April 18th, 2012
(cross-posted from Fire and Ice) ….and it’s that time of the year. Gardening time. As I sit writing this post, a man is out next to the house tilling up massive amounts of ground for me to plant things. I’m, erm, sort of being ambitious about my planting projects this year.
For years now I’ve been wanting to do a large, proper organic garden. I want to be able to grow food we can prepare and eat at our own table. We’ve recently moved and now I have all the planting space I need.
So…yeah, kind of ambitious. I’m planning to plant a row of raspberry plants, blackberry bushes, a strawberry patch, make a blueberry hedgerow, and grow a whole slew of vegetables. Oh, did I mention grapes, I’m going to grow those too.
And all of this will be done without pesticides or any chemicals that I, or my family, will have a chance of ingesting. I’ve done my research, but, honestly, I’m a new gardener with a limited amount of experience.
I know that in order to control for birds (berries, yo. Birds like berries) I’ll have to set up scarecrows. I also know that to control for bugs and weeds, I’ll have to lay straw beneath the plants and plant marigolds and garlic (repels bugs). The jury is out on the black weed-prevention material. People keep telling me it’s not worth it.
As usual, I didn’t wade in, I just threw myself headfirst into the deep end. I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going. (Hold me, I’m scared.)
Does anyone have any good advice for me? I need all of it I can get.
April 10th, 2012
I started off writing erotic PNR for Ellora’s Cave. That was more years ago than I would like to think about. So long that I’m now beginning to get the rights back to all those novellas I published way back when.
I’ve been taking them one by one and updating them. Changing language I used back then, but wouldn’t use now, changing scenes here and there. After that I’m having new covers commissioned and releasing them as self-published ebooks for the Kindle, Nook, and on Smashwords.
It’s been interesting revisiting my older works on a number of different levels. I thought I would find the writing shakier, since I’d just been starting out and we all grow and develop as writers over time. While I have changed and updated certain things in these novellas, the writing was much stronger than I’d imagined.
The Embraced series has four novellas total. They follow the stories of four vampires. The first book, Blood of the Rose is set in the 1800s. The next two, Blood of the Raven and Blood of an Angel are contemporary. The final novella, Blood of the Damned, is futuristic. They all feature common secondary characters. You can do that with vampires since they’re immortal. Love it.
I’m excited to give new life to this series and also excited to be dipping my toes into the world of self-publishing.
Another title I’m re-releasing is Ordinary Charm. This novella remains one of my personal favorites because not only does it feature a witch as a heroine, Serena has a few more curves than you see in your average romance novel heroine.
The hero is pretty interesting too, since he’s the physical vessel for a pagan god called Cernunnos.
Gotta love that, right?
I like the cover, too. Pretty eye-catching and straight to the point, don’t you think?.
March 27th, 2012
Our family celebrates an extra holiday every year (well, actually more than one), and it’s a very special one. It’s Family Day, the day when we all became a family. We did that through adoption.
Five years ago, the sweetest little 9 month old baby was placed in my arms. She’d lived her whole life in a Social Welfare Institute with a bevy of nannies in Chongqing, China. Her name was “good luck flower.” She was in shock that day, and sucking her thumb like mad. She wouldn’t eat for a while and didn’t cry. Instead of crying, after her initial shock wore off, she laughed, smiled and was incredibly adorable in general.
Most babies cry for attention, to be fed, to have their diaper changed. Our little girl had learned that charm got her the most attention in the SWI. It was a survival strategy, one she still displays today in certain circumstance. There were only two such babies in our group. The rest were hell raisers.
From the first moment I saw her picture, (that had been almost three months prior), she was mine, heart, body, and soul. To have her finally placed in my arms on the top floor of that hotel in Chongqing was like a hole being filled inside me. She’s the sunshine in my life.
I worried and worried I would get pregnant during our two year process to adopt her. If I had become pregnant, the adoption would have become invalid and I wanted to adopt rather than have a biological child. It was like I knew my little good luck flower was out there somewhere; I just needed to clear the path for her to get to us.
So every year, we mark Family Day (and Chinese New Year and the Moon Festival, too). Her presence has upped the amount of celebrations in our life in more than one way. Every year I look for a special way to mark the event. We’ve made special keepsakes at Build-a-Bear (when she was really small), visited China Town, and had Dim Sum. I have five days to figure out something special this year, but I’m thinking jewelry in a keepsake box.
Do you have any holidays or mark special days that other people don’t? If so, how do you celebrate?
