Friday, June 28, 2013

Take a Chance! Try something new...

Hello! I hope you are managing to stay cool (or warm, depending on what part of the world you live in). Will three releases in the part two months, I have been visiting a lot of blogs, and participating in multiple giveaways and other events. I write mostly science fiction romance, and one of the things I often hear from readers is that they've never heard of the genre before, or they've never read anything from the genre.

Now, I understand that the tag "science fiction" generally scares a lot of romance readers, as "romance" scares many sci-fi readers. But, I promise you that not all sci-fi romances are extremely technical and full of descriptions of technology and other worlds. In fact, most aren't, focusing on the romance and other relationships.

Now, science fiction romance isn't the only genre out there. There are hundreds of others, many that I haven't yet read. Growing up, I read a LOT of contemporary romance, some fantasy, and some sci-fi. Not a wide variety. But when I connected with other authors through various author memes and events, I widened my reading experiences.

The first paranormal romance I read was by Nora Roberts.

The first BDSM story by Sara Brookes.

The first Historical Romance by Cassandra Dean.

The first MM  and menage by Stacey Kennedy.

The first FF by Kate Richards.

I've read plenty more in those genres since then. And I've found stories that I will love forever.

So, take a chance! This summer, try a new genre. Read a new author. You may be surprised by the story you get swept into. Happy reading!

SALE!! Never Gonna Let You Go and Sudden Breakaway are only 99 cents at Amazon until the end of June.


Jessica Subject is the author of contemporary and science fiction romance, ranging from sweet to erotica. In her stories, you could meet clones, or a sexy alien or two. You may even be transported to another planet for a romantic rendezvous.

When Jessica isn't reading, writing, or doing dreaded housework, she likes to get out and walk. Fast. But she just may slow down if there is a waterfall nearby.

Jessica lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and two energetic children. And she loves to hear from her readers. You can find her at and on twitter @jsubject.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Superstitions and...beards...

All of the wall next to me on the left is packed with books. I'm a reference book junkie and at some point I will probably need an intervention... 

I did a lucky dip amongst the books to see what I could post here today. :D It's fun. Whatever book I find, whatever page I open onto I write about. (I also find a lot of plot-bunnies this way) Today, it was my fairly fat Book of Superstitions.

Opening it, my finger landed on 'Beards'...which conveniently gives me the opportunity to post the cover for AGAMEMNON FROST AND THE HOUSE OF DEATH...and Mr Frost's nice bit of scruff :D

Anyway, beards.

They've been a sign of ungodliness, faithfulness and personal strength through the ages. Elizabeth I taxed them, which meant they disappeared during her reign--though Edmund Blackadder sported a rather nice one. A beard's renewal led to the ancient belief that facial hair was some divine gift and shouldn't be cut. To do so--and for your enemy to find the trimmings--would give them power over you.

Modern superstitions are that men with beards can't be trusted (look at the mirror universe in Star Trek...) and throughout Europe a man with a red beard can't be trusted at all. And finally I do like this odd little US rhyme:

Beware of that man
Be he friend or brother,
Whose hair is one colour
And moustache is another.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Gamers/writers/readers at Origins 2013!

The hubby and I just returned from the Origins 2013 Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio and I'm writing this while still recuperating from five days of frantic fun gaming and being on various writing panels. We go there every year for our wedding anniversary and have a grand old time – leading me to make some observations about the wonderful gaming community and how a gamer is more of a writer and reader than many might think.

If you've ever played a role-playing game you know the man who runs the game, or the GM, is following a pre-designed set of instructions created to run the characters through a scenario. Most of the time these are designed by a company but many GM's take the time to create their own campaign scenario – which is a heck of a lot of writing! They must create the conflict, guide the characters and have a resolution at the end, be it good or bad. And during all this there's a good chance that the characters will literally take charge of the story (played by other people in the group) and take the story elsewhere.

To writers: Sound familiar? *laughs*

A good GM knows how to nudge the characters back onto the chosen path and to resolve the dilemma with a minimum of problems but just enough to give the players a good game. If your players walk away with a good feeling you've done a great job as a GM.

Or an author. 

On the other side of the coin – as a player you don't want to be dragged down a path that you don't want to go, as many readers might feel when an author skips a logical step in order to get you to a certain resolution or setting without reason. A good GM will allow you to wander off the beaten path at times but will gently guide you back onto the well-trod path in order to get you to where he/she needs you to be – finishing the adventure and resolving the conflict.

