Quicksilver Dreams, Book #1 of the Dreamwalker series: The Road to Being Published

facebook twitter

 photo get-attachment7_zps93fb7294.jpg

Holy $*%t they want to buy my book! 

I quite freaked my husband out with my happy dance listening to the message left on my cellphone that fateful Friday when Quicksilver Dreams was first bought; he couldn’t tell if I was extremely upset or extremely excited. The funny thing was, I happened to have had that week off for spring break, and had had my peaceful writing time violated over and over again by a barrage of telemarketing calls. When the phone rang yet again that afternoon, I saw the number on the display screen of our house phone, didn’t recognize it, and deliberately ignored it with a frustrated groan. Almost immediately, my cellphone rang with the same number. Again, didn’t recognize it and wasn’t in the mood to have someone try to sell me anything. But then… my phone “dinged”, letting me know I had a message.

A message? No one leaves me a message on my cell phone. Hardly anyone else even has the number. Who could that be? By this point, I was distracted and curious enough to stop my work and listen to it. I didn’t need to get much farther than the caller’s first statement, letting me know it was Angela James from Carina Press, before I was grinning so wide it hurt. No one calls you to say they aren’t interested in your work. Right? And so began the excitement of dancing around the house and waking my husband from his very sound, luxurious afternoon nap that had him blinking owlishly, trying to figure out what exactly was wrong with me.

Nothing was wrong. In fact, everything was quite right. I was so pleased that Quicksilver Dreams had made an impact, it felt like one of those great validating moments in my life. I’d spent the last year and some working on the book, and really enjoying the “what if” process, letting the story take me from Hollywood, California, to Te`re, another planet where there was an ongoing war between two nations, then back to Venice Beach, California. Taylor Lane, my badass female lead, really came to life for me. She was fun and funny, light and snarky, with a dash of kick-your-ass thrown in, but at the end of the day, she had a deep streak of vulnerability that she’d really worked hard to protect. She felt real to me, and when I got an email from my editor for the first time relaying what was most appreciated about the novel, I was reassured that she and Ryder had seemed real for the acquisition team as well. Added to that, I loved the idea of having something really extraordinary happen to a character who’d only ever thought she was ordinary.

 photo 44b48849-4ee4-448f-962d-6008120ccd82_zpsd6d73d46.jpg

My name is Taylor, and damn but my life changed overnight. One moment I was just a regular girl working two jobs to pay my bills, and next thing you know, I’m uncovering secret metal disks at my boss’s house. Now I’m reading minds, dream-walking and being saved from bad guys by Mr. Dark and Brooding.

That would be Ryder Langston, my new next-door neighbor. He’s sex on legs but he’s also a secret agent from another world—no joke. I believe him now because he dragged me back here “for my protection” after he discovered someone was trying to assassinate me on Earth. It isn’t working out so well.

There’s a war going on, one that’s been fought for generations. Ryder’s having trust issues (not that it’s stopping us from falling into bed), and it turns out I’m connected here, if you know what I mean. The target on my back finally makes sense, but there’s nowhere left to hide…

 

Here’s some food for thought: Given the chance to travel instantly to another planet that had Earth-like features, would you go? I’d love to hear your thoughts. It’s a corny question, but a fun one to explore.

Thanks so much for spending your time with me.  I hope to hear from you on one of my media sites listed below.

Click on Quicksilver Dreams for purchase.

Short bio

Danube Adele wrote her first romance at the age of seven when she penned the sweet story of her dogs falling in love and having puppies together.  She’s been dreaming up romantic tales ever since.  A lifetime resident of southern California, she spends time playing at the beach, camping in Joshua Tree National Park, and hiking Mammoth Mountain.

You can find Danube Adele at Twitter, Facebook, and on her Website.

Character Interview ~ The Guardian’s Witch

facebook twitter

Ah, there you are and just in time. Thank you for coming; I knew you wouldn’t want to miss this. We’ve pulled a real coup. Let me give you a little background before they begin. Our investigative reporter is about to hold an interview the hero, Lord Alex, and heroine, Lady Lisbeth, of Ruth A. Casie’s new book, The Guardian’s Witch. I see they are about to begin. I’ll fill you in on their story when the interview is over.

TGW - Smaller photo TheGuardiansWitch303x480.jpg

Reporter: (Facing the audience) Welcome and good afternoon. Today’s quests are Lord Alex Stelton, the exceptional knight who put his life on the line for the woman he loves. Also here is his extraordinary wife, Lady Lisbeth. She too was willing to risk it all–to save the man she loves.

