Sunday, February 27, 2011

Badlands Release Party!

For those of you who didn't know, Badlands was actually the first story I sold (way back in June :P). At the time publication seemed so incredibly far off, but then it was February and the date just kind of snuck up on me. So here we are on release day, and I hope all of you will rush out to Carina Press and buy a copy this week (assuming you didn't already pre-order).


And considering I'm all over the blogosphere this week with guest spots and such, I'm not going to do a huge post here. Instead, I'm going to ask that you stop by one of the other places I've been in recent days. There's a huge list on my last post, but I'll narrow it down for you...

Feb. 25 - Manic Readers with a guest spot about the inspiration behind Badlands

Feb 27 - Para-Posse for Six Sentence Sunday

***Feb 27 - Katie Reus's blog with a guest spot about danger and secrets***

***Feb 28-Bea's Book Nook for an interview.***

***March 1-Featured at the Carina Press blog talking about strong female characters***

***March 2- Tia Nevitt's blog with a post on how I developed the matriarchal monarchy of the Badlands***

However, before you go chasing me down, you should know that the ***s next to some of those posts are important. In celebration of release day, I'm offering up not one, but two digital copies of Badlands. Here's the twist. You can enter at any of the starred blogs and/or here. If I remember correctly, on the other blogs, you need to tell me about a strong woman in your real life (Double check on the blogs though because I may have done something different on one or two :P)

With that in mind, what I want to talk about very briefly here is inspiration. If you went to Manic Readers, you'll get the low-down on where all the seeds for the story came from, but first and foremost was the piece of artwork that inspired the character of Ever. Without seeing that picture, this story would never have happened.

So to enter contest HERE, I want you to tell me about something specific that has inspired you in some way (this doesn't have to be writing inspiration, it could be just an inspiration to do with life). The key is to be specific--I want to be able to bask in your stories for a few minutes :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Blog Hopping Across the Universe...

Okay, so maybe not the universe, but a lot of places. With the release of Badlands quickly approaching, I'm going to be doing a lot of guest blogging and interviews. What that means is at least for this week (and last, but I was away last weekend, so that was a different issue) there will be no #FridayFlash. Instead, I'm going to fill you in on all the wonderful places I've been or will be in the upcoming weeks. Where I know what I'm blogging about, I'll let you know.

Feb.7 - AD Blackburn's blog for an interview

Feb. 18 - Sarah-Jane Lehoux's blog for an interview

Feb. 25 - Manic Readers with a guest spot about the inspiration behind Badlands

Feb 27 - Para-Posse for Six Sentence Sunday

Feb 27 - Katie Reus's blog with a guest spot about danger and secrets

Feb 28-Blogging HERE for release day with a giveaway! (UPDATE: This giveaway will include commenters from a few places, so I'm upping the number of copies to two. :) )

Feb 28-Bea's Book Nook for an interview.

March 1-Featured at the Carina Press blog talking about strong female characters

March 2- Tia Nevitt's blog with a post on how I developed the matriarchal monarchy of the Badlands

March 4- Julia Knight's blog with a post on the trials and tribulations of promotion

March 9- Para-Posse with my regular monthly post, this one is on writing and drinking

March 11- Julie Campbell's blog with a post on what it's like to write both adult and YA

March 16- Alexandra O'Hurley's blog with a post on sex between the heroine and someone other than the hero

March 18- Fierce Romance with a post about... (I don't know what yet LOL)

March 25- Here Be Magic with my regular post (TBD)

March 31- Daily Dose of Decadence for Three-way Thursday (Thinking, Thankful & Thirsting)

April 4 - Emma Shortt's blog post (unknown topic for now)

April 8- The Book Boost post on either writing stresses or book titles

April 13- Para-Posse with my regular monthly post

April 19- JoJo's Book Corner with a reading from Badlands and maybe a little bit of other stuff.

After that, I think I'm going to try to breathe for a little while. Because breathing is, you know, healthy...or something.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

2 AM Fix

This story inspired by "2 AM (Breathe)" by Anna Nalick


I’m staring at the flickering lights on the television, certain they make pictures but not coherent enough to care what they are. Blue. Red. Yellow. White. Black. Colors without form, without meaning. In the midst of taking a drink, the phone rings and my hand shakes, making the ice clink against the sides of the glass. The tang of vodka rises and I suck in a deep breath before setting it down to get the phone.


“JC, it’s me.”

Dust puffs into the air as my head falls back against the seat cushion. “It’s two in the morning, Lacey.”

“I messed up. I need your help.”

Of course you do. Why else would you call? I raise the glass of vodka, staring into its depths as it reflects the firelight, bending it into shapes…into ghosts. My lips twist into a sneer and I drain the glass, banishing the dead back to the Hell where they belong. “Where?”

