Friday, April 26, 2013

The Friday Five - I'm Glad I Took Part in Camp NaNoWriMo

Play some trumpets, fetch my crown, toss some confetti, bring me cake! No, I mean it. Bring me cake. Now!

At 12:18 CST this morning I crossed the 40k line on The Heckmasters - Wystan. That was my goal for Camp NaNoWriMo, even though I didn't start out writing that MS. I got waylaid by the Heckmaster brothers, damn their beautiful hides.

But I'm so glad I did. Let's discuss why camp worked for me in April on today's TFF.

1) I've been thinking about this series since last summer while I was writing The Turncoat's Temptress. Obviously last June during camp, I was eyeballs deep in that novel and didn't have time for this one. Bound and determined to finish up the L&L series before starting a new one, I put The Heckmasters on the back burner. As you know, I was 24k into another book on L&L when I said some not so pretty words because Wystan hijacked my brain and I started writing his book instead. Reason #2 is why.

It's not everyday I get a
sign that says that.
2) Camp was different this year. We got notified that there were some not so strict rules. Do whatever! they said. Don't want to write 50k? Write whatever length you want. Don't want to write a novel? Write a screenplay instead. (I don't write screenplays, but it's a good example). So I decided I'd write 40k of Wystan's book. I could probably manage that and it would tip me over the halfway point for the entire novel.

3) You may be wondering what's different about this trilogy than the stuff in the L&L series. I mean, there are monsters. Magic. Darkness. Sex. People who are seemingly human, yet aren't. There's not steampunk. Nary a trace. It's just (said with confidence like this is a thing) paranormal historical romance. It's not one of those 'oh, my gracious, the heroine sees dead people!' haint (haint is a hillbilly word for ghost. Just roll with it) stories. Y'know her dead great-great-grandmother is haunting her and come to find out she's really reincarnated to meet her lost in war great-great-grandfather and relive history or whatever. One of those. No, this is a Hi, welcome to city right next to the gates of Hell kind of story in old-timey times. Where your neighbors are things coughed up by the Pit (which is the portal to Hell) and for all you know, they might try to kill you. Yeah, it's that kind of story. And it's weird. I seem to excel at weird.

4) Because of the nature of this book (weirdness), it wrote extremely fast. I started with pretty much nothing and ended up with 40k. The dialogue is hilarious (if you're me), the characters are mysterious and enchanting (if you're me), and you're never going to guess what's going on with heroine for the next book (because it took me by surprise and I was writing the damn thing). I've pantsed the entire thing. And it worked. I just have 20k left to write. On Facebook, I told everyone that pantsing is an adventure. You bet your lily white it is and sometimes it's even a happy fun time adventure. My husband asked what that means and I said it's an adventure that's not scary and no one gets killed or ends up stranded on the side of the road rethinking their decisions and pretty much their whole life.

5) I managed to break a word count of 100,000 words because of Jano earlier in the year, finishing The Convict & the Cattleman, that L&L novel I stuck in the back of my flash drive (something had to replace C&C), and this book. It's April. The 4th month. And I already surpassed 100k. Damn, that feels good.

So go, be, do. Edit, write, chill. Happy Friday, kids!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Book Feature - Vampire King Trilogy by Kenya Wright



Escape (Vampire King Trilogy, Book 1)

by Kenya Wright
Erotic Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Secret Cravings Publishing
Heat Level: Steamy
Word Count: 125 pages

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Escape-ebook/dp/B00AHIKYIS/
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/escape-b-k-wright/1100194301
Secret Cravings: http://store.secretcravingspublishing.com/
index.php?main_page=book_info&cPath=10&products_id=455&zenid=f0

Description

A domina’s only purpose in life was to birth vampire children for the Quiet King. Any human woman with the domina gene spent their lives in the castle under strict rules and the guards’ watchful eyes. Brie has been a domina for two years. After witnessing the slaughter of babies, she plans to escape and seeks help from Samuel, a vampire known for aiding many out of slavery.

However, Samuel has only one policy. He won’t help dominas escape the king. The penalty is too high and their blood triggers powers in him that he doesn’t want released. So Brie is forced to lie about being a domina and Samuel is lured in by her blood. Something emerges within them that they can’t deny, overwhelming their every cell and igniting an all-consuming hunger that neither can flee.

Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/ or adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.

“Please don’t stop.” I moaned. Need rocked within me. He sucked hard. My blood heated and soared to him. Glints of shimmering red flickered, popped around us, and danced on my skin. I flinched and panicked.

Relax, Brie, Samuel whispered in my mind. It’s the blood magic moving through our essence and binding us together. His voice hummed inside me like a slowly strummed guitar, so different from his actual voice, or even the king’s mental voice. I rubbed my thighs together as my desire for him exploded into a great hunger. I was dizzy with it. I could think of nothing else but getting his tongue, fingers, and cock inside of me. Hot. I feel so hot. I wanted him to touch me, just a little more. Just one bite, I’d told him. How stupid he must’ve thought I was, knowing that one bite was all it took to capture me into desire. Now I understood the poor human women who sat on the corner addicted to the feel of fangs inside them, begging for just one more bite.

“And what if I want you to do more?” I asked, barely recognizing my voice.

