Tuesday, 31 January 2017

IN COLD BLOOD - cover reveal!

Okay, I did share the cover on Facebook and Twitter last night, but you've got to have an ~official~ cover reveal, right?

Ta-da!

How beautiful is this? I feel like every new cover is my favourite cover, but this is definitely my favourite cover. I love the colours and the wolf, and the blood spatter on the title. Perfection!

IN COLD BLOOD is out on Thursday 2nd February, and is the first in my Luporum mini-series. This is a spin-off from the Urban Wolf series, but you can read IN COLD BLOOD without having read any of those books. Here's the blurb to whet your appetite!

Phoebe Fairley wanted to be a librarian. Somehow, she’s become a vampire hunter. Women are dying across the country and the police are baffled. Phoebe’s just supposed to be gathering information on the deaths, but as the body count mounts, she can’t help but break the rules and get involved. She knows what the killer is – and catching and containing it is vital. If she can persuade the police to believe her, and keep her secretive bosses happy, she stands a chance of capturing a very real, very deadly vampire. Not bad for a werewolf who can’t shapeshift. 

Aisling is happy living as a feral wolf. She’s got no time for human affairs, until a mysterious creature attacks her and leaves her in human hands. Now, if she wants her life back, she’ll have to join Phoebe’s hunt. There are just a couple of snags. One, she hates humans. And two, she’s falling hard for Phoebe. With a monster to catch and her own past to protect, will Aisling trust her head or her heart?

Monday, 30 January 2017

Author Interview - Nicola M Cameron

I absolutely fell in love with Nicola M Cameron's fantasy romance, EMPRESS OF STORMS, when I read it last year. So when I heard there'd be a sequel, I asked Nicola if she'd like to answer a few questions for me and give me, and you guys, a bit of insight into PALACE OF SCOUNDRELS. Without further ado, here we go!


Tell us a little bit about your newest release.
Palace of Scoundrels is the second book in my Two Thrones series and a sequel to Empress of Storms. Which was supposed to be a standalone, except that so many people asked, “Where’s the sequel” that I decided to go ahead and write one. Now I have a third book in mind as well as two novellas, one of which was entirely inspired by Rory McCann. Whee!


I was definitely delighted when I saw there was a sequel! I can understand people begging for more. Was there any part of this story you found particularly tough to write? If so, why?
It’s fairly intricate from a political point of view. Politics tend to make my teeth itch so delving into the political game powering the plot took a fair amount of effort.


Is there any part of this story you absolutely love, and why?
The banter. I love writing good banter, and I love using it to show how Matthias and Danaë have not only remained in love, but grown comfortable with each other over the months.


Do you have a favourite genre to write in?
Science fiction erotic romance. So yeah, this is something of a departure.


I bet! And on that note then, are there any genres you haven't tried yet that you really want to?
I’m currently taking a crack at straight historical romance. I’ve done historical stories before, but always with speculative fiction elements. My current WIP is set in Weimar Republic-era Berlin, so doing all the research for that was fascinating.


Oh yeah, I love reading historical biographies, but I've not yet had the nerve to try writing historical fiction. Good luck! Who are your biggest influences – they don't have to just be literary ones!
Literary — Sir Terry Pratchett, Kage Baker, and Madeleine L’engle. For reader interaction, it’s Jeffrey Combs — he’s long been one of my favorite actors, and back in 2009 I got the chance to meet him and speak with him for a half hour. He was utterly charming, gracious, and put me at my ease, and that’s what I try to give back to anyone who interacts with me.


If you could have dinner with any three writers, living or dead, who would they be?
Sir Terry (he was a personal friend and I miss him), Lewis Carroll, and Lois McMaster Bujold. Man, that would make for some interesting dinner conversation.


Are there any books you can just read over and over again and never get sick of?
The Outlander series, Kage Baker’s Company series, the Vorkosigan series, Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners series. Can you guess that I like series?


If you could recommend any book (beside your own) to everyone reading this, what would it be?
Damon Suede’s Hot Head. Just an absolutely perfect book.


The tough question now. Tea or coffee?
Neither — I don’t like hot drinks.


Shocking revelation from Nicola M Cameron! You read it here first. Apart from writing, what are your great passions in life?
Making stuff (the maker gene is strong in my family), my delightfully wacky husband, and environmentalism.


What else are you working on right now? What's up next from you?
I’m currently finishing up a MMF historical erotic romance titled Behind the Iron Cross that’s set in the aforementioned Weimar Republic-era Berlin. After that I have a dubcon erotic romance titled Do No Harm, and after THAT is going to be a straight-out sex comedy set in the court of Louis XIV called The Chevalier. So, yeah, I pretty much have the rest of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 mapped out.



So now you know a bit more about Nicola, let's take a look at PALACE OF SCOUNDRELS!

