Saturday, March 31, 2012

What I'm working on this week.

I've kind of been in-between projects. Finished line edits on two stories and waiting for the first edits on another. I found I should be working on some projects that have been waiting, but I find myself stuck in writer's limbo, not wanting to do anything.

So I forced a few words to one of my stories. Here Nolan tries to wrap his mind around the reason Thana was in the cemetery opening up a coffin in a mausoleum. Here's a bit from, My Girlfriend is a Necromancer:

“So, what do you do when you’re not robbing graves?”

"I don’t rob graves. I work for an insurance company.”

“I get it. You raise the dead to get out of paying the life insurance.”

Of course he’d been joking, but when she turned toward him, she looked completely serious. “That’s right.”

All he could picture was her propping the body up on the doorstep, ringing the bell and running like hell. The chick had really lost it. Nolan couldn’t help it. He grabbed his gut and laughed. She slammed on the brakes and mashed him further into the dash. With his cheek smushed into the windshield, the situation didn’t seem as humorous. "You have to understand how ludicrous what you told me sounds."

“Many people would rather have their loved one than the money. I’m doing them a favor. It's not ludicrous and what I do isn't sleezy or wrong.”

“Let's just say for a moment you actually could raise the dead. Leaving zombies at someone’s front door isn’t doing them a favor, and yeah, it's kind of sleezy. They buried them for a reason.”

“They’re not dead when they go home and they're not zombies. They are who they were in most cases.”

“So you say.” Nolan pushed back from the window and resumed his previous pose with his knees in his pits. He reached into his pocket and turned on his phone.

Thana eyed him. “What are you doing?”

“Calling the psychiatric ward to tell them I found one of their escaped patients.”

“I’m not crazy.”

He snorted and started to dial. Thana ripped his phone from his grip and tossed it out the window.

“You owe me four hundred dollars for that phone.”

“I couldn’t let you call. My gift isn’t common knowledge. Think of the people who would twist it for their own personal needs.”

“Like raising the dead to get out of paying on the insurance?” Cute, but what a freaking whack job.

She jerked the wheel and turned into the local supermarket. “I’ll prove it.”

“Oh this is going to be good. What are you going to do?"

"I intend to show you it's true."

"While you're in there, why don't you get your prescription refilled?”

She pulled into a parking spot, slammed on the brakes and threw the car into park. “Don’t go anywhere. I’ll be right back.”

He gave her a salute as she jumped out and rushed for the entrance. Lifting his wrist, he checked his watch. Nolan knew it would be prudent to ditch the nut and try to find out who buried him alive, but he couldn’t help it. That same instinct that made people rubber neck at traffic accidents had him dying to know what she was going to do to prove she could bring people back to life. He fiddled with his watch and watched people in the parking lot, wondering how many of them would suspect a crazy person was shopping with them.

Ten minutes later, she came back out with a plastic bag. She climbed in the driver’s side and tossed it on his lap. Nolan stared at the plain white paper wrapping used by butchers.

“Open it up and check it. Does it have a pulse?”

Nolan sighed and handed the bag back to her. “Seriously?”

“Humor me.” She shoved it back at him.

He grabbed it and unwrapped the butcher’s paper to expose a trout. The eyes shiny and clear, the fish had a fresh smell, but was definitely no longer with the living. “Okay, it’s dead.”

“You’re sure? It’s dead?”

“Of course I’m sure. This sucker isn’t swimming anywhere but into a skillet, or under a broiler in butter.”

Thana reached out and touched it.

The fish jerked and began to thrash in his lap, smacking him with its tail. “What the fuck.” Nolan threw the door open and shoved the fish off his lap. It continued to flop around on the pavement until a large truck pulled up next to them and smashed it flat. Its tail twitched under the tire as teenagers jumped out and headed into the store, reminding him he hadn’t hallucinated it.

 “Now you know why I’m a vegetarian. Nothing worse than your food thinking it needs to start moving again.”

Nolan swallowed and turned toward her. His mouth opened and closed. What did one say in a situation like this? “So.”

“I’m a necromancer. I bring people back from the dead.”

Have a nice weekend everyone.


Friday, March 30, 2012

It's Friday

I just woke up, I have to go to work for a class, though it should be my day off. What I'd really like to do is see Wrath of the Titans. Though the reviews haven't been glowing it's enough for me that Liam Neeson will be larger than life on the screen in front of me. *smile* Oh, ok, there's Sam Worthington too.

If I drank perked coffee, I could just hook up a line directly to my mouth to get me going, but alas, I'm an instant coffee drinker. I've swallowed 2 steaming cups, burned my mouth, and must get going, but I'll leave you with the trailer.

If you go to see it, let me know your thoughts. Happy Friday!

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

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Handling Edits/Revisions

I turned in my latest book yesterday to my editor and it got me thinking about edits. Every author's process is different and I can only speak to what I do personally. I know my goal is to submit the cleanest manuscript I can at the time. Does that mean it is free of errors? No. I'm not perfect. And I doubt editors expect us to be perfect in the first place.