Alex Stelton is the seventh son of Lord and Lady Stelton. Alex’s father is also a seventh son, an oddity that arises in the Stelton family from time to time. Lady Lisbeth and her younger sister, Laura survive their parents Lord and Lady Reynolds who were lost to us in a terrible carriage accident and their brother, Richard. Richard died valiantly on the Welsh battlefield.

(Turning to his guests) Thank you both for taking time to talk to us today. The first question I have is for Lord Alex.

Alex: Please, call me Alex.

Reporter: Certainly. Alex, what was your first impression of Lisbeth?

Alex: I’m embarrassed to tell you.

Lisbeth: He avoided me for weeks.

Alex: (Taking Lisbeth’s hand.) That’s not quite correct. You made it perfectly clear that you wanted no part of me. As a matter of fact I got a very clear impression that you would’ve been quite happy if I had disappeared like the others the king sent to protect you.

Lisbeth: Well, what did you expect? You came marching into Glen Kirk all proud and self-important just like all the others.

Alex: (Raising an eyebrow to his wife.) Did I now?

Lisbeth: (A bit contrite.) Well, maybe not exactly like them. (She pulls her hand away from his and faces him.) How was I to know?

Reporter: (Cough.) How did this disagreement start?

Lisbeth: He didn’t tell me for weeks.

Reporter: I beg your pardon. What didn’t Alex tell you for weeks? (Looking at Alex the reporter noticed him squirm, just a bit.)

Lisbeth: He didn’t tell me we were married.

Reporter: Married? I don’t understand?

Alex: Wait a minute, Love. You didn’t exactly make it easy.

Lisbeth: Love— (She shot Alex a glance that could turn him into a pillar of salt.)

Alex: (Alex faced the reporter) I won a bet with King James. If I held Lisbeth’s Glen Kirk Castle safe for one year it would be mine. Having an estate of my own has been a goal of mine for some time.

Lisbeth: (Foot tapping.)

Alex: (Rakes his hand through his hair.) After meeting my part of the bargain, I went to London to collect my winnings and ended proxy wed to Lady Lisbeth by order of the king.

Reporter: He what? And you didn’t tell her for weeks?

Lisbeth: (Folding her arms in front of her glaring at Alex.) Exactly.

Reporter: Perhaps we should move on. Lisbeth, I understand you come from a long line of healers and that you are quite gifted. My sources tell me you’ve used that gift to save Alex more than once.

Lisbeth: (A humbled look crosses her face.) Yes, I work hard to keep the people I love safe.

Reporter: (Shows Lisbeth a charm.) I understand you place these charms in the trees around Glen Kirk.

Alex: (Takes the charms from the interviewer.) My wife has a notion that the pretty bits shine and distract. (He gave the reporter a cold stare.)

Reporter: I understand there are rumors that your wife… uses incantations—

Alex: (Stands dragging Lisbeth with him.) This interview is over.

Reporter: (Obviously upset.) I’m sorry m’lord. I meant no disrespect to your wife or you. But sir, your wife’s special talents are common knowledge far and wide. It is to be honored sir, not reviled as some may think.

Alex: I clearly told your man that those questions were not to be asked.

Reporter: M’lord, Alex, this woman was ready to risk everything for you. She was in the midst of conjuring up the true criminal responsible for the treason for which you were accused. She was using her magic in front of the king and his court, all to protect you. Surely you know what a grave risk she was taking.

Alex: Don’t you think I know that. (Alex took his wife in his arms.) I cringe each time I think of how close she came to being judged a witch and the consequences that would have been metered out.

Lisbeth: Alex, (she pulls gently away from his embrace) come sit down. No harm was meant, surely you know that. (She pats his arm.)

Alex: (Regaining his composure.) I will not dwell on it, Lisbeth. I will protect you always.

Lisbeth: Yes, Alex. I wouldn’t have it any other way. But all here know who and what I am. There is no longer a need to hide that I am a witch.

Reporter: We have a little more time. Alex, I understand that your wife is very talented. Her dreams of the future appear to come true.

Alex: (He looks at his wife and does all he can to contain his smile.) My wife has many talents. Her dreams are–exceptional.

Lisbeth: Shhh Alex.(She leans close to him.) No one else will understand.

Alex: (Totally forgetting the reporter for the moment.) You call me into your dreams and we… Faith, (A smoldering look passes between them and he rakes his hand through his hair.) I want to spend the rest of my life in your dreams…

Reporter: Well, thank you both very much. (Pulling on his shirt collar.) Is it warm in here? (The reporter turns to the audience) You can find out more about Lord Alex and Lady Lisbeth in The Guardian’s Witch by Ruth A. Casie now available for their Nook or Kobo or Kindle.

