Across Worlds: Collision goes live!! #LGBT #scifi #erotica #lesbian #F/F

Across Worlds: Collision is LIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This has been a long time coming. It was written a year and a half ago and took this long to get to the end of the process. I’m so thrilled and excited to share it with you all!

If you’re new and don’t know what Across Worlds: Collision is, well, let me tell you.  =P70a86-awccover

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Jane expected six months undercover to be hard; she expected it to be lonely and bleak. She didn’t expect to find love.

Jane Butler, a CIA operative, is assigned the task of infiltrating the Xanthians and determining if they’re a threat to humanity. Going undercover as a Xanthian mate, she boards the transport ship and meets Usnavi—her new mate. After spending six days traveling through space, Jane is ecstatic to explore the Xanthian station and soon sets out to complete her mission. The only problem? Usnavi—and the feelings she is quickly developing.

Fumbling their way through varying sexual expectations, cooking catastrophes, and cultural differences, they soon discover life together is never boring. As Jane and Usnavi careen into a relationship neither of them expected, Jane uncovers dark secrets about the Xanthians and realizes she may no longer be safe. When it becomes clear she’s on her own, Jane is forced to trust and rely on Usnavi. Simultaneously struggling with her mission, her feelings for Usnavi, and homesickness, Jane faces questions she never imagined she would have to answer.

***

Doesn’t this sound like a fun and awesome read? It’s going on a tour soon too! I wanted to share with you a review from a tour it went on in July.

S. A. Snow’s “Across Worlds: Collision” is steamy and perfect, especially if you like both M/F and F/F action! Usnavi, the leading alien of the novel, is capable of changing sexes and this makes for some hawt encounters! I loved this book – couldn’t put it down. Very sexy and also a great storyline. Kind of a sexed up version of “Calculating God” by Robert J. Sawyer. A really great, complete, standalone book. Also, strangely, if you suffered through morning sickness and other pregnancy woes, there’s a little bit of turn-about-is-fair-play in this book on that count! Amazing! 4.5 out of 5

http://ow.ly/zpW4g

I mean, come on! When I saw that I jumped and grinned all day long!!

Here’s some buy links for AWC if you’re interested in checking it out.

Amazon USA
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
iTunes
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords
Kobo

 

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Collision by Kate L. Mary #authorcorner

Title: Collision
Author: Kate L. Mary
Genre: New Adult Romantic Mystery
Publication Date: May 2, 2014
Tour Host: Dreams Come True Promotions

When eighteen-year-old Kara Jones gets into a car accident on the way home from college, she’s left with more than a few bruised ribs, a busted cell phone, and a totaled car. After a slip-up at the hospital, she’s shaken to discover that her family isn’t all it seems. And now her mother’s strange behavior and willingness to do anything to protect her secrets—including pulling Kara out of school—have Kara floundering in the dark.

Enter Derek Miller, a former classmate who’s dealing with family issues of his own. His nerdy charm is too much for Kara to resist, and she’s even more amazed when he agrees to help her dig into her mother’s past. Together they investigate her mother’s old friends and boyfriends, hoping to discover who Kara really is. Instead, they find disturbing connections to the dark history of Kent State University, and an ever expanding maze of mystery surrounding Kara’s birth.

As Kara and Derek chase secrets, she realizes he’s the only person she can trust. But as they get closer to the truth, the disturbing answers reveal a web of evil far darker and further reaching then they’d imagined, leaving Kara to wish she’d never asked the questions in the first place, and to wonder if some secrets are better left untold…

 

 

Kate L. Mary is a stay-at-home mother of four and an Air Force wife. She spent most of her life in a small town just north of Dayton, Ohio where she and her husband met at the age of twelve. Since their marriage in 2002, they have lived in Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and California.

Kate’s love of books and writing has helped her survive countless husbandless nights. She enjoys any post-apocalyptic story – especially if zombies are involved – as long as there is a romantic twist to give the story hope. Kate prefers nerdy, non-traditional heroes who can make you laugh to hunky pieces of man-meat, and her love of wine and chocolate is legendary among her friends and family. She currently resides in Oklahoma with her husband and children.

1. I’ve been married for 12 years.

2. I met my husband in my church youth group when we were 12 years old, but we didn’t start dating until nine years later.

3. I’m a stay-at-home mom of four kids, two boys and two girls.

4. My boys are Carter and Chase, and the names were inspired by doctors from television shows we liked at the time. Carter from ER and Chase from House. Girls are Christa and Corinne, and those names came from people we knew.

5. I can probably quote most episodes of Friends by heart, and my husband and I are a lot like Chandler and Monica. I’m an obsessive-compulsive neat freak, and he can never be serious. Plus, we were friends for years before we started dating.

6. My husband is a C-17 pilot in the Air Force.

7. Since we’ve been married, we’ve lived in 6 states (Ohio, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, California and Oklahoma) and moved 7 times.

8. My all-time favorite move is Aliens. I love it so much that sometimes I just put it on for background noise when I write.

9. I love The Walking Dead. LOVE IT. I even have some of the graphic novels and a few Daryl Dixon shirts. When it’s on things get serious in my house. We are not allowed to talk during the show and I do not answer texts, emails or calls.

10. I’m a huge nerd and I love that about myself.

11. When I was in high school I read classic novels almost exclusively. Jane Austen’s books are some of my favorites, but I also love Gone with the Wind.

12. I set my stories in cities I’ve actually lived in or visited, and love having my characters visit real places. Collision is set in the Dayton, Ohio area, where I grew up, and my characters go to a pizza place that is a popular Dayton chain. (And the pizza is amazing.)

13. I’m a wino. Okay, not really a wino, but I love red wine.

14. And chocolate…

15. And coffee.

16. I think every book should have a little bit of romance in it, but I have a hard time reading a romance novel. I always want more plot than that, and I’m particularly into dystopian or post-apocalyptic stories.

17. My favorite city is Charleston, SC. We were stationed there for almost four years and I had the best friends imaginable.

18. I wrote a zombie series with an awesome female main character that will be available from Etopia Press this year!

19. I have a huge girl crush on Jennifer Lawrence. I’m pretty sure I’d leave my husband for her if she asked…

20. My husband is my best friend and I have more fun with him than I’ve ever had with another person.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KateLMaryauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kmary0622

Author Website: http://katelmary.com/

Author GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8185415.Kate_L_Mary

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kate-L.-Mary/e/B00K48N5EQ

 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1ucTJNN

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1s9o1VW

 

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Just Friends? by K. E. Osborn #authorcorner

Title: Just Friends?
Author: K E Osborn
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: June 7, 2014
Tour Host: Dreams Come True Promotions

 

A talented young singer and actress Australian born Katerina Barrett decides to follow her dreams and move to the United States of America to attend AMDA College in Los Angeles, to further her music and acting career. On her orientation day a cocky, self absorbed and arrogant Will Sanders catches her attention. Immediately she’s drawn and she knows she should stay away from him and concentrate on her career – but life is never that easy.

The chemistry is undeniable and Kat doesn’t want to let her guard down. When she gives herself to Will she’s left hurt when he confesses that he doesn’t do the ‘relationship thing’.

Through a turn of fortunate events they are both chosen to play the lead roles in an up and coming new indie movie, the Nightwalker Series. Their relationship blossoms as does their fame, turning their world upside down and leaving them asking, are we just friends?

 

 

First time Australian Author K E Osborn was born and raised in Adelaide South Australia. Working in the optical industry for some time K E Osborn decided it was time to leave the optical world behind and start on something new. With a background in Graphic Design and a flare for all things creative she tried her hand at writing after a very vivid dream of a three car pile up. Her first story then began to evolve from her dreams onto paper.

K E Osborn hid the fact that she was writing to her family as she believed that the story was something she had to get onto paper first and then judge if it was good enough for others to read. It wasn’t until her mother found a printed version of the manuscript that her secret came out. She was a writer and she loved it! Writing gave her life purpose, it makes her feel, laugh, cry and get completely enveloped with the characters and their story lines. She feels at home when writing.

1. I love anything frog related and I have four Green Tree Frogs as pets.

2. I love the colour pink.

3. Bon Jovi is my favourite band.

4. I love pasta.

5. I haven’t had a soft drink in a month!!

6. I have a pet moodle (Maltese X Poodle) called Bella and she is the love of my life (sad I know lol)

7. I attended my first ever Author signing in March this year.

8. I live in Australia but have never been to Uluru.

9. Spiders scare the crap out of me, like a lot – I hate them!

10. I only started writing on the 5th October 2012, but I haven’t stopped since.

11. I used to work in the optical industry.

12. My best friend is from England and I can’t stop talking with a fake English accent.

13. I have a drum kit in my shed that I used to play.

14. I wish I could play the guitar.

15. I would love to ride in a hot air balloon.

16. I have dinner with my grandparents every Tuesday night.

17. I love Xanadu the movie.

18. Most of my books come from a vivid dream.

19. I hate peas and beans, but I love brussle sprouts.

20. I always wear odd socks, on purpose.

 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KEOsborn

Twitter: @KEOsbornAuthor

Author Website: www.keosbornauthor.com

Author GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7203933.K_E_Osborn

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/K-E-Osborn/e/B00F6RK2HS/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1399339538&sr=8-2-ent

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Brownie Points by Kelly Collins #authorcorner

 

Title: Brownie Points
Author: Kelly Collins
Genre: Erotic Romance
Publication Date: May 9, 2014
Tour Host: Dreams Come True Promotions

 

Fate has dealt Emma a tough hand. Her mother was violently ripped from her life at twelve years old. Since that day, she’s been on her own. With an absentee father, and no other family to turn to, Emma finds a way to take care of herself. She opens an escort service; it’s the perfect way to use her best assets.
Life remains simple but lonely. She doesn’t do relationships. In her line of work, it’s risky. As an escort you don’t mix business with pleasure, it’s a conflict of interest. That was always the rule—until Anthony.
As one of the new owners of Ahz, Anthony is a hot commodity. A once confirmed bachelor, Anthony’s tune has changed ten-fold since Emma came into his life. She’s the one, and he’ll do anything for her as he proved their first night together.
Their relationship races forward at breakneck speed. All the while, Emma, guards herself so that her heart is never at risk.
She now finds herself in a new line of work, beside Anthony as the voice of Los Angeles’ hottest nightclub. While Anthony is away on business, several challenges emerge that have the potential to destroy their love––their lives.
When it comes to brownie points can you ever collect enough to erase the past?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kelly Collins lives in Colorado with her husband James. She’s the proud mother of three young adults that still manage to keep her on her toes and her head spinning. They are her greatest accomplishment.

As a military wife, Kelly has traveled the world like a rock star on tour. This has given her the amazing ability to unpack an entire household in three days—another crowning achievement!