When I initially submit a book to one of my editors, I've been over the thing so many times I'm sick of looking at it. Typically, I write a first draft and put the book aside for around a month. When I take it back out again, the book is printed out and I attack it with a red pen. I'm mostly looking for misspelled words. Continuity errors. Missing punctuation. And generally anything that doesn't look right. When everything's transferred to the computer, my CP and beta readers get a crack at it. When I've gotten it back from everyone, I go through the book again fixing things they've pointed out, looking at their suggestions and deciding what needs to change, if that's the case. Then I go back over it again - twice (as I said, by the time I submit the book, I'm sick of looking at it).

Sure, this a lot of tedious work, but it sure does make for an extremely clean manuscript that gets subbed to my editor. It also means, if the book is accepted, edits are pretty painless and I could feasibly get through them in a day. Do I? Nope. I go through the book again, aside from my editors comments and look for things.

And this doesn't mean I haven't had to do revisions. I have. I've gotten revision letters before. In fact, I had one where I ended up adding 10K words by the time I handed the book back in. Revisions are handled the same way as if the book were fresh out of the gate. I just attack each item one at a time. Usually the important thing to remember for revisions is something you change is going to effect something down the line in your story, so it's really a matter of being conscious about everything that happens. Again, turning in revisions is the same as turning in the manuscript initially for me: Turn in the cleanest book you can at the time.

I've had people ask why I go through all of that. Why I go over and over the book numerous times such as I do. The answer is simple: It's my name on the cover of that book...

Writers, do you have a process that you follow when it comes to edits (even just personal ones)?


Also, time is winding down on The Romance Reviews Book of the Year votes (ends Mar 31--this weekend!). While you don't have to vote for my books that are nominated (PERFECT LIMIT for Best Erotic Romantic Science Fiction / Futuristic and RAGGED EDGE for Best GLBT Menage a Trois (or more) Romance) I would sure appreciate it!

Click here to see the entire list.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Confidence is a rare trait in a writer. We put ourselves out there, or pieces of ourselves, and open the door to criticism. It takes a lot of nerve to do that. We writers are a brave bunch for enduring the scrutiny. Hopefully we learn and grow and evolve into better writers, but seldom does our confidence grow in proportion to the hard knocks we're dealt.

 I can't say that's a bad thing. Being humble is a good thing.

My mom always said I didn't need to grow too big for my britches. I think she's right. But I also think a balance has to be struck.

Should you consider yourself a great talent? Probably not. (Even if you are.) Should you consider yourself worthy? I'd say that's a much healthier outlook. And yet, once in a while a talent comes along that can't be denied by the rest of us, even if the person possessing the talent is content to hide from the limelight.

 Watch and enjoy the emergence of such a talent from the shadows.

 I dare you to not be moved by this young man.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Welcome Jessica Subject!

Adding myself into my stories through settings

First of all, I would like to thank Rebecca Royce for inviting me to blog on Paranormal Romantics today. Not only is she one of my awesome critique partners, but she provided me with so much encouragement while The Zurian Child was out on submission, and I was a nervous wreck. Thank You!

I am Canadian. And I write science fiction romance. But over the years, I have not found any sci-fi romance which is set in Canada. (If you know of any besides my own, please let me know.) Instead, the wonderful books I have read have been set in the United States, or England. What, do aliens have something against landing in Canada? Maybe. The weather is certainly unpredictable, with warm (t-shirt) weather one day, and snow the next.
So, when I set out to write my first story, I wanted the extraterrestrials to land in Canada. And the various settings in the story are all places I’ve visited throughout my life. Well, except two.
The story begins on the planet Alectrona, where the Hemera lived. It looks something like this:
…with the red sun shining down, reflecting off the quartz in the mountains and the nearby lake.
The usually busy halls of the Quartz Mountain Science Center lay deserted. Overhead lights flickered, transforming the shine from the quartz within the walls into an extravagant show.
Though after the Erebus invade the outer territory of the Hemera, the scenery changes:
He weaved through back roads, cracked and overgrown with vegetation. Before the invasion, he'd strolled down the same roads with his wife and daughter. Guilt and regret continued to plague his mind as he followed the path of carnage. Hemera and Erebus bodies lined the street, many unrecognizable from the black tar covering them.
Another major setting is London, Ontario, where the two heroes of the story are RCMP officers in the drug section of “O” Division.
Quinn negotiated through the packed four-lane roads with ease.
(London picture)
She stared across the huge lot with many beautifully landscaped gardens. The house, with a triple-car garage, sat in the middle of the property. She'd been told many years ago, a pool sat around the back.
And then North Bay, Ontario, where the characters retreat to the Underground Complex at CFB North Bay.
With their luggage already loaded on, the same Officer ushered them toward a green bus waiting outside a set of double gates. Lindsay peaked behind the gates to see a field of grass, and the road led to a hole in the ground.
Oh no, UGC meant underground complex.
(picture of bus)
When the tunnel leveled out, they stopped at a narrower tunnel on the left. They unloaded and carried their luggage down the shorter tunnel, past a five-car parking area, and arrived at three wide stairs leading to glass double doors. The building looked just like the entrance to any government building, only surrounded by rock.
"Welcome to the Underground Complex," Dennis said. "We are now standing sixty stories beneath the Earth's surface, deeper underground than most of the buildings in Toronto are tall."
And while I have not had the chance to visit the Underground Complex, as it has been decommissioned, I did visit the new above ground complex, the Sergeant David L. Pitcher Building this past summer. Though we were restricted as to what we could see, and there were many security measures we had to go through just to get in.
So those are just three of the settings in my latest release, The Zurian Child, two of them adding a Canadian flavor to the story.
How about you, do you prefer to read stories which take place in cities you’ve travelled to, or would you rather use fiction to travel to someplace new?
The Zurian Child Blurb
Lindsay Beckett longed to be reunited with her first love, Quinn Montgomery, until she learns the secret that sent him fleeing from her in the first place. He’s an alien, a Hemera, and she’s half-Hemera herself. As if that wasn’t enough to ruin her dreams of a perfect life, when their child is born, they discover she fulfills a prophesy told twenty light years away and many years ago. Lindsay wants to ignore it, until her husband is murdered and suddenly believing becomes a matter of survival.
Lindsay and her young daughter are forced to rely on another Hemera, her husband’s partner and best friend, Bryce Beuermann as more and more of the Hemera are slaughtered. Bryce will do anything to help his best friend’s widow—including suppressing his own deep feelings for her. But he must prove they can trust him, even pretending he doesn’t want her with all his heart.
Available from Silver Publishing ( and other ebook retailers.
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.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Craft of Reading

