Friday, December 30, 2005
RELEASED TODAY! CONTEST COMING!
One of Changeling Press's sizzling Hot Flashes, perfect for a short read by a roaring fire on New Year's Eve!
Click on the cover art to get your copy! Buy it, read it, and post your answers to these questions as comments:
1) Whose murder is Aggie, newly promoted to lieutenant in the Sarasota homicide squad, investigating?
2) Why is she seeking the advice of ancient vampire Aleric Dunric?
3) What makes you think these two have met before in other lives?
The readers who've posted the best answers (in my opinion--hey, I wrote the story, so I should be a pretty good judge) by midnight January 15, 2006 will win a download--their respective choices of my available electronic books.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
After a week and a half of learning to love us, and a day at the vet’s getting shots and neutering, Zippy is no longer ours. No, he didn't die; he came through the surgery like a champ, and was curled up on his favorite chair recuperating when the troublemaking kid who’d left him with her parents—the owners of the dogs who killed Happy—showed up at our door, swearing Zippy belonged to her and that she’d left him in her mother’s care while celebrating the holidays with her live-in boyfriend and their two children. (This is a girl who's caused us nothing but headaches for years--she was into stealing as a teenager to support her drug habit, along with trying to corrupt our own wild-child who did well enough on her own and didn't need help-- I guess the trouble never ends, no matter how old your kids and their acquaintances become!)
So…we’re now catless again, missing our new friend and hoping his real owner will take care of him. We must assume he *is* hers, since she reimbursed us the cost of his veterinary care when we made that a condition of returning him to her. I only hope she has the mental moxie NOT to leave him again where he’ll be forced to escape in order to avoid the cat-killing dogs her parents keep in their yard.
So goes 2005, out in a flurry of feline activity, some tragic, some just plain annoying, yet worth it for having known and loved our Happy…and Zippy, too, if only for a few short days. Maybe 2006 will be better all around. I certainly hope so.
Don't miss out on the fun of scavenger hunts, running for FORBIDDEN FANTASIES (see link below) beginning January 1... and for the FAERY SEARCH, explained below, where you'll be looking for the lavender faery on the websites of members of the FAERY COURT at RT in Daytona Beach next May!
Happy New Year, happy reading...and happy writing to all my fellow authors!
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Don't miss a chance at winning one of two fabulous baskets of books and other goodies, from the ten bestselling authors who will be part of FORBIDDEN FANTASIES, Ellora's Cave's very first hardcover print-only anthology due out October 2006! The scavenger hunt starts January 1 and runs through February 14, 2006.
It was almost as if Happy sent him to us…
One afternoon last week this kitten appeared at our back door, meowing and looking ever so hopeful that we’d take him in. Who could resist? He’s a playful teenager, glossy and furry and eager to take his place with “his” humans.
We named him Jake the Zipper, and call him Zippy because he is—Jake will become his name when he takes on the dignity of adult cathood. Today Zippy goes for shots…next week he gets neutered, which we hope won’t make him too angry with us. (We hope it will make him not so anxious to explore outdoors where experience tells us a kitty faces all sorts of life-threatening hazards.)
We still miss Happy—he was a special cat who has a special place in our hearts. Zippy has helped us smile again, though. With him has come a very merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah and, we’re certain, a Happy New Year at our house!
Thursday, December 15, 2005
He was just a plain old stray cat who came up in our yard about three years ago. Now he’s dead, victim of his own predeliction for roaming the great outdoors. His name was Happy…and that he was.
It wasn’t that we didn’t invite him inside, because we did. We even bought him one of those clean-itself litter boxes, complete with a tent so he’d have privacy. He tried—he really did—to be satisfied perching on a window and looking out at chirping birds and neighbors’ cats as they invaded “his” territory. But he couldn’t suppress the soul of a wanderer, and eventually he began to dart out at every opportunity. Happy was an outdoor-indoor cat, and he wasn’t satisfied to spend his days in luxurious but boring comfort when there were things to see, a vast domain to explore…unwary birds to chase away and bugs to eradicate when they ventured in his path.