Over her life, she has been a jack-of-all-trades between Dental assisting, teaching, and running her home staging business until finally, one day, she decided to do something she was meant to do. She wrote. And she hasn’t stopped since.

Armed with a glass of wine and her laptop, Kelly loves nothing more than to create a world that any woman would want to live in.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorkelleycollins

Twitter:@kcollinsauthor

Author Website: http://authorkcollins.wix.com/bestseller

Author GoodReads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7488895.Kelley_Collins_Maestas

Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/kelleymaestas

Available May 9th!

 

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Nova Sparks & James Crawford Author Spotlight

Feb 5th

Free Kindle Books.

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Book Info

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Every High School has their social outcasts. The band nerds, the math geeks, the chess club, the girl that chews her hair, but at Butler High, even the creepy nose picker in the chess club is more popular than Caleo Anima. No matter what he did, his pale skin, snow white hair, and piercing blue eyes always made him an easy target. He used to think that the only way things could get worse would be if someone found out that he was gay, but that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg of problems after a mysterious stranger shows up and changes Caleo’s life forever.

Hidden amongst our society, a secret and magical race of people known as ‘Leeches’, have been engaging in civil war for decades. Both sides are desperately searching for a weapon with unlimited power that will give them the advantage they need to rule their world. This wouldn’t mean anything to Caleo, except for one problem…He is that weapon!

Forget making it through High School. Caleo has bigger problems! As the search for him goes on, the world is quickly crumbling around him. He’s now fighting for his life and the life of what little family he has left. With the help of new friends, he has little time to try and master his newly found powers as he tries to figure out who he can trust, who is trying to use him, and who just wants him dead. One wrong step and being the awkward pale outcast will be the least of his worries.


Click here to claim your free copy on Amazon today only!


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What if you knew the exact date and time the world will end, what would you do?

Sam Tucker was faced with that dilemma when he began getting visions of the Earth’s demise. Luckily for him, he was able to save his family and as many people as he could before the tragic event occurred, and he did so with the help of unknown visitors. With Earth now destroyed, Sam, his family, and thousands of other lucky survivors must live the rest of their lives on a faraway planet in a Dome that simulates life on Earth. But Sam’s mind can’t seem to rest as a few questions arise. Why did the aliens save them? How did they know about Earth’s sure fate? And exactly what are they hiding?

Emma Tucker begged for an escape from her boring life but never in a million years did she think it would come at the destruction of Earth. Living on a new planet and finding it difficult to get rid of her rebellious habits, Emma finds herself making friends with a member of the alien race and it soon develops into an unexplainable love; a love that is more dangerous than she could ever imagine. While her father is searching for his own truths, she has no idea that she is stumbling on a truth of her own.

Told from the point of view of both Sam and Emma, author Nova Sparks takes readers on a journey to discover love, fate, faith, truth, and the mystery of the DOME!


Click here to claim your Free copy on Amazon today only!

The Love that Dare Not Write Its Name? #authorcorner Tom Williams

I’m so excited for this guest post today! It’s something that I’ve thought about multiple times, and I would like to add in one aspect that Tom does not mention. I think the scenario is slightly different for f/f books. Please read and comment on this fabulous post about the publishing industry and what it means to place your book into the LGBT category.

THE LOVE THAT DARE NOT WRITE ITS NAME?

When I was growing up, homosexuality was illegal. Most of the books discussed on this blog would have been considered obscene and publishing or owning them might well have exposed people to criminal action. Interestingly, some commentators consider that it is a passing reference to (heterosexual) sodomy in Lady Chatterley’s Lover that was one of the reasons for its prosecution.

Now, of course, we live in a more liberal and enlightened age. Anybody who wants to read about homosexual relationships will have no problems in finding books that cater for their interests. But I do wonder if we have, perhaps, not taken advantage of the hard-won freedoms of the gay community to make a more liberal publishing environment, but, rather, built a gay ghetto which is, in its way, as restrictive as anything that may have preceded it.

When I set out to write my first novel, The White Rajah, I was not planning to write a “gay book”. I was writing about real historical character, James Brooke, the eponymous White Rajah. I think there is little doubt that he was inclined toward his own sex, though it’s not clear, in those days, whether he had an active sex life. I wanted the reader to be able to see Brooke through the eyes of someone who travels with him and shares his adventures. I therefore invented a lover for him, and it is John Williamson who tells his story.

As I wrote, the relationship between John Williamson and James Brooke became more important to the novel than I had Tom portraitexpected, and I ended up with what I thought of as quite a powerful love story at the heart of what is, in the end, an otherwise straightforward historical novel.

Against all the odds, The White Rajah was represented by a very reputable agent who pitched it to four leading publishers. All of them rejected it. The consensus seemed to be that it was “too difficult” for a first novel by an unknown writer. Now that could be that, being a first novel, it just wasn’t that well-written. As it’s a first person account by a mid-19th century writer, it certainly uses longer sentences and a more challenging vocabulary than a lot of modern novels. But I couldn’t help feeling that part of the problem was that there is a distinct absence of female characters but there’s still sex.

I decided that I would like to see the book published before my dotage, so I sent it to JMS Books, who specialise in LGBT titles. They took it straight away, for which I remain very grateful. The trouble is that it is now seen as an LGBT book. Unfortunately it fails to satisfy a lot of LGBT readers, who complain that it does not have enough explicit sex scenes in it. Straight readers, on the other hand, seem much more interested in the sexual orientation of James Brooke than in any of his quite significant historical achievements.

What nobody seems happy with is the idea that you can write about somebody who has adventures, achieves quite remarkable things in his life, and has a satisfying romantic relationship, but who just happens to be gay. For both straight and gay readers, the sexual orientation of the main character becomes the point of the book.

I find this quite remarkable. Living in 21st-century London, I accept that I will have friends and colleagues with a diversity of sexual orientations. My favourite comedy club was a gay comedy club, but that didn’t mean that the audience was exclusively homosexual or that the jokes all related to gender issues. I like drinking in a gay bar, because the ambience is more civilised than a lot of other bars and they sell the drinks I enjoy. When I first went in there, I was worried that I might not be welcome, but they are as happy to serve straights as gays and it’s simply a very successful town-centre watering hole. If I’m out dancing, some couples embracing on the dance floor will not be the conventional male-female pairing. I was talking to a gay friend about this and he said that a few years ago straight men would be uncomfortable dancing with other men, but this has become so normal that it is no longer an issue for most people.

It goes without saying that, particularly as I used to work in a “creative” industry, many of my colleagues were gay, although the business was a very mainstream publisher.

So when I work, drink, or socialise the sexual orientation of the people I am working, drinking, laughing or dancing with does not define what I am doing. Yet when I am reading, it seems that it does. I am either reading a “gay book” for gay people, which has to emphasise gay sexual behaviour or I am reading a “straight book” (or “book”) where everyone seems much happier if nobody is gay at all. (Often there’s a minor character who’s gay, so everyone else can demonstrate how liberal they are.) The distinction is particularly ironic as many of the writers of M/M fiction are heterosexual women, as are many of its readers.

It’s not just my personal paranoia. I was delighted when Foyles (one of London’s most prestigious bookshops) stocked my titles, but I was surprised to see that they were shelved in a department dedicated to GLBT literature.

Obviously, it’s a good thing that, after centuries of repression, gay people can write and read books that cater for them. A gay press was an essential part of the battle for equality. But is it still the best way forward? Or have gay readers and writers created a ghetto that is itself discriminatory and a sort of repression, all the more damaging for being self-inflicted?

Books

Book coverInvalided out of the East India Company’s army, James Brooke looks for adventure in the South China Seas. When the Sultan of Borneo asks him to help suppress a rebellion, Brooke joins the war to improve his chances of successful trading. Instead, he finds himself rewarded with his own country.

Determined to be an enlightened ruler who brings peace and prosperity to his people, James settles with his lover in their new Eden. But piracy, racial conflict and court plotting conspire to destroy all that he has achieved. Driven from his home and a fugitive in the land that he had once ruled, James is forced to take extreme measures to drive out his enemies.

‘The White Rajah’ is the story of a man fighting for his life, who has to choose between his beliefs and the chance of victory. Based on a true story, Brooke’s battle is a tale of adventure set against the background of a jungle world of extraordinary beauty and terrible savagery. Told through the eyes of the man who loves him and shares his dream, this is a tale of love and loss from a 19th century world that still speaks directly to us today.

BUY HERE UK

BUY HERE US

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After his time in Borneo with James Brooke (The White Rajah), John Williamson has travelled to India. Working for the East India Company in Cawnpore, he struggles to fit in: a gay man in a straight society; a farm labourer’s son in a world of gentleman’s clubs and refined dinner parties; a European adrift in an alien land. But he finds he is good at his job, overseeing a colonial administration that has been running the country for a hundred years. He falls in love with the country and, in particular, with a young nobleman in the court of the local lord. Successful at work and happy with his lover, he thinks he can finally meet life on his own terms. Then the Indian troops rise in mutiny and the country is plunged into war. With the British Raj teetering on the edge of destruction and Cawnpore a by-word for horror across the Empire, Williamson has to choose whose side he is really on.

In this sequel to The White Rajah, we again see Williamson caught up in real historical events, which provide a thrilling background to his own story. Williamson meets some of the key figures at a crucial point in British history and witnesses events which shocked the world and shaped the future of British India.

BUY HERE UK

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About the Author

Have you ever noticed how many authors are described as ‘reclusive’? I have a lot of sympathy for them. My feeling is that authors generally like to hide at home with their laptops or their quill pens and write stuff. If they enjoyed being in the public eye, they’d be stand-up comics or pop stars.

Nowadays, though, writers are told that their audiences want to be able to relate to them as people. I’m not entirely sure about that. If you knew me, you might not want to relate to me at all. But here in hyperspace I apparently have to tell you that I’m young and good looking and live somewhere exciting with a beautiful partner, a son who is a brain surgeon and a daughter who is a swimwear model. Then you’ll buy my book.

Unfortunately, that’s not quite true. I’m older than you can possibly imagine. (Certainly older than I ever imagined until I suddenly woke up and realised that age had snuck up on me.) I live in Richmond, which is nice and on the outskirts of London which is a truly amazing city to live in. My wife is beautiful but, more importantly, she’s a lawyer, which is handy because a household with a writer in it always needs someone who can earn decent money. My son has left home and we never got round to the daughter.

I street skate and ski and can dance a mean Argentine tango. Mostly, though, I spend my time being reclusive. Can I go back to that now?

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#authorcorner Review of Devil’s Dilemma by Sirena Robinson

Today I’m glad to bring Sirena Robinson’s debut novel, Devil’s Dilemma, to your attention. Devil’s Dilemma 91mH73nMN8L._SL1500_is the first in a series of novels that Sirena has written which flow off the apocalypse story, bringing it about in a new and fantastical way. This post is part of her blog tour she put together, you can find more information here.

