Monday, September 30, 2013

Guest Post Greta van der Rol Talks Were-Tigers

Veronica sez: It’s my pleasure to introduce a Guest Contributor today- Greta van der Rol. We met in the Science Fiction Romance Brigade but we both also spin paranormal tales from time to time and she’s got a fascinating post for us about were-tigers. Take it away, Greta!

Hi, thanks for inviting me to tell your readers a little about my paranormal romance, Black Tiger. It's about... um... tigers. And a were-tiger.

Readers of paranormal romance are used to the concept of the 'were-beast', a shape-shifter who can change from an animal to a person. Usually the idea is that the were-beast and the human are one and the same, morphing from one shape to the other, sometimes at will, sometimes because the moon is full (or something).

I've always had something of a problem with that. I enjoyed (if that's the right word' the scene in An American Were-wolf in London when the MC changes from a man to a were-wolf, and it's clearly a very painful and rather messy business, being as how, although dogs and people have the same bones, the configuration is totally different. Think knees, ankles, toes and things. Not to mention tails. Sure, fiction is about suspending belief but I usually write science fiction, so I've come up with a slightly different approach to my were-tiger-person relationship.

Just imagine you're a were-tiger, a being that exists in two dimensions, human in one, tiger in  the other, with sometimes a bit of mix and match between the two – if you can keep control of the tiger part. Because that tiger part is a killer. He's savage, he's solitary and his urge is to rip out throats if he can get a chance. None of this full moon nonsense, you can change whenever you wish, and sometimes when you don't wish. You're walking around with this thing as part of your psyche. It can talk to you in your head, a constant companion, a constant threat.

Raja Asoka Bhosle (Ash for short) is a billionaire Indian businessman who can trace his ancestry back to the rulers of the Maratha Empire. He also hides a secret. He is the last of an ancient line of were-tigers stretching back over a thousand years or more, protector of the jungle in his native land. While he jet-sets the world brokering deals in Hong Kong, New York and London, he fights the illegal poaching trade which has so decimated tiger numbers.

Like tigers, were-tigers are solitary and they don't tolerate competition. But they do need to mate with another of their own kind. Tigers in the wild are facing extinction and were-tigers are even rarer than tigers. In all his years of looking, Ash has never found another. If he can't find a suitable mate, his were-tiger bloodline will end with him.

Sally Carter is an Australian doctor, escaping her broken heart by taking on a six-month contract in a foreign country. She's always liked tigers and what the hell, she might get to see one in the wild while she's over there. But she's only been in India for five minutes when she learns that the society and culture are about as different from middle-class Melbourne as it's possible to be. And there's a mysterious, legendary Black Tiger. All superstitious nonsense, of course. Then the dreams start. Pretty soon, Sally starts to doubt her own sanity, as the creature stalks her nights. Her days are busy, dispensing Western medicine in the face of prejudice, but always on the edge is Raja Bhosle, handsome, reserved and totally out of her league for far too many reasons.

Ash fancies Sally, oh yes he does. But she's European. She couldn't possibly carry the were-tiger gene. Besides, his mother doesn't approve. She thinks he should marry a nice Indian girl. So what will he do when he falls in love with the wrong girl? Will he be the last of Tengai's were-tigers, or will his family obligations overrule his heart?

Come along with me to exotic places – an Indian tiger reserve, a raja's palace, the slums of Mumbai, the bright lights of Hong Kong, and the streets of Melbourne. You'll go on a tiger hunt on the back of an elephant, chase a poacher through a stinking slum, prowl through a Hong Kong alley, attend a Hindu funeral and a Christian one, and you'll probe the secrets of the tiger temple.

Fancy a small sample? Sally's having one of those dreams.

Sally walked along a jungle path, trees crowding on both sides so thick their branches met overhead. The only sound she heard was the soft shuffle of her own footsteps, muffled by undergrowth. Unease started as a prickle in her back, as though hidden eyes watched. She picked up her pace, her heart beating faster, her mouth dry. Cold light shone ahead of her. The moon? The light disappeared, blocked by a huge shape. She halted. Oh God. A black tiger stood on the path, the massive head lowered. Glowing golden eyes glared at her. Her heart pounding, she turned and ran. The beast bounded behind her, the heavy paws thumping on the ground. Thud… thud…

All profits from the sale of the book will go to the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation to support tiger conservation.

What's my next project? Black Tiger is a stand-alone novel but there's plenty of room for more stories about Sally and Ash. The sequel, White Tiger, a work-in-progress, is about the plight of the six thousand or so tigers in America, kept in backyards, circuses, inadequate private zoos and the like. Here's a taste of the book and what it's about.

Thanks for having me. It's been a blast.
Veronica sez: It was our pleasure! And here's the blurb for Black Tiger:

 Black Tiger
He haunts the jungle – and her dreams
When Dr. Sally Carter travels to India to regroup from a broken heart the last thing she wants is to fall in love. But Raja Asoka (Ash) Bhosle is entirely too attractive to ignore, even though she knows it can only end in tears. Hers.

Ash guards his forest and the precious creatures within it, protecting the rare tigers from mindless slaughter, and a secret that lives in legend. From the moment he sets eyes on the Australian doctor, he wants her, even over the objections of his mother and the unsuitability of her cultural heritage.