I won’t. You’re drunk from my bite. He ran his hand through my hair. His fingers traveled from my roots to their ends, then returned to my scalp, taking a new path through my tresses. I could fall in love with you and have no regrets. His voice triggered more desire. It coursed through my veins. My nipples blazed with longing for his tongue. My sensitive folds throbbed. My clitoris ached.

“Touch me.” The words fled my lips. His fangs retracted, leaving my neck. I peered at him with hooded eyes and slurred, “Make love to me.”

“I want you so bad. You’ll never understand how much.” His gold eyes brightened, illuminating the area around him. He licked his lips. “But that’s the bite talking right now, not you. I won’t make love to you until you’re in your right mind.”

Captured (Vampire King Trilogy, Book 2)

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Captured-The-Vampire-Kings-ebook/dp/B00BENU5H0/
B&N:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/captured-kenya-wright/1114511131
Secret Cravings: http://store.secretcravingspublishing.com/
index.php?main_page=book_info&cPath=36&products_id=521

Brie and Samuel travel to the human town of Freemont and learn that Brie is being hunted. Brie is more than a domina. But what is she? And why is she being hunted as if she is the solution to a puzzle that the Quiet King has never been able to solve?

Samuel and Brie are forced to align with another, one that holds many answers and incites even more questions. Their journey drags them back to Capitol City and among the night life where sex and secrets mingle together within the light of the two moons. All this time Brie thought she’d escaped and gotten away free from vampires. But can she run away anymore or was she captured the whole time?

Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains explicit sex scenes and/or situations (including voyeurism) and adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.

Samuel pushed his fangs out. Sharp ivory tips peeked from his lips. Without hesitation, he grabbed my hand and pierced my wrist. A lusty swirl of desire sparked at the bite, spread up my arm, sank within my chest, and hit me directly in the bundle of nerves between my thighs. I moaned as dark red blood seeped out of the wound. Samuel’s nostrils flared. His golden eyes glowed. I didn’t know if it was due to my blood or arousal, but our priorities in that moment shifted in seconds from urgent survival to lust.

“Focus,” I whispered as a low rumble pulsed from his chest.

He formed his fingers into tight fists and closed his eyes. The scent of my blood lingered between us. Hunger creased every edge of his chiseled face, but he did not move.

“Focus on healing Leeta.” I struggled to not lick my lips. What is wrong with us? Destruction flooded the area. A woman that Samuel loved like his mother balanced on the edge of life and death. And here we were, aroused, with sex and bloodlust on our minds.

His bite is becoming too addictive. I’ll have to wean myself away when we separate.

Growling, Samuel placed my wrist to Leeta’s mouth and directed his golden eyes to me. Leeta clamped both of her hands onto my wrist and greedily drank.

Separate? His voice scraped against my mind. I flinched as his sandpaper words cut through me. We agreed that I would leave you alone in Freemont. His voice rubbed against me harder. The town is destroyed. You’ll stay with me.

“Stop,” I said through clenched teeth. “You’re hurting me. I’ll have a headache if you don’t relax your thoughts.”

“I’m sorry.” His voice disappeared from my head. He looked away.

“For now, we need to focus.” I gazed down at Leeta as her drinking changed from tender sipping to ravenous gulps. My domina blood held healing properties for humans. Hopefully, I could repair enough of Leeta’s injuries to give us time to take her to a healer. She pulled harder with her mouth. Her demanding tugs drew my blood to her at a fleeting pace.

“Ow!” My wrist ached. I swayed back a little.

“Enough, Leeta!” Samuel yanked my hand away from her mouth. “Too much of Brie’s blood will make you sick.”

She whimpered with blood-smudged lips. In seconds, new pale skin emerged from the scarred flesh and burns on her face. Silky gray strands sprouted from her scorched scalp, lengthened until her hair fell down to the ground and glimmered in the fire’s light. Slowly the gray hair transformed to brown. She exhaled and inhaled while focusing her eyes on me.

“Is she supposed to heal this quickly?” I blinked a few times to make sure I’d actually witnessed it. Panic flooded my chest. I touched her face, slipping my hands down her perfect, soft cheek. “I’ve never had another human drink my blood.”

Freed (Vampire King Trilogy, Book 3)

by Kenya Wright
Erotic Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Secret Cravings Publishing
Heat Level: Sizzling
Word Count: 134 pages

Buy Links

Coming Soon!

Description

Blood paints the Quiet King’s castle. People flee the city. War will come. The only question is where and who will be on each side?

Brie, Samuel, and Ian return for the final installment of the Vampire King trilogy where all mysterious are solved and further secrets revealed.

Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains explicit sex scenes and/or situations (including m/f/m ménage and voyeurism) and adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.

About the author:
Kenya Wright always knew she would be famous since the ripe old age of six when she sang the Michael Jackson thriller song in her bathroom mirror. She has tried her hand at many things from enlisting in the Navy for six years as a Persian-Farsi linguist to being a nude model at an art university.

However, writing has been the only constant love in her life.

So here we are, Kenya published three books in the Santeria Habitat series (Caged View, Fire Baptized, and The Burning Bush). She also just signed a three book deal with Secret Cravings publishing for the Vampire King series.

For she has been coined The Urban Fantasy Queen, the Super Iconic Writer of this Age, The Lyrical Genius of Our Generation. Granted, these are all terms coined by her, within the private walls of her bathroom as she still sings the Michael Jackson thriller song.

