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Snippet Saturday–Oct 29

This week’s theme is scary or thrilling. Well, I’m a wuss and I can’t think of anything I’ve written that was scary (unless you count emotionally scary) so here’s snippet that I’d file under Thrilling. Ready, set, go.

A raygun blast whizzed by Hayln West’s right shoulder, and he spun and returned fire. The woman, a PrimeC soldier dressed in white, fell back against the wall, a gaping wound in her chest. The stench of fried flesh filled the ultra modern lounge, but he knew she wasn’t alone. He dropped to one knee behind a low slung sofa and took out two more PrimeC soldiers who hugged the walls of an adjoining corridor, his aim deadly.

Halyn closed himself off to the chaos reigning around him and focused on the shadows, using his gift to sense danger. His job was to get in, rescue Isis’s friend Natacha, and get out. In one piece. But the Federation army was early. Four weeks early by the sounds of the raygun blasts from the hallway behind him. The residents, women being brainwashed and held against their will, ran past him. They wore matching masks of confusion and terror, obviously stunned by the sudden appearance of armed soldiers and the sounds the ensuing gunfight.

When he didn’t see any more enemy troops, he rose to his full height and started for the wide hallway before him. With all the frightened women heading for the hills, the hall was eerily quiet. So quiet that he wondered if he was walking into an ambush. But he sensed nothing. Holding a gun in each hand, he aimed one left and the other right, walking sideways, his back to the wall. He counted each door as he passed and when he came to the fifth one, he stopped, turned, and aimed in both directions again. Next to the door, a digital sign read $Natacha & Isis.$ He used the handle of his weapon to smash in the computerized panel below the sign and the door opened instantly.

He shifted the weapon in his left hand to aim directly in front of him as he stepped into the small, dimly lit space. Tension rippled through him, and his old should wound throbbed. The first room contained two gray chairs and a small center table. He stepped further into the space, and a feminine moan filled his ears.

He stepped right, his gaze sweeping the bedroom beyond. There on one of the single wide beds was a woman in the throes of a passionate dream. Eyes firmly shut, she lay twisted with the covers, her gown hiked up around her chest. She continued to moan as her hands roamed over her stomach, hips, and…

He swallowed hard. Isis was right. Natacha was chocolate in a vanilla world. Her skin was so beautifully dark against the stark white sheets. Her hair fanned around her, covering her pillow as she turned her head left, right, then left again.

Now was not the time to be transfixed but — he stepped closer, lowering the gun in his right hand. She rubbed her clit with four fingers, and her thighs spread wide as her hips tipped upward. Halyn cursed the blood rushing to his cock. He’d wasted too much time already, standing here watching some woman get off in her sleep.

$Fuck. Her middle finger dipped between the slick folds and her hips tilted further, giving him an incredible view of the innermost folds of her pretty pink cunt.

The tip of her finger thrust inside her pussy, and a husky gasp escaped her lips. His gaze drifted up her body, over the heavy breasts beneath the sheer gown, the dark nipples poking the fabric, to her face. She was beautiful. Sensual, with a wide succulent mouth he had an uncontrollable urge to kiss. But he couldn’t. Not now. Now, he needed to get her out of this hellhole.

Tucking his guns back in the holsters, he adjusted his cock, giving it a firm squeeze before he started toward Natacha. He’d stop off somewhere once he got Natacha back to Isis and take care of the… tension.

As much as he hated to stop her show, halt her dream and ruin her orgasm, time was of the essence. Federation troops would be crawling over this whole compound in a few short minutes. He bent, tucking his arms beneath her writhing body, and lifted her high against his chest. Though it was warm inside the compound, her skin was icy against his. Her sweet scent filled his nose, and surprisingly, she didn’t wake. Did they drug the women so they’d sleep? Or was her dream really that powerful?

Looking down at the soft O of her lips he wondered what… who she dreaming about. Damn it, that didn’t matter right now. He turned for the door and saw a Federation soldier dart past.

Excerpted from Rescuing Natacha

 

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FTF: Power of Seduction by Madison Chase

Every wolf has his breaking point.

