Friday, October 28, 2011

Earthquakes and Coffee on the Keyboard

Writing Worth His Freedom

The idea behind Worth His Freedom was entirely centered in the person of the hero, Tsalrin. We have been developing the world of Gilalion for our own enjoyment since we first began dating, back in college. The character of Tsalrin, with an even less pronounceable name, has been present for a long while. We knew that he was compelling enough to deserve his own story -- he is dark, mysterious, deadly -- but nothing seemed to work. Nothing caught that spark in our minds, and we let Tsalrin alone.

Then this year we decided to set our minds seriously toward getting published. We had wanted to be novelists for a long while, but life would always get in the way. This year, we resolved, would be the year that either we would get published or else we would know that we would not ever be novelists. And Tsalrin was the character we wanted, and this time we had the perfect place for him, the perfect heroine to complement him, the perfect location for the story.

We started writing during the spring holiday of the Japanese university schedule, which was from February to March, so we had approximately eight weeks. Things were going swimmingly for a while. Tsalrin and Miria were getting along well, and in early March we were writing a scene so steamy that we had to ... take a break. The five big children were downstairs playing, and the baby was napping on the sofa. We got up from the living room where we had been writing to remove to our bedroom, and then the room began shaking. The date was March 11th. That did not surprise us; earthquakes are not uncommon in Japan where we live. But the shaking did not stop. It kept going and going. We scooped up the baby, wrapping her in a blanket, and ran outside, collecting the rest of the children as we went. Usually, in the case of a larger earthquake hiding under a table would be more suitable, but not then. Whole houses swayed. Roofs were cracking and tumbling down. There is an open field near our house, a tree nursery actually, and we went there. Our neighbors joined us as the earth continued to shake and roll. It did not last long really, but it felt like it. Then, just as we thought it was safe to go back inside, it started up again. It lasted almost as long as at the first.

When we at last went back inside our house was a shambles: books tumbled off shelves, our microwave lying on the floor in a pile of cracked glass, appliances off their cabinets, and my coffee, which I had been drinking as we wrote, had splashed into the keyboard, ruining it.

But we had saved before getting up from the table, and the document was intact, as was the computer we had been using (barring the keyboard). It helped that we kept the computer on the floor.

By the time school started back up again, a week later than usual due to the power shortages caused by the tsunami damage, the manuscript for Worth His Freedom was complete.

But we did not send it out yet. We asked a good online friend to beta-read it for us, and when she sent it back again, we finally felt brave enough to send our manuscript out into the world. Then we waited.

And only acceptances came back! We had not imagined getting to have a choice of publishers, but we went with Evernight, having gotten good personal recommendations from others who had published with them. We have never regretted that choice.

We learned some important lessons from writing Worth His Freedom. Now we skip the whole writing-in-the-living-room step. We start out in the bedroom.

And I keep my coffee away from the keyboard!

(Worth His Freedom comes out November 7th. Follow our blog and comment, and you'll be entered for a free copy of the book. Don't forget to include your email address.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Review of Lorraine Nelson's "Zakia and the Cowboy"

Author: Lorraine Nelson
Title: Zakia and the Cowboy
Length: Novel

Author's Blurb
With a stalker following her every move Zakia has no choice but to flee the city. With her options limited she runs to the only place she's ever felt safe...the Thunder Creek Ranch and her ex-husband, Lucas. 

Will he protect Zakia from the stalker? And if he does will either of them be able to ignore the feelings that have simmered for so long, ready to explode...before danger either draws them together or pulls them apart.

What I Thought
The positive points:
From the beginning, Ms. Nelson kept the tension high, and the story flowed smoothly from the first page. The characters of Luke, Blake, and Samantha were clear, sympathetic, and diverse. Their behavior was, for the most part, believable, and though they were placed in difficult and confusing situations, their actions were always consistent. The resolution with the heroine's stalker was satisfactory, and his identity was also believable. The interest did not flag, and Ms. Nelson's prose kept pace with her plot.

