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Category Archives: romance
Love Spanks 2015 is here!
It went fast, but what a ride! The stories have been read! The comments have been made and are being tabulated by a very sophisticated and advanced system of algorithms and….something. I have no idea. All I know is that Love Spanks 2015 is officially over as far as commenting. Now we wait a bit to see who won what!
All the stories are down because we are having an anthology put together. More on that at a later date. So if you missed any of the fab offerings, they’ll be available in one volume at a ridiculously low price 🙂
If you have any questions about Love Spanks 2015, head over to Ana’s and she’ll gladly help you out 🙂
Thanks again for reading and commenting and being your awesome selves! I was touched by all your kind words and encouragement about the setting and characters in Gold Rush. I’m seriously considering more with Pen and Rowena. I have a few things on my plate right now, but their story may be too compelling to ignore for long 🙂
I’m not one to wear a lot of jewelry. Earrings, because I have five piercings to fill. My wedding ring, of course. A watch if I’m not typing, because otherwise it’s quite uncomfortable. And a necklace I bought several years ago.
Why is this special? Why do I never take it off, except to clean it (or take a picture : )? Because it’s a symbol of love. Each of those tiny stones represents someone: the birthstones of my children, my spouse and myself. No matter where I am, my family is with me. On a recent Tart Sweet post, Limecello asked about my five most prized possessions. My wedding ring and this necklace were first and foremost on my list.
Necklaces are worn by characters in all three of my Nevarro novels, but differ in significance. In Rulebreaker, Zia Talbot wears a gold ring strung on a chain. It matches another piece of jewelry she never removes. Liv sees them but doesn’t learn the meaning of them until later in the story.
“I’ve worn these rings…since I was a girl, waiting for the right person to share all I have and all I can be. I’ve found that person.”
For Zia, the rings are a symbol of the future life she wishes to live. Not one of riches and power—she has those—but of love.
The necklace Guy Christiansen gives Sasha James in Caught in Amber carries a completely different connotation. First, note that Guy is not the hero in Caught. When Sasha comes to him in an effort to help Nathan Sterling, Guy presents Sasha with a pinky-nail sized ruby strung on a gold chain. It matches the ring he wears. Here’s a bit of her reaction after he secures it around her neck.
The cold stone and metal chilled her while his warm fingers lingered at the base of her neck. “Just a token,” he said lightly.
His offhand manner didn’t fool her for a moment. She looked up. In his blue eyes was exactly what she’d expected: triumph. Satisfaction. Possession.
Guy sees it as a representation of love. Sasha knows it’s more sinister than that. But she has no choice in accepting it for Sterling’s sake. Slight spoiler alert: She doesn’t keep it : )
Genevieve Caine isn’t very forthcoming with information in Deep Deception, but the pendant she wears tells quite a bit about her character and motivations. It represents something she isn’t willing to share with Natalia Hallowell. At least not at first.
A silver pendant on a delicate necklace rested between her breasts. Gennie saw Natalia looking at it and quickly slipped it under her shirt.
The significance of the pendant isn’t a plot spoiler, but it has more of an impact if you read it in context so I won’t tell you anymore about it here. Suffice it to say, it’s an important piece of jewelry to Gennie, and becomes so to Natalia.
These pieces of stone and metal have more than monetary value. The emotions attached to each of them, for better or worse, make them more than what they are.
In celebration of my latest release, Deep Deception, I’m holding a giveaway for a silver locket reminiscent of Gennie’s pendant and a copy of the book. I will ship internationally! Just tell me if there’s something you own that holds more meaning and value than what it’s “worth.” If you want to share why, that’s great. If not, that’s okay too : )
If I asked you to name a famous ship wreck or ship sinking, you’d probably come up with the Titanic at some point in your short list, right? I mean, who wouldn’t, with all the books, movies and other discussion still surrounding the event, even 101 years later?
So true enough my SFR novel WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM is loosely based on Titanic, although set in the far future, on a space liner, but I also took inspiration from some other sinkings and wrecks in history. When I was deciding what to write for this guest blog at Cathy’s (and thank you for having me today), I researched famous shipwrecks in Alaska and found the “unsinkable” SS Islander, with water tight compartments, built for the luxury trade, which hit an iceberg (or a rock) on August 14, 1901 and sank in twenty minutes. Forty people died, possibly more since there were at least eleven stowaways. (VS sez that’s a lot of stowaways!). The ship is rumored to have gone down with great riches in the hold, just as Titanic took treasures of all kinds to the bottom of the Pacific, including a jeweled copy of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. My own doomed Nebula Dream has unspecified wonders in its cargo hold.