Tor Kemp is an executioner, not a babysitter. But his visions tell him that Cassidy Sinclair is in serious danger…and his visions are never wrong. She’s defenseless against a world she knows nothing about.

Cassidy has dreamed of Tor before. Unfortunately, he always leaves her unsatisfied. But in real life, satisfaction is guaranteed…until he vows to protect her.

Protecting her means keeping his hands to himself. But Tor quickly learns that every wolf has his breaking point.

If you’re already sold, here are the links you’ll want to click on.

—> BUY POWER OF SEDUCTION BY MADISON CHASE HERE <—

Want a sampling? Read on!

Juggling a bucket of orchids and her cell phone, Cassidy struggled to open the service door of the Winston Atlas hotel.

“Ugh…huh. Right. Yep,” she told Jennah, her right-hand woman. It was a crazy day. Nonstop arranging and deliveries, and Celeste, her friend and event planner extraordinaire, had called to say that somehow, Cassidy’s assistants had managed to include the wrong orchids in the arrangements for tonight’s event. “Hang on a sec.”

She managed to swing the door wide and stepped into the dimly lit corridor. “Okay, go ahead.”

“Which roses did you want in—arrangement?” The line crackled. “We’re out of Champagne. Rick’s on his way to the warehouse now, but…” Jennah sighed. Cassidy felt like doing the same thing. She turned in a circle, trying to get her bearings. Wall after wall of gray concrete block surrounded her, closed in like catacombs. If she could just get through this maze and switch out these flowers, she could go home for a hot shower.

“Just substitute Vengelaes. It’ll work.” She hoisted the bucket higher against her chest.

This was one of the few times she’d been through the bowels of this hotel. In the past, she’d arrived out front to camera flashes and paparazzi shouting her name. Nine months ago, she’d had no idea how tiresome a double life could be. But she dutifully showed up to fancy events and made her way through the marble lined halls. She schmoozed and passed out enough business cards that Jennah had needed to reorder. Down here, the bright florescent bulbs didn’t have any of the warmth of their crystal chandelier counterparts upstairs.

“We just got another order for a funeral.”

“Ask Marcy to do it.” Cassidy hated funerals. She still couldn’t get the image of Veronica Aragon’s beautiful face, frozen with death, out of her mind. It seemed like ages ago that she, Celeste, and James Brody had rallied around their best friend, Viki, and mourned her sister.

Shuddering, she started down the hall and heard the distinct rumble of the service elevator.

“Do you need anything else over there?” Jennah asked, always efficient. Barely out of college, Jennah was young, eager, organized. Cassidy had hired her seven months ago and had no idea how she’d manage if Jennah wasn’t there to keep her life running smoothly. Her work life, anyway.

“I think I’ve got everything. Once I get these orchids switched, I’m heading home to get ready. Are you sure you don’t want to come? I’ve got extra tickets.”

“You’re the face of Sinclair’s, not me. Besides, I’ve already rented a movie for me and Jason to watch tonight. Give me a call if you need anything else.”

“Will do.”

Cassidy slipped the slender phone into the back pocket of her jeans and wrapped both arms around the bucket. The heavy door of the elevator rumbled upward, and she quickly stepped on. Her nose was in the bucket, inhaling the delicious fragrance, and she didn’t notice the big man in front of her until they’d bumped into each other. Ice-cold water splashed over her corset top and raced down between her breasts, chilling every inch of flesh along the way.

Goose bumps ruptured across her skin as she met the stranger’s dark gaze. He was tall. She had to look way up to meet his eyes. Really tall, and really…big.

“Sorry,” she murmured.

“Entirely my fault,” he said, a trace of accent lacing his words, as they switched positions. His hair was long, dark, verging on wavy. Normally, she liked the cleanly shaven look, but on him there was something perfect about the ruggedness of his wild hair. It made him seem untamable. And though she was sure she’d never met him before, there was something familiar about him. Something that heated her blood and turned her insides to mush.

She gave him her most charming smile, and he returned it with one of his own. The corner of that deliciously kissable mouth turned up in a way that made her think of slow, soul-shattering sex. Like he knew just how to touch, please, and caress a woman. More specifically, her.

Ready now? Here are those links again.

—> BUY POWER OF SEDUCTION BY MADISON CHASE HERE <—

It’s all in the mind, Hope Solo

So if you’ve been paying any attention to Dancing With The Stars this season, you’ve probably heard about Maks’ partner, Hope Solo. Hope is a beautiful woman. There, I said it.

But she’s spent the last who knows how long on the soccer field, kicking butt and taking names.

Soccer field to ball room. What a switch!

As you all know, I’m a fan of sexy. Men, women. It’s a state of mind. It’s confidence. And anyone can be sexy, I think.

The judges have given Hope a bit of a rough time, saying that she’s not sexy enough in some of her dances. And frankly, you can kind of see it on Hope’s face. This "oh my gosh, I’m dancing in front of millions of people and they want me to be sexy" look.

I submit to you, faithful friends, that sexy is in the mind. It starts there. It’s a feeling. And then, and only then, can it be projected outward.

So Hope, I suggest you find your inner sexy. Your inner confidence that you are an incredibly beautiful, gifted, talented woman. And you’re hella lucky to get to dance with such a cutie.

And for the rest of you, think back to a time in your life when you felt sexy, desirable. Hold. That. Thought.

Bad Reviews Can Boost Sales?

Here’s another blast from the past (blog posts I wrote a while back but never posted until now. ) This one is from February of 2011. Enjoy.

From: Bad publicity may boost book sales by Jenny Thai

“For lesser-known or new authors, bad publicity may actually be good news. According to a recent study co-authored by Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Alan Sorenson and Wharton Business School professor Jonah Berger, B.A. ’02, Ph.D. ’07, bad reviews can dramatically boost sales.

Earlier studies showed how publicity through product reviews can affect sales. The researchers found out that giving books bad reviews could lead customers to assume the book was bad, thereby significantly reducing sales. However, because negative information usually cuts down the number of product reviews, consumer opinions alone cannot explain why bad publicity may actually increase product sales.”

Well thank goodness for that bit of good news! :-)

In all seriousness, bad reviews sting but they’re a part of life. I get that. I have no problem with that. This latest research makes it a fine line between appreciating those brutally honest reviews that have you running for a pint of Rocky Road and hoping that those bad reviews will earn you a little bit of publicity.

Ultimately, there will always be scathing reviews. There will be reviewers who for whatever reason, have it in for the author. And there will be brutally honest reviews by a person who just didn’t like the book. It’s up to the author to sift through the bad stuff, learn from constructive criticism, and bask in the glow of the good stuff. (All of which, is easier said than done, of course.)

Snippet Saturday–Oct 22

Some people say your story is only as good as your villain. I happen to believe that some people are rotten to the core. Others have multiple layers of evil. While I don’t always write a lot from a villain’s POV, I occasionally do and with intense results if I may say so. Case in point, this week’s Snippet Saturday.

Carl Steinhurst marched past the ornate clock on the mantle as it struck nine. Impatient, he took his place behind the massive wooden desk, steepling his fingers as he waited for his daily update on the Kendall situation. As soon as this call was complete he could get back to the two beautiful whores adorning the large silk sofa on the opposite wall of his office.

His hand hovered over the receiver as he waited. And waited. His gaze flicked to the clock again. One minute past.

He sucked in an annoyed breath as he glared back at the phone. The instant it rang, he snatched it up.

Luckily, he’d trained the small talk out of his help. He had no time or need for such things. Down to business. Always business.

“She got away again,” the voice said without preamble.

Carl’s grip tightened on the cordless phone as his fangs lengthened. “She what?”

“She got away from us boss. She’s smarter than she looks—“

He leaned forward, elbows digging into the polished wood. “That’s my betrothed you’re talking about weasel. Watch your mouth.” One of these days he was going to have to see about getting better help. Someone smarter and more capable. These goons worked for peanuts and until he could stake his claim on the Carver lands he couldn’t afford anyone better.

“Use her cell phone to track her.”

150_swacw“It’s off, boss.”

Sometimes he really did think he was talking to children. “As soon as she turns it back on, triangulate her position,” he said, annunciating every word.

He ran his tongue over his fangs as he watched the women on his sofa fondle and caress each other. The lingerie he’d picked out did wonders for their figures. Rhinestones sparkled in the moonlight, like beacons in the darkened room.

“Right. Um. And there’s more.”

“More? How could there be more?” Fury boiled inside him. How inept could those man-sized-rodents be? He should have hired a bounty hunter with questionable morals to bring her back to him, but no, he’d taken their word for it. “We can find her,” they’d said.

Sniveling little animals.

Excerpted from Stranded with a Cajun Werewolf

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FTF: Intimate Whispers by Dee Carney

Whispers from the dead are everywhere because their greatest desire is to be heard.

Sabrina Turner has found only one way to stop the curse she was born with— allowing an incubus to worship her body in exchange for halting the voices drowning her
sanity. Every time she succumbs, it’s still an act of desperation. Yet she’s not sure if she wants to be rid of the bittersweet release.
All Jason Raines wants is to communicate one last time with his deceased brother.
When he discovers his seductive neighbor speaks to the dead, it’s another reason to get close to her. Visions and cryptic dreams Sabrina experiences are messages for
him, he’s sure of it. Whatever her price, he’ll pay it. When a reluctant Sabrina opens the doorway to the other side, though, he discovers the cost may be higher than he first
thought.
Her urgent search for freedom. His crucial need for absolution. A burning love between them offers their only hope in salvation from intimate whispers.

If you’re already sold, here are the links you’ll want to click on.

Want a sampling? Read on!

The door opened and Sabrina walked out, a towel wrapped around her body. A misty cloud floated around her, giving her an ethereal aura. Kind of like what he expected to see on no less than an angel.

Her skin was damp, some escaped tendrils from the bun in her hair dripping water onto her shoulders. There was a fresh innocence about her, the way her exotic hazel eyes smiled at him without pretense or cunning. Just short of annoyed, but with a hint of gratitude in them.

His mouth dried up and he wanted to kiss her again. Feel the gentle caress of her lips against his, the same as the night she offered her thanks. Only instead of thanks, he wanted her surrender. A giving of herself that he suspected she didn’t ever offer. He’d earned the privilege of breaking down the barrier she erected and wondered if she felt the same. A single kiss.

“Jason, what’s going on?”

So lost in the fantasy standing before him, he’d forgotten he still held the phone to his ear. Kelly’s voice startled him. “I’ll catch you later, okay?” he murmured.

He clicked the phone shut before waiting for her reply. Kelly was a part of his past, and standing before him, perhaps—just perhaps—stood the doorway to a future.

“Did you need to take that call? You don’t have to wait on me hand and foot, you know.” She blessed him with a lopsided smile. At what point had he crossed the line where a flash of her white teeth went from merely making him smile too, to making his pulse race?

Shaking his head, he shrugged. “Just Kelly. I’ll call her later.”

“The blonde?” A flash of darkness crossed her features.

“Yeah.” He furrowed his eyebrows, not quite getting the sudden chill he sensed. “What’s wrong?” She moved toward the bureau, sidestepping him without touching. He fought down an urge to move closer, perhaps bring her into his embrace. “Sabrina?”

With a yank, she opened one of the drawers and rifled through it. “Send her my thanks for letting you stay. I suppose you need to go now.”

Not wanting to risk aggravating her injury, he pulled on the towel until she either had to follow it closer to him or lose it altogether. “Letting me stay? I stayed because I wanted to.”

Slowly, she asked, “And she knew what you were doing?”

“What does it matter if—”

“Oh my God, please tell me your girlfriend knows you’ve been sleeping in my bed, even if nothing happened.” She threw her hands in the air. “And now that I’m saying it out loud, I can’t believe I let you.”

Something rose within him, snapping off his restraint and demanding he admit his desires. Before doubts and second thoughts formed an alliance, Jason gave in. In one forward motion, he pulled her close, studying those delicious lips and knew as sure as he knew his own name, within the next few seconds, they were his to claim.

“She’s not my girlfriend,” he growled. His eyes caught hers and he swore he saw heat in them. Desire to kiss and be kissed. To be made love to. Some force compelled him to lower his mouth, his entire being wanted her compliant body beneath his. His own desire burning strong.

Ready now? Here are those links again.

—> BUY INTIMATE WHISPERS BY DEE CARNEY HERE <—

A Disturbing Self-Publishing Trend

Let me preface this whole post with this: I’m not perfect. There, I said it. I know my books aren’t perfect. I believe there’s always room for improvement and I try darn hard to write a fabulous story each time.

All that said, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend among several of the self published books I’ve read lately.

There’s only half a story!

It’s starting to get on my nerves (imagine much teeth grinding and hair pulling here) when a story is incomplete. As an author I know it’s hard to step back far enough to know if your story is complete. I get it.

But I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve walked away from recently, thinking: why do these two like each other, what caused them to fall in love? Wow, that was a fast resolution.

Note: I shouldn’t think these things. Torture your characters. Keep them apart. Let me know each step of the way why they’re falling in love. I should be able to take out all the sex and still have a story there. And the story should be complete. Beginning, dreaded middle, and happily ever after.

Wordie Goodness

Ever heard of a tag cloud? From what I’ve gathered it’s just a cloud of the most common tags associated with a blog. I found a nifty website that will create a word cloud from your blog posts. It looks like art to me and I figured you’d want to see. So here’s a word cloud from October 2011.

Wordle: October Blog Goodness

FTF: ENEMY EMBRACE by Patti O’Shea

Ready for another treat? I thought so!CraveTheNight And really, who doesn’t love an anthology!

When vampire hunter Nicole Ruiz nearly loses her life to a powerful vampire, she offers an alliance to her rescuer, a demon name Daktan. Demons might be an enemy, but she’d make a deal with the devil himself if that’s what it took to avenge her family.

Buy it here:

Amazon
Smashwords

And how about a sampler?

CHAPTER ONE

The farther she got from the Tiki-A-Go-Go, the more uneasy Nicole became. This late at night, the warehouse district appeared deserted. She didn’t understand why there were no deliveries…unless it had something to do with the twenty-foot tall chain-link fences topped with razor wire that surrounded the buildings. She scanned continually while she walked, but it wasn’t the area near the nightclub that had her on edge. There was a much bigger reason for her tautness.

She was trailing the vampire who’d destroyed everything, everyone who had ever mattered to her.

And Nicole had lost her quarry.

That didn’t happen. She wasn’t just a vampire hunter, she was a psi tracker. It was her job to follow vampires and discover where they holed up during the day, so that they could be slain while the sun was up. There was always a risk of confrontation while she followed one, but even at night, Nicole had been able to defeat them.

But this female vampire might be the oldest Nicole had ever hunted and they gained power with age.

She didn’t have much information. That bothered her. All she knew was that the vampire as using the name Mary Beth Danner, that she’d recently returned to Los Angeles, and that she was a cold-blooded killer. The other questions remained unanswered.

Location of lair—unknown. Associates and allies—unknown. Vampire clan allegiance—unknown.

She stopped short. Ahead, a gate hung open on the side of one of the warehouses. A closer look showed that the chain and padlock that had kept it shut were broken. They dangled, nearly brushing the sidewalk.

Reaching under her black leather jacket, she touched her knives—one wooden, one metal—to reassure herself. It might be a trap, but Nicole had the ability to conceal her presence, making herself invisible for all intents and purposes, and she’d been using it since she’d found her target earlier tonight.

Besides, the vampire had left the nightclub with a human male and that meant Nicole didn’t have much time to think things through. Even now, Mary Beth could be killing the guy.

The thought of the vampire taking another life made Nicole’s stomach roll over, and pulling her metal dagger, she slipped through the gate.

Bright lights lit up the side of the building, the loading dock, and the concrete that filled the space between the fence and the warehouse, but there were still plenty of shadows. Tightening her hold on the hilt, Nicole continued forward. She reached the edge of the structure, hesitated, and then turned the corner.

Nothing. Where the hell was the vampire?

“Behind you.” The feminine voice came soft and slow and laced with sarcasm.