Spring has sprung in the island kingdom of Hellas, and with it come thoughts of young love and fruitful fields. But with no signs of an occupant for the royal nursery, Queen Danaë is starting to worry about her own fertility. Her concerns aren’t helped by the arrival of the legendarily conniving Dowager Queen Atilia of Illium–or the woman’s handsome grandson Prince Marcus, on the run after being accused of poisoning his older brother.

In the neighboring kingdom of Ypres, Danaë’s royal husband Matthias is dealing with dangerous family politics and a wolfish duke who has kidnapped a young noblewoman for immoral purposes. Or has he? Can Matthias ward off the threat of civil war, outwit his relatives, and deal with a charming rival in his wife’s own palace?

Buy Links




And read on for an excerpt!

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Five Things I Hate About Cube

A few weeks ago I was reading a list online. Something along the lines of "ten most gruesome deaths in cinema," I think. I can't remember. It's not important. The important thing is, one of the deaths was from the movie Cube. Cube is a 1997 drama/mystery/sci-fi film (says IMDB) about a giant murdering Rubik's cube and I hate it with a deep and abiding passion. Most of the time it doesn't really affect me day-to-day, but then I read something about it randomly on an online list and it reminds me that it exists and I hate it, and then I tweet about it, and lovely Madeline Franklin asks me why I hate it and I tell her I'm going to write her a freaking essay about it, and here we are.

You bastard.

Let's start with some background. In Cube, we find ourselves watching as six unbearable people wake up to find themselves mysteriously whisked away from their lives to the cube. At first it seems they're just trapped in this one room, but they quickly learn their room is part of an interconnecting series of rooms (or "cubes"), most of which are filled with deadly, deadly traps. Their mission is to escape, which they attempt to do using maths (badly).

There, that's the basic premise. I can't remember where I first saw it, but I was at sixth form and friends with a psychology student who insisted it was an elegant study of the way people's civilised fronts collapse under extreme pressure. I guess that doesn't sound too bad, on reflection. Maybe I'm just not sophisticated enough to enjoy your elegant social breakdown movies, Jenny. Maybe I'm the problem.

But I'm not. And here are five reasons why.

1. It's pretentious.

Honestly, I'm not a sophisticated film-watcher. But that's fine, because Cube is not sophisticated in my opinion, it's bullshit and pretentious. Each of the characters is named after a famous prison get it because they're imprisoned. Clever. I could probably deal with that by itself, but the plot is pure high-concept fluff with no depth whatsoever. Giant murder cube, built by ~someone~ for ~reasons that are never revealed~ because ~who even knows?~ We never find out, really, who built the cube or why. One of the prisoners, Worth, turns out to have been involved in the design, but doesn't actually know what he was designing or why or who for, because apparently when shadowy agencies ask you to design giant murder cubes, you don't worry about the purpose of said murder cube. Just collect your paycheck, Worth.

We never find out why these people have been chosen. I mean, Quentin's a dick (see point two), but none of them appear to be bad people. They were snatched for no reason by forces that are never revealed for a purpose that is never revealed. Maybe this is actually a clever commentary on how life is random and there's no underlying cosmic order to anything, or maybe the writers just couldn't think of a good explanation. You decide!

Again, I'm not a sophisticated film-watcher. I like superheroes and explosions and fantasy escapism. But my favourite films have more to them than just "because reasons" and I don't think that's too high a bar to clear. Telling me the cube just exists, that people are just kidnapped and put in it just because - that's not clever storytelling. We're expecting to overlook it because omg death traps! In cubes! I guess it's not dissimilar from The Human Centipede* where we're expected to just accept that Dr Whatisface is kidnapping people and sewing them together because he's just that wacky, you guys.

Step 1: sew people together
Step 2: ???
Step 3: ???????????????

High-concepts are fine, but they need to be backed up with solid storytelling and characters I can invest in. Which brings me to point two...

2. I fucking hate everyone in it.

Yes, all of them. The mathematical genius schoolgirl. The conspiracy theorist doctor. The angry cop. The other guys. This is purely subjective, of course, but if all of them were drowning and I only had time to save one, I'd make a sandwich.

Some of this is down to the acting, which is about as good as you can expect for cheaply-made 90s pretentious bullshit film. The dialogue doesn't help. For example:

Holloway: I think we have to ask the big questions! What does it want? What is it thinking?

It's a cube, lady! It's not thinking at all! That's...that's kind of the deal with rooms, even murder rooms.

Leaven: Give us the boot you pig!
Quentin: You don't want the boot!

What? What? I guess there's only so much even the best actor can do with "you don't want the boot." Beyond the bad acting and dialogue, these characters are not likable. Maybe they're not meant to be. Maybe we're meant to root for their grim deaths like bloodthirsty barbarians, thus proving ultimately that we, the viewers, are the real ones collapsing under the weight of our self-imposed civility. I don't know. Fuck them all. I especially hate the cop.