I’ve been reading and re-reading a lot of books since January. More than usual. I hit a mental wall and had to remember what I enjoyed about story telling. I spent time examining my reactions to the books I was reading and what were the causes.
The things I loved and took my time reading over them, allowing the writer to pull me in were
§  Dialogue, especially witty banter
§  Sexual tension, but it didn’t need to be the actually act of sex
§  Inner conflict, where the hero/heroine was working something out in their head.
I never used to examine my books while I read them but they are my only teaching resource available to me that I actually understand. When I found myself engrossed I flipped back to see how did the author DO THAT?  Lol
Like wise, I found things that popped me out of the story, roll my eyes, or skim ahead.
§  When the sound something makes is used instead of described, like Crash. The vase fell. I’m not sure why but it was as if I’d been slapped in the face.
§  Too much fighting. There’s an art to writing these scenes. Fights where the character is thinking and devising plans inside their head keep my interest but when it is just described with little internal monologue. *Yawn*
§  Pain, discomfort, torture. Oddly this disturbed me. I’m a PNR author, you’d think I was all about the blood lust, but apparently it’s all about moderation. LOL  A chapter about it, I’m fine. Go beyond that and I’m flipping pages.  
I’ve been taking notes and grasping new ideas of how to craft the word magic to lure my victims readers in. 

Are there some things that have come to your attention while reading a book?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sarah Gilman shares her new paranormal romance!

In a violent world where fallen archangels are hunted for their valuable plumage, Wren knows one thing for certain: the human woman who saved him from a poacher attack will die if she stays with him. The demon responsible for his parents’ gruesome deaths two decades ago pines for the chance to rip apart any woman who stands under Wren’s wing.

Wren doesn’t expect Ginger to stay by his side once she discovers his ability to drain life with a mere touch, yet she lingers. When an unusual talent of her own reveals the location of Wren’s father, Wren’s isolated world implodes. With the help of the demon protectors he’s sworn never to trust again, Wren risks everything to rescue his father, confront the demon who stalks his and Ginger’s every step, and claim his eternity with the most courageous woman he’s ever known.


© 2011 Sarah Gilman

Chapter One

The tattoo of a bloody knife and scattered feathers caught Ginger Magellan’s attention. Her stomach curdled at the sight of the archangel poachers’ insignia. The bearer of the gruesome illustration ordered an espresso from the petite girl behind the bar.

“There isn’t a fallen archangel around here, is there?” The barista’s voice rose.

“Not for much longer, there won’t be.” He turned away and pulled out his cell phone.

From where she sat in the café, Ginger wrapped her hands around her coffee and stared into the dark brew, eavesdropping on the poacher’s conversation.

“The house has been abandoned for years, but it’s the right place. I saw him fly in the fog this morning. Devil has a balcony entrance on the third floor.”

Devil. Ginger hid a snort of disgust under a fake cough.

The poacher continued after a moment. “Yeah, white wings, black markings. It’s Wren, for certain. And not a Guardian in sight. He’s all ours.”

Ginger tensed. No Guardians? Why would an archangel be without his demon bodyguards?

“Meet you there in thirty? He’ll be back before the fog clears.” The poacher accepted his drink from the barista with a charming grin. She refused his payment and wished him luck. He blew her a kiss and left the café.

