Since Halloween is tomorrow, I thought I’d treat you to six sexy lines from my paranormal shifter FREE READ Mating Bonds.
Jayda untangled herself from Zane and stood, brushing the moss and leaves from her bottom and thighs. In the blue wash of the moon, she knew the the man who’d discovered them in the clearing could see every inch of her curvaceous body.
“Well, there is…er…was a meeting, but the wolves kept going round and round about the same things so I sent everyone home.” Cole cocked his head, no doubt studying her as she finger-combed loose debris out of her long hair.
She stepped around her cougar mate, stalking slowly toward Cole. “Well, we’re glad you found us.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about promotion lately. (But really, if you ask most authors, their marketing concerns rank right up there with their looming deadline and the next line edits.) Because, let’s face it, our books might as well just be sitting on our computers if they’re not out their finding readers.
But then again … there is such a thing as TOO much. And I wonder when an author knows when they’ve crossed that line. I mean, I think everyone else knows when a promotion, whether it’s blog/contest announcements or a promotional excerpt that’s blasted everywhere, is driving them insane. Eventually, that cool promo the author was so excited about, becomes the spam that every receiver just deletes with an eyeroll.
And you know, I’ve begun to wonder if I am that author. I know there’s a balance between letting people know my new book is out and becoming a nuisance in the inbox. The fact is, when you hit that point, people no longer see you anyway.
Yet there is that 10 exposure thing before a person consciously recognizes your name. That’s right. We need to see something an average of 10 times before it works its way into our psyche. And of course the same 10 things aren’t going to be seen by the same 10 people so that means a smattering of promo across different avenues to be sure you’ve hit everyone more than once…or does it?
There are so many ways to market that a gal can go crazy trying to keep up with it all. And the old addage, do what you enjoy doesn’t always apply, because quite frankly, I enjoy more than I should. Sometimes to the detriment of my writing. LOL! There are times when I’d be just as happy sitting around chatting on twitter or making a book trailer as writing my next book. Heck, that other stuff is easy, which meant I did it A LOT.
Well no more. I’ve dropped out of Yahoo loops I wasn’t really using. I’ve stopped blog surfing (which is rather ironic since I blog) and I’ve limited my twitter to a couple days a week. You see, I’ve been watching some really successful authors and they don’t market. They write. Now isn’t that a novel idea?
Anyway, I just thought I’d share with you the newest in my “paper” marketing…romance trading cards. They came out beautiful. I’m so pleased. Frauke at Croco Designs took my vision and turned it into these …
Aren’t they gorgeous? I’ve just started sending them out. (And yes, Zane is noticeably missing from the “Bonded” set … there was a glitch that’s been fixed and he should be arriving soon.) They’ll be making their debut appearance in some goodie bags at RWA National Convention in a couple of weeks.
So what do you think? When does an author’s promotion become an annoying buzzing in your ears. Because you know me … I just gotta know!
I’ve only been in the publishing world for six years this month (oh, happy anniversary to me!). Though it’s a relatively short time in the grand scheme of things, I think the past five years, heck, the last two even, have seen the publishing world change exponentially.
One of the things I find interesting is the discussions of genre. I’m not sure if it’s because more genres are popping up or if authors, looking to break into a highly competitive market, are mashing genres together and therefore defying a genre definition.
Let me first start by saying. I read romance. I write romance. I didn’t know that books (other than non-fiction) didn’t fall into that category. I know some readers who are surprised to find the book they’re reading is considered romance when it was shelved in the science fiction section. The fact is, romance is no longer just sweet contemporary and historical love stories. And there in lies the confusion.
This blog post was sparked by a discussion of what constitutes science fiction. In my opinion (which is what this blog is all about), science fiction stories deal with some imagined technology and its impact on the characters. These stories often, but not always, take place in the future, which means they can also be considered futuristic romances. Though for me, when defining my books, I tend to think of futuristic as specific to an alternate future, like Healer’s Garden. Whereas A Touch of Lilly, which also takes place in the future, but in another galaxy, I would consider science fiction.
