Wednesday, December 19

Captivated, My Newest Release


Captivated
Sarah Mäkelä
Genre: Fantasy & Fairytales/ Paranormal
Length: Novella
Page Count: 60
ISBN: 978-1-78184-161-7
Cover Artist: Posh Gosh
Release Date: 12/17

When a mercenary, whose purpose is to dispose of wicked Unseelie fae, meets a dark elf, she’ll question her mission and become captivated…

After her family was killed by a dark elf, mercenary Honora Butler’s purpose is the disposal of wicked faeries, elves, and other Unseelie beings, but she’ll find herself questioning her mission when she meets Brennan, a dark elf who doesn’t conform to what she believed his kind were like.

Brennan O’Niall doesn’t know what it is about Honora that makes him crave her, but he wants to find out. However, when she’s charged with the murder of a friend, he’ll have to discover the truth and decide just how much she means to him.

Excerpt:

Gritting her teeth, Honora Butler sneaked farther into the dark, snowy forest. Danger lurked within the shadows, and she would kill or be killed. Death didn’t intimidate her anymore. She knew it too well.

Everyone she’d loved had been taken from her.

Snow crunched beneath the soles of her knee-high leather boots. When she was young, the Mercenary Guild had taken her in. They’d seen her abilities and her determination. They’d trained her, given her a chance when she’d wanted only to die, and now she did what she bloody well could to make sure the dark beings of the Unseelie Court hurt no one else.

A horrified scream erupted ahead, beckoning her deeper into the forest. It had to have been caused by her prey. Picking up her pace, she pulled a throwing knife from its sheath. Her magic surged into the blade, filling it with power and making the metal white—hot.

The trees broke into a clearing. The cause of the cries stood in the dirt road. A woman cowered on the ground while a short, stocky man dressed in blood red with a matching hat sneered at her. He looked to be having far too good a time.

"I have a husband and kids. Please, don’t hurt me," the woman whimpered. "My master…he’ll—"

The Fear Dearg snorted and crossed his arms in front of him. He stared down his crooked nose at the terrified woman as if pondering what to do first.

Honora doubted the woman was in immediate danger. The Red Man mostly engaged in cruel pranks on those he sought, but that wouldn’t stop her from killing him. Her mission in life was to rid the world of malevolence.

She slid from the trees, taking one quiet step after another. "Na dean maggadh fum," she said. Those words, ‘do not mock me’, were the best chance she had to take him down without a problem.

The Fear Dearg jerked his gaze to Honora. His lips curled back into a snarl at the interruption. "So be it. Now go on. Get out of here. Can’t you see I’m busy?" He stared at her blankly, waiting. "What? You want my favour and prosperity? Wait for your turn."

Just like that, he returned his focus to the woman. He grabbed at her dress.

With a snap of her wrist, Honora sent the throwing knife sailing through the air. A wash of blood arced in a thick spray as the Fear Dearg collapsed, the knife lodged in his head.

Shrieking, the woman scurried backwards from the corpse. Her eyes were wide and horrified at the sight of the dead faerie. "What have you done?" she asked, glancing Honora’s way. Shaking her head, she picked up her large basket with foodstuffs that lay on its side. Most of the food had fallen out, but the woman didn’t bother gathering it. She took the basket, then ran off down the dirt road.

What had that been about?

Honora watched the woman until she disappeared around the curve of the path. She walked over to the dead Red Man then tugged her blade out of his skull. It came away easily, blood dripping off it in great crimson drops. She wiped it clean on his jacket before tucking the knife back in its sheath.

Her stomach rumbled. On the ground was an unsoiled loaf of bread from the woman’s fallen food. She stripped off her bloody gloves and crouched. She brushed off a few leaves then tore a piece from it and lifted it to her lips.

In the distance, she heard a faint noise like that of a large flock of birds beating their wings. That couldn’t be right. Birds weren’t typically active at night there. Yet the sound grew louder.

The sudden realisation of what it was punched her in the gut. She dropped the bread and raced after the woman. Honora needed to find the safety of shelter. She couldn’t be out here when the Sluagh—restless spirits of the dead—flew over. What they did was worse than death. They captured their victims’ souls.

Behind her, the cries became impossibly louder. She didn’t have much time at all. She had yet to spot any homes or places to hide and knew if she were spotted she would be connected with the murder of the Fear Dearg, and hunted. She wouldn’t be safe unless she found somewhere soon.

Chancing a look over her shoulder, she saw a horrible black mass darken the sky. Screams of their victims filled her ears then. They were close. She caught sight of an elegant manor off to the left.

Buy Captivated here:

Amazon
Kobo
All Romance eBooks
Total-e-Bound Publishing

Friday, December 14

Sarah's Purrrfectly Giftastic Christmas Post + WINNER ANNOUNCED


Are you ready for the holidays? There's only 11 days until Christmas! Eeek!

I am, so I'm participating in the Purrrfectly Giftastic Christmas Blog Hop to help spread some holiday cheer! It'll run from today until December 17th at 11:59 PM. I hope everyone is able to snag some great prizes from the fantastic list of bloggers participating this weekend!

I'm offering up a $10 Amazon gift card as well as an ebook from me. What goodies do I have lurking in there you ask? Good question!

Blurb for Her Christmas Elf (my newest release):

Lost in a forest, Vera finds an elf who gives her a Christmas to remember.

Traveling alone in Finland around Christmas isn't exactly what Vera Hayes had imagined she'd be doing. When her longtime boyfriend dumps her before the trip at the last minute, she decides to go anyways. However, she gets lost in a forest in Lapland and starts to panic until she runs into a magical man who looks suspiciously like an elf without the pointy ears. Pekka, one of Santa's elves, soothes away her worry and helps her find her way back to her cabin, giving her a Christmas Eve to remember.

And the blurb for my book coming out December 17th, Captivated:

When a mercenary whose purpose is to dispose of wicked Unseelie fae meets a Dark Elf, she'll question her mission and become captivated...

After her family was killed by a dark elf, mercenary Honora Butler's purpose is the disposal of wicked faeries, elves, and Unseelie beings, but she’ll find herself questioning her mission when she meets Brennan, a dark elf who doesn’t conform to what she believed his kind were like.

Brennan O’Niall doesn’t know what it is about Honora that makes him crave her, but he wants to find out. However, when she’s charged with the murder of a friend, he’ll have to find out the truth and decide just how much she means to him.

Visit the other Purrrfectly Giftastic Christmas Blog Hop sites here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 12

Guest Author Sean Michael


Hey everyone! Today on the Naughty List Blog Hop, I have Sean Michael with me, author of "Christmas Elves are Ringing" from the Santa's Helpers series at Changeling Press. Visit the previous stop here.

When the call came from Changeling for Santa's Helpers stories, I couldn't resist doing a story about the elves who live up north with the big guy, making toys and what not. Who else is more of a Santa's Helper than them?

Along came Joey, the very best doll maker elf in the entire world.

Only, like with many great artists, he can be a temperamental diva when he wants to be. Lucky for Joey (hell, and for Santa and the rest of the North Pole residents) Bane knows exactly what to do to ring Joey's bells and get him back in the gift creating mood. Given the premise and the characters, this wound up being a fun and kinky romp that I had a great time writing. I hope you enjoy reading it just as much.

Oh, the title? How could I resist the play on Christmas Bells Are Ringing? I couldn't. Especially when the elves in question wear jingle bells that most definitely do get rung!

Christmas Elves are Ringing Blurb:

Joey's the best doll maker at Santa's workshop, but he's fed up with making them and all their accessories. In fact, he's having a tantrum of epic proportions. The big guy sends Joey's lover Bane in to give Joey an attitude adjustment. Can Bane work his magic in time for them to make sure Santa's sleigh is full this year?

Buy link: http://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1957

Excerpt link: http://www.changelingpress.com/content.php?utype=note&uid=6097

Thanks to Sarah for hosting me on the Naughty List Blog Hop today!

Sean Michael
smut fixes everything
www.seanmichaelwrites.com
http://sean-michael.livejournal.com/
http://twitter.com/seanmichael09
http://www.facebook.com/SeanMichaelWrites

Friday, November 9

Skin Deep is Here!