Clenching her teeth, Ginger tucked a twenty under her coffee and rushed for the exit without waiting for change. She stepped into the foggy autumn morning, shivered, and buried her hands in her pockets. Two police officers chatted next to their cruiser, but she turned and hurried in the other direction. Archangel poaching, though technically illegal, was applauded and encouraged by most of the human population. She couldn’t trust the police.

She’d warn this “Wren” herself.

Ginger couldn’t let the poachers hunt and kill Wren like an animal. Neither the demons nor the fallen archangels were the Lucifer-like monsters most humans feared them to be—even though she’d never seen an archangel, they were so rare after centuries of poaching. A demon had raised her as his own and remained her best friend as much as her “father,” twenty-eight years later. She needed to call him; he’d know what to do.

Ginger jumped into her little Chevy, shut the door, and pulled out her cell phone. Why would an archangel be living around here? And without Guardians? Even Vermont was too populated for a being with a twenty-foot wingspan to hide. Was this archangel out of his damned mind?

Her father answered on the second ring, despite the predawn hour in Alaska.

“Hi, honey,” he said, his voice alert.

“Devin, I just ran into a poacher in town.”

He growled, a sound that reminded Ginger of a cougar. “Just stay away from him, Ginny. Like all the other tourists, he’ll move on soon.”

“No, Dev, he and at least one other are hunting an archangel in the area.”

A beat of silence passed. “They’re going to be disappointed, because there are no archangels in Vermont.”

As a Guardian, he would know; that’s why she’d called him. But her instincts churned in protest.

“Are you sure? They’ve seen him. White wings with black markings. His name is Wren. They said he has no Guardians.”

The silence stretched out so long Ginger checked her signal. “Dev?”

“Raphael’s son.” Devin’s voice sounded thin.

Raphael. Recognition and surprise forced the air from her lungs. The last of the original fallen archangels had been killed when Ginger was a child, along with his human mate. Most of humanity had hailed the death as a step forward in cleansing the earth of the demon and fallen archangel menace. Ginger cringed at the memory.

“Wren has refused our protection since his parents’ deaths,” Devin said. “A Guardian betrayed and murdered his family. It’s been years since we’ve had any news of Wren.”

Heartache burned Ginger’s chest. “I’m going to warn him.”

“Ginny.” Devin’s voice deepened. “Out of the question. The poachers—”

“I wouldn’t be your daughter if I sat by and did nothing, Dev.”

A pause. “I know. I’m sending Guardians from Sanctuary. Wait for them.”

She chewed her lip. Sanctuary, Vermont’s demon colony, was three hours away. Wren didn’t have three hours.

“Tell them to hurry. Love you.” She disconnected the call.

Ginger pulled the car into traffic and headed south out of town toward the only abandoned house in the area. After miles of dirt roads and thick forest, she drove by the crumbling remains of a Victorian. She continued past the forlorn structure and hid her car in thick vegetation, then ran back down the road and up the overgrown driveway on foot.

Ginger scanned the sky, patches of velvety morning blue visible through the fog. No archangel in sight. She stepped onto the rotting porch, happy to find the wood sturdier than it appeared, and tried the front door. The old mahogany opened an inch before it hit what appeared to be a heavy piece of furniture. Wren must have barricaded the entrance.

She pried a moss-covered plank away from a broken window and stuck her head inside. “Hello? Wren?”


Wary of the broken glass, she wiggled through the small opening and fell into the kitchen. Her butt went through a rotten floorboard. She cursed and got to her feet.

The air inside the house felt colder than the brisk morning outside. Stray beams of sunlight penetrated the boarded windows, but darkness obscured most of her surroundings. The smell of mold made Ginger cough. She stepped to the base of the stairs.


No answer. No surprise.

“If you’re hiding in here, you need to leave. Poachers will be here any minute!”

She climbed the stairs to the third level, testing each step before shifting her weight. At the top, she opened the first door on her right. No furniture occupied the large room, but blankets and a tattered pillow lay on the floor. Apples he must have snatched from the orchard and a pile of paperbacks sat nearby. A white down feather longer than her hand lay on the floorboards.

Curiosity took over, and she picked up the feather. She ran her fingers along the edge, the texture sublime enough to put silk to shame. Acid rose in her throat and she let the feather drift to the floor. The money people paid for archangel plumage kept the poachers in business. Religious hysteria gave the murderers a convenient smoke screen.

“Greed knows no boundaries,” she said to herself.

Ginger checked the other rooms, found nothing, and left the house. She hurried around to the back of the property and found a spot to sit where she could see the balcony, which had been stripped of railings. Cold dew on the grass soaked her jeans. Her heart pounded as she strained to see the sky through the lingering fog. What would he look like? If archangels were as breathtaking in person as they were in photos…

Three poachers emerged from the woods and crossed the lawn to the front porch, their gruesome tattoos covered by black jackets, an arsenal of guns and knives strapped to their hips. Ginger crouched lower in the grass, her palms sweating, her mouth dry and sticky. She was damned lucky they hadn’t seen her, that she hadn’t been trapped in the house.