Steampunk is a specific type of science fiction that is an alternate history rather than future. The stories involve a period in time when steampower was used. The science fiction is the fantastical weapons and machines powered by steam that the author creates. Think Wild, Wild West with Will Smith (*sigh*) and Kevin Kline.
Another umbrella term for genre especially popular today is the Paranormal category. Stories in this genre often blend and can easily be defined as one sub-genre or another. For me, the easily defined paranormal stories are those that involve vampires, zombies or shifters. My Shifting Bonds series falls into this category.
But … if a story includes faeries, gnomes or magic, then it’s defined as Fantasy romance. This sub-genre is further delineated by the term Urban Fantasy. These stories often are written in first person and take place in an urban setting, though it can be contemporary, historical or future time setting, the defining factor is the world created has magic and mysticism as part of the every day landscape. Urban fantasies however involve human characters with the powers rather than mystical creatures, though shifters, vampires and angels also play a role.
Of course once authors start blurring the lines between genres, mixing and matching as plots, settings and characters develop, more and more authors are having a hard time pigeon-holing their stories. This of course leaves the marketing departments of publishing houses with the difficulty of figuring out how best to market a book and where to shelve it in the bookstores. Which in turn, sometimes leaves readers stumbling around the bookstore trying to figure out how exactly to find their favorite author’s new book.
So, what do you think, did I hit the nail on the head or am I completely off the mark with my definitions? Leave me a comment. I’d like to know how you see this new genre confusion.
Today is the release of my FREE read from Ellora’s Cave, MATING BONDS. This short story is part of the Shifting Bonds series and gives readers who haven’t had a chance to meet Cole, Zane and Jayda a little taste of their relationship.
Here’s the BLURB:
Danger threatens at every turn in Lonesome Forks. Just for one night, Jayda, Zane and Cole want to put the politics of warring shifters aside and enjoy the carnal pleasures of their mated triad.
Tempted into shifting and lured into the Montana forest by pride leader Zane Brodan, polymorphic shifter Jayda Kynslan can’t resist her cougar mate’s seduction. And when wolf leader Cole Takoda joins the fun, what’s a gal to do but give herself over to her animal urges and enjoy the lustful temptations offered by both her mates.
And a short Excerpt:
Zane kept himself between the police chief and Jayda. “You always sneak up on people, Takoda?”
“No sneaking required. I drove the police truck most of the way up the fire road. Walked the last hundred yards, breaking sticks and shuffling leaves.” He shrugged. “But I guess you weren’t listening for crickets or…wolves, were you, Brodan? Not a good way to protect your woman.”
Zane relaxed and sat back down on the ledge. “We figured all the wolves were tied up. Wasn’t there a council meeting tonight?”
“We figured you’d be tied up for another couple of hours.” Jayda stood and brushed the moss and leaves from her bottom and thighs. In the blue wash of the moon, she knew the police chief could see every inch of her curvaceous body.
“Well, there is…er…was a meeting,” Cole stammered. “But they kept going round and round about the same things.” Cole cocked his head, no doubt studying her as she finger combed loose debris out of her long hair. “I was tired of arguing and sent everyone home.”
She stepped around Zane, walking slowly toward Cole. “Well, we’re glad you found us.” Oh, how she loved teasing her wolf mate. It had been just over a year since he’d shown her the animals living inside her. Who would have known she was a polymorphic shifter with the ability to be human, cougar and wolf? Now she had two men showing her all the things her body should have learned decades ago.
“Still, you two should be a little more cautious. I have no doubt some of the pack is riled up and looking for trouble.”
“Well, Zane’s woman can protect herself against the big, bad wolves,” she said as she stood in front of Cole, her breasts brushing the soft fabric of his uniform. “I was pretty sure she proved that tonight.” Jayda leaned in, pressing a chaste kiss on his bottom lip.
But as she expected, he would have none of the softness she offered.
If you enjoy this short read you can discover how it all began with BONDED SOULS
Crazy week packing and writing and packing and organizing and packing, oh, and did I mention packing? The Pierce house has certainly accumulated enough … STUFF. (Sooo not the “S” word I wanted to use. *g*) I still have hopes of finishing my WIP before the end of February, which means I totally need to get my butt in gear. But I’m plugging away and I am half way through and it’s looking pretty good if I may say so myself.
