30 April 2011

Guest Blogger Jeremy Trimble: Monsters Redefined

Hi, there, everybody! Please help me welcome Jeremy Trimble, who's here today discussing monsters redefined:

A key ingredient to every new fantasy novel is the redefinition of monsters and myth. Pretty much every successful work of fantasy does this. We have these ideas about wizards, vampires, werewolves, dragons, and they are always cliché. A skilled writer takes these mothers and myths, ideas their readers already know, and redefine them.

Let’s start off with wizards. As a little kid, I never really got into magic. Don’t get me wrong; I loved medieval combat, but it always came down to swords, knights, bows and arrows, castles, and maybe the occasional battering ram. Wizards, witches, and dragons never became very interesting.

Wizards were trite. Witches were super lame. They either wore pointy hats and had long beards or were evil, ugly women who flew around on broomsticks. Seriously, how cool could a villain be if they rode broomsticks? Wizards weren’t much better. The only examples I had to go on were Merlin, a super old dude who didn’t seem to do much magic aside from jamming a sword into a rock, and the Wizard of Oz who distinctly didn’t have any superpowers.

What does that leave for a kid who demanded a degree of seriousness? Nothing. Magic couldn’t work.

Then came J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter. Even though she wrote children’s books (the first titles in her series anyway), she made magic awesome. She made it epic. Yes, witches still wore pointy hats, but they worked with plants whose screams could kill. Yes, they rode on broomsticks, but she made them awesome.

Whenever I watch a Harry Potter movie now, I always lament how little time they spend on these witches and wizards as they ride their broomsticks. She made it cool. She made broomsticks fast, agile, and epic. Instead of having an old school witch die when someone spills some water on her, we see them throw spells at one another while cutting across the sky. So much cooler.

Wizards aren’t the only traditional piece of fantasy to get redefined.

Consider vampires. A cliché in vampire stories is now for the characters to talk about pop culture and how everyone else got it wrong. Writers are stuck and they do sorta have to make this point. Vampires, probably more than any other creature, have been completely redefined like nothing else.

Originally, vampire stories were folklore. They were probably tales designed to warn travelers against wandering outside or to scare little kids into going to bed on time. Either way, they were vicious, animals, supernatural horrors which the mind could never comprehend.

Then we get Bram Stoker and his Dracula. He was a shape shifter, a monster who lived in a castle with his various demons and horrors. He was also surprisingly weak. As I understand it, he was vulnerable to sunlight, stakes, and couldn’t cross moving water. Many of the traditions and superstitions regarding vampires applied to Stoker’s Dracula.

Later on, we got lots of vampire movies, most of which look really goofy now. I think of Nosferatu. Sure, it looked scary back in the day, but grainy black-and-white just can’t be scary. If it can’t be scary, it can’t be cool.

Anne Rice came along and gave us Interview with a Vampire. This piece had a vampire speak. It made him human. It made him awesome because we got to see an immortal. We watched characters move across time, through the centuries, and wondered what vampirism would actually mean. This was very different from the brutality Stoker created.

A couple more years and we get Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He made vampires a lot less awesome. With a couple exceptions, vampires got slaughtered left and right. They became minions, one-hit kills to make the main character look really cool. Whedon did something else though.

He made vampires something that could be loved. Angel appeared as a romantic figure, a vampire with a soul who falls in love with a human. Another couple years go by and we get Twilight.

Like them or hate them, Stephenie Myer’s vampires are very, very different from what readers once expected. For one, they twinkle. The implication seems to be that vampires’ skin is embedded with diamonds, giving them greater protection. Sure, I’ve met lots of people who hate this idea, yet it does explain their durability. The movies went even farther with this concept. Whenever a vampire is hurt or damaged, his skin cracks as if he were made of stone.

Writers can take a magical or sci-fi archetype and redefine it however they want. A good challenge for any writer working in these genres is to take what’s old and reuse it. Redefine it to make it different, unique, something familiar and yet surprising all at the same time.

27 April 2011

Titan's Jewel, Part Eight (4/27/11)

It's that time of week again! Can you believe it? The eighth installment of Titan's Jewel. :) This week, we'll continue on from the last point, naturally. Don't forget to check out the other great flashers at the end of the post!

Part Eight:

Watching her exacerbated movements, Brett wondered if Shiloh wasn’t losing her mind. Ever since the incident in the old house the week before, she hadn’t been her usual, spunky self.

Tom wasn’t helping any, insisting after the storm subsided that he and Brett recover the time capsule. Only when they got back to the house, the damn thing was gone.

The whole box disappeared as if it had never existed. Tom was floored, searching the house, the grounds, the gaping hole they’d left in the ground. “Are you positive this is the house?” he asked. Brett couldn’t even find the words to respond as he stared at the line of clean floor where it had obviously been drug away, only to vanish into thin air at the base of the stairs.

All in all, he wondered if Shiloh’s mental episode was not, in fact, based in reality.

But because they had all, as he reminded her, signed a contract they kept at it. Toiling tirelessly through rain and clouds, and even one gloriously sunny day, the three worked their way to a spot on the outskirts of the city.

Tom directed Shiloh to a spot, and that’s exactly where she lowered the excavator’s teeth, dragging up grass, dirt, and rocks. Brett held up a hand, spotting something in the hole just before the dirt could collapse around it. “Did you see that?” he said, looking at Tom. The old man shook his head as Shiloh jumped down from her machine and walked over. “Hey, Shiloh, come here and help me, will you?”

She warily took the shovel offered. “We’re not unearthing another skeleton, are we?”

“Nah. I think there’s a door or something here.” Brett started digging, pausing when he noticed he was working alone. “Uh, Shiloh?”

“Didn’t we learn our lesson the last time?” When she stared at him with those wide eyes, Brett was obliged to throw in the towel.

But they had a job to do. “What did I tell you? Am I going to let anything get you?” Shaking her head, she slid into the hole, using her hand as leverage against the slippery mud to stop her descent. Brett had to hand it to her; for a former VP of a financial accounting firm, and a priss, he was sure, she wasn’t afraid to get dirty.