Hey everyone! Sorry I've been so quiet here on my blog. I've been pretty busy, and today's news is one of the reasons why. I'm very excited to announce that Skin Deep is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and All Romance eBooks! Hooray!

Skin Deep
Sarah Makela
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: Novella
Word Count: 24,821
Page Count: 112
Price: 3.99
ISBN: 978-1-939194-25-1
Heat Level: 3
Warnings: none
Editor: Rachel Firasek
Cover Artist: Valerie Tibbs
Release Date: 11/9

Angelique had no idea her black panther tattoo would force her to abandon the love of her life—Connor O’Reilly—but she’s determined to keep him safe no matter how much it hurts. Her tattoo doubles as her feline familiar: loving, protective, dangerous, and with a life of its own. It’s also her deepest secret and draws enemies who desire its power for themselves.

Connor has no idea why Angelique left him, but he’s determined to win her back. As a werewolf, he has secrets of his own. Now his alpha is ready to force him to pair with an ex-girlfriend he can’t stand unless he can find Angelique and claim her as his mate. But even as their secrets threaten to keep them apart, hidden enemies seek to destroy their chance at love forever.

Excerpt:

Angelique wrapped her arms around his neck, sinking into the warm sensation that being around Connor stirred inside her. She froze, knowing this might not be what was best for her, but with him being here—so close, and apparently so ready too—she didn’t know if she had it in her to turn him away.

Connor pulled back a little, concern darkening his eyes. “Tell me if you don’t want this.”

She opened her mouth to refuse him, to distance herself, but the words wouldn’t come. What was the problem with giving in? She leaned forward, pushing her fingers into his dark blond hair. Her lips met his, and he groaned.

He gripped her hips, tugging her forward on the counter, pressing her close to him. Close enough to feel his hard cock hiding beneath his suit pants. They’d never gone this far before in their relationship. She hadn’t let him get close because of Kira, but Kira wasn’t a problem right now.

Angelique smiled against his lips and pushed off Connor’s suit jacket, letting it fall to the kitchen floor. He stepped back a little, grabbing for her jacket. She let him unzip it and toss it to the floor next to his. His hands brushed over her torso from just under her breasts, over her stomach, and down to the hem of her undershirt. She sucked in a breath as his warm hands met her skin.

He slowly slid the top up and watched her face. She should stop him, but she didn’t want to. Sharing this with him, regardless of what came after, would be a delicious birthday present.

She lifted her arms, and he slipped the shirt over her head, revealing her bare chest. She’d been at home for the night and hadn’t worn a bra.

His eyes burned with lust, and she noticed a tick in his jaw as if he were struggling to control himself. He didn’t need to think she was made of glass. This wasn’t her first time.

She tugged his shirt out of his pants and worked the buttons from the holes. Underneath the silk was a finely chiseled chest. His workout regime must be relentless.

Connor chuckled, and she glanced up at him, cocking an eyebrow. “What?”

“That look on your face. You’re almost drooling.” He smirked. “I like that.”

“I am not.” Angelique shoved against his chest, but he didn’t budge an inch. His muscular pecs beckoned her. She slid her hands over that hot expanse of skin toward his belt. Her lips pressed against his chest, and she trailed kisses over it.

Connor’s chuckle faded and turned into a groan. He planted his hands on the counter beside her knees, staying there and not moving away from her lips. “I want you, Angel.” His husky voice was a near whisper.

Buy Skin Deep here:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
All Romance Ebooks

Monday, September 17

Jungle Blaze is now available!

Hey everyone! I'm thrilled to announce that Jungle Blaze, the third book in my Amazon Chronicles series, is now available for purchase!

Here's the blurb, excerpt, and buy links. :-)

Amazon Chronicles 3: Jungle Blaze
by Sarah Mäkelä
Genres: Paranormal, Shapeshifters, Erotic Romance
Length: Novella
Buy now: http://changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1901


Blurb:

Sol has seen others around her find their mates, and she's determined to find her own, except the man who has caught her eye is standoffish and has no intention of getting into a relationship.

Eduardo, the second in command of the werepumas, has no interest in the mating going on around him, but his stern attitude is about to change when he finds what he didn't know he was looking for -- Sol.

Excerpt:


Soft moans filtered into her sleep, and Sol Rios blinked open her eyes. Drowsily, she pushed herself into a sitting position and rubbed her hands over her face. Sleep wasn't her friend anymore. Not since her neighbor, Rubia, had mated with the werepumas' leader.

The quiet sighs of pleasure gained intensity and became more insistent, more demanding. Her hands balled into fists. Dampness and warmth gathered between Sol's legs. She squeezed her thighs together against the cruel sensation.

This was crazy. She had to get away from here. Would it look too suspicious if Sol asked Adara, the Amazon Queen, if she could move her hut? Rubia and Adara were friends. Sol didn't know if there would be a problem, but she would have to come up with a good reason, instead of just complaining about the... noise.

Once dressed, she stepped out into the night.

Darkness blanketed the village, and only a few torches here and there provided light for her to see. She headed toward the center of the village where the Amazons and werepumas held their feasts. Embers glowed hot in the fire pit. She sat beside it, enjoying the heat and the night sounds of the rainforest.

A few guards -- both Amazon and werepuma -- were prowling the catwalks, and one of the Amazons noticed her with a wave. She returned the kind gesture then lowered her gaze to the coals. Toasty warmth caressed her skin. She wrapped her arms around her legs, hugging them to her chest, and then rested her chin on her knees.

Movement drew her attention away from the fire pit, and she caught sight of a tall, lithe figure striding from the village's entrance toward her. Torchlight revealed his face, and she sucked in a breath. The werepumas' second in command. What was his name again...? Argh, she couldn't remember.

She was thankful for the darkness; otherwise, she'd have run.

Her gaze followed him as he walked past without even looking at her. She buried her face in her legs, wishing she had what the others had. More of her people were finding their mates, yet no one paid her any attention. Especially not the man she found most attractive. He didn't even spare her a glance.

At this rate, her womb would become barren before he even made eye contact. She shook her head, shrugging off any pity for herself. Peeking over her shoulder, she saw the pumas' second in command standing in front of Rubia's hut. Even from this distance, she saw tension in his posture. Maybe Rubia and the werepuma leader were still rutting like wild animals.

Sol turned away before he felt her gaze on him. Not like that would matter much. She hadn't seen him look or talk to any of the other women aside from Adara, Rubia, and a few Amazon guards. All occasions were strictly for business. He didn't seem to possess much charm or charisma, just a stern, no nonsense attitude, and yet Sol couldn't help the attraction she felt toward him. What was wrong with her?

Faint footsteps approached her from behind, but maybe he was just leaving the village again. It didn't mean he'd have any reason to talk with her. Right? The sudden encompassing silence unsettled her.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a pair of denim-clad legs. Her gaze slid up those strong legs and over his solid chest until she stared into his dark blue eyes.

Buy now: http://changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1901

Tuesday, August 7

Guest Author Jeffe Kennedy


Rogue’s Pawn 
by Jeffe Kennedy

Covenant of Thorns Series 
978-14268-9406-0
Carina Press

July 16, 2012

This is no fairy tale… 

Haunted by nightmares of a black dog, sick to death of my mind-numbing career and heart-numbing fiancé, I impulsively walked out of my life—and fell into Faerie. Terrified, fascinated, I discover I possess a power I can’t control: my wishes come true. After an all-too-real attack by the animal from my dreams, I wake to find myself the captive of the seductive and ruthless fae lord Rogue. In return for my rescue, he demands an extravagant price—my firstborn child, which he intends to sire himself…

With no hope of escaping this world, I must learn to harness my magic and build a new life despite the perils—including my own inexplicable and debilitating desire for Rogue. I swear I will never submit to his demands, no matter what erotic torment he subjects me to…
  

About the Author:

Jeffe Kennedy took the crooked road to writing, stopping off at neurobiology, religious studies and environmental consulting before her creative writing began appearing in places like Redbook, Puerto del Sol, Wyoming Wildlife, Under the Sun and Aeon. An erotic novella, Petals and Thorns, came out under her pen name of Jennifer Paris in 2010, heralding yet another branch of her path, into erotica and romantic fantasy fiction. Since then, an erotic short, Feeding the Vampire, and another erotic novella, Sapphire, have hit the shelves. 

