Sunday, March 29, 2015

Statues...They aren't just for museums anymore

When I sat down to write the follow up to my short story, Soft Marble, I knew I had gods to worry about. I did. In Soft Bronze, the main character is a god entombed in bronze. He's not much different than the statues I've chosen on this page. Well, maybe a little different. He's a guy and the ones below are girls, but you get the idea. 

Now I said in the title that statues weren't for museums any longer. None of the statues I chose were from museums. They're from parks and churches. But I meant my statue and that bronze coming to life. It's crazy. Statues coming to life? Really?

I didn't think it could be possible. Well, other than the living statues like the ones in New York and Las Vegas. I don't know how those people can hold still that long, let alone in some of those crazy poses. I couldn't do it, but those who know me know I can't sit still at all. 

If you could be a statue, which would you be? A David? A woman in a fantastic gown? A fairy? Gnome? I'd love to know. Me? I'd be one of those sleeping statues, the kind that's in wet drapery, buxom and sleeping near a park or grave. I don't know what it is about those, but I think they're beautiful. Guess I'm odd. Or I'm looking at them as to how I can work them into a story. Grin. 

Check out a little bit about my latest paranormal story, Soft Bronze. Out now where ebooks are sold. 

Soft Bronze by Megan Slayer  

Short Story (Quickie)
Paranormal, Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
M/M, Anal Sex
Ellora’s Cave

Sequel to Soft Marble

Zelus, the god of jealousy, has been imprisoned in solid bronze for the last two millennia. A simple kiss can break the spell and free him from the metal—if his lover is willing to believe.

Camden Crowe isn’t a specialist in ancient artifacts, but he does know how to guard them. He spends his days working as a security guard in charge of keeping the bronze statue of Zelus safe. He can’t contain his attraction to the nude god. What will happen when the security geek finds out he’s stronger than he ever believed and can harness the power of the gods?

Reader Advisory: This story has graphic sexual language and scenes—no closed bedroom doors (or other rooms) here!

A Romantica® male/male erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave


©Megan Slayer, 2015, All Rights Reserved

“What a shame. They should pack you in something better than straw. You should have the best. Respect.” He touched Zelus’ cheek. The bronze had taken on a dark patina over the years and hid the metal’s natural beauty. He knew better than to expect the statue to come to life. Fairy tales and magic only happened in books. Life wasn’t a book. Still, he wondered what the god might have looked like if he were a real man. Dark hair with a bit of curl and body…sparkling eyes—blue maybe…or would they be brown? He figured the real man would have a brilliant smile guaranteed to make everyone melt to his will. He longed to run his fingers through the statue’s expertly sculpted hair and over every muscle of the man’s body until he came to Zelus’ cock. He sucked in a long breath. The man was packing. Most ancient statues weren’t so endowed. Either the artist really liked Zelus or he’d fashioned the dick after someone he knew. Each ridge and vein were expertly defined. The cock looked so realistic. Kudos to the artist for his work.
Camden chuckled. He had to be out of his mind, fantasizing about a statue. Maybe old Gus was right. He was screwed up. Actually, it didn’t matter if he was a little different. He didn’t care. He liked the statue and he wasn’t ready to let it go.
“I’ll visit you.” He touched his lips, then the lips of the statue. A wild idea popped into his head. The next time he’d see the statue, it would be on display surrounded by palm trees or even worse, dressed in crappy touristy clothes. If he kissed the bronze, no one would know or probably care. He leaned into the crate and pressed his mouth to the mouth of the statue. His entire body warmed. The erection from before came back stronger. He moaned, then broke the kiss. A lip-lock with the statue turned him on. The metal didn’t taste like metal…more like the salty sweat of a hardworking man. Even the texture wasn’t right. The lips felt softer, like an actual person, and seemed to be kissing him back. Christ, he needed to get out more and stop allowing his imagination to get away from him.

“I wish you were real.” Camden smiled, then left the statue. He knew better than to expect his dreams to come true, but his soul yearned for a man like the one portrayed in the bronze. He’d fallen in love with the statue.

