Friday, February 24, 2012

YA Indie Carnival- Name That Tune


This week at the carnival is all about music.  Now, I must first say that I think music MAKES television and movies.  Seriously, they can add so much emotional depth to a scene--suspense, sadness, happiness, excitement.  Steam.  Those are the ones I like best, the songs that go with steamy scenes.  I guess because I write romance, I have a soundtrack that plays in the back of my head almost constantly when I write a love scene.  The thing is, it is all my own.  It never has a title or a performing artist.  It's just music that I hear, playing along in the background, underscoring my characters' love and desire for one another.  If I COULD listen to music while I wrote, I totally would.  But the thing is, I CAN'T.  Literally.  The music consumes me and I can't focus on what I'm writing.  I would love to be one of those people who has to write with mood music playing.  But, alas, *sigh*  I'm not.  I have to have complete and utter silence when I write.  Now what goes on in my head is a different story.  But ambient noise has to be kept to a minimum and, unfortunately, that includes music. 

One of these days I'm going to do a playlist for one of my books.  Maybe even the one I'm working on now.  All my characters love music and I used to write songs into some scenes so you'd know what was going on in their heads, in their lives, in their hearts.  But since then, I've learned that doing that is bad writerly etiquette so I stopped.  The songs still play in my head, though.  And one day I'll make a list for you so you'll know how it feels to be completely immersed in the characters the way I am when I write them.  I must admit, it's pretty dang cool:)

A good example of this is the masquerade scene in Blood Like Poison: Destined for a Vampire.  When I wrote it, "Sweet Dream" by Beyonce was playing in the background.  I'll post the trailer here along with that scene to see if you can picture it as clearly as I did.  I gotta tell you, writing that scene was amazing!  So here.  See what you think.  The timing may be off just a little.  It's hard to get the length just right, but you get the gist.  Or at least I hope you get the gist:)



The loud music faded into the familiar thump of a not-quite-slow song.  Its beat brought to mind steamy nights and writhing bodies.  The sensual rhythm called to many of the people surrounding Savannah, beckoning them to the dance floor.  Scary couples and gruesome groups started to move in unison to the heavy bass.  I searched the made-up and masked faces for Savannah until I located her bright, serpentine halo.  She’d been lassoed into a dance by a dead cowboy I recognized.  He sat three rows behind me in study hall.
Suddenly aware of being the lone person not on the dance floor dancing, I turned to make my way around to the refreshments table.  I was skirting the writhing mob of dancers when I felt a familiar tug in my belly.
I stopped in my tracks and looked around.  Immediately, my heart sped up, banging like a drum, keeping time with the erratic expansion of my lungs as I grew more and more breathless.
I searched the faces for the one that occupied far too many of my thoughts, but I didn’t see him.  I could’ve almost convinced myself that I’d been mistaken, but the magnetism that I felt intensified with every breath, assuring me that it was no mistake.  Those invisible strings were pulling me, no dragging me into the middle of the crowd, where bodies were crushed together so tightly they moved as if they were one.
Weaving my way through perfumed and cologned figures, I felt like I was getting lost in the fray when I saw a tall, darkly cloaked figure watching me through a break in the mob. 
He was dressed as Dracula.  His robe was ebony satin with a blood red lining and the hood that covered his head shadowed all but his mouth. 
My breath hitched in my throat and burned in my lungs.  My pulse thumped wildly and my skin tingled in response to a presence that I couldn’t forget.  It was Bo.  Beneath the hood that concealed most of his face and the cloak that concealed most of his body, I knew it was him.  I’d know him anywhere.  I’d love him always.
I could see only his handsomely square jaw and chiseled mouth.  My eyes hungrily memorized the lips that I’d never forget the taste of.  I felt like I’d been starved of them for far too long. 
As Bo’s hand rose slowly from his side, reaching out to me through the crowd of bodies, the words to the song carved themselves onto my heart.  Bo was both my sweetest dream and my most beautiful nightmare.
Without hesitation, I stepped forward and slipped my hand into his.  A little bolt of electricity shot up my arm when our skin made contact.  Bo pulled me to him and I inhaled, reveling in the tangy scent that had teased me for what seemed like forever, and probably always would. 
Bodies brushed me from every angle, every direction, but the only thing that I felt was Bo pressed to my front from chest to thigh.  I looked up into the most consuming eyes I’d ever seen and I fell into them, sinking into the only place I ever really wanted to be. 
I saw Bo’s lips move and, even above the music, I heard his whisper. 
“I never thought I’d get to love someone so beautiful,” he said. 
The words echoed through my soul and warmed me to my toes.  With Bo staring down at me, his words in my ears, his body moving gently against mine, it was the most surreal moment—dream-like, so much so I never wanted to wake from it.
The music surrounded us, wrapping us in a pulsing cocoon of privacy amid the sea of bodies.  I laid my palms flat against Bo’s chest as one of his hands snaked around my waist.  The fingers of his other hand teased the skin of my arm as they made their way up to disappear beneath the hair at my nape.  I felt them tangle in my hair and then curl into a light fist. 
With one quick tug, Bo pulled my head to the side as he bent toward me.
I gasped when I felt his hot lips at my throat.  I pressed my body closer to his, running my hands down the sides of his firm abdomen.  I felt the hard muscles contract beneath my fingertips as Bo’s breath hissed through his teeth.
Lyrics about guilty pleasure wove a sensual web around us.  My blood heated with thoughts of Bo’s skin on mine, covering me, sliding against me. 
The friction of Bo’s body rubbing against mine, moving in time with the music, sang along my nerves and turned my core into a raging inferno.  When I felt his tongue licking at the pulse that beat violently beneath my ear, I had to bite my lip to keep a moan from escaping.
“There’s no one like you,” he said, his lips tickling my sensitive skin as he spoke.  “There’s no taste like you,” he sighed, trailing his tongue up to tease the lobe of my ear, drawing it gently into his mouth.  “No feel like you,” he moaned, his hand moving to the base of my spine and pressing my hips into his.  “There’s no one that I need like I need you.”
My insides melted.  I wanted to cry with the pleasure of it, the bitter-sweetness of it.  I couldn’t imagine ever wanting someone as much as I wanted Bo.  I didn’t think my heart could take it without exploding.  I would gladly give up years of my life to be with him, if only for a little while.  In the end, I knew it would be worth it.
Bo raised his head to look at me, his eyes searing me with a heat so intense, I felt it in my stomach.  Without a word, he tightened his hold on me and lifted until my feet were several inches from the ground and my chest was plastered to his.  Slowly, he turned and walked out of the crush, away from the crowd. 
He carried me toward a deserted corner of the gymnasium and into a short, dark hallway that led to a door that emptied out onto the stage in the auditorium right next door.
The music still thudded in my chest, obscuring the excited patter of my heart.  Bo walked to the back of the hallway, to its blackest point, and stopped, pushing me up against the wall and holding me there with his body.   And then his mouth was devouring mine.
As his tongue tangled mercilessly with mine, I grabbed his shoulders and held on tight.  I felt his hands at my thighs, his fingers working the material of my dress up until I could feel skin on skin. 
I wanted Bo so badly it almost hurt.  I wanted more.  I wanted it all and the frustration of it was killing me.
At first, the scream sounded like it came from somewhere inside me, like the cry of my body for Bo’s attention suddenly became audible.  But then I heard the music die and an uncharacteristic hush fall across the gymnasium, which lay only a few feet away.