Today he met his fate at the hands of one of our neighbor’s three large, vicious dogs who mauled him, left him broken and in shock yet still able to raise his head and say “Meow” when I called his name and told him a tearful goodbye before the vet gave him that final shot to relieve the awful pain. We could have waited, made certain his wounds wouldn’t heal with days or weeks of intensive care—and we’d have done it but for the certainty that if he recovered he would be neurologically impaired at best, paralyzed at worst. We couldn’t bear the thought of Happy hurting so, and no longer being able to do the things he loved best—and so we gave our permission for him to leave us.
Today our home is not so happy…but through the tears and sadness we’ll always remember the joy one small black cat brought to us for a while. Yes, Happy was just a plain old stray cat, but he had a human mom and dad, two brothers, and a sister who loved him, miss him, and will keep the memories he left us in our hearts forever. Maybe someday I'll be able to bring him back as a character in one of my books--but not now. It hurts too damn much to realize he's gone.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Hmmm. I know May's a long way off, but I can't help getting excited about the Romantic Times convention in Daytona Beach--and being part of the court for the Faery Ball. Good things seem to be happening for lots of us in the court--Cheyenne McCray's become an instant USA TODAY bestseller with her paranormal erotic romance, FORBIDDEN MAGIC. Chey, Sahara Kelly, Jaci Burton and I are all taking part in Ellora's Cave's first hardcover anthology, FORBIDDEN FANTASIES. If I'm not mistaken, there are several court members' names on the EPPIES finalist lists--I know Jaci's a finalist, for one.
I'm thinking about the costume Connie Perry's designing for me... shopping for silk flowers to decorate the tables... fantasizing about Faeryland and getting to see old friends and make new ones at all the fun events that make up an RT convention! If you're going to be there, let me know, and we'll make plans to meet!
Friday, December 09, 2005
Here's the blurb, courtesy of Margaret Riley. If you've listened to me whine over the years, you'll realize writing blurbs and ad copy isn't my forte! I'm told "Bound by Blood" will be released within a week or so--will let you know when it comes out!
Stone Cold killer…
Bodies are turning up on the beach. Bodies with no blood. But the coroners report doesn’t make sense… murder -- by Vampire?
Aggie's a homicide detective. She deals in facts. Facts like dead bodies… not vampires. She doesn’t have time for a personal life -- she can’t take the time to mourn a lost love.
The Ancient Vampire Aleric Dunric sees in Aggie the reincarnation of his own lost love, Grace. He uses his powers of persuasion -- and his resemblance to her lost lover -- to lure Aggie into his bed. But is she the lover he lost -- or his next victim?
Sound interesting? I'd post an excerpt but Margaret's still doing final edits! So...I guess I'll be having a December release after all!
Friday, December 02, 2005
Guess what? I'm not having a December release this year--nothing finished in time, thanks to a wicked little elf family (mine!) that got in the way of my writing schedule! Now I'm looking for some sizzling, steamy erotic romances to get my adrenaline flowing, and I need some help! Are there any authors out there who can give me some news about their books that are coming out between now and New Years' Eve... preferably ones that aren't specifically holiday quickies?? I'll be eternally grateful to find a few hot distractions!
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Well... December 1 is upon us. Holidays and family and shop-til-you-drop. Here's my present for you all...a completely unedited sneak peek at my novella "No Bounds" that's going into the very first all-original PRINT anthology from Changeling Press. ALL WRAPPED UP features all-brand-new stories from USA TODAY bestseller Angela Knight, queen of erotic humor Dakota Cassidy, creator of vampires to die for Kate Hill, and me. Feast your eyes on a mock-up of the gorgeous front cover art by Brian Keller...
