Friday, March 29, 2013

Midnight Justice Giveaway!

All right, darlings.  The two-week print-stravganza wherein I force you all to listen to me gush about my favorite books is complete!  Today I'm closing things out with a copy of Midnight Justice, the sexy anthology of superhero hawtness that releases THIS TUESDAY!!! (Pause for celebratory dancing.)  Bad boys, tough girls, and the forces of good and evil going head to head... in spandex.  You know you want it.

When the sun goes down, the bad boys come out to play.

Blade of Moonlight by Kimberly Dean
Court reporter by day, by night Luna fights crime with moon power. When she awakens after a hunt gone wrong, she’s surprised to be alive—and tied to a notorious villain’s bed.

Luna has no business on his turf, and Scythe plans to enjoy administering punishment. Yet somewhere in the night, pain turns into pleasure…

Breaking Bad by Jodi Redford
After uncovering the secret half of her gene pool, Ruby sets out to break the Shadow Czars’ hold over Earth—if she can figure out how to use her powers.

Teague hides his heritage until he has to use his powers to save Ruby. Their wary alliance turns into circuit-blowing attraction, but with an army of minions after them, they may not survive the night.

Superlovin’ by Vivi Andrews
When Darla’s boyfriend dumps her, she takes her superpowers to the skies, and woe to the villain dumb enough to pick tonight to crack a government vault.

Lucien almost has the information he needs to free his baby sister when DynaGirl catches him elbow-deep in a top-secret safe. The only way to distract her? Kiss her senseless. Except he’s the one taking the fall…

Comment today for your chance to win Midnight Justice! (The Small Print: US/Canada addresses only.  Prizes awarded at midnight Pacific.  If you do not leave a contact email, please check back in the comment stream within 24 hours to claim your prize.)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn

We're nearing the end of the giveaways, but there are still a couple more books to give.  Up for grabs today is a book by one of my auto-buy, absolute favorite authors, the sparkling and witty Ms. Julia Quinn.  I give you The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever.

At the age of ten, Miranda Cheever showed no signs of Great Beauty. And even at ten, Miranda learned to accept the expectations society held for her—until the afternoon when Nigel Bevelstoke, the handsome and dashing Viscount Turner, solemnly kissed her hand and promised her that one day she would grow into herself, that one day she would be as beautiful as she already was smart. And even at ten, Miranda knew she would love him forever. 

But the years that followed were as cruel to Turner as they were kind to Miranda. She is as intriguing as the viscount boldly predicted on that memorable day—while he is a lonely, bitter man, crushed by a devastating loss. But Miranda has never forgotten the truth she set down on paper all those years earlier—and she will not allow the love that is her destiny to slip lightly through her fingers...

Comment today for your chance to win a print edition of the first book of the Bevelstoke series, the effervescent and delightful The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever. (The Small Print: US/Canada addresses only.  Prizes awarded at midnight Pacific.  If you do not leave a contact email, please check back in the comment stream within 24 hours to claim your prize.)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Taste Me by Tamara Hogan

Today we continue yesterday's sexy paranormal trend with Taste Me, the first novel of the Underbelly Chronicles by the fabulous Tamara Hogan.  I persuaded Tammy to swing by and chat with us a bit about the siren and the incubus who started it all... And now, here's Tammy!

I’m a skeptic at heart, and I love reading books or stories that propose a completely different interpretation of events than what is commonly accepted, ‘known’ or ‘true.’ Marion Zimmer Bradley does this to great effect in “The Mists of Avalon”, a re-imagining of the Arthurian legends, told through the eyes of the female characters. Gregory Maguire’s “Wicked” does the same thing, turning the familiar “The Wizard of Oz” on its ear, telling the story from the perspective of The Wicked Witch of the West.

Are Morgaine and Elphaba “evil” and “wicked”? It kinda depends on who’s telling the story, doesn’t it?  

For much of our past, a single narrative of a major historic event was recorded by those in power at the time the event occurred, and over time became accepted as ‘true’ or as conventional wisdom. This leaves so many human stories untold, so many thousands of voices marginalized. Much of our collective human experience has been lost to the sands of time, but on the positive side, these gaps in our historic record give fiction writers a LOT of room to move. ;-)

The prospect of winners writing history is central to the world I’ve created in the Underbelly Chronicles. What if eons of humanity’s own history were influenced and written by extra-planetary species marooned here long ago, and in order to survive, needed to be able to walk freely among us but keep their true natures hidden? What if these species created the very mythology humanity is familiar with so they could hide in plain sight? Incubi, succubi and sirens aren’t mythological; they’re real. Valkyries, vamps, werewolves and faeries aren’t mythological, they’re real. They have different abilities and vulnerabilities than we do because their ancestors evolved on other planets, on different branches of the family tree.  

