Aug 31 2012

The Two-Spirit Path with Fierce Dolan

Our special party-guest today is Fierce Dolan - please join me in welcoming her!

 

For years I’ve been fascinated with a reference to androgyny that’s most often attributed to Native American cultures.  Given that most of what seeps into mainstream knowledge about indigenous traditions is wrong, I’m willing to stand corrected on this one, as well.  However, from what I’ve studied, within some tribes is what’s called a “two-spirit” path, or biogendered men who take on the role of women.  Other indigenous cultures have observed such a third, or between-gender role, as well.  Two-spirits are usually considered deeply intuitively gifted and rise as spiritual leaders in their culture.  Not considered male, though not exactly female either, they carry the duties usually ascribed women and may marry a man in their tribe.

In my newly released short story, Traveler Through Darkness, from Decadent Publishing’s The Edge series, I envisioned Wo, a young Navajo man, as a two-spirit.  While he’s not decked out in a corset and stilettos (although it could happen), he’s very clearly embraced aspects himself that are both out-and-proud, is wise beyond his youth, and is comfortable with being an empowered, effeminate man in a patriarchal culture.  In contrast, he meets the older Tarik, a Middle Eastern man from a culture fatally against homosexuality, let alone the blurring of biogender roles.

They’re a good fit for each other—this very traditional man suppressing deep-seated desires, and Wo, the two-spirit who helps him acknowledge them.  Their joining, itself, expresses how we can all overcome limitations, push beyond boundaries, into new, undefined territory.

What are your thoughts on third gender?  Are there possibly more genders?  How would you describe them?

 

 

BLURB:

A lifetime of want collides with fate the night of Tarik’s bachelor party, fulfilling his deepest secret desire—only it’s not with the strippers his Arab friends hired to cater to his every whim. Uncomfortable with the debauched festivities, Tarik ducks out of the soirée, stumbling into Wo, a kind Navajo artist, who forces him to say what he really wants, then gives it to him, all night.

 

Enjoy Traveler Through Darkness along with the Reader’s Guide!  (<–Click link for the Reader’s Guide)

 

If you’d like to reach and/or follow Fierce please look for her:

Twitter:    @fiercedolan

Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/fiercedolan?ref=tn_tnmn

Website:    www.fiercedolan.com

 

Thank you for reading!  Fierce is offering a free giveaway to a random commenter, specifically: “Back catalogue novella, “Gigolo Seduction,”

 interracial erotica, to random commenter 18 or over.”  Please give her/us your thoughts!


Aug 30 2012

View From The Writer’s Den

Please join me in welcoming our newest party animal/blogger Janelle Lee!

 

Someone is always asking me why I write… My usual response is “If I told you I would have to kill you.” Writers get strange questions but they get stranger looks. Or maybe it is just me. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I actually have been known to leave the house without brushing my hair… But I really believe it is because when someone asks me what I do for a crust (living) I say I am a writer. The usual response comes with the look of disbelief followed by the  “Really?” My usual sarcastic retort is “There are a million things I could lie about and I picked that.”

The funniest look was from a couple of women in aisle five at the supermarket. My husband was down one end with the trolley while I was slowly making my way down towards him. I wasn’t actually shopping so to speak I was thinking about a particular scene in a particular chapter. Sometimes my thinking doesn’t stay inside my head. “What sort of gun would I need to shoot the most amount of people in the least amount of time?”

It wasn’t until I saw the looks on the women’s faces and my husband rolling his eyes when I realized that my question was said out loud. The women stared at me as if I was about to pull an automatic weapon from my pocket. I smiled at the women bid them a good day and hurried towards my husband who was waiting for me. “That was fun.”

“Why do you have to do that?” he asked.

I shrugged.

Years ago an editor told me if my story wasn’t going anywhere I needed to kill someone off. It works a treat. I tell my students the same thing and with children you never know what you are going to get. I was working with the Year 5 students when one of them came over to me and told me she didn’t know what to write next. I told her to kill someone off. Probably not the most appropriate thing to tell a ten year old but I figured there were worse things I could have told her.

She made her way back to her seat with a new found confidence. Twenty minutes later she returned to show me the finished product. My right eyebrow rose as I read how she killed off thirty people in a fiery train crash. She looked expectantly at me. I had to hand it to her she certainly understood the difference between showing and telling. “Fantastic,” I told her and watched as her smile lit up her whole face.

The next morning her mother came to school to see me. I was expecting maybe a phone call but a face-to-face conversation was going to make it really interesting.

I had a whole speech prepared that included how children should be free to express themselves and I am not here to censor them in any way. My speech was a waste of time as her mother wanted to thank me for encouraging her daughter and to tell me how much she was enjoying the class. I shelved the speech and to this day I haven’t had to use it. Like me many years before the student learnt that writing is the only way you can kill someone and get away with it.

Eavesdroppers are a constant source of amusement for me. When a bunch of writers get together for lunch you can be sure writing is the only subject on the conversation menu. After eating my entrée and waiting patiently for my dessert (I hardly ever eat a main due to it getting in the way of dessert) one of my fellow diners asked me what I was working on. I told her that I was contemplating killing off one of my characters – a child – but decided that I would kill the child’s puppy instead by slitting its throat.

The woman at the next table suddenly fired off a verbal spray at me and told me I should be reported to the police and how some people should be shot. I figured that I was one of those people. I laughed at the woman, which only infuriated her more. My dining companions wanted to explain to her what I was actually talking about but I told them not to bother. It was more fun my way.

Another thing people ask about being a writer is what is the worse thing. Many writers would say the aloneness but to me it is the “Oh, you are a writer. I wrote a book do you want to read it?” Which usually equates to can you read it and fix it. A friend of a friend asked me to ‘read’ their masterpiece… Alright it wasn’t described in that way but it came close. Grammar and punctuation were non-existent, the sex scenes were laughable and I still had to work out the genre. The best I could come up with was erotica/saga/horror although the horror could have been due to the grammar and punctuation problems along with the strange wording to describe the sex. I have no idea what an oopla loopa is and quite frankly I don’t think I want to know.

When I handed it back to my friend. He asked me what I thought. I replied with “How good of a friend is your friend?”

“That bad?” he asked.

“Worse.”

 

Happy writing.

  

 

  BLURB: Tim O’Flaherty’s boyhood dream was to become a pilot. His dream was shattered on September 11th 2001. Fleeing the country in an attempt to rid himself of the guilt and pain he soon realizes that there is no escaping the nightmare. He arrives in Australia where he finds a deep connection with Bondi Beach. The goal of becoming a lifeguard is what drives him and when he saves a woman from drowning he inadvertently saves himself.

 

If you like what you’ve read you can find more from Janelle:

Twitter:    http://www.Twitter.com/janellelee747

Facebook:    Janelle Lee Author

Website:    www.janellelee.com

Thanks for stopping by Janelle!  She’s also giving away a free (PDF-format) copy of “Saving Tim” to a random commenter.  Good luck!


Aug 28 2012

Noble Gypsy Tempting

Hi there!  Today’s guest of honor is Juliet Chastain!  Pleae join me in welcoming her and her blog:

 

Greetings, fellow romance readers and writers.  I’ve just finished writing a series of short stories called Gypsy Lovers. These are sexy novellas, set in the Regency period about Gypsies and the English men and women love them.

I wanted to do some stories in which totally inappropriate, culturally, and socially mismatched men and women find love together—or don’t. I’m not a big fan of stories in which a rich man comes along and rescues the heroine but prefer protagonists who are willing to go without material goodies in order to be with the one they love. In two of my four Gypsy stories wealthy aristocrats fall for traveling Romani musicians who just aren’t all that interested in giving up their life on the road for wealth and prestige.

In the just-issued To Tempt a Gypsy a beautiful noblewoman want to amuse herself by seducing the handsome Romani musician, Cambio Adams, and couldn’t care less that he has promised to wed Tsura, a Gypsy lass. Lady Chinton always gets what she wants, and what she wants is Cambio. She wines and dines him and flirts most charmingly. He begins to doubt his love for his Romani sweetheart and is sorely tempted to succumb to the wanton aristocrat. The lady figures that if her charm and beauty can’t seduce this impoverished Gypsy, her fabulous wealth can. What she doesn’t count on is falling in love with him. It’s touch and go all the way.

In a previous book, For Love of a Gypsy Lass, we have a bored-out-of-his-skull English nobleman, Lord Harry Beresford who has simply had it with his luxurious and dull existence and the noble and dull ladies he is supposed to court. He falls hard for an itinerant Gypsy singer called Talaitha Grey. He assumes she can be easily seduced by his wealth and prestige, but to his surprise she’s not the least bit interested in any of that—although she is, against her will, attracted to the man behind it all.

Somehow these characters must find their way to happily ever after—and they do so in unexpected ways.

