Sunday, July 20, 2014

Duet News!

I just discovered a rather lovely review for Duet at Boy Meet Boy Reviews. Reviewer SheReadsALot had this to say:

"Overall, an all encompassing love story that carries throughout the centuries" and "Definitely recommended."
 A conqueror’s decree can’t separate Aillil Callaghan from his Scottish heritage. He wears his clan’s forbidden plaid with pride, awaiting the day he becomes Laird, restores his family’s name, and fights to free Scotland from English tyranny. An Englishman in his home? Abomination! Yet the tutor his father engaged for Aillil’s younger brothers may have something to teach the Callaghan heir as well.

Violinist and scholar Malcolm Byerly fled Kent in fear, seeking nothing more than a quiet post, eager minds to teach, and for no one to learn his secrets. He didn’t count on his charges’ English-hating barbarian of an older brother, or on red-and-green tartan concealing a kindred soul. A shared love of music breaks down the barriers between two worlds.

Aillil’s father threatens their love, but a far more dangerous enemy tears them apart. They vanish into legend.

Two centuries later, concert violinist Billy Byerly arrives at Castle Callaghan—and feels strangely at home. Legends speak of a Lost Laird who haunts the fortress in wait of his lover’s return. Billy doesn’t believe in legends, ghosts, or love that outlasts life.

But the Lost Laird knows his own.


***

Looking for a historical/contemporary/Highlander/enemies to lovers/paranormal/romance story? Look no further than Duet. And the good news? On July 26, Dreamspinner Press is marking the story down to a mere .99 cents for their Christmas in July celebration. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Highway Man Reborn

A few years ago inspiration struck in the form of the haunting Papa Was a Rodeo by the Magnetic Fields, and down and out rock star Killian Desmond was born in my imagination.

During a rare three days of being snowed in (in SC!) he screamed into my ear until Highway Man took form, a short story of approximately 8,000 words, later to be published by Dreamspinner Press on their site.Readers loved the characters of Killian and Mike, but wanted to know more about the guys, and in particular, what became of them. Once the rights reverted to me, the story grew to 15,000 and is now available through Rocky Ridge Books. 

http://rockyridgebooks.com/sample-page/eden-winters/highway-man-by-eden-winters/

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.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Christmas in July from Dreamspinner Press

It's Christmas in July at Dreamspinner Press! Throughout the month of they'll be featuring books for .99 cents.

Today it's my pal P.D. Singer's "Fire on the Mountain", a tale of adventure and discovery in the Colorado Rockies. Hot firefighters! Woot!

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3033

Take a break from academics, enjoy the Colorado Rockies, fight a fire now and then. That’s all Jake Landon expected when he signed up to be a ranger. He’ll partner with some crusty old mountain man; they’ll patrol the wilderness in a tanker, speak three words a day, and Old Crusty won’t be alluring at all. A national forest is big enough to be Jake’s closet—he’ll spend his free time fishing.

Except Old Crusty turns out to be Kurt Carlson: confident, competent, and experienced. He's also young, hot, friendly, and considers clothing optional when it’s just two guys in the wilderness. Sharing a small cabin with this walking temptation is stressing Jake’s sanity—is he sending signals, or just being Kurt? And how would Kurt react if he found out his new partner wants to start a fire of a different kind? Jake’s terrified—they have to live together for five months no matter what.

Enough sparks fly between the rangers to set the trees alight, but it takes a raging inferno to make Jake and Kurt admit to the heat between them.

***


Keep watching, because there will be plenty of marked down books. On July 26th look for my own "Duet", featuring love in the Scottish Highlands.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3585


A conqueror’s decree can’t separate Aillil Callaghan from his Scottish heritage. He wears his clan’s forbidden plaid with pride, awaiting the day he becomes Laird, restores his family’s name, and fights to free Scotland from English tyranny. An Englishman in his home? Abomination! Yet the tutor his father engaged for Aillil’s younger brothers may have something to teach the Callaghan heir as well.

Violinist and scholar Malcolm Byerly fled Kent in fear, seeking nothing more than a quiet post, eager minds to teach, and for no one to learn his secrets. He didn’t count on his charges’ English-hating barbarian of an older brother, or on red-and-green tartan concealing a kindred soul. A shared love of music breaks down the barriers between two worlds.

Aillil’s father threatens their love, but a far more dangerous enemy tears them apart. They vanish into legend.

Two centuries later, concert violinist Billy Byerly arrives at Castle Callaghan—and feels strangely at home. Legends speak of a Lost Laird who haunts the fortress in wait of his lover’s return. Billy doesn’t believe in legends, ghosts, or love that outlasts life.

But the Lost Laird knows his own.

Friday, July 4, 2014

What's in a Word: Keeping Your Character In Character

It's been a while since I've done a What's in a Word post, and today's is prompted by a conversation I had with a friend yesterday about reading a book in which the characters all sounded alike and couldn't be distinguished from each other. Which led to a discussion on speech patterns.

