Friday, August 30, 2013

A. J. Locke

Guest Post by A. J. Locke

Writing Book Two vs Book One

With Affairs of the Dead, I had always planned for it to be book one of a series, though as of now I can’t say how long the series will be. When I started trying to work on the sequel, I began thinking about how different it i
s to write a second novel than it is to write a first. In some ways I actually find it more difficult. The sequel to Affairs has been stalled about halfway through due to some major writer’s block. I’ve actually had to put it aside and work on other projects while I wait for my writer’s block to sort itself out. As eager as I am to have a finished second novel, I know it’s not something I can force; I need to give myself space to work through whatever the blocking issues are. 

First books aren’t easy either, I mean it’s a brand new shiny project, you have a world you have to build from scratch and characters you have to create and breathe life into, so it’s definitely a lot of work and there are a lot of walls you can hit. But what I enjoy about first books is the complete openness it provides to take your story anywhere; you really have no restrictions on what you can create, what elements you can put into your world, and where you can take the plot. You have the freedom to put it all on the table, and if you are thinking of writing further books you can leave plot threads here and there than you won’t have to deal with until later. And then later comes.

At the end of Affairs, there’s a lot that I leave open that hopefully surprises the reader and leaves them wanting more. I was aware all along of all the things I would have to address, but I let it be a faint issue at the back of my mind until it came time to actually deal with them. Then I realized how daunting a task it was. I had multiple story threads that I had to take care of in an efficient way, and I couldn’t do them independently of each other. Somehow I had to tie them together so the new book’s plot made sense. Then there’s the fact that I have to work with the world I already established. I can’t go back and change something in book one to make it work in book two, and there have been a few times I wished I could! In that way I’ve found sequel writing to be a little restrictive, but I think if you give yourself enough to play with in the first book it can be managed. And of course there is always room for growth; you can always introduce something new as long as its appearance makes sense. So that’s what I’ve been trying to do. I already have my world and my characters, now I just have to do justice to the questions left unanswered in book one, and hopefully leave new surprises that can carry over into a third book.

I was in a strip club trying to help a ghost get laid, which was challenging, but not impossible. It was just extremely taxing on the necromancer extraordinaire (me) who had to channel energy into the ghost to make her corporeal enough to entice one of the stripper boys. Technically what I was doing was illegal, but it was my job to help ghosts settle their affairs so they could move on to eternally ever after, and Julia’s unfinished business was that she’d died a virgin. I’d made it as easy as I could for her by starting at a strip club; if she couldn’t get some here, I wasn’t sure how much lower I could scrape the barrel.

Julia’s prolonged virginity was an enigma to me, even though she told me that she’d been waiting for her soul mate. I just didn’t understand why that meant she couldn’t hit up a bar, get drunk, and have a fun, regret-filled weekend that included the walk of shame. At least she’d have been in better shape once soul mate came around.

“What do you think about him?” I asked, pointing to one of the three oiled up men who were gyrating for the benefit of all the screaming women. He had blond hair and green eyes, and wasn’t overly muscular. Julia looked at him then quickly looked away. I took that as a sign of approval.

“I think this was a bad idea,” she stammered.

“This was a fantastic idea,” I said. “And it will work, don’t worry.”

“No, I mean, I don’t think I can do this. I waited my whole life for my soul mate and now you want me to just—” she stole another quick look at the stripper, “I don’t think I can do this with some random…stripper man. It’s so indecent.”

I rolled my eyes. “Julia, you’re a ghost; you no longer have the option of being discerning. And if you don’t wrap up what’s keeping you around, you run the risk of turning into a monster. Then it’s an even bigger pain in the ass to get rid of you. So let’s call our efforts here at Bump and Moan choice A, and murderous monster choice B. Which choice would you like to make?”

“A,” Julia said, but she didn’t sound happy about it. I smiled, and grabbed a couple drinks off the tray of a passing waitress. I set them down in front of Julia.

“Drink,” I said. “This will help.”

“I’m a ghost,” she said. “I thought I was unable to eat or drink.”

“You can feel the effects of the alcohol since you’ll be working off my energy, so drink up. I’ve pegged you as a light weight so I think two drinks will be enough.”

“But how is this supposed to help?” she asked, frowning.

“Because its job is to help,” I said.

Affairs of the Dead
A.J. Locke

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Etopia Press

Date of Publication: April 19th, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-939194-91-6

Cover Artist: Iris Hunter

Amazon Barnes & Noble All Romance E-books Kobo

Book Description:

Help ghosts, stop a thief, and try not to die…

Necromancer Selene Vanream helps ghosts settle their affairs so they can move on. But when breaking the rules gets her in trouble, she’s bumped down to tracking ghosts trying to avoid the afterlife. Ghosts like Ethan Lance, who claims he was kicked out of his body when someone else jumped in. Which might be plausible—if such a thing were possible. And if Micah, Selene’s partner, didn’t pull her into an investigation of brutal murders that lead directly back to Ethan.

But when the whole mess puts Selene’s life in danger, she suddenly has very personal reasons to get Ethan’s body back. Between her uncomfortable relationship with Micah, and problems with her boss, Selene learns just how much trouble it can be when you don’t follow the rules

About the Author

A.J. Locke is an author and artist, originally from Trinidad, now residing in New York City. Affairs of the Dead is her debut novel, and other than writing she enjoys reading, drawing, painting, graphic design, and watching too much television.



Twitter: @maqueripe


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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Robert Poulin

Guest Post by Robert Poulin

The Feast (cut from Death Toll Prologue)

The following section was cut from Death Toll's Prologue due to it being too much of a side event. The scene is alluded to in the final section of the Prologue and did occur, off camera...

"What are you doing?" demanded the old witch.

