Friday, September 28, 2012

The Friday Five - Interestingly Useless Facts

I'm blanking out on what to talk about today. It's been a very long week, not to mention month. Gah, is it ever going to end? The cynical doom-and-gloom part me says, "Don't ask that!" because it inevitably brings disaster, but the brain damaged, ever cheerful side of me is like, "Tralalalala, let's move on no matter what!"

I'm going to stop sounding like Sybil now. In lieu of a real, thoughtful TFF, here are five facts I found interesting, brought to you by

1) Elvis and I have something in common: his hip wiggle was caused by stage fright. He was so nervous when he began performing that his legs would shake. No one mistakes me for trying to dance when I'm speaking in public. That's why I prefer to sit.

2) Oh, that's why it's the perfect diet food. Celery has negative calories. You burn more calories chewing celery than it has in it in the first place. Kind of like ice, your body has to work to warm up the temperature of ice. So if we could live on celery and ice, we'd all be skinny supermodels (and iron deficient).

3) The word cliche comes from the days of using movable type. The letters in words that were used most often were kept in clamps so the typesetters didn't have to keep reforming the words.The clamp holding the letters together is called a cliche.

4) Uh-oh: tickling has been used as form of torture since the Romans had power. It's been noted that people who suffer from schizophrenia aren't ticklish. My husband is always trying to tickle fight (he's extremely ticklish and screams like a girl), but I have an immunity to it. My feet and sides aren't ticklish. Look and there I was just talking about Sybil.

5) Armadillos have four pups at a time and they are all the same sex. The embryo is divided into four perfect quarters, which results in four identical pups. Armadillos can also walk underwater. So, basically if you've seen one armadillo, you've seen them all.

Happy Friday, kids.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"Sun God Seeks...Surrogate? (Book 3, Accidentally Yours Series)" by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

Series: (Book 3, Accidentally Yours Series)
Author: Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
Publisher: Self
Length: 295 Pages
Genres: Paranormal Romance (Action/Adventure, Comedy)
Heat Level: Sensual

Sequel to ACCIDENTALLY IN LOVE WITH…A GOD? and The New York Times Best Seller, ACCIDENTALLY MARRIED TO…A VAMPIRE?, this story has it all! Vampires, gods, and our favorite evil Mayan priests, the Maaskab.

5.0 out of 5 Stars on Amazon for “Sun God Seeks...Surrogate”!

Available at:
Amazon | B&N | Kobo

When 24-year-old Penelope learns of a new miracle drug that could cure her ailing mother, it’s the answer to her prayers. Until she sees the cost. But for every door that closes, a window opens. In this case, the window calls herself Cimil, and she’s quite possibly the most insane person Penelope’s ever met. Could it be because this complete stranger just offered Penelope one million dollars to carry her wealthy brother’s baby?

But Cimil’s brother isn’t your everyday millionaire. In fact, he gives new meaning to the word hot.


Wondering which screw in her head had come loose this time, twenty-four-year-old Emma Keane strapped a parachute to her back in preparation for yet another fun-filled jungle mission.

“Dammit! Stop wiggling!” she barked over her shoulder. “And that had better be your flashlight!”

Well, actually, it was a cranky, rather large warrior named Brutus strapped to her back and wearing the parachute because she had yet to find time for skydiving lessons.


In any case, looking like a ridiculous, oversized baby kangaroo wasn’t enough to stop her from making this nocturnal leap into enemy territory—Maaskab territory. She had scores to settle.

Emma sucked in a deep breath, the roar of the plane’s large engines and Brutus’s growls making it difficult to find her center—the key to winning any battle. And not freak out.

Funny. If someone had told her a year ago that she’d end up here, an immortal demigoddess engaged to the infamous God of Death and War, she would have said, “Christ! Yep! That toootally sounds about right.”

Why the hell not? She’d lived the first twenty-two years of her life with Guy—a nickname she’d given her handsome god—obsessed with his seductive voice, a voice only she could hear. Turned out, after they finally met face-to-face, their connection ran blood deep. Universe deep, actually. A match made by fate.

Emma rubbed her hands together, summoning the divine power deep within her cells. One blast with her fingertips and she could split a man right down the middle.

“Careful where you put those,” Guy said, cupping himself.

Emma gazed up at his smiling face and couldn’t help but admire the glorious, masculine view. Sigh. She knew she’d been born to love him, flaws—enormous ego and otherworldly bossiness—and all.

His smile melted away. “Please change your mind, my sweet. Stay on the plane, and let me do your fighting.”

“Can’t do that,” she replied. “The Maaskab took my grandmother, and I’m going to be the one to get her back. Even if I have to kill Tommaso to do it.”

Guy shook his head. “No. You are to let me deal with him.”

Emma felt her immortal blood boil. She’d trusted Tommaso once, and he’d betrayed her. Almost gotten her killed, too. But she’d known—well, she’d thought—it wasn’t Tommaso’s fault. He’d been injected with liquid black jade, an evil substance that could darken the heart of an angel. That’s why, after he’d been captured and mortally wounded, she’d begged the gods to cure him.

Then she did the unthinkable: she’d put her faith in him again.

Stupid move.

He’d turned on her a second time, the bastard. Yes, his betrayal—done of his own free will—was her prize on that fateful night almost one year ago when her grandmother showed up on their doorstep in Italy, leading an army of evil Maaskab priests, her mind clearly poisoned.

“If Tommaso hadn’t helped her escape, we could’ve saved her,” she said purely to vent, because she really wanted to cry. But the fiancĂ©e of the God of Death and War didn’t cry. Especially in front of the hundred warriors riding shotgun on the plane tonight.

Okay, maybe one teeny tiny tear while no one’s looking.

“Do not give up hope, Emma.” Guy clutched her hand. “And do not forget…whatever happens, I love you. Until the last ray of sunlight. Until the last flicker of life inhabits this planet.”