That isn't to say that some characters/players won't be lost along the way. Take too many risks, go too far off the trail and you might end up sitting on the sidelines. But if you play your cards right, follow the bread crumbs and have a wee bit o'luck with the dice you can have a wonderful adventure and walk away from the table feeling much better for the time spent.

Sound familiar? *grins*
It was also the first week after "Family Pride" released and helped me deal with new release jitters - mostly checking my Amazon ranking every hour. As well I got to hand out postcards advertising not only the "Blood of the Pride" series but also Carina Press! Some fans who discovered my writing last year came back to visit and it was great to see them again along with making some new ones.

 All in all it was a great convention and I got to meet some other faboo authors along with some wonderful budding writers who I hoped I encouraged to keep on writing and working towards their goals. I always come away from these conventions feeling reinvigorated and encouraged when I see the wonderful imaginations at work creating new worlds and new realities along with fresh minds seeking not only to entertain but to have a darned good amount of fun along the way.

And for those of you who have never considered taking up gaming, be it board or role-playing – why not check it out?



Saturday, June 22, 2013

You should totally read.....

Yesterday I was helping my husband at his job managing a hobby store. It's not my idea of a wild time, but I don't mind helping out, especially in the summer when they get really busy. So, most of my day consists of me manning the computer (you know, since I know squat about RC cars, helicopters or planes), but it's a job that needs to be done.

One of my husband's friends, a regular at the store, stopped in with his kids. He said his 13 year old daughter was big reader, always reading on her phone and iPad, constantly with a book--and that I should give her my information so she could read my stuff. Yeah....nope. Not happening. Some of what I write is pg13, but for the most part, it's not so I don't want to even remotely seem like a kid friendly read.

However, when she walked in I started up a conversation to see who she was reading. Turns out, yeah, she's not a big reader. She is trolling websites and shopping sites when her dad thinks she's 'reading', but we did talk books eventually.

She said right of the bat that she reads adult books, no more kid stuff. Then said she liked to read books that deal with social issues--like bullying and choices in school (not going to find that in an adult novel, really). But she also liked when all of that very realistic vampires.

I was able to give her a few ideas of who to read (mostly YA genre) and when she walked away it had me thinking about the things I read at 13. That was the year my aunts started passing their romance novels to me. I read more Nora Roberts that year than anything else. My teachers from then on, had to deal with the fact my book reports would always include a paragraph on my opinion of the 'romance' portion of the story.

If anyone mentioned an author name, I was allllll over them, so willing to be taken down a new path. I wonder if that girl will take my advice and try a new author...I really hope so!

All the best,
Stephanie Beck

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Behind the Story: Dragon Ugly

The story that was recently released went through many incarnations before the characters would finally talk to me and tell the right story. My first concept was one where Brent wasn't looking to settle down and Carissa just wanted to have some fun. She got drunk and ended up going home with Brent who'd been flirty with her all night but she'd felt was too young for her. Carissa was supposed to wake up the next morning horrified by her actions and having a Coyote Ugly moment, (which is when you wake up after a night drinking and find that you've slept with someone you never have ended up with if you'd been sober and in your right mind), and then rushing off without leaving so much as note. Brent on the other hand would wake up and realize that Carissa was his mate and would set out to try and convince her that they were meant to be together. He would have to jump through hoops while Carissa wouldn't be dealing with the fall out from that night and trying to fight her attraction to Brent. She would be worn down and they would be mated all this while dealing with the craziness of the Bonfire Festival.

That, my dear readers, was my first concept. But noooo, my characters hated that, overruled me and decided that the story needed to be longer than the 30k in wordage that I'd initially planned for. For months, while dealing with computer issues, Brent and Carissa fought me, refused to talk to me and when they'd had me browbeaten and I agreed to give in only then did they talk to me. Even throwing in The Snake for fun, giving me more of what his personality was like so I could get an idea of not only his story by Fletch's story. I won't say more about that because I haven't even pitched Fletch's book to my editor yet even though I know who he ends up with and her personality and I don't want to risk fighting with my characters again. Sometimes writers have to be sneaky in order to convince their characters to go along with their plan. At least that's what they let us think.

