Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Diversion and Collusion Audio Books on Sale!

Got your eye on Diversion or Collusion audio books? How about Duet or Highway Man? Until December 13 Audible members can get up to 70% off audio books.

Check them out here!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

What's in a Word? - The Party

It's been a while since I've posted as part of my "What's in a Word?" series, but a few recent conversations with my crit partners inspired this post. We were discussing how to successfully introduce a large cast of characters without throwing them at the reader all at once with brief explanations of who they are.

Explanations the reader might not remember by the next time we see this person, five or six chapters later.

Imagine you are going to a party where you don't know anyone. Scene one: Your host meets you at the door, blurts his name, then drags you around the room, saying, "Oh, this is Jane. She's Sue's next door neighbor. That's Sue. She owns a dog-walking service. That's Bill, he has four dogs, but he doesn't use Sue's service, he uses Jim's..."

Get the idea? How many of you have found yourself in just such a situation? Did you remember a single person five minutes past introductions? Especially if you never interacted with them again?

Now, scenario two: When you arrive, your host introduces him or herself, welcomes you warmly, and eases you into the environment. He or she will show you around, just what you need to know right now, get you a drink, and tell you a little bit about themselves, get to know you.

You're now enmeshed in the setting.

Next, they'll introduce you to the next most important person there: their partner. Could be a business partner, could be a romantic interest. You come to understand a lot about the partner by how fondly, or not, your host speaks of them.

There, now you know the two key players in the game, and hopefully, a bit about what's going on and why you were invited. Are you there to meet coworkers? Is this a social event like a birthday party?

Setting, characters, purpose have now been named. Only when you have grasped these basics does your host show you around.

First you meet Barbara, and engage in a conversation. Oh! Barbara went to the same university! Cool. You chat a few moments about what you have in common. You remember Barbara's name, and associate her with your alma mater.

Next you meet Brian, who has the cutest Southern accent. You chat for a few minutes, you enthralled by his charm, and he laughing at your sense of humor.

Not only are you more likely to remember these to people when you meet again, you will eagerly anticipate that moment.

And that, folks, is how someone with my somewhat less than stellar memory likes to meet the characters in a book. If you throw them at me all at once, I'm not going to know who is important and who isn't. If you call her "Mary Jean Simmons", the appearance of her full name says, "Remember her, she's important!" Well, then you try to commit her to memory, totally skipping past, "the man in the red sweater", who turns out to be the catalyst for the whole story.

In story setup, like real life, the most important details should come first. Now, if the guy in the red sweater turns out to be the killer, who shall remain unnamed until the right moment, it's great when he's woven into the plot, not enough to give away the big reveal, but enough so that when the "A-ha!" moment comes, the reader can look back over the story and piece together the clues.

Nothing is more satisfying for a reader to reach then end and triumphantly say, "I knew it was him!" Especially if they had to work for that conclusion, but it made total sense in the end.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

What I've Been Reading.... Sinners Series by Rhys Ford

First off, I have to say hat's off to Rhys Ford for the clever, clever names of the installments in her Sinners series:

Sinner's Gin
Whiskey and Wry
Tequila Mockingbird
Sloe Ride
Absinthe of Malice
Sin and Tonic

In the very first installment we meet Miki St. John, the lone survivor of the car crash that claimed the lives of his Sinner's Gin band mates. He's living a half-life, barely existing, and is only holding on for the scrappy terrier (and furry little scene-stealer) who's decided Miki is home. 

It's the terrier, later dubbed "Dude", who starts Miki on the path to redemption. Miki's backstory will break you heart and make you want to hurt characters that are, thankfully, fictitious, but still. You really want this guy to get his happy ever after from page one. (Or, in the first ten minutes in my case, as I enjoyed this series in audio book.) 

Throughout the series we get to know more people, hear more POVs, but the entire series arc encompasses both Miki's band(s), it's members, and a large boisterous family of Irish descent. The Morgan's provide the comfort and security missing from his own past, and like any too-good thing, he's suspicious, waiting for the other shoe to fall, feeling he's not good enough for love. 

My heart broke time and time again for this haunted, world-weary-yet-young man. He wears his pain as a shield from the world, was never taught how to love, to be loved, or even to be touched without ill intent. 

Slowly, slowly his story unravels, and we don't get all of our questions answered until Sin and Tonic, but it's a riveting journey. 

One thing that make this series really shine is the interactions between the characters, the good-natured bickering amount siblings, whether the siblings one was given or collected along the way. Such awesome dialog that I found myself hitting the back button just to hear a marvel of impressing phrasing again. 

Each character is so distinct, so real, which is quite an accomplishment with a cast of this size. 

You make judgments one minute, only to have them turned on their heads the next. But what a ride. My three-hour daily work commute suddenly wasn't long enough as I wished to remain in the car and listen to JUST ONE MORE CHAPTER!!!

This isn't a light, fluffy story by any means. There is mention of severe child abuse in some of the characters' pasts. There is also violence, and some of that violence is gruesome as many of the Morgan family are cops in San Francisco and privy to some of the terrible horrors life has to offer. 

I won't go into the plot of each installment as that might give spoilers, but what I can say is this series was time well spent, gave me a whole lot of new characters to love, and left me with a major case of book hangover. 

This is an unsolicited review, merely me gushing about a series I love, but I'll still include links to the Audible page and encourage you to enter the world of Miki St. John and Kane Morgan. 



Monday, December 3, 2018

Collusion on Audio Book!

I've got great news! Bo and Lucky's store continues on audio book, performed by the talented Darcy Stark:


Dead men can’t love.  

Former drug trafficker Richmond “Lucky” Lucklighter “died” in the line of duty while working off a 10-year sentence in service to the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau, only to be reborn as Simon “Lucky” Harrison. The newbie he trained, former marine Bo Schollenberger, is now his partner on (and maybe off) the job. It’s hard to tell when Lucky doesn’t understand relationships or have a clue what any sane human is doing in his bed. Bo’s nice to have around, sure, but there’s none of that picking-out-china-together crap for Lucky.  

