Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Into the Writing Cave

I'll be spending my day with my laptop.  We have a love/hate relationship.  On which side will that fall today?  Remains to be seen.  Since I have little to offer today apart from whining ("I need more coffee! I don't wanna do anything productive!") and the occasional heavy sigh as I type away, I give you a bit of eye candy and some music suited to the rainy day we're having here in Maryland. 

Yummy, yes?  This is how I picture Justin, from Vivi and the Vampire in the June VACATION WITH A VAMPIRE anthology.  And now for the rainy day music.  This is one of my favorite bands, currently.  So excited for their new album to drop next week.  The piano in the song is lovely.

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Long Weekend Recap

Happy Tuesday!  I'm back from the wilds of...well, my porch, where I was located for much of Memorial Day Weekend.  With wine. And food.  I basically can never eat again, but my parents were in town and we had a lot of fun.

So what's been happening, apart from me overindulging?  Well, I have to finish writing the dragon short for Cravings this week, and my IMMORTAL CRAVING edits are, I have been informed, incoming.  After that, I've got the summer to work on something new I've been playing with, and which I intend to make available to my readers one way or another.  Stay tuned on that.  I'm also hopeful that the Dark Dynasties series will continue, and am putting together some ideas for Book 5.  I think it's Vlad's turn for a story, don't you?:)  The market for paranormal seems to be getting soft, likely from being really, really saturated.  It's not easy out there, and I thank every one of my readers for giving my books a chance.

So what is this secret project I have going this summer?  Well, it's different.  The hero is human.  The heroine is...this.

I have no idea if this is something readers will be interested in, but I'm really enjoying writing it, so a pointy-eared heroine it is!  I'm hoping I can finish by fall, and then we'll see what we've got.  I haven't written anything just for the hell of it in a long time.  It's surprisingly liberating:)  Good for recharging the creative batteries, too.  If it doesn't stink, you'll see the result, I promise.

In other news, my mom is reading SHADOW RISING (what, you didn't think she'd get here and not grab an ARC, did you?), and she loves it even more than MIDNIGHT RECKONING, which she liked a lot.  Granted, this is my mom, but she's pretty honest, and she's an avid romance reader.  She's the reason I got into romance...she was very cool about me starting to get into her book stash round about sixth grade.  She converted to a Nook a couple years ago, but she does still love paper.  Anyway, it was fun to hear what she thought of Damien and Ariane.  It has the Mom Seal of Approval!  *fist pump*

Hope you all had an excellent weekend!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Teaser Thursday

For your reading pleasure, an excerpt from SHADOW RISING, coming July 29!

"You think you’ll find Sam because they’re paying you. But I know I’m going to find him, because I actually care.” Her voice quivered slightly, but there was steel in her eyes.

Another first for him: strong emotion from a Grigori. Interesting.

“Kitten, I hate to tell you this, but caring doesn’t count for much. It tends to be more hindrance than help.” Damien heard the sound of regret in his own voice and immediately tried to pull it back, lock that part of himself back down. Sympathy, empathy…they had no place in his life. In any vampire’s life. He was telling her the truth, even if she didn’t want to hear it.

“Don’t call me that. I’m not a kitten, and I’m not your pet,” she snapped. “It doesn’t matter what you think about it. I wouldn’t expect a man like you to understand.”

It stung him, another surprise, and an unpleasant one. A man like him? What the hell was that supposed to mean? Damien watched her rise, feeling a little like she’d just slid a sharp blade between his shoulders. The pain was just as sharp, and just as unexpected.

He caught her hand in his before he could think better of it, rising to stand only inches from her. Her skin was cool and silken, and Damien pulled her closer. She was surprised into compliance, and Damien used the momentary advantage to move in, murmuring directly into her ear.

The desire that made him shiver at her nearness was nonsensical. He knew it. But Damien could no more fight the sudden attraction than he could just let her walk away. And once again, he found himself using that gentle, unfamiliar tone.

“Wait,” he said softly. “Don’t go storming off. You…surprise me. Grigori aren’t exactly known for their deep emotional attachment to one another, you know.”

He could feel the tension thrumming through her, but she made no move to break away from him. She turned her head slightly to respond, and Damien knew that to an outsider, the two of them looked like lovers, about to go home and do unspeakable things to one another.