Minutes passed and Ginger stayed still. The poachers didn’t come out. No sound carried from the house. After an agonizing eternity, the last remnants of the fog thinned, and movement drew her attention.

The archangel, moving swiftly, flew in low over the treetops. Wings blurred as he landed on the balcony. The resulting breeze fanned her skin.

Wren’s twenty-foot wingspan framed his body, more striking in person than in any of the pictures she’d seen. No wonder the balcony railings were gone. He found his footing and folded his white wings, the black markings forming a pleasing angular pattern reminiscent of a snowy owl. His flight feathers overlapped behind his legs.

Beautiful, yet purely masculine. Wren’s body was carved from long, elegant muscles that could only belong to someone who needed to lift his body weight in flight. He wore tattered black pants that set off both his feathers and the almond skin of his upper body.

He rolled his shoulders, ran a hand over his dark, spiky hair and reached for the door.

Ginger jumped to her feet, her heart pounding.

“No! Poachers! They’re inside!”

The archangel stared down at her, his eyebrows high in surprise, and spread his wings. He leapt off the balcony and ascended in a flurry of wing movement. Ginger trembled with relief. She watched him fly, mesmerized.

Wren circled high above the house, his wings fully extended as he soared. The sensation of his gaze on her made her breath hitch. Why wasn’t he leaving?

“You goddamned, meddling bitch!”

She whirled around and came face to face with the poacher from the café. Brown eyes wide with rage, he grabbed her by the hair and yanked her off her feet.


Wren dove, his wings angled for maximum speed. The woman below had saved his life. He couldn’t just leave her. The poachers would kill her for her interference.

The woman twisted within the poacher’s grasp and threw a punch. The human let go of her, raising both of his hands to his face. After a brief stumble, she took off full tilt toward the road. Excellent, maybe she’d make it on her own…

Two more poachers came out of the house and cut her off. Sunlight glinted off knives in their hands. The first poacher recovered and closed in behind her.

With practiced precision, Wren soared mere feet over the grass, aiming for the group. The men blocking the woman’s escape pivoted and threw themselves to the ground. Eyes wide, the woman’s jaw dropped and she tried to scramble out of Wren’s path.

Wren seized her jacket and hauled her into the air. Wren’s flight feathers missed the third poacher by inches. The human scum flailed and fell backward into the grass.

Wren beat his wings and carried the woman toward the road. She clung to his neck, her breath rapid and warm on his skin. Her hair hit him in the face and her heady, jasmine scent filled his lungs.

“Do you have a car?” he yelled over the noise of flight.

She nodded vigorously.

“Then go. Fast.” He landed on the dirt road at a run and let go of her. She stumbled and fell. Back on her feet a second later, she disappeared into the trees. Relieved, he ascended and banked to head north.

The first gunshot missed him, but a second pierced the muscular part of his wing. Air rushed out of his lungs in a strangled scream. He fought through the blinding pain, landed behind the abandoned house, and sank to his hands and knees in the tall grass. Warm blood streamed down his feathers.

The poachers closed in, their guns aimed in his direction. Wren braced himself and stood, dragging his injured wing. His body shook and cold sweat broke out over his skin from shock, but he faced the humans with his shoulders squared and his chin high.

Wren’s blood iced over as the poachers encroached. He had one weapon at his disposal, one chance left to walk away alive. He flexed his fingers, preparing to strike the moment they stepped too close.

But the poachers wore gloves, boots, jeans and leather jackets zipped up to their throats. Damn it. If he couldn’t touch their skin, he had no chance. His pain momentarily took a back seat to bone-deep fury.

“Lark sent you.” Who else but Lark would know to tell them to cover their skin, that Wren could leach their life away at will if he touched them? Fully aware of Wren’s macabre talent, the former Guardian had worn leather himself the night he’d murdered Wren’s parents, eighteen years ago.

“Yes.” The nearest poacher held Wren’s gaze, his mouth a thin line, his brown eyes narrow. He stood well out of Wren’s reach, gun aimed and steady.

Wren fisted his hands at his sides and braced himself.

The poacher lowered the gun an inch and cocked his head. “You look just like your old man.”

“You are not fit to speak of my father!”

“Would it interest you to know he’s still alive?”

Wren flicked his uninjured wing. What kind of sick joke is this? “Fuck you!”

The poacher lifted his shoulders. “You’ll see.”

Knots of pain formed in Wren’s chest. His father, Lark’s prisoner for nearly two decades? But alive? Or were these poachers just lying for the sick fun of it?

Another poacher, a short man with a black bandana around his head, holstered his semi-automatic and drew a tranquilizer gun. Wren dodged, but the blood loss left his legs cold and heavy. A dart struck him in the shoulder. His skin burned. He ripped the dart out and backed further away, but his vision blurred and his legs collapsed. With his face in the cold, wet grass, he fought to remain conscious.

The brown-eyed poacher came forward, knelt, and stroked Wren’s outstretched wing as if showing affection to a prized pet.

“Get your damned hands off me!” Wren struggled to speak, his lips as numb as the rest of his body. His vision grew blurry.