While Ash fights tiger poachers, Sally struggles against cultural prejudice. Can the Legend of the Black Tiger be the bond that brings them closer together, or will it be an impossible belief that rips them apart. The closer Sally comes to understanding what the legend means, the more frequent the nightmares become. Is she losing her sanity, or is there more to Sally than she herself knows? The answers lie buried in her past.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cat Shifters and Halloween Fun with Megan Slayer

Shifters are all the rage right now. There's Sam on True Blood, the characters on Grimm and Supernatural... you name it, there's probably a shifter for it. And why not? There's so much you can do with a character who can change shape. I had always wanted to write about black cat shifters. I love black cats. Probably because I have one. He's slinky, goofy and there are times when I swear all I can see on his face are his eyes.

An idea came to me the one day. A witch who gives away black cats for Halloween. Now, that might seem silly, but it's better than a witch doing something awful to them. Anyway, so my cats can't be single children. Nope. There is a litter. The witch who gives them away isn't in a lot of the story, but what happens to her cats is very important.

The first story in the series is called Cat Class. Why? I was listening to way too much Stray Cats when I was writing them. Here's a little bit about the first book.

Cat Class by Megan Slayer 

Trick or Treat Collection
Book one in the Stray Cats Series
Changeling Press
Contemporary, Paranormal, Holiday, M/F, Short Story

He's got cat class and cat style, but can he win her heart?

Trust a witch to give away black cats on Halloween.

Hayden knew her cat was different the moment she picked him up from the box at old lady Hildegard's house. But there's a full moon out this Halloween, and Hayden's about to find out just how special her fur baby truly is.

He's got cat class and cat style, but can he win her heart?

The man folded his arms. His black hair shimmered in the harsh light, and his eyes glowed the same shade of green as her cat’s. He even had the same odd way of staring at her as if he knew what she was thinking, and he talked like he knew all about her cat.
“Do you want my purse?” She stuck out her hands. “Take it.” The guy might remind her of her cat, but cat shifters were the stuff of legend. Besides, didn’t Halloween bring out the crazies? Yes, he was some lunatic in character trying to scare the shit out of her... and it was working. She shivered. “Take it.”
“I’m taking you home.” He swatted her hands down. “There’s a long story I need to tell you, but the short of it is yes, I’m a shifter. I chose you as my human, and now I’d like to go home and explain where you won’t freak out.” He inched toward her. “I won’t hurt you, but I will rip the limbs off the asshole who dicked you over at lunch. Now let’s go. It’s freezing, and I’m not fond of showing my ass off in public.”
“No.” She held her ground. “I don’t know you from Adam and you want me to take you home? No way, buddy. Blow.”
“Now that’s just mean.” He scratched his brow. “Okay, look, I come from a long line of shifters. Black cat shifters. My litter had four. Hildy knew about us and protected us. Somehow she knew you needed me. I’m glad you took me home because I knew you were the one for me.” He stepped closer to her. “Hayden, I need your help. We aren’t legend, and some bad people know about me. You’ve got to help me.” He crouched down before her and curled into a ball. His human form morphed into a cat. After a moment, the cat sat on his back legs and stared up at her. He even had the tiny white tuft on his chest.
“Godzilla?” Hayden swayed on her feet. This wasn’t happening. Her cat was a cat, not a shifter. She collapsed on the nearest bench and rested her head in her hands.
A pair of bare feet strode over to her. She glanced at the legs connected to the feet. The man squatted down in front of her. The mystery man who claimed to be her cat. Tears blurred in her eyes. What else could she do? Laugh or cry?
“Hayden, honey, shifting destroys my clothes.” He tipped his head to look her in the eye. “Let’s go home. I’ll explain everything there. I’ll show you what I am.”
“Show me. That’s a terrible come-on line, especially in the park. How do I know you’re not another creep like the one I went on the date with?” God help her, she wanted to go home with him. But what the hell? Was he really her cat? She stood and shrugged out of her coat. Might as well help him. “You know what? After the night I’ve had, I’m numb. Take this. It’s girly, but it will keep you from getting arrested.”
“I’m supposed to save you,” he said with a smirk. “My name is Joel.”

“Nice to meet you, Joel.”

* * * * * 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

One year ago today...

Hello peeps! I'm loving the new look of the blog. A very special thank you to Veronica Scott!

Today, I'm celebrating the 1-year publishing anniversary of Crash Landing. This story started with a conversation with one of my editors. For those who don't know my stories, I write alien romances, and many of my aliens tend to have blue skin. In our conversation, my editor and I were discussing the proper shade of blue for my aliens. And here are ten fun facts about Crash Landing (originally shared on Kacey Hammell's blog):

  1. I had no intentions of writing this story as I was working on two others at the time. 
  2. It was one of my editors, Kate Richards, who suggested I write it. Well, she demanded it in her inbox that night. LOL It took me a little longer than that to write it. The story idea started with this line, “…indigo is for space aliens. Turquoise is for underwater hunks.” 
  3. I submitted the story 20 days after I started writing it. 
  4. All of the characters’ names are Latin based. Cael = space, Mare = water, and Tara = Earth. 
  5. Cael’s home planet, Narien, came from me staring at my bookshelf, trying to think of a name. The books that caught my attention were The Chronicles of Narnia, and Gini Koch’s Alien series. Narnia + Alien = Narien 
  6. Originally I thought of making this just an M/M story to take place in the water, but Tara fought her way in there and brought the story to dry land. 
  7. While editing this story, I found out one of my overused words was “pain”. Well, Cael did crash land after all. I’m sure there’s going to be some pain. LOL 
  8. I had to use the washroom really bad while writing one scene. I’m sure you’ll figure out which one, though I didn’t hear any thumping on my bathroom walls. 
  9. There is plenty of hot alien sex in this story without needing tentacles or alien abductions.
Crash Landing
A story from The Edge
By Jessica E. Subject