All right, y'all go check out the other carnis.  As always, happy reading and TGIF!


Dani Snell Refracted Light Reviews
Patti Larsen Author of The Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House, The Hunted Series and the Hayle Coven Novels
Courtney Cole Author of Every Last Kiss, Fated, Princess, and Guardian. Also a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles
Fisher Amelie Author of The Understorey, as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles
Laura Elliott Author of Winnemucca as well as 13 on Halloween, book 1 in the Teen Halloween Series
Amy Jones Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles
Rachel Coles Author of Diary of a Duct Tape Zombie, Whistles, Beergarden, Plagues, Bees of St. John, and Mushrooms
T.R. Graves Author of Warriors of the Cross
PJ Hoover Author of Solstice, The Emerald Tablet, The Navel of the World, The Necropolis
Cheri Schmidt Author of Fateful, Fractured, and Fair Maiden
Lexus Luke Author of Manitou, The Sky People Saga
Suzy Turner Author of December Moon and Raven
K.C. Blake Author of Vampire Rules
Gwenn Wright Author of Filter
Kimberly Kinrade Author of Bits of You & Pieces of Me and Forbidden Mind
Madeline Smoot Author of Missing, Summer Shorts, and The Girls
Cidney Swanson Author of Ripple series
Heather Self Blogger, Reviewer and upcoming Indie Author
Heather M. White, Author of The Destiny Saga
Melissa Pearl, Author The Time Spirit Trilogy
T. G. Ayer
Bryna Butler, Author of Midnight Guardian series

Friday, February 17, 2012

Gravity


Love is irresistible.  Gravity is undeniable.

Holy men have foretold their birth for thousands of years.  Supernatural creatures have awaited it for thousands more.  Now, in the presence of an eclipse, three souls mature for a single purpose—to fight.  They must fight for their lives, for their freedom and for the liberation of everyone possessed of a second nature.  
********
Peyton Giles’s world is turned upside down when she learns that everyone in her life and in her school is much more than they appear, she most of all.  Peyton is the one person in all of time and history powerful enough to bring peace to the darkness and to the light.  Not knowing that her powers could kill her, however, Peyton nearly loses her life only to have her brother’s best friend save it.  Drawn to him in ways she can’t explain, Trace is the one person that she literally can’t live without.  Her soul is tethered to her world through her connection to him.  Without it, she will die. 

For the most part, Trace Kramer had always steered clear of his best friend’s sister.  Until now.  He never would’ve expected that Peyton would hold his life and his future in her hands the way she’s always held his heart.  But she does. 

 

Peyton and Trace soon learn that love and fate aren’t easier than duty and destiny, at least not when you’re being hunted.  Together, they are more powerful than any other creature on the planet—and more valuable—but apart, neither can survive to fight for freedom, for the only life they’ve ever known and for the lives of everyone they’ve ever met. 

Their need for one another is undeniable.  Their love for one another is irresistible.  But can it endure all that they must suffer?

Find out today.  Buy on Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

I should also mention that leaving me a review at either or both of the above is GREATLY appreciated!  Y'all ROCK!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sealed with a Kiss and Transfer Student Cover Reveal


So, my lovely friends in the Paranormal Plume Society and I are doing a series of blog posts about our first meaningful kiss.  For some, that was their first actual kiss (trust me, y'all don't want to read about mine!).  For others, it was the first kiss they shared with their soulmate.  Many of them have been sweet, many of them have been funny, but all of them have been entertaining.  No pressure on me, right?  Not at all!  'Cause you know, I'm bringing up the rear of this thing.  And no, we don't need to talk about how fitting that is.  *ahem*  Anyway, first I need to set the stage for y'all by telling you a little bit about how my relationship with my husband began. 