Her contemporary fantasy novel, Rogue’s Pawn, book one in A Covenant of Thorns, will be published in July, 2012. Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and frequently serves as a guinea pig for an acupuncturist-in-training. Find her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Author.Jeffe.Kennedy) and Twitter (@jeffekennedy) or visit her at her website http://jeffekennedy.com/.

Saturday, August 4

News Bytes - CAPTIVATED is Contracted!

Hey everyone!

I'm really excited to announce another contract! Woohoo! CAPTIVATED, a steamy fantasy romance, will be coming out December 2012 from Total-E-Bound as part of their Oberon's Court winter collection! Yay!

I'm really excited about this story since it's the first time I've really dipped into the fantasy realm. Although, I have to say, I had to do lots of research to make sure my elves and faeries weren't completely off-target. I had a lot of fun writing this story, and I'm looking forward to writing my story for the companion collection Titania's Court for Summer 2012. I already have it outlined.

Here's to give you an idea of what Captivated is about. :-)
Honora Butler is a mercenary whose purpose is the disposal of wicked faeries, elves, and Unseelie beings after her family was killed by a dark elf, but she’ll find herself questioning her mission when she meets Brennan, a dark elf who doesn’t conform to what she believed his kind were like.

Brennan O’Niall doesn’t know what it is about Honora that makes him crave her, but he’s willing to find out. However, when she’s charged with the death of a friend, he’ll have to find out the truth and decide just how much Honora means to him.
Woohoo! Thanks for celebrating with me, again!! :-) This has been a great summer!

Tuesday, July 31

Guest Author Nancy Holzner

DARKLANDS
By Nancy Holzner
Book #4 in the Deadtown series

Genre: Urban fantasy
Publisher: Ace
ISBN: 978-1937007706
ASIN: 1937007707
Number of pages: 336
Word Count: Around 110,000

Amazon | B&NPowellsBookDepository

Blurb/Book Description:

They call it Deadtown: the city’s quarantined section for its inhuman and undead residents. Most humans stay far from its border—but Victory Vaughn, Boston’s only professional demon slayer, isn’t exactly human…

Boston’s demons have been disappearing, and Vicky’s clients are canceling left and right. While fewer demons might seem like a good thing, Vicky suspects foul play. A missing Celtic cauldron from Harvard’s Peabody museum leads her to an unwelcome conclusion: Pryce, her demi-demon cousin and bitter enemy, is trying to regain his full powers.

But Pryce isn’t alone. He’s conjured another, darker villain from Vicky’s past. To stop them from destroying everything she loves, she’ll have to face her own worst fear—in the realm of the dead itself.


Author Bio:

Nancy Holzner grew up in western Massachusetts with her nose stuck in a book. This meant that she tended to walk into things, wore glasses before she was out of elementary school, and forced her parents to institute a “no reading at the dinner table” rule. It was probably inevitable that she majored in English in college and then, because there were still a lot of books she wanted to read, continued her studies long enough to earn a master’s degree and a PhD.

She began her career as a medievalist, then jumped off the tenure track to try some other things. Besides teaching English and philosophy, she’s worked as a technical writer, freelance editor and instructional designer, college admissions counselor, and corporate trainer. As Nancy Conner, she writes how-to and reference books on topics ranging from classical mythology to using Office 2010.

Nancy lives in upstate New York with her husband Steve, where they both work from home without getting on each other’s nerves. She enjoys visiting local wineries and listening obsessively to opera. There are still a lot of books she wants to read.

Website: nancyholzner.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NancyHolznerBooks

Twitter: http://twitter.com/NancyHolzner

Tuesday, July 24

Guest Author Irina Lopatina

EDIT: I didn't receive Irina's guest post until noon today (Wednesday), but here it is.


An Ancient Strength for a Modern Age
Written by Irina Lopatina,
Author of White Raven: The Sword of Northern Ancestors

When we read historical chronicles that are full of battles, campaigns and conquests with constant sword-rattling, we automatically start to imagine people who lived in the past as a sort of restless giants seemingly forged from metal. Partial enlightment comes when we find the laconic anthropological data: only five hundred years ago average height of a man was no more than 150 –160 centimeters (4’ 9” – 5’2”). That means such a “giant” barely reaches my ear in height. Their physique was even stranger. I remember very well when I stared at the ancient knight’s armor at a museum for the first time. In the best case, this armor could find room only for a modern twelve-year boy. However, there is a nuance – this boy in no case would rise to his feet under the weight of this glittering “piece of metal”

It turns out that our ancestors were very “compact” and capable of great endurance. But we want a completely different picture! Therefore, we can see Alexander the Great, Achilles that looks like Brad Pitt and all 300 Spartans in Cinemas. All this also concerns heroic fantasy that is crowded with brutal characters. No one but real machos should wander over various worlds while defending beauties and all the others they come across, because it is a superhero’s mission!

The White Raven series is no exception to this tradition. There are strong characters there, and they are all different. Unruly, elemental force of the main character (Vraigo) coexists with calm strength of the Grand Duke Vlady on whom the lives of many people depend. Soft courage of the young magus Evstarh faces the resolve and inflexibility of the Duke’s son Tagas. Even Nik, our contemporary friend who finds himself in the epicenter of the ancient battle, shows a fighting spirit.

So, existence really does strengthen character. And we have to admit that our ancestors, no matter how they looked and behaved, carried a supply of power that still attracts us. This power refracts in our subconscious mind, giving us the ability to walk through hardships now and again, in spite of all the modern comforts we have today.




White Raven: Sword of Northern Ancestors
By Irina Lopatina
Genre: Fantasy

The fate of Areya rests with the lost sword Urart. Will White Raven retrieve it before it's too late?

In the kingdom of Areya, humans, animals, and the magical creatures that inhabit the Eternal Forest have long coexisted peacefully, but now something is horribly wrong. A terrifying stream of monstrous creatures has begun to emerge from the secret depths of the earth, terrorizing all of Areya's native inhabitants. From the tiny, wise drevalyankas to the bellicose cave-dwelling gnomes to the devious kikimoras who gather roots and herbs in the marsh, everyone is in danger.

With the aid of Urart, the magical sword that has been passed down from the time of the ancient northern ancestors, Grand Duke Vlady can offer temporary protection to his people. But Prince Vraigo, Vlady's nephew, who is endowed with magical power himself, understands that the source of the evil monsters must be found if there's any hope of survival. Along with a motley crew of his forest-dwelling friends, Vraigo sets off on a perilous quest in search of the koschei, the powerful, corrupt Archmagus whose mission is the destruction not just of Areya, but of the entire world.

As if this weren't bad enough, Urart disappears from the duke's stronghold. Without it, Areya is doomed, and only Vraigo, the White Raven, can possibly get the sword back. This journey requires Vraigo to use all of his keen wits and magical abilities, as well as to ally himself to dangerous creatures like yagas and werewolves, natural enemies of man, and precipitates the young prince into the most bewildering, complex challenge he has faced yet: life in the twenty-first century.

http://www.whiteraven.lightmessages.com
http://www.facebook.com/WhiteRavenBook
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCWj_Z49BOA


About the Author:

Irina Lopatina lives and works in Siberia, Russia, but her homeland has an even more wonderful and exotic name: Altai. It is a unique place where old Altai Mountains rise high up to the sky, centuries-old forests stretch out as in ages past, and mighty Siberian rivers flow along the plains. Altai is one of the few places in the world where huge, densely populated cities coexist with pristine wild places. Moreover, this is an area of the earliest human civilizations, through which the great migration of people from eastern lands to Europe once took place.

While studying at the Altai State University, Irina devoted much attention to the past of her native land. As a student, she went to the archaeological sites of ancient settlements located on the mountain plateau, where it was only possible to arrive on foot. She remembers moments when it was quite easy to imagine how the ancient people had lived, what creatures neighbored them, and what adventures took place in these vast spaces. Irina needed take only a small leap from there to White Raven, his friends, and his enemies who were ready to begin a journey through the Eternal Forest of Areya.

Of course, it would have been much more difficult for her to create her stories if Irina had not been inspired early on by the works of many excellent fantasy and science fiction writers such as J.R. Tolkien and Ursula Le Guin, the Russian authors Nick Perumov and Svyatoslav Loginov, as well as the wonderfully charming Russian fairy tales where a brave prince, his faithful grey wolf and the evil koschei always live. And so it happens that Irina's novels are the stories of a distant, semi-fantastic land which, who knows, may still exist next door to us.



About the Illustrator:

Even as a child, Igor Adasikov knew that he would be an artist.

While studying at an art school, he devoted much of his time practicing classical drawing, seeking to depict the world around him as fully as possible. His works often won awards in Russian art contests, and he continued his education at Moscow Art Institute. After graduating from the Institute, Igor worked as an artist preferring realistic painting, such as portrait and landscape. However, his rich imagination still needed an outlet and manifested itself in full while illustrating the fantasy novel, White Raven: The Sword of Northern Ancestors.

Here, in the surprising fairy-tale world, void of any boundaries, the artist found the nourishment to feed his creativity. Having traveled with the heroes through the whirlwind of adventures, he worked to give readers a visible image of Areya, bringing to life the magical creatures that inhabit the land, and making friends with the heroes of this fascinating story.


Praise for White Raven:

"Areya always needed a blade to protect it, but only a few can truly wield it. White Raven is a fantasy novel surrounding the Kingdom of Areya, enjoying its own harmony. Vraigo, known as the White Raven, knows it is up to him to recover Urart, the sword that blessed Areya with protection for quite some time. As time grows short, Vraigo realizes it all falls to him. White Raven is an excellent pick for lovers of fantasy and adventure, much recommended.” ~ The Midwest Book Review, Small Press Bookwatch: June 2012



You can learn more about Irina's White Raven project and sign up for the chance to win a free copy at whiteraven.lightmessages.com


Irina and White Raven are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/whiteravenbook

Sunday, July 15

News Bytes - SKIN DEEP is contracted!

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
Hey everyone!

I've been quiet and pretty busy lately since I've had a lot of things going on. Hubby's birthday, a nice vacation in Las Vegas (woot!), a blistering sunburn and a cold... wait... those aren't good things lol, and my five year anniversary was yesterday.

I'm really excited to announce that SKIN DEEP, a steamy paranormal romance, is contracted with Etopia Press! WOOHOO!! I'm thrilled to be working with them. Currently, I'm going through the whirlwind of blurbs, taglines, and cover art ideas. Yay!

Here's the 50-word pitch I used to give you an idea what Skin Deep is about. This pitch helped get me a request from my editor, Rachel Firasek! :-)
After a painful break up with the love of his life, Connor (a werewolf) is set on winning back Angelique regardless of the power she possesses. He has a secret of his own, which may wedge another gap between him and his flighty ex-girlfriend, but answers are the least of their concerns. 
Woot! Thanks for celebrating with me!

EDIT: Blacklist Rogue is up for DRB1stChp's Best of June 2012 for Cover and First Chapter! I'd love your vote. :-)

Tuesday, July 3

Guest Author Kinley Baker

Aiming for Impossible Dreams
by Kinley Baker

I’ll never forget when my mother read Denied for the first time. She’s a wonderful beta reader because she reads 3-4 romance novels a week, and she’s been to several conferences in her own pursuit to write a novel. It’s great to get her feedback, but this time when she came back with comments on Denied, I had to laugh.

She said, “I can totally relate to your heroine.”

And I responded, “You want to be the first female guard in your kingdom, too?” *Said with the sarcasm you should never use on your mother. Shame on me. My defense is we have a sarcastic family.*

My mom laughed, but then she said it wasn’t just about Tabitha wanting to be a Warrior. What my mother related to most was being told she couldn’t do something and pressing on anyway. I think a lot of us can relate to being told NO. You can’t do this, or you can’t do that. But the brilliant thing about our own personal journeys is that the road is our own. We don’t have to listen to the naysayers, even when we’re close to caving in and believing them.

Tabitha certainly doesn’t listen to the naysayers, but she struggles on a lot of levels to accomplish her goal. Everyone says that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, or some variation. What they fail to mention is the part that almost kills us really sucks. It’s so hard to keep running forward at your fastest speed, and then realize you’re still standing in place. I may or may not be feeling like that even at this very moment while writing this guest post. We all need encouragement! Keep fighting on! With a sword, like Tabitha. Or you know, metaphorically like most of us.

And if you ever need a break, you can always read about someone else reaching for the impossible. The characters in the novel might give you the inspiration you need to reach for your dreams.

What is an accomplishment you’re proud of, that people told you you’d never achieve?

DENIED BLURB
SHADOWED LOVE, BOOK TWO

When invaders brutally massacred the women and children of the Varner, Caleb witnessed loss and destruction on a scale few can comprehend. As the leader of a race on the brink of extinction, his only hope for survival is gaining acceptance into the Shadow Shifter Kingdom. Struggling with new customs, he meets Tabitha, a woman who challenges his limits.

Refused the right to join the king’s guard because of her gender, Tabitha must be stronger than the men to prove she deserves to be the first accepted female Warrior in the kingdom. She believes Caleb will help improve her abilities, until she learns her goals conflict with the foundation of his culture.

When the realm is attacked, Tabitha and Caleb must come together not only to fight, but to find the strength to win against an evil with the potential to destroy everything they revere most--including each other.

Add DENIED as To-Read on GoodReads! http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13646204-denied

Denied at Amazon

Denied at Barnes & Noble

BIO:
Kinley Baker is the author of the fantasy romance novel, Ruined. She read her first romance at the age of thirteen and immediately fell in love with the hero and the genre. She lives with her husband and her dog, Joker, in the Pacific Northwest. As a firm supporter of all supernatural lifestyles, she writes fantasy romance, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy. You can find Kinley at www.kinleybaker.com.

www.kinleybaker.com
http://authorkinleybaker.blogspot.com
www.twitter.com/kinleybaker
www.facebook.com/kinleybaker
http://www.goodreads.com/kinleybaker
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kinley-Baker/196649877015210

Monday, July 2

Interview with Guest Author Lilly Cain

Hello everyone! Please help me welcome Lilly Cain to the blog today.

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I am from Nova Scotia, on the Eastern Shore of Canada. I have two beautiful, tall, smart daughters, a big family nearby and a comfy house and a tiny cottage in the middle of nowhere that I share with my parents. I have an evil cat (aren’t they all?) and three horrible little hamster rat things. Shudder. Although my bio says I am a wild woman that is just something I play at, in truth I am a quiet nerdy gal who loves sci-fi movies and a good romance.

2. When/how did you know you wanted to write?
I’ve been writing a long time but only became a serious writer after my second child was born and my then husband decided to leave. After I recovered somewhat, I took to writing as a means of therapy, and it helped, especially when I needed to give someone a very bloody ending, LOL!

3. How long did it take you to get published?
I decided I wanted to publish in 2008. I work hard and wrote a book that will never see the light of day. Then I wrote another. The spring of 2009 I sold Dark Harmony, my first book, at the RT conference in Florida and it was published January 2010.

4. What’s your favorite part of being an author?
I think it is exploring things that I am curious about – the research and the writing allows me to do that. Sometimes that means exploring an attitude, sometimes it means finding out about Celtic mythology. :-)

5. Tell us about your newest release, UNDERCOVER ALLIANCE.
Undercover Alliance is the third book in my erotic sci-fi series, The Confederacy Treaty. It’s not quite the end of the series, there is one more, but it is action filled, both in bed and out, as the humans and the Inarrii – the alien representatives of the Confederacy – come closer to a peace treaty that could save our world. In this book we meet an Inarrii warrior whose career is on the out – she was injured in an earlier book and no one expects her to survive. She’s given one last tour of duty as a bodyguard for one of the paper-pushers of the treaty on the human side. She figured it’s a pity post, and perhaps it would have been except the man she’s sent to guard is actually an undercover human spy sent to protect the treaty from the inside. But word leaks and he’s a target, with only his Inarrii bodyguard there to save him…

6. What inspired The Confederacy Treaty series?
Strangely I was watching NCIS, and found myself a little disappointed with the plot (it happens, even to the best of shows) so I started to play what if. What if the girl accused of treason was innocent? What if she fell in love with her accuser and he with her while they tried to prove her innocence? What if he could read her mind? See what she saw? What if they were in outer space?? This became The Naked Truth, which is the second book in the series. After I’d completed a rough first draft I realized there was an earlier story to write, and that it would become a series.

7. Which has been your favorite book to write?
I think Undercover Alliance was my favorite. It was kind of a James Bond experience for me, writing the action scenes and the sex scenes. Lots of fun!

8. What are you working on now?
Right now I am doing something a little different – a series of very short novellas for Carina Press that are light, contemporary erotic romance. The series is called Bad Girls Know… and book one is called No Reservations. :-)

9. What advice do you give to those who are just starting out or trying to become published?
What I tell every writer is…Read, Write, Read, Write…repeat. Make writing and reading (lots of genres!) a big part of your life.

Undercover Alliance 
The Confederacy Treaty Book Three
By Lilly Cain
Carina Press


Blurb:
Sarina is scarred. Her L'inar, the curving nerve lines that enable Inarrii to experience their full sexuality, were severed in battle and she can no longer reach completion. Until she accepts a job as bodyguard to the human ambassador John Bennings, and is astonished to discover that they share a mental bond—a mirrored pathway of thoughts that will allow Sarina to climax.

When John's the target of an attack and they are forced into hiding, he's not sorry to be in close quarters with the compelling Sarina. They explore their erotic connection, and John is happy to demonstrate that humans have more sexual skills than Sarina thought.

To prove that she is whole and rejoin her Inarrii clan, Sarina needs John to bring her to climax in public in accordance with tradition. With a roomful of Inarrii and humans watching, will John be willing to perform as Sarina needs—and will their public display make John vulnerable to another attack?


About the Author:

Lilly Cain is a wild woman with a deep throaty laugh, plunging necklines and a great lover of all things sensual - perfume, chocolate, silk! She never has to worry about finding a date or keeping a man in line. She keeps her blond hair long and curly, wears beautiful clothes and loves loud music. Lilly lives her private life in the pages of her books.

Lilly lives in Atlantic Canada, although she spent eight years in Bermuda, enjoying the heat and the pink sands. She returned to her homeland so she could see the changing of the seasons once again. When not writing she paints, swills coffee and vodka (but not together), and fights her writing pals for chocolate.

When not living up to her pen name, Lilly is a single mom who loves reading and writing, dabbling in art and loving and caring for her two daughters. She loves romance and the freedom erotic fantasy provides her imagination. She loves the chilling moments in her novels as much as the steaming hot interludes. Her stories are an escape and a release, and she hopes that they can give you that power, too.

Media Links:

Website – www.lillycain.com
Publisher (books also available on Amazon etc, and available as an audiobook at Audible.com) www.carinapress.com
Group blog - http://contactinfinitefutures.wordpress.com/
Facebook – www.facebook.ca/LillyCain
Twitter – www.twitter.com/LillyCain

Tuesday, June 26

Guest Author Stacey Kennedy

Demonically Tempted
Frostbite Book 2
By Stacey Kennedy

Tess Jennings, now a member of the Memphis Police Department, is on her first cold case. The suspected suicide of Lizbeth Knapp ten years ago isn’t a theory her family accepts—they believe she was murdered.

But the case is only one of Tess’s worries. Ghosts are talking, and word of her abilities rapidly spreads. A dark ghost is terrifying the spirits of Memphis, and she must force the entity to cross over.

Tess doesn’t have to do this alone. Not only does she have her ghost-lover, Kipp McGowen, but the department has brought in a medium. Dane Wolfe might answer all her questions, but he also brings a world of trouble. Will Tess finally have all she’s ever wanted, or will everything she’s vowed to protect be ripped away?


*SERIES DOES NOT CONTAIN STANDALONE STORIES. MUST BE READ IN ORDER. FIRST BOOK IN FROSTBITE SERIES IS SUPERNATURALLY KISSED*

BUY LINK
BOOK TRAILER



EXCERPT:
Copyright © STACEY KENNEDY, 2012

Chapter One

The old farmhouse had seen better days. Not only could it use a coat of paint, but it also needed a dose of love. Dry, brown grass surrounded the home, and the only flowers topped four-foot high weeds.

I glanced next to me at Zach—a cop with the Memphis P.D.—and crinkled my nose. “Someone actually lives here?”

His blue eyes met mine and he ran a hand through his blond, stylish hair and shrugged. “Max said the victim’s sister still resides in the home where the death happened.”

As he lowered his arm, he cringed, and I winced at the memory. Heck, only weeks ago he’d been stabbed and shot in the shoulder.

The man who caused Zach’s injury got it worse—by my very hand, no less—but I was glad Hannah Reid’s murderer hadn’t returned to haunt me.

I might have suffered some serious remorse. That is, if I didn’t believe God wouldn’t punish me because I killed a murderer. Brody would’ve done the same to me if I hadn’t gotten to him first. I tried my best to stick with that theory. It saved me from the lingering guilt I might—and would never admit to—have for taking a life.

Sure, there was an internal investigation through the police department, and I had been questioned until my voice went scratchy. But in the end, the shooting had been declared self-defense, and I was perfectly happy with that. Or so I told myself every day until I finally believed it.

Besides, the cops that I now worked alongside had my back throughout the investigation, and nothing would change that. We’d grown close through the time spent during the Reid case, and even closer in the weeks that followed.

“I’m going to see if Lizbeth is out here somewhere,” Kipp—a ghost, and my lover—said, dragging me from my thoughts.

Yes, our relationship was complicated and it’s insanely sick that I’m in love with a ghost, but I wasn’t about to fight my heart’s desire.

“If you find her, then come tell us, immediately. The less time I have to spend in that house, the better.” Scummy houses and me didn’t mesh well. I like cleanliness and hate spiders.

“He’s going off on his own then?” Zach asked.

As of late, Zach had caught on to our conversations better. Seeing that I was the only lucky one—or not so lucky as I viewed it—who could hear ghosts’ communication was annoying, at best.

Maybe I gave more descriptions in my answers than I normally did, or maybe he’d gotten used to having to fill in the blanks. Whatever it was, I appreciated the ease of our conversations now. The back and forth got on my last nerve.

As Kipp strode away, I stared at his scrumptious ass filling his dark blue jeans. The man might be a ghost, but he was sex packaged into muscular goodness.

One of his eyes was chocolate brown, while the other was crystal blue, and he had untidy brown hair that no matter how messy only made him look more attractive. And he was all mine.

I blinked, pulling myself away from my ogling, and frowned at Zach. “Ready?”

His gaze danced with laughter, yet a smile never appeared. “For someone who accepted a job with the department, you would think you’d hold more excitement.”

“Just because I can officially call myself part of the police department—which is absurd, by the way—doesn’t mean I still don’t have hesitations.”

My gift took a while to adjust to but I knew when to see reason. Helping ghosts that had met a horrible fate wasn’t a bad job. That is, as long as I didn’t run into any more crazy-ass killers who wanted to make me a ghost, too.

Zach approached the house, and I trailed after him, not showing half the confidence he carried in his gait.

I climbed the old steps, slightly worried the wood would break under my weight, but seeing Zach went first and the man was all power, the wooden planks could support my slender frame.

He knocked on the door. And a moment later, it opened to a woman who matched the house. She appeared to be in her fifties, but the dark circles under her eyes and the hunch to her shoulders made her look well worn.

“Ms. Knapp?” Zach asked.

“Yes.” Her voice dripped with despair. “Are you the detectives?”

Zach nodded. “Is it still all right if we come in?”

She widened the door, and moved aside. “Please call me Anna.”

“Thank you, Anna.” Zach entered the home. “We appreciate you taking the time to discuss Lizbeth with us.”

I hesitantly followed and tried my damndest not to let my repulsion in the house show. Not an easy feat.

“Please, will you have a seat?” She waved out to a couch that I wouldn’t sit on even if it had a layer of plastic over top of it.

I held back my desire to gag, and twirled my finger in my brown, shag-cut hair. “I’m okay here, thanks.”

Zach grimaced at me before he took a seat and shed all emotion as he turned to Anna. “We’re aware that this will be difficult for you to discuss, but we need you to remember anything you can from when Lizbeth died.”

“I’m not sure I can tell you anything that…” She peeked up at the ceiling. I followed her gaze seeing dark brown stains, and restrained my shudder. “…Max, was that who I spoke with?”

“That’s right. He’s the sergeant.” Zach smiled softly. “He told us the necessary information, but I’ve learned it’s always best to hear it directly for myself.”

In all actuality, I hadn’t heard all the details except that I was officially on my first cold-case.


About the Author

Stacey Kennedy’s novels are lighthearted fantasy with heart-squeezing, thigh-clenching romance, and they even give you a good chuckle every now and again. But within the stories you’ll also find fast-paced action, life-threatening moments and a big bad villain who needs to be destroyed. Her urban fantasy/paranormal and erotic romance series have hit Amazon Kindle and All Romance eBooks bestseller lists.

Stacey welcomes comments from readers. You can find her at www.staceykennedy.com



Monday, June 25

Still Time for a Second Chance

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
So, the other day, I watched a great movie, even though I'm sure my husband would've preferred something else. I can't help that I enjoy the occasional romantic comedy. I am a romance author after all. *grin* (My usual movie genre is action/adventure or paranormal.)

A few things mentioned in the movie solidly struck home. One of the topics was something I'd been enthusiastic about and on top of at the beginning of the year. Fitness. But as good intentions usually go, I made progress and then flailed around when I hit a rough patch. Although, I won't beat myself up for slipping since that won't fix anything.

The day after watching the movie, I hopped on the elliptical that's been incognito as a coat rack recently, and while I know I have a busy few months ahead of me, I'm adamant to get back on the horse and not neglect the goals I made for myself this year.

Looking at the calendar, July will start the second half of the year. That's still plenty of time to make progress on whatever goals we'd still like to do. Knowing that we're heading into the second part of the year strikes a fire in my belly that I still have time to turn things around, and it's really revved me up.

How about you? Is there anything you resolved to get done this year that you're ready to tackle?

Friday, June 22

One Day Blitz - Guest Author Leia Shaw

Excerpt from Destiny Bewitched:

She struggled beneath him, her cheeks flushed and chest heaving. Several necklaces – silver chains with various charms and a piece of leather tied around a feather – drew his gaze to her pale, slender neck. A neck he could sink his teeth into. He liked the look of her underneath him far too much. Two hundred years without a woman…why couldn’t Ares just have had him flogged?

“Let me up,” she yelled. “You’re squishing me.”

Reluctantly, he did. “You’d be more than squished had I been someone else. Your stance is too narrow. That’s why you fell over so easily.”

She scowled at him and straightened her clothing. “Don’t tell me how to fight.”

“Then stay behind me and I’ll do it for you.”

“Never.”

“Stubborn.”

“Bossy.”

Gods, she was a saucy thing. Repressing a smile, he picked her sword up off the ground. “Spitfire and ambition will only get you so far, Samantha.” He held out her sword. “Knowledge and patience are the foundation for success.”

“My sister doesn’t have time for me to be patient.” She started to put the sword back into its sheath.

“No.” He grabbed her wrist and, under her icy glare, he positioned her sword arm out in front of her. “Widen your stance.”

She tossed him a dirty look but did as he said.

He walked a circle around her. “Good. Now scan.”

She looked left then right. “Clear.” She took a step forward but he grabbed the back of her shirt and tugged her against his chest.

“Never forget the sky,” he rasped against her ear.

Her breath quickened and he could hear her heart pound wildly. She looked up then whispered, “Clear.”

“Good. I can’t use a dead witch so try to keep yourself alive, yes?”

“I suppose I can try,” she answered drily.


Destiny Bewitched blurb:

Deemed “trailer trash” by humans and the daughter of the most disgraceful family of witches and warlocks since the Puritan age, Samantha is used to fighting her own battles. When her younger sister is taken to the Underworld, Sam doesn't hesitate to rescue her.

To survive the harsh land, she makes a deal with a demon — the most dangerous of creatures in the realm.

Even with those lustrous horns, Geo is as hot as the hell she's stuck in. Fighting nasty beasts in a supernatural version of the gladiator games is easy compared to falling in love with a man who has no future to offer.

Author bio:

I began my writing journey while I was stranded at the airport waiting for my delayed flight. I browsed the Border’s kiosk and grew frustrated that I couldn’t find the “it factor” — the perfect combination of alpha male-ness, ass-kickery, strong females, magic, and sex.

So I spent the next four hours on an airplane writing my first book on scraps of paper and an airsick bag (which thankfully I didn't need to use).

Now I spend too much time in my head, plotting evil villains and the hot men (and women) who ruthlessly kill them. I think far too much about fae politics, dragon power games, and how fast werewolves can change forms. But writing my paranormal romance series has given me a productive place to express those dark places in my mind.

I live in New England with my husband and two kids. Though I will go to my grave denying it, my husband insists I would be thrilled if he suddenly sprouted fangs.

Media:

www.leiashaw.com
www.leiashaw.blogspot.com
www.facebook.com/LeiaShaw
@LeiaShaw

Tuesday, June 19

Guest Author Erica Manfred

Excerpt from Interview with the Jewish Vampire

“So nu?” said the vampire thoughtfully as he sat down next to me at the Mitzvah bar on Orchard St. “You must be Rhoda?” He’d picked me out of a line-up of twenty-something’s. I didn’t know whether to be flattered or insulted.

We had met through JDate. I was a Jewish divorcee of forty-one who claimed to be thirty-five and might be considered zaftig if you defined that liberally. He had been dead for a long time but I didn’t know that right away. I just thought he was pale. An undead double for Jeff Goldblum, he was tall, slender, with a mischievous smile, flashing green eyes and long black hair. His incisors were kind of pointy when he smiled and his skin was pasty white, but that didn’t put me off. Everyone looked pretty sallow in the dead of winter in New York City. I immediately wondered if I could drag him off to my lair later that night.

Despite the fact that I had a pretty face, I didn’t get a lot of action on JDate because I had checked “a few extra pounds” in the body size box. “A few” was an understatement, which is why I always met dates at night in bars. I wore black and got there first so they would see me sitting down. My face was a lot slimmer than the rest of me. Jewish guys were the worst when it came to weight—and everything else. Only a Jewish supermodel who ran a law firm was good enough for the Jewish princes I met on JDate.

I was perched on a barstool too teeny to accommodate my rear end, which spilled over the edges. I peered at everyone else's barstools and felt worse seeing all those visible edges. I decided that from now on my goal in life would be to sit on a barstool and be able to see the edges. I tugged on my low-cut tunic top trying in vain to hide the bulges between chest and crotch which seemed to have a mind of their own, ballooning out despite my best efforts. At least I was showing some cleavage, my best physical attribute. He rescued me from what was rapidly becoming a severe fat attack.

“So, you’re a journalist…” he said, putting his elbow on the bar and turning towards me. I had listed that profession on my profile. “Do you have a tape recorder with you?” he asked, not realizing I suppose that tape was so last century and reporters now carried digital recorders.

“Why do you ask?” Men had asked me a lot of strange opening questions on first dates but whether I had a tape recorder was not one of them.

“I would like to tell the story of my life.” He leaned forward and gave me such an intense look I had to turn away. “Would you be willing to interview me?”

No, I wasn’t interested in the story of his life. I was interested in getting to know him in a more biblical sense. I figured he was just another narcissistic celebrity wannabe. As a writer I was constantly getting hit on--not by attractive men--but by people who thought their lives were so fascinating they would make surefire bestseller material. All they thought they needed was a writer to tell their story which, of course, I would be thrilled to do on spec because they didn’t have any money. None of them realized that writers are not charitable institutions.

“You will want to write my story,” he said urgently, “You’ve never heard anything like it before. It will make you rich and famous.”

“Sure, sure. So what’s so special about your story?” I asked wearily, disappointed that he was only interested in my writing skills, not my body.

“I’m a vampire,” he said matter-of-factly.

“Sure, and I’m the Queen of the Damned.”

“What will convince you?” he asked.

“Hmm. Hold on a minute,” I said, playing along. I dragged a cross out of my purse, which I happened to have because I’d visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral with my niece earlier that day and got one for free. I held it up in front of him.

“I’m a Jewish vampire. Doesn’t do a thing for me.”

“How about a Jewish star?”

“Don’t be silly, only Christians are afraid of the devil.”

I dragged out a mirror and held it in front of his face. No reflection. He said Ah and the mirror didn’t fog up. When he opened his mouth I saw that his long incisors were, in fact, fangs. I shrank back, not thrilled about the notion of becoming dinner. I looked more closely at him, noting that like Anne Rice’s Louis, he was utterly white and smooth, as if he were sculpted from bleached bone, with brilliant green eyes that looked like flames in a skull. Unlike Louis, however, he was not wearing a finely tailored black coat but an overly long shlumpy one that looked like it came from the nineteenth century without a stop at the cleaners along the way. His full black hair, with waves combed over the tips of the ears and curls that barely touched the edge of his white collar, made me long to touch it. He was one handsome dude although his wardrobe could use some help.

“So,” he said, “ask me some questions.”

He certainly had piqued my curiosity, so I decided to go ahead and interview him. If he really was a vampire I’d have the scoop of the century, if anyone believed me. If not, at least I’d have the opportunity to flirt with a good-looking guy. Maybe I should have been more frightened, but I’d interviewed many dangerous types, including serial killers, so I was pretty nonchalant about the risk involved. Plus my life had been seriously lacking in drama lately and here was an opportunity for a little excitement.

I pulled out my pen and started making notes.

“Wait a minute,” he said, sounding upset. “I thought you were going to record this”

“I am recording it. This pen is a digital recorder.” I showed him my latest reporter’s gadget. “As I write, it records, so I can play back any part I want.”

“That would have come in handy in Hebrew class when I was a kid. I was always getting lost during the rabbi’s Talmud commentary. Too bad I had to use a quill pen.”

He wanted me to give him a pseudonym so I’m calling him “Sheldon” after my ex-husband, who was a bloodsucker if ever there was one.

“I didn’t know there were any Jewish vampires.” Actually I didn’t know there were any vampires at all, but I was suspending disbelief for the moment.

“Vy not a vampire? Vy a duck? Just kidding. I miss Groucho. We used to hang out at Grossingers in the heyday of the Borscht Belt.”

I laughed. In addition to being a hottie, he was a regular vampire comedian. You never know what will turn up on JDate.


Interview with a Jewish Vampire
by Erica Manfred


The last thing zaftig middle-aged journalist, Rhoda Ginsburg, expected when she signed up for JDate was to fall in love with a vampire. But when she meets drop-dead gorgeous Sheldon, a Hasidic vampire, she falls hard. She rationalizes that he may not be alive, but at least he’s Jewish.

She learns that back in the nineteenth century Sheldon was a rabbi who was turned into a vampire by Count Dracula, an anti-Semite who got his kicks from turning Orthodox Jews into vampires because then they’d have to drink blood, which isn’t kosher.

Soon after she meets Sheldon, she discovers her beloved mother, Fanny, is terminally ill, so she comes up with the crackpot idea of getting Sheldon to turn Fanny and her friends, known as “the goils,” into vampires.

Once she becomes a vampire, Fanny tires of her boring life in Century Village, Florida, and, seeking thrills, she goes clubbing and disappears into the nightlife of South Beach in Miami. When Fanny and her goil posse “go rogue” and start preying on the young, Rhoda and Sheldon must track them down to keep them from killing again.

Interview with a Jewish Vampire turns vampire lore on its head, proving that not all vampires are young and beautiful and it IS possible to be undead and kosher.


About the Author:

Erica Manfred is a freelance journalist, humorous essayist, and author. Her most recent book is the novel, Interview with a Jewish Vampire. She’s also authored two non-fiction self-help books, including most recently He’s History You’re Not; Surviving Divorce After Forty. Her articles and essays have appeared in Cosmopolitan, The New York Times Magazine, Ms., New Age Journal, Village Voice, Woman’s Day, SELF, Ladies Home Journal, and many other publications. Erica lives in Woodstock, New York with her Chihuahua, Shadow, and her daughter, Freda. Brought up by Jewish parents who spoke Yiddish but avoided religion, she got her Jewish education at the Woodstock Jewish Congregation which welcomes Jews from all backgrounds, from atheist to Orthodox, to vampire. Her website is www.ericamanfred.com, or visit www.jewishvampire.com

Tuesday, June 12

Guest Author Mysti Parker

Elves are People, Too—A Love Story
by Mysti Parker

In 2001, a little movie called “The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring” hit the big screen. During that three hour stretch in a dim theater, I munched happily on popcorn and fell in love all over again.

I’d fallen for its predecessor, “The Hobbit”, many years before, when I wore out the little 45 record that came with an abridged children’s version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic tale. I adored Bilbo. My heart sped as I listened to the gravelly-voiced narrator describing the terrified hobbit’s trek into the dragon Smaug’s lair. No matter how many times I listened and read along, the story captivated me, even when the record skipped at every other paragraph.

And back at the theater in 2001, when Orlando Bloom tossed that long blond hair (ok, I know it was a wig) behind his shoulder, raised his bow, and drew the string back toward his pointed ear, I fell in love with Legolas.

Actually, I fell in love with elves.

Through a trilogy of films, Tolkien’s immortal characters were resurrected by director Peter Jackson’s genius. One might imagine my giddiness over the first installment of “The Hobbit” coming out this December. Yet, as I read the books and drooled over Legolas in the films, I knew something was missing.

I didn’t know what that something was until 2009. In that eight-year span, I quit my job to become a full-time mom, moved to rural Western Kentucky, had two more babies, and became hooked on roleplaying games like Everquest and The Elder Scrolls. In those games, I came to realize what I’d missed in Tolkien’s version of fantasy—the elves!
Yes, there were elves, but I wanted more of Galadriel, Arwen, and Legolas. I wanted more than their portrayal as perfect, whimsical beings. I wanted to get behind the scenes to see what secrets lay in their tidy closets.

And that’s when I started writing. It began with me writing about the elven characters I played in computer games. One of the stories about a dark elf sparked something special. I decided to break away from the fan-fiction slant and create my own fantasy world. After much rewriting and editing, I submitted “Let There Be Love” to Midnight Showcase Fiction (now Melange Books), and they accepted it right off the bat.

From then on, I had my motivation. Freedom, in the form of my very own creation, not confined to someone else’s vision or a game’s pre-set lore. In my world, which came to be called Tallenmere, I held the reins. I could dive headlong into stories where elves were at the forefront, and not just charming minor characters. They would experience passion, anger, jealousy, violence, and treachery just as any human would, with some necessary differences, of course, to give them a unique spin.

So that’s where I am today, carving out the world of Tallenmere one elf at a time. I hope you’ll come along with me on this journey. But beware—you just might fall in love, too!

****

One lucky commenter will win a PDF or Kindle of BOTH A Ranger’s Tale and Serenya’s Song



Serenya’s Song
Tallenmere, Book Two
by Mysti Parker


Blurb:

In the fantasy world of Tallenmere, no one ever said love was easy...

Serenya Crowe may be a half-elf commoner, but she's no ordinary woman. With the ability to interpret dreams, and a birth defect that forces her to wear gloves, she’s endured small-town gossip and the cruelty of her husband, Sebastian, The Earl of Summerwind. All she's ever wanted is to live a quiet life and raise a family. When she meets the new stranger in town, her world and her heart, are turned upside down.

Wood-elf Jayden Ravenwing is an ex-secret agent who wants nothing more than to forget matters of the heart. He left the bustle of Leogard and his failed marriage to make a fresh start in Summerwind. He never planned to fall in love again, especially with the enchanting Serenya Crowe.

When a strange portal opens on the Crowe property at the edge of town, Jayden is thrown into an investigation, knowing that if he fails, Serenya and everyone in Summerwind may die.

Together, he and Serenya must overcome an ancient evil, and their own inner demons, to save Summerwind and find the love they've always dreamed of.

Amazon

Author Bio:

Mysti Parker is a full time wife, mother of three, and a writer. Her first novel, A Ranger’s Tale was published in January, 2011 by Melange Books, and is the first in a fantasy romance series. She is also the proud writer of Unwritten, a blog voted #3 for eCollegeFinder’s Top Writing Blogs award.

Links:

Email: mystiparker@yahoo.com
Unwritten
Twitter: @MystiParker
Facebook Page
Goodreads Page
A Ranger’s Tale: Melange Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords
Serenya’s Song: MelangeBooks

Friday, June 8

Shameless Summer Giveäwäy - Winner Announced

red hot books

Hey everyone! Sorry for the day late start. I'm participating in the Shameless Summer Hop. What's the prize? A $10 digital gift card to Amazon.com available internationally to enter see below for the Rafflecopter.

