasped. “Angela.”
Sweet, naïve, and ready to believe in the good of others—that was Angela. Ravyn caught up her skirt and ran, the need to protect her friend blotting out the danger.
“Angela.” She dropped to her hands and knees and gathered her friend’s soiled and drenched body in her arms. “Angela!”
At first touch, a crushing blackness crashed into Ravyn. Unable to hold on, she released the body. Her stomach twisted in tight coils of pain. She clutched her throat, trying to tear through the feeling of drowning. The blackness choked and smothered her. She clawed at the stones of the floor.
Air. She needed air.
Heat spread through her body, her defensive fire once again flaring to life. It pushed against the dense darkness fighting to consume her. The evil’s grip loosened. A brutal hand seized her hair and yanked. She tipped backward, sharp knees driving deep into her spine. Wetness spattered her face. Please don’t let that be blood. Her hands pawed her cheeks and frantically brushed the droplets from her face.
Brother Powell towered above her, hair dripping with rain and lips twisted in a contemptuous smile. Before she could scream, he jerked her head at a painful angle and wrapped his hand around her throat.
“Well, well, well. Look who’s come to save the day. I’m afraid you’re too late. And just to let you know,” he whispered in her ear, “Angela died an incredibly painful death.”
Shadows darkened the edges of Ravyn’s vision. The foul stench of his breath assaulted her. He shouldn’t be this close. He should never be this close.
She struck out with her elbow and landed a blow to his stomach. A grunt huffed behind her and the pressure on her head eased. She scrambled across the stone floor, trying to regain her footing, but the dense blackness sucked at her strength.
Curses and footsteps echoed from behind. Her desperate grab hooked the back of a pew, but weakness caused her fingertips to slip from the wood and she collapsed to the floor. Her lungs ached. Darkness crept through her body. She shoved against it, fighting to keep its invasion at bay, refusing to give in so easily.
Powell’s boot pressed into her behind, and with a hard thrust, he sent her sprawling across the aisle. Bent on deflecting his attack, she rolled to her back and kicked at him. His hand wrapped around her ankle. With a yank, she tried to break his hold, the feel of his fingers against her flesh making her skin crawl. His mouth stretched into a wicked grin as he dropped her foot and straddled her. He fisted two handfuls of hair and jerked her to her feet. She slapped at him, hoping for a solid hit, but her hands sliced through empty air.
He released her hair and backhanded her across the face. Pain shot through her jaw as her head snapped sideways. Her body crashed into a wooden bench and tumbled over the top. Tangled in her gray wool dress, she lay on the floor, unmoving.
Powell’s words penetrated her muddled haze. “Oh yes. Icarus will reward me well for you.”
She slowly rolled over and sat up. Bursts of heat sparked in her veins. She shivered at the commands of her powers as they pushed against her barrier. She wanted to give the fire its freedom but clamped down the urge. The coppery tang of blood coated her tongue and she swiped the trickle at the corner of her mouth. “What’s wrong, Brother? Are you tired of tormenting me?”
“That’s a pleasure I’ll never weary of. Unfortunately for you, somebody has made me an offer I cannot refuse.”
He was on her in five short strides, latching onto a handful of hair to drag her across the chapel floor. She’d not cry out and give him the satisfaction of knowing he hurt her.
Fire surged through her body. She shuddered against the force of the inferno, struggling to keep it restrained. Unlike him, she was no murderer.
Blindly, she grappled with both hands for Powell’s arm and found his wrist. She twisted, digging her heels into the uneven stones and pulling her and the monk to a stop.
She leapt to her feet, knocking the monk off balance. He released her hair and pivoted to face her but Ravyn held tight to his arm.
He glanced at his wrist and back to her face. “Is that your attempt at escape?” He yanked on his arm but she didn’t release him. “Really, Lady Ravyn, is that the best you can do?”
The power within her billowed, demanding its freedom. She captured his gaze.
His milky gray eyes widened. Tears. Torment. Wickedness.
