Our Summer Adventure ~ Week Seven: The Gamble

Image credit: outsiderzone / 123RF Stock Photo

Image credit: outsiderzone / 123RF Stock Photo

This week’s installment gives us Rori’s point of view. Thank you to Kristy K James for the fabulous idea! Also, thanks for suggesting Ethan take both women to the party. I’m loving all of your suggestions, and even if I don’t use them the next week, I keep them percolating in my mind. Shapeshifter, anyone? Yeah, that was Gayle’s idea and I think it’s a good one. If you need to catch up on the past weeks, click on the page above under Our Summer Adventure. And be sure to leave a comment where you think the story should go next.

Our Summer Adventure ~ Week Seven: The Gamble

Rori sauntered into the expansive foyer of Governor Roarke’s Bel Air home on the arm of her brother. He looked devastatingly handsome in his tuxedo and midnight bow tie. Of all the arguments they had the previous night, his clothing choice had lasted the longest.

Rori glanced over to Hannah, who looked equally stunning on Ethan’s right. Ethan had argued for her to remain at the hotel with Lilliana, but Hannah refused to let him and Rori go to the governor’s party without her.

“Ready?” Hannah asked, looking past Ethan to her.

Rori gave a quick nod. She was to be the bait that evening. While she distracted Roarke, Hannah and Ethan would search his office for something Hannah called ‘the device’. It was the key to Roarke’s operation and they needed it to bring him down.

Ethan flexed his arm, tightening his grip on her. “You don’t have to do this.”

“Yes, I do.” For more reasons than Ethan would ever understand.

“Be careful.” He stiffened suddenly and Rori glanced up to find a man and woman, both stunning in black, turning to regard them.

“Hannah?” The man said, ignoring Rori and Ethan. “I didn’t think you’d come.” He took Hannah’s hands into his and kissed her fingertips. “I’m glad to be proven wrong.”

“Governor Roarke, I’d like to introduce you to Ethan Donovan. He works for my father, and this is Rori, his companion.”

Roarke’s eyes skimmed past Ethan to Rori, “It’s my pleasure.” He took her hands and kissed them much as he did Hannah’s, but lingered long enough she felt his breath against her skin. He inhaled then rubbed her fingers against his cheek. “You smell divine.”

The smile Roarke gave her made her insides recoil, but she giggled, playing the part.

“I see you’ve found a new playmate.” Hannah said, indicating the woman behind Roarke.

He cut her a glance then snorted. “Not here, Hannah. Not tonight. Why don’t you and your friend go get a drink. I’d like to get to know Rori a bit better.”

Hannah shrugged and pulled Ethan away from them. They disappeared into the crowd, but Rori felt Ethan’s presence, could look up at any moment and find him. He would never truly be far from her, even if they were a continent apart, she could sense his feelings. Right then they were conflicted. Not just about her, but Hannah as well.

His original plan was to use Hannah to gain access to Maxim’s vaults, but something had happened. If she wasn’t mistaken, Ethan cared for the girl, which caused Rori no small amount of concern. He’d never let his feelings get in the way of his job. Ever.

“Rori?” Roarke was staring at her and she pulled her thoughts away from her brother.

He led her through the room, making introductions to people whose names she recognized. Some were in politics, others the film industry. The gorgeous woman in black followed them everywhere, but never spoke to Roarke. Only once did he acknowledge her, and only then to send her to fetch them drinks.

“Who is she?” Rori asked once the woman left.

“No one of consequence.” His gaze flicked around the room and then back to her. “Hannah seems to have disappeared.”

“Would you like me to find her?” Rori kept her tone neutral. Ethan and Hannah were, at that moment, in Roarke’s office.

“In a minute. Tell me, beautiful Rori, how did you become Donavan’s companion?”

It took Rori a second to realize he meant Ethan. “He won me in a game of cards.”

Roarke chuckled and the sound grated down her spine. In the hour she’d spent with him, she saw every possible contrivance of hospitality, but no genuine humanity. The tales Hannah had told them were taking on new meaning the longer she spent with Roarke. Silently she willed Ethan to find what they were looking for so they could leave. The less time she spent with Roarke, the better.

The woman in black returned without drinks and whispered in Roarke’s ear. He scratched at his chin before turning his dead grey eyes on her.

“Your companion is a gambler then? I think I’d like to wager a bet with him. Perhaps I can be as lucky. Come with me.” He grabbed her wrist and pulled her along behind him until they reached a closed door. Deep inscriptions etched across the surface shifted at Roarke’s touch.

Rori gasped despite herself. The door was carved from a living tree, one from a sacred grove found only in Wales.

“Have no fear, my darling. The door won’t bite. Unless you try to harm me.” His voice cut through her marrow, chilling her.