Partly because he's portrayed as an aggressive bully, so probably I'm at least meant to hate him, but also because "angry black man" wasn't a great look in 1997, or ever, in fact, especially in film where the characterisations are paper-thin anyway. Plus he gets a bit rapey/religious at the end.

When I watch a film I want someone to root for. Equally, I want someone for them to overcome. I can't get passionate about paper tigers stuck in a soulless death trap. Where's the bad guy for me to hate? I can't hate a cube! It's a cube. It's got no motivations. And I can't hate whoever's behind the cube because I don't even know if they fucking exist.

3. There's no resolution.

For the record, I haven't seen either of the sequels to Cube and I never will. So I accept that maybe there are some revelations I've missed out on. But as a standalone piece, there is no resolution to Cube.

The basic rules of storytelling, as I was taught are: establish the status quo > disrupt it > resolve it.

A resolution doesn't necessarily have to tie everything up neatly - and I believe there is a strong case sometimes for giving readers/viewers an ambiguous ending. However, I also believe that you have to give readers/viewers the opportunity to extrapolate a reasonable ending from the material presented. I don't believe Cube does that. Theories as to the "why" of the cube range from aliens to the government to super-villain, but no compelling evidence is dropped for any of these, and actually neither the characters nor the film itself really care because look at these murder rooms, dammit. Worth's story pushes us towards "the government probably did it" but he doesn't really know and there are no clues within the cube to help the viewers out.

The film ends with everyone dead except Kazan, an idiot savant, who walks into a bright light.

That's...that's it. He walks into a bright light and the film ends. That's it, that's the whole fucking film after I wasted all that fucking time watching these horrible people be horrible to each other in this horrible cube, that's all I fucking get. We don't see where he goes. We don't know if he's even going into another murder room or out of the cube. We get nothing. Nothing to draw even a speculative conclusion with. Fuck that film. That's deeply unsatisfying and it doesn't resolve anything.

4. It's full of botches.

Leaven wears glasses that are cracked at the start of the film and magically repair themselves throughout, then break again, then fix themselves again.

Quentin brutally beats Worth about the face with a boot, leaving him apparently close to death but also sporting just the most tasteful and delicate of wounds. I would show you a picture, but googling "Worth Cube movie" just gets me a lot of info about Ice Cube and his net worth. Trust me, Worth doesn't look like he's been pummeled by a maniac with a boot.

Those are continuity goofs, which happen, and probably aren't worth hating a film for. But the maths. The maths is bad. And a huge portion of this film depends on the maths being right, because it's what (potentially) can save our horrible cast. Briefly, each doorway in each murder room is inscribed with a set of numbers. Mathematical genius Leaven works out that these numbers may indicate which rooms are trapped, theorising that prime numbers equal trapped rooms. Later she realises it's actually powers of prime numbers that indicate traps, and luckily Kazan can work those out in his head because the plot requires it. Huzzahs!

Unfortunately, Kazan (or rather the writers) actually make several miscalculations, such as saying 462 has three prime factors when it has four, for example. Leaven, our alleged mathematical genius also makes some errors which would be fine if they were supposed to be errors, but they're not treated or flagged as such, and the whole fucking plot of this stupid fucking film hinges on prime numbers and powers of primes and these two characters knowing how to calculate them so why didn't the writers check the fucking maths?

Also there's one scene where you can see some staging equipment, but I don't want to be petty.

5. It's ultimately nihilistic.

Everyone dies at the end. Kazan might live, but we don't know because the stupid film doesn't end properly, but I think we can assume nothing good awaits him. I mean, it's either aliens or some shady humans who think nothing of kidnapping innocent people and putting them in the cube for no reason.

Nothing is revealed. Not the nature of the cube, not the builders, not the purpose.

Everything is shit. That's the lesson of this film. That you can be good, bad, bland, whatever, and it doesn't matter how you're living your life, you can still end up dead in the cube and unless you're a mathematical genius, you'll die, and even if you are a mathematical genius you'll still die, because fuck you. You can be kind or cruel, you can work together or strike out alone, and ultimately it's all futile because the murder cube will murder you. You will learn nothing. You will not develop as a person, except possibly into a worse person. The bad guys will win, assuming there are bad guys. There might not be. We don't know! These characters may just be the victims of a cold, uncaring universe where nothing they do matters because nothing anyone does matters. Maybe I should like that, because I love HP Lovecraft, but at least he gave us Cthulhu:



All Cube gave me was a deep-rooted anger problem. Then again, it's been over a decade since I last watched the stupid film and I'm still talking about it, so maybe...maybe it achieved something?




*Now there's a comparison I never thought I'd make.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Flashback Friday - Get Lost with Rose Wulf!

Happy Friday, creatures of the night! That's not an insult, but a not-so-clever reference to Rose Wulf's series, Night Shadows. Today we're taking a look at the most recent installment, LOST IN MAGIC. Read on, gentle reader!

Hello! Thank you for having me today! I'm super excited to share with you my latest release, LOST IN MAGIC (Night Shadows 4)!