Nearly all of their abilities and susceptibilities have biological roots: Valkyries love to eat, fight and make love because they have highly active metabolic, adrenal and hormonal systems. Incubi and succubi must absorb emotional energy for sustenance—sex energy is a delicacy—and they emit luscious pheromones in response, which renders them nearly irresistible to others. Faeries are highly empathic, and revered as healers and therapists. Weres, the only shape-shifting species in the world I’ve created, are starting to exhibit genetic abnormalities due to in-breeding. My vamps possess massive personal glamour and the strongest can influence others’ thoughts. They avoid strong sunlight because they’re allergic to UV rays. But they eat food, and yes, drink blood, because it’s a biological imperative. They cannot make other vampires with their bite, but being bitten is highly erotic.       

In Taste Me, I put a biological twist on the incubi and siren myths. I’ve long been fascinated by the medieval legends surrounding incubi, the seemingly-irresistible sex demons blamed for impregnating women whose husbands were away at war for years at a time. A number of years ago, I saw a picture depicting a succubus drawing the very essence from her lover/victim, which inspired me to create a species that had to absorb emotional energy for survival. I then analyzed the classic siren mythology—where sailors were seemingly so enchanted by sirens’ seductive, otherworldly voices that they willingly wrecked their ships on the rocks to better hear their song—through the same energy lens. What if sirens could manipulate emotional energy with their voices? 

What happens when you pair a control-freak incubus who must absorb emotional energy to survive with a pissed-off siren who amplifies emotional energy with her voice? Lukas and Scarlett’s very biology puts them in conflict—and it was an absolute blast to write.

I hope you enjoy!

Read an excerpt! (PG-13)     

He Wants Her So Badly He Can Taste It…
Ever since their tempestuous fling years ago, incubus Lukas Sebastiani has known that siren Scarlett Fontaine was meant to be his. But when you’re a sex demon with an insatiable desire, relationships are way more than complicated…

Her Siren Songs Bring Men to Their Knees…
Rock star Scarlett Fontaine desperately needs a break after a grueling tour. But with murder and mayhem surrounding her band, and the one man she never thought to see again put to the task of protecting her, life is going to be anything but peaceful…

Every encounter between them creates more turmoil—and heat—until Scarlett pushes Lukas to the boiling point, and unleashes forces that go way beyond anything she can hope to control…

Today you could win a print copy of Taste Me just by commenting here! (The Small Print: US/Canada addresses only.  Prizes awarded at midnight Pacific.  If you do not leave a contact email, please check back in the comment stream within 24 hours to claim your prize.)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pleaure of a Dark Prince by Kresley Cole

Before we get to our regularly scheduled book giveaway, let me take a moment to congratulate all the new Golden Heart & RITA finalists! That's right, it's Golden Heart & Rita Day! Again this year, the Rubies are hosting a Call Day celebration over at the Ruby Blog, so swing on by and swig some cyber-champagne if you're in the mood to celebrate with the Class of 2013!

And now... to the giveaways!  I am thoroughly addicted to Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series, so it seemed only fitting I include one of my favorites from the series in this, Pleasure of Dark Prince.

New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole enraptures again with this seductive tale of a fierce werewolf prince who will stop at nothing to protect the lovely archer he covets from afar.

A Dangerous Beauty

Lucia the Huntress: as mysterious as she is exquisite, she harbors secrets that threaten to destroy her—and those she loves.

An Uncontrollable Need

Garreth MacRieve, Prince of the Lykae: the brutal Highland warrior who burns to finally claim this maddeningly sensual creature as his own.

Lead to a Pleasure so Wicked. . . .

From the shadows, Garreth has long watched over Lucia. Now, the only way to keep the proud huntress safe from harm is to convince her to accept him as her guardian. To do this, Garreth will ruthlessly exploit Lucia’s greatest weakness—her wanton desire for him. . . .

Want to win a print copy of Pleasure of a Dark Prince? Just comment today to be entered. (The Small Print: US/Canada addresses only.  Prizes awarded at midnight Pacific.  If you do not leave a contact email, please check back in the comment stream within 24 hours to claim your prize.)

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Fireman Who Loved Me by Jennifer Bernard

Today we resume the Book-Addiction Print-stravaganza giveaways with a signed copy of the fun, flirty, and deliciously sexy read The Fireman Who Loved Me by Jennifer Bernard

Fearless, smoking hot and single: meet the Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel. These firemen might be heroes, but it's their bad luck in love that makes them legendary. 

News producer Melissa McGuire and Fire Captain Harry Brody couldn't be more different, though they do have one thing in common: they're both convinced they're perfectly wrong for each other.

