January 3, 2015
Sarah here, ONE MORE TIME!
Check out Riverfront Park in the daylight. Nice, huh? This is where Aaron and Ramón like to go running. Hot, sweaty, beautiful men, pretty flowers. Perfect.
OK, that was totally random, though I really love that run-through-the-park scene.
If you’ve enjoyed your jaunt through Spokane with the boys and would like to see more, feel free to check out the other stops on our blog tour. Here they are:
January 2 (I know, that was yesterday but you can still check it out.) Interview with J. Scott Coatsworth at www.queerscifi.com
January 4 Visit with Tracy St. John, Queen of Kalqorians at Wicked Words, www.tracystjohn.blogspot.com (Sexiest aliens ever! I own every book.)
January 5 Guest blog with Tara Lain, creator of the Harker Pack series, among other amazing books http://taralain.com.
January 6 Guest blog with Dreamspinner author Anne Barwell at Drops of Ink http://anne-barwell.livejournal.com.
January 7 Guest spot with Tempeste O’Riley, (wait a minute while I go all fangirl over her Designs of Desire series. Sweet and kinky-hot at the same time. Awesome. OK, we can go on now.) http://tempesteoriley.com/blog/
January 12 Guest spot with Elizabeth Noble on Emotion in Motion http://www.elizabeth-noble.com
If you want to know more about our weird and wonderful publishing journey or our books, both out and in progress, feel free to check out our own web site www.sbradybooks.com, like us on Facebook at SBradyBooks or follow us on Twitter @sbradybooks.
It’s been a long day of Book Release Excitement but it’s time to wrap it up. The prize winner will be contacted tomorrow. Thanks so much to Dreamspinner Press for letting us have the blog today. Thanks to Tricia, our senior editor, and all the other editors who helped knock Sweet Fire into shape to publish, and to Paul and Haley and Rose and Naomi and all the rest of the Dreamspinner team. We couldn’t have done this without your help. Andrew Grey, because we love your books, we forgive you for making off with our original title. If we had to lose it, it’s an honor to lose it to you. (The working title of this book was Fire and Water and now we know why DSP made us change it.)
I hope everyone enjoyed this peek into Sweet Fire. We’ll leave you with my favorite scene out of everything I’ve ever written, where Ramón takes Aaron to his favorite bear bar and we find out Ramón’s not so uptight after all. Good night everybody and thanks for stopping by.
Ramón set a pair of tall green glasses on the table and slid onto the stool at right angles to his own chair, facing the dance floor.
“So you come here now and then, do you?”
Ramón’s cheek twitched. “Maybe a little more often than that.” He scanned the room and nodded at yet another person waving at him. “Most of the gay contingent of the county’s cops, firefighters, and EMTs come here. The band has a regular gig here too. They’re pretty good.”
“I bet they are, but the next time you say you’ve been somewhere a few times, I’ll have to assume you’re full of shit.”
Ramón grinned at him and raised his glass in a toast just as the sound system roared to life. The bass player plucked out an opening riff that had Ramón jerking his head around to stare at him, then dropping his face into his hand. Concerned, Aaron put a hand to his shoulder. What the hell? He didn’t understand what was going on until the bass player stopped and the lead singer stepped up to the mike.
“Looks like we have some old friends in the crowd tonight!” The man’s voice was deep and smoke-raspy, and he was looking right at their table. Ramón looked up and shook his head, clearly telling the man no way.
“Del Rio!” The massive drummer had a massive voice, and the chant was quickly picked up, first by the band and Ramón’s loud friends at the bar, then by the rest of the patrons.
“Rio! Rio! Rio!” Ramón pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes for a minute while Aaron stared incredulously. It was obvious as soon as they walked in that Ramón was well known here, but he certainly never expected anything like this.
It quickly became clear that the noise wasn’t going to stop until the man did whatever the hell it was they wanted. Ramón slid off his chair and touched Aaron’s cheek with an apologetic smile, then turned and walked quickly to the stage, while the chant turned into a roar of whistles and cheers. Merciful gods! Aaron watched in stunned amazement as Ramón, solid, serious Ramón set one hand on the edge of the stage and vaulted onto it. He stood with his back to the room for a long moment, plucking in what Aaron assumed was a nervous tic at the buttons at the cuffs and the front of his shirt.
Shocked as he was to see his quiet lover leap onto the stage, he was still unprepared for what came next. The oldies bass riff came again, and Ramón turned quickly around, ripping off his shirt at the same time. The dark cotton shirt drifted to the stage floor, leaving Ramón in a thin wifebeater tank that gleamed whitely against his beautiful copper-brown skin. Aaron tried to swallow with his suddenly dry throat and gulped at his sticky drink.
Somehow the smooth baritone voice was the least shocking part of this whole incredible experience. As a soulful rendition of “Stand By Me” rolled over him, Ramón held his eyes, and the rest of the room faded completely away.
