April was a not a good month. I fell ill the moment I stepped off the plane in LA where I went to attend the Romantic Times convention early in the month. I still have a lingering cough and suffer fatigue. Then there were the storms. One after another—thunderstorms accompanied by tornado watches and power outages. Three very big and frightening storms.
There were some high points.
* MOONSTRUCK and HANDY MEN released!
* My proposal for a collection of lesbian shapeshifter stories, BEASTLY BABES, was accepted by Cleis Press!
* HER SOUL TO KEEP was revised and is being formatted for publication as I am writing this. So, at least something was accomplished!
* And of course, I attended the RT convention in LA.
In May, I hope to get back into the swing of things and accomplish the following:
* Write the next LONE STAR LOVERS story for Samhain.
* Write a lesbian novella for an EC anthology.
* Write the next chapter of BAD MOON RISING—that’s my free, serialized panther-shifter story.
* And lastly, if I can ramp up quickly enough, write a short story for submission to Harlequin as a Nocturne Bite.
Remember, the Promo Whore and Queen of the Kitchen contests continue!
See details in Tuesday’s post! Post a comment here to win! The Promo Whore contest ends tomorrow!
It’s a Nocturne, so you know there has to be some danger, action, and magic! Here’s another little taste. And remember, tomorrow’s the day it releases—pre-order now!
* * * * *
Caleb rode, only part of his attention on the road and his surroundings. His focus was on the wisps of green light ahead of him. A horse. A rider. In the center of the road. Then suddenly, the pair veered off the path, toward the ridge above.
Not bothering to signal Fari, because she was right on his horse’s tail, Caleb reined right, leaned low over his mount’s neck and flew up the slope. Near the top were boulders and a stand of conifers. The ghostly green shadow weaved among the trees, although he appeared to be slowing down, because his outline was sharper, the green color more brilliant.
Caleb held up a fist to warn Fari, and slowed his roan.
The trees were thicker here, the darkness pressing around them. The rider ahead of them dismounted.
Caleb did the same. He listened for the sounds of Fari following, but kept his gaze ahead, peering into the darkness.
So many places to hide. His heart thudded. His breathing deepened as he focused. If the Centaurian knew he was being followed, he might strike out. The only way to keep Fari safe was to meet him first.
Caleb tied his horse to a branch, glanced around for Fari and motioned again for her to stay behind him. Then he took off through the trees.
His footsteps crunched on the pine needles, but there was no point in being quiet. They didn’t have time. If the Centaurian reached his headband, they would fail.
Ahead, he caught sight of another wisp, then a darker, blacker shadow. The figure bent near the base of a tall tree that leaned at a slant, half uprooted.
Caleb stalked closer, careful to muffle his footfalls now.
But the Centaurian stiffened, glancing over his shoulder.
Before he could reach the belt glinting beside him, Caleb leaped, taking the alien to the ground.
Immediately, Caleb knew he was in trouble. His opponent was preternaturally powerful, and without the impediment of a weakened shoulder.
Caleb plunged his fist into the alien’s side while wrapping his injured arm around the Centaurian’s body to hold him. “Fari,” he gasped. “Get the belt and jump!”
The Centaur roared, slammed his fist into Caleb’s shoulder and leaped off him to run after Fari.
Caleb saw stars for a moment, then shook his head and lunged to his feet.
He heard hoofbeats in the distance, knew Fari had gotten to her horse to lead the Centaurian away from him. “Dammit, this is no time to be a hero, woman!”
Caleb ran for his own mount and swung up, then kicked it into a gallop, following the traces of the two figures ahead of him. They were weaving through the trees toward a clearing that dropped away sharply to the sea.
In the moonlight now, he watched Fari zigzag left and right, then pull hard on her reins to head toward the cliff. The Centaurian was gaining on her.
Suddenly, the ground in front of both riders fell away, the cliff wall crumbling.
Caleb knew it was a flare. But so did the Centaurian. However, both horses balked, shying to the side, backs arching, bucking in revolt.
Fari held tight to her mount’s reins, her expression focused as she threw another flare.
Caleb’s heart stopped for a beat as he saw a huge, golden gryphon diving toward the Centaurian’s horse, wings extended and flapping. It dipped toward the animal, claws outstretched, then pulled up sharply, only to dive again.
The Centaurian’s horse bucked harder, twisting and jouncing the rider on its back. The alien roared again, his head thrown back in rage.
Remember, the Promo Whore and Queen of the Kitchen contests continue!
See details in Tuesday’s post!
Okay, so maybe my upcoming release is not as exciting as watching the news today. The storm that swept through here the night before, downing a tree in our back yard, really gained momentum as it ripped through the states to the east of us. My hearts go out to the folks in its path. Here’s a picture of the hackberry tree that fell across our fence behind the house. The picture doesn’t do it justice. The tree’s over 80 feet tall. That was our excitement. As soon as the sky turned green, we huddled in the basement and didn’t hear a thing.