While fighting PTSD, memories of a horrid childhood, and a prescription drug addiction, Bo is paying for his mistakes. Using his pharmacy license for the good guys provides the sort of education he never got in school. Undercover with his hard-headed partner, Bo learns that not everything is as it seems in the world of pharmaceuticals.  

When a prescription drug shortage jeopardizes the patients at Rosario Children’s Cancer Center, it pits Bo and Lucky against not only predatory opportunists but also each other. How can they tell who the villains are? The bad guys don’t wear black hats, but they might wear white coats.

Check out Collusion on Audible!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Looking for a Holiday Romance Short?

The holidays are once more upon us, and what better way to get into the spirit than a holiday romance?



Candlelight, mistletoe, gaily wrapped packages beneath a trimmed tree, and someone to share it with. That’s all Barry Richards wants for Christmas. Desperate for a traditional holiday, he creates a profile on “GetaDate.com,” in hopes of finding the perfect man in a matter of weeks. One date after another goes sour, while all around him friends are falling in love, and Barry starts to lose faith.
The first snow falls and the world fills with seasonal cheer, all except for Barry, for whom time is running out. Facing the prospect of a lonely holiday, he tries just once more to make The Match Before Christmas.
Find The Match Before Christmas at Rocky Ridge Books.
Also:

The last time Tony danced, he wore the spangles and tights of the Nutcracker’s Prince and the audience threw roses at the stage. One career-ending accident later, he’s dancing again, and he’s not proud of hoping that the audience will reward him with twenties.
Frost, the big, pale bouncer, has reasons of his own for keeping a watchful eye on Tony. He keeps his distance, too, until he has to bounce an aggressive customer who takes things with Tony too far. They have a short, shared walk home but a huge divide between their lives. Do Tony and Frost have more in common than they believe?

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Diversion in Audible

Some folks have been asking me if the Diversion series is every going to be made into audio books, and the answer is: definitely.

Diversion (Diversion Book 1) is currently available at Audible, with Collusion (Diversion Book 2) following sometime this month.

The super-talented Darcy Stark has brought Bo, Lucky, Walter, and the rest of the characters to life. He's currently hard at work on Corruption (Diversion Book 3).


For those of you looking for something shorter, check out Family Man, also narrated by Darcy Stark.

The entire Diversion series, and Highway Man, is brought to you by Rocky Ridge Books.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Suspicion Cover Reveal

It's taken a lot longer than I'd hope to get to this point, but I'm thrilled to finally reveal the cover for Suspicion (Diversion Book 7), created by the super-talented L.C. Chase.

Isn't it purdy?




Lucky “Simon Harrison” Lucklighter left behind his criminal past to become one of the best agents in the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau. He’s found a committed partner in fellow agent Bo Schollenberger and built a life.

Now, enemies within the SNB and a friend’s betrayal leave him nowhere to turn—not even to his mentor.

His boss’s life, the future of the SNB, and Lucky’s career depend on him. With the help of his lover, an old enemy turned ally, and a man Lucky thought he’d seen the last of, he must stand and fight for what he believes in.

Even if he has to step outside the law. 

***

I'd hoped for a November release, but it looks like it'll release in December. I'll keep you posted. 

The things in my office...

I'm still getting used to my new office, but one of the first things I did upon moving in was fill the space with things dear to me.

One of the most noticeable is a framed print by Paul Richmond entitled "Sanctuary."

As a child and teenager I never quite fit in. I felt awkward, unaccepted, and out of place most of the time. The one place I could hide from the world and the bullies was my bedroom, where I kept treasures dear to my heart that others might throw out as trash.

My little corner of the world, where I could be myself, lose myself in thought and ponder the big questions of life, and become who I was meant to be. There I didn't have to explain myself, didn't have to keep quiet, didn't have to pretend I was something I wasn't.

Didn't have to work twice as hard to be thought half as good.

For those reasons and many more, Paul's painting spoke to me. Looking at the image I feel a sense of peace.

I'd like to share this with you. May you find the same restfulness that I do.


For more of Paul Richmond's incredible work, visit his studio website

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

Whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving each November, I wish you all a wonderful day full of love, family, and friends.

Know that I am grateful for each and every one of you.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

We have a blurb!

I know, I know, it's taken me forever to get Suspicion (Diversion 7) ready. I'm sorry, but I hope readers will appreciated the extra time and effort.

So, it's with great pleasure that I give you the blurb!

***


Lucky “Simon Harrison” Lucklighter left behind his criminal past to become one of the best agents in the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau. He’s found a committed partner in fellow agent Bo Schollenberger and built a life.


Now, enemies within the SNB and a friend’s betrayal leave him nowhere to turn—not even to his mentor.

His boss’s life, the future of the SNB, and Lucky’s career depend on him. With the help of his lover, an old enemy turned ally, and a man Lucky thought he’d seen the last of, he must stand and fight for what he believes in.

Even if he has to step outside the law.  

***

Stay tuned for the upcoming cover reveal and publishing date.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Being Recognized

I've been writing and publishing for about ten years now (OMG! Has it been that long!) and have attended quite a few author events and other venues where I am Eden the Author. Recently I've discovered the totally new experience of being recognized as Eden the Author in my everyday life.

It's kind of a shock the first few times someone approaches you, having discovered your work online and figuring out, "I know her!" because unless I'm in writer mode, I'm totally not expecting a conversation about books, or being able to relax a little bit and show more of who I am.

But what's really awesome is when the person opens up about liking "a variety of genres" which usually means they're open-minded about what they read. That's good, because I'm very opened minded about what I write. And read. And, just, in general.