Her rudimentary connection to him opened a torrent of suffering. His debauchery swallowed her. She sensed the fear of his victims, and she touched…nothing. Like a sucking void, a dense aura surrounded the monk.
Her anger swelled. She gripped his wrist tighter, determined to give him a taste of what roiled inside of her. Maybe in some small way she could avenge Angela’s death. What sweet ecstasy to burn this abomination of a man.
She concentrated her energy on his arm and forced her heat into him. The power rolled through her body. He fought to pull free but she squeezed harder, her heat increasing.
“Let go!” He tried to shake her free, but she remained unmoving and locked. Fire danced up his arm. He clawed at her fingers. “Let go!”
“See what awaits you beyond this life, Brother?” Emotions slipped away as the trance overtook her. “The fires of The Abyss burn without mercy.”
He screamed and dropped to his knees, the fire engulfing his hand. “You are Bane!”
His words leeched through the fiery spell holding her and took coherent form in her mind. He had called her a Bane. The slur struck close to the fears she kept buried about her powers. “It would serve you right if I killed you where you kneel.”
His face paled.
But this isn’t right, is it? Ravyn blinked and tried to clear her head. She walked a thin line, she knew. Her decision to do what was right—not what felt good—was what kept her in the light.
She watched the monk’s wrist begin to smolder. The smell of charred flesh fouled the air. The fury of her power intoxicated her with its heady domination. His cries echoed off the stone walls, and she peered at him through a haze of euphoria. How easy it would be to submit to the inferno’s demand for freedom.
She stopped and stared at the sight of his burned flesh. A mixture of repulsion and giddiness washed through her. Had she really done that? Her mind clawed its way back from the edge of insanity, an edgy, irrepressible laugh slipping free.
Powell was corrupt and evil. He deserved to die. But was she the one to take his life? She inhaled. No. This wasn’t her right. She pulled her heat back and slowly loosened one finger at a time and dropped his arm.
He crumpled and cradled his blistered wrist to his chest. Careful to keep her distance, she shuffled around him, her need to get away paramount. One more minute and she would’ve lit him up like a stack of dry wood. With unsteady steps, she retreated toward the door.
Her feet tangled in the folds of her skirt. She stumbled and grabbed a pew for balance. Rage and madness warred with her rational mind. She righted herself and continued her backward steps, widening the space between them.
“Look what you’ve done! Look what you’ve done to me!” He struggled to his knees. “If not for Icarus, you’d feel my retaliation. And trust me, my lady, I wouldn’t grant you the kindness of death.”
“Kindness? As if you know what that word means. Let me assure you, Brother, I’d rather be burned alive than endure any more of your kindness.”
“I’ll see you suffer. Listen to you scream as Icarus drains you.”
Fire pulled at her restraints. She held his gaze and slowly allowed the blaze to take control. There would be no talking her way out of this situation. The monk was mad. Her senses screamed a second before he lunged, but she’d already found her focus.
Powell’s movements slowed, his attack becoming exaggerated and predictable, like he struggled through viscous liquid. A blanket of silence cloaked her, dampening the angry cry he spewed. One…two…three. She counted her slowing heartbeat and concentrated on the center of his chest, sinking into a trance.
The fire took command, wielding her body as a weapon.
Her vision altered, and Powell ceased to be solid. Blues and greens swirled where his body had been. A black, snakelike entity slithered unheeded within the colors, and a ruby orb pulsed where the monk’s heart should have been.
Flame and light raced down her arm, gathering in her hand. She launched the energy toward the beating orb. The ball struck dead center and the black snake writhed as threads of lightning coursed through the colors.
Powell catapulted backward and bounced when he hit the stone floor. The swirling colors reverted to solid. He lay sprawled and unmoving.
Her heavy release of breath echoed through the chapel. Control gave way to rational thought, and her body began to shake. No line had existed between her and the fire. Never before had the power demanded her submission and compelled her to do its bidding.
Nausea washed over her. “Holy Mother. What should I do?”
