Monday, December 30, 2013

Writing Resolutions

Today I'm over at the Ruby blog talking about New Year's Resolutions for the writing inclined.  Swing on over and say howdy, if you're so inclined.  Happy New Year, boys and girls!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Have Yoursefl a Merry Little...

Whatever holidays you're celebrating this year, may your days be merry and bright, filled with love and cheer, laughter and loads of books.  Happy Holidays, boys and girls!!!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It's a Party!

Happy Holidays!  Today on Facebook I'm celebrating the holidays - and the release of some fabulous holiday tales from the always delightful and laugh-out-loud funny Mary Hughes.  Come join Mary and friends as we give away Books, Books, Books and More!

You could win a copy of Naughty Karma or my Christmas para-rom angels-and-demons romance No Angel.  Don't miss it! 

Monday, December 9, 2013

One Thousand and One New Yorks

I have this theory.  (It's an awesome theory, if I do say so myself.)  I believe New York is, in fact, a multitude of New Yorks. 

There is the Wall Street New York and the Broadway New York and the Bronx New York and the Upper East Side New York.  Sex in the City and Avenue Q.  There is the New York of those who take Subways and those who take buses and those who take taxis and those who have private car services to take them wherever they wish to go.

Perhaps every place is a multitude of places defined by the varied and marvelous perspectives of the people therein, but nowhere does this seem more apparent to me than NYC.

I love exploring the city.  I like seeking out all the different corners and talking to all the different people.  As a writer-nerd, I am fascinated by perspectives and few places have such a diverse mash-up of perspectives all tripping over one another quite the way New York does.  As I dive into the city, I find myself thinking how different it must be in each neighborhood - we each have "our" deli and "our" laundromat and "our" favorite Chinese delivery place.  Two people could live in this city their entire lives with wildly different circles - hell, two hundred people could.  How different the life of an entrepreneur in the Financial District must be from the Upper East Side housewife.  How different must my Harlem-and-subway-pass existence, walking every street of the city I can find, be from the actor protected by security and guardrails as he exits the Broadway stage door and is whisked into the waiting chauffeured car, never to ride the subway, rarely to walk the streets, oddly insulated.

So many New Yorks.  All stacked on top of one another.  I'm going to try to see them all.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Twelve Days of Short Stories

I'm a sucker for a holiday read - especially a short one that can be squeezed in between present wrapping and cookie baking - so I was particularly excited to hear about the 12 Days of Killer Fiction series for Amazon Kindle readers from some of my favorite authors.

Check out all twelve of the killer romance stories.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Get 'Em While They're Cheap!!!

Just your friendly reminder that you have only thirty-six more hours to score Super Bad and Super Hot, the second and third novellas in my superhero/supervillain romance series, for Kindle at only NINETY-NINE CENTS!  It's the Hanukkah special!  A steal at thrice the price, boys and girls!  (That was my car salesman persona.  Did you like it?)

Happy holidays and happy reading

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Books 2.0

I"m intrigued by this idea.  It's a book... and more than a book...


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Turkey Day!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!  May you have many things to be thankful for this year!  (Does anyone else wonder how many kids are going to balk at eating turkey this year because of Free Birds?)

 And if you're looking for some light reading during your food coma or as a break from the Christmas shopping, both Super Hot & Super Bad are ON SALE for the Kindle right now!  Marked down to $0.99 in the spirit of Black Friday/Cyber Monday & awesome savings.  Enjoy!

Get it for 67% off for a limited time only!
Celebrate the holidays with supers on sale!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Excerpt-a-ganza, Holiday Edition: The Scandal Before Christmas by Elizabeth Essex

Tis the season to read some holiday books!  I love a Christmas story and today's excerpt is a great way to launch into the season of giving.  Take a peek at The Scandal Before Christmas - a historical romance holiday read by Elizabeth Essex: 

Lieutenant Ian Worth needs a wife by Christmas, and he can’t afford to be choosy. He has to find her, woo her, and wed her before he goes back to sea—all within a matter of days.  

Anne Lesley is a shy spinster with no prospects, and nothing and no one to recommend her but her own self. She accepts the lieutenant’s hasty offer only for the comfort and security it will bring. But when a midwinter storm snows her and Ian in, they both find they got much more than they bargained for—laughter, light, and a Christmas filled with honest to goodness true love…

Prologue Portsmouth, England
December 1816
             It was only fitting that a ramshackle fellow like Ian Worth should arrange to take a girl to wife in the dim, drafty taproom of the Ball and Anchor, a tumbledown public house on the road to nowhere. Nowhere—in Ian’s case—being Portsmouth Harbor, where his ship rode restively at anchor in the dripping, swollen Solent.
            Time and tide were running out.
            “We’re agreed to it, then?” His companion struck out his hand, and took one last, narrow look at Ian through the tavern’s thin blue smoke, as if he were belatedly trying to gauge the level of Ian’s sobriety.
            But Ian wasn’t drunk. He was hungover. And desperate. “Agreed.”
            This was what he had come to—ordering up a wife with the same casual trepidation he normally reserved for stowing volatile powder aboard his cutter. Gingerly taking on dangerous, combustible cargo.
            The likelihood of a hasty, patched-up marriage not blowing up in his face like so much black powder was practically nil, but no less than he deserved for trying to become engaged in a taproom.
            But damn his eyes if such hazardous odds weren’t exactly his favorite sort of gamble.

Chapter One

            The event that precipitated such a dire state of wagering, and the casting of Ian’s anchor deep into the still waters of matrimony, had been the arrival of his father, the esteemed Viscount Rainesford. The old man barged into Ian’s until-that-moment-peaceful breakfast room within the cozy confines of Gull Cottage, and barked, “I need you to marry.”
His father the viscount, despite the advantages of wealth and breeding—or perhaps because of them—was forever barging in. And forever barking. Forever insisting upon having his way.
            But even at such an early hour, Ian was not about to let the old man gain sea room. “Certainly not before breakfast, sir.” Ian made his voice as bland as bathwater. “Do you care for coffee?”
            “Don’t you try to give me the dry end of your wit.” The old man ground the words out of his mouth like grist for his unreasoning anger. “Your brother has broken his damned fool back. Fell from that bloody-minded hunter of mine three days ago. They tell me he’ll never walk again, much less sire children, damn it all to hell. So I need you to have a wife by Christmas.”
“Good God.” Not Ross. Dutiful, obedient, golden Ross. Ian tried not to react to his father’s latest blatant manipulation, but fear for Ross exploded like grapeshot in Ian’s chest, propelling him up and out of his chair, even as his father flung himself down into one. “What has been done for him?”
His father pounded his fist on the table by way of an answer. “Nothing can be done. He’s a damned cripple. If he lives. Useless to me. You will need to take over his duties immediately.”
            Devil take the poor bastard. How could this have happened to Ross? Ross—the brother who had spent his entire life trying to please their unpleasable father, willingly living as the old man directed, serving the family name honestly and dutifully, without a murmur of complaint. Unlike Ian, who had gone to his duty—the career his father had chosen for him in the Royal Navy—grudgingly at best, and cursing his father every queasy step of the way.
And all Ian could think was that it should have been he who was crippled—he was the expendable one. Their father had always said so, and no doubt the old man had always expected his recalcitrant youngest son to be put to bed with a cannonball. More than twelve years in the service of His Royal Majesty’s Navy had put Ian in harm’s way enough times to make his early death both possible and entirely probable.
But Ian had always had the devil’s own luck, and despite those twelve years spent staring down the business end of a cannon, he had emerged relatively unscathed—still the irascible, standby, second son.
But now his father wanted him to do more than stand by. He wanted Ian to take his broken brother’s place.
“Sell out of your navy business immediately, and return home. We must see to the business of making your brother’s betrothal over to you instead.”
The thought was not to be borne. Ian could only be appalled at the idea of so cold-bloodedly transferring his brother’s betrothal—his brother’s very life—to himself. In the face of his father’s angry bluster, he strove for calm. “What has been done for Ross?”
“Nothing. I’ve had them all, the doctors—locals from Gloucester, consultants from London, and specialists from the continent alike. They all say the same thing. Nothing further can be done. Nothing. I wouldn’t have bothered to fetch you if I thought anything more could be done.”
“Jesus God.”
“Best accommodate yourself to being my heir. Sir Joseph Lewis’s daughter Honoria is his only child and his heir, and I expect . . . ”
            Ian had shut his mind to his father’s expectations and machinations. It mattered little what else his father had to say. His initial instruction had been all that mattered—the same as all the previous directives that had come with regularity throughout all the years of Ian’s life. The Viscount Rainesford spoke, and expected the world to jump to do his bidding.
            But Ian was no longer a boy to be intimidated by his father’s perpetual scowl. He was an officer of His Majesty’s Royal Navy. Devil take him, he’d learned to eat colder stares for breakfast.
            No. He had accommodated his father enough. He had done his duty, against his will and against his inclinations, and learned to do it brilliantly. And he’d not have it said that Ian Worth had robbed his brother of his rightful inheritance before he’d even breathed his last. All it needed to make a miserable scandal was for the Viscount Rainesford to settle everything on his vagabond youngest son, only to have Ross recover.
            No. While his brother lived, Ian would do all he could to protect them both from his father’s selfish thoughtlessness.
            And if he could do only that for Ross, Ian would also do this one thing for himself. “I can’t possibly accommodate you, sir,” he lied. “You see, I’m already married.”

