Friday, October 28, 2011

Head Games

Posted by: Rayna Vause

Recently, I started editing a book I wrote a number of years ago. I must say it was a little scary re-reading my early writing. I alternated between cringing and being pleasantly surprised. On the upside, after revisiting my old work I was able to see how I've grown as a writer.  I'm going to invest some time and hopefully make it fit for public viewing eventually. However, the one thing that hasn't changed in all this time is my love of writing paranormal stories. 
I love having the freedom to create my own world and make up my own rules. I love mixing reality and science with the seemingly impossible. As a reader I enjoy being drawn into strange new worlds whether they be just a few degrees off normal or a land far, far away. Getting swept up in exploring the mythology that another author has created is part of the fun. With the popularity of books like Twilight and the Sookie Stackhouse series, I'm clearly not the only one enamored of this genre.  For that matter the fact that you're reading this post here at Here Be Magic  means I'm obviously not the only one in love with paranormal romance. However, as much as I enjoy a sexy shape shifter or dark and brooding vampire, there is one thing I like better. 
I love stories about people with psychic abilities. Precognition, telekenesis, pyrokineses, whatever, I find all of it fascinating. I can't tell you how many times I reread Linda Howard's Dream Man or rewatched Firestarter or episodes of The Dead Zone. I figure the reason I enjoy stories about psychics so much is because they appeal both to my creative side as well as my inner science geek. The idea that there are amazing abilities hidden deep within untapped areas of the human brain is a cool concept. It gives me all types of inspiration. Prime example, one of my current WIPs involves a character with telekinetic abilities. He gets upset and things start flying around the room. I'm having fun writing it especially now that I'm getting into the action of the story and he'll get to use this ability to defend himself. Now that I've shown you mine, it's your turn.  
What kind of paranormal stories do you like?  
Who is on your must read list?  
~Rayna

Thursday, October 27, 2011

THE DOUBT MONSTER by Melinda Leigh

Posted by: Melinda Leigh
No, I'm not talking about a new paranormal creature or a Halloween costume. I'm referring to self-doubt, which is just as scary.

I'm having a problem with my current project.  It's a good kind of problem.  I just received several really great reviews on my debut book, SHE CAN RUN, a romantic suspense releasing at the end of November from Montlake Romance.  These were biggies, too.  Publisher's Weekly and RT Book Reviews.

SO.  Now I'm staring my work-in-process in the face, thinking, "is this as good?"

Rayna Vause and I have a paranormal novella, Amazon Heat, releasing in January 2012 from Carina Press.  I should be more relaxed about subsequent reviews, right?  Guess what?  I'm not.

I know in my brain that there will be good and bad reviews down the road. Readers and reviewers are as different as authors and books. There's something for everyone out there in the literary world, and that's a beautiful thing.

How do you overcome the mid-manuscript doubt? 



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I ain't afraid of no ghost

Posted by: Angela Campbell
There’s something a little bit magical and a little bit eerie about this time of year. Don’t you feel it?

Leaves of orange and red have begun falling into piles on the ground. The air has also started to chill. Stores are overrun with cutesy decorations of vampires and ghosts, and old buildings have transformed into gothic, haunted mansions, filled with cheap, orchestrated thrills for those willing to pay the admission.

And while I’m as much a sucker for a good scare as the next gal, nothing creeps me out like a good ghost story – especially if it seems authentic. So, in honor of Halloween, I thought I’d share one of my own.

I’ve always been intrigued by the paranormal. I blame my older brother, who taught me to love horror films at an impressionable age. That weirdness seems to run in our blood, because my niece (from another brother) is the exact same way.

I love this because most of my friends are wimps who refuse to go haunted attractions and the such with me. I’ve been dragging my niece along with me to do “scary stuff” like ghost tours and Halloween Horror Nights since she came to visit me one summer when she was probably 14. I wasn't even 30 at the time, and this was back when I was still the "cool, hip" aunt.

Being the incredibly responsible aunt I was (not), I remember asking her, “Have you ever tried to go ghost-hunting?”

“Ghost-hunting?” she asked – not the least bit scared, God bless her. “No. Oooh, can we?”

I’m pretty sure we had rented some really bad B-movie about teens who went ghost-hunting, only with horrific results, which is what had prompted me to ask her in the first place.

We hopped on the computer and researched local haunts, made a list, and decided to make an adventure of it during her week-long stay. Keep in mind, this was back when Ghost Hunters was still new and there weren’t ghost-hunting shows on practically every channel. We thought we were being “professionals” by loading up with only my digital camera and tape recorder for ghost-hunting equipment.

One reportedly haunted spot was an old tuberculosis hospital where folks had reported seeing shadow people and being chased off the property by angry disembodied voices. For some reason, this spot really appealed to my niece – and she insisted on going at night!

Remember how irresponsible I was? Yes, I agreed to take her, at night, but at least I forced my best friend to tag along – safety in numbers and all that. Well, we found this place, only it had been torn down and turned into a park.

My niece hopped out of the car, not the least bit frightened, and began asking questions into the tape recorder. “Is there anyone here?” and “How did you die?” and that kind of thing. I remember having a really unsettled feeling about it all. I mean, a park...at night. Nevermind the spooks. I was more worried about being attacked by druggies and homeless people and (gulp) zombies. In fact, we hightailed it out of there pretty fast because of that feeling, much to my niece’s disappointment.

And when we played back the tape, I got even more creeped out. Almost as soon as my niece had begun asking questions, there was a deep, raspy breathing heard over her. When she asked, “How did you die?” a man’s husky voice said, “Sick.”

I’d like to say I had enough sense NEVER to do that again, but my niece was so excited about getting some real ghost evidence on tape, she insisted on going to other places and doing the same. The only other EVP we got was at the cemetery where my mother is buried, ironically enough. And we got it while driving around in my car which Freaked. Me. Out. A deep voice whispered “Get out,” and you’d better believe we did.

My niece and I haven’t been ghost-hunting in a long time, and I’m not sure we ever will again, but I always think about it this time of year and smile at the creepy memories we created. In fact, I'm sure a ghost-hunting expedition will eventually show up in one of my stories.

When my Carina Press editor notified me that my debut novel, “Cry Wolf” would have its release on Oct. 31, well, yes, there was squealing involved and, okay, okay, I did a little happy dance around the room, too. And when I told my niece, her exact words were, “That is so freaking cool, Aunt Angie.” Yes, I think I created a monster with that kid.

“Cry Wolf” isn’t about ghosts or ghost hunters, but it’s set around this season and climaxes at Halloween, so its release date couldn't be more perfect in my opinion. I figured Halloween was the most appropriate setting for a story about a world-weary tabloid journalist who has been assigned to determine whether a rash of werewolf sightings in a small American town are a hoax. Sure, it's similar to an "X-Files" or "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" type of story, only with lots more romance thrown in, which will make it a great Halloween treat for lovers of this genre.

Now it's your turn. Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever had something really creepy happen to you? Pull up a chair around my cyber-bonfire and share your tale, my friends.

Happy Halloween!

**

Find out more about Angela Campbell and her Halloween release at www.angelacampbellonline.com.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Halloween Magic

Posted by: Cindy Spencer Pape
Halloween is a HUGE deal at my house. The males I live with (husband and 2 sons) go all-out, making sure that the design is different every year, but it has to be the biggest and scariest in the neighborhood. No cute Hallmarky items at the Pape household--just bats and spiders and rats and bones and zombies...well, you get the picture. Sometimes there is actual construction involved. We even get extra help, as my sons' friends often come join in. Here's a little taste of last year. Below is Offspring #2 in the black & green, a friend in the black & red, dh in navy (yeah, he's the one with the ponytail) and son #1 in the very back. Not sure who the poor guy is under the porch.

So you can see, Halloween isn't something I'm ever allowed to forget. The deal when we moved to this house was that as long as they got Halloween, I'd be allowed to get all girly and decorate for Christmas. This isn't a problem for me, however, as I'm pretty sure that Halloween and paranormal authors are a natural fit.


Think about it. All that stuff I write about? Ghosts, vampires, gargoyles, werewolves... When did we first learn about them? Halloween, of course. So I doubt it's any surprise to many that this is a holiday I can joyfully dig into right along with the guys.


Another fun part for me is that I sometimes get to write paranormal romances set at Halloween. These are particularly fun. Between a Rock and a Hard-On was a Halloween Quickie and my first Ellora's Cave story to come out. With a half-dragon cop hero and a pixie princess heroine, it's still one of my top sellers. (Click here for more information.)


This year, I'm adding to that with All Hallow's Evie, which releases TODAY, also from Ellora's Cave. I'm really excited about this one, which is book 5 in my Holiday Hearts series, which I've had so much fun writing.



I’m giving away a free copy of Sam and Evie’s story to one random commenter below, so if you’re in the mood, tell me what you think about paranormal romance, or how you celebrate this time of year. I’ll leave this contest open until the 28th, so everyone who wants to has a chance to enter. If you want to know more about the book, click on the link below.
Have a wonderful Halloween, or Samhain, or if you celebrate neither, then just a have a marvelous autumn.
 
All Hallow’s Evie
Out Oct. 21, from Ellora’s Cave
Holiday Hearts, Book Five.

When Sam Holiday moves into his Victorian home the week before his thirty-fifth birthday, the last thing he expects is to find a ghost in residence. Especially a horny one.

Evie Bonnell has been hanging around since her death in 1916 because she has unfinished business. She died before experiencing sex. She’s learned a lot over the years and has decided single, handsome Sam is the right man to do the job.

Every year she manifests for several days before Halloween, and when she asks, Sam agrees to help. Each night, he teaches her a little more about sensual pleasure. Sam’s delighted that his demure ghost has turned into an eager hedonist, but not so happy that she’ll be gone after Halloween. Not only is she the hottest woman he’s ever had, but he’s afraid he’s fallen in love.

Now it’s up to fate and the Holiday family magic to find a way for the lovers to stay together.

* * * * *

As well as the mini-contest here, I'm also part of a HUGE multi-author contest, a Trick or or Treat extravaganza. You can find out more by clicking here and starting at Sam Cheever's website. This is one you won't want to miss!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Spooky Tails for Halloween

Posted by: Jody W. and Meankitty
This is my first time blogging with the great group of authors at Here Be Monsters, I mean, Here Be Magic, and it appears we've got a scary, spooky, creepy Halloween theme going the past several posts. Nicole North wanted to know what you're afraid of http://herebemagic.blogspot.com/2011/10/what-are-you-afraid-of.html while Selah March listed a few horror-centric TV shows airing this October: http://herebemagic.blogspot.com/2011/10/tv-for-scare-junkies.html. Veronica Scott talked about acting on stage http://herebemagic.blogspot.com/2011/10/all-worlds-stage.html (which is pretty horrifying to an introvert like me!) and JK Koi is already getting ready for Christmas, which should scare just about anyone: http://herebemagic.blogspot.com/2011/10/antho-for-christmas.html.

(Image credit: Scaredy cat drawn by the daughter of Liz Kreger for an interview we did at my blog.)

I don't partake of many horror movies, and only made it few a couple seasons of Supernatural. Granted, I hear I should have stuck with it in order to witness the glory that was Dr. Sexy, MD, but my favorite episodes were always the funny ones. The ones where the frightening moments were relieved by humor (Jensen Ackles screaming like a little girl in the episode "Yellow Fever" comes to mind) so my blood pressure could have a chance to ebb to a healthier level. Tension and excitement, sure. Chases and fight scenes and heroes or heroines racing to the airport before their true love can fly off forever... Definitely.

But horror?

Thus it came as a bit of a surprise when the initial idea for my February 2012 Carina novel, Pack and Coven, occurred to me. Werewolves and witches -- and some of the werewolves are really bad news. There's chases and fight scenes and people getting hurt. The hero and heroine at one point sure wish they were taking off in an airplane, but the entire story takes place in a rural, mountainous area in West Virginia with no airport easily at hand.

The thing about this book, though, is that amidst all the chaos and tension, I leavened it with plenty of humor. Our hero, aptly named Harry, is a biologically "alpha" male wolf shifter in a world where two alphas are required to keep the bonds of a wolf pack intact. The local pack lost their male alpha, and they really want Harry to step up. Really, really want him to step up, to the point of trickery, coercion and force. Harry would rather chew his own foot off than be in charge of a bunch of wolves. He considers himself an independent and had never planned on joining any pack.

Just when it seems he's not going to have a choice, we meet our heroine, June, a powerful witch who's determined to help Harry escape the life he doesn't want to live. The trick is going to be making sure he doesn't realize witches exist...and keeping her ginormous crush on him to herself at the same time.

So while Pack and Coven has some of the trappings of a horror novel with werewolves, rituals and an ominous, rural setting, it also contains humor, sex and some really great pie.

So what are some of your favorite funny horror movies or not-totally-terrifying tales of ... tails?

Jody Wallace
www.jodywallace.com * www.meankitty.com

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Gathering Places

Posted by: Loribelle Hunt
You see them on tv shows all the time. The diner, the coffee shop, the bar. The place the cast meets to unwind, catch up, and just generally hang out. I see them less in books, but I seem to write them a lot. Sometimes it's as simple as a pack circle like in my latest release Third Time Lucky.

I went in a different direction with Kiss of Twilight, my Dec '11 Carina release. They don't even have a name for their bar, a privately owned, secluded warehouse that is only opened once or twice a month. Being a music lover, so are my characters, and several in this series are musicians. If I was giving them a bar, I had to let them form a band right? LOL This is probably the most involved gathering place I've written so far, but I had so much fun with it I'm sure there will be more.

What about y'all? Do you weave places like this into your stories? Do you love them or hate them?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

TV for Scare Junkies

Posted by: Selah March

It's hard to miss the sudden proliferation of creeptastic TV shows debuting this month. Yes, it’s October, and that’s a prime time for frightening fare, but this year’s crop seems especially provocative.


For example, FX is airing the third episode of American Horror Story tomorrow (Wednesday) night. This show is billed as a psychosexual thriller, and that’s certainly accurate. I viewed the premiere with a friend, and neither of us was prepared for how much the show entertained and disturbed us in equal measure. (And can I just say that I want to be Jessica Lange in twenty years?)


AMC’s The Walking Dead is back for a second season, and while I enjoy its character-driven storytelling, I have to admit being somewhat over TV and movie zombies. I'd rather read about them, because what I imagine in my head is so much scarier than even the finest makeup artist can craft. I guess I’ll have to be satisfied with the sharp dialogue and excellent production values.


Finally, Grimm is coming to NBC on Halloween weekend. The show appears to be about a family that fights against various creatures from fairy tales and urban legends. Frankly? It looks like a glossy rip-off of the CW’s long-running cult favorite, Supernatural, but I’m willing to give it a try.


Do you like your scares in the intimacy of your own home, bathed in the glow of your TV screen, or do you prefer to be terrified in a crowd of strangers at the your local Cineplex? What are you watching for thrills this month?

Monday, October 17, 2011

All the World's A Stage

Posted by: Veronica Scott

For years I was always secretly a bit amused by actors who loudly proclaimed the great lengths they went to in researching and “becoming” their characters. Figuring out every little detail of their character’s life: how he or she would eat a peanut butter sandwich, what they’d say when answering the phone, what they’d wear, which team they’d root for…stuff that wasn’t in the script, wasn’t on the screen and only they would ever know. Why bother? So much easier to move my fictional people around on the mental stage and have them fall in and out of the adventures I wanted to have happen, willy nilly. The story was everything. Wasn’t it? Retroactive apologies to every actor I ever secretly smirked at – I’m sorry, I know better now!
You see, I was blessed with two daughters who are actors, among other creative endeavors. Their friends in high school and college were actors. I heard many a discussion about character and how to play the character believably on stage. I started to get it! Along with this understanding came a better handle on the necessity for stage business, setting and props – two talking heads on a bare stage will only be interesting to an audience if you’ve got the best actors in the world. Otherwise the play (or novel) reads as confusing—and boring.
If you hear me complaining that my characters won’t do what I want, or that the plot is going in a different direction than I expected, it’s because once I’ve really thought out who they are, what they care about, what life experiences they’ve had, then I can’t just make them cross the river, kiss the girl (or the hot guy), fight the dragon/snake/alien thing. Not unless that action fits into their framework as a person.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting my characters to walk into my kitchen in sunny California and help themselves to coffee. I know they’re fictional creations of my lively brain!
I recently wrote a short story in my ancient Egyptian paranormal universe where one character came from a novel I’ve got out on submission right now. I know all about him, his childhood, his dreams, how he feels about women…yup, even his favorite food (quail). He wasn’t the main character in this Tale of the Nile. But he took over the first draft, overshadowing the people whose story I was intending to tell. You see, because I knew him so well, I kept falling back to having him take the actions, speak the key pieces of dialogue, while the others, who I had not thought out in as much detail, hung back on the sidelines.
I’m glad he’s such a fully realized character—not complaining—but I realized I had to stop and think through the rest of the players in a lot more detail before tackling any future drafts. And now the story is – I hope – much stronger and not about him, although he has a role to play. He’s got his own novel to take center stage!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Carina Press 40% off this weekend!!!!!

Posted by: Christine Bell

Stop the presses, folks! To celebrate NY ComicCon this year, Carina Press is offering a 40% coupon at their site this weekend! Just type in the coupon code NYCOMICCON and get 40% off EVERYTHING you buy. This offer is good for this weekend only so don't miss it!

Gotta go make my list, HAPPY FRIDAY!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Prices so low, they're practically IN-S-A-A-A-NE

Posted by: Eleri Stone

Great news! There's a huge sale at Carina Press this weekend. Everything's 40% off when you use the couponcode NYCOMICCON at checkout on the Carina Press site.
The sale runs October 14th through the 16th. So go forth(tomorrow), stock up and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What Are You Afraid Of?

Posted by: Nicole North
I remember the one and only Halloween haunted house I went into as a child. Not an actual haunted house, but one set up by people to scare those who walked through. I knew it was make believe the whole time, but it still scared the candy corn out of me. I don't even recall where the "haunted house" was. I only remember the darkness and how monsters leapt out at me… the fear and wanting to get out of there fast. I never had the urge to visit another one.

I have visited a few real places that were haunted and, strangely enough, they didn't make me run screaming the other way as much as the make believe haunted house did. I grew up listening to ghost stories--ones that are told as real paranormal experiences. I find the supernatural world fascinating. For a long time, I watched every episode of Most Haunted, Ghost Adventures, and similar TV shows.

All of these stories, whether from real life or from TV, inspired me when I created the paranormal world in Blade of the Wolf, my erotic paranormal romance. Readers have told me the villain is truly scary. He is an incubus who can cross over from the Other Side and shift into many forms. Six- hundred years ago he was human, but he used sorcery to transform himself into an incubus so he could survive in limbo after death, waiting for an energy source to come along that he could tap into and resurrect himself. Syrena Ellis, a psychic medium and the heroine of my book, is that power source.

Imagine being stalked by an entity you can't see. He can go anywhere you can, whether you're tucked "safely" in your bed or shopping at the mall.

Luckily, Syrena has Ronan, an immortal Sgian Dubh Guardian, to protect her physically. But mentally and psychically, she must learn to protect herself. How can she, an untrained psychic, compete against an ancient evil?

In my erotic romance novella, Laird of Darkness, the hero is the paranormal entity everyone fears. Duncan is a half-Fae who can vanish at will and fly through the air. He may be a frightening legend in his own time, but the heroine sees past his facade to the man he is inside.

What are you afraid of? Haunted houses, ghosts, vampires, werewolves, Fae, bears, people, spiders?

Thanks!

Nicole

www.nicolenorth.com

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Monday, October 10, 2011

An Antho for Christmas

Posted by: J.K. Coi

I was very lucky to have been chosen to contribute to Carina Press’s Steampunk Holiday Anthology – A Clockwork Christmas – with my novella FAR FROM BROKEN. I feel even luckier now that I’ve had the chance to read the three other stories to be included in the collection because they are SOOOOO awesome!

Christmas can't come fast enough, and as I await this special release day, I'm going to keep myself busy getting ready for the holidays at home. What am I doing that I have to get started now, even before Halloween has come and gone?

Well, I like to make ornaments out of stained glass. I love the way they glitter and shine with the lights shining behind them when they're hung on the tree. Since each one will take me at least an evening, and I tend to make a good couple dozen (to give to family and friends) I have to get an early start.

What do you do at home to get ready for the holiday? (Whichever holiday you might be celebrating at this time of year)


WANTED: ONE SCOUNDREL by Jenny Schwartz

All suffragette Esme Smith wants is a man. A scoundrel to be precise. Someone who can be persuaded to represent her political views at men-only clubs. As the daughter of the richest man in Australia, Esme can afford to make it worth the right man’s while.

Fresh off the boat, American inventor Jed Reeve is intrigued by Esme’s proposal, but even more interested in the beauty herself. Amused that she takes him for a man who lives by his wits, he accepts the job—made easier by the fact that he already shares her ideals. Soon, he finds himself caught up in political intrigue, kidnapping and blackmail, and trying to convince his employer he’s more than just a scoundrel…



THIS WINTER HEART by PG Forte

Santa Fe, The Republic of New Texacali, 1870

Eight years ago, Ophelia Leonides's husband cast her off when he discovered she was not the woman he thought she was. Now destitute after the death of her father, Ophelia is forced to turn to Dario for help raising the child she never told him about.

Dario is furious that Ophelia has returned, and refuses to believe Arthur is his son—after all, he thought his wife was barren. But to avoid gossip, he agrees to let them spend the holidays at his villa. While he cannot resist the desire he still feels for Ophelia, Dario despises himself for being hopelessly in love with a woman who can never love him back.

But Dario is wrong: Ophelia's emotions are all too human, and she was brokenhearted when he rejected her. Unsure if she can trust the man she desperately loves, she fears for her life, her freedom and her son if anyone else learns of her true nature...



CRIME WAVE IN A CORSET by Stacy Gail

Roderick Coddington is on a mission to make Cornelia Peabody pay. After identifying her as the thief who stole a priceless Faberge egg from his dying sister, he finds her and shackles a deadly timepiece to her arm. If she doesn't return the egg by Christmas morning, she will die.

Normally seven days is more than enough time for Cornelia to carry out the perfect crime, but Roderick's intrusion into her life is beyond distracting. He challenges her mind, and ignites her body with desire she's never felt before. But worst of all, he threatens the independence she values above all else…

As Roderick spends time with Cornelia, he realizes there's a lonely soul hidden beneath her beautiful but criminal veneer. Falling for a thief wasn't part of Roderick's plan, but plans can change and he has no intention of letting another priceless treasure get away from him.


FAR FROM BROKEN by JK Coi

Soldier. Spymaster. Husband.

Colonel Jasper Carlisle was defined by his work until he met his wife. When the prima ballerina swept into his life with her affection, bright laughter and graceful movements, he knew that she was the reason for his existence, and that their love would be forever.

But their world is shattered when Callie is kidnapped and brutally tortured by the foes Jasper has been hunting. Mechanical parts have replaced her legs, her hand, her eye...and possibly her heart. Though she survived, her anger at Jasper consumes her, while Jasper's guilt drives him from the woman he loves. He longs for the chance to show her their love can withstand anything...including her new clockwork parts.

As the holiday season approaches, Jasper realizes he must fight not just for his wife's love and forgiveness...but also her life, as his enemy once again attempts to tear them apart.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Watch Out! Angry Frat-boy Archer on the Loose

Posted by: Seleste deLaney/Julie Particka
Sometimes the book you start out to write isn't the one you turn in. When I started my little tale of the rock star and the principal, it was a straight contemporary for a contest. For better or worse though, the contest had a 7,000 word limit. I knew very quickly the story wouldn't fit in those confines, which gave me the opportunity to re-look at my hero and heroine.

Kira is a high school principal and very straight-laced, whereas one look at Jesse would make two words fly into the heads of women everywhere: bad boy. They definitely weren't people who would automatically gravitate toward each other, so I decided what they needed was a push in the right direction. Enter Eros (aka Cupid) and his arrows.

My initial reaction to the thought was abject horror. A little guy in a diaper flying around shooting people and making them fall in love? Plus, if Cupid was actually doing his damn job, would romance be in the sorry state we see these days? Of course not.

Which means he wasn't doing his job. And that opened up a world of possibilities, one I knew was far too big for me to handle on my own. Still, I had to get the ball rolling. I had to build an Olympus where this could happen.

Basically, where I ended up is with a college-like Olympus with Eros as frat-boy extraordinaire. And a very pissed off Dean of Students in Zeus who expels him until he shapes the hell up. Because really...what other kind of Cupid would look at Kira and Jesse and say, "Yeah. Those two need to be together" except one who thought succeeding in an unexpected match would earn him brownie points.

I'm really happy to say that other people have embraced my crazy vision as well. GunShy, the first book in the Cupid's Conquests series, is out now at Evernight Publishing. (Other authors have taken up the call and are penning stories for this series right now. Each one will follow Eros as he unites a couple--or more--in love.) For now, here's a little taste of Eros's magic...

As she staggered to a stop, the man peeled the card from his pants and held it out to her. “Lose something?” His deep, gravely voice sent a shiver all the way to her toes as she took in the six-foot- plus wall of muscle.

Kira wasn’t a small girl by any stretch, but in front of him, she felt tiny. “I... uh... dropped that.”

He read the card aloud. “Take a chance, huh?” Kira started, knowing those weren’t the words she’d read a moment before. With a shrug, he pressed it into her hand. “Better hold on tighter next time.”

When his fingers left hers, something pricked into her shoulder. She slapped her free hand against the pain and felt something. In her palm, she held a tiny golden arrow, but when she blinked, it was gone—replaced by a very dead wasp.

The guy in front of her, t-shirt straining against his chest as he moved, leaned close. His words belied the gruff tone of his voice. “That’s weird. Someone must have fucked with a nest. You aren’t allergic, are you?”

“N—n—no,” she stammered, staring at the arrow-wasp.

Gently, he gripped her wrist and tipped her hand until the insect fell to the ground. “Why don’t I take you to first aid anyway?” The words on the card drew her gaze: Take a chance. They’d

been different before; she was sure of it. Then Kira looked up at the man in front of her, his leather jacket and jeans such a stark contrast to Nolan’s polo and pressed khaki shorts, and the wasp sting burned. The strange, but not painful, heat traveled from her shoulder through her body to settle between her legs. She bit her lip, wondering where the feeling really came from. The guy in front of her wasn’t her usual type. Too big, too muscly, too rough around the edges right from his worn boots to the scruff along his strong square jaw.

In her mind, her teeth grazed that same jaw, and a shiver ran through her as she tore her gaze away. “Yeah. I think the pain is getting to me.”

Releasing her wrist, he rested his hand on the small of her back. The heat of his skin seared straight through Kira’s thin tank top. Her throat went dry within ten steps, and she had to swallow hard before she could speak again. “Thank you for your help, Mr....”He arched an eyebrow at her quizzically before answering. “Stanford. I prefer Jesse though. I killed the last guy who called me mister.”

Kira froze, fighting against the light pressure of his fingertips. “You what?” she squeaked.

He twisted his head and winked. “Kidding. Mister just makes me feel old. And you are...”

“Sorry. Kira Murphy.”

“Well, Kira Murphy, who needs to learn to take chances, consider yourself safely delivered to first aid.” He nodded toward the rickety trailer with the sloppily painted red cross on the side. “Have a good night.”

His hand fell from her back, and this time she shivered from the loss of his heat—heat she very much wanted back. But Jesse had already melted into the crowd. “So much for taking chances.”

With a sigh, she went inside to have the sting tended.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Kiss Me or Kill Me?

Posted by: Keri Stevens
Because our children are still all 12 and under, and because we have good friends who could get us good deals (including letting us sleep on their Florida floor), Dr. Stevens and I are taking the boys to Walt Disney World next week. We have been telling EVERYBODY we know (and now, thanks to the interwebs, a few of you we don't know) all about it.

But we haven't told our sons.

That's right--we're planning to ride the entire cliche, including filming that "hop in the car, we're going to Disney" moment.

Actually, that's not true: I don't even plan to tell them then. I went to AAA and got myself an old-fashioned paper Triptik, and when they ask where we're going I'm going to rip out a page and say: To the bottom of this page. I have 16 hours of torment in the car coming my way and I figure I should get to perpetrate some of it.

I will be interested to see how they react when the news is finally revealed. My oldest is halfway to figuring it out. He's one of those people who wants  to be surprised, but doesn't want to look dumb. He'll nod sagely and tell me he knew it all along, surpressing his squeals of excitement. My middle child will bounce around like those colored plastic balls in the popcorn popper rolling toy. My kindergartner will put his hands over his mouth and his eyes will pop wide.

I know people, however, to whom I could never do this. They hate surprises. They'd burst into tears, regardless of whether the news I drop in their lap is good or bad. For them, the fight-or-flight is just too strong and they can't reinterpret the news quickly enough to channel their reaction.

What about you? If you were my baby boy (stay with me, here) would you want to kiss me or kill me?
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