The sight of Powell’s still form pulled at her and she crept forward, her muscles tense. She nudged him with her toe but he didn’t stir. Her question remained unanswered, but The Sainted Ones’ silence held all the condemnation she could bear. She rubbed her hands over her face.
Few knew of Brother Powell’s depraved character, but her strange ways and evil nature were well-known within the abbey. They would turn their accusations toward her first and his murder would be all the proof The Order needed for one of its sanctified demon hunts.
Until now, the abuse from Powell had been worth the food in her stomach and a roof over her head. Her life hadn’t been happy, but it was better than scrounging for survival in a world she knew nothing about. Inside the abbey, she was safe and she had the girls.
The girls. Who would protect them?
She hauled back and kicked him in the ribs. “Bastard.” She glanced at Angela. “I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you.”
She gathered her heavy skirt and fled the chapel, racing down the dark corridors of the abbey. When she reached the wide staircase, she took the steps three at a time, her ascent resonating off the walls.
Blood pounded in her ears. She rushed into her cell and looked around. There wasn’t much to pack. The few items she owned were shoved into a bag and within seconds, she was ready.
An ancient tome lay open to the page she’d been examining before falling asleep. She slammed the cover closed and dumped the book into her sack. The minor theft of abbey property seemed insignificant at this point.
As a last thought, she grabbed her cloak and rushed toward the outer stairs that led away from the chapel. The steps blurred before her as she spiraled down and around the stone staircase. Panic beat against her, but she tamped down the alarm and locked away her fear.
She was fleeing the only home she’d ever known.
At the bottom of the stairs, she flung open the heavy door. The night and rain hit her like a physical assailant, threatening her bravery. She slipped into the shadows and plastered her body against the abbey wall. Her breathing came in short puffs. Keep my head. I must keep my head.
Foot by foot, she edged along the back of the building, mustering her courage for her final flight. A stray curl fell across her eyes and she pushed it away with a trembling hand. The chill air ruffled against her skin, pulling the heat from beneath her cloak. She gripped its edges and tugged the folds tighter around her, squinting at her destination.
She tucked the bag under her arm and took a deep breath. Hundreds of frantic butterflies beat inside her stomach and up into her throat. Everything familiar…gone. Ahead of her was the unknown, a faceless future…
It’s now or never.
Before doubt could rob her of her courage, she pushed away from the wall and sprinted for the gate. Cold mud splattered her legs. Her hood fell back and needles of icy rain pelted her face. Her frantic breathing swelled and mixed with the driving wind.
The thump of the chapel door echoed across the courtyard. The irritating bite reengaged, chewing and gnawing her arms. She kept running.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
World Building in a Contemporary Romance
Today I have a guest blogger, someone you may be familar with for her science fiction to die for, but did you know she has a new contempory romance out? Today she's talking about the differences in world-building for science fiction, paranormal and the contemporary genres. Please help me give a warm welcome to Jessica Subject. And Yes, there's a giveaway. *Lets go of wrist lock she has on Jessica* It's all yours.
Now, you may not think world building is as difficult for a contemporary romance as it would be in a science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy, but I beg to differ. The setting for my upcoming release, Beneath the Starry Sky is Las Vegas (and surrounding area), Nevada. I have never been there, the furthest west I’ve travelled being West Lafayette, Indiana.
When writing my science fiction romances, I have always set my stories in cities I am familiar with or far away planets and space stations where I have had the freedom to create them the way I wanted. Such was not the case with this story.
So, besides using the internet for research as much as possible, I put a shout out to some of my fellow authors for information. And I received a wonderful response. One author went out of her way to help me, and for that I will be forever grateful. But if they had not, I would have had to contact other sources to find the info, because in existing settings, you cannot make stuff up.
While some of my stories take place on Earth and have involved a lot of research and contacting sources for even more info, I still prefer to create my own worlds.
What about you? Do you prefer to be whisked away to a brand new world or stay in familiar territory when you’re reading and/or writing?