But when Melissa's matchmaking grandmother wins her a date with Brody at a bachelor auction... Sparks fly. Passion flares. Heat rises. (You get the picture.)

Add a curse, a conniving nightly news anchor, a stunningly handsome daredevil fireman, a brave little boy, a couple of exes, and one giant fire to the mix and Melissa and Brody's love may not be the only thing that burns.

I persuaded the lovely and talented Ms. Bernard to stop by with the dirt on her studly Bachelor Firemen series, so please welcome Jennifer!

Seven Unintended Consequences of Writing About Firemen

When I started to write my first series, The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel, I had no idea what I was getting into. Well, I knew I’d get to create brave, smoking hot heroes. I knew my heroines would be in for a treat. But I didn’t know how those firemen were going to affect my life. So here are Seven Unintended Consequences of Writing about Firemen.

  1. People send me the BEST links, photos and videos about firemen. Since I like to share the love, here’s an example.Fireman Pole Dance And another one. Make it with a Fireman. Before I wrote these books, I might never have been lucky enough to see a fireman interacting with a pole in quite that way.
  2. I’ve become familiar with terms such as 4-inch supply lines, aerials, and nozzlemen. I now know what an apparatus operator and a Halligan tool are. I try not to be too technical in my books, since they’re light-hearted romances, but I don’t want to be inaccurate either. Which leads me to …
  3. I’ve met some of the coolest guys in the course of my research. My go-to fire consultant, a Fire Captain in California, answers my most trivial questions with the utmost graciousness. I’ve gotten to eat at firehouses, tour firehouses, and try on firefighter’s gear. I’m all about the research!
  4. Friday has become even more fun than it used to be, thanks to Fireman Friday. If you need a little fix of firefighter smexiness, you can find it on Twitter (#FiremanFriday) or my Facebook page. Here’s a recent example.
  5. People send me inspiring stories about firemen around the world. In Guatemala, firemen dress as Santa Claus and rappel down a bridge to reach kids living underneath it. A group of firemen in Albuquerque won the lottery and donated most of their winnings to a fellow firefighter fighting cancer. I love hearing these stories, which are more moving than anything I could make up. 
  6. People also tell me unflattering anecdotes about firemen. The Chief who was secretly seeing three women at a time, for instance. Okay, so I never said they were all perfect.
  7. Do you wish you had your own fireman? Turns out, you can Grow Your Own Fireman. Who knew? I certainly didn’t.

So there you have it, seven ways writing about firemen has changed my life. Of course, the biggest and most amazing of all is the fact that my Bachelor Firemen have leaped out of my imagination and landed in bookstores and ereaders. 

Thank you for joining us, Jennifer!  And now, reader friends, simply comment today for a chance to win the first in this deliciously fun series, The Fireman Who Loved Me! (The Small Print: US/Canada addresses only.  Prizes awarded at midnight Pacific.  If you do not leave a contact email, please check back in the comment stream within 24 hours to claim your prize.)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Beyond the Shadows by Jess Granger

Today's giveaway is the sci-fi romance Beyond the Shadows by Jess Granger (who I met at my very first writing conference ever).  Take a peek:

A man of deception. A woman of justice. Can their fragile trust be strong enough to prevent a war?
Commander Yara knows perfect leadership requires perfect control and discipline. She has spent years living without the distraction of caring for anything—or anyone. It’s a sacrifice she’s willing to make. Yara has honed herself into the perfect heir to the Azralen throne, but a bloody coup could destroy everything she’s worked so hard for. She must return home to prevent war. Unfortunately the only ship available belongs to an Earthlen trader with no regard for authority—especially hers.

Cyn is a rebel, driven to protect those suffering at the hands of the Elite leaders of Azra. Using his alias to manipulate the lovely but icy commander onto his ship, he has to keep her from Azra long enough to ignite the revolution. But when he awakens a vibrant and feeling woman beneath that icy exterior, he gets more than he bargained for—love. He must find a way to convince Yara to join him, before they get caught in a web of deception that could tear their world apart.

Comment today for a chance to win Beyond the Shadows! (The Small Print: US/Canada addresses only.  Prizes awarded at midnight Pacific.  If you do not leave a contact email, please check back in the comment stream within 24 hours to claim your prize.)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Devil's Bride by Stephanie Laurens

Today's giveaway is an oldie but a goodie.  Back in the day, when I first started reading romance, the Cynsters was one of the first series that sunk it's hooks into me.  Devil's Bride launches this massive Stephanie Laurens historical romance series and remains one of my favorites to this day.