* * * * *
Megan Slayer - It's Always Fun to Squirm

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Hitting Your Stride in that Race to the Finish(ed Book)

by Nancy Gideon

When I was in high school, I used to time laps for the boys track team after school (cute guys in shorty shorts – a dirty job . . .). The goal was to keep the pace steady for the long haul and finish strong. The long distance runners in the mile and two mile would establish a ‘zone’ where external distractions fell away (things like crowd noise and fatigue), where nothing existed except their own internal rhythm that would carry them to the finish line. Yeah, writing is like that, too.

Don’t you love it when the W-I-P that you’ve been fighting with suddenly hits its stride?

After false starts, shin splints and stumbles, I’ve finally hit my stride in my W-I-P UNLEASHED BY SHADOWS, the 10th book in my “By Moonlight” dark paranormal series. Instead of moaning and groaning each morning as I turn on the computer, I’ve stretched and shaken it out and am ready to run at the first blink of the cursor. My only wish is that I had time for a long distance run each morning before work instead of just a quick dash.

Here’s a sneak peek . . .

The well-dressed crowd pushed as close as they dared, high on the adrenalin thrill and raw violence. Anticipation electrified the air, a pheromone compliment to the blood already shed. Even knowing what they were about to see, having experienced the jolt, the shock, the wild intoxication of it during the first two rounds, the concept was still unique enough to spike feverish excitement. The illegal factor brought some. The chance of watching mortal combat enticed others. But the whisper, just the glimmer of possibility that what they were seeing wasn’t staged reeled them and their fat wallets in and held them captive.

Lights in the dressage ring went dim, bringing those in the bleachers to their feet so they could see over the mob straining against the fence. A deafening cry rose from the spectators as spotlights swirled and finally fixed upon two massive figures loping out into the center of the ring. Breaths caught in amazement as light glinted off the feral red of their eyes and glittered in the strings of drool threading off ferocious fangs. The hunched shoulders, thick with muscle, matted with bristling hair, claw-tipped hands curled and ready to shred anything within reach belonged in a Sy-Fy movie or circus freak show. Animals, monstrous and dangerous . . . at first glance. Until amazed eyes traveled down those heaving chests to Wrangler jeans and work boots still mudded from the docks.

Not animals. But not men, either.

Was it just amazing theater presented for the exclusive few? The audience didn’t care. The carnage was genuine. The chance to wager and win big real.

The pair paused instead rushing forward to lock in battle. Waiting. The arena grew quiet as shaggy heads lifted to test the thick air as if the heavy breeze conveyed an unsettling message. They began to growl and weave warily, not liking what they scented. The spectators stained to see.

But the figure striding boldly into the ring to meet the two behemoths wasn’t fierce or frightening in look or attitude. The cocky strut, the taunting grin, the sleek gleam of tanned flesh on brawny arms. Just a man?

The beasts drew back in confusion, looking toward handlers who stood in the shadows, not sure what to do when confronted with such a vulnerable opponent. But the slight figure showed no hesitation as he flung fists high as the first hard rocking chords of “Fire Your Guns” shattered the humid air.

Chanting started small and built like a squall out on the Gulf, rolling in louder and louder.

“Gunslinger! Gunslinger!”

The fighter responded to their cries with a sudden echoing roar. His hands gripped the front of his tee shirt as his head fell back, and he was lost within a flash of dazzling light. And when blinking eyes adjusted, they went wide to see standing in the small human’s stead a creature covered in a thick red-gold pelt, lupine features lifted in a savage howl.

Right. Before. Their. Eyes.

Same clothing. Same black armband. Same widely planted stance. As if he’d transformed from man to beast right in front of them!

And the audience went wild.

UNLEASHED BY SHADOWS picks up where REMEMBERED BY MOONLIGHT left off, right in the middle of the action. If I keep up my pace, I should have it ready to read in late summer. Though it can be read on its own, its more exciting as part of a relay race with the books that come before it. If you start now, you should be able to hand off the baton to a book that’s ready to run strong and finish hot.

Happy reading and enjoy the race!!