Year: circa 1980
Location: Smalltown, USA
Setting: The "neighborhood"

I met my husband when he and his family moved into our close-knit community.  We called it the "neighborhood."  We were both still practically in diapers.  Well, pretty close anyway.  Maybe riding tricycles.  Yeah, that's better.  Less creepy.  Anyway, being kids, it didn't take long for him and his brother to come out and play with us.  And, being kids, it didn't take long for us to take them in as one of our own.  Right off the bat, I thought he was cute.  He was super tan and had gorgeous brown eyes.  He could run really fast and he had superhero sheets (I found that out the completely innocent way).  I thought his brother was really weird, though.  And I told him so.  I mean, he always had a Kool-Aid mustache.  That's weird, right?  Right.  Well, needless to say, it wasn't the ideal start of a friendship, to insult someone's family.  Thirty-some years later, that's still true.  The brother still has a Kool-Aid mustache. 

Nah, I'm kidding.  About the mustache part.  The part about my husband being cute is still true to this day, as is the part about it being a bad idea to insult someone's family.  Anyway, just about the time we all learned to get along, my family up and moved to a different state.  Sounds like that should be the end of our story, right?  Wrong. 

Fast forward six years and we were already moving back.  By that time, my future husband and his family had moved to a neighboring town.  That was all right, though, because our schools played each other in sports, so I still got to watch him run up and down the basketball court.  And that was nice!  Have I mentioned that my husband has spectacular legs?  No?  Well, he does.  But that's neither here nor there.  And yes, you should totally stop visualizing him in shorts.  It's freaking me out a little.  hehe

Now, fast forward ten more years.  My childhood neighbor and playmate had graduated highschool, a year behind me I might add (I have a bit of cougar blood, if I've never mentioned that before), and gone off to college.  Pre-law no less.  I guess it goes without saying that he's wildly intelligent.  *waggles eyebrows* Anyway, he was home for the summer in 1997 when we happened to run into each other in a video store.  There was instant attraction.  We flirted a little and teased each other over who had the greater vocabulary.  The word that I pulled out to win that battle was "antithesis."  Yes, I still remember it.  Strange beginnings, I know, but intelligence is second only to humor on my list of soulmate must-haves.  And he had both.  In spades.  So anyway, what did I do when I found this jewel?  How did I go about making him mine?  I set him up with my best friend, of course.  I know what you're saying.  WHAT?  Yep.  It was my strange way of putting him to the test.  I wanted to see if he'd go out with her.  And guess what.  HE DID!   I suppose by all rights, our story should end right there. 

But it doesn't. 

Fast forward a couple weeks to the night of the Holyfield-Tyson rematch.  I was having friends over to watch it on Pay-Per-View.  My best friend came.  Of course.  And she brought him.  Of course.  We both behaved ourselves.  We were casual.  Non-flirtatious.  But there was something there.  I mean REALLY there!  The more everyone talked, the more I realized we had practically everything in common.  Only he was now dating my best friend.  What was up with that?  Oh, that's right.  My bright idea.  Grrrrrr!

Fast forward another couple weeks.  Things weren't working out with him and my best friend, yet I was still friends with them both.  It seemed only natural that he would be able to talk with me about what went wrong, right?  Right.  Only he didn't.  Oh, we talked all right.  But very little about my best friend.  We talked about everything else.  We watched movies and hung out and we laughed and laughed and laughed some more.  And sparks flew.  But neither of us made a move. 

Until One Fine Day. 

No, not one fine day.  Well, I guess it was one fine day, but I meant the movie, One Fine Day.  With George Clooney.  I had watched it and was going on and on about what a good kisser he undoubtedly was.  I mean, he really got in there and went to town on Michelle Pfeiffer!  Well, my future-husband took exception to my gushing, citing that his prowess was equal to if not superior to the yummy George Clooney.  My only thought was to wonder when in the devil was he ever gonna prove it.  But I didn't push it.  And sometimes patience is a virtue.

That very evening I got a late-night knock at my door.  Who could it possibly be?  You got it.  It was him.  No, not George Clooney!  Sheesh!  But, to me, it was someone even better.  And what did this magical man bring me?  A THESAURUS!  Now I know that sounds laughable to everyone reading this, but if you knew me at all, you'd know how terribly appropos that gift was.  Not to mention that it was a direct reference to our very first re-re-re-acquaintance.  At any rate, he delivered his very thoughtful gift, dropping it off and announcing that he had to leave.  But, but, but...  How could I salvage this moment?  What could I do?  Well, I could walk him out, see him off properly, like a nice girl would.  Yeah, that's what I'd do.  So I did.  And that's when it happened.

The night was warm and balmy.  The purple-leaf plum at the corner of the house was still in bloom and the sweet fragrance hung in the air.  I was wearing silk pajamas that whispered when I moved.  He was wearing shorts that made his butt look perfect.  He stopped on the first porch step and turned around.  I leaned against the column right in front of him.  And then, citing his need to show George Clooney up, he kissed me.  And I mean he REALLY kissed me!  I'm talking the hands in my hair, stars in my eyes, curls in my toes kind of kiss.  You know, the kind that tells you there's something special between you, something that will last forever.  I still smile every time I think about it, mainly because I'd say he was right.  I think he does have a little som'n som'n on George Clooney.  The G-man could never have kissed me like that.  And I wouldn't have wanted him to.  After all, I had my Prince Charming.  And he'd brought me a thesaurus.  What more could a girl ask for?

So that's my story. I'm sure y'all have your own, so speak up!  Leave it for the rest of us to read.  It is Valentine's Day after all, and this stuff is like crack for me, so spill it!  And if this one's not enough for you, go back through the last 13 days' worth of posts and see what my awesome friends have to say about the subject.

Also, go ALL THE WAY DOWN to the bottom of the page because I have an especially sweet Valentine's Day treat--the cover reveal for Laura A. H. Elliott's upcoming release, Transfer Student.  Check it out before you go!

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY, Y'ALL!  Go get your kisses!