When Devil, the most infamous member of the Cynster family, is caught in a compromising position with plucky governess Honoria Wetherby, he astonishes the entire town by offering his hand in marriage. No one dreamed this scandalous rake would ever take a bride. And as society mamas swooned at the loss of England′s most eligible bachelor, Devil′s infamous Cynster cousins began to place wagers on the wedding date. 

But Honoria wasn′t about to bend society′s demands and marry a man "just" because they′d been found together virtually unchaperoned. No, she craved adventure, and while solving the murder of a young Cynster cousin fit the bill for a while, she decided that once the crime was solved she′d go off to see the world. But the scalding heat of her unsated desire for Devil soon had Honoria craving a very different sort of excitement. Could her passion for Devil cause her to embrace the enchanting peril of a lifelong adventure of the heart?

One commenter on today's blog wins a copy of the book that introduced the Bar Cynster, Devil's Bride.  So go forth and comment!  (The Small Print: US/Canada addresses only.  Prizes awarded at midnight Pacific.  If you do not leave a contact email, please check back in the comment stream within 24 hours to claim your prize.)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Blood & Destiny by Kaye Chambers

Today's book addiction is brought to you by my good friend Ms. Kaye Chambers. Smoldering vampires, sassy shape-shifting private investigators and a crime to be solved - between Blood & Destiny and First Grave we almost have a sassy femme PI theme going, don't we? 

When the past bites, bite back...

For Destiny St. George, shapeshifting lioness and private investigator, her best friend's looming wedding is little more than a reminder of her failed relationship with vampire king Marcus Smythe. Tired of being only one of many mistresses-and dinner entrees-she's stayed away from the vampire scene altogether. Until a missing-person case forces her to seek his help.

Knowing that pressing Destiny is not the way to convince her to give their relationship another try, Marcus has been waiting her out-and his patience is rewarded when she steps into his nightclub. Now is his chance to lure her back into his arms. This time, he plans to keep her there.

Destiny's not sure which is worse: working with Marcus, or trying to remember all the reasons she called it off with him. And when it becomes clear the case is an elaborate trap to avenge a millennia-old grudge, she finds herself caught between love and instinct-while the clock ticks down on an innocent victim's life...

Here's a sneak peek inside:

I recognized the vampire at the door and felt the smile dawning despite my unease at being here. He met it with an answering smile but didn't move down from his post. He signaled the man in charge of the rope to let me in. I breezed past the gatekeeper, glad I didn't have to stand in the haze of his cologne.
"Destiny, come to sample our... pleasures?"
I rolled my eyes at Peter who apparently had drawn the short straw to be put at the door supervising the human bouncers who were holding back the growing line.
"Yeah, your charm just couldn't keep me away."
He slapped a hand that could only be called delicate across his heart and made a sound as if he were wounded. The sheer drama of it made my smile widen despite my best efforts. Peter was Roman. As in the Roman Empire, not a citizen of the Rome we know today. He would have made an excellent stage actor, if he could be bothered with such plebian pursuits. In his former life, he had been a senator before being seduced by a mysterious person of the East. That was as much of his story as I'd managed to glean. He was very good at deflecting curiosity.
"Nonetheless, he will be glad you've come." Like the really old ones, Peter didn't call Marcus by name. In days gone by, the anonymity of the king had been what kept not only him alive, but also helped the group escape when the authorities were set to exterminate them.
The vampires were a lot like a tribe of gypsies. Their king was their authority and the entire system was still slightly feudal. By rights, I should have known more about Marcus than I did. But if Peter was good at deflecting curiosity, Marcus was a master at it. Somehow, our conversations didn't get around to answering my questions. Maybe he was better at distraction because he had my number in a way Peter never would.
"Let's hope so."
Even though I grumbled it under my breath, Peter heard it as he signaled the bouncer to open the door. The heavy base of the club music drowned out the sound of his laughter and I was glad for it. My last visit had ended badly. Marcus had been content to wait me out. And they said cats had patience.
It always surprised me not to be stepping into a mass of people when I walked into the foyer, but the Vantage was laid out better than that. Most of the people were packed onto the central revolving dance floor on the main level. Two sweeping staircases on the sides of the foyer led to the elevated members-only areas. More public seating ranged closer to the bars stationed on each of the remaining walls on the main level. I took it all in at a glance before sweeping my gaze up the staircases to find the target of my visit.
Marcus Smythe, his latest pseudonym, had a woman pressed against the sweeping banister on the staircase on my right. Closer examination brought the realization that his hands might be around her and on the banister, but it wasn't him doing the pressing. She had herself practically glued to the front of his silk shirt and designer pants. Having fallen victim to his allure before, I could definitely relate to the feeling. Today, though, I was made of sterner stuff, or at least I hoped so. Crow never tasted good, but I'd be eating it before I could ask him to come down to examine the file photos.
I trotted up the stairs without a second glance at the loitering bouncers beside them. They made no move to stop me thanks to the little gold pin on my shirt. Reaching Marcus, I slipped my hand on his arm and tugged. He let me pivot him as I moved past. Because of her insanely high heels, his would-be body decoration had to let go or risk being knocked down the stairs. Stopping a couple of steps higher, I turned to see a touch of laughter shining back at me from his face. I felt that bright, almost happy look all the way to my toes.
"Pardon me for interrupting your takeout. You can have him back in a second, miss. Can you spare me a moment, Marcus?"
"For you, always." Even his voice was smooth as honey and absolutely without an accent. It promised all sorts of sinful things. Having experienced a wide variety of them, my body revved up against my better judgment.
"Well, remember you said that in about five minutes." I muttered it under my breath, but I knew he heard me. We'd see how far his always went after my apologies.
Leaving him to make his amends with his date, I turned to climb the rest of the stairs, veering off toward the private alcoves once I reached the top. If I weren't afraid he'd take it the wrong way, I'd have gone over to the personal elevator that rode up to his apartment for extra discretion. With my luck, he'd take the change in venue to mean I wanted to totally make up for our last fight. Since I wasn't ready for that, I chose a private alcove with a sheer curtain where anyone could see us talking because talking was all we were going to do.
Even reminding myself of it for the third time, I could hear the echo of the lady protesting far too much about her innocent intentions. Were my intentions totally innocent? Could I have turned to someone else to identify Betsy Vincent's mysterious lover?
Probably, but Marcus really was the shortest road down the path. After a week missing, short paths were the only way I could find her alive. If she was still breathing on her own, that is.
Settling into the alcove facing the stairs, I watched the sexiest dead man I'd ever seen glide toward me. It took some effort to remind myself that alive was better than dead, any day. Really.

