Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Contest for A Bear Walks Into a Bar

Enter to win an e-book copy of A Bear Walks Into a Bar at Stumbling Over Chaos. 

While you're there, check out Chris's other giveaways, the Linkity, and the many lovely pictures of the fabulous Chaos and Mayhem.


It takes one strong alpha with a tight grip to keep a mountain full of shifters under control. Sawyer Ballantine’s contending with an uppity wolf leader and a herd of shifter elk bound and determined to take over. He might be the lone bear on the mountain, but he’s not going to allow another four shifters to just move in, especially not when they whiff of power. They’ll either be his in all ways, or they’ll be gone.

Dillon, Jerry, Kevin, and Brad have no one but each other since their groups kicked them out. The young bear, wolves, and fox make a merry ménage, pooling their meager skills and serving beer. They’ve stumbled into more than they understand, caught in the dispute between the Urso of Ballantine Mountain and the elk. But winter’s setting in, and they don’t know how to keep Dillon safe for hibernation.

And then a bear walks into their bar.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Promises to Readers and Taking Chances

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: I love my readers. When they pick up an Eden Winters book, I want them to feel the love I poured into the pages for them. And for them I promise that I will always tell every story to the very best of my ability. I’ll never cut corners to meet deadlines, and I’ll never write to market. The book must come from my heart or it won’t be my best.

That said, not every reader will love everything I write—that’s a given, and understood.

But one element is crucial to my ability to tell quality stories: I must take chances.

Who wants to read the same novel over and over again? I don’t, and I’m sure you don’t either. So I’ll try different things, or pursue a plot bunny that takes me down unfamiliar trails. 

Sometimes I’m challenged, either by myself or a crit partner, to expand my horizons and write outside my comfort zone. The most recent challenge was to write erotica.

Now, I’ll admit I’m not an erotica reader, and only write sex into my stories where it is necessary to the telling. A Bear Walks Into a Bar is no different, although it’s far more sex-heavy than my usual. I’ve loosely based my shifter society on bonobo apes, and my shifters engage in sexual activity for bonding, comfort, hierarchy, discipline, or because it’s Tuesday, in pair, trios, and groups. Some characters are monogamous by nature once they select a mate (wolves), others have no concept of monogamy (foxes).

I enjoy reading BDSM stories yet have never been bold enough to write one, but elements of bondage, dominance, and submission figure heavily into the story, as one of the main characters, bear shifter Sawyer, discovers that being a leader and maintaining order doesn’t require him to be the big, bad Dom all the time.

So, I’ve taken a chance and written something different. Will I continue writing erotica? At the current moment I’ve no plans to, though I do have a plot bunny involving a committed trio that’s based in The Sentinel world. However, Bo and Lucky are making demands about the next Diversion novel, and they're hard to say no to, and for all their idiosyncrasies, they're monogamous. 

But regardless of what is next, one thing is certain: taking chances has helped me to grow as a writer, and I promise to never play it safe.



It takes one strong alpha with a tight grip to keep a mountain full of shifters under control. Sawyer Ballantine’s contending with an uppity wolf leader and a herd of shifter elk bound and determined to take over. He might be the lone bear on the mountain, but he’s not going to allow another four shifters to just move in, especially not when they whiff of power. They’ll either be his in all ways, or they’ll be gone.

Dillon, Jerry, Kevin, and Brad have no one but each other since their groups kicked them out. The young bear, wolves, and fox make a merry ménage, pooling their meager skills and serving beer. They’ve stumbled into more than they understand, caught in the dispute between the Urso of Ballantine Mountain and the elk. But winter’s setting in, and they don’t know how to keep Dillon safe for hibernation.

And then a bear walks into their bar.
 

M/M. M/M/M, M/M/M/M/M/M... oh, you get the idea, right? 

Find Bear at Rocky Ridge Books

All Romance e-Books

Amazon Australia

Amazon Canada

Amazon France

Amazon Germany

Amazon Japan

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Release Day: A Bear Walks Into a Bar

A Bear Walks Into a Bar is now available at Amazon, All Romance e-Books and other e-tailers.



It takes one strong alpha with a tight grip to keep a mountain full of shifters under control. Sawyer Ballantine’s contending with an uppity wolf leader and a herd of shifter elk bound and determined to take over. He might be the lone bear on the mountain, but he’s not going to allow another four shifters to just move in, especially not when they whiff of power. They’ll either be his in all ways, or they’ll be gone.

Dillon, Jerry, Kevin, and Brad have no one but each other since their groups kicked them out. The young bear, wolves, and fox make a merry ménage, pooling their meager skills and serving beer. They’ve stumbled into more than they understand, caught in the dispute between the Urso of Ballantine Mountain and the elk. But winter’s setting in, and they don’t know how to keep Dillon safe for hibernation.

