Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Canine Hero

Posted by: Jeffe Kennedy
Today I'm celebrating the release of a new Urban Fantasy, NIGHTMARE INK, written by my friend and critique partner, Marcella Burnard. Please give her a warm welcome for her guest post!

Allow me to introduce Riley. Isn’t that a handsome smile? He’s a red heeler who belongs to my friends Emily Olesin and Alden Denny. For a couple of years, they all lived across the dock from me, until the three of them abandoned Seattle in favor of Norway.

At any rate, Riley is the real life model for the dog in NIGHTMARE INK. In the book, I changed his name to Augustus, but everything else remains the same. He’s a willful, opinionated handful who’s convinced he’s a lapdog. He’s a tripod – both in real life and in the book. When Riley was a puppy, long before my friends adopted him, one of his rear legs was badly broken and had to be amputated. It doesn’t slow him down much and it’s possible it contributes to the HUGE chip Riley has on his shoulder. No one is quite sure whether that’s Riley trying to prove he can DO ALL THE THINGS! Or whether that’s just a red heeler trait. They are herding dogs who are generally happiest when there’s a job to do. Riley’s self-appointed duty was to keep the dock clear of birds. I think most of the boaters who hated washing seagull poop from their boats appreciated his efforts.

Gus lives in an apartment rather than on a sailboat, but I wanted that same ginormous attitude combined with delusions of lap dog-dom. Like Riley, Gus is very specific about who he likes and who he doesn’t.

Cute and all, right? Only one problem. Like most people who end up with a pet, I didn’t fully comprehend the consequences when I gave Isa, the heroine of NIGHTMARE INK a dog. She has a cat, too, who I’ll write about her tomorrow at www.paranormalromantics.blogspot.com. The thing is, few people go into pet ownership (whether that’s you owning the pet, or the pet owning you) without at least a little bit of thought. It’s just that the reality of a dog that chews table legs, shoes, and sometimes pees in the floor occasionally comes as a shock.

It was one thing to blithely give Isa a dog who has to be walked and fed and played with because I thought, “Hey! Wouldn’t it be cool for her to have a dog just like my favorite canine neighbor?” And it was! There’s a scene of Isa walking Gus. The two of them play a game that Riley plays with Emily all the time – he jumps up and grabs hold of the leash near Emily’s hand and he hangs there huffing breath out through his mouth in a doggy laugh until Emily’s arm strength fails. Oh, it is great fun. Gus plays the same game with Isa in the book.

It’s just. Things happen in NIGHTMARE INK that make having animals massively inconvenient. So much so, I contemplated cutting them entirely. I couldn’t. I’d already fallen for them. So had the characters in the book. The result, as I struggled to write a story that juggled the existence of the dog and the cat, was a story colored very differently than the one I’d planned. Having Gus, and the cat, Ikylla, rooted Isa in a way I hadn’t anticipated. That served the story well, I think. It’s an emotionally richer experience. I hope.

And Gus has a part to play in Isa’s story. I’ll admit up front that I don’t know all that much about dogs – I’m not familiar with canine body language or behavioral issues since I grew up with cats. I hope it doesn’t show through in Gus. I want to be true to his nature – to Riley’s nature.

Course, I’ve always heard I shouldn’t write characters based on anyone I know so I don’t get sued. Do you suppose if Riley decides to sue, I’ll be able to pay him off with kibble?

NIGHTMARE INK is available April 15, 2014

With the needle of a tattoo gun, Isa Romanchzyk has the power to create and destroy. In her shop Nightmare Ink, Isa helps those in need by binding the powers embedded in their Live Ink—the magical tattoos that can enhance the life of the wearer, or end it. But binding tattoos has earned Isa the contempt of her fellow artists—including her former lover Daniel.

When a friend comes to the shop with a tattoo on the verge of killing him, Isa can’t turn him away. For the first time in years, she works Live Ink into someone’s skin—something she swore she’d never do again. But breaking her vow soon becomes the least of her problems.

Isa is horrified to discover her friend’s body in the shop, but the real nightmare begins when she’s abducted and inked against her will. Now, as she seeks retribution from the man who betrayed her, Isa must figure out how to bind her Living Tattoo before it consumes her completely…


***

Marcella Burnard graduated from Cornish College of the Arts with a degree in acting. She writes science fiction romance for Berkley Sensation. Her first book, Enemy Within won the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice award for Best Futuristic of 2010. The second book in the series, Enemy Games, released on May 3, 2011. An erotica novella, Enemy Mine, set in the same world as the novels was released as an e-special edition by Berkley in April 2012. Emissary, a sword and sorcery short story released in the two volume Thunder on the Battlefield Anthology in the second half of 2013. Nightmare Ink, an Urban Fantasy novel from Intermix available April 15, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone
New Releases

Sex with Strings series is out in print.

Four Vampires, one rock band. What happens on tour doesn't always stay on tour. The ancient vampire musicians of Lucinda's Lovers specialize in one-night stands with rock groupies, but sometimes backstage quickies turn into passionate nights and long-term lovers.