Nancy Gideon on the Web

Sunday, March 22, 2015

It's spring! JK LOLOL

By Stephanie Beck

Last week we had a day in the 60' was magical. I put away the family snow pants and boots, and reduced the hat and mitten selection to the lighter styles, perfect for the cool mornings when the kids walked to school. We opened the windows, turned off the heat, and let the outside air in!

What the heck was I thinking?

My family lives in Minnesota. I know better than to put things away before April. Heck, we've even had snow into May--for real. It was terrible, and the following week we had the sprinkler on and kids in swimming suits.

So why did I jump at the first sign of spring? Because I wanted to. Because I need to after the long, cold winter. I think most people living in the northern states would agree with me. There's something special about that first big breath of fresh air that doesn't hurt when you breathe it in. It goes straight to your head. I know it did for me. And tomorrow it is supposed to snow. Blurg. Snow. Accumulating snow at that.

Oh wells. We'll survive just fine. And the sunshine and spring will come for real one of these first days, and when it does, me and my ultra white legs are going to be out to enjoy it.

All the best,
Stephanie Beck

Stuck inside? Grab a book! Starlight Cowboy is out of this world!

From the storybook of the stars.
A groundbreaking mission to the moons of Jupiter should have been Annalina's big ticket for advancement, but instead of captaining her own ship, she's second fiddle to Shields Albright.

Playboy, adventurer, immature.
Shields has been called it all, but really, he just wants to fly and hasn’t spent a lot of time on his social skills. Mutual attraction grows as the walls of the space ship close in, and they come to an arrangement that satisfies them both, while allowing them professional distance. The distance doesn’t last, not as they grow to understand themselves…and each other as someone who just fits.

Not all is as it should be among the stars.
Their ship is attacked, and the moons of Jupiter are not exactly untouched when they finally arrive. The little world they’ve built high above terra firma is about to smack down in the middle of a dangerous, maybe even deadly, reality. If Shields didn't attract trouble like fireflies on a bug zapper, the two might have an actual shot at true love.

Buy Now: Amazon


Friday, March 13, 2015

World Building: Religion in Science Fiction

by Diane Burton

This is the third time I’ve blogged here about smaller aspects of world building. Previously, I wrote about transportation and aliens.

I learned a long time ago that there are two subjects to avoid in social settings if you value peace—religion and politics. However, both have a place in world building, especially in science fiction. I’m tackling religion today. If you all don’t tar and feather me and run me out of town, I’ll be back next month to talk about politics.

Here on Earth, many inhabitants recognize a supreme being and a place of reward or punishment after we die. It’s evident in our speech, often as exclamations. Oh, God. Heavens! By God. Hell. So it will be in our stories. Think about your characters and the world they inhabit. Did their ancestors come from Earth? If so, their speech will contain many common expressions. If their origins are from somewhere else in the universe, think about how religion plays into their speech. Even more so, their lives.

I’ve been watching episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. One group of people, the Bajorans, revere The Prophets who play a large part in their lives. They believe The Prophets speak to them through others, guide them, even influence their political leaders. Consequently, the conflict between religion and duty to the Federation has played heavily in several episodes. In your world, what part does religion play, if any?

Something else to consider is whether everyone in the world you created believes the same. We don’t here on Earth so why should the inhabitants of a single planet? Unless there’s a “state” religion. Does everyone truly believe or are there dissidents who rebel against a forced state religion? Remember the Pilgrims?

Consider if your characters come from different planets, like the world I’ve built in my Outer Rim series. Since my characters either come from different planets or their immediate ancestors did, their religion-based exclamations aren’t be the same. (It sure would be easier if they were.) In The Pilot, my main characters grew up on three different planets with three different types of religion. I had to develop substitutes for “By God” (for instance) for all three. I used “By the Divine One” for the hero; “By the Matriarch’s left tit” for his buddy; and “By the Spirits” for the heroine. Those exclamations tell you a bit about who or what they worship or revere. The hero’s planet believes in a single supreme being they call the Divine One. No gender implied. On the heroine’s planet, the people revere the spirits of their ancestors. Then there’s the buddy with his irreverent exclamation. (Normally the expression is “By the Matriarch” but he was in crisis mode dodging asteroids.) On his homeworld, a female entity is venerated. Since I stay away from discussion of religious differences in my own social world, I don’t get on a soapbox in my writing either. I try to use a light touch.