February 21st, 2012
Winners of the “I Went Away, So You Get Cool Stuff Contest” are as follows:
1.) Niki Isaac
2.) Dawn Branscum
3.) Becky Jean
Whoever contacts me first gets her first choice. Second gets second choice, ect. Please email me at anyabast(at)gmail.com. Congrats!
February 15th, 2012
Cross-posted from Fire and Ice.
In view of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d talk a little about that all important first kiss in a romance novel.
Kissing scenes are hard to write anyway, but the first kiss scene? Argh! The pressure! The expectations! It makes it all the harder. You have to get it just right, you know? The charged erotic climate. The blossoming attraction between the hero and the heroine that might, juuuust might turn into something more.
You have to nail the sensuality of it. The slow glide, lip to lip. The taste of each other’s mouth. The scent of their skin. The slip of tongue against tongue that sends tremors of want through them both. The twining of their breath, a little bit of their souls. How to get it exactly right… What are their hands doing? Are his hands at the small of her back, holding her flush against his chest? Are hers curled into the fabric of his shirt at his shoulders?
It makes me crazy getting the details straight.
I’m not holding this one up as an example of a good first kiss scene (I’m way too critical of my writing to ever think that), but I do really like this one from an older, less popular title of mine, Water Crystal (Ellora’s Cave).
The room was empty save for the two of them. Steam billowed from the surface of one filled tub. To its right side stood a shelf containing shampoo and soap. On the other side stood a rack of large towels.
Angelo uncuffed her and turned to leave, but hesitated at the door. “Let me check the boards on these windows, Bianca.” He went around the room, making sure the windows were nailed tight enough that she couldn’t pry them off.
“I’m not going to try and escape.”
He turned and gave her a look of disbelief. “After what you pulled at Hank’s, am I supposed to believe that?”
“Angelo, I swear. I’m much safer with you than without you at this point.”
“I agree with you for the first time since we met.”
“The water’s getting cold,” she complained.
“Just give me a few more minutes, okay?”
She gave him that sly, secret smile that was fast becoming her trademark. That smile meant she was up to something. “Well, if you won’t leave me alone, I guess I’ll just have bathe with you in the room.”
Before he had a chance to protest, she unbuttoned her pants and sent them sliding down her legs to pool at her feet. Shapely calves flowing into strong, beautiful thighs met his view. Above that was a peek of blue material under her shirt, blue cotton with tiny, faded red roses.
She kicked her pants away with one slim foot and the smooth muscles of her legs rippled. He couldn’t look away from her. Damn, he couldn’t even move. There it was again—that tightness in his body, settling in his groin. He hated that she had such power over him. He hated it even more that she knew she had that power over him.
Her hands went to the bottom of her shirt, as she prepared to slide it up over her head. Her flat abdomen came into view.
His paralysis broke and he went to her in four fast strides. He caught her hands and pushed them down, forcing her shirt back into place. She looked pleased with herself. Too damned pleased. She knew that she had the upper hand, and that she could bring him to his knees if she tried hard enough. He knew it and so did she.
Playing with fire, that’s what Bianca loved to do…but she could she handle the inferno once it was started? Angelo doubted it. Maybe it was time to turn the tables. Maybe it was time to push her buttons and reveal the truth at the same time.
Winding one arm around her waist so she couldn’t step away from him, he caught her chin in his fingers and tipped her face to his. “Are you going to be ready for me, Bianca, when I finally call your bluff?”
She looked uncertain for a moment. That same raw look of innocence wounded crossed her features. A fake smile flickered across her face. “Bluff? What do you mean?”
He drew his thumb over her lower lip. It was soft and smooth. He couldn’t help but think about how her mouth was going to feel under his, so lush, warm and wet.
“This is what I mean.” He lowered his face toward hers, and he felt her stiffen.
“Look, I’m sorry I teased.” She snaked her hand between them. Her palm pressed against his chest. “This is a bad idea, Angelo,” she whispered so low he almost couldn’t hear her.
He nodded his head slightly, his intent gaze on her lips. “It’s the worst idea I ever had.” He drew his hand from her chin to the base of her spine, and then pressed her into him while his mouth descended on hers.
Her lips were unmoving at first and then her body relaxed, curving to fit him perfectly. Her mouth moved under his, returning his kiss with a sudden urgency. He coaxed her lips apart and let his tongue explore within.
Her hands came up tentatively, fluttering against his arms as though she was unsure what to do with them. She finally curled the fingers of one hand into the hair at the nape of his neck. The other she pressed tight against the back of his shoulder. It almost seemed as though she was willing more of him against her.