“315 Parson Street. Thank you.” Her sigh of relief skips from cell tower to cell tower until it breathes in my ear.

I want to reach through the phone and strangle her. With what she’s asking of me, she shouldn’t get to feel relief. I sure as fuck won’t. But I can’t deny her, and she knows it. Bitch saves my life once and I pay forever. “On my way.” I click off the phone before she can say anything else.

More vodka would make this so much easier, dull my senses, but I can’t risk it. I don’t know what she’s sending me up against. I could have asked, but the less I know, the better I’ll sleep.

My bag slouches next to the door like it’s trying to hide—to disappear through the floorboards. As if that would make a difference. No can do, Lacey. You see, my tools…they just up and vanished. Can’t help you this time. If I said that, I’d just end up with new stuff—things that didn’t fit my hands as well. I shrug on my coat, pick up the simple black bag, and head into the night.

Snow gathers in my hair and the wind bites at my exposed skin as I stand outside 315 Parsons Street. There is a gentle glow from inside, like the entire house is lit by candles. What sort of creature lurks in the near dark?

As I realize the answer, a chill finally settles into my bones. I drag a cross from the bag and drape the chain over my head before fishing out a stake and some holy water. Lacey really did it this time. I stare at the door, wondering how to best enter, and realize I’m probably not going to survive this time.

My heartbeat slows and the chill dissipates as a smile crosses my face. This is for the best. I’ll go out fighting and finally be free of this stupid bond. Time to be bold then.

I race at the door, throwing my shoulder against it. The lock pops open and I fly into a dimly lit foyer. It is indeed candles lighting the front room. The man seated there rises to his feet, consternation writ in the line across his forehead. The simple wrinkle gives me pause.

“What are you doing in my house?” His voice is clear and strong. Dangerous.

I meet his eyes, allowing malice to fill mine. “Lacey Burton sent me.”

He has the audacity to look surprised as I leap at him, both our bodies falling against the couch and overturning it. The holy water slips from my hand, the bottle shattering on the floor. With a snarl, I raise the stake, but before I can strike, he’s flipped me over onto my back.

And then a greater fear than death hits me. What if he turns me? Life eternal. Haunted by ghosts forever.

Faces flash through my mind before I finally settle on the angry gray eyes of the man leaning over me.

No. I can’t.

Adrenaline courses through me, snapping everything into crystal clarity as I wrestle my arm free. His mouth is opening as I plunge the stake home.

His body rolls off me and I lie there for a second, panting. Then I go to my knees, wondering why he hasn’t turned to dust. Or is that just a myth? I kneel in the pool of blood to check his teeth. White, with one slightly crooked incisor, but definitely not abnormally pointed.

But he is also definitely dead. I’ll have to ask Lacey what he was so I know what else dies from a stake through the heart.

A small scuffing noise reaches my ears and I turn around. A child, no more than seven, crouches in the doorway, a worn stuffed bear dangling from her grip. One of  its eyes missing, the hole sewn over in a jagged X. “Daddy?” she whimpers.

I swallow hard and will myself to disappear. I don’t have to ask Lacey now. I know the answer. A stake through the heart will kill a man, no matter what he has in his house to protect.

And I know there is one ghost that I’ll never be able to banish with a thought. The wide gray eyes staring at me from the doorway, so like her father’s, will haunt me forever.





Other than the first line, the song doesn't correlate to the story, but it is beautiful. Give it a listen here or buy it here (though I honestly recommend the whole cd).

Monday, February 7, 2011

Please Welcome A.D. Blackburn!!

Today we have a visitor, the lovely and talented A.D. Blackburn! She was part of the same Christmas anthology I wrote a piece for ('Twas a Dark and Delicious Christmas) and her first full-length novel came out just last week. I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I have.

Hi, A.D., can you tell us about your new release?

Possession is about James Gunn, president of the Diabolus Venator Motorcycle club and demon hunting bad-ass. Without giving away too much, he faces more than a few struggles in the book and in the end he has to make a choice which is more important to save; his own soul or the love of his life. No easy choices there.

Your hero, James, is a demon-hunter. With the trend towards "monsters" as heroes, what made you decide to go the other way?

I have a genuine affinity for bad boys but I've long maintained that not all bad boys have fangs. In the same vein, not all bad boys are really bad. James is terrifying. He's tall, extremely dark, heavily tattooed and he's shed his fair share of blood, but there's a humanism to him that just drew me in. I enjoy fleshing out the softer side of harder men...take that how you will.

What do you prefer to write: emotional scenes, fight/action scenes, or sex scenes? Why?

