Blog Archives

Nominations Open

Keep Calm and Nominate NowI don’t know how successful I’ve been following the injunction I’m posting today… My manuscript is about one-third the way through the nominations process with Kindle Scout. So far my campaign really only gets visibility when I spam my Facebook friends–and not as much as I’d hoped, at that. Honestly, in all likelihood, it was always going to be a hard sell to try to get an F/F sci-fi romance any kind of mainstream acceptance. But… nothing ventured, nothing gained. And if Kindle Press passes on the book, everyone who nominated it will get the notification of what the purchase link is when it goes on sale under my more accustomed KKP imprint.

🙂

Aside from all those underlying nerves, I missed posting last week because I was traveling for my day job–to Boston, MA, Nashua, NH, and Newport News, VA. (For anyone interested in my day job, one of the projects I manage was recently covered in Popular Science. A project that’s not ours, but in a closely related field–and sure fodder for future sci-fi plot bunnies–was written up in New Atlas last month. I find it fascinating to work in a place that develops software that could easily extend into one of my stories.)

Traveling didn’t leave a lot of time for thinking seriously about my own writing. Every day away was much longer than usual, but the various flights were an excellent opportunity to finish Annie Bellet’s Twenty-Sided Sorceress series. It was excellent; well-written UF/PNR that was fast-paced, engaging, and a slightly different take on what makes a person a good person. The only downside was that most of the books ended on cliff-hangers that made it impossible not to buy the next book right away. Luckily for me (and for my phone, which was at risk of being thrown across the room!), the series is available in its entirety, so I was able to satisfy my need to know without stewing for too long.

Also in the past week, the first in The Hotel Paranormal series came out. For those of you who don’t remember, it’s a series by a wide range of authors that all send their characters to The Hotel at some point in their stories. The first one up: Death Chaser, by Xandra James. I read that one while I was underway as well, and enjoyed it almost as much as Bellet’s series. It reminded me a bit of “Dead Like Me” with an additional supernatural twist.

I’m going to have to watch that I don’t spend so much time keeping up with what my fellow contributors are writing that I neglect my own word count… The third in my Red Slaves series currently stands at 29,749 words, well past the halfway point in its first-draft life, but not nearly done enough for me to start on MY installment in The Hotel Paranormal. I need to start making tracks.

Luckily, tomorrow is an American holiday, and I extended my holiday weekend by another day, so even though we’re getting back into the swing of long walks with the dogs and gardening duties we’ve neglected for a while, I should have some time to get back into the writing flow this week. I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll finish the trilogy’s story before the end of the month.

While I get back to work, I encourage you to check out how my ROW80 compadres are managing their goals. I’ll be back again next week to report on my progress.

Book Tour: Thirteen Nights by Sabrina Garie

Thirteen Nights by Sabrina GarieI’m happy this week to be pimping out my crit partner extraordinaire, Sabrina Garie, who has just released her third stand-alone book in the past two years. She writes for the Ellora’s cave imprint, which specializes in erotic romance… and her stories will curl your toes.

😉

Her latest offering, Thirteen Nights, looks to be another in a strong line-up:

Annie’s always been different. An empathic Amazon, she hides her emotional anomaly beneath her legendary fighting skills. To avoid passing on her genetic disorder, she’s always avoided the Thirteen Nights Ritual—the annual breeding rite among the warrior races of the Greek Pantheon. Only months away from 30, she is now duty-bound to participate. When she meets Tai, a half-human warrior who revs her up beyond legal limits and nurtures the gentleness she’s had to keep secret, thirteen nights of pleasure don’t seem nearly enough.

As a half human, Tai has survived by being faster, more lethal, and a whole lot smarter than his brethren. While the male warriors accept him for his achievements, the Amazons have never given him a second look. Until he meets Annie, whose smile is warm and real and whose body shudders with desire—for him. Determined to have her, he hacks into the Thirteen Nights database and rearranges the pairings to make Annie his breeding partner. Together, their strength and tenderness combust into pure love.

But Tai’s actions are forbidden under Amazon law, subject to a death. To stay together and alive, they must take on the Greek Pantheon and win.

This one is the first in the Divine Temptation series, as well, with book two (Life Reignited) slated for release early next year.

