Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Wednesday Snippet - Bow your heads and proffer your thanks

I didn't get as much writing done as I'd have liked last week, but I think as the story heads into the third act and I have to start tying all these plot threads together, that's a little inevitable. Still! The good news to take from that is that I am heading into the third act, which means the end is slowly creeping into sight. Huzzahs!

Monday, 22 May 2017

Guest Blog - Rats!

Yes, rats. When I saw Shari Elder's newest release featured a rat-shifter hero, I was instantly sold. I can't think of many books where rat-shifters feature at all, with Laurell K Hamilton's Anita Blake series being the first that springs to mind. And although her rats are pretty much good guys, they're never presented as love interests or even main players - they're kept on the periphery of Anita's life for the most part. So I was fascinated by the idea of a paranormal romance that puts rats front and centre, and makes one a hero. I wanted to know more! And Shari has kindly obliged me. So say hello to Evan Grant!

Thank you for having me on your blog today. My paranormal romance, Unnatural Allies (Book #2 Shifting Alliances), features a rat alpha shifter as a hero.

As a writer, the real thrill in writing a rat alpha as a hero, is the freedom it gave to explore the parameters of an alpha.  How far could I stretch that definition?  How many beta-like characteristics could I sneak in and still maintain him as a leader who commanded respect of bigger, stronger predatorial shifters?

Lets’ start with what he looks like. Evan Grant is lean, with smaller muscles and shorter stature and a facial twitch (think rat with whiskers) we don’t tend to associate with heroes. While he is physically significant among other rat shifters, he pales in size to predators. He can be a deadly fighter, but prefers to use strategy and diplomacy over weapons and fists to solve conflict.  He’s humble, letting people assume he’s a local shopkeeper, when he is CEO of an international franchise.  He also reads and writes poetry and craves intimacy. His commitment to his pack, however, makes it hard for him to have a steady lover, a spiritual pain he carries everywhere like one would a phone.

Now that you know what he looks like, I think the best way to understand Evan is to meet him so I’m sharing an exclusive excerpt below.

Read on for an excerpt!

Friday, 12 May 2017

Flashback Friday - Feeling Witchy?

Happy Friday, everyone! Hope you all had good weeks and have excellent weekends planned. After a manic few weeks of trips to London, building work, birthdays, and general social-ness, I'm looking forward to shutting myself away for two days and cracking on with Imperial Demons without interruptions. But before we get to that, it's time for a flashback! Multi-talented, multi-genre Jessica Coulter Smith is here with witches and werewolves!

Witch Way to Love
Love Spell #1

When Breena McCall goes to find her wayward wand, the last thing she expects to find is the man destined to be hers. Instant attraction only goes so far, especially when her chosen one acts like someone pissed in his kibble.

Wolf Shifter Cade Milcom doesn’t understand the sudden urge to bend the witch over and take her every way imaginable. She’s sassy, sarcastic, and gets on his nerves from the beginning. And yet, he finds himself answering the distress call when she gets herself into trouble.

An accidental mating and a demon bent on blackmail make for an interesting few days, but it’s nothing Breena can’t handle. Maybe. 

Available now from:

And read on for an excerpt!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Wednesday Snippet - The second scream cut through the air

I'm pretty sure I'm going to start reaching the point in the writing process where it's impossible to avoid spoilers, so Wednesday Snippets may start getting thin on the ground. But we're not quite there yet, so let's check in with Lola. Enjoy!

Monday, 8 May 2017

Five (AFI) Songs for Tristesse and Lola

On Friday night I got to see my all-time favourite band play live for the first time since 2003. AFI have been an instrumental and vital part of my life and writing process since I discovered them back in the dim, glory days of MTV2. Every album they've made has had an least one song (and usually several) that has become a theme song for a book or character of mine. That's just as true for Imperial Demons as it was the first novel I ever wrote (which we will never speak of again), and since I'm still riding the emotional high of seeing them live again, I thought today would be a good day to share some of the AFI tracks that have woven themselves into Lola and Tristesse's world.

1. So Beneath You

If Tristesse has a theme song for Imperial Demons, this is it. The lyrics are the perfect words of rebellion and pride that will carry her through the story:

I won’t kneel. I won’t bow.
If you’re there now
Strike me down, strike me down, strike me down.
Oh, you’ve got nothing.
There is none higher than this blood,
And I won’t serve anyone.
No there is nothing above.
And I don’t serve anyone, anyone.

2. Love Like Winter

Warn your warmth to turn away. Here it's December every day.

This is a pretty good description of Gehenna, where Lola and Tristesse find themselves trapped during Imperial Demons. This song's chorus also strongly evokes both the women and some of the overall motifs of the series for me.

It's in the blood, it's in the blood.
I met my love before I was born.
She wanted love. I taste of blood.
She bit my lip and drank my warmth from years before.

3. Torch Song

I think if Lola could write a song about Tristesse, it would be this song.

I saw you. Angels came to light your path.
I heard you keep their wings pressed under glass.
Now am I so enthralled that I might die?
I saw you, sweetly smile, and say "do try".
I'd tear out my eyes for you, my dear
To see everything that you do.
4. She Speaks the Language

And I think if Tristesse could write a song about Lola, it would be this one.

