Monthly Archives: December 2012

Congrats to JRM Raffle Winners!

Congrats to Vanessa N. for winning  a copy of Tower in the Woods when it comes out on January 14th.

On that note – congrats to everyone who won something from the JRM Blog Hop! It was loads of fun, and I’ll definitely be participating again.

A big thanks of course goes to the organizers who put this all together. Michael, it was a fabulous success. I have literally never had this much traffic on my blog. It was wonderful having people actually leave comments–the 1-2 views a day (most assuredly from a blood relation) was getting a tad depressing.

I’m glad everyone enjoyed the snippet, and I am now motivated to rescue Nicholas and Allison from my computer at some point (perhaps I can get a novella/short out of it).

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Naughty New Year Blog Hop

Welcome! This is my first time joining a JustRomance.Me blog hop. If you came upon this post by accident, but would like to join in the fun, just click the banner to the left and you can start at the beginning. There are lots of prizes up for grabs (one of which is a copy of my novella, Tower in the Woods, when it comes out on January 14th).

I signed up for this hop a little late (i.e. the day before this post needs to go live). As such, below is a very rough adaptation of a scene from Shifting Tides – a romantic suspense that will forever be buried on my laptop. The story still holds a special place in my heart, being my first completed manuscript. But in the way of most first works, it is fatally flawed and self-admittedly quite horrible (almost all 90K words of it). Hopefully, I’ve managed to rescue this scene.

By the way – it’s a bit on the steamier side (but I cut it off just before any disclaimers would be required):

~~~

It wasn’t hard to spot the woman in the photograph.  The New Year’s Eve party was in full swing, with models and photographers enjoying the alcohol-drenched celebration.  But his target stood out from the others.  She looked real, not some puppet dolled up for the night.  She wore jeans and a yellow silk shirt that brightened her face.  It was all there – the ebony hair, doe-like eyes, delicate bone structure and sad smile.  She should be sad.  She won’t be breathing for much longer.

He didn’t care why his employer wanted her dead.  It was none of his business.  He got a phone call with a name. The man on the other end of the line wanted the reporter, Allison Darcy, to never return to Washington, D.C. alive.

She was too small to put up much of a fight.  He could easily snap her neck before leaving U.S. soil.  That was the beauty of these islands.  In less than an hour, he could be on Tortola, outside the jurisdiction of the Americans.  The police won’t have much to go on.  There was nothing linking him to his victim.  It was the perfect murder.

He sat on his boat and watched her through the binoculars. There was a problem.  He could tell by the way Rich Boy was holding her that he planned on taking the dance to a more private venue.  It would be stupid to attack her with a witness present.

He breathed a sigh of relief when she left the party alone.  It gave him a window of opportunity.  He slipped out of his boat and followed her, making certain to stay hidden in the shadows.  But Rich Boy had also just exited the brightly lit area.  It didn’t take much imagination to guess they had the same destination in mind.  She wasn’t going to spend the night alone.

Disappointed, he made his way back. He would wait for Rich Boy to get bored.  A moment alone is all it would take for him to kill her.

****

Allie froze when she heard the knock.  She knew who it was.  If she wanted to back-out, the time was now.  All she had to do was keep the door shut. Nicholas would go back to the New Year’s Eve celebration, and she would write tonight off as a mistake that was nipped in the bud.

Closing her eyes, she filled her lungs and tried to slow down her racing heart.  Who was she kidding?  She had wanted this to happen from the moment she spotted him at the party.  She was making this too easy. She should put him off for at least another day or two. Having sex with her childhood crush on New Year’s Eve would be the ultimate cliche.

He had been ruthless in his seduction. He sat next to her at the dinner table, his hand between her thighs as his colleagues discussed business.  She hadn’t expected him to touch her so boldly in public. On the dance floor, she had felt his body harden against hers. His large hands had held her captive while he whispered naughty propositions against her ear.  She had no doubt he will make good on every promise the moment she opened the door.  Her hand trembling, she twisted the handle.

Nicholas pushed her backward the moment the door slid open.  Once inside, he turned the deadbolt before grabbing her by the shoulders and pinning her against the hallway wall.  His mouth sought hers, his tongue exploring as he plastered her body against the concrete.  Closing her eyes, she gave in to the craving that had been gnawing at her for the past night.

“You have a thing for trapping women against hard places, don’t you?” she quipped when he relinquished her lips.  One hand tilted her face upwards, while the other dug into the side of her hips.  The fire in his eyes made her fear she had pushed him too far.

“Just you,” Nicholas answered, the tension in his body belying his casual tone.  “If you want me to leave Allison, tell me now.”

Her eyes widened in surprise. “You usually don’t give your conquests, business or personal, an opportunity to renege.”

His smile was a combination of fire and ice.  “And you’re not the type to have a one night stand on New Year’s Eve.”

But every grown woman was allowed a single reckless fling. This was the one man who had ever tempted Allie to throw caution to the wind.  She looked up at him in silence and waited, her surrender reflected in the stillness of her body.

