Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Wednesday Snippet - Star-filled eyes watched her

The writing has been slow-going recently, mostly because I spent a lot of last week running around like a mad thing at the day job preparing for being off work this week. But! I am now off work. And hopefully the next few days will be productive and push me ever-closer to the end of Imperial Demons. Cross your fingers for me. I'm also anticipating first round edits for either LICH QUEEN or ON A DARK TIDE in the near future, since both are currently slated for release in June. Obviously edits will slow down writing, but maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan, I am so excited about both those stories!

Anyway! Let's check in with Lola in the meantime.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Forgive me, Stephen, for I have sinned...

It's been seven days since I last worked on Imperial Demons. According to the rules clearly laid out in your Daily Beast article, this means I must now abandon the project, because...I don't know, effort is pain and makes my skin hurt, or something.

Now, look, I don't normally write blog posts aimed at writers. I want to make this a place for my readers by and large, but sometimes I read something so dumb and potentially damaging to writers that I just think...ah, fuck it. This is one of those times.

Let's get the obvious thing out of the way first. Of course consistency matters if you want to finish a book. This is true whether you're seeking publication or not. However, putting it out there that if you don't write Every. Single. Day, you're doomed to failure and obviously not committed and should go train to be a lawyer instead, and will be trampled over by a hoard of more committed, deserving authors, is just dumb and moreover, false.

For one thing, everyone's schedule is different. My day job takes me out of the house between 7am and 6pm five days a week. I run an Etsy shop that, tallied up, probably takes another seven-fourteen hours out of my free time every week when it's open full-time. I have a persistent and pretty much unfixable problem with both arms/shoulders that often leaves me in tremendous pain and physically unable to write some days. So no, I don't write every day. You know what?

It doesn't fucking matter. I still finish books and I get them out there for readers. I know writers who have way more complicated schedules and lives than mine, and they do the same, because they get that what matters isn't Write Every Day Or Else, but Just Fucking Write. You do have to make time, definitely. But if you can't make time seven days a week, 365 days a year, don't worry, and don't let people give you bad advice about that. Write in a way that works for you. For some people, that's 300 words every morning before the day job. For others it's 5k a day in between taking care of their kids. For some (like me), it's 5k a week (hopefully) around, like, eating and sleeping and making perfume and making sure my boss goes to the right country for conferences.

Writing is hard, sure, but real life is too, and what you need most is a solid understanding of what will work for you and the flexibility to adapt as life changes around you.

The other issue I take with the article is the assumption that unless you're writing for publication, and by publication clearly Stephen Hunter means traditional publishing, it's not worth it. That is bullshit. There are a lot of reasons to write, and for your own goddamned pleasure is just as valid as for a paycheck. You want to write that 100k space opera fanfic? Fucking go for it, and enjoy the hell out of it. You want to write with the aim of landing an agent and a movie deal? Fucking go for that too. You want to self-publish? Fucking go for that, and if you want to write fanfic and trad stuff and self-publish ALL AT THE SAME TIME, then yes, go the fuck for that! There is no correct way to be a writer, and no One True Path, and don't let anybody tell you different.*

There are a lot of places you can go for advice as a writer, regardless of what level of your career you're at. There are a lot of valid voices out there too, with experience in all aspects of the industry. Read around. Ask questions. Learn. But never, ever, ever listen to anyone who gives you reasons to stop writing. They are not on your side.

And now that's out of my system, I am in fact getting back to work on Imperial Demons. I mean, if I'm allowed...

*I mean, don't plagiarise anyone. That would be shit.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Flashback Friday - Get Vexed!

Happy Friday! I'm coming at you live from a gloriously sunny English evening, which I can see clearly through my living room window. Not being accustomed to direct sunlight, I'm a bit wary of it all, but Yuki is loving it, so that's good enough for me. Anyway! You came for books, right? Right! Let's say hello to Wren Michaels and her paranormal romance, VEXED.

Vodou stole her life. A gay ghost stole her boots. And the man who stole her heart stole her memories. Kena plans to get it all back.

Ex-cop Kena's life is filled with regret, beer, and Cheetos. That is, until her ghostly roomie sends her dumpster diving, leading her to a sexy stranger named Luc and a fate she'd rather not remember. As Kena's memories resurface, so do her feelings for Luc, the man she's secretly been in love with for the last thousand years. And he needs her for more than a stroll down memory lane.

Vodou spirits, known as Loa, have been trapped in human form, and are trying to make their way back to the spirit world. But Luc's brother is possessed by a vengeance demon conjured at the hands of NOLA's crime syndicate kingpin. Saving him means damning herself to a spirit prison in a loveless, arranged union with the very man she's supposed to rescue. But not helping Luc's brother sentences him to death, leaving New Orleans in the hands of black magick, and losing Luc forever.

Buy Links

Read on for an excerpt!

After stripping out of the wet clothes, I wrapped the towel around myself and wandered out to his room. On the bed lay a white long-sleeve button-down shirt. With a hard swallow, I dropped the towel and picked up the shirt, pulling it to my face. I took a long, hard sniff. Laundry detergent. Of course. Did I think it would smell like him?

Like he'd give you a dirty shirt to wear, Kena.

Thankful he didn't witness me in idiot-mode, I slid myself into the shirt and was caught mid-button when he knocked at the door.

Are you decent?” He pushed the door open a crack.

I'm clothed, if that's what you mean. Decent is debatable at the moment.” Purposely leaving the top three buttons undone, I worked my way to the bottom button as he walked in.

He halted mid-stride and looked at me. His chest rose and fell in quick spurts, training his eyes over me from head to toe. Veins traversed the length of his arm as he clenched his fists at his sides. “I don't wear underwear, so I apologize I have no bottoms. It's all I had that was long enough to cover you.” His position relaxed as he leaned against the mahogany armoire.