To Tempt a Gypsy and For Love of a Gypsy Lass, are available at:

Breathless Press!

| Amazon |

All Romance eBooks  and at many e-book stores!

To learn more about upcoming stories or about me: julietchastain.com.

While you’re there, check out my other short romances:

The Captain and the Courtesan

The Cry of the Wolf

as well as my other Gypsy tales.

 

You can also find me on www.facebook.com/JulietChastain

or

Twitter@julietchastain

 

Thank you for stopping by Juliet!  Please feel free to say hi to her below  :D


Aug 25 2012

Sexy, Edgy Suspense from the Editor Devil!

Today, our star of honor is Christine M. Fairchild.  It’s so nice to have you here and shining! I’m sure you’re ready to share with us your success and many fun endeavors. So, let’s get on with the party!

 

BIO: 

Christine M. Fairchild (also known as The Editor Devil) is a California native who’s worked as a writer and editor for over 25 years. Though trained as a journalist, she spent the last two decades working for niche publications (XFiles, Paramount Pictures), technical giants (Microsoft, AT&T), and consumer product companies (DHL, Hitachi). Christine now teaches writing and editing, helping fiction writers improve their character development, dialogue, and story structure through classes and book critiques. For free writing and editing tips and tricks, visit: http://EditorDevil.blogspot.com. Her debut Romantic Suspense, An Eye For Danger, is not available on Amazon for Kindle.

 

Let’s get to know you a little better. Why don’t you step over here under the spotlight and shine a little.  First questions: (I’ll go easy on you.)

 

What made you decide to become a writer?

Writing essays in 3rd grade got me started. I would get the best grade, so I got to read my essay allowed to class and I enjoyed entertaining people with storytelling. I was an addict early!

 

What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?

All of my current manuscripts start as dreams. I dream in long, full stories. Sometimes night to night. My husband used to say this was weird. Now that I’m getting paid for them, he no longer thinks that!

 

Do you beat your muse? I mean…Wait! Do you have a muse? Does he/she have a name?

I’m very muse driven. In the sense that when I’m in the flow, I go deep. For days or weeks sometimes.  So when the material comes, I clear the decks. I don’t believe everyone has to engage in the same writing process, such as 2 hours every day. That works for some. I’m better at following my biorhythms: I write when I’m on, I edit or do marketing/etc when I’m not. That cycle is very productive for me. An Eye For Danger was originally written in 4 weeks. It’s the editing that takes forever to finish!

 

Let’s talk about your writing process. Are you a plotter or pantser? Are there any weird things that you do before you start to sit down to write? (Like stretch those fingers…? Scream at the computer…?)

I’m definitely a pantser. The characters even correct me when I try to force something. I’ve tried to force plots, and the story shuts down. I waited 10 years to find out what happens in the end of my WWII love story, because I kept trying to force the material. So the story “shut down” and hibernated till I learned to let go and trust my characters.

 

What is your call story?

Sorry, I don’t know what this means

 

Have you always envisioned yourself a writer? What were you doing before you started writing? Has your earlier career influence your current one?

I was trained to be a journalist and worked as an editor for small pubs for years and as a freelance writer. Journalism is succinct storytelling, so many of those skills translate into fiction.

Since I’m an editor as well as an author, I know when to switch between the writer brain and the editor brain. This is critical for authors to learn, so you:

1) conserve energies

2) don’t fight yourself and undermine your strengths by forcing yourself to write when you are in your editing brain (or vice versa), and

3) produce more natural material as opposed to “forced” material.

How to you separate the writer from the editor? Let me take a second to teach this to readers, just in case they are struggling with this issue.

For years I’ve taught writing classes. To turn off the students’ inner editor, I did an exercise where we learned to brainstorm together quickly. We’d pick a subject, then brainstorm related concepts and build a big list of words. Anything goes–the crazier the better. No shutting down, no stopping, no erasing words on the page. No EDITING.

Then we’d move to a writing exercise that was more storytelling driven. Again, writing fast, moving forward, no erasing, no going backwards, just driving out words onto the page. We didn’t call this writing, but BRAINSTORMING.

Now, during the conversation time we might play with editing in the form of choosing “new directions” for the subject matter of the writing exercise. I mean “brainstorming exercise”. Instead of a red car, we’d pick a blue truck, for example. Then we’d think about how that might change the storyline or the characters or the reader’s experience. In other words, we’d pull back for a broader view of the story.

The point of this exercise is to write when you write–let it all flow, crazy and sane alike, like a brainstorming session. Then in editing we can choose different directions, different words, different ideas. We can analyze and question and re-envision storylines.

This is how you stay sane as an author and write/edit more effectively!

 

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now with your writing career?

Well, there was that Academy award and the Hugo and the Rita and… Frankly? I’m just happy to have readers experience these stories and characters that have been living only in my head and on my hard drive. I have 3 other books to finish writing and/or editing this next year (or two), so the future is about publishing more stories and in multiple genres, from Romantic Suspense to Women’s Fiction to Paranormal.  So, five years from now, I hope to be earning enough from my author career to buy my husband out of his job so we can travel. And then I can then write stories from exotic locations, because you know authors NEVER retire!

 

What is the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your writing career so far?

The fear of having your parents read your work when you write about issues like violence or sex, such as in Romantic Suspense. Especially the sex part. The industry expects more sensual material, bordering on erotica these days, and, well, I like to deliver to my readers a deep story, both in the suspense and the romance departments.

So when my dad asked the name/location of my novel, I mentioned this fear to him. He laughed and asked for the name/location again anyway. I’m doomed!

 

Through research, what is the most silly thing you’ve ever done?

Not the silliest, but most earnest thing I’ve done in researching for my book, An Eye For Danger, was I entered the Seattle Police Department’s Citizens’ Academy, a 10-week program to learn about local law enforcement. My husband thought I wanted to become a cop. I’m 43. That’s a late game change if I ever heard one!

 

What genres do you read? Do you read what you write?

As an editor, I read everything. From memoir to romance to sci-fi to YA. It’s my job to be diverse and well-read. That being said, I’m a slow reader because I’m dyslexic. Yes, an dyslexic editor. Whodathunkit!

 

What’s the last book you’ve read for fun? Did you read it on an e-Reader or are you still a paperback-kind-of-person?

I’ve take to ereaders well because I can adjust font size when my eyes are tired, so I move through books faster. My latest read for fun was “Chosen” by Denise Grover Swank, which was a mix of Romantic Suspense with a bit of psychic and paranormal going on. I love that the genres are mixing up now. With the ebook and indie author movement, we have more freedom to move beyond the traditional borders of fiction. Our stories can finally go where they want to go without worrying about which book shelf they fit in the store.

 

What did you wish you had known back then when you began writing?

I wish I knew how long it would take to learn how to write novels. I studied to be a short story writer through high school and college. Writing novels is insanely different in terms of story arcs and energy commitment. Took years to learn my craft. And even longer to be able to teach it!

 

Is there anything else you’d want your readers and friends to know about you?

I grew up on welfare with a mom who raised 4 kids alone and was slowly becoming disabled, so I got my first job at 10 and paid bills in high school. I learned early to work hard and be on my own.

My mom told us we could be anyone we wanted to be. That no one was better than we were, but that we were also not better than anyone else. Meanwhile, others told me that kids on welfare would never graduate from high school let alone go to college or get good jobs. Well, my brothers and I put ourselves through college and we all graduated from UC Berkeley.

I’ve been told NO a lot in my life, so I use it as a challenge. Likewise, I want other authors to take the naysaying, whether from outsiders or insiders or even from their internal selves, and reply, “Oh, yeah? Just watch me!”

 

And lastly, where can we find you?

Email:    christinefairchild@yahoo.com

Twitter:    http://www.Twitter.com/fairchild01

Facebook:    Christine Cook Fairchild

Website:    http://EditorDevil.blogspot.com

 

Thank you so much for being a star!

Some folks want different types of files, I’m happy to accomodate with a copy of one of my Editor Devil Guides (The Editor Devil’s Guide to DIALOGUE & The Editor Devil’s Guide to CHARACTERS) for ANY reader who requests it!

For one big winner, I’ll give 1) both guides and 2) my novel, An Eye For Danger, and 3) a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.

 

Blurb:

An Eye For Danger

When former war photographer Jules Larson braves a PTSD attack to jog beyond her five-block safety zone in Central Park, she runs right into a murder scene.

 

Excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

We marched into Central Park at dawn. My yellow mutt, Max, trotted at my side while Johnny Cash pounded “Get Rhythm” over my iPod and my heart threatened to burst through my chest. Only three more blocks till I crossed into no-man’s land. If I could hold down breakfast that far. In college a five-mile run didn’t break a sweat on me, but now a stroll beyond Great Hill could drop me to my knees. So I’d pumped myself with enough caffeine to power Manhattan and rolled out the door before food vendors hit the sidewalks. Now all I needed was courage to exceed my five-block safety zone without another damn panic attack.