Little drops upon my cuffs
Let me know this must be love.
Red, red drops upon my cuffs
Let me know this must be love.
Now I know this be...
This must be love.

5. Endlessly, She Said

And finally, because a bit part of Imperial Demons is two lovers separated and fighting to get back to each other, this song just seems perfectly appropriate.

I returned to you but found,
My empty home.
The radio told me to stay.
As it burned down
I sang alone...

"I will wait for you," she said,

This is a really quick trip through some of the musical inspirations for the book and the ladies, but I hope you like it! You can also check out the Blood Canticles playlist if you're on Spotify (see it at the bottom of this page) for more of the bands, songs, and instrumentals that have helped build the series. Enjoy!

Friday, 5 May 2017

Flashback Friday - Southern Drawl

Happy Friday, folks! I'm especially happy today because A) I'm off work and B) I'm going to see my all-time favourite band, AFI perform live tonight for the first time since 2003! I'M SO OLD. So today really is all about flashing back. In my case, it's back to my university years up north. In the blog's case, it's all about heading south with Paige Warren and SOUTHERN DRAWL. Enjoy!

Carson Benson has wanted to be a cop for as long as he can remember, but there are some days that he doesn’t like his job. Like the day he gets called out for a domestic disturbance and finds a battered woman and terrified child. What Carson didn’t realize was that it would be a turning point in his life. 

Peaches Malone and her daughter Daisy are very important to Carson, and he’ll do anything to protect them. Including taking them home—to his home, where he can watch over them. And if Peaches feels that same spark he feels when he looks into her eyes, all the better.

Read on for an excerpt…

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Crazy Little Spring Called Love!

Hey folks! Are you in the mood for an anthology? Some fantasy romance, perhaps? Want to take a sneak peek one of the stories to whet your appetite? Great! I've got you covered with a look at Traci Douglass's story below. But first, let's take a quick look at what else is in store...

CRAZY LITTLE SPRING CALLED LOVE! Eight Magical Stories of Fantasy Romance Stars and Stone Books Featuring: Elsa Carruthers, M.T. DeSantis, Traci Douglass, A.E. Hayes, L.J. Longo, Cara McKinnon, Sheri Queen, and Mary Rogers.

This delightful fantasy romance anthology features eight magical stories inspired by the awakenings and renewal of springtime. If you love gods and goddesses, fairies, djinn, druids, mermaids, sirens, and magic of all varieties, Crazy Little Spring Called Love delivers!

Crazy Little Spring Called LoveTraci Douglass - "When Hermes Met Eos" One night. Two star-crossed immortals. Will their vibrant connection survive beyond sunrise?

Sheri Queen - "The Girl with a Broken Wing" A story of courage and sacrifice--and finding love where you never thought to look.

Cara McKinnon - "Love at Dawn" Sometimes mortals need a little push from a god and goddess to fall in love…

M.T. DeSantis - "A Hunt for Love" Can a djinn and a clueless guy beat the clock, avoid the curse, and maybe even find true love?

L.J. Longo – “Seaweed and Silk” A mermaid: hundreds of miles from her home on the ice, on a ship with a troll, a goblin wizard, and a pack of wolves. What else can go wrong? Oh, right. A flippin’ sea monster.

Mary Rogers – “Spring Fling” A druid’s bargain gives Carson revenge against his former lover Carrie–at the price of her memories of them together. But did she truly steal his magic all those years ago? Or was the real theft his heart?

Elsa Carruthers – “Welded” Welding Witch, Rena, is on the run. She's not looking for love, but all the magic in the world can't keep the sparks from flying when her rivals, Nate and Duke, find her.

A.E. Hayes – “A Siren’s Song of Spring She is sworn to sing men to their deaths. Until one sails into her heart.

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo

STARS AND STONE BOOKS| Goodreads| Facebook Release Party|Twitter

Excerpt from Traci Douglass’s story: When Hermes Met Eos

Read on for your excerpt!

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

May Accountability

So back at the start of April I decided finishing Imperial Demons in April was a pretty reasonable goal. Now it's May and I think finishing by the end of May is a pretty reasonable goal. This is entirely because I broke my "no new stories" resolution by writing ON A DARK TIDE, but since I got that written, edited, submitted, and accepted in roughly two weeks, I don't feel too bad about taking the break. But I do really want to finish Imperial Demons this month now. Getting back into the swing of things has been hard. Real Life in April is always busy thanks to family birthdays, and I knew the day job was going to be...trying. I also re-opened Common Brimstone in a limited fashion, and have immediately found myself back in the old struggle to balance writing, work, and perfume.

The problem is, of course, the longer I leave a story, the harder it is start up again. I struggled with IN COLD BLOOD last year because I kept doubting it and myself, and ignoring it for days and weeks at a time. I don't have those doubts with Imperial Demons, so I know I just need to carve out that first crucial bit of writing time and dive back in, and all the inspiration and motivation will come flooding back. The next couple of weeks should prove easier in that respect, so I have no excuses. I want this story done, partially so I can move onto the next story, and partially so I can share it with you!

So, the goal for May is simply to work as hard as I can on this book. I will possibly have edits for LICH QUEEN and ON A DARK TIDE heading my way, as both are slated for release in June, but I'll burn that bridge when I get to it, or something... Wish me luck!