Chapter Two

            Which was how Ian found himself staring down empty end of a tankard in the Ball and Anchor. He’d given his word.
            He’d also seen Ross—dosed into a stupor of laudanum—and after accepting that there really was nothing to be done but give Ross time to try and recover, Ian had retreated to the public house full of morose desperation.
            Ian knocked the empty tankard against the table, and motioned to the stout publican. “Another bitters.” Marriage, he felt sure, should not be contemplated on an empty stomach, or with an empty glass.
Marriage. A wife. A woman to have, to hold, and to keep until death did them part. God help him and the devil take him, she’d have to be a lady, especially if the dire prognostication about Ross’s eminent demise proved to be true—which Ian did not believe—and not just another one of his father’s tricks to get him to do his bidding. Because God knew the old man didn’t want Ian to be the next viscount.
Yet Ian had given his word, and therefore needed to find himself a wife. But damn his eyes, he hadn’t the faintest idea of how to go about the business. Ian didn’t actually know any young ladies. Females—barmaids, widows, and women of all sorts of earthy, working denominations—yes. Ladies of the gently bred and gently spoken type—not at all.
Unlike his obedient older brother, Ian had never gone to London and done the pretty with the society ingenues and their ilk—because he was reasonably sure that you couldn’t have a romping good fuck with an ingenue the way he had with Betty, the charmingly sympathetic, milky-thighed barmaid last night.
How on earth was he going to abide some gently bred young lady—the same woman day in and day out—for the rest of his life? God’s balls. Here today and gone tomorrow had been the way of his life. And it was the only way he wanted to continue.
And while many men—navy men in particular—would have been perfectly content to breeze through marriage taking their pleasure where they may, the idea held little appeal to Ian. Blame it on his father’s hypocritical example—Ian may have been a bit of a libertine, or at the very least a thoroughgoing sensualist, but it seemed downright dishonest to require fidelity from one’s spouse if one were not prepared to be faithful in return. And he knew, despite thoroughly enjoying sowing his wild oats, that in his own marriage he would require absolute faithfulness. He just hadn’t counted on requiring it quite so soon.
So therein lay the rub. And the trap. And there wasn’t enough ale in all of England to get him out of it.
            “I say . . . Worth, is that you?”  A hearty voice boomed across the low-ceilinged taproom. A tall, ruddy-faced man in his forties strode toward Ian with his hand extended.
            “Colonel Lesley.” Ian pushed back his chair to rise and greet the marine. “God’s balls. I haven’t seen you since the old Audacious. What brings you to the Ball and Anchor?”
            “This filthy weather,” Colonel Oliver Lesley answered jovially, slapping Ian on the back. “I’m selling out, Worth, my boy, selling out. You poor navy fellows can’t sell your commissions to turn any profit like those of us with the foresight to go into His Majesty’s Marine Forces. Ho, Barkeep!” He sat. “Selling out before I’m put on half pay for the peace, like at least half the fleet. And the wife wanted me back. Need to see to the business of my own family the way I’ve seen to England’s, she said. And what about you? I’d heard you’d landed a plum little commission commanding a dispatch cutter.”
            “I have,” Ian agreed. The perfect commission for a navy man who did not like the sea. A commission he did not mean to give up. Channel service put him home—his own home where everything was cheerful and easy, with no one to please and no one to disappoint—once a fortnight. “But come have a drink with me, and keep me from being morose.”
            “Happy to oblige. Ale and kidneys if you have ’em.” The colonel ordered his breakfast, and eyed Ian with some amusement. “But what on earth would a young man like you have to be morose about?”
            Ian was too desperate for secrecy—his misery wanted company. “My father requires that I be married by Christmas.”
Lesley let out a low whistle. “Six days? But marriage is a young man’s lot—once he has a career and a fortune, he must marry. Still, all in all, I’d rather have your job than mine. You only have to marry—I have daughters I’ve got to marry off.”
Desperation made Ian prick up his ears. “Daughters? Any you’d like to part with by Christmas?”
            “Come, come. Young man like you—a handsome man with all his hair and teeth, not to mention limbs, as well as a fortune—shouldn’t have to go a-begging.”
            “And yet I must.” Ian rubbed his hand through his hair, as if he could chafe some sense into his brain.
            Perhaps he should go to town, to enlist his mother’s aid? But if he were honest with himself—something he had very little experience with—he wouldn’t be able to abide the kind of girls his mother or her cronies would see that he met: bright, chatty young misses with plenty of conversation and a love of society, as an antidote to what she called “your dark tendencies.”
            Dark tendencies, indeed. He liked the uncomplicated company of his navy friends, he liked to drink, he liked to gamble, and he liked to fuck uncomplicated barmaids. Hardly the sort of things mothers approved of, naturally, but all in all, there was nothing particularly dark about them. It wasn’t as if he were married. Yet.
“But I’ve not the faintest idea how to go about it.”
“Perhaps you ought to figure out what sort of girl you want first, and then it might be easier to find her.” At his age, the colonel was nothing if not practical.
A barmaid was the first answer that came readily to Ian’s mind, but the Viscount Rainesford would turn out an inappropriate daughter-in-law faster than a ship’s carpenter could sniff out wood rot. Just the thought of his father’s cold, manipulative rage made Ian’s gut turn as sour as a barrel of brine. And his hangover wasn’t helping.
            “A quiet girl,” he mused out loud. “Young enough to comfortably adapt to my ways, but not so young that she can’t manage anything by herself. Because she’ll be by herself when I’m at sea. A quiet, country girl,” he continued as the idea gained merit, “who isn’t forever craving society, and wanting to go to London, and give insufferably tedious balls and dinners.”
A fairly short list of requirements, but that was the gist of it. “Appearance doesn’t matter. Not really. I don’t care if she is blond or brunette, long or short, so long as she can manage herself, and leave me in peace.” Most of the time anyway—he supposed she ought to be pleasant enough to look at, to make it easy to do his duty by the family, and get a brat on her. Poor girl.
            At that less than cheering thought, Ian buried his face in his bitters, draining the tankard to the last. He surfaced to find the colonel regarding him as if he had sprouted two heads. “I know, I know. You think me mad.”
            “I don’t know what to think,” the older man answered with a wary sort of wonder. “Are you quite serious?”
            “I am entirely serious,” Ian said with a young man’s laughing bravado. “A quiet, easygoing girl is all I require. Even a bit of a cipher. But they’re damned thin on the ground this morning.”
            “Not so thin as all that,” the colonel said carefully. “I may have exactly what you require.”
            Ian felt his breath bottle up in his chest. “Are you entirely serious?”
            “Quite. I do have a daughter who might do. My eldest, in fact. A girl who has just turned two and twenty, and a quieter, more unassuming girl you’ll never find. Born and bred in the country, without a thought for London. A quiet, sensible girl. Very happy to be left on her own. Prefers it, actually.”
            Ian’s tankard fell to the table with a thump. “Does she have a portion?”
            The colonel’s answer was swift and sure. “A thousand. And she’s not one for the fripperies. Never exceeded her allowance, very economical.”
            It was enough to consider. And really, what choice did he have? It was not as if he had any other options or ideas to hand. “When might I meet her?”
            “By Christmas, you said? I suppose you’d best come with me now, to Somersetshire, to meet her.”
            Such a trip would take too much precious time, and Somerset was too close to the whole sphere of his father’s influence in Gloucestershire for comfort.
            “Perhaps it might be better to have her see where I live presently, which is where she’ll be for the foreseeable future? Gull Cottage, here on the bay.” Ian made a vague motion out across the gray Solent, but he subdued his hands, and changed tacks at the sight of Lesley’s frown. “It’s lovely, really. And much larger than it sounds. A very handsome property and . . . it would be her dower property in the event of my death.”
            Yes. The plan was forming in his brain, a plan that would serve both his father and himself. If he married the girl and got her with child quickly, his father would get what he wanted—a secure heir whom he might raise to the title instead of Ian, who knew nothing about estates and land management. And once Ian had safely gotten the girl with child, he would be free to return to his command.
            Ian firmed his voice. “I had rather you brought her to see the property, as well as me. So she can see if living there will suit her.”
            The colonel chewed on his bottom lip for a long moment of shrewd contemplation before he spoke. “I suppose I don’t see why not. A visit of a few days’ time, to see if you’ll get on together?”
            “Yes.” Ian swallowed over the hot mixture of trepidation and excitement climbing up his throat. It would work. It had to work.
            “We’re agreed to it, then?”
            Ian extended his hand. “Agreed, sir.”
            And so it had been arranged, right there in the taproom of the Ball and Anchor. Just as he deserved.
Get it from BN :: Amazon