Sci-Fi MMF Ménage Erotica 

ISBN: 978-1613333884

As his ship plummets toward Earth, Cael believes his life to be over. His last ditch effort to save himself ends in a fiery crash. When he wakes up, he believes he’s entered the afterlife, but his surroundings indicate otherwise. He made it to Earth. But who saved him, and what do they want with him?

Available from: 


Jessica Subject is the author of contemporary and science fiction romance, ranging from sweet to sexy. 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.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Sneaky peek at Agamemnon Frost and the Crown of Towers

The last book in the Agamemnon Frost series, Agamemnon Frost and the Crown of Towers, is only weeks away --it comes out 14 October. So here's a sneaky look at the first page, via some photoshop fun :)

Book three of Agamemnon Frost

Edgar Mason is losing Agamemnon Frost despite everything they've been through—the passion, the torture, the heat. Frost's fiancée, Theodora, is back, and Mason can feel his lover gravitating toward her. Every day he sees them together, it tears at his heart.

Frost feels raw himself. His brother and sister-in-law are missing, and his guilt about failing to save Theodora from Pandarus eats at him. His feelings for Mason, whom he has put through hell twice already, just twist the screws tighter.
On top of that, Pandarus and the Martians are back to make their final push to Earth, and Frost and Mason are duty bound to fight them. People are vanishing. Bodies are turning up burned beyond recognition in the slums. The bleak, human-less future Frost and Mason saw in the hollow ships has nearly come to pass.

And in order to prevent it, each man will have to make a final choice: lose his lover or doom the world.

Find out how it began in Agamemnon Frost and the House of Death.

If it's a little too small you can go here to see a bigger version. Blogger won't let me resize :(

Thursday, September 26, 2013

More Fun From the Archives: 6 Ways to Become a Werewolf by Tricia Schneider

Veronica Scott sez: Went searching through the Archives for something that sounded fun and loved this post by Guest Contributor Tricia Schneider. I've adapted it a bit because the blog was running a contest back in 2011 and since we have no time machines, it's too late to let anyone enter to win LOL! But here's her post:

Even the man who is pure in heart
And says his prayers by night
May become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
And the Moon is pure and bright...

-Famous lines in "The Wolf Man," 1941

The word werewolf is most likely derived from two old-Saxon words, wer (meaning man) and wulf (meaning wolf). As I researched legends and myths of the werewolf for my novella, The Witch and the Wolf, I discovered there’s more than one way to cause the transformation from man into beast. Here are a few:


Being the seventh son of the seventh son, such a person could be born with the ability to change into a werewolf. This also applies to the seventh son with six girls as older siblings. The werewolf ‘gene’ could also be passed to children whose parents turn into werewolves. Other methods include being a child conceived under a new moon; being born on a new moon; being born on a full moon Friday; being born on the winter solstice or Christmas Eve; and being born on Friday the 13th

The curse of the werewolf, also known as the Lycaeonia Curse, can be bestowed by a person who is wronged in some way, using witchcraft, sorcery, evil spirits, or divine punishment. This would cause the person cursed to involuntarily change into a werewolf. The earliest story of such a curse can be found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses where the Greek God, Zeus, is angered by King Lycaon of Arcadia and dooms him to turn into a werewolf. 


Another method for turning into a werewolf is to be bitten by one. Bacteria in the saliva of the werewolf find its way into the blood stream. Alternately, a person could also be infected by a scratch. This is more commonly found in fiction, being rare in legend for there was seldom much left of a victim to become a werewolf.


A person desiring to become a werewolf could easily remove their clothes and put on a belt or girdle made of a wolf-skin. Skinwalkers are also found in Native American Indian lore where the person wears the pelt of the wolf to complete the transformation.  

Magic Salve

Another voluntary method is for the person to rub their bodies with magic salve or ointment to transform into a werewolf. The ingredients of the salve vary, but generally contained plant ingredients like nightshade, belladonna root and henbane. Sometimes other ingredients were included, such as bat’s blood, aconite, celery, soot, calamus, parsley, poplar leaves, and opium. For solvent, they used pig fat, turpentine and olive oil and then after the distillation of spirits was perfected alcohol served the purpose. This method was often combined with the wolf-skin to become a werewolf.


There are ceremonies and rituals that can be performed to achieve the desired results of transforming into a werewolf. These could include devil worship or asking evil spirits to assist in the change. Performing a ritual to invoke the spirit of the wolf or if the spirit of the wolf calls to the person are other methods.  

~For more information about paranormal romance author Tricia Schneider and her books check out her website

Veronica sez: Tricia's current series The Merriweather Witches:
The Witch and the Wolf begins with Lillian Merriweather as she's on the run from an unwanted suitor. Read more...