Brutus groaned and rolled his eyes, clearly annoyed by the sappy chatter.

Emma elbowed him in the ribs. “Shush! And how can you, of all people, be uncomfortable with a little affection? Huh? You bunk with eight dudes every night. That’s gross by the way. Not the dude part. I’m cool with that. But eight, big, sweaty warriors all at once? Yuck. So don’t judge me because I’m into the one-man-at-a-time rule. That’s messed up, Brutus.”

Brutus growled and Guy chuckled.

In truth, Emma didn’t know what Brutus was into or how he and his elite team slept, but she loved teasing him. She figured that sooner or later she’d find the magic words to get Brutus to speak to her.

No luck yet.

Accepting a temporary defeat, she shrugged and turned her attention back to the task at hand. She took one last look at her delicious male—seven feet of solid muscle with thick blue-black waves of hair and bronzed skin. Sigh. “Okay. I’m ready,” she declared boldly. “Let’s kill some Scabs and get my granny!”

She glanced over her other shoulder at Penelope, their newest family member. Her dark hair was pulled into a tight ponytail that accentuated the anger simmering in her dark green eyes. Pissed would be a serious understatement.

Emma didn’t blame her. What a cluster.

“Ready?” Emma asked.

“You better believe it,” Penelope replied. “These clowns picked the wrong girl to mess with.”

Guy frowned as they leaped from the plane into the black night.

Other Books:

(Book 1, Accidentally Yours Series)
Published on January 22, 2012
294 pages
147 *5-Star* Reviews on Amazon for “Accidentally in Love with…a God!”

Available at:
Amazon | B&N | Kobo

Twenty-two-year-old Emma Keane has a secret friend. He’s powerful, mysterious, and devastatingly handsome. In her dreams, anyway.

In real life, he’s an enigma. Maybe just a teensie jealous. Definitely overbearing. He’s also a voice only she can hear.

So who or what is he? He won’t say. But if she wants to be free, to be normal, Emma will have to trek to the jungles once ruled by the Mayans and find the forgotten ruin holding the answers.

However, the ruthless deity she’s about to unknowingly unleash on the modern world might not be so easily extracted from her life. Bottom line, he’s got enemies, and now, so does she.

(Book 2, Accidentally Yours Series)
Published on March 2, 2012
244 pages

USA TODAY and New York Times Best Seller!
95 *5-Star* Reviews at Amazon for “Accidentally Married to…a Vampire”

Available at:
Amazon | B&N | Kobo

“If you love her, set her free. If she comes back, she’s yours. If she doesn’t…Christ! Stubborn woman! Hunt her down, and bring her the hell back; she’s still yours according to vampire law.”--Niccolo DiConti, General of the Vampire Queen’s Army.

THE DETERMINED VAMPIRE: Niccolo DiConti has faithfully served as leader of Her Majesty’s army for over a millennium, but he’d rather sunbathe in the Sahara than spend another grueling day under his demented queen’s command. However, no one has ever left her side and lived to tell. So when a powerful goddess prophesies he will meet his salvation—a human woman he must turn into a vampire with her consent—he eagerly rises to the challenge. After all, how hard could it be to seduce a human female into taking the immortal plunge? Harder than he thinks. Because his mate won’t be born for another three centuries, and when he wakes up in the goddess’ tomb, not only is his life a mess, but his destined female isn’t about to settle for a coldhearted vampire. Can he win her over before it’s too late? Not if his enemies have anything to do with it.

AN UNWILLING BRIDE: On the night Helena Strauss meets the fierce, devastatingly handsome vampire who saves her life in the jungles of Mexico, she knows her world will be forever changed. Because an attraction this mind blowing only comes along once in a lifetime—or existence. And when he claims she is his one true mate, destined to be his for all eternity, it’s a fairytale come true. So what if her knight in shining armor is a vampire?

Nobody’s perfect. But discovering the powerful, overbearing immortal doesn’t “do love”? Deal breaker. Helena will flee and set out to accomplish the impossible…sever the otherworldly bond between them. And it turns out, Helena is just the leverage Niccolo’s enemies need to break the mighty warrior and wipe out his people.

WARNING: This book contains sexual content (For some of you, not enough. I know. I’ll try harder, I promise.), adult language, hot men with unrealistically large physical characteristics, female whining (What? I whine all the time. It’s a healthy form of venting!), silliness, snark, sarcasm, and blatant abuse of the English language.

About the author:
Before taking up a permanent residence in the San Francisco Bay Area, Mimi spent time living near NYC (became a shopaholic), in Mexico City (developed a taste for very spicy food), and Arizona (now hates jumping chollas, but pines for sherbet sunsets). Her love of pre-Hispanic culture, big cities, and romance inspires her to write when she’s not busy with kids, work, and life…or getting sucked into a juicy novel.

She hopes that someday, leather pants for men will make a big comeback and that her writing might make you laugh when you need it most.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

SIFWIW - Old Wire Road

Massive headache this morning, kids. Here are photographs and a few captions.

Quack, quack - on the Finley River in Ozark, MO

Keep That Doggie Rollin (we hadn't even gone a mile yet and he was ready to quit).

Mornin', Glory.

Buckeyes on the limb. If I'd realized that's what they were when I stopped to take the pic, I'd have plucked them.
They're supposed to be good luck.

Morning glory vines stretching up toward the sky, climbing over a dead weed.

View of the hills at the Old Wire Road Conservation Area.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Is There A Scientific Name for Fall-a-phobia?

Somehow I forgot to work on The Friday Five while scheduling blog posts. Guess you'll have to tolerate some rambling today.

