Thank you for attending the Blog Party!

February 7, 2015

Sadly our time together comes to an end, so I thought I would end it on a cute and fun note.

Kitties!

Cloud and Zack3

More specifically my kitties.

SAMSUNG

I like to call myself a apprentice cat lady. I’ve been told I can’t be an actual cat lady until I hit double digits. Right now I’m just at three though the house holds five. So in order we have:

Miyuki

SAMSUNG

 

Cloud

Cloud1

 

and Zack.

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Thank you everyone who came and spent time with me today! Hope it was entertaining and that you enjoyed the excerpts! While it gave me fits, Bloody Aria was a lot of fun in the end and I hope everyone who reads it enjoys it as much as I do. Available at Dreamspinner Press.

 

Bloody Aria- Last Excerpt

February 7, 2015

The party is almost over, just 1 more hour to go here. So I decided for this last excerpt to shine a bit of light on a different couple. I love Rivas and Antoine, but there was another couple that kept trying to hijack my thoughts. Shandor and Shiv’ren, they just wouldn’t shut up about themselves. Their’s is definitely going to be the next story told in my little steampunk world, once I wrap up a couple of other stories. For now, read about them and let me know what you think of these two idiot boys. And again you can get Bloody Aria, which is the name of the ship sadly I couldn’t come up with a better title, at Dreamspinner Press and Amazon.

 

It was similar to his first night on the ship, only instead of watching from up on a balcony, he was now in the thick of it. Evidently the loot had already been divided up, because everyone seemed in good spirits. Instruments were brought out and the music when it began at first was slow, and then built to something faster. Rhythmic clapping joined, which seemed to be the sign, for those who wanted to, to begin dancing. The entire mood was infectious, and Antoine joined the clapping without even realizing it. When Shandor stood up and started dancing a shout came from the whole group. Watching him move about in such a graceful, energetic manner, Antoine felt his breath catch.

“Amazing, isn’t it?” Rivas whispered the words in Antoine’s ear, hot breath tickling it. “Few things are as entrancing as watching a gypsy dance. Everyone is transfixed when Shandor dances. No exceptions….” Antoine blinked, his mind flashing back again to that first night when he’d watched Shandor dance… from the balcony.

Quickly he turned and looked up, catching the familiar golden flash of Shiv’ren’s wings. He was leaning over the railing, golden eyes following every movement. It made Antoine want to start laughing. Especially when he remembered how smitten Shandor was with the engineer and how Shiv’ren rebuffed him at every turn. It seemed, even though he would not admit it, the attraction was mutual.

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World Building in Steampunk

February 7, 2015

So I realize I’ve talked about Blood Aria and inspirations that I used, but I haven’t really covered the world  building or much of steampunk itself. I love steampunk, I’m sure that’s fairly obvious, but I love it for the way it allows for world building. With it I can incorporate things like robber barons, colonialism, the industrial revolution and victorian sensibilities and all that great old technology. It gives you a great canvas to build worlds in, without having to be constrained with historical accuracy that you would have to do write a period piece. I love period pieces and historical stories, but that’s a lot of work and research that goes into it. With steampunk I can do the research and then adjust it to my purposes.

For me Laitha is a fully realized city and a world around it. There are mountain ranges, and plateaus, as well as areas around it.I have more material than the current stories have called for, but hopefully it will be worked into future stories. Holding back is sometimes they hardest part. You want to share everything but if it doesn’t serve the narrative you have to force yourself not to include it. Though I have considered trying to make a map of the world of Laitha. It was prompted by a discussion I was part of. Unfortunately I’m no good at drawing so I don’t think a map will happen for awhile.

So here’s another question for those following the party, if a story includes a map, do you actually reference it while reading? I do it rarely but I’m curious if other people are more into those things.

Another Excerpt

February 7, 2015

I honestly couldn’t think of anything that seemed to make sense to say about this. Other than conflicted, and Antoine is very conflicted for a large part of the story. You’re not supposed to like your captors, or find them attractive.

 

Right when he thought he was going to fall over, or just fall off the world and float away, a pair of arms wrapped around him, anchoring Antoine to the ground. He didn’t need to look up to see who it was. There was only one person that would have come after him. “Go away. Just leave me alone.”

“I can’t do that, Antoine. You’re too cute to be left to wander around in your current state.” Antoine hated that soft, almost teasing tone that Rivas always used when speaking to him. It felt like the older man was mocking him.

“Don’t! All I am is a way for you to extort money from my father! So stop acting like it’s something else!” Antoine snarled the words, struggling futilely against the arms holding him.

Rivas didn’t let him go. Instead he tightened the hold, pulling Antoine flush against him. Antoine shivered, Rivas’s body heat burning away the chill that had begun to settle over him. “That’s not all of it.” The rough voice caused more shivering and a new warmth to spread through his body. “There is so much more to it than just that.”

Bloody Aria – The images

February 7, 2015

So I was never a person who looked a lot of visual inspiration for my stories, not until recently. I suppose this all links back to my pinterest addiction in a way. Its easy now to find visual things to reference or decide that’s how something might look. In fact I’ve made special pinterest boards for my books, which you can check out by going to my pinterest, if you’d like. Its especially great for characters, if you can find a picture that matches whats in the head. Which is always the really hard part, especially when working with any kind of created world. Some people are really gifted and can create the images to go with it. Unfortunately that is not me. I was recently in a discussion about maps for world building and I was sad that I couldn’t make one. The map for Laitha and its areas is in my head, I just don’t think I’d be able to translate it properly on paper.

So instead I focus on the better things, like finding pictures or images for my characters. Luckily I found the almost perfect image of what Antoine would look like. I don’t really have any image of Rivas that beats the cover, so I’m just going to show that again, a nice little bit of contrast.

 

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Time for another excerpt!

February 7, 2015

So its time for another excerpt and let the two men have a bit of time together. I really do love this couple, Antoine and Rivas really kind of balance each other in my mind. I think that was one of the best parts and hardest parts of the story. Balancing the romance with the fact that Antoine is supposed to be a hostage. I think they managed to work it out.

 

“I’m sure it’s more than passable.” Rivas leaned even closer, full lips stretching in a slow, seductive smile. That smile sent an unexpected spark of heat shooting through Antoine’s body. “I would have heard if you weren’t.” His low, silky voice was like a caress, and Antoine fought against the desire to close his eyes and relax into it.

Antoine’s eyes had fallen halfway closed when there came a sudden, extremely loud banging noise. He jumped, heart skipping a beat and his adrenaline spiking as the noise came again. He turned in the direction it came from to see Shiv’ren standing behind him. Shiv’ren held a length of metal pipe against one of the large pipes that carried steam from the engine to the rest of the ship. He had an annoyed scowl on his face, golden eyes flashing as he looked at Rivas.

“Captain! If you’re going to seduce the hostage, you will not do it in my engine room! You have a goddamn bedroom for doing that shit. Plus you’re blocking the way, and I want to get to the mess hall before that greasy bastard decides he’s not feeding latecomers.” Antoine realized he hadn’t heard Shiv’ren sound this brisk or angry since he’d first been brought here.

 

Remember that you can get Bloody Aria at Dreamspinner Press and Amazon!

Bloody Aria – The Music

February 7, 2015

So I’m a big music person. Like a really big music person, and I listen to a lot of music when I’m writing. Its an inspiration thing, it helps ease out the plot points and just some sequences are set to music. That one piece of music and I can see the whole scene playing in my head. So I’m going to share some of the songs that I kept turning to when I needed to get the creativity flowing. Given that Bloody Aria liked to fight me at various points, I ended up turning to the music a lot. Mostly I listened to Abney Parks Aether Shanties album and a couple of songs from their Lost Horizons albums. Specifically the wonderful Airship Pirates song. And yes, that’s the actual name of the song, check it out because its a fun song and Abney Park is a great band. However the real song I turned to the most was actually a remix from video game music. In fact almost the entire final fight scene in the book was choreographed to this song. The song is called Wander on the Offensive, so feel free to hope over on the link and give it a listen. Or better, listen while reading Bloody Aria.

 

So now a question for whomever is reading this with me, what kind of music do you like? Is there ever a song you hear that just reminds you of a story or seems to git it perfectly?

Who doesn’t love pirates?

February 7, 2015

Bloody Aria was the sequel/spin off from my first book with Dreamspinner Press, Mechanical Magic. More of a spinoff really because you don’t have to really read Mechanical Magic to follow Bloody Aria but it does help. So if you wanted to you can check it out here. Technically the air pirates are mentioned in the story, but really only in passing. Now their the air pirates are the main event, because who doesn’t love pirates? Especially steampunk airship pirates? Antoine certainly ends up finding them pretty irresistible

Since Bloody Aria is set in the same world as Mechanical Magic if not entirely in the same city, though Laitha is the setting for some important points of intrigue, I really got to expand the world. Which I loved and also expand the people in it. Since traditionally pirates have always been a rather eclectic bunch I tried to reflect that here. I’m a huge fan of the Bloody Aria’s crew and they definitely have some more stories to be told.

So on that note, here’s an excerpt involving the crew. Then later we’ll get to some more excerpts involving Antoine and Rivas.

 

Shandor was quiet at first, leaning against the rear wall with his head bowed. None of those assembled were in a hurry to force him to speak. In fact, the only one giving him specific, direct attention was Shiv’ren, who was staring at him intently. Yi stood by the door, her arms folded within her wide sleeves. Li stood at the opposite end of the

room, perched lightly on the end of Sawbones’s bed, next to the man himself. Shan waited for another minute before he spoke up. “The switch takes place in a few days. I don’t trust the setup for it. Mostly I don’t trust the officer that is being put in charge of this exchange. As much as possible, make extra precautions when we change over. Be sure you’re all armed as much as possible, just in case.”

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Bloody Aria Release Party!!

February 7, 2015

Good morning from Lorraine Ulrich! Or afternoon depending on your time zone. I’m in Missouri so its still morning here. Yesterday Bloody Aria was released and I was bouncing off walls!

Bloody Aria is a steampunk story of air pirates. You can get at Dreamspinner Press or at Amazon. Its the story of Antoine Suvalese, who has been kidnapped by pirates and being held for ransom against his powerful and wealthy father. Of course nothing is really what it seems like on the Bloody Aria, especially when it concerns handsome and charming air pirate captain, Rivas the Ramshot. Because who can resist a pirate with a heart for gold? Or is that supposed to be a heart of gold?

And the gorgeous cover art because I can’t get enough of it.

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The Wrong Man Wrap Up Party! (with an Excerpt)

February 6, 2015

Huge Congrats to Denise Duchene (ebook winner of The Wrong Man) & Angela (DSP gift card winner!) I will contact you via email shortly :-) images-8

Thank you all for coming by to “Party” and celebrate the release of The Wrong Man today!!

FYI- I have a giveaway in progress on my blog too for those interested in another chance to win an ebook copy of The Wrong Man or an audiobook copy of the newly released Better Than Friends.  https://lanehayes.wordpress.com/2015/02/06/the-wrong-man-release-day-today/

I’m going to leave you with a quick excerpt from the story. Thanks again!  Enjoy your weekend and as always…

Happy Reading! Lane xo

Available now at Amazon, Dreamspinner Press & ARE Cafe:

The Wrong Man by Lane Hayes (Excerpt): 

“Are you going to answer my question?”  I grimaced at his blank stare.  “About my birthday.  You sa—”

“October 21st.  The Battle of Trafalgar.  Remember that day we were in the library studying for a history exam?  We had to memorize all these dates having to do with the Napoleon.  When we came to October 21st, you told me it was also your birthday and we should call it Brandon Day so we’d both remember.”  He shrugged as he watched his dog retrieve the ball from the ocean.  “I never forgot.”

Jake’s handsome face broke out in a wide grin when Mack ran with his prize in his mouth back in our direction.  I looked on amused by his enthusiasm.  But my mind traveled back in time twelve years ago picturing two teenage boys, one a star athlete and the other the class clown, sitting at a wooden table in the library surrounded by books and notes as we crammed for a test.  Back then we used our common classes as a ruse to spend time together.  Jake played up his role of the dumb jock in need of some extra tutoring while I pretended to be the guy for the job.

It was so many years ago.  A lifetime really.  But Jake’s casual mention of our shared past made it seem like it wasn’t so distant after all.  I’d done my best to forget my past.  I hated being reminded of things I couldn’t change. I didn’t do well processing sadness and loss.  It’s why I hadn’t wanted anything to do with Jake.  He represented a naivete I’d happily shed.

“Again?  Okay, here you go.  Ready?  Get it, boy!”  Jake chucked the ball in the same direction he had before and Mack chased after it merrily.

And as simple as that… I was back in present time.