Sunday, November 24, 2013

In Case You Were Wondering...

...where I've been for the last few weeks, I have news!  And if you weren't wondering... I still have news!  My news is not conditional.

I am, as friends of the blog know, a travel junkie.  I left my last "permanent" address four and a half years ago and I've been Temporary Vivi ever since, spending a few months here, a few months there and exploring this big ole world of ours.  Recently I did a Very Shocking Thing.  I signed a lease.  I know.  It shocked me too.  Now, I should point out that said lease is in a locale where sublets are wildly popular and the likelihood that I will still be here when said lease expires is slim-to-none, but still, the illusion of permanence is very strong (and scary).

Where am I?  New York.

I'm officially an Alaskan girl in The Big Apple. 

I'm thinking of it as My Season in Manhattan.  (This keeps me from panicking over the idea of staying in one place for too long.)  I'm enjoying the city (I've been here only three weeks and I've already seen five shows, six if you count improv) but I'm already twitching every time I think of all the places I'm not running away to at the drop of a hat. (Jordan! Machu Pichu! Bermuda!)

Currently taking bets on how long I last.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

RT Honors Naughty Karma with a Nomination!

Hear ye, hear ye!  Romantic Times Book Reviews have selected Naughty Karma as one of their Reviewer's Choice nominees!!!  It's up for paranormal world building (and geez-ma-crow, you should see the other nominees, I can't believe I'm in that kind of company).  **fangirl swoon**

HUGE CONGRATS to all the nominees!!! (Especially my fellow Samhain authors and the nominated Rubies!)

See all the books up for awards HERE.

Friday, November 8, 2013

First Date Friday

Hello from New York, darlings!  Seeing as I am all about the falling in love, it seemed only fitting that my first Broadway musical since I was here two years ago should be First Date, a musical comedy about an awkward blind date that may or may not lead to true love.

It stars Krysta Rodriguez (you may know her from Smash) and Zachary Levi (of Chuck fame).  I will admit a large part of the reason I wanted to see this show is because I have had a crush on Zachary Levi's vocal chords ever since he sang the Flynn Rider part in Tangled.  And those vocal chords did not disappoint.  The cast was stellar.

With the play as a whole, I will admit I wasn't instantly smitten.  My first impression was that everything seemed a bit stereotypical and they were going for the obvious rather than saying anything unique or fresh - which I suppose is inevitable in a play that is trying to be the "everyman" experience of dating.

Zachary Levi was all endearing nerves and nerdy charm (be still my nerd-loving heart), but the female character, Casey, seemed a little too bitchy for sympathy (calling to mind something Darynda Jones said the other day about how we can't reveal the flaws before the audience loves our characters - get 'em hooked and THEN reveal the human foibles, otherwise those flaws become deal breakers).  Though maybe the playwrights were trying to make a point about first impressions and deal breakers - that we need to look deeper (both in plays and in love?).  As they say in the show during the song "First Impressions", those first impressions often merit a second glance and that certainly seemed to be the case here. Both of the protagonists grew on me, even as they grew on each other, and by each character's pivotal song later in the show, I was totally hooked. (Levi brought the house down with "In Love With You" - reminding me of when Freddy stole the show in My Fair Lady when I was in Ashland this summer.)  And I left the theater with a huge grin on my face.

I enjoyed the performances immensely and if you're going to be in NYC in the next few months, I'd run out and see it, since it seems to be closing in January.  Get it while it lasts, boys and girls!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Return of the Excerpt-A-Ganzas - A Love Worth Biting For by Roxy Mews

While I was away this summer, I posted a bunch of excerpt from books I was excited about that were releasing and you know what?  I really miss that feature.  I love showcasing authors with new works that I'm excited about.  So I'm bringing it back!  (Pause for raucous applause.)

Today we resume the Excerpt-A-Ganza with A Love Worth Biting For by Roxy Mews.  I love the lighter side of the paranormal spectrum, so today I thought we'd take a peek at Roxy's debut.  Behold!

Who’s afraid of the big bad hybrid?

Hart Clan Hybrids, Book 1

Amber Paulson’s wolf has chosen a mate for her, but Amber is not amused with its pick. Jake Meyers might look amazing in a wet T-shirt and have the cheekbones and strong jaw that artists drool over. Too bad he is missing a pulse.

Jake is a vampire, well, mostly. Then a tall, curvy redhead pops up on his radar and something awakens in him. Even though he tries to stay away, Amber gets under his skin, and his vampire/werewolf heritage starts to become more bark and less bite. For the first time, he feels the call of the moon, and he knows it’s all because of Amber Paulson.

Amber’s trying to stay away, and Jake’s trying to not turn furry. They both fail miserably—and with a lot of sweaty and enjoyable property destruction.

By giving in to her mating call, Amber finds out more than she ever wanted to know about herself, her family, and the rogue wolf who took so much from her so long ago. As her past comes back to bite her, she’ll have to decide what she’s willing to give up for her mate. Her home? Her pack? Her…heartbeat?

Warning: This book contains a snarky shifter heroine who could give Sookie a run for her money, a hot hunk of a vampire with a soft (and furry) side, and sex so sizzling that even an inter-species war can’t get in the way.