Her tongue found his and moved against it artlessly. Her inexperienced strokes simply served to stoke the fire that was already burning hot and high within him. All his resolve about staying celibate dissolved like sugar stirred into water at the press of her lips and tongue against his.
He brought a hand around and cupped one small breast, brushing his thumb back and forth over her erect nipple through the material of her T-shirt. She moaned deep in her throat and arched into him. Reveling in the feel of her taut breast pushing against the thin fabric, he pressed his hard cock against her so she could feel what she was doing to him, and how much he wanted her.
She pulled away a little, gasped, looked surprised for a moment, then smiled and sealed her mouth back on his with a new urgency.
He found the edge of her T-shirt and pushed his hand under it to caress the skin of her lower back. She felt firm and warm. He wanted so much more than she was going to be able to give him. His body ached with the desire to lower her to the floor and help her discover all the ways a man and woman could find pleasure together, because for all her teasing she didn’t know.
He’d been right all along about her. The truth of it was in her kiss. She wasn’t ready for him. Suppressing a groan of frustration, he released her and backed away.
He looked at her and couldn’t help but smile. Now who had the upper hand? It had nearly killed him to get it, but he’d savor it while he had it.
February 13th, 2012
I had a booksigning at Rose’s Bookhouse in O’Fallon, Mo., this past weekend. Rose’s Bookhouse is a really awesome indy bookstore near St. Louis. Check it out, if you can. While there I picked up the latest release from each of the lovely authors I signed with. This is your chance to win one of their signed books!
First up is The Lure of Song and Magic (I love that title), by Patricia Rice….
Her voice was a curse…
When Dylan “Oz” Oswin’s son is kidnapped, the high-powered producer will do anything to get him back. Desperately following an anonymous tip, he seeks help from a former child singing sensation called Syrene, only to find she’s vowed never to sing again. Immune to her voice but not her charm, Oz is convinced she holds the key to his son’s disappearance-and he’ll stop at nothing to make her break her vow.
Only he can make her sing …
She knows the devastation her talent can bring. There’s more than a child’s life at stake, but Syrene cannot unleash her dangerous siren’s voice upon the world, even for a man who is impossible to deny…
Visit Patrica’s web site.
Next is debut author, Heather Snow with Sweet Enemy….
A Veiled Seduction Novel ~ Book One
Geoffrey Wentworth, a war hero and rising political star, never wanted to be the Earl, but when his brother dies, he knows his duty—take up the responsibility for his family’s estates. His mother’s definition of duty differs from his, however, and can be summed up in one word—heirs. When Geoffrey rushes home to answer her urgent summons, he finds himself host to a house full of women, all vying to become the next Countess of Stratford. But his love is Parliament, where he wields his influence and reputation to better the lives of ex-soldiers, until a tempting houseguest and a secret from his past threaten his freedom…and his heart.
Liliana Claremont, a brilliant chemist, doesn’t want to be any man’s wife, much less a Countess. If she had tuppence for every time she’d been told her place was filling the nursery, not experimenting in the laboratory, she could buy the Tower Bridge. However, when she receives a coveted invitation to the Earl’s house party, she trades in her beakers for ball gowns and gladly takes on the guise of husband hunter—for the chance to uncover what the Earl had to do with the murder of her father.
Liliana believes the best way to get the answers she needs is to keep her enemy close, though romance is not part of her formula. But it only takes one kiss to start a reaction she can’t control…
Visit Heather Snow’s web site.
And, finally, Always a Temptress, by Eileen Dreyer…
His greatest battle is just beginning . . .
Captain Harry Lidge has done his duty. After losing too many good men on the battlefield, he’s ready to put his responsibilities behind him and live a life free of care. But first he has one last mission: find out what the most outrageous woman in London, the same woman who betrayed him nearly a decade earlier, is concealing, before her secrets take down the crown.
Her heart is the only thing she won’t risk . . .
Surrounded by ardent admirers and a few loyal friends, Lady Kate Seaton glides through the ton on a confection of couture gowns and bon mots. No one suspects that beneath her lighthearted façade Kate hides a sorrow so scandalous she’ll do anything to keep it hidden. But only when she trusts Harry with the truth and only when he trusts her with his heart can they stop the villains all too willing to kill Kate to attain their ultimate goal: destroy England
Visit Eileen’s web site.
Comment for a chance to win: Do you enjoy booksignings? Try to get to them when you can? Or not so much? This contest is open to all, both in the U.S. and not. I’ll keep the contest open until Friday morning. Check back then to see if you’ve won. The first person I draw will get her choice of books, second person her choice of the remaining two, ect. Good luck!
