Time is just flying by! For those of you who might not know, the AAD (Authors After Dark) Convention was last weekend, and author Cat Grant attended. She decided to share some of her experiences and pictures from AAD here. 🙂
Hello, all! Thanks for joining me on my blog tour for Black Dog, the first book in my new Bannon’s Gym series. (Hot mixed martial arts fighters – rawwrrr!) I’m giving away a brand new Kindle Paperwhite loaded with my entire back list. Follow along at all my stops on this tour – and leave comments on each. Every comment counts as another chance to win! I’ll announce the winner on my blog on Friday, August 30th.
I just got back from a week in America’s “Hostess City,” the gorgeous Savannah, Georgia, where I was attending Authors After Dark. I haven’t fallen in love with a town like this since the first GayRomLit in New Orleans.
Luckily, my good pal/sister from another mister Gina X. Grant and I programmed in some sight seeing time. We took the trolley tour, the riverboat tour, and our favorite – a horse-drawn carriage tour of the historic/Victorian district. I finally got to see Mercer House up close!
(In case you’ve never seen Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Mercer House was the former home of songwriter Johnny Mercer and the scene of an infamous 1981 murder. I told myself if I ever made it to Savannah, I was going to see Mercer House. Another one crossed off the bucket list! )
And, oh my gawd, the food! One night Gina and I braved a thunderstorm to visit Huey’s down on the river. We sampled each other’s shrimp Creole and grilled salmon with Parmesan-garlic grits – then, despite being full to bursting, ordered the chocolate-caramel tart for dessert. Hey, screw the diet – we were on vacation! We dropped by Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Joe’s Crab Shack too. (Yes, Virginia, there really is a Joe’s Crab Shack. And here I thought it was an urban legend!)
I was a bit skeptical about “Southern hospitality,” but Savannah changed my mind. Every local I met was cheerful and helpful. I’m a California girl born and bred, but when we say, “Have a nice day!” most of us don’t really mean it. In Savannah, they do.
Of course, I could’ve done without the humidity, which turned my straight-as-a-board hair into a frizzy tangle, but just about every place in Savannah is air conditioned. The only thing that could’ve made the trip better was if Lady Chablis was playing at Club One, but that’ll have to wait for next time – preferably in the spring or fall, when it’s cooler!
Danny Bannon and Eddie Roscoe have been fighting in and out of the ring for more than fifteen years, held together by mutual attraction and small-town ties, yet kept apart by a shared tragedy that continues to haunt them. Their steady on-again off-again is shaken up by the arrival of Tom Delaney, a teenage runaway trying to escape his tense home situation and his punch-happy dad.
In no time, the scrawny homeless kid has shown himself to be a boxing prodigy, and building him up brings Danny and Eddie closer than they’ve been in ages. It seems that the three of them, plus Eddie’s mother, Gloria, are forming a new family unit, much tighter than anything Tom experienced in his difficult past.
But Tom’s politically influential father isn’t the only person he left behind. When his mother shows up at Eddie and Gloria’s diner with a shiner and a haunted look in her eyes, Tom is hopeful for her future. But when that hope is snuffed out, Tom is ready to turn his new fighting skills to a deadly purpose: get revenge on his abusive father or die trying.
It’s up to his surrogate big brothers, Danny and Eddie, to put their differences and their painful history aside to prevent another tragic ending.
Cat Grant lives by the sea in beautiful Monterey, California, with one persnickety feline and way too many books and DVDs. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her watching movies or TV (Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries are among her favorite shows), singing along to whatever’s on her iPod, or fantasizing about kinky sex with Michael Fassbender.
Here’s Cat’s various hideouts on the Internet: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads. You can contact her directly at: [email protected] or Subscribe to her newsletter.
So we don’t usually do this here at ALBTALBS (and communication wasn’t as fast and furious because Cat was at AAD!) but leave a comment for an entry in her overall tour giveaway. Hey – it’s a kindle paperwhite, so come on – ask her some questions!
Hi friends! Off schedule today but that’s okay. Today we have the very last author spotlight! Possibly ever! (AAD just didn’t happen for me this year and I dunno – I don’t really see it in the future either.) But! As you see we have last but not least, author Mia Watts visiting with us. She’s also got a question for all of you, so you know the drill!
Free bird at NOLA by Mia Watts
Raise your hand if you’re going to New Orleans this August for the Authors After Dark convention. Keep them raised if you’re secretly hoping to sneak out and explore some of NOLA’s voodoo district. Yeah, I thought so. You aren’t alone because I’m so gonna be there!
Stella Price (event coordinator and goddess of all things #AADNOLA) thoughtfully arranged for us to have our evenings free of panels. I’m not sure if I want to jump right in to voodoo territory, or work my way up through a beignets-chewing stroll in the central square, digging through street vendors. Or the cemetery! Now that’s something I could get into. Figuratively speaking. I have no desire to die while I’m there, even though we will be in prime Katrina timeframe (pack you water wings, y’all).
A haunted tour sounds like fun too. Except for the droning guide, “And over here, you’ll see the lady in white. Wave to her, wave to her. There ya go. She died of a broken heart (don’t they all?). Maybe I should just toured by myself so the spooks can just sneak up on me.
Don’t get me wrong. I have no interest in playing it loose with another culture’s religion. I respect it far too much for that. No one knows the power of another person’s faith and frankly, voodoo scares the crap out of me.
But then so does a progression of breast-flashing coeds. Thankfully, not the season for that.
Travel is one of my favorite things about going to conferences. Some move around the country and others stay still, but between the travel, the food and the company, I’m a sucker for the experience. This one allows us the added benefit of hanging out with other writers and readers, bloggers and reviewers. Are you going? You should be! Plan on it next year.