The negative points:
In a story which calls for more than the usual suspension of disbelief, whether a paranormal story or -- as in this case -- something more akin to a suspense or thriller, the details are more important than ever. Throughout the story, money is required, and in large amounts. Zakia's father is described as wealthy, but unless he was bankrolling everyone in the story, heroes and villains alike, there are unanswered questions, such as how Luke was able to afford to purchase a bullet-proof, air-conditioned covered wagon. The other primary negative in the story was the character of Zakia, as well as other characters' responses to her. Zakia clearly loved Luke, but she stayed away from him for six years. She went six years without contact -- and she was the one who left him. Luke's silence was more understandable, given that he was the one left and that Zakia's news of her pregnancy never reached him. Despite Zakia's convenient illness after the births of their twins, her six-year silence is insufficiently explained. If she loved Luke as described in that early period of marriage, then she would have at some point contacted him. In addition, Luke's friends and family accept Zakia with open arms, despite her betrayal of him, despite her having kept his sons from him. Luke's father, who is described as close to Luke, welcomes Zakia like a long-lost daughter, but Zakia broke his son's heart and kept his grandchildren a secret from him for six years. This is brushed aside. Everyone bends over backwards to accomodate Zakia, to be understanding of her. This romantic-fantasy heroine, who is beloved by all, whose wrongdoings are forgiven and excused by all, is at odds with the grittier action-story of a stalking victim.

Adonis says:

Get it here!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Review of Kelly Yeakle's "Timeless"

Author: Kelly Yeakle
Title: Timeless
Length: Novel

Author's Blurb
Can true love last forever?

Gabriela Swanson wanted one thing, to be a well known writer at Graven, the most prestigious Goth magazine in the country. When an inside source gives her the opportunity of a lifetime, she finds herself in a hostage situation with a man who claims to be her soul mate.

Kane Barringer is a vampire who's lived for centuries. Every century is spent waiting for his soul mate, but this time he's vowed to live the rest of his existence without her. A strange twist of fate gives them the opportunity to be together forever, but will Gabriela embrace it?

What I Thought
The positive points:
Kelly Yeakle's plot is twisted, and though it takes some time for the story to fall into place, it is an interesting read. The development of the minor characters is solid, and the swift pace does not flag. The descriptions of vampiric life are well-done, and the villain, though only lightly sketched, is suitably vicious. The love story itself is the most satisfying part of the tale, and the ending ties up all the threads of the plot, giving a glimpse into the happily-ever-after for the pair, as well as the most interesting supporting characters.

The negative points:
The most jarring aspect of the story is the personalities of the hero and heroine. Though the hero's love for the heroine is described, and though he illustrates it on occasion, his disappearances stretch the suspension of disbelief required by a paranormal story. As for the heroine, her doubts and hesitations drag on for longer than the length of the story could support. In addition, she seems peculiarly able to handle mental communication, and though this could possibly be due to her previous lives, her lack of surprise at it contrasts too greatly with her refusal to believe Kane's story. This disconnect makes the heroine seem unbelievable. It is only when she is behaving as the lover she is supposed to be that she becomes sympathetic.

Adonis says:

Get it here!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review of Seleste Delaney's "Forever Summer"

Title: "Forever Summer"
Length: Short story

Author's blurb
With her dreams of a career by the sea shattered by the economy, Katya's trying to be happy with the two weeks she's managed in the Florida Keys. But when the cottage she's rented turns out to be infested, she's ready to go home to Pennsylvania. At least until Jay, the handyman and filmmaker next door, comes to her rescue.

Sweet, talented and sexy, he's everything she ever wanted in a man. Too bad he's only hanging out with her because he's such a nice guy.

Or is he?

What I Thought
The positive points:
"Forever Summer" started well, with a clear picture of the heroine and a skillful pull into sympathy for her. The prose remained descriptive and bright throughout, with memorable pictures painted of the heroine and of Florida. It is a modern fairy-tale, complete with knight-in-shining-armor, or at least independent documentary-maker with a job opening for the heroine.

The negative points:
The hero never became more than an outline, and though that is not wholly inappropriate for a fairy-tale, it jarred when contrasted with the detail of the heroine's description. The couple did not match due to this discrepancy, and it dulled the requisite fairy-tale sparkle, which is all the more important in a story so short. This ebook was almost unreadable on my Kindle. I'm not sure if it was a problem with my device or a problem with the ebook, but the font would at random spots switch to microscopic size.

Adonis says:

Get it here!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Interview with C.R. Moss

AD: We're excited about having author C.R. Moss here with us today. Thanks for stopping by! We're going to talk with her about herself, her writing, and Wild West Weekend.