I’m bringing a review to you today. I first met Sirena just over a year ago when I was emailed the prologue to her novel. I immediately latched on to it and fell in love. I was emailed through a service called Project Team Beta, which finds beta readers for aspiring authors in original fiction and fan fiction. Sirena’s series could not be more original.

Devil’s Dilemma takes us from the beginning of life to the end of life. It’s a great story and tale of what can happen when everything goes wrong and when Devils and Angels are allowed to mess with the natural order of things. All I kept saying as I was reading the first part of this novel was “Poor Griffin!” She was born for a specific reason, completely out of chance, and was thrust into a game she clearly wanted nothing to do with.

Griffin was a child born of a death and thus called to be the Chosen. She was called to make a decision between Heaven and Hell, to be the determining factor in a long wait for a decision and a lot wait of who would have reign. Griffin made her choice, which in reality seemed to be an easy one, but the trials and tribulations of sticking to that choice were far harder than either her or her protector, Braxton, co517mFgwr81L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-67,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_uld have imagined.

Angels and Devils came in and out of their lives with not much more than a “Go do this!” “This will happen!” “We need you” and “We want you to die.” She was tossed into a snake pit of fear, torture and the unknown. All the while this was happening, Griffin’s only hope was to survive until the time was right.

Sirena writes this novel at a quick and fast pace, never leaving out a moment of tenderness when it’s needed. She keeps the characters alive and intriguing by getting into their heads. There’s tension that rises and development in personality that one could never expect. Sirena was able to keep me on my toes throughout this novel, and it’s certainly my favorite in the series thus far.

Griffin’s story was so poignant and emotionally moving that I had a tough time waiting for Sirena to send the next chapter. I just wanted to finish it as quickly as possible. Griffin’s story along with all the religious elements had me hooked from the first page. This is definitely a one of a kind novel.

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#authorcorner with V.C.!!

Today I’m excited to say that V.C. is joining us! I met V.C. on one of the many facebook groups that I’m a part of and through facebook pages. I couldn’t be happier that she decided to join us today.

Tell us about yourself.

I’ll just share my author bio since it’s most convenient and to-the-point:180917_608094995814_5594213_n

V.C. writes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans* romance/erotica fiction that she affectionately calls glitterotica. Her writing career started in high school where she gained a reputation for her historical short stories, even having been given a couple of gold key awards from Scholastic Inc. She got her start writing erotica during college. After having numerous short erotica stories published on Oysters&Chocolate.com, she has since had various erotic shorts published in anthologies and has written six novels so far, and counting. She’s been published by O&C Press, Ravenous Romance, Freaky Fountain, Cleis Press, Go Deeper Press, and Storm Moon Press.

When she’s not writing, V.C. enjoys reading literature, watching classic movies, studying French (and occasionally Icelandic), going to concerts, museums, and drag shows, and simply taking each day as it comes and enjoying life’s simple pleasures. She currently lives in New Jersey.

What is one thing not in your bio, something totally random that only a few people know?

That I am intersex. Not too many people would know this about me because the term “intersex” (meaning that someone was born with both male and female genitalia) leaves people confused because it’s not openly talked about and is still a baby term that hasn’t yet made a big mark on our culture yet. Like, it’s not a household name or anything where people, when they hear it, would go, “Oh, I know what that means.” I wish that were the case because then it would make things less awkward and annoying for me especially when dating and sex is concerned.

Once in a while it hits the radar in the media (like when it was reported that Germany now has a third-gender law for infants born with “ambiguous genitalia”) but I think people still don’t understand what “intersex” is and what it is like growing up and being an intersex individual. Plus, people wouldn’t know this about me because I don’t go around letting everyone know that my body is different from the average female. However, it is something that I’m not afraid to let be known when the opportunity calls for it, which I feel fine and comfortable doing in author interviews. It’s part of who I am as a person and in some ways has shaped me into the LGBT author that I’ve become.

Wow, very interesting. I’ll definitely be keeping that in mind for a while and seeing how we would do things different if intersex were a more common term. But back to writing, what made you decide to write? If it even was a decision. And what kept you at it?

It wasn’t a decision for me. When you are passionate about something, it’s just something that you do, and the “keeping at it” part is something you just do naturally. There’s no other way for me to explain it. I do what I love and what turns me on, and it’s the love and turn-on that keeps me focused on it.

Who has been your biggest inspiration and support in writing and in publishing?

I’d say my teachers during middle school and high school. I don’t want to mention names; I’d rather keep that to myself and their identities private. Many of them time and time again would comment about how I should look into getting published. Some of them even went out of their way to get me published in the school paper. One of them (a drama teacher) had one of my plays for a class project get turned into a stage production that actually got to be on a stage for people to watch and enjoy. They saw my potential in ways that at the time, being so young and all, I just didn’t see. I was only doing what I enjoyed doing on my free time. It was just a hobby then. Now, not so much ;).

That’s great! Why is it that you are an independent author? What prompted the decision to publish with a small press publisher, and how has that experience been?

imagesI never really put much thought as to “why” I am an “independent” author. I guess I am an independent author because I like being an independent person? I don’t know, hehe, I only see myself as just an author. I send my short stories and novel manuscripts to publishers that intrigue me based on their unique anthology calls or because they publish work that I would (or have) actually read myself. They just so happened to be a small press/independent publisher. It doesn’t matter to me if a publisher is independent/small or mainstream.

Not all publishers are created equal of course, but in my mind, be it a small or big publisher, they are the same. Just different in their own way. It’s just a pleasure working with publishers that I admire and respect like oysters&chocolate.com and Freaky Fountain, both who are sadly defunct, Go Deeper Press, Cleis Press, and Storm Moon Press. My experiences with these publishers have been eye-openers in many ways because each press was different and unique in their editing and promotion process. Not entirely perfect experiences, I’ll admit, but even in their imperfections they are absolutely fabulous to work with, and I’m happy to be an author for all of them.

What has been your experience going from short stories and publishing with anthologies, to your first novel and publishing a full-length work?

Oh, it’s just a fun and wild ride. There’s one other thing that not many know about me: I get bored very easily. Not bored as in “Oh, I have nothing to do, I am bored,” but “If I don’t do a variety of things outside of just writing short stories or writing just novels, I’ll be bored out of my mind.”  This variety is what makes the whole experience of going from short stories to full-length works more exciting for me and keeps me from that restlessly bored feeling.

I love the challenge of writing a story in its short-form, but I also enjoy the commitment of being in a relationship, so to speak, with a 50K-100K manuscript for two months before I try and find it a new home. I write these short stories/novels based on the mood I am in. Sometimes I am in the mood to write novels, sometimes I’d rather just write short stories and send them to anthology calls.  I’m still learning to master the art of both forms of storytelling, and that’s really the best part of the experience of going from short stories to a full-length work: the learning process.

Speaking of full-length work, The Man on Top of the World will be your first full-length novel, if I understand correctly, tell us a bit about what goes on in the story.

On the surface it’s a rock and roll love triangle. It takes place during the 1970s glam rock era (think T. Rex, David Bowie, Roxie Music, Lou Reed, and Suzie Quatro). The love triangle in The Man on Top of the World is between a glam rock drummer boy (Jonathan Maxwell, the narrator of the story), the glam rock superstar that he works for and can’t help but fall foolishly in love with (Izzy Rich), and the glam rock groupie (Roxanne Foster, Izzy’s fan girl) who comes between them. The love triangle aside though, in the core of it, The Man on Top of the World is a love story between two passionate, beautiful, and flawed men who, for better and for worse, are meant to be together as the best of mates and as lovers.

You put images and sounds to your characters in The Man on Top of the World when doing character sketches. How is this helpful for you?

This is more helpful for the reader than it is for me. The images and sounds are all in my head. After the manuscript was finished, that was when I decided on doing the character profiles for Izzy, Jonathan, and Roxanne, which then prompted me to search for pictures and video clips that comes as close to those images/sounds in my head as possible.  I do the character profiles for my readers because it’s just a fun way for them to get to know the characters before they get their hands on the book. I’d hope that from those character profiles, and from all the images and sounds I put into them, that it would have the reader feel like they already know (and hopefully identity with) the characters before reading The Man on Top of the World.

So you did entire blog posts on three characters in The Man on Top of the World. I’m going to be mean and ask for one single sentence on each of those characters.

Jonathan Maxwell—a pansexual, drama-queen, hopeless romantic who has such ridiculously fine taste in clothes, jewelry, women, and men.

Izzy Rich—an eccentric pretty boy/egomaniac turned messiah and pariah who, despite all his fame, musical genius, and celebrity, is a tortured soul.

Roxanne Foster—a good girl who has a lot of bite and a whole lot more moxie that she’s too modest to show, offstage, anyway.

If you could meet one character in real life from The Man on Top of the World—and yes, I know this is a hard question—who would it be and why?

Without question, Izzy. I identify with him in many ways, not as the rock star, but as the man. He’s eccentric, misunderstood, and a child at heart, like me. He’s like me in many ways, but he’s far off from being me in a lot of other ways. I’m broke, he’s not, but he used to be, so he doesn’t take his fame and money for granted because of his poverty-stricken upbringing. I’d be the same if I was rich and famous. We both embrace our androgyny, but he is way more over the top and ballsy about expressing his androgyny and femininity. He’s more in touch with his feminine side than I am; he just doesn’t give a fuck, he does and wears what he wants. I can’t walk in a pair of high heels to save my life; he can because wearing high heels is his life. He can be a total asshole, but he’s one that I adore and would love to meet in real life if he were real. That would be so awesome if he was.  A girl can dream.

What has been your process through writing The Man on Top of the World, and how has it been similar or different from your normal writing process?

The Man on Top of the World was originally a short story submission for Storm Moon Press’s Glam Rock anthology call. They GDP002-FemmeFatale_30didn’t get enough submissions for the anthology to go forward, but they liked my story and felt that the word count was high enough to be turned into a short novella. From there, it evolved into a novel. So, in a way, this process of writing The Man on Top of the World has really been like watching a child grow into an adult. The short story was its baby phase, the short novella form was its teenage years, and the novel makes it all grown up. None of this was intentional. It just happened that way.

I wouldn’t say this transformation has made the writing process different. It was about the same. The only change was that I had to expand on a lot of areas in The Man on Top of the World that needed to be there, mostly because of the sequel, All That Glitters. At the time when I wrote The Man on Top of the World, I didn’t plan a sequel. All That Glitters (Izzy’s autobiography/bildungsroman) came a bit later, and I wasn’t planning on having it published in the first place, actually. I did it only as a fun side piece for my own keeping. It was when the story took off that I decided on getting it published. After that sequel got picked up by Storm Moon Press, I had to go back to The Man on Top of the World many times to make sure that some areas were consistent with the sequel. Sorry that I’m intentionally being vague about what those “things” and “areas” are. I’m a no spoilers kind of gal.