As you can see from that bit of tourist squee up there, writers don’t get out much. We’re solitary, writing in our living rooms or offices. We giggle at clever turns of phrases, love a good pun, are amazed with each other’s work and saddened by pirates. We do it all in the privacy of our homes, yet we’re united in craft and passion. Getting together is like a free-for-all field day with cookies and milk. Or rather lots and lots of coffee and wine. Yeah, that’s more like it.
So if you see us there, ignore our youthful exuberance for being “let out”. Have patience if one of us trips in our untried high heels. Smile and nod when we talk about formatting and margins, even if your eyes glaze over. If, after it’s all said and done, you still love us? You have a fan for life.
Hello! We’ve got author Rosalie Lario here with us with another Author Spotlight! She’s also offering a giveaway, so pay attention to what she’s asking! [Hint: Anyone who calls this an interview is disqualified from the drawing. :X] I’ll leave her ending as is though, because she’s got a great question for you all!
The Conflicted Hero
I’ll admit it, I’ve always had a bit of a thing for a conflicted hero. I think it all started when, at the tender age of 12, I read Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. Louis was the epitome of the tortured hero, from the beginning of his immortal life—when instead of being granted the death he seeks, he’s given eternal life—to the moment when he is “interviewed” by the reporter. Despite all his years on Earth, he never found comfort with what he was. He hated the monster inside of him, the one that needed to feed on humans to ensure his survival. Something about his inner torment resonated with me. It made an admittedly powerful creature vulnerable. It humanized him. And thence began my obsession with conflicted heroes.
I think readers automatically tend to empathize more with a hero who has had a difficult past. I know I do. This makes the man who’s always fighting his personal demons the perfect hero, especially for the genre I write in: paranormal romance. The paranormal romance hero may be something more than human—perhaps humans are even his prey—but he cannot help but fall for one. Seeing the hero overcome all obstacles to find true love is very emotionally satisfying.
In my paranormal romance, Blood of the Demon (Book 1 in my Demons of Infernum series), half-demon Keegan is an interdimensional bounty hunter who’s vowed to stop a demon with plans to bring on the apocalypse. Not because he sees himself as a hero…but because the demon is his father, an evil, vicious man who abused him and his brothers. When we first meet Keegan, he has vowed to do whatever is necessary in order to stop his father.
Then he meets Brynn…the key to the apocalypse, and the very woman he may have to kill in order to stop his father. She’s vulnerable but brave, and she takes him totally by surprise. Suddenly he’s forced with a very tough decision: keep his vow and stop his father…or protect the woman he’s falling in love with.
Here’s a brief excerpt from the book:
Keegan lives to exact revenge on the evil demon who sired and abused him. When his father devises a plan to bring on the apocalypse, he and his three half-brothers, interdimensional bounty hunters for the Elden Council, are charged with capturing and delivering their father for punishment.
Art gallery owner Brynn Meyers has no idea that her ability to read memories embedded in objects and drain people of their life force means she has demon ancestry. Unfortunately for Brynn, she’s also the key to raising an ancient zombie army, which puts her on every demon’s Most Wanted List.
And no one wants her more than Keegan’s father.
Keegan must protect Brynn from his father by any means necessary, but he’ll have to learn to harness the other half of his genetics—the far deadlier, uncontrollable half—when he starts to fall for the one woman standing between him and the vengeance he so desperately seeks. The one woman he’ll never be able to resist.
Keegan stood outside Brynn’s door, staring at it like some lovesick schoolboy.
What was wrong with him? She was just a woman. A human woman. But his body didn’t seem to care who she was or what he might have to do to her. It liked her anyway.
He’d given up lying to himself about not being attracted to her. Oh, he was. And the more he learned about her, the more he liked her. Earlier tonight, after he’d dropped the bombshell about the Book of the Dead, she hadn’t believed him. Judging by the way she gaped at them, she thought they were a bunch of psychos. But she didn’t freak. She listened when he explained to her that supernatural forces existed, and then she said she needed time to think about it, before picking up her fork and finishing her meal in silence.
Brynn was strong. Stronger than he’d imagined any human woman could be. But would she take it in stride when he told her about her ancestry, or when she learned that demon blood flowed through her veins?
The practical part of his brain wondered why he should bother telling her. After all, it didn’t change anything—either they’d find it before Mammon did and discover a way to destroy it, in which case Brynn would be free to return to her normal life, or they wouldn’t.
And then he’d have to kill her.
But he refused to take the coward’s way out. He’d tell her as much as he could without damaging her sanity. He owed her that much, at least. He might be many things, but he wasn’t a monster.
Bio: Rosalie Lario practiced real estate law for several years before finally admitting to herself that negotiating contracts wasn’t nearly as fun as dreaming up stories. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son in their home state of Florida, as well as searching out things that go bump in the night. Follow her on: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
I’d love to offer an ecopy of Blood of the Demon to one person who responds to the following question: Do you read paranormal romance? If so, who’s your favorite paranormal romance hero?
Hi friends! We’ve got Pamela Palmer visiting with us as one of the last few AAD authors!
See You in NOLA!
The last time I visited New Orleans, I was there for less than twenty-four hours. In February of 2011, Avon Books sent me on book tour with the amazing Jeaniene Frost. My fifth Feral Warriors shape shifter book, Hunger Untamed, had just been released as had Jeaniene’s fifth Cat and Bones book. Our last tour stop was the lovely Garden District Bookshop in New Orleans. We arrived early afternoon the day of the signing and headed out first thing the following morning. But even a quick trip to New Orleans is a delight.
Before the signing, travel-tired and hungry, we grabbed a quick dinner in the hotel across the street from ours. But New Orleans is just too much fun and we weren’t about to miss a visit to Bourbon Street, so after our evening book signing we hailed a cab and went in search of beignets. We wound up at Café Beignet where we snacked on those warm, tasty treats, chatted, listened to the live music, and watched the throngs of people already pouring into the city a few days before the start of Mardi Gras. I’m looking forward to spending more than a day this time!