No release date yet, but ALL WRAPPED UP should be out early in 2006. Meanwhile check out some of Changeling's finest authors in print, in A CHANGELING FOR ALL SEASONS, available now through Amazon.com and on order from your favorite bookstores!
Now, here's the beginning of "No Bounds," presented with greedy anticipation that you'll want to find out what awaits Cade, and whether or not the sweetly subservient Amber ends up with him...or his reckless sister Ciel.
The year 2150, Federation of Earth
The nervous looking sub met him at the side door of the underground club and practically jerked him inside. “I’m sorry, Master Cade, but when I saw Mistress Ciel had come here with Amber, and I knew Master Dax was already here, I figured there was going to be trouble.”
“No problem, Ellen.” Cade Callender had known the club submissive a long time, had enjoyed her in casual scenes at more upscale clubs during the days before BDSM had been driven underground into seedy locations like this, places too dangerous for any woman to be, let alone his misguided sister. And Amber.
It made his gut tighten, thinking about Amber being in a place like this. Ciel, what are you thinking? He and his sister shared the undeniable drive for sexual Dominance with their respective partners, but since he’d left his wild teenage years behind, he’d learned to be more circumspect. He hadn’t seen he had a choice, considering his father’s position as a governing minister and the growing pressure on him by a strengthening faction of fanatics to outlaw many forms of sexual expression, including BDSM. As a result, Cade had learned to keep his own activities carefully contained, at private parties, where he knew all the players. Since the legislature had outlawed any form of BDSM practices two years ago, he’d become even more circumspect.
Unfortunately Ciel knew no such control, and Amber wasn’t the sort of friend --or submissive --who knew how to say “no”.
Amber. Ciel’s friend since she’d moved in with elderly relatives after her parents had died. Cade’s age, Amber had let the older, more sophisticated Ciel take her under her wing. Many a time Cade had lusted after Amber, but he’d never acted on his feelings because of his sister’s obvious claim. Truth was, as his attraction toward Amber had grown, he’d distanced himself more from Ciel’s social pursuits. Probably a lousy decision, considering the position they all were in right now.
He turned to Ellen. “How long have they been here?”
“About two hours.” Ellen sounded apologetic as she hurried them down the stairs to the underground levels. “I only found out about an hour ago. That was when I called you. They were already in a chamber.”
Oh, shit. Cade remembered this was an abandoned mine, with three tiers below ground and only two exits. One to watch for cops, and the other to use for escape if needed. That is, unless the cops didn’t discover both exits and capture them all like rats in a trap. The place reminded Cade of a dungeon, but not the kind he preferred, set up for the type of pleasure a certain amount of pain might bring out of submissives. This dungeon was more like those used centuries ago, during the Inquisition, where pain was all about pain. Fear. Sweat and blood.
He quickened his pace as the sounds of flogging, the cries of submissives grew ever louder. “How much farther?”
“All the way down, Master.” Ellen started taking steps two at the time, as though the noises were getting to her, too.
Would they make it to Amber and Ciel in time? Cade wanted to strangle his crazy sister, who had gotten it into her head she could top Master Dax. Idiot! The vicious Dom was a known psychopath, a fine example of the type of BDSM practitioners that had gotten the lifestyle outlawed. Stupid! The laws now allowed Doms like Dax free rein, since dungeons were all illegal, and thus unregulated.
A high-pitched scream pierced the fetid air of the stairway. Cade charged toward the sound. An image of Amber’s sweet face, her large eyes and soft pink lips, flashed in his mind. Nausea rose in him. Anxiety. More for Amber than for Ciel, who’d brought this on herself. If she had a death wish, that was one thing. But Amber would go down with her because that was what a good submissive would do.
No way would he let Dax harm her, as long as he drew breath.
“That room, Master Cade.” As soon as Ellen pointed out the chamber door, Cade kicked the door in and dragged Master Dax back from the St. Andrew’s cross where he had Amber confined and was administering a brutal caning.