Haha! That’s perfectly fine! So, what do you do when you get stuck in your writing? What happens when that nasty writer’s block sets down and refuses to budge?

A lot of writers might hate me for saying this, or may not believe me at all, but I rarely if ever get writer’s block. I’ve had times where I started a story and didn’t finish it, but that’s only because the work wasn’t “speaking” to me and I move on to something that will. When I’m committed to a work that doesn’t just speak but screams at me, I write like the wind. I believe that writer’s block happens when the author overthinks their work way too much in the process of writing it, basically letting their mind (the part that overanalyzes things too much) interfere with the flow of creativity and imagination. I don’t let that happen. I stay calm, cool, and write when the inspiration/creativity is there. I don’t force it or overthink things during the process of writing. I don’t worry about word counts either. I just relax, write, and have fun.

Writing, at the end of the day, has to be fun to result to a finished product that I can be proud of. There’s nothing fun about writer’s block or forcing myself to write something that just isn’t speaking at the moment. To prevent that from happening, if I lose momentum and focus while writing a chapter, I just go offline and kill the potential writer’s block by having fun and living life. That’s really the best medicine to prevent writer’s block from happening in the first place. I like to destroy the problem before it manifests into this big deal. It has worked for me so far. I hate stress, and I sure as hell would hate writer’s block, which sounds like the most stressful thing for a writer to go through. What I do helps me. I hope that I’m not alone in doing this and that other writers do the same thing, for one’s health and sanity.

I actually completely agree with you. I don’t think I’ve ever had “writer’s block,” and I practice living life stress free and creatively. But enough about that. What is your editing process? Editing seems to be the bane of a lot of author’s existence, so how do you edit and stay on track?

Editing is not the bane of my existence. I think it’s the best part of the writing process because basically editing is where you are taking this ugly lump of clay, this diamond in the rough, and molding and polishing it into something better and prettier. You can’t do that while you’re actually writing; that can only be done after the work is finished and when you have something to actually work with. So with editing, it gives me that opportunity to really make my work shine. I typically go through three rounds of editing. I take a week off in between each edit round so that way when I return to the manuscript I’m editing it with a fresher pair of eyes and more refreshed state of mind. This helps me stay on track of the process.

This technique of editing—edit, take a week off, edit, take a week off, edit one more time, and take one more week off—makes the process less tedious and more fun, and it helps me to pace myself. I like rewriting areas, expanding on areas, and taking out filler/unnecessary writing that doesn’t add to the narrative. I like being given more than two chances to make my work better. Editing gives me the chance to make my work better as many times as I choose until it’s polished to the best of my ability before it is in the hands of a professional editor.  I find the whole process (self-editing and editing with a professional) exciting. As long as I keep it this way, editing for me is more fun than it is a burden.

Interesting. Would you mind sharing some of your ups and some of your downs about writing and about publishing? Any advice to new and upcoming authors?

The ups of writing and publishing is of course when you’ve created a work that you are proud of. Even better is when it finds a home with a publisher. The natural high of getting a work published, there are no words. It’s all the more thrilling, and sometimes surreal, when others enjoy your work for days, months, and who knows, maybe years to come. Most would say that the downs of writing and publishing would be getting a rejection email/letter. Yeah, that can sting a little, but I never bothered with dwelling on that negative side of publishing. I’ve had a few rejection emails, had two of my publishers go out of business, and had some not so nice comments about my work. I could have moped and vented about it, but that was far from my mind. What good would that have done? I’m not a fan of misery; I really just don’t have the time or care for it.

Every negative in book publishing can always be turned into something positive. That is, if you want it to be. I chose to look on the positive side of things and to just continue doing what I do.  The greatest thing about publishing that can’t always be said about most things in life is that a negative can always be turned into a positive. There are so many publishers out there that there’s no reason for one rejection letter to bring someone down; solution: just send out the manuscript/short story somewhere else. Publishers go out of business; don’t worry, your work will find a new home soon enough. Bad reviews/negative comments? If you’re entitled to write one and have one, so can other people. Not everyone is going to like my work. Whatever. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Live and let live; life’s too short to dwell on the negativity.

My only advice to new and upcoming authors is to not take yourself, or the publishing industry, too seriously. And don’t take anything too personal either. All the downs I mentioned above that I’ve experienced, if you go through all that too, remember, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Sometimes, the negatives and even the rejection letters/emails can be blessings in disguise, for something better could come along. All the ups of getting published—being published, selling tons of books and gaining a huge readership/fan-base—don’t let it all get to your head and make it big. Nobody wants to support the work of an egotistical/cocky author. Be heard and be successful, but stay humble. Don’t compare yourself with other authors/writers. Unless you are still in high school that kind of drama is unnecessary. No matter what ups and downs you go through with writing and getting published, just stay cool, don’t lose yourself, be classy, and most importantly, keep on writing.

Great advice! Here’s a more serious question. What is it like to write in the LGBT realm of craziness that we all support? What’s it like to dip the toe into the rainbow through writing and publishing?

Thankfully, we live in a day and age where LGBT literature, and LGBT issues as a whole, is more accepted and open for discussion and expression than it was years ago. That’s the beauty of writing in this genre for me. It opens a world of opportunities for creativity, breaking boundaries, and challenging the way people perceive the LGBT genre. It also opens a huge comfort level in discussing LGBT issues that matter. For me personally, the LGBT genre is the easiest and most fun way for me to express myself. To have people out there who are as passionate about this “LGBT realm of craziness” and who love reading/writing in this genre as much as I do—that is even more beautiful. The genre lets everyone know that no matter if you are gay, bisexual, transgender, or lesbian, nobody out there is really alone anymore. I can really only sum up the experience of writing in this genre in that one word: beautiful. Oh, and delicious. Who doesn’t want to taste the rainbow? Those who don’t just aren’t fabulous enough to enjoy it for what it is ;).

LOL! What is your best memory from the whole writing and publishing process?

My best memory was when one of my readers commented about my F/F short story, “Stella Loves Bella.” At the time it was published on oysters&chocolate.com (you can now find it in Cleis Press’s Best Lesbian Erotica 2013). This sweet reader said in the comment section that the main character in that story (“Stella”) reminded her of her girlfriend, and that the story as a whole encouraged her to work up the courage to be her girlfriend’s “Bella.” That comment made me smile. It still does five years later. I’ll never forget it.

Storm Moon Press will be publishing The Man on Top of the World when it’s ready for our eyes. I was wondering if you would be able to tell me a bit about your experience with them; I’ll actually be meeting them at Rainbow Con in April.

I’m still a fairly new writer with them, but so far, Storm Moon Press is one of the most helpful and fun publishers I’ve worked with. One of the reasons why I was attracted to this publisher is because of how they like to publish unique niches in erotica that other publishers rarely take on, like blood play, gun kink, and incest. And they’re open to publishing works that feature trans*, poly, bisexual, asexual, and intersex characters. Not that other publishers out there wouldn’t support any of that, but Storm Moon Press stands out in that they are more proud and open about publishing works that represent all that and more.

They are also very author-centric too. If you are contracted by them, they’ll allow you to re-work your manuscript before the hardcore editing process begins. With The Man on Top of the World, that was so needed since so many things had to be fixed and expanded.  I’m especially grateful and appreciative of Storm Moon Press for wanting to take “The Man on Top of the World” and have it become the novel that it is now.  They are a great press, and the founders/co-founders are especially amazing. Have fun at Rainbow Con! I hope you will adore the Storm Moon Press crew as much as I do.

I’m sure I will! I know that you do a lot of reviews on your blog and that you give a lot of promotion to other authors. What prompted you to do this?

I’ve been reviewing movies and sex toys for a professional company for years, so I guess naturally, I’d eventually take on the fun task of reviewing erotica/romance fiction too. Except independently (and for free) on my blog. I started reading/reviewing books on my blog from Storm Moon Press first. Then, last fall of 2013, I thought to myself, hmm, I’d love to read/review erotica/romance fiction from authors outside of Storm Moon Press as long as they give me a free copy of their work in exchange for an honest review from me.

I love reading/reviewing LGBT erotica/romance fiction—that was the first prompt. The second is that I do enjoy seeing what kind of talent is out there in this genre from authors I haven’t heard of. So far, it’s been a real pleasure doing that for these authors who need some more exposure and whose work deserves more attention. By doing reviews on my blog, it’s a win-win for everyone. I get to read/review a lot of free e-book copies of LGBT erotica/romance fiction. These reviews give my blog some exposure. On a few occasions, I’ve made new friends with these fellow authors. The authors get the free promotion from me, and if the review is a positive one, they could use that review to promote themselves. If my review(s) encourage readers to check out their books, then that’s the greatest win. I get immense joy out of doing book reviews on my blog, and I hope the authors and readers enjoy it too.

Why focus on the LGBT genre? What are the plusses and what are the minuses of doing so?

As an intersex woman who identifies as pansexual, I don’t think I could ever stray from this genre even if I tried. I have many friends on and offline who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered. I’ve dated lesbian, bisexual, and trans* people throughout my life, still do. The issues I deal with as an intersex individual can only be understood by another intersex person or by a trans-individual (even better when I’ve found a friend who is intersex and trans. Thankfully, I have that, and she so gets me and I get her). Not that my life is all about LGBT 24/7, but it’s important and personal enough for me to dedicate much of my time on it on a regular daily basis be it through my writing, book reviewing, and watching LGBT-related films. It’s not a hobby; it’s my passion. I don’t see any minuses in focusing on that.

The pluses about the genre is that it allows me the ultimate freedom to be myself. And the genre also helps me, and others, further understand and appreciate the many ways of how we all identify and express ourselves in and outside of the genre and the dizzying number of labels that go with it. The minuses of it are not so much the negative stigma or judgment others might feel about it. Like, I don’t care about people who are turned off by it; it’s none of my business how or what they think of me and the genre I write in. There are assholes out there, that’s just life, I can only live mine. The minuses I notice are when I see that the representations of LGBT characters in the LGBT erotica/romance fiction genre aren’t varied and rely on far too many tropes, clichés, and stereotypes that don’t challenge the reader and are only giving the same ol’.  Other than that, all I see is pluses in the LGBT genre. And lots of rainbows.

QUICKIES!