I stared at my hands. Shaking. “Just the caffeine,” I said to Max. Yeah, right, Jules.

October fog blanched the sky, the mist dampening my skin when I’d otherwise be sweating fiercely. An early frost had iced over North Meadow’s ball fields, so the grass snapped underfoot as I pushed through the thick air. Even mighty New York could be conquered, at least by the weather.

Max dropped into a stalk position. Probably just another squirrel he wanted to torture. They were racking up these days.

Instinct kicked in and I caught Max’s leather collar. “Don’t you desert me, buddy. Not today.” Today was the day I broke free. “You’re my wingman, so no squirrels, no distractions.” I tugged, and Max gently head-butted my thigh before resuming his post jogging at my side. Just proof that God made dogs first.

We moved into denser woods, where blazing red and amber leaves of the park’s giant trees drifted to the ground. Max growled, a low rumble that cut through my music, which I turned down when I saw a pair of large boots jutting into our path. Military boots the color of ash, their plastic heels cracked and peeling. To these were attached narrow legs in desert camouflage pants with threadbare knees.

“Shhh,” I whispered to Max as I signaled him to sit and stay: index finger up, palm out. “He’s one of ours.”

The rest of the man’s body lay half-wrapped in a black sleeping bag under a bush. With these temperatures, he should be fully engulfed in a heating blanket to survive.

At a lean I could see his eyes were closed, his chest rising and falling. Alive. Barely, from the look of him. His face reminded me of a diseased tomato left in the sun: bright red blotches for cheeks, crinkled skin stained black with dirt at the edges, and deeply cracked lips. A mat of dreadlocks served as his beard. At least his coat looked new, like he’d picked it up at one of those Army supply stores, but the chevrons he’d safety-pinned to his shoulder caps told me this guy wasn’t just dressing the part. The insignia for a master sergeant’s ranking, if memory served me right.

My heart skipped a beat when I noted the baby-blue baseball cap from a Brooklyn Little League covering his balding head. Maybe he’d known the kid who’d owned the hat, or had fathered him. Somewhere, sometime, somebody had loved this guy. And maybe still did. Life just stank sometimes.

From my sports bra I pulled the twenty-dollar bill allocated for my cab fare home after my anticipated nuclear meltdown and my all-too-familiar inability to walk thereafter. I could always crawl home. Cement could be the new skin exfoliant.

With my fingers still trembling, I shook the bill in the air like a damned flag, an irony not lost on a woman who’d spent her share of time buried in Middle East bunkers, hiding from Taliban grenade rocket launchers and AK-7 gunfire. Shaking under fire had been shameful enough, but shaking every time the toaster popped fell into the nuthouse category.

I folded the bill in fourths to fit it into the man’s boot. That’s when I saw he was still military at heart. He’d tucked his desert-duty trousers inside his boots and tied the laces so tight not even hot sand would seep in, let alone cold hard cash.

So I crab-walked under the branches to tuck the money into the man’s coat. Enough for a solid meal. Or a bottle of his choice. The cloud of liquor over his head hadn’t escaped my notice, but who was I to judge. Lord only knew the nightmares that drove him to drink. They’d driven me to worse.

“God help us both,” I whispered, feeling petty for the sentiment. If he awoke, he’d probably be more angry than grateful.

So I scrambled out of there, taking to the track with new heart, though the old one was still threatening a coronary rupture. I spat the sourness from my mouth and aimed for the base of Great Hill at a clip. My stomach still mixed a nasty cocktail of adrenaline and anticipation, but at least my motives had clarified. My mission remained: take the hill, get my life back, or at least my sanity.

Max galloped beside me like a rocking horse, tongue spilling sideways for all the thrills we were having. I could take lessons from Max; despite his temper, he was loyal to the core and never missed a chance to brave adventure. Years ago, people would have said the same of me.

My knees quivered beneath me. “Not today, damn you.”

I’d reclaim that fearless woman today of all days. Another anniversary of Luke’s death, another doctor’s misdiagnosis and prescription for pills I refused to swallow because I knew I wouldn’t stop at one, another attempt to rejoin the rest of humanity. PTSD was for soldiers, like that vet sleeping in the bushes, not trust-fund photographers from the Upper West Side. He’d probably volunteered for multiple tours of eating bullets for breakfast, and then returned to the shock of a quiet stateside life, a shitty paycheck, and little or no emotional connectivity. Smiling neighbors, laughing families; happiness he couldn’t relate to let alone endorse. While I’d escaped a mere six weeks filled with the staccato of distant assault rifles to come home to my plush life and plan a wedding, only to watch Luke burn to death on the streets of New York.

Difference was, the vet’s suffering was called valor; mine was called first-degree manslaughter.

He’d be alive if you hadn’t been so careless.

“Enough.” I blinked, jumping back into my body. Max looked up, ears flat, like I’d scolded him. “Not you, buddy.” I rubbed his velvety ear. Who needed meds when I had Max. “Never you.”

Lengthening my strides, I took the incline to Great Hill.

An accident, that’s all it was. An accident.

My chest felt on fire, and still I ran. Harder. Feet pumping, pulse quickening. October’s chill burned my lungs, so I breathed in through flared nose, out through pursed lips. Controlled.

Focus, Jules, you can make it this time.

Yet the air was already thinner. Like I was climbing the damned Himalayas. At least I wasn’t wheezing, and I wasn’t passed out. Upright was a good sign.

Max’s growl sounded a new alarm.

“Not another squirrel.” My voice sounded as strained as my nerves. My gaze shot to the top of the hill and my feet halted. Not a squirrel.

Rusty leaves scattered on the air as a man bent and raked debris into a pile with his bare hands, like a dog covering his bone. Even from my distance I recognized his military-style boots, but his orange Carhartt pants conveyed he was no soldier, not even the homeless kind. His pea coat, wool cap pulled low, and the lack of gardening tools told me he was no groundskeeper either. At least groundskeepers wore uniforms that didn’t scream Unabomber.

His task complete, the man rose onto trunk legs, expanded his tank-sized chest and shook out his black shaggy beard of debris. Tall, scowling, bearish—no man outside a battlefield should look so menacing. And I’d photographed the worst of them.

A shiver twisted down my spine. Max and I were yet unseen but standing in the open. At a 100 yards, we still had time to U-turn, retreat to my apartment, hide inside my safe shell. Or we could go off-trail, cut north through the trees, circumvent the man, and still take the hill. Hell, we could just jog past, ignoring him. He was well off our path, skirting the edge of the woods, and probably as slow as sludge with all that weight on his bones.

Max pulled against my grip, wanting a piece of the action, but I held tight, deciphering my intentions, if not my courage. Which obstacle was I really avoiding here, the thug or the hill, and where the hell could I run and not see monsters in every shadow? Besides my usual gutful of guilt, the only real obstacle standing between me and that tree was one ugly bastard. Ugly, I could handle.

My target atop the hill stood within view: our tree, Luke had called it. The place where he’d asked me to marry him a week before the accident. Now just my tree, a twisting elm with a three-story canopy and deeply-grooved bark that I could still feel under my palms. A symbol of love and life.

Military training kicked in: feel the fear, and move your ass anyway.

But I hadn’t taken two steps when a second man stumbled through the brush, clutching his belly. Though a half-foot shorter and a good 50 pounds lighter, he looked no better dressed, no better shaven. Same pea coat, same dark cap and long beard, same designer-thug look.

Shouts flew, arms thrashed the air between the men. I hit stop on my MP3 player to catch details of their fight.

“You can try, brother,” said Bear Man, “but I’ll still plow you under. Just like Tony.”

Shit, there were three of them?

Max crouched, ready to charge—just enough Lab to be curious, just enough German shepherd to brave trouble. And these thugs reeked of trouble.

My cold fingers couldn’t hold Max back much longer, and we couldn’t stand here all morning without being noticed eventually. I wasn’t so neurotic I couldn’t calculate bad odds, and though I’d had more defensive training than most women, at 5’6″ and 138 pounds I wasn’t going to win any heavyweight titles against these big boys. Not even with Max as wingman.

Clinging to Max’s collar, I swallowed hard, forcing down the bile crawling up my throat, and watched the new guy get a running start, only for Bear Man to arm-block him to the ground so hard the guy flattened on his back and his cap flew off. A shock of long, brassy hair spilled out as he rolled to his side, shaking stars from his head. He struggled to a crouch and then onto one knee. Barely.

By now, Bear Man stood over him, smiling like a steak breakfast had just been served, laughter bursting from his belly, a thunder that seemed to shake leaves from the trees. “Should’ve finished you at the river, Sam,” he said. “What a waste of training.”