And of course Valentine’s Day was this week so I need to give a shout out to Mr. Nina. You see, we usually buck the whole Hallmark Valentine’s stuff. But this year it just seemed wrong that we weren’t at least together to decide we didn’t want to celebrate it. But my honey had flowers delivered and had given my daughter a box of chocolates when he was home last with instructions to give it to me on Valentine’s Day. Awww … he totally made my day. Sometimes Mr. Nina does all right in the romance arena. 😉
I also finished some uber easy edits on my Naughty Nooner “Mated Bonds”, part of my Shifting Bonds series. I’ll let you know when I have a release date for that. I suspect it won’t be too far in the future. (And if you didn’t catch it … it will be FREE!)
Today I’m hanging out with Misty at Up All Night E-Books. She offers a little free promotion and I’ve got “Maid for Master” up today.. Mwah! If you’ve got a minute stop on over and show her some love and check out the books she has posted.
I hope everyone has a wonderful week!
Yeah, that describes my week.
On the upside. I signed a contract with Ellora’s Cave this week for a short story titled “Mating Bonds”. It’s part of my “Shifting Bonds” series. And since I go into edits next week, I suspect it will be available shortly after that as a Naughty Nooner. Meaning … it will be FREE!!!
My gift to my readers!
Also on the happy news … it looks like we sold our house. Oh, no wait, no we didn’t. Well … yes we did. But no, no, I’m mistaken. And wait … oh, yes we did. The thrill of the chase–NOT! Yeah, we sold after some interesting negotiations. But of course we’re taking a beating (like every other seller on the house market.) Yeeeeeeah, the ups and downs of buyers and sellers and this wonderful economy. But selling the house is a good thing because now I can go live with Mr. Nina once again. And I really do miss the guy. Only … don’t even get me started with the housing market down there. I’m still nursing the wounds of selling my house. I need to recover just a little bit before bashing my head against the wall of that real estate. Even I can only take so much pain. LOL!
*Happy thoughts of being with Mr. Nina*
And with all this real estate stuff going on I didn’t get any writing done and this is a very bad thing. It’s only mid-Feb and my New Year’s resolution is taking quite a beating. That’s all right, I’ve still got today and tomorrow to pull this week’s word count out of the cellar. Later chicks … I’m refilling the wine glass and digging into the dark chocolate stash. I’m feeling the need for a little reinforcement …
Since time flies so quickly I’ve decided to take time the first Sunday of every month and sort of “assess” where the last month has taken me both professionally and personally. That way, when the year is over, I won’t wonder if I actually managed to accomplish anything. I’ll know I’ve actually enjoyed the year!
So, let’s see, in January I did submit a short story to my editor. If contracted (fingers crossed), it will be offered as a free read. This story involves the three shifters, Jayda, Cole and Zane from my Shifting Bonds series. I’m in hopes of finding some new readers to fall in love with this trio. I expect the next book in this series “Bonded by Pride” to be released in 2011.
January also saw the release of “Maid for Master”, the first in what is turning out to be a series. I’m pleased to say the second novella in this series is cooking along quite nicely. 😀 I expect to have that out to my editor by the end of the month. Which is really awesome for me. Sometimes I fall into a slump with my writing and I’ve promisaed myself this year I wouldn’t do that. So far, so good.
I’ve also been plugging away at a couple of books in my backlist that I hope to have released directly to Kindle by the end of this month. This is new to me and I’m looking forward to sharing the news as I figure out this new technology that seems to be exploding.
On the personal end of things … well, it’s a long haul for me as perspective buyers for my house don’t seem to be braving the cold winds of Maine. Hopefully February will be different and someone will just fall in love with my house and I can sell it and join Mr. Nina down in Rhode Island. This being separated is for the birds. Neither one of us is too fond of maintaining two households. On the good news front, if someone makes an offer, it doesn’t take long for everything to fall into place and to get us moved out.
So there you have it. Probably waaaaay more than you needed/wanted to know about the Nina. And just for something different, I’ll leave you with an excerpt from “Bonded by Need”. Enjoy …
She looked up the side of the mountain, down into the ravine and back up the rock wall, anywhere to avoid looking at him. “Yes, well, I guess we need to find a way to get out of here. And quickly.” Jayda used the wall to get to her feet, but her head spun again and she swayed. She slumped into Zane’s embrace and he held her while she retched.
“Really, Jayda, I’m pretty sure you have a concussion.” He brushed the hair from her face, his gaze raking over her features. The upturned nose fit perfectly with the rounded cheeks and full lips. Christ, she was beautiful.
Whoa, back up. What the hell was wrong with him? He had just been named head of the cougar shifters. Even considering getting involved with a wolf shifter was just a bad idea all the way around. And here he was, thinking lusty thoughts about the mate of the head honcho. Down, boy, down. He mentally refocused his libido. “There’s no hurry. We need to take this slow. Getting up the ridge may prove a little trickier than coming down.”
Once again she realized how close their bodies were and pushed from him. “Yeah, well, I think there is a reason to hurry.” She shot a glance over her shoulder. “Let’s just get out of here. You can take me back to the clinic and you and your cougars can come back and find the kits.”
The kits. He’d forgotten all about them. Zane went down on one knee and purred low in invitation. They popped out of the small crevice one at a time.
Jayda cooed. “Oh, you found them!”
“No, Jayda, you found them.” He picked one up by the scruff of the neck and smiled. “Not that I’d recommend this method again, but we have them.” Zane looked up the wall. “Now we just have to figure out how to get everyone back up to the truck.”
“Well, how did you get down here?” Jayda looked up, shading her eyes against the noonday sun. “I’m not sure I can climb.”
“I came down in cougar form. But I came in from that direction.” He turned and looked at the slope, trying to work out a solution. “I could carry you on my back.”
She didn’t respond. He turned to see her appraising him and his cock immediately stirred under her probing gaze. Embarrassed, he bent and let the kit join his sibling. “Stupid idea. Why don’t we both shift and we can each carry a kit in our mouths.” He shot her a look over his shoulder. “Do you feel well enough to shift?”
Her face flushed. “Yeah, but…” She looked from his ass to her body. “But then there’re no clothes for me when we get to the top.”
His fingers dug through his hair and he blew out a breath. Driving home with a naked Jayda next to him was definitely more than he could handle. “How about you wear my shirt and I wear my pants?” He stood, giving her a view of his shoulder, his hands covering his over-anxious cock. In all his life, Zane was sure he’d never been naked in front of woman and tried to keep his interest in her a secret. “We just need to get the hell out of here. You shift and I’ll follow.”
“Well, turn around. I’m certainly not getting naked in front of you.”
“Oh sorry.” He turned his back to her. Zane heard the rustle of clothing and imagined that tight little tank top coming off and her bra falling to the ground, leaving her full breasts exposed. He bit back a groan when the zipper of her jeans rasped, but he couldn’t control the surge of blood to his cock. He was slime. The woman had nearly lost her life trying to save the tiny cougars and all he could think about was her curvaceous, naked ass.
“Okay, I’m shifting.”
He waited a heartbeat and turned, expecting to see a wolf. But the form before him rolled and shimmied in an odd mix of human, wolf and cougar parts. The kits cried and backed away from Jayda. Zane wasn’t sure how to help her. Tears welled in eyes that were surrounded by the round nose of a cougar then the full shape of a wolf and finally she gave up, her naked form appearing on her hands in knees in front of him. Her breasts hung seductively and her ass curved ever so provocatively toward the sky. Shit.
This week I thought I’d repost a Thursday Thirteen that ran last year with 13 of my favorite lines from my erotic suspense novel, “Bonded by Need” available ftrom Ellora’s Cave.
1. The moon had risen. Its orange hue now washed to an alabaster glow that danced in shimmering facets along the rolling water.
2. Anger rippled over his lips curled back in a snarl.
3. He held both her hand and her gaze captive a beat longer than courtesy dictated and something deep within her stirred.
4. And now the woman tormenting his libido was head first in a small rock outcropping, her full, luscious ass wiggling as she backed out of yet another empty den.
5. The moon rose steadily over the tree line across the lake, its ruddy glow shimmering across the water’s surface like a throbbing artery of blood.
6. “We kissed.” Jayda could barely push the words past the guilt burning her throat. It had been innocent, but at the moment it felt like so much more.
7. “My heart belongs to you. My wolf believes you are his mate. The choice for me to stay will be yours, Jayda. But I warn you not to leave me waiting too long.”
8. His mouth brushed hers, a whisper of a touch that heated his blood and drew a quiet moan from her.
9. Now, striding down the hall of the emergency room, the heavy odor of disinfectant and jealousy clogging his lungs, Cole slowed his steps and tamped down the wolf looking to shred the cougar mauling his woman.
10. Loving two men seemed wrong. Obviously her heart hadn’t gotten that particular memo because that’s exactly what was happening.
11. He marched around her as if inspecting to be sure her shift had been complete. His strong body brushed against Jayda-a shoulder running along her side, the flick of his tail along her jaw, the unexpected nip of his teeth on her haunches-that made her jump and her womb clench. In any form the man made her hot.
12. Cole understood how deeply he’d come to love her, but until this moment, when he believed he might lose her to another, did he realize how much her heart had intertwined with his.
13. Her words sliced his heart as surely as if she’d taken a knife to his chest. He had no doubt if he looked down blood would be spreading across his t-shirt.
And since I’m working on the second book in the Shifting Bonds series, currently titled Bonded by Pride and it’s going to be Aaron’s book here’s a little bonus with one of my favorite lines of Aaron’s …
Aaron stood, counted bills off the wad of money from his pocket and dropped them on the table. “Seems to me someone with Jayda’s special talents may need more than Cole alone can give her.” He shrugged. “But what do I know? I’m just a detective.”
Yay! Bonded Souls is the prequel in the “Shifting Bonds” series. It was original released as Blue Moon Rising from Liquid Silver books and was part of an anthology. But I’ve made some tweaks to the story and added some hawt monkey sex and now it gets to take the stage solo from Ellora’s Cave …
Could a woman’s past decide a man’s future?
After discovering her boyfriend is married, veterinarian Jayda Kynslan decides to give up on men. She has every intention of planting her feet firmly on the path of celibacy—right after one more night of shameless sex with a stranger. A vacation in Montana would certainly ease the pain of betrayal and offer her anonymity.
Police chief and wolf shifter council leader, Cole Takoda, needs a break from investigating the murders of shifters plaguing his town. When a beautiful stranger seduces him at the local tavern it’s more than a tryst…it’s uncontrollable desire. And Cole can’t stand it. To top it off, their quickie becomes a revelation of shifter secrets and unfulfilled prophecies.
The discovery of a dead man in the forest behind Jayda’s rented cabin thrusts her into a foreign world of animal shifters and murder and the man she thought was only a casual diversion seems to be the only one willing to hear her side of the story. Jayda’s just not sure if Cole’s going to take her to jail—or his bed.
And here’s an excerpt for your enjoyment:
Thirty minutes later, after she’d shared nearly all the activities of the last twenty hours of her life, leaving out the details of her shower and the sexy dreams, Jayda fell back against the couch. Reliving the scene in the forest had really shaken her up.
“You’re sure that’s it?” Cole asked.
Jayda couldn’t keep the confusion from contorting her face. “What else would there be?”
“You don’t remember seeing the kid at the Bull?”
“I already told you I didn’t.” She’d gone over the details of her visit to the tavern-twice. Jayda had no idea what Cole was searching for. “There were lots of people at the tavern, Cole. I’m not going to remember one stranger from another.”
His features softened as he tucked away his professionalism with his notepad. “I believe you, Jayda.”
“I was beginning to wonder.”
“Word’s going to get out that we were together last night and I didn’t want to be accused of showing any favoritism toward a witness.” He leaned forward and brushed his knuckles over the back of her hand still wrapped around the coffee mug like a life preserver. “You got more of that? I think we could both use something to ward off this chill.”
“In the kitchen.”
“I’ll get it.” He stood and offered to take the cup from her, but she waved him off. Somehow having Cole in her kitchen, pouring himself a mug of coffee, would feel too much like a morning-after scenario and she just couldn’t deal with that.
On autopilot, Jayda stood, walked around the couch and down the tiny hall to the kitchen nook. The ticking of Lady’s nails on the wood floor was the only sound filling the awkward silence. The police officer following her certainly didn’t seem to be the same passionate man who had held her last night, and she really needed that man right now. Being in a strange town and apparently the sole connection to a murder was taking its toll. A little compassion would certainly go a long way.
The smell of burned coffee assaulted her nose. “It’s old. Let me make some more.” With shaky hands, she reached for the pot, the decanter bumping several times against the machine.
“Don’t.” Cole came up behind her, his hand covering hers, solid and warm. He guided the coffeepot back into place and snapped off the machine. The hard planes of his chest pressed solidly against her back. With a sigh, Jayda’s head fell back as she leaned against him, seeking comfort she so desperately needed. There was no one else to share this horror with. Not here. Not back in Blackfish Springs where she’d given up all her friends for a man who loved someone else. Cole was all she had, and as temporary as their connection might be, Jayda would take all he had to offer.
He turned her to face him and she looked up into the compassion filling his eyes.
She touched the bruise on his cheek.
“Gift from the kids’ brawling last night. I forgot to duck.” Cole took her hand and kissed her fingertips. “It’s going to be all right,” he said.
“Is it?” she asked softly. “Is a person ever the same after finding a human being slaughtered?” The tears she’d held at bay all afternoon finally released.
Cole sandwiched her face in his hands and wiped the tears with his thumbs. When he bent close, she closed her eyes, anticipating the softness of his lips on hers. He didn’t disappoint. The heat of his mouth seared through her, and she opened to him, inviting his tongue to delve in to taste and explore. He tasted of fresh mountain air, hot male lust and something uniquely his. And before she could assimilate their connection, it was there again, flowing over her with the power of a tidal wave, the feeling of being swaddled by the quintessence of Cole. It wasn’t just the heat of his arms around her or the solid wall of him pressing against her from breastbone to knee, but the complete meshing of her life force with his.
But that thought was insane.
She wanted him only because he was here and familiar. Lust and need had simply been forged in the heat of adversity, making her believe it was something more pulling her toward him. This was about the sex and feeling blood searing hot through her veins and the touch of another human being. Not about intimate connections or bonds. What Cole felt for her didn’t matter. Right here, right now, she simply needed him.
He pulled from her mouth, his gaze raking her face. “This is wrong to want you so badly, but I can’t help myself. Tell me to stop now and I will.” His needy pants feathered across her lips. “I’ll die a slow, agonizing death but I’ll stop.”
After I’ve spent months writing a story and even more time pouring over it and editing so each sentence, each paragraph paints a vivid emotional picture for the reader, I send my story off to a beta reader.
I usually have one person reading for typos and misspellings (shhhh … don’t tell anyone, but this writer is the world’s WORST speller) and grammatical errors and a second reader checking for pacing and general story problems.
After all that is done I send it off to my editor.
I have to admit. When I first started writing, once the story was finished I was done with it. I didn’t want to look at it again. I felt I’d already done the best I could developing a scene and moving the story along. I know, silly, but it’s how I used to feel.
Now it’s different. Sooooo different. I LOVE editing. I thoroughly enjoy taking another look at that scene and discovering a better word, a unique turn of phrase that will resonate with the readers.
I’m currently working on edits for “Bonded Souls”. This short novel has already been published and been out in the world. I’m very proud of it. But now it’s with a new publisher. It’s back in my hands and I’m getting an opportunity to make it even stronger by adding more layers to my characters, Jayda and Cole who also are in the story “Bonded by Need”. I’ve discovered more about them and I can add that to this story.
It’s fun. I love it.
I know sometimes writers find this part of the publication process difficult, but not me. I’ve had “easy” edits with nothing more difficult than changing a word here or there. And I’ve had major edits where I totally forgot to tell the reader about a character flaw in my hero. Still … I enjoyed the process.
But really, I get a total kick out of saying … I’m working on edits. Because it means another story is on its way to publication!