The Teaser

Two people scared to love again. Two others hesitant about commitment. A weekend in Nevada will change all that.
Bristol Ashcombe is swearing off men and taking a vacation with her friend, Cassie. Damon Dougan is packed and ready to leave the ranch for a trip, that is, until a long-legged, sexy woman steps out of a vehicle and he decides to stay. Will one sex-filled weekend be enough for either of them?
Cassie Harding travels to the Double D ranch to meet Bristol and looks forward to seeing her old friend, Dakota. Dak’s excited when Cassie, his former sweetheart, returns. Cassie and Dakota, though they’re heating up ‘the sheets’ in and out of the bedroom, have fears about commitment after years of being single. Will they find it’s better to dance together than apart?

Be Warned: light bdsm, sex toys

     And the trip sure came at the right time. She was in desperate need of a break and the Dougan's spread was the best place to take it. The ranch had once been a source of pleasure in her life. A place where she felt safe and peaceful, loved even. She looked forward to relaxing, forgetting her troubles for a bit, catching up with her friend.
     She sighed. She shouldn't have lost contact with her childhood friends. Years of flitting from one state to the next trying to find the next best gig as a casino cocktail waitress in her twenties, then learning how to deal and working the pit in her thirties had taken its toll. Her nomadic way of life had consumed her, changed her, made her want to settle down somewhere. No longer was she the timid teen who'd visit the ranch every summer and once dismissed the feelings of the eldest Dougan brother.
     Across the drive, a horse's whinny followed by a loud metallic thud jerked her from her thoughts. In front of the stables, a silver, extend-cab pick-up idled. A man, topped with a black cowboy hat, tossed a large bulky bag into the truck's bed.
     She titled her sunglasses down her nose to get a better look at the cowboy. Tall, built but not burly, she'd place him around six feet tall. His tan hands were pronounced against the long white sleeves of his shirt. Relaxed fitting jeans encompassed long legs but didn't form-fit around his butt. She wished the denim was tighter so it'd give a better idea of his muscle structure underneath. She'd hate to think the worker had a soft, saggy ass.
     The man lifted the hat, wiped his forearm along his forehead. The sun's afternoon glow highlighted golden streaks in his brown hair, but his arm created shadows on most of his face. She could only make out one prominent cheekbone and strong jaw. He replaced the hat, strolled over to the stable building, and faded into the dark shade of the building.
     God, he looks like he has great lips for kissing, a five-o-clock-stubbled chin that she could trail her tongue along and tease it with the prickles. She waited on the porch for another glimpse of him. He stepped out of the doorway, face still cast in shadows so she couldn't get a good look, with a length of rope looped in his hand.
     Desire coiled low in her stomach, bunched into a tight ball. She purred quietly to herself. Maybe she'd see about a weekend fling with the ranch hand.


AD: How did you and R.M. Sotera get started writing together?

CRM: We met through our local RWA chapter and were in a crit group together. As we became friends, we realized we had similar reading and writing tastes, and we clicked. Our brainstorming sessions can get a bit intense, lots of ideas and information floating around, and we feed off each other when it comes to our stories. Working together and collaborating on stories seemed natural, and I believe we make a great team. We did a couple of stories together in 2010 and then started work on our joint project Wild West Weekend.

AD: What drew you to write about cowboys?

CRM: Writing about cowboys was something different for the both of us, a nice change of pace from paranormal characters.

AD: What got you started writing Wild West Weekend? What was your inspiration for that particular story?

CRM: I went on a vacation to a working ranch, and when I returned home, I was full of inspiration. I went to RM and said, "Guess what we're going to be writing about." Then there was a lot of brainstorming, discussions and picture sharing. We decided to set the story in Nevada right outside the city we live in to make sure we were on top of the setting and feel of the area.

AD: Which couple do you like more, Cassie and Dakota or Bristol and Damon? Why?

CRM: I have to say mine is Cassie and Dakota since I was lead writer on their development, and I'm sure RM would say hers is Bristol and Damon since she headed up their development. ;) But both couples have their fun, loveable, quirky traits.

AD: How long have you been writing?

CRM: Since I was a kid. But I was first published in fiction in May of 2008.