"I'm looking for a place to eat and rest," Jezebel retorted petulantly as she eased the Expedition off the I-95 exit ramp going West. "We aren't going to strike the wizards during the day, are we?"

A faint glow was showing on the Eastern horizon, hinting at a gloriously sunny winter day in New England. Bridget Bishop rode in the passenger seat, her old wrinkled face was scrunched up in a frown of intense displeasure. Jezebel's pack mates, Darlene and Kendra, road in the back seats immediately behind her and the witch. Behind them, in the rear of the Expedition, rode the three silent, and unmoving aberrant vampires. Jezebel figured that they were still an hour from Providence. The delay in their trip was due to construction and an accident in the vicinity of New York City. It would be light by the time they reached the city.

"Fine," the old crone finally conceded with bad grace. "But you took the wrong exit. This is farm country. There were no signs for hotels and restaurants."

"Farm country will fill our needs perfectly," Jezebel replied, a feral smile crossing her beautiful features. Her fantasies had been a constant companion through the night’s long travails, and a thrill of anticipation shot through her at the thought of sating the hunger that had grown stronger and stronger by the hour. The slumbering beast within her stirred at her growing excitement.

"We cannot do anything that would bring attention to us before we've fulfilled our mission," the witch said admonishingly.

"We are less likely to be noticed out here than we are at a restaurant," Jezebel replied, watching the passing landscape carefully as the Expedition flew down the deserted two lane road. "I sense your vampires hunger. Do you think that it would go unnoticed if they looked more hungrily at the waitresses than their hamburgers?"

As if to punctuate her statement, the three vampires all stirred, turning their cold eyes towards the crone. Bishop relented, though she showed no sign of fear or worry at the vampires sudden scrutiny.

They rode on for another ten minutes before Jezebel pulled the Expedition into a sudden and violent u-turn. Bishop cursed loudly while Jezebel laughed in pleasure; her beast was fully awake now as were those of her pack mates. They traveled back the way they'd come for two more minutes before Jezebel turned the vehicle down a long dirt driveway.

There were no other houses near the lone farmhouse. It lay a good distance from the main thoroughfare and was in good repair. A large barn stood near the house, and a score of cows were already grazing in the pasture. Jezebel brought the Expedition to a stop next to a beat up faded blue Impale. There were a half dozen bicycles of various sizes neatly stored in an open shed just ahead. A tricked out Harley was parked near the shed, a pick-up truck stood guard near the motorcycle. A gaggle of dogs were raising a hellish din as they dashed toward the Expedition.

Jezebel put the vehicle in park and cut the engine. She unbuckled her seat belt and opened the driver side door. The dogs came to greet her, but when she met them with a menacing growl they all fled, tails between their legs and whining. Even the Pit Bull and German Shepherd were completely cowed by the beast they sensed lurking inside the statuesque Jezebel. As she approached the farmhouse, she heard her companions exit the vehicle and spread out into the shadowed gloom. When she was still a couple of dozen feet from the the house, the front door burst open and a tall sandy haired man stepped out. He had blue eyes, a neatly trimmed mustache, and a muscular body that strained against the tight jeans and t-shirt that he wore.

"How can I help you," he asked in a deep and cautious voice as he came down the stairs to stand between Jezebel and his home. He looked around but apparently her companions had hidden themselves well enough to avoid notice. "Are you lost?"

"No," Jezebel said with a smile. "We're hungry."

The man stared at her in confusion for a moment, and with a sudden fluid motion she pulled her own t-shirt off.

"What...what are you doing?" the man asked in flustered consternation.

"I'm hungry," Jezebel repeated as she undid the clasp of her bra and let it fall to the ground. The man gaped at her luscious breasts and his brain seemed to be working in slow motion as he tried to comprehend what was happening. Jezebel's smile widened as she kicked off her shoes and unfastened her jeans and began wriggling out of them. Men were so predictable. Even when being stalked by predators, they couldn't pass up a chance to stare at a pair of nice tits.

As Jezebel finally pulled herself free of her jeans, a baby began to wail inside. The noise seemed to remind the man of his family, and he shook his head and started to turn for the house.

"I'm ...I'm sorry, but we can't help you."

"Wait," Jezebel implored, as she held her fingers inside the waist of her g-string panties, ready to pull them off. "Don't you want to see the rest?"

The man hesitated and slowly turned back to her. She removed the panties and started stalking slowly towards him. When she was just an arms length from him, the front door opened again and a tired but attractive woman stepped out holding the crying baby. Behind her, the heads of two pubescent children poked out to get a view of the scene.

"Sam!" the woman said sternly. "What is going on here?"

With an obvious effort of will, Sam forced himself to turn away from Jezebel.

"I don't know honey," Sam said in a somewhat choked voice. "I think something bad happened to this lady. Maybe she's a runaway or something. She isn't making sense. She says she's hungry, but for some reason she's been taking her clothes off."

"Why don't you go call the sheriff Sam," the woman said, giving Jezebel a disapproving stare. "I’ll keep an eye on her."

Jezebel instantly hated the woman and wanted very badly to rip her throat out, but her lust was up right now, and she wanted Sam far more than she wanted his cunt wife.

"Sam is mine," Jezebel said and both Sam and his wife froze, thinking that she was speaking to them. She was speaking to her companions who'd remained hidden in the shadows while Jezebel played with the farmer. "Darlene and Kendra, you can have your fill of the cows. Your vampires can have the rest of the family Bishop, but Sam is mine."

Sam's wife screamed as a female vampire suddenly appeared at her side and snatched the bawling infant from her arms. As the woman tried to struggle with the baby snatcher, a second vampire appeared and pulled her into the house. From the sounds of it, the third vampire was already inside, where it was playing hide and seek with the two older children. Sam tried to reach his wife to help her, but Jezebel grabbed him from behind and threw him to the ground. Sam's eyes bulged as he fought for breath and the naked Jezebel sat astride his loins.