Lifeboats and who gets into them are another constant theme when researching wrecks and sinkings. The biggest lifeboat, meant to hold 50, was reported to have left the Islander with only eight people aboard. Titanic’s lifeboats are legendary for being lowered underfilled. I always wondered about that, why the crew was so concerned about not putting too many people into the boats, until I just this year read several accounts of earlier tragedies at sea where the lifeboats did split as they were lowered, which the crew of Titanic must have known. My Nebula Dream has lifeboat problems of her own…
Even getting to a lifeboat didn’t always mean a person survived. In the accounts of the White Star Line RMS Atlantic, which sank in 1873 with terrible loss of life, all the women and children died, even though many were put into lifeboats but the life boats capsized or were smashed against the rocks. Interestingly, one of the crew members of the Atlantic was discovered to have been a woman in disguise as “Bill,” a sailor who liked his grog and tobacco, and who had done three voyages on the ship. Now there has to be a novel there, right?!
We writers LOVE doing research and it often takes us down rabbitholes, like I just did just then with the sailor who was a woman, sorry! Then we have to force ourselves back to the original topic we were pursuing. How about the White Star Line’s Republic, known as “The Millionaires’ Ship” because so many rich Americans liked to travel back and forth to Europe aboard her? When she had her mid ocean catastrophe in 1909, the Marconi crew broadcast the “CQD” emergency call and another ship did arrive in time to take off nearly everyone aboard. This explains a lot about why the passengers on Titanic just three years later were so sure they had plenty of time, weren’t in all that much danger and had no need to go into the tiny lifeboats. Even the Board of Trade expected there would always be another ship conveniently nearby to take the passengers from a disabled or sinking cruise liner. Well, the Californian was near the Titanic all right (within ten miles) but never got word of the sinking. One of those very sad “what ifs”.
I made sure the circumstances of my spaceliner’s wreck placed her far away from where she was supposed to be and amped up the difficulty of anyone coming to their rescue in time…
And one final thing, in a very old, low budget movie about a fictional shipwreck (not Titanic) which my parents allowed me to see on TV (and be traumatized by but hey, that’s par for the course as a kid!), a poor woman is trapped under wreckage as the ship sinks. Her husband struggles to get her free in time. (It’s “The Last Voyage” with Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone, if you’re interested.) I made sure to put a scene into WRECK where something similar occurs and my hero Nick has to come to the rescue of trapped children, thus exorcising my personal lifelong demons from viewing that movie!
Here’s the book’s story:
Traveling unexpectedly aboard the luxury liner Nebula Dream on its maiden voyage across the galaxy, Sectors Special Forces Captain Nick Jameson is ready for ten relaxing days, and hoping to forget his last disastrous mission behind enemy lines. He figures he’ll gamble at the casino, take in the shows, maybe even have a shipboard fling with Mara Lyrae, the beautiful but reserved businesswoman he meets.
All his plans vaporize when the ship suffers a wreck of Titanic proportions. Captain and crew abandon ship, leaving the 8000 passengers stranded without enough lifeboats and drifting unarmed in enemy territory. Aided by Mara, Nick must find a way off the doomed ship for himself and several other innocent people before deadly enemy forces reach them or the ship’s malfunctioning engines finish ticking down to self destruction.
But can Nick conquer the demons from his past that tell him he’ll fail these innocent people just as he failed to save his Special Forces team? Will he outpace his own doubts to win this vital race against time?
You can find me at:
Thanks for having me as a guest today, Cathy!
Hi, all! I wanted to share a short piece set after Rulebreaker featuring Zia and Liv. It’s a holiday story originally posted on Jessica Subject’s blog last year. Bit of a warning, there is some girl lovin’, so if you’re underage or just not into it, don’t read.
Otherwise, I hope you like the piece. Happy New Year!
Zia drew in a long, slow breath, letting the warm salt and floral tinged air of Pacifica fill her lungs, and released it with a contented sigh. The cooling pad beneath her provided the perfect barrier between the hot, lavender sand while countering the heat of the sun’s rays baking her from above. Optimum comfort was promised and delivered. Somewhere in the distance, she heard shouts and laughter of others, but no one close enough to bother her mid day repose.
She’d never allowed herself time to relax like this back on Nevarro. It was always work work work, stress stress stress. But since coming to the resort planet two months ago, she’d slowly let go of the natural drive that had seen her become VP of Research and Development for one of the top mining companies on Nevarro before she’d reached her thirty-fifth standard year.
Correction: Former Vice President.
Being on Pacifica was the result of her forced departure from Exeter Mining, but she was so very lucky to be here. And even luckier to be here with the woman she loved. Those last few months on Nevarro had been strenuous, and had nearly killed both her and Liv. They were safe now, taking a short holiday while they figured out where to go next.
Eyes closed, her breathing and heart rate synchronized with the lulling sound of the surf against the soft sand. Zia forced herself not to dwell on the worries of what they’d do to make their living after the visit to Pacifica was over. They’d figure it out soon enough. Right now, she just wanted to soak in the sun while she waited for Liv to join her.
“Happy Founder’s Day.”