I hope you enjoyed the interview. Here’s a brief overview and trailer for The Guardian’s Witch.

England, 1290

Lord Alex Stelton can’t resist a challenge, especially one with a prize like this: protect a castle on the Scottish border for a year, and it’s his. Desperate for land of his own, he’ll do anything to win the estate—even enter a proxy marriage to Lady Lisbeth Reynolds, the rumored witch who lives there.

Feared and scorned for her second sight, Lisbeth swore she’d never marry, but she is drawn to the handsome, confident Alex. She sees great love with him but fears what he would think of her gift and her visions of a traitor in their midst.

Despite his own vow never to fall in love, Alex can’t get the alluring Lisbeth out of his mind and is driven to protect her when attacks begin on the border. But as her visions of danger intensify, Lisbeth knows it is she who must protect him. Realizing they’ll secure their future only by facing the threat together, she must choose between keeping her magic a secret and losing the man she loves.

Do you have any questions for Lord Alex or Lady Lisbeth?

Ruth photo Ruth.jpg

Ruth A. Casie has always had stories in her head.  Encouraged by family and friends this ballroom dancing, Sudoku playing, aspiring gourmet has given way to her inner muse writing historical fantasy. Now, rather than write marketing and communications for corporate America, she writes historical fantasies about strong men and empowered women and how they cope with unexpected challenges. She hopes her stories become your favorite adventures. For more information, please visit www.RuthACasie.com, on her Blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Unsung Heroes

facebook twitter

 photo WoundedAngelFinal_zpsa39f4128.jpg“Sorry I can’t stay, I have to meet up with my psychologist.”

When I heard those words come out of my mouth, I started to correct myself.  After all, Patti’s my friend, not my psychologist.  But when the person I was speaking to nodded in understanding, I had to laugh.  If you knew me, you’d have no problem believing I’m in the care of someone in the mental health profession.  Putting it politely, my personality is high energy, but I like Patti’s take on it.  According to her, I’m “the good kind of crazy.” :D

Patti and I met on the ice.  I was teaching, and she wanted to be taught.  After a getting-to-know-you discussion, I learned she was a psychologist working with recently returned veterans, and figure skating was just the positive kick she needed at the end of a stressful day.  As time went on, I came to realize just how much Patti needed outside distractions in order to cope with the work she and others like her have chosen to do.

Obviously she can never give details about what she’s working on, and I never ask.  But when she arrives for a lesson looking pale and distracted, I pretty much know she’s visited someone else’s battlefield.  She never allows it to eat away at her, though, and usually by the end of the lesson she’s back to her usual bouncy self.  Thanks to Patti, I have a new appreciation for all the unsung heroes who choose to be the initial support network for returning troops.

I’m also grateful for the tremendous amount of help she gave when I was researching the third book in The Earth Angels series, WOUNDED ANGEL. I had these main characters, Nate and Ella, who were badly damaged by the violence of their respective pasts.  I needed to show in an authentic way that these characters had been made all the stronger for it, as those pasts have prepared them for the demon-tainted hell they’re about to be plunged into.  Thanks to my friend (who was kind enough to “dumb down” PSTD for me), Nate and Ella’s evolution into kick-ass, world-saving heroes is complete.

QUESTION: Who is your favorite tortured hero/heroine, and why?

***

BLURB:

Book three of The Earth Angels

A descendant of the Angel of Vengeance, Nate da Luca was gifted with an uncanny ability to find things. It made his job as a detective a breeze–until he learned the hard way that some things should remain hidden. After that, his powers vanished, along with his belief in himself. Which is going to make tracking down Gabriella Littlefield for his latest client a challenge.

Personal trainer Ella Little paid a hefty price for her life–now all she wants is to live it in peace. Then a sexy hulk of a man turns up in her gym, reigniting desires she thought she’d left behind along with her real name and hair color.

Desires she can’t deny even after she discovers Nate’s no stranger to her dark past.

Before he can convince her the attraction is mutual, Nate’s going to have to earn Ella’s trust. But a demon is playing for keeps in the world of humans, using Ella as bait, and the last thing they have is time…

Go back to the beginning with Nobody’s Angel, available now!