Stiffening, Nicole pivoted. And looked at the monster from a million nightmares. The human stood beside the vampire, staring sightlessly off into the distance. “You can see me,” Nicole said and immediately felt stupid.

Mary Beth’s smile made her appear angelic and that was such a lie. “How astute. You’re not powerful enough to conceal yourself from me.”

Nicole’s jaw tightened. How astute must be the old fashioned way of saying duh. “You knew I was outside the club—the human was a lure,” she said as realization dawned.

Mary Beth’s grin widened and she gave a toss of her blond hair. “Waiting for you to gather courage grew tedious. I have better things to do.”

Nicole opened her mouth and shut it without saying anything. This entire conversation was surreal. She was being insulted by a vampire wearing salmon-colored jeans and a white tank top, and Nicole couldn’t seem to take action. Maybe it was some kind of delayed shock to finally confronting this killer, but it—

The vampire sighed and gazed heavenward. Then she looked Nicole dead in the eye, extended her fangs and talons, and turned toward the guy standing passively next to her.

Damn it to hell. Her choices were gone. Nicole pulled her second dagger and charged. So much for strategy or finesse.

Mary Beth pushed the man aside. Her claws slashed downward as soon as Nicole was in range and she had to duck to avoid taking a hit.

She came up, wooden dagger in her left hand, metal blade in her right and looked for an opening. There wasn’t one.

Nicole jumped back, avoiding another strike. Before she could balance her weight, the vampire was in her face and Nicole spun away to avoid taking a talon to her neck.

Mary Beth was fast. Faster than any vampire Nicole had faced before and she—

Air touched her cheek as Nicole dove to the ground. She rolled to her feet, but couldn’t find the other woman. Quickly, she whirled.

Just in time. The claw left a six-inch scar on the sleeve of her leather jacket.

She hated being on the defensive. Nicole ran again at Mary Beth, but the vampire seemed to disappear as Nicole stabbed downward with the metal knife. With the strength she’d used, hitting empty space left her unsteady.

Before she could regain her equilibrium, two hands shoved at her back. Nicole flailed her arms, trying to keep from falling.

She stumbled into the loading dock with enough force to drive the air from her lungs, but Nicole didn’t wait until she could breathe. Spinning, she kicked out and connected with a knee.

Not hard enough. But it bought Nicole time to regroup and regain some air.

Mary Beth didn’t have her fangs down.

Nicole barely registered that when she was dodging again. Why would a vampire halve its arsenal? Nicole kicked out, but this time the maneuver was expected and finding nothing except air threw her off-balance.

Mary Beth grabbed her and tossed her.

Even as she went airborne, Nicole knew the landing was not going to be pretty. She tried to keep her body from tensing and tightened her hold on her daggers.

It didn’t help. The impact was enough to jar both knives loose. Her head connected with the cement and left her dazed. Her brain ordered her to move and tried to prod her body into motion, but her muscles couldn’t obey the command.

Her vision was hazy when Mary Beth sat on her chest, pinning Nicole’s wrists to the ground above her head with one hand. Nicole tried to shake the other woman off. Tried and failed.

Adrenaline drove the world into sharp focus.

Mary Beth’s eyes glowed blue-white as she smiled—no fangs—and drew back her arm. The talons lengthened farther.

Oh, God. Nicole fought harder, but all she could manage to do was twist and buck. It wasn’t enough to dislodge the vampire or for Nicole to get her arms free.

Damn it, she had unfinished business. She couldn’t die yet. She couldn’t die.

Don’t forget to grab your copy now:

Buy it here:

Amazon
Smashwords

(Coming soon to the Nook, Patti tells me. So Nook lovers, be on the watch out.)

Back to Basics

SAIP_buttonHello to all the sexy writers in the audience. Just a quick thought for you today.

This little tidbit has worked for me several times over the years and who am I not to share? When you’re stuck in the middle of the book (it happens to be best of us) and you just can’t decide what happens next (or if it’s all crap…Crap…CRAP!) take a moment to go back to one of writing’s Basics: outlining.

I find that writing up a quick outline of “where I’ve been” helps me figure out “where to go next.”

Try it. It might just work for you.

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