The Witch and the Vampire finds Melora Merriweather searching for a witch she is convinced will help her in her cause. Read more...

In The Witch's Thief, Basil Merriweather returns to discover his childhood sweetheart in danger. (To Be Released in 2014)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What Did the Cat Think In Warrior of the Nile?

One of my author friends,  Jody Wallace & her cat Meankitty have interviewed the cat (whose sekrit cat name, I decided, was Djet) from my latest Ancient Egyptian paranormal romance, WARRIOR OF THE NILE.

Here's a sample of the questions and answers the posed to the cat:
2) How did you and your human lady love, Tiya, meet?

Pharaoh and the goddess Nephthys send her on a journey to a distant province, where she’s supposed to help the goddess kill some person who’s doing black magic. It’s a fancy, human plot. (Yawns, stretches, pulls his claws on the desk chair.) I could have solved it much more efficiently than with all this mumbo jumbo they were insisting on. 

For more of this catseye view of the action in the journey down the Nile segment of the book, please go visit Jody’s blog!

Here's the story blurb:
Egypt, 1500 BCE
Lady Tiya is bound to the service of the goddess Nephthys, who plans to sacrifice Tiya’s body to protect Egypt from an ancient terror. She embarks to meet her grim fate alone but for the hardened warrior Khenet, who is fated to die at her side. Tiya’s dreams of love and family now seem impossible, and Khenet, who is the last of his line, knows his culture will die with him. Struggling with the high cost of Nephthys’s demands, both resolve to remain loyal.
Neither expects the passion that flowers when Tiya’s quiet courage and ethereal beauty meet Khenet’s firm strength and resolve. On a boat down the Nile, their two lonely souls find in each other a reason to live. But time is short and trust elusive.

Without the willing sacrifice of Tiya and Khenet, a great evil will return to Egypt. How could the gods demand their deaths when they’ve only just begun to live?
Here are the buy links: Amazon  for kindle and audiobook  Carina Press   AllRomance eBooks    Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

One From The Archives: Writers + Nutella = Bliss

Veronica sez: I went searching for something from our archives to post today and maybe it's because I was hungry but this is where I stopped LOL. This post from November 2011 was among our top 5 of all time! We'll be back to new content tomorrow but I'd say nothing has changed as far as writers and Nutella!

 From Hailey Edwards:
It's the strangest thing, but I had never heard of Nutella until I started writing. Someone mentioned it on a writer's forum I belong to, and I had to give it a try. One taste and I was hooked. While not very nutty, it is smooth and chocolaty.

I guess I was being a little tame in my application, because I learned of a few new combos on Twitter--all suggested by writers. Yep. I'm seeing a trend here. Writers sure do love their Nutella and I'm no exception.

I was used as a taste test tiebreaker for one Nutella combo and OMG I'm going to be munching on it until my jars run dry. I can see it now.

Nutella Combos

Nutella and Peanut Butter
Nutella and Almond Butter (I love this.)
Nutella and Orange Marmalade (This is the combo I from Twitter.)
Nutella and Raspberry Preserves (This is going to be my next experiment.)
Nutella and Cream Cheese (I heard this wasn't great.)
Nutella, Banana Slices and Marshmallows (This interests me.)
Nutella and Greek Yogurt (I somehow doubt I'll try that one.)

So how about y'all? Any combos I'm missing? And what do you think? Can we have Nutella proclaimed an official writer's diet menu item? ;)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Cover art love!

I know that I've always been attracted to a book primarily by the art on the cover - if it doesn't appeal to me then I'm not likely to pick it up. Yes, that may make me appear shallow but I think it's true of most authors and publishers that the cover art is a Big Deal and for that reason you have to always look for the best way to present your work visually. You might have a helluva great read but if the cover art doesn't match the contents or worse, misrepresents the book as one genre and is actually another, the damage can be irreparable.

So, without further ado, let me put up a round of applause for the Carina Press art department for delivering four fantastic covers for my "Blood of the Pride" series.


As you can see the art department knocked it out of the park for all four covers. The same model and the same font, the same background changing just a wee bit for each book. It's pretty easy to see that they're all in the same series.

When I was asked what I wanted for cover art I wasn't sure, not having any background in art other than scribbling with crayons - so I had no idea what really would work for my readership. Carina knew and, I think, they got it right.

And not only in digital form - I'm thrilled to announce that all four books have been picked up by Harlequin to be put into print form for their Direct-To-Consumer program. This means that if you subscribe to certain Harlequin lines you'll be getting a paperback copy of one of these books (or already have, in the case of the first book!) in addition to your regular subscriptions.

But there's more! (as the ad men would say!) After the initial print run for all of these books there will be extras available for purchase from the Harlequin web site, here - so if you've enjoyed the books in ebook form and would like some hard print for your shelves or want to pass them onto a friend or family member who doesn't like ebooks, here's your chance. The last book, "Battle Scars", will be releasing in digital form at the end of October and will be going to press in February 2014.

My thanks again to the faboo art department at Carina Press and I think this is a great example of how cover art does make a big difference! Whether you're self-publishing your own work or working with a publisher the cover art can make or break a sale - and I think I got some excellent cover art here!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

F*ck Like Bunnies vs Monty Python. Really?