63,000 words

***

About Stacy Gail: A competitive figure skater from the age of eight, Stacy Gail began writing stories in between events to pass the time. By the age of fourteen, she told her parents she was either going to be a figure skating coach who was also a published romance writer, or a romance writer who was also a skating pro. Now with a day job of playing on the ice with her students, and writing everything from steampunk to cyberpunk, contemporary to paranormal at night, both dreams have come true.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

What’s in a (Character’s) Name?

facebook twitter

As an adoptive mom, I didn’t get to name my children; at ages 4 and 7, my darlings already had names when they joined our family. Good thing for me I get to create plenty of names for characters!  Sometimes I put a lot of research into names, choosing them based  on their etymology and past usage in literature and history. But sometimes the sound of something strikes me and I can’t call a character anything else. I almost always check a name’s meaning to make sure it doesn’t clash with the character’s personality.

Click the image to find out more about How Beauty Loved the Beast

For The Tales of the Underlight, coming up with Jolie’s name was easy. She comes from Houston, Texas—right near the Louisiana border. Her family moved to Texas out of Acadiana (southern Louisiana), so her name reflects the French influence of that area. Beauty and the Beast is a French fairy tale, after all! Jolie means “beautiful,” and Benoit (pronounced Ben-wah in her family’s case) is a French surname that means “blessed.” I like the way Jolie Benoit sounds, and it makes sense for the character. I had also thought the last name a rarity…and then a fellow Carina author and I had a laugh when we discovered the heroine of her book releasing the same day as my series opener How Beauty Met the Beast (the amazing Undercover Professor—if you like contemporary romance, check it out!) was also named Benoit. What a wild coincidence!

Naming hero Wesley Haukon, or “Hauk” as everyone calls him, was a little more complicated. Since he is Heathen and worships the Norse gods, I decided to pull from Scandinavian names instead of French for him. Though Hauk is a working class hero, his last name is an Americanization of Håkon, from Norwegian royalty, and means “noble son,” a reference to his status as the prince of the tale. It also allowed me to use the nickname “Hauk.” As he is our beast, I wanted to use an animal-related name just as I used the word “beautiful” for the beauty of the tale. Plus he has a phoenix tattoo to represent him rising from the ashes of the fire that scarred him, so I liked the idea of using a bird instead of a more traditional furry beast. (Hauk is the opposite of furry, after all, as his burn scarring doesn’t allow hair to grow!) His first name has a far simpler origin. I paid tribute to one of my favorite movie heroes of all time—farm boy Wesley from The Princess Bride.

What are some of your favorite names? Does the meaning of a name matter to you, or is the sound of it more important?

Jax Garren is descended from Valkyries and Vikings (she’s part Swedish) but was raised a small town girl in the Texas Hill Country. She graduated from The University of Texas with a degree in English and a minor in Latin then found her own Happily Ever After with a handsome engineer who is saving the world through clean energy technology. Jax loves meeting new people, so if you see her out and about say hello! She’s always happy to raise a glass with her readers (or anyone else) to toast courage, adventure and love.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

You might be a Type A if

facebook twitter

You might be a Type A if…

 The Brazen Amazon released on May 6th. The hero—Zach Hanson—is a cross between Stephen Jobs and Ryan Gosling. Stephen Jobs in intellect and ambition. Ryan Gosling in looks. One of the traits I assigned to Zach hit close to home. I made him a Type A personality—a proclivity I share.

 What is a Type A personality? It’s the name given to a temperament that many people share which forces them to constantly strive to do more, to be more. I’d venture to guess that a very high percentage of successful people are Type A.

 Writers, in particular, seem to display many of the Type A traits. Just to test that theory, let me borrow from Jeff Foxworthy’s well-known “You might be a redneck if…” to show “You might be a Type A if…”

 If you walk and talk rapidly, you might be a Type A.

 If you constantly do more than one thing at a time…texting or watching TV while eating, for example…you might be a Type A. (Be honest, if there’s nothing to do while eating breakfast, do you read the back of the cereal box?)

 

 If you suffer from road rage, often yelling or making sarcastic comments about other people’s lack of  photo computer_zps6b20b921.jpgdriving skills, you might be a Type A.

 If you tend to finish things like exams before other people, you might be a Type A.

 If you show up to appointments or turn in projects on deadline early, you might be a Type A.

 If you get impatient when you have to wait, especially when that waiting is in a slow-moving line, you might be a Type A.

 If you “talk with your hands,” you might be a Type A.

 photo e0bd76d3-e327-4b6c-b499-68135da26221_zps131e76d3.jpg

 And if you feel “lost” when you have nothing to do, you might be a Type A.

 Did any of those sound familiar? Hit a little too close for your comfort? Being a Type A isn’t a BAD thing. But we—and I say we because I exhibit every single trait I listed—should be aware that keeping such a high level of activity and stress can take a toll. The most important word that should be introduced into our vocabulary is “relax.”