I wasn’t prepared for it. That’s what everybody says when they meet the love of their lives. But I’m not everybody. Hell, most of the time I’m nobody, or at least I try to be. I was given the name Amber Paulson for crying out loud. A name like that does not a rock career make. Daddy always told me that the urge to mate is something you can’t control. That you would just find yourself smacked upside the head one day. If you were lucky.
I didn’t know anyone in my Pack who was mated. That’s not to say we are virgins. Hell no! Everybody that uses the expression “Screw like bunnies”? Well, those people obviously haven’t met a werewolf. Me and the rest of my Pack get furry on occasion, but for the rest of the time we rocked a decidedly human form. Those forms just have libidos of epic proportions.
Anyway, I was walking through the latest campus we had moved to. It was some little rinky-dink town in Indiana of all places. Land-locked, but lots of places just outside the city for a wolf to run. Big enough to get lost in, small enough to get away from everybody when you needed to. The campus was walkable, and I took my time, because if I hurried, I could outrun an Olympic medalist. And I still had plenty of time until my next class.
Mary called and reminded me not to be late. Mary Fields was my best friend these days. I liked humans, but I loved Mary most. I met her on my first day of orientation, and somehow she puts up with me. I threw her a quick text to let her know I’d see her in class.
Did you know the average werewolf lives for four hundred years after turning? I’ve been around for fifty as my wolfy self, so the American History class was one I have repeated often. From the complete lack of effort needed this time through, either I was radically expanding my brainpower or society was expecting less and less intelligence from the general student body. Which brings me back to me not being prepared. I was walking slowly to class, when one student body in particular caught my attention.
There always seems to be an impromptu game of football being played on the practice field outside the cafeteria that involves guys taking their shirts off and trying to impress the co-eds in hopes of getting the chicks’ shirts off later. Personally, unless you’re taking down a twelve-point buck with your shirt off—while covered in hair—I am not usually impressed.
That day was different. For some reason, my feet stopped moving when they hit the spray-painted white line on the field. Guys and girls chased the pigskin in the sunshine. The temperature was a degree below fried eggs, and not a cloud was in the sky. I heard a bottle pop open, and what should have been a glance turned into full-on ogling. He still had his shirt on, but had begun pouring the open bottle of water across his chest in an effort to cool off.
My increased hearing picked up the sighs and elevated heart rates from the women around me as the thin fabric of his shirt clung to his body and drops of water cascaded down. Deep tan skin began to peek through. His chocolate-brown nipples puckered. The water must have been cold. Thank you Jesus for whoever had those puppies in a cooler.
I could see a slight smattering of chest hair sandwiched between his skin and tee. Then he pulled up the shirt to wring it out, and I caught the brief glimpse of his six-pack and a trail of body hair that drew my attention down to his black shorts. I swear it was like an arrow directing me where to go. Boy, did I want to follow it.
The healthy dose of yum shook the water from his head and hands. The shirt fell, and I pulled my jaw up off the ground just in time to not have my tongue loll out the side like a freaking German Shepherd.
He looked up and waved. My hand waved back on instinct. When his eyebrows drew together and he began jogging back toward the game, I looked around to see a petite blonde behind me with her hand also up in greeting. I gave her the “I’m an idiot, never mind me” salute and started off toward campus. What the hell was wrong with me? He wasn’t even Pack. Why was I ogling him like I was headed into my first heat?
“Hey! Wait up!” A feminine voice called from behind me.
I slowed my pace to about half my pulse rate. I had learned that to step below my pulse rate was a great way to appear more human. The fact that I was still speeding through campus told me my pulse was hammering like a hippie playing bongos.
“Sorry, I…oh. Were you talking to me?”
The blonde from the practice field jogged to catch up with me. Her little perky boobs bobbed with her ponytail, but nothing else on her jiggled. I hated her instantly.
“Yeah. Damn you’re fast.” A smile broke her face, and not even a drop of perspiration dotted her brow. I really hated her. “Do you know Jake?”
“Jake’s my brother. You know, the guy who put on a water show at the practice field.” She knocked her elbow into me.
Little tip from a werewolf—don’t touch us. It’s considered a confrontational act. Lucky for this chick, it was pretty obvious to my wolf that her little five-foot-nothing frame was no match for my five-feet-ten-inches of overgrowth. When my instincts settled, I noticed she smelled different. She wasn’t from the area. For some reason, everyone here smelled faintly of earth and plants. Okay, they smelled like corn, but I don’t want to sound prejudiced. This little waif smelled empty. Like, clay or wood. You know that smell you get when you open a really old box or jar? Not moldy or musty, just…empty.
“So I saw you looking at my brother.”
“What? No I wasn’t. I was watching the game.”
“They were taking a break.” Her voice shifted from upbeat to dead serious in a second.
“Yup. I noticed that. Why I left. Have a good one.” I turned and tried to pace my steps. Then an image of Jake filtered into my brain, and I found my steps increasing their tempo. I tried to slow them, with the old standby of listening to the closest pulse. My feet stopped midstride when I realized the closest pulse wasn’t inside my little cling-on. I couldn’t hear the small blonde chick’s pulse. She didn’t have one. F*ck. Vampires.

You like?  Buy now from Samhain :: Kindle :: Nook

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

You're a Natural! And Other Veiled Insults...

**Warning: Rant in progress**

So... I get that the intention is complimentary.  They want to say, "Wow, you're really good at that!"  But what they really say is, "You're a natural! It's so easy for you!"  Which implies that you did not work your cute little butt off and struggle and toil to get good at the thing they are trying to compliment you for.  So I get that the intention is good, but the subtext is to negate all your effort... which kinda bugs me.

Like "you must have a really fast metabolism" ignores the hours of sweat in the gym or the effort spent planning nutritious low-cal meals.

You want something, you work for it, and then everyone tells you it was easy.  Why is that?  (I suspect it's because people don't want to face the fact that they are not willing to put in the work necessary...)

Did you know there have been studies showing that children respond better to effort-based praise than compliments on their natural gifts?  "You aced that test? You must have studied so hard!" is better than "You must be really smart!"  Because in the one you value the achievement and the effort they put into it, whereas in the other you value something they have no ability to change (their natural smartness) and imply that they would have had the same result without any effort at all.  So why should they work?  They're naturals!

Natural.  That word is really bugging me right now.

Or like this one I get all the time:  "Wow, you're so prolific.  You must write really fast."

Must I?  Truth is, I'm not abnormally fast.  I just write A TON.  I write lots more hours than a normal human being probably should.  I'm a binger - so when I'm in the middle of a first draft I can be more than a little obsessive about writing.  I wake up in the morning and before I get out of bed, I pull my computer onto my lap and I write.  I take my computer with me to lunch (when I remember that I'm hungry and I forgot to eat breakfast).  I have my computer on my lap at night as I ignore the latest baseball or football game or episode of The Voice.

So yes, I'm prolific.  Because I put in a freakish number of hours in front of my computer, so is it too much to ask that people don't diminish the work by saying all prolific writers are so fast and so natural and everything is so easy for us?  Sometimes it's not about easier.  Sometimes that "natural" is just working longer and harder and making different choices.  Just sayin'.

Rant complete.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Writing Contests

If you are an aspiring author type and interested in learning more about writing contests and what they can do for you, NYT Bestseller Darynda Jones is hosting an All About Contests week over at the Ruby Blog.  Come on by!

Monday, November 4, 2013

It's Artistic...

**WARNING: Explicit & Not Safe For Work!**

(...but funny as hell)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Three Things

ONE - Newsletter winners have been randomly selected (this segment sponsored by and the emails on winging though cyberspace to award PRIZES, so check you inboxes, darlings! (A couple of you will have a surprise!)

TWO - National Novel Writing Month (or NaNo) has officially commenced!  I've never participated, but it's always fun to see the frenzy of creative energy that happens during the festival.  So go forth and write like the wind, NaNo-ers!  And if you're looking for inspirational writing quotes, Buzzfeed has some for you here.

And THREE - We have yet another Karma review!  This one is from Night Owl Reviews and assigned Karma 4 Stars!  "I wasn’t sure how these two would come together or what the deal was with Prometheus because he did seem to be a very bad man, and much like he was Karma’s enemy if anything. Having just finished Naughty Karma I have to admit the twist was brilliant."  (Awwwww, look at me, I'm all blushy...)   "It's well told, inventive, and fun to read."  (I think "fun" is probably my favorite comment on the books.  It gives me warm fuzzies every time I hear it.)

And that's all I've got today.  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sign Up for My Newsletter!

Hello, darlings! This is your quick reminder that only folks signed up to receive my Quarterly Newsletter by midnight (Alaska time) on Halloween will be entered in the drawing to win books and gift cards and Naughty Karma goodies. So go forth and subscribe!  Time is running out!!!

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Reviews, Reviews, Everywhere!

Naughty Karma has been on ereaders for a couple weeks now and more reviews are trickling in.  I confess I have been a bit more obsessive eager to hear what folks have to say about this one, reaching a new level of giddy whenever folks send me links via email and twitter.  And now I pass those links on to you!  So if you enjoy reading reviews, here's a feast for you.

(*Vivi takes a moment to wave to her grandma who reads all her reviews. Hi, Gran!*)

Today we have a short review with excerpt from A Romance Reader - "Loved it!" (Woot!)

And Long and Short Reviews awarded Naughty Karma 4.5 Stars!  "I recommend this for everyone who needs some powerful magic in their lives and their romances."  (Awwwww.)

And it isn't just Naughty Karma getting in on the review love this week.  Spinning Gold, my fairy tale romance retelling Rumpelstiltskin in a whole new light, was reviewed by "The Eater of Books" (love that handle) and awarded 4 Stars!  "I absolutely adored this book!"  (Squeee!!!)