~~~~

I hope you enjoyed the snippet as much as I enjoyed writing it. Happy New Year!

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Tower in the Woods – Cover Art Reveal

Tower in the Woods - Cover Art Reveal

When she sees a man fleeing a horde of zombies, Nel Zapur has no choice but to extend a lifeline. But what will happen to her once Dane Prince reaches the tower’s top?

– Find out the answer at lsbooks.com on January 14th, 2013!

(A huge thanks goes to Lyn Taylor for making my very first cover art absolutely gorgeous)

The End (of the World) – Undead Fairy Tales Style

Absolute Write Watercooler’s December 2012 Blog Chain 

Starting Date: Monday, December 3, 2012
Open to all forum members, even after it starts!

This month’s prompt:
The End (of the World)

Yes, since the predicted Mayapocalypse only fails to materialize once every 500 years or so we are piggybacking on it. Write what you will about the end of the world (those disinclined to eschatology can write about “the end” in a broader sense). Hopefully, after these ends of the world as we know it, we’ll all feel fine.

Instructions:
Simply post your blog’s URL in this thread to join. Each post should be less than 1000 words if possible. Read and comment on other participants’ posts if you possibly can–they’ll be doing the same for you!

When I first set out to write my erotic romance novella, Tower in the Woods, I probably spent a lot more time on the Zombie Apocalypse setting than was wise. I Google-earthed the general area where my story was set, drew diagrams, mapped out roads, looked up some military installations,and in the end, most of those details were self-edited out as I focused on the … err… development of the ‘physical’ relationship between my two main characters. It was a slightly painful yet unavoidable process. After all, the when, how and why the world became overrun by undead brain-eaters is not central to how my two main characters fall in love/lust. Imagine my glee when I stumbled upon the topic of the December 2012 AW Blog Chain. Below is how the world ended, Undead Fairy Tales style:

Sometime around now, the human race was besieged by the Undead Reanimation Virus, later dubbed the URV for simplicity’s sake. I don’t know what happened to the rest of the world, as my story is centered around the U.S. capital Washington, D.C. At the advent of the outbreak, the Federal Government made the executive decision to isolate the city and cut off all contact with the outside world. On the Virginia side, all but the memorial bridge was blown up, and the Potomac River was used as a natural barrier. On the Maryland end, a series of extremely targeted and controlled nuclear explosives were used to create a wasteland over which neither human nor zombie can cross (take a leap of faith here – we’re talking Zombie Apocalypse).

The assumption is that the URV outbreak was slow-moving enough that the government had a reasonable amount of time to plan this move (who knows, it may later be discovered that the virus itself was a government experiment gone bad). Nuclear technology being what it is, a reliable source of power was not a problem, nor was the creation of desalination plants that made sea water potable. Food manufacturing installations based on hydroponic technology were built in advance of this isolation, along with he capability to manufacture clothing and, of course, weapons. In other words, the federal government made sure the Maslow’s two lowest hierarchies of needs (physiological and safety) would be met, at least for the 60,000 or so people selected to remain in the city. The moment this physical fortification was completed, what was left of the civilian and military government was condensed into a Federal Military Agency (FMA) that hence forth followed an isolationist policy (modeled after U.S. foreign policy pre-WWII). For the purposes of the FMA and what they dubbed New America, the outside world no longer existed.