“I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Roarke ignored her lie. “Stay close. I wouldn’t want you to wander off without me.” They moved through several darkened rooms with Roarke leading the way. The woman in black stayed behind and with each new room, Rori’s apprehension grew.

“Where are we going?”

“Shhh, not a sound. We’re nearly there.”

His grip tightened to the point of pain, but she kept quiet. A light in the next room lit up Roarke’s silhouette and she saw the grim set of his jaw. As they got nearer, Rori heard Ethan’s deep voice. She willed Ethan to feel her presence, to leave before she and Roarke got there. Cold metal pressed against her lips. “Shhh.” He raised the gun for Rori to see and she nodded.

Roarke pushed opened the door with cat-like grace. Neither Hannah nor Ethan noticed until it was too late.

Roarke’s tsk pulled their attention away from the search. “Hannah. I expected more from you, my kitten. You of all people should know I don’t keep anything important here.”

Hannah glared at him. “Let her go. She has nothing to do with this.”

Ethan stepped in front of Hannah, shielding her from the gun in Roarke’s hand. Rori heard a thundering sound in her ears, like the rush of blood, but it wasn’t her own. It was Ethan’s adrenaline. Cool, calm Ethan was frightened. For her. For Hannah. She swayed against the intensity of his feelings.

Roarke pulled her roughly up to stand in front of him. “I seriously doubt that. I think I’ll keep her, she can be your gift to me.”

“No, please. Take me and let her go.” Hannah stepped around Ethan’s bulk. A wild fear hid in the depths of Hannah’s eyes. Rori understood the sacrifice she was bartering on her behalf.

“Roarke,” Ethan said quietly, “let the women go. I’m worth ten times what you could get for them.”

“I hear you’re a gambling man, Donovan. All or nothing. What do you say?”

“What do you have in mind?” Ethan asked.

Roarke emptied the gun of all but one bullet. “If you live, I’ll let the three of you leave unscathed. If you die, I take Hannah and Rori for my own pleasures.”

“You’re mad! Ethan, don’t. You can’t risk your life for us. Please, Roarke, let them go. I’ll stay with you as long as you want. I promise not to leave. Just don’t hurt them.”

Roarke glared at Hannah. “Begging? I thought I raised you better than that. What do you care for this human trash?” He stepped beside Ethan and held the gun to the side of his head. “You disappoint me, Hannah.”

The room grew heavy as his finger pulled back on the trigger. Ethan stared calmly into her eyes, an unspoken command passed between them.

Just before the gun fired she closed her eyes.

Did Roarke kill Ethan?

Our Summer Adventure: Week Four ~ The Company

Thank you to everyone who commented last week and for those of you who sent me private emails or messages on Facebook, thank you as well! Be sure to leave your suggestions in the comments so everyone can get in on the fun. I had a few suggestions to have Rori kill Hannah, but I think we need to see a bit more of Hannah in the story. We don’t know yet if Hannah is good or bad, or if even Rori is good like she’s making us believe she is. I’ll be interested to find out what you make of our two badass ladies.

If you need to catch up, you can find all the previous installments here. Happy reading!

Our Summer Adventure: Week Four ~ The Company

Hannah’s fist stopped mid-punch. Ethan crushed her against the car, his lips burning against hers, igniting a feeling deep within. A feeling she’d not had for far too long, not since . . . well, that was ancient history and better forgotten.

She flexed her hand, releasing the tension before she pushed against Ethan’s chest. The solid mass of muscle didn’t move with the pressure. If she wanted to, she could be free from his grasp in three simple moves. Yet she hesitated.

Ethan’s kiss softened. A subtle invitation to which her traitorous body responded, opening to him. A small moan escaped her, or it could’ve been him. She wasn’t sure. Nor did she care. For several long moments she was lost to all sensation except his touch.

Ethan pulled away, taking her senses with him. A smiled played at the corners of his lips, taunting her. She thought of all the places she’d like to feel the sensually hardness of those lips on her body.

She forced the wicked thoughts from her mind and pressed against his chest to free herself from his embrace. He’d drugged her. That was the only reason she could think of for her reaction. “What the hell did you do to me?”

“You’re asking the wrong question.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” She pushed harder against his chest and turned away from him. A pink rash bloomed on her forearm, then dissipated. “What the…?” Another rash, on the inside of her palm, blossomed and then disappeared. “Seriously, what did you do to me?”

“I freed you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

He traced a finger down her arm to her fingertips. A thin line of shimmering sparkles followed in the wake of his touch. “Faerie glamour. Humans don’t have this.”

“You did that. It’s not from me.”

“We’ll see.” He ran his fingers along her jaw, his thumb pulling at her bottom lip. “We should go. They’re waiting for us.”

