Night Vision: Excerpt

February 18, 2015

My release party is almost over :(

Confession: I don’t like excerpts and I never read them! So I was reluctant to do an excerpt here. But… I guess some people like them? So for the people who do not care for excerpts, this is an alternative: the pinterest board for Night Vision, filled with inspiration photos, settings and characters and details from the story.

And for those who DO enjoy excerpts, this is from Chapter Nine:

 “YOU HAD a dream the other night.” Theron tried to sound causal and focused his attention on a lock of Alex’s hair, twisting the gold and bronze between his fingers. Alex’s head lay on the pillow, half-turned, almost exactly the way it had been a few nights ago when Theron had climbed the tree to check on him. Whatever that dream had been, it was powerful. And sexual. Theron’s curiosity burned.

“Please don’t tell me you were watching me again.” Alex searched his face and sighed, perhaps seeing some sign of guilt. “Theron, seriously, just come in next time. Why are you still sneaking around in my trees?”

“It is my way, Alex. I thought you understood that.”
“I guess. It’s still creepy, though.”
“Tell me the dream.”
Shame filled the room, and Alex squirmed in the bed, burying his face in the pillow. “I really don’t want to.”
Theron laughed, wrapping Alex in his arms and kissing his shoulder. “Come on, my little sexy dreamer. Tell me.”
“Ugh!” Alex groaned, but the emotions in the air contradicted his protest. He was embarrassed, but happy, even a little aroused. He snuggled into Theron, hiding his face. “You were in the shower. I sneaked in and leaned against the wall near the closet, where you couldn’t see me. I started jerking off and fantasizing about you. I heard you moaning, and I knew you could feel it. You knew I was there, and you called my name.”
Theron ran his hands over Alex’s back, encouraging him to continue.
“I moved so that I could see you. You stood under the shower, your hands on the wall, the water running over you. You were so hard. I wanted to make you come with my thoughts. I was sure I could do it. You looked so sexy, your muscles so tight, straining and wet, and it was easy for me. I stroked myself and thought about you, and I watched your cock. The water was hitting it, and you kept yourself under the spray, but I knew my thoughts were really bringing you off. I came, and a second later you did too, all over the shower wall, without even touching yourself.”
Theron moaned into the back of Alex’s head. “Did you come in your sleep? Or when you woke up?”

***

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Thank you to Dreamspinner for being such a nice company to work with, and thank you for letting me takeover this blog! I’ve had a great time here today <3

Night Vision: alternating points of view

February 18, 2015

I think this would be a good time for a giveaway. Agree?

In Night Vision, each chapter is told half from Alex’s point of view, and half from Theron’s, and I kept it to third person for both.

One of the best things about alternating pov is being able to feel and hear and know all the thoughts of each character. I think that makes a Romance fun to read, and fun to write :)

A disadvantage is trying to keep each “voice” distinct, so that it is always really clear whose head you are in as a reader. Luckily for me, Theron’s style of speech was much different from Alex’s. Theron rarely uses contractions, and he is more formal in general. Also, he is a non-native English speaker (he is Greek) so that also made his voice distinctive.

In my other books, I have used first person (not alternating, just staying in one main character’s head the entire time) and I do enjoy the intimacy that allows as well.

I do think alternating third person is my favorite, though. In the last book I wrote that way (Love You Forever) I let each character have a whole chapter before switching. But Night Vision is a novella, so more frequent shifts seemed appropriate.

I am currently working on a third person book which does not alternate, so it is told entirely from one point of view, but that one has a bit of a mystery element to it, so the more limited information helps add tension. I find myself having to fight the urge to switch to the other main character’s voice!

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So what I’d like to know is – what is your favorite point of view? First person? Third person? And also, do you prefer to switch back and forth, or to stay in one head?

Answer in the comments for a chance to win a copy of Night Vision!

Flash Fic Teaser: Night Vision

February 18, 2015

For Valentine’s day, I posted this piece of “flash” fiction on my blog. I thought I would share it here, too, as it basically functions as a teaser for Night Vision:

Theron ran across the snow, careful to step only in the existing tracks but still fast enough to be unseen by humans. He’d worn thick sheepskin boots, and a long down coat that brushed the tops of his knees. The clothing kept him warm, but increased his visibility against the snow.

He slowed as he approached a small, yellow colonial style home. The cold night air was quiet, and empty of humans. Still, Theron was careful. If he was spotted it might mean having to find a new territory, and he did not feel like dealing with that hassle right now.