AD: Do you ever write setting descriptions from real places? Does living in Nevada provide you with a better idea of your locations for your stories?

CRM: Yep. In fact the areas in the Wild West stories RM and I are writing are based on real places.  Since I live in NV, I like to set my stories here. Living here gives me firsthand knowledge of how the settings in the stories should be depicted. I've set other stories in other places where I've either lived or visited. Or it's been a place where I have a friend/family member living there who can feed me facts and pictures to make sure I stay as true to the areas as I can. Granted, there are times liberties do need to be taken, so that has to be taken into account, too. ;)

AD: Do you do much research for your books?

CRM: It depends upon the story and what's going on with it.

AD: Who are your favorite romance authors? What about authors in other genres?

CRM: Romance: currently Erin Kellison, back in the day: Jude Deveraux ~ Authors in other genres: Anne Rice, Stephen King, Clive Barker.

AD: What are your interests apart from writing?

CRM: When I have time, I like to read or crochet. I like to watch TV, play cards, travel.

AD: What is the most surprising thing about you?

CRM: I took a while to think about this, but had a hard time coming up with something about myself since I don't know what would surprise people about me. So, I asked hubby and a close friend. Hubby said, "Aside from marrying him, he's amazed how my inspiration for my story ideas work and that people may find it interesting that I would be happier having beer and pizza than going out for wine and ‘elegant’ dinning.  He also thinks it's cool that I used to play WOW and am interested in trying D&D table top type gaming. A close friend of mine said, "The sensitivity and loyalty you display to those you consider friends. You don't open up easily toward people, but when you do, you give everything you are to those lucky enough to be your friends." Another close friend of mine said that people are surprised to learn I have a flip-flop fetish.

AD: One last secret. What do the C and R stand for?

CRM: My real first and middle names. ;) Thanks for having me on your blog!

AD: Thanks for coming by, C.R.! We enjoyed your visit.


Find out more about the book and future stories here
Buy Wild West Weekend here.
Find C.R. here:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Interview with Elyzabeth M. Valey

AD: We are proud to have author Elyzabeth Valey with us today! Her Dreams of Fate is available from Etopia Press. Get it here! Let's get to know our new friend.

The Teaser

There are more to dreams than meets the eye...

When Alisha, Queen of the elves, meets Lord Tarmo in the dead of the night, she recognizes him as the man who has plagued her dreams. Soon, she discovers that he too has been dreaming with her. The problem is that Tarmo is a vampire.

Afraid of the power Tarmo holds over her body, Alisha does not want to believe that their dreams are visions of destiny. But once they touch, neither can deny the passion that binds them for all time...


AD: What inspired you to write Dreams of Fate?

EV: A song! Specifically, a song called “Fate” by a Norwegian metal group called “Tristania”. 

AD: How long have you been writing romance? Is Dreams of Fate your first erotic paranormal romance? If so, what drew you to write that particular genre of romance?

EV: I think I’ve been making up romantic tales since I was about thirteen but my first published short story was released in 2008. It’s my first hired paranormal story with a publisher. Previously, I’d published a few free reads in the paranormal genre. When I write I don’t pick whether a story is going to be paranormal, steampunk, historical, contemporary, etc. The characters appear and let me know who they are and what they are.   

AD: How long did it take you to write Dreams of Fate?

EV: It’s a short story so, a day? Two maybe. I’m afraid I don’t really remember, I wrote it a long time ago. 

AD: Do you have a favorite type of hero? Heroine? What characteristics do they share?

EV: Hummm…no, I don’t think I have a favorite one. The hero or heroine just has to appeal to me. I will admit though that appearance wise I’m a sucker for men with long hair.

AD: Have you always written romance, or did you try other genres before finding your niche?

EV: I did try writing fantasy for a while but somehow the plot always had a turnabout and became a romance. Therefore, I decided to focus on romance.  I do want to give fantasy a try sometime in the future because it’s a genre I love. 

AD: Please describe a typical writing session for us.

EV: It’s past midnight. Everyone in the house is either asleep or minding their own business. I’ll sit on the leather chair at the desktop computer because though I have a laptop, I’m more comfortable there even if the computer is old and slow. I’ll open the internet browser and whatever I’m working on at that moment. After checking to see where I dropped off I’ll find music to match my mood and I’ll start writing. The world around me ceases to exist once I’m focused.