Reluctant to rouse from her doze, but responding to the familiar voice, Zia opened one eye just wide enough to see Liv standing over her. Liv’s short dark hair flittered in the sea breeze, haloing her head. Like Zia, she wore a snug one piece outfit. The strapless garment showed off Liv’s lithe body, and Zia smiled in appreciation. “We’re not on Nevarro anymore, hon. They don’t celebrate Founder’s Day here.”
Every day was a celebration on the resort planet. How could it not be in a world marketed specifically for its just-hot-enough beaches, placid oceans, and low, rolling hills?
“I know.” Liv held out a red and silver box slightly larger than her fist. “Here.”
Zia rose to lean on her elbows. She’d assumed that leaving Nevarro meant they wouldn’t celebrate. Apparently she’d been wrong. “Sweetness, I didn’t think we’d be observing the day. I didn’t get you anything—”
“Don’t be ridiculous.” She shook the box. “Just open it.”
Zia sat up and crossed her legs as she gave Liv a reproachful look. They often exchanged gifts—flowers or small tokens—without the expectation of reciprocation, but Founder’s Day was a major holiday on Nevarro, with parades and parties scheduled across the planet. Not that she’d participated in many. Work had always come first, and the few times she had someone to share the festivities with, she’d felt a certain amount of resentment if she had projects pending.
But things were different now. She was different now. And it was all because of Liv.
Smiling, Zia took the box and gave it an experimental shake. Neither heavy nor rattling, whatever it was thumped against the sides. Slowly, she ran her finger under the edge of the paper.
Liv bounced on the balls of her feet, sinking deeper into the sand. “You’re doing that on purpose.”
“What?” Zia asked, widening her eyes in mock innocence. Liv was not the most patient person; in some things, anyway. She finished loosening the paper and set it on the pad. Lifting the top off the box, she stared down at the circle of white fur inside. “Is it alive?”
“No, silly.” Liv huffed dramatically and reached in. With a flick of her wrists, she held a furry disc in each hand connected by a springy, flat band wrapped in the same material.
“Put them on.”
The grin on her face made her look like a kid, and Zia couldn’t help but smile back despite her confusion. “It’s over 34 degrees. Not exactly ear muff weather.”
A sly glint lit Liv’s brown eyes. “Put them on and come with me.”
What was she up to? Zia set the furry head gear over her ears, muffling the sound of the ocean waves. Liv extended a hand to help her up. When Zia was on her feet, she kissed Liv’s cheek. “They’re great, but—”
Liv covered Zia’s mouth with her own, eliciting a moan of desire from Zia as heat flashed from her breasts to her groin. God, she loved kissing this woman. Before Zia could deepen the kiss, Liv broke away and started toward the cottage they shared, tugging Zia along by the hand. “Come on.”
Feeling a little silly mincing across the scorching sand while wearing ear muffs, Zia wondered what Liv had in store. The breeze off the ocean tossed her long hair over her shoulders, but the ear muffs kept it out of her face. Another change since being with Liv; she used to wear her hair up and controlled.
The sweet scent of the false hibiscus blooming beside the cottage drifted on the air as they walked to the rear door. Like the other dwellings further along the beach, the white-washed exterior reflected the sun’s heat while the blue roof tiles collected and converted its energy for use.
Liv stopped on the slate porch of the rear entrance and let go of Zia’s hand. Instead of opening the door, she reached behind the carved stone bench beside it. She turned around, a long, puffy coat the color of putty in each hand.
Zia took a coat from her, one eyebrow cocked in a silent question.
“Humor me,” Liv said. She shrugged into the other coat, closed it up to her throat, and withdrew her own ear muffs from the deep pocket. “And hurry up before I melt in this thing.”
Zia donned the garment as Liv reached behind the bench again. The coat came down to Zia’s shins. It was already getting too hot, and she was grateful for the cool stone beneath her feet.
“These too.” Liv handed Zia a pair of fur-lined boots.
She brushed the sand off her feet and did as she was told. The boots felt awkward and alien after weeks of running barefoot on the sand or with the thinnest of sandals when propriety demanded shoes.
Liv put on her own pair, a grin still splitting her face. “All right. Now, close your eyes.”
Zia complied. She had an idea what Liv had done, considering the cold weather gear she currently wore on a beach planet, but didn’t want to spoil it. Part of a gift was the giver’s anticipation. Goodness knows she was just as delighted to give Liv some trinket as Liv was to receive it. She felt Liv’s fingers entwine with her own and gently squeezed them. Liv squeezed back.
The door clicked open. A burst of icy air hit Zia’s face and she instinctively sucked in a breath. Beneath the coat, her body gave a reactionary shiver, even though it was well protected. Her sudden inhalation brought with it a distinct metallic hint to the air. Just like Nevarro’s. How had Liv dropped the temp in the short time Zia had been out of the house? How had she managed the very taste of the air? The enviro controls must be pushed to their limits.
“Don’t open your eyes,” Liv admonished.