About the Author

Sabrina Garie is on a journey to create the most kick-ass heroine romance fiction has ever known and the hero who can take her. A believer that big, audacious goals spice up life, she relies on coffee, red wine and laughter to make those goals (and her characters) come alive.

When not at the computer, she wrangles vegetables and extra helpings of homework into her fashion-loving progeny, kowtows to a fat cat and reads, a lot.

Since it is more fun to travel in packs, come along for the ride.

Blog/Website: www.sabrinagarie.com
Facebook: facebook.com/sabrinagarieauthor
Twitter: @sabrinagarie
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Sabrina_Garie

Buy Links

Ellora’s Cave

Amazon

Kobo

Goodreads

Book Review: Fires of Justice

Fires of Justice by Sabrina GarieIt’s been a while since I posted a review, and I thought I would get this one done last month–it’s been sitting that long as a partially completed draft. Today, the author released her second book, and, as she’s one of my crit partners, I decided I had to get off my duff and actually publish this, too. Here’s her blurb:

Always read the fine print when swearing an eternal oath to gods and guardians…

Beholden by the sacred vows of her coven, fire witch Calista Reid agrees to temporarily mate with shifter Cullen McMahan to fulfill a mission assigned by the guardians. When Tall, Dark and Damaged arrives on her doorstep, generating enough heat to scorch a fire witch, Calista finds herself drawn to his battle-hardened body and broken soul. His pain speaks to her own deep-rooted isolation and the intensity of his hunger slakes her passion like no other.

Cullen, scarred by a past that left him an indentured soldier to the guardians, resents yet another hump-on-command assignment…until he encounters the compassionate, fearless, incendiary redhead who detonates his body and reawakens the emotions sacrifice and loss had suppressed. But Cullen harbors a terrible secret—one that reaches back into Calista’s troubled childhood and threatens the foundation of their growing bond.

It’s a novella, so just the length for an afternoon romp through words. And romp it is: Garie doesn’t shy away from the full implications of two beings thrown together in a mating neither wants, but each is required to fulfill. The combination of paranormal skills is unusual enough I had never seen it before. It’s sexy and fun and the banter between the two main characters lets the reader play voyeur to the start of what reads like it could end up a great romance.

Calista returned with two full glasses of red wine in her hands. The wine bottle and several plates of fruit, cheese, bread slices, chocolate and nuts floated on a current of air behind her. After handing him a drink, she looped her finger, landing the booty perfectly on the coffee table, and sank into the love seat. Her too-large sweater slipped off one shoulder, exposing succulent peach flesh. Argenta’s boots, he wanted a bite of that, but settled for a grape.

“For a fire witch, you’ve an impressive control over air.” He popped the grape in his mouth and relaxed back on the couch. “Thank you. It’s the first time anyone’s ever fed me when I came to mark them.”

“My aunt’s an air witch. She ran a strict household. I had to master currents, crosswinds and etiquette.” Her half smile revealed a dimple he longed to lick.

“It’s quite refreshing not to have to talk you out of the bathroom, off the roof or down from a tree.”
She laughed at that. “Hard job, huh?”

His gaze lowered to hide the pain slicing through him. “You’ve no idea.” He grabbed some bread and cheese and a handful of nuts and focused on eating.

I will admit I might be biased on this one because the author nailed me between the eyes with her crits of my work… That also means she knows what she’s doing as she builds the suspense and unloads a whopper of an ending onto an unsuspecting audience. This is not your standard romantic fare. You get the happily ever after that’s required, and you thank all the gods in the pantheon of the book that it’s possible, but you walk a treacherous road of unwanted attraction and perilous secrets to get there. This is fully worth the read and has me panting, hopeful that there will be a second installment of Calista and Cullen.

Book Blog Tour – Blood to Fire

BLOOD TO FIRE Tour

You will very shortly be heartily sick of seeing my name around the interwebz, as I’ve signed up for a virtual book tour through Book Monster Promotions. Over the next few weeks you’ll see me at these fine locations:

3/16 – Book Monster Reviews

3/17 – Jocelyn Dex Blog

3/19 – Beach Bum Reads

3/20 – Toot’s Book Reviews

3/21 – Over The Edge

3/24 – Mad Hatter Reads

3/25 – United by Books

3/30 – Alexx Mom Cat’s Gateway

4/01 – Riverina Romantics

4/02 – Page Flipperz

4/03 – Paranormal Book Club

4/04 – Close Encounters With The Night Kind

4/05 – Cocktails and Books

4/07 – The Reading Café (3:00pm post)

4/09 – Books-n-Kisses

4/10 – Wicked Readings

4/11 – Deal Sharing Aunt

4/12 – Book Lovin’ Mamas

Thanks in advance to all the bloggers who agreed to host me! 🙂

Publication Day?

