Saturday, January 30, 2010

Meet Author Judy Griffith Gill


Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?


I certainly was. I learned to read as a four-year-old and by the time I was ten, had moved way beyond The Bobbsey Twins, Trixi Belden and the Hardy Boys. (I never liked Nancy Drew, though people tried to foist her on me.) I read everything from Marvel Comics to (truth!) The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, I could find in my parent’s bookshelves.



Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.

My latest published novel, MOTHER LOVE, an electronic book from Mundania press/Awe-Struck, was a weird kind of reaction to my mother’s death, along with my guilt over not having been there for her or my older daughter during Mother’s last illness. The “mother” in the story is the complete antithesis of what mine was. The daughters of the central character are an amalgam of my daughters, nieces, friends of theirs—indeed, probably every young woman I ever knew well—myself included. Writing it was a catharsis of sorts, I believe, because in doing so, I learned to forgive my mother for many things, and forgive myself, as well.



How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

I never write an outline. My books (50 to date) have all been stream-of-consciousness, what I refer to as seat-of-the-pants. Even when submitting three chapters and a synopsis, I finish the book first. If I don’t, having written the synopsis, something in the back of my brain says, “Okay, that one’s done. What’s next?”



Did your book require a lot of research?

That one did require some, due to one particular aspect, but not much beyond that. I usually write about places I know well and can envision even when thousands of miles away.



If you could have any vice without repercussions, what would it be?

The ability to read other people’s minds. If that would be a vice. It would be one I couldn’t resist.



What is the funniest/most embarrassing/scariest story from one of your books signings or events?

The funniest? First time I had to address a home-town SRO crowd. I got onto the stage with my knees knocking, and a fan of seven big silk flags cascaded all around and over me. Sure broke the ice. Embarrassing? Don’t recall one. Scariest? When a man in the audience somehow got my hotel room number and began stalking me by phone, saying he “knew” I was writing about him and me (together) that he was in love with me and wanted to meet for drinks. Luckily, hotel security moved me to another room, fast! and I never went anywhere alone until that conference was over.



If you could have been the servant to any famous person in history, who would that be and why?

Henry VIII. So I could have poisoned him, or Adolf Hitler, same reason. I know, I know, hindsight. But someone I would love to have learned from would be Pauline Johnson, writer& poet, though I doubt she’d have wanted a servant.



What so you see for the future of publishing and ebooks?

Right now, I think the entire industry is in a state of flux. When I got my first e-reader (a Rocket) lo, these twenty years or so ago, I thought that the time was right. I envisioned students no longer hunched over under backpacks stuffed with the weight of books, but carrying a single device that held all the world’s knowledge, all the texts, all their professors’ notes, and promoted that idea every chance I got. Now, after a long wait, I’m beginning to see it happen, but much more slowly that I ever imagined. The publishing, printing, shipping and reading of paper and ink books will be with us for many more years I’m sure, but I believe e-books have now come into their own and will eventually if not soon, outpace paper and ink books.



Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why?

Since I write primarily romance of all stripes, I don’t hate, fear, or pity any of them as they all seem to be pretty upbeat characters. But the one I love most, after all these years, is still Bad Billy Culver, because he was needy and didn’t know it. That book, originally published by Bantam Fanfare, in hard cover and paper, is still available in electronic format, at www.belgravehouse.com .



Do you get along with your muse? What do you do to placate her when she refuses to inspire you?



My muse has never let me down. Sometimes she plays tag with me, wanting me to write two or three books at a time, but that doesn’t seem to matter much. If she wants Book A today, I give it to her. If she’s more into Book B or C, then that’s where we go.



Do you have another book in the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects.



As above, I always have another book in the works. Problem is, I can’t talk about them until they’re done, because it’s like writing the synopsis—it kills the story. Just this week, though, I finished a light-hearted humor romance entitled THE PRINCESS AND THE POPPER, about a rich woman pretending to be dirt poor because she grew up poor and having received an unexpected inheritance, discovered she didn’t like the kind of people who saw not her, but her portfolio, and takes a job with a man who sells popcorn on the street corner. Trouble is, he is also pretending to be poor because he wants to be a self-made man as was his great-grandfather, and has a year in which to prove his ability to his family, otherwise, he goes back to Boston and takes up his position in the family’s investment bank.



Have you ever experience weird cravings while you write? If so, what kind?



I don’t know how weird they are, but apples and celery are my favorite things to eat when I’m writing. I like the crunch and they don’t seem to attract as many ants as peanut butter and crackers, which I also crave. I live for half the year in Costa Rica, on the Caribbean coast, and ants are more plentiful than jungle trees or grains of sand on the beach.



What is the worst, best, most embarrassing or funniest situation your writing career has put you in?



The best? Walking into a car dealership and asking the man with whom I always dealt, “How much do those Chevy Lumina vans go for?” He chuckled, and said, “Hon, more than you can afford.” I smiled, said “Order me one. In blue,” and showed him my latest royalty check. The look on his face was priceless. Besides, I had two little grandbabies in car-seats and needed more room. I had my blue Lumina van the next day. I paid cash.

That’s satisfaction!



Mother Love, by Judy Griffith Gill http://www.awe-struck.net/books/mother_love.html


Joanna, divorced mother of two daughter, one grown and a single mom herself, and the other a resentful, difficult teenage diabetic, discovers she is pregnant by accident, certainly not by design. Her older daughter thinks its cool, her younger one thinks Jo’s done it purely to humiliate her, and her sometimes-lover thinks she should marry him, despite his being a ramblin’ man. Her own mother, as usual in a fog of pot smoke offers vague hippie-style bits of advice, which Joanna ignores. Her best friends suggests a permanent solution, from which Jo immediately shies away.



Then, her older daughter decides to get married and she knows her ex will be there for the wedding. What’s she going to do? She can’t hide from him forever, but nor can she bear to face him, especially in her condition. Which of the many options open to her should she choose?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

WRITERS WRITE... WRITING PARTNERS FEUD



Angelica Hart and Zi are writers published by Champagne Books.

A: Tie a yelling gibbon around the old folk tree? (She looks at Zi as if forty-six million brain cells instantaneously escaped...wondering where is the hole)
Z: Feghoot! (As if a middle line backer for the Philadelphia Eagles, Zi tackles Mo the Lab)
A: Your owl's named Feg? (The obscurity of Angelica floats amidst the fact that her response was sort of a feghoot. She wants to preen and giggle but wonders what the heck is Zi doing with the dog)
Z: (Straddling the cur, facing its rear, tail slapping face, Zi tries to multi-task) Remember the Fractured Fairytales of Rocky and Bullwinkle? Many of our canard tales are a homage to that style. Parody. False tales. Stories. (He begins to clip his dog's rear toe nails. The dog inadvertently leaves foul air in the direction of Zi's nose. Zi concludes the groomer can clip the nails!)
A: Our new series THE FABLE OF SIN-SIN-CINDERELLA is feghoot filled, ribald and naughty funny.
Z: (About to bore with a long dissertation, Zi looks professorial) The parody blanketed in its feeble and oft ridiculous effort to imitate a style or part of another author's work for the purpose of comic effect has been a staple in writing. The idea of touching something others can connect to, yet poking that pointer finger at the ribs of the readers, why, to tickle, silly.
A: The following is a excerpt that points this out.... Did something crawl up inside that dog and die? (Swiggles up her nose resembling a chipmunk as she waves her hand in front of her face)


ON THE TAVERN FRONT

So three tankards more later, in hobbled a three-legged dog. Eartha did the double-take because it was carrying a gun. The first thought was one tankard too many, then she thought robbery and considered ducking under the bar, but thought better when she noticed Aladdin, owner of a carpet company, laying Rug. Poor Jasmine, she adored the guy, and Rug was enjoying Aladdin. He knew things.

The bartender, wearing a dirty torn t-shirt shouted, "This is a peaceful establishment."

"Woof," responded the dog. The dog sat near Eartha, still scouring the room, looking at each person, studying them.

Eartha asked, "What are doing here with that gun?"

(Note to reader, this is a fairytale so giving latitude to reality is essential.... 'kkkkkkaaaaaay!)

The dog replied in a country drawl, "I'm looking for the man that shot my paw."
"A bowl of grog for my friend," ordered Eartha.

The keeper put the crock of suds on the floor, the tri-pod pooch lapped yet still surveyed the patrons.