 Why? Because repeated exposure to high stress isn’t good for a person—either physically or psychologically. A person can only push herself so long before her engine runs out of gas. So be kind to yourself if you’re a Type A. Learn to enjoy your success, and take some time to stop and smell the proverbial roses.

 In The Brazen Amazon, Zach Hanson is the prototype for this personality. He’s a technology whiz who is constantly looking forward to his next innovation, seldom taking the time to enjoy what he’s already achieved. When Gina Himmel—the Air Amazon—literally jumps into his life, Zach will discover that there is life beyond his techno world.

***

About the Author: Sandy lives in a quiet suburb of Indianapolis with her husband of thirty years and is a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband own a small stable of harness racehorses and enjoy spending time at the two Indiana racetracks.

The Alliance of the Amazons urban fantasy series from Carina Press premiered with book 1, The Reluctant Amazon, which was named a USA Today Recommended Read. Book 2, The Impetuous Amazon, has been an All Romance Ebooks Bestseller. The Brazen Amazon, book 3, debuted May 6, 2013. The series concludes with The Volatile Amazon in September.

 

 ***

The Brazen Amazon Blurb: Zach Hanson is a tech wizard, capable of creating and improving gadgets—including remote nuclear warhead launchers. But he’s always known that he’s destined for something more, something greater, something…supernatural.

Powerful Air Amazon Gina Himmel is one of four sisters called to protect the world from those who would do it harm. Demigods in league with an Ancient have been taking over the bodies of leaders in the military and technological sectors, and Gina is sent to San Francisco to watch over Zach.

Under Gina’s protection, Zach is introduced to a world of ancient deities, rogue gods and the bold, brazen Amazons who keep humanity safe. Amidst the whirlwind of battle, Zach and Gina discover a love that could give them the power to save the world…or destroy it.

Sympathy for the Devil: Fallen Angel Heroes in Romance

facebook twitter

GIVEAWAY ALERT!

Why do I love fallen angels? At first blush, my fascination with these unconventional heroes seems unlikely. These once-divine beings, their bright beauty forever marred by their plummet from grace into darkness, seem better suited to villainy than romance. That’s why I think I love them—because they’re the ultimate bad boys. Their choice to fall, to reign in Hell rather than serve in Heaven, suggests a profound and bitter disillusionment with their former Paradise that makes me burn to discover what has happened to these tarnished angels to transform the infinite love in their hearts to inconsolable rage.
Fallen angels arrive on the scene with a backstory few mortal heroes can rival. A fallen angel’s very essence is a fatal flaw, a fissure of the soul so profound that this weakness has destroyed him. To me, his dark and tragic history betrays a unique and powerful need for salvation that only the heroine’s love can supply.

My fascination with this midnight of the soul and the themes of salvation, damnation, forgiveness and the redemptive power of love led to The Magick Trilogy, my maiden voyage into the world of Tudor paranormal romance. In my series debut Magick by Moonrise, Lord Beltran Nemesto is a Blade of God, a Church Inquisitor with a ruthless reputation for hunting down suspect witches and heretics. Unknown to Beltran, he’s a fallen angel, sentenced by God to a mortal life, where he must learn the hard lessons of mercy and compassion or lose his divinity forever. Yet he appears doomed to repeat the same mistakes that jeopardize his immortality—until he meets gentle healer Rhiannon le Fay, the Faerie ambassador to the Tudor court—the very woman he’s been ordered by the Church to interrogate and condemn.

Beltran begins his journey to redemption with his forbidden passion for this ethereal, unconventional, utterly unsuitable beauty—a heroine who fits my brooding, damaged hero to perfection. When Tudor England and the Faerie kingdom collide, only love can save them.

Beltran and Rhiannon’s story holds a special place in my heart. I hope you enjoy their journey as much as I have.

What do you think about the emerging trend of angels and demons in romance? Do you find these paranormal creatures sexy, intriguing or unnerving? I’d love to hear your views and any recommendations you might share on books, movies, and TV shows that explore this fascinating trend.

To enter for a chance to win a copy of Magick by Moonrise, please leave a comment and include your email address.
Click here to purchase Magick by Moonrise:

http://www.amazon.com/Magick-Moonrise-The-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00APEYAO8/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362459701&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=Magick+by+Moonrise+Laura+Navarre

Bio for Laura Navarre:
In her other life, Laura Navarre is a diplomat who’s lived in Russia and works on weapons of mass destruction issues. In the line of duty, she’s been trapped in an elevator in a nuclear power plant and has stalked the corridors of facilities churning out nerve agent and other apocalyptic weapons. In this capacity, she meets many of the world’s most dangerous men.