She ushered Zia in and the door closed behind them. In her mind’s eye, Zia saw the layout of their little cottage by the sea. They’d entered the enclosed porch with a long, low couch she and Liv often used during their evening meal so they could watch the peach and purple sunsets. From the outside, the one-way windows appeared to be solid walls, giving them complete privacy while enjoying the view. And each other.
Through the arched doorway and to the left was the kitchen where Liv sometimes cooked their meals, but more often than not they had the Compu-Chef whip up something.
Liv led her to the right, into the small living room. After a day in the luscious heat of Pacifica, Zia’s cheeks felt frozen even though it was probably only ten degrees C. A trace of some tantalizing scent came to her. Cinnamon? Hard to say with her nose as cold as it was.
“Over this way.” They approached the place where a low table sat between two chairs and a short couch. Instinctively, Zia swerved away from what would be the corner of the table.
“Now sit,” Liv said, taking her shoulders and easing her down to the couch.
Trusting her lover, though still not quite sure what to expect, she sat on the edge of the seat. Liv moved away and busied herself in front of Zia. Though she listened hard, she couldn’t determine what Liv was doing. A few taps, a muted beep. The urge to peek nearly overwhelmed her, but she didn’t want to ruin Liv’s surprise. Whatever she had planned was important to her, and that meant it was important to Zia. After a moment, Zia felt a wave of warmth cut through the cold.
“Open your eyes.”
Zia opened them and gasped in delight, the cold all but forgotten. The entire living room was lit with strings of tiny white lights. The table had been moved aside, and on the bare floor in front of her was a roaring fire encircled by smooth stones. The hologram looked and felt so real, Zia’s nose warmed. Liv stood near the table. On the honey-colored surface waited a platter of pastries, a basket of huskberries, and a colorful coffee pot with two matching mugs.
“I couldn’t find a Founder’s Day flag here,” Liv said, her breath coming out in a silvery puff, “and getting one shipped over was more credits than I could justify.”
“It’s amazing.” Zia’s voice caught around the lump in her throat as a surge of love squeezed her chest. “I can’t believe you did all of this.”
Liv shrugged, but the smile on her beautiful face told Zia she was pleased with Zia’s reaction. “I programmed the Chef with a recipe I found for the pastries. They’re pretty close. And the cocoa is good. Had to fight to override the temp setting. Seems the Chef couldn’t quite understand why I wanted such a hot drink here.”
Zia laughed. Leave it to Liv to argue with a kitchen appliance.
Liv’s grin faded a little as she continued. “What happened on Nevarro probably isn’t stuff either one of us wants to remember.” She knelt in front of Zia and grasped her hands. Cool skin warmed quickly when their palms came together. “But it’s where we met, and I never want to forget that. By leaving like we did, we never had the chance to share one of my favorite holidays.”
She released Zia’s hands and rose to pour cocoa—the Nevarro Founding Father’s preferred beverage and a tradition of the holiday—into each of the mugs. Passing one to Zia, Liv sat beside her. The mug radiated enough heat to warm her hands while the delectable scent of chocolate made her mouth water.
She sipped the rich beverage and smiled. Careful of the hot drinks, Zia kissed Liv’s cheek. “I will never forget this. Thank you.”
Liv took the mug from her and set both back on the table. “There’s one more thing.”
She rose, taking Zia’s hand again, and led her toward the bedroom.
Zia’s smile broadened. This was definitely going to be one of her better Founder’s Days.
Liv glanced at her as she pushed the door open and moved aside. Zia stepped into the room and her mouth dropped open. Flames flickered from dozens of white candles that filled every flat surface except the white fur-covered bed. The scent of wax and cinnamon tinged the icy air.
“How?” Was all Zia could manage.
“I’ve be getting things together for the past two weeks,” she said. “It’s not easy keeping surprises hidden from you.” Liv took Zia’s hand and led her to the bed. She ran her fingers under the closure of the coat and pushed the garment off Zia’s shoulders. The chill air on her chest made her shiver. “I took advantage of your time down at the beach. Now I’m going to take advantage of you.”
Eyeing the promise of the fur on the bed, Zia’s nipples tightened from the cold and from the anticipation of what was to come. She covered Liv’s mouth with her own as she opened Liv’s coat and ran her hands up her lover’s arms to her shoulders and neck. She threaded her fingers through Liv’s hair and deepened the kiss. Liv’s arms came around Zia’s waist, one hand at the small of her back, pulling their bodies together, and the other working the closure of her beach frock.
“Hurry,” Zia said as she lowered her hands to Liv’s clothing and did the same. “I’m freezing.”
They peeled each other out of their clothes and kicked off the fur-lined boots. Despite the cold, Zia stopped for a moment to stare at Liv. The Pacifica sun had darkened her skin to a golden brown that glowed in the candlelight. Cold and arousal made her nipples pebble, and Zia couldn’t stop herself from reaching out to caress Liv’s breast.
Liv sucked in a breath and moved closer, her hands skimming along Zia’s sides and up to her chest as their mouths came together. Tongues twined and heat blossomed throughout Zia’s body. Liv’s scent filled her, increasing Zia’s need to have her.