Kenya Wright currently resides in Miami with her three amazing, overactive children, a supportive, gorgeous husband, and three cool black cats that refuse to stop sleeping on Kenya’s head at night.

Connect with Kenya Wright
Website: http://www.kenyawright.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kenya.wright.50
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Kenyawright77
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kenya-Wright/e/B006YS4472/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5402447.Kenya_Wright
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/KenyaWright

You can see Kenya's other stops here.

And enter her giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 22, 2013

Camp NaNo Updates

This is the final full week of Camp NaNoWriMo. It's coming down to the wire. It seems impossible that I'm only at 28,500 words and my goal is 40k. If I maintain a schedule of 1333 words per day, I should be finished with this book by the middle of next month.

My historical romance, not coming along as smoothly, but I pushed over the 12k mark yesterday. I have my fingers crossed that it will be easier now that the beginning is done and the character's big issues are clear. I just have to make the hero a man the heroine will come to love. He's easy, he's been in love with her for a long time.

I've been lucky this month. Most of the words for The Heckmasters have flowed pretty easily. Sometimes I sit there before opening the doc up and go, ugh, I don't want to! But then I force myself and before I know it, the required words are done for the day. I haven't been good about going over my count. I haven't been keeping any sort of required daily word count on the HR. I figure if I get a scene done, or even a few lines, I'm doing good there.

I also worry that I'm going to burn myself out. That perhaps I'm missing out on the real world. With my face stuck in a computer screen for hours, maybe I'm missing something really good. Sure, I'm on the deck enjoying the sunshine and cussing that cow across the road that won't shut up, or the world news is on in the background, but my husband and dog might like some attention. And my body definitely would like some exercise (that strained muscle in my abdomen is healing nicely, thank you). My head is firmly rooted in fictional towns and problems my characters are having.

But the good news is, half-finished (or nearly so) is a good feeling. Much better than the I-just-started feeling. It's just a downhill slide for The Heckmasters and I'm in no race for the HR, so I'm sure I can pay a little more attention to my surroundings once April is over. Right? Right.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Book Feature - Siren Snow (Redhaven Saga #1)

Siren Snow (Redhaven Saga #1)
by Victoria Barrow
New Adult Contemporary Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Categories: Action/Adventure, Interracial/Multicultural
Publisher: Self-Published/Indie
Heat Level: Sweet
Word Count: 80,000

Buy Link
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Siren-Snow-Book-Redhaven-Volume/d

Blurb:
Winter is not exactly the ‘season of the witch’. It’s cold in Washington, and everything is covered in snow. But it doesn’t bother Lucilla Sinclair, the fiery Witch-Warden for Washington State. She’s perfectly happy performing minor enchantments at her little arcane shop in Redhaven, an old fishing town turned tourist attraction. Besides, her tall, dark- skinned elemental guardian Mishal keeps her warm at night. Her raven familiar, Irwin, helps her to pass the time in the otherwise sleepy town.

Magickal mischief in the cold, quiet state is slow for the most part, but when a freak winter storm lands a half-transformed Siren on her front porch, Lucy’s life becomes increasingly strange. Her dreams are suddenly assaulted with visions of a beautiful demon man, and her waking hours are spent warding off a cadre of mysterious shadow creatures.

With the life of the Siren in her hands, Lucy must trek through the snows of Canada in a race against time. Her mission: to find the one person with enough knowledge of forbidden black magick to fix the broken Siren Melusine before her seven days on land are up.

Excerpt:

I was mesmerized by his harvest moon eyes, and couldn't pull myself away. The winding pressure of his strange tail looped around my calf, and I felt my leg pulled up and around him. I thought perhaps I might fall from the sudden unbalance, but his clawed hand found the small of my back, and kept me upright. That beautiful dark mouth spoke again, but I wasn't aware enough to catch what he said.

All I could feel was the press of his hand on my back, and the softness of his leathery wings around me. I was in the cocoon of them, drawn by his alluring eyes and exoticness, trapped by his enormous wings, and for some reason, I was totally okay with that. Never mind the strange giant at my door – my attentions were totally for this... creature.

That delightfully clawed finger stroked my cheek again, and I sighed. He edged that claw around my chin to trace the line of my jaw in a wonderfully delicate point. He lifted my chin to look at him, and I saw his face drawing close to mine. My heart found its familiar spot in my throat again, but it wasn't out of fear this time; it was out of anticipation.

His black snake tongue edged out between his teeth again, and my face was abruptly turned to the side as it licked up the side of my cheek in a hot, electric line. I made a soft sound, low in my throat, and the tail wrapped around my calf tightened. The press of his wings brought us close, and as his mouth found my neck, I sucked in a sharp breath tainted with the spice and sweetness of him.

He pressed me hard against him, and my hands found the sculpted smoothness of his chest. That strange, alien mouth worked delicately at the soft flesh of my neck, and I felt the many needle points of his teeth, pressing just hard enough to let me know they were there, but not hard enough to hurt me. He had wonderful control, this demon man.

His free hand found the far side of my face and cupped it in his warm palm, pressing my jawbone against his cheek. That slender tongue flicked across my jugular, and my heart beat wildly in his mouth. The longer I stayed in contact with him, the more I wanted him, and the more nothing else mattered. I had forgotten about Irwin and Mishal, and the Siren in my bathtub. I had even forgotten about the giant cloaked figure at my door, until he spoke, his voice low and rumbly. I didn't catch what he said, or if he was speaking to me or the demon at my throat, but I didn't care. The demon laced his fingers into my fiery red hair and the world dissolved with the passing whisper of his voice, close and in my ear.