A sheen of sweat broke across his brow as they shifted the dirt to reveal a trap door. A rusted handle seemed to be inviting Brett to lift it. Bracing his feet, he gave a tug and after an effort the door gave way with a loud bang. Glancing over his shoulder with a victorious smile, he couldn’t help but chuckle when Shiloh made a concerted effort to tear her eyes away from his arms. “Tom! Got a flashlight?”

In his excitement, the older man careened into the pit. His foot caught on a rock and he was airborne, straight for the open trap door. Brett lunged forward to catch him, just managing to grip Tom’s shirt before he plummeted into the dark abyss below them.

Releasing a shaking breath, Shiloh grabbed Tom’s arm and helped him to a safe perch on the edge of the hole. Tom smiled feebly and handed Brett the flashlight, his face stark white. “Here you go.”

Cursing under her breath, Shiloh checked him over for any cuts or abrasions. “Give me a heart attack, why don’t you. Christ Almighty, Tom. Could have fallen in there,” she muttered, “and that thing could be a hundred feet down for all we know.” She straightened Tom’s sleeves and brushed loose dirt off his shirt while Brett snickered under his hand. “Don’t ever, ever, ever scare me like that.”

Sobering when she turned to face him, Brett angled the flashlight down the pit. A wooden ladder hung from the wall, descending into the darkness so deep even the flashlight beam wouldn’t reach all the way to the bottom. He grabbed a rock and dropped it, waiting for the impact. When it finally hit, he guessed the bottom might have been about a hundred feet down. “I think she’s right, Tom. Seems to be about a hundred feet, give or take.”

“Give or take what?” Shiloh asked, staring at him with a blank expression.

Blinking, Brett replied, “What do you mean?”

“You said give or take. Give or take what? Ten feet? Twenty? Thirty?”

“I, ah…I don’t know exactly.” He shrugged as she walked over, wondering what difference an extra thirty feet made to a hundred.

Shiloh bent at the waist to peek over the edge, drawing back quickly. Oh, Brett thought. Thirty feet makes a lot of difference to someone afraid of heights. “I suppose you want to climb down that rotted ladder.”

Laughing, Brett turned her chin towards the excavator. “No. We’re going to repel down, using the machine as our ground.”

Shiloh nodded. “Finally you have a good plan. So, where’s the rope?”

“In the back of the excavator. Want to go with me?” Standing, he brushed dirt off his knees.

“If you think I’m staying up here alone, you’ve got another thing coming.”

Smiling, Brett elbowed her lightly. “You’ve got Tom.”

“Like I said. Let’s do this.”

Fifteen minutes later, Brett had triple checked their setup and stocked his backpack with water and a few snacks. He was helping Shiloh get her ropes set up when Tom approached. “You know what,” he said nervously, “this isn’t worth it.”

Pausing, Brett glanced over his shoulder. “Excuse me? If we find the diamond we can get the hell out of here.”

Tom didn’t look convinced, but he said nothing else as Brett locked an arm around Shiloh’s waist and lowered them into the darkness. “Remember, Tom. Just drop a flare if anything is happening. We’ll keep an eye out.” Glancing at Shiloh, he nodded. “Ready?”

“Ready as I’ll ever be.” With a kick, they were on their way into the darkness.


And here's the other flashers:

24 April 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Sam goes on:

"You're always with the gang no matter how far apart you are." I met his gaze; he was handsome, sure, and practically oozed sexuality and charisma, but I'd be damned if he'd be luring me anywhere.

"How come you never say my name?"

"I don't know your name."

"You've heard it." A devilish smile played at his lips.

22 April 2011

Please Welcome Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy!

Here she is! Thanks for dropping by, Lee Ann!

In less than a year I’ve made the transition from freelance writer and local newspaper columnist to an author. With two releases currently out in the world and more lined up in queue, I am not anonymous in the small town where I live. Since I’ve written columns for more than one local paper over a several year period, I am well-adjusted to the occasional stranger who steps up to me in the supermarket to ask if I am “the lady that writes for the paper”.

Because of that I’ve long made an effort to make sure I am reasonably neat and presentable when I head out to run errands or do some shopping. I learned that lesson the hard way when I went to Lowe’s for more plants on spring in old cut off denim shorts, grubby from crawling around the yard, sunburned, and hair in an unflattering ponytail – and saw more people that I do in an average week. Now I do put on a little make-up and wear neat, clean clothing. I may be dressed in my favorite jeans and t-shirt but by gosh, they will be without rips or dirt these days.

Since my longer fiction, unlike most of my short fiction, is romance of one flavor or another, I decided to let my hair down, literally for a local author fair last weekend. My hair is both long and thick, falling down to the middle of my back. Most of the time I wear it swept up on top of my head, either caught in a hair comb or skewered in place with giant hair pins like the ones my Granny used. I do it for practicality – hard to do house work, garden, or even write if my long abundant locks are flowing in every direction.

At the author fair however I thought since I’m a romance author maybe I shouldn’t appear looking like a 19th century school teacher with my hair up in a tight knot. So I took more time with my hair than I have since my kids were born.
Twins followed by a single son don’t leave a mom much time for hair styling. I have a lot of natural curl in my hair so I dried it so that it would curl and let it hang.

People I have known for years didn’t recognize me at first at the event and when the compliments began coming my way, I decided that I should let my hair down, literally, more often. By the end of the day, as we dined at my favorite restaurant, our server asked me if I was “the lady who makes books”. I admitted that I was, gave her a book, and took away more compliments. Being told that I looked prettier with my hair down is satisfying enough; reading the same message in a few male eyes is heady stuff.

So now, besides slapping on at least basic make-up, I take a little more trouble with my hair and wardrobe. I suppose the image of an author must be maintained.