Anything's better than cold, sopping-wet clothes.” I ran a finger through my hair, now slowly drying into loose stringy curls.

So, are you going to tell me what happened tonight?” Folding his arms across his broad chest, bulging muscles stretched the navy-blue fabric barely covering his biceps.

I shook my head. “Not until I get some honesty from you, big guy.”

With a tilt of his head, he donned a sly grin. “You haven't asked the right questions.”

Is this a game for you? Do you enjoy messing with people's lives? Do you get off on some fucked-up high being in total control?” My fingernails burrowed into the palm of my hand. Everything in me wanted to slap the shit out of him and then ride him like a cowboy.

He pushed off the dresser and walked over to me, lowering his head coming to a stop inches from my face. “You're the one in control and yet you refuse to acknowledge it. You refuse to let your mind accept it. Stop playing and start being.”

What do you want from me?” I yelled, a little louder than intended.

I want you to be you. I want you to”—he stopped and dropped his gaze to my lips, and then slowly made his way back up to my eyes—“come back.”

Kiss me.” The words rushed from my lips without another thought. My heart hammered so hard in my chest I thought it would shatter my rib cage.

His breathing quickened. A low growl rumbled in his throat. “Don't do this to me, Kena.”

Don't do what? You're the one doing things to me.” I slammed my hands against his chest and he sailed across the room, his back hitting the dresser behind him. “Shit! I'm sorry.” I reached out for him with a trembling hand.

Fuck, I’d done it again.

He shook his head and straightened himself up. In a blur of movement, he shot across the room and grabbed onto either side of my shirt, yanking me up to his face. “You want me to kiss you?”

Yes,” I said in more of whooshing sound than a word.

He pressed his lips against my neck and his fingers curled into the fabric of the shirt, pulling
me onto my tiptoes. “You don't even know who I am.”

I don't care.” Words no longer made sense to me, only his touch spoke a language I could understand.

He laughed as he pushed me against the wall. Gripping the back of my head with the entire palm of his hand, he splayed the other across my cheek, his thumb resting against my jawline. Tilting my head back, he hovered his lips over mine. “You will.”

His lips crushed against my mouth.

With a sweep of his tongue, he devoured me into a kiss the likes of which I've never experienced before in my life. He punished my mouth with his tongue, sliding it over mine in a delicious dance of ecstasy and aggression. His hold on me was not that of violence, but of passion. The way his fingertips eased against my face, yet held me there as if he was scared to let go, revealed a vulnerability. He may be a man of few words who knew how to play the vague card, but his body and actions gave him away.

I arched into him, and he pinned me back against the wall with his hip. Clawing at his shirt, I ripped it out of his jeans and slid my fingers over his heated skin. A surge of energy rushed my fingertips as they glided along his body, electrifying me.

Fuck, Kena,” he hissed, pulling back from the kiss.

In a movement so fast it blurred everything around me, he shot out the door, slamming it behind him. He left me gasping, clinging to the wall behind me just to remain standing. My legs wobbled like Jell-O as I stumbled to the bed and collapsed. He sucked all the air from my body and replaced it with an ache, a driving need for more of him.

What the hell was he? 


Author Bio:

Wren Michaels hails from the frozen tundra of Wisconsin where beer and cheese are their own food groups. But a cowboy swept her off her feet, and carried her away below the Mason-Dixon line where she promptly lost all tolerance for snow and cold. They decided they'd make beautiful babies together and they got it right on the first try. Now Wren lives happily ever after in the real world and in the worlds of her making, where she creates book boyfriends for the masses to crave.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Author Interview - Lynn Burke is here to Fulfill you ;)

Say hello to Lynn Burke! She's here this evening to chat about her new release, FINDING FULFILLMENT. We're covering all the important stuff - her favourite genres to write, her favourite scene in the book, and whether she prefers tea or coffee. And after the interview, there's a teaser from FINDING FULFILLMENT for you to sink your teeth into. Enjoy!

Hi, Lynn! Tell us a little bit about your newest release.

Finding Fulfillment is the third installment of my Found by Fate series which follows along with three co-workers. It covers quite the range of subgenres!

Finding Forever, Bad Boy Anthology with Roane Publishing, - Contemporary Erotic, Bondage
Finding Freedom – Menage, MMF
Freedom Found (a free read) – Menage, MMF
Finding Fulfillment – Contemporary Erotic, Spanking, Bondage

Great, so if people fall in love with this book, they know there's more waiting for them! Is there any part of this story you absolutely love, and why?

I loved the scene where Archer does a little test to see if Jade is turned on by him dominating her. Writing a scene of dialogue in present tense of him creating a scene in her fun!

Sounds steamy...Nice. Do you have a favourite genre to write in?

Not really. I write historical sweet romance and fantasy under my real name, and Lynn enjoys everything from BDSM to Menage with a little MMF on the side.

So leading on from that, are there any genres you haven't tried yet that you really want to?

I’m considering a historical erotic or erotic fantasy, a blend of all of my loves!

Who are your biggest influences – they don't have to just be literary ones!

Roni Loren and Keri Lake. J.R. Gray’s Tumblr acct is a fun one as well. ;)

Now, the hard ball question. Tea or coffee?

Chai tea every morning for me!

I love chai tea! I have a pumpkin chai that's absolutely divine. Apart from writing, what are your great passions in life?

Gardening – a TIME SUCK in spring – and cooking/baking.

So now we know a bit more about Lynn, how about finding out a bit more about FINDING FULFILLMENT? Keep reading!

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!