Amber blinked through her tears. He’d come. She could hardly believe it. For the past year Cade had apparently wanted little to do with them. Before, he’d always smiled at her when they crossed paths. He’d even taken time to do a little casual flirting when he ran into her and Ciel.
What would he do if he knew how many times she’d replayed those moments in her mind, pretending she’d read more than casual affection for his sister’s friend in his smiling eyes? How she’d hoped he’d invite her and Ciel to one of his parties? In the old days, when his preferred club had been open, she’d often watched him, wished she’d been the sub he had on her knees, lovingly servicing his cock.
Another crash, and the room filled with uniformed men, shouting. Oh, no! A raid...and there was Cade, standing with the flogger raised, his foot planted on Dax’s chest while Ciel pounded at Cade with her fists. Amber strained against her bonds, wanting to cover her nakedness, but the straps held firm. As if having the cops catch them weren’t bad enough, here came a troop of reporters, recording the whole scene for posterity.
Oh, Cade. She met his anguished, furious gaze before he whipped around, trying to block her with his body so the cameras couldn’t get her...
Saturday, November 26, 2005
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and that none of you have feet as sore as mine from the Black Friday shopping spree I went on yesterday with my daughter...and what seemed like a zillion other people at a designer discount outlet in Orlando, Florida, not too far from Disney World. Oh, well, our feet would have hurt just as much if we'd done the Mouse Park instead of shopping until we dropped!
Happy Holidays, everybody! Take care, and remember, books make wonderful presents for your friends and relatives (although Great Aunt Emma might not appreciate one of my E-rated contemporary romantica collections... and Cousin Joe would probably rather have James Patterson's latest thriller).
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
If you're an American, you're doubtless getting ready for a day of celebration and Thanksgiving, a table loaded down with turkey and all the trimmings, and a frenzy of shopping afterward for those special holiday gifts. Maybe, with those holidays coming up fast--Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, the Winter Solstice, or whatever gives you reason to celebrate this time of year, it's time to think about the things you have to be thankful for this year.
For me, I'm thankful for my family...and the way some of my kids have shown new maturity, gotten down to the business of discovering what it is they want from life. And, of course, I'm grateful for the success I've had this year with my writing.
I'll be participating in FORBIDDEN FANTASIES, Ellora's Cave's first-ever HARDCOVER print anthology, with nine other great authors. Visit the Forbidden Fantasies blog and read all about the plans for this dynamite project that's due to release with great fanfare late next October. In addition, I have several other projects contracted at Ellora's Cave--hot, emotional stories I hope you'll all enjoy. The first of these, WRONG PLACE, WRONG TIME, should come out in very early 2006. BLACK GOLD: ANOTHER LOVE, pictured above, will be available in print next month.
Changeling's first-ever print-only anthology will feature novellas by USA TODAY bestseller Angela Knight, Dakota Cassidy, Kate Hill and me. It's tentatively scheduled for release next spring. O POSITIVE, a vampire lonely-hearts spoof, will be part of Changeling's 2006 Valentine's Day celebration.
Yes, I have a great deal to be thankful for...family, friends, readers, even the fact that a cold front has passed through sunny Florida leaving it crisp and cool enough to begin getting into the holiday spirit! May you and your family have the best holiday season ever!
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Good morning! I think it's time for a new subject... and here are two of them.
First, I want to tell you all about the Faery Ball coming up at the RT convention next May. Look for the gorgeous faery created by Faery Court member Sahara Kelly on my new website as soon as it's up, and at websites of the other members of the Faery Court, for a scavenger hunt to be announced real soon.