I'll use Diversion from my own work as an example. With the Diversion crew, Bo and Lucky were both raised in the South, but Bo spent four years in the Marines, and holds a pharmacy degree, meaning eight years of higher education. They don't sound the same, but sound closer to each other than to their boss, Walter, who comes from Boston and, though it's not yet been said in the books, he grew up in an affluent family. Lucky also has a seriously bad attitude, and wears his prison sentence like a badge of honor. Yes, he swears a lot. He's also our sole POV character.


 I've been taught to rate words on a monetary value. Words like "conversation" I price at $20, "can't" is $5. Lucky uses five dollars words. While Walter most certainly uses a lot of simpler words, he also peppers his speech with terms that are more sophisticated. Bo or Lucky might say something is "cool", while Walter might label it "extraordinary". It would be out of character for Lucky to say "extraordinary" or for Walter to say "cool". Even without tags, you should be able to follow the conversation, based on what is said, like my friend, who is from Upstate New York, sounds different from Southern me.

Trust me, readers (and my betas) know when I cross lines. In the case of my betas, I'll get notes about OOC (out of character).

Here's a bit of their interaction.

Walter said, “Nicely done this weekend, Lucky. As usual you went over the top with the stealth and theatrics, but Bo wasn’t able to track you.”

Not surprising. No wonder Walter had ordered Lucky to go all out. He reckoned it said a lot about his skills when his boss used him for a training exercise. “Who’d you put him with?”

“Keith.”

Partnering Newbie with an imbecile like Keith reduced the likelihood of skill alone rendering Lucky untraceable. “The jerk-off can’t tell his ass from a hole in the ground. You’d have done better to saddle the kid with…I mean, assign him to someone else. Maybe Art.”

Walter sniffed, perhaps at Lucky for taking a potshot at a member of “the team” he took such pride in. Teams were for sports. Lucky worked alone.

“Actually, his methods were pretty thorough.” Bo blew into his cup at a light green liquid; a fresh-mown hay odor drifted across the table. Lucky wrinkled his nose. Real men drank coffee—black.

“Uh-huh, and exactly how much experience do you have to compare it with?” Lucky gleefully rubbed in Bo’s wet-behind-the-ears-job-wise status.

“You have to excuse Mr. Lucklighter,” Walter interjected. “He’s not known for playing well with others.”

“Only because others don’t play well with me. It’s not my fault if half the team thinks I’m an ungrateful wretch who should wake up every morning kissing your boots and making up for past sins.” Lucky shifted in his seat, directing his muttered comment to Bo. “Keith believes I should be ashamed of my mistakes. Why should I? Especially when boss man here”—he hiked a thumb at Walter—“uses my mistakes to full advantage.”

“Now, Lucky.” Walter rolled his eyes and heaved out a dramatic sigh. “Your teammates have your best interests at heart. If you made more of an effort to get along with them, you might discover they’re pretty decent people.”

Lucky snorted, Walter ignored him. “Bo graduated top of his class from Virginia College School of Pharmacy, and he completed his first assignment in record time.” Walter gave his best “Proud Papa” impersonation.

Lucky’s hackles rose. A guy on the job for less than two months already had Walter eating out of his hand? “Well, tell me about it, since I’ve been out of the loop this past month, babysitting idiots who deserve the reaming they’re gonna get.” 
Bo sat his cup on the table, the better to have both hands free to gloat with. “Nothing much to tell. In fact, I found the whole exercise pretty unremarkable.”

The trick is to always make Walter sound like Walter, while keeping Bo and Lucky in context too. And as each new character is added, they, too, must have a unique voice. Even for minor roles. 

Now that's you've gotten a feel for Lucky, let's take a look at another scene, the first with him in character:


“Pull out?” Bo worked hard and devoted long hours to the assignment. It seemed, after the “wannabes” of Diversion Prevention and Control put their collective asses on the line, the big boys intended to waltz right in and take over. While Lucky didn’t personally give a shit for himself, his partner deserved better, deserved the kudos taking Ryerson down would earn. Had he really insisted that they get Bo out of there a few days ago?

“What gives them the right to call the shots? We’ve been here from the get-go, busting our asses.”

“We’ve done our job, gathered enough evidence to warrant a raid. We only waited long enough to put the other puzzle pieces in place. Regency Pharma, Rx Dispose, Ryerson Clinic—the nets are cast and about to be dragged in.”

Now with Lucky and Walter out of character:

“Pull out?” Bo had exhausted himself and devoted countless hours to the assignment. It seemed, after the “wannabes” of Diversion Prevention and Control risked themselves for the case, other agencies planned to swoop in and reap the benefits. While Lucky didn’t personally care for himself, his partner deserved better, deserved the accolades for proving the case against Doctor Ryerson. Had he honestly insisted that Walter reassign Bo a few days ago?

“What gives them the right to assume control of our case? We’ve been here from the start, working hard.”

“We’ve done our job, found enough shit to warrant a raid," Walter replied. "We only waited  fucking long enough to see how bad they'd screw up. Regency Pharma, Rx Dispose, Ryerson Clinic—they're going down.”