Nearly a year after losing her best friends to vampires, Allison Drake knows it’s time for a change. And a nice cruise to the Bahamas sounds like just the ticket. She meets a sexy man on day one and knows it’ll be the vacation of a lifetime. But she’s not prepared for passengers to start disappearing under mysterious circumstances, or the implications that follow.


Mick Darringer is on the cruise not for the destination, but for the distraction. He needs to lay low and he knows the Council would never think to look for an earth witch on a cruise. It wasn’t part of his plan to meet a beautiful woman, but he’s not about to walk away. Ali captivates him from the moment he lays eyes on her.

But it’s not long before they learn that this cruise has problems. Problems in the form of vampires.
 

Read on for an excerpt! 


Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Wednesday Snippet - there could still be a murder...


Happy Hump Day! I spent this past weekend working on the first round edits for IN COLD BLOOD, and it turns out I'm just as anxious editing it as I was writing it. Basically I won't be happy until it's published and I can't actually do anything with it anymore. But as is often the case when editing, I keep finding bits that make me smile for various reasons, and that is always a good sign, I reckon.

So in that spirit, my Wednesday Snipping this week is a bit that made me smile. Enjoy!


Monday, 23 January 2017

The Care and Feeding of the Sick Writer


So I'm off work sick today. It feels like a virus, with an added dose of "maybe something wrong with my sinuses?" I'm breathless, hot, tired, and sneezing like a maniac. I rang a local taxi company this morning (twice!) instead of my office to call in sick, and I sent the wrong version of IN COLD BLOOD to my publisher last night after two days of editing. Definitely not in the right state to go to work and handle audits and make decisions, at least not today. And since my office is based in a hospital, I'm always slightly suspicious that I'm just going to attract more germs as I walk around.

I have this bad habit, when I'm home sick, of feeling like I still need to be a productive adult and get shit done, but given that I'm getting out of breath just walking around the house, I'm trying to resist that urge today. Luckily for me, Kyle is working from home and has heroically already supplied me with cold and flu meds, soup, and red velvet cookies. Yuki is a terrible nursemaid, and is skulking in the garden, but I'm sure she's wishing me well from a safe distance. Possibly she's consulting one of her many shrew friends for herbal remedies.

While she's doubtless questing for my cure, I'm kitting myself out for a day of huddling on the sofa with a few basic essentials.

1. Music.

Actually, Kyle picked the music, but there's never a bad time to listen to Bad Religion, and with world politics being what they are (ie, a fucking mess), they seem particularly relevant right now.


2. Tea.

I mean, this is me, so there would be tea anyway. But today I'm indulging with flowering tea from Beastly Beverages. Ideally I should have an elegant glass tea cup to show this tea off in, but I'm making do with my matcha tea bowl instead.


Incidentally, if you love fandom and tea, consider supporting Beastly Beverages! I do believe if you spend over £10 in January, you get a free gift. I recommend Pooka, the Black Forest Gateau tea.

3. Reading Material.

I recently discovered Highbrow, which offers free, bitesize online learning courses in everything from web marketing to desk yoga. I'm currently signed up for their Deadliest Dictators In History course for no reason whatsoever. Today it's Stalin, so that's cheerful. But, you know, if we don't learn from history, etc...

4. Casual Games

I'm a big fan of hidden object/puzzle games, because they're (usually) quick and I can dip in and out of them whilst writing. I've got a few piled up that I bought over Christmas and haven't tried out yet, so, assuming I won't be able to brain enough to write, I'm thinking of dipping into Rusty Lake Hotel. Although that might take more brain power than I have, in which case my back-up is Shadow Era. This is a collectible card game that I've been playing FOREVER and I love it. I love the art, I love the mythos, and I love the music. It's perfect for dipping in and out of. More than likely, however, I'll switch off the laptop entirely and play Pokemon X because...Pokemon.

5. Writing?

Maybe? I don't know. I always feel like if I'm at home with nothing else more pressing going on, I should write. I never don't want to write. It's the only thing I do that never feels like a chore, but I guess some days you have to give yourself a pass. I'm definitely not feeling like I could produce anything decent right now, so whilst the urge to at least try is still there, I'd probably do better to just disengage my brain for now. I still really want to finish Lich Queen by the end of January, but one day isn't going to be make or break, and given that it took me three attempts just now to write "going" instead of "working," I obviously can't trust my fingers today.

Anyway! Yuki has returned from the garden to spy on me and make sure I don't die before her tea time. I'm off to drink gallons of tea and read about Stalin. Happy Monday!

Constant vigilance is the price of regular meal times.



Friday, 20 January 2017

Flackback Friday - Doris O'Connor does it On Her Terms

Well, how else would you want it? Yes, it's Friday! And that means a flashback to a slightly older release from a super-talented author. This week it's Doris O'Connor, who always brings us something tasty...Let's take a look!

