Saturday, October 21, 2017

Guest Veronica Scott: Pets in Space 2

Please welcome our friend Veronica Scott.

Thanks for having me as your guest today to talk about Embrace the Romance: Pets In Space 2! It’s so lovely to be back on Paranormal Romantics.


Although the anthology is scifi romance, as we all know, the paranormal and the scifi sometimes intersect and speaking for myself, I’m a voracious reader of both. Normally in my scifi novels I try to consciously inject some mysticism and uncanny elements that my tough military heroes can’t really explain. But they’ve seen enough in their travels around the galaxy to accept that reality can encompass a lot of stuff that can’t be dissected with science.

In my novella for this USA Today Best Selling anthology, I didn’t have a whole lot of time in terms of word length to develop a separate mythology, versus just getting on with the action. I did give my hero, Grant, what I hope is an interesting back story in terms of the planet he’s from and the alien eagle warbird, Valkyr, that is his ‘pet’.


First the blurb for Star Cruise: Songbird:
Grant Barton, a Security Officer on the Nebula Zephyr, is less than thrilled with his current assignment to guard an Interstellar singing sensation while she’s on board the ship. It doesn’t help that he and his military war bird Valkyr are dealing with their recent separation from the Sectors Special Forces and uncertainty over their future, with their own planet in ruins.

Karissa Dawnstar is on top of the charts and seemingly has it all – talent, fame, fortune and devoted fans, but behind her brave smile and upbeat lyrics she hides an aching heart. When a publicity stunt goes wrong, Karissa finds herself in the arms of the security officer assigned to protect her – and discovers a mutual attraction she can’t ignore.

Trouble continues to plague the pair, driving a wedge between them and leaving Grant certain that Karissa is in more danger than she realizes, from overzealous fans and her own management. Grant is determined to protect Karissa whether she wants his help or not. Can he discover the truth behind what’s going on before he loses Karissa or is there someone else plotting to keep them apart – permanently?

The excerpt – Karissa and Grant have taken Valkyr the eagle to a planet’s surface for exercise:

“Why are you so sure Valkyr won’t want to stay here? I mean, mountains, right?” She waved her hand in the direction of the ravine.

“Not our mountains though. It’s not home.” Leaning back, Grant finished his juice and said, “Qaazamir eagles bond at birth with their handler. That’s how we have our mental link. Actually, Valkyr bonded with my great grandfather.”

Mouth open in shock, she asked, “How old is he?”

“Two hundred or so. It was common for the birds to be passed down in the same family line. As long as the DNA of the descendants contained certain dominant markers, the bird treated each the same as his original partner. He only bonds to one human at a time, so the new handler must be present at the death of the previous owner, or very close. Of course sometimes birds were stolen by upstarts the elders hadn’t selected. Clan wars were fought over good nesting areas. An egg was the most desired dowry.” Grant smiled. “There was an entire indigenous culture on Qaazamir, rich traditions.”

“What happened?”

“The Sectors happened. Qaazamir was colonized early on, before many of the laws and protections were developed. If the planet was discovered for the first time now, there’d be no colonization because the planet had inhabitants and the birds would still exist. My people would still exist.” He stared at the horizon. These were matters of which he normally never spoke. “But the colonists pushed the rightful owners of the planet aside, mined the rich ores, polluted the water and the ground…it’s a toxic hellhole now. In fact, what happened on Qaazamir was the primary reason the Sectors established safeguards. But by then it was too late for us. We had a dying planet. My ancestors refused to accept reality for a long time. They thought having won their case at the Sectors Supreme Court meant everything would be fine. But the corporate colonists left and the poisons remained.”

“You—you were the upstart who took the bird? Took Valkyr?”

He nodded. “I could see the way the extinction trend was going. Valkyr had passed to my great aunt and then my father. I was already in the Special Forces when he was dying of amphbagan fever, a wasting disease caused by the poisons leaching from the ground, but I got compassionate leave and made it home in time. I took Valkyr with my father’s blessing, if not that of the elders. I tried to find a female so he could mate, but by then there were no more females. The last few clutches of eggs were deformed and never hatched.  I was banished in absentia for stealing Valkyr from my cousin.”

He turned his gaze on Karissa, who was leaning forward, chin resting on her hand, apparently mesmerized by his story. “My father and I felt that as long as one Qaazamir eagle flew free somewhere in the galaxy, our people, our traditions would not have perished. There are no birds and hardly any people left on Qaazamir. It’s a wasteland. The military was happy to accept Valkyr and me into the Z Command, to carry out unique missions behind enemy lines.”