Includes: Kissing Phoenix, Tasting Thanatos, Sharing Sirius, Enchanting Absinthe


Buy Links:

Book Depository

Amazon

Barnes & Noble



Announcements 

Sale:
Mel Teshco, Denise Rossetti and Shona Husk have sold ES Siren, a sexy sci-fi series, to Momentum. Each author has been contracted for 2 books.




Win-A-Book Wednesday Winner

Congratulations to Stephanie, the winner of last week's Win-a-Book Wednesday! Sheryl Nantus will be contacting you soon about your prize.

This Wednesday we'll have another mystery giveaway; stop by for more chances to win!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Infectious Evil

Posted by: Eleri Stone
The first vampire book I ever read was An Old Friend of the Family. It’s Book 3 in Fred Saberhagen’s Dracula series. Book One, The Dracula Tapes, tells the events of Stoker’s Dracula from Vlad’s point of view. But An Old Friend of the Family is the first book I picked up and I found it incredibly innovative at the time.

An Old Friend of the Family was first published in 1979 and I would have read it sometime in the early 80’s. This was before I’d ever heard of paranormal romance or urban fantasy. In 1985, I was reading Stephen King, Anne McCaffrey and David Eddings. I had yet to discover Anne Rice. My aunt passed it along to me in a box of old books and it blew my young mind.

I recently re-read it and it didn’t hold up as well as I’d hoped, but Dracula still makes for a very compelling anti-hero. He’s unrepentant about his need for human blood. He has a strange sense of honor that has a lot to do with loyalty and very little to do with kindness. He’s not a nice person and this is not a romance. But it so easily could be. 

It started me thinking about the nature of monsters, anti-heroes and paranormal romance, and why monsters make for such appealing heroes.

All of iconic monsters like Dracula are built upon the idea of infectious evil. One bite and a good normal everyday person turns into an evil creature who wants nothing more than to prey on other good normal everyday people. The monster isn't a monster because he started out evil. The monster condition caused the evil, not the other way around. He may be fighting to control his unsavory appetites and so long as he continues to do so, there’s always the sense that he could win the battle.

A lot of paranormal romance is rooted in sympathy for the villain, the outsider and the misunderstood. The concept of infectious evil works really well with that, as does the idea of love as a redemptive force. After all, if evil is infectious then it can be cured too.

I actually just used this concept in my most recent book, Reaper’s Touch, where a bite from a Reaper infects you with a parasite that takes over your nervous system and turns you into a cannibalistic zombie like creature. And while love doesn't cure the infection, it does give my hero and heroine the courage and determination to risk their lives going after a cure. Vampires, werewolves, zombies... What do you think it is about the classic monsters that makes them such great heroes?

***

Learn more about Eleri Stone and her books at www.eleristone.com.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Book series: How do you know when to stop?

Posted by: Angela Campbell
With the third book in my series releasing soon, I’ve been thinking a lot about connected stories, or more precisely, when to end them. I’m not just a fan of books. I love movies, too. There are a lot of movies I love that went on to have sequels (or prequels) that were so bad, they almost ruined the first movie for me. Star Wars. Superman. Batman (90s). The Matrix. Pirates of the Caribbean. So. Many. Movies. So many that should have quit while they were ahead already.

The last thing I want to do as a writer is make the same mistake and drag out an overarching story or cast of characters when they’re overdue for retirement. Writers, by nature, are a self-doubting bunch, though, and we second-guess ourselves all the time. Seriously, we all need therapy for this trait. But also seriously, how are we supposed to know when our instincts are leading us astray?

I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface with the world-building in my series about psychic detectives, and I’m itching to continue it. Soooo, I’ve decided to trust myself and do just that. Because truthfully, I only ever planned to write one book, On the Scent, and be done with it. A straightforward mystery about a man, who discovers he's psychic after a mishap early in the book, protecting a woman and her two pets. Then I created psychic medium Alexandra King about two-thirds of the way into it, and I just knew she deserved her own book. Thus, Something Wicked was born.


The third book, same thing. A minor character named Spider started tapping me on the shoulder, demanding attention, bouncing on her heels and pointing at herself before I was even finished with Alexandra’s story. So I gave Emma "Spider" Fisher her own story, and it so far is my favorite of the series. I’m awaiting a cover and approved title, but oh, how I wish I could share them with you today. Soon, though. Spider’s book is scheduled for release June 5. Not much longer.

Funny thing is, the same thing happened again. I certainly never expected to write more than three books in this series, but wouldn’t you know it, Connor, another character who happened completely by chance, morphed into a force to be reckoned with, and it’s his story I’m working on now. And you know what? I’m trusting whatever instinct is leading me here and hoping I’m not pushing out another Superman III or IV. I kind of don’t think I am since I’m really enjoying myself with this series, and reader feedback has been really positive...so far. If I ever reach a point where the ideas have dried up and the characters aren’t lining up behind me, clearing their throats and begging for attention, I’ll stop it, cold turkey.