“Like I said, can’t teach a new dog old tricks. Your training sucked.” Fists clenched, this ‘Sam’ guy dug in his position, forced himself to stand—posture that bragged of audacity when he looked clearly outclassed, courage when he faced certain defeat. Or he was just drunk.

Bear Man took one step and threw a roundhouse to Sam’s head. A sickening crack of bone on bone. And down the sucker went again.

Poor sap’s asking to get his brains beat out.

My teeth were grinding so hard I could hear the enamel wear away. I’d seen worse fights. Marine on Marine could prove brutal. Still, this looked like less of a fight than a would-be slaughter.

Seconds ticked till Sam stirred, rolling in slow motion onto his side and rubbing his eyes like he couldn’t justify the world swirling. He got as far as sitting on his heels, and then he dropped his chin to his chest, his shoulders sagging, exhausted of fight. Maybe he hadn’t the strength to stand. Or the motivation.

Come on, come on. Get up. I might as well have been leaning on the ropes of a boxing ring, I grew so charged. Their battle could be over a woman’s love or stolen loot for all I cared, but I knew that giving up killed your soul first, your body last.

Bear Man retrieved something from the pile of leaves as I stood rock still and shushed Max. Any decent New Yorker would run the other direction, but I hated an uneven fight, hated bullies even worse. My dog may have been the most important guy in my life, but an underdog was a sure second. That and some desperate part of me still believed one person could make a difference in this lousy world. But without a cell phone I couldn’t call the cops and, even if I did, by the time police arrived late tomorrow, the worst would be done.

And things looked like they were about to get much, much worse.

By the time Bear Man returned, that belly laugh sending shock waves of dread through me, Sam had managed to prop onto one knee again, tilting furiously.

Max writhed within my hold, his feet scratching at the pavement. I was barely hanging on to his collar. I looked to my tree, then to the man on his knees. Missions changed, even in battle.

Instinctively, I stepped forward, willing Sam to his feet. “Get up, damn it.”

He caught my movement and stiffened, staring downhill at me.

Then Bear Man’s head snapped my direction. Oh, shit.

I froze. Max lunged, breaking from my grip and barking a hailstorm of threats as he rocketed toward the men. And when Max’s bark boomed, he got attention.

Sam scrambled to his feet, as Bear Man moved to intercept the bellowing dog charging him full force.

“Max, come!” I raced uphill, lengths behind my dog. Another bite to a human by Max and he could get put down. If Bear Man didn’t execute the job himself. With his bare knuckles.

I charged. No one touched my dog.

Whatever air I’d been struggling to capture before came in gusts now, my lungs expanding and contracting like an Olympian’s, my full-out sprint closing the distance.

Max snarled, springing in small motions toward Bear Man’s knees. If the thug moved an inch, Max would strike. Then I realized half the growls were coming from Bear Man. If Max struck, the man would move in for the kill.

At least their standoff gave Sam time to run. But the idiot just waited, watching.

“Naughty dog.” I caught Max’s collar and laughed, pretending innocence. “You’re on heel,” I said, then pulled Max backwards, unable to quell his snarling, barking fury. And not really wanting to.

Max writhed and twisted, pinching my fingers within his collar. His teeth were fully bared, saliva dripping at the corners, more vicious then I’d ever seen him. And with reason. From our close range I’d caught the acrid smoke of Bear Man’s clothes, noted the char marks on his pant legs, felt the weight of a predator’s stare from eyes full of all kinds of hate. The man made Sing Sing inmates look like milkmaids.

My gaze shifted to Sam, who should be running for the hills by now. Instead, the guy was silently swinging his head side to side, his wide eyes imploring: Don’t stop, lady.

“Sorry, still working on his training.” I laughed, relying on that dumb blonde stereotype and a pretty smile to get my ass out of harm’s way, but regretting the unintended reference to their argument. Hopefully, they’d seen my earbuds and assumed I couldn’t hear a thing over my music.

I towed Max straight through a puddle, keeping my head down. Way down.

My peripheral view remained locked on the men as we trotted off. Sprinting would hook Bear Man’s suspicion, draw him after us. So I kept perfect form, ran a casual pace, though not a calm one. Either he’d chase us down and beat us to death, or he’d assume I’d been too preoccupied with my dog to notice the glint of a metal pipe in his hand.

We neared the tree atop Great Hill and were about to cross the demarcation line into no-man’s land when my brain hurtled needle-sharp warnings to stop. Flashes of flames, the pressure of hot air hitting like a giant slap, the stink of burning rubber. I hadn’t stepped beyond this periphery in two years, and my nervous system decided to remind me why with a few mental postcards.

Damn it, this is no time for reminiscing.

My feet trudged, leaden and numb at once. Wires got crossed, intentions and actions mismatched, muscles stopped responding. Run, don’t run. God, I wanted to puke.

My lungs began to seize, the pressure spreading from my chest to my throat. This impassable space, where Luke had gotten onto one knee, where time had stopped in a fantasy of happiness, grew thick as water and cold as ice. A glacial tide against my tumbling pebble.

Bear Man turned his head our direction, saw me slowing. Then he pivoted his whole body to face us.

My nerves ratcheted up a dozen more notches.

“Run!” shouted Sam as he leapt at Bear Man and grabbed the pipe… [END EXCERPT]

 

Please let Christine M. Fairchild know how awesome you think she is, and how happy you were she posted with us on RomanceAuthorHotspot.com by commenting below!!


Aug 24 2012

Hot ‘n’ Heavenly Romance

Today, our guest of honor is Silke Juppenlatz. It’s so nice to have you here! Hope you’re ready to party!
I was born ready!

 

First Questions:

Wine or beer? (If you say club soda, we’ll have to send you to the corner…)

Depends on which wine, and which beer. I’m German, I’m partial to both.

Cake or chips? Are you a sugar or salt kind of person?
Depends on my mood. Sometimes I go for sugar, sometimes for salt. Sometimes for both! And if there is chocolate involved, all bets are off.

 

*squints eyes * Are you old enough to drink?

Just barely. *cough* Can’t you tell?

 

Wait! You can’t come in yet! What did you bring us?
I brought a dish to the party. See? (And Tiffy said she’ll skin anyone who offers to “do the dish”. You’ve been warned.)

Blurb:   Keep your enemies close…

Poor little Tiffy — that’s how her pack members and the Alpha view her after the brutal murder of her father, and Tiffy is sick of it. She wants independence, not pity or protection. Then handsome Lycan Keric O’Neill shows up and Tiffy wouldn’t mind some protection — and other things — from him.

When Keric finds himself the target of Tiffy’s misguided seduction, his mission to track down his brother takes a violent turn at the hands of the Alpha — but yields some devastating revelations.

Two years later he is back. This time he will stop at nothing to avenge his brother, and even falling for Tiffy won’t sway him from his goal. Unaware of her past and the links to his brother, he doesn’t know his actions and heritage will crush Tiffy’s fragile trust.

But danger comes in many forms, and when Keric’s secrets and betrayal come to light, will revenge and vindictive pack members destroy the delicate bond between them?

 

What makes your characters so special?

My wolves are genetic wolves, not bitten or created. They aren’t out to “make more”, and they aren’t particularly tormented by their abilities. Sure, they’re not going out of their way to announce their existence to the world, but they aren’t hiding either. However, because of pack politics they have to contend with a bit more baggage than the average human. I do like tormented heroes, but mine aren’t at odds with what they are. Their torment usually has other reasons, but tends to be compounded by what — or who!– they are…

 

Alright, I guess you can come in. Now off to the roast!

 

So, what do you write? And why?

I write paranormal romance. Shapeshifters, vampires, angels, fae…you name it. As to why… I write to entertain myself. (Oh, you thought I write so people can read it? Ha!) If it doesn’t entertain me, then it will never see the light of day.

 

What would your characters say about you?

My characters would likely have me arrested and stuffed into a padded cell. Anything, just as long as it would stop me torturing them. Ask Keric. I nearly killed him. Twice.
Oops.

 

What do you like doing besides writing and reading? Is it dangerous?

When I’m not writing, I can be found (not that anyone is looking) romping through the woods with the “other man” in my life. Paul knows about him and doesn’t mind. Says he keeps me out of trouble–and away from the computer. Plus, he makes sure I don’t get too fat.

Okay, maybe I should clarify that the “other man” is a 10 year old Paso Fino gelding who is part mudpig, part puppy, part energizer bunny. I don’t think he knows he’s a horse.
As for dangerous…yeah. I guess it can be. I always have bruises, squished toes, and get an occasional headbutt. Plus…he’s fast. And coming off at 30mph in the middle of the woods isn’t something I want to repeat in a hurry. I can fly, but it doesn’t work so well without a plane… But you know what they say: Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing.