She hated the way he made her feel. All soft and mushy inside like some god damned spastic cupcake with marshmallow fluff. She was a warrior. Trained to ignore emotions. “You’re right. You get the princess and I’ll take the prisoner.”

She went around the other side of the car only to find an open door and no passengers. The bastard had used her to allow them time to flee. Anger simmered in her belly, “Where are they?”

“Who?” Ethan’s look and tone were perfect innocence.

“You intentionally distracted me so they could escape.”

“Guilty. But it was a lovely distraction. One I wouldn’t mind repeating.”

Hannah stomped around the car, her anger reaching a fast boil. “You have thirty seconds to explain why you’d do something so asinine. If I don’t like your answer, you’ll be attending the meeting on your knees, if you’re lucky.”

“Think about it Hannah. If we took Lilliana and Rori in there, what do you think their chances would be? I know you’re loyal to The Company, but I know things about them you don’t. Rori would’ve been tortured, if she was lucky, and Lilliana? The High Princess of the Seelie Court? Think woman!”

Hannah held firm, her anger lessening with each word, her face a mask of indifference. He was right. Damn him, but he was right. If the director had access to Lilliana and Rori, he wouldn’t hesitate to extract everything they knew. With or without their permission.

“Why did you bring her here? If you knew she would be a liability, why risk it?”

Ethan hesitated a moment before answering. When he did, his voice held a note of sadness that tugged at her. “The governor is not who everyone thinks he is. He’s a manipulative, egotistical braggart with a dark side to him that can destroy not only the fae world, but will endanger the human world as well. The Queen sent Lilliana to speak with him, to plead the fae’s case in the hope he’ll have some compassion left inside his corrupt soul. I doubt it will work, but it isn’t my job to question my Queen.”

There was more to it, she was certain, but Ethan didn’t fully trust her yet. She glanced at her watch, “We’re late. Your lame reason will have to suffice for now.” His smile lit the flame she’d felt earlier with his kiss. A surge of desire swept over her before she could tamp it out. Damn him.

She led him through hallways and past several security stations, each time stopping to verify her identity and that of her guest. When they reached the final station, she paused, gathering her wits and strength. Ethan gave her a sideways look, concern etched on his face. She ignored him.

Together they entered the director’s office and made their way to a huge walnut desk. Sitting behind the desk was a man who appeared to be in his early fifties, dark hair greying at the temples, a chic goatee covering his chin. His hands steepled in front of his face, his deep blue eyes regarded them as they entered the room

“Hello Daddy.” Hannah said before greeting her father with a kiss to each cheek.

What’s going to happen to Ethan now that he’s in the clutches of The Company’s director? Do you think the governor used Ethan to lure Lilliana to the States? What about Hannah? Was Ethan’s kiss enough to make her challenge her father? Shear your ideas!

Our Summer Adventure ~ Week One: The Arrival

Image credit: outsiderzone / 123RF Stock Photo

Image credit: outsiderzone / 123RF Stock Photo

Our Summer Adventure ~ Week One: The Arrival

The plane arrived twenty minutes early. Almost unheard of at LAX and Ethan braced himself for the inevitable wait for his driver. When he arrived at baggage claim, she was already there, sign in hand. ETHAN CARMICHAEL spelled out in neat block letters.

The young woman holding the sign smiled a greeting as he approached. “Mr. Carmichael? I’m Hannah James. Do you have any luggage?”

He shifted the garment bag onto his shoulder, “Just the one.”

“Please follow me.”

Before she turned Ethan caught the faintest glimpse of her eyes, deeper than denim with a hint of gold buried deep within. The impulse to touch her, to seek that feeling he’d not felt in far too long, overtook him and he shook his hand to keep from reaching out to her retreating form.

Clad all in black, from her boots to the button-down shirt she wore, she moved with a grace he admired. Long wavy blonde hair pulled into a ponytail swished across her back as she she led him to a black town car, it’s windows tinted a deep shade of obsidian that guaranteed the passenger complete privacy. He nodded his approval. At least the Company understood the need for caution.

Hannah held open the door for him, frowning when he paused before entering. She glanced at the interior of the car and then back to him. “Is something wrong?”

He slipped into the back seat, laying the garment bag carefully beside him. “Not at all. You have the address?”

“I do. If you’ll just click in, we’ll be on our way.” She closed the door to further conversation and took her seat behind the wheel. Before starting the engine, she sent a text message and Ethan wondered to whom it was addressed. After he heard the tell-tale ping of an incoming text, she started the car and drove out of the parking structure in silence.

From behind his sunglasses he studied her in the rearview mirror. Tiny diamond earrings, a gift from an admirer perhaps, glinted from her earlobes. A brush of mascara was the only make up she wore on her clear skin. The severity of her look was softened by the natural blush in her cheeks. Ethan smiled to himself. He was affecting her whether she wanted to admit it or not. At least he hadn’t lost his touch.