Obviously, how the characters speak is a minor aspect of world building. But it was one thing my first editor impressed on me. They’re aliens, she said. They wouldn’t speak as we do. I learned my lesson. Maybe too well.
Available at Amazon ~ B&N ~ iTunes ~ Kobo

There’s no place like home . . . and he just confiscated hers.

Sparks fly around the Outer Rim when rule-bound Administrator Trevarr Jovano clashes with free-spirited space pilot Celara d'Enfaden. She must deliver her cargo or lose her ship to a loanshark. Having lost her last shipment to pirates masquerading as Coalition Inspectors, Celara refuses to be duped again. Determined to make an example of those who flaunt the law, Trevarr seizes her ship. Yet, they must work together to rescue her brother and find his wife's murderer.

Diane Burton is the author of two science fiction romance series, Switched and The Outer Rim. Currently she is working on the third book in The Outer Rim series about strong women on the frontier of space. Diane is a regular contributor here on the 13th of the month, on The Roses of Prose on the 8th and 30th, and every Monday on her own blog:

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Cover Magic

One of the hardest things to get right in the book publishing process, at least from an author's point of view, is the cover. (I'd wager many readers would agree.) As an author, it can be hard to articulate on those cover art sheets just what you have in your head. Often, the best you can hope for is that the cover artist assigned to your book is a professional, even if they don't share your vision. Because when it goes wrong, it can go really, really wrong. But when it goes right? It gives you goosebumps to see that perfect cover show up in your email.

My new release, Idol of Bone, has one of those covers:

Idol of Bone is a book that's been with me for a long time. I know just how Ra looks. I actually drew her myself many years ago while working on the first draft. My cover artist at Samhain, Kanaxa, hasn't seen that drawing, but when I saw the final cover she'd designed, I was amazed at how close to my drawing it actually is. I love the little flourishes and ethereal colors, and I couldn't be happier with this representation of my book.

As we started working on Book 2 in the Looking Glass Gods series, Idol of Blood, I figured I couldn't get that lucky a second time, but I knew Kanaxa would give me something good. The first draft of the cover was great—I loved the shot of the model, loved the brooding color and the flourishes—but the model was holding an object that didn't really relate to the book, so I tried to come up with some suggestions for things that could be Photoshopped in, but nothing really worked.

And then Kanaxa said, "Well, she does magic, right? Conjures things? What if I have her conjuring something in her hands?"

"Sounds good," I said. "Go for it."

I just about died of awesome when she sent back this:

And now I can't wait to see the cover for Book 3. :)

One stranger seeks to claim her heart…another is destined to destroy her.

Ra. Just two letters. Barely a breath. When she stumbles into the frozen Haethfalt highlands, her name is all she has—the last remnant of a past she’s managed to keep hidden, even from herself. Her magic, however, isn’t so easy to conceal—magic that’s the province of the Meer, an illicit race to which she can’t possibly belong.

The eccentric carpenter who takes her in provides a welcome distraction from the puzzle of herself. Though Jak refuses to identify as either male or female, the unmistakable spark of desire between them leaves Ra determined to find out what lies beneath the enigmatic exterior.

But more dangerous secrets are brewing underneath the wintry moors. Jak’s closest friend, Ahr, is haunted by his own unspeakable past. Bounty hunters seeking fugitive Meer refuse to leave him in peace.

Harboring feelings for both Ra and Ahr, Jak nonetheless struggles to keep them apart. Because like the sun and the moon coming together, their inevitable reunion has the potential to destroy Jak’s whole world.

Available now in trade paperback and ebook:
Amazon | All Romance eBooks | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Samhain Publishing

Pre-order Idol of Blood, coming in June:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Something smells...

Sorry I’m late—there is a good reason; well, for me, an aromatic as well as 
delicious reason. J I’ll get to that in a bit.