I wish, he thought. Instead, he now had the very sharp point of a small dagger biting insistently into his abdomen.

“You know nothing about my kind,” she said, “and you underestimate me. Try and turn me in if you want, Mr.…”

“Damien,” he said, amused again at her formality. “Damien Tremaine. It’s not ‘Mr.’ anything. And if you make me bleed on my new shirt, I’m going to be very put out.”

“Damien, then,” she continued. “You can try to turn me in, but they won’t catch me. This is too important. I don’t know what’s going on, but I intend to find out…whether or not you try to get in my way.”

“I believe you can count on that…kitten. And next time we meet, I’ll be stealing that terrible wig.”

She pulled back just enough for him to see her eyes flash angrily as she yanked her hand out of his. He caught just a glimpse of silver as she slipped the dagger back into…gods above and below, was that a garter?

“My name is Ariane, not kitten,” she hissed. “You won’t find me so amusing if our paths cross again. Good night.”

With that warning, she spun on one sexy, spindly high heel and clipped away on those long legs of hers. Damien watched her go, hungrily taking in every tight little swish of her ass as she headed out the door. He wasn’t alone either. There wasn’t a man in the place who wasn’t drooling into his lap over her.

Bemused and frustrated, Damien settled back onto the bar stool to finish his martini. Her scent lingered around him like a ghost. Ariane, he thought. A pretty little kitten with intriguingly sharp claws. He looked forward to “getting in her way,” as she put it. She might want to avoid him, but he planned to show her just how tenacious he could be when he wanted something.

He wanted to win.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Diary of a Sad Hobbit

It's ridiculously humid here. The air is just...sticky.  Even in the AC.  Hmm, suppose I should put the water to good use...
There we go, a slightly damp Richard Armitage!  Now I feel better.

I hid from the internets yesterday and spent an inordinate amount of time playing with my dogs.  It was a day.  My sister, who is a Navy wife just like myself, told me she's moving halfway around the world to the Middle East for a couple of years.  So...that pretty much sucks considering she's already on the other side of the country.  I'd been hoping for a move closer.  So I moped.  I hugged the dogs.  I watched Episode 3 of Game of Thrones and hated on the vile Lannisters some more.  I'm a very Hobbit-y person by nature...I like a cozy home and to keep my family as close as possible, without a lot of grand adventuring.  I also like eating multiple times a day, but I kind of refrain from that since it's bad for my hips:) 

Got word that my edits of Dark Dynasties #4, IMMORTAL CRAVING, are incoming...and they don't sound like they'll leave me a frazzled mess in front of the keyboard, so this is good news! That book has got Bay Harper, Lily's  best friend, as the heroine, and she has a wonderful big black Newf named Grimm.  I'd never written a dog as a major character before, but I live with two Newfs, so their behavior is something I'm awfully familiar with!  Well, and the amazing amounts of fur and drool they generate.  Best dogs ever, though.  Worth the wet socks I sometimes get from stepping where they've been drinking and/or observing food type things.

Anything interesting to report on this Wednesday?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mantastic Monday returns!

And so it has come 'round again, that day of the week when I select one masculine creature for admiration and objectification.  For the releaunch of Mantastic Monday, I hereby invite Jason Momoa to take a turn on the catwalk. Why? Well, he's gorgeous, for one. He's a good actor who's fun to watch onscreen, for another. And also...did I mention he's gorgeous?

Yeah...nothing wrong there.  I was reminded of the wonder that is Jason Momoa last night, since I started Season 1 of Game of Thrones. He plays warlord Khal Drogo, who is badass in basically every way possible.

And yet...I'm pretty sure he's got a softer side.  His bride, the unwilling and very beautiful Daenerys, is a character I'm already fascinated by, and I THINK she isn't going to end up hating him as much as she thinks she will.  Of course, I'm also pretty sure Khal Drogo isn't going to make it through the season, since I've been warned that my heart is going to be ripped out of my chest and stomped on repeatedly over the course of this series, but hey, I'll enjoy the romance while I can. So many of the characters are raging's insane.  And yet, It was one of the most compelling bits of television I've seen in I don't even know how long.  I plan to keep watching.  And to start lecturing my husband loudly and often about how we need to get HBO.