The first verse and the chorus came to him from the stage, and then, miraculously, unbelievably, it got even better. On the second verse, as the rest of the band started a smooth vocal backup, Ramón took the small headset that the lead handed him and started down the stage stairs. His eyes never left Aaron’s as he prowled down the steps and skirted the dance floor toward their small table.
The second chorus came, intense and soulful, and Ramón’s hand slid down Aaron’s throat and chest, taking all the air out of his lungs in the process. He struggled to breathe as the instrumental break gave Ramón an opportunity to lean in and run his mouth butterfly light along Aaron’s jaw and over the sensitive spot under his ear. The tiny headset mike his lover wore picked up a faint echo of two pounding heartbeats that blended seamlessly with the heavy bass line. By the time he pulled away, it was all Aaron could do to let him go, watching with his heart in his throat, tears in his eyes, and all the blood in his body in his jeans. The final chorus brought Ramón back up to the stage, moving back up the stairs with that panther-like grace that kept the eye of every man in the room riveted to his magnificent body.
The song ended, and the crowd went wild. Aaron hardly heard any of it as he sat frozen in his chair, gripping his hideous green glass with one hand and pressing the other to his chest, trying to get his rioting pulse under control. An erratic flame danced wildly in the glass candleholder. Suddenly Ramón was there, sweeping him out of his seat and into his arms to a fresh surge of whistles and cheers from the crowd. The band started a new song, without Ramón this time, and the two of them moved effortlessly together on the dance floor. As the space filled up with grinding, gyrating men, Ramón’s mouth came down over his, and Aaron knew, without a doubt, that the happily-ever-after he’d been waiting for all his life was right here in his arms.
January 3, 2015
Hello again! Shannen here. I wanted to talk about the number one thing I get asked about at conferences, meetings, and speaking engagements: writing romance with my mother.
When I go to author events, the question is inevitable. “You write WHAT? With your MOM?” It’s usually accompanied by a face that looks something like this:
Yup. I write romance with my mom, and I understand why so many people think it’s odd. Most people don’t want to think of their mom and sex in the same sentence, let alone collaborate on steamy stories.
I think what sets us apart is a few things. One, my utter lack of filter. You know that shut-up filter you have in the front of your brain that keeps you from saying awkward, personal or embarrassing things? Yeah, I don’t really have one of those. At least, not with my mom. For as long as I can remember, we’ve talked about everything without much awkwardness. Two, I think the fact that I exist is proof that my mother isn’t exactly a stranger to sexy-time. My mom isn’t easily rattled. Not much embarrasses her, so I’d have to come up with something pretty kinky in order to give her pause.
The biggest thing is just that we write what we like to read. And we both like to read romances. Did the first few sex scenes have us tying ourselves in knots? Yes. Do I still sometimes feel the need to say “ew” in her presence? I’m working on it. Neither of us are willing to give up writing cool books in order to save ourselves from a little discomfort – and that discomfort has dissipated pretty quickly.
P.S. Most people like sex. And that’s a good thing.
So…does anyone else have a mom who wouldn’t wash your mouth out with soap if you wrote a hot romance novel for her to edit? Anyone have adult offspring who wouldn’t run away screaming? We can’t be the only weird family out there. OK, maybe we are. (Opportunity to win a prize here.)
Here’s another peek into our story. Ramón has a nightmare, re-living his run-in with Homeland Security….
“Mr. Del Rio, you don’t seem to understand the position you’re in. You have no power here. Since you haven’t been arrested, there are no records of you being taken into custody. You’re nothing, and as far as the US government is concerned, you were never here.”
Ramón’s blood surged with anger and fear.
“You bastard! You have no right to hold me without charge. I’m an American citizen, and I know my rights. I don’t have to say jack shit to you, and I want a lawyer, right the fuck now!”
The agent reached into his jacket, and fabric tore as he yanked out a leather billfold. He slapped it hard onto the table between them. Ramón recoiled as spit flew from the man’s mouth.
“This gives me the right, asshole! In case you’re too stupid to read it, it says Homeland Security. This says I can do any damn thing I want to you, and no lawyer will ever know you exist. Terrorists, both foreign and domestic, have taken away your precious rights.”
Ramón’s bowels turned to ice, and he stared in horror at the gleaming gold badge and laminated card. Sweet Jesus Christ, Alex. What have you gotten me into?
The man straightened, returning his ID to his pocket and combing his fingers through oily black hair. The other agent didn’t move. His interrogator moved silently around behind Ramón’s back. Chained to the table as he was, he couldn’t turn and keep an eye his tormenter. His scalp prickled at the feeling of the man leaning in close to whisper in his ear.
“Where is she, Del? Can I call you Del? That’s what your friends at the hospital call you, right? That’s what your partner calls you? Del? Just tell us where Alexandra is, and you’ll walk on out of here right now. Tell us about the cop at the hospital.” The man ran a soft hand down the back of Ramón’s neck, and he couldn’t suppress the shiver of revulsion that rolled through him. The voice continued in that reasonable tone.