*******************************************


I’ll add one more thing – I wrote my hero Grant as a little bit of a tribute to Hosteen Storm, the wonderful hero in Andre Norton’s Beast Master, who you may remember had an African eagle as part of his fighting team. Two different guys, two different galaxies…but I like to think they’d have gotten along well.

Blurb for Embrace the Romance: Pets In Space 2:

The pets are back! Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, featuring twelve of today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors brings you a dozen original stories written just for you! Join in the fun, from the Dragon Lords of Valdier to a trip aboard award-winning author, Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr to journeying back to Luda where Grim is King, for stories that will take you out of this world! Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, M.K. Eidem, Susan Grant, Michelle Howard, Cara Bristol, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Sabine Priestley, Jessica E. Subject, Carol Van Natta, and Alexis Glynn Latner as they share stories and help out Hero-Dogs.org, a charity that supports our veterans!

10% of the first months profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

Buy Links:   Amazon   iBooks   Kobo   B&N 

Author Bio:
USA Today Best Selling author, and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happy Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.

Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”






Friday, October 20, 2017

Halloween Monsters: Witches

Every year around this time I do a little research on a different traditional Halloween monster. This year, I'm taking a quick look at the evolution of witches.

Most of the traditional Halloween monsters--vampires, werewolves, Frankenstein, mummies, zombies--are considered monsters for the main reason that people believed they would harm them. But each of those monsters, more than witches, also come with a physical indication of what/who they are--fangs, rags, bolts, fur, rotting skin, etc. Witches, on the other hand, do not necessarily have a physical means of identification.

Historically some witches practice spells and call upon spirits to affect change in some way. Some were/are simply natural healers. The origin of witches in historical context is unknown. One of the first references in the Bible in 1st Samuel referring to the Witch of Endor. Of the various Halloween monsters, witches are one of the few (possibly the only one) to be called out in the Bible by name as something to condemn.

In early literature, witches appear in many famous works including Circe in the Odyssey and Morgan Le Fay in the Arthurian legends. Shakespeare included several most notably the Weird Sisters in MacBeth. Notice that most of these witches are monstrous creatures to be feared. 

Meanwhile, the fear of witches by society his it's zenith in the late middle ages and early modern age. Over the years, women believed to be witches have been persecuted over and over. Between the years 1500 and 1660 in Europe it's believed over 80,000 women suspected of witchcraft were put to death. Witch trials hopped the pond in the 1690s resulting in the infamous Salem Witch Trials. By the 1730s laws were passed to protect people from wrongful accusation, and witch hysteria died down.

Witches continued to be a mainstay in the societal consciousness of monsters however, as Halloween became a more popular holiday, witches made the list of traditional creatures to fear and eventually dress up as. 

In earlier 1900s literature, we got such witches as the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda in the Wizard of Oz and the White Witch from The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe. 

Unlike the other monsters, witches have a modern-day incarnation. One which is not monstrous. According to the History Channel, practitioners of Wicca "avoid evil and the appearance of evil at all costs. They’re motto is to “harm none,” and they strive to live a peaceful, tolerant and balanced life in tune with nature and humanity." 

Witches in stories are a combination of evil creatures to fear--Lamia in Stardust, Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter--and good witches to admire--Harry Potter/Hermione Granger/Ron Weasley/etc from Harry Potter. And don't even get me started about the variations on witches in media--Hocus Pocus, Maleficent, Harry Potter, Sabrina the Teenaged Witch, Bewitched, Charmed, and witches on various shows/movies that are not primarily witch related including True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, and Buffy.

Like with the other monsters--yes, even zombies--modern Halloween goers have sexified the witch finding power and sex appeal in the figure (as long as their powers are used for good). Personally, I love this more dynamic vision of this traditional Halloween monster.

What about you? Are witches one of your favorite paranormals these days? Do you love to dress up as a witch for Halloween?

Obviously I love them because of all the fun things you can do with magic in literature. I'm limited by only my imagination. If you're a fan of witches in paranormal romance, check out Bait N' Witch!

Here are my previous articles on Halloween Monsters:

Thursday, October 19, 2017

A Spooky (and True) Story by C.J. Burright

Since Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, I wanted to share a spooky and totally true personal story. If some of you have already read it in a post of yore, my apologies, but it still creeps me out and I haven't shared it at Paranormal Romantics before. 

So onto my story...