 

Where do you dream of traveling to and why?

I want to cross the USA East to West on horseback. Because I’ve always wanted to do it, because it’s there, because I prefer to see a country (or continent) other than from the window of a car or train.
When I win the lottery (or sell many, many books–hint hint!) I’ll do it.

What do you think makes a good story?

Good characterization and conflict. Romance is (mostly) character driven, and if you don’t have characters people can identify with and care about, then they won’t care about the conflict either. Conflict is essential, or there is nothing to drive the story forward and keep it interesting, but if you have great conflict and lame characterization…it’s not going to work. So yeah, I think getting those two right is what makes a good story.

Tell us about one of your favorite characters from your books.

Tiffy. She was introduced as a side character in Howl, but I really liked her. She was quirky and cute, just a kid then. I never intended to give her a starring role, but then one late night, after edits on Howl were done, I was chatting with my editor on Skype…and spun out an idea I had. Next thing I knew, “Watch Me” was born.

 

What else are you working on right now?
Caedir is in edits right now, scheduled for release in March 2013.
And…hmm…there might be a third “Pack Justice” book following on from “Watch Me” in the works…

 

Last question: Where can our partygoers find you and your work?

Website:   http://www.evilauthor.com

    Twitter:    http://twitter.com/Evil_Author

    Facebook:    http://www.facebook.com/silke.juppenlatz1

    G+:   https://plus.google.com/106116011046480009163
    Goodreads:    http://www.goodreads.com/SilkeJuppenlatz

 

Thank you so much for coming, you had a giveaway you wanted to tell readers about?

To coincide with the release of “Watch Me” on the 3rd September, I’m giving away a copy of Howl to one commenter on RAH!


Aug 21 2012

Delicious men…Wicked women…Heated love

Hi folks!  Thanks for your patience – happy to bring us back to a regular schedule with a GiveAway from Avril Ashton!

 

Today, our guest of honor is Avril Ashton. It’s so nice to have you here! Hope you’re ready to party! Thanks for hosting me today!

 

First Questions: Wine or beer? (If you say club soda, we’ll have to send you to the corner…)

Beer. I like a nice, cold Corona.

 

Cake or chips? Are you a sugar or salt kind of person?

Cake. I like it sweet.

 

*squints eyes * Are you old enough to drink? LOL I am. Barely ;-)

 

Wait! You can’t come in yet! What did you bring us?

Blurb: He’s her ex’s brother, yet Arden Windham aches to be in Cam Mercer’s arms. The man is rude and obnoxious, his blue eyes cold and unfeeling, but he makes her body melt. Being with ex-con Cam is nowhere in her plans, not if she wants the affection she’s worked so hard to gain from her overbearing father. Still, Cam’s touch is unlike anything she’s ever felt and Arden finds herself having to choose between her wants and her needs.

Cameron Mercer is his family’s black sheep, a man apart. For six months he watched Arden waste her time with his twin and now she’s free, he’s not waiting another minute. He’s on a campaign to get her off the tight rope she’s been walking. There’s a rebel behind that smooth façade and he’s on a mission to set Arden free. Too bad she insists on putting up a fight.

 

What makes your characters so special?

Aside from the fact that I say they are? I like my women strong, vulgar and take charge, and I only deal with the men who can keep up with them.

 

Alright, I guess you can come in. Now off to the roast!

 

So, what do you write? And why?

I write romance. In all its shades and many of its genres. Because there are people in my head who won’t shut up? Because it’s the only thing I do well.

 

Why did you want to become an author?

I like stories. Reading and telling. I love the emotion and the journey and that oh-so-satisfying ending. It was a natural progression. I also revere the author who can make me cry. My goal is to make the reader tear up, one at a time.

 

What would your characters say about you?

They’d probably say I read way too much. And I’m always crying and cursing at them.

 

What do you like doing besides writing and reading? Is it dangerous?

I eat cake. It can be dangerous, yes. LOL

 

What do you think makes a good story?

A good story is one that grabs the reader from the first paragraph of the first page and never lets up. It’s one that makes you feel, makes you care, and gets you emotional. Be it angry, sad, or happy. Any story that elicits a visceral reaction is a good story.

 

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about books, about love and about life. I’m passionate about equality, responsibility and accountability.

 

Do you like more Alpha or Beta heroes?

Gimme Alphas any day.

 

Last question: Where can our partygoers find you and your work?

Website:    http://www.avrilashton.webs.com

Twitter:    @AvrilAsh – http://www.twitter.com/AvrilAsh

Facebook:    http://www.facebook.com/writeravrilashton

 

Thank you so much for coming!

Thanks again for having me. One lucky commenter will get the chance to win a pdf of their choice of one of my backlist titles. Please include your email address with your comments.

 


Aug 6 2012

Guest Blog from Sondrae Bennett

Our current featured author is indeed still Sondrea Bennet!  Don’t forget, a random commenter will recieve a free e-copy of Arctic Winds (first book in the series) from Sondrea!

Have you ever wanted something so much, felt that something was so perfect for you, that you couldn’t imagine not getting it? That no other possible future existed? Most of us have. Whether it’s that job you were sure was yours, or that weight loss goal driving us on the treadmill, we’ve all felt that certainty that something was meant to be. That tightness in the chest that assails us just at the thought that something might not come to pass.

In Worth Fighting For, Misty knows that she and Cody are meant for each other with the same blind certainty. And when Cody remains blind to the attraction between them, Misty is forced to take extreme action to get what she wants.

What would you do to get the man of your dreams?

 

Blurb

All’s fair in love and war. As leader of a fox skulk, Cody is used to feeling protective. But when his best friend, Misty, gets attacked, his panic has nothing to do with duty. Suddenly, he’s noticing Misty as a woman instead of the girl he grew up with. But pursuing those feelings would risk their friendship, something he’s unwilling to do.

Misty’s tried everything, without success, to convince Cody she’s not “one of the guys”. Yet now that he’s looking at her like she always dreamed, he pulls away every time she gets close.

Danger lurks in the background, waiting to pounce. Someone plots against the foxes, leaving them all in jeopardy…especially Misty. Will Cody overcome his fears in time to save the woman he loves?

 

If you’re interested in more from Sondrea you can find her:

Twitter:   http://www.twitter.com/sondraebennett

Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sondrae-Bennett/177510252275496

Website:   www.sondraebennett.com

 

A random commentator below will recieve a free e-copy of Arctic Winds (first book in the series) from Sondrea!


Jul 26 2012

Interview with Cynthia Woolf

Our party-guest of honor today is Cynthia Woolf, please join me in welcoming her!

How did you get started writing?

I wrote my first story when I was about ten.  It was a romance about me and a little boy I liked.  I also wrote some very depressing poetry.  I decided that poetry was not for me and stuck to romance.

 

What genre(s) do you write in and why?

I have a historical western romance and a sci-fi romance out now.  The sci-fi is the first in a series.  I write in these genre’s because they are the ones whose stories reached out to me.  The western was the first book I wrote and was inspired by my parents love story.  It’s set on the same ranch that they met on in 1941.  My book is set in 1885, so it’s not their love story.  My dad was a cowboy and trapper but to the best of my knowledge was never a bounty hunter.

The sci-fi series was done because of dreams I had when I was a teenager.  I knew I was a princess from Alpha Centauri.  There was no way I could belong to the crazy family I had.  Of course, I adore that crazy family now.

 

What is your favorite part of writing?

My favorite part is what I call the ‘puking’ phase.  Just getting it all down on paper for the first time.  You just let if flow out of you, not caring, for the moment, if it is good or bad.

 

What is your favorite dessert or food?

Carrot cake with cream cheese icing.  My mother made the best.  Since she passed away in 2008 I haven’t been able to find any that are as good.  And believe me I’ve looked.

 

What is most difficult for you to write?  Characters, conflict or emotions?  Why?

The hardest for me to write is conflict.  I avoid conflict in my real like as though it was the plague.  So I tend to try and do that with my characters as well.  Thank goodness for my critique group who are like an enforcer and make me put in the conflict the story needs.

 

What is your next project and when will it be released?

My current book is called TAME A WILD WIND.  It is the second book in the western series and was released on March 9, 2012.

Now I’m working on the second sci-fi series called the Swords of Gregara.  The first book in the series is JENALA, the second is RIZA and the third is TALA.

 

Who does your covers?  They are fantastic. 

One of my dear friends, critique partner and fellow author, Jennifer Zane does my covers.  She is multi talented.  Her current release is Gnome on the Range.  It’s a hysterically funny book about what can happen when a woman buys a couple of garden gnomes at a garage sale for her sons.  Try the book you’ll love it.

 

All of my books are available on Amazon.