Beneath the Starry Sky Blurb
Left at the altar with bald patches on her head and her self-confidence stripped away, Tamara Johnson must pick up the pieces of her life and face her Alopecia, the autoimmune disease causing her hair to fall out. She is convinced no man will date a bald woman and arranges a one-night stand through Madame Evangeline’s popular service, 1Night Stand. With her new wig held firmly in place, Tamara arrives at the Castillo Hotel in Las Vegas for a night of passion and pleasure. Anything more than one night would mean exposing her bald head, and she will never do that to any man again.
Running into the Castillo Hotel, away from the paparazzi constantly at his heels, Josh Summers wants to spend his next few days locked away from the flashing lights and screaming fans. When he finds an incredibly sexy woman lying on his hotel room bed in nothing but lingerie, he thinks management has made a mistake. Leaving her behind, he heads for the lobby to get the situation rectified. But an unexpected text from Madame Evangeline sends him back to his room. Though unsure whether the woman on the bed is really his perfect match or just another fan believing him to be like his character on television, he knows he must find out, even if it means he must risk telling her his own secrets. If Tamara can handle his imperfections, she just might be his ideal woman.
Coming to Decadent Publishing and other ebook retailers December 16, 2011
For more info, click here: http://www.markofthestars.com/wp/?page_id=7250
To learn more about Alopecia Areata and to help find a cure, visit the National Alopecia Areata Foundation http://www.naaf.org/ and the Canadian Alopecia Areata Foundation http://canaaf.org/
Jessica Subject started writing to encourage her daughter to read. Now she writes to keep herself grounded. Although she reads many genres, she enjoys writing Science Fiction Romance the most and believes everyone in the universe deserves a happily ever after. She lives Southwestern Ontario, Canada with her husband and two kids and loves to hear from anyone who has enjoyed her stories.
Google +: https://plus.google.com/100079570422204018357/posts
Leave a comment with your email for a chance to win an ecopy of Celestial Seduction and book swag from current and upcoming releases from Jessica E. Subject.
Thanks, Jessica for visiting Paranormal Romantics today and telling us a little about your newest release.
For all you Paranormal Romantics out there, don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win some goodies and a copy of Jessica's science fiction 1NightStand story, Celestial Seduction.
Have a great weekend,
Friday, December 9, 2011
My morning starts with coffee, turning on the computer, and reading the Yahoo News. Well, it was with a snorting laugh when the first thing I read was someone had paid $200,000 plus for a purse. What!&%?$ That's about all I care to say about that.
Then there's the orange tabby in a non-profit shelter in Milwaukee with 26 toes. Seems he's helped boost donations at the shelter that takes in animals so they're not euthanized. The mall where they operated was doubling the rent. Now, thanks to interest in the unique and pretty kitty, people have made so many $26 donations--$1 per toe--that they've raised enough to buy their own building! With the economy as it is, wonder who the mall will rent the space to now? Good luck with that!
Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-J. Hali Steele
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Craft: Release Dates
Here's a recent example from my own personal experience. I signed a contract with Decadent Publishing on July 31, 2011 to publish Slow Break, the 4th Sypricon Masters series book. I received the cover art September 4, 2011 and the first round of edits September 5, 2011. Those edits were returned about a week later and I received line edits September 24, 2011. The release date was then set for December 16, 2011.
Seems pretty straight forward, right? Here's a comparison. I signed a contract with Ellora's Cave on October 26, 2011 to publish Hard as Stone, a standalone m/m paranormal erotic romance. I received the first round edits on October 31, 2011. I received cover art on November 7, 2011, just about the time I returned the first round of edits. Received the second round to tidy up a few places on November 15, 2011 and returned those on November 21, 2011. Release date was then set for December 14, 2011.