Hannah maneuvered the car as if she’d been born to long lines of traffic and delays. Ethan studied her as she surveyed the surrounding cars. “Do your friends call you Han?”

A slight flick of blue in the review mirror, brows pinched with irritation. “Only Luke and Leia. Why do you ask, Chewbacca?”

Despite himself he laughed. A full-belled chortle that startled the silent passenger beside him. Ethan placed a comforting hand on his garment bag. “What do you do for fun, Hannah James?”

“I drive inquisitive passengers around town.” The slightest lift to the corner of her lips encouraged him.

“That’s all? Surely you must go out. Can you recommend any clubs? I’ve never been to Los Angeles, I’d like to see some of the city while I’m here.”

She squinted at him in the mirror, her lips a tight line across her face. “I don’t go out much. Sorry. If you’d like, I can give you a list of ‘must sees’”.

Ethan stretched his legs in the tight space. “I was hoping you could be my driver for the week. Is that possible?”

Her stare in the rearview mirror intensified, her brows pinched ever closer together. “I’m sure we can arrange something.” A flick of blue to each of the side mirrors, then back to the rearview mirror.

The car filled with heat, subtle, but there nonetheless. The scent of honeysuckle infused the small space.

Ethan turned to look out the back window, catching sight of a speeding motorcyclist as he whizzed past the driver’s side of the car. Hannah gripped the wheel, her knuckles turning white. A rapid pulse beat against the delicate skin of her neck and the smell of perspiration mingled with the honeysuckle. Without drawing attention to himself, Ethan pulled his garment bag closer to his side, placing the seat belt over the bundle. If Hannah thought his actions strange, he would laugh it off, but it was better to be safe than humiliated.

The motorcyclist swerved in front of the car, forcing Hannah to slam on the brake. “Sorry about that, Mr. Carmichael.”

Ethan’s attention was attached firmly to the motorcyclist, who was slowing down despite the other cars moving at normal speed. “Please, call me Ethan.” He kept his voice affable.

The black-clad cyclist turned then and pointed a gun at the window of the car. Hannah yelled for him to get down as a pulse of hazy green light shot from the muzzle of the gun, enveloping the car with an ionized power Ethan felt to his core. The bundle beside him whimpered in pain.

“What the hell was that?” Hannah shouted at the cyclist as the car engine began to stutter and fail.

Now it’s your turn! What happens next? Does the car completely fail? Does the motorcyclist kill Hannah? Who do you think Ethan is, and why is a murderous cyclist after him? Leave your ideas in the comments and come back next week to find out if they stall out on the 405.

Today’s Gift ~ Jillian Stone With Some Historical Sexy Fun!

We’re mixing it up a bit today. Instead of a quick interview with Jillian, I’m going to save that for later. I’ll be having drinks with her in January, so I figure that would be a great time to ask her a bunch of oddball questions, don’t you agree? 🙂

That means we have more time her fabulous books! Jillian has two series out right now that have me riveted. The first book I read was The Seduction of Phaeton Black. I have to say, I first saw this book at RWA Nationals and loved the cover, but didn’t pick it up. Then, I saw it again at my San Diego RWA meeting and decided what the heck, I’d give it a go.

I couldn’t put the book down. I fully admit that I’ve got a crush on Phaeton. This book is sexy, spooky, a bit steampunky, and fun.

Imagine my delight and surprise when I went to the Orange County RWA meeting and the ‘Ask An Author’ author was Jillian! I swooned a little. More than a little, actually. I might of even went a little fangirl on her.

For some reason, she liked me and we started chatting. I still get giggly when I see her, but I try to keep it under control, ’cause I’m cool like that.

Here’s the Amazon blurb for The Seduction of Phaeton Black:

blog-o-nauts~~element376Phaeton Black is Scotland Yard’s secret weapon against things that go bump in the night. His gifts as a paranormal investigator are as legendary as his skills as a lover. But when he’s asked to hunt down a fanged femme fatale who drains her victims of blood, he walks right into the arms of the most dangerous woman he’s ever known…Miss America Jones is not the vampiric killer he’s been staking out – but she may be just what Phaeton needs to crack the case. As the daughter of a Cajun witch, she possesses uncanny powers. A fearless fighter, she can handle anything from Egyptian mummies to Jack the Ripper. But when an ancient evil is unleashed, she could be Phaeton’s only salvation…or ultimate sacrifice.

The second book in the series, The Moonstone and Miss Jones continues with Phaeton’s story and Jillian’s third book, The Miss Education of Dr. Exeter is coming out Summer of 2013. I can hardly wait. Dr. Exeter is my second favorite character after Phaeton. Be still my heart.