Tame A Wild Wind, http://amzn.to/ySbtTv

Tame A Wild Heart, http://amzn.to/vu62X7

Centauri Dawn, http://amzn.to/uDMkCY

Centauri Twilight, http://amzn.to/s30WPD

Centauri Midnight, http://amzn.to/wdADsZ

 

BLURB:

 

Former Texas Ranger Sam Colter isn’t looking for love.  Neither is pretty widow Cassie O’Malley.  But when a man stalking Sam for killing his brother kidnaps Cassie, Sam discovers it’s more than duty that sends him racing to her rescue.  Will Cassie realize the truth about her own feelings before it’s too late?

 

Thankyou to Cynthia for stopping by!  Cynthia is quite awesomely hosting a double giveaway that will end Friday night.  She is offering: 2 ebook copies of her book “Tame A Wild Wind” to a randomly selected commenter below!  If youlike what you’ve read you can find Cynthia:

       Twitter:    http://www.Twitter.com/CynthiaWoolf

Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/CynthiaWoolf

Website:    http://www.cynthiawoolf.com

 


Jul 23 2012

Each of Us Can Be the Heroine of Our Own Life

Today our guest of honor is a wonderful person whom* WordPress conspired to keep off the Blog last Wednesday.  We’re delighted to have her back today!  A thousand more apologies and thank you Bonnie McCune for coming back to hang out!

 

What made you decide to become a writer?  Have you always envisioned yourself a writer?

I’ve always thought books were magic and storytelling the most important talent anyone can have.  When I was a kid, I was younger and smaller than my classmates and couldn’t quite catch on how to behave.  So I escaped through books.  As I went through school, I found I had a facility for writing.  But being practical, I first applied my skills to work in public relations and communications, including free lance nonfiction writing.  I’ve also simultaneously written fiction, but I didn’t start publishing that until much later in life.

 

Why do you write romance?

Romance is just one type of writing for me.  I also write general “women’s” fiction.  Romance is a favorite because I can create a world in which the good gals and guys win.  I can indulge in optimism, not always possible in the real world.

 

How long have you been writing for? And how would you describe your publication journey?

I was ten when I submitted my first work to Saturday Evening Post, a poem about rain rushing down the gutter (it was immediately rejected).  Ever since then, I’ve been a writer.  At that time I had visions of my name living on, like Homer who wrote The Iliad.  Since then I’ve become much more realistic.  I realized my skills could be used on the job as well as freelancing nonfiction articles.  Years of rejection taught me just how difficult it is to get published in any way, shape or form; and it’s been much more difficult to publish fiction.  Who knows why I’ve kept at it—probably the occasional publication encouraged me.

A quote from someone–”No one ever said on the deathbed, ‘I wish I had spent more time in the office.’”  This is NOT true in my case when it comes to writing.  I wish I’d spent more time writing.  Where would I have taken the time from?  Certainly not my family and friends—they deserve every minute.  Not my job or volunteer activities.  I guess it would have been to spend less time fooling around or watching tv and more time writing.  Another important lesson I learned in the past few years has been the necessity of REwriting and REwriting and REwriting.

 

What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?

Everyday life and ordinary people are the most fantastic source of situations, characters, and plots.  Rudyard Kipling said, ‘The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.’  If you pick up a newspaper or watch the television news, you’ll see something so funny, scary or interesting, you don’t have to look far.  Then a writer simply adds a question—What if?

 

Are you a plotter or pantser? What is your routine?  Are there any weird things that you do before you start to sit down to write?

I used to be a pantser.  I thought that fiction sprang fully formed from the writer’s mind.  Now I know it’s a blend of inspiration, work, critiquing, and more work.  This actually is more satisfying because the writer feels part of the process, not just a conduit.  I also have been helped by taking several workshops in which the instructor broke novel-writing down into outlines, work charts, and similar organized methods.  I’ve found it helpful to take my work through these tools, not just once, but over and over as I write and rewrite.  As for weird things—not really.  I find a regular schedule helps me.  I try to write every day for an hour or two.  If I miss occasionally, so be it.  Oops, I do have some traits people might think strange.  I used to be a smoker, and I substituted eating sunflower seeds in the shell for cigarettes.  Also I have an autoimmune condition that affects my legs, so I’m always searching for a comfortable position in which to write.  I buy different chairs and cushions and rotate among them to work.  So if you walk into my office, you find lots of misplaced furniture in the middle of piles of sunflower seeds.  And I usually have the television on.  Unlike many people, I don’t need isolation and quiet.  I grew up in a large, noisy family and learned to concentrate in the middle of chaos.

 

What characteristics do all your heroes/heroines have in all your stories?

I find that almost every piece of fiction I write addresses confronting some sort of fear that’s limiting a main character.  I’d like readers to feel that action is worth taking, if just to grow within themselves.  The heroines also tend to be naïve, sympathetic, and curious.

 

What genres do you read? Do you read what you write?

I read anything that seems good (as in well written) and frequently take suggestions from friends and book reviewers.  I have a soft spot for the classics—A Tale of Two Cities, Pride and Prejudice—and wish I had more guidance in excellent contemporary books, such as The Things They Carried.  My grandchildren are now advising me.  The Hunger Games trilogy was a real find that came via them.  I read sci fi, but only the soft kind—sometimes called space opera or sociological.  Women’s novels, romance of different kinds.

 

What writing resources do you abide by as a writer?

As I said, sunflower seeds in the shell.  Continual reading of good books to use as models.  My critique group, which I’ve been a part of for 12 years now.

 

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

See my bruised forehead?  (Imagine it.)  I got that beating my head against a brick wall.  If you don’t have a “calling,” if you don’t have an obsession to write fiction, I’d advise you to stop now.  Otherwise, write, write, write; read, read, read.  The publication process is yet another challenge, to be addressed at a different time.

 

What are you working on right now?

I’ve finished a women’s novel about two old women who “adopt” an Asian student, called “The Company of Old Ladies.”  I’m also working on a novella about a single soccer mom for Valentine’s Day and brainstorming a romance based on a small town in Colorado that sponsored a weight loss competition for all its citizens.  It will have something about forest fires, because those are on everyone’s mind  right now.  The smoke is every where, even for those who don’t live close to a fire.

 

What do you find most challenging about being a writer?

  1.  Getting published.  Today social media and the Internet are      over-riding all over types of marketing; and I’m waaaaayy behind the      times.  I don’t understand how other      people manage to keep up, whether they’re writers, readers, businesspeople,      teenagers  or whatever.  For example,      I’d never heard of the term “author tagline” until it came up on this      blog.
  2. Critiquing      my own work.  I’m still a novice at      this.  I want everyone to think      everything I write is wonderful from the get-go.  It hasn’t worked out this way.  So I have to look at the market (what’s      selling), what I want to write, and apply the skills I have.

 

What news would you like to share with your readers?

I try to keep my webpage updated with notices on publications.  I have several short stories published recently or to be published soon.

 

Where can readers find you?

    1. Twitter:  Sorry, still behind the times
    2. Facebook:    http://www.facebook.com/bf.mccune
    3. Website:   www.BonnieMcCune.com
    4. Others: Goodreads:   http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8207907-bonnie-mccune

 

Bonnie is also offering a prize! One electronic version of A SAINT COMES STUMBLING IN will go to a random commenter, ask her about challenges writers encounter, beg her to get that Twitter, or just say hello!  :D

 

Bio:

Bonnie McCune credits her tenacity for the successes in her life, and A Saint Comes Stumbling In is proof. Since fifth grade, she has been determined to be a writer. This is her first published novel, but her interest in writing led to her career in nonprofits doing public and community relations and marketing. She’s worked for libraries, directed a small arts organization and managed Denver’s beautification program. Simultaneously, she’s been a free lance writer with publications in local, regional, and specialty publications for news and features. Her main interest now is fiction writing, and her pieces have won several awards. Her civic involvement includes grass-roots organizations, political campaigns, writers’ and arts’ groups, and children’s literacy.

For years, she entered recipe contests and was a finalist once to the Pillsbury Cook Off. A special love is live theater. Had she been nine inches taller and thirty pounds lighter, she might have been an actress. For reasons unknown (an unacknowledged optimism?), she believes that one person can make a difference in this world. McCune lives in Colorado, where she’s been married to the same man forever, and has two children and three grandchildren.  Read more about Bonnie at www.BonnieMcCune.com.

 

BLURB:

Can a rejected wife conquer self-doubt, trap a criminal, and win love? A patron saint might help…

Thirty-something Joan Nelson has more to contend with than a biological clock or an identity crisis. Despite her ardent belief in a conventional marriage, she finds herself deserted for a younger, slimmer woman. Lacking any skills or education, she’s thrust unprepared into the nightmare challenge of making a living for the first time in her sheltered existence.