Enjoy this small bit of eye candy, and may you have the most non-Monday-ish Monday possible:)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Happy Friday!

I've been quite busy writing an ornery dragon this week for my next Cravings, Taming the Dragon, but I'm excited to have a break and go see The Avengers (FINALLY) this weekend!  I love superhero movies. I love super powerful men in tight clothing. I plan to drool.  That said, I'll leave you for the weekend with a picture of my preferred Avenger man candy, Loki. He's all sleek and dark and British and tormented and just...yummmmm:)  I know, I know.  He's insane.  I do not care.  Of course, if Thor or Captain America arrived on my imaginary doorstep, I'd be hard pressed to send them away. Still...I lurve me some Loki.  And have you heard his VOICE?  Dear God.  Who's your favorite Avenger?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lovely Review of Midnight Reckoning!

I'm not big on hurling promo at people all the time, but this is too good a review not to share! This reviewer felt exactly the way I'd hoped readers would feel about Midnight Reckoning:)  Have a look, if you like, HERE.  I'm completely thrilled.  Being a writer is often a long and difficult slog interspersed with moments, both large and small, of sheer joy.  Those are the moments that make the work worth it, and this review gave me a moment.

Hope everyone is having a lovely Thursday!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


That's me. We will not discuss how much coffee/tea/foofy drink from Starbucks I have imbibed today.  Pretty sure I would bleed caffeine if I opened a vein.  Scary or awesome?  You decide!

I have accomplished nothing productive on this Wednesday, save for a trip to Bath and Body Works. I ran out of my perfume (Vanilla Noir, which  naturally they seem to have discontinued) and so decided to go and smell everything in the store. I gave myself a headache, but I did decide on Coconut Lime, which is very light and pretty and great for summer.  And, you know, has a song about it.  Don't make me sing it.  I'm already struggling with Want You Back by Cher Lloyd as my latest earworm.  I don't even really like it.  I just can't. make. it. stop. I like The Coconut Song, but it's got that same "can't get it out of my head" quality to it.

Anyway, perfume.  Yeah.  Any other B&BW addicts out there?  I might not have gone today, but Cynthia Eden tweeted the webpage of all the fragrances the other day, and the consumer in me couldn't resist.  Go HERE to torment yourself.  She tweeted it in the context of looking for how your heroine smells, and it'll be great for that, now that I've gotten my fix:)

Do you pay attention to little descriptors like that in books?  I always like to know how my heroes and heroines smell. For one thing, the men I wrote about generally have heightened senses, so they WOULD be all about the scent of the heroine.  But it also helps me to build a picture of them in my mind.  The scents we wear say something about us, I think.  Ariane, the heroine of SHADOW RISING, smells faintly of roses.  It's a smell that Damien, her hero, associates with his original home on an English estate, and it's also a smell I associate with purity and innocence.  She's both...but she also carries an enormous sword and knows how to use it! 

I realized recently that a lot of the old historicals I loved when I was younger explicitly stated that the hero smelled of horses. And leather.  Leather, okay, but...horses?  Might sound sexy in a book, I, uh, guess (it didn't bother me at the time), but my daughter rides now and I can think of many sexier scents than that of a sweaty horse.  Then again, it's probably accurate for ye olden days:)

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Stuff and Nonsense

Mmm, it's that kind of morning.  The kind where I look at my sweatpants and hear them crooning "Come to me," ever so softly. 

Let's see, what can I tell you this morning?  The last words I wrote last night were "You've got to be kidding me."  Thus spake the heroine of Taming the Dragon, Tess McGarry, who is about to have her socks (and various other articles of clothing) knocked off by one ornery dragon shifter. 

I read an article that was all over Twitter yesterday about how writers are expected to produce more than ever before now.  Even the incredibly super famous authors are feeling the pressure.  It sounded right to me, as in, we (writers in general) hear this a lot.  "More! Faster! Harder! Now!" in the least fun way you might imagine, ha ha.  The article is HERE.  I'd be interested to hear what my readers think.  How many books a year, realistically, are enough to keep you interested in an author?  What do you like/expect to see from us?  I worry sometimes.  I'm probably in the middle as far as writing speed goes, and I'll have three releases this year (January-July-August) and have two definitely on for next year so far, hopefully three.  That's sort of the limit of my capability, and I rarely take a break.  I am, however, available to harass through the major forms of social media...hopefully that counts for something!