I enjoy writing them all and writing a steamy sex scene makes my day but to be honest, I love writing fight scenes. I get seriously worked up when my hero is facing a foe and they are getting ready to get dirty. There's something primitive about writing the fight scene that just makes me want to write a hotter sex scene. I know, I know, I need therapy lol!

On your site, you mention your smoking hot husband, so I'll admit, I had to check him out. *wink* Since you also like to write hot men, what do you find attractive in a guy (fictional or otherwise)?

I am such a pig because I stare at my husband all the time. He's 6'3, dark haired, light eyed and cut to pieces. Yum. He's so rugged. I couldn't have written him any better. Fictional or otherwise, I cannot resist a man who works with his hands. The dirtier the better. Blue collar gets me everytime. Not to say that a doctor or a lawyer wouldn't float the same boat, so long as when they doff the suit and tie or the lab coat, they get greased up under the hood of a muscle car that works better than a BOB. Caveat to this is that I want him to have a brain in his head. Ornamental and functional is the name of the game :)

Yes, brains are a must. Who is your favorite hero not of your own creation (TV, movie, literary)?

Oh THUD. This one is hard. I have a few favorites. If I have to put it down to one solitary hero, it would have to be Captain Jack Sparrow. I love that dirty pirate, Savvy?

I do indeed *evil grin* What is the sexiest thing you've ever done to get a guy's attention?

I was plodding around the house in one of my husbands long sleeved button down dress shirts and he was chatting outside with some friends...I opened the door, and threw the shirt to him...may not sound all that sexy but it damned sure got his attention.

LOL nice! Speaking of things done to get a guy's attention, you and I have talked corsets a time or two. Describe your perfect corset.

OH EM GEE...over bust with a sweetheart neckline, grommets at the back with red leather and black brocade but the pattern would be skulls and flames. Word!

I found a skull corset recently (sequins though). Sadly hubs vetoed it. *sigh* With that in mind, do you like the idea of sticking your paranormal romance heroines in corsets or is your first thought "How could she fight in that?"

Oh she'd fight in a corset and LOVE IT...then again, a heroine in my books that fought anything would have to be tough as nails so the boning in a PVC get up would suit her to a tee :)

What's up next for you?

Currently, I am working on Possession's sequel and I am finishing another dark paranormal romance that I hope to have submitted in the near future. Mainly, I just want to keep writing. I've been so lucky to have this opportunity and with any luck I can keep going.

Quick Six

For your hero:
Boxers or briefs? Commando...wait, that wasn't an option. Erm, boxer briefs.
Harleys or horses? Harleys, no question.

For your heroine:
Stilettos or sneakers? Stillies all the way.
Leather or lace? Leather

For YOU:
Wine or whiskey? Wine...I am a self-proclaimed red wine snob!
Sex or seduction? Seduction. It is truly an art form!

Is there anything else you'd like to share with readers?

Thank you. Without readers, I wouldn't be a writer and I will never forget that. I've had a few readers from the anthology email me and it was the most heartwarming experience. Being a great storyteller means nothing if there is no one to tell your tales to, so thank you from the bottom of my heart!

In the epic battle between Heaven and Hell, there are angels and demons…and then there’s James.

Tall, dark and deadly, James Gunn is the President of the Diabolus Venator motorcycle club, a group of one time outlaws turned gun-toting, sword-wielding ass-kicking demon hunters. His no-holds-barred style of dispatching hells darkest minions has earned him quite the reputation, but when he fights a low-level demon that warns him that his soul is in danger, he laughs it off…until he discovers that they mean to steal his heart to obtain it. When James realizes that a high-ranking demon has marked him for a prime spot in hell, he pulls out all the stops to protect the one thing he loves more than his own soul – his one- time girlfriend Maddy.

What James doesn’t count on is that this particular demon knows a little bit more about the art of possession than the average minion and he’s forced to make the ultimate choice between the love of his life or his own soul.
A.D's first romance was with every male character Jude Devereaux ever put on paper. A literary sap from the gate, A.D. bought notebooks and scribbled alternate endings to her favorite stories - always placing herself as the heroine of course. The happily-ever-after bug was firmly planted into her brain, but she needed something more than bodice ripping and white horses that galloped into the sunset. She needed something darker and far more sinister, so she turned to the genre that she now calls home...paranormal romance. Within the bendable walls of the fantastic and the down-right different, she finds that the sky is the limit when it comes to what happens with her characters, and thats just how she likes it.

A.D. lives in the small little mill town of Lincolnton, North Carolina with her amazingly supportive and smoking hot husband, three wonderful albeit loud children, a dog that thinks its a pig and two cats that defy description. When she is not writing, she likes to make huge messes in her kitchen, read, and feed her DIY network/QVC addiction.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Song of the Sea

Death came for me not on black wings, but white. Sunlight reflected off the water and forced my eyes mostly shut again. The infernal gull didn’t care if I was awake or not. Apparently, breathing and heartbeat didn’t matter—I was as good as dead. So it poked at my head, searching for some tasty morsel.

