Monday, 27 January 2014

When Will I See You Again - New Release by Julie Lynn Hayes.

Today, I’ve traveled to Crescent Bay, a seaside town whose biggest claim to fame lies with its supernatural inhabitants. I’ll be interviewing two of the residents today, to get their take on life in Crescent Bay from both sides of the railroad tracks, so to speak.

My first stop is the infamous night club, Charisma. Anyone who knows of the town knows about Charisma, and the man who draws people to it like a magnet. What could be more fitting than I should interview the crown prince himself, Raoul Marchand. This wasn’t easy to do, believe me. I had to pull a few strings to get his agreement to this.  Let’s hope he’s in a good mood and willing to talk.

It’s still fairly early when I arrive. Hopefully, I can avoid most of the crowds. I hear people line up just to get into this place, to witness the phenomenon that is Raoul Marchand. Well, I’m ready to be wowed. There is only a short line, luckily, when I arrive, and when I reach the head of the line and start to pull out my ID, the bouncer waves me in. I’m not sure if I should be glad or insulted.

Another bouncer greets me inside. “Good evening, I’m Paolo. You must be Julie?” I nod. “Raoul is waiting for you. Right this way.” I follow him down a hallway, which opens up into a very bright and shining place indeed.

Flashing colored lights bounce off platinum and chrome surfaces, exuding a certain energy. A large circular bar dominates the room like a command post. It’s covered in mirror tiles streaked with dark blue veins the color of night.

“Right down there.” My guide points to the end of the bar, and I spot him. It’s hard to miss him, even at this distance. He has a most commanding presence.

“Thanks, Paolo.” I give him a smile and proceed. As I approach, the man stands, and I tell myself to please not drool when I’m speaking to him, but I know it won’t be easy. He’s tall, dark, and hunkalicious. His dark hair falls down his back—to his ass, I hazard a hopeful guess—and his eyes glitter with a fierce intensity. He is very well put together, and he doesn’t dress to hide it. He’s a veritable god.

“Thank you for agreeing to this, Mr. Marchand,” I say as I reach out my hand. He takes it for just a moment before returning it to me, gesturing toward a leather and chrome bar stool beside his own.

He shrugs. “My father thought it was a good idea.” Does that mean Raoul doesn’t? I wonder.

“What would you like to drink?” he asks.

I think a moment before ordering an amaretto sour. He relays that to the bartender, and orders himself a marguerita. The bartender seems friendly enough. He quickly brings our drinks then leaves us to our own devices.

“What would you like to know?”

Well, that’s... to the point, isn’t it? Good thing I borrowed Sarah’s voice recorder. Otherwise, I might not remember a thing.

“Mr. Marchand... may I call you Raoul?”

I hear a low growl and I wonder if someone brought a dog into the bar before I realize it’s my host. Then the sound is gone as he replies. “If you wish.”

“So...” I think I’ll skirt the name thing for now. “How long have you been running Charisma?”

“About twenty years.”

“That’s a long time for someone so young. How old are you, if you don’t mind my asking?”

“Of course I don’t mind. Age doesn’t make a difference. I’m forty.”

“So you started in the business pretty young?”

“My father gave it to me to run, so it was pretty well laid in my lap.” He gives me an enigmatic look as he picks up his glass and drinks.

I think for a moment. “Let’s see, your father is Philippe Marchand, right? So he started Charisma? When was that?”

“About fifty years ago. But it wasn’t a night club, it was a restaurant.”

“Oh, I see. Did he close the restaurant?”

“No, he moved it across town and gave me the night club.”

“That was nice of him. Why did he do that?” I’m thinking maybe a graduation present or something. Must be nice, right?

I think I said something wrong. He gets this look I can’t describe... like he’s just assumed a mask of indifference. He pulls a phone from his pocket, glances at it and then at me.

I think I’m living on borrowed time, so I cast about in my mind for another subject.

“The Marchands are the largest and most well known supernaturals in this part of the country, aren’t they?”


Short and sweet.

“I know that with drugs, lycanthropes don’t have to suffer through the change any more. What a blessing that must be for you and your family.”

“Yes it is.” 

Hmm, not getting anywhere there. Try something else.

“Tell me, Raoul, is there a special someone in your life?” That has to be good, get him to talk about his girlfriend. Or boyfriend. Whichever.

Suddenly he rises, slams his glass onto the bar. “I’m done,” he announces. “Find your own way out.” And before I can respond, he’s flounced off, toward the dance floor. Ooh, I hate to see him go, but I love to watch him leave.

Wait, he’s picking someone out of the crowd, and all the people around him are going nuts, trying to gain his attention. I watch as he selects a young man and leads him away. Ah, it was fun while it lasted. Guess I’ll get some rest at the hotel and go to my next interview tomorrow.

I’m sure there’s a story there, one he’s not ready to share.

The next day, I’m up bright and early. My next interviewee is meeting me at my hotel on his way to work, and he said he doesn’t have long. I can live with that.

