Valentine’s Day sequel – why?

February 12, 2015

(A few SPOILER ALERTS for those who haven’t read “Healing Minds” – proceed at your own risk)

 

I chose Valentine’s Day for these two because it’s one of the romance-mushiest holidays out there, and I liked the pairing of the holiday with Xavier’s badass image. He had a rough past, what with being a (SPOILER ALERT) criminal, and being trained by a para-military wolf pack in Australia. Josh does feel like a romantic to me, despite his inexperience with it, and I wanted him to flip back and forth whether to attempt to celebrate the holiday or not.

 

Since this is a direct sequel to “Healing Minds,” I don’t have much furthering of the overall plot of my series, i.e. the conflict between the Knights and the Agency, introducing new characters (though a new character does make a brief appearance at the end—watch for him, he returns later in the series!), new couples, etc. I also decided early on that it would be fun to make all the sequels center around holidays. I started the trend with “Celtic Warrior and Wolf Spirit,” the sequel to “Psychic Moon.”

 

However, there will be a few books that return to earlier couples, but I don’t consider them sequels because they further the overall plot. To name a couple: Derek and Brian from “Psychic Moon,” and (everyone’s favorite) Poe and Nordik from “Master’s Blood.”

 

But back to “Hearts and Minds.”

And another excerpt!

 

 

Josh jerked back to the present. He realized he was standing in the reception area of the counseling wing, and Misty—their efficient secretary, a petite woman with long red-orange hair, bright green eyes, and a narrow, pointy face—was holding out a file folder. They weren’t able to pay their clinic employees yet, but that never stopped people from applying for positions and volunteering their time. They had a chef, two other counselors with degrees in psychology, and an elderly elk shifter who acted as custodian.

Where would they be without these generous Haven citizens?

There was a bunch of red and pink construction paper on Misty’s desk, and she seemed to be cutting them up into hearts of different sizes.

“What’s with the hearts?” Josh asked.

Misty tilted her head slightly and gave him a look that clearly said he was a dummy. “Valentine’s Day is coming up, duh.”

Josh blinked, flipped through the calendar in his head, and said, “Oh, right.”

Misty shook her head and rolled her eyes. “I’m making these for the class my brother’s in. They’re having a little party.”

“They’re looking good.”

“Yes, they are,” Misty said proudly. “But just wait till you see the necklace I had specially made for my girlfriend. She’s going to flip.”

Josh chuckled even as something occurred to him. “Is V-Day the reason you’ve been using pink and red highlighters and pens, lately?”

Misty sighed loudly and rolled her eyes again. “Wow, Josh. You’re Mr. Observant.”

“Hey, I have been a little busy, you know.”

“What? And I haven’t? You think this enterprise of yours runs itself?”

Temper sparked in her eyes, and Josh barely resisted a wince. Then he said, in all seriousness, “No, Misty. We all know how invaluable you are.”

“Damn right, I am.” Misty smiled cannily, her eyes now twinkling with humor as she continued to hold out Allen’s folder. He took it.

“Thanks. Is Allen’s mother with him?”

“Yes.” Her smile warmed, softened. “She’s so sweet and devoted. I really think he has a fair chance at full recovery with such support on his side.”

“I think so, too.” Josh promptly forgot about Valentine’s Day and its implications as he walked into the small counseling room. Allen sat on the couch, hunched over, his hands clasped in front of him. His mother sat right next to him, her hand on his. Allen’s cane was set against the couch, and his left leg was tucked under his right. It was understandable that he was still self-conscious about his severed left foot, but that was one of the things they were working on. He needed to accept what had happened to him and move past it. But, as Allen had only been with them for about a week, Josh knew it was a slow process and might take years. Allen and his mother were bear shifters, and he’d proven nonviolent, but Josh had seen flashes of rage in his eyes when they attempted to discuss his abuse. Josh had Xavier on speed dial if Allen proved too much to handle.

 

 

What is your favorite holiday to celebrate with your significant other?

 

Got anything you wish to ask me about my series? Ask away! I shall answer!

 

-M.D.

First excerpt plus more!

February 12, 2015

And I’m back! M.D. Grimm here promoting “Hearts and Minds,” my Valentine’s Day themed sequel to “Healing Minds” in my The Shifters series. http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6031

 

Josh and Xavier have been working so hard they haven’t really had time for a “honeymoon.” I really like these guys—they are so motivated and duty-oriented. In my humble opinion, they are probably one of the best couples I’ve penned. While I love every single one of my characters and enjoy all the couples, Josh and Xavier probably had the most evolution. The first draft of “Healing Minds” was utter crap, to be honest. I didn’t know where I was heading or what I was trying to say. My beta at the time agreed with me. But then I rewrote it from page one and all the puzzle pieces were finally assembled. I heard their voices, I sensed their struggles, and when I finally got them together, I was over the moon.

 

And now we have “Hearts and Minds” which is centered around Valentine’s Day, but the book is truly about compromise and working together as a team. Because of their busyness, Xavier and Josh haven’t really had much time alone together, to indulge in one another (sad, right?). That has led to a few unsaid conflicts that arise in this story. They both have strong personalities, have been trained in combat (though Xavier’s was far more intense), and both believe they are right all the time (and that never ends well).

 

So for those of you who love Xavier and Josh as much as I do, consider this story a Valentine’s Day present from me to you. J

 

And here’s an excerpt!

 

 

Xavier had to walk around to the back of the house to find Josh, who was standing with a blueprint, shouting at the workers on the roof. There seemed to be a disagreement happening, and Xavier found it incredibly cute how Josh’s face was becoming as red as his hair and his blue eyes were bright with frustration. He was bundled against the low 40s temperature, and Xavier found it hard to think of anything but keeping Josh nice and warm under their blankets.

Xavier walked over to catch Josh say, “…where you guys are sitting is where the new addition is going to go. I keep telling you that. That’s what the blueprint says.”

“If you put it here, the plumbing’s going to be a disaster,” countered an older man, who Xavier knew to be a fellow wolf shifter. He looked as exasperated as Josh. “That blueprint is wrong, or ya ain’t looking at it right, boy.”

Josh scowled.

“Let me see.” Xavier snatched the blueprint from Josh.

“Xavier—”

Clearing his throat, Xavier saw the problem and turned the blueprint right-side up. He handed it back to Josh and tried not to laugh, but it was a hard struggle. Josh looked down at the paper, his face reddening further. He grumbled something before sucking in a large breath and looking back up at the roof workers.

“Carry on, boys, we found out the problem.”

The workers glanced at each other. The older wolf shifter shook his head and mumbled something Xavier thought sounded like “Pups.”

Xavier turned his attention to Josh. “Morning, love.”

Josh rolled up the blueprint and gave him a smile. “Morning. Guess I still need a few lessons in ‘Building Remodeling 101.’”

Xavier chuckled. Then he cupped Josh’s face and kissed him soundly. Josh attempted to pull back for a split second before he melted against Xavier. Making a growly purr deep in his throat, Xavier wrapped his arms around Josh. He deepened the kiss, his tongue taking possession of Josh’s mouth, one hand curling around the back of Josh’s head. In response, Josh gripped his shoulders, a sweet moan coming from him.

Xavier reluctantly pulled back a moment later and was happy to see that Josh’s eyes were slightly blurry. He didn’t care that they were getting looks and snickers. He craved this man like a drug. Everything between them still felt fresh and new.

“Now it is a very good morning,” Xavier said.

Josh grinned. “Definitely.”

Xavier shifted his mouth close to Josh’s ear. “But it would have been a great morning if you’d stayed in bed.”

“I… well, there’s so much to do. I had to get an early start—”

Xavier kept his arms tightly around Josh’s waist, knowing a ramble about to start when he heard it. His redhead had a tendency to talk and talk… and talk. “You’ve been getting an early start for a couple of weeks now. There will always be so much to do. I need my mate.”

Josh sighed and pulled back slightly. Their eyes met. Xavier enjoyed the look of him, and he had a special adoration for the freckles that spread across his nose and cheeks. Xavier happened to know they covered Josh’s entire body.

“Sorry, X. You need your sleep. I don’t want to disturb you in the morning.”

Xavier raised an eyebrow. It was sweet how naïve Josh was sometimes.

“Josh, I always want you. Wake me up whenever. I’ll just sleep after.”

Josh let out a short laugh, his bright blue eyes sparkling. “Okay, got that.”

He pulled away, and Xavier let him. If he kept holding Josh, he might be tempted to drag him into the house and take him on the floor. His wolf didn’t think that was a bad idea.

Josh lifted the blueprint again. He tilted it one way and then the other, then covered one eye, then just sighed and shook his head. “I give up. I’m no good at this.” He shoved the print into Xavier’s hands. “Could you monitor them for me? I have a patient in ten minutes.”

“You need to stop booking them so early in the morning.”

Josh shrugged, smiling. “I have to book them whenever I can or else I’d never see them. We have to make ourselves available, remember?”

“Yeah, but we also need some time for just us, right?”

“Of course!” Josh jumped up and kissed Xavier quickly. Then he was gone, striding away. “I’ll see you later!”

It was incredibly annoying that Josh seemed so fucking immune to the lust bubbling inside Xavier. Kissing and blowjobs had been the extent of their lovemaking for too long, and Xavier was itching for more. He really wanted to be inside Josh again. More than anything, he wanted intimacy; he wanted time alone with his mate, no interruptions, no pressures, no duties.

Grumbling, he looked at the print and attempted to keep his mind busy by bossing around the workers.

 

 

Who is your favorite couple in “The Shifters” series? I refuse to have a favorite couple because that feels like I’m playing favorites with my children. I love all of them and am mighty proud with how each one turned out.

 

I shall be back!

 

-M.D. Grimm

Hearts and Minds release party

February 12, 2015

Hello and welcome! M.D. Grimm here, ready to chat with you lovely people. Today the DSP blog is mine, and I’m promoting my newest release “Hearts and Minds.” http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6031

 

Hearts and Mind-seqel

 

This story resides in my Shifters series universe and is a sequel to “Healing Minds” (book 5). As a reminder, the couple in that story was Josh (Agency aide) and Xavier (psychologically damaged wolf shifter).

 

In “Hearts and Minds” we visit them nearly a year later, and they are working on their clinic that will eventually house shifters who were once prisoners of the evil Knights.

Here’s the blurb:

 

With the construction for their shifter rehabilitation clinic in Haven underway, Xavier and Josh couldn’t be happier, professionally. But their busy lives leave them little alone time. It’s putting a strain on their relationship, and they still haven’t had anything close to a honeymoon. Josh realizes Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and sees an opportunity he can’t let get away. But never having observed the holiday before, he has no idea what Xavier might want. All Xavier knows is that Josh wants to celebrate, but he has no clue how. Before either of them makes a concrete decision, a bear shifter attacks Haven and tramples their romantic plans.

 

What is your favorite shape-shifter? Mine’s a dragon (If I’m going to dream, I’m going to dream big!)

 

I’ll be back with more info and excerpts, so stay tuned!

 

May dragons guard your dreams,

M.D.

Get to Know K.C. Wells

January 6, 2015

Do any of your characters haunt you and if so, why?

I really don’t think any of my characters haunt me. Sean’s predicament in Learning to Love: Final Exam, now, that’s another matter. I cried writing those scenes. Even now when I read the scene before he goes in for surgery, I tear up.  What comes across is how scared he is – and how much he loves his husband Michael.

Please give us the inside scoop on your upcoming release, A Bond of Three.

This was one of my first ideas for a book, back in 2012, only it wouldn’t leave me alone. Having said that, the novel changed direction when I got to the chapter introducing Prince Sorran. He was….different. And when I got my head around that, I suddenly had a very different plan for the story.

I met with author Chris Quinton in the summer of 2012, when she came to visit the Isle of Wight where I live. I outlined the story for her. She listened intently, and when I’d finished, she looked me in the eye and said, “you have to write that book.” Whoa.

I admit to being a little nervous. So far I’ve written either contemporary or BDSM. This was A, an MMM story, B, a fantasy and C with an added dash of paranormal for good measure – yeah, nothing liked anything I’d written to date. When I first started sending chapters to my betas, I was getting the same response….

“I don’t like fantasy.”

“I don’t like ménage.”

“Hell, woman, give me MORE!!!!”

I sent an advance copy to a friend who doesn’t normally ‘do’ ménage – three guesses what her response was? LOL

So yes, I am awaiting the response from my readers with mixed feelings.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

HA! My close friends would say, “But she’s always writing!!!!” Er, I read, I love watching movies, I knit, I used to paint, but writing is far more satisfying. But there’s always my notebook not far away – I’ve learnt by now to keep it close. Ideas come ALL the time! But yes, it’s true that if I were writing more, I’d be a happy bunny.

What’s one of your guilty pleasure?

OOOH….Snuggling up with a good book, usually one that I know really well – the Deviations series by Chris Owen, ANY of the Jarhead series by Sean Michael,  the Jock Dorm series by Bobby Michaels, (One of the first MM series I ever read and I still love them)

Then there’s my other guilty pleasure… and nope, you’re hearing NOTHING about that one! ;-)

_____________________________

Born and raised in the north-west of England, K.C. Wells always loved writing. Words were important. Full stop. However, when childhood gave way to adulthood, the writing ceased, as life got in the way.

K.C. discovered erotic fiction in 2009, where the purchase of a ménage storyline led to the startling discovery that reading about men in love was damn hot. In 2012, arriving at a really low point in life led to the desperate need to do something creative. An even bigger discovery waited in the wings—writing about men in love was even hotter….

K.C. now writes full time and is loving every minute of her new career. The laptop still has no idea of what hit it… it only knows that it wants a rest, please. And it now has to get used to the idea that where K.C goes, it goes.

K.C. can be reached via e-mail, on Facebook, or through comments at the K.C. Wells website. K.C. loves to hear from readers.

Sweet Fire Release Party – Sarah and Shannen Brady Part 5

January 3, 2015

SweetFire_headerbanner

Hello again! Shannen here. I wanted to talk about the number one thing I get asked about at conferences, meetings, and speaking engagements: writing romance with my mother.

When I go to author events, the question is inevitable. “You write WHAT? With your MOM?” It’s usually accompanied by a face that looks something like this:

eek face

 

Yup. I write romance with my mom, and I understand why so many people think it’s odd. Most people don’t want to think of their mom and sex in the same sentence, let alone collaborate on steamy stories.

I think what sets us apart is a few things. One, my utter lack of filter. You know that shut-up filter you have in the front of your brain that keeps you from saying awkward, personal or embarrassing things? Yeah, I don’t really have one of those. At least, not with my mom. For as long as I can remember, we’ve talked about everything without much awkwardness. Two, I think the fact that I exist is proof that my mother isn’t exactly a stranger to sexy-time. My mom isn’t easily rattled. Not much embarrasses her, so I’d have to come up with something pretty kinky in order to give her pause.

The biggest thing is just that we write what we like to read. And we both like to read romances. Did the first few sex scenes have us tying ourselves in knots? Yes. Do I still sometimes feel the need to say “ew” in her presence? I’m working on it. Neither of us are willing to give up writing cool books in order to save ourselves from a little discomfort – and that discomfort has dissipated pretty quickly.

P.S. Most people like sex. And that’s a good thing.

 

So…does anyone else have a mom who wouldn’t wash your mouth out with soap if you wrote a hot romance novel for her to edit?  Anyone have adult offspring who wouldn’t run away screaming?  We can’t be the only weird family out there. OK, maybe we are. (Opportunity to win a prize here.)

 

Here’s another peek into our story.  Ramón has a nightmare, re-living his run-in with Homeland Security….

“Mr. Del Rio, you don’t seem to understand the position you’re in. You have no power here. Since you haven’t been arrested, there are no records of you being taken into custody. You’re nothing, and as far as the US government is concerned, you were never here.”

Ramón’s blood surged with anger and fear.

“You bastard! You have no right to hold me without charge. I’m an American citizen, and I know my rights. I don’t have to say jack shit to you, and I want a lawyer, right the fuck now!”

The agent reached into his jacket, and fabric tore as he yanked out a leather billfold. He slapped it hard onto the table between them. Ramón recoiled as spit flew from the man’s mouth.

“This gives me the right, asshole! In case you’re too stupid to read it, it says Homeland Security. This says I can do any damn thing I want to you, and no lawyer will ever know you exist. Terrorists, both foreign and domestic, have taken away your precious rights.”

Ramón’s bowels turned to ice, and he stared in horror at the gleaming gold badge and laminated card. Sweet Jesus Christ, Alex. What have you gotten me into?

The man straightened, returning his ID to his pocket and combing his fingers through oily black hair. The other agent didn’t move. His interrogator moved silently around behind Ramón’s back. Chained to the table as he was, he couldn’t turn and keep an eye his tormenter. His scalp prickled at the feeling of the man leaning in close to whisper in his ear.

“Where is she, Del? Can I call you Del? That’s what your friends at the hospital call you, right? That’s what your partner calls you? Del? Just tell us where Alexandra is, and you’ll walk on out of here right now. Tell us about the cop at the hospital.” The man ran a soft hand down the back of Ramón’s neck, and he couldn’t suppress the shiver of revulsion that rolled through him. The voice continued in that reasonable tone.

“By now your family must be wondering where you are. We wouldn’t want your sister to worry, now would we?”

Fuck, fuck, fuck! Ramón twisted in the chair, trying to get out from under that petting hand. “You leave my sister out of this, you son of a bitch. She doesn’t know anything. She’s never even met Alex.”

“Well, I hope that’s true, Del. In that case, she has nothing to worry about. Except, of course, about whatever happened to her little brother. It’d be too bad if she never knew, don’t you think, Agent Smith?”

The blond behemoth stirred for the first time in hours. He pushed himself off the wall with a grunt and crossed the room to stand behind Ramón. Shit. Ramón tensed his muscles and kept his eyes glued to the scratched steel tabletop. There was no way in hell he would betray Alex to these freaks. In three years of working together, her Healing Gift had saved countless lives. She was a good person, no matter what these bastards said, and she was a good friend. And Tyler Kincaid was a good cop. Ramón tried to push his memory of the two of them out of his mind. He’d tell these sons of bitches nothing. Sooner or later they’d get tired of asking and figure out that he didn’t know where she was anyway. He’d never talk.

Eventually they did get tired of asking. He never did talk. But he did scream.

 

 

Sweet Fire release party – Sarah and Shannen Brady Part 1

January 3, 2015

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             shannen and sarah

 Good Morning. It’s finally here!!! (pause while I do a really silly happy dance…….. OK, I’m back. Sorry.)  We’re so stoked about the release of Sweet Fire.  That’s partly because it’s our first Dreamspinner book and partly because we both just love these characters so much.  I’m thrilled to finally get to share them.

Don’t get confused if you hear me say “I” or “We” interchangeably.  We are a mother/daughter team and we write paranormal romance, both m/m and m/f, together.  I’m Sarah, the mom part of the team.  Shannen will be chiming in off and on throughout the day and we’ll try to make it clear who’s talking. There will be lots of opportunities later today to fill you in on the details of how and why a family would do something so weird as to write steamy romance together but I want to get to the really good stuff first.  Let’s have a look at the book.

SweetFire Cover

Love this beautiful Christy Caughie cover, yeah? That night scene is Riverfront Park in Spokane, Washington.

Between Homeland Security’s Gifted Agenda and the bigotry of a fearful populace, having paranormal Gifts is a dangerous thing. Pyrokinetic Aaron Flores knows firsthand how difficult it can be to control his power. Still, he runs his bakery and never gives up on finding his Happily Ever After. When Aaron’s cousin asks him to check on her former EMT partner, Aaron’s chance has finally arrived. He’s determined not to let anything stop him from catching (and keeping) his man.

Ramón Del Rio spent three days at the tender mercies of HOMSEC agents when his former partner was taken. He wants nothing to do with a Gifted guy, but Aaron is nothing if not persistent. He’s a pastry chef after all, and the way to a man’s heart really is through his stomach. The physical passion they share is the icing on the cake. Just when Ramón decides that having Gifts might not be a deal breaker, someone close to Aaron decides his fire needs to be put out—permanently. Ramón will have to face his fears to save them both.

Click here to check it out on the Dreamspinner site.

Die-hard Kindlers can get it on Amazon here.

 

Excerpt:

“I hear we had company this afternoon.”

Sophia’s voice was amused, and Victoria hid her face behind her napkin with a giggle as Ramón glared at her. He was going to have to tread carefully here. There was no way he was going to discuss Alex’s escape from Homeland Security in front of the girls. He held his sister’s eyes for a long moment. Her sculpted eyebrows rose, but she nodded. He’d still have to fill her in, but it would wait until the girls weren’t around. Too bad Victoria didn’t share her mother’s discretion.

“He was super cute, mama, with fancy hair, and he had sparkles on the pockets of his jeans, just like mine.”

Sophia’s eyebrows rose again. “Really? A cute gay guy comes to visit you, and you didn’t even invite him in? That’s not very good manners at all, brother.”

Both girls laughed hysterically to hear Uncle Ramón getting “told” by Mama, and six-year-old Adelina’s singing was gleeful.

“Un-cle’s in trou-ble.”

“That’s enough of that, Adel. Eat your dinner.” Ramón kept his voice calm. She was being rude, and singing at the table was against Sophia’s rules, but it wasn’t that much of an offense. Most of his aggravation was with himself and the flush of heat that ran through his body at the thought of this afternoon’s visitor.

“We just had to talk about a few things, that’s all. I don’t imagine he’ll be back.” Too bad, though. It’s a damn shame an ass that fine should turn out to be on a Gifted guy. Ramón turned his attention back to his food, but the girls weren’t finished with him yet.

I think he should come back and you should go out with him. You need a boyfriend.”

Jesus, Victoria. Ramón choked and tried not to spray iced tea across the kitchen table while Sophia cracked up. He never made any secret of the fact that he was gay, but he didn’t rub anyone’s nose in it either. He certainly never brought men around the girls. Victoria eyed him smugly across the table, but Adelina only looked confused.

“Why would you need a boyfriend, Uncle Ramón, instead of a girlfriend?”

Oh, jeez. Here we go. Adel was so cute sitting there with her thick black curls, her mouth covered in enchilada sauce and her perfect eyebrows wrinkled in confusion. Ramón sucked in a breath, stalling for time while his mind raced in circles, trying to figure out just how much to say. Thank heaven, Sophia rescued him.

“Adelina, Uncle Ramón doesn’t like women in that way. He’d rather have a boyfriend.”

Now Victoria choked and snorted milk out of her nose. For a minute he was able to occupy himself mopping up and patting her on the back, but eventually he had to look at Adelina. Sophia’s littlest sat there with her messy little mouth pursed thoughtfully for a long moment. Then her expression cleared.

“I don’t blame you, Uncle Ramón. I’d rather have a boyfriend too. Tommy Adkins says he wants to be my boyfriend, and he gave me one of his cookies at snack time yesterday. Can I watch my princess movie now?”

That’s it? That’s all there is to it? Ramón shared an incredulous smile with his sister. Still grinning, Sophia shrugged and got up to start the movie. I guess that’s all there is when you’re six.

Too bad things got more complicated once you grew up. Ramón got up and started cleaning the table, and he couldn’t help but think how long it had been since he’d had a boyfriend. Since his run-in with HOMSEC, he hadn’t even been to his usual club for dancing or a quick hookup. The image of his hot visitor popped into his head in spite of his best efforts to keep it out. The guy smells like sugar and works in a bakery. I bet he’d give a good “cookie.”

 

 

 

We’ll be giving away some yummy goodies today.  Come back and see us a little later for a chance to win and to get the recipe for Sweet Nothings’ Sweet Shoppe’s signature chocolate cream puffs (or How to Win Your Man – Lesson 1.)  Yum!

 

Wrapping Up The Playing Hard To Forget Release Party!

December 26, 2014

Whoa, would you just look at the time! My time taking over the Dreamspinner Blog is nearly up!

 

I’d like to thank you all for stopping by today and helping me celebrate the release of Playing Hard To Forget! It’s been a real pleasure from start to finish getting this book out to the world. Dreamspinner has been amazing and they are a Florida based company, so it was great getting to work with a local company to help to support our economy!

 

Coming up next I have a Facebook chat on Dreamspinner’s page Saturday December 27 from 4-6pm EST and a Twitter Takeover of Dreamspinner’s Twitter from 8-10 EST.

 

And I’ll be making more rounds in March, when my second Dreamspinner story, tentatively titled “Something To Die For,” comes out!

 

Be sure to check out Playing Hard To Forget, my debut novel with Dreamspinner Press, out TODAY, December 26, 2014. I hope I’ve given everyone some insight into the story and some interesting tidbits on how it came to be.

Playing Hard To Forget–in Paperback or ebook on Dreamspinner or in ebook at Amazon. Don’t forget that all ebooks are 20% off through December 31, 2014! Now’s your chance to get it ON SALE.

You can find me on Facebook or on Twitter.

PlayingHardtoForget_FBprofile_OptizimedForFeed

 

I’m going to open up this posts for any questions you may have about me or my book or what I’m working on next or even random questions like “where should I eat on my trip to Orlando next February?”

Don’t forget to comment on the music post for your chance to win a copy of Playing Hard To Forget!

Inspirational Quote About Music…Plus An Excerpt And Giveaway!

December 26, 2014

It all started with Peter Murphy.

Now, wait a hot second, Piper. You said it started with Doctor Who.

Just go with it.

Playing Hard To Forget all started with Peter Murphy.

I adore 80s music. I really do. But, like most people my age, my knowledge of 80s music came from two places: vague memories from early childhood and VH1’s I Love the 80s. There were large gaps in my education of 80s New Wave. A few years ago I was driving around when an awesome sounding song came on my satellite radio. Indigo Eyes. I’d never heard it before but it immediately struck a chord with me (get it? Chord? Music? Ok moving on). I’d been struggling with the characterization of my two mains in Playing Hard To Forget. They weren’t as easy to create as the characters around them. They needed a depth I hadn’t found yet, but as soon as I heard Indigo Eyes, my Ethan had a new layer almost immediately. I ran home and downloaded the song and played it over and over as I story boarded Ethan’s journey.

And about the same time I had my “Don’t Forget Me” revelation, I was dragged by a dear friend into that terrible, awful 5th circle of hell conveniently located in every suburban mall in America: Hot Topic. It was there I heard the voice of the goddess Siouxsie Sioux singing a cover of Bob Dylan’s This Wheel’s On Fire. And suddenly everything became so clear. “If your memory serves you well.” It was life-changing. Why the fates decided to pause the System of a Down long enough to play some good music that day, I’ll never know.

The third song with a large hand in the plot comes to us from Canada (Now, if you know me well, you know Canada is important in our family. I birthed two French-Canadian children, made with my French-Canadian husband whose Canadian roots go back over 400 years. Our last name is Canadian, forged in the fires of a Tim Horton’s hot oil fryer. He is part Scottish, but, for the most part, I’ve broken the Scottish bloodline. Go me). It’s by an indie band called Folly and the Hunter–Moth in the Porchlight.  The song is incredible. And it’s Ethan and Liam…and Fiona, Ethan’s sister. Hearing it for the first time was, like, boom, cancel my meetings for the rest of the day. I have to go home and write.

Other songs had a hand in the creation of Playing Hard To Forget. I’m posting the list here and a link to a YouTube playlist. If any song here appeals to you, I heartily encourage you to check out the band and support them by buying tons of their music.

Indigo Eyes–Peter Murphy

Wolves–Big Wreck

Dangerous–Big Data

No One Knows–Queens of the Stone Age

Club Foot–Kasabian

Rather Be–The Verve

The Passenger–Siouxsie and the Banshees

Never Let Me Down Again–Depeche Mode

High on a Riverbed–Toad the Wet Sprocket

The Sweetest Drop–Peter Murphy

Never Tear Us Apart–INXS

Born To Ruin–The Wildlife

Space and Time–The Verve

Sick, Sick, Sick–Queens of the Stone Age

Under the Milky Way–The Church

Skin on Skin–Queens of the Stone Age

Burn the Witch–Queens of the Stone Age

Hope–Toad the Wet Sprocket

This Wheel’s on Fire–Siouxsie and the Banshees

Moth in the Porchlight–Folly and the Hunter

Here’s the whole unofficial soundtrack in a YouTube playlist

 

And now it’s time for an excerpt!

 

The distant snap of a twig from about ten yards back confirmed his suspicions, but he stayed on his own target and squeezed off the last shot of the round and it effectively left him unarmed. He stood and turned toward the sound, but the dense pine and oak did not afford him the best view. He bent back down to lock the safety and left the edge of the clearing to venture deeper into the forest.

He did not have to walk far before he heard it—the smooth, snarky tone and now familiar voice-over of his new and very explicit fantasies. “Looking for me?”

Ethan whipped around to find Liam leaning against a tree as if he owned the goddamned forest. He put on his best nonchalant face, which of course was going to fool absolutely no one.

“I thought it might be a bear.” Immediate and total regret washed over him. Stupid answers were beneath him. He was twenty years old, damn it.

Liam moved like a cheetah, and he was inches away from Ethan in the span of a breath. “Now, now. Ethan. Ignoring the fact that I can hear your heart and smell your hormones, why would you go after a bear unarmed?”

“I—I wasn’t looking for you, I….” Stammering was also beneath him. How could he let this guy—this wolf—do this to him?

Liam looked amused. “Come on, Ethan. You think I haven’t seen you all week? Walking twice a day through the field where we met? Taking wild detours through the forests? You’ve been looking for me all week. And here I am. And you left your weapon behind. I’m flattered, Ethan, really.”

“You’ve been following me?” His chest was tight, but it was not from embarrassment as much as it was anticipation.

“Yes.” No lies. No stammering around the truth. Liam was unapologetic.

“All this week? Everywhere?” Ethan blushed at the thought of what Liam might have seen in that week.

Liam snorted. “Now, Ethan. I do have a life.” He leaned in close to Ethan’s ear, and Ethan silently blamed the heat coming off Liam reacting with his cold sweat for the long shiver.

“But I’ve followed you enough. Tell me, are you thinking of me when you’re alone in your bedroom? God, I hope so, because that face you make when you come, I’d really like to see that face when you’re under me. I’d like to make you come myself instead of watching you think of me from a distance.” He backed up and blinked slowly, and watched Ethan for a reaction.

Ethan tried to shake the fog of confusion and arousal and opened his mouth to speak, but not before he heard Fiona in the distance yelling for him.

Shit.

Liam rolled his eyes and sighed. “I guess that’s my cue, isn’t it, Ethan? Can’t have daddy and little sister knowing about our little secret, can we?”

He turned to leave, but stopped short. “Still, it isn’t fair leaving you this way.” Liam smirked and raised an eyebrow as he surveyed Ethan. “No, you need something new to think about tonight.”

And before Ethan knew what was happening, Liam’s lips were on his. It was hot—literally and figuratively—and Liam’s lips were soft and tasted of the same earthy tang Liam smelled of on the day they’d met. Ethan relaxed into it faster than he liked and he let Liam’s tongue explore his own. He didn’t need Liam to tell him his heart was racing. He could feel it kick against his rib cage, and it served to spur Liam on.

Liam’s hands wrapped around the back of Ethan’s neck and he lifted his jaw slightly so Liam could kiss his way down to a spot Ethan’s shirt barely hid. Liam didn’t bite hard enough to break the skin, but there was certainly going to be a mark, more so because Ethan jerked up into it and he did not even care about how weak it made him seem or the noise that escaped when he felt sharp teeth.

Liam came away smiling and admired his masterpiece: red and purple and, in a few minutes from then, in dire need of a quick explanation from Ethan if he couldn’t find a way to cover it up. While Ethan adjusted his shirt as best he could, Liam disappeared beyond the tree line.

I know, right? I’m simply dying to find out what happens next!

Playing Hard To Forget–in Paperback or ebook on Dreamspinner or in ebook at Amazon.

You can find me on Facebook or on Twitter.

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Music is such a gigantic part of my life. My next story with Dreamspinner, due out in March 2015, also has a soundtrack with similar revelatory moments behind each song. I was struggling with a plotline for a potential number three the other day when I heard Le Pyromane by Karkwa and my brain went crazy with ideas.

My favorite song ever–my favorite song always–is Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve. I cannot imagine a more perfect song existing. What is your all-time, hands-down favorite song of all time? My favorite wins a paperback edition of Playing Hard To Forget!

Doctor Who…Gave You The Right?

December 26, 2014

Playing Hard To Forget all started with Doctor Who.

Sort of.

It actually started with Scotland. A thousand years ago. Brave, handsome Struan Robertson slayed a wolf that threatened the king and was rewarded with money, land, titles, women, fame, and, eventually, a thousand years later, a beautiful red headed descendant, fair of skin and big of ego, who would use his story as the backbone for her debut novel.

But before she decided to tell his story and turn it into a love story for the ages, there was an episode of Doctor Who.

It was a tenth doctor episode called Tooth and Claw and it took place in Scotland.  Royalty. Wolves. Saving royalty from wolves. Where have we heard this story before? But there was, as there always is, a twist: Werewolves. Okay, like, alien werewolves, but it’s Doctor Who and we give it a pass.

Our intrepid and clever author watched with glorious side eye as an idea formed in her head. An idea born out of a territorial and possessive drive.

This was not their story to tell.

You can’t just take a family’s story and make up stuff about it.

That, I said, is my right.

The idea simmered and festered for awhile. It was lacking…something. I wanted it to be more than just the old “star crossed lovers” torn apart by family and a millennium-long war ignited when Struan Robertson killed not a wolf, but a werewolf. Then it hit me. Every person has two sides of their history: their mother and their father’s stories. I used my father’s side’s story, but what about my mother’s?

Ne m’oubliez.  Latin for “Don’t Forget Me.” The motto of my equally Scottish mother’s family. Ne m’oubliez.  What if there was an even bigger force tearing Ethan and Liam apart? What if something happened to make them forget about each other? Don’t Forget Me. How many nightmares have I had where I’ve forgotten my husband? Where he’s just on the edge of my memory but I can’t seem to remember how to find him or that we’re together? It’s a recurring theme in my nightmares and they always terrify me. What if there were someone you know was important to you but you can’t quite make out how? Going to the phone to call but you can’t remember the number?  Imagine the frustration of not being able to remember. Ne m’oubliez. It was perfect. My book was born.

Playing Hard To Forget–in Paperback or ebook on Dreamspinner or in ebook at Amazon.

You can find me on Facebook or on Twitter.

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Let’s talk. Do you have any great folk tales from your family history? Do you believe them? My family crest tells the tale with wolves heads on pikes and there is some evidence that it happened thanks to name changes and land names. I want to believe that Struan Robertson slayed a wolf and saved the king because how awesome is that?

People, Places, Apologies….

December 26, 2014

Hello and welcome to Florida.

florida

If you’ve never been to Florida, let me start our tour by assuring you that, yes, everything you have ever heard about it is true. Whatever you’ve heard is true.  Snakes, gators, crocodiles, Publix, zombies, sharks, Disney, whatever. It’s true. I just watched a spider the size of my head devour a small bird right outside my window. We’ve got wild lizards 6 feet long, crazy people, and rides. It’s safe to say that Florida is really just Jurassic Park minus Jeff Goldblum.

We’re starting our tour in the dead center of the state.  Now, the closer to Disney, the closer to insanity, but if you go beyond the safety of the theme parks, you can actually find some amazing culture hiding out in the small towns of central Florida.

Playing Hard to Forget is set in one of these small towns: Lakeland. Nestled in the heart of a very conservative county smack dab in the middle of the state, it’s home to (obviously) a zillion lakes, twice as many orange groves, and, more to the point of this story, our two main characters, Ethan Robertson and Liam Kinnaird.

Why such a heartland kind of place? Because I went to a very progressive and diverse high school there in the late nineties and it was a place where everyone was not only accepted for who they were, but celebrated for it. I’ve gone back at least once a year since then to visit friends and family and I’ve watched that attitude spread throughout the city and I’m proud to have once called Lakeland home.

Beyond that. it’s a perfect Florida city. Geographically, it’s a crossroads that reflects the north, south, east, and west cultures that make up the state. When we start our story, Ethan lives in the southern part of the city. A little more affluent and modern, but a lot of old money. Liam lives to the north. It’s a bit more rural out there. Lots of farms and fields that eventually give way to forests and the Green Swamp. A perfect place for a family of shifters to live without drawing too much attention to themselves.

Later in the book, there are a few mentions of a place called Bone Valley, which is one of the coolest places in the area. It sits south of the city and is heavily mined for phosphate, but is also one of the best places to find megalodon and rhino teeth fossils (although they have restricted access to the area these days). It’s a fascinating place because it doesn’t even look like Florida.

http://s97.photobucket.com/user/Paleoc/media/fossils/GARDNIER.jpg.html

I mean, COME ON. This looks like a Star Trek set.
(image from Flickr. See alt text for details)

 

Even the outfitters Charles owns is based on a real place in the area (probably can’t mention it by name, but if you know Polk County, you know the place), as well as the restaurant Ethan has a funny encounter at (It was called Vito’s and the vintage neon sign above it said “Vito’s–Air Conditioned” so that’s what we all called it before it closed).

We eventually see our characters in cities to the east like Cocoa Beach and to the north, up in the panhandle area, but, to my boys, Lakeland is their home.

 

Everyone in Playing Hard To Forget is based on a real person in my life. From my insanely abusive father, who made it into the book as Charles Robertson to my high school best friend, who, along with my 11th grade Honors English teacher, influenced my favorite ever side character, Penelope. It was very important to me to put as many real people from my life into this book because, even if they are evil, terrible people, they often have motivations and character traits that are real.

It’s much easier and more satisfying to draw on that one friend you know who would risk his own well-being to help out a friend or your father who believed that he was doing the right thing by trying to beat and berate his children into becoming his perfect idea of a family than to try to create them from scratch and spend time figuring out their back stories. Real people are just so neat. Crazy Floridians even more so.

And let’s not forget that the entire setup for the story is based on a family folk tale (Which I’ll go into in the next post). I drew on a thousand years of people in my life for this one!

So, to anyone who knows me personally, if you think you recognize yourself in a character, you’re welcome. Unless you recognize yourself in Penelope. Then I apologize. But, and you know who you are, that was totally you back in the day, girl. If you’re my father and you’re reading this? I apologize for nothing. This was better than years of therapy.

Playing Hard To Forget–in Paperback or ebook on Dreamspinner or in ebook at Amazon.

You can find me on Facebook or on Twitter.

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Let’s talk. Would you be flattered or mortified if you recognized yourself in a book? Do you prefer the authenticity of drawing from real people and their motivations for the things they do? One of my biggest problems with tv these days is that sometimes characters’ motivations don’t line up with how they act and react to things. It’s like showrunners don’t know any real people at all. I’d also love to see your examples of characters who have great reactions relative to their back stories.