“Coming for you...”


What reviewers are saying:
“Siren Snow is the story of Lucy Sinclair, the young Witch-Warden for Washington State. She spends most of her days working in her shop and taking care of the routine magical needs of the folks under her care. Until a strange storm brings more than just a blizzard. A sea creature from the depths of the sea is just the beginning of Lucy’s troubles. When an injured siren washes up on shore, Lucy must embark upon a dangerous journey to save her.

This story is a fantastical adventure featuring mythical and magical beings, both traditional and those created by the author’s rich imagination. The characters are well drawn and engaging, and you’ll fall in love with the varied cast. From Mishal, Lucy’s hot elemental guardian (and I do mean hot!) to Mel, the stoic Siren, the author introduces the reader to characters we’ll sorely miss once we finish that last page.

Siren Snow is not without romance, though Lucy’s love life does take back seat to her heroic endeavors. Mishal, her best friend and protector, sticks by Lucy’s side, providing unwavering support. There are a few tender moments between them, but Lucy is holding back. She has a secret that involves a demon from her dreams. Twists, turns, and surprises await Lucy on her journey and the ending will leave you breathless.

I’m waiting anxiously for the next book in the series and once you read it, you will too. I highly recommend this book.”--Tricia Drammeh, author of The Claiming Words

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It really drew me in even in the first chapter. I couldn't help but read the entire thing in just two days!

The characters are very likeable. I already feel that I know them well, despite this being the author's first book. It's so easy to share Lucilla's triumphs, and to feel empathy for her shortcomings.

The unexpected adventure certainly kept me interested, and the surprises were enough to keep me on my toes. I don't want to say too much, but I found the motel scene to be particularly haunting, in a very good way!

The story is very well-told. A few loose ends are left untied - intentionally, I am sure - to set the stage for later entries in the saga. However, the focus of this particular book is fully realized, in a singularly satisfying manner.

I am eagerly awaiting the next installment of this series; it's really got me hooked! All in all, I would love to schedule a trip to Redhaven myself in order to meet Lucilla Sinclair and her companions!”-- Phillip Anderson, Goodreads Reviewer

“Truly an amazing book. Victoria has definitely set the bar high for up and coming indie authors. Her attention to detail is not over looked as well as her genuine care and concern for her characters. I would recommend this book to any one who asks. The story line is so nicely done that you are drawn in from page one. This is a MUST READ.”--Maegan Provan, Author



About the author:
A Texas native, Victoria currently lives in San Diego, California with her fiance and their two kitties (read: furry children.) She has a moderately unhealthy obsession with MMORPGS, and when she's not writing, spends a lot of time shooting bad guys. (Stupid Horde.)

Her bookshelf includes everything from Tolkien to plumbing (just one though... pipes are boring but nescessary). She's very fond of anything urban/paranormal fantasy, and has an entire shelf dedicated to zombies. (Never hurts to be prepared.)

Siren Snow is her debut novel, and book #1 of a 7 part series. Book #2 (Ghost Wolf) is due out May 2013.

Connect with Victoria Barrow
Email: barrow.victoria@gmail.com
Blog: http://authorvictoriabarrow.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorvictoriabarrow
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/toribarrow
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/VictoriaBarrow

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Reasons Why You, You and Yes, You Should Enter The 2013 Weta Nichols Writing Contest

That's me, smiling like a dork. I smile
with my mouth shut now. I know
what I look like.
It's that time again. Time for a bad picture of me holding an award while I talk you into entering a writing contest. I know how you all live for this moment.

Here's the skinny in a not-so-skinny version.


Contest is open APRIL 15-JULY 15, 2013 to all entries!

Winners will be announced at our 2013 Annual Conference, scheduled to be held September 21, 2013, in Springfield, Missouri. Winners are not required to be present to win. Winners who are not in attendance will be notified via email, and prizes will be mailed promptly. We will also post the winners’ names, titles, city, and state, on our website.

Please read guidelines carefully and fill out the electronic entry form at the bottom of this page when submitting.

2013 WETA RULES:

* Complete the entry form at the bottom of this page.

* Pay the entry fee through the PayPal account (details below).

* The subject line of your email submission must state: WETA ENTRY

* Short stories, memoirs, essays, poetry, or non-fiction will be disqualified without refund.

* Membership in Ozarks Romance Authors is not required in order to enter the contest.

* Contest is open to both published and unpublished authors, but the piece submitted must be:
- unpublished (traditional, self-pub, or e-pub)
- not under contract to be published.

* The first page of your entry should be one-paragraph of flap copy (flap copy is the blurb on the inside covers of a book, the information a reader would see when he or she picks up the book) to orient the judges to your story. Note: The flap copy is not a synopsis.

* Total word count for the entire entry (including flap copy) should be no more than 3,200.

* Send your entry as an email attachment in .doc format with one inch margins all around, double spaced, in 12 pitch Times New Roman font. Do not include the entry within the body of your email message.

* The cover page should be saved as a separate document (NOT the first page of your entry) and attached to your email submission.

* Indicate one category for each submission. Categories in which entries may be judged are:
- Historical
- Contemporary
- Paranormal/Sci-Fi
- Young Adult

* Entries are open genre and not required to contain romantic tones.