First, I’m tired of snow, sleet, and rain, really tired. L I do have to say the soft, powdery stuff has lent the magnificent appearance of a Winter Wonderland and the silence is awesome. Soon there will be the sound of shovels and blowers. YUK!

Secondly, Hold Me Hard, Dirty Rotten Vampires 3, will release this month. I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, you can read a little at Changeling Press. Here’s the cover—go ahead you can touch him too!

Now, the aromatic stuff. I’ve chopped onions and peppers, mixed in some whole tomatoes, and then browned it all along with hot sausage, added oregano and bay leaves; now the pot of sauce is simmering away on the stove. Mmm, love the smell wafting through my home.

Here’s where it gets even better: I popped open a can of big flaky biscuits. I know, I know, you’re thinking, “She could have baked those herself!?” No, I couldn’t, I leave baking to those much more qualified than I am! (waving at the Pillsbury doughboy). Separating the layers, I stuffed a few with finely chopped jalapenos, asiago cheese, and garlic after which I dusted the top with garlic powder.

So, again, sorry I’m late posting, and now I’ll just sit here and salivate until everything comes together. Pasta, hmm...spaghetti, vermicelli, maybe linguine. Ahh, decisions, decisions!

Enjoy your day, stay safe and warm, maybe even read a good book!

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

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

How to find time in your day

by Maureen L. Bonatch

How much time do you spend writing?

Initially my generic answer was, “A lot.” 

This didn’t seem to pacify the person or answer the question. I pondered this and found it difficult to identify an exact amount of time that I could say I spent writing.

So she went on to ask for further clarification by asking, 

Where do you find the time?”

This I could answer, because despite my greatest wish, I’ve yet to discover a way to find more hours in the day or to clone myself. Therefore, as a write, I’ve had to make do with what I had.

Here is where I’ve managed to carve writing time out of each day:

  •          The time I would’ve spent with that extra hour of sleep every morning, I drag myself out of bed to sit in front of the computer at 4:45 a.m. (Or an extra hour in the evening when I should be in bed---hello, caffeine addiction!)
  •         The time that I should be spending on finishing the laundry, cleaning the house more often instead of operating on ‘clutter control’ or trying to fool people who enter like the Febreeze commercials by spraying a cloud from room to room.  
  •        The time I should be exercising instead of sitting in a chair for hours…and hours, without realizing how much time has flown by.
  •        The time I should be spending shopping for some of the newer fashions rather than wearing the same old sweatpants. See above bullet…explains need for sweatpants…(I think they should be changed to ‘inspiration wear’…cause I can get a lot done in them and it just sounds more attractive than sweats…)
  •        The time most people spend on the newest television shows when I don’t have the foggiest idea of what they’re talking about. I park myself on the couch with my family and the television may be on, but my laptop is with me like some extra mechanical arm I’ve grown and can’t be without. (As my family may have mentioned once or twice…not the mechanical arm part, I added that to make it sound cool. They just say, “Why are you always on the computer?” Which in turn makes me want to clutch it to my chest and say, “My precious..”)
  •        When I do spend the time watching a movie, or reading, (because I can’t resist either and can consider it kind of research for writing)…I pick the movie apart, often unable to stop myself from throwing terms at my husband like, “There’s the black moment.” Or “See they’re trying to make you feel empathy for the character.” Or “They didn’t put enough red herrings in the story.” (He, bless his heart, has learned to tolerate me.)
  •        The time most people spend socializing at a ‘day job’ lunch break, I close myself in my office with my sandwich and laptop. (Don't worry, I'm not lonely, my characters keep me company.)
  •         The time I spend waiting on my twins evening activities, I’m sitting in the car with my laptop. (This has probably become entertaining to the other parents during this long winter as I’m wrapped up with a huge jacket, hat and sometimes a blanket in the car like a homeless person who has claimed the vehicle as their new abode.)

I could go on, but I’ve only got the same twenty-four hours a day as the rest of the world.

So tell me…how do you carve writing time out of your day? Or make time for the hobby/craft that you enjoy?