One hand at Zia’s breast and the other at her waist, Liv eased her around and guided her backward toward the bed. Zia’s legs hit the side. As she lowered herself, still kissing Liv, she reached out and flipped back the fur blanket. They broke the kiss only long enough to get into bed, but kept one hand on each other as they moved, neither willing to lose contact with soft, hot skin even for a moment. Zia realized they both still wore their ear muffs, but didn’t care.
Liv covered Zia’s body with her own, her weight and they way they fit together giving Zia a sense of contentment she’d relished for the last two months. Breast to breast, stomach to stomach, thighs pressing between legs, she couldn’t think of any other place she’d rather be than in the chilled room with the woman she loved.
Liv pulled the fur around the two of them, creating a cocoon of warmth. Only their heads were exposed, and Zia delighted in the contrast of the nip in the air while her body heated beneath Liv’s as they kissed. After several breathless moments, Liv lifted herself away, her gaze wandering over Zia’s face from brow to eyes to lips.
Zia cocked her head. “What? What are you thinking?”
Their gazes met and Liv smiled. Zia’s insides melted. “I’m thinking,” Liv said, “how I’m very grateful Carmine Nevarro discovered keracite on that cold rock, otherwise we wouldn’t be here. I love you.”
Zia ran her fingers through Liv’s hair and drew her back down for a kiss. “Love you too. Happy Founder’s Day.”
THE SCI-FI HERO, IN ALL HIS GLORY!
First, thanks to Cathy Pegau for hosting us, the authors of A GALACTIC HOLIDAY, Carina’s Press’s sci-fi holiday anthology. Happy Holidays, Cathy!
There’s just something crack-o-licious about certain sci-fi heroes. Think about it—what is it that’s so appealing about Mal Reynolds? He was rough around the edges, educated by life rather than a stuffy academy, and a former member of a rebellion that wound up losing in an epic way? And then there’s the seemingly opposite side of the coin represented by James Tiberius Kirk. Sophisticated, Academy-raised, a respected member of Star Fleet—a winner in every sense of the word. These two heroes shouldn’t have anything in common.
But they do.
In their heart of hearts, both Mal and Kirk were mavericks. They both understand the parameters of their worlds/galaxies/’verse, and their place in it. They know the rules. A lot of the time, they even follow them…until they don’t.
What makes these two so universally loved is that they always tried to do what was right. Not what’s legally acceptable. Not what they’re ordered to do. Not what was expected of them. What these two much-adored characters shared is an moral compass that always pointed true, and they didn’t care about what rules they had to break in order to make things right. How can you not love someone like that?
In A GALACTIC HOLIDAY, the three heroes also come from very different backgrounds, but each one falls into the category of hero. To find out more, read on!
Anna: Born and raised on Rendar (a high-tech planet with no families), Savan Bardan has always fought for what he wanted. First as a space marine, he led his men into terrible battles and now as the top trade negotiator in the galaxy. He’s the tough, silent type who keeps his past nightmares buried and likes to always win. But deep down he questions everything: his planet’s hunger for more energy, the tactics his colleagues are willing to use to close a deal and his own goals. I think he knows something is missing from his life.
Enter Brinn Fjord. The negotiator for the ice world of Perma. A woman who blames him for the death of her father. Brinn is dedicated to her family, her people’s prosperity and protecting her world’s environment. She is just the woman to show Savan what he’s missing! And I tossed them together during the winter holiday of Yule…let’s just say it is a real education for Savan.
Sasha: Leo is a man’s man. He’s a man of action, but he’s smart enough to think things through first. His colony lost protection from Patrols and the Raiders ‘recruited’ him before Black Lung wiped out the rest of the colony. After raiding for a while, the Patrols caught up with his ship. He spent the next few years working for the Patrols, feeding the info. Once he’d earned their trust, he got his own ship and crew. He still helps out the Patrols from time to time, but he’s an entrepreneur – taking whatever jobs pay most so he can help people/colonies/ships in trouble… partly because he knows what it’s like to be deserted and partly because he likes to do the right thing. He’s a loyal captain and protective of his crew and his ship. But he’s a loner, maintaining enough distance to keep control of his wily crew. Meeting Riley, the heroine, makes him question the whole ‘loner’ thing – but Riley isn’t necessarily sold on the idea of a long-term ‘thing’ either so he has his work cut out for him.
Stacy: Right from the beginning, Detective Edison Wicke popped out of my head as a full-fledged smartass! He’s a sexy charmer, though, so I can forgive that quick-trigger mouth of his. Just think of Edison as that guy we ladies secretly want to meet—the guy who has a sizzling quip for just about everything that comes his way, and the sleek charisma to keep you laughing.