On another level, it's a little taste of GRL, bonding with someone who enjoys the same books I do. And while this latest conversation caught me off guard, having taken place at work, it left me smiling and with a spark of connection with the coworker.

There's nothing as wonderful as having someone say, text, email, or Facebook you "I liked your book."

Without readers there'd be no need to write and I'd theoretically have all kinds of time on my hands I wouldn't know what to do with.

I'd probably get into trouble.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

What's in a Word - Spoken vs Written

I've only started into the wonderful world of audio books, having just released Diversion (Diversion Book 1) on audio, along with short story Highway Man. Both were performed by the talented Darcy Stark.

Next up? Collusion (Diversion 2) releasing later this month in audio, and Suspicion (Diversion 7) soon to release in e-book and print.

Audio gives a new twist to points of view and verbiage, as different people pronounce words and names differently, and readers seem to cultivate images in their heads of the characters in books, including what their voices sound like.

Also, tags and beats become extremely important. In print or e-books there are paragraphs to guide readers and help them keep up during conversations. Not so in audio. A skilled narrator can navigate the pitfalls, but occasionally when listening to a book, I can't keep up.

So, since launching audio-books into the world I've learned to be much more careful in writing, bearing in mind what it will sound like when someone reads.

And that not everyone can grasp the subtle nuances of the accent and southernisms I swear I don't have.

Friday, November 9, 2018

What I'm Reading - Vasily the Beautiful by Angel Martinez

Sorry about my recent absence, but I hope my lack of computer time will be more than worth it when Suspicion (Diversion 5) publishes. I've got my fingers crossed for late November or early December.

Until then, I'd like to share a book with you that I found fascinating.

Now, before reading this book I had never heard the fairy tale Vasilia the Beautiful, but wondered if there was some symbolism in  the white, red, and black-clad bikers.

There was.

After reading, and listening to, mostly comedies from this author, Vassily the Beautiful was a bit of a departure, much, much more serious than anti-grav cows and space demons, or cats in boots. However, the story grabbed me from the beginning and wouldn't let go. 

I'll admit that the beginning had me worrying how dark it would go, and could I take it (I had my heart totally broken) but then the story turned around and victim became victor. 

Angel Martinez is one of my favorite authors, and books like this one, and all the others I've read of hers, explain why. Well thought out, unique, and riveting. 

And if you ever get the opportunity to meet her in person at conventions, you'll come to love her and her work all the more. 

Now, back to the book. 

What an odd choice, to redo an old classic fairy tale and set in in a sci-fi world, but it works. It really works. As did the characters for their HEA, or at least HFN.

I have just one burning question:

What really happened to Vasily's father? 

Monday, October 15, 2018

GRL Day 1

Bear and I arrived yesterday evening, settled in, and found a nearby restaurant to eat, Roger Brown's Restaurant and Sports Bar. He had a cheeseburger too large to finish, and French fries. I had vegetarian tacos. Tasty, but spicy.

This morning we took a stroll through the historic district of Portsmouth, VA.










Such gorgeous architecture, and some of the homeowners even chatted with us. I've never seen so many friendly folks, when even the guy in the pickup truck waiting for me to cross the road said "Good morning."

I've run into some other GRL folks here, and can't wait to see more.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

GRL Bound!

Today I'm packing up to head to Portsmouth, VA and GayRomLit! Yes, I'm going up early, hoping to catch up with friends I only get to see once per year, and to meet new ones. It's hard to describe GRL to someone who hasn't experienced it for themselves, but mostly it's a meeting of what we call "the tribe," a group of like-minded people connected by their love of LGBT romance.

I've met some folks there who are now great friends I speak to online frequently, but not merely in the capacity of author. There I'm just another book lover, who alternates between reading passages from her upcoming novel, to fangirling all over favorite authors and begging to know when the next installment of their series will release.

I've danced, dressed in costumes, discussed scenes over dinner, and once even took a tour of the surrounding area while an author pointed out where her character lived, showed me the diner where he met his love interest, the late night hardware store that figures into the story... Well, I'm sure you get the idea.

I don't have a new release to show off this time, but Suspicion (Diversion 7), is close enough to publishing that I can talk it up.

But mostly, I'll hug, smile till my face hurts, and feel like I've just come home.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

MFM Menage Sale!

Saying Yes, a mfm menage by my alter-ego Edie Sommers, is now on sale here at Amazon!



My next-door neighbors, hotter than hell Jack and quietly luscious Andy, have a parade of women coming by, but fire up the grill for hot dogs with me. I'd take one of them in a heartbeat, if they'd ever ask. Or both—a girl can dream. 

What did I ever do to wind up in the friend zone? 

Now the guys want to change that, want me to date both of them and decide which one I want to keep. Easy enough, right? 

There’s a slight problem. They’re twins, and choosing one might mean losing the other as a friend. 

And I love them both.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Countdown to GRL

Only a few more weeks until GRL! I'm attending as a featured author and I'm:

1) Looking forward to seeing my literary family.
2) Anxiously eyeing the mailbox for last minute books.
3) Getting swag together.
4) Planning what to take.
5) Hoping work doesn't put pressure on me to cancel my annual "vacation." 

and....

drumroll, please....

PD Singer and I have a little something planned for Friday night. Details later.


I've got lots and lots of swag this year, so if you're at GRL, please stop by and see me. I'll post pictures of the swag later.

Friday, September 21, 2018

The Office

Well, the hard work has paid off and I've moved into the new office my husband so lovingly finished for me. (In part to get all my stuff out of his shop.)

What do you think? 



The print is "Stars" my favorite Maxfield Parrish work, and if you look of the chaise, you'll see the plush dinosaur sent to me by dear friend and fellow author Parker Williams. 


My possum family from Naked Tails. One came all the way from Canada with TD O'Malley. Oh, and my "Hug Me" button from last year's GRL. 


My cluttered desk and Paul Richmond framed print "Sanctuary". That one always spoke to me. 


The clock Bear made for me from printed copies of the Diversion series book covers. 

 So, now that I have my own little place, oh the stories I will write. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Saying Yes now available!

Saying Yes by my alter-ego Edie Sommers is now available at Amazon for purchase or to read with KU.



Cassie:
My next-door neighbors, hotter than hell Jack and quietly luscious Andy, have a parade of women coming by, but fire up the grill for hot dogs with me. I'd take one of them in a heartbeat, if they'd ever ask. Or both—a girl can dream. 

What did I ever do to wind up in the friend zone? 

Now the guys want to change that, want me to date both of them and decide which one I want to keep. Easy enough right? 

There’s a slight problem. They’re twins, and choosing one might mean losing the other as a friend. 
And I love them both. 

Jack: 
Cassie caught my eye the day she moved in next door. She's funny, sweet, and sexy, the kind of woman you can take bowling one day and dancing the next. There’s only one thing keeping me from pursuing more than friendship with her: my brother wants her too.

Andy:
Even with the flu Cassie manages to be gorgeous, and it’s sheer torture to live next to her, see her day after day, and resist taking her into my arms and kissing her senseless. We read the same books, and although I’m not much of a talker, somehow she breaks through my defenses. I’ve never met anyone I wanted more. Jack and I finally realize that we risk losing her if we don’t tell her how we feel, and leave the decision up to her which one of us she wants. 
Would it be possible for her to want us both?

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Ballantine Bears Box Set

A couple of years ago a friend challenged me to attempt an erotica story. I tried, but the darned thing grew a plot, even if the characters have a lot of erotic adventures.

The result was A Bear Walks Into a Bar, a fun shifter romp. Well, my pal P.D. Singer liked the story enough that she wanted to revisit the characters--as an MPREG. Our first collaboration resulted in Two Bears and a Baby.

Now both works have been bundled together as a boxed set, available through Amazon. Two action-packed shifter adventures for one low price.



First, a Bear Walks Into a Bar. And after Sawyer and Dillon wrassle a mountain full of cranky shifters into shape, then nature takes its course to make Two Bears and a Baby. Both full length novels about the bears of Ballantine Mountain.
A Bear Walks Into a Bar
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.
Two Bears and a Baby
The Urso of Ballantine Mountain intended to run a ragtag bunch of shifters out of his territory. Instead, Sawyer Ballantine found his mate. Once the lone bear on the mountain, now Sawyer shares his life and bed with Dillon, who’s still learning how to be a proper bear. Sawyer tells the stories of the First Bears, from whom all other bear shifters descended, but how did two male bears become the fathers of many?
The varied shifters of Ballantine Mountain coexist peacefully—Sawyer manages them with an iron paw. Yet danger lurks. The wolves have plans of their own, and they don’t include taking orders from bears.
Two bears, seven wolves, no contest.
If Dillon didn’t heave every time he smells bacon.
Warning: this novel contains randy bears, rogue wolves, a bitey fox shifter, and a certain amount of morning sickness.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Books That Died on the Vine

I'm sure most authors have novels on their hard drive that will never see that light of day, for one reason or another. I have dozens I've started, walked away from, and might go back to, but there are two currently that I have no immediate plans to publish:

Broken Wing - Angel of 13th Street Book Three

This is Lark's tale, a secondary character from the Angel series. Sam is briefly mentioned in the series as Lark's Narcotics Anonymous sponsor, and he was also an orderly at the halfway house Noah took Lark to after Lark jumped from a bridge in what might have been a suicide attempt.

Sam remembered Lark from years before, and hoped to bring the man back to who he used to be.

The story is not a romance, for at the end Lark is still not ready for a relationship, but rather a journey, and a dark one. It has no place in the series. My test audience cringed, and rightly so. At this time I feel there is no way to make this book publishable in my current genre. I put a whole lot of research into this story, which has given me a deepened outlook into addiction.

The Telling Two - Losing Jimmy

As with Lark in Broken Wing, in order to do justice to Ryan's story and his state of mind, the book cannot be a romance. It's dark, and love can't conquer all. To be honest, it's hard to stay in Ryan's head for any length of time as his suicidal state is hard to write. I researched a lot over the six years I agonized and tried my best to get this tale out into the world, but alas, it'll take an author of greater skill than mine to pull this off.

Who knows, maybe one day these novels will appear as a recovering addict and recovering veteran story,

It saddens me that I am letting down fans who've asked to read more about these two, but for the time being, the characters' voices remain silent.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Summertime Favorites

It's now September, kids are back in school, and though the temperature still pushes 100 some days here, fall is just around the corner.

There's so many things I'll miss about summer.

1) Tubing. One of my favorite things ever in the summer is to spend the day on the river with family and friends, floating along on a tube. In the old days we used actual car tire inner tubes, or even tubes from tractor tires, but now you buy multi-hued plastic things with handles from the store. Same principle, and oh so fun.

2) Watermelon, ice cold and preferably at a picnic.

3) Tomato sandwiches. I'm not a fan of store bought tomatoes, grown in a hot house. They don't have much flavor. However, take two slices of white bread, a slathering of Duke's mayonnaise (only kind of mayonnaise in some Southerner's opinions) and thick slices of heirloom tomatoes and you have yourself a treat.

4) Jumping up and going to work without have to scrape ice, preheat car, watch for black ice, check the weather before leaving house, and bundling up. Although in summer we have to keep potholders in the car to touch the steering wheel at times.

5) Sitting on the dock at the pond, feeding the fish.

6) Being able to get my grandson pretty much anytime, 'cause he's out of school.

7) College is out, get to hang with my stepdaughters and granddaughter.

What are you favorite things about summer? What will you miss the most?

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Dreams

When was that last time you looked up at the night sky?

When I younger it wasn't unusual to lay a quilt in the front yard in summertime and gaze up at the heavens, particularly during meteor showers. Fireflies would dance, flitting here and there, katydids sang from the treetops. Cars rarely broke the quiet, and there were no neighbors close enough for me to hear music or televisions.

Total peace. Total contentment. In those moments my imagination ran rampant, conjuring stories. What had it been like for people 100 years ago living in my area? Did they look up from the same spot I did? What were their lives like, what were their dreams?

What would it be like to visit the bright lights in the sky? Back then I never would have guessed I'd become a published author, though I hoped "one day".

Then came the hard years, when dreams died and I gave up gazing at the heavens to earn a living and get by. Dreams, after all, didn't pay bills. I realize now how poor I was during those times, emotionally, if not financially, but they set my priorities straight of what really matters.

Without dreams, without flights of fancy, life stagnates. It's our dreams that guide us, give us reasons to move forward. Give us hope.

Now I'm older, living in the country, and once again I spend many happy hours looking up at night. Stars, the moon, passing clouds, and the phenomena of heat lighting all paint a beautiful backdrop upon which to hang my imagination.

Once more my dreams take flight. I've come full circle.

I only wish I could go back and tell my younger self, "Don't worry, it'll be okay."

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Major Book Hangover

Several years ago I began reading the PsyCop series by Jordan Castillo Price. I grew so busy that I only was able to read two of them, but I loved the stories and the characters.

What a concept! The world has discovered that psychic talents are real, and law enforcement has found a way to utilize those skills by teaming up a psychic and a "stiff", someone with no psychic talent. Psychics are ranked on a scale, with 2 and higher certified for their talents, the highest known example being an 8. Talents range from a human lie detector to a woman who can accurately answer yes/no questions and empaths strong enough to both read other's emotions and change them.

PsyCop Victor Baine is ranked as a five. His talent? He communicates with the dead, as in, he can see them, sometimes initially mistake them for the living, and provides valuable testimony from the victims themselves as a homicide detective.

He meets "stiff" Jacob at a retirement party, the beginning of a hot, but tumultuous relationship. "Tumultuous" mainly because Vic has serous trust issues, as well as a self-medication habit he developed to help him tune out the chattering dead, and "repeaters", those spirits fated to relive their final moments, over and over.

Fast-forward a few years, and though I still don't have time to read, an awful commute leaves me with a lot of time for audiobooks. I went on a PsyCop binge, but sadly, after plowing through the nine currently available Audible books, I have a serious case of book hangover.

What a roller coaster ride! There is never a dull moment, and the narrator brings the story to wonderful life.

Just like PsyCop Victor Baine, I constantly formed opinions, only to have them turned on their ear. This world is full of imperfect, but oh so relatable characters.

Kudos to the author for playing the line out slowly, providing small bits of information, keeping us constantly in suspense, and keeping us riveted through each installment. Slowly, slowly, we untangle Vic's past, connecting it to the present.

I've zipped through books 1-9, which star Vic and Jacob, except for volume 8, told from the point of view of a secondary character. While I loved learning more about Crash, I'm afraid that story, told from his point of view, colored my view of Jacob, and it took me plowing through story 9 to start liking him again and trusting him to do right by Vic. Actually, the jury is still out. I'd love to read something from Jacob's point of view.

Yeah, I've become protective of Vic. He's such a talented and respected medium, but he's also endearingly vulnerable and seems so much younger than his years, mostly due to missing memories and stunted social skills. 

It's lovely to see him take baby steps into trust and making friends.

I'd love to see more about Lisa and Con, and hope they make a reappearance soon. I'd also love to see more of Crash. At first I thought Jacob would forever be his "one that got away", but the author proved me delightfully wrong. As with Jacob though, I'd love to read more about Red.

I cannot recommend these books highly enough. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. I cannot wait until the next installment!


Thursday, August 23, 2018

Highway Man Now Available at Audible

I'm pleased to announce that I've teamed up with voice actor Darcy Stark, an amazing talent who'll bring many of my characters to life.

The first? Highway Man.

Highway Man is one of my earlier, shorter works, heavily inspired by the video of The Magnetic Fields' song Papa Was a Rodeo. I first saw the video when it was linked on a blog I followed, and the blogger said, "Someone should write a story for this song."

I did. In three days while snowed in. Yes, that happens in the south sometimes. The story originally released as an 8,000 word short from Torquere Press, but when rights returned to me I added back everything I'd had to take out to reach the word limit. It's now right at 15,000 words, and better captures the tale.

If you're familiar with song and/or video, you'll recognize components in the story. There's even a disco ball!

This is my first collaboration with Darcy, but certainly won't be the last as he's voicing Bo and Lucky and the whole Diversion crew. The entire series. I couldn't be happier.

You can find Highway Man at Audible, here:



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. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Introducing Edie Sommers!

There's a new member of the Rocky Ridge Books family: Edie Sommers, whose very first novel will publish September 15th. Saying Yes is the story of one woman who finds herself falling in love with two brothers.

This is also a departure for Rocky Ridge, in that it will be the first het title they've published, and began as a challenge for the author to step outside of her comfort zone and write something other than her normal M/M romances.



Cassie:
My next-door neighbors, hotter than hell Jack and quietly luscious Andy, have a parade of women coming by, but fire up the grill for hotdogs with me. I'd take one of them in a heartbeat, if they'd ever ask. Or both—a girl can dream.
What did I ever do to wind up in the friend zone?
Now the guys want to change that, want me to date both of them and decide which one I want to keep. Easy enough right?
There’s a slight problem. They’re twins, and choosing one might mean losing the other as a friend.
And I love them both.

Jack:
Cassie caught my eye the day she moved in next door. She's funny, sweet, and sexy, the kind of woman you can take bowling one day and dancing the next. There’s only one thing keeping me from pursuing more than friendship with her: my brother wants her too.

Andy:
Even with the flu Cassie manages to be gorgeous, and it’s sheer torture to live next to her, see her day after day, and resist taking her into my arms and kissing her senseless. We read the same books, and although I’m not much of a talker, somehow she breaks through my defenses. I’ve never met anyone I wanted more. Jack and I finally realize that we risk losing her if we don’t tell her how we feel, and leave the decision up to her which one of us she wants.
Would it be possible for her to want us both?

***

As you might have guessed, Eden Winters and Edie Sommers are one and the same, just different names to delineate my M/M romances from this new venture. Saying Yes began about six years ago, and took that long to flesh out. Yes, Lucky from Diversion kept commandeering my time. 

Look for Saying Yes by Edie Sommers releasing from Rocky Ridge Books on September 15. For you Kindle Unlimited readers, this will be a KU title, and is currently available for pre-order

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Moose

If you've read the newer installments of the Diversion series, you'll have met a character, and perfect foil for Lucky, named Moose.

Lucky brings home the rescue dog to help with Bo's recovery in Redemption, and they wind up adopting him, adding him to their growing family of Bo, Lucky, and Cat Lucky, a tuxedo kitty who latched onto Lucky in Collusion.

Moose, and many of his antics, are based on the real-life Toby, my family's very own Great Pyrenees, and the seventh animal of this breed to wander into my life.

Like Lucky reminisces, the Mooses I've known have all been guardian animals, keeping goats, chickens, and other animals safe from wolves, coyotes, and neighbors' dogs. They're a wonderful breed, if a bit large, but gentle and sweet. In fact, they have a tendency to make great livestock baby sitters.

During the first week of life, baby goats are kept hidden while mama goat grazes, but starting about the second week, and until the youngster joins the herd, well, see for yourself.

Toby and baby Opal



Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Wonderful World of Audiobooks

My long commute gives me plenty of time with nothing to do but drive, and as I usually don't have much time to read for pleasure, I got hooked on audio books. 

And grew to love them, couldn't get enough of them, then said, "What if?"

It's long been my dream to hear the Diversion series in audio book but, no matter how many works I listened to, I never found the right voice for Lucky. I talked with several narrators, but many were too busy with other projects or didn't want to take on a series. 

Then I met an amazing voice actor named Darcy Stark, who submitted auditions both for Diversion and for a short work, Highway Man. 

Oh, damn! He voiced the perfect Killian Desmond of Highway Man capturing the pain and elation of the man's journey. He even sung the song lyrics! I couldn't be more pleased with the outcome. I'll announce soon when the file goes live. 

But... He's also stared on the Diversion series, helping me make a dream come true. Stay tuned for more details later. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Back Where I Started

Some of you may have heard me talk about growing up on a Southern farm, and though it was late 60's and the 70's, my upbringing spoke of an earlier time. We didn't have air conditioning, dishwasher, or many luxuries my friends had at their houses, but on the flip side, we barely missed a beat when the power went out. Mom merely moved dinner from the kitchen to the hallway, where we had a wood stove, and neighbors thought we had power because lights shown from our windows. Ah, the many kerosene lanterns we had.

Though a perfectly good tractor waited in the barn, we plowed fields with a mule. I know, right? I didn't get it either.

I remember riding a horse through the snow, ax thrown over my shoulder, to break up the pond ice so animals could drink.

I was twelve. When my kids were twelve I barely let them out of the house without my being there.

We didn't have fashionable clothes and ate at a restaurant maybe once a year, usually a burger place.

Anyway, simpler times, but a very strict household. Therefore, all through my teen-aged years, my major thought was--leaving.

Oh, my God. If I could just get off that farm I'd be happy, or so I thought, being convinced that anywhere else had to be better.

Man, did I have a lot to learn. First off, I missed the twenty some odd barn cats, the dogs, chickens, ducks, geese, cows, etc. Next, growing up on a farm with limited exposure to anything non-farm, meant I wasn't prepared for the real world. Sure, I'd run into bad people, but those I'd learned to handle.

When the movies show the fresh-faced country kid getting off the bus in the big city and getting eaten alive by opportunists, well, I can relate.

Eventually I got my feet under me, though it took a while, stumbled my way through a series of bad choices, and came out the other side. Yes, I left the farm, running from myself, folks set to do me no good, and the past. As the song says, "Wherever you go, there you are."

I began writing as a way to cope with the world around me, met a great group of people, and set my foot on the road to where I am today.

The bottom dropped out of my life and I returned to my home state, needing the support of my family while I licked my wounds and decided what to do next. I'd totally forgotten who I was and where I came from, and when searching for yourself, where better to start than the last place you saw the real you?

I thrived beyond my wildest dreams. Dreams I thought out of reach came to hand, and then I reached farther.

Anyway, the reason for the overshare is this:

I'd sworn off relationships, having decided all I needed were friends, family and myself. It was then that I met someone I never dreamed existed: non-judging, supportive, and not wanting to shove me into a mold I couldn't conform to.

The most ironic part of this whole story is that I moved miles away, and more miles, and still more miles, living a nomadic lifestyle so different from what I knew.

And found myself five miles from where I started, back on a farm, and totally happy.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Eddie's Helmet

There's an idea in my head that wants to be written, based around a motorcycle helmet. It's a tribute story, of sorts.

I met Eddie on the job, a man in his late sixties working as a security guard. We bonded over a mutual love of motorcycles. At the time he rode, I didn't, as I currently didn't own a bike and, due to vision limitations, wasn't likely to buy one.

Still, we relived glory days and always had something to talk about. Time went on, his health began to fade, and Eddie eventually sold his motorcycle. By then I'd started riding again, having met Bear, who owned a motorcycle.

One day while Eddie and I chatted, I mentioned how a full face helmet blocked all the wind, and half the joy of riding was wind in my face. He agreed.

Eddie brought me his helmet, complete with a half shield.

I cleaned it up, buffed out a few scratches, and bought a new visor. Whenever I rode, I wore Eddie's helmet.

Today for the first time after his passing, I donned the well-worn, well-loved headgear and climbed on the back of Bear's, now my husband, bike.

Eddie rode once more.

One day I'll sit down at the computer and a story worthy of this man's friendship will occur to me.

Friday, July 27, 2018

What I'm Reading - Runebinder by Alex R. Kahler

Daannnnng!

Runebinder by Alex R. Kahler started out with action, and kept the suspense up all the way. No repetition, but scene after scene of our heroes fighting for their lives. 

The author impressed me with the ability to pull the reader into this world, the US after magic returns, in what is called The Resurrection. I felt the desperation of our hero, how he clutched to any and every scrap of normalcy in an insane world. He survived the initial attack of the monsters to become a hunter, shielding what was left of mankind. Shutting out the past, he wants no reminders, not even his own name. He's given up Jeremy for Tenn, the name he now wears as a different person, in a different world, like a soldier who returns home with a nickname given by comrades in arms. 

The magic within him won't let him forget his past completely, and every time he uses it, his worse memories come to life. Everyone he knew and loved is dead. He's resolved himself to death soon too, as twenty years old is the life expectancy of a hunter, and Tenn is eighteen. 

I'll admit to being surprised at the level of gore and details in the battle scenes, this being a young adult, then remembering other YA stories filled with danger and pain. I found the words poetically woven together, and I backed up the audio book to replay favorite passages. 

War and loss have taken a toll and, never expecting to see someone he knows, he at first doesn't recognize the guy he crushed on at fifteen, especially when they meet in battle. Jarrett symbolizes hope, a possibility for a future, which is just what Tenn needs. He fantasizes about them making a life together because he needs reasons to keep going, to wake up every morning. 

When the hope dies, he survives for revenge. 

Then there is Tomas, the intriguing villain who is a lovely shade of gray, neither totally good or evil, or perhaps he's evil and occasionally does good for his own agenda. Either way, he is an excellent driver to the story. If it hadn't been for an awful deed performed when he meets Tenn, I might have even considered him a future love interest for the character I've grown to love. 

Tenn is a chosen one, sought after by many for their own purposes, but he's no golden child the world bows down to. He's gritty, hardened, though he still has a vulnerable heart. 

The twins were the perfect sidekicks for him, and though we know little about them, I'm hoping future installments will show us more of their lives and motivations. 

Highly recommended, one of the best books I've listened to this year, and I wish the sequel was on audio book. Well, guess I'll have to read it the old-fashioned way.

Oh, and daaaannnng again for the amazing cover and narration.

Friday, July 20, 2018

What I've Been Reading - Consorting with Dragons by Sera Trevor

I've gone through so many gay fantasy romance audiobooks lately that I'm worried some day I'll have listened to them all. Every single one. Then what? 

Then I try out a new to me author with a new release. 

It strikes me as odd that I don't write much fantasy romance when I love it so. Maybe it's time to write another.  Or I can just enjoy the lovely results of someone else's efforts. 

Like Consorting with Dragons by Sera Trevor. 

Wow. Just what I needed, when I needed it. The evil three hour daily commute means I go through audiobooks like nobody's business, and am rapidly burning through Audible's m/m romance fantasy catalog.

Just when I thought I'd read them all, here come this little gem!

New to me author, but the blurb offered many elements that made it a must read:
1) Main character from humble means needs a wealthy husband
2) Hints of a quirky personality
3) Dragons
4) Magic

And let's not forget the narrator who brought the characters to wonderful life.

Lovely story about a man who isn't perfect and is content not to be, tossed into a world he doesn't understand, but who does the best he can. And..... he falls in love with a man, not the king. In fact, for him, "king" is a drawback. But through it all, the hero's kind heart makes him shine among a sea of false jewels.

Angsty moments were balanced with laugh out loud funny ones, such as our hero Jasen babbling on about riding the queen of Grumhul's pet pig. For some reason Carol Burnett's Princess and the Pea skit came to mind whenever Jasen waxed poetic about the swamps of home. World building at its best!

I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and wouldn't mind sitting on the sidelines taking in a rousing game of mud ball.

The only negative is that this author doesn't have any other books on audio that I could find, and the evil commute is still out there.
 

I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and highly recommend it. 

Sunday, July 1, 2018

The Office, Part II

It's been a while since I've posted, but the evil day job has been more evil than usual, and I'm getting over a bout of sickness that left me bedridden for a few days.

But....

I'm back, with more pictures to share of the new office Bear is making for me. Remember how the shell looked? Well, it's changed a lot in two weeks.


The heating/cooling unit being wired in. 


Insulation! Yay!


Outlets being installed. 


Selecting paneling at the local home improvement store. 


Installing windows.


Windows are installed!

I have no idea when the office will be complete, and when your love is creating something for you in their spare time, well, whenever is fast enough. 

I can't wait to move in my office furniture! 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

New Office

Some of you may know that the romance author found her own romance and married last year. Cramming two houses worth of stuff into one didn't leave a whole lot of room for me to have an office.

After much planning and considering, the world's most supportive author spouse and I purchased a 10 foot by 20 foot shed, which we're fixing up to serve the purpose. I'll post pictures of the work in progress.

The starting point


 Left view
 Right view
Back view
Loading up on supplies at Lowe's

So far the place now has heating/air conditioning, temporary power, and several things bought, waiting to be installed. Stay tuned. This is a work in progress that I'm eager to see completed. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Status Update - Suspicion (Diversion - Book 7)

At long last I'm in the home stretch for Suspicion, but the process isn't over by a long shot. I've drafted, fine tuned, and have sent the file out to first round crit partners. They will be brutal but honest and help me polish the rough edges off the story.

After that? Second round crits, editing, proofing, formatting, advertising, and finally, publication.