BtF_coveridea_01a_600You’d think it would be exciting: I finished all the editing and formatting and have submitted my third novel to Amazon for vetting and publishing. Instead, I feel … tired.

My class this session is heavy lifting about ethics and law and requires a 5-7 page paper on a weekly basis, on top of class participation and tests. Work has been intense, and I think the whole world is suffering under the miscommunication inherent in the Mercury Retrograde experience.

So releasing a book in the midst of that feels fraught. Especially in light of conflicting reports I’ve read about fair use of old lyrics. I’ve done my due diligence. My quotes contain key hints about character and plot development–in other words, the story doesn’t make sense without that scene (it came to me in a dream so I’m doubly loath to redact), and it doesn’t make sense with any other artist or lyrics. According to Bernard Star, this falls under fair use. Then there’s everyone else, who’ve shared horror stories about being charged thousands of dollars in licensing fees.

So I’ve tried to get in touch with the copyright owner. I’ve gone through several iterations of research. They apparently don’t want to talk to me.

I’m going to say at this point that silence is implicit approval.

😉

We’ll see whether publication changes that.

Now, it’s on to finish my formatting tasks and keep up with blogging and schoolwork, and I will have accomplished almost everything I set out to do at the beginning of this round of ROW80. Check out how my fellow ROW80 participants are keeping up with their goals.

Cover Reveal: Blood to Fire

BtF_coveridea_01a_600Tonight, despite the blizzard outside, the cockles of my heart are blazing: I Haz Cover Art!

One thing I love about indie publishing: It allows me control of imagery and branding for my books. And Gayla is awesome to collaborate with in the process of refining graphic ideas and how they might play in our target market.

The result is the beauty you see here.

I could go on about the challenge of doing photo-realistic covers in the fantasy genre, and the nature of font selection… but I’ll let that remain the mystery it should be for a reader who’s shopping for their next book and happens to stumble across what I’m sharing with you now.

So: For anyone waiting for book 2 of the Red Slaves series, or anyone who wants to try out a book that walks the line between contemporary fantasy and paranormal romance… WITH DRAGONS–your wait is almost over.

🙂

Hump Day Hook: Red Slaves 2 – Blood to Fire #HDH Take 4

hump-day-hookBlood to Fire is with my editor now, I’m anxiously awaiting her feedback, and I’m working on cover art development with my fabulous publisher.

So, to keep myself from bouncing off the walls too much as I complete the final steps in producing my third novel, I will share another snippet from the book.

In this scene, Anne discovers that her friends and compatriots are striving to help her feel at home–even if it’s her first Christmas apart from her family:

I’m stunned at the magnitude of the changes to this space. It had been cozy in the way of the great New York library, with conversational groups of couches and chairs at the edges of a vast cavern holding an untold number of books. The ceiling is still lost to the shadows, but with the new rock formation and the massive tree we’re facing, all of a sudden I feel like Clara in The Nutcracker: a child dwarfed by wonder.

“How did this happen?”

“Do you like it? Did we get it right?” Ivan’s anxiety is transmitting though the tense hold he has on my waist.

“This is stupendous. When did you do it? How did you have the time to get this all in place in an afternoon? Were Vasily and Fyodor faking it?” The questions tumble out of me in an urgent stream. Then I shake myself. Where are my manners? “Thank you!”

Hump Day Hook asks authors to post one paragraph (sorry, I can never leave it just at that!) of one of their stories, whether a WIP, one contracted, or already published. Please visit and comment on the participants – you might just stumble on the next great read for your library! To see more participants, click on the HDH banner.