So, two books, two publishers, with two very different timelines but the release dates are back-to-back. This is a good example of adjustments that have to be made and how no two publishers are the same. Actually, I don't think, out of any of my books, I've had identical processes from contract sign to release date. Each has had their own unique timeline. But all this means because of the long lead time for Slow Break, I already have promo in place for dates around the 16th. Now I have another book, with a shorter lead time, to promo at the same time. Luckily, both books are m/m stories and can be promoted together despite the sub-genre differences in them.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
I feel like I'm finding all sorts of ways to slip "If you're a blogger, contact me here for review ARCs of Evermine and/or A Hint of Frost" into casual conversation. LOL
Promo is definitely the downside of the publishing experience, but it's not all bad. As a reader, I depend on word of new books trickling down to me. Otherwise, how can I find all the awesome new releases and authors I've never heard of but ought to be reading?
So here's my contribution to the cause. Here's my list of review sites if anyone is interested.
There aren't in any type of order. They vary widely on what heat level/genres/etc they accept. Just so you know. ;)
Okay, so I had more than I thought. I think that's a gracious plenty right there. LOL
Now I'm off to bed. I got some good news today and I'm hoping I can announce it in the next few weeks. :)
Monday, December 5, 2011
A group of friends from my crit group, the Rats, have put together a nice little free anthology for Christmas.
All stories in this anthology have a heat rating of Sweet.
Primal’s Gift by C.M. Torrens What gift does one get the Angel of Death? Primal has waited a century to gift just the right present to his lover on a very special day.
Holiday Under Wraps by AJ O’Donovan
Jo hates the holidays because it always overshadows her birthday. When Patrick throws a surprise holiday party she’s sure that this is another year that her special day is forgotten, but Patrick has more than one suprise in store for her.
Change of Heart by Nena Clements
Rachel put the past behind her, including Aaron Weiss. When he arrives at her family’s Channukah celebration she realizes that sometimes the past isn’t better left behind.
The First Time by Voirey Linger Libbie’s loved Ethan since she was six, but something’s gone wrong. Is this the end for them or will this Christmas be one she’ll remember for the rest of her life?
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Have You Had a Paranormal Christmas?
I’m celebrating the release of my contemporary fantasy romance, North of Need. It’s a mix of sweet holiday magic, hot paranormal romance and a unique Greek mythology filled with
gods—what could be better? *grins* And, Paperback Dolls recently picked it as
THE romance novel for holiday gift-giving! Woot!
More secular celebrations focus on Santa Claus’s year-long production of toys for all the world’s good girls and boys—and he knows who was bad and who was good—which he delivers the world over in one night. If you count all the world’s children,that’s 800 million stops scattered around the globe he makes in the process of one night’s journey of a magic, reindeer-drawn sleigh (there are currently no known species of flying reindeer… hmm). And one of those reindeer purportedly has a nose that glows bright enough to cut through pitch dark, fog, and bad weather. Scientists have calculated the distance he’d need to cover to make this possible, and it’s 160 million kilometers, farther than the distance from here to the sun. If you count only the world’s Christian children, his stops drop to approximately 91.8 million homes, less daunting to be sure. To make this possible, he’d still need to travel 650 miles per second, or by using magic. See, one of those is way more likely than the other!
The Winter Solstice, which falls usually on December 21, is also one of three days in the year with the reported highest levels of paranormal activity (along with Halloween and All Soul’s Day, November 1). It’s the date with the longest night of the year, making it perfect for things that go bump in the night to, well, bump. And it’s not hard to think why this would be the case—the ghosts of Christmases past are on the move, people, getting ready to yank people from their beds and show them the errors of their ways! *winks*
Seriously, though, many people report seeing ghosts and having unusual, explainable experiences on and around Christmas. Long-dead relatives leaving messages or being seen by young children, Christmas lights coming on by themselves, etc. Maybe all the history
associated with Christmas traditions and heirloom ornaments and families gathering together calls spirits home, back to the people who loved them in life.
Thanks for reading,Laura Kaye
Laura has donated two prizes today:
- An e-book copy of North of Need, the contest is open internationally.
- A set of trading cards for North of Need, which is open to US & Canadian residents only.
Desperate to escape agonizing memories of Christmas past, twenty-nine-year-old widow Megan Snow builds a snow family outside the mountain cabin she once shared with her husband, realizing too late that she's recreated the very thing she'll never have.