“By now your family must be wondering where you are. We wouldn’t want your sister to worry, now would we?”
Fuck, fuck, fuck! Ramón twisted in the chair, trying to get out from under that petting hand. “You leave my sister out of this, you son of a bitch. She doesn’t know anything. She’s never even met Alex.”
“Well, I hope that’s true, Del. In that case, she has nothing to worry about. Except, of course, about whatever happened to her little brother. It’d be too bad if she never knew, don’t you think, Agent Smith?”
The blond behemoth stirred for the first time in hours. He pushed himself off the wall with a grunt and crossed the room to stand behind Ramón. Shit. Ramón tensed his muscles and kept his eyes glued to the scratched steel tabletop. There was no way in hell he would betray Alex to these freaks. In three years of working together, her Healing Gift had saved countless lives. She was a good person, no matter what these bastards said, and she was a good friend. And Tyler Kincaid was a good cop. Ramón tried to push his memory of the two of them out of his mind. He’d tell these sons of bitches nothing. Sooner or later they’d get tired of asking and figure out that he didn’t know where she was anyway. He’d never talk.
Eventually they did get tired of asking. He never did talk. But he did scream.
January 3, 2015
Hi again. Sarah here. Now that it’s midmorning in our part of the world and we’re thinking about food, I thought I’d share with you Aaron’s favorite chocolate cream puff recipe. Ramón’s quite a chocolate fiend and Aaron doesn’t hesitate to exploit that weakness, using food to reel his reluctant man in. He brings gourmet goodies to the hospital as Ramón is getting ready to start his shift as a paramedic, charming not only Ramón but all his EMT co-workers as well.
Sweet Nothings Mini Chocolate Cream Puffs
½ cup water
½ cup whole milk
½ c unsalted butter (cut into pieces)
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large saucepan, bring water and butter to a boil Add salt and flour all at once and stir until a mixture forms a smooth ball. Remove from heat and add eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each one. Drop batter by level teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Immediately split each puff and cool on wire rack. Remove any soft dough in the center.
7 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
3 cups cold heavy whipping cream
¼ cup sugar
Chop chocolate into small bits (if not using chocolate chips) and set aside
Combine 1 ½ cups cream with sugar and heat to just barely boiling, then pour over chocolate. Whisk until combined and chocolate is melted. Refrigerate to cool completely. Once cooled, whip chocolate mixture with remains of heavy cream until smooth and fluffy.
Pipe chocolate cream into pastry puffs. A drizzle of dark, milk or white chocolate is optional. Top with a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Anyone who answers one of our questions today will be entered to win a gift basket of locally made Spokane yumminess, including Bruttles’ signature soft peanut brittle. The treat was originally invented 60 years ago for the turn down service in the beautiful Davenport Hotel. Food of the gods, I swear. Goodie bag also includes Huckleberry coffee, chocolate covered huckleberries, mocha espresso bark and a sampling of locally made sweets to die for. Retail value over $30 but priceless if you live outside Spokane and can’t get any.
First question for you: Anyone out there ever been courted with food? Ever tried to impress a date with your awesome culinary skills? How’d it go?
(I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours. My Thanksgiving stinkbug story’s pretty epic. Fortunately that one’s over 30 years old. I can almost look my in-laws in the eyes by now.)
Excerpt – Ramón’s being Mr. Grumpy Pants, though it doesn’t stop him from pigging out:
“Ohgodohgodohgod!” The sighs and low curses coming from around the table already sounded more like an orgy than breakfast, but Terrell Sato’s sultry groan rose above the general noise. They both turned to watch in amazement as Terrell finished sucking the cream filling out of the end of one of the little éclairs with an orgasmic shudder. Ramón shot Aaron an embarrassed look and caught him staring at Sato’s performance with wide eyes. A faint pink flush highlighted his chiseled cheekbones. For some reason that was really annoying.
“Oh, come on. It wasn’t that hot.”
Aaron responded with a slight shrug but didn’t stop watching Terrell chase the last of the cream on his lips with his tongue.
“Yeah, it kind of was.”
The rest of the crew was watching the show now too, some with grins, a couple with grimaces of distaste, and a few of both sexes with eyes as wide as Aaron’s. Oh, enough already.
“Sato, you’re not even an EMT. What the hell are you doing here?” Terrell was a nurse in the ER and really shouldn’t be in this room anyway.
“I’m on escort duty. You don’t think your friend here got past security with all this just ’cause he’s cute, now do you?” Terrell prowled toward them, stripping their visitor naked with his eyes the whole way. “Though I would have let him in even without the goodies.”
Apparently the food supply was running low, because more of the greedy piglets had stopped scarfing long enough to play along.
“I would have let him come in too.”
“For food like this, I would have let him do anything he wanted.”