February 1st Abbi Glines
February 2nd Tiffany King
February 3rd Shelly Crane
February 4th
February 5th Amy Jones
February 6th Addison Moore
February 7th Carol & Adam Kunz
February 8th Courtney Cole
February 9th Nichole Chase
February 10th Fisher Amelie
February 11th
February 12th Laura Elliot
February 13th Michelle Muto

TRANSFER STUDENT COVER REVEAL & GIVEAWAY


TWO WORLDS. TWO TEENS. ONE WISH.
TRANSFER STUDENT is a science fiction Freaky-Friday romance/adventure about two normal teenagers struggling to survive high school and deal with their parents… typical rites of passage. The twist? One teen is an alien from the planet Retha. In a galactic teleporting experiment gone wrong, Ashley, a Beverly Hills High surfing fashionista, and Rhoe, the biggest geek on planet Retha, swap lives. Only by surviving life as their biggest nightmare do Ashley & Rhoe discover their dreams. How far would you go for someone you love?

WIN TRANSFER STUDENT BOOKMARKS SIGNED BY AUTHOR LAURA A. H. ELLIOTT!
To enter to win all you need to do is tweet this & follow Laurasmagicday:
Nothing says #ValentinesDay like an alien #romance! TRANSFER STUDENT Cover Reveal! #TransferStudent #teenreads #kindle http://laurasmagicday.wordpress.com/
The first 100 tweets/followers win!
TRANSFER STUDENT BLOG TOUR: LEAP DAY, 2012 - MARCH 20th
AND STOPS HERE [INSERT YOUR DATE ON THE BLOG TOUR HERE]!
Giveaways include free ebooks of TRANSFER STUDENT, Amazon gift cards & weekly surprise gifts that are out of this world!
TRANSFER STUDENT RELEASE DAY: MARCH 20th

Friday, February 10, 2012

YA Indie Carnival- Some Like It Hot!


All right, ladies and gents, I'm practically drooling over today's post topic, so I'm gonna get straight to the point.  Why?  Because right after this, I'm gonna beat feet over to all the other carni blogs to read their excerpts, too.  Squeeeee!

Today's topic is...

*drum roll please*

Some Like It Hot!  Steamy scenes from our books.

As you all know, I love me some steam!  Whew!  Heck, who am I kidding?  I live for it!  I make a concerted effort to keep my books clean, as they are YA, but my heart really lies with those intense romantic moments where intimacy and love collide.  Ahhhh, yep, I like it hot! 

*stares off into space, lost in thought*

What?  What happened?  Oh, right.  Steamy scenes.  Gotcha.  So, I'm posting a scene from the third book in my Blood Like Poison trilogy.  I think it speaks for itself, so without further ado, I'm bringing the steam!

WARNING!  THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS!  PROCEED WITH CAUTION!

Rather than tearing my clothes off and whisking me away on a wave of sensual satisfaction, Bo tore open his wrist and held it to my lips.  Without hesitation, I touched my tongue to the trickle and lapped it up, reveling in the taste.  I closed my eyes to savor the flavor.  There was no comparison to blood that came from Bo.  Not even Cade’s delicious fluid could compete with the sweetness that pumped through Bo’s veins.
As I suckled greedily at his wrist, Bo walked me backward to the bed.  When the backs of my knees hit the mattress, I stopped.  Bo took his wrist from my mouth and covered my lips with his own. 
He wanted me.  Badly.  I could taste it as plainly as I could taste his blood.  And, somehow, it was even more delicious, even more irresistible. 
When I felt his hands at my waist, I didn’t hesitate to lift my arms as he pulled my shirt up over my head.  Then his lips were on mine again, devouring me.
His hands roamed up and down my back until they stopped once more at my waist, coming around to my belly.  I felt his fingers working loose the button and zipper of my jeans.
He leaned back to look at me and then dropped to one knee to pull off my shoes before he eased my pants down my legs.  Obligingly, I stepped out of them.  Bo’s eyes never left mine as he stood.
Bending, he swept me up in his arms and laid me gently back on the bed, my head resting once more on the mountain of pillows.  The stimulating rasp of velvet against my naked skin sent a cascade of chills skittering across my chest and belly. 
Backing away, Bo reached for the hem of his own shirt and peeled it off, revealing to my starving eyes the pale, smooth skin that covered his muscular chest and stomach.  When he reached for the button of his jeans, he paused.  My eyes flew to his and I saw the blaze of my own desire reflected there, scorching in its heat and intensity.
The grate of metal teeth drew my eyes back down.  I was immediately mesmerized by the play of muscles in Bo’s arms and abdomen as he unzipped his jeans and bent to remove his shoes.  When he straightened, he didn’t take off his jeans.  Instead he crawled up onto the bed and took my foot in his hand, pressing his lips to the arch.  His eyes didn’t leave mine as he licked and nipped his way up the inside of my leg.
When he laid my leg back on the bed, he trailed the fingers of his other hand up the inside of my right thigh, gently spreading my legs so he could stretch out on his belly between them. 
Heat swept through me as I looked down at Bo’s burning eyes where he hovered only inches from the place I needed him most.  As I watched, he pulled his lips back from his razor-sharp teeth and then drove them into the tender skin of my groin.  A shower of fire and light exploded inside me and I closed my eyes and let the pleasure consume me.
I could barely breathe, the sensation was so incredible.  The intimacy of it, the bliss of it was so intense that all thought was washed away by wave after wave of ecstasy.
When Bo’s mouth moved from my leg, I felt his lips graze my left hand.  I opened my eyes a crack and saw a golden band encircling my ring finger.  My befuddled mind wondered over it for just a moment before it returned to Bo as he kissed his way up my body.
Stretching out atop me, Bo nestled his hips between my thighs as his mouth covered mine.  I tasted the delicious flavor of my own blood when he slid his tongue between my teeth to tangle with mine.
Shifting his weight to one side, Bo’s knowing fingers teased a trail from my throat to my shoulder where he eased my bra strap down.  His lips followed the path with feathery kisses all the way to my breast.  I couldn’t hold back a moan as his skilled tongue adored every inch of flesh he revealed. 
A liquid heat began to bubble just below my navel.  I knew instinctively that this was our moment.  This was our time—the right time.
  Reaching behind me, Bo unclasped my bra and quickly dispatched the material.  He leaned back, his eyes roving over my bare breasts causing a flush to spread across my chest. 
“You’re so beautiful,” he whispered reverently.  “Perfect.” 
  His fingers slipped beneath the band of my panties and he worked the silky material down my legs until he was once again at my feet. 
Tossing my last piece of clothing aside, Bo slid from the bed and stood, worshipping me with his eyes as he pushed his jeans down his legs.  He straightened and stood perfectly still as I raised myself onto my elbows to memorize every detail of his flawless naked form.
I felt as though I would burst when Bo set one knee on the bed and crawled back to me.  He eased himself down between my legs, covering my body with his.  The feel of his skin shifting against mine sent a gush of steamy desire pouring through me. 
Every nerve in my body was screaming out for his touch.  I ached in ways I’d never ached before, ached in places I’d never ached before.  I was alive with need. 
When I opened my mouth to beg, to plead with Bo to put an end to the unbearable want that flooded my body, he smothered my plea with his lips.  His kiss was deep and fiery with passion.  It drove me to the brink of a need so desperate, a desire so overwhelming that it stole my breath. 
Bo’s lips left mine as he positioned himself over me.  With an intensity that seemed to singe my very soul, he gazed unblinkingly into my eyes, and in that time, a space no longer than a single heartbeat, our thoughts were one.  In my head, I heard a word as if we’d both spoken it aloud. 
“Forever” echoed through my mind and through my heart as Bo joined his body to mine in one smooth motion. 
With that one action, in that one moment of the most intense ecstasy I’d ever experienced, he sealed our fates.  He sealed our fates, our bodies, our lives, our love and our future.