When it targeted one of my eyes, I swung at it. The bird flew off, but the motion upset the wood keeping me afloat. It flipped and sent me under the water, a swell arching over my head as I clawed for the surface. Sputtering, I broke through to the air again. I clutched the wood with both hands and cursed the heavy skirts tangling about my legs, weighing me down.

The ocean stretched in every direction—blue and empty. If any of the others survived the wreckage, I couldn’t see them. In fact, I couldn’t see the deadly rocks either.

I didn’t care.

I was free.

And they deserved to die.

Sadly, God might well have the same fate in mind for me.

I drifted in the middle of the sea, unable to swim, clinging to an unstable float. And weighed down by skirts I couldn’t remove without releasing the board and sinking into the water where I would drown. With every passing second, my thirst grew and the sun beat down upon my once alabaster skin. My flesh tightened painfully and turned an angry shade of red.

But that agony dulled beside my desperate thirst. I tried holding seawater in my mouth, hoping it would help. Even without swallowing, all it did was fuel my craving. I spat it out and cursed the vast, undrinkable ocean.

The sound of my voice made my skull throb and I closed my eyes again. When my head began to spin, even in the darkness, I forced myself to stare at the sea. I couldn’t afford to fall asleep or faint. So I focused on a tiny speck on the horizon that bobbed into view with the undulations of the water.

Another survivor?

The rocks?

I didn’t hear any singing, but that didn’t mean anything.

Over the hours, the speck grew smaller then larger once more—its size ebbing and flowing like the tide.

White flakes began to dance in my vision.


I stuck my tongue out, desperate for the tiny drops of moisture.


When my tongue began burning in the sun, I gave up. Everywhere I turned, I saw snow, but none of its chilly wetness touched me. My lips cracked as a hoarse scream wrenched from my throat. Blood welled in the cut; I sucked on it until it stopped flowing. Not enough. The only thing the salty-sweet taste managed was to remind me what moisture felt like.

I stared at my arms. I couldn’t release the board, but perhaps…

Without allowing time to reconsider, I bit down on my wrist as hard as I could. The pain was just one more agony on top of so many others. My teeth tore at the burned flesh, releasing fluid from beneath the blisters. I lapped at it until I’d consumed every drop.

No denying it. The speck on the horizon had grown. I blinked, trying to clear the snow from my vision, but it only served to make the world tip again.

Too tired to try for another section of my arm, I sealed my lips around the wound, praying a few more precious drops would coat my tongue. I stared at the water, watching as it lapped at the edge of my board, caressing it then withdrawing—the bizarre mating ritual of boat and sea.

The snowy expanse of ocean blurred at the edges and sinuous creatures burst from the water, their bodies dancing to a whispered song. Their tails splashed as they dove back in, dousing me in salt spray. Mermaids. The people of the deep. They’d lived in my dreams since childhood—appropriate they would be with me now.

I smiled and allowed my eyes drift shut, fading to almost-sleep on the strains of an imagined song.

The board shifted under me, and my eyes flew open. A ship passed so close its gentle wake pushed my float aside. Then another block of wood splashed next to me—this one attached to a rope.


I reached for the wood but slipped into the sea. A grinning face flashed past mine, followed by a stream of glittering scales. Then a surge pushed me back to the surface just as my lungs threatened to burst. I clutched at the wood, wrapping my burnt arms around the rope. It jerked, and I found myself flying through the air to land on a rough wooden deck.

Glancing up to thank my rescuers, I gaped at the sight of unwashed bodies, shining earrings, missing teeth, and the odd eye patch. Pirates.

Not more pirates.

Fingers bit into my arms and yanked me upright. “Aye, lads, I’ve told ye before—ye ne’er know what you’ll fish out of the drink.” The captain’s putrid breath washed over my face. “So how’d a morsel like you find its way here?”

I peeled my tongue from the roof of my mouth and tried not to breathe. “I was taken by another ship intent on selling me to slavers.”

The captain raised a brow. “Not our plan for you, is it, boys?” A chorus of grunts told me exactly what their plan entailed. The captain rubbed at his beard, his eyes glittering hungrily. “That other ship still around, lass?”

The curious song met my ears again, and I caught the shimmer of scales in the water, heading away from the setting sun and toward the rocks I’d lost sight of until now. My lips split anew as they spread in a quiet smile. “Yes. When I last saw them, they were headed that way.” I pointed toward the rocks and the sirens waiting among them.