I take the elevator down and make my way to the restaurant, which is sparsely populated. He’s already there, and looking rather chipper for so early in the day. He waves me to the table he’s at, and as I join him a very kindhearted waitress brings a cup and a pot of nectar of the gods. Good, I’ll be able to think.
I add sweetener and cream and smile at the young man. He has thick red hair and bright blue eyes and a very energetic smile. “You must be Alexx Jameson?” I hazard a guess.

“I am. And you’re Julie?”

“Right the first time.”

Okay, down to business, since he doesn’t have very long.

“I’m flattered you called me,” he says, “but I can’t imagine anyone wants to read about me, you know? I’m no one special. Just a guy who works for the Chronicle.”

“Everyone is someone,” I reassure him. “So, what do you do there, Alexx?”

“I’m a go-fer, I guess. I work in the mail room, but I do whatever they need me to do. Like get their morning coffees, which is my next stop.”

“How long have you worked at the Chronicle?” The Crescent Bay Chronicle is the town’s one newspaper, owned by Joseph Levine, head of a family that is second in size and position to the Marchands.

“About two years now.”

“Were you born here?”

“No, I wasn’t. I lived in another state entirely. Chance brought me to Crescent Bay and got me a job at the paper.”

“Chance or fate?” I can’t help but smile. He sips at his coffee and grins back. He seems like a very nice young man, very easygoing.

“So where do you see yourself in a few years?” I ask.

“Hopefully as a reporter at the Chronicle,” he confesses, a faint blush rising up his cheeks, as if he isn’t used to speaking about his dreams.

“What kind of reporter do you have in mind to be? Sports, fashion, general news?”

“Crime,” he admits. “Something there isn’t really a lot of in Crescent Bay. But it would be a start. Who knows what after that?’

“The sky’s the limit. And if it’s meant to be, you know... maybe something is just around the corner for you?”

“I hope so.” He finished the rest of his cup and rises. “I’m sorry to drink and run, but there are people who will be very upset with me if I don’t get their morning coffees and stuff.” He rolls his eyes in a playful way. 
“Save us from divas.”

I can’t help but laugh. “I’ve met a few of those in my time.” I rise and hold out my hand. He takes it. “Nice to meet you, Alexx, thanks for talking to me. I’ll send you a copy of the interview when it comes out.”

“Nice to meet you too, Julie.” He gives me another smile and quickly hurries out of the restaurant. I, on the other hand, am starved, so I sit back down and glance at the menu. Might as well eat while I’m here. Then go home and put these interviews together.

So, there you are. Two different men, two different stories.

Hmmm, wonder if their worlds will ever collide?


Raoul Marchand is the crown prince of Charisma, the infamous night club in Crescent Bay, renowned for its supernatural clientele. He has the pick of any and all men, but he cares for none. He uses them and throws them away again, and has done so for some twenty years, in the aftermath of a tragedy that robbed him of what he loved most in the world.

Alexx Jameson is an idealistic young would-be reporter with the Crescent Bay Chronicle. Presented with an opportunity to write a story on the Marchands, he eagerly grasps the chance to be a real reporter. His friend, Chronicle receptionist Miller Fenwick, suggests they go to Charisma to do a little research. Alexx isn’t sure that’s such a great idea. After all, he’s still under age, being only twenty. No problem, Miller can fix that! Added bonus, there’s a full moon tonight.

When Alexx first encounters Raoul, it isn’t exactly in the way he dreamed of, and he’s sure he made a terrible first impression. But Fate throws them together under unforeseen circumstances, and the attraction between them can’t be denied. Can Raoul let go of the past long enough to find his future with Alexx, or is he doomed to repeat past mistakes?


Alexx drew in his breath in dismay. This wasn’t going well. Even so, he could not stop staring at Raoul. His eyes met the other man’s. Raoul’s were very golden; he wasn’t aware such colors even existed in the spectrum of the human eye. But then again, he didn’t have any friends that were werewolves either. He wondered if this was a sign that perhaps this man was about to change, right here and now?
The thought was both exhilarating and frightening.

Alexx’s vision telescoped until he wasn’t aware of anything but this gorgeous man in front of him. Blood pounded in his ears and his mouth felt suddenly dry. Having lost all sense of the others in the room, he was surprised when he felt his chair yanked out from under him. Before he could fall, a hand grabbed the scruff of his neck, propelling him to his feet. He glanced at his companion; Miller was being subjected to the same surly treatment.

“You waste my time for this?” Raoul’s upper lip curled back in a snarl. Alexx found himself wildly attracted to him. “I have somewhere I need to be. Paolo, please show these gentlemen out.” Sarcastic much? He turned and reached for the door, but it opened before he touched it.

A shaggy blond with hazel eyes and a cheerful countenance stuck his head inside. “Hey Paolo—” He interrupted himself at the sight of the occupants of the room.

Alexx heard Miller’s sigh of relief, even as he too recognized the newcomer. He’d seen him around the Chronicle often enough, although he’d never really spoken to him. Foster Levine, son of the Chronicle’s owner—heir apparent and future newspaper magnate.

Alexx’s relief quickly changed to anxiety. What if Foster knew how old he really was? He couldn’t be sure one way or the other, but for the sake of argument, he had to assume he did. Would he out him to Raoul Marchand and his burly minion? Had they simply jumped from the frying pan to be scorched by the fire?

Author Bio:

Julie Lynn Hayes was reading at the age of two and writing by the age of nine and always wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Two marriages, five children, and more than forty years later, that is still her dream. 

She blames her younger daughters for introducing her to yaoi and the world of M/M love, a world which has captured her imagination and her heart and fueled her writing in ways she'd never dreamed of before. She especially loves stories of two men finding true love and happiness in one another's arms and is a great believer in the happily ever after. 

She lives in St. Louis with her daughter Sarah and two cats, loves books and movies, and hopes to be a world traveler some day. She enjoys crafts, such as crocheting and cross stitch, knitting and needlepoint and loves to cook. 

While working a temporary day job, she continues to write her books and stories and reviews, which she posts in various places on the internet. Her family thinks she is a bit off, but she doesn't mind. Marching to the beat of one's own drummer is a good thing, after all.  

Her published works can be found at Amber Quill Press, Dreamspinner Press, MuseitUp Publishing, Torquere Press, and eXtasy Books. She is also an editor at MuseitUp.  

My links:

Available now from Amber Allure

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Ice Fairy - Interview with the Fairy Godmother S L Danielson

  1. Which of your supporting characters plays the biggest role in progressing the story.
That would likely be Brett. He’s the one that starts the wheels in motion with his dream propelling things. (spoiler...letters begin the conversation).
  1. Which of your main characters was the biggest pain in the ass to write.
Omigod, that was Amber. I don’t like writing female characters much; but this one was whiny and a pita.
3.      Do you use any writing programs? If so what and how easy are they to use, if not is it because you don't know of any or have you looked at them and decided they're not for you.

I use Word for everything. It’s been the one I’ve used for over a decade now and despite sweeping changes in the latest editions; I adapted and still love it.
  1. If you could make a film out of any of your books, which would it be and which characters would your cats play? 
LOL! Now that’s a Nephy question. J Since none of the current books have cats in them (shocking, I know)… let’s pretend. I’d love “For the Heart of Phillip” to be a movie and the cats can be cast as Phillip’s pets.
  1. What's your favourite film? If the film were to be re cast with animals, which animals would play which part.
On an animal kick? Ha ha. Maybe a Missouri Mule? My favorite film is “Interview with the Vampire” and if it were to be recast with animals; a donkey would be Tom Cruise/Lestat, a tiger would be Brad Pitt/Louis, Armand/Antonio Banderas would be… a bat and Claudia/Kirsten Dunst? An owl.
  1. What's the favourite book you've read this year
“Face In the Window” one of yours. I love it! It’s exactly the type of thing I like to read.
  1. What was the first book you can remember reading.
Amelia Bedelia or Clifford the big red dog. One of those. I read 10 books a night.
  1. What book has had the greatest impact on you.
I’d say…Marta Randall’s books. “Haven” I believe was the title. It had a gay scene in it that kinda jumpstarted my journey.
  1. Who is your favourite author?
I don’t have an absolute favorite; but I enjoy your works, William Maltese, and Marta Randall.
  1. What was the first thing you wrote? How much do you think you've improved since then?
The first thing I wrote was a story about a model when I was 12. I’ve gone leaps and bounds beyond that since then for sure. I had no detail; all dialogue. Now it’s nearly reverse that.
  1. What's your greatest fear?
Greatest fear? Obscurity.
  1. What's your greatest hope?
Greatest hope? For half of my dreams to come true.
  1. Where do you see yourself in five years time.
This is turning into a job interview. (lol). In five years I want sorely to be a CPA and making fantastic money but also being an author and doing what I was born to do.
  1. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why
You know me…Ireland. Not Dublin; but the countryside. Live rurally but with internet connection of course.
  1. If you could holiday anywhere in the world where would it be and why
Ireland again; but also Germany and Britain of course! I’d do anything to make it across the pond.
  1. If you had a million dollars what would you buy
After hugging my coworkers farewell, I’d buy a house, pay off my debt, help my family, and invest the rest.
  1. What part of being a successful author do you think you would enjoy the most?
I adore it when people write me and they’ve had such an emotional response to the story. I’ve had several that were very pissed with Phillip and literally tossed the book to the wall! I love that I got through to them on that level and made a connection. It’s every writer’s goal and dream to do so.
  1. Which famous person would you most like to see play one of your characters and which one.
Oooh. I’ve thought this one out a little. (hehe) Shaun White for Billy (yes, my Billy) and Chris Hemsworth for Brett or Erik. (They’re both Nordic and gorgeous).
  1. What have you got planned for S L Danielson in 2014?
For me? Let’s see…this new series has four more books, plus a spinoff series that I’m just starting; plus our series, Upstaged has another installment due out soon. Plus Alpha Lambda House. Plus another series that’s spun off from the Southern Comfort series.
So, Seriously…ha ha..pun intended! Lots of writing to do and lots coming.

And where can you get this awesome book?

All Romance

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Protecting Bear - Alicia Norwell

Today, I'm lucky enough to be hosting an old (she's not old, I am :) ) friend Alicia (Cia) Nordwell. I've loved everything I've ever read of hers and this is no exception. The story started off as one of our Wednesday Flashes and grew from there. Bear's a sweetheart, and well worth protecting. His story is well worth reading.

Oh, is it the best for last? Nephy’s kind enough to host me for the final day of my blog hop. Thanks Nephy! Don’t forget to check out the new excerpt and comment for your last chance to win the $10 Amazon gift card. Contest ends at midnight! The winner will be chosen randomly from the commenters and then announced on the final stop back at my blog tomorrow. Don’t forget to leave your email, or I won’t be able to contact you.

Passing on the Plot

I’ve written a lot about Bear and Kameron this last week. I thought today I’d share one of the major ways the plot changed too. You already saw the new beginning. Kameron’s part in the story became far more overt, but I also changed a few other events too, including the ending to some extent. Now, as I was asked in a previous stop, I didn’t do away with the happily ever after. I’m too much of a sucker for them myself.
Other things changed though. I’m sure everyone remembers Vilem… our backstabbing bad boy ex-boyfriend who screwed Bear over. This time around I went a little more explicit on what happens with him and there’s a lot of new content regarding him and the drugs Choika’s looking for.
Of course I can’t tell you everything or the major fun part of the eBook would be revealed! If you haven’t already read the eBook, I would hate to spoil it. For now, enjoy the excerpt and I’ll see you on my blog tomorrow to announce the winner!

Synopsis: Bear has horrible luck with guys. Kameron seems like a good guy, but Bear thought his ex was a good guy too. He turned out to be a drug dealer. Kameron isn't who Bear thinks he is, though, and Vilem's enemies are looking for Bear. They want to… talk. 

Excerpt: Casually, over their hot dogs, Bear decided to deal with Kameron’s distraction. His constant fidgeting was worse than usual, and Bear knew that there was something on his mind that Kameron was reluctant to talk about. Normally the man inhaled his food, needing a large amount of food to keep that big body moving… and damn could he make it move. “So, did your partner have any news for us?”
Kameron’s mouth dropped open again.
“Ew, man, I didn’t need to see that. Swallowing is important, very important.” Bear smirked. Kameron flushed. “You really think I didn’t realize you were going out every other day around dinner time to pick up food, and come back with a little wrinkle in your forehead?” 
Kameron frowned.
“Yeah, that one,” Bear said. 
“I just need to know what’s going on.” Kameron wiped his mouth. “The phone is a burner purchased with cash. I never call from the same place or too close to the apartment.” 
Bear nodded. “I know you’re being safe. I like the idea of having someone to fall back on for information, too. Jimmy’s still out of commission, and the last time the captain called all she would say was to sit tight. It’s frustrating when you’re kept in the dark, even for you own protection.” Bear wasn’t above getting that dig in. Kameron winced. “Did he have anything to say? Have they found Choika’s drugs?”
“No.” Kameron cleared his throat. “Actually… Vilem was shanked in prison. He might not make it.” 
Vilem could be dying. Bad guy or not, Bear hadn’t expected to Kameron to say he’d been stabbed. His hot dog fell from numb fingers. “I… he what?” 
“One of the Zbrane inmates got him during the transfer from his cell to the bus. He was scheduled to go before the grand jury.”
Icy chills washed over Bear. His mouth was incredibly dry, so he reached for his drink. His hand shook, and he tipped over his glass of soda. Bear watched the spreading stain, unable to move. In his mind the stain wasn't soda, it was blood.
Their blood.
Kameron bolted out of his seat and knelt beside him, pulling Bear into his arms. Bear wrapped his arms around Kameron’s chest and held on, trying to stop the waves of panic. He shook his head, grabbing Kameron's shirt and holding on tight.
His ribs protested when Kameron pulled him out of the chair and onto his lap on the floor.

Available for purchase at:

Author Bio:

Alicia Nordwell is one of those not so rare creatures, a reader turned writer. Striving to find something interesting to read one day, she decided to write what she wanted instead. Then the voices started... Yep, not only does she talk about herself in the third person for bios, she has voices in her head constantly clamoring to get out. Fortunately for readers, with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided for her own sanity to keep writing. Now you can find her stories both free and e-published! Oh yeah, she's a wife, mom of two, and lives in the dreary, yet ideal for her redhead complexion, Pacific Northwest. Except for when she disappears into one of the many worlds in her head, of course!  

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Wednesday Brief - Catherine's Revenge Ch 12

And here we are at another Wednesday. This week, I've chosen the prompt - Can things get any worse. However, you know what I'm like about pictures and this prompt was so pretty, I just have to post it even though it has nothing to do with the story

Emma was shocked to her core. He could have saved them? He could have saved them all? He could save Ash?

“But….  You could have saved them. You could have saved them all, and Catherine wouldn’t have hurt anyone, ever again.”

“She would have hurt me.” Tristan said, quietly, his eyes downcast.

Emma turned away and focused on Ash. She was too furious even to look at Tristan.

“Please,” he said. “Please try to understand.”

Emma ignored him, fuming. Understand? Oh, she understood alright. She understood he was selfish. He was so selfish. It was so unfair.

Savagely, Emma poked at the fire with a stick, wishing she was poking it in his eye. She wasn’t the kind to yell and scream in someone’s face, but she was close. How dare he? How dare he watch Ash suffer like this, when he could save him? When he could…? When…? Gradually, her anger faded, and was replaced with something else. It took a while before she realized it was empathy.

Adam had remained silent and, initially, she’d been angry with him, too. Why wasn’t he fighting for his son? Then, truth filtered through the anger. Adam was silent because he understood. He understood better than she did.

What would Ash have said? Beautiful, sweet, sensitive Ash. He’d have understood, too. If Ash died, his soul would be at peace; a peace Tristan would never know. Ash would die eventually, no matter what happened, so would she. Human life was a blink of an eye, but eternity….

“I’m sorry,” she said, at last.

“What?” Tristan looked startled.

“I’m sorry. I understand. You can’t do that. I couldn’t ask you to do that; no one could.”

“You – understand? You don’t hate me?”

“No, I don’t hate you.”

A silent scream of rage filled the air, which suddenly turned cold.

“Catherine,” Tristan hissed.

“Oh great,” Emma moaned. “Just when you think things are as bad as they can get; they get worse.”

“Can things get any worse?” Adam asked.

“Things can always get worse,” Tristan said, grimly.

All eyes turned to the car, where the mist was pouring out onto the grass. It started to boil, and a figure seemed to be forming, from the bottom up. The mist poured into it as if into a mould. Already, they could see the tattered hem of an old wedding dress.

“What should we do?” Emma drew closer to Ash.

“There is nothing we can do. There is nowhere to run.” Tristan stood, facing the car, his face set in grim lines. 
In the distance sirens screamed, drawing nearer.

“I’ll go up to the road,” Adam said, his eyes on the mist, which was now waist height. “I wouldn’t want them to miss us.”

“They will see the fire,” Tristan said.

“Yes, of course.” Adam didn’t move.

The sirens came closer, and lights flickered in the distance. The figure, now complete, appeared in the mist, glowing slightly, and took a step forward, her hands reaching, fingers clawed. Ash gave a harsh cry, his eyes flying open. They were completely black, and Adam cried out in horror.

Catherine’s form laughed. “He’s mine now,” she cried, throwing her head back and laughing in a way that left no one in doubt she was utterly insane.

Emma didn’t see her. All she saw was Ash’s eyes. They were fixed, unblinking, cold. A light had gone out.

“No,” she cried, drawing everyone’s attention away from Catherine.

Tearing away the blankets, Emma frantically searched for a pulse. She pressed her ear against Ash’s chest. There was nothing, and the sirens were too far away.

Desperately trying to remember what she’d learned of CPR, she breathed into Ash’s mouth and compressed his chest, sobbing, panic stricken.

Then, arms wrapped around her and drew her away. Although she struggled, the arms were an iron band around her chest.

“Dad,” she screamed. “Dad, no.” But Adam held on.

Tristan knelt beside Ash and laid his hands on Ash’s chest. The world held its breath, as a faint glow appeared, growing stronger in pulses. It slowly began to spread outward.

Catherine screamed in rage, as Tristan removed his hands, leaving a golden ball of energy over Ash’s heart. Time slowed as three things happened simultaneously.

Catherine lunged forward, her hands clawed, and her face twisted in a mask of insane rage. Tristan leaped to his feet, and sprang at her. In the moment their bodies met, they vanished.

Then Ash took a shuddering breath, and cried out as if in pain. Stunned, Emma stared at the place Tristan and Catherine had vanished for a moment then turned her attention back to Ash. His eyes were blue again, and were no longer blank, but full of confusion.

“Em?” he croaked, and Emma stroked his cheek.

“I’m here. You’re going to be okay. Just lie still, help is coming.”

“I won’t,” Ash rasped, pausing to moisten his lips. “I won’t let her…. I won’t….”

“I know, sweetheart. You’re so strong, so brave. You’re the other half of my soul. I know you’ll come back to me, and I won’t let you go.”

The ghost of a smile played over Ash’s lips, then he sighed and his eyes closed.

In a panic, Emma didn’t calm until she’d satisfied herself Ash was alive, his heart beating strongly. He even seemed to be a little less cold. Still, she wasn’t happy until the ambulance and two police cars screamed to a halt and suddenly there were people everywhere.

Now go check out the other bloggers who I'm sure will have some wonderful flashes for you this week. You can find them all at Wednesday Briefs

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Crosswinds by Lynne Cantwell

Where’s the Sexy Werewolf?
By Lynne Cantwell

I’m having a hard time classifying my latest novel.

I had the same problem with the Pipe Woman Chronicles. I began the first book, Seized, with the intention of writing an urban fantasy. And so I pegged those five books as urban fantasy/paranormal romance – and certainly the series has some of the necessary tropes: a kickass woman as first-person narrator and an urban setting, with a number of inexplicable occurrences, a few shapeshifters, and a romance. But no vampires, no werewolves, and no fae. Instead, I brought in a bunch of Native American mythology and several pantheons of pagan gods. It’s definitely fantasy, and it’s got that Native American thing going for it. But…gods? How do you classify gods?

Now I’m writing a sort of spin-off series called Land, Sea, Sky, and I’m having the same problem. And to make things worse, the first book, Crosswind, doesn’t even have a shapeshifter. Well, unless you count Loki – but he only appears in a couple of scenes. Instead, I’ve got three reluctant human heroes, drafted by two goddesses and a god, to stand up to a being named Lucifer who wants to be a god. Yeah, that Lucifer. Needless to say, the fate of the world is in balance.

But yeah – no vampires, no werewolves, and no fae. Just…gods.

Why would I do this? It’s because of what I find scary about modern life. Let’s take a moment to go back to the literary antecedents of these scary critters that populate paranormal romance today, and talk about how they’ve changed.

It’s widely recognized that Bram Stoker’s Dracula wasn’t just about vampires. The vampire was simply a convenient vehicle for Stoker to write about Victorian-era sexual repression. The foreign stranger comes uninvited into your home, violates your chaste woman, and steals her away from you – you get the picture. It’s all about illicit sex and women as property – highly valued property, but property nonetheless. So now, today, when readers are no longer titillated by a little illicit sex, you’ve got to go farther – to vampires who aren’t monsters. Today’s vampires literally seduce their victims before sticking in their, uh, fangs. And they have consciences. They’re really kind of okay guys, except with a dietary quirk and an aversion to sunlight (and some of them don’t even have that).

Same with werewolves, kind of. In the original stories, werewolves were tormented beings who struggled with their animal natures. They played on the classic struggle between man’s natural state, which was bad, and modern civilization, which was good. It was only a matter of time (and a few decades) before somebody decided civilization wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. So now we have stories of werewolves with six-pack abs and the women who love them.

And about the fae. Legend says the Tuatha de Danaan were a race of beings who defeated two other races, the Fir Bolg and the Fomorians, to conquer Ireland. They were, in turn, conquered by the Gaelic people and disappeared “under the hill,” becoming known as the Sidhe or the “fair folk” – fairies. The leprechaun was once Lugh, king of the Tuatha de Danaan and a guy who could literally do anything. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. No wonder the fae are so cranky now.

So what’s scary in our modern world? Not sex, certainly, and not getting in touch with our animal natures. What scares me, personally, is that whole industries are designed to keep us afraid: of other cultures, of other religions, of somebody taking all our stuff. The captains of these industries are making a lot of money by scaring us, and then inventing things for us to buy that give us a false sense of security – false, because there was nothing to be scared of in the first place.

In Crosswind, Tess, Sue, and Darrell take up the fight against the fear-mongers in Washington, D.C. They have otherworldly help in the shape of the gods, and yes, there’s sex. But no vampires and no werewolves, 

So is Crosswind urban fantasy? Paranormal romance? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Life on Earth is much improved since the pagan gods’ return. As conflict eases around the world, attention — and money — has turned to more humanitarian goals: improving the lives of the First Nations peoples and others who were repressed for thousands of years.

But the former ruling class – the military, religious, and corporate leaders who profited under the old system — are about to stage a last-ditch effort to bring their good times back.

The gods refuse to start a new war against those men, because that would make them no better than Their opponents. Instead, They have drafted three humans to help Them. Together, Tess, Sue and Darrell must find a way past their own flaws to ensure the gods’ peace will not be destroyed.
Genre – Urban Fantasy
Pages – approx 275 (68K words)
Published November 20th 


Lynne Cantwell has been writing fiction since the second grade, when the kid who sat in front of her showed her a book he had written, and she thought, “I could do that.” The result was Susie and the Talking Doll, a picture book, illustrated by the author, about a girl who owned a doll that not only could talk, but could carry on conversations. The book had dialogue but no paragraph breaks. Today, after a twenty-year career in broadcast journalism and a master’s degree in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University (or perhaps despite the master’s degree), Lynne is still writing fantasy. In addition, she is a contributing author at Indies Unlimited.  

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Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Wednesday Briefs. Catherine's Revenge Ch 11

Another Wednesday, my first since Christmas. I had a great Christmas, with lots of good, family times. The New Year was good and now we're back to reality.

This week, I'm cheating again. Imagine this prompt, not as a princess, but as a totally insane woman, in a tattered wedding dress.

Emma woke, to Tristan calling her name. She blinked open her eyes, and thought she must still be dreaming. The car was full of mist, so thick she couldn’t see anything at all. With a groan, she brought her hand up to her forehead, and winced as her fingers touched what felt like a nasty cut. They came away sticky with blood.

The mist was cold. It felt as if it was made up of tiny slivers of ice and Emma shivered. Every breath hurt, as she took the freezing mist into her lungs.

“What…what’s happening?”

“Catherine,” Tristan said, simply. “You have to get out.”


“You have to get out, Emma. She’ll freeze you where you sit. You have to get out, before you’re too cold.”


“Leave him. It’s too late. Save yourself.”

“No.” Ash’s weight was heavy across her legs, and all attempts to rouse him where fruitless. With panic making her heart hammer in her chest, Emma fumbled with the door handle. To her immense relief, the door opened.

Tumbling out of the car, with the mist swirling after her, Emma struggled to drag Ash out onto the grass.

“Leave him,” Tristan begged. “Save yourself, please.”

“Where’s my father?”

“He’s alright. He got out. I think he’s over there.” Tristan nodded toward the road. “He’s trying to get a signal on his communication device. Please, come away”

Tristan tugged at Emma’s sleeve and she turned to glare at him. “I’m not leaving my brother behind. Either help me or leave me the hell alone.”

Tristan froze, meeting her eyes with a shocked expression. Then, he apparently came to a decision, and nodded.

“Very well, I’ll try, but please don’t…. It’s too late for him, Emma. If he isn’t already dead, it will be very soon. It’s too late. There’s nothing we can do, but get as far away from here as possible,”

Emma gazed at Ash. He was motionless, his grey skin tinted blue with cold. Was he already dead? “No,” Emma growled. “I won’t let it happen. I won’t let him go. If he was dead Catherine wouldn’t be here anymore. She wouldn’t have any need to be.  For the love of God, help me.”

“I said I would.” Tristan grabbed Ash, under the arms, and hauled him out of the car. Supporting Ash against him, Tristan dragged him away from the car, and the swirling mist, laying him on the grass.

“Emma.” Emma looked up at her father’s cry. Adam came sliding down the banking from the road. “I got a signal. Help is coming. Oh, dear God; Ash.”
Adam threw himself to his knees beside his son. Wiping blood out of her eyes, Emma joined him, while Tristan hovered nervously at her shoulder.

“Is he…?” Adam asked, afraid to touch him.

“I don’t know.” Shivering at the touch of her brother’s cold skin, Emma felt for a pulse and almost passed out when she found it. It was weak, and fluttered under her fingers, but it was there. “He’s alive. We have to keep him warm.”

“Nothing can warm him, Emma,” Tristan said sadly.

“Help or leave, it’s up to you, but stop the doomsaying. I’m not leaving Ash, and I’m going to do everything in my power to save him. If you can’t accept that, get the hell out of here.”

Tristan stared at her, his mouth agape. Then he nodded. “I understand,” he said. “I will do what I can.”

“Find kindling,” Adam said, snapping back to life. “I don’t know how long it will take for help to get here. We need to build a fire. There are matches in the boot of the car. I’ll get them.”

“You should stay away from the car,” Tristan said. “Catherine’s power lingers there. I’ll get what you need.”

Adam paused, then nodded. “The keys are still in the ignition. You’ll need them to open the boot. Bring me the blue bag. Oh, and there’s a rug, and the sleeping bags. Bring whatever you can carry.

Tristan nodded, and headed for the car.

Five minutes later they were sitting huddled around a bonfire. Ash was swaddled in sleeping bags and blankets, but they had done nothing to warm him.

“Nothing you do will warm him,” Tristan said, sadly. “Nothing anyone does can warm him. It’s an unnatural cold, a poison with no antidote.”

“Why are you always so negative? You sound as if you don’t want to find a way; that you don’t want to beat her.” A thought occurred, and Emma recoiled in horror. “You’re with her, aren’t you? You’re not helping. You’re leading us deeper into her web.”

“No, no I swear it. I’ve spent three hundred years looking for a way, trying and failing, How can I not be negative, when I have failed so many times?”

“You’ve given up.”

“No. I’ll never give up; not until I see her in hell, where she belongs.”

“You don’t have to give up, do you? After Ash, there won’t be any more. All you have to do is wait.”

“Unless you have a son.”

“What? She said it’s over, that it ends with Ash.”

“She lied. It doesn’t. You’re as much a Loughbridge as he is, and if you have a son—”

“Why would she lie?”

“To fool you? To lull you? Who can say what Catherine’s motives are?”

Emma fell into silence, stroking Ash’s face and hair, the only things visible in the cocoon.

“Back in the summerhouse,” she said at last, “Catherine said you could have ended it; you could have saved them all. What did she mean?”

“Catherine twists things.”

“But there must have been a kernel of truth. Please.”

“It’s not about saving them; it’s about dooming me.”

“I don’t understand.”

“It’s true. I can save Ash. I could have saved them all – by binding myself to Catherine. There would be no peace for my soul, ever. We would exist in our own personal hell – for eternity.

And now, there are other tidbits, sweet flashes for your Wednesday delectation. You can find them all at the Wednesday Briefs website

Saturday, 4 January 2014

M A Church - Wrapped in Leather

"Most welcome, bondage, for thou art a way, I think, to liberty."

- William Shakespeare

Hey everyone! I’m M.A. Church and I’m here to talk about my latest release, Wrapped in Leather. It’s the first in the Wrapped Up series. Wrapped in Leather is about two men exploring a relationship involving their love of leather, BDSM. One of the things Toshi has to answer for himself is: What is a submissive?

A submissive is a person who makes a conscious choice to give up some or all control of their life to another persona Dominant or a Top. Dominance and submission is about a power exchange between two consenting adults. It is about the control within the dynamics of that relationship, whether it be a full time 24/7 relationship, or a casual meeting, or a part time arrangement.

Choosing to be submissive means to allow someone else to control your body and behavior within the preset limits you and that particular person, i.e. the Dominant, have agreed upon. Submission is not a sign of weakness; some of the most successful and strongest people are true submissives.

Submission is not about passiveness, it is not about being a doormatmost submissives are intelligent and well-balanced people just fulfilling their basic desires to submit and to give up control. Submission is not about kinky sex and whips and chainsthough those things can and do play a part in our lifestyle, it is much deeper than just that, and comes from the heart. Submission is a choice, and a wonderful gift to the Dominantit should never be entered into lightly, even in a casual situation at a party or gathering.

~Photo courtesy of Gregory Anton
Many thanks to the model, Ben. J

Buy link: Dreamspinner Press
Paperback: Dreamspinner Press
Release date: January 3rd
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond

To celebrate his decision to take the next step with his boyfriend Ian, Toshi Baylor plans a romantic evening at their favorite steak house. Toshi starts the special weekend with a bang by surprising Ian at home with lunch. There’s a bang all right, but it’s between Ian and another guy.

Jase Taylor’s auto repair shop and the BDSM club, Wrapped Up, keep him busy while he waits for Mr. Right, instead of Mr. Right Now. He’s a Dom, but playing with the club’s submissives isn’t providing the usual stress release. After a day from hell, he deserves a good meal at his favorite steak house.

Toshi and Jase find a mix-up with their reservations: a table for Baylor, not Taylor. When Toshi invites Jase to dine with him, they discover a mutual affection for leather and a shared belief that trust must be earned.

Before they can explore their common interests, Toshi suffers a series of attacks by vandals. Jase’s protective instincts kick in, but both wonder if it can lead to anything permanent.

Jase placed his hand on Toshi’s arm, halting the smaller man. “Okay, as I was saying… Why not meet me sometime at the gym? You wouldn’t have to work out alone then, and neither would I.”
Toshi stopped hunting his car keys and looked up at Jase. “Really? I’d like that.”
Jase held his helmet under his arm. He really didn’t want Toshi to leave without knowing when he’d see him again or having some way to contact him. That alone surprised him, but he didn’t question the impulse, just went with it.
“Tell you what, let’s exchange numbers and I’ll call you… well, hell.” Jase wasn’t letting Toshi go without knowing something. “Why don’t you meet me tomorrow at three? We can work out.”
Toshi fiddled with his keys. “I, ah, yeah. That sounds good. Three it is. Just go easy on me, man. It’s been two weeks, at least, since I worked out.”
Jase zipped his leather jacket, debating how to answer, then threw caution to the wind. Better to see how Toshi would react now than later. “Going easy isn’t in my vocabulary. That’s not who I am. I push—that’s what I do. But I won’t push you any harder than what you… need.”
Toshi’s mouth opened slightly. “Oh. I, ah… I, oh. Three, right? Yes, I’ll be there.”
There was no mistaking the look of lust that flashed in Toshi’s eyes, and Jase felt himself respond. “Give me your phone.” After Jase programmed his number, he handed the cell back to Toshi. “Dress in street clothes and bring whatever you work out in. After we’re done, we can shower there, then grab something to eat or… whatever. And Toshi, I enjoyed tonight. Very much. Call me if you can’t make it.”
Jase put on his helmet and his leather gloves. He noticed the way Toshi eyed the leather he wore—that was promising—before he flipped the visor down. He looked at Toshi—both of them standing there, staring at each other. He made a point of glancing down at the front of Toshi’s pants, to where a nice bulge showed, before walking away.
Just as he started the bike, he saw Toshi hurry to his car. Jase pulled out and passed in front of Toshi’s car. He stopped, one foot on the road to balance himself. Toshi was just sitting there, doing nothing. Jase’s grin was hidden behind the visor. It looked like he had Toshi’s attention. He lifted his hand, making the motion of starting a vehicle. When Toshi’s car started, he nodded and drove off, very satisfied with what he’d seen so far.
He glanced in his rearview mirror as headlights turned in the opposite direction. He’d bet Toshi was a submissive but had no real training. That need was there, though. He’d seen glimpses of it during dinner and at dessert. It had been a while since he'd played with anyone who wasn’t in the lifestyle, but Toshi showed promise. If he wasn’t very much mistaken, they shared a common interest… leather.

Author bio:
M.A. Church lives in the southern United States and spent many years in the elementary education sector. She is married to her high school sweetheart and they have two children. Her hobbies are gardening, walking, attending flea markets, watching professional football, racing, and spending time with her family on the lake.

But her most beloved hobby is reading. From an early age, she can remember hunting for books at the library. Later nonhuman and science fiction genres captured her attention and drew her into the worlds the authors had created. But always at the back of her mind was the thought that one day, when the kids were older and she had more time, she would write a book.

By sheer chance she stumbled across a gay male romance story on the web and was hooked. A new world opened up and she fell in love. Thus the journey started. When not writing or researching, she enjoys reading the latest erotic and mainstream romance novels.

My links:
Twitter @nomoretears00
The Harvest FB fan page:!/theharvest00