So there you have it.  A bevy of reviews that were sent to me in the last little bit.  All in one yummy package.  Mmm, reviews.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Jeni's! Best Ice Cream Evah.

So, this has nothing to do with writing or really anything else, but I felt the need to share.  Recently, whilst visiting my sweet lil gran in Ohio, I tripped across the Best Ice Cream on the Face of the Planet. (With special thanks to the editors at Samhain for the recommendation!)  It's called Jeni's.  And it is exquisite.  My particular favorite is the Queen City Cayenne flavor.  Yeah.  Cayenne.  It's rich, lovely chocolate ice cream with cayenne.  Oh, the glory of chocolate and spice.  There are dozens of other luscious flavors for the not so spicily inclined, so y'all, if you're ever in the Columbus area?  Look up Jeni's.  DO IT.  You can thank me later.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fix-It Friday: Runner Runner

Welcome to another edition of Fix-It Fridays!  Today we're fixing Runner Runner.  Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck have done some pretty decent movies and I had high hopes that this would be another.  Alas, my hopes were not to be realized.  You ready?  Let's fix this motha.


You know what I love?  Sympathetic protagonists.  I went to go see Runner Runner thinking it would be decent and twisty and actiony. I failed to take into account the fact that in order for a twisty thriller to be satisfying, you have to actually want the protagonist to get away and live happily ever after.  When you kind of want him to be eaten by alligators, the movie can feel like it goes on for-ev-er even if it's only ninety minutes long.

Justin Timerberlake's character?  Yeah, he's pretty much a douche.

Former Wall Street muckety muck.  He was on the way to being a big shot financial tycoon, wheeling and dealing with other people's money to make mad bank for himself, but then the house of cards crashed down and through NO FAULT OF HIS OWN AT ALL he was left penniless.  But never fear!  Justin got into Princeton for his MBA!  Unfortunately, Justin made so much money when he was on Wall Street (none of which he still has) that he is ineligible for financial aid (cue the tiny violins).  Instead of taking a FREAKING STUDENT LOAN, as any normal human being would do, since those are not dependent of previous income levels, Justin becomes an affiliate for off-shore gambling sites, funneling online poker players to certain websites for a commission.  But that isn't gonna get him his tuition fast enough, so he goes on a gambling streak of his own where he proceeds to build up a massive amount of cash, then lose it all in one go.

But it's not his fault!  No!  He couldn't have just been stupid or unlucky!  He was conned.  He uses someone else's super math powers to deduce that the online poker site really did rip him off.  Goes down to Costa Rica to confront the head of the company, who thanks him for detecting the glitch, gives him a stack of cash, and offers him a job. It seems too good to be true (and of course it is) but Justin snaps up the chance to be insultingly rich (as opposed to just disgustingly rich), walks away from Princeton and becomes the off-shore gambling site's golden boy.

The misogynistic boss (Dear Ole Ben) is the bad guy who is being stalked by the FBI.  The FBI guys are all assholes - who threaten Our Boy, telling him that being an affiliate for a gaming site while on the Princeton campus was a felony.  Really.  A felony.  It might get him kicked out of school, but life in prison?  Are you freaking kidding me?

There are a lot of logical inconsistencies like that in this particular film - like why, if gambling is LEGAL in the country where they have set up shop, since that is WHY they set up shop there, they would then need to bribe everyone and their brother in order to continue operating there.  Unless bribery is just a way of life, in which case I think the tourism board of Costa Rica is well within their rights to sue Runner Runner for defamation of character, but I digress...

Ignoring all the logical wobbles (as much as that pains me to do), the real problem of this film is the lack of a sympathetic main character.  So let's fix that.

First off, there is NO GOOD REASON for Justin to have a history as a Wall Street douche.  It never comes into play and it just makes him look like an asshat who made a lot of money and went through it like it was nothing.  Later in the film, a father with a gambling addiction is used as leverage against our guy.  So why not start there?  His dad is a gambler and he is the young, undergrad student struggling to put himself through Princeton when his father comes to him and claims that he was ripped off online.  Our hero doesn't believe him at first, blaming the dad, but when he looks into it, he uses his OWN super math skills to deduce that his dad was, in fact, ripped off.  He tries to contact the site about the error and the responses is an all expenses paid trip down to meet the boss himself.  Our hero is nervous but as a young guy (I'd make him twenty, not even really legal to drink yet), he's swept away by the wealth and power which is more than he's ever seen.  He's also attracted to the idea of working for the house, because the house always wins and that's something he's learned very well in his life as the son of a gambler.  If he's younger, smart but naive (and not someone who has already made a living at the expense of others), then he becomes much more sympathetic as he is swept away by the lifestyle.  Then, later, when his father's debts are bought by his Boss, he will realize how much he is owned by the choices he made and we won't be thinking "Well, that's what you get, douchebag."

The story is an old one.  It's Faust.  It's the devil's bargain.  It's temptation without looking at the price.  But if the guy signing the devil's bargain is a jerk, you kind of root for the devil to win - or in the case of this movie, for everyone to lose.  They did win in one way... they won the race to the theatres, beating The Counselor onto screens (since they seem to have very similar plots & themes).  Other than that?  Not much win here.

Though at least all the people are pretty.  And I really loved the alligators.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

To Surf or Not to Surf, That is the Question

Are we so consumed by the internet that we stop being individuals?  I recently saw this article and this quote in particular:

And so it seems to me that the writer’s responsibility nowadays is very basic: to continue to try to be a person, not merely a member of a crowd. (Of course, the place where the crowd is forming now is largely electronic.) This is a primary assignment for anyone setting up to be and remain a writer now. So even as I spend half my day on the Internet—doing email, buying plane tickets, ordering stuff online, looking at bird pictures, all of it—I personally need to be careful to restrict my access. I need to make sure I still have a private self. Because the private self is where my writing comes from. The more I’m pulled out of that, the more I simply become another loudspeaker for what already exists. As a writer, I’m trying to pay attention to the stuff the people aren’t paying attention to. I’m trying to monitor my own soul as carefully as I can and find ways to express what I find there.

I love this, but I also appreciate the irony that I found it online... while bopping around on twitter one morning.  
There seems to be this constant war in my life - if I'm not online, am I failing to interact with readers in the way they wish which will lead them to discover and enjoy my work?  But if I am online, do I lose the introspection that enables me to create?  I get some of my best ideas in the car or in the shower - is part of that because I am alone with myself in those moments?  
What do you think?  Are we all becoming loud-speakers for the same causes?  Internet is about connection (that's the beauty of it), but is it possible to be too connected?  Do we need a level of disconnect to create?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Books Books Books!

Wanna win some books?  Jeannie Lin is over at the Ruby Blog today giving away some of the books she snagged at the Emerald City Writers Conference in Seattle.  Go forth and win, darlings!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Next Big Thing?

Dino erotica.  Seriously.  (Segment starts at 4.25)

I heard about this last week in the context of a spoof of the bizarre phenom (The Bodice Raptor... Rex and the Single Girl...).  A writer friend was prompted to ask, "What's next?"  She postulated that perhaps we were heading into the brave new world of sex with National Monuments (among others).  What do you think?  Mount Rushmore Menage.  They can't resist her National Treasure.  "Oh, Mr. Lincoln, what a big hat you have..." "Is that the Washington Monument in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?" Or maybe 50 Shades of Shutdown... When the monuments shut down, our founding fathers get it up...  Night at the Museum: Horny Presidents Edition

Yeah, maybe not.  I might never write the Next Big (Ridiculous) Thing, but I admit I'm secretly hoping Liz Talley follows through on her joking offer to write Bigfoot erotica.  I would just die.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Today I'm over at the Ruby blog (last minute engagement!) chatting about how much to share about myself, my books and whatnot.  Come on by and tell me what you like to see from writers.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Delilah Devlin Guest Blog

Today I'm visiting Delilah Devlin's blog, to talk again about Naughty Karma - this time chatting about powerful women and the men who balance them.  Come tell me who your favorite pair is.  Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy?  Hawke and Siena?  Eve Dallas and Roark?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Naughty Karma's Ruby Release Party

Today over at the Ruby Blog we're celebrating Naughty Karma's release with an interview and a giveaway.  Swing on over for a chance to win a copy or to ask me any and all questions you have about the series or anything else you might wanna ask. I am an open book today!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Just Paranormal Romance Guest Blog

Today the Naughty Karma release celebration continues over at the Just Paranormal Romance blog!  I'm chatting about temptation and one lucky commenter will win a copy of their choice of any of my ebooks.  Good luck, darlings!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Naughty Karma is HERE!!!