The second series Jillian has out is the Men of Scotland Yard. Yum, right? I just started reading the first book, An Affair With Mr. Kennedy and I’m loving it. Phaeton has more competition, I think!

Here’s the Amazon blurb for Kennedy:

Mr_Kennedy_darkLondon, 1887. Part stoic gentleman, part fearless Yard man, Zeno “Zak” Kennedy is an enigma of the first order. For years, the memory of a deadly bombing at King’s Cross has haunted the brilliant Scotland Yard detective. His investigation has zeroed in on a ring of aristocratic rebels whose bloody campaign for Irish revolution is terrorizing the city. When he discovers one of the treacherous lords is acquainted with his free-spirited new tenant, Cassandra St. Cloud, his inquiry pulls him unexpectedly close to the heart of the conspiracy—and into the arms of a most intriguing lady. Cassie is no Victorian prude. An impressionist painter with very modern ideas about life and love, she is eager for a romantic escapade that is daring and discreet. She sets her sights on her dour but handsome landlord, but after she learns their meeting was not purely accidental, she hardly has a chance to forgive her lover before their passionate affair catapults them both into a perilous adventure.

There are two more books in the Scotland Yard series, A Dangerous Liason with Detective Lewis and A Private Duel with Agent Gunn. I’ve got both on my nightstand ready to be devoured as soon as I’m done with Kennedy.

Check out Jillian’s website (it’s gorgeous!) to read all the juicy tidbits like, who Romantic Times Reviews cast as Mr. Kennedy, or which cover Eliza Dushku is on!

All of Jillian’s books are available in print or ebook on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indie Bound, Powell’s, or from my favorite local bookshop, Mysterious Galaxy.

contact~~element60Jillian Stone was born a storyteller. A skill that got her into considerable trouble as a youth until she solved the problem by becoming an advertising creative. And the career did seem to suit her as she won many national ad awards including the Clio and the New York Art Director’s Club Gold. What more could she ask for? Create her own worlds? Become goddess of her own universe? Yes! So, she began to write fiction. Her Victorian Romantic Suspense novel AN AFFAIR WITH MR. KENNEDY won the 2010 Golden Heart and sold to Pocket Books. Her sexy, supernatural Steampunk novel, THE SEDUCTION OF PHAETON BLACK, won the 2010 Romance Through The Ages Erotica category and sold to Kensington Brava. Jillian lives in California and is currently working on the next adventure for both series.

~~~ooOOoo~~~

That’s it for my pre-Christmas gifts, but be sure to tune in after Christmas for a few goodies to load up your new Nooks and Kindles. Until then, keep reading and keep it sexy!

Angela Wallace Celebrates Her New Book, Earth Tones!

I’ve known Angela for over a year now and she’s become not just a friend, but a writer I really admire. When her latest book, Earth Tones was set to come out, I happily volunteered to have her on the blog!

Last year I welcomed Angela with this post about her book, Elemental Magic. It’s the first in this series and for the next fives days it’s FREE! Click here to get it. Or, if you’d like to know why Angela writes fantasy, you could read this post where she discusses how she Found Freedom in Fantasy.

Angela is one special lady for many, many reasons.

One of which is she’s self published and darn proud of it. When I asked what she likes about self publishing, this is what she had to say:

AW: I like keeping control over my story. (Yes, I’m a control freak.) I also like working at my own pace. I can be a drill sergeant on myself, but am well aware that “life happens.” It’s easier to give myself permission to be flexible than it is to ask for it from someone else.

I couldn’t just leave it there. Of course I had to know what she didn’t like about it.

AW: The marketing, lol. Though, traditionally published authors have to do much the same. Putting together this blog tour was a big step for me! And I’m much happier doing virtual tours than I would be physical bookstores. (Crowds, travel…)

As you all know, on Tuesday I talked about how songs inspire my writing, so I wanted to know if Angela was inspired by music too, or if she craved silence.

AW: Silence most of the time, though every once in a while I’ll put on instrumental Celtic music. There are also songs that just spark a story to life in my mind, kind of like a movie trailer: jumbled scenes thrown together with a soundtrack. At the moment, I’m listening to “Skyrim” by Peter Hollens and Lindsey Stirling on repeat in my car, letting it solidify images for my current book in my head.

I am always curious to know where writers write, so I asked Angela what her dream writing place would be. If you’d like a peek at my writing space, I wrote about it back in April. Check it out here!

AW: A bigger desk! Right now, my laptop sits on top of a wooden shelf (so it’s ergonomically at eye level). Underneath is space for my notes, but I have so many they all overlap. I have just enough room on the right for my storyboard notebook to sit open to one page, not two. I would love more space to spread out.

Don’t we all, my darling! There seems to be a huge debate raging about plotting books or just pantsing your way through them, so you know I had to find out what Angela does.

AW: I seem to be going back and forth on this. I plotted Earth Tones, and recently I tried pantsing a story for the challenge, but it didn’t work out. Now I’m technically pantsing the sequel to Dreamwalker, though I do have a general idea of where it’s going.

Even though our characters are like children, it’s impossible not to have favorites. Mine are Taryn and Rhoane from the fantasy series (shh, don’t tell the others). So who is Angela’s?

AW: Hm, I think it might have to be Lexa from Dreamwalker. She’s tough like I wish I was, and I do enjoy writing her hand-to-hand fight scenes. *grin*

Lexa’s mine, too! I loved that book and cannot wait for the next one in the series. Okay, we can’t just give out love here, we also want to know what character makes your skin crawl? You know, what character did you have to write, but didn’t like it?

AW: The murderer in Dry Spell who turned people into mummified corpses was creepy. I even freaked myself out a little writing the scene where the killer tried to do that to one of the main characters. But the one character who really makes my skin crawl is an antagonist in a short story I wrote years ago, based on something that really happened. I might put it on the blog sometime.

Ew, yeah he was bad, but the character you wrote that made my skin crawl was Morech from Dreamwalker. He was eeeeeevil.

Let’s talk a little about your latest book, Earth Tones. Tell us about Nita, the main character.

AW: Nita Young is an earth elemental. She lives in Yakutat, Alaska where she works as the town’s veterinarian. Her job is to take care of the animals and land, but she also enjoys helping human patients at the health clinic. She has two Husky dogs, Puck and Lakota, and enjoys pottery in her spare time. She could use her earth wielding to make sculptures, but prefers to use the wheel and tools. As she would say, “otherwise it’s just elemental magic, not art.”

Very cool! We got to see Aileen in the first two Elemental Magic books; will Nita be returning for number four?

AW: Yes. Aileen sort of set the precedent for a protagonist to get two books. I already have some ideas churning.

Will there be books with air and fire elementals?

AW: Most definitely. I already know who the characters are, and I hope to introduce the air elemental in Nita’s next book before she gets her own story in #5.

I love how organized you are! I need to work on that business plan thing, but you seem to have it all figured out.

So, when you aren’t writing, you read. What are you reading right now?

AW: I just finished Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr and found it very interesting. Now I’m just starting Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier.

Great, now I have more books to add to the TBR pile! Enough about books, let’s get to the fun questions…

What’s a unique hobby you have?

AW: I took up ballroom dancing this past spring and am loving it!

Ballroom dancing? Love it! I would never have guessed that one. Let’s see how I’d fare with this one. What’s the geekiest thing about you?