AD: Are there any must-haves for you as you write? Music? Silence? Coffee?

EV: Music. It’s a great source of inspiration and I’m a very musical person. 

AD: Do you have any further stories in the works?

EV: Yes, I do! Evernight Publishing will be releasing my next novel A Decade of Longing sometime in November, and Silver Publishing will be publishing my Christmas story “The Uncertain List” in December. I’m also currently trying to finish a short novel about a saucy tavern wench and a mercenary with a quick temper and a hidden past.

AD: Do you plot your stories in advance, or do you discover them as you write?

EV: It depends. Sometimes I’ll have a general idea about what is going to happen and other times I’ll just plunge ahead and something will come up.

AD: What is the most surprising thing about you?

EV: That’s a tough question! I’m not sure what to answer!

AD: Thanks for joining us, Ms. Valey!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Review of Shannan Albright's "Dark Passion Rising"

Author: Shannan Albright
Title: Dark Passion Rising
Length: Short novel

Author's Blurb

Tambra Ellis has just had her world turned upside down. Surviving a bite from a Lycan, attracted to one hot vampire and now she has to look forward to turning into something from some bad werewolf movie.

Marcus Valerian has enough on his plate without the added complication of Tambra Ellis. Fiery and independent? Sure. Beautiful with a body made for sin? Oh Yeah. She's also a human cop. Tambra is everything he needs to stay away from.

As leader of the Tribunal’s enforcers it’s up to him to find out why the Dark Breeds are going feral and killing humans in ever increasing numbers. Tambra’s life is in the balance as the secrets of her past place her in the middle of a battle that will change the world forever.

Will Marcus and Tambra’s love survive or will it be too late?

What I Thought
The positive points:
Shannan Albright's prose is swift and vivid. From the first page, the pace is quick, and the tension does not lessen, not even at the end. The various Breeds and their interactions with one another as well as with the human world are deftly sketched, and though only the Lycan Breed is much discussed, the others are sufficiently explained to support the plot. Though hooks for future stories are plain, the actual story of Marcus and Tambra does reach a conclusion.

The negative points:
The romance was given short shrift in this volume. Though the descriptions of Marcus' and Tambra's attraction were well-done, there was insufficient time allotted to the development of their relationship. Partially, of course, this is due to the speed of the story itself; events move as swiftly as Shannan Albright's words. But given that the heart of the story is that very romance, it deserved more attention.

Adonis says:

Get it here.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Interview with Lorraine Nelson

AD: We are proud to bring to you today our interview with Lorraine Nelson, author of Zakia and the Cowboy, recently put out by Evernight Publishing. Let's learn more about this new release!

The Teaser
With a stalker following her every move, Zakia has no choice but to flee the city. Her options limited, she runs to the only place she's ever felt safe...the Thunder Creek Ranch and her ex-husband, Lucas.

Will he protect Zakia from the stalker? And if he does, will either of them be able to ignore the feelings that have simmered for so long, ready to explode...before danger either draws them together or pulls them apart?

The Excerpt

“Sorry, Darlin’. Always a cowboy,” he apologized.