These days, I tend to want to pinch my own wrist on occasion since in less than twelve months, I have two novels out (WOLFE’S LADY and LOVE TATTOO from Evernight Publishing), a sequel to LOVE TATTOO coming in June, LOVE SCARS, and six other novels spread between July 2011 and May 2012. I now write for four e-presses, Evernight Publishing, Champagne Books, Rebel Ink Press, and as of last week, Astraea Press. Living the dream as an author is an awesome experience but it requires many hours of hard work and now I’ve learned that appearance is important too!

Here's the link to Lee Ann's Amazon page, and her blog!

20 April 2011

Titan's Jewel, Part Seven (4/20/11)

Howdy-do! It's time for another installment of Titan's Jewel, part of the Silver Flash Fiction team. This week is special, because if you participate in our scavenger hunt, you have a chance to win lots of great prizes!

Without further delay, here's the story. Please check after the post for details on the giveaway, as well as links to the other flashers for the week!


Part Seven:

“Hide in the oven?” The disbelief filling Brett’s voice made Shiloh think he wasn’t taking her seriously, even as a faint shuffling floated down the staircase towards them from one of the rooms upstairs.

“Do you have a better idea?” His muscles shifted under her hands as he shrugged and Shiloh made a concerted effort to loosen her grip. Not again, she thought. I won’t be hurt again.

Brett sighed before stepping back from the stairs. “Okay, so what are we going to do? Just stand around down here and let whatever’s up there scare us every time it -”

Shiloh gave a little shriek and leaped forward when a chair flew across the upper landing. Her whole body was trembling with fear, and he turned her away from the staircase, looking up the stairs again with narrowed eyes. “What the hell is up there?”

“I don’t – I don’t…” Shiloh’s voice shook with the effort to bring her breathing back under control. When another loud bang echoed through the space, she pulled closer to him, gripping his shirt in her fists and turning her face into his chest.

Running a hand across her hair in an effort to console her, he laid his head against hers. “It’s okay, Shiloh,” he said. “I’m right here with you.”

A full five minutes passed before Shiloh was brave enough to lift her head from the safety of her stronger counterpart and look up at him. “So, do you believe in ghosts now?”

He grinned. “I never said I didn’t.” He smoothed a piece of hair away from her face. “Are you going upstairs with me now?”

Shiloh blanched. “Are you kidding me?” Pushing off his chest, she stepped back. “You’re seriously still going up there?”

“Yes. I need to go investigate and make sure some squatter isn’t up there. You coming up, or would you rather wait down here?” Brett cocked his head to the side, waiting for her response.

Jesus Christ. The guy was crazy. That’s all there was to it. His bravado was going to get him killed by some angry ghost waiting upstairs to chop off his head. Or worse, inhabit his body and kill Shiloh. She swallowed. “I just…I don’t see the point in going up to check this out, Brett. I mean, look. Hello!” she called up the stairs, waiting a beat for a sound. “See? Nothing.”

Brett wasn’t convinced. “Are you coming upstairs or not?”

After a moment of indecision, Shiloh scuttled after him towards the stairs. She glanced over her shoulder as thunder clapped and ran square into his back with a grunt. “The hell you stopping for?”

“I’m trying to listen if you’ll quiet down.” Sticking her tongue out at his back, she waited. “Okay,” he said. “Let’s go.”

The stairs creaked under their feet, each flash of lightning from outside illuminating the ominous corners of the upper landing. Shiloh swallowed as she crested the stairs on Brett’s heels. Four doors greeted them: three bedrooms and one bathroom. The chair lay, crippled and broken, against the far wall.

Shiloh blindly reached out and grabbed for Brett’s hand. He glanced down at her fingers before giving them a squeeze and leading her forward. Terror and adrenaline surged through her, enhancing her senses. Every creak made her jump; every shadow was someone reaching for her.

Her breaths came in short spurts as they entered the first room. The air suffocated her with its thick hands and Shiloh couldn’t help but look over her shoulder, expecting to see a foreboding person staring at her. “I don’t like this room, Brett.”

“Your hands just got so cold,” he replied.

“Well, I -” She didn’t expect the cold chill to wash down her back, making her shiver and forcing goose bumps to erupt down her skin. And she sure as hell didn’t expect the slight shift in her hair.

“Shiloh,” said a faint whisper.

“Holy fuck,” she yelled, jolting forward while Brett watched her with wide eyes. “Holy – Oh, my god. Did you hear that? Did you – Oh, my god.” She frantically brushed at her hair, trying to get the crawling feeling out of the strands. “Damn it, I’m out of here.”

Shiloh bolted down the stairs, taking the steps three at a time until she burst out of the front door into the pelting rain. Brett grabbed her arm and she snapped back against him. “What the hell, Shiloh?” he yelled over the roaring winds.

“It said my name.”

He searched her face for a moment, unsure of whether to believe her. “Okay. Well, we have to get out of this weather.” He pointed to the excavator, the closest shelter that wasn’t part of the abandoned landscape. “Let’s go.”

Bracing against the wind and driving rain, they climbed into the cab. Hail pinged off the cold metal of the machine, creating a loud echo inside. Shiloh backed against a door, shivering. “What happened in there?” Brett gave up on wringing out his shirt and stripped it off in the hopes dry skin would be warmer than his wet shirt.

Shiloh tried to avoid staring at his well toned torso. “There was something in the house. It said my name.”

“Said your name.”

“That’s what I said,” she snapped, looking over at him finally. He wasn’t mocking or laughing; his expression was curious.

“Maybe it wants to take you out.” A fleeting grin crossed his features, quickly suppressed at her scathing glare.

“Wouldn’t that be romantic?” Shiloh rolled her eyes. “I want to go home.”

“Oh no you don’t. You signed a contract.” Brett watched a muscle flex in her jaw, knowing full well the former VP of a financial firm would never renege on a contract. “We’re going to find that diamond, come hell or high water.”

“But if -”

“If nothing. Nothing’s going to get you so long as I’m here.” He tilted her chin up as she looked down. “I promise.”

“Don’t make promises you can’t keep.”


Here's the other flashers for the week. Don't forget to drop by theirs, too:

Julie Hayes M/M

Heather Lin M/F

LM Brown M/M

Victoria Blisse M/F

Sui Lynn M/M

Lily Sawyer M/M

19 April 2011

Life Happens!

Hi! Holy crap, what a whirlwind year it's been so far, eh?

I'm happy to say that The Life And Times of Delila is doing well, and my next one, What I've Learned, will be out July 31st. Currently, I'm shopping another one (a horror piece - ooooh), and revising another, and writing another. Oh, and I'll be getting edits for Abby soon, too.

*phew* :)

Hey, check this out, too. A contest:

Hot free fiction and an incredible prize package?

Must be the Silver Flashers! Every Wednesday, a piece of flash fiction is posted on the blogs of several Silver Publishing authors. It's fun, free, and more often than not a pretty steamy experience. ;) This week, we're hosting a scavenger hunt and we're hoping you'll join us. Visit each of the blogs (listed below) between Wednesday, April 20th and the end of the hunt on Tuesday, April 26th, send a list of the authors with at least one of their main characters to seeheatherwrite@hotmail.com, and you'll be entered to win this awesome prize package:

One travel bottle of Bath & Bodyworks Sensual Amber bodywash and Sensual Amber lotion from Heather Lin
One bookthong from Lindsay Klug
One ebook from RJ Scott
One ebook from Lily Sawyer
One ebook from Pender Mackie
One ebook from Julie Hayes
One ebook from LM Brown

That's right. One lucky hunter will win ALL of these items, generously donated by the Silver Flashers. The drawing will take place on Thursday, April 28th and will be posted by midnight on Friday, April 29th.

So, lots of goodies, lots of happenings, lots of lots. Throw a cross country move in there this summer and several thousand other day to day necessities, and this is going to be a busy few months. See you Wednesday for another installment of Titan's Jewel!

17 April 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Continuing on with Sam's story:

"You're right, of course." He took another long drink and I watched his Adam's apple flex taking the liquid down. "I came back to see you."

A drop of sweat beaded on the bottle and ran down the side to meet Shadow's hand. "I'm not sure where the confusion is, but I don't run with biker gangs."

In the fluorescent light of the bar his eyes were an unnatural shade of orange instead of the warm brown they should have been. "I'm not with the gang right now, am I?

16 April 2011

Please Welcome Nicki Markus!

Hello, all! Nicki J. Markus is here with me today. Please give her a big round of applause. Thanks for dropping by!

Please tell the readers a little about yourself:

I was born in the UK in 1982, but moved to Australia in 2007 to be with my Australian fiancé. I love reading and writing and also languages. I adore anything in the cultural sphere really – theatre, cinema, art, photography…I’m the expressive type!

How about your latest release?

My latest release is the second in a four part mini-series called Time Keepers. Each part is short story length and they are being released one per month to continue the story. The remaining two parts are out in May and June. It is a paranormal story with a blend of romance and adventure and a hint of sci-fi. You can read an excerpt of part 1 below and here are the blurbs for the first two parts.

Time Keepers - Part One - Running Blind

"It seems like any ordinary day as Nick waits for the train, but then a chance encounter with a young woman turns his world upside down. What is it that she is running from and will helping her jeopardise his own secret, making him a target too?"

Time Keepers - Part Two - The Beast Within

"With Nick’s secret now exposed, he and Ellie must run for their lives, pursued by the Governor and his Time Keepers. Will they be able to stay hidden or is their time nearly up?"

Both these titles are available from Amazon, OmniLit, Smashwords and other sellers. Or you can hop across to my website/blog and click on the “my books” tab for direct links. (http://www.nickijmarkus.com)

Care to share a bit about any of your characters?

Nick and Ellie are both outcasts in their own way and they both have secrets, but they will have to work together if they want to defeat the Time Keepers

What was your primary inspiration for this book?

In think I had been watching Dark Angel that day and was thinking of governments wanting to control these gifted children. It made me wonder what would happen if they could get their hands on other supernatural beings.

Any advice for aspiring writers?

It’s a bit corny but – don’t give up. If it’s want you want to do then go for it. Creative writing courses can be useful to see what level you are at, but mostly I’d say keep writing and improving through experience.

If you could be one animal, person, or at a place for a day what/who/where would it be?

I’d be in Prague – my favourite city!

Five random facts about you:

1) I speak four foreign languages – two fluently

2) I’m getting married this year!

3) I love cats

4) I can’t resist the lure of NetGalley at present

5) I sing and play flute and piano

Are you working on any new releases later this year?

Obviously the remaining two parts of Time Keepers are out soon from Wicked Nights Publishing. I also just signed a contract with Silver Publishing for my vampire paranormal romance called Day-Walker. That is tentatively scheduled for release in September at the moment. Right now I am working on a thriller short/novella that I hope to submit to the publisher in the next couple of months.

Anything else you’d like to say?

Thanks to everyone who has supported my writing and bought my books so far – I really appreciate it!

Contact info (Facebook, Twitter, website, blog):

My website/blog: http://www.nickijmarkus.com

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


Time Keepers – Part 1 – Running Blind

Say No To Fur!!

The poster caught his eye as he stood on the muggy station platform, waiting for the south-bound Northern Line tube. Nick frowned, tilting his head slightly and staring at it. The hologram image of the wolf’s head hovered at the surface in seeming innocence, tinges of reds and greens just visible behind its grey fur and a benign look in its yellow eyes as it watched the passerby. Then a woman stepped a little too close. The wolf’s head jumped out from the poster, eyes bloodshot and jaws open wide, revealing glistening pointed teeth that dripped with saliva and snapped viciously at her. The woman shrieked and jumped back in fright, dropping her handbag as the wolf retreated once more into its poster.

Nick bent down and retrieved the worn leather bag, holding it out to her. He could hear her heart pounding in her chest and he waited patiently while she took a moment to compose herself. Finally her watery grey eyes focused on him and she reached out a gnarled, wrinkled hand to reclaim her possessions.

“Thank you, young man.” She carefully eased the handles of the bag back over her emaciated arm. “It shouldn’t be allowed.”

“No, the tube station really isn’t the place for posters like that,” he agreed with her readily, casting a wary glance at the wall where the wolf still hovered, looking peaceable once more.

“No, not the poster, young man; I mean these werewolves – and the vampires too. As if there isn’t already enough wrong in the world without such evil creatures roaming around free. The sooner the government stamps them out the better.”
A sudden rush of humid air, adding more heat to the already stifling atmosphere, and the approach of two blazing yet flickering lights from the depths of the tunnel, announced the arrival of the tube. The woman waddled off further down the platform and Nick was left alone - for a moment anyway. As the train pulled in people jostled behind him, bodies pressing up against him, invading his personal space and making him uncomfortable, as everyone fought to be first to board the train.

The doors squeaked their way open and the inane high pitched beeping sound they produced rang in his ears, making him flinch. He wasn’t in the mood for pushing and shoving so he let the crowds brush past him, going with the flow as he was knocked from side to side by their urgency. He waited until he was the last one on the platform before carefully and sedately stepping onto the train.

The carriage was packed full, people crammed in like sardines, and there was nowhere else to move to so he remained just inside the doorway. He reached up towards the handrail, the distance no difficulty for his long arm. As he breathed in, he couldn’t help but screw his nose up at the smell of urine and stale sweat that permeated the carriage. Why do I travel by tube? He glanced round at his fellow passengers; all studiously avoided meeting his eyes, heads down, trying to blend in and escape notice. And why wouldn’t they when the government could nab you for just about anything these days?

A repeat of the annoying beeping announced that the train was about to depart. Nick tightened his grip on the handrail in anticipation of the jerky and uncomfortable journey ahead. A sudden movement caught his eye and he glanced back at the platform. There was a young girl flying down the stairs. She was moving so fast that her tiny, bare feet hardly touched the floor as she used the stair rail to propel her into a sharp turn, dashing towards the train and heading straight for the door of his carriage. He saw the doors start to inch themselves closed and he instinctively reached out, gripping one tightly with both hands, forcing it to remain open as the girl shot through the gap and onto the train.

13 April 2011

Titan's Jewel, Part Six (4/13/11)

Well, it's that time of the week again! The next installment of Titan's Jewel is all ready to go. There were two prompts this week:

"What's that noise?"


"Um...you might want to take the wrapper off first."

As hard as I tried, I could only incorporate one. LOL, hope you enjoy! Here we go, and don't forget to check out the other great flashers (links at the bottom of the post):

She must be bipolar. That was the only thing Brett could think as he struggled to help the flailing Tom out from underneath the skeleton without disturbing the bones too much. The old man scooted backwards on his butt and looked disdainfully at Shiloh, who was giggling uncontrollably.

“I’m sorry,” she gasped, clutching at her stomach and doubling over with the laughing fit. “It’s just so…perfect. I told you we shouldn’t dig here,” she managed, wiping at the tears rolling down her cheeks as Brett and Tom simply stared, dumbfounded.

“Shiloh,” Brett said after a moment, “can you help me with these bones, please?”

She immediately sobered. “You want me to touch it?” He nodded and watched as she searched the ground around her with amusement lacing his features.

Crossing his arms over his chest he cocked his head to the side. “What are you looking for?”

“A stick.”

Tom, back by the excavator by then, paused in brushing his pants off and looked around. He hefted a large branch over his shoulder and dropped it at Shiloh’s feet. “Here. I’m going to shower.”

“Thanks.” She watched him walk into the fog before turning back to the task at hand. Hesitating, she looked at Brett. “So, you really want to move the bones?”

“Well, I’d like to put them back in the chest before the rains hit.” He looked up at the ominous clouds. Judging by the color, they had about a half hour before a storm rolled in and ruined the work day. Not that it wasn't already ruined. Looking back at Shiloh, he lunged forward to prevent what she was doing, but he was too late.

She wedged the branch under the half open lid of the crate and gave a grunt before heaving it upright. The skeleton clattered to the dirt, clinking together noisily as several relics and documents fell on top of them from the time capsule and cracked a few smaller shards of bone in half.

Brett cursed under his breath. “Damn it, Shiloh. What’d you do that for?”

“The crate had to be moved to get the bones back in.” Duh, Brett, her voice said.

Rolling his eyes, Brett knelt and lifted the skull with tender care. Shiloh was watching him closely, fascinated with what he was doing. A gentle whiff of her shampoo hit him full force as the wind rustled her hair when she crouched next to him; lavender and honey. “It’s so tiny,” she said softly.

Blinking his way back to the present and out of the brief fantasy her closeness induced, Brett studied the skull. It was small and perfectly rounded, that of a small child, toddler or maybe even infant. A single fracture ran down the length of the head from a gaping hole in the right temple.

“Jesus Christ,” he whispered. “This kid was murdered.”

A clap of thunder made them both jump and there wasn’t much time to think when driving rain began to pelt their backs. Shiloh worked quickly to gather the documents and trinkets into the chest and together she and Brett shoved the skeleton into it and dragged the heavy box into the nearest building.

The door smacked shut on a rusted hinge with the forceful winds, drawing a shocked gasp from Shiloh as she ran nervous hands over her hair. Brett glanced around, realizing with a foreboding feeling that they’d stumbled into the home of a former affluent family. The walls of the lower level were lined with living areas, rotting furniture half draped with tarps and stuffing peeking out from the torn corners. An old stove sat in the corner of the kitchen, the sole remaining appliance. On the upper level would be the bedrooms.

Shiloh was staring at an old photo hanging on the wall, her sleeve dirty from wiping a thick layer of dust from the glass. “Hey, Brett,” she said over her shoulder, “who do you suppose used to live here?”

Brett had extensively researched the area and its history before their excursion. He knew that he would be looking into the face of Lady Genevieve, the infamous woman who was murdered by the crazed fisherman.

In fact, she and her family were murdered just above Shiloh’s head. But he couldn’t tell her that. He leaned close over her shoulder and studied the picture as though he were only just seeing it for the first time. “I’m not sure,” he lied. “Probably a fisherman and his family.”

“They look awfully rich to be a fisherman’s family,” she replied doubtfully, turning.

Brett glanced at her, finding himself in a rather advantageous position. Shiloh was right between his chest and the wall, mere inches from him. Lightning flashed outside the window and the sky darkened, casting the otherwise dreary day into shadowy darkness.

Shiloh swallowed, looking at him with those wide eyes. Do I make the move? Brett cast back and forth until a loud bang from right above their heads caused her to leap forward and grip his shirt in her fists. They both stared at the ceiling, tensing when the sound resonated in the empty house again. “What’s that noise?” she whispered, as though someone were there to hear her.

“I don’t know.” He gently removed her hands from his shirt and moved towards the stairs, pausing when he felt her latch onto his back. “Shiloh, I can’t go very far with you hanging onto me.”

“Are you crazy?” she said in a low hissing whisper. “Don’t you ever watch horror movies? There’s probably some cannibal up there waiting to strip your skin off and wear it as a pretty coat. God, Brett.”

He snorted. “You are insane.” The loud bang echoed through the house again, trailed by a clap of thunder and she pressed closer to his back. “Well, what do you propose we do?”

“Hide in the oven?”


Be sure and check out the other great bloggers this week:

M/F: Victoria Blisse Heather Lin

11 April 2011

Help The Relief Effort in Japan

Help The Relief Effort in Japan And Read Some Great Fiction!

All proceeds from sales of Fountain of Youth, by erotic romance author Elizabeth Black will go towards aid relief.

April 8, 2011
Searching for a way to help relief efforts, Ms. Black and her publisher Romance Divine, LLC collaborated to earmark all sales of her short erotic story Fountain of Youth through June 15, 2011 to be donated to the Red Cross foundation to assist the Japanese in their recovery.

Fountain of Youth is particularly appropriate as it is an m/m erotic short story based on a Japanese folk tale. In Ms. Black's Americanized version, as in the Japanese original, a lesson is learned: be careful what you wish for. What if you could have a do-over; a second chance at love and romance with the object of your heart’s desire? What would you wish for? Careful, sometimes wishes do come true, but they might not always be exactly what you expect. Sydney finds romance, and changes, after discovering a secret Fountain Of Youth

Find more about this story on Ms. Black's web site: http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com/p/japan-relief.html. All proceeds from this short story sold through June 15 will be donated to the Red Cross foundation to help with relief efforts in Japan.
Elizabeth Black is writer who lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son, and four cats. She pens erotic romance, erotica, dark fiction, and horror. She also writes articles about sex and relationships for numerous publications. You may find her at her web site, http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com. Friend her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/elizabethablack
Romance Divine LLC is a publisher of print books, e-books and audio books; both fiction and non-fiction, in a variety of genres. Romance Divine books can be found at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance e-Books, Kobo, Bookstrand, Google books, the Apple iBookstore and at other fine on-line retailers. They are also available at the Romance Divine web site: http://www.romancedivine.com
Contact Information:
Elizabeth Black
Romance Divine, LLC
Gregory Causey, Publisher

10 April 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Continuing on with the ongoing saga between Sam and Shadow:

"Mom says I'll catch fire one day for all the sparks flying off me," I deadpanned. "So what brings you by tonight?" I waved congenially to the last of the tourists leaving for the night until it was just me and Shadow. Elena and Stetson had sure as hell been gone for awhile.

"I can't just stop in for a beer?"

"Honey, your kind never just stops in for something."

(I promise Shadow's not as much of an ass as he came off to be last week. LOL)

09 April 2011

Cassandre Dayne is featured today!

Please help me welcome Cassandre Dayne for a taste of something...Well, tempting:

Cassandre Dayne

We’ve all experienced that wicked desire. Perhaps you long for the scarlet red Corvette that you’ve been pining away for since you learned how to drive. Then there’s the vacation home on the very saucy French side of St. Maartin high on the rocky hillside that overlooks the Cerulean blue ocean. You were lucky enough to visit the steamy location with your gal
pals when you were younger, enjoying the eye candy on Orient Beach. Now you have a vivid color picture forever attached to your refrigerator reminding you that you will own that very house one day.

Then there’s that man… You know what guy I’m talking about. Maybe he was the stunning football captain in college that never gave you the time of day or your boss, a hunk of a man with no interest for anything but his profession. For some reason the attraction is too delicious to resist. So, what is
your craving? For me it’s men with a sexy accent and a Harley to ride into the sunset with. Somehow those two sensual attributes continue to re-appear in my stories.

Isn’t there something delicious about a man with an Australian accent that is simply breathtaking? I write in several genres including erotic of course and decided to combine two of them in on going stories. The Flamingo Rustler is a fictional bar and grill located in Virginia that houses a man-cave called Lucifer’s Lair. It’s owned by one very sexy six foot something blond haired Aussie named Mick St. Simon. Not only is he a swaggering hottie with sex appeal but he’s also a Harley ridin’ man that loves the ladies. A good egg, it’s his intelligence and kind will that keeps the locals coming in for sizzling island food and freshly prepared drink creations.

It’s the perfect backdrop to my first story that bridges the campy murder mystery series I write as
Dakotah Black with the erotic stories I pen as Cassandre Dayne. Wicked Wager Among Friends –
Tales From Lucifer’s Lair is about wanting someone that has only been a friend. Veronica was unsure of what to do to try and get Travis to look at her as something else other than a friend. What did she come up with? A pool game in the Lair where the stakes are sexually charged and the
winner will literally take all. Of course…there is an almost insurmountable problem.

