Monday, August 18, 2014

Another Chance to Win A Matter of When

Hey, y'all? Got your eye on a copy of my upcoming novel A Matter of When? Hurry on over to The Novel Approach and get your name in the hat!


Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Matter of When - Character Introductions - Tessa Eklund

In preparation for the September 15 launch of A Matter of When, I'd like to begin introducing the characters.



 Let's start with the blurb, shall we?

Wealth. Fame. Gold record. Hookers and Cocaine front man Henri Lafontaine has it all…including a control freak manager, band members who smile as they sharpen blades for his back, and last but damn well not least, a fan out to steal his heart. Literally. Trying to write hit songs and plan a comeback in the midst of the hi-fi white noise of LA feels more like watching his world implode, until he’s offered a month in the Colorado Rockies for vocal coaching.

Sebastian Unger’s rich, classically trained tenor inspires wicked thoughts. More than a pretty choir boy, he cracks the whip without hesitation to drive tattooed bad-boy Henri to give his all to his music. Working, fighting, and finally establishing a fragile peace, they find inspiration and perhaps more in each other. But the clock is ticking. Time will pull Henri back to the grit and gold of LA’s mean streets and fame machine, while Sebastian must return to the opera circuit, where a mysterious man known as “the patron” holds far too much sway. Only the trust they've built on a handful of notes bridges their two worlds...and shields them from malice.


***
I'm saving leads Henri and Sebastian for last. Allow me, then, to introduce the secondary characters, starting with the members of Henri's new band, Mismatched Delusions.



If you've read Naked Tails, Duet, Settling the Score or Corruption, you know I like to mix in strong, supportive female characters. A Matter of When is no different. But while Erica from Settling the Score and Monica from Naked Tails were very in-your-face, and Loretta Johnson from Corruption was a muscular, imposing woman, twenty-eight year old Tessa Eklund is smaller in stature and has a quieter strength that rocker bad boy Henri depends on. Henry pictures her as a fairy, and indeed, she does appear in fairy costume on a few occasions.

A meditation therapist by trade, Tessa comes to Henri's attention during his stint in rehab. She doesn't fangirl, but impresses him with her nurturing spirit. Need your tarot cards read? Or to relax to the soothing sounds of her Tibetan bowls? The five-foot nothing whirlwind reaches out to Henri, and becomes more than a therapist, she becomes a friend, and one of the few people Henri trusts.

A trained percussionist who idolizes 80's star Sheila E., she's Henri's first pick when his old band crashes and burns and he needs to rebuild. What she lacks in experience as a drummer, she more than makes up for with determination and style.

"Meditation, not medication!" is her mantra. She brings calm to Henri's world and becomes the heart of  Mismatched Delusions. 

What? You've never heard of Tibetan bowls? While this gentleman is a far cry from petite Tessa, you'll get the idea. On a side note, I listened to so much of this music while writing that I broke down and bought my own Tibetan bowl. 





A Matter of When, now available for pre-order from Dreamspinner Press.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Coming Soon! A Matter of When - Cover Reveal

I've been a bit quiet recently about what's in the pipeline, but the countdown is now on until A Matter of When's release on September 15, and I couldn't be prouder to introduce the lovely cover, created by the ultra-talented Reece Dante.

At the urging of a good friend who thought there weren't enough hot rockers in fiction, I took a break from writing drug crime novels for something a slight bit lighter, and extremely opposites attract. How about a tattooed front man for a rock band and a reserved opera tenor?

Sparks fly and music is made! I give you Henri and Sebastian!


Wealth. Fame. Gold record. Hookers and Cocaine front man Henri Lafontaine has it all…including a control freak manager, band members who smile as they sharpen blades for his back, and last but damn well not least, a fan out to steal his heart. Literally. Trying to write hit songs and plan a comeback in the midst of the hi-fi white noise of LA feels more like watching his world implode, until he’s offered a month in the Colorado Rockies for vocal coaching.

Sebastian Unger’s rich, classically trained tenor inspires wicked thoughts. More than a pretty choir boy, he cracks the whip without hesitation to drive tattooed bad-boy Henri to give his all to his music. Working, fighting, and finally establishing a fragile peace, they find inspiration and perhaps more in each other. But the clock is ticking. Time will pull Henri back to the grit and gold of LA’s mean streets and fame machine, while Sebastian must return to the opera circuit, where a mysterious man known as “the patron” holds far too much sway. Only the trust they've built on a handful of notes bridges their two worlds...and shields them from malice.

Excerpt::

As they’d done at the house, Sebastian took the lead, sweeping Henri a bit closer to his chest than he’d done in the music room. No matter how shy he appeared while dining, when singing or dancing he came into his own. Henri rested his head against Sebastian’s shoulder, swaying to something sultry and slow. Seb hummed along with the melody, his voice rumbling through his chest and into Henri’s ear.

Keeping their bodies tightly together shielded their rising erections from the violinist, and tantalized Henri with the brush of his cock against Seb’s. Still Seb kept rhythm, never faltering as Henri did, and never abandoning the dance to hump Henri’s thigh like Henri wanted desperately for him to do.

The song faded, and Henri pulled back. Seb stared down at him, eyes aglow and lips curled up the edges. If ever a moment cried out for kiss, this one did. If they were man and woman, nothing would stop them.

Oh screw it. Henri reached up, placed his hand against Seb’s cheek, and brought their lips together.

The violinist missed a note. Just one.



A Matter of When is now available for preorder from Dreamspinner Press. 


Ebook:

Print:

Happy reading, y'all!

In honor of the release, there's also a drawing for a giveaway that you can find at Pride Promotions and other participating websites.





Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Book Reading - Naked Tails

At the Dreamspinner conference in March, I was filmed reading the "Crickinator!" scene from my shifter novel, Naked Tails.

Seth isn't your ordinary shifter, as the cover and blurb reveal.


Seth McDaniel wasn’t raised among a shifter passel and has no idea what it’s like to turn furry once a month. An orphan, torn from his father’s family at an early age, he scarcely remembers Great-aunt Irene. Now her passing brings him back to Possum Kingdom, Georgia, to take up a legacy he doesn’t understand and reconnect with a friend he’s never forgotten.

As Irene’s second-in-command, Dustin Livingston has two choices: assume control of the passel or select another replacement. Unfortunately, the other candidates are either heartless or clueless. Dustin’s best hope to dodge the responsibility is to deliver a crash course in leadership to his childhood pal Seth, a man he hasn’t seen in twenty years. However, while Dustin's mind is set on his task, his heart is set on his old friend.

Seth’s quest for answers yields more questions instead. What’s with the tiny gray hairs littering his aunt’s house? Why do the townsfolk call each other “Jack” and “Jill”? Do Dustin’s attentions come with ulterior motives? And why is Seth suddenly craving crickets?




Want to know more? Get your copy today from Dreamspinner Press.

And because I've been told I have an accent (Really? Me?), here's the passage that I read:

NIGHT sounds Seth normally took for granted sharpened, and he wondered if real possums appreciated the difference. Wait! He wondered! He did a happy little possum flip, if somewhat awkwardly. He wondered! He had his human mind! On the edges of his consciousness, Dustin and Monica conversed before Dustin shrank back into the shadows, apparently satisfied. Monica hunkered down a few yards away, wary eyes sweeping the yard.

Chirp, chirp! What the hell was that? Seth scuttled around, searching the grass for whatever produced cheeping to give a foghorn a run for its money, volumewise. Chirp, chirp. A fat cricket sat a few feet away, singing to lure a prospective mate. Seth stared at the angular, skinny legs, only one thought in his head: Yummy! He pounced, as much as his cumbersome body allowed, catching the cricket unawares. Crunch, crunch, crunch. Oh! Like potato chips! Also like potato chips, one simply wasn’t enough.

Seth spotted another cricket and wobbled over, filling his mouth before his prey hopped away. Stupid cricket. The third and fourth proved equally easy.

I am the crickinator! Seth considered simply opening his mouth and ambling the length of the yard, scooping up insects like a whale netting plankton.

Eventually his seemingly bottomless belly filled, and he experimented with his new body. Locomotion wasn’t a problem if he simply moved without trying to figure out the mechanics. However, the moment he became aware of having four feet to contend with, he stumbled and fell. Should he place the two on the right in tandem, or right front, back left? Splat!

A chittering sounded in the general direction of Monica. Did possums laugh?

Oh! Worm! Seth pounced, squealing when his teeth sank into his own tail. Ow! That hurt!

After a while, he grew sleepy and headed for the house. He bumped his nose on the bottom step. How the hell did they get so high? Bouncing his front end lifted his paws an inch off the ground. He bounced again, and again, only succeeding in wearing himself out.

When he’d reached the point of giving up, Monica took pity and led him around the side of the house and underneath. An intricate possum highway existed under the structure, constructed of two by fours and sheet metal. On and on they rambled, entering walls and finally coming out under the bathroom sink.

Weary now, Seth slothed to his bedroom, where he plopped down on the area rug by his bed. He awoke to sunlight streaming through the window, itchy possum hairs scratching his bare human skin, and the icky sensation that something had crawled into his mouth and died. Wait a minute! It had! Several things, actually. Something scratchy hung from his lip and he wiped it away, only to come away with a cricket leg clinging to his hand. Yuck. Cricket.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Highway Man - Free at All Romance Ebooks For the Next Twenty-Four Hours

For the next twenty-four hours Highway Man is free at ARe. Get your copy today!

Killian Desmond’s dreams died in a flash of pain and the scream of twisted metal. He lost it all the night a tour bus sailed off a mountainside, sending his band—with his brother—to their deaths.

Killian is dead too, if the papers are to be believed, and living a half-life of odd jobs, rodeo rides and pick up gigs. The road that once meant freedom is now Killy’s exile. No strings, no ties, no names for the one-night stands.

Answering a tribute band’s ad thrusts him face to face with his past, and into the arms of the one man who just might understand.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Video Clip - And a Revelation

A friend who knew I loved the movie Frozen sent me this link, of the amazing Let it Go being recorded in twenty-five different languages. Cool. And fascinating. I'm not ashamed to admit that I watched the clip more than once. But other than lovely voices, what do these women have in common?


Watch their faces, how they go from intense to rapturous. At the uplifting part of the song, the women have similar expressions. Their appearances, clothes, and surroundings may change, but deep down, they're sharing an experience. And love or hate the song, imagine, while you're in your car belting out Let it Go, in many different lands, in many different dialects and languages, many different people may be doing the same.

Yes, we all have differences, but we all share similarities too. This video brought that home to me in a big way. I don't understand the women singing in Polish, Cantonese, or Thai, but I recognize the beauty in the words, the heartfelt way they are sung, and they have their own stories, lives, families...

Maybe we're not so different after all.

Rock 101, Past, Present, and Future

I grew up on a farm, and the delivery doctors must have rubber stamped "different" on my forehead the day I was born, for that's what I heard forever after. "You're...different," folks would say, lips slighted curled in what could only be labeled disgust. No one ever explained how I was different, or why that was a bad thing, but "different" hung over my head like a black cloud throughout my childhood. Whatever is was, I didn't want it.

I grew up listening mostly to the gospel and country music my family did, but when I was twelve, something amazing happened. Being poor, I never could have afforded to buy one, but I won a radio. Now it wasn't much by today's standards, it didn't have a clock, wouldn't play CDs (they weren't on the market yet) or cassettes (that weren't on the market yet) or even eight tracks (which WERE on the market). Where we lived in the middle of nowhere, I could only pick up a few stations, but the one to come in most clearly? Rock 101.

Suddenly the "different" in me found an outlet in songs that spoke to my individuality, and celebrated my "difference." At night I'd turn the volume low and keep listening even though I'd get in trouble if caught. That little radio provided my link to life outside the farm, and my morning started with a tiny childlike voice saying, "Good morning, Buddy Carr!" the morning DJ's trademark sign-in.

Elton John's Someone Saved My Life Tonight, spoke to my longing to be rescued from a dull life, and Tiny Dancer became my favorite song. Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word, said better than I ever could how bad rejection hurt.

From age twelve on up, Rock 101 was a touchstone in my life. I grew up, moved away, got married, had kids, got divorced... I threw out eight tracks in favor or cassettes, and later, CDs, but so many times, I tuned in to my favorite radio station, now a classic rock station, to hear the songs from my youth.

I left the state for many years, and when I came back, satellite, CD, and an iPOD put musical choices at my fingertips.

Then, just the other day, while switching CDs, what should I hear but the crackly call sign of my once favorite station! I tuned in and...lost myself in musical history. The commercials are something I can do without, but that moment felt like coming home. The song? Elton John's Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road.

Some things never change. And I'm glad that, after (mumble, mumble) years, Rock 101 is still there.I listen with my grandkids now. And in the future? Who knows?

And these day? I revel in my "difference". It's the best part of me.