Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sneek Peak Sunday - Lissa Bryan

Author Lissa Bryan is giving us a sneak peek of her upcoming novel, Under These Restless Skies, today.

Journey back in time to Tudor England with a tale of romance, intrigue, and the Celtic legends of the selkies.

Will Somers has spent his life alone, thinking himself unlovable. Emma is a selkie, one of the immortal fae-folk of the sea. When Will finds her sleeping on the beach, he seizes this unexpected chance to have a wife and family of his own. He steals her pelt, binding her to him until the day he willingly returns it.

Emma has never experienced life on land, and can barely contain her excitement and curiosity. She has to learn to adapt quickly to human customs, for Will is headed to the glittering, dangerous court of Henry VIII to serve as the king’s royal fool. It’s a world where a careless word can lead to the scaffold, and the smallest of gestures is loaded with political implications.

Anne Boleyn is charmed by Emma’s naiveté and soothing selkie magic, and wants Emma for her own fool. Can Will protect her from the dangers which lurk in every shadow? Theirs is a vocation that provides them some protection, but in Henry VIII’s court, no one is safe. Circa regna tonat:  Around the throne, the thunder rolls.
“Your majesty, Lady Pembroke, Master Richard Fermor and Will Somers.”
“Rise,” the king said. Will glanced at him quickly. He saw a large, but still muscular man with thinning reddish-blond hair, dressed in a dark brown velvet doublet, ornamented with pearls and gold frogs. The king had gained weight in the last few years and to disguise it, he had widened the shoulders of his surcoats. His eyes were small, a piercing blue-gray. Will caught a glimpse of them before he lowered his own eyes to stare at the floor.

“So, Fermor, you have brought me a fool.” The king’s voice was low and gruff and he didn’t sound terribly interested. The lady seated at his side wore a French hood and an initial pendant attached to her strand of pearls, the letters AB twined together. She wore a dressing gown of brilliant scarlet, trimmed in ermine. It was raiment that only the highest nobility was entitled to wear, but Anne Boleyn was now royal in all but name. Just weeks ago, the king had created her Marquess of Pembroke, the highest noble title in the land. She idly patted the small dog in her lap.

“Aye, your majesty,” Fermor said. “If it pleases your grace.”
“Well, fool, what can you do?”
Will was startled. He hadn’t expected the king to actually speak to him. “I – I can juggle, your majesty,” he croaked. “I can make jests, tumble, and sing a little.”
“Let us see it, then.”

Will’s hands trembled as he withdrew the balls from his bag. “If it pleases your majesty,” he started. He straightened his shoulders as best he could and said in his haughtiest tone: “I, Will Somers, am the best juggler in England.”

The king snorted and Will hoped it was from amusement. He fell into his act, bragging about his abilities while seeming to lose track of his juggling and keeping the balls in the air seemingly by accident alone. He was grateful that he had performed this particular act so many times because he thought he’d completely forgotten his lines, but they slipped from his mouth of their own accord and his limbs seemed to move themselves. The king guffawed a couple of times and he thought her heard Anne laugh at one point. He ended with one of the balls balanced on the tip of his nose before dropping it into his hands and sweeping low into a bow.

“Well done, Master Fool,” the king said, and he seemed a bit more jovial than he had when Will first entered the room, or perhaps it was simply wishful thinking on Will’s part. “But tell me this: I have fools already who can juggle and make jests. Why would I wish to have you at my court? What have you to offer they do not?”

The answer popped from Will’s mouth as though he had rehearsed it. “Because I will do something that none of your council, lords and ladies, ambassadors, servants nor soothsayers will do.”

The king lifted an eyebrow. “And what might that be?”

“I will tell you the truth, your majesty.”

Fermor gasped. Anne burst into laughter. “Oh, I do like him,” she said.

The king cast an amused glance at her. “Is that so, Master Fool? Then perhaps you are worth it after all.”

“But you must make an oath to me,” Will said.

The king flushed a little, but calmed when Anne giggled at Will’s audacity. “What?”

“You must swear it, as the word of a Christian king.” Will’s mouth was as dry as paper and his heart thudded wildly in his chest, but he continued. “You must swear to me, on your honor, that you will never hold it against me when I tell you the truth.”

The king stared at him, his mouth slightly agape, and then he burst into laughter. He slapped his knee and elbowed Anne, who laughed politely along with him, though she obviously didn’t find it as amusing as he did.

“You have my word,” the king said, as he accepted a perfumed handkerchief from one of his serving lords to wipe away the tears that had seeped from his eyes. “Or must I write it out and put my royal seal to it?”

“Your word is sufficient for me,” Will replied.

“I am flattered at your trust, Master Fool,” the king said solemnly, and burst into guffaws once again. “Go and have my steward find you rooms. Have you a wife?”
“I do.” Will thought quickly. He had to find a way to keep Emma away from court, but refusing lodgings offered by the king would be a gross insult.

The king waved a hand. “Bring her tomorrow. I wish to see what the wife of a fool looks like.”

“Much like every other wife in England,” Will said and that sent the king into laughter once more.

“Go, and come back on the morrow,” the king said. He waved a hand at the steward. “Find him some decent garb, and some for Milady Fool as well.”

Will bowed deeply and followed the steward from the room. “And for you, Fermor,” he heard the king begin before the door was shut behind them. Will’s knees gave out and he collapsed to the floor. His head swam in sick circles. He sat back on his heels and looked up at the steward. “Pray, pardon,” he rasped.

The steward smiled slightly. “You are not the first to react in such a manner.” He held out a hand and Will stared at it in surprise. The steward was a lord, and here he was, offering a hand to a baseborn commoner. Will took it gingerly and the steward helped him to his feet and drew him near.

“If ever a man needed to hear the truth,” the steward whispered, “it is that man in there.” He drew away again and his manner was once more brisk and officious. “Follow me.”

Lissa Bryan is an astronaut, renowned Kabuki actress, Olympic pole vault gold medalist, Iron Chef champion, and scientist who recently discovered the cure for athlete's foot ... though only in her head. Real life isn't so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time writing.

Her first novel, Ghostwriter, is available through The Writer's Coffee Shop (which is the least expensive option), AmazoniTunes, and Kobo. Her second novel, The End of All Things, was released on January 24, 2013, and is available through TWCS,Amazon, and iTunes. She also has a short story in the Romantic Interludes anthology, available from TWCS, Amazon and iTunes. Her third novel, Under These Restless Skies, is scheduled for release in spring of 2014.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Weekly Update - April 23, 2013

I know. I'm a day late with this update. A group of us spent the weekend in Fort Wayne, IN for a girls weekend. It was loads of fun, but exhausting at the same time. When I got home, I took a 2 hour nap, and I'm still not fully recovered. My mind and body are not in work mode, which is making getting anything productive accomplished a challenge.

A lot of non writing things got in the way last week, but I did manage to finish another chapter in FA4. My beta is comping at the bit for the next chapter, which in my view is a very good thing. It means I'm doing my job well. If she didn't care, then there would be something wrong, right?

TRUTH IS OFF TO THE PRINTERS!!!!!! The head of the TWCS graphics department emailed me the final proof of Truth last week, along with the full cover for me to sign off on. It is now out of all our hands. Now we wait. July 25th can't get here soon enough. I can't wait for you all to read this one. Some early reviews have already started to come in from bloggers for this one. Here is what one of them had to say, "Exceptional, Enthralling, thought- provoking, soul gripping and shockingly intense!"

I updated my website with all the conventions I'll be attending this year. I'll be going to one almost every month throughout the rest of the year, and will be as far west as Las Vegas. Hopefully I will get to meet lots of readers along the way. To check out the up to date list, click here.

There is only one more week to make your donation to The SUBCLUB's Spring Giving Event. If you haven't yet taken a look, please do so before April 30th. I will be sending out a signed copy of Slave to someone. *My giveaway is open internationally*

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sneek Peak Sunday - Angel Lawson

She found the building easily and wondered how she’d never noticed it before. Granted, they were in an industrial area. The building was mixed in between older homes and empty buildings. The outside was clean—no, spotless. The parking lot tidy, including the area near the chain-link fence that surrounded the property. Ari opened the car door and said to the boy in the passenger seat, “Grab your stuff.”

The full extent of Curtis’s belongings fit into a manila envelope and the clothing he wore when he’d been arrested. Ari hadn’t had time to go by his home to see if there were any personal items he could have used. That would have been doubtful anyway. Odds were, the minute he got locked up, his clothing spread throughout the rest of the family.
“I’m supposed to live here?” he asked. Curtis was only fifteen, but carried himself like he was older, like so many of these kids. They were forced to grow up fast. Lean and fit, Curtis was very big for his age. Ari knew before he’d started skipping school he’d been active in sports. The police had documented more than once that he was a skilled runner. He just needed to learn how to use that power for good and not evil.
“I’ve never been here,” Ari told him in a stern voice. “But this is a last-chance stop. Whatever it is, it’s better than detention, which is where you’re headed next.”
Curtis slipped behind his case manager as she walked into the building.
“Oh, wow,” she said, knocked in the face by the overpowering smell. Soon though, even the rank stench was eclipsed by the sounds.
The boy stepped in front of Ari with his eyes wide and said, “No fucking way.”
Ari’s head snapped in his direction, but she didn’t scold him as she normally would have. She felt just as stunned. Her senses were assaulted by sweat and rubber, combined with a muggy, damp heat. And the sounds. Well, it sounded like someone was getting beaten to death.
“What the hell is this?” Curtis said, pushing Ari’s limit on foul language.
“Cut the cussing, Curtis,” she said. “A gym, I suppose?” But it was more than a gym. There were four boxing rings in the center of the building and rows of weights and cardio machines along each side. Near the front door, a huge trophy case held dozens of gold trophies, each with a tiny boxer or fighter on the top. Ari saw a dozen or so guys of various ages working out around the gym.
A long countertop ran along the barrier between the gym and the entry area. Hanging on the wall was a large sign with the letters GYC, and the name: Glory Youth Center. Ari spotted a young man folding towels and placing them in a stack.
“Come on,” she said to Curtis. They approached the counter and she introduced herself to the kid.
“I’m Ari Grant. I’m here to meet a—” she pulled the note out of her pocket. “Mr. Davis. We have an appointment at eleven.”
“Yes, ma’am,” the boy replied. “Let me tell him you’re here.” He looked a little older than Curtis, maybe seventeen or so. Broad shouldered and muscular. He had a bandage over his eye and quickly disappeared around the corner, away from the gym floor.
Curtis studied a row of photographs behind the counter. He glanced at Ari. “So you want me to come work out or something? I thought this was a home.”
Before Ari could answer, or not answer since she had no idea, the boy came back followed by a handsome man. His dark hair was shaved close to his head and when his eyes met Ari’s everything went from normal to very, very awkward.

Angel Lawson lives with her family in Atlanta and has had a lifelong obsession with creating fiction from reality, either with paint or words. On a typical day you can find her writing, reading, plotting her escape from the zombie apocalypse and trying to get the glitter out from under her nails.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Sweet Saturday Sample - April 20, 2013

Available July 25, 2013
“I’m so glad I found you. You have no idea what it took for me to find you, baby girl.”
His words echoed in my ears as I stood there staring. He was here. He was really here. I was frozen, unable to move. I needed to get away. Away from him. Away from here.
Red! screamed in my head but refused to come out of my mouth. It was as if I’d suddenly swallowed a mouthful of cotton. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak. Fear took over. My chest tightened, making it harder to breathe.
I stumbled backward, still trying to speak, but nothing would come out. I had to get away. Stephan. I needed Stephan.
As I moved farther into the living room, he followed me. He was like a giant, filling the space. I’d always thought Stephan’s place was large, but now it felt very small as John stalked toward me. The panic continued to rise, but I fought it. Breathe. Remember to breathe. Stephan. Think about Stephan.
Oxygen tore through my lungs with every intake of air. I was breathing, but it wasn’t doing its job. It wasn’t calming me. My father had come for me.
Every step I took, he matched and then some. I couldn’t get away. He was bigger, stronger. Why? Why was he here? What did he want with me?
Turning my back on him for the first time, I ran toward the phone. I stumbled over the coffee table on my way and righted myself. I knew he was close, but I had to try. I had to try to call Stephan.
My hands trembled as I picked up the phone. I didn’t get any further than that. Before my fingers could touch the keys, he snatched the phone out of my hands, tossing it to the floor behind him.

Flash Fiction Friday - April 19, 2013

This week's picture comes from Stockvault.

This had to be one of the worst jobs my uncle could have given me. Why did I have to be the one to dress the new mannequins?

If that wasn’t bad enough, I had to dress them in lingerie. Maybe most sixteen year old boys would be happy to be elbows deep in women’s bras and panties…maybe I would too if I weren’t having to do it where anyone passing by the store front could see me.

After adjusting the bra strap on the last mannequin, I glanced out into the mall, and came face-to-face with my worst nightmare.
Want to check out other flashes with this same picture prompt? Click here.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday Update - April 15, 2013

Happy Tax Day to all of those in the US.

Yeah, right. LOL.

On to more pleasant topics, like writing and books. :)

Last week was fairly productive. I added over 5K to my WIP. I'm not sitting at just under 58,000 words. There is no telling how long this book is going to be since I think I'm about halfway at this point. If that's really the case, then this book could be well over 100K by the time I'm finished. I somehow don't think most of you will have a problem with that. ;)

I updated my website with some new information, and rearranged a few things as well. There is more I need to add/change, but if you haven't stopped by my website lately, please do. I love my blog, and I try to keep things as up to date here as possible, but sometimes its easier to sift through things on the website than trying to find them here.

This past week I added Red Zone to my list of books on Authorgraph. If you aren't aware of what Authorgraph is, its a program that allows authors to personalize and 'sign' readers ebooks. If you have an ebook of one or more of my books, and would like me to sign it, go to

You're probably getting sick of hearing about this already, but here is another reminder about the SUBCLUB's Spring Giving Event. I'm participating with more than 30 other authors. Every author has selected a charity, and donated some pretty amazing prizes from signed books to swag. All you have to do is donate in order to enter.
My Finding Anna Series was featured on Maryse's Book Blog last week.
Slave and Need also made Ana's Attic's list of Favorite Dom/sub or BDSM Romance Books and Series.
I wrote a guest blog post for Ali's Bookshelf talking about what is on MY bookshelf. Find out what books I've read that now have a permanent spot on my bookshelf.
The official program for Ohioana 2013 is out. I'll be on the Fiction by Women: A Writer's Roundtable panel from 12:45pm to 1:30pm. There are lots of activities all day long including a book fair of 90+ Ohio authors with genres ranging from childrens picture books to erotica, author panels, and children's activities. If you're in Ohio, or will be on May 11th, consider stopping by and seeing what the Ohioana Book Festival is all about.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sneak Peek Sunday - Pawn by Sophie Davis

Today we are getting a sneak peek at Pawn by Sophie Davis.
Dreams and Nightmares,
Screams and Sighs,
Fate Wakes the Girl,
And Says she Dies...
When the Boy Gets in the Way,
Then the Nightmares Come to Play

My chest burned and my head was fuzzy. The little air that remained in my lungs was quickly running out, but now that the creature was actively squeezing the life out of me, it hardly mattered. I tried to dig my nails into the fingers around my throat; the creature's skin was rubbery and my nails couldn't find grip it. My attempts were feeble at best.

Terrified by the hallucination and frustrated by my inability to save my own life, I began to thrash about wildly. A sharp pain in the sole of my left foot temporarily cleared the cobwebs in my head and I doubled my efforts to break free. My chest ached with the need for air, and my limbs were heavy, as if the blood had turned to lead in my veins.

I threw my head back, craning my neck in a last ditch attempt to sever my attacker's hold. A sharp point pierced the base of my skull. Stars exploded behind my closed lids. A melodic male voice whispered in my ear, "Welcome back." Then blackness consumed me and I felt nothing.

When I came to, I remembered how Devon was wealth of useless knowledge. She had once told me that drowning was an excruciating way to die. It wasn't, though. Floating, weightlessness. That was what drowning felt like.

Tingling started around my midsection and the back of my knees. At first, the sensation was pleasant. But as feeling and awareness returned, it felt like barbed wire was wrapped around my stomach and legs, each barb pricking my skin over and over again. A strange buzzing noise, like the hum of an old radiator, filled my ears.

I struggled weakly, and the wires tightened.

"You're safe," a voice assured me.

All concepts of space and time ceased to exist. One minute the pins-and-needles feeling was all consuming. The next it was gone, replaced by a coldness that seemed to seep through my pores and settle in my bones. I trembled uncontrollably. The shaking was so violent that my teeth clanged together. I tried to speak, but my lips were too numb to form words.

"This should help," the voice said.

Soft fabric was draped over me, forming a protective barrier between the chilly air and my exposed skin. The scent of Old Spice filled my nostrils, triggering memories of my father, who used to wear that brand of aftershave. Tears prickled behind my eyes for dad. I hadn't talked to him today. I always talked to him on my birthday.

"Shh, you are going to be okay, Endora," the voice soothed.

Strong arms lifted me, one under my shoulders and one under my knees. My cheek pressed against something hard and wet and the piney Old Spice smell intensified. I inhaled deeply, breathing in the scent and thinking about how my father used to carry me to bed after I'd fallen asleep on the living room couch.

The sudden influx of air was too much for my oxygen deprived organs. I began to cough, my stomach roiled, and my mouth began to water in that way it does right before you throw up.

"I'm gonna be sick," I croaked through chattering teeth.

Hastily, the person holding me set me down on my side. Cold fingers brushed my skin as they gathered clumps of wet hair clinging to my face as lake water spewed from my mouth. Some part of me thought I should be embarrassed, but that part was overshadowed by the jolt of pain that shot through my right cheek. In the next instant, the fingers released my hair, and their owner emitted an audible gasp.

"Sorry," the voice mumbled. Tentatively the person once again pulled the hair back from my face, this time careful to avoid skin-to-skin contact.

Even after all the water was out, my stomach continued to cramp uncomfortably and I continued to dry heave. Despite the cold, sweat beaded along my hairline and under my arms. The grass was cool and wet and I pressed my cheek against the blades, relishing in the refreshing feel of it. Pounding started at the base of my skull; it felt like someone was hammering my head from the inside. I moaned, immediately wishing I hadn't when the pounding became louder and harder.

"You're safe now, we just need to get you some dry clothes," my savior said.

The situation was becoming clear. This person holding my hair, promising me that I was safe, had pulled me from the water.

I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand and then rolled onto my back to glimpse the person I was forever indebted to. Opening my eyelids felt like ripping off a scab. The ordinary act was extraordinarily painful, and I only managed small slits as I peered up into the most beautiful face I'd ever seen. Two blurry, green irises returned my gaze. I blinked several more times to bring them into focus. The eyes were gorgeous, brilliant emerald lights in the darkness.

"Do you know your name?"

I nodded, too embarrassed to speak. My rescuer, who'd just witnessed me emptying the contents of my stomach on the grass, was a boy about my own age. Not even my mother had seen me this vulnerable, not since I was old enough to use the bathroom by myself, anyhow.

"What is it?", he prompted, refusing to let me off that easy.

"Eel," I whispered. My throat was raw, swollen and the single word was painful on my vocal chords. The creature in the water that tried to drown me, tried to strangle me, came flooding back in one sharp burst of memory. I shuddered. The experience felt so real. In my mind's eye, I could see the dark eyes staring into mine, feel the bony fingers around my throat.

"Eel?" The boy said my name like a question, like maybe he hadn't heard me correctly. "Are you sure?"

"Yes,"  I snapped, edgy from the memory of the lake monster. "Eel's a nickname, though," I explained in a softer tone.

As a baby, my father had christened me Eel ― like electric eel ― after the mobile that hung above my crib mysteriously stopped working every night. Each morning, without fail, he replaced the battery. He joked that I singlehandedly kept Energizer in business. The nickname stuck around, even though my father had not.

I tried to sit up, but the effort was painful and I slumped back to the grass, defeated. The boy wrapped the blanket tighter around my body before placing one hand on the small of my back and the other on my arm, helping me to a sitting position.

"Short for Endora Lee," he muttered, more to himself than me.

I stared at him curiously. How did he know that? Then I realized it wasn't the first time he had said my name. He'd called me Endora when he'd first covered me with the blanket.

"How did you know my name? Have we met?" I asked, an ominous feeling creeping up my spine. I had the sudden urge to get away from him, very far away from him.

"You aren't bleeding, so that's a good sign," he replied, dodging my question as he carefully examined the base of my skull.

He parted wet clumps of my hair until his fingers brushed the swollen goose egg protruding from my head. A crackle of electricity sparked in the air, sending a jolt of pain ricocheting through my body.

"Owwwww!" I exclaimed, as I pulled away from him.

"Sorry," he muttered, averting his eyes from my face to stare at his hand. "Did that hurt?"

Of course touching the welt hurt, but that wasn't why I'd pulled away. The literal shock of his skin on my mine, the current of electricity that flowed from his fingertips to my head, had come as a very painful surprise. And judging by the way he was inspecting his hands, I surmised he hadn't expected it either.

We sat in silence, both of us looking everywhere but at each other. Water lapped the grassy bank, tree branches cracked in the distance, crickets chirped all around us. The longer we were alone, the more uncomfortable I felt. The boy gave me the creeps. When I finally did look at him, I couldn't tear my gaze away. I admired the perfect slope of his straight nose, his golden brown hair dripping water, his full lips, and those intense green eyes. He was a magnet, a beautiful magnet, drawing me to him.

"Endora Lee?" His face was so close to mine that his breath fanned my cheeks, warming the skin.


"What happened in the water?"

"What?" I stuttered, surprised by his question. I rubbed the spot on my neck where the creature had wrapped its slimy hands. The skin radiated heat, a sharp contrast to the cold, clammy skin surrounding it.

"What happened in the water?" he repeated evenly.
To Celebrate the release of Pawn, Sophie is giving away $100 worth of giftcards to your choice of Amazon, B&N, or iTunes. To enter, visit her website at