* Your name (and pen name, if any) should only appear on the entry form below and your cover page. Also on the cover page, please put your contact information, the name of your submission, and the cateory (see above). NOTE: The cover page should be saved as a separate document (not as the first page of your entry) and attached to the email submission.

* In the header of each page of your submission, the title of your story, category to be judged, and page number should appear. The story title should appear in the top left, and the category/page number should appear in the top right. Do not include your name on page headers. Your name should only appear on the cover page, which is to be saved as a separate document and attached to your email submission.

* Entry fee is $20.00 per submission for non-members. $15 per submission for ORA members.. Fees may be paid via your PayPal account or credit card using the PayPal button below. (If you do not have a PayPal account, you can use your credit/debit card to send payment to our PayPal account.)

* If the email address or name on your PayPal account does not match (a) the email address tthat you are using to send your submission, or (b) your name or pen name, please let us know by including the other email address or name within the body of the email when you send your submission. Otherwise, we will not be able to match the contest entry with its payment, the entry will be disqualified, and no refund will be made.

* You may submit up to five separate entries. Each submission must be sent in a separate email message, with the subject line indicating: WETA ENTRY 1, WETA ENTRY 2, etc.

* If you have questions about the rules, please tweet the question to us at @OzarksRomance or email us (with WETA QUESTION in the subject line) at OzarksRomanceAuthors@gmail.com.



PRIZES ARE AS FOLLOWS:

Category: Historical
1st place: $50, Certificate, and ORA Pin
2nd place: $25, Certificate, and ORA Pin
3rd place: Certificate and ORA Pin

Category: Contemporary
1st place: $50, Certificate, and ORA Pin
2nd place: $25, Certificate, and ORA Pin
3rd place: Certificate and ORA Pin

Category: Paranormal/Sci-Fi
1st place: $50, Certificate, and ORA Pin
2nd place: $25, Certificate, and ORA Pin
3rd place: Certificate and ORA Pin

Category: Young Adult
1st place: $50, Certificate, and ORA Pin
2nd place: $25, Certificate, and ORA Pin
3rd place: Certificate and ORA Pin

 Now, if you've waded through all that, then let me tell you specifically why I think you should enter. Because
A) you're an awesome writer
B) feedback
C) I'll be doing some judging. Entertain me.
D) Proceeds from our conference benefit the Ozarks Literary Council. Yay for reading!
E) It's open to published and unpublished authors alike, so long as the work you're subbing isn't contracted.

So polish up those MSs, go here to enter, and battle it out with other fantastic writers. It's like American Gladiators, only with no gladiating. It's really a battle of words. Which if you think about it, are stronger than muscles and just as hard to train.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Wandering Weekend

My stars and garters! What a gorgeous weekend. Naturally, it's cloudy and there's a slight chill in the air today. Eh, who cares? It's Monday and I'm stuck indoors. But here are some photos from my weekend. Stuff I Found While Driving Around.

Roark Creek at Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area


Butterfly weed at Henning CA

The PW Monster at Roark Creek. Please ignore his terrible haircut.

Stairs to a trail at Henning CA.

Sycamore Log Church, Branson, MO
Crazy rock at Drury-Mincy Conservation Area
Standing on the crazy rock.
Wildlife food plot

Mincy, Fox, and Bee Creeks all wind through the CA. Not sure which is which.


Weird valley that's all gladey (glades are some of God's ugliest land ever).
So ugly and spooky down there.
Ugh, I can't wait for some leaves on the trees. Everything's all dead-looking. But it was hard to complain with the sun shining and a nice breeze blowing. And it was great to see some different conservation areas. Okay, back to work. *cracks whip*

Friday, April 12, 2013

Historical Research Hijacked The Friday Five--Not My Fault

I fully intended to hand The Friday Five off to Basil this week, but we started arguing about whether he was confident or arrogant and then I decided to ignore him until he could admit that I'm right. You can totally read The Turncoat's Temptress and decide which of us is right. Your opinions are welcome.

As you know, I'm in that death race called Camp NaNoWriMo for the second week. Second week is, does, has, and always will suck. Second week is my enemy, but never fear I shall prevail (probably). Along side the novel I'm cobbling together at camp, I'm working on a historical romance. I haven't set a year for it yet, but it's post-Civil War. Last night while I was trying to figure out whether people in the old days ate cucumbers (they had to to make pickles, right?), I decided to set it in Greene County, Missouri.

Hiking barefoot, over rough terrain!
I stay on the designated footpaths.
Now. After the time I almost
got arrest for parking in a
non-parking spot.
What? Well, as you also know, I'm a huge honking fan of hiking at Wilson's Creek National Battlefield. Okay, so I let my membership expire last year and I don't think I went walking but once there. But what a walk it was. PeeWee and I were almost devoured by wild turkeys.

But I was thinking about the layout of the Ray House, which we toured last December when I posted about the lanterns. Remember? And I thought about all the corn the park rangers (or whoever) grows there now and a year or two ago, they planted an orchard in front of the house.