It was on that trip that Jeaniene first told me about AAD 2012, and I can’t wait to attend. In addition to the Late Night Sweets party that I’m hosting with Jeaniene, I’ll be doing several panels, talking about my Feral Warriors and my latest release, A Blood Seduction, the first book in my new Vamp City series.
Vamp City is a departure for me, a multi-book romance/urban fantasy. Prior to A Blood Seduction, I’d written only classic paranormal romances. My Feral Warriors story has one escalating, continuous story arc, but that outer story is told through a series of romances, each book focusing on one of the shifters as he finds the woman destined to be his mate. Not so my Vamp City books. A Blood Seduction is just the beginning of a continuing-character story that will eventually be either a four or five book romance, the tale of Quinn Lennox and the dark, dangerous vampire, Arturo Mazza.
Vampires live only for lust and pleasure in the eternal twilight of Vamp City. But the city’s magic is dying. The only person who can restore it? A beautiful woman from the mortal world…one who knows nothing of the power she wields. Quinn Lennox is searching for a missing friend when she stumbles into a dark otherworld that only she can see–and finds herself at the mercy of Arturo Mazza, a dangerously handsome vampire whose wicked kiss will save her, enslave her, bewitch her, and betray her. What Arturo can’t do is forget about her–any more than Quinn can control her own feelings for him. Neither one can let desire get in the way of their mission–his to save his people, hers to save herself. But there is no escape from desire in a city built for seduction, where passion flows hot and blood-red. Welcome to Vamp City…
See you in New Orleans!
Have any of you read anything by Ms. Palmer before? Either her Feral Warriors series, or the Vamp City novel? Pamela is at RWA right now, but she expects to have internet access, so feel free to ask her any questions – she’ll stop by and respond when she can!
Ladies! (And Gentlemen? Are there any?) we have another AAD Spotlight! We’re coming to the end. Which makes me happy and sad. Happy because, we’re almost done! Sad because I’m freaking not going. Yes, your friend Limecello is a damn idiot because she’s doing this regardless. Anyway, Cat Johnson is visiting with us today!
Author Cat Johnson on AAD NOLA – Bring Bail Money!
I’m eyeball deep getting ready for the Authors After Dark convention being held in New Orleans in August. Putting together a costume. Packing promo and giveaways until there’s no room left in the luggage for my clothes. And anticipating all the fun that can be had within walking distance from our hotel on Bourbon Street. One is the Bourbon Cowboy across the street from the hotel where I’ll be the author stationed for the Pub Crawl Saturday night. There’s a mechanical bull. It should definitely be interesting.
There’s one more thing I did to get ready for AAD NOLA—I wrote and self-published a short story set (you guessed it) on Bourbon Street. I’ve posted the blurb and an excerpt below. Check it out (it’s only 99cents!) and get in the mood because New Orleans awaits! And don’t forget bail money.
A maid of honor, pretending to be a stripper, encounters the best man, pretending to be the groom, and things really heat up…
When I agreed to be my best friend’s maid of honor, I thought it would be fun. Maybe I’d even meet a nice, single guy at the reception. But now the bride is missing, I have the hang over from hell and it seems I may have accidentally had sex with the groom last night while pretending to be a stripper to spy on him at his bachelor party… Or maybe I didn’t.
It’s hard to tell since I can’t remember much past drinking that last Hurricane on Bourbon Street. There’s also this matter of the groom’s identical twin brother and the fact they have a habit of switching places.
I do know one thing, nothing is what it seems in New Orleans. Anything can happen…and it usually does.
I made the supreme sacrifice and lifted my head to try and see the rest of the room. After all, I was the maid of honor. I suppose checking to see if I’d lost the bride was the least I could do.
There was a lump under the covers in the other bed. Unless I’d picked up a stranger and brought him or her home, at least one member of our party was accounted for.
“Beth?” Wishful thinking on my part, but I croaked the possibly missing bride’s name as loudly as my pounding head and scratchy throat would allow, hoping the lump would respond.
“Ugh. Holy hell, I feel like crap. Did I get run over by a truck last night?” Marci’s muffled voice preceded the arm that snaked its way out from beneath the covers.
“I have no idea. Where are Jen and Beth?” I braced myself on one elbow and tried not to sway since the room seemed to be doing enough moving on its own.
“I don’t know.” Marci lifted the covers and peered under them. “Christ, my feet are sore.”
Come to think of it, I was pretty achy too, but it wasn’t my feet that were sore. It was a much more intimate area—one that hadn’t been used in quite a while. Not since I’d had my last steady boyfriend. Uh, oh.
“You guys okay?”
I heard the disembodied voice come from the vicinity of the bathroom. “Jen?”
“Yeah. I seem to have slept on the bathroom floor. But judging by what’s in the toilet, that was a good thing.” There was the sound of a flush, and then Jen stumbled out of the bathroom, holding on to the wall. “Hurricanes don’t look as good in the toilet the morning after.”
Phew, another one accounted for. Now all I needed was to hear Beth’s voice and I’d be the happiest hung over girl in the world. “Beth didn’t happen to be in the bathroom with you, did she?”
Jen frowned. “No. She’s not out here with you guys?”
Marci leaned over the edge of her bed and checked the floor. “Nope. Ugh, that was a bad move.” She pressed her hand to her head.
“I think we lost her.” I looked from Marci to Jen, starting to really panic now. “What do we do?”
“Call her family?” Jen suggested.
I let out a snort. “And tell them what? I got drunk and misplaced their daughter? That I possibly left her somewhere to get killed or kidnapped?”
“Jen or I could call. We just have to be a little sneaky about it.” Marci glanced from me to Jen. “One of us can call their house and pretend we’re not with the others and ask if Beth’s there. I mean she grew up in New Orleans. That’s why we all had to fly our asses here from all over the country for the wedding. Maybe she went home to her family’s house last night after we passed out.”
“Let’s try calling her cell phone first.” I didn’t think any one of us currently had the capacity to lie to Beth’s parents, forget about her Marine Corps fiancé.