February 7th, 2012
Today is the official release day of MIDNIGHT ENCHANTMENT, although it’s been floating around out there already. Thanks for all the emails from those who have already read and loved the book (and, dude, you read really fast).
Order from Amazon.com
Order from Barnes & Noble
“Full of action, excitement, and sexy fun.” —Bitten by Books
“Smart, dangerous, and sexy as hell…Always an exhilarating read.” —Fresh Fiction
A quest for freedom may be derailed by their intense attraction…
Niall Quinn, mage and the finest thief in the Black Tower, is the fae’s best hope for freedom. Only he stands a chance of tracking down and retrieving the missing bosca fadbh pieces from the Summer Queen. But he meets his match in Elizabeth Cely Saintjohn, who has taken control of the pieces on the Summer Queen’s behalf—and has refused to give them up.
Elizabeth is an asrai, a rare English water fae, and she may be the only fae in Piefferburg stealthier than Niall. She has her own reasons for guarding the two pieces and wanting the walls of Piefferburg to remain intact—even if it means denying her fae sisters and brothers their freedom. Her mother’s life depends on it.
Torn between his duty to obtain the pieces at any cost—and the shocking lust Elizabeth has stirred in him—Niall must convince Elizabeth to surrender the pieces, or else he may have no choice but to destroy her and all she holds dear…
Excerpt from MIDNIGHT ENCHANTMENT….
She found herself at the edge of a campsite, a fire flickering merrily not far away. Standing, not making a sound, she moved from her place between two bushes and peered through the foliage at him.
She didn’t worry about being caught. Niall remained sadly deluded on this point, but he would never catch her. Watching him now she decided that was somewhat of a pity. Maybe being caught by this man wasn’t the worst thing that could happen to her.
He leaned up against a rock, blanket spread underneath him and the fire crackling and spitting near his booted feet. He had his eyes closed and his hands behind his head, looking restful . . . maybe just a little defeated. Her lips curled in a smile. His shirt was unbuttoned, giving her a glimpse of his muscular chest and a hint of his broad shoulders. This man was much stronger than her; no doubt about that—but she was faster and trickier.
He had dimples. She hadn’t noticed that before. They gave him a mischievous look. Her gaze traced the curve of his lips, and she wondered what his hands were like, wondered what his hands on her body might feel like.
She knew she shouldn’t be thinking about this man in that way. He was her enemy. He wanted the pieces she was guarding and therefore, by default, his success meant her mother’s death. Still, she couldn’t help fantasizing about this man. She’d been doing it from the first night he’d tracked her down and she’d heard his voice in the darkness, caught the scent of him on the wind. It was true she lived a sheltered life, but she’d met plenty of men, mostly nature fae—this man was different. This one called to her in a primal way.
This one made her wonder what it would be like to slide naked down the length of him, to feel the cup of his big hands on her body and the fit of him between her thighs. Maybe it was just because he was the one man she could never have, or maybe there was something more substantial to her attraction.
Either way, it didn’t matter.
This was just fantasy. She couldn’t have this man. Not even for one night.
NIALL OPENED HIS EYES, feeling the pressure of someone’s presence nearby. Elizabeth. It had to be.
He remained still, searching the area with his senses for her exact location. Once he thought he had it—she was right there, between those two bushes—he sprang to his feet and lunged for her.
A woman’s yelp. A flash of a long, peach-colored form. The softest brush of bare skin against his fingertips.
He lay sprawled in the foliage, cursing under his breath, branches poking him in the side and leaves tickling his nose. Then he rolled onto his back. Sweet Danu, she’d been naked again. He rubbed his fingers together, recalling the lovely sensation of her skin.
He wanted more.
The winner of her her choice from the first three books of the Dark Magick series is Deana! Congrats!
The grand prize winner of the $100 GC to the bookstore of her choice is Martie Evans, who got married for love (and that was really dumb, according to her). Congrats!
Both of you, please send me an email ~ anyabast(at)gmail.com
Thank you so much to everyone who made this contest such a success. I hope you all had a great time. I will get the prizes out as soon as I can. (I have a whole stack!)
February 6th, 2012
The winner of Witch Fury is Tagati! Congrats! Please email me at anyabast(at)gmail.com.
Since this is the last day of the daily contests and since MIDNIGHT ENCHANTMENT releases tomorrow, I will give today’s winner her choice of any of the first three in the series.
Want to win an autographed copy of one of these books? Reply to the following question. Don’t forget to check back tomorrow to see if you’ve won. Also, tomorrow I will be announcing the winner of the grand prize, so be sure you come back for that.
What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod? Or, simply, what’s your favorite song?