But come to find out, Edison’s wicked sense of humor hides a turbulent childhood where December 25th was just another day to struggle through. Because of the harshness of his background, he has a strong sense of justice (in fact, his name was almost Edison Just instead of Edison Wicke, due to his unwavering sense of what is right). He’s hardcore when it comes to protecting those who can’t protect themselves, and his loyalty to Reina is so great he changed his entire life in order to be near her. And in the face of adversity, he stands by her side when no one else will.
If that isn’t a true hero, I don’t know what is.
You tell us—what traits do you like to see in your heroes?
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A GALACTIC HOLIDAY – Carina Press | Amazon | B&N | All Romance
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Sasha Summers – Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
no images were foundLooking for an adrenaline rush along with your romance? Jill Sorenson has a new romantic suspense release coming from Harlequin HQN, Aftershock. Take a look…
THERE’S A FINE LINE
As an emergency paramedic, Lauren Boyer is dedicated and highly capable. Until an earthquake strikes, trapping her beneath the freeway with a group of strangers-including Iraq war veteran Garrett Wright…
BETWEEN PERIL AND PASSION
Handsome and take-charge Garrett aids Lauren in her rescue efforts, even as the steely look in his eyes seems to hide dark secrets. When a gang of escaped convicts goes on the attack, Garrett’s bravery makes him more than a courageous bystander to Lauren. If they can save the others before time runs out, maybe, just maybe, they can explore the fire igniting between them-if the truth about who he really is doesn’t pull them apart forever…
Sounds like an intense, action-packed read, doesn’t it? Aftershock will be available soon, but if it’s not soon enough, drop a comment here and you may win a copy! A winner will be chosen Sunday, December 16th.
Find Aftershock at
*****Comments are closed, folks! I’ll pick a winner and announce Monday! Thank you!!!*****
Welcome J.L. Hilton on her blog tour for her newest release from Carina Press, Stellarnet Prince, Book Two in the Stellarnet Series, following Stellarnet Rebel (January 2012).
Stuck in the Middle with You
When Cathy wrote about M/F/M relationships, she joked that if she ever happened to be the “/F/”she hoped she wouldn’t have to sleep in the middle of the bed. I’ve never had the opportunity to be an “/F/” either. I know I’m an edge sleeper. I like to be able to uncover a leg for proper temperature control, climb out to use the bathroom, or get as far away as a king-sized bed will allow when my husband starts snoring. And I have kids, so I have to be accessible in the event of nightmares, illness and thunderstorms. In my new novel, Stellarnet Prince, chapter one begins with the heroine waking between two males –one built like Matthew McConaughey and one built like Michael Phelps.
J’ni pressed her breasts to Duin’s speckled back, kissing his neck while he slept. In many ways, they were similar, his race and hers. They were omnivorous mammals who bled, laughed, and needed sleep. They possessed two legs, two arms, ten fingers. But there were numerous differences between her race and his, between humans and the Glin.
Her hand moved over his thigh, smooth as pearl, and traced the dense muscles hardened by a lifetime of hunting and swimming. Beneath closed eyelids rimmed with short, white lashes, his eyes were larger than her own and filled almost entirely with dark gray irises. Past his pale lips were teeth smaller and sharper than hers. His hairless skin bore several shades from taupe to chartreuse—but only on the back half of his body, like many aquatic creatures on Earth.
Light flickered through cracks in the woven walls of the hut. J’ni knew what the sunlight meant to his planet. Devastation. Too much water had been stolen by the Tikati, too many rivers dammed. Within a few years, pollution and ecological upheaval had altered the storm systems and water flow upon which the lives of these hunter-gatherers depended. But she couldn’t help her instinctive response. The light made her feel good.
She rolled onto her back and stretched. Bright spots danced over Belloc’s arm and across her stomach. Glin faces, chests, stomachs, the insides of their arms and the fronts of their legs were pale. But Belloc’s front had the slightest shade of blue, where Duin’s had a hint of yellow. Unique among all Glin, her husband’s back half was a deep indigo blue, with thin lines of blue-green in a wriggling pattern that looked like rain on a window. The pattern made his skin seem to shimmer when he moved. “Gulla tup, bugloim.” The rich cello music of Belloc’s voice resonated in his chest as he spoke to her in Glinnish. “Awaken well, my love.”
“I couldn’t think of a better way to wake up than between the two of you.”
Me neither. I tell you what, edge sleeper or not, if I had the opportunity to play monkey-in-the-middle with some men who looked like Matt and Mike, I’d do it. Or die trying. Even if they are from another planet. And knowing Duin – at 40 years old, a father of five and grandfather of two with a personality similar to Santa Claus in Miracle on 34th Street – he’d probably be better at dealing with the kids’ nightmares than I would, anyway!
Hot AND good with kids?!? I’d “suffer” the middle too ; )
Thanks, J.L.! Folks, if that sexy excerpt wasn’t enough to excite you into picking up Stellarnet Prince (and how could you possibly resist after reading it???), here’s a blurb to whet your appetite even more:
An otherworldly love. Human blogger Genny O’Riordan shares two alien lovers: Duin, a leader of the Uprising, and Belloc, the only surviving member of the reviled Glin royal family. Their relationship has inspired millions of followers–and incited vicious anti-alien attacks.