 And I said, "The Ray House would be perfect!" Only fictionalized. So instead of writing, last night I drew up the house as I remembered it, only a little different, because the kitchen in the Ray House is tiny and it makes me feel claustrophobic and I imagine my heroine not liking that either. And I also think the front door opening to the master bedroom is dumb. That's a damn good way to get killed if you ask me. So in my drawing I moved it. The front room is kind of huge, but I figure like the Rays, the O'Dells are going to need a crap load of room for writing desks. Oops, I forgot to put a door to the second bedroom and the front room. Well, just pretend they're there. That gray rectangle in the kitchen is a fireplace, just so you know. The others are steps, in case you were worried I was blocking exits with stone walls.

So now they can happily grown corn and wheat and orchard-y fruits in the Ozark Mountains. While looking at great scenery like this:



Okay, actually they probably wouldn't be able to see that for the massive cornfields, but if they took a trip into Wilson township, they totally would be able to see that. And, it's super-awesome historical-ness because I have ancestors who lived up that way pre-Civil War. Largely the settlers in the area came from Tennessee, where my Turner ancestors migrated from after being granted land there for services rendered during the American Revolution. My father's side of the family decided to move into the twisty, turny hills and  run moonshine and cock fights. Ahem. And were bushwhackers who gleefully murdered random strangers for their pocket change. As my dad used to say, "We come from a very long like of very mean people." There will be no exceptionally mean people in this novel, though. Just a cantankerous hero struggling with a loss, a confused almost-widow carrying a baby, and a 160 acre corn/wheat farm.

You can read about the Ray House here. And Wilson township here. My favorite part of the township page is this: "They are also so moral and upright that they can dispense with churches." *snort* Uh-huh. Which means I'll have to run my characters 10 miles up the road to Springfield.

Happy Friday, kids. Now go, be, do.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Book Feature - Night Stars and Mourning Doves by Margo Hoornstra

Night Stars and Mourning Doves FREE Exclusively on Amazon April 9 thru 13, 2013!


Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: February 22, 2013


Blurb:
 Elyse Monroe may be her sister's maid of honor, but that doesn't mean she has to follow the bride's example and fall in love. Battle-scarred and weary from previous relationships, she has no desire to take a chance on another--no matter how many hints her little sister drops about the best man.

Devastating life events have taken a toll on Eric Matthews. After losing his wife and unborn daughter, he's come home to heal. Serving as best man at his kid brother's wedding is the only relationship he cares to contemplate--no matter how attractive the maid of honor.

Thrown together again and again by wedding duties, Elyse and Eric reluctantly agree to explore a possible relationship--only to have their casual date turn into a glorious night of passion. Can two hearts, convinced a happily ever after will never happen, recognize love when it finds them?

Excerpt:

“Remodeling your home to accommodate Jay and me. Isn’t that a little extreme?”

Lips pursed, he shook his head. “Your mother and I have talked about adding on for years. Anyway, whatever we put into this house should increase its value eventually.” Setting aside the paper once and for all, his expression mellowed as he regarded his son. “Helping you out is helping us out.”

“It’s nice to hear you say that. And I want you to know I do appreciate what you’re doing for us. Especially Jay.”

“Losing your mother at any age is tough,” he replied as he stood. “It’s gotta be especially devastating when you’re as young as my grandson. He still needs someone to care for him like a mother, and Iris is more than up to the task.”

“She is that,” Eric began, then made himself quit talking.

Hard to admit, but he wanted someone to care for him, or at least listen when he needed them to. It wasn’t easy to look for a woman when you’re mortally injured and still require time to heal. Right now, it seemed all the time in the world would never make him whole again.


About the Author:

My personal history in a nutshell is pretty simple. I’m a wife to one; mother to four—seven if you count in-law children which I do—and grandmother to four so far.

My work experience includes public relations specialist, magazine editor, television producer, and script and speech writer. I’m also a founding member of Mid-Michigan Romance Writers of America.

Website || Blog || Twitter || Facebook || Goodreads

Visit Margo's other blitz sites here.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Snippet, A Snoppet... Okay, That's Not a Word

So everybody's freaking out about Legends & Lovers coming to an end. (By everybody, I mean mostly me, although there have been concerned questions. Thanks, concerned questioners.)

What's up my sleeve? Well, clearly I'm not out of the writer's pond. I'm still hip-deep in Camp Nano, staying afloat although I'm trying to tread water a little harder now. Today's goal will push me over the 10k mark. The first couple of days I was ahead, but this weekend bogged me down. You know, I had writer's group all day Saturday and yesterday we played a riveting game of mini-golf. Sadly, I lost, but only by 3 par and I finished ahead of par, which was 64 but I got a 52 or something. Easily one of my better games. Usually I get mad and swear a lot and parents cover their children's ears while glowering at me.

So it was kind of late when I got back to writing last night. I'll admit, I barely got anything done Saturday. I made my husband take me to see Warm Bodies again. That goes right into the Favorite Movies category, right next to Tucker and Dale vs. Evil.

However, I did catch up to my NaNo goal. Because I'm lazy and I don't really have anything else to tell you about, here's an unedited excerpt from my project. It's called The Heckmasters - Wystan.