To read more, you can purchase this book on Amazon or on Barnes and Noble

Now, head on over to check out the rest of the fab posts by my carni friends.  That's where I'm going!

TGIF, y'all!

Dani Snell Refracted Light Reviews
Patti Larsen Author of The Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House, The Hunted Series and the Hayle Coven Novels
Courtney Cole Author of Every Last Kiss, Fated, Princess, and Guardian. Also a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles
Fisher Amelie Author of The Understorey, as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles
Laura Elliott Author of Winnemucca as well as 13 on Halloween, book 1 in the Teen Halloween Series
Amy Jones Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles
Rachel Coles Author of Diary of a Duct Tape Zombie, Whistles, Beergarden, Plagues, Bees of St. John, and Mushrooms
T.R. Graves Author of Warriors of the Cross
PJ Hoover Author of Solstice, The Emerald Tablet, The Navel of the World, The Necropolis
Cheri Schmidt Author of Fateful, Fractured, and Fair Maiden
Lexus Luke Author of Manitou, The Sky People Saga
Suzy Turner Author of December Moon and Raven
K.C. Blake Author of Vampire Rules
Gwenn Wright Author of Filter
Kimberly Kinrade Author of Bits of You & Pieces of Me and Forbidden Mind
Madeline Smoot Author of Missing, Summer Shorts, and The Girls
Cidney Swanson Author of Ripple series
Heather Self Blogger, Reviewer and upcoming Indie Author
Heather M. White, Author of The Destiny Saga
Melissa Pearl, Author The Time Spirit Trilogy
T. G. Ayer
Bryna Butler, Author of Midnight Guardian series



Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Twitter

I know it may not seem like a lot to some of you, but I am nearing the 1000 mark for followers on Twitter.  Considering that I started out with a big fat ZERO not so many months ago, I'm quite pleased with this milestone.  At any rate, I'm doing a giveaway for the event.  My 1000th follower will get free Kindle eBook copies of BLP1, The Reaping, Madly, Wiccan and Caterpillar when they tell me who sent them in my Twitter direction.  Now for the person who sent them, he or she will receive a signed copy of both Blood Like Poison: For the Love of a Vampire and The Reaping.  How's that for appreciation?  Good enough?  I sure hope so. 

Thanks to everyone who is gracious enough to follow me and read my work.  I love you all more than I could ever say:) 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Madly Chapter 13, a Thanks and Jennifer

Let me first start off with an apology for the flaw in the most recent print edition of Madly and Wolfhardt.  It has come to my attention that chapters 12 and 13 are identical.  I'm posting the correct chapter 13 below and I'm fixing the problem today.  This was a limited edition and I've spoken to most of those who have one about rectifying the situation.  Thank you all for being so awesome about it and you know I plan to make it up to you:) 
I'd also like to thank everyone who came out to see us Plumes in Florida.  It was a great pleasure to meet you and I hope to hear from each of you sometime soon. 
Lastly, I'd like to give a special shout out to Jennifer.  You are the most amazing reader and fan, and I thank you for being so supportive and awesome!  I looked for you before we left on Tuesday night.  I wanted to give you a BOcabulary tee-shirt, but you'd already left.  If you want to e-mail me with your address, I'd be happy to send you one.  It would be an honor for you to wear a Blood Like Poison tee:)

Happy Sunday, y'all!  I'm off to try and catch back up on Gravity.  Wish me luck!!

SPOILER ALERT!!

The following contains a HUGE spoiler!  If you haven't read Madly, STOP NOW!!!