My novella starts 60 years after the bridges connecting Washington, D.C. to the rest of the world were destroyed. My hero (and most likely all the heroes in the Undead Fairy Tales series going forward) are agents that were raised in the city and trained by the FMA. Thirty years later, scientists (remember, Georgetown University, George Washington University, and parts of Johns Hopkins are all located in the capital) discover a vaccine for the URV (which has various cool side-effects: elimination of disease, increased strength, and who knows what else we’ll discover as the series progresses). It takes close to another decade for New America’s leadership to consider the possibility of opening up its doors to what is left of the outside world. To assess that situation, they send out agents to gather intelligence about what has happened since they closed their borders all those years ago.

So what happened? With brain-eaters everywhere, all semblance of civilization is gone. There is no running water, no electricity, no working roads. Gasoline, weapons, car parts and other supplies can be scavenged, and the human population is small enough that much of that is still available even 60 years after the world has ended. But chances are high that a zombie will turn you into the undead before you reach the elusive stash of canned goods or bar of chocolate. As such, the few people that survive rely on horses, farming, hand-pumps, wells, reservoirs for rain water, as well as home-made soaps and detergent.

A la The Walking Dead and Revolution, the zombie wastelands are about survival of the fittest. Rape, looting and murder are commonplace, and what the undead don’t destroy, humanity at its most basic level does. A group of women with para-military training band together and form the Women’s Independent Territories Church (WITCH). They took over the headquarters of the Defense Logistics Agency–the semicircle of buildings that composes the main campus of Fort Belvoir provides a large and easily defendable space that abuts a reservoir of water as well as plenty of arable land (i.e. Mount Vernon National Park). For the first thirty years after the outbreak, enough women and girls flocked to the WITCH’s stronghold for recruitment to not be a problem.

But then New America slowly but surely opened its doors, and recruitment tanked. Unlike the Capital, the WITCH required an influx of bodies from the outside in order to sustain/grow their population levels. As such, they resort to various drastic measures that eventually draws the attention of the FMA. This is where my novella starts (and yes, very little of the “End of the World” described above made it to the the final draft).

If the “End of the World” I just described got you interested in the actual story, below is the mini-blurb:

Years after the zombie apocalypse, Dane Prince is sent to investigate a mysterious feminist cult. Before long, he finds himself dangling from a tower, clutching a rope of hair. The tower’s resident wants a lesson on sex, and Dane doesn’t mind teaching her to fulfill his darkest desires.

Tower in the Woods is scheduled for release by Liquid Silver books mid-January.

AW December 2012 Blog Chain List of Participants:

orion_mk3: http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to post)
dolores haze – http://dianedooley.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
randi.lee – http://emotionalnovel.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
writingismypassion – http://charityfaye.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
bmadsen – http://hospitaloflife.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
Ralph Pines – http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
AllieKat – http://roelke.livejournal.com/ (link to post)
MsLaylaCakes – http://www.taraquan.com/ (link to post)
katci13 – http://www.krystalsquared.net/ (link to post)
Angyl78 – http://jelyzabeth.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
pyrosama – http://matrix-hole.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
Araenvo – http://www.simonpclark.com/ (link to post)
CJ Michaels – http://www.christinajmichaels.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
SuzanneSeese – http://www.viewofsue.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
gell214 – http://gelliswriting.blogspot.com/ (link to post)

Bumped:
SRHowen – http://srhowen1.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
meowzbark – http://www.lizzylessard.com/ (link to post)
Aheïla – http://thewriteaholicblog.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
BBBurke – http://awritersprogression.blogspot.com/ (link to post)