"You're mine," she repeated as she slowly began to tear his t-shirt away with her extended claws. As she peeled the shirt off she left glistening, bloody trails across his muscular torso. He tried to throw her off, but he was no match for her preternatural strength. "You and I are going to fuck like wild animals, and then I'm going to eat you!"

As Jezebel reenacted her fantasies, the cows began to scream in terror as they became aware of the two huge hyenas stalking them in the nearby pasture. Inside the house, the screams didn't last long, the vampires apparently fed quickly and efficiently. The old crone, Bridget Bishop of Salem, watched the scene unfold, her eyes gleamed rapturously in their sunken sockets and the screams of horror and pleasure were momentarily downed out by her maniacal laughter.

Wail of the Banshees
Ghost Wars Saga Book One

Robert Poulin

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
Publisher: Ghost Watch Publishing 
Date of Publication: June 19, 2013

mobi: ISBN: 0989446905
Print: ISBN13: 9780989446907 
epub: 9780989446921 
mobi: B00DH7JQNK 

Cover Artist: Hannah Carr

Amazon Smashwords BN Kobo


My name is Veronika Kane and dying, dying was just the beginning.

How was I supposed to know that getting smashed on my 21st birthday would lead me to becoming the 9th victim of a serial killer that’s been stalking Philadelphia’s streets for months? Now I’m a ghost and unlife is pretty scary. Reapers, wraiths, ghouls, gargoyles: all of the monsters that I thought were storybook characters are real! On top of it all, the powers that be in the ghost world want to enslave me and use me in their own diabolical plot to manipulate the people of the living world. Too bad I didn’t turn out to be the kind of ghost they wanted me to be, and I’m not about to let them turn me into one of their puppets. These ghosts are responsible for my murder and the murders of eight other women.

A rebellion is coming, and the ghosts that run this place are about to find out just how big a mistake they made when they had me killed.

My name is Veronika Kane and being murdered isn't the end of my story.

Wail of the Banshees is an Urban Fantasy Novel and the first book in the exciting Ghost Wars saga which features paranormal horror and action set in living Philadelphia and the ghostly world of Limbo.

About the Author:

Robert Poulin was born and raised in the New England state of Connecticut. After spending his late teenage years in Boca Raton Florida, Robert moved to upstate New York where he lived with his uncle Wilbrod Poulin and attended the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.

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Monday, August 26, 2013

HR Jackson

Excerpts by HR Jackson

Excerpt from Dirk’s POV:

“I’m fine, Dirk.” She wasn’t and we both knew it, but I wasn’t about to press the issue.

I let out a frustrated sigh. “I’ll go see if my father has a shirt or something he can lend me to wear.”

“Good idea,” Morgan said, starting a slow pace in front of the terrace doors that reminded me of a tiger restlessly circling its enclosure. She sounded distracted and the concern I’d already been fighting to keep from spilling all over her nudged its way back to the surface of my demeanor. I wanted to scoop her up and port back to my home, tuck her into bed and remind her of my stellar bedside manner. But as she made another pass across the doorway, I could see the limp in her step easing, slowly, until her strides were sure and smooth. Her body was healing.

Ah well, I thought, there’s always next time. Although, I really hoped there was a very long interval of non-injury between them full of bedside activities that were infinitely more fun.

“And shoes,” I added, curling my toes against the cold, damp hardwood floor as I glanced down and finally got a good look at the damage. My pajama bottoms were soaked through with rain and had clearly seen better days. My skin was grimy with sweat and blood, the mottled green and yellow of my healing bruises slowly fading. “Gods. I look like a war refugee.”

“What’s wrong with being shoeless?” asked Bree, looking up from where she’d been hunched over, studying the Pithos. She stretched out one of her naked feet, her expression all ruffled feathers and huff. “I prefer it. Helps with my Credomancy.”

Opening my mouth to apologize, I was stopped when Betty strolled back into the room. She’d disappeared down the stairs after leaving us and it looked like she’d been busy raiding my father’s closet. One arm was laden in textiles, an expensive looking auburn and charcoal three piece suit on a hanger dangling from the fingertips of her free hand.

“Morgan,” Betty let the name roll off her tongue, her brogue giving it a delicious quality that almost made me jealous. “Why does that sound familiar?” she mused, stopping in front of me and thrusting the garments into my startled grasp.

A flash of black around her throat gave me pause to stare and suddenly, I understood what my father and Sam had been talking about when they’d mentioned Betty answering their call. My father had long employed a specialized group of bodyguards as his security detail, scattered all across the globe, acting as his eyes and ears. His Ravens, he called them, and they all sported the same tattoo as an indicator of their allegiance to him. My eyes drifted to Sam. She had received hers shortly after our hookup.

I wondered if my father’s interests ever conflicted with those of Nemesis.

“Why does what sound familiar?” Morgan murmured, still pacing.

“I can’t quite place it…” Betty’s eyes widened and she did a slow turn, snapping her fingers in Morgan’s direction. “Wait. Wasn’t that the name of your horse?”

“Betty.” I knew that tone. Morgan didn’t want to talk about it. Based on Betty’s delighted expression, she was going to poke the bear until it snacked on her. I didn’t know if I wanted to be present for the carnage. Betty’s grin widened and Morgan’s glower scrunched her face until I wanted to kiss it.

“What are you talking about?” I couldn’t help it. I had to know. I felt like I’d been left out of a private joke, and I wanted in, damnit.

Betty trilled out a laugh. “Och, you mean she hasn’t shared that with you? Well now, doesn’t that make me feel all special.”

“It hasn’t come up,” Morgan stilled and focused her glare on Betty. “It’s a moot point anyway.”