So without further ado, here's a sample of what you can expect if you pick up Dragon Ugly:

Series: Dragon New Year, Book 2
Title: Dragon Ugly
Excerpt Title: Brent wants a Mate
ISBN #: 9781939194473

Can a dragon shifter give more than just hot sex?
After Brent’s New Year’s fling with his friends Fletcher and Tor—and Tor’s mate Louisa—Brent is determined to find his own mate. His dragon wants him to find their mate, too, and if Brent doesn’t find a way to locate her soon, his dragon will take matters into his own talons. And that could spell trouble.
Wolf shifter Carissa has no desire to live up to her wild musician mother and artistic father’s vision of free love and sex parties. She’s buried her sexual desires and focused on building up her aromatherapy store, Scentify, no distractions allowed. Until she meets Brent. The sexy dragon shifter makes her burn with suppressed need. The only problem? His dragon wants Carissa, too. And pursuing the dominant dragon would be playing with fire.
Giving in to his dragon saps Brent of his focus and energy. Things are turning ugly—dragon ugly. How can he bond with his mate when his dragon only wants sex?

Buy Links:



With a grin, he dove into the ice-cold water and felt the pleasant shock reverberate through his body. After a length underneath, his lungs began to burn from a need for oxygen. He swam up to the surface, taking in a lungful of sweet air. The dragon exhaled a cold breath, chilling his body further as the beast settled into its element.
The sun wasn’t high in the sky yet and there was no movement on the streets. The tourists had been living it up ever since they had arrived. Brent couldn’t keep up with all the events that were planned around town, and he didn’t even want to. There were beautiful women everywhere he looked, as if it were ladies night all the time. It was enough to put a smile on the lips of any man. But it just made Brent feel tired.
Now that he had adjusted to the water temperature, heat surged through Brent’s body, and he felt the dragon pushing him to shift. He dove under the surface again, as gills split along his neck in searing stripes of pain. Webs glued his fingers and toes together by thin membranes. He opened his eyes and took in the dark blue tiles and the bright white flooring of the pool. Oxygen flooded his lungs. He breathed in the chilly water and blew out bubbles. Flipping onto his back he gazed up at the shifting surface of the water. Beyond, the world moved in and out of focus. He saw a flock of birds fly overhead and the plants waving to and fro around the pool. Sounds were dampened under the water. It was peaceful.
He tried to let go of the tension and the stress that had been filling him lately, but it seemed that his dragon had something on its mind.
“When will we find our mate?” The dragon’s question surprised him. It whispered through his mind like scales brushing against the inside of his skull. He hadn’t even realized that his dragon had been looking for a mate.
“Are you looking for someone for now or forever?” he asked. The answer was important. He had to be sure this was what the dragon really wanted.
“Not temporary,” it whispered. “Always.”
Brent felt relief sweep through him. So that was it! But the relief was quickly followed by worry. They were still young in human years, not even twenty-five yet. He had a job, but he wasn’t even sure if he wanted to continue working at the Dragon’s Lair. His future seemed up in the air.
He tried to push away these thoughts and focus on what the dragon wanted: a mate. He thought of Tor and Louisa. Once they’d been mated at New Year, they had seemed to exist in their own little world, so cozy and close. Tor stayed over at her place practically every night unless she needed some alone time. A pang of envy burst in Brent’s stomach.
The more he thought about the idea of a mate, the more it appealed to him. Part of him wanted someone for himself. He wouldn’t be opposed to sharing with his friends from time-to-time, but when all was said and done, she would be all his. But another part of him was scared. What if there wasn’t anyone for them? What if she wasn’t out there? What would he do then? How would his dragon react to that? It had happened before—dragons searching the world over and not finding anyone. It was a sad and pitiful existence. Some thought it was punishment for past deeds, but Brent didn’t like to think that. Not even the coldest bastard deserved to be alone. Brent suddenly yearned to experience that first blush of love and contentment, to feel what it would be like to love and have that love returned.
“When?” The dragon pressed.
“I don’t know, he told it. How should he go about finding her? A dragon matchmaker? A witch? Or should he rely on pure luck and fate?
“She’s here, in town,” the dragon pressed. “I can feel her.”
Brent almost changed back to his human form from shock. He hadn’t felt anything unusual, but then again his senses had been bombarded by so many things as of late. The fact that the dragon had been keeping this from him sent a wave of scalding heat through his body. The dragon had watched him fumble through one encounter after another, each less satisfying than the last. Why hadn’t it just told him it wanted a mate? “What do you mean?”
The dragon hissed out a cool stream of mist, interrupting his thoughts and pulling his focus back to the beast. “You must clear your senses. Use mine.”
Brent didn’t know how to open himself up to the dragon without undergoing a full shift. He felt his frustration mounting. The ability to share senses was supposed to be fluid and effortless, and yet it seemed to be all or nothing with his dragon.
“Stop. Let it go and relax. Think about our mate, the dragon urged.
“Easy for you to say, Brent muttered. How was he supposed to do that if he didn’t know anything about his mate?
He floated up to the surface and closed his eyes, letting the gentle lapping of the water center him. His limbs went limp and he sank down again, letting the soothing waters envelop him. Brent tried to picture his ideal woman, or at least an outline of her. A woman with curves, and a healthy appetite. A woman who was intelligent, strong, capable, independent, and full of respect for herself. Just thinking on those qualities made Brent’s heart ache. His frustration with his life grew as he thought of all that he yearned for. He missed having someone to spend time with, to cuddle with. He missed the basic human contact and comfort that he could find in a relationship. He wanted to be able to wake up with someone, make them breakfast, go out on dates, and spend the evenings talking about their days.
“Yes, the dragon hissed. “Think on that.”
Brent’s body became buoyant, and once again he floated with ease.
Now he tells me, Brent thought. In his mind’s eye he could see the faint hint of clear, chocolate-brown skin, and light brown eyes. A cool breeze drifted over him, raising goose bumps. He inhaled deeply. The scent of the forest wafted past his nose. They were nowhere near the woods. With another pull of air, he got the scent of a million different perfumes, some herbal, some floral, and some spicy. Heat churned in his gut as his balls hardened. Arousal traced a fiery path along his spine. Shock reverberated through his system at the sudden onslaught of pure, unadulterated need. It had been a long time since he’d had a taste of real, honest-to-gods desire, and he didn’t even know who it was that his body wanted.
He tried to sense something of her personality beyond her multitude of scents. The imaginary woman imbued him with warmth and comfort, a coziness with the spice of sexual excitement that only increased his need for her. He felt his cock thicken, filling with blood as his body temperature spiked. Brent tried to push past the feeling and concentrate on locating the woman. It was one thing for the sexual chemistry to be there, but to be able to stay with someone, he would need to forge a real connection to her. With a mental shove, he tried to open himself up to her more, get more of a feel for who she was.
He hit a wall, hard, and bounced back. All sense of her vanished and the outline of her image wavered, then disappeared. He pushed again, trying to seek out that thread that connected them. He gritted his teeth as he tried to force himself past the wall. Brent pictured his energy like a large wave of water as it crashed against the solidity of her barriers again and again. He tried to reform the water’s shape to something sharper, like a sword or icicle, but again he was blocked.
Confusion turned to anger and determination. I’m going to get to you, he thought. You will be mine.