Why is Halloween one of my favorite holidays? It might be the change in season, the falling leaves and crisp winds whispering of things to come. It could be the perfectly valid opportunity to dress up and scare kids and eat all that leftover candy. Or maybe it’s just the pumpkins, skeletons, and ghosties and goblins on every corner.
Personally, I think it has more to do with my Celtic roots, Samhain, and the thinning veil between the living and spirit worlds. There are just too many spooky stories surrounding Samhain to completely discount the possibility of visiting phantoms, and I have a few family tales, too weird to be explained away. Want to hear one? I thought you might. :)

It was a dark and stormy night. Kidding. It was night, and it was dark, but I don’t remember any storm happening. A quick C.J. history lesson—I grew up in the boonies. Miles from town, boxed in on two sides by endless acres of government-owned forestland, the closest neighbor a run-across-the-field away. On a good day, we got two television channels, and HBO wasn’t one of them. We lived in a double-wide mobile home with an attached garage, and the long driveway led straight into the garage. Any headlights shone right into the living room windows, so when visitors showed up, you knew it.

This particular night was the parental units’ romantic Saturday evening (aka bowling league) and my older sister was at a friend’s house, so it was just me and my younger sister, Cathy. We were hanging in the living room, watching whatever questionable television show our antennae would pick up, Hee-Haw, I think…did I mention this was long, long ago? Headlights reflected in the windows, and as it was about time for mom and dad’s return, we didn’t think much of it. The motor’s rumble echoed from the garage and cut out. The back door leading from garage to house clicked open and shut softly.

But no one came into the living room.

It took a couple minutes for my curiosity to kick in. What was taking mom and dad so long to come into the living room and why was it so quiet? Dad loved to prank us, and even though mom never played along, I suspected foul play. I strolled from the living room to the kitchen, fully prepared to foil his plans.

No one was there.

I peeked through the kitchen window into the garage.

No car.

Prickles ran down my arms as I tried to connect the empty garage with what my senses told me only minutes ago. A car had come up the driveway. Someone had come in.

Crap.

Not willing to turn my back on the kitchen or the garage, I backed into the dining room. The large windows looking out into the night didn’t help the cold racing through my veins. The dining room and living room were connected, and Cathy was lounging in a recliner, still watching television. I said, “Mom and dad aren’t here. You saw the headlights, right? Didn’t you hear the car, the door open and shut?”

Thankfully, her disbelieving expression told me if I was going crazy, then so was she. Clinging to each other, we crept back into the kitchen. Nothing had changed, no car, no parents. We agreed we had to check the house because someone had come in. Someone was in our house with us, and there were three bedrooms and two bathrooms they could be hiding in. No way would we sit around, waiting.
Like so many horror movie victims before us, we armed ourselves with kitchen knives and inched down the hallway. My sister’s room was dark, the door open. Shaking, our knives gripped tight, we flipped on the light.

The room was empty. The closet held the usual clothes and shoes, no ax-wielding ghost clowns. But we had more rooms to go.

The bathroom was easy, nowhere to hide other than the shower. We slid further down the hall, to the room we shared. I made Cathy turn on the light, my knife raised right behind her, ready to slash, stab and gouge.

Nothing hid behind my bookcase or beneath our bunkbed. My heart roared, a stampede in my ears.  We looked at each other. Only our parents’ room remained. This was it. The showdown. I could hardly breathe and my fingers ached from holding the knife so tight. Together, we opened the door and hit the light switch.
The bed was made, no red eyes peering from beneath. The bathroom was empty. We both turned to the closed closet door. Final spot. Cathy flung open the door as I yelled and flicked the switch.

Nothing. Nothing in the hanging clothes. Nothing crouched behind shoes boxes. Nothing clinging to the ceiling.

What the hell?

As relieved as I was to not confront some horror that my brain could never erase, it made no sense. We’d both seen the headlights. We’d both heard the car. We’d both acknowledged the door opening and shutting.
My parents came home some time later and didn’t seem to notice the way we huddled together on the couch, every light in the house on. Neither one of us mentioned anything. What could we possibly say?

Now, I can’t blame that weird incident on the thinning of the veil on Samhain, but it was during the autumn season, when life is dying and settling in for winter. Whatever the cause, I have never forgotten it.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, EVERYONE! Do you have any family ghost stories?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Why Does Fear Make Us Happy? by Elizabeth Alsobrooks

If you overheard someone say they had seen a dozen shoppers get hacked to death, their entrails hanging out, their skulls split to expose their brains, and their limbs removed by an axe-wielding maniac in a mall, you would be horrified. If they then went on to explain that they enjoyed it while munching on popcorn, you would think something was terribly wrong with them.  But the truth is that a large segment of the population actually likes to be scared. They enjoy it. The Saw franchise has grossed a billion dollars! We have created a holiday devoted to things that scare us. So what makes thrill-seekers enjoy being scared?