He sat on the edge of the bed and struggled to remove his cowboy boots, then disposed of pants, briefs and socks. When he looked up and saw the still smooth, silky skin of her upper torso and full breasts partially covered by her beautiful, long, blonde hair, he had to ask himself how he got to be so lucky. Déjà vu was very much in existence as he admired the woman standing before him. Zakia was still every bit the exquisite, sexy woman she’d been on their wedding night, only now she was trying hard not to giggle.
“What’s so funny,” he asked with a grin as he reached for her.
“Just a little touch of déjà vu going on.”
“I was thinking the same thing. You’re just as beautiful now as you were on our wedding night,” he stated as he pulled her back into his arms.
“Well, I was thinking it funny that you said those exact same words on our wedding night.”
“What words?” he asked, curious and trying to think.
“Sorry, Darlin’. Always a cowboy.”
“Ooohh, those words. It’s true. A cowboy doesn’t go too far without his boots.”
“Did you mean it, Luke?”
“Mean what?”
“That you still think I’m beautiful.”
“Do I need to install mirrors on every wall in the house?” he teased. “Yes, you are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen, and sexily built. Now, shut up and kiss me.”
“Oh, I so like a man who knows what he wants,” she cooed.
When she reached for him, pulling him down for a kiss filled with all the passion he remembered, his heart soared. Gone was the polite restraint they’d held to since her arrival. He kissed her back, longing for more, aching for the promise her lips delivered.
His hands moved to her breasts, rubbing and tweaking the nipples to turgid peaks, then massaging the silken softness until she moaned against his mouth in pleasure. Breaking the kiss, he took one rosy nipple into his mouth, sucking and nipping lightly before transferring his attention to the other one.
He worked his way down her body, one kiss at a time, having to keep a tight rein on his control as she breathed his name over and over again. Her body writhed beneath him as he reached her sopping pussy, her unique scent driving him wild as always. He parted her lips and kissed her, rubbing tiny circles on her clit with his thumb. His other hand reached beneath her to fondle her ass as he began sucking her, his tongue laving and prodding her wetness until he could take no more. Rising up, he coaxed her legs apart with his knees and positioned himself. As he looked into her desire-glazed eyes, he moved, pushing into her with one hard thrust.
Then he stilled. It had been as tight as their first time. “Did I hurt you?”
“Uh, uh.” She shook her head as her body began to move, encouraging him to pull out and push into her warmth again.
She grabbed his hips, pulling him closer, deeper, and they fell into a rhythm that told of their familiarity with each other. It was as if he’d gone back in time, back to the days of love and laughter, caring and sharing their lives, completing each other. He thrust in and out, faster, harder, seeking the rapture he’d only found with the woman lying beneath him.
Thought took a long, slow ride after that as they concentrated on catching up on years of lost loving, and he was pleased to note, she still had that deep, husky, pleading note in her voice when she screamed his name.


AD: *fans self* Wow! Let's see what Ms. Nelson has to share with us.

Ms. Nelson, what first drew you to writing?

LN: Reading. Once I learned to read, I devoured every book I could get my hands on. It wasn’t long before I began writing short stories and poetry. When my children were younger, I wrote for their age group. Now they’ve grown, I write for mine. :)

AD: How long have you been writing?

LN: I’ve been writing romance for almost three years.

AD: Have you always written in the romance genre, or did it take you a while to find your niche?

LN: Writing romance and/or suspense is the one thing I’ve always wanted to try my hand at, but I didn’t complete my first manuscript until March 2009. To be able to combine the two and craft a believable, entertaining story gives me a great sense of satisfaction in what I do.

AD: What inspired you to write Zakia and the Cowboy?

LN: Would you believe a phone call? I work at a call centre and a lady named Zakia called in one day. I loved the name and an immediate picture came to mind. I jotted down some notes, tossed around ideas for a day or two and then began to write.

AD: It's amazing what small incidents reverberate in a writer! Have you always been interested in cowboys? If not, what piqued your interest in them?

LN: What’s not to love about cowboys? I should have been born out west instead of here on the east coast. Cowboys are a breed apart… they are friendly, respectful, hardworking and look great in Levi’s! 

AD: How long did it take you to write Zakia and the Cowboy?

LN: Two weeks for the first draft. It was part of my NaNo project in 2009. I wrote over 100,000 words in that one month. Then another two weeks of editing, cp’s and editing again.

AD: Who are your favorite romance authors? Favorite authors in other genres?

LN: That’s easy – Nora Roberts and Danielle Steel. As to other genres – John Grisham, James Patterson, Mary Higgins Clark.

AD: What are the primary influences on your writing?

LN: Life and the fact that I love to read. I tend to write stories that I would enjoy reading myself. I need peace and quiet when I’m writing. I’ve been known to lock the door and turn off the phones. I hate interruptions when the muse is working and the words are flowing. Sometimes the characters actually speak to me. That’s when I know I’m telling their story, not mine.

AD: Please describe a typical writing session for us. What do you do when you sit down to write?

LN: I tend to read over the last couple pages I wrote to get back into the right mindset for that story, then write. If I need to research something, I do it as I go. It isn’t uncommon for me to be working half a dozen stories at a time, so it helps keep them straight.

AD: What is the most surprising thing about you?

LN: Good question! Wish I had an answer for you. :)

AD: No problem! Thank you again, Lorraine, for being with us today.