1. Dog or Cat? Cat.
2. Favorite color?
Fuchsia.
3. Favorite junk food?
Chocolate chip cookies.   
4. Favorite musician?
Björk.
5. Favorite curse word?
Fuck.
6. Favorite quote?
“When the going gets tough, the tough reinvent.”—Rupaul
7. Rolaids or Tums?
Rolaids.
8. Short or Tall?
Short
9. Favorite body part?
Boobs
10. Favorite holiday?
New Year’s Eve

Books

images Best Lesbian Erotica 2013 is about the trembling pleasure of anticipation as much as the moment when sex actually happens. Curated by Lammy nominee, Kathleen Warnock, Best Lesbian Erotica 2013 is as diverse as it is delectable- unlikely pairings appear as do sizzling hot one-time encounters and well-developed characters in well-developed relationships. Lesbians meet, sometimes fall in love, have a break up or two but always have lots of intensely great sex. Raw, romantic and always unforgettable, Best Lesbian Erotica 2013 will test your erotic boundaries and take you over the edge and into a world where fantasies become reality. Lesbian literary icon Jewelle Gomez (The Gilda Stories) returns to the series she helped put at the forefront of erotica. Gomez, who selected the stories for the 1997 edition of Best Lesbian Erotica, has returned once again to pluck the jewels of the best lesbian erotica around. In the words of editor Kathleen Warnock, “expect the unexpected.” In “Cucumbers & Cream,” by Helen Sandler, a butch finds herself hosting a burlesque show…not that she minds at all!Sometimes you just want a stranger pushing you up against a fence, as in “Anonymous,” by BD Swain.When one butch with a smartphone spots another, it might be a momentous “Morning Commute” by Penny Gyokeres.

GDP002-FemmeFatale_30

In Femme Fatale, an erotic collection edited by Lana Fox, dangerous women hunt down their deepest desires with everything from guns to wordplay. From a brazen thief who seduces her marks, to the ardent lover of a serial killer, these femme fatales are smart, inventive, and hard to trick.

But as Fox reminds us, women who are viewed as dangerous often challenge society’s thinking, and in this collection, the femme fatales certainly transform the worlds they inhabit. As is always the case with Go Deeper Press, these writers excel at storytelling as much as they do at sexy scenes, so get ready to be erotically and mentally engrossed.
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Crazy Maths for WIPpet Wednesday! January 15, 2014

Omg, my maths be craaaaazy this morning! I have to share them before I forget them.

14 x 5 = 70 + 20 = 90 – 1 – 1 = 88

And thus using all numbers for once, you get 88 words that follow immediately last weeks post. I haven’t started really writing on this piece yet because I’m still waiting for my life to calm down a bit. I’m almost done with edits for a novel that hopefully will be coming out soon (also cover reveal for it coming soon! yay!) and then I’ll have to do edits for another novel coming out in Sept (also, cover reveal for that coming soon). Finally, I might have just picked up an editing job for a 112,000 word novel! Yikes! That’ll take some time. Busy! busy! busy!

Thanks to Amy Mitchell for reminding me by accident that today was Wednesday!

If you would to read last weeks post as a reminder, you can find it here!

If you would like to participate in WIPpet Wednesday, there are minimal rules. Write a post with your current WIP that relates somehow to the date (crazy maths welcome =P). Then link it up over here and read some of the other posts, leaving a comment for their awesomeness in posting! Thanks to MyRandomMuse for hosting this weekly.

I also have an interview with author Jaye McKenna, if you’d like to read it, as well as a guest post from Francis James Franklin. THEN they both donated to an amazing giveaway I’m doing. It ends Friday so sign up!

If you would like me to stop rambling and get to the post already, here you go. =P

Time and time again he felt the tension surge into his body, only to never totally ease away. The four weeks of leave he’d been forced to take only added to the tension. At least it was paid, he snorted and shoved the weapon onto the cooler he used as a table. Downing the rest of his beer, he shook the image that worked its way into his mind and focused on the warmth floating down his throat.

Sometimes the alcohol had the opposite effect than he wanted.

Natasha House and The Jade Series

Welcome to the author spotlight of Natasha House!! She writes in all types of genres, but today we’ll be focusing on her fantasy series.

Author Bio

author pic

When Natasha House wakes up in the morning she’s got one thing on her brain: writing. “How do normal people think? I mean wouldn’t it be boring not having a book in your brain to entertain you?” Natasha works a “normal” job along with pursuing writing. “I randomly grab a scrap piece of paper and furiously scribble. People probably think I’m nuts when I’m talking to myself, but I’m just talking to the characters in my head.” Natasha is happily married.

She enjoys singing. “I’ve written over 30 songs including one called: It’s coffee time. What can I say I love coffee.” Natasha loves writing different genres including: sci-fi, romance, fantasy, middle grade, and paranormal. “If you read my book Superhero princess you might have a laugh-attack, while my other books are more serious toned. I really love my screwball characters. They entertain me the most.” Natasha House’s dream is to one day write full time. She loves making people laugh, sit on the edge of their seat, and dive into a world they might not want to come out of.

Books

The Jade Series, Books 1-3 is the first half of the exciting epic fantasy novella series. This book includes: 

The Vullens’ Curse

There is a myth on Jade, of a creature that can boil your blood. 

King Lowen’s wife, Gal’adryl, has fallen under the spell of a disease with no cure. He will stop at nothing to restore her, even if that means capturing the deadly creature, the Vullen. 

Travel into the world of Jade where Deities roam, Seers hide, and blood thirsty creatures lurk in the darkness.

The Deities Touch

No one sees them. Except him. Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00074]

Rhyme Sulstic talks to Deities. Forced to leave his sister in an abusive home, fifteen-year-old Rhyme finds himself in Glimma village with nothing more than a staff.

Zare warriors are a dying breed. Rhyme longs to learn the forgotten art more than anything. How can he break through the people of Glimma and learn to wield the weapon he was given?

Glossmer

In a world where Deities walk unseen, Vullens are lore, and Wolfinics do not exist, Rhyme Sulstic, a boy who sees Deities, is struggling to overcome the haunting of these invisible souls. Untrained in the ways of the light, he seeks counsel through a mysterious Deity, named Venna, whose erratic behavior sets him on edge. The simple staff made out of Glossmer wood holds a powerful secret that even the Deities of the Dredge Forest are afraid of. What secrets will unfold as Rhyme deepens his quest?

Author Note: This is the first half of an epic fantasy novella series I am writing put into one book. I hope my fans enjoy these novellas as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. There is still more to come! So keep watching for them! Find me on Facebook for updates about Book 4: Cloaked.

 

Quickies

 1. Dog or Cat? Dog
2. Favorite color? Green
3. Favorite junk food? Dark Chocolate
4. Favorite musician? Kim Walker
5. Favorite curse word? Haha…um none
6. Favorite quote? The brave don’t live forever, but the cautious never live at all.
7. Rolaids or Tums? Tums
8. Short or Tall? Short
9. Favorite body part? Eyes
10. Favorite holiday? Christmas

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“Damn Straight” with Francis James Franklin

Welcome, welcome, welcome! Today begins the newest project I have. I’ll be posting interviews, guest posts and author spotlights every Monday throughout the 2014 year. For the first part of the year, I’ve decided to specifically focus on LGBT writers, meaning either the writer is LGBT or the novels/stories they write have main LGBT characters. This is  very small niche of which I am a part of–on both sides of that spectrum. I just wanted to represent. Now to the fun part.

 I’d like to introduce you all to Francis James Franklin! He’s from the other side of the pond, but due to the wonders that are the interwebs, he has joined us today. Today he writes about LGBTness and what that means to him.

***

“Damn Straight”cover-small

In 1996 (I think) I went with a friend to the London Pride event. It was a great day. Gina G. was on stage singing ‘Ooh, aah, just a little bit’ (like I believe she was made to do again in Stockholm this year). One of the speakers that day made a remark along the lines of: ‘10% of people are gay, 10% are straight, and all the rest are bisexual!’ At which I cheered.

My friend looked at me, baffled, and asked, ‘Why did you cheer?’ The implied question, of course, being, ‘Are you saying you’re bisexual?’

Am I? No! I’m 100% straight, a.k.a., ‘damn straight’. Or maybe 99.5% straight – but I’m rounding up.

And yet… In my imagination, and in my writing, there are no restrictions on my gender or on my sexual and romantic orientations. In my first novel, Kings of Infinite Space, or: The Quest for Alina Meridon, the main character’s gender and orientations change during the course of the story. My second novel, Suzie and the Monsters – a fairytale of blood, sex and inhumanity…, features two characters whose romantic and sexual orientations differ, while Suzie herself is pansexual (or possibly omnisexual).

I’ve never questioned my gender. I am a man… but what is a man? There are so many characteristics of appearance and behaviour that we (most of us) identify instinctively as masculine or feminine. If a man has feminine characteristics, is he less than a man? Or if a woman has masculine characteristics, is she less than a woman? Should gender archetypes be limited to Conan the Barbarian and Cinderella?

cover-suzie-smallFor the first six weeks of our existence our gender is undifferentiated. Thereafter, a soup of hormones influences our development, minor fluctuations in the concentration of androgens affecting the way our minds and bodies grow. Is it any surprise that gender identity and expression, and sexual and romantic orientations, don’t always correlate with chromosomal expectations?

I am a man. Yet I read Cosmopolitan, I am quite opinionated about shoes, I have almost no interest in sport, I love reading and writing about strong heroines that don’t need to be rescued by a man… Gender inequalities trouble me, and I love stories that overturn traditional (patriarchal) gender roles.

I find the idea of gender shifts very seductive. As a teenager devouring science fiction and fantasy, two gender-shifting visions had a huge impact on me. Iain Banks’s Culture series is a utopia where gender (and, in fact, all aspects of physical nature) can be changed at will. John Varley’s Steel Beach is a society in crisis where new bodies are purchased and, to some extent, follow fashion trends; where for some people sexual orientation depends on their current gender, and for others it doesn’t.

In real life, I am a heterosexual man. In my writing I am most comfortable writing as a woman. And since attraction to women is something I understand, it’s natural for my female characters to share that passion.

So, why did I cheer? Because I believe most people don’t exist at the extremes of homo- and heterosexuality, that social conditioning forces us to take sides in a war of identity that shouldn’t exist. But perhaps also it’s because the bisexual woman in me isn’t just a fantasy…

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About Francis James Franklin

By day I’m a university lecturer and researcher. By night I’m an author. I was born in England, grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland, and live now in Newcastle upon Tyne with my beautiful wife and daughter.

Over on my blog,I publish short stories and poetry, publish the occasional review, and discuss vampires and sexuality.

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LGBT Giveaway

Francis has also graciously allowed me to do a giveaway for two of his stories. So click the “Giveaway” icon to enter to win either An Aromantic Romance or Quantum Sex. Next week we will have an interview with Jaye McKenna. She has graciously donated a copy of Human Frailties, Human Strengths for the giveaway.

Jumping in, two feet forward

I feel as though I’m completely jumping into part of the market world. I’ve signed and paid for my first ad to be placed (no, I’m not saying where or how much–maybe if it works or does work, there will be another post on that). I’ve been doing a lot of giveaways with eBooks and even a few with printed copies.

