April 14, 2016
Sometimes, life seems like a constant barrage of things not done. An endless parade of deadlines passing by unfulfilled, only to be followed by more obligations and things to do. The next book is due in this week. Edits for the book currently in production are due the week after that. Cover discussions for the entire series are ongoing. A release day requires blog tours and social media interaction. Really, writing the book, some days, feels like the easy part!
When I was writing this series, it really was easier than some. I connected with the dancers in a different way than I connect with my other characters, because I have spent a lifetime (my daughter’s, to be precise) watching young dancers face these same struggles of identity, injury and the possibility that the thing they love most in the world is a thing they can’t have.
Along every step, as some of her good friends had to stop dancing for health reasons, as some dropped out because they found other interests, and as a few went on to try and succeed or fail in the wider dance world, I’ve felt very lucky that my kid seems to be the charmed one so far. She’s talented and driven and knows what she wants, and moreover, looks like there is every chance she is going to succeed in achieving her goals. Because as creative and excitable as she is, she’s grounded and practical and knows what she can and can’t do.
So she has set her goals and is moving in that direction at a steady, measured and hopefully, sustainable pace. Plus, luck. Never underestimate the power of luck. She has it, and it reminds me of many of the stages of my own career. Being in the right place at the right time is one part planning, one part talent, immeasurable infusions of hard, hard work, and a large dollop of luck.
So when it came about, through chance, that this book is being released on my own dancer’s birthday, I felt the indelible hand of serendipity at work. I dedicated the book to her and sat back to watch the world unfold.
Not only is this time of year her birthday, it’s tech week for the biggest commitment of her dance year. Which means rehearsals, production meetings, rehearsals, front of house organization, rehearsals, sleep if you can, eat constantly, because did I mention rehearsals?
So really, who the blazes planned a release date in the middle of one of the busiest times of the year in this household? Because deadlines and rehearsals and promotion! Oh my!
They say if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. I hate to say it, but when I’m swamped, I simply get more done. Now if only that was a sustainable way of life. Thank goodness it only really happens twice a year or so around here. What about you guys? Do you get more done when have less time? Or are you one of those rare birds who plan your days and get things finished in a timely manner? Do people like that even exist?
To dance is to put one’s heart and soul on display for the world to see and judge. Conrad, Peridot, and Cobalt always knew this. For years, this small group of men has danced in and out of the spotlight and one another’s lives. Now, settling in one place, one studio, they all have to find a place on the stage—or behind the scenes—and find the even greater strength to once more dance like no one is watching. To love like they’ve never been hurt before. But most of all, to live their lives like they have found their heaven, both in the music and in the eyes of those who love them.
Blurb: About to lose the only thing he ever loved, Adam Pittaluga is at a crossroads in a dancing career that has hardly begun. He has always wanted to be a ballet dancer, but now that it’s impossible, he turns to Peridot for comfort. Peridot has been rebuilding his life after losing his ability to dance professionally, his marriage, and very nearly his daughter. He has a lot of reasons to be leery of starting something new, especially with a man as young as Adam.
Adam and Peridot have to believe that starting again can lead to love and success and that sometimes, the strength needed to love like you’ve never been hurt can be borrowed from unexpected places for a while. But ultimately, they must find it inside themselves to be each other’s happy ending.
Check out Like You’ve Never Been Hurt today!
Jaime has been writing for various publishers since the fall of 2008, although she’s been writing for herself far longer. Often asked why men—what’s so fascinating about writing stories about men falling in love—she’s never come up with a clear answer. Just that these are the stories that she loves to read, so it seemed to make sense if she was going to write, they would also be the stories she wrote.
These days, you can find plenty of free reading on her website. She also writes for Freya’s Bower, Dreamspinner Press, Totally Bound, and now, Riptide Publishing.
Spare time, when it can be found rolled into a ball at the back of the dryer or cavorting with the dust bunnies in the corners, is spent crocheting, drawing, gardening (weather permitting, of course, since she is Canadian!), or watching movies. She has a day job, as well, which she loves, and two kids, but thankfully, also a wonderful husband who shoulders more than his fair share of household and child-care responsibilities.
She graduated some time ago from college with a fine arts diploma, and a major in textile arts, which basically qualifies her to draw pictures and create things with string and fabric. One always needs an official slip of paper to fall back on after all . . .
Amazon Author page: amazon.com/author/jaimesamms
May 6, 2015
Food has always been a big part of my life. Not only do I love to eat, I also love to cook. I come from a half Italian, half Jewish family and the main thing the two sides of the family had in common was a compulsive need to feed people! Many of my favorite memories from childhood involve food—special occasion meals, holiday treats, or just lazy days at my grandmother’s houses anxiously awaiting the next special meal or snack.
I’ve carried that tradition on to my adult life. I love cooking for friends and families, making traditional foods and trying new recipes. I’m pretty sure that whole need-to-feed thing is genetic, because if you’re at my house, odds are I’ll make you eat something!
I’ve also carried on my love of food to my fiction writing. The characters in my books will always be seen enjoying meals together. Whether they’re dining out or preparing meals together or for one another, there’s always food involved. I think sharing food with people promotes bonding. It’s also a great way to create memories. There are still scents—a certain roast of coffee, a pot of tomato sauce simmering on the stove—that will transport me back to my grandmother’s kitchen when I was a kid. There are also foods I’ll associate with a particular trip—gelato in an outdoor cafe in Florence or fudge on the boardwalk at the Jersey shore—and if I smell or taste those things it’ll bring back memories of being in that place.
Food can also become a ritual. Pizza at the same late night spot after seeing your favorite band play. A certain diner for weekend breakfasts. A favorite restaurant for birthday celebrations. You come to associate those places and foods with the people you’ve had the experience with.
In MOMENT OF CLARITY, the third book in my Moments In Time series, Collin and Tanner wind up spending some time apart. During that time, while Collin is missing Tanner, he comforts himself with Chinese takeout from the place they used to go to together. It’s sad and sweet and comforting all at once.
What’s your favorite (or strongest) food memory? A holiday item you only eat once a year? A meal you grab with a favorite person? Something you haven’t had in a long time? Share your food associations and I’ll choose a random winner (later tonight) to win a copy of an ebook!.
May 6, 2015
March 27, 2015
One of the fun things about writing a book is that I can make playlists for it or identify unofficial theme songs. For “The Serpent and the Angel,” there is a song by Falconer called “Wings of Serenity” that is such a perfect fit, it’s eerie. If Tobias could sing, that would be his song for Angel.
Here it is and it is work safe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-lTBVsaZ2I
You can find the lyrics here: http://www.metrolyrics.com/wings-of-serenity-lyrics-falconer.html
I love his voice, I love the lyrics, I love the music… everything! This is the sort of music I listen to frequently.
I don’t always find a theme song or a love song from one character to another, but when I do, it’s magical!!
That about wraps it up for me this time around. I’ll probably be back when “Predator and Prey” is ready to be released. One of my favorite things about writing is coming up with the titles for the stories. Sometimes I already know the title even before I start to write and other times I have to edit the story a few times before the title reveals itself. It can be the most frustrating part, yet also the most gratifying especially when I come up with that perfect title.
I enjoy this title because of the contrast—”serpent” often means evil and “angel” often means good. But nothing is ever so black and white, there are always shades of grey (and no, I’m not talking about that book).
May dragons guard your dreams,
March 27, 2015
Find “The Serpent and the Angel” here! http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6201
Remember, while this might be Book 8 of my series, it is also book 2 of my Part 2 of the series. I have 5 parts planned and while the entire series should be seen as a cohesive whole, to make my life easier, I split the books into parts to make sure I stayed on track and told the story that needed to be told.
It’s certainly a struggle to balance the romance with furthering the overall plot, but I welcome the challenge. I feel that with every book I grow stronger in my writing skills (and research skills), and I really enjoying seeing my series unfold and reveal itself. Every single book offers me at least one surprising moment.
That is the struggle with these later books since the dominoes need to start falling as the series unfolds. Part one (Psychic Moon through Master’s Blood) was more of the introduction to my universe, and the characters and the groups I will be dealing with for the rest of the series. Now the rest of the parts will be focused on the various romances (of course) but also the workings of the villain Arcas and his allies. But the core of the series is still love and how each couple tries to save the day and prevent Arcas from reaching his goals.
The snake slowly slid out of the small hole it had been coiled in. Flicking its tongue, sensing no danger, it slithered and scraped over rocks and boulders, easily finding a path out of the rubble. It was hungry, but it didn’t smell any prey, which caused it to focus on finding an exit out of the tunnel. For some reason it didn’t want to hide and wait for prey, it wanted to find open air. Always going with instinct, the snake never questioned or doubted its senses. The long serpent easily made its way down the open tunnel, seeming to glide over the uneven ground and disjointed tracks. It wound around the mine carts, past the fallen pickaxes, constantly flicking its tongue.
It began to feel cool air over its scales and hesitated. Slithering to the side of the tunnel, the snake eyed the opening, flicking its tongue, again sensing no danger. It moved slower now, wary of the open air, the lack of protection. But something inside it urged it out, into the open; something seemed to push it forward. Keeping close to the side of the tunnel, it peeked out of the opening, into the dark. The moon was high, the stars shining, but the snake paid it no mind. All it saw was the wide expanse of land, and all it thought about was food and shelter.
But even as it was about to move across the darkened land, it sensed movement just outside the tunnel. Coiling into itself, the snake lifted its tail and lowered its face. Sound followed the movement, and the cause of that sound formed a shadow across the land. The snake flicked its tongue out, tasting the air, oddly familiar with the scent upon it. It wasn’t prey. It wasn’t predator. What was it?
A creature walked into sight. Again, there was an odd sense of familiarity. The known scent grew stronger as the creature seemed to notice the snake. The snake coiled tighter, muscles trembling. Its rattle shook louder.
“Never seen a rattlesnake as big as you before,” the creature said.
The snake didn’t understand. But Tobias did. It felt as though he surged upward, as if he was rising out of water toward the surface, straining for air. He saw through his snake’s eyes, smelled Angel’s scent. The snake fought, of course it fought, but Tobias knew he’d win. The snake wasn’t stronger than he was. It had never been stronger.
The snake shuddered as if in pain, and the rattle stopped moving.
Angel knelt in front of the snake, at a safe distance from a potential strike. Tobias stared into Angel’s face, using it as an anchor. He knew that face. He liked that face. When he’d changed, he’d been too scared, nearly panicked with the thought of death, that he hadn’t fully prepared himself mentally for the change. This caused his snake to take over fully, for him to lose who he was, his memories, his purpose, his personality. But now he fought, and he knew he would win. But he couldn’t allow Angel to see him change back. He couldn’t even allow himself to consider the outcome of that travesty.
Tobias took full control of his snake and struck out at Angel, never intending to bite, but trying to scare Angel away. Angel jerked back in shock with a yelp. Then Tobias turned and shot down the tunnel, into the dark. But even as he did, and as Angel’s scent faded, his snake began to fight back. Tobias held onto Angel’s face, his voice, his scent, and kept control. But he couldn’t hold the snake’s form as he kept remembering what it was like to be a human. He could only move past the first corner of the mine before the air shimmered. His skin rippled violently, and he fell to the ground, a human once more.
Gasping, shaking, Tobias’s skin flashed hot then cold. He was going to be ill; he knew he was, just like the first time. He curled into himself, his throat dry, his lungs heavy. He must have made enough noise to draw attention, because he suddenly heard someone running down the tunnel. It wasn’t long before Angel ran around the corner and skidded to a stop. They stared at each other for a long, humming moment before Angel dropped to his knees and yanked off his own coat, wrapping it around Tobias.
Then, to Tobias’s great shock, Angel pulled him into his arms and hugged him hard.
“Oh, thank the spirits. I knew it, I knew you had survived.” Angel’s voice was thick with tears as he rocked them both, his arms in an unbreakable hold.
Tobias didn’t know what to say. He still felt ill and was becoming more so by the minute. But right then, he closed his eyes and allowed himself to indulge for a moment. He took a deep breath, coughed, but still relished the scent of his deputy. Angel was so warm, the kind of warmth Tobias’s skin had never exuded. He curled into his deputy, remembering acutely the reunion with his parents so many years ago. It had been so different from this. He’d been slapped by his mother, yelled at by his father. His arm had been grabbed, and he’d been dragged to their carriage and berated the entire way home. There’d been no tears, no words of relief or joy.
He didn’t know what to make of Angel’s obvious affection or how to handle it.
Angel suddenly pulled back, and their eyes met again. Tobias’s eyes had adjusted to the darkness, and he could see his deputy’s face well enough to see something in his eyes that sent a spike of fear down Tobias’s spine.
“It was you,” Angel whispered. “You were the rattlesnake.”
Want to learn more? My website is here: www.mdgrimmwrites.com
Do you like long series (20+ books) or would you rather a short one (under 10?) or do you prefer trilogies?
March 27, 2015
Hi there! Still promoting my story “The Serpent and the Angel” book 8 of my Shifters series. http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6201
As I stated in my first post, “The Serpent and the Angel” continues the story of the scrolls and their guardians. But I also wanted to mention that it also furthers the story of the main villain of my series: in present days, he’s known as Arcas, but he’s had many names over many centuries. Some of my readers might have guessed it already and that’s great, I really don’t want it to be a secret, but I also wanted a little intrigue and mystery surrounding my villain.
There’s a reason I spent some time describing Arcas’s sapphire blue eyes and his beauty. Lady Anne Blackthorn (Hunted Guardian) had sapphire blue eyes and was a great beauty. Another character will appear in “The Serpent and the Angel” that has the same eyes and similar beauty. Try and spot him! (yes, it’s a man).
My villain is just as important as my heroes, perhaps even more so. He works behind the scenes as well as occasionally stepping to the front. He has a goal/plan and nothing will stop him from executing it. I really love to hate that guy.
What are your thoughts on villains? Do you love to hate them? Just plain hate them? Or would you rather see more of them in a story?
March 27, 2015
You can find “The Serpent and the Angel” here! http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6201
For those late comers, I’m promoting the 9th book in my The Shifters series. You can find the rest of the series here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/md-grimm
I suggest reading them in order from book 1 since they do depend on each other, but if you read them out of order you’ll still get the gist.
The inspiration for this story actually came from a blog prompt I did a couple of years ago. I wanted a strange couple pairing and wrote a cute little story. It’s nothing like the finished product, but I enjoyed the concept so much, I kept it.
What to read it? Here it is: (EXPLICIT)
It was typical. There he was, winding his way through the sand, slithering around rocks, looking for some tasty rodents, and a fucking eagle thought he would be the tasty one. Serp saw the shadow above him and didn’t think much of it until the shadow got bigger. Serp slithered quickly over the ground, trying to find a good nook to hide in. But the eagle was quicker.
Serp felt claws pierce his skin and he was suddenly lifted from the ground. Knowing he had no choice, unless he wanted to be eaten, Serp shifted.
He was slow at it, he didn’t spend his time as human much. It was too complicated. Snakes were easy and he loved being a rattler. But not when he was about to be disemboweled by a hungry eagle.
Serp managed to shift and that had the predictable effect of the eagle dropping him to the ground. Serp grunted as he smashed to the ground and rolled over the rocks and weeds. Serp groaned and managed to roll to his knees. He had expected that.
But he hadn’t expected the eagle to fall from the sky with him. Seems he shocked the eagle enough the proud bird lost air and crashed beside him. But what Serp really didn’t expect was for the bird to hop to its feet, stare at him with eerie intelligence, then shift.
Into a human.
Serp felt his jaw drop. A golden-haired, hazel-eyed, regal angel was standing in front of him. His skin was gold as well.
For himself, Serp felt skinnier than usual. His hair was brown, his skin was pale. He wasn’t the most attractive man ever. But from the way the eagle shifter was looking at him, Serp felt like a god. Serp had never met another shifter before. But he knew there were more.
The man smiled. “I knew you were a shifter. You didn’t smell like a rattlesnake. Not completely, at least.”
Serp didn’t know what to say. “So, what were you trying to do? Eat me or…”
The angel’s grin grew bigger. “Oh, I was certainly wanting to eat you.”
The angel leapt and shoved Serp on the ground on his back. The angel straddled him and licked his pink lips. Serp felt his little-used dick grow hard. He wasn’t a virgin but he wasn’t a stud either.
“Wha-what is your name?” Serp managed to ask.
“Don’t have one.” the angel on top of him said. His lips drifted over Serp’s neck and rose up to his chin, nibbling at the skin.
“I’m Serp. As in serpent.”
The angel pulled back and grinned. “I like it.” then he kissed Serp. Heat shot through Serp’s body and he no longer felt the rough and rocky ground beneath him. He didn’t feel the hot sun beating down on his skin. All he felt was Angel’s warm and willing body and he decided to only focus on that.
Serp’s hands slid along Angel’s back and his mouth worked energetically against Angel’s. Angel groaned and pressed harder into him. Serp’s hands had a mind of their own as they slid between Angel’s legs and wrapped around his cock. Angel groaned and pulled away slightly.
“You are so sexy,” Angel said, his voice deep and rough. Angel nipped Serp’s lips.
“No, you are.” Serp grunted when Angel cupped his balls.
“I always did like eating snakes,” Angel said with a sly grin that made Serp’s heart jump in his chest.
In a flash, Angel moved lower along Serp’s body and slipped Serp’s entire cock into his mouth. Serp’s body bowed and he gasped in shock. It was so sudden, and rough. Angel’s mouth was heavenly as it sucked and that tongue slid over the tip. Angel squeezed his balls and Serp gripped Angel’s hair, the smooth locks sliding between his fingers.
It was quick and satisfying. And incredibly hot. Serp came with a groan and Angel groaned and swallowed. Angel moved up Serp’s body and flicked his tongue over Serp’s nipple.
“My turn,” Angel said.
“Oh, yeah,” Serp gripped Angel’s long and beautiful cock and stroked. Angel’s eyes never left Serp’s face and his pupils were dilated to an extent that the hazel irises could barely be seen. His face was flushed and Serp couldn’t resist a kiss. Angel gripped his face and kissed him hard. Serp stroked Angel harder and faster and relished in the groan and the wetness that covered his hand when Angel came.
They both lay back on the ground, panting.
“We’re not done, Angel.” Serp said, still wanting more.
The eagle shifter turned his head to look at Serp. Surprise was on his face but then a warm, appreciative smile spread across it.
“Angel. I like it. No one has ever cared enough to give me a name.”
Serp rolled on top of Angel and knew that his isolated life was about to change.
“I care. And I’m yours if you’ll have me.”
Angel wrapped strong arms around Serp and nuzzled his neck. “A serpent and an angel. Perfect.”
Silly, I know, but it was fun, and Tobias and Angel came out of it.
It’s a trick sometimes to balance the “human” side with the “animal” side of a shape-shifter. I have to decide early on how much one side influences the other. I don’t want to do the same thing every time; I want to keep each story fresh and engaging. That’s why I made Tobias cold like his snake, and Angel was actually more easy-going and “talks” to his eagle a lot. He describes them as a team. But because Tobias is odd comparatively, I wanted the snake to influence his personality more, and not always in the best way.
What odd shifter would you like to see in a story? A cuttlefish, a unicorn, a parrot…?
March 5, 2015
It’s Karen Stivali here for one last time this evening. I’d hoped to post this earlier but my internet went out. I know, it happens to everyone and it’s not a big deal. Oh, wait…that’s not internet.
Since it’s later than I intended I’ll just post a few quick teasers from MOMENT OF TRUTH. Please remember, if you haven’t read this series yet, it’s best to start with Book One, MOMENT OF IMPACT, as Collin and Tanner’s journey through young love is told as three separate stories that take place at different phases of their lives. You can grab Book One for only 99 cents until March 7 (sale price available at Amazon, B&N, ARe or right here on Dreamspinner).
And for those of you who’ve read both books, don’t worry, there’s not too long to wait for Book Three. MOMENT OF CLARITY will release the first week in May (and the same day a paperback collection of all three books will also be available)! If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you’ll be the first to see my cover reveal in a few weeks (and since I got a peek at it this week I can tell you if you like the first two covers, you’re gonna like this one!).
Without further delay, here are a few snippets….
And here are a few lines from one of my favorite scenes in the book…what can I say, I love the really steamy scenes. I’m happy when my characters are having fun! (you can click it to enlarge if it’s too small to read—I won’t make the dirty joke that’s in my mind right now)
If you didn’t win a prize today (or even if you did) please consider stopping by to chat with me on Saturday (March 7) when I takeover the Dreamspinner Facebook account from noon-2pm EST. There will be more giveaways and maybe an excerpt or two!