A planet at risk. A Stellarnet obsessed with all things alien brings kidnappers, sex traffickers and environmental exploitation to Glin. Without weapons or communications technology, the planet cannot be defended. Glin will be ravaged and raided until nothing remains.
A struggle for truth. On Earth, Duin discovers a secret that could spur another rebellion, while on Glin, Belloc’s true identity could endanger their family and everything they’ve fought for. Have the Glin found true allies in humanity, or an even more deadly foe?
An exciting continuation to a fabulous series! Go get it now!!!
Author website: www.JLHilton.com
Book website: www.StellarnetSeries.com
Publisher website: www.CarinaPress.com
Buy link: http://www.StellarnetSeries.com/shop/
The lovely and talented Amber Kallyn tagged me last week for The Next Big Thing blog meme (her post is here) where writers can connect with readers to reveal a little something about their works in progress.
I’m cheating a tad, since the book I’m showcasing is almost done being a WIP and on its way back to my editor : ) Still, it and the connected books are fantastic and you should totally check them out!
What is the working title of your book?
DEEP DECEPTION is the only title it’s been known as, really. During the writing, it was “Book Three” or “Natalia and Gennie’s Story.” Neither terribly creative : ) So I challenged my family to come up with a title. After giving them the premise of two women digging for secrets in a mine while trying to keep their own secrets, my husband suggested DEEP DECEPTION.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
While writing the first book in the series, RULEBREAKER, I thought some of the secondary characters were too dang interesting just to leave alone. Nathan Sterling gets his story in CAUGHT IN AMBER (Jan 2013). Natalia had small roles in both RULEBREAKER and CAUGHT IN AMBER, and Gennie is in CAUGHT IN AMBER. Now both are in DEEP DECEPTION, which is a kicking ride ; )
Though the books are connected by being set on the same planet and some overlapping characters, I’ve tried to write them so you don’t have to read them in a particular order to understand the current story. But read them all! ; )
What genre does your book fall under?
Science fiction or futuristic romance. It’s not hard SF. And if you read lesbian or f/f or want to give it a go, this would fit the bill. There are a couple of love scenes that are more sensual than erotic. I’m not one to write graphic sex.
Which Actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I have always seen Tricia Helfer as Natalia, especially during her Battlestar Galactica years. When she first shows up in RULEBREAKER, she is platinum blonde, like Caprica 6. In CAUGHT IN AMBER and DEEP DECEPTION, her hair is a slightly darker shade. She definitely has the tall, cool blonde vibe going. Well, cool until she meets Gennie ; )
Anna Torv would be perfect as Gennie, with darker hair and eye color. Her mannerisms and intonations when she plays Olivia Dunham on Fringe are spot-on Gennie in my head. Like Olivia, Gennie plays things close to her chest, but there’s an underlying passion that erupts as violence or actual passion, depending on circumstances.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A Colonial Mining Authority agent and a former drug dealer’s assistant join forces to learn what a corporation is really shipping out of one of its mines, but while mutual attraction flares both have their secrets to keep.
That’s not the official one-line synopsis, but you get the gist of it.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It will be out in May 2013 from Carina Press.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Several months. I started it pretty much as soon as I was done with CAUGHT IN AMBER. Then both books got contracted (yay!) and I suddenly had a real deadline : ) That’ll move things along.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Wow, I stink at this part. Um, books with a good amount of action, smoldering looks between characters, shooting and sex? (Not sex while shooting people though. That would be tricky.)
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Since this book is the third in the series, the characters did. I don’t necessarily think characters speak to me, but they sure as heck stand around in my head, tapping their toes and looking very impatient. Then they poke my brain until a plot oozes out and off we go!
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The characters are very real and down to earth. They are far from perfect, and often far from law-abiding. The setting is on another planet in a far-off future, but the problems my heroines face both personally and professionally are relatable.
For next week (#19) check out who I tagged in The Next Big Thing:
(excerpt fromThe Superheroes Union: Dynama)
“Why do you think I decided to work with children?” The smile spread across her whole face. “Everybody thinks it’s easy, like it was a gimme degree and anybody could take care of kids. They’re wrong. Some people are really bad at it, and some people just don’t care enough. A lot of supers just have too much on their minds. They get lost in the crisis and forget about what’s really important. So yeah, I may be twenty-seven and still living with my roommates from when we were all undergrads, but I love what I do.”
“Good for you,” TJ said softly. She cleared her throat, trying not to go all awkward in the face of that confession. “Me too. I was the kid that was always a crusader in search of a crusade, and I went into the Foreign Service. Probably do more saving the world in my day job than I ever will as a superhero.”
Annmarie shrugged and toyed with the stem of her wine glass. “The world needs both.”