In housekeeping-related business here at ye olde blog, I'm also interested in what you all might like to see here.  I will happily post a weekly excerpt of some sort, and I plan to reinstitute Mantastic Mondays, so if there's a hunk you want to see, let me know and I'll go hunting of my favorite pastimes:)  Beyond that, you're going to get babble, but I'm open to suggestions.

Okay, time for another cup of Chai.  I'll leave you with a song that I heard on the radio this morning, which is good because I had already decided I was going to be supremely pissed off if AltNation didn't play it while I was in the car.  I suck at mornings.  But I do love this song. 


Monday, May 14, 2012

Rainy Monday

Looks like my plants are going to be watered by nature for most of the week!  Huzzah! (says the world's laziest gardener)

I've got things to do today, like always.  Much of which involves buckling down and working to finish my second Cravings for Harlequin, a novelette that will be called Taming the Dragon.  I probably don't have to tell you what the hero is.

Beyond that, I expect my edits for Immortal Craving (looks like a late January 2013 release), the fourth Dark Dynasties book, will turn up soon.  This is probably a good thing, despite the fact that edits are never very fun, even if they're ultimately very satisfying.  I've been on kind of a break since I finished writing it ("kind of" meaning I've puttered with TTD and also wrote the better part of a random proposal just because I had this funky idea), and I always feel out of sorts when I'm not actively writing.  My brain needs the break, I tell myself.  And then I'm interested in twenty bazillion things and easily distracted by shiny objects, and I have an awful time figuring out what to do with myself. 

This time, I started playing banjo and watching Dr. Who.  Not necessarily at the same time.

I also tried to read 50 Shades.  Yeah...wasn't for me.  But I'm not a Twilight girl, either, so I don't think I'm even close to being the target audience.  I'm going to dig into Nalini Singh's Angels' Flight in preparation for the new Guild Hunter book coming out in September.  I am beyond excited about that book.  It's Jason's story.  My reaction to hearing this?  A sound that probably hurt the ears of every dog in a ten mile radius.  I lurve me some Jason.

Hope everyone has a good/tolerable Monday (I personally do not like them, Sam I Am) with a steady supply of coffee.  Or tea.  I've been indulging my Chai addiction lately.  Yum:)   

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

To all the kid moms, pet moms, people who have moms (meaning, um, everyone)...have a beautiful relaxing day!  And eye candy.  Because it's not fattening and may actually burn calories due to the accelerated heart rate:)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fun with Vivi and the Vampire

I'll have you all know that it took me a good ten minutes before I could quit staring at this picture long enough to type anything coherent.  I'm still struggling.

Anyway...lo, the prodigal author has returned to her blog!  It's warmer.  I'm feeling motivated.  I will soon have new books to share!  So here I am, back to sporadically entertain you with random things.  I see I have magically earned some new blog followers!  HELLOOOOOO! *waving madly into cyberspace*

Today I want to talk about the anthology I'll soon be appearing in, Vacation with a Vampire.  The story I did for it is called Vivi and the Vampire, and it's tied to the Nocturne I had out back in 2012 (still available! shameless pimping!) called Renegade Angel.  If you read that and liked it, you'll love this story.  And if you never read it, fear not...I made sure to let the story stand alone so everyone can enjoy it regardless.  The anthology comes out June 19th, and since I'm paired up with the inimitable Michele Hauf and Lisa Childs, this book is chock full o' goodess.

Vivi and the Vampire is a beach story about a vampire king, Justin, who's forced to go on a vacation by his equally vampiric sister.  Justin is a workaholic.  The man runs a magically fortified underground city full of vampires, werewolves, and fallen angels.  He's busy, he's serious, and he's only had a handful of real dates since his living years back during the Roman Empire.  This is a guy in need of some time at the beach (in the dark, of course)...and after some protesting, he relents and goes.