Back to the book. It’s a time travel story, with soldiers sent into the distant past to retrieve part of an alien medallion that they believe is the center of the myth surrounding the Amazonian queen’s magical belt. The mission gets complicated when Fari and Caleb can’t ignore their growing attraction…
* * * * *
Caleb eased his back against the wall, eyeing the woman stretched on the cot. She hadn’t been kidding about making him sleep on the floor. And although the room was hot and stuffy, heated by warm air running in channels beneath the wooden floor, she’d removed only her tunic. She’d kept the sleeveless, thigh-length shift in place and her pants tied with a serious knot. Did she really think all those layers would keep what was happening between them contained?
He raised a knee and wrapped an arm around it, watching her sleep. Or pretend to.
The Promo Whore and Queen of the Kitchen contests continue. Read yesterday’s post for details! ~DD
The Ol’ Kabong of Life
By Carol A Strickland
Golden Corral used to run a commercial in which a tiny chef-fairy would KABONNNNGGG!! people on the back of their heads with a huge, cast-iron skillet. This reminded them that they needed to partake of a meal at said restaurant. The commercial made me wonder if only those with brain injuries would want to eat there.
I experienced my own kabong, but it was a more spiritual if just as deeply vibratory experience. You see, I hit Mid-Life.
People joke about Mid-Life Crises. Oh, isn’t it so silly when men have to have their red convertibles and mature women start to dress like teenagers in an effort to regain their youth? They’re nuts!
Yeah, it’s a laughing matter until it happens to you.
Well before my own crisis I’d taken courses at a psychic school—the kind where the classroom was in the house’s basement next to the water heater, and the teacher assumed we could all detect the cosmic energies she spoke of. There we learned that Mid-Life Crisis occurs around age 42, give or take a year or two.
At that age, the planet Uranus (pronounced: “YOUR-uh-nus,” not the “I’ve got a joke for you!” way) (my college professor explained that very carefully on our first day of astronomy class) has managed to half-complete an orbit so it stands opposite from where it was when you were born.
Uranus has to do with your life mission, what you were put on Earth to accomplish. When the planet faces its original position, it challenges your birth energy and reminds you of what is truly important. How does it do this?
With a big ol’ cast iron skillet, administered to the base of your fortyish skull.
How did it affect me? First of all, I had one of the most vivid dreams I’d ever had, full of my favorite sexy superheroes, Capt. Picard and his Enterprise, and me saving the day by being your basic Mary Sue-type character.
That darned dream stuck. I’d go to work and be almost unable to function because I couldn’t get it out of my head.
Finally, I said the heck with it, recalled that back in elementary school and college I’d written some fanfic, sat down with my (don’t laugh) used Mac IIcx, and wrote a book.
Quickly enough I decided that this would be something that I might want to publish. Bye-bye, Capt. Picard. I rearranged my superheroes so they weren’t the actual ones who appeared in the comics. (I always felt I could improve those guys anyway.) And most of all, I tried my darnedest to get rid of the Mary Sue aspects of my lead character, bless her too-perfect heart.
But Mid-Life Crisis affected me in other ways. I wanted to write more than this one book. I wanted to move. I wanted to change my name. One long week when I had writer’s block an overwhelming urge hit me to paint a big patch of blue instead.
Ransacking the back of my closets, I discovered my old college art supplies (art major here), dragged out a canvas, and by gosh, painted it flat blue.
Whew. Amazingly, I could write again. But now I also wanted to renew my interest in painting.
If Mid-Life hasn’t happened to you yet, it will. Don’t even try to fight it. You will be kabonged and you’ll never see it coming. It’ll be time to sit down and reassess your direction in life. What’s really important for you to do? What interests have you been ignoring that shouldn’t be ignored?
As for me, I finished the book. It was about 1500 pages long, and holy moly, it was a romance! I didn’t know anything about romance novels, so I joined Romance Writers of America. The book was split and reconstructed into five novels. The first volume, Touch of Danger (in which a psychic healer with a phobia meets the world’s sexiest but much-too-strong superhero), was published by Ellora’s Cave Blush. The second volume, Star-Crossed, will be out in a week or two (add three weeks if you try to find it on Amazon), and plans are to get the third volume out before the end of the year.
I now have an art business that is beginning to attract attention. That name change I wanted? Oy. That’s an entire column unto itself, so let’s just summarize and say that my non-legal new name was actually a much better name for the now non-Mary Sue character, so I gave it to her.
I did indeed move to the next town over. And it is true enough: every now and then I visit the Golden Corral. But I try to do it before that chef-fairy can brain me!
Who else here has been kabonged? What did you change in your life? Or did you stay the same? (Or do you know some folks who did pretty goofy things when they hit mid-life?) And who here is old enough to recognize the cartoon character who heads this column? There was so much kabonging that he decided to join the party.
Carol A. Strickland is a writer, artist and Wonder Woman expert. You can visit her website www.CarolAStrickland.com to learn about her books, artwork, and more than you’d ever want to know about the Amazing Amazon. There you will find book excerpts (page link: http://www.carolastrickland.com/fiction/index.html ) and even a contest where you could win a free DVD! Her fantasy romance, Touch of Danger, and the historical romance, Burgundy and Lies, are available online in both e- and print form. Star-Crossed will be out soon.
I had tons of entries for this one, mostly from Facebook. Woohoo! It appears you all love fairies, which is a good thing, since next week’s prize features another lovely fairy gift!
I do have a winner for the journal, but she’ll be named at the bottom of this post. In the meantime, I have TWO contests to announce.
One’s more of a reminder. We’ll start there.
Contest #1—or, the Promo Whore Contest
Myla and I would appreciate your help getting the word out about our two recent self-published books, Sex Ed and Moonstruck.
What we’d love you to do for us is:
1) Tag, Star, and “Like” wherever you buy the books!
2) Review it! Please, please, please!
3) Post the cover/blurb on your blog (Ask! One of us will send you a jpeg!)
4) Most importantly, BUY them!
For our contest, we’re offering two $25 gift certificates to two lucky winners for the MOONSTRUCK blurbs and links, and a $25 gift certificate to one lucky winner for pimping SEX ED. So that’s THREE winners—and a total of $75 up for grabs!
Te be entered, you have to send us a link to where you talked about the book, posted a review, posted the cover and the blurb—BY APRIL 30th!! And you can enter multiple times, so if you’re smart, send a link for each individual posting to this address: Myla Jackson [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Winners will be announced in Myla’s and Delilah’s May Newsletters!
Contest #2—Queen of the Kitchen Contest
I don’t cook, but I saw these and had to buy them. It’s a compulsion, I know. A mental disorder, I’m sure. But hey, you get the benefit of my illness! 🙂
I took lousy pictures, but these two pictures are of a set of measuring spoons. The handles are topped by a crown that says “Queen of the kitchen” and they have decorations all the way down. You can certainly put them to use, but you also might like to hang them from a hook in your kitchen for decoration. To win them, all you have to do is post a comment. As many as you like over the next week, on my blog and on facebook. Every entry increases your chance of winning!
Okay, back to the winner of the very pretty fairy journal… She’s Betty Lewis! Betty, email me with your snail mail address. Congratulations!
First, the genre poll is closed (see Thursday’s post)! I might do one or two more polls to get some clarification of your favorite reads, but I’ll be paying attention to what you told me. And today is the last day you have to enter the fairy journal contest (see last Tuesday’s post)! The winner will be announced tomorrow! ~DD
In just a few days, three new books will be out—one a novella, the other two collections of erotic short stories. I thought I’d give you a chance to sample them, and if you wanted, put them on pre-order so you’ll have them to enjoy as soon as possible.
You can pre-order this story today! Just click on the cover to head over the Amazon! I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure I could pull off a story that sends a couple back in time to meet the Amazons, but I surprised myself. I hope you enjoy it half as much as I did writing it! I’d love for this one to succeed so I can write more Bites!
Lieutenant Farideh Kalani expected her time-traveling assignment in ancient Scythia to be difficult, but fitting in with Amazon warriors is easy compared to being partnered with Sergeant First Class Caleb MacAvoy. The Texan soldier is infuriatingly smug and undeniably sexy. Then with one kiss, he awakens all Farideh’s desires. Now she’ll have to keep an eye on her mission and try to resist her attraction to Caleb. Because he’s the one man who might be able to breach the walls she’s built around her heart….
The same editor who brought you Fairy Tale Lust is at it again! For Dream Lover, I tried something I haven’t done before—write about creatures from the sea. You’ll have to judge whether it’s a place I should go again. 🙂
Supernaturally sensual and captivating, Dream Lover is a feast of fanciful delights. Kristina Wright, editor of the popular Fairy Tale Lust presents a potent potion of fun and sexy tales filled with male fairies and clairvoyant scientists, as well as darkly erotica tales of ghosts, shapeshifters and possession. Dream Lover asks the reader to explore the realm of the otherworldly and answer the question… who is your dream lover?
This book’s been on Amazon for a couple of weeks now, but May 1st is its official release date—the day you should be able to find it on your bookstore shelves. This one’s erotica, very inventive erotica.
The rich and slightly decadent visuals of the steam age lend themselves perfectly to the new carnality of post-punk era. And, of course, what is repressed will be even more exciting once the corset is unlaced. Steampunk, even without sex, is erotic; with sex, it’s over-the-top hot. There are brothels, flying machines, steam-powered conveyances, manor houses, spiritualist societies. The following stories afford intelligently written, beautifully crafted glimpses into other worlds, where the Carnal Machines won’t fail to seduce you, get you wet or make you hard so, lie back, relax; a happy ending is guaranteed.