When I began working on The Superheroes Union: Dynama, I knew I was writing a love story and I knew I was writing comic-book suspense. I didn’t expect the strong feminist undercurrent running through the book. But with TJ and Annmarie being who they are, I couldn’t have written a story that felt true for them without it.
It’s not that it revolves around feminist philosophy. But TJ is a superhero and Annmarie is a childcare worker, so questions of work and worth keep coming up for them. TJ is trying to save the world, both in her day job and as a superhero, and she’s hampered by centuries of Western culture influencing the people around her to believe that as a woman, she can’t do that. Being a woman and a Latina are both central to her identity, and she constantly has to prove that her work is as valuable as that of a man doing the same job.
Even superheroes have some bigots and idiots amongst them.
As a childcare worker, Annmarie has the opposite struggle. Because the work she does is historically considered “women’s work,” it is traditionally undervalued. At one point, TJ observes something Annmarie is doing and thinks to herself that “it’s like having a wife”–not to devalue what Annmarie does, but in appreciation of the level of hard work that goes into taking care of TJ’s rambunctious seven-year-old twins.
When you’re reading, do you ever find yourself noticing the type of struggles a heroine has simply because she’s a woman? And if you do, is it something you appreciate, or just one more element in a well-written story?
What if your evil ex really was evil?
TJ Gutierrez used to be a superhero. But after the birth of her twins seven years ago, she hung up the yellow spandex. Until the day her archenemy and ex-husband, Singularity, breaks out of prison. When it becomes clear he’s after the kids, she’s forced to call the nanny helpline—and once again become…Dynama!
Annmarie Smith doesn’t have a superpower. She saves the world by keeping kids safe while their parents fight evil. She temporarily moves in with TJ, and the way the magnetic mama puts family first captures Annmarie’s respect, and maybe her heart—even though she knows better than to fall for a superhero. Still, it’s hard to resist their wicked chemistry. Kapow!
But they can only hide from the world for so long. When Singularity’s quest for custody puts the kids’ lives in danger, can the two women conquer the evil villain and save TJ’s family—all before their first date?
Cathy here: I’m always on the lookout for great speculative fiction, and the superhero genre is gaining momentum. Ruth Diaz’s f/f tale The Superheroes Union: Dynama is sure to please!
And bonus! There is a giveaway of cool stuff on Ruth’s blog Go! Go now! Win stuff!
Ruth Diaz writes genre romances about non-mainstream relationships. She hides a number of publications in a different genre under another name, but The Superheroes Union: Dynama is her first romance publication. For more information, you can subscribe to her blog, like her on Facebook, or follow @RuthDiazWrites on Twitter (where she is most active and, well, opinionated).
Recently, it was brought to the attention of the Rainbow Romance Writers chapter of the RWA that another chapter’s published works contest (scroll down to Rules, under #1) would no longer be accepting same-sex romances for any of their categories.
So, like several of my RRW co-members, I wrote to the contest coordinator. This is what I said: “I’ve noticed that your More Than Magic contest for published authors no longer accepts entries that have same-sex relations. The contest accepted such stories in the past and, from what I understand, they did well. Could you please tell me what changed? Thank you very much for your time.”
Here is the reply I received: “It was a difficult decision, but after a month-long discussion, it was voted by the chapter to no longer accept same-sex. The majority of our members were just uncomfortable with it.”
That’s it. That was the whole of the response.
They were uncomfortable. Fine. I can understand being uncomfortable with certain aspects of stories. Everyone has their own tastes. Simple solution: Find judges outside of your chapter who ARE comfortable–nay! HAPPY–to read same-sex romances. There’s a whole chapter of us willing to do so.
But to outright deny entry based on orientation of the characters? Replace “same-sex” with “people of color” or “people of different abilities” or “people of different beliefs” and tell me you don’t feel the ick factor here.
RRW chapter president Heidi Cullinan wrote to the RWA National organization and asked about the discriminatory language. The RWA was extremely supportive in getting the Rainbow Romance Writers chapter off the ground; we know they aren’t opposed to LGBT romance. RWA’s response, however, was less than encouraging. Basically, the RWA is saying it can’t tell its affiliated chapters how to run their contests. If they want to exclude a category, then it’s their right to do so.
But LGBTQ is NOT a romance category. Paranormal, Suspense, Historical, Inspirational, Erotica. THOSE are categories. Categories indicate a certain plot and storyline. Categories have NOTHING to do with who the characters love.
If a judge, like any reader, is uncomfortable with reading paranormal, it is up to the coordinator to find a judge who will do so. No one freaks out. No one gets upset. Everyone is happy. Why is that so difficult to do and understand in this day and age?
There are other folks who have addressed the issue much more eloquently than I, and I encourage you to read the blogs, get the facts, and make your opinion heard. Write to RWA (the addy is firstname.lastname@example.org ); leave comments on blogs; make a <140 character Twitter statement using the #Rom4All hashtag, and include #RWA and/or #LGBT. Thank you! Blogs supporting anti-discrimination and #Rom4All: