Guest Blog Archive

Blog Tour: WICKED LIES by Karina Cooper

Posted March 8, 2013 By Jennifer

Wicked Lies Button 300 x 225Hello, my lovelies!!! Today’s post is really exciting for me, because it involves one of my very favorite people, and a story that I absolutely adore!!

This week, Karina Cooper released a novella in her Dark Mission series called WICKED LIES. OH. MY. WOWZA!! I loved this story (you can read chapter one, and my review HERE), and I love the series in general. There were a lot of interesting things about this novella. First, in a series focused on witches (and those that hunt them), this story was about two NON witches. Two characters that are caught up in the fight, and involved in all the aspects of the paranormal world, but whose strengths and weaknesses are purely human. Also, it features a M/M romantic relationship, something I’ll talk more about when I post my interview with “Jonas” and “Danny” in the next few days. Keep an eye out for that!!

Here’s a little about WICKED LIES…

WickedLIes-Cvr-186x300Wicked Lies – A Dark Mission Novella

Karina Cooper

Genre: Paranormal Romance (Avon’s first male-male romance)

Publisher: Avon Impulse

Date of Publication: 3/5/2013

ISBN: 9780062126733

ASIN: B0092QPCXS

Number of pages: 112

Word Count: 29,159

Formats available: e-book

Purchase Links: http://www.avonromance.com/book/karina-cooper-wicked-lies

Book Description:

Jonas Stone has been given his first independent operation: rescue the insurrection leader’s imprisoned grandson from the Mission. Getting the job done means more than getting Danny Granger out-it means staying with him while he heals. Staying too close, for way too long.

Danny is everything Jonas isn’t: confident, optimistic, honest–a man to be reckoned with. If only it didn’t mean going against everything Jonas has planned. He’s kept his secrets for years, hid behind a mask no one could see through…until now. Danny isn’t the kind of man Jonas deserves. But he might be exactly the man he needs…

Karina was kind enough to share this about her choice to share Jonas and Danny’s human story…

imgBioPhotoBWIf you’ve been following along with the Dark Mission books, you know that the premise—witches versus witch-hunters, morality versus survival, good versus evil—makes for a rather explosive environment. Blood of the Wicked introduced a witch and a missionary in a pairing unlikely to go quietly. Lure of the Wicked pitted a witch-hunting missionary with a human descended from witches.

I go on like this in every book: two witches from opposing forces, a missionary and a hunter double-teaming it for the witches, and—in One for the Wicked’s finale, I drop the head missionary’s daughter in with a human insurgent looking for revenge on the witch-hunting Mission. It’s true, I won’t hide it. I take twisted pleasure shacking up two people diametrically opposed and—if you’ll forgive the borrowed phrase from Robin Williams’ Broadway insanity—making them deal with their shit.

Wicked Lies is different. Jonas Stone and Danny Granger are both human as they come.

Jonas was never a hunter, not in the same way Silas, Naomi and Simon are. He was part of the administrative arm of the division, like Parker but with none of the authority. He was the eyes and ears, the info-gatherer and the troubleshooter behind the comms keeping everybody together. Magic? None, unless you count what he can do with computers “magic”—a very human talent. Combat prowess? Not in any way that would make a difference on the field, which is why he wasn’t the kind of missionary you took to the fight.

Danny Granger is no fighter. Grandson to the rebellion leader, he’s a guy who believes with his whole heart that everybody should get the chance to live free. He’s got no magic, and no martial skill. He’s not a killer. He’s just this guy, you know?

And despite the fact that they’re living in this world saturated with witchcraft and paranormal elements, surrounded by men and women with “extras”—power, authority, cultivated genetics—their problems are not “paranormal” problems.

I wanted to take some time off from the paranormalcy and show that people in New Seattle still have the problems we do. They still have trouble communicating—with each other and themselves. They still can’t read minds; they still aren’t sure of themselves, whether they should speak out or remain silent, reach out or keep to themselves. Danny isn’t sure that Jonas would appreciate a come-on from another man, while Jonas doesn’t want to drag Danny into his internal mess. They still do what we all do for those we care about—protect each other from themselves.

Wicked lies. We tell them, to ourselves and to others.

But hey, look at it this way: paranormal world or normal, dystopia or utopia, isn’t it a little bit comforting to think that we’ll always be doing the same dance, nursing the same dreams and regrets, and striving to make ourselves—each other—better?

So… How important are the human characters in the worlds of urban fantasy and paranormal romance? Do we need that grounding familiarity in the fantasy story? Personally, I think yes, what do YOU think?? Each commenter will have a chance to win the WICKED LIES novella. Contest will be open until the end of the tour, April 1st.

And there’s MORE!!! Below is a link below for a tour wide contest to win a complete print set of all currently released Dark Mission novels!!! If you have NOT read this series… go… now… click… enter… READ THEM!!!!

Enter To Win Karina Cooper’s Dark Mission Novels!

3 Comments so far. Join the Conversation

Blog Tour: FROSTED by Wendy Sparrow

Posted February 21, 2013 By Jennifer

Hello there, my lovelies!!! Today we’re joining author Wendy Sparrow along her FROSTED Blog Tour. I really enjoyed FROSTED, and Wendy has a beautiful prize (info below) to offer someone introduced to Jack & Kate during this tour.

frosted-blogtour

WendySparrow-4 (2)Short, Sweet, and Frosted

Like most writers, I started writing because of how much I love reading. Actually, I think I stopped calling what I do “reading” a long time ago…it’s definitely devouring. I read a lot. Last year, I stopped sleeping entirely and read 393 titles. Classics, Nonfiction, Poetry, Sci-fiction—and, of course, my favorite reading—lots of romance.

When you’ve spent the day wrangling kids and you can’t sleep at night, you need to read about happily-ever-afters. In 2012, I had two guilty pleasures (which I felt very little guilt about—to be honest.) I rediscovered my love of contemporary romance and I fell hard—head over heels—for anthologies and novellas. I read nearly two dozen anthologies last year and many stand-alone novellas.

More often than not, I find perfect sweet goodness in anthologies, but there’s always the threat of filler stories—or maybe you don’t need a bunch of stories—you just want one to snack on. With the ebook market taking off, publishers are choosing more and more to put teasers and stand-alone novellas out for eager readers who have just a few commute hours to spend…or just that time you’re waiting for piano lessons to be over…or when you start reading a book at midnight knowing you’ll never put it down without finishing it.

Okay, so I do feel a bit guilty about all the times I did that last year…and already this year…and will continue to do. Crap. I’m such a repeat offender when it comes to staying up eye-ball-bleeding late.

Several of the big romance publishers, including Entangled, have separate lines of novella ebooks. (Ever Afters and Flirts with Entangled.) Readers of the world, we are free! We’re no longer chained to a brick of a book that we’ll go blind before we finish it. No! We can sit down with a novella and a cup of hot chocolate and not postpone life indefinitely—long enough—but not indefinitely.

And seasonal and holiday stories are often better suited to a shorter format. When I sat down to write a story about the myth of Old Man Winter—who is actually young, hot Jack Frost, a novella was the perfect length. I could set it primarily in a contemporary setting, Denver Colorado, and avoid all the world-building of novels. The stories of romance novellas seem to revolve around more emotional conflicts. You don’t have time to stretch out long-range, slow-building action and mysteries. You’re not introducing a full cast of characters in an epic drama.

Frosted 1600It’s a boy and a girl…and them getting together.

Forget their friends.

Forget their poignant family epiphanies.

You can fall in love in a couple hours and then sigh…and look at the clock…and scream because it’s three a.m. and you know you’re going to be chasing the kids off to the bus in your Mountain Dew pajamas while they’re carrying pop-tarts. Not that I’d know. I’ve heard.

So, for this month of stepping out of your box, check out the novellas out there. And if you happened to check out a certain novella where the Jack Frost myth takes a turn for the romantic…well, that would just be the frosting on my cake. Maybe yours too. (It’s called Frosted, by the way. If you didn’t know that, all that clever word play was totally wasted.) (And once you explain jokes they’re really less funny, aren’t they?)

Thanks for letting me sneak on the blog for today and good luck on expanding your genre horizons.

Wendy Sparrow

@WendySparrow on Twitter

**************************************************************************************

So, ladies and gentlemen… how do YOU feel about novellas and short stories?? Are you happy with a quick(ish) storyline that starts and wraps up in the length of a break in your day? Or do you prefer the standard length, full blown stories that require locking yourself away for a few hours of uninterrupted reading? If you DO enjoy novellas… what’s your favorite standalone?? I’m making a novella TBR list, lol 🙂

41pQJm6umILCommenters who answer the question above, will be entered to win an ecopy of FROSTED!!! And check out this lovely Blue and White Swarovski Crystal Snowflake Necklace (in Sterling Silver)!! Wendy’s giving this away to one commenter along the blog tour. (Click the rafflecopter link to enter to win it.) Be sure to leave a comment here to enter to win the ebook. Contest ends at midnight, pacific, on Friday, March 1st (the last day of the blog tour). Also, make sure you check out the other stops on the tour!!!

Click Here To Enter To Win The Snowflake Pendant

Good Luck, everyone!!

6 Comments so far. Join the Conversation

Hi everyone!! I can’t even tell you how excited I am about today’s guest post. Amy Lane is brilliant. She’s funny, and smart, and writes beautiful (and sometimes heartbreaking) stories. (If you have not read her Little Goddess series… go… now… buy… read) She’s one of my very favorite people to talk to, and you’re about to see a glimpse of why. Be sure to check the bottom of this post for a chance to win one of Amy’s books!!

The M/M fiction genre has been growing readers in leaps and bounds the last few years. There have been discussions all over the internet about it, there have been books written exploring the idea, and today… Amy breaks down her own take on why. (Warning: This will make you laugh out loud, it contains language of the NSFW kind, it will make you go “hmmmm…”, and by the end of it, you may need a rec list for M/M fiction. You’re welcome.)

The Curious Slope of Alphabet Soup

By

Amy Lane

It’s an interesting slide. People start out reading romance, you know, basic heterosexual, contemporary romance? Isn’t that nice? See Dick. See Jane. See them meet. See them fall in love. See them have sex like bonobos on aphrodisiacs with a jungle soundtrack of Rick James gong full blast, and little disco balls twinkling in the trees.

Whoopee! Go Dick! Go Jane! Contemporary romance at it’s finest! But wait!

Somebody hath added a wrinkle, and now Dick has fangs. Or fur. Or (oh joy!) both! And Jane is a super ninja fur and fang slayer who falls hard enough for Dick to allow the sensual bite of the fanged and furry lurve beast, and look! Yes! See them have sex like bonobos on aphrodisiacs with a jungle soundtrack of Warren Zevon and Sting going full blast, and little disco balls twinkling over the coffin!

Whoopee! Go werewolf Dick! Go ninja Jane! Para Normal Romance (or PNR) rocks!

But wait! Somebody hath added a wrinkle, and now Dick has fangs and Mick has fur, and Jane is the super ninja fur and fang slayer caught between them, and then Dick betrays Mick and Jane is caught in a conundrum, and then Phillip shows up and he’s looking mighty fine but he needs Jane to save the world, and Jane is forced to put a machete between Dick’s head and his shoulders and then Phillip dies from remorse and Mick turns out to be gay and Marcus shows up with both fangs and fur and then… well, by then we’re four books into the world and we are dying to see somebody have sex like bonobos, music be damned, but we understand it happens in the sequel!

Whoopee! Goddammit! Somebody have some sex! And welcome to the world of Urban Contemporary Fantasy, or UCF for short.

UCF differs from the first two in that the world is built and established, and the same characters move throughout that world. Usually, the people who start out reading contemporary romance and PNR slide nicely into UCF without really knowing the difference, and that’s fine. But when they get to UCF, for an odd number of readers, something really odd happens.

Meet Marcus—he has a dick. Meet Phillip—he is one. See Marcus? See him turn into a vampire? See Phillip? See Phillip turn into a vampire? See them deal with being vampires and kill things and cope with all of the insane rules in a supernatural world? See them have chemistry and makes sparks fly and have banter and, whoa wait, ohmygod, are those two guys having sex like bonobos with Lady Gaga playing in the jungle shrugs and… oh wow. That’s sorta hot. That’s really hot. We all knew those two guys were fucking each other with their eyes that way. Wowee! That’s incendiary! Oh Geez…

Does anybody have any other UCF M/M books they could recommend? Yeah, they can be werewolves. Or vampires. Or psychics. Or elves. Or some sort of space alien with two penises and spikes coming out its chest. Or, you know, regular humans. Yeah, yeah, fine, whatever. They can be contemporary. Sure. Fine.

And suddenly, there you have it.

Someone read the gateway drug and slid right into the slightly fringe world of M/M romance, and the rest of the world is at a loss.

But it actually makes a lot of sense.

Back when I was teaching high school English, I would teach the idea of archetypes—a framework for character based on cultural memory. One of the biggest requirements of any sort of archetypal hero was the idea that started out as “noble worth” in the textbooks, but that I sort of refined to “social heft”. It means that this person is someone that people will listen to—and, when you move from European archetypes to American archetypes, it means that the person doesn’t have to move in rarefied air, just that he has to carry some weight in the culture he moves in.

Uhm, notice that I said, “he”.

Yeah—in most genres, women have different archetypes than men. Men get to be epic, tragic, romantic, satiric, Gothic, American Romantic, or anti-heroes. For the most part, as I taught literature—and read romance on my own—women didn’t get to be any of these archetypes, because, as much as we like to think of women’s rights as a done deal, the fact is, our behavior in literature very often hadn’t reached “heroic” proportions. Women were stuck in the four V’s—virgins, victims, vixens, or vamps. The two genres that I could see where this didn’t happen were fantasy, and it’s modern Gothic counterpart, urban contemporary fantasy—or UCF.

So, what’s happened here is this.

Women like to read romance—that’s great. They tire of contemporary romance, because very often the feminine archetypes aren’t what they want to read. They want to see women do something—they want to see the two partners in the story as equals. Paranormal romance offers a different take on this kind of romance—but, very often, we still get the four v’s, and that’s hard to live with. I mean, the guy gets the fangs, the woman gets the fur, but he’s still calling the shots? So we move on to urban fantasy—and EXCELLENT! She’s a kick ass sorceress or a vampire or shoots some sort of magic powered fusion gun out her ass—it doesn’t matter, she’s got the same social heft to play with the big guys, if she had to rearrange the modern world to get it!

And once a reader—an open-minded reader—starts grappling with female heroes, they start dealing on a purely archetypal basis. They stop looking at gender as the criteria for who has the upper hand or the lower hand, and they start looking at personality, and what drives the characters in the story as people—even if they’re not technically human, they’re very often distilled into the essence of what makes humanity, because that’s what good writing, even genre writing, is all about.

And once a reader starts enjoying that, well, she (an open minded she) stops looking at gender, and starts looking at people, and suddenly, it’s all about the heroes and how they’re interacting.

And the heroes are so interesting, that once they start boinking like bonobos, our open minded female reader isn’t going to care if both the flames are blue, she’s just going to enjoy the frickin’ heat.