“Good idea.” Jen, who was already standing, stumbled from the wall to the dresser where a purse sat next to the lamp. I recognized that purse. It was mine. That was good. One more piece of the puzzle found. When Jen pulled my phone out of it, my hopes rose a bit higher. She squinted at the readout, then hit a few buttons.
A vibrating in my pocket had me jumping. I may have been moving a little slowly but a feeling of dread descended upon me the moment Jen’s call to Beth’s phone made my ass vibrate.
“Crap.” I reached beneath me and pulled out a cell phone. “Why do I have Beth’s phone?”
“Wait, I remember that.” Marci held up a hand.
“Me too!” Jen nodded, then pressed her hand to her head and groaned.
Thank God. At least they could remember something. “What do you remember?”
“Beth was drunk and pissed at John for lying about having a stripper at his bachelor party. So you took Beth’s phone so she wouldn’t call her ex-boyfriend in retaliation.” Marci’s words started slowly but sped as the pieces started to fall into place.
I nodded. That did sound like something I would do. “Okay. That makes sense.”
“Wait. I remember more.” Jen squinted, as if it would wring the memories out of her alcohol soaked brain. Her gaze swung to me.
“So do I.” Marci stared at me now too.
I started to get a little worried. “What?”
“You don’t remember?” Marci asked.
“No.” Crap. I looked at Marci. “Why don’t you just tell me?”
Jen answered for them both. “Since you’re the only one John has never met, we sent you into his bachelor party as a spy dressed as a stripper.”
Uh, oh. This was starting to sound familiar to me, but in a detached kind of way. Kind of like it was the plot of a movie I’d watched only I couldn’t remember the ending. I glanced up and found them both watching me, wide-eyed. I glanced down at myself and noticed for the first time that though I was in my own pants, there was a corset making my boobs look two cup sizes larger. It was definitely stripper-worthy.
I noticed an uncomfortable presence between my ass cheeks and wiggled a bit. Reaching down I confirmed my suspicions. I was wearing a thong. I didn’t own a thong. And definitely not a red lace thong that matched the corset, which was the discovery I made when I peeked down the front of my jeans.
“Rose, what happened at the bachelor party?” Jen asked.
Memories swirled like a kaleidoscope. Music. A party. A man’s hands on my body. I didn’t have a chance to piece it all together before a knock on the door broke my concentration.
“Maybe it’s Beth.” I glanced at Jen and Marci.
Jen moved to open the door. When she backed into the room, a man I was pretty sure I knew though I couldn’t be sure followed her inside.
“It’s John,” Marci mouthed to me.
John. The groom. Probably looking for his missing bride because as the door slammed closed behind him it was pretty clear he’d come alone. Beth wasn’t with him.
His gaze found me. Self-consciously I tugged the top of the corset higher, but my boobs only popped up more so I decided to cut my losses and let my hands drop.
“Rose. Thank God, you’re awake.” He came directly to my bed and sat on the edge. Concern was written all over his face as he took my hand in his. “Are you all right?”
I managed a nod, but that was about it.
“I was so worried about you last night.” He cupped my chin as he leaned in and pressed his lips to mine.
I pulled back to find the room silent. Jen and Marci looked about as shocked as I was.
“Um, all right. What the hell happened last night?” Marci finally asked.
Since the groom was kissing me the day before his wedding while the bride was missing, I figured that was as good a question as any. And I certainly didn’t have the answer.
You can read more about it here… which actually is also what she shared here.
Hi friends! We’re all over the place recently, but that’s fine. I know you’re all troopers and can adapt. 😉 Today we of course as you see have Bronwyn Green visiting with us. She’s also very generously offering up three books to someone, so polish up those bright eyed bushy tailed personas! 😛 There really isn’t anything I can say that isn’t flip and won’t detract from Ms. Green’s great post, so I leave you to comment as you see fit. I mean – you’re all smart. You don’t need a prompt from me!
Hi there, everyone! My name is Bronwyn Green and I write erotic romance – mostly paranormal erotic romance with a smidge of contemporary and historical thrown in. I’ll be at AAD in August, so if you’re attending, please come say hi! And thank you so much to Limecello for having me on her awesome blog!
I’ll be giving away 3 ebooks (winner’s choice) to one commenter, so please feel free to ask me a question or leave a comment. 🙂
I often have people ask where I get the ideas for my stories. What writer, doesn’t? Most of the time the answer is anywhere and everywhere. Songs, half-remembered dreams, snippets of overheard conversation – you know, the usual.
However, my latest release, Sensuous Summoning, Book Two in the Witch Way series has a more specific, easier to pinpoint answer. In it, the heroine, Rowan, works a protection spell to save a piece of land that’s important to her. Instead, something goes horribly awry and she ends up summoning an ancient Celtic god.
When I was a kid, much of my summer vacations were spent at my grandparents’ farms. My maternal grandparents had a small sustenance farm and my paternal grandparents had a small dairy farm. So depending where I was, you could find me picking endless amounts of strawberries, plums, rhubarb, blackberries and various veggies or mucking out stalls, feeding cows, hauling hay, driving a tractor and occasionally riding a really old horse that my dad won in a poker game. I know it sounds too cliché to be true, but there it is.
As you can imagine, hanging at the grandparents’ wasn’t particularly relaxing, but there were aspects of it that I loved. For instance, cows are really sweet animals. Not particularly bright, but I liked feeding and brushing them. And I loved the calves. They were adorable on their wobbly legs. The barn cats were, of course, my favorite. I loved wandering through the fields making up stories about the people who must have lived on that land centuries earlier and the faeries that I wanted to believe inhabited the trees that bordered the properties.
Of course, these memories are softened by time. While I might fondly remember hauling hay, I know if I tried it today, I’d have a major allergy attack, strained muscles and I’d probably need to sleep for a week afterward. I don’t actually really want to go back to those times, but I do wish the land was still there.