Now, everyone, rush out and make this story your own!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Review of Jamie Craig's "Outcast Mine"

Author: Jamie Craig
Title: Outcast Mine
Length: Novel

Author's Blurb

There is nothing Aleron Pitre can't steal, nobody he can't con and no situation he can't slip out of—until he's sent to the prison planet Tantoret, where every sentence is death. If the prisoners don't kill each other, they'll die slowly from mining the poisonous drug chojal. Yet Aleron still hopes that he can escape.

Only thirty Athaki guards keep the chaos of Tantoret in check, a race of aliens stronger and faster than their human charges. Most intimidating of all is the head guard, Jasak, who has his own reasons for being sent to Tantoret.

Amidst the darkness and desperation, Aleron and Jasak share an unexpected attraction. An attraction neither can resist when Jasak claims Aleron as his mate to protect him. Then they discover that both guards and inmates are planning a coup, while a traitor from an enemy nation threatens the whole planet. Suddenly escape from Tantoret isn't just Aleron's dream—it's a matter of survival for them both.

What I Thought
The positive points:
The plot was strong, the pacing quick without being confusing, and the descriptions of Tantoret, the prison planet, were memorable. The story permeated each page; despite long conversations between the two heroes, each episode served to further not only their relationship, but the plot. The romance augments an already interesting tale. Jamie Craig is a skillful writer, and the setting was sufficiently detailed to follow the intricacies of the interplanetary politics that had bearing upon the central romance.

The negative points:
There were very few indeed. The point-of-view shifts focused too often on minor characters other than the heroes. This detracted from the otherwise tight focus of the novel. It did not, however, by any means ruin the experience.

Adonis says:

Get it here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Review of Xondra Day's "Our Dirty Little Secret"

Author: Xondra Day
Title: Our Dirty Little Secret
Length: Novella

Author's Blurb

Ann Hunter is a woman on the edge. She's just turned forty, and while her marriage to her handsome and attentive husband, Jeff, is stellar, she can't help but daydream about the new hunky next-door neighbor, Mike Monroe. Little does she know her husband is experiencing similar feelings but can't bring himself to let them be known, until a secret kiss forces him to face something he has hidden deep inside for years.

Mike never expected this turn of events when he moved into the neighborhood, yet all he can think about is Jeff, the man of his dreams. There is only one problem—Jeff is married.

When an opportunity comes up for an unplanned holiday weekend at the lake, all three are eager to partake. Things happen, secrets are revealed, and boundaries are broken as all three venture into unexplored, forbidden territory.

Note: This book contains double vaginal penetration.

What I Thought
The positive points:

The writing was smooth and even, the overall pacing good. Despite its novella length, Our Dirty Little Secret fully developed the three main characters. Ann, in particular, was believable as the forty-year-old woman whose sexual desires are in overdrive. The sex scenes between Jeff and Ann were descriptive and vivid. The menage scene was sufficiently different from the earlier scenes of M/M and M/F sex to hold interest to the end.

The negative points:
Oddly, for a novella, the most negative aspect of Our Dirty Little Secret was an unnecessary addition concerning Ann's sister's marriage. Despite the clearly intended contrast between Ann's sister's marriage – falling apart due to the husband's cheating – and Ann's, there was insufficient connection to the meat of the story. Either the sister's marriage should have come more to the fore, becoming important to the story, or it should have been cut altogether. As it stands, the whole subplot jars. The other drawback was the suddenness of Ann's change from fury to arousal upon the discovery of her husband with another man. It is a possible reaction, but the description, particularly given Ann's earlier feelings about her sister's adulterous husband, did not do justice to Ann's changing feelings.

Adonis says:

Get it here.

Monday, October 3, 2011

First-Round Edits for "Worth His Freedom"

We received and have sent back our first round of edits for Worth His Freedom. We're quite pleased with Evernight and Caitlin Ray for thorough, intelligent, and piercing edits. Reading as both an editor and as a reader must be tough, and we respect the talent and know-how that an editor must have to do his or her job well. 

It was funny that our publisher gave us two weeks to do the edits. We finished in two hours -- but, then, we've always moved fast. We've completed the MS for our second novel -- still hush-hush on what it's about and the title and all that -- so once Worth His Freedom has a set release date, we'll be subbing again. 

Wish us luck!
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