My husband (rudely) informed me that tomorrow is the first day of fall. That is cause for throat-closing, heart-pounding, teary-eyed terror. That might seem a little dramatic, I know, but under the category of Stuff I Don't Normally Talk About (i.e. depression for $500, Alex), fall is a very depressing time. Go on, stare at my photo in confusion. What are you talking about, Allison? Fall is great. Look at all the pretty colors on the trees. The weather is cooler and pretty soon we can get out our festive sweaters and trick-or-treat and have hot dog roasts and don't forget Oktober Fest!

What you cheerful lovers of fall don't seem to realize is that those "pretty" (leaves are supposed to be green, people) leaves are going to wind up on the ground and the trees will be bare. Those cool days will turn windy and all too soon bring snowflakes. That sweater will probably give me a rash on my elbows and static electricity in my hair. The candy and hot dogs and beer will turn into a muffin top that you'll have no desire to get rid of because the during the daylight hours, you'll be stuck inside your office and when you emerge, already sleepy, it'll be dark outside.

Fall can kiss my lily white. I always get a little panicky this time of year because shorter days just freak me out. And it didn't happen gradually. One day it was light at 8:30 pm and the next it was dark by 7:00. Whhaaattt? Who authorized that?

In other news, with winter coming, I actually am looking forward to starting edits on The Turncoat's Temptress. It ended up a few words over 80k in the first draft. I hope to add to that as The Sky Pirate's Wife was so much higher. I think there's quite a bit I can add to it to beef it up without dragging it out. I promise it will be as exciting and adventurous and unbelievable as the other two. More so, really.

I'm also just over 36k on the fourth book the Legends and Lovers Series. It's been a little bit of a fight almost from the beginning. The heroine is a great character, lots of conflict. The hero . . . impossible. I'm working on him, I'm figuring things out. I hope to at least hit 50k before I really dig into edits for TcT. Still looking at that spring release.

So with some rough math I figure I added 50k to The Sky Pirate's Wife early in the year (remember I gave up at about 43k during NaNo), I wrote TcT over the summer at 80k, and I've done 36k on this latest novel for a total of 166,000 words so far on different projects. I think I'm going to skip NaNo this year. It's another 14,000 to make 50k on my WIP, which I'm sure I could easily do before November, but I don't feel like starting a new novel then. After I finished TcT I only took a couple of weeks to "recover" from writing before I jumped in again. I'd better slack off a little bit before starting the last book in the series.

Sorry for complaining about fall so much. It isn't as though I haven't had a good week. I've made some sales, taken another step in my author-y career, enjoyed good weather, and got a lot of writing and cover type stuff done.

Happy Friday. Get outside, sit on a bench, read a book, write a book, just enjoy the weather before those killer snowflakes get here, kids. Oh, before you go outside, check out my Pinterest board with quotes from The Treasure Hunter's Lady and The Sky Pirate's Wife!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cool It, Consuelo

Seriously, Consuelo was the first name I thought of, so Consuelo it is. It appears I didn't schedule a guest for today. No matter! I have something equally as awesome. Memes. Particularly the Keep Calm and __________ memes. One for each of the fully-written novels in the Legends and Lovers Series. Enjoy!

The Treasure Hunter's Lady on Kindle, Paperback & Nook

The Sky Pirate's Wife on Kindle & Nook

The Turncoat's Temptress - Spring 2013

You can make your own memes at the Keep Calm-o-matic.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Sky Pirate's Wife Release Day

Wow. This is one of those days that you think will never come. I don't even know what to say except a big thank you to everyone who helped me come this far.

There's my mom, of course, who gets to read the first draft when I finish a book, and who says, "When is it coming to print?"

To my husband for helping me build for building an airship. I'd still be trying to put that thing together. It's my fault it's a little lopsided, but you can hardly tell since I painted it.

My beta readers, Brenda, Lisa, Kary, Michelle, and Cindy who pushed me in the right direction. To my CP, D'Ann and knowing the magic words I wanted to hear because I was pretty worried: "There wasn't anything I'd change." I owe you ladies big time.

Thanks to everyone who listened to me cry when things didn't go as planned, who told me everything would be okay in the end. You were right.

To the Petey Monster who waits patiently while I type and edit and only gets the screen dirty with snorty dog snot about half as often as you used to. You're getting better at that. Have a dog biscuit.

And thanks to anyone willing to read and believe in a goofy bit of fantasy, a grumpy airship captain, and a naive but well-intentioned heiress. You guys rock my world.

I have a busy day today, so check out my interviews and blog posts!

I'm at RomCon talking about steampunk, got a great review for The Treasure Hunter's Lady at Close Encounters With the Night Kind, have an interview over at Reviews By Molly--the first stop on my blog tour, and a book feature at My World.

You can buy The Sky Pirate's Wife at:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Looking Back and Forward

If you have eyeballs and a mouse or a touch pad or a touch screen or a scroll button, you may have noticed that today is the last day before the weekend before The Sky Pirate's Wife comes out.

Wow. I remember telling my mom, probably in early 2011, that The Treasure Hunter's Lady was the story. In the past while working on The Convict & the Cattleman, I worked hard. But I doubt I worked as hard on it as THL. The difference is, THL was funny and adventurous while C&C just didn't do it for me anymore.

You'll read in interviews and blog posts, if you follow them, that I never intended to write a series. I always planned to write stand alone novels. But by the time I finished THL, I was already imagining playing in that world again. The sequel followed, a NaNo rough draft of The Sky Pirate's Wife. It's a nice love story, but it didn't contain paranormal elements like THL. I decided to re-write it for NaNo in 2011. I like this version much better, enough to say I love the characters from THL, but out of the three novels I've finished my favorite plot is SPW. I finished a draft of it in early 2012 and then sent it off to beta readers with full intentions of having it ready to go by July. A nice summer read.

Look at the dark
circles. Look at
them! The horror!
You might remember when I had to stop blogging during June because I was so busy I couldn't even think straight. I was exhausted, as you can tell by this photo of me at the conference dinner. That was before I'd been drinking (I only had a double shot of peach schnapps, not even enough to get me sufficiently buzzed) and before dinner was served. I remember leaving work early with the intention of going to get ready and stopping in at the book signing. Then I saw my bed and just had to lay down an go to sleep. I had to drag myself out of bed and into the car and then I got really lost on the way to the restaurant and I was pretty sure I was going to get mugged by the topless hobo who called me "sweetie". That would've topped off an incredibly stressful month. No, no, the crowning glory of June goes to when my car broke down.

I was a walking mess as some of my friends (and my husband) can testify to. Then there was this Facebook post, the shocking one that left the world reeling (okay, a whopping total of 3 people responded to it, but I'm sure it was because the rest were weeping so hard they couldn't see the screen for hours after the announcement). A hot Friday morning and I had to admit defeat. I was mad at myself and mad at the world because I let it get to me. What the--I'm a superhero. There's no mamby-pamby backing out on stuff! That made the second time I had to drop SPW in favor of doing something else (you know, after I decided editing THL and learning the self-publishing trade and having a nervous crack up in November 2011). It sucked. For a while I didn't even talk about release dates.

One day I finally decided it would happen in September. If I had to shut away the entire world in order to get SPW ready, it was coming out in September. I wanted the 4th originally, avoided the 11th like the plague and settled on the 17th. I think I meant the 18th because a lot of books and movies come out on Tuesdays, but I started announcing the 17th and it stuck.

After the initial anger, I really tried to look at my failure as an opportunity. I rescheduled my blog tour, I started rounding up other interviews and posts and spots. I set up a Facebook and a G+ event page. I made nifty graphics with novel lines to throw around the social media sites. In short, I started doing what I hadn't had time to do before. Now, I'm at peace with the way things worked out. Before, I was about three steps from needing a horse tranq and a rubber room. Straight jackets come in pastel colors, right?

So Monday The Sky Pirate's Wife will be available to everyone. Or at least everyone who has access to a device that can download stuff off the internet and a debit/credit card. This year has been fraught (I love that word) with challenges and difficulties with very few breaks in between. Pfft, what doesn't kill you only makes you wish you were dead.

As I head off into the sunset to start edits on The Turncoat's Temptress, I pray that my spring release will not have major set backs like the first two books. But if it does, then if nothing else, this has proven I can handle them.

Don't forget about The Sky Pirate's Wife Release Party on September 17 and the chat I'm having at 2 pm CST on twitter.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Supporting Characters

Oh my! Yesterday UPS dropped off a couple of packages at my office. The guy working the circulation desk said, "Gee, they're sending them in your name now." You know, rather than the library's name. I was like "Nuh-uh" because the only thing that should've been coming to me should have been coming next week. A print copy of The Sky Pirate's Wife!

But big as life, there it was. So heavy! So shiny! So much hard work and many hours poured into it. So beautiful in ways you can't imagine. And you guys can't even get an e-copy until Monday! Well, happy surprise Wednesday to me!  Must. Stop. Staring. At. Paperback. Version.

Ahem, on to today's The Sky Pirate's Wife Blog Takeover: Secondary Characters.

Secondary characters are always important in the Legends and Lovers series, because the next book is based on one of this minor characters. It started with The Treasure Hunter's Lady with Alwin van Buren, the hero of The Sky Pirate's Wife. From that novel, I used Basil Tinwhistle in The Turncoat's Temptress. In The (tentitavely titled) Soul Catcher's Siren it's Emer Irving. I don't want to give away who the fifth and final character will be. I wonder if anyone will guess. That is if you haven't heard me mention it yet.

However, there are some characters who don't have books. I do have the beginning of a novella in the works for Fenton Marlowe, Van Buren's older, wiser mentor. It's a slow process, but hopefully one day soon y'all can read it. Here are some of the faces you'll see in The Sky Pirate's Wife.

Fenton Marlowe didn't always start out as a good guy. There was a time when he was Dutch and evil, not that the two things are mutually exclusive. That was in the first draft of SPW and it was okay, but when I really got down to it, I decided Van Buren could use an ally more than another enemy. So instead of the jealous frienemy, I invented Fenton. As evidenced in the first chapter, Van Buren doesn't take failure lightly. When his beloved Ursula Ann starts and then stops suddenly, he's ready to throttle the engineer. When Sophie's godfather says something ugly about her, it takes Fenton to hold Van Buren back. When Van Buren has a revelation about the way he feels for Sophie, there's Fenton to talk him through it. He's like VB's out-of-body common sense. I hear you asking, why? Why not just give Van Buren common sense of his own? Let's put it like this: Van Buren's father allegedly committed suicide shortly after VB was born. You have no idea how much it makes me cringe to write that because I've done some writing on Hans van Buren and he was a nice guy. He just had a gambling problem. What does that have to do with Fenton? Weeeelllll, you could say Fenton's an all-around good guy himself. Or you could go with the more popular--and correct--theory that Fenton was desperately in love with Van Buren's mother. No, Van Buren is not secretly Fenton Marlowe's forbidden love child. Fenton loved Ursula from the first time he laid eyes on her. Unfortunately, he couldn't have her. When Hans tossed himself into a river, Fenton stepped in to help wherever he could. As Van Buren expressed his desire to become an airship captain, Fenton was able to use his considerable connections to make that happen. All for the son he never had. Aww, so sweet.

Nathan Carson, considered for about two seconds, to be the follow up hero to SPW. Poor man never had a chance. Oh, Nate, what can I say about you? You don't have the extensive history with Van Buren that Fenton has. He's known to be a cheater at cards (although he's actually just good with cards), unbeatable at plotting routes for shipping, and a survivor as evidenced by the fact that he didn't die either when the Ursula Ann went down or during the multiple attacks in Tulsa. He also doesn't believe a word anyone is saying about giant killer eagles. Maybe they kind of want to kill Van Buren and maybe he'll be the one to tell you that, but he doesn't spread stories... uh-huh. He's essentially a good guy too, helping out where he can be it cutting the ropes that free the dinghy before you explode with the ship or driving Sophie around under Van Buren's nose because she has an important job to do.

If there's one thing you should know about Captain and Missus Johnathon Barnes, it's that they're dead. He died after being blown off course during a storm aboard one of his airships and she died later on, supposedly of heartbreak. Despite being dead, these two people had a big hand in Sophie's story. Without them, there is no Sophie and there's no story because if he hadn't created his own shipping business, Sophie would never have been an airship heiress. They're both referenced a few times during the book.

Ursula van Buren, as mentioned above, is Van Buren's mother. In the original draft, she had a small role, but in the final draft, she doesn't make an appearance at all except in name. Ursula is the reason Van Buren cares more about what's inside than out. Not that he doesn't admire Sophie's beauty--and points it out frequently--but his dear mother was scarred badly, even worse than he is, during a factory accident. I promise someday I'll get into Ursula and Fenton's story and you can learn more about them there.

One final character I want to mention is Hummingbird. The Legends and Lovers resident always present character. I rounded her off, gave you some idea of her magical powers in The Treasure Hunter's Lady. She can change her appearance at will, see the future, guide the dying into the next life, battle malicious supernatural creatures, calm tempers, and disappear in the blink of an eye. She has big important roles coming up, so stayed tuned!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Character Profile - Alwin van Buren

Behind the character:
Name: Alwin van Buren
Age: 29
Hair: Dark blond
Eyes: Gray
Occupation: Airship captain and owner of Van Buren Airfreighting

If Van Buren could be played by any Hollywood actor, it would be Chris Hemsworth. From the second I laid eyes on him, I thought, holy crap, that is Van Buren in the flesh.

Van Buren's name comes from: It's Dutch, in case you couldn't guess. Buren is a city in the Netherlands. Translated it means "neighbors". I have to be honest here and admit I didn't put a lot of thought in his name the first go-round. Basically what happened was in The Treasure Hunter's Lady, I didn't want to call the airship captain "captain" all the time, so he wound up with a name. I didn't do a whole lot of research on his name because I didn't think it would matter. Until he started telling me he wanted his own book. I'm used to his name now, I really like it, in fact and typing Van Buren many times in an MS helps with the word count *wink, wink*.

Alwin, by the way, in Dutch is pronounced Ahl-win. He's not an Alvin. There are no chipmunks.

I've also had many people say to me "shouldn't that be Alwin Van Buren?" In fact, no, it isn't. But because it's a proper name, it gets capitalized when used alone. In America, anyway. Although I did consider changing it to Vanburen during edits of The Treasure Hunter's Lady. In the end, I stuck by the original spelling.

Using the Mary Sue Litmus Test, Van Buren scored a 37. Well, it could be worse. He might have magical powers and scored a 70. I dread giving the test to the characters of the novel that follows The Sky Pirate's Wife. Eep.

Van Buren's background: I actually made a chart detailing Van Buren's family tree. I'm writing a novella about his mother and I wound up with this whole thing about his parents and their parents. It was too much information really. Van Buren was raised by his single mother after his father committed suicide. Hans was addicted to gambling and felt he'd let his family down. Tragic, right? Well, somewhere in his youth, Van Buren fell in love with the idea of airships because of his mother's friend, Fenton Marlowe. So in order to fuel her son's dream, his mother worked very hard in one of the steel factories in Philadelphia. She nearly died in an accident there that left her horribly scarred, but she wouldn't let him give up on the dream of owning his own company. And so it was.

For all his flaws (let us count the ways: stubborn, arrogant, set in his ways), Van Buren is really Sophie's knight in shining armor.

In an interview I was asked what song describes the book. I came up with two songs, one for each of the characters. You can read about Sophie's in yesterday's post, but even in the first draft of the book, I always knew Van Buren's song was What Do You Got by Bon Jovi. At the beginning of the book, Van Buren has everything he wants, but when his world comes crashing down he comes up with a solution to regain it. It doesn't take him long to realize he doesn't have anything without Sophie, but he'd give it all up to know she's safe.

Don't forget about The Sky Pirate's Wife Release Party on September 17. You can join by clicking the image in the upper left with the cover on it! And I'll be hosting a Twitter chat at 2 pm CST with the hashtag #SPWife that day as well! I have some nifty items to give away.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Character Profiles - Sophie van Buren

Behind the character:
Name: Sophia "Sophie" (Barnes) van Buren
Age: 22
Eyes: Green
Hair: Blonde
Occupation: Socialite and heiress to Barnes Shipping

If Sophie could be played by any Hollywood actress, I'd chose Kate Bosworth. I've said in the past that she'd make a great Romy Farrington as well, but I always did lean more toward her as a Sophie.

Photo by Marinka van Holten
Sophie's name comes from: Okay, it's probably one of the most overdone names in fiction, but every time I give a character a name (or he or she tells me this is my name), I can't change it. It just doesn't feel right. I tried to change her name, honest. It didn't work. In Greek, Sophia means "wisdom". It's a ver ypopular name now and was popular in the mid-1700s. As evidenced by a ton of Regency romances with heroine named Sophie.

Using the Mary Sue Litmus Test, Sophie scored a 33. She's a border-line Sue. Apparently she needs some work, but she's well on her way to being a lovely, original character. Maybe if she wasn't an orphan and an heiress . . . oops, too late.

Sophie's background: Her father, Captain Johnathon Barnes, started a very successful airshipping company. In the book we learn he died when she was pretty young and her mother never recovered from the loss. Fortunately her godfather takes over the company. He tends to shelter her from men (for her own good, of course), so she never expects someone like Van Buren to come into her life.

One thing you have to know about Sophie is that she gets her way when it comes to Van Buren. Like when she refused to surrender a kitten that had somehow wandered onto the airship.

Somewhere behind a pile of wooden boxes, a poor, frightened cat just wanted to find some peace. She glanced at Van Buren, who had the attention of the panting crewmen. No one noticed as she approached the crates.
Here, kitty. Here, kitty-kitty,” she murmured.
A little squeak came from behind a long rectangle box.
Come out, kitty cat. Let's get you on the ground again.”
Spider-web fine whiskers appeared, followed by a tiny pink nose. Two big green eyes set in an orange tabby face peered up at Sophie. She reached down and was rewarded with a soft head butting against her palm. The cat was no more than a young kitten. It purred, almost as loud as the Chariot's engine. She picked it up and hugged it to her chest.
Sophie, what are you doing?” Van Buren's face was stony. “Thompson, dispose of the creature.”
Creature. Like it was a rat or a slug. The crewman who answered for all of them a moment ago stepped forward. Sophie turned away from him.
Look at her, Alwin. She's so loveable. And she's just a baby.” She tore her gaze away from the kitten to look at her husband.

In an interview I was asked if there was a certain song that described the book. I have two actually, one that reminded me of Sophie and one of Van Buren, but you'll have to read the interview or the separate blog posts to get both. Sophie's song is A Thousand Years by Christina Perri. She was waiting for her knight in shining armor to come along. While he wasn't exactly what she expected, I think the end result was better than she actually hoped for.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fair & Square

Photo by Ruth Gault-Hunter
Morning, kiddies! I'm actually writing this on Saturday afternoon, so pardon my cheerfulness, as I'm sure I'll be a lot more cranky on Monday.

Please disregard that lady's behind.
She sat in a chair shortly after and
it collapsed, but it was equipment
malfunction, not her fault.
This weekend I was part of the Not So Square Arts & Literary Festival at Mt. Vernon, Missouri. It was my first live event selling paperback copies of The Treasure Hunter's Lady. They reported before the event that they'd have about 19 authors. There were tons of crafts and lots of authors in a nice air conditioned building. Which was great because when I first got there I thought I was going to smother to death trying to set up my table. The six-foot monster folds in half and is remarkably difficult to set up by oneself thanks to that. In retrospect, I imagine it would've been easier to unfold it before I put the legs out. I will consider that in the future, possibly. Unless I forget.

Then it was unfolding and unfolding and unfolding and unfolding (no joke) the plastic tablecloth. Too much tablecloth for my table. But it looked good. Scatter some pretty glass rocks on the table, set out the literature which included business cards, invitations to my Twitter chat and FB event on the 17th, the hand written author sign I made. And a few other decorations including the coupe de grace of the table, the airship. 

I worked way hard on that, although credit for putting it together goes to my husband. Thanks, husband. But I put two coats of paint on it, painted the edges in a metallic-y pinkish color and blew up the balloon. And I wrote out that little sign and made up a B.A.T.S. registration number for the Bright Hope. Yes, my handwriting is atrocious.

When I arrived I was informed that *ahem*, my booth was double booked. I had to scooch over and then share with another author who read the same poem to prospective book buyers about a dozen times. It was amusing the first time. The second, third and on, oh lord. I mean, dude, do you want me to pick out a sexy part of my book to read to people? No, so maybe just tell them about your book instead of repeating the same poem.

It was quiet. I heard a lot of people say that buyers just weren't buying. I sold a copy to my mom. I'm not sure why, she already has a copy. One of the highlights was a piece of cheesecake with chocolate cake under it and cherries on top. Oh, my, it was superb. And then someone stole my author bio/what is steampunk page. I only had one because I figured someone might read it. So . . . okay, that was bizarre.

I admit, I wasn't as outgoing as I could have been. In fact, I was quiet. The guy next to me was chatty, chatty, chatty with people, but I kind of think he was angling for the Best Booth Award and one of the criteria was being super-friendly as well as creative with the table. I don't think he was going to win creative, because I mean, dude, you're sitting next to an airship. Really, there's no competition next to that. Not that I won the award either, but an airship, people.
Guy got a little cranky toward the end of the day because his sales weren't very good. I was thinking, couldn't you have waited until you got in your car to have a hissy fit? Real suave, older gentleman who acted like a four-year-old.

Um, yeah, I definitely need to work on my outgoing-ness. I stutter when I'm nervous and I shake a little too. I'd like to blame it on a disease. Maybe a few steps away from crippling shyness. That's like a legitimate thing, right? At least I managed to make eye contact with almost everyone. That's one of my biggest hang-ups, even more than stuttering.

It was fun. I would do it again, you bet. Granted, sales were not as awesome as one would hope and I got a few of those looks that say, there are boobies on the cover! But you can't win them all, right? Here's a picture of PeeWee just to round off the post. He's adorable, so it works.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Friday Five - Lines from The Sky Pirate's Wife

I realize this something of a repeat, I did lines from The Sky Pirate's Wife either during or right after NaNo last year. But in case you've forgotten them, here are some more to keep SPW first and foremost in your pretty little heads.

An airship captain with a deadly secret.
An heiress longing for true love.
A legend that could tear them apart.
1) How many survived?” His voice was thick with concern for his fellow shipmates. The lines on his forehead deepened as he waited for her answer. 
 “Seven survived, including the captain.”
A wry smile tipped the patient's mouth up for a heartbeat before he grimaced in pain. “Did he now?”

2) I really don't like this thing.” She feared if she didn't talk, the truth of what they were doing—stealing a very expensive vehicle!—would consume every thought.

3) You're here,” she whispered against the cotton shirt. “You came for me.”
A big hand cupped the back of her head and smoothed her hair. “I will always come for you.”

4) Don't be a chicken, boy. I've never known you to shirk away from a duty yet."

5) I brought coffee.” He wished he had something smarter to say. The forced cheerfulness in his voice made him sound simple.

There you are, five sets of lines (ha, I cheated!) from The Sky Pirate's Wife available September 17 (10 days if you're counting) on Nook and Kindle.

Also, if you're in southwestern Missouri, northwestern Arkansas or southeastern Oklahoma, tomorrow is the Not So Square Arts & Literary Festival in Mt. Vernon, MO. I'll be there from 10 am to 5 pm hawking, er, selling paperback copies of The Treasure Hunter's Lady. I have an airship (of which I promise to take photos), so come see me! 

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Scene from the Original Draft of The Sky Pirate's Wife

Photo by Bern Altman
In celebration for the upcoming release of The Sky Pirate's Wife, I have a special treat for you on this fine Thursday. It's a scene from the original draft of SPW when it was set in Australia--except this scene takes place in Cairo. Because it's an airship, it moves around, that's why. You people and your questions. ... Sorry, had a Van Buren moment there.

Van Buren tried to shove Sophie's baby madness into the back of his mind. Women were programmed to think that way. For many, babies came immediately after marriage. Dreams of being forced to sell the school and live on land played on endless loops in his mind at night. No matter the consequences, he found it difficult to keep his hands off Sophie's creamy skin.
Marlow paced the deck beside the helm, addressing the students as they prepared to disembark.
“Pay attention, lads. This is one of the most important parts of flying you'll ever learn. The landing. Watch closely as the captain sinks Ursula Ann II into her slip, easy as pie.”
The docks, not as well built as those in Brisbane, were narrower. Much harder to slip into with ease. Van Buren strong-armed the ship into one, wincing as the starboard side scraped along the dock. The whole structure shook with the impact.
“Well, even the most experienced man has a difficulty now and again,” Marlow stated. “Let's anchor her in, lads and then we've got to see about purchasing coal and a few more dry goods while we wait for passengers.”
Sophie sat on a crate, a bit paler than usual. Van Buren, embarrassed by the less than stellar landing, approached with his hat in hand.
“Ready to stand on land for a while, meisje?”
“I thought you knew what you're doing in one of these things!” she exclaimed.
“You question my abilities?” he asked, affronted.
“We nearly crashed.”
“We did no such thing. It was under control. The entire time.”
“I want down.”
Sighing, he offered his arm. “You are overreacting. One little bump.”

Michal Zacharzewski, SXC
This is an original scene and nothing like it is duplicated in the updated and coming-soon-to-your-ereader version. I hope you all enjoyed this look into the past. Poise your fingers over the Buy Now button on your favorite ebook shopping center! Okay, well, don't do it yet because your fingers will get tired and you probably have to eat and sleep, so I'll give you some more time to do those things.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Author Interview - Amber Lea Easton

What's your book/current WIP about?

My newest release, Riptide, is a romantic suspense novel about a woman starting over after one violent night shatters life as she knows it.  She retreats to her brother’s home in the Cayman Islands hoping to have some time to think and figure out how to begin again.  While there, she becomes immersed in Noah Reynold’s stalker saga and questions her sanity...what’s real?  What’s simply a carryover from her past?

Care to share your favorite line(s) from your story?

Well, there are quite a few, but this one sticks out in my mind right now: “She liked the idea of 6 weeks of no-strings, mind-blowing, liquify-her-bones sex.

What's your next project?

My next project, actually just completed, is called Reckless Endangerment.  It’s about a marine who returns home from Afghanistan wounded and having a hard time adjusting to civilian life and his celebrity report wife who’s immersed in a human trafficking story.  I love it.  It’s very emotionally charged, which is my favorite kind of story to write.

Describe your writing in a sentence.

I write complex stories with complicated characters who always have everything to lose...and even more to gain.

Do you choose character names or do the characters whisper them in your ears?

I just always seem to know the characters names so I guess they’re busy whispering.

Plotter or panster?

Panster, definitely.  I tweak the plot in revisions to make sure it’s all unfolding in coherent way. That being said, I always know the ending when I begin.  It’s like I’m being urged by my characters to press on through to get there with as many twists and turns needed to push them to where they need to be.

Do you like background noise or do you prefer a quiet space when you write?

I wear headphones and crank iTunes when I write. I have a writing playlist.  I definitely tune out the rest of the world, though, when I’m writing.  I lose all sense of time between the world I’m creating and the music that’s jamming in my ears.  I love my little writing world--it’s a fun place to inhabit. :)

What are you currently reading?

The Unspoken by Heather Graham

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview and how would you answer it?

Do I honestly believe in happily ever afters?  Yes, I do.  I’m a hopeless romantic, eternal optimist and lover of love. Although I’m currently single after being widowed for 7 years, I believe I’ll love again. I think that we’re all destined to have our own happy endings.

People think I'm weird because...

I am.  :)  No, I think people think I’m weird because I play by my own rules all of the time.  I’m willing to talk about anything at all times, don’t really care what people think about me and remain optimistic despite the “real life” circumstances surrounding me.  I walk my own path, in other words.  As any individual knows, when you don’t march with the mainstream, you’re often considered weird.

Title: Riptide
Author: Amber Lea Easton
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
Length: 98,000 words
Genres: Contemporary Romantic Suspense (Adventure)
Heat Level: Steamy


One violent night shatters Lauren Biltmore’s life. As an anchorwoman, she's accustomed to reporting the news rather than being the lead story. She escapes the spotlight by fleeing to her brother's home in the Cayman Islands. Haunted by nightmares, all she wants is a distraction from reality.

Distraction arrives via sexy screenwriter, Noah Reynolds. His take- me-to-bed looks mask a past ripe with scandal. He knows he should stay away from Lauren, especially when the worst night of her life unlocks his writer's block and while he's dealing with a stalker of his own, but ethics are his weakness.

Attraction sizzles beneath Caribbean sunshine. As their relationship grows, Noah's stalker intensifies her torment. Lauren wonders if her paranoia is justified or a carryover from her past. What's real? What's imagined? Tentative trust is tested as their love is swept up against a riptide of deceit, murder, and revenge.

His two days on board the Angelfish with Larry had been good for him. Larry had convinced him of the absurdity of his theory that Alicia still walked the earth and assured him that he’d help find out who was bringing up the past. Sometimes there was nothing better than an old friend, even one who tended to piss him off more often than not.

He toweled himself off, his thoughts centered around Lauren and their last date. It hadn’t exactly gone as planned given the dead guy face down amidst the fish. Not that he’d helped the situation with his not-so-smooth-moves- on-the-beach later. The past two days had given him perspective. He wanted her. Right or wrong, mistake or not, he needed to see where this could go. He couldn’t get her out of his mind. Maybe tonight he’d get another chance if he could track her down.

“Noah.” Lauren cleared her throat from where she stood outside the open bathroom door. She leaned against the wall in a Caribbean blue tank dress that hugged her body in all the right places, legs exposed from midthigh down, ankles crossed, long hair glistening over lightly tanned shoulders, gaze averted to the floor and smile playing across lips he desperately wanted against his skin. “Sorry to barge in. You left the deck door wide open.”

“No problem.” He cinched the towel around his waist and wondered exactly how long she’d been standing there. The thought of her watching him shower and dry off did crazy things to his nervous system. “I’ve been looking for you.”

“Erin told me.” She leaned her head back against the wall and dragged her gaze from his toes upward. “Heard you were on private charter for the past few days.”

He leaned his shoulder against the doorframe and let her gaze soak him up. He liked the way she looked at him as if he were dessert.

“About the other night...I’m sorry. Can I make it up to you? Dinner tonight? Etcetera?” he asked.

She caught her lower lip between her teeth, gaze lingering on his chest. “Are you sure this time? No running away when things get hot?”

Electricity zapped in the three feet separating them.

Damn, the woman did insane things to his rational thinking. He’d decided on the boat that he needed to see her, make things right, take it slow, get tangled up in some strings. Seeing her live and in person threw common sense out the window.

“I can’t decide if you’re hotter when wet or dry...I’m thinking it might be a tie,” she said.

Oh, what the hell. With an opener like that, how could a man resist? He crossed the space between them, slipped his hand behind her neck, and kissed her on that mouth he’d been fantasizing about all week.

Her hands slid over his damp chest while her mouth moved slowly beneath his, her teeth lightly catching his lower lip. Eyes open, they smiled against each other’s mouths.

“Miss me?” he asked.

“It would be very uncool of me to answer that.” She slid her hands over his abdomen and lingered on the towel. “Are you still wanting to back off, or have you come to your senses?”

He braced his hands over her head. The only thing he wanted to do was kiss her slowly and make her beg for more. He looked into her eyes. “You’re making me forget all of the reasons this is a mistake.”

“A sexy mistake.” Her fingers touched his chest in a featherlike caress. She licked her lips.

“Good point.” He smiled. “We’re headed into the danger zone.”

“You have no idea how dangerous.” She tugged on the towel, a wicked grin in her eyes.

Oh, he had an idea about the level of danger. He’d thought of nothing else for the past forty-eight hours and ranked this situation a solid Level Red. Despite that, all he could think about was how good it would feel to have her long legs wrapped around his hips while her nails clawed against his back. He needed to pull the emergency brake. Slow, he reminded himself. Slow.

He leaned against her, enjoying the way her body arched toward his like a magnetic pull. He tangled his fingers in the hair at the back of her neck. “What do you want, Lauren? After the other night, you know I’m more complicated than I seem.”

Her gaze flicked up to his. “I know what I’m doing.”

“You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into.”

“Show me. Let’s make some mistakes together. We’re both consenting adults. What the hell?” she whispered, her teeth pulling at his lower lip.

“You’re reckless.”

“Does that scare you?” she asked.

He paused a fraction over her lips and looked into her eyes. Yeah, she was scary reckless, but that turned him on more than he could say. So what if she wanted to use him for a distraction from her own demons? He knew that had something to do with it—the woman oozed intensity.

Her mouth widened, taking his like a woman starving for the taste of him. Ravenous. Her fingers fisted in the back of his hair. Her bare foot slid up the outside of his leg. Tongues clashed in a passionate dance that left no doubt about mutual desire.

He pressed her against the wall, uncaring about the slipping of the towel down his hips. This woman made him want more than he had dared want in years. His hands roamed up her sides, thumbs caressing the outline of her breasts. Closer. He couldn’t get close enough.

She pressed her hips against his. “Five days ago I didn’t think I’d feel any emotion ever again. Now here I am making out with you. Insane.”

“A little bit of crazy is good for a person.” He wrapped his hands in her hair, holding her face close to him. “What do you feel now?”

“You. I feel you.”

“You say all the right things,” he said against her mouth. His skin rippled beneath her touch. He couldn’t explain his reaction to her...he felt like an addict in desperate need of a fix.

Book Trailer:

About the Author:
Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published fiction and nonfiction author. For twenty years, she's worked in the fields of journalism and advertising with a brief detour into the financial industry. Although she holds a BA in Communications & Journalism, she is a perpetual student of life who enjoys taking post-graduate courses on a wide variety of subjects when time allows. Smart is sexy, according to Easton, which is why she writes about strong female characters who have their flaws and challenges, but who ultimately persevere.

Easton currently lives with her two teenagers in the Colorado Rocky Mountains where she gives thanks daily for the gorgeous view outside her window. She finds inspiration from traveling, the people she meets, nature and life’s twists and turns. At the end of the day, as long as she's writing, she considers herself to be simply "a lucky lady liv'n the dream."

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