Inspired by the sinister realities of her real life, Laura writes dark medieval and Renaissance romance spiked with political intrigue. Although Laura is a multi-published, award-winning author, MAGICK BY MOONRISE is her first historical paranormal romance. MAGICK won the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA) Award for Romance in 2012.

Laura holds an M.F.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine, an M.A. in National Security Policy from The George Washington University and a B.A. in International Relations from Michigan State. Living in Seattle with her screenwriter husband and two Siberian cats, she divides her time between her writing career and other adventures for U.S. government clients.
Connect with Laura at:
www.Facebook.com/LauraNavarreAuthor
www.Twitter.com/LauraNavarre

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4013449.Laura_Navarre

www.LauraNavarre.com

Defining Sexy

facebook twitter
HA cover Hunger Awakened

 

If someone did a study of the heroes of romances, the physical characteristics that make the hero sexy are somewhat standard. How many can you name? Strong jaw. Piercing eyes. Defined abs. That little cut on the lower abdomen that makes so many women drool…

But in real life, women’s definition of sexy can vary quite a bit. One of my best friends, for example, has an automatic thing for bald-headed men—and this was before being bald was in vogue. My other best friend stops in her tracks for a man with dark eyes. Me? I have a thing for scars. Not necessarily disfigurement, but more like the kind that bisects an eyebrow or one that looks like an artificial cleft on the chin. If you can’t get on board with that one, how about this…I also have a thing for gingers. (Just go with it, okay?)

The heroine of Hunger Awakened, discovers that she has an unusual chose d’affection. Take a look.

She’d thought his eyes had gone from beautiful to incomparable, but words failed her at trying to categorize them right now. They were a crystalline blue, while silver and pearl swirled through its sea. His pupils had elongated, the darkness a slice that seemed out of place.

“I’m wrong.” Sebastian’s voice contained raw emotion. “This…” His wings repositioned.

Jesus. He had wings.

“I know. We’ll figure out what’s going on.” She spoke with a false confidence that she clung to. “How are you feeling otherwise? Any pain? Faintness?”

He rose to his feet without her assistance, and the stomach that contracted painfully before released just a fraction. She wanted to inspect his back, to study his new appendages, but if he was on the brink of destruction, that had to be their priority.

As she stood next to him, all of her senses became hyperaware. While her stomach might have been put at ease, the rest of her body went taut at the looming presence of Sebastian in this new form. He had always been gorgeous, no doubt. The transformation, however, had given him a new strength. More definition. A devastating beauty.

The sharp angles of his face became slashes of bone and shadow. When he’d spoken, the teeth he kept well hidden were longer. More lethal looking.

And those dangerous eyes. They gave her delightful shivers.

“I hurt everywhere.” His gaze was disconcerting. “And nowhere. I’m hungry too.”

Alice took a slow step closer, keeping her hands outstretched and nonthreatening. Not like she could ever do him any harm, but the underlying skittishness in Bast needed reassuring. “Let me take a look at you,” she said. “Maybe I can help a little.”

“You think it’s wise?”

She smiled. Not only was he still nude, he was sporting an impressive erection. “I’ll take my chances.”

He remained rooted, indecision spread across his expression. “I don’t know who I am anymore. What I am.”

“You are still the man who protected me from a blood-thirsty vampire and a dangerous werewolf. I believe you are the man who vowed to protect me from any and all dangers. You’re also the man who kisses me until I can’t think straight anymore.” She paused, licking her lips. “Finally, you’re the man who promised me sexual oblivion. Remember that?”

It probably wasn’t appropriate to bring up his promise, but it was hard to think straight with the sign of his arousal so blatant.

“Like this? You would have me still?”

Alice took another step forward. She wrapped her arms around him, astonished by his new definition. Cautiously turned on. “You’ve got wings now, honey. It’s kind of hot.”

That seemed to startle a chuckle out of him.

What about you? What “questionable” physical characteristic gets your motor revving? I’ll pick one random commenter to receive a ebook copy of Hunger Aroused, the first book in this series, on March 10th because I’m certain you’ll already have your copy of Hunger Awakened by then because it’s available now at Carina AMZ |  B&N | Kobo | Audible | ARe. (By the way, did you know there’s a free between-the-books short on my web site, featuring characters from both Hunger Aroused and Hunger Awakened? Come on over and see!)

Dee Carney is an award-winning, best-selling author of sweetheart vampires and terrifying chefs, husband/wife reconnections and take-no-shit women. Read more on her web site, www.deecarney.com.