And that’s why the slippery slope, I think. I’ve talked to enough readers—and have read enough books and have thought enough about the subject—that this is the conclusion I’ve come to. In spite of all the acronyms and in spite of the “ohmygod, werewolves are gross!” and “ohmygod, gay werewolves are grosser!” outcry from your initial romance fans, I think that when it comes down to it, the readers who make the plunge into M/M this way are really looking at books for the same reason we’re all looking at books: they want to see the things that make us human.

Sometimes, it’s just more fun when the humans sport fangs and fur.

So… ladies and gentlemen… there you have it 🙂 Did you all have an “Oh, yeah. That makes a lot of sense.” moment?? Let me know YOUR thoughts in the comments below, and one random commenter will win an ebook copy of one Amy Lane title. (I would suggest VULNERABLE, which is book 1 in the Little Goddess series, but she has many other titles to choose from.) Comments posted by midnight pacific on Saturday will be entered to win. Winner will be chosen and notified on Sunday, October 14th.

Also…

Don’t miss your chance to meet Amy and spend some time with her and other awesome authors and readers at the Olde City, New Blood urban fantasy / paranormal romance mini-convention this February 8-10th in St. Augustine, FL. We’ll have panels, readings, meet & greets and lots of time for everyone to mingle with their favorite authors. Check out http://OldeCityNewBlood.wordpress.com for all the details. Can’t wait to see you there!

10 Comments so far. Join the Conversation

Circus Fun (AND a Contest) with Delilah S Dawson

Posted October 3, 2012 By Jennifer

Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, have we got a special treat for you today!! Delilah S Dawson is stopping by to help us start our very own (even if it is only here in our little corner of the cyberworld) CIRCUS!! To help celebrate the release of THE MYSTERIOUS MADAM MORPHO (the novella followup to WICKED AS THEY COME) we’ll be giving one lucky circus performer an ebook copy! And since Delilah will be attending Olde City, New Blood in Florida this coming February, I’m also including another chance to WIN YOUR WAY IN to the mini-con for FREE. See below for details on both contests 🙂

And now… on to the show!!

Taking place after Wicked as They Come, this original eBook features a mysterious lady and a reclusive mechanical genius who find love and danger in a traveling circus. An elusive woman arrives at Criminy’s doorstep with a steamer trunk, begging for a position in the caravan to perform her unique new act. She opens her trunk to reveal a menagerie of brilliantly colored butterflies. The woman, who calls herself Madam Morpho, is on the run from a dark past in London, where she was forced to leave her equipment behind and abscond with only her tiny performers. Playing a hunch, Criminy hires Madam Morpho on the spot. Taking her down to meet Mr. Murdoch, the reclusive talented engineer who keeps the carnival’s clockworks running, Criminy instructs them to work together to design and build a groundbreaking new circus for the butterflies. Amid the magical ambiance of the circus and the hint of danger from Madam Morpho’s pursuers, she and Mr. Murdoch soon find that their scientific collaboration has produced chemistry of a more romantic kind.

Let’s Join the Circus!