And please consider attending a multi-author event I’m hosting on Facebook on March 18 with a group of my m/m author friends! Lots of giveaways and other fun to be had! (If Facebook won’t let you join, sent me a PM and I’ll invite you!) Click HERE for link.
Thanks again for joining me for my release party! Don’t forget to check the comment section of the previous posts to see if you had a winning comment! Looking forward to the next release so I can come chat with all of you again. In the meantime maybe I’ll see you on Facebook or Twitter!
March 5, 2015
In keeping with the themes from the Moments In Time series, I want to talk about summer jobs in college. I went to college at NYU in New York City and spent summers either there or at my parents’ house in New Jersey. I had so many jobs I can barely remember them all but I’ll list all the ones I can think of offhand:
wedding planner’s assistant
hand drawn animator
espresso bar manager
script reader for an agent
reader for the blind
Several of those overlapped—I worked a lot. It’s expensive to live in New York City, nevermind the cost of tuition!
In MOMENT OF TRUTH Collin is working as a waiter at an upscale restaurant (he needs money badly as when he came out his mother stopped tuition payments and he’s got to make sure he has enough money to get through senior year) and Tanner is bartending at a trendy nightclub.
I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t mind having this young man as my waiter..
And I definitely wouldn’t mind having this young man shake me up a cocktail or two…
Do you have a preference for blonds or brunettes? Or are redheads your weakness? Or shaved heads? Or no preference at all as long as they’re (fill in the blank)? Tell me below and I’ll choose another random winner to receive an ebook of their choice (winners announce later tonight on each post). Thanks for chatting with me and making my release party more interesting! I love learning things about my readers and their experiences.
March 5, 2015
LIFE’S A BEACH!
Hello everyone, Karen Stivali, back again. I think the harshness of this winter has finally gotten to me (looking out my window in New Hampshire I see about five feet of snow on everything, and that’s after two days of thawing) so I’m going to talk about the location where MOMENT OF TRUTH takes place: Fire Island.
For those of you not familiar with the northeastern US, Fire Island runs parallel to New York’s Long Island and it’s a beautiful beachy paradise. There’s not much there other than tons of beaches, a few shops, some cool restaurants and night clubs, and miles of trails to walk or bike. No cars are allowed on the island so when you’re there you really feel like you’re away from it all. Like a summer vacation should make you feel!
For Collin and Tanner, spending the summer living on Fire Island not only means an escape from their conservative college town to a much more liberal environment where it safe for them to be “out” as a couple, it also means that Collin is free from the prying eyes of family. It’s like a fresh start for them as a couple. But, as with any summer, the time is limited, so the future—back at school—is always looming in the background.
That’s not to say Collin and Tanner don’t make the most of their summer. They do! From time on the beach to enjoying some of the local clubs and restaurants they definitely get the full vacation experience even though they’re both busy working (Collin as a waiter and Tanner as a bartender).
I’ve been to Fire Island a few times but the beach I visited most recently was Nantucket (pictured in the lovely sunset above and again here).
I love the beach but I’m not a typical beach person. Too much sunlight makes me jittery and gives me a headache. My favorite time on the beach is sunset or later. I love strolling along the water or sitting on the sand and watching the waves roll in and out in the moonlight. It’s so peaceful and relaxing and beautiful.
My favorite beach is probably Ocean City, New Jersey because it’s the perfect old-fashioned (homemade fudge and donut shops, fresh salt water taffy, miles of boardwalk to bike or stroll) beach town but it’s close enough to Atlantic City that if you want something more lively it’s only a twenty minute drive away. I also love Narragansett, Rhode Island and Nantucket because their beaches are covered in gorgeous polished stones that look more like river rocks than something you’d find on a beach. I can never leave without a heavy collection of them weighing down my beach bag!
Are you a beach person? Do you have a favorite beach to visit? Would you rather live at the beach full time if you could, or do you prefer it as a special vacation getaway? Tell me in the comments below and again one random winner will be selected to win an ebook at the end of the day today!