Tempted?  For your shot at a trade paperback edition of Blood & Destiny just leave a comment to be entered to win.  (The Small Print: US/Canada addresses only.  Prizes awarded at midnight Pacific.  If you do not leave a contact email, please check back in the comment stream within 24 hours to claim your prize.)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas

Continuing the two weeks of premium-grade book crack print-stravaganza giveaways, today's book up for grabs is Not Quite a Husband by the exquisitely clever Sherry Thomas.  I adore smart books written by smart people and Sherry Thomas always delivers.  If you like your historical romance erudite, you must experience the awesomeness of her writing. 

Here's the blurb to tempt you:

Their marriage lasted only slightly longer than the honeymoon—to no one’s surprise, not even Bryony Asquith’s. A man as talented, handsome, and sought after by society as Leo Marsden couldn't possibly want to spend his entire life with a woman who rebelled against propriety by becoming a doctor. Why, then, three years after their annulment and half a world away, does he track her down at her clinic in the remotest corner of India?

Leo has no reason to think Bryony could ever forgive him for the way he treated her, but he won’t rest until he’s delivered an urgent message from her sister—and fulfilled his duty by escorting her safely back to England. But as they risk their lives for each other on the journey home, will the biggest danger be the treacherous war around them—or their rekindling passion?

Remember, just leave a comment to be entered to win Not Quite a Husband (The Small Print: US/Canada addresses only.  Prizes awarded at midnight Pacific.  If you do not leave a contact email, please check back in the comment stream within 24 hours to claim your prize.)

Monday, March 18, 2013

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

Welcome!  Today we're kicking off the Two Week Midnight Justice Print-stravaganza with the Beyond Awesome Darynda Jones.  The NYT and USAToday best-selling Charley Davidson series just keeps getting better with each book.  So for those of you who have not yet discovered this thoroughly addicting series, I'm giving away a hardback copy of our first exposure to Charley, First Grave on the Right, today.

In addition to being a Charley fangirl, I'm lucky enough to know the charming and talented Ms. Jones and I badgered asked her to swing by today and chat a bit about Charley and First Grave.  And now, without further ado, I give you, Darynda!

It’s Not Easy Being Grim
So, what if the grim reaper were just misunderstood? You know, a being not made of death and darkness and creepy skeletal remains but light? And what if her light—yes, HER light—were really a bright, shiny beacon that lured those departed who were left on Earth toward her so they could cross to the other side? Of course, in the process she would attract all kinds of trouble, everything from demons who try to kill her to ghosts who try to kill her to, well, humans who try to kill her.

That is Charlotte “Charley” Davidson, the heroine of First Grave on the Right, in a nutshell. And while she’d like to believe she’s a complete badass, she’s really more of an accident-prone, slightly schizophrenic girl from Albuquerque who takes the complications of ADD to a whole new level. Not to mention the fact that she’s the only grim reaper this side of forever.