“For this, I would have let him marry me.” This from a woman who knew damn well she’d never have to deliver.
“For this, I would have let him do me in the broom closet.” That, surprisingly, was from a man who wasn’t Terrell.
Aaron was eating it up, blushing bright red and laughing hysterically as the offers got more and more outrageous. It seemed the whole EMT staff was made up of food whores who’d do anything for a cream puff. Ramón found himself chewing hard on the inside of his lip to keep from joining in. These clowns weren’t nearly as funny as they thought they were, but this man was positively stunning when he smiled like that. Still, he was more trouble than he was worth, and that hadn’t changed. It wouldn’t do to encourage him.
P.S. – Terrell Sato’s story is book 3 in the series. Stay tuned…
Click here to go to our web site and see descriptions of Terrell’s story and all the other books in our Gifted and Gifts of Fate series. Just don’t forget to come back and give us a food story to get your entry to the goodie drawing.
January 3, 2015
Good Morning. It’s finally here!!! (pause while I do a really silly happy dance…….. OK, I’m back. Sorry.) We’re so stoked about the release of Sweet Fire. That’s partly because it’s our first Dreamspinner book and partly because we both just love these characters so much. I’m thrilled to finally get to share them.
Don’t get confused if you hear me say “I” or “We” interchangeably. We are a mother/daughter team and we write paranormal romance, both m/m and m/f, together. I’m Sarah, the mom part of the team. Shannen will be chiming in off and on throughout the day and we’ll try to make it clear who’s talking. There will be lots of opportunities later today to fill you in on the details of how and why a family would do something so weird as to write steamy romance together but I want to get to the really good stuff first. Let’s have a look at the book.
Love this beautiful Christy Caughie cover, yeah? That night scene is Riverfront Park in Spokane, Washington.
Between Homeland Security’s Gifted Agenda and the bigotry of a fearful populace, having paranormal Gifts is a dangerous thing. Pyrokinetic Aaron Flores knows firsthand how difficult it can be to control his power. Still, he runs his bakery and never gives up on finding his Happily Ever After. When Aaron’s cousin asks him to check on her former EMT partner, Aaron’s chance has finally arrived. He’s determined not to let anything stop him from catching (and keeping) his man.
Ramón Del Rio spent three days at the tender mercies of HOMSEC agents when his former partner was taken. He wants nothing to do with a Gifted guy, but Aaron is nothing if not persistent. He’s a pastry chef after all, and the way to a man’s heart really is through his stomach. The physical passion they share is the icing on the cake. Just when Ramón decides that having Gifts might not be a deal breaker, someone close to Aaron decides his fire needs to be put out—permanently. Ramón will have to face his fears to save them both.
“I hear we had company this afternoon.”
Sophia’s voice was amused, and Victoria hid her face behind her napkin with a giggle as Ramón glared at her. He was going to have to tread carefully here. There was no way he was going to discuss Alex’s escape from Homeland Security in front of the girls. He held his sister’s eyes for a long moment. Her sculpted eyebrows rose, but she nodded. He’d still have to fill her in, but it would wait until the girls weren’t around. Too bad Victoria didn’t share her mother’s discretion.
“He was super cute, mama, with fancy hair, and he had sparkles on the pockets of his jeans, just like mine.”
Sophia’s eyebrows rose again. “Really? A cute gay guy comes to visit you, and you didn’t even invite him in? That’s not very good manners at all, brother.”
Both girls laughed hysterically to hear Uncle Ramón getting “told” by Mama, and six-year-old Adelina’s singing was gleeful.
“Un-cle’s in trou-ble.”
“That’s enough of that, Adel. Eat your dinner.” Ramón kept his voice calm. She was being rude, and singing at the table was against Sophia’s rules, but it wasn’t that much of an offense. Most of his aggravation was with himself and the flush of heat that ran through his body at the thought of this afternoon’s visitor.
“We just had to talk about a few things, that’s all. I don’t imagine he’ll be back.” Too bad, though. It’s a damn shame an ass that fine should turn out to be on a Gifted guy. Ramón turned his attention back to his food, but the girls weren’t finished with him yet.
“I think he should come back and you should go out with him. You need a boyfriend.”
Jesus, Victoria. Ramón choked and tried not to spray iced tea across the kitchen table while Sophia cracked up. He never made any secret of the fact that he was gay, but he didn’t rub anyone’s nose in it either. He certainly never brought men around the girls. Victoria eyed him smugly across the table, but Adelina only looked confused.
“Why would you need a boyfriend, Uncle Ramón, instead of a girlfriend?”
Oh, jeez. Here we go. Adel was so cute sitting there with her thick black curls, her mouth covered in enchilada sauce and her perfect eyebrows wrinkled in confusion. Ramón sucked in a breath, stalling for time while his mind raced in circles, trying to figure out just how much to say. Thank heaven, Sophia rescued him.
“Adelina, Uncle Ramón doesn’t like women in that way. He’d rather have a boyfriend.”
Now Victoria choked and snorted milk out of her nose. For a minute he was able to occupy himself mopping up and patting her on the back, but eventually he had to look at Adelina. Sophia’s littlest sat there with her messy little mouth pursed thoughtfully for a long moment. Then her expression cleared.
“I don’t blame you, Uncle Ramón. I’d rather have a boyfriend too. Tommy Adkins says he wants to be my boyfriend, and he gave me one of his cookies at snack time yesterday. Can I watch my princess movie now?”
That’s it? That’s all there is to it? Ramón shared an incredulous smile with his sister. Still grinning, Sophia shrugged and got up to start the movie. I guess that’s all there is when you’re six.
Too bad things got more complicated once you grew up. Ramón got up and started cleaning the table, and he couldn’t help but think how long it had been since he’d had a boyfriend. Since his run-in with HOMSEC, he hadn’t even been to his usual club for dancing or a quick hookup. The image of his hot visitor popped into his head in spite of his best efforts to keep it out. The guy smells like sugar and works in a bakery. I bet he’d give a good “cookie.”
We’ll be giving away some yummy goodies today. Come back and see us a little later for a chance to win and to get the recipe for Sweet Nothings’ Sweet Shoppe’s signature chocolate cream puffs (or How to Win Your Man – Lesson 1.) Yum!
December 26, 2014
Whoa, would you just look at the time! My time taking over the Dreamspinner Blog is nearly up!
I’d like to thank you all for stopping by today and helping me celebrate the release of Playing Hard To Forget! It’s been a real pleasure from start to finish getting this book out to the world. Dreamspinner has been amazing and they are a Florida based company, so it was great getting to work with a local company to help to support our economy!
And I’ll be making more rounds in March, when my second Dreamspinner story, tentatively titled “Something To Die For,” comes out!
Be sure to check out Playing Hard To Forget, my debut novel with Dreamspinner Press, out TODAY, December 26, 2014. I hope I’ve given everyone some insight into the story and some interesting tidbits on how it came to be.
I’m going to open up this posts for any questions you may have about me or my book or what I’m working on next or even random questions like “where should I eat on my trip to Orlando next February?”
Don’t forget to comment on the music post for your chance to win a copy of Playing Hard To Forget!
December 26, 2014
It all started with Peter Murphy.
Now, wait a hot second, Piper. You said it started with Doctor Who.
Just go with it.
Playing Hard To Forget all started with Peter Murphy.
I adore 80s music. I really do. But, like most people my age, my knowledge of 80s music came from two places: vague memories from early childhood and VH1’s I Love the 80s. There were large gaps in my education of 80s New Wave. A few years ago I was driving around when an awesome sounding song came on my satellite radio. Indigo Eyes. I’d never heard it before but it immediately struck a chord with me (get it? Chord? Music? Ok moving on). I’d been struggling with the characterization of my two mains in Playing Hard To Forget. They weren’t as easy to create as the characters around them. They needed a depth I hadn’t found yet, but as soon as I heard Indigo Eyes, my Ethan had a new layer almost immediately. I ran home and downloaded the song and played it over and over as I story boarded Ethan’s journey.
And about the same time I had my “Don’t Forget Me” revelation, I was dragged by a dear friend into that terrible, awful 5th circle of hell conveniently located in every suburban mall in America: Hot Topic. It was there I heard the voice of the goddess Siouxsie Sioux singing a cover of Bob Dylan’s This Wheel’s On Fire. And suddenly everything became so clear. “If your memory serves you well.” It was life-changing. Why the fates decided to pause the System of a Down long enough to play some good music that day, I’ll never know.
The third song with a large hand in the plot comes to us from Canada (Now, if you know me well, you know Canada is important in our family. I birthed two French-Canadian children, made with my French-Canadian husband whose Canadian roots go back over 400 years. Our last name is Canadian, forged in the fires of a Tim Horton’s hot oil fryer. He is part Scottish, but, for the most part, I’ve broken the Scottish bloodline. Go me). It’s by an indie band called Folly and the Hunter–Moth in the Porchlight. The song is incredible. And it’s Ethan and Liam…and Fiona, Ethan’s sister. Hearing it for the first time was, like, boom, cancel my meetings for the rest of the day. I have to go home and write.
Other songs had a hand in the creation of Playing Hard To Forget. I’m posting the list here and a link to a YouTube playlist. If any song here appeals to you, I heartily encourage you to check out the band and support them by buying tons of their music.
Indigo Eyes–Peter Murphy
No One Knows–Queens of the Stone Age
Rather Be–The Verve
The Passenger–Siouxsie and the Banshees
Never Let Me Down Again–Depeche Mode
High on a Riverbed–Toad the Wet Sprocket
The Sweetest Drop–Peter Murphy
Never Tear Us Apart–INXS
Born To Ruin–The Wildlife
Space and Time–The Verve
Sick, Sick, Sick–Queens of the Stone Age
Under the Milky Way–The Church
Skin on Skin–Queens of the Stone Age
Burn the Witch–Queens of the Stone Age
Hope–Toad the Wet Sprocket
This Wheel’s on Fire–Siouxsie and the Banshees
Moth in the Porchlight–Folly and the Hunter
And now it’s time for an excerpt!
The distant snap of a twig from about ten yards back confirmed his suspicions, but he stayed on his own target and squeezed off the last shot of the round and it effectively left him unarmed. He stood and turned toward the sound, but the dense pine and oak did not afford him the best view. He bent back down to lock the safety and left the edge of the clearing to venture deeper into the forest.
He did not have to walk far before he heard it—the smooth, snarky tone and now familiar voice-over of his new and very explicit fantasies. “Looking for me?”
Ethan whipped around to find Liam leaning against a tree as if he owned the goddamned forest. He put on his best nonchalant face, which of course was going to fool absolutely no one.
“I thought it might be a bear.” Immediate and total regret washed over him. Stupid answers were beneath him. He was twenty years old, damn it.
Liam moved like a cheetah, and he was inches away from Ethan in the span of a breath. “Now, now. Ethan. Ignoring the fact that I can hear your heart and smell your hormones, why would you go after a bear unarmed?”
“I—I wasn’t looking for you, I….” Stammering was also beneath him. How could he let this guy—this wolf—do this to him?
Liam looked amused. “Come on, Ethan. You think I haven’t seen you all week? Walking twice a day through the field where we met? Taking wild detours through the forests? You’ve been looking for me all week. And here I am. And you left your weapon behind. I’m flattered, Ethan, really.”
“You’ve been following me?” His chest was tight, but it was not from embarrassment as much as it was anticipation.
“Yes.” No lies. No stammering around the truth. Liam was unapologetic.
“All this week? Everywhere?” Ethan blushed at the thought of what Liam might have seen in that week.
Liam snorted. “Now, Ethan. I do have a life.” He leaned in close to Ethan’s ear, and Ethan silently blamed the heat coming off Liam reacting with his cold sweat for the long shiver.
“But I’ve followed you enough. Tell me, are you thinking of me when you’re alone in your bedroom? God, I hope so, because that face you make when you come, I’d really like to see that face when you’re under me. I’d like to make you come myself instead of watching you think of me from a distance.” He backed up and blinked slowly, and watched Ethan for a reaction.
Ethan tried to shake the fog of confusion and arousal and opened his mouth to speak, but not before he heard Fiona in the distance yelling for him.
Liam rolled his eyes and sighed. “I guess that’s my cue, isn’t it, Ethan? Can’t have daddy and little sister knowing about our little secret, can we?”
He turned to leave, but stopped short. “Still, it isn’t fair leaving you this way.” Liam smirked and raised an eyebrow as he surveyed Ethan. “No, you need something new to think about tonight.”
And before Ethan knew what was happening, Liam’s lips were on his. It was hot—literally and figuratively—and Liam’s lips were soft and tasted of the same earthy tang Liam smelled of on the day they’d met. Ethan relaxed into it faster than he liked and he let Liam’s tongue explore his own. He didn’t need Liam to tell him his heart was racing. He could feel it kick against his rib cage, and it served to spur Liam on.
Liam’s hands wrapped around the back of Ethan’s neck and he lifted his jaw slightly so Liam could kiss his way down to a spot Ethan’s shirt barely hid. Liam didn’t bite hard enough to break the skin, but there was certainly going to be a mark, more so because Ethan jerked up into it and he did not even care about how weak it made him seem or the noise that escaped when he felt sharp teeth.
Liam came away smiling and admired his masterpiece: red and purple and, in a few minutes from then, in dire need of a quick explanation from Ethan if he couldn’t find a way to cover it up. While Ethan adjusted his shirt as best he could, Liam disappeared beyond the tree line.
I know, right? I’m simply dying to find out what happens next!
Music is such a gigantic part of my life. My next story with Dreamspinner, due out in March 2015, also has a soundtrack with similar revelatory moments behind each song. I was struggling with a plotline for a potential number three the other day when I heard Le Pyromane by Karkwa and my brain went crazy with ideas.
My favorite song ever–my favorite song always–is Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve. I cannot imagine a more perfect song existing. What is your all-time, hands-down favorite song of all time? My favorite wins a paperback edition of Playing Hard To Forget!
December 26, 2014
Playing Hard To Forget all started with Doctor Who.
It actually started with Scotland. A thousand years ago. Brave, handsome Struan Robertson slayed a wolf that threatened the king and was rewarded with money, land, titles, women, fame, and, eventually, a thousand years later, a beautiful red headed descendant, fair of skin and big of ego, who would use his story as the backbone for her debut novel.
But before she decided to tell his story and turn it into a love story for the ages, there was an episode of Doctor Who.
It was a tenth doctor episode called Tooth and Claw and it took place in Scotland. Royalty. Wolves. Saving royalty from wolves. Where have we heard this story before? But there was, as there always is, a twist: Werewolves. Okay, like, alien werewolves, but it’s Doctor Who and we give it a pass.
Our intrepid and clever author watched with glorious side eye as an idea formed in her head. An idea born out of a territorial and possessive drive.
This was not their story to tell.
You can’t just take a family’s story and make up stuff about it.
That, I said, is my right.
The idea simmered and festered for awhile. It was lacking…something. I wanted it to be more than just the old “star crossed lovers” torn apart by family and a millennium-long war ignited when Struan Robertson killed not a wolf, but a werewolf. Then it hit me. Every person has two sides of their history: their mother and their father’s stories. I used my father’s side’s story, but what about my mother’s?
Ne m’oubliez. Latin for “Don’t Forget Me.” The motto of my equally Scottish mother’s family. Ne m’oubliez. What if there was an even bigger force tearing Ethan and Liam apart? What if something happened to make them forget about each other? Don’t Forget Me. How many nightmares have I had where I’ve forgotten my husband? Where he’s just on the edge of my memory but I can’t seem to remember how to find him or that we’re together? It’s a recurring theme in my nightmares and they always terrify me. What if there were someone you know was important to you but you can’t quite make out how? Going to the phone to call but you can’t remember the number? Imagine the frustration of not being able to remember. Ne m’oubliez. It was perfect. My book was born.
Let’s talk. Do you have any great folk tales from your family history? Do you believe them? My family crest tells the tale with wolves heads on pikes and there is some evidence that it happened thanks to name changes and land names. I want to believe that Struan Robertson slayed a wolf and saved the king because how awesome is that?
December 26, 2014
Hello and welcome to Florida.
If you’ve never been to Florida, let me start our tour by assuring you that, yes, everything you have ever heard about it is true. Whatever you’ve heard is true. Snakes, gators, crocodiles, Publix, zombies, sharks, Disney, whatever. It’s true. I just watched a spider the size of my head devour a small bird right outside my window. We’ve got wild lizards 6 feet long, crazy people, and rides. It’s safe to say that Florida is really just Jurassic Park minus Jeff Goldblum.
We’re starting our tour in the dead center of the state. Now, the closer to Disney, the closer to insanity, but if you go beyond the safety of the theme parks, you can actually find some amazing culture hiding out in the small towns of central Florida.
Playing Hard to Forget is set in one of these small towns: Lakeland. Nestled in the heart of a very conservative county smack dab in the middle of the state, it’s home to (obviously) a zillion lakes, twice as many orange groves, and, more to the point of this story, our two main characters, Ethan Robertson and Liam Kinnaird.
Why such a heartland kind of place? Because I went to a very progressive and diverse high school there in the late nineties and it was a place where everyone was not only accepted for who they were, but celebrated for it. I’ve gone back at least once a year since then to visit friends and family and I’ve watched that attitude spread throughout the city and I’m proud to have once called Lakeland home.
Beyond that. it’s a perfect Florida city. Geographically, it’s a crossroads that reflects the north, south, east, and west cultures that make up the state. When we start our story, Ethan lives in the southern part of the city. A little more affluent and modern, but a lot of old money. Liam lives to the north. It’s a bit more rural out there. Lots of farms and fields that eventually give way to forests and the Green Swamp. A perfect place for a family of shifters to live without drawing too much attention to themselves.
Later in the book, there are a few mentions of a place called Bone Valley, which is one of the coolest places in the area. It sits south of the city and is heavily mined for phosphate, but is also one of the best places to find megalodon and rhino teeth fossils (although they have restricted access to the area these days). It’s a fascinating place because it doesn’t even look like Florida.
Even the outfitters Charles owns is based on a real place in the area (probably can’t mention it by name, but if you know Polk County, you know the place), as well as the restaurant Ethan has a funny encounter at (It was called Vito’s and the vintage neon sign above it said “Vito’s–Air Conditioned” so that’s what we all called it before it closed).
We eventually see our characters in cities to the east like Cocoa Beach and to the north, up in the panhandle area, but, to my boys, Lakeland is their home.
Everyone in Playing Hard To Forget is based on a real person in my life. From my insanely abusive father, who made it into the book as Charles Robertson to my high school best friend, who, along with my 11th grade Honors English teacher, influenced my favorite ever side character, Penelope. It was very important to me to put as many real people from my life into this book because, even if they are evil, terrible people, they often have motivations and character traits that are real.
It’s much easier and more satisfying to draw on that one friend you know who would risk his own well-being to help out a friend or your father who believed that he was doing the right thing by trying to beat and berate his children into becoming his perfect idea of a family than to try to create them from scratch and spend time figuring out their back stories. Real people are just so neat. Crazy Floridians even more so.
And let’s not forget that the entire setup for the story is based on a family folk tale (Which I’ll go into in the next post). I drew on a thousand years of people in my life for this one!
So, to anyone who knows me personally, if you think you recognize yourself in a character, you’re welcome. Unless you recognize yourself in Penelope. Then I apologize. But, and you know who you are, that was totally you back in the day, girl. If you’re my father and you’re reading this? I apologize for nothing. This was better than years of therapy.
Let’s talk. Would you be flattered or mortified if you recognized yourself in a book? Do you prefer the authenticity of drawing from real people and their motivations for the things they do? One of my biggest problems with tv these days is that sometimes characters’ motivations don’t line up with how they act and react to things. It’s like showrunners don’t know any real people at all. I’d also love to see your examples of characters who have great reactions relative to their back stories.
December 26, 2014
Okay, my beauties. My name is Piper Doone. Put down the last of the eggnog, because we’re about to have a release party.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are gathered here today to hopefully join you and my book, Playing Hard To Forget released December 26, 2014!
Today I’m going to be talking about the crazy story of how this novel came to be. I’ll be posting the soundtrack listing and how the music really drove the story. I’ll talk a little about the setting and the history of the story. And I’ll also post an excerpt and do a giveaway!
Playing Hard To Forget is my debut novel from Dreamspinner Press. Left to my own devices, I’d probably just tell you it was about hot Scottish boys in love despite every force in the world trying to keep them apart, but Dreamspinner does a much better job summing it up than I do:
Ethan Robertson never asked to be the latest in a long line of werewolf hunters, but the war between his family and the werewolf Kinnairds has raged on for a millennium, and he is expected to fight like all the Robertsons before him. But then he meets Liam Kinnaird, a gorgeous, mysterious werewolf Ethan falls hard for. Despite the danger, they carry on a torrid affair until a terrible explosion destroys everything, including Liam and Ethan’s memories of their time together.
Twenty years later, Ethan is embroiled in battle once again and catches a glimpse of Liam. It triggers intense, erotic dreams that Ethan thinks might not be dreams at all. But he’s never been anything but enemies with Kinnairds. He’s certainly never been in love with one. Or has he?
Like, whoa, pretty cool, right? Stay tuned for an in depth look at the story behind the story!
Let’s get the conversation rolling. It’s the day after Christmas and Hanukkah recently ended. Before we get into the book, how were your holidays? Family is a big theme in Playing Hard To Forget. Mostly, though, it’s about how families can, well, kind of suck. If you were stuck with yours (or your partner’s), did everything go smoothly or did the cops have to come out (again) to settle things?
I’ll also open up the comments to any general questions about me, my writing, my whereabouts on the night of the 10th, what’s my name, who’s my daddy, and is he rich like you?
December 23, 2014
Hello, everybody! I’m Emma Jane and I’m here to chat with you all about my latest novel, Shuttered, which will be released tomorrow! Christmas Eve! I hope you’re all ready for Christmas? Shuttered would make a nice last minute gift.
Here’s the blurb:
When wildlife and landscape photographer Daniel Hopson gets a reading from clairvoyant Rowan Foster at a local craft fair, he quickly realizes it’s a con. But he sees the charm behind the chancer’s façade, and so rather than expose him, he starts to date him—only to discover that some of Rowan’s other cons are far more serious.
The so-called psychic owes ten thousand pounds to two men after deceitfully claiming to be able to find the body of their murdered mother. Daniel must help Rowan recover the genuine gift he possessed in childhood and contact the spirits before the men catch up to them—and the key to doing so might be Daniel’s telepathic connection with his dog Sasha.
You can buy it here.
A few years ago I wrote a short story called ‘My Life and the Pigeon’ which was published in an anthology called Literary Foray. It was about a man who could communicate with a pigeon. I liked the voice of the character, and I love the idea of someone being able to communicate with an animal so I decided I’d write something longer (and more romantic) along the same lines.
Initially, the animal was going to be a squirrel. I’m not sure why. I came to my senses though, and realised a dog would be more logical and would allow the story to move forward. So, Sasha the springer spaniel was born.
Photography is a hobby of mine, so my MC Daniel became a photographer. Another huge love of mine is the paranormal. I often go on ghost hunts (though, like Daniel, I’m a sceptic), and I used to be part of a psychic ‘circle’ when I was younger, though I was never any good at it! My cousin is a medium, and I’m still friends with the lady who ran my psychic circle. So Rowan, Daniel’s love interest, was a clairvoyant.
I like the idea that dogs have a sixth sense and can see things we can’t, so Sasha’s ability and Daniel’s ability and Rowan’s ability all sit nicely together and work to create (I hope!) an entertaining story.
During my time here today, I’ll talk about dogs, and ghosts, and will share a couple of my photos from locations used in Shuttered. I’ll also be giving away an e-copy of Shuttered, so stay tuned!