And then a bear walks into their bar.
 

M/M. M/M/M, M/M/M/M/M/M... oh, you get the idea, right? 

Find Bear at Rocky Ridge Books

All Romance e-Books

Amazon Australia

Amazon Canada

Amazon France

Amazon Germany

Amazon Japan

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Please Welcome Kaje Harper to the Blog

Fans of the Diversion series, listen up! I've recently fallen in love with some new crime fighters, and wanted to share with other m/m crime-loving readers. 'Cause we all love a great book, right? 

I can't recommend Kaje Harper's Tracefinder: Contact highly enough. In fact, I love these guys so much that I begged her to write a post for my blog. So, dear friends, please welcome Kaje Harper to the blog. 

Eden

PS: I love this cover!

***

Writing M/M Mystery-Romance


I was thrilled when Eden invited me onto her blog for the release of Tracefinder: Contact.

I'm a big fan of Eden's Diversion series, and I hope other readers who love Bo and Lucky might enjoy meeting my Nick and Brian. Both of our series have mystery-thriller plots, and a couple of guys who come together in the midst of the mayhem. So I started thinking about what it takes to write a good M/M romantic mystery or thriller, and whether it's the same for a mainstream mystery title. (My husband would like to think I might write one of those at any moment – he hasn't quite resigned himself to the fact that I'll happily trade a wider audience for my favorite genre corner, assuming I could find that wider audience in the first place.)

I decided after a while that it's almost the same skill set, but not quite. And I don't mean just the ability to add hot sex into the book. (Although, Lucky and Bo and chaps? *fans self*) But there are good M/M mysteries with romance but no on-page sex, like the Infected paranormal series from Andrea Speed. I think the real difference is in the focus.

No matter how much I like a mystery for the plot line, the puzzle, and the headlong rush into who-knows-what danger, I care most about the emotions of characters. Whether I'm reading or writing, one great main character or two can make up for a fair bit of plot mess. Not everything. Totally too-stupid-to-live professionals, or physically implausible plot elements, are hard to get past. But if I'm deeply engaged in the life of the main character, then I'm willing to watch him (or her) deal with life's ups and downs, crooks and thieves, even when logic strains at the seams. And the thing that engages my interest most about a character, (being a hopeless romantic,) is… romance.

I have a favorite mainstream mystery author – S.J. Rozan. Her stories are fun, with great plots, a culture clash element, and strong writing. But I've realized that I also judge them by the elements of the slow, slow-burn love story between the main characters. A recent release that dialed back the romance between Bill and Lydia left me feeling cheated, despite the strong mystery story.

So I am, and will probably always be, a romance-mystery author, not a mystery author with some romantic elements. The emotions of my characters are front and center. The plot bends to the needs of the guys and their relationship. Hopefully it's still logical. Hopefully I let cops be professionals, write crooks with real motivations, and assure that no one is without both virtues and flaws. But at the end of the day, I'm writing about two men, together.

In Tracefinder: Contact those men are Nick and Brian.

Nick is a street cop who is given an undercover assignment he isn't expecting. As he moves deeper into his undercover persona, he comes into more contact with Brian, a young man caught up in the case. Nick realizes that his compassion for Brian's dilemmas, and the complications of their developing physical attraction, will seriously mess with his life, and possibly damage the chance to stop the bad guys. And because I write romance and love, that attraction is compelling. A cool, logical, cop-appropriate answer doesn't surpass the personal. That's not my book.

Brian is a guy trapped into helping a criminal do evil things, things he tries not to know about. He's stuck, and his solution to the pressures in his life has always been to retreat. He pretends he's too dumb to understand what's going on around him. But how far can you shield yourself from evil by ignoring it? How do you deal with loyalties that are not just divided, but splintered? He loves his brother, his pregnant sister, but he loathes his life and is bitterly ashamed of the things he does to survive. And then there's Nick…

I enjoy seeing where the mystery plot goes, who the killer is, what the bad guys will do. As an impulsive writer, I have fun watching those things develop in unexpected ways, even in my own first drafts. But more than that, I love watching two men figure out their own needs and each other's. So the romance remains vital, worked into all the corners around the plot at first, and sharing center stage at the climax.

Tracefinder: Contact is the first book in a planned series, (although with my go-with-the-flow writing methods, I'm not sure how many books it will be.) The guys have a lot to overcome, and their happy ending is begun, but not assured, by the end of the story. I hope to have at least two more installments in the series, and hope to release book two before the end of 2016. I'm excited to find out how readers react to my guys and their lives.

And if the story appeals to the faithful fans of Lucky and Bo, that will be very cool indeed. 


-Kaje Harper
January 2016

Find Tracefinder: Contact at:



Kaje Harper grew up in Montreal, and spent her teen years writing, filling binders with stories. But as life got busy, the stories began to just live in her head. The characters grew up, met, endured, and loved, in any quiet moment she had, but the stories rarely made it to paper. Her time was taken up by work in psychology, teaching, and a biomedical career, and the fun of raising children.
Eventually the kids became more independent and her husband gave her a computer she didn't have to share. She started putting words down in print again, just for fun. Hours of fun. Lots of hours of fun. The stories began piling up, and her husband suggested if she was going to spend that much time on the keyboard she ought to try to publish one. MLR Press accepted her first submission, Life Lessons, which was released in May 2011. Kaje now has many novels and short stories published, including Amazon bestseller The Rebuilding Year, and a selection of free short stories and novels available on Smashwords and elsewhere. She currently lives in Minnesota with a creative teenager, a crazy omnivorous little white dog, and a remarkably patient spouse.

Books by Kaje Harper:

The “Life Lessons” mystery series (novels from MLR Press): Life Lessons, And To All a Good Night, Getting It Right, Breaking Cover, Home Work, Compensations, Learning Curve

The “Hidden Wolves” paranormal series (novels from MLR Press): Unacceptable Risk, Unsettled Interlude, Unexpected Demands, Unwanted Appeal, Unjustified Claims

Contemporary novels from Samhain Publishing: The Rebuilding Year,  Life Some Assembly Required (Rebuilding Year #2), Sole Support

Free books on Smashwords and other retailers: Into Deep Waters, Like the Taste of Summer, Nor Iron Bars a Cage, Lies and Consequences, Show Me Yours, Laser Visions, The Family We're Born With, Chasing Death Metal Dreams

Self-published novels: The Family We Make, Second Act, Tracefinder: Contact
And more...
A complete list with links can be found at http://kajeharper.wordpress.com/books/

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Monday, January 4, 2016

Cover Reveal: A Bear Walks Into a Bar

Whoo-hoo! Time to show off the lovely cover that Jacqueline Sweet made for me! Isn't it awesome?


It takes one strong alpha with a tight grip to keep a mountain full of shifters under control. Sawyer Ballantine’s contending with an uppity wolf leader and a herd of shifter elk bound and determined to take over. He might be the lone bear on the mountain, but he’s not going to allow another four shifters to just move in, especially not when they whiff of power. They’ll either be his in all ways, or they’ll be gone.

Dillon, Jerry, Kevin, and Brad have no one but each other since their groups kicked them out. The young bear, wolves, and fox make a merry ménage, pooling their meager skills and serving beer. They’ve stumbled into more than they understand, caught in the dispute between the Urso of Ballantine Mountain and the elk. But winter’s setting in, and they don’t know how to keep Dillon safe for hibernation.

And then a bear walks into their bar.


***
Now, how about an excerpt?


Sawyer grabbed his leather jacket and strode out of his office, down the hall, and into the elevator. He didn’t wait to see if Rudy followed. The scent of wolf gave the man away. Wasn’t a shifter born that Sawyer couldn’t sniff out, though he’d learned to hide his own nature—especially when one of his biggest projects involved a herd of Rocky Mountain sheep shifters who’d contracted for a new condo complex west of Denver. 

Business was good, and for business to stay good, Sawyer pretended to be human, and kept the wolves and other local shifters out of sight, except for Rudy—who never got near the sheep. 

Which was why Sawyer planned to make this trip alone. No telling what, or who, he’d find. 

The parking garage housed a variety of vehicles, but the reserved section held only two: a late model Bentley and a Harley Davidson. 
“Rudy, you’re not going and that’s that.” Sawyer tightened the saddlebags on his Harley Road King. “Besides, how am I gonna hook up with some hot young stud if he keeps sniffing around for the wet fur coat?”

“Hardy-har! But I still think you shouldn’t ride into an unknown situation without a proper honor guard. Give me an hour and I’ll round up Ricky, Jordan, Clancy—”

Werewolf Bikers. Sounded like a bad B-movie. 

"If you have to announce your position, then you don’t deserve your position," Grandpa used to say.

But even now the trees beckoned. If Sawyer strained, he could hear the rivers miles away, imagine silver trout flashing in the dappled sunlight peeking through the trees, smell the rich scent of loam and decaying leaves. Soon he’d reach that tranquil haven, leaving behind exhaust fumes and the beep, beep, beep, hurry, hurry, hurry of the city. 

A man of both worlds. 

“What if something happens to you?” Rudy whined. 

“All the more reason for you not to go. Say something does happen”—fat fucking chance—“I need you to keep things together. Do you have any idea how fast an idiot like Brian would destroy the pack?” Rudy needed a better second-in-command, and a fresh infusion of new blood to shore up an aging pack. 

Of course, Sawyer being the last bear within a hundred miles didn’t help his own situation. Rudy’s age would soon tell on him, though at the moment he’d still whip any challengers—except for Sawyer. Brian became a bigger threat with each passing day.