Hee. Actually, that was fun. But I hope I made my point and clarified about characters' individuality, and how confusing it is for readers when they don't have distinct, consistent voices. Also, though characters may grow in the course of a story, an abrupt change in behavior will be noticed and likely labeled a "personality transplant", unless the protag has a life changing experience and does a believable about-face. 
 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Now Available: Diversion

Diversion, 2nd Edition is now available at Rocky Ridge Books, Amazon, All Romance eBooks and other booksellers.



There are good guys, bad guys, and then there’s Lucky.

Former drug trafficker Richmond “Lucky” Lucklighter flaunts his past like a badge of honor. He speaks his mind, doesn’t play nice, and flirts with disaster while working off his sentence with the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau. If he can keep out of trouble a while longer he’ll be a free man–after he trains his replacement.

Textbook-quoting, by the book Bo Schollenberger is everything Lucky isn’t. Lucky slurps coffee, Bo lives caffeine free. Lucky worships bacon, Bo eats tofu. Lucky trusts no one, Bo calls suspects by first name. Yet when the chips are down on their shared case of breaking up a drug diversion ring, they may have more in common than they believe.

Two men. Close quarters. Friction results in heat. But Lucky scoffs at partnerships, no matter how thrilling the roller-coaster. Bo has two months to break down Lucky’s defenses… and seconds are ticking by.

Diversion Book Blast

Today is book blast day for Diversion, 2nd Edition. Some nice folks all over the Internet are hosting details today, and participating in a giveaway for an e-book copy. Come join the fun as we count down to the re-release of the first book in the Diversion series. Tomorrow, July 4, the purchase links will be live.





Blurb:

There are good guys, bad guys, and then there’s Lucky.

Former drug trafficker Richmond “Lucky” Lucklighter flaunts his past like a badge of honor. He speaks his mind, doesn’t play nice, and flirts with disaster while working off his sentence with the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau. If he can keep out of trouble a while longer he’ll be a free man–after he trains his replacement.

Textbook-quoting, by the book Bo Schollenberger is everything Lucky isn’t. Lucky slurps coffee, Bo lives caffeine free. Lucky worships bacon, Bo eats tofu. Lucky trusts no one, Bo calls suspects by first name. Yet when the chips are down on their shared case of breaking up a drug diversion ring, they may have more in common than they believe.

Two men. Close quarters. Friction results in heat. But Lucky scoffs at partnerships, no matter how thrilling the roller-coaster. Bo has two months to break down Lucky’s defenses… and seconds are ticking by.
Excerpt:
The door flew open and Lucky made a grab. He rammed Bo’s back against the wall, setting off an automated hand dryer. Lucky ignored the hot air wafting over his arm, slammed his mouth hard against Bo’s, and shoved his leg between the man’s thighs. They devoured each other’s mouths, no hesitant tender kiss, but a release of tightly coiled passion. Tongues intertwined, each man sifted fingers through the other’s hair, tugging closer.
Below their belts their bodies followed suit, Lucky rutting against Bo’s firm thigh in an old-as-time mating rhythm. I’m going to blow in my jeans and I don’t give a fuck.
Lucky’s overwhelmed brain yielded up a single clear warning: someone might walk in. Mouths joined, he danced them toward a stall without breaking contact. A condom machine hung on the wall at an awkward angle. A handwritten sign proclaimed, “Out of Order.” Damn it!
At this rate, he wouldn’t last long enough to wrap his meat anyway. He wrestled them both into a stall, and slammed and locked the door behind him.

Author Bio:
Captivated young by story-telling, Eden Winters’ earliest memories include spinning tales for the family's pets. Her dreams of writing professionally took a sojourn into non-fiction, with a twelve-year stint in technical documentation.

She began reading GLBT novels as a way to better understand the issues faced by a dear friend and fell in love with the M/M romance genre. During a discussion of a favorite book, a fellow aficionado said, "We could do this, you know." Good-bye gears, motors, and other authors’ characters; hello plots and sex scenes.  So far that has produced such award winning novels as The Wish, Settling the Score, The Angel of Thirteenth Street, Duet, Naked Tails, and the Diversion series: Diversion, Collusion, and Corruption. 
Somewhat of a nomad, Eden has visited seven countries so far. She currently calls the southern US home, and many of her stories take place in the rural South. Having successfully raised two children, she now balances the day job with hiking, rafting, spoiling her grandchildren, and stalking the wily falafel or elusive tofu pad Thai at her favorite restaurants. Her musical tastes run from Ambient to Zydeco, and she's a firm believer that life is better with fur kids and Harley Davidsons.

Be sure to look for Eden’s soon-to-be-published works: A Matter of When and Manipulation, the fourth installment in the Diversion series. 

Other tour stops:



Tour Stops: Parker Williams, Wake Up Your Wild Side, Prism Book Alliance, Amanda C. Stone, Fallen Angel Reviews, Because Two Men Are Better Than One, Full Moon Dreaming, Velvet Panic, It’s Raining MenMichael Mandrake, Iyana Jenna, Nephylim, MM Good Book Reviews, EE Montgomery, Boy Meets Boy Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Havan Fellows, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Book Reviews and More by Kathy, Hearts on Fire, Angel Martinez, Mickie B. Ashling