EDIT: Thank you everyone for entering! I loved reading all of your comments!! Congrats to the winner Shamara C! I hope you all have a shamelessly awesome summer!

Wondering what you'd possibly want at Amazon? Don't worry, here's a few options! ;-)

Techno Crazed 
Hacked Investigations, Book 1

Private investigator Hannah Franklin's life is turned upside down after being contacted by a former employee of MAX Home Security, the leader in security services. But they're not just protecting people anymore. Hannah's informant claims to have proof that MAX has ordered the assassination of politicians who stood against the corporation.

When her informant is killed and an attempt is made on her life, Hannah has no choice but to contact a freelance hacker. Her only hope now lies in the hands of a man she never expected to welcome back into her life.

Ian Bradley has lost his girlfriend and his job, as well as having acquired a very annoying gnome. Now his ex, Hannah, is in danger, and she needs his help. Ian vows to protect Hannah with every resource available to him -- and as a technomage in a high-tech world, his resources are almost endless...

Read the Excerpt

Reviews:


"Fun and unexpected... Sarah weaves futuristic society, magic, and a grumpy gnome into a fun story!" - Lisa Kessler, Author of Night Walker 


"Techno Crazed is a fantastic beginning to the series. The story is full of diverse, engaging characters and fun twists along the way...I can't wait to read more about Hannah and Ian." - Kinley Baker, Author of Ruined



Jungle Heat
Amazon Chronicles, Book 1

An Amazon Princess and a weretiger must find love enough to heal their peoples' painful history.

The Amazon Rainforest still contains a few secrets. One of these secrets is a hidden village of women whose history is filled with the horror of conquering men.

Adara Rukan, princess of the Amazons, ventures away from her village to find something waiting for her. Andrei "Rei" Makarov is a weretiger and a biologist on assignment. Can Rei and Adara find love enough to bridge their two separate worlds?

Read the Excerpt


Reviews:

"Jungle Heat was like a quick escape to a secret world. It was exciting and a little different from the typical shifter story." - Bookie Nookie, The Romance Reviews

Find my books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance eBooks and Changeling Press.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 7

Blacklist Rogue is now available!

Hey everyone! I'm very excited to announce that Blacklist Rogue, the third book in my Hacked Investigations series, is now available for purchase! This book downright kicked my butt at times, and I'm thrilled with its outcome.

Here's the blurb, excerpt, and buy links. Also, make sure to subscribe to my mailing list by the end of the day since I'll be sending out a newsletter tomorrow. :-)

Thanks for sharing in my exciting release day! I'm also hanging out TRS's Party site today. I'd love to see you there!
Hacked Investigations 3: Blacklist Rogue
by Sarah Mäkelä
Genres: Futuristic, Paranormal, Action Adventure/ Suspense, Cyber-Punk, Erotic Romance
Length: Novella
Buy now: http://changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1821


Blurb:

When MAX Home Security tries to hire their private investigation firm to prove the corruption the company is on trial for occurred without the knowledge of the upper management, Ian and Hannah are reluctant to help.

Unfortunately, MAX's legal team thinks it looks good for their PR to have Hacked Investigations involved, forcing Ian and Hannah's hand. But Ian's headaches are getting worse, and Hannah and Ian will have to rely on each other even more if they stand a chance of getting out of this mess alive.

Excerpt:


Ian Bradley hit send on an email to one of Hacked Investigations' frequent customers. This time, the business owner had needed him to check on his future partner to make sure there wouldn't be trouble if he signed the partnership agreement. Ian had the potential business partner's email hacked in no time, and within five minutes, he'd completed his task.

Easy.

The client was paranoid, and, even if Ian thought those types of assignments were frivolous, he had a paycheck on its way.

Slender, feminine arms wrapped around his chest as Hannah hugged him from behind. Her lips brushed his earlobe, and her velvety tongue slid along the edge of it. "Now that we've wrapped another case, how about we celebrate?" Her voice was a low purr.

He shivered and placed his hands over hers. "I'll be right there. Let me lock down the computer. Bernard has been surfing some nasty porn sites. I'm not chancing that he'll get another virus on my machine."

Hannah nibbled his neck, and he groaned. She pulled away, trailing her fingertips over his chest and shoulder.

Swiveling in his chair, he watched her saunter toward the bedroom. Once she got to the doorway of the bedroom, she looked back at him, giving him a seductive smile.

Ian grinned and then spun around to face the computer. He changed the password again, tweaking the system's safety features, and shut it down.

From the living room, he heard Bernard, the pint-sized gnome, talking in hushed tones entirely different from his usual loud, obnoxious demeanor.

The urge to see what mischief Bernard was getting into nearly drove him toward the living room, but Hannah's sexy smile won out. He headed toward the bedroom, thinking of the things he'd like to do to her. His hand was hovering over the doorknob when the phone rang.

Sighing, he walked to the office phone, but it fell silent. From the other room, Bernard spoke in an annoyed, yet strangely husky voice. "Uh huh. Well, buster, I don't care who you are. There's someone important on the other line giving me some, uh, juicy details about something," Bernard said. He had a slight manic pitch that always grated on Ian's nerves.

Reaching for the phone and fearing the worst, Ian hoped whoever had called their business line wasn't already completely insulted by Bernard's behavior. He mentally made a note to keep Bernard caged when at all possible.

"Oh, stop your whining. You can call back later." Impatience picked up in the gnome's voice as did his volume.

Ian barely managed to pick up the office phone as he heard the other phone slam onto the receiver in the living room. "Hello? Anyone there?"

"Ah, Ian, hello. It's been a while." Senator Kendall's voice came through clearly.

"Hello, Senator. How can we help you?" Ian said, remembering the trial by fire the three of them went through with MAX Home Security after their first meeting not long ago.

"Who was that? A new assistant?" The senator sounded both intrigued and insulted. "Never mind. You need to know about what's going on. So far, my team has brought the corruption suspicions up to middle-management level, but we're blocked from going to the executive level." He let out a harsh sigh. "All leads we have point to a separate operative within MAX who has worked outside the executives' knowledge. Or so they say. There are rumors about a side project. Something that would make the current fiasco seem like playground material. I don't have details yet, but there's a lot of money from the yearly budgets we cannot trace. Company meetings and trips without receipts, cargo requests of military grade equipment reported as lost in transit, and much more. There are people who have their signatures on documents they claim to have never seen or signed. Some people who haven't worked for the company in years."

"You're kidding." Ian couldn't believe what he was hearing. He'd known his former employer was no good, but this... It was almost more than he could imagine.

The senator chuckled, but there was no humor in the sound. "What's worse is money coming from sources they have marked as trade secrets, meetings around intellectual property and business licenses. MAX doesn't provide licenses to the public, which makes it even more suspicious. When we try to question them about it, we get shut down about speculating on things not relative to the trial."

"So, the executives are playing cloak and dagger games? Pushing the blame down and claiming they had no idea?" he asked.

"Exactly. And with MAX Home Security being such a large company with so much influence and power, other politicians are treading lightly, fearing the collapse of a global trillion-dollar company. 'What's a little corruption to spare ourselves another collapse?' That's the word going around. Anyway, the former president of the company is clearly outraged. With the company having been in his family, his children work there in various positions. The old man strongly believed his children should get no special treatment and needed to work their way up the chain, so to speak. One of them, Johann Li, reached out to my office to ask how he could help save the business from all this."

Ian frowned. This had become more complicated than he ever dreamed. He knew there wasn't a good side to MAX. They'd tried to kill him and Hannah, but what he really wanted to know was why Senator Kendall had called. Why share these details with him?

He had opened his mouth to say as much when he heard a door open. Hannah leaned against the doorframe leading to his bedroom, concern creasing her brows together. He held up a finger, then returned his focus to the senator, who was still talking.

Ian cleared his throat. "Excuse me for a moment, Senator, but what exactly is it you want me to do?"

Senator Kendall sighed. "I'm calling to warn you. You'll be receiving a call soon. You'll know what I meant then."

Buy now: http://changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1821
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