What I’ve found is this. I have no clue if my sales have increased. I should know at the start of next month. This month I got a whopping $6 on royalties. Which isn’t bad, considering it could have been $0 and the book has been out for nine months with little to no promotion! I have to say, it’s done far better than I thought it would.

But I have bigger expectations for Dying Embers. I want it to sell more, and I want it to help sell more of Forever Burn. The question that remains is just how to do that. From everything that I’ve read, discoverability of the book and of me is supposed to be far more important than sales. I supposed that’s because if people can find you, they will buy you–so the two are actually related.

In order to achieve this discoverability thing that I keep reading about, I jumped head first into a lot of giveaways. I upped the ante to try and get facebook likes as well as twitter followers. I’m ignoring sales and trying solely to be “around.” I think it might have actually worked.

Starting the second week in November, I’ve participated in about 3 or 4 giveaways as well as some other promos for other authors. It’s suggested on twitter that 5 out of ever 6 tweets for promotion should be about other people, not me. I’ve upped that, and my own promotions on twitter. I’m also still on there writing random things as I usually do.

There is a giveaway going on right now, Morgan Jane’s 2500 Likes Giveaway that I think has given me the most Facebook likes. I went from a mere 167 to well over 500 in the span of about 3 weeks. I’m still in shock over it. I’m also participating in Diane Rinella’s giveaway. For this I just did the post on the 6th as an author spotlight for her. Likewise, today I spent an hour on This Redhead LOVES Books page on Facebook doing a giveaway of Dying Embers and talking up my books. I’m also participating in a Strong Women in Fiction Giveaway that came up and I couldn’t resist it. I’ve done a guest post and provided a print copy of Forever Burn for it. Likewise, I’m also doing my own giveaway right now, for the pleasure of having achieved 500 likes on my Facebook author page.

It seems that I have jumped in with both feet into the marketing world. I was very hesitant to market at first and to take any risks. I didn’t know at all what I was doing or what I should be doing. Back in March–when Forever Burn was released–I don’t think I even really knew what a guest post was! I certainly didn’t know how to use raffelcopter. The learning curve for marketing has been steep and sharp, as well as having lots of rapids on the way. But something my mother always taught me when rafting down the river was to keep two feet forward–that way you only break your legs when you crash into something and not your head.

So, upon taking her advice, which she certainly did not intend for the writing world, I have jumped two feet forward into the waters of marketing, and I’m letting the current and rapids take me where they go. The theory remains the same. If I push my discoverability rather than sales, then the sales will come as a result of being found. The likelihood that my sales go up because more people actually know about the book seems rather logical (I think Spock would even like that answer).

So, ttfn folks, I hope you see me before I see you!

Love’s Forbidden Flower — Diane Rinella

*** Please note: This is a New Adult Romance novel involving
two siblings who struggle with their emotions. This is not a work of
erotica.***

The heart cares not what society forbids.
Lily nurtures a secret love for a flawless man—the one who is her soul mate.
Donovan is gorgeous, charismatic, and delights in all of Lily’s talents and
quirks. Their innate knowledge of each other is almost telepathic. Together
they interlock like fine threads creating luxurious silk.
But society dictates this picture-perfect adoration is the ghastliest of all
possibilities.
As Lily embarks on a quest for the romance the heavens intended, her suitor
turns reluctant. Desperate to uncover why Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hiding decayed
from a tender-hearted gentleman into a ferociously self-serving, cocky bastard,
Lily is prepared for battle when it comes to the salvation of her soul mate.
However, Donovan traps Lily in a mental game of chess, leaving her to question
his sanity. When Lily’s revelations about Donovan’s destructive alter ego lead
to an inconceivable truth, can she help Donovan survive fate’s cruel joke?
Impassioned, witty, and deeply moving, Love’s Forbidden Flower is filled with
stunning controversies that will forever haunt your heart.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16181908-love-s-forbidden-flower?ac=1
Click HERE to read chapter
one of Love’s Forbidden Flower!

 

 Amazon
Smashwords 

Society’s torch only illuminates our path.
Very disturbing or somewhat intriguing? That is the question Donovan asks
himself over his soul mate’s latest idea for bedroom antics. Undecided, he
enters into a bet. If Lily wins, Donovan will become a willing participant in
an unsettling new adventure. If she loses… Well, does Donovan really want her
to lose?
Love’s Erotic Flower is an erotic, stand-alone, short story featuring the
characters from the controversial New Adult Romance novel, Love’s Forbidden
Flower. This piece is approximately 8000 words.
Warning: This title contains graphic language and raunchy sexual situations. It
is intended for those 18 years of age and older.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18217787-love-s-erotic-flower
 Amazon

 Smashwords  

An eternity of passion cannot
be quelled by society.
 

Once upon a time Donovan assured Lily all of her dreams would come true. But
how could he keep the promise of a fairy tale when her truest goals could not
involve him, though her deepest desires did? Now, Lily has it all—love,
passion, a family, and the career of her dreams—with Christopher. But something
is lacking. She and Donovan have spent the last ten years living apart, and the
soul mates are eager to reunite. Can Donovan keep his promise to give Lily all
she desires, even with Christopher in the way?


For Lily and Donovan, the past is a mirror to
the future that cannot be shattered.
 

Donovan is convinced Lily has been his love for all eternity. Determined to
unravel the past, they embark on a journey to discover where it all began. For
centuries Donovan has stolen Lily’s heart while forced to suffer for his love.
How much can a soul endure before the breaking point is reached and a monster
emerges? Can the demons of the past be combated to pave the way for happiness
in the next life? Or has the abuse suffered in this life already turned Donovan
hell bound? Time and again, one woman has destroyed their happiness. It’s time
to silence her once and for all.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17339474-time-s-forbidden-flower

The light of the alarm clock
covers my face in a soft glow while its progressing numbers remind me
that life is passing by. Finally, Christopher’s breath deepens into a
low snore. Like a paranoid ninja I slip out of bed and head down the
stairs.
Is the frigidity of the knob on
the library door brought about by the weather outside, or the
betrayal I feel stepping through this portal, knowing a letter from a
former lover awaits?
Grabbing the designated book off
of the shelf, excitement and apprehension course through my nervous
system. Hidden in the section on making gum paste lilies is a sheet
of stationary that bares an uncanny resemblance to the stationary on
which I once wrote letters to Donovan, sharing in the madness of an
alternate reality.

To My Lovely Lady,

You are, and will always be,
the force that drives and inspires me. On my brightest days, you are
the warmth that shines upon me. In the darkest nights, you provide
the voice that soothes me. Because of you I face each day knowing who
I am and the good I bring into the world. Because of you, I am whole.

Until the end of forever,

Donovan

Placing the book back on the
shelf, I head for the family room, unable to bring myself to return
to Christopher. Curling up on the sofa I turn on the TV where the A
Christmas Story
marathon continues. Quickly I change the channel,
only to return to it, and then flee again. Finally I settle on an
infomercial, staring blankly, striving to force myself into panic
over the details of the New Year’s Eve party to come. The diversion
proves to be a terrible idea. This will be the first New Year’s Eve
Donovan and I have spent together since we split. How do I move past
the impending pain of the night while finding a way to heal?

“Cannoli,” I softly mutter aloud. “I’ll switch from cream
puffs to cannoli. Maybe I should stuff the cream puffs with cannoli
filling…”

Enjoying San Francisco as a backdrop, the ghosts in Diane’s 150-year old Victorian home
augment the chorus in her head. With insomnia as their catalyst, these voices
have become multifarious characters that haunt her well into the sun’s crowning
hours, refusing to let go until they have manipulated her into succumbing to
their whims. Her experiences as an actress, business owner, artisan cake
designer, software project manager, Internet radio disc jockey, vintage rock n’
roll journalist/fan girl, and lover of dark and quirky personalities influence
her idiosyncratic writing.

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Goodreads

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A day for the future…

Today is one of those days that I will forever remember. December 1, 2013 marks so many milestones in my life that to put one above the other is completely impossible. There are two very important ones that I want to talk about.

Family is something extremely important to me. Most people don’t know, and they don’t ever assume, that someone doesn’t really have family. Sure, I have family, meaning I have aunts and uncles and cousins and at least one grandparent who is still alive, but they all live over a thousand miles from me. I am literally all on my own in the great state of Texas.

My mother and I moved to what I call my hometown in 2001, and it was about two years later that we met one family in particular. Ever since then, they are my family. We have holiday meals when them, and when I come home, that’s who I stay with. They are the family that I was never able to have. I never lived close enough in order to have them.

On Wednesday, I flew halfway across the country—which is no easy feat—to meet up with my family. I was able to spend Thanksgiving with them, but that’s not why I was there. Today is why I was there. Today I became an official part of the family. My very good friend had twins on July 18, and she asked me to be their godmother. I couldn’t have been more honored and blessed.

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I’m charged with raising them in Christ and teaching them about Christianity and Scripture, about the church and about God’s love. I’m going to take that even further. I’m going to teach them about interreligious dialogue, about conversing with the other and about finding one’s self in someone that can’t possibly be related to. I’m going to teach them how to be independent and strong, how to strive for their dreams and to work hard and play harder. I’m going to teach them to love above all else and to love those who are in need.

Today my twin godsons were baptized in the name of God, Son, and Holy Spirit—and I couldn’t be happier to finally be a part of the family.

The second amazing thing about today is that my second novel, Dying Embers, is being released. I had never planned on writing this book until I was completely done with Forever Burn. I couldn’t let the characters go and there were still aspects of their story that needed to be told.

I felt so compelled by these characters and their stories that I just had to continue writing them. I finished the novel itself in thirteen days and the majority of the editing over the next six weeks. It was something that I was amazed even with myself—I don’t think I’ll ever write a book that quickly again.

This novel represents something that I worked hard to achieve, something that I dreamed and worked toward, and something that I want my godsons to see as representative of something they can do.

So please take the time to check out Dying Embers and order yourself a copy. I appreciate any and all reviews so long as they aren’t bashing. So if you love it, write an amazing review. If you don’t like it, tell me why. Only good reviews never help an author improve and never help them to keep their head on straight in the line of possible fame. =P

 Dying Embers Blog Page (includes blurb and buy links)

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Crashing into the atmosphere!

Tomorrow marks the first day of my blog tour for Dying Embers. There will be interviews, excerpts posted and spotlights all over the internet! Well, at least a small portion of the internet. I can’t tell you how excited I am for this book to come out (in both senses of that term).