No, it’s true– I always dreamed of running away with the circus. I grew up in a boring house in a boring suburb and spent hours practicing various acts in the backyard. From hanging by my knees on the monkey bars to riding a unicycle to juggling rings on a balance board, I amassed Stupid Human Tricks that would come in seriously handy as a birthday party clown in high school–and at college parties. I can even make balloon giraffes.
But if I ran away to Criminy’s circus, I can tell you exactly what I would do: I would be the trick rider.
I’ve always loved horses, and so bludmares were a natural fit in the world of Sang. Modeled on my favorite draft breeds and resembling the destriers of medieval knights, the horses in my world are big, beautiful, and so vicious that they wear metal muzzle caps over their mouths. After all, you’re not going to get very far if your mount bites off your foot. In my first book, WICKED AS THEY COME, it’s revealed that Criminy once had his heart broken by a trick rider, and I may– or may not– have had myself in mind when picturing Merissa resplendent, her bare feet planted firmly on the backs of snow-white bludmares with plumes dipping off their tossing heads.
Second to that, I’d be an aerialist. I can do a little Spanish web and trapeze– at least enough to get up off the ground. But since the caravan travels, I haven’t incorporated such an act– yet. I’m sure Mr. Murdoch could devise a clever way to get acrobats into the air.
If you want in on the secret of the sexy artificer who devises the clockworks and equipment at the caravan, pick up my first e-novella in the Blud series, THE MYSTERIOUS MADAM MORPHO. It’s all about the steamy romance that builds between the mysterious Mr. Murdoch and a hot new act in Criminy’s caravan.
**********
If you’d like to see some visuals Delilah has picked out to go along with THE MYSTERIOUS MADAM MORPHO, you can check out the Pinterest page she created for the novella HERE.
**********
So… If you’d like to join our merry company… please list in the comments below what part YOU would play in our circus. Delilah would be one of our trick riders… I believe I’ll take the part of Ringmaster. Be creative, be fanciful… and one of you will win an ecopy of THE MYSTERIOUS MADAM MORPHO!
**********
Also!
**********
Don’t miss your chance to meet Delilah at the Olde City, New Blood mini-convention in St. Augustine, FL this coming February 8-10th. Need MORE of an incentive to come chill out with some awesome authors by the beach?? How about if you win FREE REGISTRATION?? That’s right… this week we’re having a blog-hop-style contest and you could win your way in!!To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form, AFTER you answer the blog question in the comments below. All of the featured bloggers for the event will be hosting special guests from Olde City, New Blood this week (September 30th – October 6th) and every post is another chance for you to enter to win. There will be additional chances to enter at some of the featured authors’ websites, as well. There will be 3 winners, who will be chosen randomly from all entries, announced on October 7th. (Winners will be responsible for their travel and hotel costs, but their registration fees will be covered by the mini-con!!) For a complete list of blog posts and extra author entries, please see the official contest announcement on the website.

Click Here To Enter

5 Comments so far. Join the Conversation

Sneak Peek: HUNTER’S RISE by Shiloh Walker

Posted March 31, 2012 By Jennifer

Hello my lovelies… have I got a treat for YOU!!!

Shiloh Walker (Grimm Circle Series, Hunters Series, Ash Trilogy, and many more) has shared a sneak peek of her upcoming release, HUNTER’S RISE!!!! This will be the final book in the Hunters series, and we’re sad to see it end. HOWEVER… get ready for one heck of a read!!!! Here’s a little taste…

Snippet (warning… Toronto is something of a smart-ass)

Not the ideal place for a fight. He’d done it before and managed to avoid human casualties, but he suspected that Sylvia James was a different breed from what he was used to. Ferals fought to live, so they could kill—by nature, most of them weren’t always clearheaded. Sylvia, like him, was a trained killer. Shewould be clearheaded. It would make a difference.

He hunted the ferals.

She hunted for money.

In the end, he’d win, because he was stronger.

But he didn’t want to have to fight her. He wanted to have sex with her—down and dirty sex, maybe up against a wall, in the light so he could watch her. Then on a bed, her body under his, or over . . . his hands tangled in that dark, silken hair.

“You know, most men would at least bother to introduce themselves before the guy starts picturing the woman naked,” she drawled, coming to a stop eighteen inches away.

Toronto smirked. “That’s bullshit. We see a woman, we frequently picture them naked. We mess with the names when we want to actually think about getting them in bed. Some of us, at least.” He skimmed a look over her body, taking in the sleek muscles, the powerhouse curves. Then he focused on her face again, smiled slowly. “So. What’s your name?”

Due out 4/3/2012

*If you click on Shiloh’s webpage link above, you can read a different, longer snippet. So, so good!!*

You can pre-order HUNTER’S RISE at these places (among others, I’m sure):

If you haven’t started the Hunter’s Series… check them out on Shiloh’s website, HERE, to see what you’ve been missing!!!

And thank you, to Shiloh Walker, for sharing this snippet with all of us!!

Be the first to comment