That's where he meets Vivi Martin, a vampire hunter, also on vacation.  As you might expect, sparks fly.  Especially after he saves her butt from a vamp who wants to make a snack out of her.  Vivi manages to thank Justin, but he's got a specific kind of thanks in mind...have a look.

“Have dinner with me.”
 Her stunned expression was priceless.  “Excuse me?”

Justin took a step towards her, then another. He made no attempt to thrall her even though her eyes were locked with his.  She would accept his offer in good faith or not at all.  To her credit, she didn’t back away, though her tension increased the closer he got.

“Dinner.  Or a drink.  An evening with me.”  He paused, then gave her a slow smile.  “You do owe me.”

“I…but…I already said I wouldn’t kill you. Doesn’t that make us even?”

“Killing me would take more than just you, and more effort than you should be expending on your vacation anyway.”  He took another step, closing the distance between them until he was only a foot away from her.  Still she didn’t bolt, though she was beginning to look like she wanted to.

“You want me to…go out with you,” she said slowly, as though trying to process the information herself.
“You’re here alone.  I’m here alone.  And to be perfectly honest, I’m already bored out of my mind.  But I promised my sister I’d spend a week away, at least attempting to enjoy myself.”

Justin watched Vivi mull this, and found he wanted her to say yes.  More, much more, than he’d counted on.

“You realize that my job involves, you know, killing vampires on a regular basis, right?” she asked.  “This doesn’t bother you?”
“Technically, you’re not on the job.  And if I’m not mistaken, the Hunter’s Guild targets only vampires who are threatening humans in some way, not the average nightcrawler minding his or her own business.  We’re all few and far between…”  He nearly finished with up here, but stopped himself.  His interest in Vivi notwithstanding, it was dangerous to get too comfortable.

“True,” she said.  “But we’re not all the same.  I’m not as…zealous…as some.  And if you think you wouldn’t be considered a big prize for the higher-ups, you’re nuts.  You’re the freaking vampire king.”

“Mmm,” he murmured.  “It doesn’t work exactly how you think it does.”  Humans, even Hunters, had no true knowledge of Terra Noctem beyond rumors and whispers.  If too much information got out about the location, the city would simply move and reappear elsewhere, an ancient magic he had always appreciated without ever understanding it.  Apart from that, there were other, deadlier safeguards against human invasion.

He was the king of a city, not of his race.  The vampires were a diverse lot, impossible to corral, impossible to rule.  He had influence, yes.  But the bloodthirsty troublemakers who had necessitated Hunters in the first place were no more influenced by him than they would be by any vampire.  It was hard to begrudge Vivi her position, though he knew what she said was true.  Some Hunters hated all vampires, unequivocally.  It had the potential to become a problem someday, perhaps sooner rather than later.
 But not yet.  And not here.

Vivi was frowning at him.  “You are a very weird man, Justin.  Even for a vamp.”

“Is that a yes, then?”
 She sighed, rubbed her palms against her hips, and looked around as though searching for guidance in the warm Florida night.  Finally, she looked back at him.

“One date?  I mean, well, outing, whatever you want to call it.  One, and you won’t get all stalker-ish on me after the fact or anything.”

He nodded, though he had every intention of seeing her more than once this week.  He’d just have to come up with a strategy when he had time to think about it.  For the first time in ages, he’d met a woman who fascinated him, provoked him.  Every time she spoke, he wondered whether that pink rosebud of a mouth would taste as sweet as it looked, whether her tongue was as clever with a kiss as it was with words.
He was betting on yes.


Interested?  Hope so!  I had a lot of fun with this story, just as I did with the book it's tied to.  Vivi is my favorite kind of heroine, full of life and more than a little kickass.  Justin is hot, ancient...and actually, a little awkward about dating!  If you want to see how well they navigate the inevitable complications they encounter when they figure out they're far more into one another than either expected to be, then I hope you'll put the anthology on your summer reading lists.

That's all I have for today, but keep an eye on the blog...lots of good stuff is on its way!  After all, I've got that vampire assassin I'll be sharing with you on July 31st, and hmm, I seem to have an entire box of ARCs I need to do something with.  Giveaways, anyone?:) 

Hope you enjoyed the excerpt, and have a great Friday!