While Travis told her he is bi-sexual, the truth is, he has never been with a woman before and is terrified of her proposal. So what does she do? Well what any red-blooded woman that hungers for a tasty treat would do, she entices him with her feminine wiles. Hmmm… just a little morsel for you.

“You don’t think you can get it up?” she blurted out the words without thinking and noticed immediately his embarrassed as hell look as his cheeks flushed and tiny goose bumps broke out on his arms. Holy shit this could not be happening. Veronica had not just placed her carnal yearnings out on a limb for
every man to hear and be so freaking wrong.

Travis nodded and they both heard the thump, thump, thump of his heart beating against his chest. “Why is it suddenly so damn hot in this place?”

Veronica hadn’t thought about that one little potential problem after the way he told her about his desires. He had laid them out in vivid detail and they were so erotic and kinky in nature that she had no doubt he wanted her. Now this? She wasn’t stupid and knew that entering into a relationship was something much larger than perhaps they were ready for, but delving into the things they had talked about was something else entirely. She never imagined he couldn’t get it up for her. Well, that little thought drove her over the edge of reason and kicked in her natural instincts to best the challenge in front of her. “Okay. Let me think here Travis.” She glanced at the crowd. It seemed every man was daring her to do something.

Lucifer had darkened the lights in the room so that other than the three television sets and the lights over the pool tables, the place was the ultimate man cave and perfect for shadowing what she was about to do. She sighed knowing that whatever move she made could damage their relationship permanently, yet she could not tread lightly any longer.

Undaunted, it was time to pull out the big damn guns. She set down her drink and took him by the hand. They were both trembling and her mind raced around what to do to convince him or perhaps herself. “Come with me.”


“Shut up for once.” Veronica dragged him in the darkest corner of the room and pushed his tense body against a wall with enough force his eyes flew open. She had never been aggressive with any male, but she was going to lose him if she didn’t do something rash to gain his attention. There was no doubt in her mind that she simply had to unleash the burning desire that she had seen glimpses of for her. She knew by the look in his eyes, the beast wanted out.


“I said shut the hell up friend.” She nibbled on her bottom lip trying to figure out how to go about this. She sighed. Jumping in with both feet mentally, she slid her body against his and pressed him tightly against the wall. Her breasts hit him squarely in the middle of his chest. She purred and dangled her fingers around his waist. Inviting. Begging.

“Veronica.” His voice was barely a whisper.

She tucked her fingers around a lose strand of his gorgeous hair and eased her face toward his. Their mouths met easily and she crushed hers onto the softest pair of sensuous lips that she had ever tasted. Supple and sweet, they were like the freshest cherries plucked in the heat of summer. Yum. Oh dear lord let his body respond. She parted his lips with her tongue and eased her hands up to his solid chest, palming his breasts over his crisp linen shirt. She worked her tongue deep inside, kissing him hard and wild from all the years of pent up obsession, and while he didn’t resist, he wasn’t pawing at her either.

Had they both been so mistaken all these months of teasing and tempting?
Travis remained completely still and as uncomfortable as she had ever seen him, quivering. Shaking. Finally he moaned, yielding to her touch.

Veronica could tell that every nerve in his body raced with a fever that his body was unable to contain. Fear and desire ran rampantly, speeding into full throttle.

He broke the kiss gently, his voice remaining husky. “Veronica. I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Hurt me? Travis, I’m not fragile. I know what you need and what you crave and I can be that girl, for both you and Jonathan. If that’s what you want.” Just saying the words meant so much to her. Repressed her entire life, this event was nothing short of extraordinary and so very exciting. She pressed her hips into his and slid her groin across the slight bulge in his jeans. Her fingers danced through the unbuttoned shirt, casually tracing a line down through his soft chest hairs. She felt the first pulsing of his cock pressing into her. Becoming famished, she was like a kid in a candy store showing the young boy how a woman could tease him, play with him and bring him to new heights of pleasure. Gingerly, she feathered her lips across his until the heat between them fueled a fire that burned deep within.

Hmmm – I think she might have gotten his attention. The next time you think that that intense desire is one you will never achieve, just remember Veronica and her daunting task and ask yourself…what kind of a Wicked Wager just might achieve your goal?

Thanks so much Lindsay for having me! It’s been a lot of fun.

Kisses xxx

And the video trailer:

You can find Cassandre at her website, at her blog, on twitter, and contact her at her email.

*Fans self* Phew, that was hot. Thanks for stopping by, Cassandre! Be sure and check out her releases at Rebel Ink Press!

08 April 2011

Please Welcome Katie Alexander!

Hi, there! Please give a big welcome to Katie Alexander.

Please tell the readers a little about yourself:

I am Katie Alexander and I have my first release coming out with my writing partner and friend, Kelli Lee Mosley. We are very excited and of course nervous.

How about the latest release?

Title: Another Chance
Author: Katie Alexander and Kelli Lee Mosley
Publisher: Rebel Ink Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: TBA (We're all looking forward to this one! - editor's note)


Megan Mason had a fabulous family, a wonderful husband, a great job and a beautiful home. All she needed was a baby to make her life complete. Little did she know, however, that asking her husband for a child would end her marriage. Suffering the ultimate betrayal, Megan returns to her childhood home to rebuild her life. Grayson Burke had it all. His family's construction company was financially sound and business was booming. He loved his job and better yet, he worked with two of his best friends. To an outsider looking in, Grayson's life probably seemed perfect. But in reality, Grayson's dream woman wasn't only married to someone else, she was his buddies little sister which meant she was untouchable in every sense of the word. When Grayson learns that Megan is headed home, everything in his world seems to flip upside down. There's no way he could ever approach a woman whose life has been destroyed. Right? And besides, his friends would kill him. Wouldn't they?

Care to share a bit about any of your characters?