Buy Links:



Sunday, June 16, 2013

It's Paranormal Romantics FATHER WARS! ~ Deena Remiel

Happy Father's Day to all! In honor of such a lovely day, I am conducting the first ever Father's Day FATHER WARS! I am pitting against each other notable male characters from famous movies. You  will decide WHO WOULD BE THE BETTER FATHER. Now, at first, you may be surprised by my picks for this challenge, but I think, with a bit of imagination, and tongue in cheek, you can actually come up with plausible reasons for your choices. At the end, I'll share mine! So are you ready?! HERE. WE, GO!










DRACULA wins! Why? 
Wolfman is a loner and he has anger management issues. 
Dracula keeps his entourage under his roof, and they all live happily in a messed up symbiotic relationship.


GODZILLA wins! Why?
King Kong, although very caring for one individual, that's all he cares about. Godzilla, after terrorizing all of Japan, in later films, he fights against other monsters to protect Japan. That's a whole lot of people he's caring for!


DAMIEN wins! Why?
Freddy keeps on killing all the kids! Every single one of them while they're sleeping. 
Can't be a good dad AND kill all your kids, you know?
Damien is the Antichrist. He tries to gather his minions about him, like a family, but people resist him. He has had some devoted family around him that have shown him compassion. Yes, he's killed kids, too, but not indiscriminately. He only ordered the male children in England, born on March 24, to be killed to prevent the Christ-child's return to power. He even has a daughter!

 WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE in each round? 


Saturday, June 15, 2013

My Bookstore Trip


    Summer is here and school is officially over in my area. The kids are home and already bored. To start the summer, I decided to drag them all over town to run errands and stock up the fridge. We live in a rural area of Vermont so when we go into town it’s an all-day event. One store we hit was Barnes and Noble.