A job as a receptionist in a law firm is the first rung on the ladder to her independence. Yet the taste of success sours when Joan considers the emptiness of her personal life. How can she reconstruct her damaged life and heal her bruised ego? Ill-equipped for the singles scene, she embarks on a confusing, sometimes frightening, new lifestyle.

When Joan stumbles on a crime perpetuated by a charming cad, she must defy her boss, jeopardize her newly won stability, and reject her friends. Her namesake, Joan of Arc, provides a model of courage and insight. If she risks danger and uncertainty, will she discover that independence and adulthood can be both enjoyable and fulfilling? Does optimism beat pessimism? Who would have dreamed her final victory could solve a childhood puzzle while it brings her true love?

Excerpt: A Saint Comes Stumbling In

A persistent chime from the doorbell finally breaks through my musings. Who would come over unannounced? Tempted to ignore the summons, I sidle along the wall so the visitor can’t see me through the window, put an eye to a crack in the curtain. “Kevin!” I throw the door open. “What are you doing here?”

No slob he, Kevin wears an impeccable business suit, pale blue shirt and paisley tie. Even more impressive are his freshly combed hair and congenial greeting. At the end of a long, grueling work day, Kevin bears no signs of fatigue or defeat. Unlike paranoid and depressed me, whose rumpled, dingy sweatsuit, faded from grey into a streaked greige, matches my attitude.

“I was in the neighborhood and thought I’d drop by to discuss several informal offers on the house,” he says.

“In the neighborhood? Get serious. This is miles from your place. You’re a sweetheart to worry about me after I wailed on your shoulder the other day. Come in and have some coffee.”

Turning to go back to the kitchen, I catch just a glimpse of a flush that mounts Kevin’s face. As I move from cupboard to sink to counter, chattering about the computer incident and my fears, I also notice his unusual reticence.

“So you see I’m working off nervous energy as well as preparing to move,” I say with a gesture at the open cupboards and the cups teetering in stacks on the table where Kevin sits. “If I get fired, I couldn’t bear having to pound the pavement again. My ego was totally destroyed. I don’t know which type of rejection I preferred—the unanswering void of some potential employers who didn’t bother to respond to an application or the politely worded rebuffs.”

As if unfolding a letter, I pretend to quote. “We sincerely thank you for applying. Although you met the requirements for the position, we regret to inform you that other candidates were better qualified. Therefore we are unable to offer you the position of ‘you-fill-in-the-blank’. We wish you good luck in your job search.”

Kevin shakes his head so emphatically he destroys his combing job. “You can’t let rejection discourage you. I get dozens of rejections every day. How could I ever close a sale if I allowed the no’s to slow me down?”

I return to my cupboard. “Easy for you to say. I was desperate for a job. James had walked out and I had no income when my mother alerted me to the opening at the law firm. I was grateful for her assistance. Pride prevented me from asking James or my family for financial help. I found pride was the last quality I needed after seven weeks of hopeless, fruitless inquiry. I couldn’t bear to go through the process again.”

Three shelves in the cupboards are clear. I look at the stack of miscellaneous mugs heaped on the top shelf and decide to discard them. An array of assorted colors and sizes, they proclaim cute sayings on their sides such as, “If you think today was bad, wait until tomorrow,” and, “Keep your paws off!” or “Mondays are God’s punishment for weekends.”

I shudder as I climb on a stool for a better look. James and I used to exchange the mugs regularly on birthdays, a kind of contest to see which one could find the ugliest or rudest. Until two years before the break-up, I suddenly realize. Another subtle sign of the disintegration of my marriage. I don’t need them as reminders.

Kevin’s voice breaks into my thoughts. “You won’t have to worry for long.”

I poke into another assortment that has been hidden at the very rear of the cupboard. “What do you mean?” I ask.

“About supporting yourself. Surely you have a very good friend waiting in the wings.”

Whirling around on the stool where I stand, I nearly fall over. I hook five or six mugs firmly over my fingers, clamber down, and advance on Kevin while brandishing the dishware. “Listen, mister, James is the charmer, the con man, the one with the sweetie-pie, not me. Was that way in school, remember? Every time I turned around, I had to pry him out of the hold of some adoring females, after a basketball game when he’d made a winning basket, hanging out in the park during the summers. Evidently, no difference after he finished college and started in business either. Don’t ask, don’t tell was my philosophy. I didn’t probe or spy. And I never was unfaithful to him, before or during marriage, and I resent your implication.”

Kevin recoils and leans back as far as possible in his chair. “Sorry. I’m the best one to know you weren’t. I don’t know why I said that.”

“What do you mean, you’re the best one to know?”

“Don’t you remember the pass I made at you just before you got married? The summer after high school?”

Thoroughly bewildered, I shake my head.

Kevin stands, puts his cup on the table, shoves his hands in his pockets, thereby disarranging his suited perfection. “Not an incident to be proud of, to put moves on a friend’s girl. The party when James had to leave because his dad was out of town and his mom called to say his little sister was sick? He left and I got you in a corner to nuzzle?”

I lower my arms to my sides, still holding the mugs. The action matches my dropping jaw. “That was a pass?”

Kevin is motionless, as if my comment is sinking into his consciousness, until he throws back his head and laughs. “I don’t know whether to be offended you found me so inept or grateful you haven’t resented my action all these years.”

“I thought you were just practicing. Everyone necked constantly with anyone in reach. They were like puppies or kittens squirming around to learn about their bodies. I didn’t know you were serious.”

“And if you had known?” Kevin asks. A silence stretch between us. I don’t know where to look, so I stare at my toes. “Ah, well, now is not the time for what-ifs. We’re all grown up. Like a brother and sister, right?” He reaches for some of the mugs to help pack them.

“If you hold it, you keep it,” I warn. “These are discards.”

“One. Only one,” Kevin says, touching my hand lightly with all his fingertips. “So, there’s no one in your life?”

Now it’s my turn to flush. “Well, a guy in the offices at work is interesting. We haven’t gone out, though.”

Kevin’s fingers grasp one particularly grotesque mug which resembles a stony gargoyle. “This will do as a memento. Time for me to take off.”

“I thought you were going to tell me about some offers,” I protest.

“Until earnest money’s involved, an offer’s not serious. No, don’t bother,” he says when I make motions as if to walk him to the door. “I’ll find my way out.”

 

Don’t forget, a random commenter will recieve a free copy of the book the above excerpt is from (A SAINT COMES TUMBLING IN) – thank you so much Bonnie for stopping by!


Jul 20 2012

WWTS a la’ JK Coi

Today, our star of honor is JK Coi. It’s so nice to have you here and shining! I’m sure you’re ready to share with us your success and many fun endeavors. So, let’s get on with the party!

 

Wow, thanks so much for letting me visit. I’m so excited!

 

BIO:

 

J.K. Coi is a multi-published, award winning author of contemporary and paranormal romance and urban fantasy. She makes her home in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and son and a feisty black cat who is the uncontested head of the household. While she spends her days immersed in the litigious world of insurance law, she is very happy to spend her nights writing dark and sexy characters who leap off the page and into readers’ hearts.

She also writes dark fantasy for young adults as Chloe Jacobs (www.chloejacobs.com)

 

Let’s get to know you a little better. Why don’t you step over here under the spotlight and shine a little.

 

First questions: (I’ll go easy on you.)

LOL, thanks! These interviews always make me nervous. What if I get asked a really hard question, like…

 

What made you decide to become a writer?

Yeah, see? Hard questions already. LOL

Honestly, I don’t remember deciding to become a writer. I’ve always been a big reader, and I was always writing too. Little things like poetry and short stories. One day I sat down and started writing something a little different (I guess there must not have been anything on tv) and before I knew it I’d gotten three hundred and some-odd pages into a book. When it was finished, my hubby said. “Sure, that’s great. But what are you going to do now?”

 

What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?

Inspiration can strike from such random things, and sometimes I’m kind of embarrassed to admit where I get inspiration. You see, I write dark stories. Emotionally scarred people. Horrible circumstances. I once got inspiration for a story by watching a couple arguing. I got inspiration from hearing about an earthquake another time. It’s not pretty the way my mind works.

 

Do you beat your muse? I mean…Wait! Do you have a muse? Does he/she have a name?

I have a muse. I call her Beeyotch. ‘Nuff said?? – Seriously, I sometimes have to beat her into submission. I’m at the point in my writing career where I can’t afford to let the muse dictate when and what I will write about. I’m on a schedule and I have to stick to it, so sometimes that means writing when I don’t feel like it, and writing a particular story even if the plot bunnies attack.

 

Let’s talk about your writing process. Are you a plotter or pantser? Are there any weird things that you do before you start to sit down to write? (Like stretch those fingers…? Scream at the computer…?)

I have to get the email and internet stuff out of the way before I start writing. When I’m at home, that means I get up early and go online. Answer emails, pop on twitter and facebook and then turn it all off. Like. OFF. I have to unplug the router and everything. I can’t allow the distraction of internet being available at just a click of the button or I’m done-for. *shaking head* Pathetic, I know.