I love people who review books. Some, I love more than others. This week I found a reviewer who, well, not to sound like a fussy butt, but she gets me. Here's a snippet of the review from The Romance Reviews by Book Addict.

 " Is this a paranormal Monty Python movie? How can a cute little bunny cause such fear in a man?

Tim: Well, that's no ordinary rabbit.
King Arthur: Ohh.
Tim: That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!
Sir Robin: You tit! I soiled my armor I was so scared!
Tim: Look, that rabbit's got a vicious streak a mile wide! It's a killer!
Sir Galahad: Oh, yeah?

Tim: I'm warning you!
Sir Robin: What's he do? Nibble your bum?
Tim: He's got huge, sharp... er... He can leap about. Look at the bones!"

And that's just the start! Read the rest here.

Reviews are such tricky things--a giant love/hate sort of situation, but this one made me laugh. Paranormal romance has the potential for being very serious and dark. While I like a little shadow and maybe some harshness, my bunnies are too far into cupcakes and glitter to really let things get dark.

Check out the F*ck Like Bunnies series! Bunny Club, Air Bunnies, Bunnies on Ice and the latest, Bunny Hunt. There's no Elmer Fudd here!! F*ck Like Bunnies.

All The Best,
Stephanie Beck

Friday, September 20, 2013

New Release: Gathering Storm,

The Order of the Black Swan, Book Five
by Vctoria Danann 

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Scifi Romance, Urban Fantasy, Fantasy Romance
Publisher: 7th House 
Date of Publication: September 19, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-933320-93-9
Number of pages: 364
Word Count: 89k
Formats available: Kindle, epub, paperback
Cover Artist: Victoria Danann

Early reviews…

"This is definitely the best book of the series so far. It was a complete rollercoaster ride. Victoria Danann is the one of the best storytellers I have ever come across." - Hooked on Books

"...these books they are sexy, very exciting, but humorous moments makes them a really fun read." -Vampire Romance

"These books are like a many layered dessert. Tickling your senses, making your emotions go nuts, and keeping your heart pounding." - A Tale of Two Books

 “The pace in GATHERING STORM had me moving from page to page, gobbling the words as fast as my brain could take them in.” – Fangs, Wands & Fairy Dust

Blurb/Book Description:

The fifth installment in the Black Swan serial saga. READING IN ORDER STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. That’s why we have a try-before-you-buy-program. (click here for Amazon link.) The first book in the saga, My Familiar Stranger, is PermaFREE everywhere.

THE NEWSLETTER: Z Team, a.k.a Zed Company, is transferred to Jefferson Unit, which is being temporarily retired as an active hunter facility and converted to a research / training institution. Sol takes his first vacation – ever – leaving Glen in charge with Storm supervising. Rosie is proving to be an extraordinary little girl and Deliverance is in BIG trouble with her mother.

THE SURPRISES: Storm is really not himself. Former members of B Team must reunite to preserve his image and reputation.  No one could have prepared for the surprises Rosie delivers, least of all Glen.

THE ADVENTURE: The Ralengclan send a second wave assassination team to Jefferson Unit at the worst possible time, when it’s been left defended by only Z Team, Glen, the Lady Laiken and the trainees.

Author Bio:

 If you're looking for something new and different in PNR, you've come to the right place. I write unapologetic romances with uniquely fresh perspectives on paranormal creatures, characters, and themes. Add a dash of scifi and a flourish of fantasy to enough humor to make you laugh out loud and enough steam to make you squirm in your chair. My heroines are independent femmes with flaws and minds of their own whether they are aliens, witches, demonologists, psychics, or past life therapists. My heroes are hot and hunky, but they also have brains, character, and good manners - usually - whether they be elves, demons, berserkers, werewolves, or vampires.

My first book, My Familiar Stranger, was nominated for Best Paranormal Romance of 2012 by the Reviewers' Choice  and Readers’ Choice Awards. Each of my books has remained on the Amazon best seller list in category every day since release. All four also earned the Night Owl Reviews TOP PICK award and have remained on the Amazon Best Sellers list every day since release and frequently appear on various Listopia lists in Goodreads.

 The Order of the Black Swan is a series that is also a serial saga. Each book is an episodic installment in an ongoing story. Join me for the adventure.
 Author web links:  
TWITTER: @vdanann