    Over the winter I discovered that both my kids have inherited my competitive gene so we’re having a contest. Starting today until August 1st we’ll see who reads the most books. Whoever wins gets to pick a local trip to go on.

    I haven’t been to Barnes and Noble in over a year so the changes were a shock. Two things became very evident upon shopping:

1.      Genre shuffle

2.      Content for sale


First off, we went to the science fiction/fantasy isle for my oldest. I did a double take when I found Charlaine Harris, JR Ward, Kim Harrison, and Laurell K. Hamilton on the same shelves as Larry Niven, Tolkien, and Terry Brooks. I would have expected them in romance. I shrugged and went to the restroom. It’s on the second floor, way in the back of the store. THIS is where I found the romance section. One isle, only on one side. The Harlequin display was three small rows in the farthest corner of the store and NO ONE was shopping it. My heart sank and is still sitting in my gut.

When did paranormal romance become science fiction/fantasy? What happened to the three rows of romance books? And the shoppers I use to bump elbows with?

Second, we went to kids section for my youngest to buy his books. There were more LEGOS for sale than books. O_O  All the kids in the area were playing with the toys for sale. We were the only ones browsing books. This broke my heart.

Then we went down to the main floor. At this point my eyes were open and searching the area, not as a mother but as a writer. Where were all the hardcover book displays when people entered the store? There was one small pyramid filled with books written my actors/comedians/reality TV stars. No fiction.


The first floor consisted of their coffee shop, the check out, and the huge NOOK center. (Not disappointed about the NOOK part. LOL) We went to the back of the store and found massive shelves filled with all kinds of mass market paperbacks. YAY!

Oh wait…

They’re all used books for sale.


When did B&N start selling used books?

I had wanted to try looking for an agent next year and maybe try my hand at the mass market paperback route of publishing but this makes me worried. I know the industry is changing, sometimes so fast I can’t keep up. (Obviously.)  Who else sells these types of books? Walmart, Costco, grocery stores? In my area, only the best sellers hit those racks.

Now, like I mentioned, I don’t go to B&N often. I have a NOOK because I live in a rural area and downloading a book is so much easier than traveling the roads. Are your local B&N like this?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Gemstones With A Curse

Can a hunk of rock, even one as beautifully faceted and polished as the Hope Diamond, really carry a curse?

I just know I probably wouldn't risk wearing it and I'm mad for jewelry. Currently I have two stories I'm working on that involve a specific gemstone - one can be used for black magic in Ancient Egypt and the other is only for good magic in an alternate paranormal universe. Today I was doing more research into the subject of cursed gemstones in support of  world building for these two novels and of course, being a writer AND doing research on shiny objects LOL, I got thoroughly sidetracked.

There does seem to be a common thread to the legends surrounding many of these stones, usually starting with their having been removed from the eye of an idol somewhere in India and ever thereafter bringing bad luck to those foolish enough to claim what should have belonged to the gods.

The Hope Diamond is probably the most famous, 45.52 carats of whopping brilliance. A French trader  by the name of Tavernier brought the stone to Paris from India in the late 1690's under murky circumstances, as part of an original stone weighing 112 carats! He sold the gorgeous blue diamond to King Louis XV but the bad luck seems to have really kicked in when Marie Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI may or may not have worn the stone in a necklace. Of course she ended up dead and the monarchy deposed in the French Revolution. The stone disappeared, reappeared, was bought and sold over the centuries...I have to say I didn't find any other compelling bad luck stories among the later owners. The gem finally went to the Smithsonian Institute, which seems to be doing ok. I've actually seen the Hope Diamond, through a lot of thick protective glass - stunning but not ominous.

Now the Delhi Purple Sapphire seems to be the one that might actually BE cursed. The last owner of the stone was Edward Heron-Allen, a friend of Oscar Wilde's and an extremely distinguished scientist. He claimed the stone was "trebly accursed and is stained with the blood, and the dishonor of everyone who has ever owned it." His last words about the stone, found in a note he scrawled when he sealed the gem up for safekeeping, were "Whoever shall then open it, shall first read out this warning, and then do as he pleases with the jewel. My advice to him or her is to cast it into the sea."  He left the gem to the London Natural History Museum in his will and was stringent that no member of his family was ever to touch it. Mr. Heron-Allen had placed the Sapphire in a series of seven boxes, surrounded with lucky charms! He was certainly a believer in the curse.

The family legend says that the stone was looted from a temple in India during the tragedies of 1857 and the man whostole it lost his money and his health shortly thereafter, as did the man's son. A friend who acquired the stone next killed himself. The Sapphire then came to Mr. Heron-Allen, who had so much bad luck fall upon him that he tried giving it away to a friend who was a singer. She immediately lost her voice. He took it back and gave it to someone else, who also had bad luck. Then Mr. Heron-Allen threw the stone into a canal. Three months later the canal was being dredged (by sheer coincidence?) and the stone was found and returned to him.

Even the Museum staff haven't been immune to this stone's curse as the man who was in charge of taking the stone to be displayed at a Heron-Allen Society scientific meeting found himself in the middle of the worst thunderstorm he'd ever seen in his life. Surviving that, the same man was assigned to conduct the stone to the society's meeting again the following year and was stricken with stomach flu. He didn’t make the third symposium either - kidney stones!

I don't know how large the Delhi Purple Sapphire is but its setting is carved silver, with mystical astrological symbols, and the main stone is offset by two small gems carved with scarabs. It looks a bit ominous to me!

I've never owned a ring or a gem that was cursed but there once was a statue I couldn't bear to keep in the house, not even overnight, it frightened me so much...maybe I'll share that story next month!

Some uncursed bling from my fashion jewelry box!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Reading ~ It's good for you

Reading and Writing ~ They go together like peas and carrots ;) People can be avid readers without being writers but I think it's impossible to be a writer without being a reader. And the number one suggestion to newbie writers is to read.
1)    Reading a good book inspires me to write. Not everything I read will spark my plot bunnies, BUT there will be some stories or poems that nurture my plot rabbits.
2)    Reading a good book also instills in me a goal. Not to copy the author's idea but to give my reader the same satisfaction I got.
What should a writer read?
(shrugging) Whatever he/she wants! I know some writers don't like to read books to close to what they write in fear of subconsciously 'borrowing' from the author.  While others love to read their peers work, they feel it sets the standard in their genre. I read whatever catches my eye (the shiny object disorder again).
Actually for 2013, I set monthly 'themes' for my reading (you can visit my blog on Tuesdays for reading list and teasers from my favorites ~ www.http// Doesn't this sound a little OCD for someone who stops in mid-sentence to watch dust dance in the sunlight? The purpose isn't to move me into a Monk-like category but to expand my horizons. There are some genres I've wanted to try but find that when I take a trip to the book store, I don't seem to visit these sections so this was a way to force me to.
For example, I have enjoyed the few – the very few – steampunk books I had read but I rarely really looked for books in this genre. February was devoted entirely to steampunks. Found books I LOVED that I would have never read if I hadn't made it my focus.
What do you read? How do you select your reading material?

Monday, June 10, 2013


I've been CRAZY busy. It's been insane really and I almost forgot about my post here today.


I've been on a book tour and doing revisions and ...the list goes on. I can't believe it's already mid June.

You can find more about my book tour and the awesome prizes I'm giving away at the end at my blog.

So I'll leave you all today with an excerpt from my June 7 release PRIVATE RELEASE from Ellora's Cave while I take a nap.


He looked down at his hands. At least his claws were still intact, but he couldn’t draw them. How the hell was he supposed to protect his clan or even mark his mate for that matter without that ability?
“If I tell them they’ll strip me of my heritage. Males of my father’s family have always been chief. The line of my ancestors can’t end here.”
Étienne snorted and nodded. “Understood. If they want you to shift…”
“Tell them the bullet wound still pains me and shifting is dangerous. I don’t need to link telepathically with any of them tonight.”
“Very well. Anything else I need to know before you go in front of the council and I start guard duty?”
“A private investigator is coming to help me with tracking down the stolen funds.”
Étienne’s brow furrowed. “An outsider?”
“My brother-in-law recommended her.”
“A female?” Étienne asked in surprise.
“She isn’t like Mukswa females. She’s a private investigator who worked with the RCMP, but branched out on her own.”
Étienne didn’t look convinced. “You should’ve let me investigate her background.”
“My decision is final,” Jared snapped. “My judgment is sound. I am chief.”
Étienne’s black eyes glittered, but he nodded and lowered his head in deference.
Jared instantly regretted his outburst. Lately all he seemed to be doing was spouting off at random and he hated it.
A chief was supposed to be calm, cool and collected.
He was a wreck.
“Let’s get this over with,” he muttered as he pushed the button on his private elevator. He just wanted tonight to be done.
Tonight he’d let the elders choose his future mate. Perhaps then he could move on.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Love Letter for the #PSY/CHANGELING Series and @NaliniSingh

One of the definitions of fangirl from is “A female who has overstepped the line between healthy fandom and indecent obsession.” While I wouldn’t necessarily label my love of Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series as indecent, I don’t hesitate to call it an obsession. Since the day I opened Slave to Sensation and met Lucas, Sascha, Dorian, Mercy, Clay, Hawke, Sienna, Judd, Walker, Andrew, Riley, Nikita, and Vaughn, I fell utterly in love with the savage, beautiful, and provocative world inhabited by humans, Psy, and changelings. 