 A few feet from the looming darkness of the building, she heard shuffling.
Rhia froze, eyes rounding as she listened. Whatever was in front of the clinic was large. Big enough to hurt her if it wanted to. She considered running, but the likelihood of getting away wasn't good.
A match flared, casting light over the hulking beast in her way. An involuntary cry parted her lips.
“What the hell are you doing out here?” Wystan Heckmaster's voice was little more than a growl. His eyes reflected the match light, casting a red glow to them. The shadows that hid part of his face made him look beastly. Any of her earlier thoughts about how handsome he'd looked fled in terror.
Rhia backed away, hands in front of her to stave him off. “Don't....”
Wystan moved so fast, she only saw a blur. The light from the match died. Cringing in anticipation of a blow, Rhia clenched her eyes shut. A surprised yelp sounded behind her, followed by more angry growling, and a louder, pained yip. There was a wet thunk followed by a gurgle and she heard ragged breathing. From narrow slits between her eyelids, she saw the dark outline of a hunched animal on the ground. Wystan stood over it wielding the biggest knife she'd ever seen.
“Eban was supposed to warn you to stay inside.” He whirled, standing so close she smelled liquor on his breath. He grabbed her shoulders, cupping them in his big hands. The knife was right next to her head. “You were almost eaten, you damn fool woman.”


Friday, April 5, 2013

The Friday Five - I Have My Reasons


I'm a big girl and everyday I make big girl choices. Like what flavor of Greek yogurt to eat for breakfast. Unless I forget and then it's more like brunch yogurt and slightly warm because I never put it in the work refrigerator. I eat it anyway because I read that women who eat Greek yogurt lose more weight than women who don't. Think about it.

Tuesday night I made a big girl choice. I'm supposed to be deep in the throes of Camp NaNo right now, busting my fingers to the bone on book 5 of the L&L series. The bad news is, there's not going to be a fifth book in the series. No, Virginia, there's no Santa Claus. No late April Fool's jokes either.

It wasn't a spur of the moment decision. It's actually weighed on my mind pretty heavily since I finished SS. I did start writing the beginning of the 5th book before I finished SS, but deep in my heart, I think I realized something wasn't quite right.

Your TFF today is brought to you by the reasons why I'm leaving book 5 behind.

1) Say it with me: There was never supposed to be a series. But when I couldn't shut Van Buren up, I realized there had to be a reason why all that stuff happened to these poor characters. It wasn't just random events. I blame Basil for that. He's the glue holding the series together, all that knowledge packed away in his brain. I could've easily stopped at three, tied the whole thing up in a neat package, except for one character who intruded during The Turncoat's Temptress. Emer, the heroine of The Siren's Sentinel. If you've read it, then you know things about Emer's past that spur on this next novel. After reading the end of SS, it seems like a perfectly good place to stop, damage healed.

2) I have other things planned. I'll be frank. If I'd known what a giant PIA writing a series would be, I wouldn't have done it as a debut author. Let me say this to first-time authors. Go with single titles. Make your life easy for the first year or two. That said, let me point out that I do have a series, but my debut novel with Lyrical is a stand-alone title. However, I'm not waving bye-bye to indie publishing. I have another series started and I plan to self-publish it as well. This series will be three books, no grappling for five and ending at four instead. Hand-to-God. I also have the beginning of another historical romance at the prodding of my inner historical romance author. There's not much reason to drag on with the L&L series when (refer to #1) I can end it here and now.

3) If you follow the series, you know that Van Buren had a minor role in The Treasure Hunter's Lady before starring in The Sky Pirate's Wife. Basil had a role in The Sky Pirate's Wife before starring in The Turncoat's Temptress, and Emer has a role in The Turncoat's Temptress, but is the heroine of The Siren's Sentinel. Neither of the characters in book 5 had a role in SS. I struggled to figure out how to make them fit. At first I was okay with that, because Basil has connections to everything as you may or may not know from reading TcT. But I like my recurring characters. Those two just didn't work out for minor roles in SS.

4) Under the heading of more character business, when I decided there would be a third book, the hero was supposed to be Ransom Shaw. It's complicated, the way Basil barged in and commandeered book 3, but I always intended Ransom to have a place. It worked out very well that Emer was the recurring character from TcT, so they became a couple. With the fulfillment of SS, all the characters I originally planned in 2011 have books.

5) I had a lot of difficulty writing SS. You can read all about it in the November/December/January posts. I chalked it up to knowing that the series was heading for its end and I was dragging my feet when I thought about reaching that point. The subconscious is a fascinating thing and it knows the truth even when the conscious doesn't want to admit it. The other night while I was sitting in my chair, my faithful sidekick PeeWee Roo Chin--doggy editor extraordinaire--at my side, reading the ending of SS, I said to myself This ending is it. It's truly 'The End'. Problems solved. Why are you writing another book set after this one?

Out of all the characters, Emer is the one who was treated the worst by the bad guy and under Romance Novel Statue 123456789.10, article A, sub-paragraph 2, she has the right to a Happily-Ever-After. What the bad guy did has no bearing on anyone's life (okay, except the offspring of the characters) after SS's ending.

Another way to look at it is, no one can prevent/destroy all the evil in the world. That's way too much of a burden for any of my characters. They're good, but they're not that good and that's sort of the direction this imposter book was trying to go. I know, I should be able to control that #$%&, but it was out of my hands.

The decision is made, the gauntlet is thrown, the towel is in the ring, the hat is off, the rats have abandoned ship, the bags are packed, the dinner bell is rung and there are definitely some bats in the belfry, but all's well that ends well.