Dying Embers is the prequel to Forever Burn, which came out last March. It was written with a very specific purpose in mind. Let’s get to know Addison Lee far more than we did in Forever Burn. Addison turned out to be one of my favorite characters in this series, and I just couldn’t let her go after Forever Burn happened. She even makes an appearance in Ashes Fall, the third and final of this trilogy. delg

At the beginning of this novel, Addison is a bit lost. She’s making a move to a new city, new state, new job, and away from everything that she thought had been dragging her down. She thinks that as soon as she gets to Norwich everything is going to be better. She won’t be dealing with her old job and other people who have gifts like her, and most importantly, that she won’t be dealing with her nasty ex-fiance.

Well, leaving everything behind is far harder than Addison thought it would be. After moving, her old boss and sometimes-lover, keeps calling her to ask for help. Her new job is demanding, and not only that, but she made a massive mistake before she even started.

Throughout all of the chaos, she’s falling in love and trying to find herself at the same time. Addison is almost there when tragedy strikes, and she is forced to head home to Wyoming to help out. Nothing goes quite right for Addison throughout her first few months in Norwich, and she does her best just to keep afloat. definal3d-300x300

This story was something that was on my mind as soon as I finished Forever Burn. The characters were people I wanted to be my friends, people who were so alive that I couldn’t just cut off all ties with them and move on to my next group of friends. The process of creating was something I had latched onto and couldn’t let go.

I do want to talk a bit about this writing process (and the editing process). It seems to be one of the questions I see floating around the interwebs the most. Writing and editing for every author is a completely different process, and we all go about it in a different way. I tend to write very quickly. I have the story in my head and it’s just “Go! Go! Go!” until the story is done. Editing is where I spend most of my time.

For Dying Embers, I sent it through an amazing site called Project Team Beta. Two beta readers go through each chapter and give constructive feedback. When I’m ready and after a certain amount of chapters, I am allowed to choose permanent beta readers. I have one beta reader that I always use. Her name is Amy, and she’s awesome. Amy is meticulous in finding grammatical errors, something I am eternally appreciative of. (Amy is actually the first day on the blog tour.)

After I do my first round of edits after the beta readers get it, I do a second round. Then I print everything out and put it into a notebook. Once I finish all of my chapter edits, I take the notebook and a brightly colored pen and have at it. This time, though, I start from the back and I go through each sentence individually. At this point, I’m simply looking for typos, and you’d be surprised by how many I still find. (Sometimes I think I make more typos when I edit.)

Once all of this is done, I send it to my publisher. At that point (with this particular novel), we went through two more rounds of edits. It went through an editor and then back to me. Then back to the editor, then back to me. AND THEN we finally arrive at the final copy. I guarantee as soon as I get to see the final version in print, I will still find things that I want to change. I’m never completely happy, but I can’t keep it all to myself either.

Dying Embers was an exercise in my ability to write quickly. And I’m quite pleased with the final results. I hope you enjoy it too!

Blog Tour ScheduleFinalistSM-1

Nov 20: Amy
Nov 21: Autumn
Nov 23: Kirsten
Nov 25: Sarah
Nov 26: Samantha
Nov 28: Anna
Nov 29: Sirena

Dying Embers will be released on December 1, 2013. Right now, it is available for pre-order at Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and Kobo.

WIPpet Wednesday and NaNoWriMo update! November 6, 2013

Howdy!

I have goodies for you! We have a WIPpet excerpt from Fallen from Grace (the one I have been doing), and we have a NaNoWriMo update!! Because the update is quicker, we’ll start with that (don’t ask me why I’m typing in the plural…I have no clue why).

I was off to a slow start with NaNoWriMo due to work obligations, but my boyfriend is amazingly awesome. Both on Monday and Tuesday he came with me to two write-ins (the ones I host) and sat there patiently while I typed away. I managed to get up to 19842 words total! That means I’m about one day ahead of where I want to be. My goal for NaNoWriMo is 90,000 words! That’s right, 90,000 or somewhere close to when this novel should be completed. That means I have to average 3,000 words a day. It’s insane. I know.

So I’m at just about 20k words, and I’ve completed three chapters and prologue in that. The chapter titles are awesome, though I still thing the titles for For by Grace might be a bit better. I’m definitely struggling with this piece. It’s the first time I’ve done a series with an overarching story arc that expands ALL of the novels. Meaning, I have to make sure everything is explained and so and so forth.

Anyway…onto WIPpet. If you don’t know what WIPpet is, I’ll tell you. It’s an awesome little thing that a bunch of us do, where you post an excerpt from your current WIP (Work In Progress) that somehow relates to the date. If you don’t have a current WIP, then you can start a brand new one. Once you do that amazingness, you go here and link up with everyone’s WIPpets. THEN you go and read everyone’s (or as many as you can) and comment with some good stuff. We’re all comment WHORES, so make it good. =P

Today I have for you an excerpt from Fallen from Grace, which is the sequel to For by Grace AND my current NaNoWriMo novel. Here we go… My crazy math for today is this. 1 + 1 + 1 + 3 = 6 x 0 = 0 + 6 + 2 = 8 for a total of eight paragraphs from chapter two, which is aptly titled “Fight Club”

“Get out of the room!” she called to all the kids in there except the ones fighting.

Pulling out her pepper spray, Grace started to shake it as she tried to step in between the two boys. The other kids started to file out quickly, and Grace took the only chance she could get. She lifted the tab on the top of the spray can and depressed the button. A stream of white liquid squirted out and in the general direction of the boy’s faces.

Grace held her breath, waiting for the onslaught of pepper spray to hit her as well. The boys stopped fighting and rolled away from each other. Grace grabbed one of them and dragged him out of the room by the back of his shirt. He was clutching at his face in a vain attempted to get the OC spray off of him. Grace ignored him and went into the small confined room for the other one.

She pulled him out kicking and screaming and rammed him against the opposite wall of the other one. She holstered her OC can and stared at them, still waiting for the OC mist to catch up with her and affect herself. Since both of the kids had stopped fighting, Grace let out a breath.

“What the hell was that?”

“OC,” she answered. “And your name is?”

“Danny,” the blond one answered.

Grace smirked and set her hands on her hips. Danny clung to his face, trying to wipe the spray from his eyes. It would only make it worse for him in the long run, but Grace wasn’t about to inform him of that. The punishment of touching his dick after touching his face that had been covered in OC would be enough to warrant her silence and to keep him from attempting to fight in the locker room again.

 

There you have it. And thanks to the awesome and amazing K. L. Schwengel for hosting this each and every week (even when she’s traveling).

WIPpet Wednesday!! October 30, 2013

I love Halloween. I love Pumpkins. I absolutely love pumpkins more than Halloween. Recently my boyfriend and I adopted a little girl husky. I say little, but she’s almost 50lbs, so she’s not that little (sorry for those who don’t use our weight system, but I’m way too lazy this morning to convert it for you). We named her Roslin after Laura Roslin in Battlestar Galactica! She’s a total sweetheart, calmest dog ever, so well trained, and just over a year old. She was found on the streets as a stray. Go figure.

So beyond that amazing sidenote. Still struggling. Will push through. Hating work right now. =P Awesome. Now, onto the WIPpet.

If you would like to join in! Please do! Write a post with your current WIP (Work In Progress) that somehow correlates with the date. Feel free to get really creative with the math. Since I’m in the process of not writing *cough* I chose to yet again write for ten minutes and post what I had. This is a direct continuation of last week and the week before. So if you want, go look those up! Once you write your post, then go link it up with the rest of them here. Make sure to read and comment on as many posts as you can. We’re all attention and “review” whores, so it makes us feel fantabulous when you do it.

Grace just got smashed into the car by the punk, remember? Well…here’s some more of Grace’s really horrible and not good day. (I title these chapters, so I really do need to come up with some good titles. Feel free to give suggestions!)

Grace popped four ibuprofen as soon as she sat back in her cruiser, glowering the entire time. If this was any indication about her day, then it was not going to be a good one. She rubbed her leg where the punk had kicked her and winced. Four months prior she’d broken her leg in an attempt on her life. A bad guy in a stolen cruiser had run her off the road, spinning her vehicle five times before she rolled to a stop.

Shaking her head, Grace stared at Toulouse’s car. The punk was nestled in the back seat and the punk’s mama was being arm wrestled down the road toward her. Apparently in her lapse of judgment, leaving the scene meant she would have to take the woman down to the jail. Growling low and in the back of her throat, Grace got out of her cruiser and unlocked the backseat.

“Any way I can get out of this?” she asked Toulouse.

“Nope.”

Rolling her eyes, Grace helped shove the woman in the back seat. After a brief pause and Toulouse leaving, Grace leaned over the open door and spoke to the large whale-like woman.

“Ma’am. I want you to listen closely. I’m taking you down to the jail.”

“Oh no you ain’t.”

“I’m taking you down to the jail and arresting you for domestic assault. Any other questions and the corrections officers will answer them.”

Before the woman could speak again, Grace slammed the door shut and spun on her heel, ignoring the spark of pain in her leg. If she could give off the perception of being strong, then she was strong. She was just about to turn to Toulouse to ask him a question when a Ford F150 turned the corner and gunned its engine.

Stepping back, Grace glared as it started to come closer and passed their vehicles without even slowing down. She scoffed and turned to follow the trucks progress. It made it to the end of the block, not stopping at the stop sign and speeding away. The two other officers that had arrived jumped into their cruisers and missed it.

Grace’s eyes widened as she watched the six-year-old black boy dodge out into the street without looking. Her heart thudded hard in her chest and the back of her head, and she tripped over her boot as she took the first step forward. Grabbing for her radio against her shoulder, Grace depressed the button and called for paramedics.

The truck didn’t stop. Grace started forward, running as fast as she could down the street. The two cruisers took off after the suspect and were completely out of sight by the time Grace made it to the gasping boy. She pressed her hands against his cheeks and stared at him fully in the face.

“I got you, kid,” she whispered and started to analyze his injuries.

Broken leg for sure. His thigh was pressed at an awkward angle, jutting out from his body toward the sidewalk he had just run from. Blood leaked slowly from his nose and quickly from a cut on the side of his head. His arm was broken; Grace felt the break when she ran her fingers along his oily skin.

“You’re going to be okay,” she muttered.

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Struggles and WIPpet Wednesday! October 23, 2013

I’m going to be brutally honest in this post. I’m struggling. It’s not just that I’m struggling with writing, because I am, but I’m also struggling financially. Writing isn’t my main income; simply, it can’t be. I in no way make enough to live off it, so my writing has been pushed the back burner.

I’m a full-time student, and this semester I was forced to max out on credits (has to do with requirements and when things are being offered). Three of those classes are history classes, meaning I’m bogged down with reading and papers. This week alone I have three papers due. Next week I have three papers due. On top of this, I work two part-time jobs. I work at a church; it’s supposed to be 10-15 hours a week, but it usually turns into 20-25 hours a week. They pay me gas money, but since this is also related to school, I can’t go and quit.