War Stories from My Family

facebook twitter

Click to see the description and for purchase links.
Wesley “Hauk” Haukon, the hero from How Beauty Saved the Beast, is a war veteran from Afghanistan who came home a burn survivor with an amputated limb and burn scars covering most of his skin. Though fortunately no one in my family was severely injured, I am the proud daughter and granddaughter of veterans—my father from Vietnam, and my grandfather from WWII. Like many veteran families, we have our war stories passed around, some of derring-do, some funny, some sad, but all part of the unique lives of soldiers. Here are a few of my favorites  from my father. And check the Harlequin main blog tomorrow (Wednesday) for stories from my grandfather!

  1. Like everyone with a bit of adventure in them, my father has a few scars on his arms from his wild youth. When I was a kid, I was convinced they were bullet wounds from his days in the jungle. When I finally got up the courage to ask, he laughed and said, “Jenny” (my family calls me Jenny), “the worst injury I got in the war was one night when I threw my hands up in the air to emphasize a point and stuck one in a metal fan.”
  2. My father was stationed in the jungle just outside of Saigon, and his life was stretches of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror. In a boring stretch, he and some friends started a water fight with the base’s fire extinguishers. The next day the mess hall got bombed…and burned to the ground because they had nothing to put the fire out with. Oops!
  3. Dad was an Army helicopter pilot. Part of his job was flying soldiers into the jungle for missions. Usually the drop offs would be no big deal; they’d land the helicopter, the guys would get out, and Dad would fly away. But if they saw pineapple plants, the soldiers would pick some for Dad to take back to base so that everybody could enjoy fresh pineapple along with their mess hall, er, food.  One time they landed in a pineapple field. Dad was so excited he repeatedly yelled at the soldiers to, “Throw me some pineapples!” What he didn’t realize, because the rotors were so loud, was that they’d landed in an ambush and were being shot at. Bullets were flying, the guys were looking at my dad like he’d lost his mind…and Dad was yelling about fruit.
  4. My dad is a friendly, adventurous, laughing sort of guy. He’s got a big heart, but he doesn’t do serious moments often. Once though, he told me a story about the war without any jokes. He said that flying was hard. He dropped guys off, never knowing whom he’d pick up. He knew with each mission that if the Viet Cong could shoot him, the helicopter would go down and make their job a lot easier. Sometimes it made him wonder why he did this. Then… he was picking up a wounded soldier off a battlefield. Men hauled the guy into the back of the helicopter, and Dad checked behind him to make sure everyone was secure before takeoff. The wounded soldier gave him a look that said the pilot was an angel, come down from the sky to save him. At that look, Dad knew at least part of his job was worth the pain of living in a war zone. He made sure wounded men came home.

Do you have any stories to share? Feel free to honor service members you know by telling us their tales in the comments.

Jax Garren is descended from Valkyries and Vikings (she’s part Swedish) but was raised a small town girl in the Texas Hill Country. She graduated from The University of Texas with a degree in English and a minor in Latin then found her own Happily Ever After with a handsome engineer who is saving the world through clean energy technology. Jax loves meeting new people, so if you see her out and about say hello! She’s always happy to raise a glass with her readers (or anyone else) to toast courage, adventure and love.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

It’s the end of the world as we know it…

facebook twitter

If you believe the theories, tomorrow, December 21, 2012, is the Mayan Armageddon (and not the good one with Aerosmith tunes and Ben Affleck). Way to ruin my birthday, Mesoamerican Long Count calendar!

Personally, though, I think we’ll all be here come December 22. We better, as I have theater tickets for Saturday and a hard time pronouncing the word “apocalypse.” While I’m not prepared for end times in the stockpile a bunker way, I feel like I’ve learned a thing or two about surviving in a post-apocalyptic world from reading many a book set in the aftermath of doomsday.

But what if “your” world ceased to exist before you were ever born? This question provides the backdrop for Eleri Stone’s Twilight of the Gods series. Although those around them are living in Earth as we know it, there are people for whom the apocalypse has long been a reality. In Demon Crossings, readers were introduced to the denizens of Ragnarok, Iowa, folks who can trace more than bloodlines to mythological times. They’re the descendants of the ancient Norse gods, a people who found refuge on Earth when their own world, Asgard, was destroyed.

What little magic remains in Asgard leaks through fault lines between worlds…but so do demon threats. Imagine being charged with protecting the lives of your own people as well as those of the unsuspecting humans around you. It’s a duty and a burden shouldered by the heroes and heroines who, while never having experienced the old way of life, are stilled ruled by it. But let’s face it, if I was starting over after the destruction of this world, Aiden and his hunt are people I’d want guarding my back!