The Lobo sighed. “I worry. What if you run into trouble? For you and for the pack. We can’t take another war.”

No, not with the fragile peace between the predators and elk, who’d slowly begun to encroach on Sawyer’s territory since their last eviction. Elk, tasty things. Eat one, the rest fell into line—for a time. And leave it to Rudy to worry about his precious wolves only, and not the many others depending on Sawyer’s generosity. 

“Do you honestly think I’d let anything better me? I’m going to take care of four shifters who haven’t asked permission to cross into my domain.” Besides, the elk might have sent them, and the message he’d gotten only said four shifters, not what kind. They must be desperate or stupid. 

“I still don’t like you traveling alone.”

No, you don’t like not knowing what I’m up to. Sawyer’s fist and Rudy’s face were seconds away from meeting again. Sawyer cracked his knuckles. 

Rudy winced, but persisted. “You’re the last bear on the mountain. As you said, maybe I can lead the wolves, but do you think for a moment that the deer, beavers, otters, coyotes, and foxes will accept my lead if you don’t come back?” The Lobo folded his arms across his designer-shirt-clad chest. “The possums are stubborn, you know.”

“So growl at them, and when they fall over and play dead, make any decisions before they come to.” Sawyer so did not need this shit right now. 

Rudy tapped his foot. In alternate form he’d have his ears laid back, snarling. 

“I’m just going to take the long way home. You and the guys go on ahead.” Sawyer added the sinister smile known to get him his way—and make the rabbits shit their pants. “Leave the lights on for me.” What he really wanted was to get laid—repeatedly, to tide him over while he stayed close to his den and spent most of his time sleeping, and waking up with the hard on from hell with only his own paw to solve the problem. Damned hibernation. 

“But—”

“No buts, Rudy.” Sawyer turned up the heat, physically driving Rudy back with shifter energy. “You’re the leader of the largest predator group under my protection, and my employee. You keep the business going when I can’t be too visible. I need you. But at the end of the day, my word is law, got it?” If not for the weight of responsibility, they might have been friends. 

Sawyer couldn’t afford friends. Rudy hadn’t been party to the extermination of Sawyer’s clan, but he was still a wolf. 

Rudy nodded, eyes downcast. Asswipe needed to alpha up before some upstart kicked his butt and seized power—like Brian. 

Of course, that might prove interesting. This close to winter, Sawyer’s animal instincts were spoiling for either a good fight or a good fuck, and wasn’t too particular of which. 

“Where exactly are you going? Would you at least tell me that?”
“A town nobody’s heard of about thirty-five miles from home.” If Sawyer needed to hide, he’d find a similar out of the way spot. Too bad this particular spot sat on the border between elk and predator. Just because they lived off vegetation didn’t mean his rivals weren’t a threat—an expert marksman had joined the herd a few years ago. He’d been tough and stringy, but ceased being a problem. 

Conversation grew impossible when Sawyer fired up his bike. Mother Moon, but he loved the rumble of the big Harley between his thighs, the wind on his face, tempting his sensitive nose with a million different scents: moss, pines, rabbit, clover, chicken barbecuing on a grill at a campsite downhill, all awaiting him once he reached his mountain. 

Fluffy clouds overhead cast shadows over the scenery, and the crisp scent of snow drifted over the highest mountaintops. Colorado. No greater place existed on earth.

Occasionally he caught a whiff of human emotions: anger, fear, sorrow, lust. Especially lust.

Damn, he needed to get laid. 


***
A Bear Walks Into a Bar is currently available for pre-order at:

Look for the story to publish on January 16 from Rocky Ridge Books.


Thursday, December 31, 2015

Heading Into the Home Stretch...

I'm putting the finishing touches on A Bear Walks Into a Bar, and have to admit to pre-release jitters. While I've written off-beat shifters before, I've never written anything involving three-somes and more-somes.

Look for a cover reveal on January 4th, and the book will release from Rocky Ridge Books on January 16th.

***

It takes one strong alpha with a tight grip to keep a mountain full of shifters under control. Sawyer Ballantine’s contending with an uppity wolf leader and a herd of shifter elk bound and determined to take over. He might be the lone bear on the mountain, but he’s not going to allow another four shifters to just move in, especially not when they whiff of power. They’ll either be his in all ways, or they’ll be gone.

Dillon, Jerry, Kevin, and Brad have no one but each other since their groups kicked them out. The young bear, wolves, and fox make a merry ménage, pooling their meager skills and serving beer. They’ve stumbled into more than they understand, caught in the dispute between the Urso of Ballantine Mountain and the elk. But winter’s setting in, and they don’t know how to keep Dillon safe for hibernation.

And then a bear walks into their bar.

***


Stay tuned for more release news and buy links.