Now, for the seven new headshots of me... tell me which one you think is best (or least objectionable, depending on your perspective). Actually, I think the incredibly talented Tara Kearney (www.tarakearney.com) did miracles, coming up with this many pictures I don't mind people seeing. My last photo shoot (the one with the red outfit that's at my site now was the ONLY one of a large selection of pro shots that I'd use for anything except to keep mice out of my closets!) was a lot less successful. One of these new photos will be going into the upcoming FORBIDDEN FANTASIES hardcover anthology I'm thrilled to be included in with nine other top-selling authors at Ellora's Cave. Another will be on my new website (bio page only--I'm not up for using my image in my website headers, LOL).
More later! I'm off to finish writing a sex scene--always fun, especially the first one between new lovers, which always tells me a lot about the lovers--what they like and how they think when they're getting intimate for the first time!
Monday, November 14, 2005
While I've never written an interracial story with a black heroine and white hero before, I have done an interracial book, OBSIDION: PEARL OF PASSION, in which the hero's Oriental and the heroine white. Of course... it is a futuristic, and the conflict in the story has little if anything to do with cultural differences. I've also written a whole contemporary series (BLACK GOLD) where two of the heroes and one of the heroines are Middle Eastern and their mates are caucasian (some gentile, some Jewish).
When you come down to it, all erotic romances are fantasies about a man (or men) and woman falling in lust, in love, and committing to each other for all time. The racial differences are THERE, but they don't constitute anything more than a descriptive tag and maybe an opportunity for some conflict based on WHO the characters are inside, which of course has been shaped by their upbringing.
I'm not black, Oriental, or Middle Eastern, but I believe I can create believable characters who are, from having observed people of all races and many cultures, in all sorts of situations over more years than I care to think about.
I'm sure Darlene's parents would have been more aghast at her choice of a pro football player from the 'hood than they were with Travis (her late husband), who came from a wholesome rural, but poor and undereducated environment. I didn't make him an urban dude, though, because I had more knowledge (secondhand, admittedly) about the lifestyle of rural blacks in the South. They are upset when they meet Vlad, who's well-educated and well-spoken, only because he is NOT black. (Think the reverse of "Who's Coming To Dinner".)
Here's a question for you: Why is it that many people believe white authors can't write from the perspective of a black heroine, assuming that heroine's not too far afield from the author's own background, when no one seems to question that a black author can write from the head of a white hero?
Sunday, November 13, 2005
The biggest problem is to figure how to show print books that are combinations of two or more e-books, which also need to be shown. We've decided to use a drop-down menu--stole the idea from Jaci Burton's site (Thanks, Jaci!), and list the books in several different ways: print, e-book, by genre, by series, etc. Hopefully my talented webmistress will be able to figure out just how this is going to work!
In case anybody's wanting to capture my writing tips, you'll need to do it before the new site goes "live". Something had to go because we were running out of bandwidth, so I decided I could put occasional tips here at the blog instead of keeping them in their own little spot.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
This is my new website header, just finished yesterday by the incredibly talented Scott Carpenter! Expect a brand-new look, and hopefully easier navigation around my site once Diana, my webmistress, does her magic. I'm working today on WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME?, a loosely connected sequel to TIP OF THE ICEBERG. The two books will be paired in print as BOUND BY LOVE, scheduled for release next year. The gorgeous cover by Syneca is giving me inspiration to hurry and finish the book!
I'm worried about getting this sizzling BDSM suspense story right--it's my first attempt at writing interracial erotic romance between a black woman and white man. Darlene Jackson's a supermodel from an upper middle class family in Atlanta, estranged wife to the first Ranger player to die along with his groupie lover. Vlad Ivanov's an undercover FBI agent from rural Pennsylvania who came from Estonia as a young teenager, planted with the Rangers as a placekicker in order to solve the serial murders of young groupie women that take place only after Rangers away games. Think irresistible attraction, steamy sex, falling in love, almost losing each other as the killer nearly catches them...and a conflict to their happily ever after with the light but realistic reverse of "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" when she introduces him to her doctor father and concert pianist mom.
Help, please. Tell me, does this sound like it will work? I need reassurance!