 

What is your call story?

My very first book was sold to a small e-publisher in 2007 in a four-book series. I was ecstatic!! When I got the email, I was jumping up and down and we went out to dinner to celebrate! Then, I talked to a lawyer buddy of mine and we looked at the contract. After I signed, and realized the first book would be coming out in 2008, and then I would have to deliver three more manuscripts I started to panic! LOL

Of all the books I’ve written since then, those first four are still close to my heart, and I’m actually very pleased to be able to say that they’ll be re-released soon! My Immortals series is going to be published by Ellora’s Cave. I’ll have details on the website about that as soon as I can.

 

Have you always envisioned yourself a writer? What were you doing before you started writing? Has your earlier career influence your current one?

I still work a day job in the legal field even now. I like the opportunity to get out of my own head for a while every day and the job I do is interesting. I don’t know that it has influenced my career, but when I start writing a spin off of “The Good Wife” I’ll let you know, LOL

 

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now with your writing career?

I can only hope that five years from now I’ll still be writing. That’s really all I want to do is write. I want to try different genres and different styles, but for me I’m happy just to put those words on the page.

 

What is the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your writing career so far?

Bias. I started publishing digitally when digital didn’t get much respect. Not only that, I was writing sexy romances. I’m very happy to say that attitudes about both digital publishing and romance have improved in the few years I’ve been writing, but I think there’s still a way to go.

 

Now let’s talk more about you. If you could pick to live the life of a movie star, who would it be and why? Does this person show up in your stories?

Oh, the fun questions!

If I could be a movie star, I’d be Leo DiCaprio. He got great roles when he was younger (who wouldn’t want to be one of Shakespeare’s tragic heroes, or get to travel on the Titanic?) such that now he only picks the movies he’s really interested in doing. I like the idea of having his kind of freedom.

 

Through research, what is the most silly thing you’ve ever done?

I’ve researched everything from ancient mythology, demonology, biomechanics, fairy tales, zombie lore, the mob, FBI procedure, and…pole dancing.

 

What genres do you read? Do you read what you write?

I read what I write. I read pretty much everything and anything,  actually.

 

What’s the last book you’ve read for fun? Did you read it on an e-Reader or are you still a paperback-kind-of-person?

I just got back from vacation, so I did some reading last week. I had Executive Decision by Mandy M. Roth and Wolf Signs by Vivian Arend on my ereader, and I had the Maze Runner by James Dashner in paperback. Right now I’m going to start on Chasing Magic by Stacia Kane.

 

What did you wish you had known back then when you began writing?

I guess I wish I had better understood the cyclical nature of publishing. Everyone said “You can’t write that, that genre is so dead.” and “We’re not taking those kinds of books.” but times change and genres get revitalized. I also wish I had realized earlier that there would be more than one path to success for me. It would have saved a lot of early frustration. I’m so glad that authors have so many options to get their work in front of readers, from the traditional NY publishing route, to self publishing, etc.

 

Is there anything else you’d want your readers and friends to know about you?

I also write YA as Chloe Jacobs (who’s way more fun—just kidding). My debut YA is coming out in November and it’s called GRETA AND THE GOBLIN KING. Basically, it’s Hansel and Gretel meets the Lost Boys meets Labyrinth. Dark and tortured characters. Kick-butt heroine. Awesome fantasy-style cover. I am really looking forward to release day and I’m hoping everyone loves the book as much as I do.

As I mentioned, my original Immortals series is being re-released soon with Ellora’s Cave, but book 2 of my Seasons of Invention series is coming in September from Carina Press. It’s called BROKEN PROMISES and continues Jasper and Callie’s story, who are also the hero and heroine of FAR FROM BROKEN – which is the book I’m giving away today!

I’m also looking forward to the release of an anthology in the early Fall which I’m participating in. Duty and Desire (edited by fantastic Kristina Wright) is a compilation of erotic stories with a military theme, and my story is called OUT OF TIME.

And…if all goes well…you’ll also be able to see something spooky from me around Halloween!

 

And lastly, where can we find you?

Email:   jkcoi@rogers.com

Twitter:   www.twitter.com/jkcoi

Facebook:   www.facebook.com/JKCoiAuthor

Website:   www.jkcoi.com

 

As Chloe Jacobs:

Email:    chloejacobs@rogers.com

Twitter:   www.twitter.com/jacobs_chloe

Facebook:   www.facebook.com/ChloeJacobsAuthor

Website:   www.chloejacobs.com

 

Thank you so much for being a star!

And thanks so much for letting me come and visit with you! I’ll be giving away a digital copy of my book, Far From Broken, so ask me more questions in the comments section to be entered. Thanks!!

 

Blurb:

FAR FROM BROKEN

Soldier. Spymaster. Husband.

Colonel Jasper Carlisle was defined by his work until he met his wife. When the prima ballerina swept into his life with her affection, bright laughter and graceful movements, he knew that she was the reason for his existence, and that their love would be forever.

But their world is shattered when Callie is kidnapped and brutally tortured by the foes Jasper has been hunting. Mechanical parts have replaced her legs, her hand, her eye…and possibly her heart. Though she survived, her anger at Jasper consumes her, while Jasper’s guilt drives him from the woman he loves. He longs for the chance to show her their love can withstand anything…including her new clockwork parts.

As the holiday season approaches, Jasper realizes he must fight not just for his wife’s love and forgiveness…but also her life, as his enemy once again attempts to tear them apart.

 

Excerpt:

The snow fell hard and fast, a wall of fluffy white obscuring the world through the frosty window until Jasper could almost believe there was no world at all beyond the train. That the steam pushed it along on rails into nothingness, taking him nowhere.

He snorted and shook his head. Ridiculous. He was definitely going somewhere.

After four months, he was finally going to retrieve his wife.

A sharp rap on the cabin door saved him from an examination of the uncomfortable, heavy sensation in his chest. He looked up through the thick square of glass inset into the door, and waved Murphy inside. The door slid open on a heavy rush of processed air.

“Colonel, we’ll be in Manchester within the hour. I’ve already wired the clinic to expect us before evening’s end and Mrs. Campbell has responded with confirmation that she will arrange for a carriage to pick us up.”

“Thank you.”

“Will you be needing anything more before we stop, then?”

“No, I don’t think so.” The only thing he needed was at the end of this long overdue journey.

“I’ll see to the luggage, and as soon as this iron death trap pulls to a stop we’ll be ready to roll.” Jasper resisted a smile at his lieutenant’s expense. Murphy had made his discomfort with their choice of transportation more than plain, but had refused to stay behind.

With a short bow, the man left him alone again and Jasper turned back to the window. His hand went to the inside pocket of his vest and closed around the pocket watch, but he didn’t remove it to check the time. There was no need. The train had started to slow already in anticipation of moving into the station. He felt the gentle drag pulling him deeper into the plush velvet seat.

Soon now. Soon he would be with Callie again.

It would be the first time he’d see her since leaving the clinic four months ago. He’d been ordered back into the field to hunt down the men responsible for her attack. It was believed that the same group was also behind the torture and death of a number of other British intelligence officers, including Colonel Wyndham—a friend of Jasper’s.

He had intended to defy those orders, needing to stay with Callie at the clinic. But when she’d finally awakened and her screams had only subsided when he was no longer in the room, it was decided his presence would hamper her physical progress, and the doctor had suggested he give her time to adjust. Callie’s health was, of course, far more important than his wishes, and so he’d gone.

Yes, he’d gone, but insisted on being sent a weekly wire with the details of each and every one of her operations, the drugs she’d taken and every facet of her difficult rehabilitation. The procedures undertaken for her recovery had been extreme, depending upon radical notions and the availability of sophisticated equipment.

He knew she’d refused to walk for a long time, still rarely spoke, and that she continued to experience terrible nightmares, although the doctor postulated that she didn’t remember much if anything of the actual attack. That the trauma of it had proven too much for her conscious mind, forcing her to lock it all away. He said he’d seen it in patients often enough. Since Jasper himself had witnessed what horrible trauma could do to even experienced, deadly soldiers, he almost approved of his hardheaded Callie pushing the bad memories out of her head rather than letting them consume her and take her sanity.

The only thing he didn’t know was how she would react when he arrived. If they could get past this. If they would ever be happy again.

His hand clenched into a fist in his lap as he remembered the sound of her laughter. He somehow doubted he’d hear that sound again soon, but he would do whatever it took to make it happen. For her, he’d try anything, give anything. Risk anything.

Just as she had risked all for him.

 

JK is awesome enough to be hosting a giveaway of her book “Far From Broken” for a randomly selected commenter below – let her know how awesome she is please!  :D