Well, it’s there. It didn’t get sucked into a black hole, or anything. My cousin and his wife now own my maternal grandparents’ house and out buildings which is awesome! But the other farm is another story. The house is still there looking tinier and dingier with age, but it’s sat empty for the past few years. It’s also not the farm of my childhood.
In 2004, when my grandma died, the acreage was sold off to pay off medical debts and bills – which obviously had to happen. I don’t begrudge anyone that. But it’s been incredibly sad to watch cookie cutter houses spring up in the places I used to play and dream about the future. The hay fields are gone. So are the corn fields. And the cows. The pastures have been swallowed up by pools and McMansions and private roads dedicated to late NASCAR drivers. (I’m so not a NASCAR fan.) And as sad as it’s been for me, I know it’s been even worse for my dad and uncles.
One afternoon, when I was headed home from a cousin’s house, I took a detour and drove past the farm. I noticed that the last plot was in the process of being turned into another house that looked like all the rest. As stupid as it sounds, I remember wishing I had a magic wand to put the fields back the way they were just long enough to take a few pictures.
That thought stayed with me until I woke up the next morning with a story idea. I didn’t want to make it a farm that she was trying to save because A.) too close to home and B.)I wasn’t sure my editor or anyone else would get feeling nostalgic about cows. But it was one of those moments when I woke up with the first scene fully formed and ready to go. I couldn’t wait to get to my computer.
Here’s the first scene of that story:
While casting a protection spell, Rowan Spencer gets the shock of her life. The spell goes very, very wrong, and she accidentally summons an ancient Celtic god.
A gorgeous, naked god.
Until Gwydion’s duty is complete, he’s bound to the human who summoned him. But as the poisons of earth drain him, he finds binding Rowan for his pleasure is sensuous task he’d enjoy for a lifetime—a lifetime that isn’t theirs to have.
“As I will it, so mote it be.” Rowan Spencer’s words hung in white puffs of breath in the chilly, late spring air as she released energy into the ground beneath her. A ripple of power spread through last autumn’s leaves and fallen twigs, churning the dirt below as though it were water. The lines of the circle she’d cast glowed faintly blue-white underneath the shifting leaves, disrupting the near darkness surrounding her.
Nervously, she knelt outside the circle and watched as the light brightened, searing the damp leaves and grass with its heat. Usually when the energy left her body, it slowly dissipated until it was gone, but this seemed to be increasing with every passing second. She only hoped that meant the spell would be successful. It needed to be successful.
The earth suddenly roiled below her, and she stumbled to her feet, unable to tear her eyes from the ever-brightening circle. She glanced around hoping no one was nearby to notice the otherworldly glow shining through the trees. The ground rumbled as if something huge fought its way to the surface.
Her heart leapt into her throat. This wasn’t right. Simple protection spells didn’t involve burning leaves or miniature earthquakes. What had she done? And more importantly, how the hell was she supposed to stop it?
She dropped to her knees, laid her hands on the trembling earth and tried to call back the energy she’d sent forth. It didn’t work. A startling shock traveled up her arms and into her chest before she could pull her hands away. It reminded her of touching her grandparents’ electrified fence as a child. She’d wandered around for the rest of the day convinced that she’d drop dead at any moment because she’d disobeyed and snuck into the cow pasture. Now, like then, she wasn’t sure if she’d survive the consequences of what she’d done.
Roots and vines crawled toward the center of the circle, pulsing and rising from the earth—coalescing into a mound at least half a foot taller than her. As she watched in growing horror, the vines continued moving of their own volition, and a definite shape began to form. Discernable arms and legs appeared along with a head and wide shoulders.
Terror dried her mouth as she tried to convince her body to move, to run away and never to return to this place, but apparently, her body had zero interest in listening to her. It remained as firmly rooted to the ground as this humanoid figure seemed to be.
She wished Meaghan or Emma were here. Hell, both of them. They’d always had far better control of their powers than she’d ever had. She was an idiot to have attempted this on her own. No. That wasn’t true; she’d done tons of protection spells over the years. Granted, none of them on as large a scale as this one, but the area of effect shouldn’t matter. But somehow it did. Or, she’d really screwed up something. Something major.
A sudden breeze blew past her, whipping her hair into her eyes and causing them to tear. The breeze picked up the dead leaves that carpeted the orchard floor, drawing them like a cloak around the figure. They clung to the shape, forming a sort of skin over the vines.
Again, she tried to force herself to run, but she remained frozen in place—no more able to leave than the trees surrounding her. Her breath caught in her throat as a faint glow pulsed in the chest cavity of the figure. With every passing second, it grew stronger and more vibrant until it expanded and radiated through the entire body, bright as the noonday sun. She closed her eyes against the intense glare.
When she opened them again, the light was gone, but the figure wasn’t. Blinking around the floating black spots marring her sight, she stared in jaw-dropping awe at the man in front of her. Golden skin covered perfectly shaped muscles and wide, well-formed shoulders. Light brown hair dusted an equally broad chest and narrowed over tightly delineated stomach muscles, before thickening as it extended lower. Catching sight of a huge cock, she lifted her gaze sharply upward, meeting the brightest green eyes she’d ever seen.
He held her gaze for several long, terrifying moments before glancing around the grove of trees. “You have summoned me, but I see no sacrifice.”
Rowan couldn’t force her voice to work any more than she’d been able to force her limbs to move. His words were heavily accented, sounding vaguely British.
“I require an answer.” His voice was rough as though he rarely spoke, and it sent shivers sliding down her spine, but at the moment, she couldn’t decide if that was a positive experience or not.
She swallowed several times, trying to form words. “I think there’s been a mistake.”
He shifted and stared at her. With his hands on his hips and an eyebrow raised, he should have looked silly. Instead, he looked intimidating and downright scary. What had she done?
“There is no mistake. You summoned me. I answered.”
She shook her head from side to side and opened her mouth, but no words came out.
He took a step forward. Then another and another until he stood at the edge of the still glowing circle she’d cast. She glanced at the ground, at his bare feet. Would he be able to cross? Circles were meant to keep in the power that had been raised. And entities, too. She’d been with Meaghan often enough when they’d secured spirits in a circle to help them cross to the other side. But whatever this guy was, he was no spirit.
He followed her gaze to the illuminated line and swept his hand through it, eradicating it.
Finally freed from her stasis, she took several steps backward. “Who are you? What are you?”
The hint of a smile curled his firmly sculpted lips. “I think you know who I am. Why would you summon me if you did not?”
“I didn’t mean—” She couldn’t force herself to finish the sentence. Instead, fear got the best of her, and she turned and ran.
She made the mistake of looking back at him. His gaze had narrowed, and a frown marred his face. Her chest constricted in terror, and she tried to run faster.
She heard a rustling along the ground, but she ignored it and dodged a fallen log. Something brushed against her ankle, tickling her bare flesh.
“You will not run from me.”
“The hell I won’t, b—” The rest of the sentence was swallowed by her squeal as something wrapped tightly around her ankle, yanking her to the ground. Rolling over, she sat up and tugged at the vine in which she’d managed to entangle herself. As she pulled futilely at the growth, more vines crept across the ground. Toward her. Her heart slammed wildly against her ribs as she attempted to rip the foliage from her body.
More tendrils wrapped her other ankle, holding her snugly, while additional plants encircled her wrists. She tried to free herself to no avail. The man stood over her, and with a wave of his hand, all of the vines pulled tight, pinning her spread eagle to the loamy earth. So quickly, she didn’t even see him move, he suddenly loomed over her, his arms extended and caging her beneath him.
His chestnut-colored hair hung down, forming a silky curtain around their faces, and his breath drifted across her lips. It was surprisingly warm and sweet for someone who was formed entirely of vegetation.
“Why did you call me forth?” he asked, holding her gaze in the near darkness. His eyes searched hers before drifting lower to her mouth.
He hungrily followed the swipe of her tongue as she tried to moisten her suddenly parched lips. “I didn’t. I didn’t mean to, anyway.”
Author Kris Norris knows one very important life lesson. Flattery gets you everywhere. Especially in the ALBTALBS world. 😀 No really though – she actually read through other posts! Incredible! So everyone pay attention, and answer accordingly, please!
First off, thanks so much for having me stop by. This is an amazing blog and I have to say, I’ve had a blast reading through all the other posts and reviews. Just one thing…now I have to come up with something remotely interesting to say…and quite frankly, I totally suck at blog posts. I don’t quite understand why people think that because I write books, I’m naturally good at writing other things…‘cause yeah, it’s so not true in my case. But I’ll give it a go.
When I was asked to do a post, the main themes folks seemed to be interested in were, of course, New Orleans. After all, this is all revolving around Authors After Dark and with it being in the heart of Louisiana this year, it seems only natural that both authors and readers are gearing up for a hot time in the Big Easy. And what’s not to like—clubs, cemeteries, and my favourite…voodoo.
I’m not sure about anyone else, but I’ll admit, most of my knowledge on this ancient religion has been via Hollywood. Who doesn’t remember Live and Let Die…not to mention a myriad of other movies, all sprouting forth their perception of voodoo. Even Scooby-Doo has a terrifying time in the Bayous of New Orleans, with cat shifting voodoo priestesses. So, I decided to do a bit of research on the subject and find out the skinny on all things voodoo.
Voodoo, or Vodou, or Vodoun as it has been known, originated some seven thousand years ago, just after Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue, when the slave trade between West and Central Africa began. The bringing together of varied peoples resulted in a combining of thoughts and practices, which eventually evolved into Voodoo as we know it today. (Okay, this is insanely simplified, but you get the picture. It wasn’t one belief system that created this fascinating culture but a number of different beliefs that melted into one, unifying experience.)
As far as New Orleans goes, the Voodoo religion dates back about two Centuries, to a time when West African slaves arrived. But without a doubt, the most famous icon of Voodoo in the Big Easy is Marie Laveau, who, in the 1830s, became the first commercial Voodoo Queen, declaring herself Pope of Voodoo. It is said she held voodoo rituals behind St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans’ French Quarter shortly after attending mass at the church. On an episode of Ghost Adventures, the lads even go to an old plantation where the spirit of Marie Laveau is said to haunt the slave barracks. Witnesses say they often hear rituals in the night and see evidence of voodoo practices being held on the property. Marie, herself, is fabled to have lived to the ripe old age of 120, with some believers claiming she lives yet today. Though most believe her body rests in an unmarked tomb in Saint Louis Cemetery number 1 (where I plan to go on a tour and where my next book takes place).
For many, voodoo is a black art, used to curse those who have wronged someone. (Trust me when I tell you I could use a few voodoo dolls, myself:) But I was surprised to discover that most voodoo practices are actually for positive measures. People seeking wealth, true love or healing potions are the main constituents in voodoo and those who practice the ancient arts make a point of separating themselves from the darker side of the religion (insert Darth Vadar’s heavy breathing here).
So where does this leave us? Well, for me, I still plan on visiting a voodoo shop and talking to those who have intimate knowledge of the craft. I mean, where else will this type of opportunity arise? And yes, I plan on purchasing a voodoo doll or two (hey, I could use a true love doll… just saying) and who knows, maybe I’ll be able to cast a spell on all who enter the conference which draws them to my author table and compels them to have me sign a copy of one of my books…yes, this is where my evil laugh resonates through the air…if nothing else, I should have a few wild stories to tell after.
Now in the spirit (lol, see what I just did there… yes, I am masterful) of having a fun time visiting here, I’d love to give away an ebook copy of my newest release. Now it’s not quite a voodoo, scare-your-pants-off book, though it is an erotic historical piece that is guaranteed to involve pants coming off 😀 (yes, I did it again.)
Anyway, the book is entitled Coyote Blood. I’ve included the blurb below. Thanks again for having me here and I hope to see lots of you in New Orleans…I’ll be the one with the dried chicken foot and gris-gris bag.
US Marshal, Jacqueline ‘Jac’ Kade, isn’t your typical desert flower. She’s as tough as any man and takes her job seriously. So when a prisoner she’s been sent to escort back to Durango escapes, she’s determined to track him down. She doesn’t want help, especially when it comes in the form of a gunslinger known only as Everett. The man is more than mysterious, but he can track fugitives better than anyone she’s ever met. Now if she can only get her heart to stop racing every time he smiles, they just might catch their prey.
Coyote shifter, Everett, is hell bent on catching his prey, only it’s not Jacqueline’s fugitive. After years of roaming the wilds of Mexico, he’s finally come home to a life that was taken from him. He never thought he’d meet his mate, or that she’d be a gun-toting Marshal, but he can’t deny what his inner animal already knows.
A dangerous chase through New Mexico might unite them, or it might destroy Everett’s last chance at reclaiming his humanity.
All joking aside – I really enjoyed this post. Definitely a new topic, and not something you really think of. Despite the fact that we’ve seen a few posts on N’awlins! So what do you know about Voodoo? Ever thought about it? Or you know – questions for Kris, if you’ve read her before, conferences, the usual. Really, I’m game for everything. 😉 Maybe because I’m not the one who has to answer. 😛 Remember! One lucky commenter wins Coyote Blood!
Hi Everyone! So we’ve got another AAD spotlight today, as you see! Which is just rubbing salt into the wound since I’m not going. 😛 But I’m a good little girl who thought she might be going and signed up to be a blogger so I’m doing all the spotlights. Right?! Cookies! Also, because S.A. Price is… Stella and her sister, Audra! And did you know Stella is the bigwig and creator of the Authors After Dark Conference? That’s right! We’ve got the head honcho visiting with us today! She’s also sneaky (as was Carolyn Jewel), because she asked me for topics on her post. I sent her a bunch… and she turned it into an interview! I was had! 😉
1. What tips do you have for attending a conference? (Either real, or spoof/joke ones): For AAD? Be yourself is the first and foremost. AAD is about interaction, so make yourself available to readers and authors alike. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Talk to everyone, cuz you never know who your next favorite author or new BFF will be. Go to the meals—you paid for them, and you’re going to get tons of goodies at them. Make sure you mingle—so much goes on that’s not scheduled that if you don’t you will miss something.
2. What made you decide to do AAD? I got tired of paying through the ass to attend “reader” events… and being limited with the book signings and the amount of exposure I could get for the money I paid. I decided to make a fair event, one where, even though we have to limit the amount of participating authors, they all get the same promotional opportunities and perks. I wanted to meet readers, not more authors looking to meet readers. When 2 out of every 3 people at a con is an author, it defeats the purpose. So I decided to do it right.
3. What’s your favorite thing about writing? Being able to share my ideas and world with someone else. Imagination is often a lonely pastime, but when you write it down it becomes something tangible, and therefore, shareable. I like that.
4. What is the most interesting thing you’ve ever learned while conducting research for a book? (Or done? Do you do “hands on” research?) Me? Hmmm… A lot of what I write comes from past experiences, where I didn’t think I was doing research, just living my life. You see a lot of that in our next novel which will be out next year.
5. What is your favorite movie and/or television show? Movie? Top 5: Labyrith, Legend, Fall, Mirror Mask and Aliens. TV show? Without a doubt it’s the Venture Brothers.
6. What, if any, are your hobbies? Collecting things, gardening, etc. I do steampunk crafts, costume design, and I snowboard in the winter.
7. Do you enjoy cooking? What’s the best/worst thing you’ve ever ate, or made? I’m a pretty damn decent cook. I’m marrying a man that isn’t that foodie adventurous, but he’s learning. My favorite food is sushi and the worst thing on the face of the planet? Avocado— the texture of that is HORRIBLE!!!!
8. If you were to write a Mary Sue book – what would the heroine/your career and life be [like]? *Blink* ooh lets not get into Mary Sue shall we, LOL.
9. Do you like reality TV? If yes, which show would you most like to be on? If you don’t like it – which would you pick as the lesser evil? Ugh reality TV is killing television as we know it. SO many amazing shows have been cancelled in favor of the white trash drivel, I just cant watch it. Now, the lesser evil? My Fair Wedding. I love wedding shows. That kinda Reality TV is ok, because its not a bunch of people making fools of themselves.
So have any of you read anything by S.A. Price before? Have you been to AAD, or are considering it? Do you have any questions for Stella? (Or questions in general? You know they’re always welcome here!)
Hi friends! So I’ve been kinda quiet lately – lots going on, but today I bring you a new guest! Author Samantha Kane, who wrote for Ellora’s Cave, and now also Random House. Yay variety! And since Ms. Kane asks you all a question at the end, I’ll just leave it at that. 🙂 I hope you answer though, because I’m curious as well!
Some Days You Feel Like a Nut…
Some days I feel like I’ve been writing forever.
And, of course, some days I feel like I’m still a newbie and I know NOTHING. Every time I get a great review or win an award I want to pull a Sally Field, “You like me! You really like me!” You’d think after fifteen books I’d be over that, but nope, not yet.
My next book, The Devil’s Thief, will be out this November. It’s the first book in a new series for Bantam Loveswept called The Saint’s Devils. And I’m nervous. It’s my first mainstream romance. I’ve been writing erotic romance for years. I’ve made a name as an erotic romance writer. So why am I switching gears? To be honest, I just didn’t think I was reaching as broad a reading audience as I could by limiting myself to erotic romance. Countless times I’ve heard the comment, “I’d read your stuff, but I’m not really into erotic romance. If you wrote a mainstream romance I’d love to read it!” So for those readers, here it is! (But never fear, dear readers. There will be more books in my erotic historical series Brothers in Arms!)
Another reason is because I want my writing to stay fresh. Writing mainstream requires different storylines and character development. It was a lot of fun writing this book and stretching myself as an author. I tried to make these books somewhat different from my award winning erotic historicals. This series is lighthearted and playful, reminding me in some places of those old screwball romantic comedies from the 1930’s. And I’ve created a Sherlock Holmes type character, Sir Hilary St. John, who’s a mix of Robert Downey Jr. and Thomas Jefferson. Only a historical romance writer would do that, right? I’ve thrown in some mystery, Bow Street Runners, street-wise criminals with hearts of gold, bemused heroes who aren’t quite sure what happened to them, and strong, if misguided, heroines.
If any of you are attending AAD this August, I’ll be doing a reading from The Devil’s Thief at the historical reading event, and I’ll be giving away ARCs at the Blogger ARC party! I look forward to seeing you all there!
How have you stretched your reading or writing boundaries lately?
Hi friends! A little stressed in Lime central, so my apologies. And unfortunately, the numbers have reflected that – so come on and show Jessica Jarman some love! It’s also a fabulous post – and look at her gorgeous pictures!
Thank you, Limecello, for having me on your blog today. I’m really excited about Authors After Dark, and writing this blog post upped the excitement even more as the date is coming faster and faster.
One of the things I’m looking forward to the most, aside from catching up with friends and meeting readers, is visiting New Orleans. I’ve never been there, but have always wanted to. As I was thinking about what to write about, I started imagining the trip and the things I’d see and experience while there. And that gave me the idea to write about the top three places I’d like to visit, and my three favorite places to visit. So here we go, starting with my dream destinations…
New Orleans—Obviously, this is on my list, and I’m looking forward to exploring the city. I love architecture, and I know I won’t be disappointed when I’m there.
And the food…oh, I’m looking forward to the yummies. Beignets and café au lait, maybe some gumbo… YUM.
*stomach rumbles* I really shouldn’t be writing about this before dinner time! 😛
Italy—I’ve always wanted to visit Italy. I’m sure I have it built up on my mind, but I’d love to explore the countryside and the architecture of Rome. And do I even need to mention Italian food? Nope, didn’t think so. Italy is a country with so much history and sites to explore, I’m certain I’d leave wanting more. Ireland—Saved the biggest dream for last. For as long as I can remember, I’ve desperately wanted to visit Ireland. I honestly can’t pinpoint what the draw is exactly… I just know I love looking at pictures of the countryside, old ruins, stone circles… The history calls to me, and I am bound and determined to make it one day!
Now, for my favorite places…ones I’ve been to. 🙂
Anywhere my family is—As corny as it sounds, it’s true. I even go to ball games and camp for this bunch, and anyone who knows me, knows how much I dislike camping. But for them, I do it and actually enjoy myself! Riviera Maya, Mexico—A couple years ago, my husband and I were lucky enough to take a trip to Riviera Maya and stay at an all-inclusive resort. Now, with four kids, our time away has always been a bit limited, and we hadn’t been on a trip alone together since our honeymoon many years before. While there, we snorkeled along the reef, visited an ecological park, and saw the ruins at Tulum. We also had plenty of time to just sit by the pool or ocean and sip margaritas. It was a wonderful vacation, and it quickly became one of my favorite places—though I suspect some of that is due to the company I was keeping. 😉 The Upper Peninsula of Michigan—Ah, home, sweet home. I grew up in the UP—way, way up there. See the peninsula sticking up on the western part of the Upper Peninsula? That’s the Keweenaw Peninsula, and I grew up in Calumet.
There were things not so great about living in a small town, but now that I live in the suburbs of a larger metropolitan area, I see how good I had it. Being able to hop on my bike and ride to Lake Superior…Oh yeah, those were good times. The area has a great history; it as a huge copper mining area. And interestingly enough, Calumet almost became the capital of Michigan… It lost by one vote to Lansing. The town is now a National Historic Park. But it’s not just the town I love; it’s the entire area. With my family living there, we get to visit often. In fact, I’ll be heading up there with some amazing author friends next month for a little retreat in a lakeside cottage, then I’ll be camping (*groan*) with the fam over the week of the Fourth. I’ve been thinking of some places to visit while up there with my buddies—and there is no shortage of options. One place on the list for sure, is a day trip to Copper Harbor. It is absolutely gorgeous. Check it out! (though this was taken in the fall, not summer.) Isn’t it beautiful?
My latest release, Secrets and Spells, is set in the UP. It seemed the perfect fit when I was deciding where my fictional little town should be. It was easy to picture it in my head because I’ve travelled through so many small towns up there. I wanted somewhere that was close enough to “civilization” but still surrounded by nature. The UP was perfect.
Anxious for a change and wanting to learn more about her late mother and where she came from, Thalia Wells accepts a job in the small town of Parrish. As she settles into her new life, she begins to notice unsettling oddities about her new home.
Gray is used to secrets. Being a witch and living in a town of people with magical abilities means living with secrets. But keeping Thalia in the dark kills him especially when it brings her pain.
Thalia doesn’t believe in magic and had given up on happily ever after, but can she find both with Gray?
I’m looking forward to revisiting the UP…in person, and when I visit the town of Parrish again. 🙂
Thank you again for having me on your blog, Limecello. I had a blast travelling in my head, and hoped everyone enjoyed the ride with me!
Where would you want to go? Or where have you gone? Where is your favorite place? Horribly terrible of me and I’m hijacking but… I’ve been to New Orleans and the Upper Peninsula! The latter is gorgeous. Also, who can hate on fresh water? Amazing stuff. Great Lakes FTW!
But also – if you answer our questions/chat with us… well Ms. Jarman has offered up two copies of her books. That’s right two lucky, and lovely commenters will win their choice of one of Jess’s books! Whee! How can you resist?