Thanks so much for having me on your blog today with my release On Her Terms. Like the first book in this series, The Job, On Her Terms started as a tease on my blog. This one, to be precise.

I didn’t get to write the story straightaway because other projects intervened, but when Jamie and Nicole decided it was their turn... Well, my fingers flew.

I loved writing their story which brought with it many twists and turns that I certainly didn’t see coming. Let’s just say all is not as it seems, but then it never is with the Premiere Companions. I hope readers will enjoy these two. Hold on for the ride, because sparks fly and yeah... The story might be a tad hot.

What’s that you say? I write a hot story? Shocking I know.

*sniggers*


I blame my muse. I’m sweet and innocent really… Stop laughing in that corner!




Blurb:
She’ll be no man’s property…

Faced with the prospect of marriage, to a man she’s never even met, Nicoletta Cabrizi’s temper gets the better of her. How dare her father use her virginity as a bargaining chip to seal a business deal?
 A girl’s first time should be special, and who better to give her an unforgettable night than an experienced Dom provided by Premiere Companions.

A perfect solution…

The reality, however, takes her breath away. The enigmatic Jamie pulls Nicole into a maelstrom of sensation and pleasure, which steals her heart, and soul, and leaves her doubting her previous decisions.

Jamie is beyond furious at this whole, farcical arrangement, especially when Nicoletta turns out be far from the spoiled princess he was expecting to meet. Her open vulnerability and deep need to submit brings out his protective instincts. Come what may, Nicoletta will be his.

Be Warned: BDSM, anal sex, sex toys

Buy Links







*****

Excerpt:

Jamie always enjoyed this process of getting to know what made a woman tick in bed, never more so than when that woman tapped into her submissive streak for the first time. Most needed far more encouragement than his girl had needed. Whether that was simply due to the unusual circumstances they found themselves in or whether she, too, felt the force of their connection, who could say.

From the minute he’d seen her shred the paper napkins, her nervousness pouring off her in waves, she’d thrown his preconceived notions about her out of the window. It wasn’t just the fact that she was ten times more beautiful in person either. Jamie was used to beautiful women, appreciated women in all their forms and guises, but there was something about Nicoletta Cabrizi that had him utterly hooked. Now with her writhing underneath him, her sweet musk in his nostrils and coating his tongue as he licked up the juices spilling past the elastic of the sodden piece of lace barely covering her modesty … now, he stopped analyzing and simply gave himself over to the moment. He knew the moment she was about to explode, because her thighs tightened involuntary around his head, and her hips bucked as she ground her pussy against his face, coming all over it in the process.

The incomprehensible sounds spilling from her mouth made him grin around his mouthful of hugely engorged virgin clit, and Jamie kept up the suckling of that little bundle of nerves, until the last of her aftershocks abated and her thighs went slack. Only then did he sit back and allowed himself to slowly peel her ruined thong away from her moist flesh.

Jamie sucked in a sharp breath as her sweet cunt came into view. Beautifully bare of any hair, it begged to be claimed, and his cock jerked at the thought as her puffed up pussy lips came into view. She jumped when he parted her outer labia with his fingers, and ran his fingertips through her inner lips.

“Easy there, my sweet. You’re so fucking wet for me. I can’t wait to claim your virgin hole. All of them for that matter. Will you let me do that, bellissima?

A groan came from his girl at his words, and her pussy hole quivered and clenched, expelling more of her essence, in which he coated his fingers and brought them right up to her other hole, while he pushed a thumb into her pussy.

A gasp and a tightening of her internal muscles was his answer this time, and when he looked up her body it was beyond satisfying to see the all-over body flush decorating her fair skin. Her unfettered breasts, reddened by his stubble, carried the marks of his teeth, and her nipples stood proudly to attention. Such a glorious, fucking canvas for him to work with.

He swore to himself there and then that he would mark every inch of her skin, so that when she left here in the morning to resume her life as Don Cabrizi’s daughter, she would remember who her Sir was.

Foolish thoughts, perhaps, he had no right to be possessive, after all, but there it was. He wasn’t going to overanalyze this now, just go with his gut and let the chips fall where they may. He’d always known that any dealings with this woman would be dangerous to him, so the urgent need to make her his didn’t really come as a huge surprise to him.

“I asked you a question, my love, I would appreciate an answer.”

Inwardly he grimaced at the endearment he didn’t seem capable of not making. Love had nothing to do with this. It was or should have been a mere business transaction, dammit.

“What? Yes, please … whatever. I’m yours, Sir.”

Her halting, panted reply stopped him from pursuing that thought, and he gently thrust his thumb in and out of her pussy, making her groan while he pushed the index finger of his other hand through the tight ring of muscle guarding her ass.

Those muscles flexed around the digit, and when he bent his head to lick across her clit, Nicoletta groaned deep in her throat.

“There, you are, come for me again, my sweet.”