A: (Grabs for a pen to make a note, it fails to inkificate [wordsmithing] itself, she discards the pen) There are many stories we all know. Many jokes that the punch line is apparent. Sometimes it is not the pay-off but the trip to that pay-off that can be entertaining. (Grabs a pen from one of ten cups of pens, it fails, discards, grabs another which fails)
Z: (Zi notices the three point shots by Angelia and surveys her discard, head in can, arse examining the ceiling fan, talking, sounds echo) Our model is that old joke where the punch line is they're the Aristocrats. If you are familiar with that joke it has virtually nothing to do with the punch. Every comedian who tries to tell it gives their own twist on the reason for the punch. (Rises with three pens in hand, echo ceases) Many of our tales are just that. It's all about the journey, that winding path full of detours, roadblocks, endless constructions, and delays. Once you reach the destination, the trip is over. Hmmmm, strange analogy on our part but we think it apt. (Puts the pens back in the cup unbeknownst to Angelica)
A: Wordy Wordsome from Wordville, Wordaware has just regaled us! (She grabs one of the retrieved pens, it fails, she heaves it into the can...sighs that cuss-replacing sigh)
Z: Ouuuucccch! That was a little cold. (Eyebrow, left, rose... [For clarification the eyebrow remained on the face, it was the left eyebrow] ...questioning her insistence on wastefulness)
A: You could have just said, these stories are sometimes called Shaggy Dog Stories or Feghoots. They are irreverent dances with inane frivolity, oft pointless and having absurd punch lines. The use of puns is almost a must.
Z: Smarty Smartypants from Smartytown, Smartconsin has re-frosted the cake.
A: Here's another excerpt. (She grabs a pencil...it was pointless...was about to throw it away when Zi sharpened it for her)


"Eartha, did you hear about the sex offender at Sir Lancelot's Home for the Criminally Insane and Snake Your Best Friend's Lady?"

"What?" She was pawed on her ample posterior, not by the cur, but by a drunk who was taking liberties. Beer brains. Or in this case grog brains, the medieval predecessor to beer brains. Well, Eartha the Pissed demonstrated why the nom, the Pissed, when she snatched the man's belt, he thinking he was about to get lucky, and chased him from the Pub, wiping his fleeing arse, oops, meant whipping his fleeing arse. She returned to her seat with a swagger in her step.

"Eartha...that was my best customer."

"Sorry. What about this sex offender?"

"He escaped."

"Oh!" Camelot was at least a three day trip by dragon, a fortnight by horse."

"The Daily Blab and Burp, our Pub blog, reports he went back to his old evil habits."
"Where?"

For one brief moment TB, the tender, though Eartha was going to seek the perv out, shook his head, and replied, "Here, you read the article." He turned the computer and there it was under the title, NUT BOLTS AND SCREWS.

Z: The afore was a play of words with Spooneristic styling as the design, many of our yarns are built in a like-lab that created Mr. Peabody's Improbable History.
A: Sherman was adorable.
Z: We hope you find our Groaners entertaining and maybe gently thought provoking. Zi pulls out the Staples catalogue to order refills for the pens)


KILLER DOLLS IS AVAILABLE: Unaware that bio-terrorists are using her handcrafted dolls to attack the innocent, Letti Noel finds herself falling for Taut Johnson, an undercover FBI agent. Even as deceit is a growing barrier to their love, it's the stalking terrorists that are a threat to their lives.

We'd love to hear from anyone interested in what we do. Anyone who writes us at angelicahartandzi@yahoo.com and leaves an s-mail address, we will send you a gift and add you to any future mailings.

Angelica Hart and Zi
KILLER DOLLS ~ September 2009
SNAKE DANCE ~ February 2010
CHASING GRAVITAS ~ July 2010
angelicahartandzi@yahoo.com
angelicahartandzi.com

KILLER DOLLS can be purchased at
Champagne Books
http://www.champagnebooks.com/


Meet Author Yvonne Perry



Why did you become a writer? I became a writer because I wanted a change in my life and to try something new. I had five years experience as an administrative assistant but I hated the rigid schedule of the corporate world. I wanted to work from home, so I came up with the idea of starting my own business. Although I had a plan with goals that took me about a year to accomplish before launching into entrepreneurship, I kind of morphed into a writer. I started out offering virtual administrative services as well as writing. The next thing I knew I was doing more writing than admin work, so I began to pursue more writing opportunities.


Was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life? I have enjoyed writing all my life. This is a natural fit for my personal interests and career skill set, but I never dreamed of being a writer when I was young. I wrote songs and musical scores when I played keyboards and taught piano for more than 25 years, but I didn’t start writing for clients until 2003 when I started my free-lance writing and editing business. I wrote short stories for and about my children, but I didn’t attempt to publish any of my writing until 2004 when I self-published my first book, Email Episodes ~ A Hilariously Honest Look at Life.



What do you love about being an author? It’s hard for me to separate being an author from being a free-lance writer. I enjoy both but there is a big difference in writing for clients and writing my own material for publication. I love being able to share my knowledge with others—part of the teacher in me—and writing my own books is one of the ways I get to do that. Being an author gives me opportunity to be a guest on many talk shows. Getting feedback and reviews for my books is fun and it helps me grow personally.

Is there anything you dislike? There’s nothing I dislike about writing my own books. I’m very task oriented and I like to finish what I start, so I do get a little frustrated when my clients do not take their writing project seriously. Their reluctance to respond quickly to my phone calls or emails slows down the progress I could be making with new clients. Right now, I’m writing/editing four books—that’s a typical workload for me. I have people waiting for me to complete my current projects so I can start on theirs. Fortunately, I have a wonderfully competent team of writers and editors that I can send clients to so they don’t have to wait as long.

Please tell us about your latest release. What inspired it? My latest release is a full-color printed book called The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children (ISBN: 9780982572207). The Sid Series is a collection of 12 body-mind-spirit stories that give insight on some relatively mature subjects such as recycling, being who you really are, overcoming the fear of storms, helping others, listening to one’s inner guidance, caring for the body, accepting and appreciating diversity, dealing with family change, and coping with the death of a pet. See http://TheSidSeries.com

I began writing The Sid Series when my grandson, Sidney, was very young. The stories were inspired by things we did together. I typed the stories into a Word doc, and would later read the stories to him while he sat on my lap in front of the computer. He wanted pictures to go with his stories, so I attempted to illustrate them and bring them to life with colored backgrounds. When I had all twelve stories written and illustrated, I published them through Lightning Source. At almost nine years old, he has excellent reading and writing skills. He helped me write the last story in the series.

How do you balance your personal and writing time? I put in a lot of hours each week, but I’m very organized. I have always been able to set priorities and reach goals. I use a daily planner and Allison Maslan’s online goal tracking software (http://tinyurl.com/AFFBlast) to list everything I want to accomplish each day. I may take several breaks, go for a walk, or even babysit one of my grandsons, but my to-do list keeps me reminded of what I need to accomplish before I call it a day. Thankfully, my husband is very supportive of my goals and understands that my business requires a lot of my time and attention.



How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story? Most of my writing is non-fiction so there are no characters unless I’m editing the fiction work of my clients. Those characters are already in place and I simply help develop them.



What genre(s) do you write? I write mostly non-fiction such as self-help, science, medical, and spirituality. I have written a humorous memoir (2004), a book on death and afterlife (2005) , a book on stem cell research (2007), an e-book about online marketing (2008), a children’s book (2009), and a book on bipolar disorder that I co-authored with Angela Grett in 2006.

Why do you write the stories that you write? I write on topics that I am passionate about. I was entrenched in religious dogma for many years. Now that I’ve broken free from it, I am happier than I’ve ever been in my life. I hope that my writing will help someone else break free from whatever belief system they have that limits them, and start living an authentic life of true joy and peace.



Do you have any advice for beginning writers in regards to writing a book? There is a lot of marketing and buzz building you can do while you are writing the book. I typically start a blog when I am writing a book of my own so I can begin to attract a following of target readers. It also offers the writer some accountability to know that readers of their blog are expecting progress reports. I am co-authoring a second book in a series with Angela Grett and we started a blog this week: http://sowhatami.blogspot.com . This should give writers an idea of how a blog can be used to build a platform and garner readership for the book before it is ever published.



What are you reading right now? My time to read for fun is limited. However, I have started reading two books for authors who are planning to be a guest on my podcast in a couple of weeks: Writing Down Your Soul by Janet Conner and Hostage of Lies by Maxine Thompson



If you could be anyone or anything that you wanted, who or what would you be? I am happy being who I am. I can’t think of another person I would want to be or trade places with.

Where can readers find you on the web?

Web site: http://writersinthesky.com

Writing blog: http://yvonneperry.blogspot.com

Marketing blog: http://onlinepromotionmadeeasy.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://Twitter.com/writersinthesky

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/yvonneperry

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Yvonne-M-Perry/1223149713


Snippit of The Sid Series by Yvonne Perry:

Sid was able to communicate with me telepathically from the time he was born. He exhibited the gift of premonition at about age nine months, he channeled his higher self at age three, related his ability to see spirits and used a magic potion to heal a crippled dog at age four. When he would spend the night at my house, he would wake up with nightmares. From the descriptions he gave me, and from what my inner guidance was telling me, I was aware that his astral spirit was traveling to dark realms. Rather than discourage him from his astral travel, we created a mantra that we repeated before he went to bed: "Thank you, angels and guides for letting my spirit visit only the realms of highest light and love and travel only to safe places filled with loving beings." Sidney is still very much in touch with his inner guidance. He receives most of his messages through dreams now that he is in third grade. He related one of his dreams to me when I interviewed him on my podcast.