Guest Post: Sabrina Garie – Fires of Justice

Dragon dollI’m always a fan of supporting friends who are publishing new books, so this week I’m happy to host Sabrina Garie as she promotes her Fires of Justice release. Take it away Sabrina:

I am so glad to be visiting Tonya whose thoughtfulness and intelligence shine in every word she writes.  I hope I get close to her talent in my post today. (editor’s note: I only let friends talk about me this way… <G>) I’ve brought a friend with me, my pet dragon Charlie, short for Charonte. He usually hangs out on my bed, demonizing his stuffed brethren, but I thought I’d give the other stuffties a break. He’s with me to help me talk about a passion Tonya and I both share—dragons and dragon lore.

Why do I love dragons so much? Let me be bold. Dragons are real—at least in our hearts and minds.  How can they not be? Ubiquitous across the time and geography of human cultures, they link magic and science, past and future, east and west. They show up at the birth of the world in African creation myths, symbolize entire nations like Wales and Bhutan, and herald the end of gods—Ragnorak—in Nordic mythology. When depicted in a circle with the tail in the mouth of the dragon, they signify infinity—the power and inevitability of rebirth and renewal. Cloaked in mystery, eastern lore reveres them as a source of wisdom and power while western myth paints them as evil, stingy, and reptilian. Friend or foe, dragon imagery marries destruction with purification. To embrace the power of the dragon is to welcome change and growth. And they usually fly. How cool is that?

That to me is the allure of dragons—they represent the perpetual change inherent in the cycle of life.  Sexy and scary.

Given my passion for these scaly, mischievous devils, I had to use them somehow in my writing. My paranormal debut, Fires of Justice, takes a stab at dragons and dragon imagery in fun, new ways.

The hero, Cullen McMahan, is a fire shifter, which gives him the ability to change into creatures associated with the fire element—dragons, phoenixes, salamanders. During the story, we see him twice as a dragon, although it’s his turn as a phoenix that gets the real fireworks in the story started. In dragon form, he revives the earth, which has been diseased by black magic and heals a rogue wizard.

Cullen’s had it hard. His parents died young and he and his twin sister were physically and emotionally battered in a battle with witches. The guardian of balance, justice, and unity (all three are foundational elements of fire and dragon imagery), takes the twins, separates them, and indentures them as her soldiers. Cullen’s heart needs a new start, so he’ll have walk through the fire to get the reward. Good thing our heroine is a fire witch. Too bad she’s the daughter of the witches who ruined him. It’s why dragons, although cute, remain mysterious and usually frightening figures—rebirth and renewal are rarely easy or painless. But it’s worth it for the happy ending.

I’d love to hear from you. What’s your favorite dragon or dragon story? I’m giving away a free copy of my eBook (it is eBook only) to one commenter (remember to leave your email address).

Fires of JusticeAlways read the fine print when swearing an eternal oath to gods and guardians…

Beholden by the sacred vows of her coven, fire witch Calista Reid agrees to temporarily mate with shifter Cullen McMahan to fulfill a mission assigned by the guardians. When tall, dark and damaged arrives on her doorstep, generating enough heat to scorch a fire witch, Calista finds herself drawn to his battle-hardened body and broken soul. His pain speaks to her own deep-rooted isolation and the intensity of his hunger slakes her passion like no other.

Cullen, scarred by a past that left him an indentured soldier to the guardians, resents yet another hump-on-command assignment…until he encounters the compassionate, fearless, incendiary redhead who detonates his body and reawakens the emotions sacrifice and loss had suppressed. But Cullen harbors a terrible secret—one that reaches back into Calista’s troubled childhood and threatens the foundation of their growing bond.

Link to Excerpt

Available from:

About the Author:

Sabrina GarieSabrina Garie is on a journey to create the most kick-ass heroine romance fiction has ever known and the hero who can take her. A believer that big, audacious goals spice up life, she relies on coffee, red wine, and laughter to make those goals (and her characters) come alive. When not at the computer, she wrangles vegetables and extra helpings of homework into her star-spangled, fashion-loving progeny, kowtows to a fat cat, and reads, a lot. Since it is more fun to travel in packs, come along for the ride. I’d love to chat.

Website/Blog: www.sabrinagarie.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SabrinaGarie
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SabrinaGarieAuthor

I also blog at Darker Temptations (Paranormal and Science Fiction Romance Blog):  http://darkertemptations.wordpress.com/

 

Book Review: Blue Moon Rising

Blue Moon HouseI got myself in over my head this week… I’ve never reviewed erotica before, and hadn’t planned on ever doing so. However, one of the women who did me an early review favor for Dust to Blood contacted me to ask if I’d support her new release. Without asking further details, I offered to return the favor. The publishing house sent me an ARC for review purposes, and then I started thinking this might be a wilder ride than I had anticipated.