Well, the physical effects provide a reason. We have super-charged strength and power. Mentally, we have heightened senses and intuition as a reaction to fear. This increase in mental and physical capacity is an adrenaline rush, and we all understand what someone means when they say, “Wow, that was a rush.”


The primal fight or flight reaction to fear is an evolved survival instinct. It seems to have served humans well for some time. Though our ancestors needed the superhuman response to a fearful situation, these days those events are, thankfully, less frequent. So while we still get the flight or fight response triggered when we’re scared, our frontal lobe lets us know there is no real danger so we can better appreciate the fright.

Those who need even more thrills take up sky diving or bungee jumping, where there is real danger; but even those adrenaline junkies don’t jump off without the very best equipment and safety precautions. 


Psychiatrists also theorize that some folks who enjoy a good scare like the after-effect more than the fright itself. They like that feeling of having survived, of facing something terrifying and overcoming the fear, making them feel brave. Statistically more men than women love horrific events and thrill-seek, but there are plenty from both genders that enjoy a good rush and laugh after a big scare. As many horror films illustrate, going through a frightening event together can bring people closer. People who like each other bond and develop trust and those who don’t often end up hating each other and fighting about what to do next.

Whatever your fright level, be sure to enjoy the fun to be had this time of year. Pick up a copy of Tell-Tale Publishing’s horror anthology so you can read some horrific tales—including mine--to get your heart pumping. It’s soon to be available in audio too!


Saturday, October 14, 2017

A First! My First! Self-Published Novel - The Summoning

At the end of September, I navigated the Amazon process for indie-publishing.  I didn't encounter any troubles at all, thank goodness, in publishing The Summoning in Kindle format.  Soon, I plan to publish it in paperback. Here's the blurb and the dynamic cover created by the talented Debbie Taylor:

Heather Morique is a witch. The problem is she doesn’t know it. One month after losing her infant son, her husband Jahill and his mistress perish in an accident. He was a refugee from an obscure branch of the Arawak Indians, and soon after his death, mysterious whispers lure her to his homeland. She soon finds herself in a web of secrets, lies and illusions. Jahill’s obscure branch of the Arawaks worship two gods: Eyrael, a spirit from another dimension, is their God of Wind and Sea. His brother Sofiel is the God of Fire and Earth. The powerful new Shaman has pitted brother against brother, and these two powerful spirits—one light, one dark—battle to remain the tribe’s ruling deity. When Heather unwittingly summons Eyrael, these two unlikely soul mates face a dangerous fate.  More frightening than the buried secrets, Heather and Eyrael discover the chemistry between them almost irresistible.

For those in line to purchase (LOL), here's the Amazon  link.  http://a.co/e3qDRLq

  The book is only $2.99 but Prime members can read for free!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Diane Burton’s Love Affair With Star Wars


Last weekend, TNT ran a Star Wars marathon. Since I was in the middle of inputting receipts into Quicken and needed some background noise, I turned on the marathon, catching Episode I: The Phantom Menace close to the beginning. Fortunately, the football game of the year for Michigan residents (University of Michigan vs Michigan State University) didn’t come on until 7:30 pm, so I had control of the remote all afternoon. 😊

Having watched each episode about a million times (slight exaggeration), I knew I could do the financial stuff and follow the movies. Hah. Too many times, a scene would snag my attention. It didn’t take much to yank me away from data input. (Bo-ring) Each time I watch one of the movies, I see something new. Yes, even after a million times. During the big pep talk scene in A New Hope and Mon Mothma says “Many Bothans died to bring us this information” I immediately thought of Rogue One that told that story.
 
photo: IMDB
I love the expansion of Star Wars to include side stories, like Rogue One. I’m looking forward to more of them. Just as I’m anxiously awaiting the release of Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi.

Why this fascination with a forty-year-old movie and its sequels? And why are new fans made every generation? I can’t speak for everyone, only my family. (If this sounds vaguely familiar, my post almost three years ago speaks of my family’s fascination with the series.)
 
photo: IMDB
Hubs and I saw the original Star Wars in the theater. We enjoyed it so much, we took our kids. When the VCR of the first trilogy came out, I bought it (still have the original tapes), and we watched the films many times. I took my son and his best friend (ages 5 and 6) to Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back and sitting in the front row because we didn’t arrive early enough. (I still remember the crick in my neck.) We’ve watched the entire series on DVD so many times, I think they’re starting to wear out. LOL We passed the torch to our children who in turn have passed it on to their children, all of whom share our passion. Our 7.5-year-old grandson beats everyone at Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. His 10-year-old sister comes in a close second.