But did I mention Spider’s story releases June 5? I can’t share a cover or title yet, but I can share the unofficial blurb.
Socially awkward Emma “Spider” Fisher prefers her laptop to people, so she’s more than happy to oblige her boss when he asks her to pet- and housesit while he honeymoons in London. It doesn’t take long for accident-prone Spider to lose a dog, get locked out of the house, and set off the house alarm. Thankfully, her hot new neighbor is more than happy to come to her rescue. But Noah West is a mystery to Spider—and one she intends to solve. Because either the man is seriously living in a haunted house, or he’s a serial killer. Either way, he’s a total hottie, so Spider will have to guard her heart while she and her animal sidekicks sniff out the truth. After all, she has secrets of her own, dangerous secrets...

***
Learn more about Angela Campbell and her books at www.angelacampbellonline.com.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Exercising at my Desk, by Brenda Williamson

Posted by: Brenda Williamson
Two thinks I like to do, write and eat. Unfortunately, together they are not good on the waist. So periodically I start a diet to lose weight. Not easy when I love to cook and try new recipes. Every diet I try comes with some success, but then I fall victim to my own lack of will. I gain back what I've lost and have to start the process over.

This go 'round I'm doing the * Lean Cuisine * Healthy Choice * Smart Ones * Whatever Low Calorie Diet Frozen Meal I Can Find, diet. The idea is to stay out of the kitchen except for the few minutes in front of a microwave. The kitchen is my downfall. Though I've cleaned out all the snacks and the tempting nibbles, I know how to cook and it's easy for me to take some eggs, flour and butter and a few other staples and create a yummy-sweet, high calorie no-no.

At the end of week two I lost eight pounds. The hunger pangs have subsided as my body has adjusted to the less food is plenty idea.

Something I haven't done in a long time is incorporate exercise into my diet plans. But what can I do without exerting myself too much? Visiting youtube I found the ideal-from my desk-while I think, exercise video.

I know, I'm lazy. :-)




Brenda

~ Seductive in Any Era ~
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Captive Eden (Coming June 2014 from Ellora's Cave)
Wasteland Rogue Book Video



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Win-A-Book Wednesday with Sheryl Nantus

Posted by: Jax Garren

Sheryl Nantus


Biography

Sheryl Nantus was born in Montreal, Canada and grew up in Toronto, Canada. She met Martin Nantus through the online fanfiction community in 1993 and moved to the United States in 2000.

In 2011 she won two Second-Place Prism Awards from the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter of RWA. In 2013 she won a Third-Place Prism Award for the first book of her paranormal series, "Blood of the Pride"


Blood of the Pride (Blood of the Pride, Book 1)

When a severed rabbit's paw is delivered to her office, outcast cat shifter Rebecca Desjardin recognizes the summons home. One of their own has been murdered—and a shocking photo published in a local tabloid—and her Pride needs Rebecca, now a private investigator, to track down the killer.
Investigative reporter Brandon Hanover wants to find out who slipped the photo of the half-shifted cat-woman under his door, marking him as a suspect in her death. Determined to stay one step ahead of the sexy journalist, Rebecca reluctantly agrees to partner with him to find the real murderer. But as their mutual attraction heats up, Rebecca finds it harder and harder to keep Brandon from discovering the existence of the shifter society—and her own true nature.
When the search leads them back to the Pride, Rebecca must attempt to Change for the first time in years to face the killer, and save the man she loves...



To celebrate my new book, "In the Black", the first book in the series "Tales from the Edge" coming out next month from Carina Press I'm giving away the first in my cat shifter series! Enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Coming April 13th! ZONATON, a Sensuously Erotic Sci-Fi Romance Novel by Linda Mooney

Posted by: Linda Mooney

Coming April 13th!

ZONATON
A Sensuously Erotic Sci-Fi Romance Novel
by Linda Mooney
Music And Press
ISBN 978-0-9914081-7-7
Word Count: 50.3K
3.99

A hundred years ago, the last people of Earth landed on planet AR617b. It was their only hope after being forced to flee the dead planet that was once their ancestral home.

The native inhabitants of AR617b, known as gerons, are sentient creatures that resemble a cross between dragons and griffins of old Earth lore. When they initially tried to destroy the settlers, a deal was made to ensure both species' survival. It was decided that each year, every five-year-old human child must take The Walk across a hundred meter field. If they don't stop or run, they will arrive safely on the other side, and be allowed to grow up and have families of their own. But if they break the rule, the gerons will kill them. Unless, by a strange quirk of fate, a geron decides to Pair with the child, taking and raising the human as its own.
 
Emmala took The Walk, and found herself adopted by one of the older gerons, an immense silvery-white creature named Zonaton. For the next fifteen years, he cared for her, protected her, and loved her. But now Emmala's real family wants her back, and they will do everything they can to have her returned, even if it means killing Zonaton, and starting an all-out war with the gerons.
 
What neither the settlers nor gerons realize is that there is another alien species watching and waiting for the two combatants to go into battle. Because when they do, that will be the aliens’ cue to destroy everyone and claim AR617b for their own.

Warning! Contains green fire, arrogant assholes, plunderberries, child abuse, rectangular spaceships, a near rape, shadows on the wall, and a love so great, it defies death.

Click here for excerpt and buy links.

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