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!