MADLY AND WOLFHARDT

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

The click of the switch seemed extraordinarily loud and I flinched when the light blazed brightly into the darkness of the room.  At that moment, I felt like exactly what I was—bait!
I moved in front of the window, much as I’d seen Kellina do in the vision the Seers had given me.  I puttered around the room as if I was readying myself for bed.  After a couple minutes, I returned to the lamp, to the window and, with another deep breath, I perched on the side of the bed and turned the light off with an ominous click.
And then we waited.  And waited.  And waited.
I was listening so closely for sounds in the house that I could hear the crickets outside, even through the thick glass of the closed window.  Other than their song, however, there was nothing to hear but the beat of my heart pounding furiously in my ears.
Once again, I heard the rustle of Jensen’s pants as he moved across the room toward me.
“You can try again in a few minutes,” Jensen whispered.  “But this time, after you cut the light off, walk quietly over and stand beside the closet door.  That way, when Wolfhardt comes in, I’ll be between you and him.”
“Ok,” I breathed, now glad that Wolfhardt hadn’t come the first time.  If he’d leapt into the room, he would’ve had a clear straight line to me where I sat on the bed.  It rankled that Jensen hadn’t thought of that a little sooner. 
It was blunders like that that made me miss Jackson even more.  He would’ve been thinking of my safety from every possible angle, start to finish.
Jensen moved back over into position.  I heard the hushed tones of him whispering communications to the others and then it was silent once more—just me, my pulse and the crickets.
I waited for a few more minutes and then I stood and repeated the entire process again—and got the same result.  When Wolfhardt hadn’t shown up after another ten minutes of sitting in the dark, waiting, I felt the first pangs of frustration. 
We repeated the process a third time, also with no luck.  The Sentinels, of course, were like robots.  They weren’t feeling antsy or annoyed; they could probably wait all night and never say a word.  But not me.  I was quickly reaching my boiling point.
My movements were a little sharper, my inner monologue a little more aggravated as I went through the motions for a fourth time.  When I snapped off the lamp, I paused, growling under my breath before creeping over to stand beside the closet door.
As they had each time, my ears strained to pick up any extraneous sounds, hoping upon hope that Wolfhardt would take the bait.
And this time he did. 
My first clue of his approach was the warming of my bracelet against my skin, almost as if it was powering up for the fulfillment of its mission.  My second clue was hearing the monster himself as he neared the room.
The soft, quick puffs of sniffing penetrated the silence.  They were followed by one sharp snort and then…nothing. 
My heart banged ruthlessly against my sternum as adrenaline flooded my body, making me feel jittery and jumpy, ready to run.  My eyes, having adjusted somewhat to the dark, were trained on the edge of the door, expecting to see Wolfhardt’s snout appear at any moment.  What I wasn’t expecting to see was movement inside the closet to my left.
There was a shift in the shadows, as if something black was filling the already-dark, empty mouth of the closet.  I looked and saw a form lowering itself down from the upper shelf inside the walk-in space.  Panic rose in my throat, threatening to suffocate me, but not before I sucked in a deep breath, preparing to scream my head off. 
Something shot out of the closet toward me.  A large hand clamped down hard across my mouth, smothering the scream before I could sound the alarm.  I reached up to grab at the thick wrist attached to the hand when words at my ear sent goose bumps of recognition skittering down my arms.
“Quiet, Princess.”
It was Jackson.  He whispered the words so slowly and his voice was so low I could barely hear him.  But I heard enough to know that it was him.  My body filled in the rest of the blanks.
My knees felt rubbery with relief and I wanted to turn and throw myself against him.  Luckily, the part of me that was still thinking rationally reminded the rest of me that we were at a critical juncture in the apprehension of our first escaped Lore, so I resisted the urge.
Oh-so-quietly, Jackson removed his hand and stepped in front of me, his body completely shielding me from the rest of the room.  Unfortunately, Jensen didn’t know that Jackson had arrived, so when he moved in front of me, it startled Jensen.  Reflexively, Jensen turned to attack.
Everything that happened next was a blur.  It happened so quickly, it seemed that one minute I was appreciating the heat from Jackson’s body pressed tightly to my front and the next I was screaming for them not to hurt Wolfhardt.
When Jensen turned on Jackson, it alerted Wolfhardt, who charged through the door—teeth bared, ears back, hackles up—ready to defend himself.  I stood with my back pressed to the wall, paralyzed by fear when I saw the big beast leap into the room.
As Jackson and Jensen wrestled, one of them accidentally hit the door and it slammed shut with a loud bang.  That left me trapped between the wall and the wolf with nowhere to go.
Wet, quivering lips pulled back even further from long white teeth that glistened in the low light.  The mirrored eyes of the wolf met my terrified ones.  A low growl sounded in the back of his throat and his eyes shifted to Jackson and Jensen where they tussled.  My eyes didn’t follow.  I couldn’t look away from Wolfhardt.
In my peripheral vision, I saw one of the big men get thrown to the ground in short order, the victor rushing quickly to my side.  I was awash with relief when I saw Jackson appear beside me.  He was staring murderously at the wolf. 
I saw the wolf’s eyes flicker from Jackson to me and back again, and then another growl rumbled in his barrel chest.  As I watched him, I couldn’t help but feel that there was something hauntingly familiar about his eyes, something that no longer made me feel threatened.
Like the flash of lightning in a midnight sky, recognition struck and the fear inside me abated.  I gasped when I realized where I’d seen those eyes.  Though I didn’t understand how it could be, I knew the identity of the descendant Wolfhardt had come to awaken.  And that’s why I couldn’t let them hurt her.
It was Kellina.
The bracelet heated in recognition of the Lore, threatening to burn the skin on my wrist.  Stunned by the new development, I paused, and it was that fraction of a second that could’ve cost us the entire operation and the life of my friend.
As if in slow motion, I saw Jackson crouch ever so slightly, preparing to spring forward.  Rashly, I grabbed his arm, screaming one word into the confusion of the night—No!
The uncertainty in that moment, the hesitation in that one short heartbeat, was all she needed to escape. And she did. 
Turning, Kellina sprinted across the width of the room and leapt through the window.  With the loud crash of breaking glass still ringing in our ears, Jackson and I stood, unmoving, as she dropped out of sight, falling toward the unforgiving hardness of the earth.
It was as if life suddenly rushed back into our bodies at the same time.  Simultaneously, Jackson and I both moved—he to the door, I to the window.   I heard him shouting commands to the other Sentinels and, despite his questionable status among them, they obeyed him without question. 
As they scrambled about, I leaned through the window to scan the ground for Kellina’s broken wolf-like body.  But it wasn’t there.  Frantically, I searched the tree line for her, my eyes stopping with relief on a long, fluffy tail as it disappeared into the forest.
“Jackson, she’s headed for the woods,” I called as I ran toward him at the door.
“She?” he asked as we made our way quickly down the stairs.
“It’s Kellina.  She’s Wolfhardt.”
“How?  Are you sure?  How can that be?”
“I don’t know how, but I’m absolutely positive.  We have to get to her.”
Together, with a small army of Sentinels trailing behind us, we ran across the yard and into the forest in search of Wolfhardt.
As the woods widened, spreading out before us to the left and to the right, so did the Sentinels.  They fanned out, two-by-two, to cover more ground as we went.  Jackson and I took off at a run toward the path.  We hadn’t gone far when something pale darted through the woods in front of my eyes.  I didn’t need to ask if Jackson saw it.
Speeding up, he veered slightly left, heading straight for a curve in the path up ahead.  He was trying to get in front of whatever was running parallel to us through the trees. 
All of a sudden, I saw Jackson cut sharply right, leaping off the ground and hurling his body through the air just as a shape rounded a huge oak tree.  I heard a grunt as the two bodies tumbled in a tangle of limbs to the ground.
“It’s me,” a muffled voice said as Jackson rolled on top and sat up.  “Ahh,” it screamed in agony.
I recognized that voice.
“Jackson, let him up.  It’s Aidan!”
After a split-second pause, Jackson came fluidly to his feet, extending his hand to help Aidan up.  When Aidan was on his feet, Jackson turned to resume his chase through the forest.
“Come on,” he called back to me.
“Jackson, wait!” Aidan yelled, holding one arm across his stomach as if he was in pain.
Jackson stopped and turned around, but didn’t come back.
“Not now, Saint.  Madly, come on.”
“I can help you find her,” Aidan blurted, huffing heavily. 
On that note, Jackson did return.
“How?”
Aidan waved Jackson off. 
“Just trust me, I can.  I have one condition, though.”
“No, there’s no ‘just trust me.’  You tell me how or I’m leaving right now.”
Aidan sighed, an angry exhalation that bled into a loud cry of agony. 
“I’ll be able to track her,” he said through gritted teeth.
“How?” Jackson asked again, still skeptical.
“Because in a few minutes, I’ll be a wolf, too.”
If he’d reached out and slapped me, I couldn’t have been more surprised.
“What?  Aidan, why?  How do you know that?  You can’t know that?”
“Yes, I can, Madly.  I can feel it.  I’m changing right now,” he said doubling over with a groan.
“But you have to have blood to…to…”
My heart skipped a beat at the thought of Aidan killing someone to get what was necessary for full transformation.
“Not when you’ve been bitten.  Wolfhardt completed the curse when he killed the blacksmith.  Now, anyone exposed to the saliva is cursed as well.”
“Then, Aidan, you shouldn’t be out here.  You need to be somewhere safe, somewhere you can be protected and where you can be monitored.”
I didn’t want to add that he needed to be somewhere that everyone else would be safe from him, too.
“When I realized that Kellina was the Wolfhardt descendant, I knew I had to help her.  I couldn’t let you kill her.”
“How did you find out?”
“When the moon rose, something inside me started to react to it, started to change.  It was like all of a sudden I could sense something familiar in her, something I’ve not sensed before.  As the moon got higher, Kellina’s eyes changed, like she wasn’t Kellina anymore.  It was like there was someone else in there with her.  I didn’t really put two and two together until she left.  She hadn’t been gone long when I heard a howl and it called to me.  Like…” Aidan paused, cringing as his muscles bunched and squeezed, his forehead shining wetly in the light of the bright full moon.  “It’s hard to explain, but you’ve got to trust me.  I just knew.”
“But Aidan, you can’t be out here.  Someone could get hurt.  You could get hurt.” 
“I don’t care, Madly.  She’s my mate.  She’s all I care about.  I love her and I can’t live without her.  I don’t even want to.  I have to do this.  For her.”
I understood that.  I felt nothing less than that very same desperate bond to Jackson.  It made no sense and it cared not for the comfort or preferences of the Mer.  It was a supernatural tie, one that selected us, not the other way around. 
Of their own accord, my eyes darted to Jackson.  He was looking at me, not at Aidan, his expression indecipherable.
“Can you run?” I asked Aidan, my eyes still on Jackson.  When Aidan didn’t answer, I looked back to him.
Aidan’s mouth was open in a silent scream, his eyes wide and glassy. 
“Aidan!”
He bent forward sharply and I heard a nauseating snap that sounded like bone breaking.  Aidan fell onto his knees, pulling in agitation at his shirt as his agony finally made its way into the air in a loud cry of torment.  Jackson and I stood helplessly by as an amazing transformation took place right before our very eyes. 
Aidan’s spine bubbled and stretched as his ribs flared into a deep barrel shape.  His shoulder blades dropped down and moved forward, his arms lengthening and his elbows popping outward.  With a muffled crack, his hips and pelvis shifted, pulling his legs beneath him in a crouch.  A throaty whine slipped through thinning lips as Aidan’s nose thickened and elongated. 