 Two Short Excerpts from Gathering Storm

Excerpt 1  PREFACE Dunkilly, Ireland
Glendennon Catch caught the eye of the bartender who simply pointed toward a back corner. He couldn't see what the man pointed to, but he nodded and began making his way toward the rear.
He wound through a few layers of standing people who were holding glass mugs and talking loudly to be heard over the music, until he could see a corner snug in the back. It was close to a window so there was enough light to see, even with the smoke, that the bartender had been right in surmising that he was looking for Z Team.
There they were - the farthest thing from inconspicuous. Glen couldn't begin to guess how they had managed to be successful vampire slayers when everything about them drew attention and broadcasted vibes of this-is-your-last-chance-to-run. It was a message that floated around them like a diaphanous cloud of warning.
The four of them fit comfortably in a snug designed for eight. That was partly because of their sheer size and partly because they had a casual way of draping arms and legs so that they took up as much space as possible. It also communicated disdain for established notions of propriety. Glen knew instinctively that even the word "propriety" would make Black Swan's infamous misfits laugh out loud.
One of them was wearing a sleeveless shirt that had once been a denim jacket. His left arm had been transformed into a tattooed sleeve by an intricately inked mural of muted colors. It was odd to see bare biceps when it was brittle-dick cold outside, but Glen supposed that if he'd made that much of an investment in ink he might want to show it off too.
Glen's initial impression of the guy sitting next to Sleeve was that he should have the nickname, Dark, or Black. He wore black jeans, a black metal band shirt that was probably a collectable, and his spiky hair was so blue black it had to have been dyed that color. All that with eyes so pale he could almost get away with going undercover as a vamp. He wasn't wearing eyeliner, but the contrast between his ice-color irises and those thick ebony lashes made his eyes pop in a dramatic way that probably drew interest from a lot of babes. The Black Knight. Glen smiled a little to himself. He enjoyed his own company and his own offbeat sense of humor.
The third wore a plain gray long sleeve tee that covered his upper body, but Glen could see black ink climbing out of the neck of the guy's shirt, stopping just below his pronounced jaw line. Either tribal pattern or angel glyph. Hard to tell with just snake tails in view. He had a serious case of bed head going, probably by design, and one eyebrow that was raised and had been since he'd noticed Glen standing there watching them.
He said something to the others. Then the fourth, the one facing away with one long arm draped over the back of the snug, turned to look at Glen, revealing elfin ears. Those ears were outlined by light brown hair with titian streaks. Same curl as Sir Hawking. Had to be Torrent Finngarick.
They looked exactly the way Glen had expected them to look. Hard. Tough. And like they belonged together. He was thinking, So they're Black Swan knights with a little bit of a nasty reputation. They put their pants on one leg at a time just like me. Right?
It was an inadequate internal pep talk, but he just wasn't feeling it. He decided to go with Plan A, which was taking life straight ahead, one step at a time. Glen had a reputation of his own for being easy going, but he made an exception for passive aggressive nonsense. He didn't like it, didn't like people who habitually avoided the front door, and didn't mind letting his irritation with bullshit bubble over.
Plan A meant walking straight up to them, stating his business, hoping for the best, but being prepared for the worst. That was the thought bouncing around in his mind as he observed their reactions to seeing him approach the table.
When he was standing over them, he looked around the table and said, "I'm Glendennon Catch." Then he zeroed in on Torn. "Sorry for your loss, Sir Finngarick." He said "sir" quietly enough so that only they heard him, but they got the message. It was as good as a secret handshake. "The office sent me with a message from the HR department."
They left him standing there for a minute without saying anything or changing expression. It was a thinly disguised intimidation strategy to get him to reveal nervousness, timidity, or some other weakness that would register as a flaw in their eyes. That sort of thing didn't work on somebody who had inherited the dominant werewolf gene. He could stand there all day without flinching or looking away.
Finally, the big guy with the glyphs crawling up his neck grinned, showing dimples which seemed entirely out of place against the persona he'd so carefully crafted. "So go ahead and deliver your memo, Sweet Cheeks. We're waiting."
The other three chuckled softly without taking their eyes off of him. Glen laughed openly and good-naturedly, but let the sound trail off ending in a low level growl, incongruent with the smile on his face. The growl wasn't loud enough to draw attention from the wake-goers, but it was definitely heard by Z Team. They all sat up a little straighter and took another look at the kid. He had their interest, but that was worlds away from respect.
Looking at Glyphs, he said, "My briefing didn't mention that any of you are hard of hearing. If you want to call me by a name, it's Glen."
Finngarick's blue eyes twinkled in a way that brought Ram to mind while the other two laughed at Glyphs being put down by a kid who was years away from growing into his big frame.
"Long way to deliver a message. Would you no' have a pint with us then? Glen." He reached out with a long leg, put the toe of his scuffed boot through the leg brace of an unoccupied chair, pulled it up to the snug, and made a gesture of invitation. "You'll find we're no' much on formality. Call me Torn."
Glen nodded then looked at the others. Torn pointed at the guy with the sleeves and said, "This is Gunnar. That's Raif." He raised his chin in the direction of 'black knight'. "The fella with the questionable personality is Bob."
"Gunnar. Raif, Torn, And Bob. No way."
Finngarick's eyes twinkled with that special elvish sparkle. "Aye. Make no mistake. Name's Bob."
Glen shook his head. "Let's rename him."
Finngarick looked at Bob and then back at Glen. "What we have here gentlemen is a cool, gloomy Irish day with no place to go and no' a thin' to do, but have another pint. So I say we'll play that game. What would you call the man if it was up to you, young emissary?" Glen shrugged. "Come now. No ideas?"
"Well, yeah, I sort of named him in my head on the walk across the bar."
"Pub," Torn corrected.
"Yes. Pub. Sorry."
Bob raised both brows. "I, for one, cannot wait to hear what you named me in your head on your walk across the... pub."
Glen looked at him with speculation trying to decide whether or not to tell the truth. "Glyphs."
While Bob studied Glen, his three teammates studied Bob in turn, like they were trying it on for size. Bob lowered his eyebrows and rolled his big shoulders in approval.