I've ordered the cover from the super-talented L.C. Chase, and hope to have that soon to show you.

Only two more books remain to finish this story arc. I have a feeling this won't be goodbye, because Bo and Lucky have grown on me too much to let them go.

So, you Bo and Lucky fans, stay tuned!

Oh! L.C. is also working on some marketing materials so I can get Bo and Lucky swag together for this year's GRL in October.

Friday, May 18, 2018

What's in a Word - Keeping Your Characters in Charge, or Not Letting Body Parts Wander Off on Their Own

Lately I've been going through a lot of books, some bestsellers, some not, and some extremely enjoyable. But let's face it, everyone has their pets peeves, the thing no one else seems to notice but what yanks you right out of the story.

For me it's autonomous body parts, as anyone I beta for can vouch for. You know, when body parts act on their own while the character sits back and does nothing.

"His hand gripped the phone." No, he gripped the phone.

"Her hand turned the steering wheel." No, her hand has no power on its own. She turned the steering wheel.

When this is really obvious is during sex scenes. Even if it never occurs anywhere else in a book, some authors tend to break people down into parts during intimacy. It distances me from the characters and action, and makes me wonder if it's the author's way of distancing themselves, if they're not entirely comfortable writing sex.

When we're reading, we are supposed to fully immerse in story, become the character, so "His lips kissed..." adds distance, whereas "he kissed" not only keeps the protag in charge of his body parts, it helps us be the character.

Don't get me wrong, my early efforts have examples of this, coaxed out of me (sometimes forcefully) by editors. Which might be why I notice so much.

But when all is said and done, "he" is a lot easier to write than "his hand" and keeps the person in control of his body.

The one that gives me bad visuals is "my eyes flew to the window." Ouch.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Preorder for GRL 2018

Those of you who are attending GRL and wish to pre-order books, you can do so now at the following link, cleverly labeled:

Preorder Form

Friday, May 11, 2018

What I'm Reading -- The Consumption of Magic by TJ Klune

Witty dialogue meets perfect narrator and equals one heck of an experience. I've laughed, I've cried, and I've replayed favorite parts of this story again. 

While The Lightning Struck Heart and A Destiny of Dragons were amazing, there is something about the third installment of TJ Klune's Tales From Verania series that just strikes a chord with me. Maybe it's because I've come to love the characters so much, and missed them while waiting for the third book to go audio, maybe it's because I really need to laugh while going through a tough time. Whatever the reason, Sam, Ryan, Justin, Tiggy, Gary, Kevin, and all the rest have landed squarely in my heart. 

I have yet to finish the story, but am enjoying the ride. 

Each character is so well-fleshed out, and some of the dialogue, how the friends speak to each other, had caused coffee spews on my way to work. I can't wait for the end of the workday to hear more. 

I'm also caught up in the world-building. What an awesome place Verania is. I've recently realized that I'd gotten away from fantasy books, when in fact, fantasy was my first reading love. Swords, knights, dragons, wizards, and a six inch tall naked man. What's not to love? 

And Sam. Oh, Sam. How entertaining he is, whether he's coming up with the best idea ever (or worst disaster) or sassing off to oldest and most revered wizard ever, he is one heck of a lot of fun. 

I'm sure to suffer major book hangover once the story ends. Although I've only written a few lines here, I'll add more once I finish the book. 

Or I'll start the series all over again. 


Friday, May 4, 2018

What I'm Reading - Outcast Mine by Jamie Craig

II just realized today that I'd never added a "Sci-fi" category to my book tags, even though I adore the genre and always have. However did that happen? I've corrected the neglect for Outcast Mine by Jamie Craig, an extremely talented and new-to-me author.

One of my favorite things in books is being introduced to characters that are less then perfect at first--criminals, in this case--and learning to love them as the author unfolds their lives and motivations. Though vastly different in their sizes, background, ideology, race, and power, our two protags, Aleron and Jasak, were still evenly matched, and made a good team.

After dreaming of escaping the universe's worst prison, when Aleron finally gets exactly what he wants, he turns it down, having changed his mind on what meant the most to him. What tremendous character growth for him.

Jasak endeared me with his strong sense of honor, reflected even in his "crime." I listened to this story on audiobook, so have no idea how the spell the doctor's name, but I found him to be intriguing and a strong secondary character. And even though they might not have had the best of intentions, my heart broke for the other couple who didn't have so happy an ending.

What a believable world Jamie Craig created, pulling us down into the chasms of Tantoret to a brutal world where a life sentence meant just that--and a short life at that. A world where political greed was more important than human, and alien, life.

In the stifling mines where not even sunlight lifted the gloom, a bond formed, for reasons that changed over time, and grew into so much more. I must admit that at times I was doubtful of this story ending on a happy note, but common ground led to a HEA that left me cheering.

Is there a sequel?

Find it now at Amazon. Great price too!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

"Apples" and Oranges

Recently, while beta reading a crit partner's story, I was reminded of a practice I picked up early in my writing career, that lingers today. While I sincerely hope I've grown as a writer, some old habits didn't need changing.

What am I talking about? In a word: apple.

Yes, your read that correctly: apple.

"What do apples have to do with writing?" you ask.

Nothing, and everything. But if I send a manuscript to my betas without at least one occurrence still left in the text, well, it might not be my manuscript.

You see, sometimes while writing I need to go back to a previous chapter, do a find and replace, or otherwise leave my current location. Or, I may not have yet decided a name for Lucky's new coworkers.

Enter apple. It's great as a placeholder, as I can do a search on it, and get right back to where I was, or simply replace with the name once it's decided. One of my crit partners has begun to use that word too, and I don't know if I should be elated or sorry that I've taught her my habit.

I'm not sure quite why I chose "apple" for this purpose, but it's not broke, so I don't intend to fix it.

I just have to be careful that I don't hit "replace all" or someone might order a "David" pie at a local restaurant.