He kept up the gentle licks around and over her clit while he thrust his digits in and out of both her holes. The heavy odor of sex surrounded them. His balls drew tight, and his cock leaked copious amounts of pre-cum, while the wet sounds his fingers made added an auditory stimuli all of their own.

“I can’t … too much … oh God…”

Her words drifted off into incomprehensible moans and sighs, which were music to his ears.

“Oh yes, you can and you will. Come for your Sir, bellissima.”


******



To celebrate the release of On Her Terms, The Job (book 1) is just 99 cents for a limited time at Evernight and Amazon.

Perfect time to grab your copy and see how this series started  :-)


*****



About Doris:

Doris is a writer of sensual, sassy, and sexy tales involving alpha heroes to die for, and heroines who give as good as they get.  From contemporary to paranormal, Time Travel, Sci-fi, BDSM, F/F, M/M, and Ménage, haunting love stories are guaranteed.
Happily married for the last twenty-five years, she lives with her husband and their brood of nine in a far too small house filled with love, laughter, and chaos.

Stalk her in these places         
Website
 Reader Group Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest Evernight Publishing


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Wednesday Snippet - Give the dead blood and they will talk







After a fairly epic writing session last Friday (4k!), I think I'm at about the midway point in Lich Queen. That does mean it's going to be longer than I anticipated, but I'm not too worried about that. I'd like to say that if I keep up this pace, I can have it finished by the end of January, but if I do keep up this pace, my arms will be too knackered for me to keep up that pace, if you see what I mean. My left shoulder is in pretty bad shape at the moment, and my right wrist is a touch tender, so as much as I'd love to crank out 4k every day, 1k a day is still a safer bet.

Either way, the important thing is that progress is being made! So behold!

Snippety snip.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Author Interview - Maggie Mundy

Happy Monday! I'm sure there's a Monday/Mundy pun to be made here, but I'm above such cheap laughs (I'm really not), so let's skip over that and go straight to the fun part! Maggie Mundy kicked off her Dark Storm series last autumn with IDOLIZE. She was gracious enough to answer a few questions for me and share a bit about the book and her writing life, so let's go!






Tell us a little bit about your IDOLIZE.
Idolize is book one in the The Dark Storm series. The books are based around the lives of actors on the show.

Blurb

Cassi moved to LA to escape a violent past and wants anonymity for herself and her son. She is starting to get her life back on track when she meets Declan Reed. He is latest hit on the Hollywood scene, playing the lead in the TV series Dark Storm. She gets the love of a TV star, and the fame that comes with it causes her past to come back and haunt her with what could be fatal consequences.


Was there any part of this story you found particularly tough to write? If so, why? 
I wrote phone sex. I have never done it, so I researched what was acceptable. It seems anything goes as long as you are happy consenting adults.

Ah, okay! That seems a good rule for life in general. Do you have a favorite genre to write in?
It used to be paranormal romance but now I really like contemporary fiction

Are there any genres you haven't tried yet that you really want to?
I am trying to write women's fiction at the moment and loving the woman's journey part of the story.

If you could have dinner with any three writers, living or dead, who would they be?
Jane Austen. I’d like to find out the real story behind her life and loves. Nora Roberts. She is just amazing. JK Rowling. She helped my dyslexic daughter learn to read.

Are there any books you can just read over and over again and never get sick of?
Pride and Prejudice. Love it.

It's always hard to beat the classics! If you could recommend any book (beside your own) to everyone reading this, what would it be?
I love Sophie Jorden’,s Devil’s Rock series for contemporary and The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant for a bigger historical read. Don’t expect an HEA with the second one.

I haven't read any of these! Obviously time to add them to my TBR pile. Now, the killer question. Tea or coffee?
 Tea. My mother used to call me teapot when I was a kid because I drank so much of it.

The correct answer! Apart from writing, what are your great passions in life?
My family.

And finally, what else are you working on right now? What's up next from you?
I am working on book two in the series called Fantasize. It is about a paparazzi, a blackmailer, and Gemma, one of the actresses on the Dark Storm show.


So that's Maggie and IDOLIZE! Like the sound of it? You can pick up your copy at the following places:


And pretty much anywhere ebooks are sold! You can also grab Maggie's latest release, RANDOM MEETING.  

And if you want to keep up with Maggie online, here's where to find her:



 Want a taste of IDOLIZE? Read on for an excerpt!

Friday, 13 January 2017

Guest Blog - Norah Bennett gives you everything you ever dreamed of

Say hello to Norah Bennett! She's here to day with the second in her Love in Lakes Crossing series, EVERYTHING I'VE EVER DREAMED OF. And there's a giveaway! Be sure to check out the link under the buy links for details. In the meantime, let's see what's going on in Lakes Crossing...