His form an indistinct smear against the blue sky, the poacher yanked a feather free and tucked it behind his ear. He fisted his leather-gloved hand and ground his knuckles into the gunshot wound.

Wren clenched his teeth and suppressed a scream. The agony pushed him over the edge, into oblivion.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Dystopian Romance.

With the Hunger Games out this weekend, the world is turning toward dystopian fiction. In Jan of 2010, Slipping the Past was released with Liquid Silver Books. This was not only my first novel published, but a dystopian story.  This 3rd place winner in the 2011 RWR’s More Than Magic contest, has a lot it can still offer. I hope you’ll give this story a try.
So in celebration of all things post-apocalyptic, I’m show-casing Slipping the past today.

Blurb:  Some love affairs last a lifetime, others never end.
Fifty years into the future, if you’re one of the damned, you don’t run for your life, you run to save your soul. Jocelyn Miller is wanted for crimes she committed before she was born. Homeless, blind and out in the elements on one of the coldest nights of the year, her desperation results in a bad decision. When Jocelyn and her brother Nate rob a convenience store, Jocelyn comes face to face with her worst nightmare and greatest love, a reaper named Gabriel.

Gabriel Solaris is an Enforcer, a genetically enhanced psychic often referred to as a reaper for his ability to take souls, and he’s charged with collecting Jocelyn’s. When he finds Jocelyn outside the store, he’s sure she’s up to something illegal. Proving it isn’t necessary. He holds a warrant and it’s all he needs. But the closer Gabriel gets to Jocelyn, the more he begins to question his duty and why he believes her claims of innocence. When Jocelyn tells him she loved him once, Gabriel loses control and kisses her. Instead of taking her soul, he gives her a week to prove innocence in her past-life crimes, something he has no authority to grant.
 Buy link:  Slipping the Past

What the Reviewers are saying:
Night Owl Reviews ~ “What a fabulous story. Intriguing and different I had trouble putting it down. The tension between Gabriel and Jocelyn was fantastic and just part of the allure. The story was fast-paced and creative and gave me chills.”

Got Romance Reviews ~ What a wonderful, inventive, and suspenseful read. From the prologue you know that you are reading a book quite different from most anything else out there.”

Happily Ever After Reviews ~ I have to say I was completely fascinated from the first moment of the prologue. I knew I was reading something I’d never even imagined reading before.”

Post Apocalyptic Child’s Jump-Rope Rhyme
A storm’s a coming, it hides the sun.
Here come the reapers,
Run child, run.
Jump once to save your life,
Two to save your soul,
Three to find some rest and four to stay whole.
Five they’re gonna get you,
Six you’ll get away
Seven is for your freedom and eight to live another day.

New Stratus City, NY 2059.

“Stuff this in your jacket.”

Jocelyn’s fingers closed before she realized what Nate crammed into her hand. She shoved the gun back at her brother. “I don’t want that and I’m not going in there to help you do whatever you’re planning to do with that thing.”

“Do you want to eat?”

“We can ask for spare change.”

“Too cold,” Nate said. “Nobody’s out tonight. I’m not planning anything violent, it’s backup. Besides, I don’t have any bullets.”

“Do you know what they’ll do to you if they catch you in possession of that?”

“They won’t.”

Jocelyn swallowed her words before she regretted them. Whatever she said, he’d do the opposite. Leave it to Nate to find the damn thing and hang onto it. She’d told him to leave it. Obviously he listened well.

When legislation made guns illegal to possess, many people dumped their collections for fear of losing their souls. The pistol’s carved grip seemed too fancy for the gun to be anything more than a display piece. It definitely hadn’t been used in a crime as she’d have known the moment she touched it.

She crossed her arms and shivered, pulling her hands back into the sleeves of her jacket. They’d lived on the streets for the last two months, ever since the last Enforcer discovered their location. Jocelyn never imagined it would come to this, hiding between garbage cans, trying to stay warm and alive while her brother committed armed robbery.

“Damn it, Nate. It’s not worth it. I’m not that hungry.” Her stomach contradicted her and rumbled so loud it sounded like an armored division moved down the block.

“You’re a terrible liar.”

He was right, but she wasn’t about to admit it. Her stomach ached. Most of the credit they made in the last week went to purchase a seat on the solar train, where they could be warm. But that ride only went so far. Eventually security would catch them and insist it was one circuit per ticket. They always did. As for the food ... tomorrow the community kitchen would have hot chow. “I can wait.”

“You haven’t eaten real food in three days.” Nate sighed. “I promised Mom I’d take care of you. I don’t go back on my word.”

“She’s gone. She’ll never know. I’ll be okay.” A rush of dizziness hit and Jocelyn sank to her heels. Nate’s energy flared like a starburst.

“Nate--don’t.” The longer they were on the streets the more chances he took to keep her safe. The Enforcers were already after her. He didn’t need to become a fugitive too. If it weren’t for her, Nate would be home, sleeping in a real bed, not picking food out of the trash or committing crimes.