That tension between duty and the old clan ways and modern, earthly desires is one of the things that make this series so fun to edit—and read. And a conflict that takes center stage in book two, coming in June 2013. Hopefully you’re all still around to enjoy it!

What traditions/customs from our current culture would you want to see make it through to a post-apocalyptic world? What fictional character would you want at your side if you had to go into survival mode?

Creating a Modern Beast

facebook twitter

Eighties television and vodka are a potent combination.

Let me back up. My little sister and I have a long history of staying up way too late and watching television reruns. It started back as kids when we’d watch Nick at Nite during summer vacations and nosh on popcorn dripping with butter and snowed in salt. Anybody else remember Mr. Ed and The Patty Duke Show? As teens it was Wings and Quantum Leap on USA, always accompanied by root beer and baby carrots. Don’t judge; you know you’ve eaten stranger things. So have I, but we’re not going there.

Now that my sister and I are adults and, to our sadness, live in different states, it’s harder to find time to indulge in our old habit. The last time we did have the chance, we popped in that old Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton Beauty and the Beast. Instead of the tried and true root beer and carrots, we elected to invent our own cocktails. The evening began with Ron Perlman on the screen and vodka, club soda and an assortment of berries and herbs on the counter. It ended with two drunken women, a lyrical rewrite of Peggy Lee’s “You Give Me Fever” in beastly Ron Perlman’s honor… and the idea for Wesley “Hauk” Haukon, the hero for How Beauty Met the Beast, book one of the Tales of the Underlight. (Book two, How Beauty Saved the Beast, releases in February, and the final book, How Beauty Loved the Beast, releases in May.)

Does anybody else remember Ron Perlman as Vincent? His voice is incredible, the kind that could read me a phone book and I’d be happy. But the makeup job, while beautifully done, always left me feeling… well, my sister summed it up best when we saw the first episode. Somebody asks Vincent why he looks the way he does. He answers, “I have an idea,” but fails to explain it. My sister scrunched up her face and said, “What? That your mom made it with a lion?” Ahem. Yeah. Vincent is sweet, innocent and platonically devoted to his beauty in a way that mimics courtly knights of Arthurian romance. And he looks like a lion. (I couldn’t find an image of him to share without a copyright issue, but you can see a picture on Wikipedia.)

As much as I love Ron Perlman’s manimal, the kind of beast I want to curl up with at night has less of a mane and more of an edge. I want a trained fighter who has a libido—a frustrated one. A bad boy with leather and a motorcycle who remembers what it was like to be a normal man and must deal with the curse of his transformation. I’m also not a fan of cuddly or rakishly scarred “beasts”; in my opinion that attractiveness misses the heart of the story. Hauk’s appearance is the result of horrific burn scarring from a fire he barely lived through while serving with the Rangers in Afghanistan. Jolie, the beauty of the story, first sees him when he’s fighting, and he terrifies her with his looks and his ferocity. The scarring’s impact on both Jolie’s ability to realize she loves Hauk and Hauk’s ability to accept love is hands down the hardest thing I’ve ever written.

No matter what the incarnation, Beauty and the Beast is a story about finding the person behind the facade and falling in love in the least expected place. It reminds us that each one of us has so much more inside than a mirror can reveal. Whether your personal beast-crush leans toward a motorcycle-riding anarchist with war wounds, an arrogant, animated prince under a curse or “a mythic, noble man-beast” (as IMDB refers to Vincent) of indeterminate origins, I hope you enjoy this version of How Beauty Met the Beast.

In case you need your own inspiration, here’s the winning cocktail from that night with my sister:

In a tall glass, muddle strawberries and mint
Add a shot (or two) of chilled vodka and stir
Add a few cubes of ice
Top off with club soda

Because I’m sure there’s another TV reruns night in my future, what is your most inspiring cocktail recipe for my sister and me to try?

***

My sister (in blue) and I (in orange) vs. the ancient shark jaws at the Smithsonian. I'd show you a picture of us behaving like proper adults but I, uh, don't have one.

Jax Garren is descended from Valkyries and Vikings (she’s part Swedish) but was raised a small town girl in the Texas Hill Country. She graduated from The University of Texas with a degree in English and a minor in Latin then found her own Happily Ever After with a handsome engineer who is saving the world through clean energy technology. Jax loves meeting new people, so if you see her out and about say hello! She’s always happy to raise a glass with her readers (or anyone else) to toast courage, adventure and love.

Jax can be found on: