Wednesday, February 29

Lifting spirits on Leap Day...

Aaaaaaaaaahhh, friendship. I must have a lot of BEST friends.

What's the craziest thing you've ever done in the name of friendship?
What do you plan to do with your "extra" day this year?

And how the heck do you know who's following you without GFC??? I have no clue who's following via the RSS feed. What are you guys using? I'm so not happy about this! Google, I love and hate you.

Tuesday, February 28

Blast off : CassaFire by Alex J Cavanaugh

Welcome, everyone, to the long-awaited CassaFire Launch Party! CassaFire by Alex J Cavanaugh is the sequel to the Amazon Top Ten Bestselling CassaStar.

Alex has always been very good to me, and I adore him. Just check out his blog and see how many people he connects with on a daily basis. It boggles the mind what a great guy he is. After I first started blogging, I won his 200 followers contest, and I not only won an ARC of his book, CassaStar, but he featured me on his blog HERE.

I read his first book and reviewed CassaStar HERE. I promise I do not mention books ever on my blog unless I love them. Alex has a talent for creating memorable characters who are easy to relate to and for expressing difficult relationships. Oh, and those action scenes! I can't wait to read this sequel because I think it's going to be even better. Here's what it's all about:

by Alex J. Cavanaugh

CassaStar was just the beginning…

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities. 

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

Available today!
Science fiction - space opera/adventure
Print ISBN 978-0-9827139-4-5, $15.95, 6x9 Trade paperback, 240 pgs
EBook ISBN 978-0-9827139-6-9, $4.99, available in all formats

CassaFire is the sequel to Cavanaugh’s first book, CassaStar, an Amazon Top Ten Best Seller:
“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal

You can purchase CassaFire here:
Barnes & Noble
Amazon Kindle

And you can view the book trailer here:

Swing by Alex's blog to leave him comments over the next two weeks and be entered to win a CassaFire prize package including a copy of CassaStar and CassaFire, a tote bag, mug, and bookmarks:

Happy Launch Day, Alex, and thanks for inviting me to the party!

Monday, February 20

First Challenge of the 4th Platform Building Campaign

Kicking off the Fourth Platform-Building Campaign is our very first challenge. The challenge is presented by our lovely Campaign host, Rachael Harrie at Rach Writes. I must admit this challenge intimidates me because I don't do flash fiction, and this likely doesn't fit the description of flash fiction, but *shrug* here goes. The challenge is to write a flash fiction/short story in 200 words or less beginning with the words "Shadows crept across the wall." Bonus points for ending with "everything faded," including "orange" in the story, writing in the same genre you normally write, and ending at exactly 200 words.

This is from my most recent WIP, a paranormal romance, though it's modified to fit the challenge. I did begin and end with the challenge words, it is my genre (thus vampires and hand-holding), "orange" is included, and it ends at exactly 200 words. Even if this only qualifies as a scene, I'm a little proud for cutting it this short and still keeping the meat of the scene intact. This exercise is great practice!

Shadows crept across the wall, stretched long by the orange glow of a solitary streetlight. Graffiti plastered the crumbling exterior and streaked the double-doors.

Kade shoved them wide, the shriek of the hinges echoing through the cavernous interior. Dust choked Val’s throat, and she had to fight back a coughing fit, wrinkling her nose at the smell of disuse and rust.

A feral scream tore the silence and froze her insides. That had to be Will. The sound of a scuffle followed, and then more silence. Her hand tightened on Kade’s.

“Sure you’re okay?”

She looked up at the concern on his face. “I have to be.” He flashed an encouraging smile, and her heart squeezed. “I’m glad you’re here.”

“Good. Let’s do this.”

When they entered, there was no recognition on Will’s face. His fiery gaze burned into her with lust and famine, as he’d look at any human, like a walking meal. Hungry sounds came from the back of his throat, and he strained toward her. The deranged was half-way changed, his face, torso, and fingers lengthened and his eyes at the cusp of a slant.

Shock slammed into her. Then her ex-husband reached out and everything faded.

A few notes: Huge Thank You to all my new followers. I'm trying out Bloglovin' after reading HR Sinclair's review to see if I can get better organized with following my buds, and I'm also a little behind with keeping up because of my recent push to finish my WIP (and it's done now-YAY!). To top it all, I'm prepping to make the journey to California on Friday. I'll move out of my hotel and move into another hotel, lol. Homeless yet again for a few more weeks, but soon this'll all be over.

Also coming up is the big release of CassaFire by Alex J Cavanaugh. If you haven't followed his blog yet, you must go check it out. He's the best blogger bud evah, and if anyone's great at making likeable characters it's him (pro'ly cause he is one--don't get a big head, Alex, lol). I'll have more details on his sequel to CassaStar on February 28.

Tuesday, February 14

Is it getting hot in here?

Happy Valentine's Day! What better way to celebrate than with a steamy blog hop? This kissing scene hop is the brainchild of Hope Roberson and Cassie Mae. Thanks for thinking up such an perfect topic for today.

My scene is from my newest WIP, a paranormal romance featuring vampires. Never thought I'd write a vampire story, but now I never say never, lol. The hero is a embittered (and crude) vampire prince who hates humans until the day he meets the heroine, a human liaison to the vampire nation. She hates and fears vampires, having lost her ex to his own obsession with becoming a vampire. This is their first kiss. I probably shouldn't have picked a first draft, but most of my stuff is too graphic for public consumption :) Thanks for coming by!

As they neared Ptolomy’s mansion, Val clutched her satchel with an iron grip, her knuckles white. Her lips trembled, and he could smell her fear again. She pulled her thick black peacoat tighter, readjusting the tie at her waist. He felt her chill, it was written so plainly in her body language. Her vulnerability broke open a pocket of warmth in him. Without thinking, he reached for her, pulling her close against his side.
She sat stiffly at first. He stroked his hand up and down her arm, firm and soothing. Her body softened, the tension easing, and she relaxed her head against his shoulder. Unable to deny himself, he nuzzled her pale wheat curls, that heady lilac scent too much to resist. She was softer than mink. He turned his head to brush his cheek against the luxurious sensation.
She lifted her head to meet his gaze. Those eyes were brilliant pools of Caribbean, her pupils dilated with arousal. Hell yeah, she wanted him. But they were also wide with surprise. He’d only wanted to comfort her, but now his head dipped toward hers. When she licked her lips in response, it was all he could do to be gentle when he wanted to ravage her mouth. He touched his lips to hers, a tender sweep across and back again. An electric charge zipped all the way to the bottom of his feet, drawing his body tight. Just as he would have settled more firmly against her sweet mouth, the door swung open.
She jerked away from him, her fingers at her lips. Her eyes clouded with confusion and regret. F**k. He shot his driver a withering look, and the man cringed. He shook his head sharply before the man could stumble over an apology. Douchebag had also arrived at the side of the car, and Kade didn’t want the bastard to know anything was amiss. Holding a hand out for Val, he guided her out of the car and to the heavy doors of the mansion where Ptolomy no doubt waited impatiently for them.

Optional reading only, Val's POV (Graham is "Douchebag" to Kade):

Her lips tingled where Kade’s had been, and Val’s mind was a jumble. Why had she let that kiss happen? She’d been at the head of a panic attack. Maybe that had weakened her enough to succumb to Kade. Maybe she would have taken the comfort from anyone. That didn’t really fly because had it been Graham, she would have turned a cheek. She knew because Graham had made the attempt before.
Even more surprising than her easy participation was Kade himself. He’d caressed her hair with his face, like a thoughtful lover, and it had put her body and mind into a sweet, blissful fog. He’d been so soft, so careful, his lips whispering along hers. She would have taken him for the caveman-kiss type complete with bruising force and an invasion of tongue and teeth.
“Ready for this?” Kade asked. With a start, she realized they were in the foyer, and she was still holding his hand. She dropped it like it was on fire. Apparently it had been on fire because her hand was hot from the contact.

Monday, February 13

Origins Blogfest: the chicken or the egg?

Today's blogfest is brought to you by DL Hammons along with co-hosts Alex J Cavanaugh, Katie Mills, and Matthew MacNish. The 'fest is all about how we got started on the writing journey. Thanks for dreaming this up, guys. I'm looking forward to reading about what lit the spark for other writers!