Everything I’ve Dreamed Of
By Norah Bennett

​Buy Links: 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MR3847R/
Evernight: http://www.evernightpublishing.com/everything-ive-dreamed-of-by-norah-bennett/

Giveaway: 
http://gvwy.io/0fg2991

Kate Willowbrook dreams of a life filled with beauty –– a man who loves her, friends, and a home. At eighteen, Kate's dreams are replaced by nightmares when she witnesses a crime. Kate runs, never settling down or trusting anyone. Ten years later Kate discovers the small town of Lakes Crossing and Noah Reed. 

When Noah’s wife is killed in an accident, he buries himself in work and family obligations, believing he will never find love again until he meets Kate. The more he learns about her, the more he is drawn to her and his protective instincts kick into overdrive.​

Noah is everything Kate has ever dreamed of, but his take-charge attitude is scaring up old demons she fought hard to bury. If they can’t find a way to strike a balance that satisfies both their deepest needs, they could lose their second chance at love.





Excerpt

Kate pierced him with her green eyes. “I’m certain there’s no shortage of women who would be happy to go out with you. Why me?”

Noah’s cocky grin faded into a soft smile that stole her breath. His eyes darkened as he focused on her. She could feel the heat creeping up her cheeks again, and she couldn’t believe she asked him that question. She didn’t even know why she did, except that she wanted to hear his answer. If she let herself fall for this beautiful man, with a killer smile and the softest brown eyes in the world, she’d fall hard and fast. If she were just a toy to him, one that he got bored of and discarded after a while, she’d be devastated. She had lost so much already and survived, but Kate wasn’t sure she could survive his games. If she allowed herself to hope and dream of a life with Noah but then lost it all, she’d crumble, and no amount of superglue would put her back together.

 Kate waited for his answer, her eyes locked with his and he didn’t let her down. 

“Yes, I won’t deny that I’ve dated other women and there are those who wouldn’t turn me down for a date, but they’re not you.”

Noah reached for her hand, and she let him feel the tremble that ran through her as he engulfed her small hand in his. He raised her hand to his mouth and kissed her fingers, never taking his gaze off her. 

“You say you’re not special to anyone, but that’s not true. see something special, someone special. I know we don’t know each other very well, but if you give us a chance to change that, together, we may be something special. We won’t know unless we try.”

Kate’s breath hitched, and her heart squeezed. Jesus, the man had a way with words. How did he know what she needed to hear? Now she understood what Roberta Flack meant when she sang, Killing me Softly. He was clawing at the door to her heart, and she didn’t think she was strong enough to resist him, even knowing that she may get shredded if she let him in.

Kate dropped her gaze again as they began to fill. Her breathing was ragged, and her heart broke its confines and was on the run. Whether it wanted to be caught by Noah or not, Kate wasn’t certain. 

Special. 

Kate had waited thirty-one years to hear someone call her special. She struggled to rein in her emotions and push back the tears that threatened to roll down her cheeks. She wanted to go out with Noah so badly it hurt. She wanted to get to know him and to be a part of his world, but she was terrified. Good visited her very few times in her life. The instant it arrived, she began preparing for its departure. Good was a temporary visitor and a fickle one at that. 

“Come on, Kate. I can sense you’re afraid. I swear I’m a nice guy. I’ll do my damnedest not to disappoint or hurt you. Take a chance. Take a chance on me.”

Kate heard the vulnerability in Noah’s voice. She explored his handsome face, a face she was sure she would never tire of admiring. All traces of his earlier cockiness vanished. Instead, it was replaced by a rawness, an earnestness, a tenderness she’d never seen before. That was the look Kate would remember for a lifetime. Years from now, she would say that was the exact moment she knew, if Noah Reed asked her, she would be his for a lifetime. 

Kate let out a slow breath and with a soft smile, she whispered, “Okay, Noah Reed. I’ll take a chance … a chance on you. I’ll go out with you.”



About the Author

Norah lives a double life. By day she is a suit-wearing, prim and proper, professor, administrator, researcher, and lecturer. By night she is a PJ wearing dreamer and writer of books that make people sigh, smile, cry, laugh, fall in love and believe in second chances.

Norah lives in Andover, New Jersey with her husband of thirty years, a cranky geriatric maltipoo, and an obnoxious cockatoo who runs the house and terrifies all its inhabitants. 

Norah discovered the joy and escapism that comes from reading at the age of twelve and swears books saved her life and her sanity. Through reading, she has travelled the globe and learned all kinds of equally useful and useless skills such as the proper way to eat a pomegranate, carve a watermelon, or bathe an elephant. These are skills she has passed down to her two daughters who are incredibly supportive, but often wish she had a wider scope of hobbies. 

Norah has a long publishing history in academia, but she started writing fiction recently. In July 2016 she published her first work of fiction, R.I.L.Y. Forever with Evernight Publishing and in January 2017 her second book, Everything I’ve Dreamed Of, was also published by Evernight Publishing. Currently, she is working on her third novel, Six Months. Digital and print copies of her books can be purchased at Amazon https://www.amazon.com/R-I-L-Y-Forever-Norah-Bennett-ebook/dp/B01IFH66CK/


Social Media Links
Website: http://www.norahbennett.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheRealNorahB?lang=en
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/norahbennettbooks/
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15291745.Norah_Bennett?
Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Norah-Bennett/e/B01IFN2V46/

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Wednesday Snippet - The tip of the blade looked sharp...