The home’s glowing windows promised warmth and comfort. But it wasn’t shelter Theron sought here.

Prowling for enough human emotion to eat was sometimes difficult during the winter months. No open windows meant all the nourishment was trapped inside. Last week, Theron had been forced to feed at the supermarket—a sad meal which consisted of shopper’s mingled frustration and annoyance, with a smattering of fear and greed. He shook himself to clear the memory. Tonight would be better.

Tonight was Valentine’s Day, and the emotional sustenance in his territory should be sickeningly sweet with love and lust.

Lust he enjoyed. It was one of his favorite meals. Love could be satisfying, as well.

Best of all was anger. A clean anger, without pain or sadness, and preferably tinged with a bit of passionate desire, was Theron’s first choice. Finding it tonight should be easy.

But there was none here. The little yellow house was quiet. Only a thin fog of happiness sifted from the attic vents. Theron absorbed it, but moved on. He needed more.

The old grey house next door, usually a good source for him, was cold and dark. No one home. He ran down the block, still searching.

Raised voices drifted over snow-filled backyards. He followed the promising sounds to a newer home, just a few blocks away. There was a great oak on the property, perfect for climbing. Theron scaled it easily, and maneuvered to a thick, wide branch. He winced as a pile of snow slid from the branch and landed heavily in the previously smooth front yard. Sloppy. He sighed.

The front door banged open, and a man exited, accompanied by a meaty cloud of rage. Delicious. Theron absorbed it all.

“You’re leaving, now? Really?” Another man followed the first, this one dressed in sweatpants and a soft beige sweater.

The first man drew a set of keys from his coat pocket and turned. “Yes. I am. You clearly don’t want me here.” He stalked to the driveway and entered the car.

“David! Come on!” The second man stood in the doorway, feet bare, eyes pleading, and shouted toward the car.

David scowled through the glass. A few moments were spent waiting for the car to start, and a seatbelt to be fastened, while frustration and anger billowed in the air around the men. Theron basked in it, filling himself to capacity.

The car jerked backwards, and then rumbled away up the street. Theron remained motionless, watching.

The man in the doorway shook his head, and the angry cloud around him began to weaken, filling instead with sadness and regret. Thin, sour emotions Theron did not care for.

Finally the man retreated into the house, and Theron made to leave. He’d had his fill of human emotion now, and could spend the rest of the evening in his home.

Then a curtain moved, spilling a large square of light onto the snow right under the tree where he perched. Framed in the window was the human, standing with his arms crossed over his chest.

Theron studied him. His sandy brown hair was combed back in a large wave, a careful style somewhat at odds with his casual clothing. His mouth was turned down and his brows pinched, but his face was handsome. It would be more handsome wearing a smile. Theron frowned at the rogue thought.

A tear leaked from the corner of the man’s eye, and left a wet streak down his cheek.

Theron tilted his head. He did not like seeing this human upset. But why should he care? He did not even know this man’s name.

Still, he watched.

Eventually the man dragged a chair to the window and sat. His face had softened a bit, but it remained sorrowful. And Theron found himself growing angry. Why did the man sit? Why wait with such sadness? Why not go about his night, without the rude David?

Theron repositioned his legs on the branch. He was growing cold, even in his warm winter clothing. He could leave, just climb down the rear of the tree and move quickly, the man would never see him. But he stayed put, eyes locked on the handsome man in the window, while an irrational desire to harm David grew within him.

A crunching of tires on snow drew Theron’s attention. He didn’t have to look to know it was David returning. He flattened himself against the tree, still and silent, watching.

David had a bouquet of roses in his hand as he exited the car. Theron glanced at the man in the window for a reaction, and saw happiness light the handsome face. Excitement and love seeped from the window frame.

Pathetic. Theron bit back a groan at the easy forgiveness, but consumed the new emotions.

David opened the front door, which Theron noted with displeasure had been left unlocked. He appeared soon after in the window, and knelt at the handsome man’s feet, placing the roses in his lap. “I’m sorry, Alex. I’m sorry.”

Alex nodded and pulled David into an embrace.

Theron’s gut twisted with something that was most certainly not jealousy. Perhaps he had eaten too much this night. That was all. He climbed down from the tree and fled across the yard, recklessly adding his footprints to the clean snow.

Safe at home, he sat in front of his fireplace and pondered the man he’d watched for so long. Alex. A nice name. Theron spoke it aloud, accentuating the x sound. Yes, a very nice name. He would visit Alex again, and keep an eye on David. If nothing else, the men would likely provide him with many satisfying meals.

Maybe someday, he would see Alex smile.

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I hope you enjoyed that introduction to Theron and Alex! I’d love to hear what you think of them :)

Night Vision: what is a “strige”?

February 18, 2015

Hi! Amelia Bishop here again! I’m back, this time to shed some light on the paranormal creature in my novella Night Vision. (Which released today!)

So first of all, yes, I did make up this creature. I started, as I mentioned in my earlier post, with a ‘scene’ in mind, of a person who liked to climb trees and rooftops. And I thought: something about that is bird-like. Owl-like, really.

I started to look at some pictures of owls, just for ideas, and one of the things I found was this:

With this caption beneath it: “The appearance and calls of owls, such as the Eurasian Scops Owl, may have influenced Roman ideas of the blood-drinking strix.”

“Srix” is a genus of the family strigadae – true owls. But “Roman blood drinking strix”? That had to be investigated! After some more time (okay way too long) searching online, I pieced together the myth of the Strix. In doing so, I also found references to the Romanian Strigoi, Both myths were similar – vampires, essentially, that could transform into an animal (usually an owl). These myths are not widely known, which increased their appeal, for me.

Armed with my research, I began inventing my character: the strige.

The strige is an emotional vampire. So he or she does not drink blood, in fact, my Strige Theron eats normal food, and enjoys cooking. But to feed the strige part of himself, he must also consume emotions. So he hunts, which means he sneaks around climbing trees and observing humans, and he absorbs the emotions they exude. Strige are nocturnal, but can tolerate daylight if necessary. They live longer than humans, but are not immortal.

I added some other details to my creature as well, including a bonding ceremony, and I hope you will read the story to learn more about the strige!

What kind of creature would you make up? What kinds of paranormal creatures do you most like to read?

Character Inspirations: Night Vision

February 18, 2015

Theron

Theron is the paranormal character in Night Vision, a creature called a Strige (yes I made that up) I sort of envisioned him as a vampire, but instead of feeding on blood, he feeds on human emotions. I also gave him some Owl-like qualities (Strix is the genus name for Owls, and that is partially where the name came from) so this picture is particularly perfect:

Miles McMillan, photographed by Ryan McGinley for EDUN, fall 2012

Miles McMillan, photographed by Ryan McGinley for EDUN, fall 2012

Also the model here is almost exactly how I pictured Theron as I wrote him! Maybe Theron should be a little bit older, a tiny bit heavier, but this is really close. Theron likes to sneak around, climb trees, and cook gourmet meals. He is old, and intelligent, and ruthless in many ways, but he is also vulnerable in that he has never before been in love. So despite all his age and experience, he is often unsure of himself when it comes to relationships.

Alex

Alex is the human, Theron’s love interest. I love writing more “normal” guys, and that is what Alex is. Except, of course, let’s imagine him sexy, shall we? He has light brown hair and hazel eyes, and works as a systems administrator. This picture would be a good one for him:

model Max Hauser

model Max Hauser

Though this model is extremely handsome, I think he could blend in with normal people… maybe?

So thinking of these two characters, I think the cover artist did a great job with matching them:

Cover by Catt Ford

Cover by Catt Ford

What do you think? How important is it for you to have a visual of the characters you are reading? Do you notice or care when the cover does not match the characters as they are described in the text? Or do you prefer to imagine characters your own way?

Release Day Party! Night Vision

February 18, 2015

Hi!

I am so excited! Today my Paranormal Novella Night Vision is finally out.  Look at the cool cover:

Cover by Catt Ford

Cover by Catt Ford

Nice, right? I am happy with it :)

I wasn’t sure what to talk about here, then I remembered what one of my friends said after she found out I had written a few books. She asked where I got the ideas for stories. She said, to her, that was the most unimaginable thing – coming up with ideas, and characters, and new plots.

So I decided it might be best here to begin at the beginning, with how I came up with this story concept. And since Dreamspinner totally let me takeover this blog (haha!) I will just ramble on about it in my own weird way.

Here is how it happened for Night Vision: I was sitting in my yard last summer, watching my kids play, and I looked up at our big oak tree. (I love that tree.) Anyway, a funny thought struck me – what if there was someone in the tree, watching, or hunting? Some kind of creature… And then my mind wandered about that for a while.

I imagined a scene, with two characters. One, in the tree (or maybe on a rooftop?) and the other, on the ground, who notices. And I thought, wouldn’t it be more interesting if, instead of being surprised or nervous, the character on the ground is more just irritated or mildly accepting? Like: “oh,” *eye roll* “he’s up in that tree again.”   And it was that imaginary scene that sparked the idea for Night Vision.

My character, Theron, climbs to high places, and my character Alex is the one who notices. I think they are a super cute couple. (My next blog post here is all about them!) But the entire story really started with that one picture in my mind, of a person in a tree and another on the ground, and I built the story around it. That is only my silly method of story creation, and I am sure there are as many ways to come up with a story idea as there are writers!

Do you write yourself? How do you get your story ideas?

What intrigues you most about the books you read? Is it creating the worlds and characters, or forming the complex plots? For me, I am always so impressed with authors who write mysteries, the way they can insert clues and hints into the narrative in ways that I don’t even notice, until it all adds up at the end. I think that is so cool!

How about you? Do you wonder at the writing process, or just enjoy the story?

Music and books

February 12, 2015

Here’s the link to my The Shifters part 1 book trailer – check it out! I had a lot of fun making it and it is office appropriate.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDh7v193dFE&feature=youtu.be

 

Let me know what you think! Good, bad, meh? Be honest!

I plan to do another trailer when all of Part 2 is published.

 

I often listen to music when I write and it’s often instrumental – but not just any instrumental. I love EPIC music!

 

I listened to the following groups a lot when I wrote “Hearts and Minds” and they are very inspiring, and I don’t have to focus on them, like I do if there are lyrics. They fade into the background but not all the way.

 

A couple of my favorites are: Two Steps from Hell, E.S. Posthumus, and Mary McLaughlin (piano, Irish).

Here are some links to my favorite albums on YouTube. (all work appropriate – you’re welcome)

Two Steps from Hell: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7B16C924C1FAD7BD

E.S. Posthumus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmbuwZXtsS0

 

My question to you is – What music do you listen to: to write, read, clean the bathroom, whatever? Fav artists, music groups, musicians…? I want to know!

 

-M.D.

Future books in The Shifters series

February 12, 2015

Hello! I’m still here promoting my newest release “Hearts and Minds” – the sequel to “Healing Minds” book 5 of my The Shifters series. http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6031

 

Hearts and Mind-seqel

 

And also, don’t forget to check out my other books in the series here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/md-grimm

 

Since the books are all dependent upon each other and grow more so as the series progresses, I’d suggest reading from book #1 if you haven’t already.

 

To wet your anticipation for the future: “The Serpent and the Angel” (book 8) will be released on March 27th (I have another DSP blog scheduled that day), “Ghosts of Halloween Past” (sequel to “Blind Devotion”) will be released in October, and I’m working on book 9 “Predator and Prey” (who likes sharks?). Then I will swing out of the “past” and be firmly in the present for later books.

 

“Ghost of Halloween Past” will focus around Halloween and I think you’ll be surprised by the secret Travis has been keeping from Jack about what happened to them years before the events in “Blind Devotion” (book 3).

 

“Predator and Prey” (book 9) is only half done and currently frustrating the hell out me. But, it’s all worth it. I know I will love this story when it’s finished. The greatest challenge was the research I had to do for it. I predict I will soon become an expert when it comes to the skill of research. J

 

And for those curious, the strong Agent Poe will return. He’s scheduled for book #12, I believe.

 

Just a reminder, if you want to know more of my plans for this series, check out my blog here: http://www.mdgrimmwrites.com/#!Shifters-explained/c1o5e/3AB7F857-F8F4-4032-829D-A151576ED328

 

That’s where I put all the info you could ever want to know about The Shifters series.

 

What is your idea of a romantic night with your significant other?

 

-M.D.

Xavier and Josh – so in love!

February 12, 2015

Hello and welcome to my release day party! I’m here promoting my newest release: “Hearts and Minds.”

Xavier is so in love with Josh and the intensity is indescribable. He truly sees Josh as his savior and in some respects he is. But because of that he might get a wee bit overprotective, which can lead to some interesting moments… some of which are in “Hearts and Minds.” See what I did there?

 

I’m very proud of this book and where I leave my guys at the end. But another reason I really enjoyed this book is that it takes place in my favorite place of all time: Haven, Montana. A town founded by shifters for shifters. Who wouldn’t want to live in a town where someone could shift into a wolf or fox or cat anytime they wanted to right in front of your eyes? Because it’s in Haven, Sheriff Jack and his mate Travis (“Blind Devotion” book 3) make cameos. It was fun running into them again.

 

For those of you wondering, Haven will be a vital location in later books. I’m sure some of you smarties already guessed that.

 

Also, for those curious, I do plan on 20ish books in this series, and I hope you all join me for the ride! I will have 5 parts with 3-5 books in each. I have a climactic battle planned in the last one (of course) that I hope you all will enjoy! It’s very possible that Xavier and Josh will pop up again in later books. I love having cameos of previous characters.

 

And now another excerpt!

 

 

“I should take a shower,” Xavier murmured even as he tugged Josh against him, his hands cupping Josh’s butt.

“No, I want to smell you,” Josh said. He then literally jumped into Xavier’s arms and wrapped his arms and legs around him. Xavier staggered backward in surprise but recovered quickly. Josh smashed his mouth against Xavier’s, and Xavier thrust his tongue into his mouth. Groaning, Josh yanked the tie out of Xavier’s hair and drove his fingers through the black locks as Xavier squeezed Josh’s ass. Josh rubbed his encased erection against Xavier’s stomach.

“Hell yes,” Xavier growled as he carried Josh to the bed and laid him down. Josh yanked off Xavier’s tank, needing to feel hot flesh. His fingers dug into Xavier’s back, feeling the muscles, the strong bones. Xavier was so strong and ruthless, but also so loving. Josh kissed Xavier’s corded neck, moving lower, licking his sweat and sucking the skin lightly.

Xavier shivered and groaned. “Jesus Christ, Josh. I’ve missed you.”

Josh had never felt such need in his life, this sense of urgency. Perhaps it was the fact that they could be interrupted at any moment, or perhaps the knowledge that Xavier hadn’t been inside Josh for far so long. Josh suddenly needed him, right then. He needed to feel his strength, to feel that connection again. Xavier was Josh’s first and only, and Josh craved him like a dying man does water.

Xavier pulled off Josh’s shirt before unzipping Josh’s pants. Rearing up, Josh began kissing Xavier’s arms, and the muscles quivered under his touch, the skin heated under his palms. Josh had to taste all of him; he had to love all of him.

When Xavier gripped Josh’s exposed erection, Josh fell back on the bed with a gasp. Xavier stroked him with one hand as his other continued to push Josh’s pants down his legs. Josh stared and groaned at Xavier, whose eyes were bright gold, lust and need naked within them. He really, really loved Xavier’s eyes.

Xavier lowered his head—

“Xavier, Josh! Come quick!” The voice sounded distant, as if down the hall or stairs, but they both heard it clearly.

They both froze for half a second before Xavier pushed off the bed, his eyes now flashing a dark green, his skin rippling as if he was fighting the urge to shift.

Josh felt just as pissed as Xavier and actually growled. “What the fuck is going on?” he demanded.

“They better have a fucking good reason,” Xavier growled, sounding more like a wolf than Josh ever could.

“Xavier, Josh!” The voice became louder, and then someone pounded frantically on their door.

Xavier yanked it open even as Josh got out of the line of sight and tugged his pants back on.

“What is it, Misty?” Xavier demanded.

“I’m so sorry, but it’s Allen, he’s—”

“Allen?” Josh grabbed his shirt from where Xavier had tossed it on the floor and ran to the doorway. He saw the panic and fear in Misty’s eyes, and the last of his raging lust died. His own fear rose up to replace it.

“What happened?” Xavier asked.

 

 

What will happen next? You’ll have to purchase the book to find out… http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6031

 

Don’t forget to post comments and give me some of your own questions! I’m ready!

 

-M.D. Grimm

Shifters are fun

February 12, 2015

I don’t re-read my published stories as a rule since there is always something I want to fix, and I can’t. But “Healing Minds” is one of the rare exceptions. I just like the “getting-to-know-you” portion of the book which is literally all of it. I enjoy the journey they took and the way they began to depend on each other. But I felt as though they needed another chance in the limelight, which is why I picked them for a sequel. Some couples I can step away from and feel satisfied that their stories are completely told, but others I have to return to. I find it amusing that “Healing Minds” was the book I least wanted to write, but ended up becoming one of my favorites. Typical, right?

 

“Hearts and Minds” http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6031

was longer than I expected it to be, but that’s never a bad thing in my opinion. It simply means I had a full story to tell.

 

If you wish to know more about The Shifters series and my future plans for it, check out my blog at: http://www.mdgrimmwrites.com/#!Shifters-explained/c1o5e/3AB7F857-F8F4-4032-829D-A151576ED328

 

I explain everything you could ever want to know about my direction for the series (without spoiling too many of the surprises).

 

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? If so, how?

 

-M.D.