AW: I know how to write a form of Tolkien’s elvish runes. I used to exchange letters with a friend in high school written in them. It also makes a very handy code to keep passwords in.

Yep! I knew that. And I’m STILL jealous. Who would you want on your team to survive the zombie apocalypse?

AW: I’ve seen a couple posters for this on FB. I’ll go with Hawkeye because the dude never misses. And the Hulk because smashing zombies would probably be a fun game for him. I’d also want someone with supernatural fire powers, but since most pyro characters I know of are arrogant men, I’m going to pick a female fire starter from a book I haven’t written yet. 😉

Cowboy hat, baseball cap, or tiara?

AW: I’m tempted by the tiara, but I bet it would give me a headache. How about a crochet beanie since I’m cold all the time?

A crochet beanie? That’s awesome. I might have to add that to the choices. Okay, a crochet beanie it is. Like maybe one that looks like Yoda ears. I so want those.

What do you think readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

AW: That I’m really quite anti-social, lol. It’s easier not to appear that way online, but if you met me in person with a large group of people, I’d likely slip out at first chance without saying goodbye. One-on-one is okay though.

And the final question is… What’s your opinion of garden gnomes?

AW: I’ve never met one, but I hear they’re great travel agents.

Now do you see why I love this lady so much? Earth Tones is out now on Amazon.

Here’s a quick blurb about the book:

Earth Tones, Elemental Magic Book Three

Nita Young doesn’t know if she has a future with college sweetheart Keenan Donovan—two star-crossed lovers of opposing elements—but she invites him up to Alaska to see if Earth and Water can rekindle their old flame.

When a series of wild animal attacks strike the inhabitants of Yakutat, Nita has to put her romantic plans on hold. Mangled bodies are turning up, and a mysterious black panther has been spotted in the woods. Fur, scales, and a venomous bite suggest the cat is supernatural in origin—and evidence indicates that someone not only summoned it, but is using it to target those Nita cares about. It’s the perfect murder weapon: no fingerprints, no evidence. And in a town this small, the killer is someone she knows.

Nita’s strength will be put to the test as she faces losing her friends, her town, and the man she loves.

***oooOOOooo***

Angela Wallace loves gun-toting good boys and could have been a cop in another life except for the unfortunate condition of real blood making her queasy. Good thing writing gun and sword fights isn’t a problem. In her books you’ll find the power of love, magic, and redemption.
You can check out Angela’s Blog here. Or find her on Facebook here. You can follow her on Twitter here, OR you can check out her Amazon Author Page here!

Angela’s awesomeness isn’t quite over. She made a trailer for her book! It’s pretty darn awesome, so check it out.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to get to know Angela a little better. There are people we meet who instantly become a part of our lives, like Angela has for mine.

Is there someone in your life that makes you smile? Maybe they make you want to be a better person or they just give you encouragement to carry on when you really feel like quitting. Share with us who makes your world a more special place! And then go check out Angela’s books on Amazon. 🙂

Giving A Little Love to the Romantic Suspense

Image courtesy of iStockphoto.com ~ AarStudio

It seems lately my fantasy novel has been getting all the love. It was featured here for the Next Big Thing post, here for the Look Challenge, here for the Lucky 7 Meme, and finally here when I had an interview with Taryn for a Kickass Heroines post.

Today we’re showing our ‘Cup of Tea’ side on the blog and giving some love to the Romantic Suspense. Instead of a snippet from the book – you can read one of those here – I thought I’d share with you the inspiration behind the story.

As with all of my stories, this one began with a ‘what if’ moment. There I was, driving my car, minding my own business, when Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Because of You’ came on the radio. I started really listening to the lyrics and questions popped into my brain.

  • What if a mother leaves the family, how does that make the children feel?
  • What if the daughter is young, say 9 or 10 years old, how would that affect the way she views the world?
  • What if that girl pushed herself to be the best in a futile hope that if she was just ‘good enough’ her mom would come home?
  • What if that girl grew into a woman who was beautiful, brilliant, and broken?

The ideas were swirling around in my head for awhile before I finally began writing the book. I’d made a hasty effort during NaNoWriMo to get the entire story out, but it felt wrong. Something was lacking.

Jump ahead to May of this year. With the fantasy stewing in the dark reaches of my hard drive, I had the time and inclination to give the story a closer look. I trashed what I wrote during NaNo and started fresh. Page One.

The only thing I kept was the name of the book, and even that will probably change. After 98,000 words, this is what Because of You ended up being…

***

Elizabeth Bradford is beautiful, brilliant, and broken. Unable to forgive herself for her mother’s abandonment, she strives to be perfect in her career, at the extent of pushing relationships away.

Liam Stirling wasn’t looking for anything more than great sex, but when he meets Elizabeth, he starts to think it’s time to put his bad boy days behind him. Too bad Elizabeth doesn’t feel the same way. Not one to see opposition as defeat, Liam steadily charms Elizabeth until she gives a reluctant yes.

Unfortunately, not everyone is happy they’re together.

A stalker watches their every move, even the most private moments spent in Elizabeth’s bed. The closer Liam and Elizabeth become, the more violent the stalker’s acts. When their best friend is brutally beaten, Elizabeth blames herself.

Consumed with guilt for her friend’s condition and faced with Liam’s unwavering faith in his love for her, Elizabeth retreats into herself. She does what she knows how to do best ~ pushes Liam away.

Not satisfied with destroying their lives, the stalker won’t stop until someone is dead.

It will take a bullet for Elizabeth to realize what love truly means.

***

It’s a far cry from Kelly Clarkson’s song, but that’s what music can do to us. Fill us with inspiration which allows our minds to take flight and wander among the stars.