I knew that names held power within both our cultures, but it was the first time I’d ever heard Morgan called by an alias and I was intensely curious to know why she’d changed her name. I knew she had a history, one that I’d apparently not even scratched the surface of discovering, and I’d take Betty’s rendition of things over nothing at all.

My gaze swung to Betty. She didn’t say a word. I narrowed my eyes at her. She dissolved into a fresh round of laughter that practically lit up the room. “Fine. Since Dirk insists. Let me procure a little story for you. Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived an Amazonian Princess named Airlea. She was fiercely beautiful, fearsome on the battlefield, and more than skilled between the furs. She had this thing she liked to do with her tongue –” Morgan crossed the room in three strides and clapped a hand over Betty’s mouth as my eyebrows rocketed to the ceiling.

“So help me, Betty,” Morgan said in frosty, clipped tones, “I’ve half a mind to shove something in your mouth to shut you up. If you wouldn’t like it so much.” Betty wiggled her eyebrows at me from above Morgan’s hand and I couldn’t help but chuckle. Reaching out, I pried Morgan’s fingers away from Betty’s face and dusted a kiss against their tips. Morgan responded by pulling away and punching my arm in protest.

“Oh come now, you know how I love a good story,” I grinned, rubbing my arm. If it took a little pain to get what was promising to be an amusing-as-hell insight, I’d take my lumps gladly. “Please continue, Betty.”

“Long story short,” Betty resumed the second her mouth was free, ignoring Morgan’s warning scowl, “it appears someone decided it was time for a name change. Honestly, Morgan, if I didn’t know any better, I’d swear you were trying to avoid me altogether.”

“Maybe I was.” 

Excerpt from Morgan’s POV:

Sam was a flash of Cimmerian shade, her outfit matching her blackberry hair as she zigzagged through the dense forest with the fluid grace of a gazelle with a lion on its tail. She played hide-and-seek with the shadows, and I was having a hell of a time keeping a bead on her. Bursting through the pines and out into a large clearing of short grass, I spanned the distance between us, waylaying her with an aerial kick to the back that sent her tumbling forward into a combat roll with an explosion of breath. Springing to her feet before she came to a full stop, Sam pivoted into a roundhouse kick that I barely dodged, my fist aiming directly for her jaw.

She deflected the strike with the momentum of her spin, managing to avoid my follow up kicks, before rushing in to clip my chin with her elbow. The shockwave from the sharp hit almost made me bite my tongue, pain spiking down my jaw and into my neck. Capturing my next jab, she used my kidney as a speed bag before I managed to retreat with a grunt of rapidly mounting irritation. Regrouping quickly despite the ache in my side that threatened to drop me, I lashed out with a flurry of fists and feet, hoping that sheer speed would somehow get past her defenses.

Sam expertly blocked and dodged everything I threw at her before unexpectedly stopping my forward inertia with a hard palm to the chest that sent me reeling back gasping for air as my lungs forgot how to work.

Breathing is highly overrated anyway.

In the two months since I’d joined Nemesis, I’d had many occasions to spar with Sam, the current head of the group and perpetual pain in my ass, but never at quite this intensity. With the exception of Sam’s fraternal twin, Tequila, no other member of Nemesis understood the training style I’d grown up with in my Amazonian tribe. It was a brutal, no holds barred, out for blood mode of fighting, meant to test our skills, to keep them as honed as our blades. But there was a fine line between training and the outright brawl this session was quickly turning into.

And damned if I didn’t have the first clue as to what set her off this time. But then, getting a read on Sam was like trying to capture smoke with a sieve. Holding back, she eyed me as we circled one another slowly.

She and her sister had been raised outside the tribe until they were fifteen by their mother, the former Queen Antiope. Both were formidable fighters in their own rights, thanks to her guidance. Tequila, the resident healer of Nemesis, had come back to her Amazonian roots, while Sam decided to serve with our shield-sisters the Valkyrie, before they were both recruited into Nemesis’ ranks. Where her sister was exceptionally skilled in the healing arts, Sam’s abilities resided in tactical strategy and a natural talent for Psychomancy.

I deflected another whirlwind of strikes and growled, dancing out of the way. Over the years, my experiences going toe-to-toe with Psychomancers had shown me they generally resorted entirely on fighting with their mental acumen, relying on telekinesis and telepathy to swing the odds in their favor.

But Sam had elevated it into an art form, wielding both blade and brain with the ferocity of a woman possessed and the skill of an accomplished warrior. She’d managed, numerous times, to make even me question if I’d somehow become dumb and clumsy, and I’d been swinging swords since before she and her sister were even a twinkle in Antiope’s baby blues.

Truth be told, this fight had been a long time coming. It wasn’t that I didn’t like Sam, per se, but I was unaccustomed to being bossed around, even if I understood the hierarchy as it stood within Nemesis. I wasn’t used to being the puella, the rookie. It rankled me, getting under my skin like a sliver of glass.

Sam motioned for me to attack, egging me on with a gesture. I hung back. She was baiting me. My eyes narrowed.

When she’d suggested we ‘take it to the wood line’ after our most recent verbal altercation, I was more than happy to oblige, despite wishing her timing had been better. We had a house full of reveling Amazons, Valkyrie, and other guests for Midsummer celebrations, and I had a gala date later that evening with Dirk. I’d been dragging my feet about it all day and that black cloud had gotten me into this predicament.

Still, it felt good to take out all of the pent up frustration and worry on someone who’d been an absolute thorn in my side for the last two months, even if she was making me wonder if this was going to end with one of taking a one-way trip to Bella’s morgue. The gnawing sensation of impending disaster intensified when Sam reached for her blade, a scarily grim and focused expression smoothing the lines on her face into an impassive mask. I immediately followed suit, loosing Aduro from her scabbard and pulling her free with a single smooth movement.

The slow circling continued and I knew she was waiting for an opening. The ground below me was springy, damp from the perpetual moistness that helped to keep the Emerald City its lovely verdant hue. It was a hell of a drastic change from the Vegas citadel’s sandy sparring fields, but at least it wouldn’t hurt as much to get knocked down.

And with the way Sam kept eyeballing me, I knew one of us was going to end up ass over teakettle soon.

What the hell is with her today? I hadn’t realized that telling Sam I had plans for the evening that didn’t include sitting through another boring debriefing warranted this kind of ass kicking.

Hand of Time
The Nemesis Chronicles, Volume 2
H.R. Jackson

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Geek Treats Collective

Date of Publication: April 20th, 2013

ISBN: 1484125509

Cover Artist: Robb Lombard

Amazon Print Kindle Nook Audible 

Book Description:

Morgan... Three months after the events of Vegas turned her life upside down, she's finding that getting back to normal is anything but easy.

Dirk... Trapped between juggling his new responsibilities and making Morgan understand his feelings, the former courtesan is discovering that letting go of the past is much harder when the past refuses to let go of him.

Nemesis... Still reeling from the Society's attack, they find themselves facing a familiar foe and a new menace hellbent on testing their fortitude.

Midsummer madness heats up Nemesis Island. It's a time of celebration and renewal, but the Society has other plans... with Dirk, Morgan, and the rest of Nemesis at the top of their list.

About the Author:

Once upon a time, a man and a woman looked at each other and asked, “Why aren’t we writing this down?”

Inspired by Sci-Fi and Fantasy, with a healthy appreciation of all manner of geekery, they longed to create a world where sword, sorcery, and a little sprinkling of real life could come together. With this in mind, the pair sat down and started the stories that would eventually become The Nemesis Chronicles.

When they aren’t weaving fantastical tales, they spend their time being owned by the Feline Mafia and watching the rain fall in their home city of Seattle.

Find them on the web:

Follow them on Goodreads:

Follow them on twitter: @hrjacksontnc

Follow them on FaceBook:

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Minnie Lahongrais

An awesome Guest Post by Minnie Lahongrais

BDSM: Things People Do For Pleasure

The release of a trilogy of books chronicling the “unconventional” relationship between an ingénue and a billionaire businessman sparked a cacophony enveloping the BDSM community. I suspect some of that noise could have stemmed from people in the lifestyle who might have previously been closeted for various reasons and now feel a sense of freedom allowing for a bit more openness in the vanilla world about their relationships. Maybe, the din comes from people who are experiencing what Oprah calls “Aha moments” whereby they recognize that there’s nothing wrong with wanting a little spice in their sex lives and are openly taking steps to add this dimension to their encounters. Still others might be curious and the mainstream excitement surrounding this story sort of gives them permission to explore in this arena.

When I began to think about who Adina was at her core, I looked to the BDSM community because she was a woman at ease with her sexuality and I wanted to be respectful to the community when writing scenes for her character. Adina is a dominant personality, but she is also a sociopath. Her sociopathic typology did not turn her into a Domme. Without divulging any spoilers, I will say this: her first lover, Benny, taught her everything she knew about sex and that is where her dominance took root.

BDSM: Bondage/Dominance/Submission/Sadism/Masochism – Yes I added an additional “S” in my acronym. Bondage, Sadism and Masochism are three of the different dynamics found within this community, but today I want to focus on the Dominant/submissive (“sub”) – the other “S” – aspects of this lifestyle where the Dominant (“Dom”) partner is male.

During my research, I learned that there is a misconception with regard to this culture as viewed through the eyes of those not living the lifestyle, myself included. The belief that a sub is weak or has no say in the role they play in their relationships is erroneous. In fact, much of the power is in the hands of the sub for the act of submission is seen as an act of love offered to the Dom as a gift and is much appreciated when given. Many subs are far from submissive in their daily lives. A large number have very demanding “vanilla” lives where they continuously bear the responsibility of keeping things under control. Submitting to a trusted, dominant partner in an intimate setting allows a sub to let go and just be in the moment without worry.

The word “trusted” is in bold font above. This is crucial. Building any relationship – and these are real relationships – takes time; time which is needed to build the trust necessary in order for this dynamic to work. Many of these relationships are extremely loving and enduring and a great number of them are monogamous.

Says something, doesn’t it?

The other thing I learned during my research was that not all Dom/sub relationships involve pain and that in some cases, pain enhances pleasure.

The Sensual Dom/sub dynamic is much more interesting to me than the other types of relationships in this community of intelligent, diverse people. This type of Dom is merely a Dom whose desire is to shape and mold a submissive partner much in the way that Benny molded and shaped Adina. Benny encouraged Adina to study. He coaxed her in building her confidence. He taught her street smarts. He WANTED her to be a successful, independent woman. He was also very protective of her. This is what and who a Dom is.

In this relationship, the Dom’s focus is solely on sensuously pleasing his sub. She comes first. Nothing is left to chance. Often the Dom meticulously plans activities that will bring sensual pleasure to his sub and upon seeing that she is pleased, he is pleased – immensely. Just as he takes steps to enhance his sub’s experience, so too is his experience enhanced.

In “Divergent Lives” Adina easily slips into the Domme role after she is approached by an older, prominent and lonely man whose only desire is to please her – no matter what. Some people are born dominants, some grow into the role. Adina took to this role easily, but after she brutally dismissed her sub, she met the man of her dreams, a “vanilla” man and she struggled with how to incorporate this facet of herself in this new relationship. When she thought she had it all figured out, it was too late.

I am not an expert in the BDSM community but I can see that many of the relationships therein are very much like vanilla relationships. They have ups and downs and communication is key. I see these relationships as “vanilla with a little bit (ok, maybe a lot) of spice”. What’s wrong with that?

Everyone has different tolerance levels for different things. As far as I’m concerned, when two adults jointly decide to participate in activities together, as long as they follow the credo of sane, safe and consensual, who are we to judge?

Not I.

Book Description:

Psych Thriller Adds Deviant Twists to Sociopath Theme

RJ and Adina enter the world as fraternal twins, one raised by old-world, controlling immigrants in El Barrio, the other sold into a religious home filled with lies and scorn. Both are sociopaths.

Turns out, RJ’s got a secret that enrages him with the flip of a switch. Adina uses her sexual power to dominate every man in her life. They are on a mysterious trajectory to cross paths in New York City, where the end of their lives culminates in an apex of horror and carnage.

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About the author:

Native New Yorker, Minnie Lahongrais unwittingly kick-started her second career when she began writing an urban fantasy tale intended to help her cope with the death of her father. November of that year, she set that story aside to immerse herself in the annual madness of NaNoWriMo, meeting the challenge head on. Her first novel, “Sinner’s Ride” was published Spring of 2011. That summer, she found herself obsessed with the story idea for “Divergent Lives.”

Next on her agenda is the urban fantasy she began at the outset of her journey. She now plans to write that story as a trilogy.

Ms. Lahongrais currently lives in New York City. She finds time to write every day and spends her free time with her family.

Contact Minnie:




Friday, August 16, 2013

William McNally

Guest Blog Post and Excerpt by William McNally

Coming to a Theater Near You

It may be literary heresy to admit this, but I love movies almost as much as I love books. Both mediums offer a wonderful escape from normal life. In some ways, a book can be a script for the movie generated by one’s imagination when it’s read. Picture, if you will, the characters and locations described in the last book you enjoyed. Did the author tell you every single detail? No. They painted a series of dots that your imagination connected together. Your mind added the clothing worn by the lead character or maybe the color of his or her eyes.

In reality, a book is a joint effort between a writer and a reader. The writer sends the signals and the reader decodes them into their own personal world. I’ve received several comments from readers that my stories read more like movies than traditional books. Some authors might take offense to these observations, but I consider them a compliment. When I write, I picture a movie unfolding in my mind and by the time a manuscript is complete, I envision every detail for each character, place and action. The art is in deciding how much to leave in without turning the story into an encyclopedia.

My latest book, Beneath the Veil, is set in a ghost town known as a Auraria. In a movie version of my book, the location could take place in any small mountain town passed over by the modern world. Collapsing farm houses and untended farms would be the landscape during the daytime, but at night, the town would resurrect into a twisted version of its glory days.

The numerous residents of this tormented place would keep a casting director busy for sometime with key roles and lots of extras. Here are a few suggestions that come to mind:

Barry (Rhodes) Ryan is a successful sculptor suffering from a terminal illness. He’s in his mid-thirties, private, with an easy-going personality. Think Joseph Gordon-Levitt in this role.

Jen Ryan, Barry’s adopted younger sister, is brave, independent and free spirited. Jennifer Carpenter would be a perfect fit to play her on the big screen.

Jackson is Jen’s boyfriend. He’s an easy-going dude who runs a small record shop. The actor Common might be a good choice here.

Willow is a young local girl with a charitable heart. This is a tough one. The actress would need a calm intensity and be around eight years old. Mackenzie Foy…maybe?

James Downs survived a plane crash that stranded him in Auraria. He’s affable but capable and a former pilot. Think Thomas Jane.

Don “Doc” Randolph is the de facto mayor of Auraria. Doc is the glue that holds a group of survivors together. Anthony Hopkins comes to mind…I wonder if he has the time.

Evangeline Rhodes hails from an uncertain past and preys on the locals. Famke Jannsen would be perfect, minus the fake British accent from Hemlock Grove.

Ezra Rhodes is Evangeline’s constant companion and takes care of many of her more unpleasant tasks. This character should be charming and vicious. I picture an Americanized Clive Owen in this role.

Owen Bigsby loves to sample the corn liquor grown locally and is Auraria’s own town drunk. A physical actor would be required here in order to pull off certain scenes. John Goodman is my choice.

Well Mr. Spielberg, that should take care of things for you. Just send a check and contract over and we can get the filming started. Thanks to Cloey’s Book Reviews and Other Stuff for hosting!

His headache began again with a dull ache in the back of his head. He walked to the kitchen, opened a cabinet door and grabbed a bottle of aspirin. Swallowing two pills, Barry Ryan leaned against the counter and gazed across his loft. The wood floors were covered with tarps, and chips of stone surrounded a car sized sculpture of a pyramid. The piece was a commission for an insurance conglomerate and almost completed after two years of work. He walked around the sculpture and into a service elevator, then rotated a brass handle and the lift shuddered to life.

He descended into a warehouse filled with massive stones and slabs of marble. Unfinished and abandoned works lined one wall, while a dozen cars lined another. He pulled a tarp from a 1967 Corvette Sting Ray convertible and then climbed in and fired up the engine. He drove the car out of the building and turned onto Spring Street, where the sun shined between glittering high-rises. After driving twenty blocks he pulled into a garage and parked, then grabbed his sketchbook from the passenger seat. The streets were quiet as he walked to a café on a corner. His agent, Peter Harper, sat outside in a tailored suit wearing gold rimmed sunglasses.

“Morning, Barry,” Peter said. “How’s the chiseling on the Daecom rock going?”

“Good,” he answered. “Just about finished.”

“Nice. I’ve got three more lined up when you’re ready. Word’s out on your work. All these companies want to enshrine themselves in stone.”

“Need a break for a while, Pete,” Barry answered. “These will have to wait.”

“I’ll hold them off as long as I can, Barry, but these are big time offers. I recommend we jump on them as soon as we can. One bad quarter and these deals are gone,” Peter said.

“I hear you Pete. I’ll keep you posted,” Barry answered.

The two men enjoyed breakfast at the restaurant, built in a former bank building. The original safe stood empty in the back, surrounded by tables of chatty patrons. The trees lining the street were beginning to sprout green leaves and birds were busy gathering materials for their nests.

“So, Pete, how’s Angie?”

“Well,” he hesitated. “Let’s just say now Pattie.”

“I see,” Barry replied. “The revolving door has turned again.”

Barry coughed into his napkin then took a sip of water. He glanced down at the blood splattered linen, then spirited it into his pocket and stood up from the table.

“You okay?” Peter asked.

“I am fine,” he answered. “Something just went down the wrong pipe. I better run. Thanks for breakfast.”

Beneath the Veil
William McNally

Genre: Paranormal/Science Fiction/Horror

ASIN: 978-1481953627

Amazon Paperback Kindle

Book Description:

Welcome Beneath the Veil, a Place Where the Dead Have Never Left...

With his life turned upside down, a terminally ill man seeks answers from a family he never knew. Barry Ryan, a successful sculptor, goes on a journey to find his roots and the extraordinary family that somehow evades death and ties him to a terrifying future.

Driven to find answers, Barry is joined by his sister and her boyfriend on the road to Auraria, a mysterious ghost town where terrible secrets lie hidden since the days of gold and greed.

All is well until they cross the city limits and fall beneath the veil, a place where the bizarre rules the living, and the living are prey trapped in an ever-changing web.

Generations of conflict come to light as these unfortunate visitors struggle to survive. Echoes of the past are lethal this place where the dead have never left.

About the Author:

William McNally is a former executive, husband and animal advocate based in the mountains of Dahlonega, Georgia. Drawn to dark and thought provoking stories, he released his first book, Four Corners Dark in 2012 and recently followed it with his second, Beneath the Veil. Visit him online at for updates and events.

Look for William's next release, The Knights of Moonshine, spring 2014.

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More of the tour...

August 19 Guest blog
Mondays as part of the paranormal perceptions guest post series

August 20 Interview
Reading In Twilight

August 21 Spotlight
Ebook Escapes

August 22 Interview
Mom With A Kindle

August 23 Spotlight
Unputdownable Books

August 26 spotlight
Krystal's Enchanting Reads ...

August 27 Spotlight and review
paranormal book club

August 28 Guest blog
Share My Destiny

August 29 Spotlight
Sapphyria's Book Reviews

August 29 review
Dalene’s Book Reviews

August 30 spotlight
Wicca Witch 4 Book Blog

September 2 Spotlight
Chill Reviews...

September 2 Spotlight
Elfie Books

Monday, August 12, 2013

Sedona Venez

10 Things I Bet You Didn’t Know About Sedona Venez

Okay… so I thought it would be fun to do a post about “10 Things” I bet you didn’t know about me. So here we go…

  1. I’m a New York girl…born and raised…Go New York!!
  2. I’m a Zumba fanatic and attend class several times a week.
  3. My favorite cuisine is Thai… what can I say… I love hot and spicy cuisine.
  4. Favorite paranormal character… hot alpha wolf-shifters
  5. I love all things music.
  6. My favorite television shows… Syfy Face Off and House Hunters International.
  7. Favorite season… Fall.
  8. Favorite colors… pink and green… it’s a sorority thing…
  9. My all-time favorite music artist… Rihanna.
  10. Song that I’m playing over-and-over right now… Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Rey.

Breaking the Storm
Credence Curse, Book One
Sedona Venez

Genre: New Adult/Adult Paranormal Romance
Publisher: One Wish PublishingDate of Publication: August 6, 2013

Add it to your Goodreads To-Read List

Book Description:


Stormy Credence was destined to succumb to the Credence family curse—they all did.


When Stormy meets sexy band front man Knox Gunner, there’s no denying him. Willing to take a chance on love, Stormy breaks the most important Credence rule, no relationships—ever—a mistake that results in heartbreaking devastation.


Stormy is put to the test one more time, when the one man that she never wanted to see again—‘Rock Star’ Knox Gunner comes blowing back into her life—back to claim what’s his—Stormy. This time he will stop at nothing to prove that she belongs to him in every sense of the word…

About the Author:

Sedona Venez writes New Adult and Adult fiction novels inspired by her love of music, tattoos and sexy musicians.Sedona can be found online in all the usual haunts:

Her Blog Facebook Twitter Goodreads

More of the tour...

August 13 Spotlight
A Bibliophiles Thoughts on Books

August 14 Guest blog
Ebook Escapes

August 16 Character Interview
Laurie's Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews

August 20 Guest blog and review
Crazy Four Books

August 22 Spotlight and review
Faerie Tale Books

August 27 Interview
happy tails and tales

August 28 Spotlight

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Katalina Leon

Excerpt and contest by Katalina Leon

Maeve stood alone in the elegant room. She glanced around, thinking that many of the objects in the suite belonged in a treasure house. There was so much to look at and explore that she doubted she’d get much sleep.
Like a magnet, the portrait of Lord O’Griofa drew her. She stood in front of it staring at the man’s broad chest and ropey arms with admiration. He seemed to be a powerful man who took charge of his world and appeared completely capable of decimating anyone who stood in his path.
Maeve caught herself daydreaming about being confronted by a man who could so easily take what he wanted. Lord O’Griofa looked determined enough to seize any woman of his choice, throw her over his shoulder and march off with her. And would that be such a bad thing?
She wondered what it would feel like to be ravished at the hands of a lustful man who couldn’t be stopped. Not harmed by a brute, but carried off and forced to surrender to a man like the fiery-eyed O’Griofa. A heated thrill raced to her core.
A long-denied part of her admitted that even though the desire was politically incorrect, the prospect of being captured by a man like that sounded totally hot.
Ravished war prize.
The words slid across the surface of her thoughts like raindrops on a windowpane. She gave herself butterflies just thinking about it.
Conqueror. Claimed. Surrender.
Her face warmed. Lord O’Griofa seemed to embody all the exciting qualities of a mythical hero, which she also imagined could go wildly astray in the modern world. Still, the thought of lying prone beneath a passionate man intent on taking her for his lover was an exciting one. Shivers skittered across her skin.
She abruptly turned her back to the portrait to avoid the overwrought thoughts from hijacking her. “I must be jet-lagged,” she mumbled.
Maeve kneeled, unzipped her luggage and rummaged through it halfheartedly, knowing that the act of brushing her teeth and changing out of her clothes would require colossal effort. With her head nodding from exhaustion, she sought a vinyl bag of toiletries and a whisper-soft pair of flannel pajamas.
A faint clink in the corridor caused her look up and again the portrait drew her attention. This time she noticed a faint scar on O’Griofa’s chin and a slight crook in the bridge of his nose, as if it had once been broken. She now saw that he was not the fresh youth as she had first thought. Now he displayed the weathering of a man in his prime who faced the elements and lived an active life.
She moved closer to the portrait to make sure she wasn’t imagining the changes. She wasn’t—the changes were real. It was as if the portrait was becoming more lifelike before her eyes. Why hadn’t she noticed those distinct details before? The tiny flaws were interesting, personal details that she assumed many vain men would have omitted from an idealized portrait of their youthful exploits.
Overall, the fierce lines of O’Griofa’s handsome face were breathtaking. The flattering angle of the portrait not only showed off his strong jaw and dimpled chin, it also made it appear as if he had just turned his head toward the viewer and was now studying them intently from beneath stormy brows.
She wondered how the hell she could get undressed and fall asleep with that hunky character shouting a battle cry over the bed.
After gazing at Lord O’Griofa for several minutes she decided it might be easier to get undressed in the bathroom and make a mad dash for the bed. This self-conscious hesitation was so unlike her, and she wondered why she was tormenting herself over a portrait. She knew she should make an effort and jump into the shower to rinse away the many gritty hassles of her long journey. With toothbrush and leopard-print pajamas in hand, she stood with the intention of heading toward the bathroom.
Lord O’Griofa’s dark gaze seemed to follow her across the room.
Maeve hurried toward the bathroom, slammed the door and locked it. “Damn.” She sighed with relief. The portrait was too much to deal with in her highly strung state of mind. She considered that maybe a night in the O’Griofa suite wasn’t such a treat after all. Part of her felt as if she’d been abandoned in the presence of an intense man and forced to cope with it.
I’m being ridiculous.” She stared at the bathroom’s gleaming marble floors and claw-foot bathtub with admiration. The creamy marble walls and countertops with golden fixtures looked like they belonged in a palace. The calming thought occurred, why not spend some time in here and enjoy a luxurious soak? She plugged the drain, turned on the faucet and watched steaming water tumble into the tub.
She stripped her clothing away, grateful to be rid of it, and brushed her teeth. She gathered her shoulder-length dark hair, twisted it into a topknot and pinned it into place with a plastic clip.
A crystal dish filled with artfully molded miniature cakes of soap caught her eye. The beribboned and colorful foil-wrapped ovals of soap resembled marzipan candies from the finest confectioner’s boutique. It was all she could do to resist licking them. She chose a cake encased in emerald-green foil. When she tore the wrapping away it released the light lemony scent of white roses. A pleased sigh crossed her lips.
She turned off the faucet and stepped into the bath, stirring the water with her toes. The soft splash echoed against the marble walls. She sank into the massive tub. As the warm water embraced her, all cares and concerns faded. Worries fled. She’d reached her goal. It was over. She was safe at her destination. The divorce was final and the business had been sold—as it should have been long ago. Her house was on the market and she was free of a man who’d wished she’d been a tall, cool blonde with lots of money and a shared taste for quality vodka.

( The moment Maeve relaxes in the bathtub, guess what? The real fun and the time travel begin. Maeve’s finds herself in mortal danger in a burning medieval castle under siege. She’ll need to be rescued. Thank God for Lord O’Griofa and his long, thick broad sword!) 

Lord Griffin’s Prize
Katalina Leon

Genre: Paranormal romance shape-shifter

Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Date of Publication: July 10, 2013

ISBN: 9781419945397

Number of pages: 114
Word Count: 50k

Cover Artist: Syneca

Book Description:

Part of the Emerald Isles Fantasies series

Tullamore Castle Ireland is an enchanted place where the unexpected happens. Phantom lovers materialize in haunted beds and a lonely griffin patrols the ramparts waiting to reclaim its mate. And that’s just the beginning.

For the adventure of a lifetime Maeve de’Burgo visits Tullamore to study genealogy. Through a magical act and time travel she becomes embroiled in a dangerous medieval romance and the unfinished life of her ancestor. Maeve gets thrown back in time to be captured, ravished and cherished as a war chief’s prize.

Ronan O’Griofa is a griffin-shifter, the most loyal of creatures. He’s been trapped in limbo as the avenging guardian of Tullamore since 1332 AD and longs to be free. When the soul of his wife returns to the castle he’s granted the privilege of becoming a man for one day to be her lover, win her heart and remind Maeve of a bond strong enough to last an eternity. 

About the Author:

I’m an artist, an author, mother and wife. I write for Ellora’s Cave, Loose Id Publishing and a couple new publishers to be announced soon. I try to bring a touch of the mystical and a big sense of adventure to everything I write because I believe there’s a bold, kick-ass heroine inside all of us who wants to take a wild ride with a strong worthy hero.

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