So I’m giving you fair warning: This is graphic erotica of the BDSM variety, something that may not be completely obvious from the blurb (though the book is appropriately tagged, rated, etc., in its Smashwords listing):

Julia has the chance to become one of the vampires of the Blue Moon House. Before being accepted, however, she must prove herself to each of the vampires, and each has their own exacting cost. Ranging from lesbian, to being forced, to physical torture, she is pushed to her breaking point time and again. Eventually her perseverance pays off and she crosses from submissive to dominant and vampire.

The story starts in the deep end and doesn’t relent, however, there is a real and intriguing basis to the plot: An old vampire wanted to avoid killing all her donors, but wanted to keep the mystery of her race intact. So she conceived of a very specialized kind of brothel where the clients expected the pain and silence she required to manage both elements of her goal.

For those of you who are intrigued by the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon, but have been warned off by or worried about the dismal quality of writing, this would be a much better alternative. The writing is clear and smooth, and even though the kink Dawson describes is not the kind I enjoy, I was sucked into the novella and had no problems finishing it and appreciating the happily ever after the main character receives.

I’m still looking forward to Dawson’s guest post visit later this month, so keep your eyes open for what is bound to be an interesting post.

😉

Book Review: Timeless

TimelessI waited anxiously for the final book of the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger to be released, and then made myself wait a little longer to actually buy it until my book budget was available and my time budget opened a sliver.

Carriger has created such a unique voice with this series I almost have to read it in a posh, British accent, which alone brings a smile to my face. The fact that Alexia Tarabotti is such an unapologetic iconoclast who navigates her way through life with the characteristic stiff upper lip and punctilious approach makes the series feel witty on a profoundly intellectual plane. Not to say there isn’t slapstick in there, but it comes off as unintentional humor in the face of the always-exciting existence of one of the very few preternaturals in the world.

After the ending of Heartless, I wondered how Carriger would carry the story forward. The blurb says:

Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High Society, living in a vampire’s second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly.

Until, that is, she receives a summons that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?

To carry over the metaphor from the book: The Alexia Tarabotti books are appeasement for me along the lines of treacle tarts for Alexia. I gobbled this one down in an afternoon, and wished there were more to come.

The emotional range of this book took me by surprise, starting as it did with the fully ridiculous:

Ivy Tunstell, Alexia’s dear friend, played the vampire queen. She did so with much sweeping about the stage and fainting, her own fangs larger than anyone else’s, which made it so difficult for her to articulate that many of her speeches were reduced to mere spitting hisses. She wore a hat that was part bonnet, part crown, driving home the queen theme, in colors of yellow, red, and gold. Her husband, playing the enamored werewolf, pranced about in a comic interpretation of lupine leaps, barked a lot, and got into several splendid stage fights.

The oddest moment, Alexia felt, was a dreamlike sequence just prior to the break, wherein Tunstell wore bumblebee-striped drawers with attached vest and performed a small ballet before his vampire queen. The queen was dressed in a voluminous black chiffon gown with a high Shakespearian collar and an exterior corset of green with matching fan. Her hair was done up on either side of her head in round puffs, looking like bear ears, and her arms were bare. Bare!

Conall, at this juncture, began to shake uncontrollably.

What’s fascinating is that even here, there is foreshadowing, and the book’s structure neatly closes out both the story arc introduced in this final novel as well as the mystery of Alexia’s father and the nature of the impact preturnaturals can continue to have even in their death.

I was glad that in this series the final book didn’t lose any of the verve and originality that drew me to the story in the first place, and finished on the kind of strong note that really makes me hope there will be a book about Alexia’s offspring sometime down the road. In the meantime, I will reiterate my earlier, strong recommendations: This book is a lot of fun and absolutely worth reading for anyone who likes vampires, werewolves, steampunk ethos, or low fantasy/alternate history.

  • RSS
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • NetworkedBlogs
  • Twitter
  • Flickr
  • YouTube
  • Blip.fm
  • Delicious
  • Pinterest