Coarse, dark blond hair began to push its way through the fabric of his shirt and shorts until Aidan was covered in fur from his rapidly growing ears to the base of his spine and beyond, where the hair thickened into a bushy tail.
When his body finally quieted, Aidan shook, his muscles twitching in succession from his nose to his tail in that uniquely canine fashion.  As he moved, his shiny coat shimmered in the dim light.  I was mesmerized, absorbed by every detail of his appearance. 
With one quick jerk of his head, Aidan looked up at me, his eyes the same hazel they’d always been, something in them still eerily familiar.  Unsteadily he rose on his now-hind legs until he towered far above my head.  Then, with a grunt, he let himself drop back onto his front legs.  They still looked somewhat arm-like, only now they ended in long bony digits tipped with sharp claws.
With a meaningful look at Jackson, Aidan put his nose to the ground and took off like a shot, leaving us to try and keep up.  Luckily the uneven terrain provided a bit of an equalizer, slowing a newly-wolfen Aidan down a bit, too.
Aidan stopped just ahead of us and we slowed in response.  Jackson looked left and right, scanning the forest for signs of Wolfhardt.  The tiniest of movements teased my peripheral vision and I turned my head sharply left.  There, looking at us through two enormous trees, was Kellina. 
“Jackson,” I whispered.
Keeping my eyes on the other wolf, I saw Jackson shift subtly in my direction so he could see around the trees. Kellina didn’t move.  It was then that I realized that she wasn’t watching us; she was watching Aidan.
“Aidan,” I whispered.
Aidan’s head snapped up and he thrust his nose into the air.  I knew the instant he caught her scent.  He growled, a low rumble that I felt in my feet as if it vibrated the earth beneath us. 
Slowly, Aidan moved around in front of me.  Gradually, I shifted back until I was standing beside Jackson and we were both facing Kellina.
Aidan stilled and the forest fell silent around us, not even the creep of creatures to disturb the moment.  I knew instinctively that a wealth of communication was passing between him and Kellina, but it was her distraction, her fascination with Aidan, that proved to be her downfall. 
As she watched him, the Sentinels had just enough time to maneuver into a position that made escape for Kellina impossible.  When they struck, descending upon her, she had nowhere to go.
She struggled ferociously, prompting two more Sentinels to step into the fray.  It was difficult to see what was going on, but when Kellina yelped, I could only assume that the Sentinels were gaining the upper hand. 
At her distress signal, Aidan growled and lunged forward.  But Jackson, ever ready and always a step ahead, quickly grabbed Aidan by his thin midsection and pivoted, throwing him to the ground. 
Jackson lay with his thick upper body across Aidan’s, his legs pinning Aidan’s to the ground, effectively subduing his struggles.  When Aidan continued to growl and snap, Jackson moved slightly to secure his head.  Aidan seized the opportunity, opening his big jaws and biting at Jackson.
“Ohmigod, Aidan! No!” I cried, rushing forward.  “Jackson don’t let him bite you.”
With lightning fast reflexes, Jackson managed to avoid Aidan’s glistening teeth until he was able to secure his head safely.  The entire time, my heart felt as if it was going to batter its way out of my chest like a jackhammer.
The Sentinels pressed on until Kellina was contained.  Though she continued to snap and snarl viciously, I saw no other movement.  From the ground, Aidan began to whine, ceasing to struggle beneath Jackson’s heavy body. 
When the sounds of thrashing and scuffling stopped, a forlorn howl erupted across the forest, drawing all our eyes to Kellina.  The sound was so woeful, it made the hairs on my arms stand up.
Within seconds, Aidan chimed in, the two howls dancing through the crisp night air like two secret lovers, seeking comfort in each other’s arms.  I looked back to Aidan, my heart breaking for him, and saw that his features were slowly returning to normal.
Beneath the cover of Jackson’s body, I could see Aidan’s arms and legs returning to limbs that looked familiar, the claws shrinking back into closely shorn fingernails.  Within a minute or two, he looked like the boy I’d grown up with, the boy who was supposed to be my prince.
Jackson lifted himself off Aidan and helped him up, Aidan closely examining his skin, temporarily bewildered by the sudden change. 
“Stay here,” Jackson ordered Aidan.  As he walked by me, he murmured, “Be right back.”
Jackson jogged over to the group that was standing near Kellina and her captors. He spoke quietly to them, gesturing toward Aidan a couple times.  When he was finished, he motioned to me as the Sentinels made their way to Aidan. 
Confused, I walked to Jackson, nervously fingering the hot band around my wrist.
“What do we do now?  How do I get Wolfhardt into the pearl?”
There was a long pause before Jackson answered me, a pause where he watched me in such a way that I knew I wasn’t going to like what he had to say.
“Madly, you know I would never hurt someone if I didn’t have to, right?”
I frowned.
“Of course I know that.”
“And you know that I would never recommend any unnecessarily harmful actions unless there was absolutely no other way, right?”
“Jackson, I know that.  What are you getting at?”
He paused again. 
“When the Lore were captured in olden times, most of the human bodies they inhabited didn’t survive the… the… extraction.”
“What do you mean?” I asked, still confused.
“Madly, there is a good chance that we won’t be able to save Kellina when we take Wolfhardt.”
“What?”  I whispered, certain I must’ve misunderstood his meaning.
“Kellina might die.  But, Madly, we have to remove Wolfhardt.  We have to,” he reiterated.
“I know that, but…”
“You know if there was any other way, I would take it.  But there’s not.  I’m sorry, Madly,” he said, reaching out to brush a wayward strand of hair from my cheek.  “This is the only way.  It’s our only chance to regain Atlas.”
I closed my eyes, covering my quivering lips with my hand. 
“Jackson, we can’t let that happen.  I can’t kill Kellina.  I…I just…”
“I’ll do everything I can to save her.  You know I will, but we may not have a choice.”