Just have a good weekend and fear not. There's more coming from this wicked mind. Something bolder, newer, and exciter-ing.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Book Feature - Once (A Gypsy Fairy Tale) by Dana Michelle Burnett


Beautiful.  Secretive. Magical.  You envy their freedom, but you are distrustful of their ways.  A strange carnival has come to Corydon, Indiana and the Irish Travellers have captured the small town's attention--but it's Harmony who's attracted theirs.

Harmony sees the travellers everywhere and just like everyone else in town she's curious.  But once she meets the mysterious and captivating Kieran, Harmony's life takes an exciting and chilling turn.

Up until now, Harmony never believed that fairy tales or myths were real, but Kieran and his family belong to an ancient tribe called the Tuatha de Danann and someone else has discovered their secret.

An ancient battle is about to begin again, and now no one is safe, especially Harmony.  Can Kieran resist the urge to be with her or will his feelings put her in the crossfire?

Excerpt:

The bumpy dirt road leading out to old man Macready’s farm was dark, but still I turned off my truck’s headlights and slowed down to a crawl. I leaned forward and peered out at the darkness, squinting to see anything at all.
I could feel Kieran watching me from the passenger seat. I didn’t turn to see his expression, but I could feel him near and close.
“What?” I whispered without taking my eyes off of the road.
“I get the feeling that we’re not supposed to be here.”
“You would be right,” I said with a laugh. “A bunch of us kids used to come out here back in high school and more than once he chased us off.”
Kieran laughed as well and moved closer on the seat, “How would he chase you off?”
“He’d shoot at us with bird shot,” I said glancing over at him and just being able to make out his shocked expression.
I pulled the truck to a stop just as the road ended. I shut off the engine and got out, standing in the tall woody weeds.
“The pond is just on the other side of the trees,” I said as Kieran came around the truck.
Not giving myself time to think about it, I reached over and took his hand and started walking through the trees.
Easy Harmony... It’s just his hand... You’re just showing him the way... It doesn’t mean anything...
Despite the conversation in my head, I still trembled as our fingers intertwined. I didn’t look back at him, but I held his hand a little tighter.
“When I graduated from high school, and everyone else went off to college, I used to come out here by myself before Grandma got so bad.”
“What was that like? Coming out here all alone?” Kieran asked as he followed close behind.
“It was great,” I said with a quick glance back. “It was so quiet I could just forget everything else. I didn’t have to think. I didn’t have to take care of anyone. I didn’t have to do anything and there would be all these butterflies just flying around. I could sit and watch them for hours.”
“Sounds beautiful.”
“It was,” I said. “Have you ever noticed you never see butterflies that much anymore? I miss them.”
Oh God... That was a stupid thing to say...
Kieran pulled at my hand to stop me just as we reached the edge of the trees.
“Is something wrong?” I asked as I turned around.
“No,” Kieran said as he took my other hand as well and then tilted his head back and closed his eyes. “Just wait.”
Suddenly, into the air rose a cloud of orange and black butterflies. They fluttered all around us, landed on my arms and shoulders.
I looked at him amazed, “How did you do that?”
Kieran stepped forward and brought his lips down on mine in a feathery soft kiss. When I opened my eyes, the butterflies were gone.
“Magic,” he whispered and backed away.



Find it at Amazon || Barnes & Noble || Smashwords || ARe

About the author:

Dana Michelle Burnett spent most of her life writing short stories and sharing them with family and friends. Over the years, her work was published in numerous commercial and literary magazines including Just Labs, Mindprints: A Literary Journal, Foliate Oak, and many more.

Her short story John Lennon and the Chicken Holocaust was include in The Best of Foliate Oak Dana Michelle's Spiritus Series introduced the idea of a ghostly romance and became a Kindle bestselling series. She's an avid reader of anything dark and romantic. Dana Michelle lives in Southern Indiana with her dancing diva daughter and an assortment of pets.

Facebook - www.facebook.com/DanaMichelleBurnett
Twitter: www.Twitter.com/DanaMBurnett
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4539327.Dana_Michelle_Burnett

Monday, April 1, 2013

I Wish I Could Decide to be Decisive

I have the feeling I should be editing, not writing. It's the 1st of April, as you can plainly see from your calendars. That means it's also Day 1 of Camp NaNoWriMo. I spent yesterday evening re-reading what I've already written on The Crusader's Maiden. Then beating myself up mentally for writing a five book series. My inner historical romance writer is screaming at me, You'd be done with that now if you hadn't decided on five. You could write a historical romance.

She's kind of a cow.

I have to forgive her, because she has an idea and like all ideas, it wants to burst into fruition. Immediately. And I, of course, don't have immediate time to give it.

My argument is this: If I scrapped The Siren's Sentinel and CM, I have nothing coming out this year. That's so far out of Not-Good's league, there aren't even words for it. Plus, I like SS and I'm really enjoying the characters from CM. I could put CM on hold, write the HR, but that goes against the natural order of how I already have things planned out.

I like to second guess myself. It's my second worst habit under swearing excessively.

I do not like the idea of having two or three projects "open" and never finishing them. I do have some. You can find them in the dark, dusty corners of my flash drive. I think there are at least three. So my plan is, write like a mofo on CM, when I can't think to write for it, add to this HR. For now I'm ignoring the other project I started, even though it's promising. It oozes promise.

Okay, instead of blogging, I need to focus on the 1333 words that I need for NaNo. If only I didn't feel guilty that SS needs editing. And those other books want to be written. It's just a big ol' circle.