Okay, but why the grim reaper, you might ask. That one is simple. As an aspiring author, I wanted to get noticed. I wanted something different that would pique the interest of agents and editors alike. Fortunately for me, Charley did just that. First, she won the 2009 RWA Golden Heart for Best Paranormal Romance, then she landed me an amazing agent. Not long after that, she secured a three-book deal for the rights to her story with St. Martin’s Press. Her journey has been an incredible one and the fun is just beginning.

In First Grave on the Right, Charley Davidson uses her reaper abilities to help her succeed as a private investigator. It’s a natural progression from her childhood. Since she was five, she’s been helping her detective father solve crimes. In First Grave, three lawyers from the same law firm are murdered, and they come to Charley to find their killer. At the same time, she's dealing with a being she calls the Big Bad. He’s more powerful, and definitely sexier, than any specter she's ever come across. With the help of some living and some not-so-living associates, Charley sets out to solve the highest profile case of the year and discovers that dodging bullets isn't nearly as dangerous as falling in love.


Here’s a quick excerpt:
In too much pain to stretch, I let a lengthy yawn overtake me instead, winced at the soreness shooting through my jaw, then looked back at Dead Guy. He was blurry. Not because he was dead, but because it was 4:34 a.m. And I'd recently had my ass kicked.
“Hi,” he said nervously. He had a wrinkled suit, round- rimmed glasses, and mussed hair that made him look part young-wizard-we- all- know-and-love and part mad scientist. He also had two bullet holes on the side of his head with blood streaking down his right temple and cheek. None of these details were a problem. The problem resided in the fact that he was in my bedroom. In the wee hours of dawn. Standing over me like a dead Peeping Tom.
I eyed him with my infamous death stare, second only to my infamous fluster stare, and got a response immediately.
“Sorry, sorry,” he said, stumbling over his words, “didn't mean to frighten you.”
Did I look frightened? Clearly my death stare needed work.
Ignoring him, I inched out of bed. I had on a Scorpions hockey jersey I'd snatched off a goalie and a pair of plaid boxers-same team, different position. Chihuahuas, tequila, and strip poker. A night that is forever etched at the top of my Things I'll Never Do Again list.
With teeth clenched in agony, I dragged all 470 throbbing pounds toward the kitchen and, more importantly, the coffeepot. Caffeine would chisel the pounds off, and I'd be back to my normal weight in no time.
Because my apartment was roughly the size of a Cheez-It, it didn't take me long to feel my way to the kitchen in the dark. Dead Guy followed me. They always follow me. I could only pray this one would keep his mouth shut long enough for the caffeine to kick in, but alas, no such luck.
I'd barely pressed the on button when he started in.
“Um, yeah,” he said from the doorway, “it's just that I was murdered yesterday, and I was told you were the one to see.”
Thank you so much for having me today. It’s always an honor to be on one of my Ruby Sisters’ blogs. Cheers!

What do you think, reader-friends?  Worth playing for?  Hells yeah, amirite?  Just leave a comment to be entered to win First Grave on the Right (The Small Print: US/Canada addresses only.  Prizes awarded at midnight Pacific.  If you do not leave a contact email, please check back in the comment stream within 24 hours to claim your prize.)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

DABWAHA is here!

It's that time again, boys and girls!  Time for the annual battle of the books that is the DearAuthorsmartBitchesWritingAwardsforHellagoodAuthors (or DABWAHA for short)!  There are prizes to be won, trash-talking to be talked, and many fabulous books to be read and gushed about.  Head on over to and fill out your brackets today for chances to win the awesome.  Then, as the tourney progresses (March Madness-style) vote for your favorite books as they are pitted against one another.  It's reading, Thunderdome-style.

This year, the brackets include fellow Rubies (go Jeannie Lin!), friends (woohoo Kit Rocha & Anne Calhoun!) and even a rockstar goddess who was one of my mom's high school friends (vote Lois McMaster-Bujold!).

Go forth and play, minions!  And may the best book decimate all comers!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Two Week Midnight Justice Print-Stravaganza!

In honor of the print release of Midnight Justice, the superhero anthology featuring Superlovin' as well as fabulous superhero romances by Jodi Redford and Kimberly Dean, starting on Monday I'll be giving away a different print book by one of my favorite authors every weekday for the two weeks leading up to the Midnight Justice release day, April 2nd!