Called to life by Megan's tears, snow god Owen Winters appears unconscious on her doorstep in the midst of a raging blizzard. As she nurses him to health, Owen finds unexpected solace in her company and unimagined pleasure in the warmth of her body, and vows to win her heart for a chance at humanity.
Megan is drawn to Owen's mismatched eyes, otherworldly masculinity, and enthusiasm for the littlest things. But this Christmas miracle comes with an expiration--before the snow melts and the temperature rises, Megan must let go of her widow's grief and learn to trust
love again, or she'll lose Owen forever.
The men in her life wanted her to be happy, wanted her to let go of the pain. Wanted her to embrace life. To live.
John couldn’t. But she could.
Owen’s mouth dropped open when she dragged her exploring fingers across the deep red of his bottom lip. So soft.
For now, she’d start with what she knew. “I do want you, Owen. And I need you.” She swallowed. “So much.”
A deep sound of satisfaction rumbled low in his throat and ricocheted down her body. Those soft lips found hers, already open, waiting for his touch. With his kiss, he possessed her. His scent—winter spice and male—filled her senses. His body covered her. She could live on the cool, sweet taste of his tongue. And, God, his little moans and grunts reverberated right down to the wet heat between her legs.
He trailed open-mouthed kisses over her cheek to her ear, sucked her lobe between his lips and flicked it with his tongue. She gasped as goose bumps erupted everywhere and she offered her neck to his exploration.
“I want you, Megan. Be mine. Gods.”
He licked and sucked down her neck. She shivered and grabbed onto the firmness of his sculpted biceps. He nipped at the tendon where neck met shoulder. A moan exploded from her, loud and wanton, but couldn’t be helped. She threaded her fingers into his silky black hair and held him to her. “Again,” she rasped. He teased her with his teeth, then his tongue and lips. “God, Owen.”
She chuckled even as she whimpered at the spine-tingling nips and bites.
“What’s so funny?” His warm breath caressed her bare skin.
“Sorry, it’s just…” She covered her mouth with her hand, humor-induced tears now gathering at the corners of her eyes.
He pulled her hand away. “Never hide your smile from me.”
He pressed kisses to her knuckles, then pinned her wrist beside her shoulder.
She finally reined in her amusement. “I’m sorry. It’s just, I said, ‘God, Owen,’ and then”—the chuckles threatened again—“it hit me that, you know, you really are a god, and all.”
A playful smirk framed Owen’s face. “Are you amused by my godhood?”
She nodded. He thrust his hips into hers, rocking the ridge of his impressive erection against her right where she craved him. Her lips dropped open as she sucked in a breath.
His mismatched eyes blazed. “Still amused?”
She nodded and pressed up against him. Wrapped one leg around his waist and dug her heel into his firm ass. He grunted and ground down on her, just as she hoped he would. Then his mouth crushed against hers again, their tongue intertwining. He drew away with little kisses on the corner of her lips. “I like you amused. Smiling. Laughing. I want to make you feel that way.”
His words wrapped around her heart, mending, binding. She cupped his cheek in her palm. “Sweet, sweet man.” She took a deep breath and a leap of faith. “Make love to me.”
“Gods, yes.” In a flash, he’d pushed up from the couch, lifted her in his arms, and crossed the room.
Butterflies took flight in her stomach. His humor, his gentle kindness, his raw sexuality, his masculine beauty—he appealed to every part of her mind and body. And, maybe, just maybe, her heart.About Laura Kaye:
A multi-published author of paranormal, contemporary and erotic romance, Laura Kaye’s hot, heartfelt stories are all about the universal desire for a place to belong. Laura is the author of the bestselling contemporary romance and award-nominated HEARTS IN DARKNESS and the bestselling and award-winning paranormal romance FOREVER FREED (NJRW Golden Leaf Award for Best Paranormal of 2011), as well as an erotic romance novella, JUST GOTTA SAY.
Her fourth book, contemporary fantasy romance NORTH OF NEED, is the first in the 4-book Hearts of the Anemoi series. Laura lives in
and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the