Finally Torn nodded as if to say he'd reached a conclusion. "Right you are. Now that you point it out, I can see he's no' a Bob. Glyphs suits him fine. Congratulations, trainee. You just named yourself a knight."
Torn Finngarick called for a Guinness Extra Stout to be served to Glen, who wasn't used to alcohol at all and certainly wasn't ready for Irish black beer. He took a manly mouthful, thinking he had arrived, and promptly spewed it all over Torn in a spectacular demonstration of human fountain power. The other three members of Z Team laughed so hard they had to wipe tears.
"That was almost as funny as the night that Chokarzi stripper puked half a gallon of half-digested Cuervo in your face in the middle of a lap dance."
Glen borrowed a wet bar towel and offered it to Finngarick with a blush. "I'd offer to clean you up, but your file says you prefer to get personal with women."
Torn took the towel without a word, but with a glint of amusement in his eyes. When he was as clean as was possible without a shower and fresh clothes, he handed the towel to Glen. "Go get yourself somethin' else. Drinks are on me. Milk maybe?" he teased.
When Glen returned with a mug of root beer, no one asked him what was in the glass. Torn simply motioned to the chair. Glen sat.
"You're needed at Jefferson Unit. You're to accompany me to Fort Dixon after the funeral. Your things are being gathered and moved as we speak."
As Glen looked from one to another, he saw no discernible reaction. They were a cool bunch. He'd give them that.
Glyphs shrugged. "New York's no worse than any other place. Maybe better than some."
 Finngarick looked at Glen like he was a lab specimen on a microscopic slide. "Would you be happenin' to know why we're needed so urgently?"
Glen thought about it for a minute and decided there was no reason to withhold the truth. "Yes."
A ghost of a smile seemed to cross Finngarick's handsome elven face. "And would you be sharin' with us then?"
"Sorry. No."
Torn glanced at his teammates as if the four could communicate telepathically. "See. The thin' is, we're accustomed to hearin' The Order needs to sweep us further under the rug. No' brin' us into the light. We would no' be the least surprised if you came to say we're bein' transferred to Antarctica. But this? Naturally we're curious, you understand."
"Of course I understand. But I'm not at liberty to say."
Torn nodded thoughtfully. "Well, then. Might you be at liberty to say why you were sent to escort us?"
It took Glen less than a second to process whether it might be problematic to divulge that information. "The Jefferson Unit sovereign is retiring. I'm being given a try-out for his job. He sent me to get you." Z Team stared at Glen as if they were waiting for the punch line. Finally, he said, "No. Really."
Gunnar cleared his throat. "So. You're saying that, at some point, we might be calling you boss?"
Glen responded with a shit-eating grin so big, it begged for comeuppance. Gunnar swept his gaze around the snug before it came to light on Glen with a chilling mix of challenge, mischief and amusement.
Torn leaned forward. "Seems we have limited time for the application of a right proper hazin' then. Glen."
Four sets of eyes darted to the movement in Glen's throat when he swallowed.
Excerpt 2  CHAPTER 1
 "'Tis a good thing that Stormy and I are the bad asses that put the bad in Bad Company, else the two of us might be intimidated by unhappy wives standin' over us with mean faces and hands on delectably curvy hips."
"I concur," added Storm.
"You can concur until the cows come home Sir Storm, but you are still NOT playing in the Jefferson Unit Annual Rugby Match." Litha's voice was loud enough to make the babies get quiet and listen.
"Yeah. What she said." Elora couldn't really see what more could be added.  
"We're playin'."
"We are."
"You. Are. Retired!" Elora countered.
"Retired is no' dead."
"And I'd like to add that we retired early. Lots of active duty hunters are older than we are and they'll be playing. There's never been a match that didn't have B Team represented and there's not going to be one this year either."
Elora huffed. "Since they retired B Team as a commendation to you..."
"And you," Storm added.
"Thank you for the thought, but not really and I don't think any of you would enjoy having me play. Stop trying to distract me. I'm in the middle of asking if you plan to still be repping for B Team when you're ninety."
The husbands looked at each other. They both sat on the sofa in Ram's and Elora's Jefferson Unit apartment with their arms crossed and looking like they had dug in to be stubborn.
"She might have a point," Storm said to Ram.
"We're no' givin' any points or any ground. With them 'tis always a slippery slope slidin' toward capitulation."
Storm looked at Elora. "We're not ninety now. We'll torch that bridge when we come to it. We're not even nearing thirty. And we're playing."
"Aye. We are."
Ram and Storm uncrossed their arms long enough to give each other a fist bump.
"Look," Elora began, "you're both young, strong, still in your prime and tough as they come."
"We're no' fallin' for the flattery approach."
"I'm just saying that you're also husbands and fathers with bones that can be broken and organs that can be ruptured." Elora left out the part about how she also hated overhearing the female spectators objectifying her husband. She already knew that he was the stuff of nocturnal fantasy and didn't need to have that driven home by listening to women talk about imagining him when they're with somebody else. Ugh!
They were silent and resolute. Resolutely silent.
Litha whispered something in Elora's ear and they withdrew to the bedroom, closing the door behind them.
"What do you think they're doin' in there?"
"I think they are saying that they will have better luck with a divide-and-conquer strategy."
"Aye. 'Tis my thought as well."
"Lust to dust."
"Sperm to worm."
"Womb to tomb."
Elora whispered to Litha. "Quiet. Ram's ears are amazing."
"Then let's duck out for a coffee. Or cocoa," she corrected.
When Elora nodded, Litha closed her fingers around her fellow conspirator's wrist and they popped into the lounge downstairs. The trip wasn't far enough to disturb equilibrium. It was no worse than a fast elevator drop.
"It won't hurt them to watch the babies for a little while."
Elora chuckled. "Neat trick."
They picked out two of the comfiest chairs, the ones that made sitting feel like a hug, and sat facing each other.
"Hmmm. Well, I'm thinking that we're not going to get anywhere as long as they're together. They're feeding off of each other and ratcheting up the resolve. We need to interrupt that feed."
"Brilliant. Let us have yummy drinks and then go to our separate bedrooms to see if we can't get their arms uncrossed."
Litha smiled knowingly and initiated a soft five.
"Does it strike you that they're bein' too quiet?"
"It's your bedroom. You go check."
Ram opened the door and said. "Great Paddy loves a fuck. They're gone."
"What?" Storm got up.
"Gone. G.O.N.E. As in your wife always brin's an unknown factor to the mix. Great Paddy, I'm glad we were never assigned to hunt somebody like her." Ram ran a hand through his hair and looked at Storm. "So. Guess who's babysittin'?"