I could probably spend hours trying to give you examples, point by point, for what happened that day I read her first book, but I don’t what to try and give you a Reader’s Digest of this world because it is absolutely something you must experience for yourself and to do that, it means reading the books—and I can’t stress this part enough, it means reading them in order. 

With the release of Heart of Obsidian on June 4, there are currently 12 novels set in the Psy-Changeling world, several novellas and if you’re lucky enough to have subscribed to Ms. Singh’s newsletter, you get the occasional short as well. So without further ado, let me give you my reasons why this is a series you cannot miss, should rush out to buy right now if you haven’t, and if you have—well feel free to chime in below. The only thing I would ask for those of you who have read Heart of Obsidian – do not post spoilers below. I went into that novel spoiler-free and I believe to truly, truly appreciate the depth of the story Ms. Singh told is to take the same long journey through all the series to arrive at the same time as the rest of us.

How I Love Nalini Singh’s Breathtaking World

  1. My Writing Brain Turns Off - One of the drawbacks to being a writer for me is an inability to turn off the writing brain when reading. For me what that means is I am always in critique mode, a turn of phrase that an editor may have dinged for me in the past will leap off the page or story crafting where I don’t quite believe a character’s motivations will jettison me from the book. Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling turns off that part of my brain. I become 100% reader, immersed in a colorful, thoroughly textured world with a vibrant history and oftentimes violently uncertain present, but tempered by passion and love.
  2. Lush Setting - The series is set in the ‘near-future’ beginning sometime around 2079. But each book begins with a reflection back to 1979 when “Silence” began. This mixture of sober historical touches adds a level of depth and complexity to the ‘now’ within the series, a historical context if you will, and the wild promise of inherent danger.
  3. Beautiful Savagery – The primary Changeling packs we meet are the Dark River leopards and the Snow Dancer wolves. They promise violence to anyone who attacks their ‘packs,’ but they are without question fierce in their devotion and loyalty as they are violent to those who would do them harm. The history of these packs is soaked in blood, forged in fire, and tempered by hearts that are openly compassionate to those that are weaker than they and this need to protect—frankly it’s sexy as hell and makes you wish you were a part of one of these packs for the security they would provide.
  4. Icy Invitation – On the flip side of all that beautiful savagery is the ice-cold ‘perfection’ of the Silent Psy. Who doesn’t want to thaw the ice around these cold beings who willingly purge emotion through brutal suppression, reinforcement of painful dissonance, and absolute discipline because while their minds are brilliant and jagged in their power—they are also subject to the worst kinds of psychotic breaks. Yet it is the very thing that saves them that may damn them? The isolation from their own humanity is both vicious and vibrant—and when they awake, spectacularly magnificent. (Yes, I said I was a bit obsessed didn’t I?)
  5. Balanced Utterly – But never discount the humans that also inhabit this world, the humans who stand in the balance between these two utterly powerful races. They are wonderful in their utter ‘normalcy.’ Several humans can be found in the Packs, but also outside of it. Three that stand out absolutely for me are Ria, whom we meet in one of the novellas, Tally, and Max. It’s easy to overlook them, because they don’t change shapes or have powerful mental abilities, but it is their humanity that makes them so captivating.

I could go on, and on, and on about the series as anyone who follows me on Facebook can attest. At 10 minutes to midnight on June 3rd, Heart of Obsidian, book 12 downloaded to my Kindle. I literally finished up the edit I was working on and immediately flipped open the Kindle to read. I stayed up until 4:30 in the morning to finish it. I’ve read it twice more since then and then I had to dive back in and re-read the entire series.