She should’ve left him before it came to this, but she worried about the trouble he’d get into on his own. At least this way she could try to keep him from doing something stupid. Which at the moment, she seemed to be failing at miserably.

“I’m going in there to take what we need. We can’t help being hungry,” he said

“Sit with me and stay warm. I’ll be fine.” She reached up and grabbed his hand.

“No.” He pulled away. “Stay here, out of sight.”

“Don’t go in there. Something doesn’t feel right.” That wasn’t a lie. Whatever triggered the unease gnawed at the corners of her consciousness. It was there, flashing danger alerts through her brain, waiting for an opportunity to strike and the last person she wanted to be a target, wouldn’t listen to her.

“I’ll be okay. I’m only going to nick some food and credit. Small stuff.” Nate tucked a lo
ose strand of her hair into her hood. “I'll be right back. Nobody’s going to get hurt.” He turned. His boots crunched on the snow as he walked away, stringing her nerves tighter.

Jocelyn leaned against the brick. Idiot. What did he think he’d accomplish? He’d get her one meal and lose his soul over it. Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn. Why wouldn’t he listen? She’d be okay. She’d come out of worse situations than this.


Bells jangled from across the street as he entered the store. Jocelyn’s stomach twisted into knots. Heat blew up from the grate where she sat on her heels, but it didn’t help the foreboding chill that blanketed her body. She raised her wrist to her mouth and chewed on her jacket’s frozen cuff.

“Be safe. Be safe. Be safe.” She rocked and focused. Nothing. Only that feeling as it grew stronger. “Get out, Nate,” she whispered, mentally reaching for him. No contact.

Nate, listen to me.

The wind whistled between the buildings, but nothing else.

“Damn.” She’d have to do it. She couldn’t let him take the chance. A distant vehicle alarm screeched, but Jocelyn ignored the sound and intensified her focus. This time she directed her push at the store clerk and a less resistant mind. “You won’t see a gun. You’re going to give him the credit as change for a purchase.”

“Come on.” She felt it, the moment she caught its attention. A chill slithered up her spine. Jocelyn bit her lip. A reaper approached. Huddled down by the trash, she should be unobserved, but he’d zero in if she jumped.

She wished she knew how close it was, but it didn’t matter. She’d no choice. There was one way to get Nate out and it meant helping him rob the store. One deep breath and she balled her fists. Energy bloomed around her and her spirit lifted from her body. She shot through the solid wall of the convenience store and rushed inside the clerk.

Using the clerk’s eyes, she studied her brother as he scrolled through digital postcards and waited for the customer at the counter to leave. She opened her mouth to warn him, but the customer before her spoke.

“I had it right here.”

She surveyed the counter and the man in front of her. He had a massive bottle of high-octane rum and a pile of empty credit chips. He rummaged through his pockets, picking out lint, a couple of pinched cigarette butts and a condom. Jocelyn tapped the counter. She glanced at her brother again and her stomach convulsed. No time for this.

“It’s in here somewhere.”

Another alarm wailed. Closer. Her heart jumped, triggering a slip of control, enough to lose her grip. Her energy broke free and lifted toward the ceiling. Not now. Jocelyn pushed, forcing reentry. Blood trickled from the clerk’s nose. She raised her arm and wiped it on his sleeve.

“That’s nasty. Why don’t you use a tissue,” said the man in front of her. Jocelyn shrugged, holding the sleeve to her nose. His lip curled and he took a step back, putting distance between them. “Do you have any idea how dangerous blood exposure is? I don’t want any disease you might have.”

“Sorry,” she mumbled. Her mind drifted away from the man and to the window, where vehicle alarms wailed. From a block away, the street lights snapped off one at a time, sending the already dangerous neighborhood into feral darkness. No, please. Not now. One thing drew that much energy and it was charging up for a fight. She’d been right. They needed to leave.


“What’s out there?” The customer staggered away from the counter and toward the window. With his back to her, Jocelyn seized the moment, grabbed a handful of chips from the register and shoved them into a bag. Outside, more lights died. Closer. No, no, no. Just a little more time. Let me get him out of here.

Nate eyed the man at the window and stepped forward, setting a digital postcard on the counter. A feeling of weightlessness pulled at her and Jocelyn refocused, barely maintaining control. Thirty more seconds.

Static fuzzed across her vision. She shoved the bag across the counter as her brother slipped his hand into his pocket.

“You forgot your change.”

Nate glanced down at the bag and back up. His eyes widened. “Joce?”

“Run,” she croaked.

“Reaper!” The customer lurched away from the window, stumbling back. The lights in the store blinked off with an electric pop, dropping it into darkness. Outside, hundreds of vehicle alarms screeched. The customer raised his hands into the air. “I’m innocent.”

Jocelyn froze, unable to draw a breath. A man in dark silhouette stood on the sidewalk outside, a glowing globe in his hand and blue luminous eyes stared at her.

“Get back in your body and get out of here,” Nate said. “I’ll distract him.” He pulled the gun from his pocket. “He can only take one of us.”