Thursday, September 19, 2013

To Space And Beyond

A few years ago, I put out the first version of At Drogan's Command, the first book in the Hades Helmet Crew series. I loved diving into Sci Fi and trying to see where the future would take us. With this newly revised edition coming out from Etopia Press-- the book has been streamlined with parts improved-- I've found a new excitement for the genre as well as new creative ideas on where I can take the world. I'm even plotting a spin off that was inspired by an interview I did with the lovely Tilly Greene. This book is special to me. It was my first Sci-Fi book and now I get go back into that world and build it up even more. There are two more stories that I've already written and turned into my editor for his take on things and I have at least four more stories in the HH main verse to kick out that I've found new life in. So many ideas are bouncing around my head and I love that I can dive back into this world with a new view of things.  

Here's a snippet of what you can find in my latest re-release: 

Coming Sept. 20th to ARe, Kindle and Nook. 

One little disc...  

One little disc contains the only evidence of Rena's wanton weekend where she enacted every sexual fantasies she's ever had and a few about her crush Drogan Carter, Captain of the Hades' Helmet. What will she do when the disc falls into the wrong hands? 

When Drogan finds the disc and watches the contents, at first he feels guilt but soon that turns to need. He wants the carefree, sexual woman on the disc in his bed. He forms a plan that will get her right where he wants her¦ at his command. 
But will her heart become part of the deal? 

Captain Drogan Carter groaned inwardly. He tried not to stare at the firm backside of his assistant as she bent over to retrieve a paper. He clenched his teeth and tried to focus on what his second in command was saying, but out of the corner of his eye he watched Rena straighten up and place the paper back on the pile in her arms. She brushed a stray dark-brown tendril of hair out of her face and punched her access code into the security panel. 
“So, the mission would be a good idea. We get to recharge our solar panels, fuel up, and buy supplies all at the same time. What do you think? Should we stop at Green-23t?” 
Drogan blinked and pulled his attention back to his second in command, Lieutenant Jason Mercy. 
“Sounds like a good idea. Have Rena put it on the schedule. We’ll do the run after we stop at Earth in the next few weeks.” 
Jason nodded and made his way toward the captain’s private office. 
Drogan blew out a breath. He wasn’t sure how much longer he could continue ignoring his attraction to Rena Morrigan. His assistant was driving him crazy. From day one, when he first hired her, he had been attracted to her. Now things were out of control. He couldn’t even smell the scent of jasmine without getting hard. If he thought he heard her voice, he would track down the source just to see if it was her. He found himself taking the long way to his quarters just to catch a glimpse of her. 
He was obsessed and there were only two options before him: fuck her and get them both fired, or fire her and then fuck her. Neither option appealed to him. He loved his job as captain of the Venetian S89-class spaceship Hades’ Helmet. He wasn’t about to let some crush jeopardize his career. But his attraction to Rena had become a dangerous distraction. He wasn’t just dreaming or fantasizing about her at night. Now his mind would wander during the day, and he would find himself thinking about all the things he’d like to do to her. 
He sighed. Damn it. She was one of the best assistants he had ever had. She put up with all his demands, and if he got even a toe out of line she would straighten him out in no time flat. More than that, she was a person he could confide in, have a laugh and a drink with, and just be himself around. The thought of being without Rena actually scared him. 
Drogan looked over to his office and watched the doors slide open. Rena stepped across the threshold, smiling at Jason. Her smile warmed Drogan, even as he frowned. Jason Mercy was known to be one of the lady-killers of the crew. Was he flirting with her? Drogan glowered at the thought that Jason was after Rena. He almost stood up to tell his second in command to back off. Instead, he remained seated and gritted his teeth. 
Rena looked up at him, her smile faltering on her lush, full lips. 
“Captain, sir. Is something wrong?” 
Drogan found himself pleased by her worried tone. “No, no, just tired. Been a long journey.” 
“Oh, well, you should get some rest, sir, if you don’t mind me saying.” 
He watched her look away shyly. Her concern touched him. His heart expanded in his chest and he grinned. The evil voice of a man who had gone six months with only his hand as a form of release slipped into his mind. He wouldn’t mind geting some rest after fucking her.