Words that come to mind:

  • Lush 
  • Savage 
  • Exquisite 
  • Heart-wrenching 
  • Love 

On Saturday, June 8th, I had the delightful opportunity to see Ms. Singh at a local event called Boas and Tiaras. I had to take a moment since I was there as an author to catch her in the hall and go absolutely squee over the books. You see two years ago, I made some predictions about the series and was utterly delighted about those results. It thrilled me to be able to share with her just how immersed in the world she created that I have become and how much I loved the characters there—so much so that I literally do not care who she writes about next in this world, because I know I will love it. I have loved them all.

For now, I am deeply satisfied, but I know the hunger will come again as soon as we hear the title for the next book and we see the cover and of course, the countdown begins for 2014. But until then, I can visit the world occupied by Lucas, Vaughn, Dorian, Clay, Sascha, Faith, Judd, Brenna, Clay, Tally, Max, Sophia, Katya, Dev, Hawke, Walker, Lara, Sienna, Toby, Marlee, Ben, Roman, Julian, Tamsyn, Nate, Riley, Mercy, Drew, Indigo, Riaz, Adria, Kaleb, Father Perez, Vasic, Aden and so many more. I have a free pass.

I own the whole series. 

So from the bottom of my reading heart, since reading truly was my gateway drug to writing—thank you Nalini Singh. I think Heart of Obsidian was the best yet and I cannot wait to take a trip back to Dark River and Snow Dancer country. My passport is ready!

Happy reading, ya’ll. 


Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Mercy Moon: Who?

Often, the characters are the first thing we think of for a new story. But in the case of The Mercy Moon, we had to build characters who fit the plot. It was a fun challenge, and one we wanted to share.

There are two protagonists in the story, and they both have very specific roles to play. One, Audamar Marquering, is the reigning king of the wolves, as well as the leader of his clan. The other, Soren Keller, is the newly minted leader of his own clan. Both have been raised to their roles.

Audamar is proud without being prideful, harsh but not overbearing. He doesn’t bend easily. He’s always known he would be king—his clan has been in power for generations. He’s never had to pretend to be anything less than he is.

But Audamar’s role is a lonely one. As king, he’s isolated. A man—a wolf—living alone atop a mountain.

Soren is a mediator by personality. He has always known he would someday lead his clan, but he’s never yearned for power or control. He is content in his role, and works hard for security for his clan without upsetting the careful balance among the other clans.

Soren has always been surrounded by family, by his uncle, the former leader of their clan, and his many younger cousins.

We’re looking forward to watching these two very different characters find their way together past everything keeping them apart.

About Us
Anah Crow and Dianne Fox write sci-fi, paranormal, and contemporary queer romance for Carina Press, Samhain Publishing, and Amber Allure. They’ve been writing together for more than 10 years. You can find them on the web at and on Twitter at @anahcrow and @diannefox.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Serial Killer

In my ongoing attempt to read a book a week this year, I’m falling horribly behind. I’m currently reading a book I really want to continue, but I keep putting it down after a few pages because I accidentally read the third book in the series first, and now, reading Book 1, I already know the character I’m meeting has died horribly somewhere along the way. Every time this character does something endearing, or the main character shows how much he’s falling for him, I remember how miserable the MC ends up later on because of his loss.

I hate spoilers, and reading ahead is the worst kind of spoiler to me. I know people who read the last page of a book first so they know what’s going to happen. And I’ve been tempted a few times, if a book has me really on edge (which is another reading dilemma I’ve had this year), but I just can’t do it. If I know what’s going to happen, I have a hard time enjoying the story. I mean, why would I want to know exactly how Voldemort will be defeated in The Deathly Hallows and who’s going to die along the way before I’ve even met Harry Potter?

I don’t even like to know what’s going to happen when I’m writing. I’m a “pantser.” I want to experience the excitement and suspense the same way my readers will. And as I discovered when I tried outlining, knowing exactly how a story’s going to play out completely kills my interest.

The Armies of Heaven, the final book in my House of Arkhangel’sk trilogy, comes out at the end of this month. I’ve been careful to try let each story stand on its own in case someone picks up the books out of order, but I’m really hoping that readers will start at the beginning, with The Fallen Queen. Some series can be read in any order, but a fantasy trilogy is meant to be read as a complete saga, where the main character’s journey takes place over all three books. That’s how this one was written. If readers start with the ending, they’re going to miss out on the character relationships developed along the way—and on some hot demon sex. Trust me. Start with Book 1.

The Armies of Heaven is available for preorder from:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooksKobo | Powell’s

Are you a last-page-peeker or do you share my literary OCD? Does it ruin a series for you if you read them out of order?