Just come on by and comment on that day's post for a chance to win the book of the day.  (Sorry, US/Canada residents only.)  Here's a look at the schedule of events:

March 18th - First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
March 19th - Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas
March 20th - Blood and Destiny by Kaye Chambers
March 21st - Devil's Bride by Stephanie Laurens
March 22nd - Beyond the Shadows by Jess Granger
March 25th - The Fireman Who Loved Me by Juniper Bell
March 26th - Pleasure of a Dark Prince by Kresley Cole
March 27th - Taste Me by Tamara Hogan
March 28th - The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn
March 29th - Midnight Justice 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Three Days in Kauai: Day Three

Waking up to once again roll over to a view of the ocean, I packed up my things, loaded up my rental, and checked out of the hotel.  Because my flight was in the evening, on my third day I would stay closer to the Lihue Airport so I didn't run the risk of getting stuck in traffic on a trek from the far reaches of the island and miss my flight. (Though honestly the island is small enough such a precaution probably isn't necessary.)

First I went on one of Smith's ferries up to the Fern Grotto.  Sadly, the grotto has not fared well since the last time I was here.  The hurricanes decimated the ferns.  They are starting to grow back, but they are more five feet long than the ten or fifteen feet they were before.  But the biggest change is that since 2006 when Kauai had all the rains and landslides, the Fern Grotto is no longer open for visitors to walk inside.  You can stand on a platform in front of the grotto, but when your guides sing the Hawaiian Wedding Song, there is no amplification of their voices and instruments by the natural amphitheater in the cave.

On the way back down the river, our guides continued to serenade us, hula for us, and teach the entire lot of us the hukilau hula.  We passed Mt. Nounou, or the Sleeping Giant.  (Can you see him?  Hint: the tallest point of the mountain is his forehead.)

And then, after getting off the boat, I saw a chicken in a tree.  Seriously.  I'd never seen a chicken in a tree before.  Just felt like sharing that little bid of odd with you.  After that I headed up to the Opaeka'a Falls lookout...

...looked out over the sacred Wailua River...

...then went down to the reproduction of a Hawaiian village to rent a kayak.  (HINT: If you don't want the singing and the hula to go with it, renting a kayak is a great way to go out to see the Fern Grotto, too.)  You can paddle to Secret Falls and swim beneath a waterfall (fair warning, it's COLD), see the Fern Grotto, or paddle out to the swimming hole where there is a handy cliff for cliff diving (so much fun!).  Or just enjoy the peace of the river.

If you rent from the village, a tour of the huts is included in your rental.  Just try not to step on the peacocks.  They are everywhere.

After that I drove up to look out over Wailua Falls...

And then down to Nawiliwili Harbor, a touristy little beach and string of shops where the infrequent cruise ships that visit Kauai come in.

(The couple in this picture were in their seventies and when he put his toes in the water, he turned to her and grinned and yelled, "I've been in the Pacific Ocean!"  I loved that moment.)

And then, it was off to the airport, returning the car, climbing aboard the first-come-first-serve seating mini-jet to fly back to O'ahu, and waving goodbye to Kauai.

Three days, two nights.  What do you think?  Did I redeem Hawaii?  If I'd had another day, I would have biked along the Kapa'a coastline.  Another two days, I would have probably added a catamaran up the Napali coast.  And three more days?  Probably one dedicated entirely to lazing by the pool lost in a good book.  What about you?  What's your idea of a perfect Kauai vacation?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Three Days in Kauai: Day Two


On day two of my trip to Kauai to defend Hawaii's honor, I woke up to the ocean.  Who can fail to be delighted when you wake up to this view?

Today I was heading north, so it was off to the Kilauea Lighthouse. 

The road to Hanalei Bay is a gorgeous trip all on its own, reminding me again and again why Kauai is the Garden Isle. 

There are one lane bridges (like the southern part of New Zealand!) and gorgeous scenery around every corner.  I kept driving, past the beaches, the dry cave and wet cave...

...all the way out to the end of the road (you know you're there when you drive your car through a stream).  At the very end is Ke'e Beach - which was closed due to high surf (24 foot faces!).  The lifeguard had a bullhorn and he was not afraid to use it if you dipped a toe in the water.  (When they tell you the beaches are closed on Kauai, you listen to them.  I heard on the radio that someone was swept out to sea that day and that is not the first time tourists have drowned this year because they didn't respect Kauai's crazy waves and rip tides.) 

Luckily, we hadn't had much rain recently, so the MOST AMAZING HIKING TRAIL IN THE WORLD was nice and dry.  I scrambled up the Kalalau Trail wending along the Napali coast line (like a tropical Cinque Terra), loving every glorious second of it.