Secondly, I’m a freelance copy-editor. I usually average one novel to edit a month. However, me editing a novel doesn’t necessarily mean that someone pays me. While I ask for 25% of the fee upfront before I even start editing, people often push back paying me the rest of it. This is currently happening with a client. I’m struggling because I need the money, but I know (at least if  said person is honest) that the client doesn’t have it to pay me right now. Copy-editing is my primary source of income. Sure I have loans and the income from the church, but on average I live off about $800 a month ($500 of that is actual income, the rest is loans). That’s it.

Most people, I don’t think, really get that. That $800 includes rent and utilities, gas and food and anything else that I need during the month. It’s tough being a student, and it’s tough working two part-time jobs that don’t really pay and one where clients can just walk out on me without paying.

In the meantime, between school and church and copy-editing, I write. Or at least I’m supposed to be writing. I have four books coming out in the next year and plans to have books coming out in 2015, but I haven’t written any of them yet. Since September, I think I’ve maybe sat down four or five times to actually write. Writing has always been an outlet of stress for me, and since this semester started, I haven’t been able to do it at all.

We all struggle, and these are only a few of the big things that I’m working through right now. In this day and age, it’s hard to be a full-time student and pay for school. I get no help in bills from parentals, and most people assume that all parents help their children. Well, I got help as a undergraduate to a very small extent, but as a graduate student, it’s all on me. As a graduate student, I’m supposed to be able to live independently and still be able to provide for everything that I need.

Meanwhile, I’m supposed to have a life, have a boyfriend who I actually spend time with, have time to watch television shows that are just airing for the first time, have time to sleep and play with my crazy kittens. It’s just not feasible. So what is it that I’m doing wrong? And how do I fix is so that I can survive in this world I’ve been thrust into?

Now…aside from the struggles, I’m going to share a WIPpet today. I just wrote it. Or will write it in about two seconds.

WIPpet is where you post your current WIP (Work in Progress). Make sure that what you post relates somehow to the date and then link it up with the rest of them. Go read and share the love! Today I wrote for ten minutes for the month of October…I was in class while writing this. Shhh…don’t tell the prof!

Grace’s heart started to pound as the waddling whale got even closer to where she stood. She glanced back and saw Toulouse stood dumbfounded behind her with the punk in tow. The punk’s jaw had dropped and his dark cheeks had a rosy-purplish tint to them.

“His mama,” Grace muttered and took another two steps forward. “Ma’am!”

She didn’t listen. She pushed past Grace and straight to her son. “What you doin’, boy?”

“Oh Mama, I ain’t do nothin’, you know that.”

“I swear to you, don’t lie to me again, boy.”

The punk straightened his shoulders and strained his arms against Toulouse’s hold. Grace skittered over behind the woman and tried to get her attention, but there was nothing she could do.

“Mama, I said, I ain’t doin’ nothing’. These motherfuckers—”

The smack rang throughout the street. Grace wrapped both her arms around the woman’s upper arm and held on as she ripped her hand forward, smacking her child again. Toulouse tugged the punk backward and shoved him into the open car before turning on the woman. Grace had her leg around one of the woman’s large thighs as she tried to knock the heavy woman onto the ground.

Toulouse jumped onto the woman’s back, gripping her hand as they went down. The woman face planted onto the asphalt, wailing out as the air rushed from her lungs. Grace’s head hit the street and then bounced into the tire as she was thrown from the woman’s body. Toulouse was still on top of the woman as Grace shook her head, trying to clear the black spots.

The punk stepped out of the vehicle, crunching his foot down onto Grace’s leg. She cried out in pain before fisting her hand and gritting her teeth. Grace caught a flash of dark blue as two other officers raced over. One wrenched the punk out of the backseat, pulling him through the vehicle backward and the other jumped down to help Toulouse.

Grace rolled over onto her side and grimaced, the pain still radiating through her body, up her leg into her hip and up to her shoulder. She took deep huffing breaths as she tried to work through each passing second. Tears leaked out of her eyes as she scrunched them shut. Sound disappeared as she focused on shoving any bubbling hurt back down and away from her body.

A hand on her arm caused her to pause, and she took two deep breaths before she pried her eyes open. The punk was nowhere in sight, and his mama was sprawled on the ground ten feet away, hands twisted behind her back with cuffs on and her skirt around her waist. Grace released her muscles and melted into the asphalt. Toulouse’s eyes were above as she nodded at him.

“You okay?” he asked.

“Yeah…just dandy,” she replied and rolled onto her back, hitting the tire of his cruiser. “Just fucking dandy.”

 

Tiaras, crowns and the royal throne!

I thought that I should give you all an update on what’s going on book-wise. I’ve been posting excerpts for awhile now, but I think a succinct post on them all might be helpful.

To bring it all down to the basics, I’ve been editing a lot lately and not writing. This has got to change. I don’t know if it’s because I’m in a slump or just because I wrote so much in the past that now I have to catch up with all my editing, but it seems to be overwhelming. While I love editing for other people, I also enjoy writing. I want to find a good balance. Since NaNoWriMo is coming up, my balance is still going to be off. I’ve taken an oath to do NO editing during that month.

For specific novel updates…

Dying Embers will be released on December 1st. It’s all ready and set to go. I will have a blog tour going on for the last week in November for this. If you are interested in participating (which would be awesome since I need at least three more people), you can go here and fill out the form. I’ll send everything pretty soon. Dying Embers is the prequel to Forever Burn and looks more closely at Addison and how she got to Norwich.

For by Grace is in it’s second editing stage. I’m in theory going through that this week *snorts and giggles* It’s not actually happening though. Maybe in the next two weeks. This novel is one I’m really excited about. It’s scheduled to come out June 1, 2014 with Supposed Crimes. So excited! I just picked the cover, and I’m waiting on the final proofs for it. It’s gonna kick some ass. Likewise, during NaNoWriMo, I will be writing the sequel to this novel titled Fallen from Grace.

Ashes Fall is in the first editing stages. I’ve gotten it back from my beta’s and just need to take the time to go through it. It’s not scheduled for release until September 1, 2014, so I do have some time. My guess is that I’ll be editing it over Christmas break…you know, when I don’t have that pesky thing called school to take up all of my time.

Across Worlds: Collision is in the final, final stages. My cohort and I need to go through it one more time before it goes back to the publisher. It’ll be released, hopefully, sometime next year. This is our first erotica novel, and it’s co-written, which made it tons of fun and a great experience.

Emma’s Story, which still doesn’t have a name and I really do need to name it, is still in the process of being written. I will be taking a break from it in order to write Fallen from Grace in November. I’m hoping to have this novel done and completely edited by May of next year. I would love to be able to take it to DFWCon and perhaps meet with an agent over it. If not, I’m not going to cry. I have a publisher and I love her dearly.

 

That’s the quick and dirty update. Now to bring the title of the post in, I’ll be going to my throne room and disappearing into some much needed royal work! ttfn.

 

WIPpet Wednesday!! October 9, 2013

Wow…I really just tried to write July for the date! I will not be joining next week because I will be on a mini getaway with my boyfriend. I so need it. I’m only getting one day off for about 6 weeks straight. Feel free to come kidnap me! So long as fun things happen after the initial kidnapping and I’m not allowed home or near a computer.

Since I haven’t had much time to write, due to work and work and school, I’ll be giving you the next few lines from what I shared last week. I did cheat a bit as this will be my NaNoWriMo piece, but I’ll definitely hit more than 50k words in the one month, so I think I’m safe.

Here’s how WIPpet works. Take an excerpt from your current Work In Progress and post it in a blog. The excerpt must in some way related to the date. And feel free to get VERY creative with the math. Then share that blog with everyone else here and read all the other amazing posts!!

Here’s mine for this week. Taking off from last week, which you can find here, Grace continues to deal with the punk. I have 25 paragraphs (they’re short I promise). My math is this: 10 + 9 +2 + 1 +3 = 25

Climbing up and onto his back, she dug her knee into his spine and grasped for his hand, the knife blade flying out. Pulling her fingers into a fist, she smashed it down onto his wrist until he let go and cried out.

“Get off me, bitch!”

“Stop resisting!” Grace shouted back, seeing red as the punk tried to wiggle his way loose from under her.

She moved up his body and rested her forearm against the back of his neck, working his face into the gravel. He cried out in pain, but Grace didn’t let up. She wouldn’t until his body completely relaxed and he decided to cooperate.

“Stop resisting, and I’ll let you up.”

Swallowing hard, Grace looked up to see Toulouse barreling his way down the street to her location. He had left his cruiser at the end of the block, driver’s side door flung open as he ran as fast as he could down the road.

Grace looked back down at her suspect and sneered as he tried to turn her over. She dug her knee farther into his back and put more pressure on his neck.

“A’ight. A’ight. Damn, bitch. I give up.”

Toulouse got to her and landed on the other side of the suspect. Toulouse grabbed for the suspects arm and wrenched it behind his back and pressed his own knee into the man’s back. Grace reached up and twisted the punks other arm back and watched as Toulouse clicked the handcuffs into place.

Grace let out a breath just as another cruiser pulled up. Two doors slammed and Grace knew who was walking over before she had a chance to even look up. The stupid cop that wouldn’t let up on her and his kid of a trainee. She took a deep breath and bolstered herself for any rude comments, sexual or personal, and started to tug the punk up by his cuffs.

“Got it all handled, Halling?”

If he hadn’t been facing her, Grace would have sneered. “Yes, it’s all handed. Thanks for the assist.”

She turned back to Toulouse and headed toward his cruiser to do the pat down. She knew the three men were giving each other nasty looks behind her back due to their silence, but she ignored them and kept on walking with the punk in front of her.

“You fucking tackled me! I’m gonna report this to your sup. Excessive force is what it is.”

“Shut up,” Grace muttered.

She shoved him against the back of the cruiser and spun him around. She patted down his arms and sides, deciding to wait for Toulouse to come back over for the rest of the pat down. A quick glance over her shoulder told her that he was already coming back.

“Got any needles on you? Anything sharp that’s going to poke me?”

The punk spit on the ground and growled. “None of your business.”

He pursed his lips and lifted his chin. Grace rolled her eyes and tugged on his cuffs to make her point. She didn’t want to get pricked if she could help it, and she was sure Toulouse would agree.

“It’s only going to be harder on you if you don’t cooperate.”

The punk didn’t respond.

“What we got, Halling?”

“Nothing yet. I only did the top half of the pat down, figured you could do the rest. You know, that whole man to man thing.” Grace smirked and stepped back when Toulouse grabbed hold of the handcuffs.

Before Grace could take three steps, an angry black woman came charging down the road, barefoot and braless. Grace immediately stepped between the punk, Toulouse, and the angry woman.

The woman was screaming so loudly with a hoarse and deep voice that Grace couldn’t understand a word she said. Every two steps the woman had to heave a breath as she waddled her large body closer and closer to the punk.

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