Just the other day I was listening to the radio and heard One Direction’s, ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ and I thought, that’s exactly what Liam would say to Elizabeth! She’s a remarkable woman, but refuses to see it because of the damage her mom did when she left.

Here’s Kelly Clarkson’s video for ‘Because of You. The story changed a lot from when I first heard the song, but the feelings I feel every time I hear it never alter. It’s a powerful song. Okay, admit it, who else tears up when they watch this video?

Has a song ever inspired a story that you just had to write? I have a friend who always writes to Incubus, I’m more partial to soundtracks or classical, what about you? When you do something creative, what gets your muse fired up? Share with us!

Fantasy Friday ~ Brent Weeks, Brandon Sanderson, Angela Wallace, and more…

It’s the first Friday of the month and that means I’ve got your fantasy news: what’s new, what’s hot, what’s coming up.

You all know I’m a huge Brent Weeks fan, right? Love him! Last month he released The Blinding Knife, the second book in his Lightbringer series. If you love fantasy, you’ll die for these books.

Gavin Guile is dying.

He’d thought he had five years left–now he has less than one. With fifty thousand refugees, a bastard son, and an ex-fiancée who may have learned his darkest secret, Gavin has problems on every side. All magic in the world is running wild and threatens to destroy the Seven Satrapies. Worst of all, the old gods are being reborn, and their army of color wights is unstoppable. The only salvation may be the brother whose freedom and life Gavin stole sixteen years ago.

Because Brent is so awesome, he has his first book, The Black Prism offered for just $1.99 right now on Amazon Kindle! While you’re there, pick up the Night Shadow trilogy as well. You won’t be sorry you did.

Are you a fan of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series? You’re in luck! On Oct. 2nd, Tor released By Grace and Banners Fallen, the Prologue to A Memory of Light.

A man who loves the hunt begins a new pursuit, red veils appear, and one of the Forsaken stands newly revealed. The forces of the Shadow swell in triumph as the world unravels. By grace and banners fallen, the Last Battle has come.

“By Grace and Banners Fallen” will be available for $2.99 as either an ebook or an audio download from Apple, Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and more.

Not only that, but you can read the first chapter to the final book in the Wheel of Time series here.

It’s hard to believe this series is coming to an end. Thank goodness for Brandon Sanderson for stepping up to finish the series. Will the Light prevail? You’ll just have to read it to find out!

Exciting news! Angela Wallace has a new book coming out October 20th. Here’s a peek at the gorgeous cover and a bit about the book. On October 26th I’ll have Angela on the blog for a fun Q & A, make sure you come back to read what she has to say about writing and cats.

Earth Tones, Elemental Magic Book Three

Nita Young doesn’t know if she has a future with college sweetheart Keenan Donovan—two star-crossed lovers of opposing elements—but she invites him up to Alaska to see if Earth and Water can rekindle their old flame.

When a series of wild animal attacks strike the inhabitants of Yakutat, Nita has to put her romantic plans on hold. Mangled bodies are turning up, and a mysterious black panther has been spotted in the woods. Fur, scales, and a venomous bite suggest the cat is supernatural in origin—and evidence indicates that someone not only summoned it, but is using it to target those Nita cares about. It’s the perfect murder weapon: no fingerprints, no evidence. And in a town this small, the killer is someone she knows.

Nita’s strength will be put to the test as she faces losing her friends, her town, and the man she loves.

Isn’t that cover gorgeous? It was created by Tara at FantasiaFrog Designs.

Rowan Malloy‘s Blood Royal is now out!

An unwilling princess caught between feuding clans
A ruthless queen’s deadly web
Forbidden love in a world built on magic and murder
Struggling artist Eva Milaras resents getting stuffed into a magic limo by a wizard who calls her names like “Serenissima” and “Highness,” even if he is heart-stopping handsome. Never mind he’d just saved her life in the bomb blast at Budget Foods. Even though Talak claimed she would be safer in his world of magic, it looked like staying alive was going to be a challenge.

Prisoner of an aristocratic destiny she didn’t know about and doesn’t want, Eva must survive the deadly ambitions of her new-found relatives-as well as all their enemies-as they maneuver to gain power in a murderous royal court.

Talak knows the rules-Eva must marry a man from the royal bloodline regardless of his love for her. Together they battle intrigue and betrayal, but finally must choose between letting go of each other…or certain death for treason. That’s a choice Eva refuses to make…

Jill Archer‘s Dark Light of Day came out on September 25th and I’m excited for this one, too.

Armageddon is over. The demons won. And yet somehow…the world has continued. Survivors worship patron demons under a draconian system of tributes and rules. These laws keep the demons from warring among themselves, and the world from slipping back into chaos.

Noon Onyx grew up on the banks of the river Lethe, the daughter of a prominent politician, and a descendant of Lucifer’s warlords. Noon has a secret: She was born with waning magic, the dark, destructive, fiery power that is used to control demons and maintain the delicate peace among them. But a woman with waning magic is unheard of, and some would consider her an abomination.

Noon is summoned to attend St. Lucifer’s, a school of demon law. She must decide whether to declare her powers there…or to attempt to continue hiding them, knowing the price for doing so may be death. And once she meets the forbiddingly powerful Ari Carmine—who suspects Noon is harboring magic as deadly as his own—Noon realizes there may be more at stake than just her life.

And finally, we have a $.99 Kindle deal. Juli D. Revezzo‘s House of Cards was just released yesterday.

As a young debutante, Sinjon escapes the Terror in 18th century France to find himself dragged into an even worse fate–a hellish underworld wherein he is cajoled by a hag-like Hanged Woman and put on trial for crimes he never committed. Can he answer the hag’s riddles and thwart his fate, one worse than the guillotine?

That’s it for this month. Keep a little fantasy in your life, everyone needs a little magic and chivalry in their daydreams. Happy reading!