I knew I had a special child on my hands and I wanted to do everything I could to help him develop his spiritual gifts-the same gifts I was accustomed to that had been strangely unappreciated by the churches I had attended. Sid's spiritually-enlightened mother has been very encouraging to me and together we have taught Sidney how to use his gifts as a tool to help himself and others. I realize this is not the norm and that most psychically gifted children do not have this type of adult influence. In fact, many adults are afraid of the supernatural. That is my main reason for writing The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children.

I wrote the stories as much for parents as for the kids because a the time when most kids are at the peak of displaying their spiritual experiences, they are too young to read. Even though I used a lot of illustrations in The Sid Series, I wrote the text on a level that would require an adult to read the stories to their toddlers. The message would stir interest and help guide the adult, and the stories and illustrations would entertain the children. The Sid Series is my gift to the kids and parents of this special generation.



For more information about this book, please visit http://thesidseries.com/

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Meet author Lisa Troy



Tell us about your latest book/upcoming releases. Is it part of a series and if so, can we read it as a standalone or do we need to read the others in the series first?


The Art of Losing is the first one in the series “The Art of.” It focuses on a grade-school teacher, Emily Stone, and shows how she deals with the fear of relationships and trusting another man with her heart. Readers will be able to read all books in the series as standalones. I’m currently working on the second book, The Art of Bluffing, whose heroine is Emily’s best friend, Rebecca Grimson, and I hope it will be released within 2010.

What makes a good book to you? Story? Characters? Exotic locations?

I think it’s a combination of everything you mentioned. A story can be compelling but if the characters don’t draw the reader in, the result is an unsatisfying read. And of course, the author’s voice matters a lot, it’s what ties all the components together.


What's your favorite pizza toppings?

Pepperoni.


What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to one of your characters?

I have a heroine tied to a bed by a psycho killer for almost a year now and I refuse to finish the story. 


Which of your books contains the sexiest love scene?

That has to be Follow Your Dream, a vampire story that I’ve just finished.


Which of your covers is your favorite?

Well, I’m a new writer and I have only one book out, so the cover of The Art of Losing wins hands down.


Which of your books was the easiest to write? The hardest?

The easiest was Law of Opposites, a 10K story I finished in a week about two lawyers working in the same firm. The heroes hate each other’s guts, but on the heroine’s last night in the US before she leaves for England they indulge in a night of role playing and release all the sexual tension between them.

The hardest book to write was my first book to be published, The Art of Losing, because I got a contract for it before it was finished and I was really stressed about finishing it.

What is coming in 2010 from you?

I have a few of my works submitted to publishers but I haven’t received an A or an R yet. *crosses fingers*


Where can readers find you on the web?

http://www.lisatroy.com/


If you could meet any character from any book, who would it be, what would you do and why?

Reuben, the vampire from Follow Your Dream. First, I’d “torture” him because he can be an infuriating alpha sometimes, okay, most of the times, and then I’d ask him to make me a vampire so I could live forever. And no, I wouldn’t sparkle…

Sneak peek into The Art of Losing:

“You’d be having more fun if you were out with me, kitten.”




I jumped at the sound of that deep, bone-melting tone. I glanced over my shoulder, even though I already knew whom I’d see. Sure enough, Blake stood behind me in all his lick-worthy glory. His dark brown hair was mussed as if he’d spent half the night sifting his fingers through the thick strands. Dark jeans hugged his long legs, showcasing them to perfection. He had even rolled up the sleeves of his white shirt to reveal muscled forearms. God, men with dark-looks do look great in white....



What sin had I committed to deserve this?



“Mr. Edwards.” I smiled and took delight in the way his lips flattened into a thin line. “How nice to see you again,” I lied through my teeth, my tone indicating that.



His eyes narrowed. “This game you insist on playing is getting old.”



“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I looked forward again and took a sip from my drink.



Blake didn’t give up. He moved until he was in my line of sight. “I’m talking about you and me on New Year’s. You can’t deny we shared a connection.”



The denial dangled from the tip of my tongue, but I could very well imagine how he would call me on my lie. Too vividly. And the troubling thing was I didn’t think I’d resist his kiss.



“Whatever connection we might have shared is beside the point. I don’t date my students’ parents.” I hoped the frost in my voice balanced out the increased temperature of my body.



His smile brightened the dimly lit jazz club despite his irritating “I know something you don’t know” expression. “I’m not Amanda’s dad, so that’s not an issue.”



I folded my arms over my chest. “Still, you’re her guardian.”



“Her very single guardian.”



Oh, the eye-candy was so busted. I arched an eyebrow. “Really? And whom were you talking to on the phone on New Year’s saying I love you?”



He flicked my nose, an intimate gesture I was too slow to evade. “Amanda. I couldn’t take her to the club with me, so we had dinner together, and I left her with a baby-sitter.”



“You let her stay up so late?” I asked in an effort to divert his attention to a less dangerous subject.



“No, she insisted on setting the alarm clock and getting up to call me.”



“Ah.” A clever comeback indeed.



Okay, I now stood a reason short, but I refused to be deterred. I had a New Year’s Resolution to keep and a new life to live.



“You’re too nice,” I blurted out.



“Excuse me?”



I fought back a chuckle at his insulted tone.



Buy Links:

Freya's Bower

All Romance Ebooks

Fictionwise

Monday, January 25, 2010

Check out Michael Buble's "Haven't Met You Yet" Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AJmKkU5POA


I absolutly love Michael Buble and his newest single from his Crazy Love CD is now out and on youtube.

Check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AJmKkU5POA

Meet "New To Me" Author: Mychael Black



Spirits of Abaddon: Bad Blood


Mychael Black

http://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1294





Energy hummed through Jesse, and he left the techs to break down his kit. The crowd normally gathered in front of the stage had dispersed, some to the bar, others scattered around the small but popular club. He grinned and caught a bottle of water when the bartender tossed it to him.



"Good show."



Jesse closed his eyes and barely suppressed a shiver. He clutched the cold bottle, hoping it would put out the heat surging through his body. He knew that voice. He heard it every night in his head, every time he wrapped his fingers around his own cock.



"Thanks." He forced himself to turn around and meet an enigmatic grey gaze.



Gabriel Walsh embodied everything Jesse had ever wanted: gorgeous looks, expressive eyes, a body built for sin, and all in all, a decent personality. Only one problem... Gabriel also had fangs. And drank blood. Human blood.



That fact alone scared the hell out of Jesse more than he cared to admit.



Yet he couldn't resist panting Gabriel's name every night, even if no one else heard it.



Jesse struggled for something to say, but his voice refused to work beyond one-syllable words. Gabriel smiled, the effect disarming until his fangs came into view. Unlike Julian, Gabriel didn't hide them. Jesse wondered if there were more differences between them -- namely feeding. Julian didn't kill, but Jesse had a gut feeling Gabriel did, and would gladly do so again.



"Jess!"



Grateful for something to break the tension, Jesse turned away from Gabriel and waved at Jason. "I'll catch you guys later!" Then he returned his attention to Gabriel. "Um, I need to go."



Gabriel nodded and motioned toward the door. "I'm sure we'll meet again."



"Yeah."



Jesse hurried out of the bar and only stopped walking fast when he neared his car. He got in and shut the door, but instead of turning the key, he rested his forehead to the steering wheel, eyes closed, and concentrated on breathing. Why, out of all the guys in Atlanta, did he have to fall for the one who scared the ever-loving shit out of him?



A knock on the driver's side window startled him, and he jerked his head up to see Gabriel crouching beside the car. Jesse rolled down the window, hoping the door itself would be enough of a barrier between them.



"Are you all right?"



"Yeah, yeah. Just... tired, I guess. Long show."



"Why do you fear us?"



"I don't." Jesse shrugged. "I don't like vampires; that's all. At least Julian doesn't freak me out anymore."



"And me?"



Jesse refused to meet Gabriel's gaze. "You aren't like him."



"Oh?"



A single touch, a finger beneath his chin, drew Jesse's face back around. This man embodied sex appeal so strong it chipped away at Jesse's defenses little by little. Gabriel Walsh also was, without a doubt, dangerous.



"I would never hurt you."



Jesse wanted to believe it. He wanted it almost as much as Gabriel himself. Gabriel traced Jesse's jaw with his fingertip and it took every ounce of willpower on Jesse's part to not chase that finger with his mouth. He stared at lips he'd fantasized about, only to realize he hadn't heard a word Gabriel said.



He blinked and looked up. "Um, sorry. I wasn't..." Gabriel smiled slowly. "I didn't..." He watched, entranced by the lips nearing his own. "I..."



Stop. Stop, stop, stop...



The first touch stole his breath and the protests died on his tongue. In a momentary lapse of reason, Jesse gave in. Gabriel took control, tongue sweeping through Jesse's mouth, hands on either side of his head. Before Jesse could even think about how far he really wanted this to go, however, Gabriel drew back.



"I know you don't trust me, but I'm here should you ever need me."



Jesse watched Gabriel walk away and a part of him screamed for more than a kiss. Much more.

Friday, January 22, 2010

What Happens When You Encourage a Weird Little Boy?

Here I am. Another Friday night staring at the computer screen trying to think of something witty or inspiring to say, and once again drawing a blank. After ten minutes of getting nothing accomplished besides petting Cocoa while he groomed himself, I switched over to Microsoft and resumed working on my biographical blurb for my publisher. While drafting that was when it suddenly dawned on me what I should write about.

How did I wind up writing horror novels for a living?

Although I’ve only been writing horror/urban fantasy since 2003, my love for the genre goes back to when I was just a kid. One of my earliest memories from childhood was sneaking out of bed one night and hiding in the family room to watch the late night running of the original King Kong. Of course, being about seven years old at the time, my choice of hiding places was not that brilliant. I hid under a TV tray, figuring if I couldn‘t see my folks then they couldn‘t see me. My sanctuary was quickly discovered, but rather than being sent back to bed, they gave me a few cookies and let me watch Kong tear apart New York. From that moment on I was hooked.

While most of my friends’ parents looked on horror and science fiction as degenerate or, at best, a waste of time, my folks indulged my fascination with monsters. Every Saturday morning my father, grandfather, and I would go for breakfast a the local diner. Afterwards, he would drive me all over town in search of my newest horror treasure. One Saturday it would be off to the hobby shop for one of Aurora’s Universal monster models. The next it would be to the camera store for one of Castle Film’s 8mm version of a classic horror or sci-fi movie. [NOTE: In the days before DVDs and -- and I’m really dating myself -- videos, the only way to see movies when you wanted was to buy these truncated, 12-minute, subtitled versions of your favorite movie and run them on a clunky home movie projector.] Each morning was capped by a stop at the local smoke shop to pick up the latest version of Famous Monsters of Filmland, The Monster Times, The Godzilla Times, Creepy, or Eerie, which would be read at least twice before having to trudge back to school Monday morning.

My mother encouraged me in her own way. She set up an old manual typewriter for me (again I’m dating myself) and put up with the endless clacking while I put together the most amateur fan magazine on the face of the planet. Of course, to my mother, it was the greatest thing she ever read, and she always urged me to write the next edition. Thanks to her, I developed my love of writing. (My mother still reads everything I write. However, truth be known, she’s a retired nurse and always has been a bit of a ghoul. Now her feedback usually are along the lines of “that’s not what intestines look like” to “a body doesn’t have that much blood in it.”)

Then one year for Christmas when I was about twelve my folks gave me as a gift a paperback by a new horror author. Up until then I only had read the classics by Poe, Wells, Stoker, etc. My mother thought I might like it. I was skeptical, especially after reading the back cover blurb. How scary could it be? The spirit of an Indian medicine man is reborn to punish the white man for stealing New York from his forebears. Even the title sounded lame. The Manitou. But I read it over winter break, staying up late every night to find out what would happen next. By the time I read the last page, I was hooked.

Now, thirty-plus years later I’m about to get my first horror novel published.

And it wouldn’t be happening if my folks hadn’t seen a spark of creativity in the warped little mind of a weird twelve-year-old and encouraged him.

Thursday, January 21, 2010



NEW BEGINNINGS WITH OR WITHOUT CHOCOLATE
By: Angelica Hart and Zi
January 20, 2010

Howdy Rowdy!

We are Angelica Hart and Zi a writing team of contemporary and fantasy romance. The creation of intellectual properties is a personal thing coming from private places, which makes us feel unique in our collaboration. First being two people sharing a common vision, second being gender different, and third, and probably most important, both being stubborn minded. We have been asked how do we make this partnership work. At which we roar with laughter, wondering does it really? Then realizing that, in fact, it does because we are both quirky and have abided by certain rules.

Rule One: Write for the audience.
Rule Two: Have something to say.
Rule Three: Remember rule one!
Rule Four: Never fight to win.
Rule Five: Fight for rule one!

We have been writing a column about some of the idiosyncratic processes we go through daily. And have titled this collection, WRITERS WRITE...WRITING PARTNERS FEUD. This fly on the wall insight shows our eclectic sense of humor and our passion to create. We both want to be learning machines and try every single day to be better.

A: Do you think they are going to believe that dribble? (Pauses) You called me a machine?! (She hurls an 8.5 x 11 crumbled scrap at him)
Z: (In perfect soccer goalie defense he bats it away) Maybe...there is a lot of truth in it. (He providing the puppy-dog eyes hoping to sway)
A: There's a lot truth in that I'm a machine?! Oh go 'way... (says with a grin) you know that doesn't work.
Z: Finnne! Can you take a picture and maybe we can post it right here? Maybe others will be puppy-dog eye moved. Plllllleeeeasssse.
A: I can't believe that you can write moving love scenes while acting like a bunny's bowel movement!
Z: That's pretty harsh! (Showing the O-lipped expression)
A: You're right. I'm sorry. (Her turn to pull on the puppy-dog eye look...hers worked)

Later that day, after peanut butter and raisin sandwiches, yes, they were raisins and not bunny bowel movements, which followed a plot sketching session where Angelica insisted that the gluteus maximus of their hero be of such a nature that a quarter could bounce a foot high off of it. Zi was arguing for two feet.

A: Sex... just sex.
Z: What? (Zi flashes the O-eyed look, whites around green)
A: We just have six more boxes to unpack. (Noting she had been doing much of the unpacking)
Z: You said, sex!
A: Did not! (Everyone knows the flash to pout a child can do, Angelica has channeled everyone of those children)
Z: Did too! Sex...sex...sex! Freudian moment? Slip often? How was your fall...short? My spring was!
A: Hmmm...possibly, (Ignoring his humor and remaining serious or as serious as she possibly could feign) trying to figure out how close to the beginning we should have the hero and heroine have sex.
Z: Sex...sex...sex! (He grabs a blue Sharpie, prints those three letters and tapes it to the top of the Keith Primeau picture then does another and begins to do the happy river dance. The second paper is taped to his belt buckle)
A: (Spontaneously popping a snot-bubble from laughter she uses his Theodore stuffed animal to mop the matter, realizes that was cold and runs to the kitchen to provide the chipmunk a ho-s bath. Returns more collected, offers the damp-crotched chipmunk to Zi and retorts) Show some composure.
Z: (The pre-nocturnal enuresis of the chipmunk all happened unbeknownst to Zi. He stares with a quirky, I ain't touching that look, and gestures for her to return Theodore to his bandstand) Our plan is usually to allow a relationship to grow. (He feels obligated to respond to sex...sex...sex!)
A: It's a new year, should we rethink this? Beginnings are important, wouldn't a nice romp be a grand hook? (Angelica's face befell that elevated eyebrow and aren't I a genius look)
Z: Have you been drinking the left-over eggnog? (The reference not about it being spiked but the fact it's comfort food, an obsession of Angelica's, she wanting what was left!)
A: That hook's just a thought. (Unpacks the computer monitor, and places it upon a new desk, a hand printed placard above it reading New Weekly Cyber Nook, wiggles the monitor to adjust) Whatja think? (Zi proudly watches, encouraging. Why? Da! She was all doing the work)
Z: (Pops out a digital camera and begins to take pictures) Move it to the left. Have it show a little more knob. Give me some happy! Go with it! Go with it!
A: Stooooooooopppp! (Throwing up the universal T-hand gesture) Why the pics?
Z: It is a special day, we’ve moved. It’s a new beginning.
A: To quote Maria Robinson, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” (Turns on the computer and grins at it as if a friend)
Z: Are you saying this is just the beginning of the end?
A: Oh no, I want this beginning to last and last. (She kisses Theodore as if apologizing)
Z: Dave Weinbaum said, “The secret to a rich life is to have more beginnings than endings." (Zi is referencing the topic du jour meaning sex...sex...sex! Though Angelica may have moved on)
A: Wise man, but the true secret to a rich life is a Chocolate Sundae (A proper name as far as Angelica is concerned) with fudge sauce.
Z: So much for your dieting New Year’s resolutions. (He does the one finger over the other shame-on-you tsk-tsk motion)
A: (Ignores him) Actually, what you had said was quite correct but I’m not talking about resolutions or blogs, but about stories, whether it is a shorty-shorty or a novella or a mega-break-your-foot-if-it-falls-saga, all start at the beginning with every intention to have an ending. Let me read what I thought we write about for today’s blog...(Opens a file)
Z: I thought we were talking about sex...sex...sex?!
A: Let's delay your satisfaction, consider this a foreshadowing.
Z: Ouch! More like a foredooooommming!


She reads: Excitement underscores every new beginning, totally infusing it with possibilities, yet there could also be the twitter of nervousness. After all, the unknown lurks like a slithering centipede, quick and quiet. At least that is the feeling one might experience when starting a new book. No matter the amount of preparation, plan or outlining an author can never be fully prepared for the snares and rabbit trails of a plot.

Z: Purple prose! (Holds up a finger to halt her reading)
A: You goating me?
Z: That's baaaaaaadddddd!
A: Really? (Puppy dog eyes return)
Z: (Noting the eye malformation) It's fine. But...!
A: Is that spelled with one T or two?
Z: No…No…No…response to that question. (Searches for the outline of SNAKE DANCE) See this, no rabbit trails…no snares…everything logical and well-thought out. There is no random in base-writing. (He wants to say da da da daaaaaaa doesn't then reconsiders) Da da da daaaaaa!
A: I call your SNAKE DANCE (Channeling the Texas Hold 'em programming in the background) and raise you one KILLER DOLLS. There was a running off the well-scribed path at one point, and it worked better. I'm all in!
Z: We had to rethink, redo, re-motivate to make it work. All your fault. I call you!
A: Moi? (Tries to look indignant but knowing the truth she can't quite pull it off)
Z: (Notices that Angelica pronounces the French term as if it were the Jewish religious person trained in circumcision, i.e., mohel. Zi not wanting to be near anything of this nature, immediately rises and leaves the room, yelling from the front door) Whatja-talkin'-about, Willis?!

Will Zi leave the building?
What's the Mohel's name?
Will Angelica realize what she did?
Does Angelica even care?
Will Zi get to talk about sex...sex...sex!?
Does Angelica even care?
Will Angelica get her point across?
Does Angelica even have a point?
Will the bunny shat in the woods?
Will the bunny get there before the bear?
Will Theodore overcome his embarrassment?
And why would Zi believe the stuff animal pee'd itself?

All the afore, well at lease maybe one of the afore may be answered next week.

A/Z: We are happy to join you all here and hope you enjoy some of our banter and humor.

KILLER DOLLS IS AVAILABLE: Unaware that bio-terrorists are using her handcrafted dolls to attack the innocent, Letti Noel finds herself falling for Taut Johnson, an undercover FBI agent. Even as deceit is a growing barrier to their love, it's the stalking terrorists that are a threat to their lives.

SNAKE DANCE BEING RELEASE February 1, 2010!

We'd love to hear from anyone interested in what we do. Anyone who writes us at angelicahartandzi@yahoo.com and leaves an s-mail address, we will send you a gift and add you to any future mailings.

Angelica Hart and Zi
KILLER DOLLS ~ September 2009
SNAKE DANCE ~ February 2010
CHASING GRAVITAS ~ July 2010
angelicahartandzi@yahoo.com
angelicahartandzi.com

KILLER DOLLS can be purchased at
Champagne Books
http://www.champagnebooks.com



Meet Author Laura Tolomei





Around the mind, around the world


Take a tour through Laura Tolomei’s cities and lands where travel battles imagination.



I’m a great believer in imagination. It’s an author’s first and foremost tool if the goal is to hatch great storylines filled with equally outstanding characters. And it goes without saying both have to move inside a particular setting in order for things to work properly and be credible. I mean, describing 30th Century Earth requires a lot of inventiveness, not to mention faith the planet will still be here, but creative thought alone couldn’t do the trick. As authors, we all rely on our personal experience to fill in missing parts or enrich existing realities, particularly if it comes to characters that we draw from modified versions of the people we know. This happens with settings, too, so I guess the more travels, the more places to describe or use to create inexistent worlds, but it’s not necessarily so.



True, many of the places I describe in my books, I’ve actually seen with my own eyes, yet for many more I invented the location basing it only pictures or other people’s descriptions. Of course, traveling is more fun than sitting at home looking at pictures, but in the end, I don’t think it makes a difference if imagination supplies for the missing sensations that are associated to that specific place. So maybe in my books you couldn’t spot the real from the imaginary, even if I wonder whether one seems more credible, truer, less fake somehow, than the other. I like to think there’s really no difference, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.



Let’s start with the description of a place I know first-hand, having visited it just 4 years ago, Selimos archaeological site. I loved the place, not to mention the feelings it gave me, so much that I couldn’t forget it and had to set one of my novels, Spying the Alcove, in it.



Spying the Alcove

By Laura Tolomei

Genre: M/M, M/F/M, M/F, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Publisher: eXtasy Books, www.extasybooks.com

ISBN: 978-1-55487-347-0

Release date: August 1st, 2009

BUY LINK http://www.extasybooks.net/ebjmsite/index.php?page=shop.product_details&category_id=31&flypage=ebook_flypage&product_id=6207&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=44



PG Excerpt

Not much remained standing of the once proud city of Selimos, destroyed twice by a spiteful fate disguised around 400 BC as Carthage, then in 250 BC as Rome. Named after the celery plant, its official symbol, Selimos had held twenty-five thousand people at the height of its prosperity.

Valerio knew all the history, but somehow it became irrelevant whenever he looked at Selimos’s breathtaking views, which gave the place a feeling of being out of the world, closer to the gods than to humans.

Eventually though, destiny had paid its debt to Selimos. Today it was the largest archeological site of Europe, a part of humanity’s treasures. Located in Sicily’s southwestern border, set on top of a hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Selimos lay in the fertile valley of two rivers, surrounded in the south and west by water while green plains embraced its northern side. The city had a linear design with a complex structure made of temples, sanctuaries and a necropolis, all protected by an impressive set of defensive walls. Archeology had also uncovered many private homes, which testified to a rich city flourishing on trade and agriculture. Too bad, the only building still standing was Temple E, dedicated to Hera according to some theories. The rest of what must have been Selimos’s architectural magnificence was just rubble as if the city had suffered a major earthquake, its ruins resembling the pieces of a giant puzzle designed for an unknown god’s amusement.





Setting is also very important in another novel of mine to be released this coming February, The Sex, Book 1 of my new series Viturs Saga. While I was writing it, I took a trip to Jordan and the places I visited, from the deserts to the mystical valley, fascinated me to the point I had to put them in this upcoming series. The story takes place on a fantasy planet, Sendar, and in the sneak preview excerpt below, our heroes have to go through a canyon dug in bedrock in order to reach the Nephis Valley, a magical and sacred place.




Virtus Saga

The Sex

By Laura Tolomei

GENRE: Gay, Fantasy, Paranormal, Adventure, Series, m/m, m/f, m/m/f

RELEASE DATE: February 1st, 2010

PUBLISHER: eXtasy Books

BUY LINK

http://www.extasybooks.net/ebjmsite/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_comingsoon&product_id=7318&category_id=54&manufacturer_id=0&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=44



The prince, his lover, his woman, three like the sides of the pyramid they’ve sworn to retrieve if sex, passion and jealousy won’t stand in their way.



Unedited PG excerpt

“I think this is a spiritual journey.” Ylianor sighed, looking at the uphill climb unwinding through the high rocky walls, barely enough to go single file, and feeling traces of those who had undertaken it in the past.

Seventy-two hours, two full days had passed since their arrival, exhaustion taking its toll along with the need for a regenerating time alone, even if she had missed them more than she cared to admit. Watching the dark and blond heads walking up the narrow path had crunched her heart painfully, although their absence had also made her stronger in a way. And it had worked miracles on them, too, the demon even going as far as embracing her tightly when they had met again. “Couples are required to let go of their past life before joining in the future one as clean spirits,” she continued, speaking of the vague auras she perceived still clinging to the place.

“Then no one’s better qualified than we are.” Chris teased. “It seems we haven’t done anything besides interpret the past to decide what our future will be.”

“So let’s go and meet the future.” Prince Caldwell strode forward, followed single file by Ylianor and the demon.

After a few twists and turns, the passage widened, allowing them to walk side by side, Duncan moving between Chris and Ylianor. Seemingly endless, the journey felt unreal as if they were abandoning one dimension to enter into another, probably because the limited horizon visible was unlike anything she had experienced before. Closing in on both sides, the high bedrock walls reached the sky, not entirely straight, but curving the upper edge, thus creating the illusion they were going through a tunnel with little light to guide their steps. Stella’s rays would be gone soon anyway, the high peaks effectively cutting much of them off during the day, allowing only scarce light to filter through and reflect on the rocky ground before bouncing off to the walls. The air felt warmer and thicker due to the heat trapped in the stone folds without any means to escape. Running water was the only sound that broke the silence, and though there was no visible sign of it, Ylianor felt it run in two parallel canyons, dug inside the hard bedrock, flanking their path at a higher height almost as if the liquid, after retreating from the main road, had created an alternative space of its own. She loved the smell of the place, too, musty, hot, yet filled with a spice of its own which was neither plant nor animal, its acrid odor filling her nostrils and sliding down to her throat.

Suddenly, the rift tightened again and they had to proceed single file once more while light faded fast. Looking up, Ylianor wondered if they would reach their destination in time, when the stony walls surrounded them completely, bringing them to an abrupt halt. On close examination, they discovered that just like the entrance, here, too, the rocks seemed to touch, leaving an extremely small opening in between, which required they bend and twist in order to squeeze through. And they stepped into another world.

On the other side of the cleft, mountains enclosed an exquisite green valley, guarding it like a precious gem with their snowy peaks and rigid walls. The breathtaking view left Ylianor speechless as her gaze traveled around to fix more details as possible. Now she could see the water, running inside open stone channels within the mountain’s walls, which circled the perimeter, then fell in a smooth cascade into a small pond at the plateau’s eastern edge. And the contrast between the white snows above and the glittering green would have kept her gaze glued, had there not been something else to demand her attention, almost imperiously if she had to define the sense of urgency pervading her.

Did you recognize it? The place really exists and it’s the stone way leading to Petra’s fabulous ruins, the same canyon you probably saw in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, the wonderful 1989 movie. If you remember, he rode through it—I can still see him egging the horse to go faster in the narrow space between the massive stone walls—reaching the fabulous city where he has to save his father, wounded inside one of Petra’s impressive buildings.



Now for something I’ve never seen, but dreamed about since I was a little kid. Maya and Aztec cultures fascinate me and I’ve seen tons of pictures about them, though I’ve never actually been there. So when I wrote the story of a bloodthirsty sorcerer who loves to sacrifice young women to his god’s presumed hunger, I couldn’t think of a better place to set it than in a Central America style context…my Central American, of course.




Sacrificial Sex

by Laura Tolomei

novella,

Genre: M/M, Horror, Dark Fantasy, Paranormal, Sci-Fi

ISBN: 978-1-55487-243-5

Heat Level: 4 flames

Release date: March 1st, 2009

Publisher: eXtasy Books www.extasybooks.com

BUY LINK http://www.extasybooks.net/ebjmsite/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_comingsoon&product_id=5289&category_id=54&manufacturer_id=0&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=44

PG EXCERPT

Primax, the brightest star in their sky, lit the high plateau where Ashantarie rose in silent splendor. The city had stood on the flat hilltop since time’s beginning, the pulsing heart of their advanced civilization. Its stone buildings, tall and elegant, attracted Primax’s blinding light, which shed illusory reflections with the passing day. Most of the official buildings, Temples in particular, were pyramidal in style. The triangular masonry structures climbed up to the sky. Some had smooth, steeply sloping sides that met at an apex. Others had sharply angled steps, which reached a towering altar at the center of the top platform. The pyramids, standing near the rich part of the city, dotted the landscape and commanded an attention that was hard to deny. In fact, many fell in love with Ashantarie after just one look.

People greeted him, busy with chores and businesses, but never enough to spare a quick hello to a very important member of the community. Walking rapidly, Mylos acknowledged everyone, though he did not stop to chat. His purpose clear, he headed to the city’s outskirts and climbed the steep hill to Primax’s Temple.

Huge stones set in a circle protected the sacred open area. Only the autarchy had permission to cross its boundaries and of course, Mylos was more than qualified. With a firm step, he strode across the stone ring, quickly approaching its center, then stopped to look around. Luckily, no one was around at lunchtime, the hottest time of day. Ashantarie had a fiery climate all year round. Primax’s merciless rays enflamed the desert plateau and temperatures quickly rose to high degrees already by early morning.




And reading over it, I realize it’s surprisingly similar to another fantasy place I described, Atlantis. In my short story, The Moon Priestess, I imagined the fabled city very much like a Mayan one, mixing some elements with other places, too. And the final effect is startlingly to say the least.



The Moon Priestess

By Laura Tolomei

In eXtasy’s Anthology ATLANTIS ALLURE

Released: March 15th, 2008

Publisher: eXtasy Books

BUY LINK http://www.extasybooks.net/ebjmsite/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=ebook_flypage&product_id=3245&category_id=4&manufacturer_id=0&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=44


PG EXCERPT

Though she had taken action to change the future portrayed in the dream, it still haunted her as if warning of something else. With a sigh, she got up and went to the temple’s open space. Slender white columns enclosed the sacred area where ceremonies were held. She peered through the columns, her gaze sweeping over the fields in the distance, bathed with the moon’s pale glow.

A little bit further, she caught the sea’s glittering reflections, its slow waves adding to the illusion. The warm night seemed peaceful under the soft light and she was almost tempted to drown in the darkness, leaving the world behind. But she knew better. With a sigh, she turned around and faced the Temple’s other side.

Atlantis rose beneath her, impressive in its stony beauty made softer by the moon’s glow. Tall buildings dominated the city, imposing structures of fine sandstone, which reflected a warm brownish color. From the temple, she saw some parts of the city lit by torches that, mingling with the moon’s glow, created odd flickering games of lights and shadows.

She loved Atlantis, born and raised on its green plains, trained inside its tall buildings. With one sweep of her gaze, she embraced it all. Atlantis was built in a great valley surrounded by hills, which gave the impression that she wore a crown. All the temples were outside the city on the hilltops, as if, being physically higher, the gods could protect the city better.

The Moon and Sun temples, Atlantis’s main worship, faced each other on opposite hills. One was built in white washed stone, the other a bright yellow that made the sunrays dance. Otherwise, they were almost identical twins. The temples had stood there forever, she had been told countless times, to protect the city from harm. Her family had lived here for generations and, now that she was the only one left, she could think of no other place in which to live. And yet…

So what do you think? Do you get more the feel for the real places or the imaginary one?


Laura Tolomei

Website www.lallagatta.com

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Meet "New to Me" Author Dakota Flint




Seeing You


Blurb:

Love can be found among the pieces of a broken heart.



The night his brother, Simon, was killed in an accident, Dylan took on a double load of guilt. Guilt for walking away unscathed…and for secretly loving Simon’s partner, Wade. Unable to bear the pain, Dylan left the Lazy G ranch to rebuild his life elsewhere.

A year later he reluctantly responds to his sister’s plea to come home, where he finds the Lazy G falling apart. And so is Wade. Wade has stopped caring about the ranch, about everything that should matter most to him.

Though there’s more ranch work than one man can possibly handle, Dylan throws himself into the task. Wondering how he’s going to find the strength to pull Wade out of the fog of grief when his own is still as raw as a fresh wound. Wondering when Wade will finally see that his second chance for happiness is standing right in front of him.

Warning: Contains explicit, emotionally charged m/m sex. Extra box of tissues required. You could use your sleeve, of course, but we don’t recommend it.

Buy link: http://samhainpublishing.com/romance/seeing-you

Excerpt:

I hadn’t dreamed about the accident in weeks, hadn’t woken up sweating and crying and wondering "why me?" in months. I had recently, in fact, started dreaming of our childhood together, of Simon and Erin and our parents, Annie and Fred. I dreamed of the day I came to live with them when I was six, bewildered by the disappearance of my mother and this concept called death, when this Simon boy sat and held my hand all night when I was too scared to sleep. I dreamed of the time a pair of nine-year-old boys thought they could hitchhike to California instead of doing their chores, but wound up waiting at Miss Flossie’s house for our parents to pick us up while the town librarian fed us stale cookies and Lactaid. I dreamed of the time twelve-year-old Simon tried to convince Erin she was adopted and was really born at a house located at 666 Damnation Drive, of the moment when she looked at Simon and said, “If you’re trying to make me cry, it won’t work. Dylan was adopted by Mom and Dad and look how lucky we all are.”

Much better dreams than nightmares of blood and death and grief.

My attention was caught by the light flashing on in the kitchen of the ranch house, and I wondered what Wade dreamed about at night. A moment later it looked like the front door had opened, and I squinted, trying to see in the darkness if Wade was outside. Then the moonlight caught him as he stood at the top of the porch steps, his face tilted up to the rain.

I watched as he made his way down the steps, over the mud and grass, to the corral fence. Puzzled, I stared. This wasn’t a drizzle. It was a storm, and even if it were almost summer, a drenching would sap body heat pretty quickly. “Christ, what the hell is he doing? Doesn’t he care if he gets pneumonia?”

Abruptly I realized, no, he didn’t care. That was the point. And just like that, once again I felt the burn of anger infusing my limbs, powering through me as I dragged my Levi’s and boots on, bubbling under the surface as I stomped down the hall and out the door. I didn’t stop until I reached Wade where he was leaning against the fence, and I grabbed his shoulder and whirled him around to face me.

“What are you doing?” I barely recognized my own voice.

He blinked water out of his eyes and stared dumbly at me before saying, “What?”

“I said, what are you doing out here? I know it might seem like a nice night for a walk to you, but I thought I might inform you that it’s fucking pouring outside.”

Wade looked away, as if he was too tired to even look me in the face, and said, “Go back to bed, Dylan.” Then he turned back around to lean on the fence, dismissing me, and my anger turned to rage.

It felt like someone else moving after that. Someone else’s hand grabbing Wade’s shoulder to turn him around again, someone else’s arm that cocked back and let fly straight into Wade’s granite jaw, someone else that watched as Wade’s head snapped back from the force and he stumbled against the fence. Because surely it couldn’t have been me that touched Wade in anger.

But it was definitely me that went down, without a fence to catch me, when Wade’s fist connected to my own jaw. I was sure that would hurt later, but at the moment I couldn’t feel anything except anger and relief that Wade was still fighting.

I scrambled back up out of the mud, and then it was happening so fast, the adrenaline moving through my veins as we both grunted and swore and swung our limbs, that I wasn’t sure who was landing punches where. We were like one beast, ugly and flailing. I hadn’t brawled like this since Johnny Baron, one of the linebackers in high school, had called Simon a faggot when we were juniors.

The rain and mud were making things slippery, and then we were on the ground wrestling like a couple kids in the mud, both of us obviously no longer going for blood. Wade managed to roll me onto my back and straddle me, and I felt mud oozing around my head. I could barely see with the rain falling into my eyes.

It felt like the mud was seeping into my ears, which was just fucking nasty, and I stopped struggling for control and reached out, grabbed a handful of mud and aimed it for Wade’s face.

It landed around his left temple and I smashed it into his hair and ear as best I could. I started laughing when Wade stopped moving and just sat back, looking down at me as if I had suddenly turned into a purple dinosaur.

I laughed and laughed until I was scared I would never stop laughing, and all the while Wade looked down at me with his mouth hanging open in shock. Which just made me bellow more as he was catching mouthfuls of rainwater like that.

Just as Wade was starting to look really concerned, the laughter just dried up, and I became aware that we were out in a thunderstorm and it was pouring, and I hadn’t bothered with a shirt. I wouldn’t be surprised if my nipples were little blue pebbles, and I grinned at the weird thought.

That must have been the final straw, because Wade grabbed my chin and forced me to meet his gaze. “Are you fucking crazy?”

I considered this. “Probably. But if I’m crazy for lying here in the mud and laughing in the rain, aren’t you crazy for watching me do it?”

Wade grinned and said, “Probably.” The grin caught me off guard. It had been so long since I had seen it, making him look unexpectedly boyish despite the years carved into his face. I looked at that grin and the momentarily happy look in his eyes, and I couldn’t breathe.

As if he was deflating, the look faded from his face and he said, “Why did you hit me?”

“Because I couldn’t stand it one more minute. Not one more fucking second.”

“Stand what?”

“Watching you give up.”

“I have not.” But he said it quietly, and I knew he didn’t even believe himself.

“You have. What do you think Simon would say?” I winced as I said this, hating myself for it, and Wade looked like I had punched him again.

“I—”

“Simon died. Not you. I want you to stop acting like it was you that died on that highway.”

“How do you know it wasn’t?”

That physically hurt. “Because that’s bullshit. I watched my brother die in my arms, okay? I watched and for a while, I wish I had, too. You’re not the only one who lost something that day, and I’m sick of watching you wish you could join him when the rest of us are doing the best we can to pick up the pieces.”

Wade snarled back at me, “Why do you care now? You just left. Just packed your bags and left like I was nothing to you. Like this place was nothing to you.”

That left me momentarily speechless. “I… Wade.” I wasn’t sure what to say. I tried again. “I just… I was trying to adjust to a world without my brother in it, and every time I looked at you I kept waiting for you to get angry that I walked away from the crash and Simon didn’t. I just couldn’t stay for that.” I told myself that the burning in my eyes was from the mud and rain.

Wade looked shocked. “You thought that? I… Never.” He scrubbed his hands over his face, not that it did any good. “Christ, I thought a million times that it shouldn’t have been Simon. But I never once thought it should have been you instead.”

I hoped Wade would think it was only rain leaking around my eyes. “I… Thank you. Didn’t want to think of you hating me.”

“No.” Wade was looking down at me, and I was about to ask him to get off me because I could feel my teeth getting ready to chatter, when he let out this weird choking sound. Then he said, “What do you want from me, Dylan?”

Monday, January 18, 2010

Adam Lambert on Oprah Tuesday 1/19



Join Adam Lambert as he sits down with Oprah and talks about AI, fame and sings his new single, "Whataya want from me". If you click on here, you can read a sit down Q&A with Adam on Oprah's website.

Check your local listings and watch this wonderful entertainer on TV tomorrow.

Meet Author Julie Grissom



Tell us about your latest release/coming soon. What inspired it?


Heated Dreams is my first book. I love the thought of telepathy, a true meeting of minds along with the uniting of bodies in the act of love. I’ve always had a bent toward science fiction and romance and found combining the two a rewarding experience. I’m working on another novel of erotica, but I never discuss a book before it’s completed—except to say it’s in the works.

Who are your literary heroes and why?

I guess I’d have to say Lazarus Long—all the Long Family—from Robert A. Heinlein’s books are my heroes. When I read Heinlein, which I do often, rereading many of his books each year, I feel as if I’m having a conversation with my dad, who was the wisest person I ever knew.

What would you tell aspiring young writers about the publishing business?

It’s tough to break in. Don’t consider it anything else. And right now, it’s harder than it’s ever been, but don’t give up. Sit down and write a complete book. Avoid the three-chapters-and-synopsis lesson so many new writers are given. Yes, by all means submit those three chapters and synopsis—but don’t do it until you have completed the full book, reread it, let it sit for a few weeks, then read it again and do your own editing. Then write another book, and another, another. Throw nothing away! Very few people sell their first book the first time out, but after you’ve made a sale or two, have a track record, you might be able to sell those earlier books with only a little bit of revamping.

Tell us five random things about yourself.

I’m afraid of clowns.

I love my sister more than I ever loved my mother.

I believe in keeping commitments I’ve made.

I’m not really happy unless I’m near salt water.

I hate my thighs.

What type of writer are you—the one who experiences before writing, like Hemingway, or the one who mostly daydreams and fantasizes?

I day-dream and fantasize a lot, and when it comes to writing, there is a direct connection between my brain and my keyboard. I can’t dictate my words, can’t write long-hand (it’s too slow) and when a book is happening, time ceases to exist. I can write for 10 hours straight and think it’s still just after breakfast.

From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?

About a year.

When it comes to writing, are you an early bird, or a night owl?

Depends. If I wake up at 3 a.m. with an idea, I often get up and write for an hour or two until I’ve fleshed out that particular scene, then go back to sleep till ten or eleven. Or, if my mind compels me to write in the evening, I sometimes don’t even go to bed until the middle of the night. Again, I sleep late. But there are days when the minute the sun comes through my window I’m up and at it.

How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?

I was very fortunate in finding Carnal Passions, which was recommended to me by another writer. They chose to accept my book and publish it. As for words of advice: Read in the genre you want to sell to. Read from a wide variety of publishers. See how you like their books. If you find one whose books you really enjoy, books that are well-written, with captivating characters, approach that publisher first. Always start at the top, but make sure the publishing house does publish what you’re writing. (Or agency, if you’re agent-shopping, represents your kind of book). If you’re working on a children’s story, there’s little point in sending it to a house that only publishes adult fiction, and vice versa. If the books from the house you have chosen have few technical errors, you can pretty much assume they have good editors. There is nothing more important to an author than an editor who can make a good book excellent. Details matter. Make sure your work has no spelling errors, no typos, that your sentences all make sense, no dangling modifiers. Be your own continuity-girl (or -boy), and if there’s a nearly full moon one night, there’s not a finger nail of moon the following night. The harder you work, the closer to perfect you make your manuscript, the higher the likelihood of an editor wanting to buy it. Join a compatible critique group. If the first one or ten don’t work for you, keep looking. Remember always: Just because your mom or best friend likes your book, that doesn’t mean it’s good. It means they are and they love you. Also, and this is going to sound terrible, if you’re a married woman and have chosen to take your husband’s last name, do not use it as your writing name. If your marriage to Jack Smith goes sour (and we all know far too many do) would you want to have become a bestseller as Jane Smith, then be forced by the logistics of name recognition to continue using Jack Smith’s name even if you hate his guts? Use a pseudonym or your maiden name. It’s yours. It will always be yours, no matter what the future holds.

What book are you reading now?

A Confederation of Valor, by Tanya Huff.

Have you ever woken in the night with the need to write? If so, how do you deal with this urge?

I get up and do it.

Where can readers find you on the web?

http://www.juliegrissom.com/

Sneak Peek into Heated Dreams:

Brett had to touch this exotic woman, and when he took her hand in his, to his amazement he saw her lips part damply, eyes widen, glaze over, felt the waves of her pleasure radiate from her fingertips, up her arm, into her heart, her lungs, her blood, dance along her tender nerves to cluster and form deep inside her belly, then flare outward, upward as her rigidly contained emotions burst forth. She gasped and he held her hand tight as the sensations in her peaked then slowly ebbed, leaving him completely gratified with the knowledge that he had accomplished a wondrous deed, given her great pleasure, and that he would be able to do so again. Perhaps she was not as damaged as he’d first believed.


From Heated Dreams, by Julie Grissom.
Buy at: http://carnalpassions.com/books/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=23

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Getting to know Author PA Brown



Q: What are the most challenging and the most rewarding aspects of writing?


I strive to make my cops 'real' like my hero Joseph Wambaugh. At the same time there has to be a compelling story since I'm not writing a non-fiction piece. My proudest moments are when I'm told how gritty and real my settings are.

Q: Please tell us about your latest/upcoming release. Is this part of a series and if so, what is the reading order for it?

The most recent release is L.A. Boneyard, the third book in my L.A. series featuring LAPD homicide detective David Eric Laine. Book 4 is due out in the next couple of months. The reading order for the series is L.A. Heat, L.A. Mischief, L.A. Boneyard and L.A. Bytes. A fifth book is due out later this year, Bermuda Heat and I have an idea in mind for a book 6 which will bring back some of the characters from L.A. Boneyard.

Q: What character (s) in any of your books is most like you?

I'd have to say Johnny Wager, in Memory of Darkness. He's a little bit wild, a little bit hedonistic, laid back, with a smart mouth that gets him into trouble sometimes. We share a few experiences too, though I'm not telling which ones. :-)

Q: What is the most ridiculous thing that you have thought about doing to any of your characters but never did?

I had an image of killing off or seriously injuring David. I had a vision where David is in a hospital bed dying and Chris is at his bed side begging him not to die. At best I thought I might have him live, but be unable to be a cop anymore, but in the end I couldn't do it. I just like him and Chris too much.


Q: What do you feel are the benefits of the new electronic readers such as Kindle 2 or Sony Digital Book Reader to the environment?

I believe they do help the environment in some ways, though they're not as perfect as some proponents would have you believe. After all there's a lot of manufacturing involved in building ereaders and that means waste as well as disposal issues when the things get outdated which we all know happens very rapidly in technology. So where are all those outdated Sonys and Kindles going to get dumped? As an author I like them -- I can see a lot more books selling with this. The books are so much cheaper that readers are buying more books today than ever.

Q: What other jobs have you had besides being an author?

A lot: hospital porter, ticket taker, concession stand worker, aquarium store manager, sales clerk, phone sales, housekeeper, horse groomer, paper delivery person, computer techinician, network administrator, network engineer, census taker... I'm sure I've forgotten some. I consider myself a joat -- jack of all trades.


Q: Which authors works do you enjoy reading and do you have any other authors that you bounce ideas of?

I'm big on darker crime fiction authors -- Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Joseph Wambaugh, Kathy Reichs, James Ellroy. Neil Plakcy and I have bounced ideas off each other, he crits my erotic short fiction. I love his books, too, plus Josh Lanyon and Rick Reed. A lot more, too, too many to talk about.

Q: Which of your characters is closest to your heart? Why?

I think David Eric Laine. He's a brilliant man who is wildy underestimated. He never gets the recognition he deserves. He has a lot of hidden depths. All most people can do when they look at him is see the 'gay cop', the bear. He's so much more than that.

Q: What season is your favorite and why?

Spring: everything is fresh and new, there's a sense of anything being possible and most important WINTER IS OVER! You might be able to tell from that I'm not a big fan of winter.

Q: If you could meet any author, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Joseph Wambaugh. He inspires me and his stories about front line cops are probably the truest cop stories you will find out there. His cops are real heros even though his books aren't full of 'save the world' thrills.

Q: What is coming in 2010 for you?

I have at this time 3 more books coming out, plus I'm working on a few others. I have a sequel to Geography of Murder that I want to finish soon, I've written a novel set in a Los Angeles barrio titled Barrio Boyz that I hope to use to get an agent. A short story with the same characters is due out in an anthology Neil Plakcy has put together. We hope to see that out this year. I'm working on my first shapeshifting novel for Amber Quill. It's a fantasy about dragons and it's proving to be interesting. Nothing at all like my normal work. And I'd like to work on that 6th L.A. series book.

Q: Where can readers find you on the web?

Web site: http://www.pabrown.ca/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/pabrown

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PatABrown






EXCERPT:

Something had done a number on the corpse.

The early morning call-out had been brief and to the point.

Griffith Park. Shallow grave. Mutilated arm. Probably wild
animals.


LAPD homicide detective David Eric Laine hoped it was

animals. He crouched beside the makeshift grave, behind the

screen of freshly broken branches and crushed vegetation,

studying the exposed arm with the manicured nails and winking

diamond ring; the animals had nearly worked off the bone.

Wondering what her final moments had been like. Knowing it

had been ugly. He looked beyond the grave, visualizing. Had he

raped her? Had that been the last indignity she had suffered,

before the ultimate one?

Overhead, dense black clouds roiled across the western sky,

a late Pineapple Express had roared in last night, straight from

Hawaii, promising more rain in an already wet spring. The

chaparral and Ceanothus had started their seasonal bloom, thin

green shoots emerging from what had once been desiccated

limbs. Under foot the moisture retaining hydro-mulch, spread

after the ravaging 2007 and 2008 fires, soaked his feet, chilling

his skin. The steady thump-thump of the LAPD airship called

in to do an aerial survey echoed his heartbeat, driving him

relentlessly, as unforgiving of failure as he was.

David scanned the ground, taking in the fresh horse tracks,

and the fading coyote spore. The animals had scattered when

the woman who found the body nearly rode her horse over

them. She stood with her shoulder touching her horse's neck,

the animal's reins still held in her gloved hand. Blindly she

touched the burnished chestnut coat, seeking comfort. David

turned away; he had nothing to give her. His promises were for

the dead. They didn't ask for guarantees. They didn't get angry

when he was called away in the middle of the night to do his

job.

"So what have we got?" he asked.

The first officer on the scene, Donald Lessing, pulled out his

notes, "I received a call at seven-fifty-six AM that a body had

been discovered in a shallow grave. My partner and I were

dispatched, and arrived about fifteen minutes later." He

indicated his partner, a paunchy, silver-haired Asian, who was

adding a second loop of barrier tape to keep out the curious,

then indicated the equestrienne, "We found Mrs. Rosenfield

right about where she is now. She was pretty upset."

"I'm sure the last thing she expected to find was a dead

body on her morning ride."

"Yes sir."

Nothing could be done to process the crime scene until the

photographers had taken their shots. Everything had to be kept

intact to preserve possible evidence. They had the time; the

body wasn't going anywhere. In the distance, thunder rumbled.

He amended that, maybe they didn't have so much time.


David studied the dark, crouching clouds, and wondered if

Chris would get over his snit long enough to close the windows

against the coming rain.


Friday, January 15, 2010

A Good Way To Start 2010

I'm still on vaction in New England, and at the moment am enjoying a relaxing (and cold) weekend on the coast of Maine.  But I received some good news this week that I wanted to share. 

Shadowfire Press offered me a contract this week for the next two books in my vampire trilogy -- The Vampire Hunters: Vampyrnomicon (scheduled for publication in August 2010) and The Vampire Hunters: Dominion (scheduled for publication in February 2011).  These two novels will introduce the Master, expand on the vampire mythos, and finally detail the ultimate battle between good and evil. 

Another good omen of the great things to come this year was my visit on Thursday to Salem, Massachusetts, my old stomping ground (I earned a bachelor's degree in history from Salem State College and spent two summers working as a tour guide in the Essex Institute in the 1980s).  Back when I spent time in Salem, the city seemed embarrassed by its association with the witchcraft trials of 1692, except for those tourist traps that tried to exploit visitors' fascination with the macabre aspects of the trials.  ("And here we have a replica of a room that contains furniture similar to the ones that might have been used by those hanged as witches.") 

Now Salem embraces its heritage with a vengeance.  It began in 2005 when Salem erected a statue to Bewitched's Samantha Stephens, the domestic witch played by Elizabeth Montgomery.  Now the city is home to the 40 Whacks Museum dedicated to spinster axe murderer Lizzie Borden (even though she butchered her parents farther south in Fall River), the monster museum at Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery, plus a wide range of haunted walking and trolley tours.  Granted, most of these attractions have as little to do with Salem's history as the witch locales.  But it's great to see the city embracing horror.  For me, it means my genre is alive and thriving. 

So I'm going to enjoy my last few days of vacation with a good seafood dinner tonight and a nice morning walk along the beach.  I'll need it.  Next week the writing kicks back in big time.

WRITERS WRITE... WRITING PARTNERS FEUD ~ EVEN AN ARMADILLO NEEDS LOVE

  The singular most important emotion a human spirit craves is to be loved. It seeks it out. It needs it. It craves it. Walk into an...