“Put that away. You’re not sacrificing...” Her hair stood on end as the reaper pulled energy from the air. “Shit.” She recognized the sensation, something she’d felt only once before.

“Get down.” She reached over the counter and shoved on Nate’s shoulder. He ducked his head, covered up with his hands and fell to his knees. Jocelyn dropped behind the counter and stared at a baseball bat. Small chance that it would help, but it was nice to know she wasn’t defenseless. “Now he’ll take us both.”

“Reapers can only hold one soul at a time,” Nate snapped back from the other side of the counter.

“Do you think that’s going to stop him?” The window exploded. The fragments pelted Nate’s back and tinkled on the industrial linoleum like chimes. He rose to his feet, spun and lifted the gun, pointing it at the opening. “Now, Joce. Get out!”

“No. You’re not playing the hero.” Cold air poured into the store, fogging the interior. The air charged with static and her hair rose. Again. “Nate!”

The reaper sent another wave blasting through the storefront. Nate flew backward, slamming into a beer case, coming to rest on the floor in a heap. Her vision blurred. “Nate!”

Not now. Her control snapped. Jocelyn ripped free from the clerk and exploded through the wall. Her soul slammed back into her flesh like a runaway train, sending her glasses flying over the curb. She didn’t bother to retrieve them. She’d need them later, but not now. Now she needed to see. She sucked in a breath, opened her eyes and searched the shattered store front. Sharp pains pierced her skull like fragments of slivered metal.

The reaper stepped forward and peered in through the broken glass, soul-cell still in hand. No. Nate was right. He could only take one soul and she’d be damned it was Nate.

“Leave him alone!”

The reaper turned his head and his eyes locked onto her. “You,” a deep voice boomed. He stuffed the egg-sized globe in a pouch on his hip and strode toward her, eating distance between them. His long duster fluttered behind him, giving him the appearance of the mythical reapers, minus the sickle. Except there was nothing mythical about him. He was real and coming for her. “You’re under arrest for past crimes enforced under the Galactic Codex.”

Thanks for visiting today. 
Have a great weekend.D L

Friday, March 23, 2012

It's Friday...

And A Thirst to Die For is now available at Changeling Press.

Nolan, at war with one of Satan's sons, has absolute control of his surroundings and his life. He doesn't have time to play. But when a woman enters his domain smelling of pure joy and goodness, he decides to make some time -- and his own life changes. Hell is coming to pay him a visit, and he's about to lose control. Here's a taste:

He hated these trips to Hell. It was too damn hot.
“Sorry to interrupt your pleasure. Have a seat.” Satan turned from staring at the magnificent portrait of an angel hanging across from his throne of thorns. “Gargoyles do have the sweetest cum don’t they, Nolan?”
“I like cum. Mine, yours, and anyone else’s.”
“Hmm. I think I liked yours too, but it’s been so long, I don’t remember.”
Nolan smiled. “Want to remedy that? I still got a load.” He fondled his balls.
The devil’s eyes turned red and shot stinging bolts of light into his chest. His shirt smoldered and the stench of burnt skin hung in the air. “Peris needs more power.”
“I know that.” Nolan refused to give Satan the pleasure of seeing his pain. Damn, his skin burned like hell.
“What should I give him? Hell-fire or…”
“I don’t give a fuck. Just make sure it’ll stop Bane or any other of his bastard brothers who surface.” The scent of his burning flesh dissipated, leaving Nolan to wonder for the millionth time how the room always smelled so fresh when they were surrounded by dead, rotting flesh, and the constant burning of the damned. Nolan chose to sit in a chair that stood far from the humongous stone door.
Hell’s Gate.
“Maybe some of his mother’s power?” Satan pondered.
“Don’t fuck with me.”
“You still remain as clean as the driven snow in some eyes.” Satan continued staring at the picture.
“Yeah, right, snow that’s been pissed on.” Nolan stretched his legs out. “Make Bane return the woman.”
“And if she doesn’t want to return?” Satan pivoted around and smiled broadly.
He was a handsome motherfucker, and Nolan’s cock came alive at the memory of what they’d once shared.
“If anything happened to Peris, his mother wouldn’t be happy. Therefore, I’d be unhappy,” Satan reminded Nolan. Crossing the room, he sat on his throne and leaned forward. “I will give him power to keep his brothers at bay only if you remain as his mentor.”
“As if I had a choice.”
“Then we’re good.” Satan stood and walked to the door. He gazed at Nolan. “Our universe and those in it constantly change. Usually for the better.”
Nolan rose and strolled to the portrait. Touching the beautiful face, he asked, “If that’s true, why hasn’t he let you come home?”
Satan shrugged. “You will soon have a new Slayer.” Pausing for a long moment, he added, “I have fond memories of you also.”
The huge door swung open on a blast of heat that nearly knocked the vampire to his knees before it screeched shut behind Satan. Lust slashed through Nolan. “Bastard.”
Satan’s voice echoed in his mind. I’ll aways remember how sweet you tasted.

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