Then it was back down to Hanalei for dinner and a North Shore sunset before heading back to the hotel for a Mai Tai by the hot tub.  Tomorrow, Kapa'a, Nawiliwili, and the Wailua River!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Three Days in Kauai: Day One

I normally don't do travel posts when I come to Hawaii because it's more of a family place/second home than a vacation spot for me, but recently a friend impugned the awesomeness of my beloved islands and now I am out to defend Hawaii's honor with three days of travel logs about pure touristy vacationing on Kauai.  Kauai is a relatively small island and in my opinion among the most beautiful - with mountains, waterfalls, red rock canyons and some of the best hiking in the islands. But due to its size, it's possible to actually get a good feel for the island in only three days (though longer is always fun).  On day one, I went West.


Landing in Lihue in the morning, I grabbed my rental car and immediately set off toward Poipu.  The Grand Hyatt's swimming pools had made a strong impression on me as a child and I wanted to see if they were as I remembered.  And boy were they.  Waterfalls, waterslides, dozens of cascading pools and below it all a salt water lagoon - which, given Kauai's dangerous rip tides and unpredictable currents is a much better way to swim in the sea than braving the beaches on most days.

After the Hyatt (which has renewed its claim as my favorite hotel in the islands), I kept heading west, past the westernmost independent bookstore in the US in Hanapepe, the ruins of Russian Fort Elizabeth (not much there), and all the way out to the gorgeous beach at Kekeha (which is a great place to stop and stretch your legs and play for a while before getting back in the car for the canyon drive).

Then it was up, up, up the winding road into Waimea Canyon.

The Lodge at Kokee hasn't changed a bit from when I stayed there as a little girl and is a great place to stop for a lunch of Portuguese Bean Soup.  I pressed on, all the way out to the Kalalau Lookout from which you can see the Napali coast.

Descending the canyon road in the daylight is both much easier (it's not lit at night) and provides gorgeous ocean views.  You can stop in Waimea town for dinner at the Shrimp Shack or Island Tacos, or continue on into Ele'ele for some grinds (local word for food) at Grinds.  I got mine to go, because I wanted to make it back to Poipu Beach and Spouting Horn before dark.

I visited the blowhole, tried not to run over the chickens (they are everywhere on the island), and watched the sunset from this southernmost tip of the island.

Then I retreated to my hotel to collapse for the night.  Tomorrow, Hanalei and the North Shore!

Friday, March 8, 2013

You're Really a Writer?

I just got back from Kauai (pics coming as soon as I can get blogger to stop being a punk and accept them).  Whenever I travel I meet new people (which is fabulous), but invariably the New People want to know what I do for a living, and as soon as I say I'm an author, I become a zoo exhibit.

Everyone is fascinated by this, and eager to test out their ideas of what a writer is against me.  Sometimes it's kind of fun, but after the third iteration of the exact same conversation while I'm just trying to sip my Mai Tai and relax in the hot tub, it can get a bit tiresome.  So in case we ever meet in person at a poolside bar, let's just get it out of the way now, shall we?  Here it is: The Conversation.

New People: What do you do?
Me: I'm a writer.
NP: Like a reporter?
Me: No, sorry.  I write fiction.  I'm an author.  (For some reason it never occurs to me to start with "author".  I self-identify as a writer, don't ask me why.)
NP: So like, books and short stories?
Me: Yep.
NP: What sort of stuff do you write?
Me: Mostly paranormal romance.
NP: Like 50 Shades of Grey?
Me: Not really.  (Please, please, please let there be another fad book come along and dethrone that one.  Please.)
NP: I bet you're famous!  What's your name?
Me: Vivi, but I'm not famous.
NP: A starving artist, eh?
Me: I do okay.  (There is a middle ground, people.)
NP: So, paranormal romance.  That's like alien sex, right?
Me: Um, I guess that could arguably fall under the heading of paranormal romance, but I've never written about aliens.  (Seriously, people, where does this come from?  I get asked this ALL THE TIME.  Why do people hear paranormal romance and immediately go to alien sex?)
NP: So what's paranormal romance then?
Me: Have you seen the movie Underworld?  With Kate Beckinsale?
NP: What?  What does that have to do with anything?
Me: That's paranormal romance.
NP: No, it isn't.
Me:  (Didn't you just ask me what paranormal romance was???)  Actually, it's pretty textbook paranormal romance.

At this point, the conversation will diverge, but that first part seems to be pretty much locked in.  Lately it's always 50 Shades of You're Famous and Must Write Alien Sex. I guess I just look like that kind of girl.  ;)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

So Much Ado!

You guys. Joss Whedon and Shakespeare. JOSS WHEDON AND SHAKESPEARE. How did I not know about this? Now, admittedly, the Emma Thompson version of Much Ado was glorious, but I love the modern adaptation and the black and white and the sort of Gatsby-esque feel of the trailer. I'm adding this one to my movies to giddily bounce over list.