Happy Naughty Karma Release Day, everyone!!! I'm so excited that this book is finally in readers' hands.  I hope you love it even half as much as I loved writing this series! 

Today, I'm celebrating the release with the fabulous Mary Hughes over at her blog.  I'm talking about my favorite Mary Shelley quote, the nature of evil, and redeeming a villain for a hero role.  One lucky commenter will win a copy of Naughty Karma, so come on by! 

I'll also be visiting the Samhain Cafe this afternoon, to share some delicious snippets of the book.

Happy Karma Day!!!

(And for those who haven't grabbed it yet - there are blurbs & reviews & buy links & excerpts HERE.)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Countdown to Karma! (One Day More!) Recap the Last: The Naked Detective

Naughty Karma releases TOMORROW and I am just a teensy little bit excited about this book.  But before it comes out, we have one final Karmic Refresher to do: The Naked Detective.


The Naked Detective opens as The Sexorcist is nearing it's finale.  It's the day of the wedding and everything is going wrong.  Since Chase is in Bali on his honeymoon with Mia, Karma has just called her other best finder to help locate Lucy's missing wedding dress.  Ciara would be at the wedding herself, but Ciara never ever leaves the house...

The Naked Detective

Ciara Liung has an unbelievable record when it comes to locating lost or stolen items - but the psychic ability that causes this success also triggers unbearable psychic feedback whenever her skin is touched.  Forced to shut herself off from the world, she spends most of her days floating naked in her pool, locating items in places she will never be able to go.

Federal Agent Nate Smith doesn't trust anything that's too good to be true - and the Jewelry & Gemstone Division's "consultant" with a perfect record is exactly that.  Especially because she can only recover the stolen jewels, not necessarily catch the thieves.  Recently reassigned to be her liaison after being wounded in action, Nate is certain the so-called psychic is a crook running some scam with the thieves, and until he can figure out what her angle is, he isn't letting her out of his sight.

When a priceless necklace belonging to the royal family of Monaco is stolen from an American exhibit, Nate brings the case to Ciara, but insists on sticking with her while she "searches" for the missing jewels.  Unwilling to strip down in front of the surly (and sexy) federal agent, Ciara tries to do a find with her clothes on, but the fabric provides too much static and she is only able to determine that the necklace is in Atlantic City.

Nate blackmails Ciara into coming to Atlantic City with him, threatening to do a federal probe of all Karmic Consultants activities (and while Ciara is sure Karma's actions are all ethical, she's not so sure about the legality).  To protect the only people who have ever treated her like she wasn't a freak for her abilities, Ciara leaves the safety of her house for the first time in years and goes with Nate.

In Atlantic City, Ciara struggles for days to get a lock on the necklace because Nate is keeping her on such a tight leash she can't sneak away and get nekkid in the water to track it down. Still, the limping Fed is protective and gruffly charming.  If he wasn't so convinced she was a crook, she could almost like him.

When she sees a dunk tank on the pier, Ciara jumps at her chance.  She pulls away from Nate - taking advantage of the fact that he can only move so fast after the bullet that ravaged his thigh muscles - and weaves through the crowd, dodging contact.  At the dunk tank, she strips down and jumps in, activating her gift.

Nate arrives and reaches in to fish her out - but as soon as he touches her, with the water amplifying her abilities, she begins to seize, swallowing water and thrashing, and he can't get the leverage to pull her out.  Ciara knows she's going to drown - when suddenly something shifts and the psychic feedback vanishes. 

Nate hauls her out and the two flee the pier before Ciara can be arrested for indecent exposure.  She knows that the necklace is at the Borgata - but even more exciting, she can touch people.  She kisses Nate, just to see if she can - and boy can she. 

They go to the Borgata, where Ciara believes the necklace is being hidden in a room safe.  She goes a little wild with her newfound ability to touch - shopping, gambling, and dancing with Nate.  It's at the dance club where she sees a woman from her vision and they chase her through the casino and hotel - but the bad guys are onto Ciara & Nate and get the drop on them.  Nate goes all badass Federal Agent and saves the day - with Ciara's help, of course - and they recover the necklace. 

Ciara can't seem to stop touching Nate - and he doesn't mind that a bit.  He believes in her abilites now - and has realized that his damaged leg doesn't have to cripple his life.  And they all live happily ever...

Buy The Naked Detective Now from Amazon :: B&N :: Samhain 

Up next... Naughty Karma Release Day!!!!!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Countdown to Karma! Recap #4: The Sexorcist

The Countdown to Karma (TWO MORE DAYS!!!) continues today with a refresher course on The Sexorcist!


It's a few weeks after the end of Finder's Keeper.  Chase and Mia are about to elope and run off to Bali on their honeymoon.  Wyatt and Jo are living together (though she's resisting all of his attempt to propose to her).  And Lucy and Jake are gearing up for their big white wedding - The Big Day is a little over three weeks away and... well... things aren't exactly going smoothly in the planning department.

The Sexorcist

Brittany Hylton-VanDeere believes in love at first sight and that belief is not limited to love of the person-to-person variety.  She falls in love with Karmic Consultants from the second she arrives there to apply for the receptionist position (which never seems to stay filled for more than a week due to all the odd happenings at KC). 

Unfortunately, Karma isn't sure the bubbly brunette who's never held a job (though she has helped her mother coordinate numerous charity functions) is right for the position.  But when Lucy and Jo burst in on Brittany's interview, frantic with the news that the latest wedding planner has just resigned and the baker is refusing to complete the wedding cake as ordered, Brittany steps in and smooths things over with the baker, earning herself the position of receptionist-slash-impromptu-wedding-planner. 

She's delighted with her success (delight being more or less Brittany's natural state) when her meeting is interrupted a second time.  This time by the most animalistically attractive specimen of masculinity she's ever laid eyes on: Rodriguez.

Karmic Consultants' resident exorcist Luis Rodriguez is having a crappy day.  He's just found out that the local desperate housewives have been intentionally summoning demons just so they can hire his studly tattooed self to exorcize them in an attempt to see which of them can get him into bed first.  Sick of being objectified by the idle rich, he is unimpressed with his boss's newest receptionist - especially when the bright-eyed brunette rear-ends him in the parking lot and then seems thrilled when he tells her that her car is possessed by a demon.

Brittany adores new experiences, but her enthusiasm over the demonic wanes when a creature with shark-like teeth chases her through the flower market where she has gone to secure the flowers for Lucy's cursed wedding. 

And it appears the wedding is indeed cursed.  Everything that can go wrong is going wrong, and Karma is now certain that there is a mischief demon interfering with the wedding.  She assigns Rodriguez to Brittany until they can locate and banish the demon. 

Rodriguez is baffled by Brittany's seemingly endless enthusiasm for everything (from filing to sandwich making), until one night when they are checking out a band for the reception and she reveals to him that she is a heart transplant survivor and tries to make a point of enjoying every opportunity her new lease on life has given her.  She throws herself into every new adventure - including the adventure of falling in love with him.

Brittany and Rodriguez field every new disaster the demon throws at them, but they are no closer to catching the demon himself, or the person who summoned him.  On the night of the rehearsal dinner, the demon spikes the punch at the after party and when Rodriguez drinks it, it plays on all his doubts about his relationship with Brittany.  When one of the housewives who summoned a demon in an attempt to bang Rodriguez recognizes Brittany from their country club, Rodriguez suspects the worst, believing Brittany was in on the bet to get him into bed and was just using him all along.

Hurt by his accusations, Brittany retreats home to her parents - who never supported her sojourn into the real world in the first place and would rather keep her wrapped in cotton for the rest of her life.  She just wants to hide until her new heart stops hurting - but the demon has other ideas.

As soon as the mischief demon kidnaps Brittany, everything at the wedding begins to unravel.  It turns out she is something of a Karmic good luck charm and without her chaos is taking over. (Lucy's dress is missing, among other catastrophes.)  Karma reads Rodriguez the riot act and sends him to save her receptionist.  

Realizing the housewives are involved, if only peripherally, he uses one of them to track down the mischief demon and rescues Brittany.  He banishes the demon - but not before the demon confesses that he was summoned by Prometheus to disrupt the wedding.  (And the demon also implies that Prometheus might be infatuated with Karma...)

Rodriguez apologizes and Brittany is quick to forgive him, not being the sort to hold onto anger or hurt.  Together, they return to the wedding where everything immediately begins to go right as soon as Brittany arrives. 

At the reception, they tell Karma that Prometheus was behind it all and she vows to shut the immoral warlock down once and for all... 

Buy The Sexorcist Now from Amazon :: B&N :: Samhain 

Up next... The Naked Detective.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Countdown to Karma! Recap #3: Finder's Keeper

We resume our Countdown to Karma (T-minus three days!) with a recap of the science vs. psychics in the matter of true love book, Finder's Keeper, which has just released in print!  (Though the sixth story to be released, it takes place in the early spring following the October events of The Ghost Exterminator.)

You guys ready?  Let's do this.


Finder's Keeper

Neuroscientist Mia Corregianni is a born skeptic from a family that's large, loving and extremely superstitious.  They assign the credit for all the happy marriages in the family to an heirloom pocket watch which is passed around the family and believed to have been gifted to her great-great-grandfather by a gypsy.  Every year, the watch's guardian will find their soulmate and fall head-over-heels in love.

Mia avoided her turn with the watch as long as possible, but this is her year, and it's almost up.  Having finally decided that she might want the family-and-kids deal that the rest of her family are so hung up on, she agrees to give the watch a chance - but when she goes to take it out of her safe, it's missing.

Knowing her family will never forgive her if she's lost their precious watch, Mia tears her place apart looking for it and even goes on a little bender, during which she drunk dials Karmic Consultants, begging them to help her find it. 

She regrets the call as soon as she sobers up in the morning, but by then it's too late.  Karma has sent her Chase.

Chase Hunter is a laid back surfer and natural born charmer with a gift for finding things.  He can tap into your innermost desires and find anything - as long as it's the thing you want most in the world in that instant.  But Mia's relationship with the watch is far from simple and the truth is she doesn't really want it back - at least not without the pressure of her family bearing down on her. 

So Chase hatches a plan.  He needs a fake girlfriend to get his friends off his back about the fact that he's been essentially avoiding life (and doing nothing but surfing) since his family was killed in a car accident six years earlier.  Mia needs a date to her niece's Christening to prove to her family that the watch is working - and while she's with them she'll desperately want the watch and Chase'll be able to get a lock on it.

But things never go according to plan, do they?

Chase and Mia are unprepared for the commando matchmaking that reigns in Mia's family.  Though Mia tries to backpedal and claim she and Chase are just friends, her family give him a plethora of advice on how to propose to her and her sweet little Italian grandmother even locks the pair of them in the pantry for Seven Minutes in Heaven.  Chase decides to pay the ransom and kisses Mia - surprising them both with their chemistry. 

They survive the night, but her family is three-quarters in love with Chase - the psychic fitting right into their world in a way Mia never has - and they are no closer to the watch.

Determined to find the watch and eager to see Mia again - the one person who has really made him feel alive since he lost his family - Chase seeks her out and appeals to her in the one way he knows she won't be able to resist: scientifically.  He agrees to let her run test on his brain to see how his psychic powers work.

Everything is copacetic, but the lines between fake dating and real chemistry are starting to blur - especially when Chase takes her to meet his friends and Mia learns about his tragic past.  Suddenly she sees the happy-go-lucky surfer in a new light, but revealing so much to her freaks Chase out and he pulls back emotionally, even though they are still seeing each other for her science and playing at love for her family. 

But when her own family goes through a crisis, Chase is there for her - and the fake relationship falls away to make way for a real one.  Chase begins to let go of the past he's been avoiding dealing with, and Mia begins to believe there might be more to the world than science can explain. 

When she realizes she's in love with him, she races to scan her brain, to see if she can see the changes in her neural network.  Her lab assistants ask how she met Chase and when she tells the story of the watch, the pair immediately admit that they "borrowed" the love watch months ago in an attempt to duplicate its properties.  Just like that, Mia has the watch back and a man she loves - maybe the watch is magic after all.

But when she confesses her feelings to Chase (by showing him a scan of her brain on love), he freaks again and bolts.  Thinking the watch will draw him back to her, she puts it on for the first time.  Instantly, there is a knock at her door.  But it isn't Chase.  It's her ex - another highly cerebral scientist with an itemized list of the logical reasons they should get back together and raise a family of little geniuses.

Chase goes to Karma to tell her that the job is over - and she tells him he's an idiot for letting love slip away because he's too chicken to live again.  He spends the night thinking about what she says and goes to Mia's first thing in the morning - where he finds her having breakfast with her ex.

She tells him the watch must be working and that Peter must be the one she's supposed to be with, but Chase urges her to follow her heart and pick him.  Mia's scientific heart melts and she falls into his arms, kissing him, wanting nothing more than to wear the watch - and only the watch - for him.  In that instant, Chase gets a pure psychic lock on the watch - and realizes the one Mia has on is a fake.

They go to the shop where her assistants took the original watch in an attempt to duplicate it and confront one wily warlock named Prometheus - who switched the magic watch for a fake.  Prometheus gives them back the original, but claims Chase's boss Karma owes him for giving it up - and he will collect. 

Mia, wearing the real watch, and Chase go to her family's party where she will turn it over to the next lucky victim - and where they will announce their upcoming wedding.  They can't get to their happily ever after fast enough.

Buy Finder's Keeper Now from Amazon :: B&N :: Samhain 

Up next... The Sexorcist

Friday, October 4, 2013

Tempt Me Release Celebration!

We take a break from our Countdown to Karma to gush about another new release.  Want something to read this weekend as you're anxiously awaiting the release of Naughty Karma?  Well, you're in luck, boys and girls!  Tempt Me, the latest book in the Underbelly Chronicles by Tamara Hogan, is out now and I'm over at the Ruby Blog interviewing the intrepid authoress herself (and she might just be giving away a copy of the book - hint, hint)!

It's Bailey and Rafe and, you guys, let me just say, this series keeps getting better and better.  This is my favorite yet.

A sex demon and a preacher’s kid? Heaven forbid! 

Technology whiz Bailey Brown is one of two humans alive who knows a very important secret: that humanity has shared their planet with paranormals for millennia. When an obsessed hacker from her past threatens to expose the secret, Bailey and her Sebastiani Security colleagues must use every weapon at their disposal to stop him. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and she can’t let herself be distracted by her boss’s gorgeous brother, even if he is temptation incarnate…

Incubus sculptor Rafe Sebastiani hasn’t produced a decent nude in over a year, since he made the most selfish mistake of his life: sleeping with Bailey Brown. Now, with a deadline looming, his cranky muse has finally allowed him to express his memories of that incendiary night in clay. But when his brother asks him to pose as Bailey’s lover to provoke her dangerous ex, he jumps at the chance…to sculpt her, to protect her, and to earn the right to tempt her—and only her—for the rest of their lives…

Buy It Now:  Amazon (Kindle and Print)– BNARe
Read an excerpt!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Countdown to Karma! Recap #2: The Ghost Exterminator

T-minus five days until Karma!

Today, in preparation for the TUESDAY release of Naughty Karma we continue our Karmic Consultants refresher course with The Ghost Exterminator: A Love Story (the book in which we first learn of the existence of Prometheus).  


The Ghost Exterminator: A Love Story

Six months after the events of The Ghost Shrink, Jake has popped the question and he and Lucy are planning a big engagement party... but it's Lucy's cousin, ghost exterminator JO BANKS whose life is about to be thrown for a loop.

Another ghost wrangler working at Karmic Consultants, Jo specializes in forcibly transcending reluctant ghosts who might be causing trouble with their haunting.  (Lucy is all about finesse and talking about your feelings, but Jo is definitely a "buy a bigger hammer" type girl when it comes to problem solving in the ghostly realm.)  But in this new job, a bigger hammer might not cut it.

Bajillionaire hotel magnate WYATT HAINES is having some trouble with his newest posh boutique inn.  He doesn't believe in ghosts, certainly doesn't believe his inn is haunted, but after a series of inexplicable pranks keep disrupting the renovations efforts on the old Victorian mansion, desperation forces him to accept his secretary's suggestion that he bring in someone to clean out the ghosts.

Enter Jo.

The rigid, control-freak CEO and the defiant, punkette ghost exterminator immediately butt heads. He doesn't trust the rebel with the body of a playmate anywhere near his property and she's reasonably certain that the stick up his ass must be interfering with his internal organs.  But eventually he lets her inside to work her mojo. 

Unfortunately, her mojo is no match for the Big Bad inside the Victorian.  Somehow hundreds of child ghosts have been trapped in the house.  She manages to transcend most of them - but Wyatt distracts her at a critical moment and somehow the last two young ghosts are catapulted into the CEO himself.  
She's never unhaunted a person before - and she's not sure she can open a portal that will suck out the two ghost souls without also sucking out Wyatt's in the process (supposing soulless businessmen actually have souls, of course).  Wyatt doesn't want to believe in ghosts, but every time he falls asleep, the young spirits take over his body, pulling all manner of pranks.  
Until Jo can figure out how to safely exterminate the ghosts, they are stuck with each other.  She drags him along with her as her "date" to Lucy and Jake's engagement party - where Wyatt's ghosts take over and toss one of Jo's brothers-in-law in the pool.  Jo confronts the ghosts - and realizes that the two pranksters are actually the original residents of the Victorian, trying to protect their home.  

She believes that the ghosts will have more impetus to vacate Wyatt's body back at the Victorian, but when they return to the inn, they discover that there are suddenly hundreds more child ghosts haunting the house.  Something is very wrong at Casa Haines. 

Jo is worried that she has completely lost her ghost exterminating mojo - and it is Wyatt, of all people, who comforts her.  Their antipathy has given way to sizzling attraction - though they both know they are far too different to ever have a functional relationship. 

Wyatt has to go to another of his inn's grand opening and he takes Jo along as his ghost babysitter and date.  At the reception, Jo catches Wyatt's secretary hiding a charm at the new inn - and the woman confesses that she hid a similar one at the Victorian.  Believing the charms were simple good juju, she didn't realize the one she left at the Victorian (sold to her by an unscrupulous warlock named Prometheus) was actually designed to lure the ghosts of children onto the premises.

Jo and Wyatt fly back (with a time out for romance on the plane) and immediately go to the Victorian to destroy the charm.  Jo transcends all the ghosts in the mansion - except the two in Wyatt which are released into the tower room where they have always lived.  Wyatt decides to keep the two prankster on, marketing the new inn as a haunted B&B.  And he invites Jo to stick with him as well, as his ghost consultant.  

Their relationship isn't traditional, but he accepts her, ghosts and all, and she keeps his workaholic side from consuming his soul.  And they all live happily ever after... until the next adventure.

Buy The Ghost Exterminator: A Love Story Now from Amazon :: B&N :: Samhain 

Up next... Finder's Keeper

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Countdown to Karma! Recap #1: Ghost Shrink and A Cop & A Feel

T-minus six days until Karma!

Naughty Karma is Book Seven in the series, and while it can be read as a stand-alone, it is sort of the culmination of all that has built up in the Karmic Consultants books over the last four years.  Naturally, I would advise you all to reread the whole lot, but since we have lives and towering TBR shelves, I realize this is not always possible, so I thought I'd post some quickie recaps to refresh your memory here as we COUNTDOWN TO KARMA! (This should be read in an echoey announcer voice.)

The series was not released in strictly chronological order (A Cop & A Feel and Finder's Keeper were released out of sequence - and if you want to know why I can give you a long, drawn out explanation about promo anthologies and editors retiring and plans changing and all sorts of fun stuff), but I'm going to recap them in the order they occur in the timeline of the Karmic World.

So today we kick off with the little story that started it all, the one that got me my first contract ever, The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo & The Poltergeist Accountant.  And the little novella that could - A Cop & A Feel.



It all starts with a dead accountant.
The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo & the Poltergeist Accountant

LUCY CARTWRIGHT sees dead people. Naked dead people. Every night she is visited by the horny ghosts of pencil-pushers past and talks them through their unresolved issues so they can move on to the white light. She'd love to meet a nice guy - rather than her usual diet of stripteasing stockbrokers on the wrong side of mortality - but her job as a post-life therapist doesn't really lend itself to a healthy love-life. So when a certified stud-muffin shows up on her doorstep, she's convinced her boss KARMA of Karmic Consultants, has sent her a gigolo.

But JAKE COX is no gigolo. A private investigator on the trail of a recently deceased mob accountant, he also happens to be Karma's younger brother. Sparks immediately fly between the tough-guy PI and the girl-next-door who talks to ghosts, but if they give in to their attraction the ghost of Eliot Mellman might not pay Lucy a visit. They keep their hands off one another until the accountant appears in Lucy's bedroom - but Eliot isn't your average ghost. He's uber powerful and instantly adores the dimpled ghost shrink, nearly going poltergeist when he thinks Jake is trying to horn in on his burgeoning relationship with Lucy.

Eliot sends Jake into a trap at his former boss's warehouse and when Lucy realizes what he's done, she rushes headlong in to rescue him. Unfortunately, she forgets to bring the cavalry. Just one pissy poltergeist. Seeing his murderer, Eliot puffs up in all his post life glory, scaring away the bad guys. With Lucy's help, he transcends and Jake has the evidence he needs to take Big Joe down for a long time.

Lucy is convinced she's blown any chance she had with Jake, but even though her life is crazy, he realizes she just might be the kind of crazy he can't live without. He makes it his mission to keep her so satisfied, she won't have any unfulfilled desires to lure horny ghosts to her in the afterlife.

Buy The Ghost Shrink (et al) Now from Amazon :: B&N :: Samhain

A Cop & A Feel

Big Joe's incarceration left a power void in the organized crime of the area and it is filled by a man named Coretti - but Coretti has ambitions of legitimacy. To prove his honorability to a potential business partner, he agrees to be read by one of Karmic Consultants' psychics, a touch reader named RONNA MITCHELL - but he plans to hedge his bets by doing whatever necessary to ensure Ronna gives him a stellar report.

MATT HOLLOWAY is an ambitious young cop trying to get in with the organized crime task force. When they get a tip that Coretti's favorite hit man, Cutter, has been sent to deal with a "reader" at a carnival (where Ronna moonlights reading palms), he's sent to tail Cutter and protect the person he believes must be a vital witness with information on Coretti. Matt ducks into Ronna's booth to avoid being spotted - and it's love at first touch.

The second Ronna lays her fingers on Matt, she sees their future together - but it is only a potential future, provided they both survive the night. By the time Ronna figures out that Matt is in danger (in addition to being the love of her life), he has already taken off in pursuit of Cutter.

Ronna chases after him and saves his life, but Matt only sees that she's blown his mission and Cutter has escaped. He wants nothing more to do with the crazy lady who thinks she's his one and only and brushes her off - which really tics Ronna off.  If he's her meant-to-be, shouldn't he be a little more open-minded?  She retreats to her booth.. where Cutter is waiting to threaten Ronna to ensure her cooperation.

Matt, tipped off by one of his trademark hunches, bursts in to save her, fighting off Cutter and giving her a chance to escape.  But when the victor emerges from the tent to find her - it is Cutter, rather than Matt.  He catches her, intent on killing her if she refuses to cooperate, but when Ronna sees Matt bloodily stagger out of her tent - still alive! - she discovers a new aspect of her talent, feeding images into Cutter's brain, making him the victim of all the horrors he has inflicted on others and snapping his mind like a toothpick.

All in self defense, but afterwards she is swamped by guilt and the fear that she won't be able to turn this horrible new aspect of her gift off.  She refuses to let Matt touch her - until Karma arrives and forces Ronna to read her.  Her usual gift is still perfectly intact - she did not automatically become a monster in the process of defending herself from one.  She lets Matt touch her - and this time he sees their future in the touch, just as she had.  It's going to be quite the happily ever after.

Buy A Cop & A Feel Now from Amazon :: B&N :: Samhain

Up next... The Ghost Exterminator: A Love Story