It's Wednesday, and that means it's snippet day! Dawn is fast becoming my favourite character to do horrible things to. She's just so done with everything and would really rather just not, you know? But she gets up and does it anyway, because she knows giving up is going to be worse than carrying on. I feel like I'm trying to keep a few plates spinning with her arc in Lich Queen, because whilst I do want it to be clear that this is a woman struggling with grief and depression, I also want it to be clear that she's a fighter. I have my own experiences of grief and depression to draw on, but I don't want to write about me. I want to write about Dawn.

Anyway, with that said, this snippet is not about grief or depression, and hopefully you'll enjoy it! Read on, fearless reader...


Friday, 6 January 2017

Flashback Friday - April Zyon and Hacked!

Yes, I'm making Flashback Friday a thing. Mostly because I am so behind on posting these guest blogs that some of these books are now legitimately flashbacks. But they're still awesome, as are the authors, so this works!

Today we're welcoming April Zyon with another entry in her Warriors of Light series. Enjoy!



Holly Smith has always had a certain affinity with computers. By day, she strengthens Internet security for corporations. By night, she’s a hacker. When she hits upon what she believes to be an author’s unpublished manuscript, she finds herself reading about a world where warriors of old wage war against a dark force bent on consuming everything it touches. Then she finds out it’s all true.

Demaratus of Corinth has seen a lot during his lifetime. And while many things prove useful, he finds technology to be a greater hindrance than a help. Sent to find the hacker who managed to penetrate their base’s security, he is stunned to realize who she is to him. As the darkness closes in on them, Demaratus and Holly will have to battle to survive not only the coming fight but the war that is gaining momentum.


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



Buy Links


Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LYIBZY6/

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01LYIBZY6/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LYIBZY6/

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01LYIBZY6/

Evernight Publishing
: http://www.evernightpublishing.com/hacked-by-april-zyon/

Bookstrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/hacked-mf

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-hacked-2098645-147.html


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

Read on for an excerpt!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

2017 Writing Goals


So earlier in the week I talked about my ~life goals~ for 2017, but I didn't talk about my writing plans in any of that. For the past couple of years, I haven't really set myself any solid goals. I've agreed with myself that if something is really tugging at my imagination, I should work on it, and that's worked for me for the most part. It has, however, left me with a long list of unfinished projects between my real name and Amber Morgan, and I think 2017 has to be the year I start tackling that list, rather than adding to it.

So my writerly resolution for 2017 is not to start any new projects. I am just going to finish up works-in-progress, under both names. This is probably going to be really hard to stick to, because I adore starting new projects. Nothing thrills me more as a writer than starting something. I have the same problem as a gamer. I endlessly create new characters in Guild Wars 2 because I love starting with a newly-named, freshly-designed character more than I love actually getting those characters to level 80. Starting to create something is an act full of potential and promise and wild anticipation. Seeing something through to the end is where the hard work comes in. I have the HP Lovecraft problem:


It's not that I'm not passionate and excited about all my writing projects. I'm just easily distracted by Shiny! New! Ideas! That's not a completely bad thing. It's why you have the Blood Canticles series, for example. But it is a bit of a bad thing, and it's why there are no more Ethan books at the moment, and why I haven't finished the next Urban Wolf book yet, despite that being one of my 2016 goals.

So this year, I need to knuckle down, straighten up, fly right, etc. and Finish Some Stuff. My to-do list for 2017 is (in no particular order of importance) as follows:

Through Fire (Blood Canticles 3)
Lich Queen (Blood Canticles 3.5)
Mercy's Gate (Southern Gothic urban fantasy book of my heart)
Black Dog (Urban Wolf 6)
Crow Called (Standalone novella)
Flesh and Bone (The Deva Chronicles 2)

I also want to self-publish AFTERLIFE and DEMONIZED. This is just the Naomi Clark stuff. I also have six novels and short stories in various stages of completion as Amber Morgan. That's fourteen projects open and needing attention, stat. That's definitely a year's work for me. I don't think it's an impossible goal, but it's certainly an ambitious one and it's why I can't afford to be distracted by shiny new ideas or other sequels (like the sequel to IN COLD BLOOD which isn't even out yet, and a sequel to Crow Called which isn't even finished yet and isn't even supposed to have a sequel, goddammit).

So yeah. My current goal is to finish Lich Queen since that's coming along well and shouldn't probably turn into a huge unwieldy fantasy epic like Through Fire is threatening to do. Next Wednesday, I'll be back to sharing snippets and putting Dawn through hell. Join me, if you're into that sort of thing!