Sometimes I wonder if I write because I was born a writer or if I am a writer only because I write. I've always loved books. My world was all about books, books, books. After all, I lived in the boonies, only had one really bad tv channel, and didn't get out much. From junior high on, I'd written short stories, decent ones, and some poems, really bad ones!

By the time I got to college, I had quite a collection of stories and gained a lot of encouragement from my instructors and the Dean of the English Department. I was majoring in English, and then I started on the newspaper. The writing there burned me out so hardcore that I stopped reading and then stopped writing. I couldn't look at a book without feeling nauseous. I didn't finish college. Still haven't, I'm sorry to say.

Roll forward thirteen years. I was in the Navy, separated over a year from family, out to sea on deployment, and still hadn't cracked a book open other than what I had read to my kids. We'd gotten a box of books in, and when your life becomes work-sleep-work-sleep-work-sleep-work, you'll do just about anything to break the cycle. So I began reading again, and reading and reading. I was reading one to two books per day. I ran out of books. We got a new shipment which included a famous series. All the girls read and hated it. After a lot of discussion, we decided what we wanted to see in a novel, and I was challenged to write one.

Thus the gauntlet was thrown, and for the first time, I was up for the challenge. I wrote my first manuscript in less than four weeks. It was only for fun, I swear, but they loved what I wrote. I was asked to write about some of the other characters, and I realized I loved the way I felt when I was writing. I loved how it felt to share the writing and how it felt to talk about the stories with people who loved the stories.

Two years later, I have three finished manuscripts with plenty of nibbles for them and about two dozen other ms pans in the fire. I know if I keep learning, keep improving, and keep my dedication, I will succeed. I'll someday share my work with readers who enjoy what I write.

If I could name one person who was most influential, I would have to say it was my friend, Natalie. She was my alpha and my beta reader. She kept me going when I might have slacked off. Now, I'm happy to say she's writing a book of her own, too, that I'm excited about. If I could name a close second, I would say that was my friend, Jenny. Her feedback has guided my writing in the right direction, and her support gave me the warm-fuzzies to keep going. She doesn't write, but she truly gets me when it comes to my writing. I never get those 'she's crazy' looks from her when I talk about characters like they're real people.

So I wonder if I've always been a writer. I went without even thinking about it for more than thirteen years, but once I started, it was like a dam bursting. In two years, I've written a lot more than some people write in ten. Was it there all along, lurking under the surface? If we're writers at heart first who write to fulfill a need, maybe it was. If writing makes us writers, well then I guess I wasn't one for half of my life. I believe that ratio will change over time because I don't think I could ever dam it back up again. Writing is the light of my life now, and I wouldn't give it up again for anything.

Thanks for reading about my origins. If you're participating in the blogfest, I'll be visiting a little late-like today because I have to get home from work before I can make the rounds. Thanks again to our wonderful hosts!

Sunday, February 5

Blogfests galore!

Hosted by Writing with Hope & Reading, Writing and Lovin' It
How could I not enter this Valentine's Day blogfest??? I am, after all, a romance writer. So on V-day, my post will cover a kissing scene. If you'd like to participate, post about a scene from a book you've read, a scene from your own WIP, make up a new scene, or write about one of your own memorable kisses. Check out either of the links below the blogfest pic to add your name to the linky list. Let's have some fun and keep in the spirit of Valentine's Day!

I'm also participating on February 13 in the Origins Blogfest hosted by DL Hammons and co-hosted by the most awesome bloggers, Alex J Cavanaugh, Katie Mills at Creepy Query Girl, and Matthew MacNish at the QQQE. This blogfest is about getting to your roots, showing the blogosphere how you began your writing journey. As DL says: Tell us all where your writing dreams began.  It could be anything from how you started making up stories as a child, or writing for the school newspaper, or even what prompted you to start a blog.  How about stories about the first time somebody took an interest in your writing, or the teacher/mentor that helped nudge you along and mold your passion, or maybe the singular moment when you first started calling yourself a writer.  It all started somewhere and we want you to tell us your own, unique, beginnings.

Who's game to sign up for either of these? How do you feel about blogfests? Has anyone hosted their own? What is it about a particular blogfest that gets you to participate? If you don't ever participate, what about them dissuades you?