The three female characters in my book are fashioned after myself and two friends of mine. Megan is a bit like me where she can be quiet and easy going but her brother Dylan can piss her off in a heartbeat and she isn’t afraid to tell him so. Second is Ali and she is like my writing partner, Kelli Lee Mosley. The southern charm or what we Yankees call flirting. She can make anyone do her bidding and she knows it too. The road rage scenes are all her. Last is Gabby who is the reserved and shy one. Where Ali and Megan are sometimes the ring leader Gabby is always the peacemaker and the deciding vote. All of them have one thing in common and that is if you mess with one, you mess with them all.

What was your primary inspiration for this book?

I was listening to Michael Buble and one of his songs came on called, You Don’t Know Me. It had the storyline all right there in the song. A man loves a woman from afar and she has no idea because she is with someone else. What would he do if she became available? Would he snatch her up right away or wait? It gave me so many ideas and once Kelli and I started writing it just all came together.

Do you have any muses?

Yes and she is a pain in my butt sometimes. She won’t talk to me unless she wants to and that is usually when I am trying to sleep. If I don’t listen to her she starts to yell at me so I have no choice but to listen and make notes.

Any advice for aspiring writers?

All I can say is just to do it because you never know until you try. This was something that Kelli and I wanted to do for a long time but I was always scared to try. I am glad I did now.

If you could be one animal, person, or at a place for a day what/who/where would it be?

What a great question! I have always wanted to go to Ireland but I know a day wouldn’t be enough. The land and legends as always interested me. I will go one day but I just don’t know when.

Five random facts about you:

I can be very shy until you get to know me and then you can’t shut me up.

I have recently gone back to school.

I have a fear of crowds.

I love to read.

I am addicted to Farmville and Frontierville.

Are you working on any new releases later this year?

Another Chance is my only release for this year but I have something that I have been working on all by myself. It isn’t finished or titled though. Kelli and I still need to get together and talk about Dylan’s book but so far our schedules are not meshing.

Anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you so much for having me today! This was a lot of fun and I hope to do it again. J

Contact info (Facebook, Twitter, website, blog):

Blog ~ http://katiealexander1.blogspot.com

Web Site ~ http://members.cox.net/katie_alexander/Index.shtml

Facebook Page ~ http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/profile.php?id=100001957442121

Twitter ~ @katie1alexander

06 April 2011

Titan's Jewel, Part Five (4/6/2011)

It's that time of the week again! Here's the next installment of Titan's Jewel:

*LANGUAGE* (One or two words)

“I told you we shouldn't be digging out here,” Shiloh said nervously, standing and pacing along the rim of the hole she’d carved.

“Shiloh, calm down.” Brett sighed and grabbed a shovel to loosen the dirt from around the metal container. Brushing the dirt from the top, he read out loud, “The Lady and the Lord – May they never be forgotten.”

Eyes wide, Shiloh backed away with her hands raised. “Holy shit. No way, no freaking way.” Tom reached for the handles of the case to drag it from the ground. “Are you insane?” Shiloh shrieked.

Both men paused in their work and stared at the frazzled young woman over their shoulders. “We’d like to see if the diamond is inside, Shiloh,” Tom replied gently.

“You’re – Oh, my god. You’re digging up a chest from two people who were murdered in their sleep by a madman. Isn’t that a tad morbid?” She ran shaking hands through her hair as her breath puffed out in little wisps of steam. A door swung closed in the distance, making her jump severely.

Catching a glimpse of the looks on her comrade’s faces, Shiloh turned and walked away a few steps, embarrassed. They didn’t understand. After her mother died, she couldn’t even sort through the old clothes without a whiff of perfume recalling painful memories or the texture of a sweater bringing singeing tears to her eyes.

That box carried someone’s memories, and the town may have been long abandoned, but somewhere the ancestors of those people were wondering about their family members. Shiloh jumped when Brett laid a hand on her shoulder. “Christ,” she said, gripping at her chest, “you scared me.”

“Are you okay?”

Shiloh stepped back, not wanting anyone to touch her or comfort her. She didn’t want the contact, didn’t need it. “I’m fine. I just don’t think that case should be opened.”

“What if the diamond’s in there?” Stepping forward, he effectively pinned her against her excavator with one deft move. One hand behind her head, he leaned casually and waited for a response.

He’s doing this on purpose, she thought. Purposely drowning her in his cologne. “What if it’s not? Then we’ve disturbed them for nothing.”

“Disturbed who?” A smirk played on his lips, though he was obviously trying to hide it for her sake.

“Oh, eff off. You don’t believe in ghosts, do you?” Shiloh turned her back to him and leaned her shoulder on the machine, watching as Tom tried to lug the box out of the hole.

Brett’s hand ran down her arm, drawing a shiver. “Do you?”

“Why shouldn't I? When my mother died, I know she was still there watching me. I know she stayed to watch dad, too.”

“And you think there’s ghosts here?” Stepping forward, he pushed her shoulders back so that she was flat against the machine and facing him.

Shiloh sighed deeply. “Something is out there, Brett. Something is waiting for us. I can feel it.”

“Well, let’s help Tom with this and then we can have lunch and relax, okay? I promise you, nothing bad is going to happen today.”

Shiloh followed him to the hole in the ground, still not entirely sure of what they were doing, and grabbed a side. Unable to shake the feeling of being watched, she swallowed and gave a heaving lift. The heavy crate shifted and creaked, wood rising from the dirt until it finally broke free.

Tom toppled backwards and the crate fell at his feet, the top bursting open. A skeleton flew out of the open lid onto his lap and the older man screamed and batted at it while scrambling to get away. Brett froze in shock, but Shiloh couldn't help grinning at the debacle happening in front of her.

“Well,” she said, satisfaction lacing her voice. “That will come back to haunt you.”


Check out the other great flashers this week:

Julie Hayes (M/M)

Sui Lynn (M/M)

RJ Scott (M/M)

Heather Lin (M/F)

LM Brown (M/M)

Pender Mackie (M/M)

Ryssa Edwards (M/M)