When I wrote the previous post (December, 2014), my granddaughter, Toddler Girl, hadn’t been born yet. I did say we’d indoctrinate her in Star Wars. Now, she’s two and a half. Her favorite toys at my house are the three sets of Star Wars nesting dolls. Guess who’s been teaching her the names of the characters? Hehehe. She remembers Chewbacca, BB-8, and the princesses Leia and Rey. Well, I think Rey is a princess. She has to be Luke’s daughter, right? I guess we’ll find out when Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi comes out on December 15th. You can bet our three generations of Star Wars fans will be at the opening. Seeing the trailer yesterday added to the anticipation.
 
photo: IMDB

For me, the fascination of the movies is the adventure. Before 1977, I never read science fiction, and I thought previous sci-fi movies were hokey, unbelievable. Because of the manner in which Star Wars was written and filmed, the viewer can easily suspend disbelief. Of course ships travel through space and hop from planet to planet. This was adventure (and romance) that happened to take place in a “galaxy far, far away.” As I’ve said many times, that’s when my love of science fiction romance began. Consequently, I was thrilled when Disney bought the franchise and began making new movies.

I’ve never felt this way about a movie series. I compare every sci-fi film I see to Star Wars. None measure up. (The only ones that come close are the Star Trek series.) As you can tell, I’m still an unabashed fangirl.

What movie series captured you?

Diane Burton once knew the name of every Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronaut. After watching the first Star Wars movie, she knew she wanted to write about space adventure. Her Outer Rim series (The Pilot, The Chameleon,and The Protector) are about strong women (like Star Wars heroines Leia, Rey, and Jyn) on the frontier of space. Read about Diane's books at www.dianeburton.com




Monday, October 9, 2017

Must Love #Audiobooks and #Superheroes! The Judas Contact is now available on audio!

I admit to having a soft spot where audiobooks are concerned. I do a lot of roadtrips and I flove listening to audiobooks when I'm on the road. Over the last few years I've listened to everything from Stephanie Plum to Nalini Singh to Felicia Day and more. When I go for long walks, I'll push play on the latest novel captivating me.

I really can't get enough of it and will actively collect audiobooks to keep a generous supply for future trips. Last year while I was driving from Dallas to San Diego for RWA, I nearly ran myself off the road laughing at Eve Langlais' A Demon and His Psycho. While I highly recommend this novel, please note that your laughter may impair your ability to operate heavy machinery!


The first time I heard one of my books in audio it was Some Like it Royal, and I couldn't stop giggling. Hearing someone else read my words blew me away. Then I had the great good fortune of working with Christine Padovan on my Always a Marine series.

It never fails to make me happy to hear my book in audio which is why I'm thrilled to share with you the release of The Judas Contact, Boomers Book 1 read by the amazing Dorian Bane. His voice is sweet, sexy, and perfect.

Check him out, and listen to a sample.

If you love superheroes, time travel, action adventure and some sexy romance, then Boomers are the books for you! Learn more about Boomers!

Tell me, do you have a favorite audio book? Or favorite place to listen?

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Disciple's Descendants

I'm throwing my hat into the 'serialized' book venue! Again.

Disciple's Descendants is a series of short novellas that each have their own happy ending but--it's a continuous storyline. Series. And I told myself no more, just do one novel, one story! Right. I've been furiously typing away so as to have at least 5 of them ready with the intent to release one every 4-5 weeks. Four are totally done, out with beta readers and an editor. I can't wait to re-release them into the world of readers. Yes, re-release because they initially premiered back in 2012 with me writing under a nom de plume -- Jocie Parker. I believe the rewrites are so much better. I neglected these guys on their first foray into the reader's sphere. This time they come with promo and a trailer is underway as soon as I find suitable music. I truly enjoy splashing these men, some of which are unhuman, onto pages.

Not only are there relatives of the original disciples, there be dragons here!

First up is Ander and you can learn more by visiting A Sovereign Spot. You can read even more by checking out Conversations.

The dragon shifter, Leviat, appears in Scorching Book Review's 2017 Sex Scene Championship this month and if you haven't hopped over to be warmed by a few HOT! sex scenes, go now. I'll wait for you to get back.

Hey? Hello!! I know, I know. It's scorching hot over there. Did you vote for Leviat?

Anyway, welcome back. I'm going to give you a quick preview of Disciple's Descendant 4 starring Simeon Zeals and his kinky human, Nancy Cannon.

I am beginning to think these characters need a Tree of Life just so I can keep up with them all and know who is who! Similar to the one I have in my head (and in a crazy wild spreadsheet) pages, and pages, and pages... So many series.

Simeon
Disciple's Descendant 4

Simeon Zeals is invisible to humans. Hell, just one disciple aside from Gage Harrow masters the ability to keep up with his movements so taking what he covets poses no problem. Until he meets someone who is out of reach. Gage and Zeb protecting her only makes Simeon want the woman more. He doesn’t give a damn she isn’t a descendant. He hasn’t even thought past bedding her for more than one night—maybe two… Or three.
Nancy Cannon unknowingly stumbles into disciples frequently at Arrogant Bastards, but when she hit a solid wall of invisible muscle, her life careens out of control. Meeting the flesh and blood version elevates her senses, has her feeling and wanting things Nancy never even dreamed of. Caught in his web of desire, she begins to spin a few of her own.
Each silken thread of passion slowly tightens around them.

Excerpt
Nancy stopped inside the door and slumped against the wall trembling. What the fuck? She’d known Zeb long enough to know that wasn’t his voice. The words she heard outside were spoken by someone else, someone whose tone sent a bolt of lust right to her core. Glancing around the club, she searched for Pet and found her staring toward the entrance. Since Pet discovered her mother was alive and visited with her often, she had been nothing but happy so why the downturn to her lips? What in hell was going on? Everyone at the table peered in Nancy’s direction and for the first time, she saw them clearly. An iridescent light glowed around the group appearing to encase them in…in some kind of bubble. Squeezing her eyes shut and shaking her head dissolved the strange vision. She’d known for a while the guys from TD, Inc. weren’t normal, but she couldn’t put her finger on exactly what was different.
“We need to talk.”
The back of Nancy’s head bumped the wall. “Ouch!” Engrossed in thoughts, she hadn’t noticed Pet leave the table or walk over. “What?”
“We need…”
“Pet, I got this.” The voice.
That was the voice she heard in front of Arrogant Bastards and it sent another delicious tremor straight to the apex of her thighs. Her tiny panties couldn’t take another pulse of liquid. Turning to see who owned it, Nancy looked into the sexiest smoky gray eyes she’d ever seen. Pinpoints of silver lights sparkled in their depths as the man who owned them flashed a crooked smile. How freaking dare him! He’d licked her and rubbed his… “You rude bastard.” Why the hell didn’t she see him outside? And even worse, why did he turn her on, make her weak in the knees.
“Mmm, sweet lips, and wrapped around such dirty words.”
“Simeon, I need to talk to Nancy. There are some things she doesn’t understand.”
“Pet, honey, Ander’s rifling through my mind and staring at me with pure hatred. Go, I said I got this.”
Simeon. His name rolled through her mind but it did nothing to abate Nancy’s growing more and more agitated at how they both ignored her. “Me, it’s me you’re talking about as if I’m not here.” They still didn’t look at her.
Pet’s head leaned, “I’ve seen something.”
“Yeah, what would that be?”
“Sim, I’ll leave you with one word—Gage.” Was it possible Pet, Nancy's oldest and dearest friend, was scared?
“I’ll handle Gage.”
“Simeon, I mean it.”
“Pet, go. If Ander bum rushes my mind, it won’t be healthy for any of us.”
Bum rush his mind! While he talked with Pet, Nancy checked Simeon out from head to toe. Lord, he was big, tall, absolutely gorgeous, and… Big! Thick, dark hair curled over his collar and his partially unbuttoned white dress shirt did nothing to hide hair sprinkled over an eye level muscular chest. Lean, long fingers of one hand splayed on the wall beside her head, and his arm bulged inside fine material. Narrow hips were hugged by perfectly creased brown slacks, hips she imagined pressed against her ass again, naked hips pumping... Enough already!
“Your fate, not mine.” Pet twirled and walked away.
Creep had slobbered on her. “HELLO,” Nancy yelled, “I’m right here, damn it.” She watched Pet return to the table.
“Darling, I know that.”
“What makes you think you can just rub against my ass, slobber on me and…”
“Slobber? Really? Why is everyone so dramatic tonight?”
His other hand came up and a finger feathered across her chest, moved to touch her lips, and Nancy had had it. She opened her mouth and bit hard. “There, fucker.”
 “Son of a bitch, you got some fire in you.” The cretin smiled, and the whole room lit up. “Have a drink with me?”


Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-J. Hali Steele

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Pro's and Con's of an Overactive Imagination

by Maureen L. Bonatch 

Once in awhile I have someone new to my books comment that I must have quite the imagination. Although the interpretation of this comment comes from the manner in which they make this remark. Sure, sometimes it’s to discuss the storyline or the uniqueness of a character, but other times it’s said slowly, with a pointed look, as if uncertain of the stability of the mind of someone who could imagine such a story.

Those who have an overactive imagination understand—or at least they pretend they do. If they find those like-minded a discussion can be held about whatever unusual thought just passed though their mind with a nod of understanding or excitement at exploring the extraordinary possibilities.

Those who don’t have much of an imagination just might become a little, well, uneasy.

How Much Is Too much Imagination?

  • Pro- You can write outrageous, imaginative stories
    • Con- Some of the people who read these stories become a little uncomfortable after this peek into the dark crevices of your cranium 
  • Pro- Midnight hours of your neighbors’ indicate potential stories of werewolves, vampires or serial killers
    • Con- You sometimes lose sleep thinking about these possibilities
  • Pro- You can entertain yourself for hours without really doing anything
    • Con-Working your imagination doesn’t burn as many calories as you think it should and you can develop the dreaded “book butt”.
  • Pro- Nothing you view is completely ordinary if you look long enough
    • Con- Glazed staring into space isn’t good social practice—and neither is drooling
  • Pro-You can’t stop dreaming about “what if”…
    • Con-You can’t stop dreaming about “what if”…

Who's With Me? The Lovers, the Dreamers and Me




 

Explore the dark side of the imagination and preorder 

Evil Speaks Softly today right here.


They were never supposed to meet. Fame came easy for Liv by following in the footsteps of the
female writers in her family. The cycle repeated for decades…until Liv changed the story. 

Her villain doesn’t like the revision—and he isn’t a fictional character. In his story, the bad guy always wins.





Author Bio: Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line. Find Maureen on her websiteFacebookTwitter

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Guest Lea Kirk


Hello, my name is Lea Kirk, and my newest book baby is not a sci-fi romance.  Yes, it’s true. My most recent release is a paranormal romance, and I’m not ashamed to shout it from the parapets of Dracula’s castle either.

How did this craziness come about? Well, like so often happens to me, I had a very vivid, very weird dream. This one was about a woman who had acquired something of great value from some guy and he would kill to get it back. Enter, the vampire. For some reason, the vampire hated the guy who was chasing her so he decided to help her. They were supposed to leave town, but the guy caught up with her in her apartment before they left. He turned into a snake and was trying to bite her. The vampire appeared and the snake bit him instead. The woman was devastated because she loved the vampire, but now he was dying…

…and I jerked awake with tears in my eyes.

Yeah, I know. Totally unfair. I wanted to find out what happened next because things did not look good for the vampire and the woman. Then a ray of sunlight cut through the morning fog in my brain and I remembered, “Duh, you’re a writer.” I could give them the happily ever after they deserved! I rushed to my computer and typed up everything I could remember from the dream and saved the file. I call this “putting them on ice” because that’s kind of what I do. They stay frozen in time in my ‘puter until I finish my current projects. In this case I was working on the second book in my Prophecy series and a short story set in the same universe.

A couple of months later, I was messaging with S.E. Smith and she extended a gracious invitation to me to write my own original story set in the fictional town she’d created called Magic, New Mexico. Like there was even a remote chance I’d say no! But, I was still buried under my two other projects so we agreed to discuss it again after the new year.
January first came and I had no clue what I was going to write. Magic, New Mexico is a town of paranormal and alien beings, but I couldn’t fit my Prophecy series universe into it because, well, the Anferthians had already decimated Earth. Before that, no extraterrestrials had actually visited our planet. It was a quandary, for sure. So, I pulled up my file of saved story ideas (you will not believe how many of them have their roots in my dreams!) and scrolled until “Vampire Dream” jumped out at me.

Ah, hah! I had my story idea and it was time to give this couple their happy ending. I began writing it that morning while everyone else in my family slept in. I also bought all of the already published Magic, New Mexico stories to ground myself in S.E. Smith’s world. To say I was captivated would be an understatement.

If you’re familiar with Magic, New Mexico, you’ll know that many of the book titles start with “Touch of” or “Taste of”. This was a fun idea that the authors from an earlier release group came up with to play off S.E. Smith’s title, Touch of Frost. More on that in a minute. So, I made Taste of Venom my working title. The problem was that’s not very romantic sounding. Even my writing friends and my editor looked at me sideways. And I deserved it because, ew. Venom?  Seriously? I was stumped as to what the real title could be, so I kept writing the story until one day my hero realized that as a created vampire he’d lived long enough to find his one love. He had been made for her.

Bam! Title found. I love it when a plan comes together, even though I had no clue there had been a plan to begin with. (This pretty much sums up my life, by the way. She had no clue….)

As the process continued and more authors joined group #3 of Magic, New Mexico, we began to click. There were many fun chats, including what we wanted to do to make our group different from the first two. Some of us continued the “touch” and “taste” tradition, but many of us went our own directions with our titles. The thing we did do differently is that we created crossovers between our stories, and some previously released stories. In my book, Alexandru Carson’s name comes up in a conversation, Michele Callahan’s little fairies from Touch of Fire are mentioned, and Dev the Genie from Taking on Tory makes an appearance. I have had the pleasure of reading Sabine Priestley’s Tainted Magic, where Jody Wallace’s dragon from Silver Bound appears. I know there are others, but I have only managed to read two of the fifteen books in this group so far. How many tie-ins can you find in our stories?

I must say, this whole experience has been incredibly positive and I’m thinking about writing a second book set in the little town of Magic, New Mexico, where being abnormal is normal. The perfect place for an author to hang out.

Made for Her
Vampires and faeries and snake-shifters. Oh, my!

Donnie McAllister’s dream job turns into a nightmare when she discovers her boss isn’t as human as he seems. Racing against time to return a legendary dagger to the land of the Fae, she must rely on a dangerously sexy vampire to navigate a world she never knew existed. Because if she doesn’t deliver, it’ll cost Donnie her life and leave the ancient weapon of untold power in the hands of her corrupt, venomous boss.

Four hundred years ago one man destroyed everyone vampire Mikhail Cherneski held dear. Now his nemesis is after Donnie, the human woman whose blood calls to Mikhail like no other. For she means more to him than a simple snack to satisfy his despicable eternal thirst. When Mikhail comes face-to-face with his enemy, he must risk his immortal life or watch Donnie suffer the same fate as his family.

Another bewitching story from Magic, New Mexico.

Excerpt from Made for Her
(Girl meets vampire she’s avoiding again, this time in the middle of the desert)
Donnie’s grin faded as her gaze was drawn to a small cloud of dust moving toward them, cutting through the sage and cacti on the other side of the highway. “As long as it isn’t Mr. Merrick who finds us.”

The dust cloud became larger as it got closer. Without Carnwennan’s magic cloaking them, they were vulnerable. Chances were pretty good it wasn’t Mr. Merrick, unless he had super-fast healing powers and instant transportation to this exact spot the moment she let go of Carnwennan’s hilt. No. This cloud must be from a vehicle, and the only ones who’d drive the narrow dirt roads out here would be local yay-hoos. It was easier to believe she’d left both Mr. Merrick and Mikhail on the East Coast.

Something shiny flashed, and a vehicle blasted out of the dust cloud. A pick-up truck, older model, mid-twentieth-century vintage. The reddish-brown body bounced on its chassis as it sped across the dirt track of desert roadway. She couldn’t hold back the chuckle welling in her chest. Good luck finding that thing in a sand storm out here. It’d blend right in.

Whoever was driving was not slowing down. There was no chance this was their ride. She stepped off the road next to a dusty boulder, uncapped her water bottle, and brought it to her lips. The sun flashed off the windshield and the truck barreled across the empty highway and past her. Strains of AC/DC’s Back in Black blasted through the hot air.
She coughed and waved her hand as the dust cloud enveloped her.

Lunatic.

The skidding of tires on gravel drew her attention back to the old truck. What kind of maniac slams on their brakes that hard on a dirt road? The truck fishtailed to a stop. The dust cloud floated over the truck, obscuring it before continuing its silent trek out into the desert alone. The world around Donnie seemed to hold its breath, as if waiting for the driver’s next move.

No, wait. That was her holding her breath. She exhaled slowly. The backup lights came on and the truck rolled back toward her. Could this be their ride after all?
The pick-up stopped just far enough ahead that she couldn’t see the driver. The radio was off now too. She leaned to her right as the passenger door opened, and her gaze locked with the driver’s.

“Hello, Donnie.” Mikhail said with a small, deadly smile.

Well, shit.

Author bio
Lea Kirk loves to transport her readers to other worlds with her science fiction and paranormal romances. She is the award winning author of the sci-fi romance Prophecy series, and the newly released Magic, New Mexico PNR, Made for Her.
She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her wonderful hubby of twenty-seven years and their five kids (aka, the nerd herd).