Sunday, November 11, 2012

Amber Kell's Birthday Bash Visits Here Today!!

Today I'm helping Amber Kell celebrate her birthday month with massive giveaways and her continuing blog post, Wandmaker. Welcome Amber!!

Don't forget to pop over to Amber's blog to read my take on birthdays, and comment there for a chance to win my latest release, Locke, Stock and Barrel.

Here's today's installment. Be sure to leave a comment below for a chance to win! Good luck! :)


Cebrus watched for a moment as the guard struggled to decide their next move. Legally they couldn’t physically restrain a wand maker and magic wouldn’t work on Cebrus. He gave the closest guard a sympathetic pat on the back before walking between them and going in the direction he saw Silvan go.

He’d heard of chimeras his entire life but he’d never seen one before and he had no idea they were in this part of the world. They were the type of creature other people always claimed to see but could never prove.

Excitement thrummed through Cebrus’ s body. He loved finding fantastical creatures.

“Where is the chimera at?” He asked the guard.

“A mile from the castle, we’ll take you in the carriage.”

Cebrus frowned but didn’t argue as they bundled him into the death trap and got him on his way. His fingers bit into the wood. He didn’t trust horses. They were sly creatures eager to kick you in the head if you turned your back on them. He’d learned the hard way the animals couldn’t be trusted.

At least in a carriage, despite its jolting and jumping he was far removed from the rabid beasts.

Finally, when Cebrus thought every bone had surely been shaken, the carriage pulled to a halt.

The door to the vehicle opened and the driver held out a hand to help Cebrus out. He graciously accepted the assistance wishing he were back on the road walking everywhere. You never felt like you were spun in a whirlwind when traveling on your own two feet.
After he emerged he gave the two guards a shaky nod and received amused grins in return.

He almost asked where the damned beast could be when a loud roar had him walking around the carriage.

“Oh my gods and goddesses,” Cebrus whispered as he caught sight of the creature. Maybe he’d been wrong—maybe he didn’t want to see the beast at all.

Before his shocked gaze the chimera’s snake tail snapped at one of the knights causing the man to stumble back and tumble down a low hill. With his armor he’d need three people to help him back up.

Cebrus scanned the crowd of knights. There had to be at least a dozen surrounding the beast. The chimera stood taller than the carriage Cebrus just exited from. Its entire body was covered with the fur of a goat and had the structure of one too. Every few minutes it would turn its head and blast out a burst of flame, causing the knights to jump back to avoid the fire.

The outing to see the beast went from amusing to horrifying. Cebrus’s hands shook as he watched Silvan step forward and confront the beast with his sword.

“Where in the fifteen hells is your wand!” Cebrus demanded.

“He doesn’t have one,” a deep voice answered beside him.

Cebrus pulled his attention away from the battle to confront the guard. “What do you mean?”

“He doesn’t like them. He says he’s never had a wand that suited him. He’d rather do without than try to use a bad one.”

Cebrus turned back to the battle. He couldn’t help wonder, even as his heart leapt in his throat, if Silvan had only wanted Cebrus for his abilities.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Wrapping up GRL, The Weekend and Beyond

With my sweetheart Rick Reed before dinner Friday night, photo courtesy of Rick. :)
It's Saturday at GRL (not today, but in this post). So if you missed the first few days, you can go relive them here (Pre-GRL and Day One) and here (Day Two). Okay, everyone caught up? Here we go!

I have a confession to make. I know I did something on Saturday morning. I really did. But for the life of me I can't remember what (and my roommate TA, aka my conjoined twin for the conference is in a time zone that really shouldn't be texted at this time of the night). So let's skip ahead, shall we, to the Book Signing.

We went in and set up and it was only after we'd had lunch and settled in to get ready that I looked around me at the rarified neighborhood I found myself in. Directly across from Damon.

Kitty corner across from Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton.

Directly behind us were Carol Lynne and JP Bowie (TA and I photobombed a few pics taken by readers but I haven't seen any of those yet). And kitty corner to the rear was Ethan Day and Geoff Knight.

Of course, I had my lovely partner in crime, TA Chase, sitting next to me.

It was at least a couple of hours long, but could have been way longer! We had a blast talking to people and signing things and giving stuff away. I wish I could have had time to wander around myself and visit some of the elusive authors I hadn't connected with yet.

Immediately afterwards, I headed out to the Spa Jar to help set up for the Total-E-Bound event, which included a Native American family of dancers. I was out front greeting people and handing out tickets when who should come strolling up hand-in-hand but Jason and Jared. Yep, they'd finally met. 

When my hosting duties were over, I got a chance to watch the dancers and spend some time with friends I love like Jackie Nacht.

And, of course, Jason and Jared.


Then after a detour up to our room for a quick change, we headed to Dreamspinner's Cabaret Night. I ran into Julianne Bentley, who was dressed the part for the event.

And spent some quality time (again)...where else?...out on the patio. I'll telling you, the weather was so nice I just had to get outside as often as I could at night. :) Plus the company was amazing! Here I'm in a sandwich I wish I could keep wrapped around me forever, with two of my fave people on earth, Marie Sexton and Ethan Day.

We had a fabulous group that chatted for hours, with the piano man inside providing ambiance.
After things wound down, we found our way back to Fusion, which was the fullest we'd seen it (of course, it was Saturday night!), but we GRL'ers represented well, taking over the dance floor and most of the rest of the place. True to the course of the evening, the rest of my pics from that night are blurry as heck, but this last one makes me smile because we were just so joyous (and buzzed) and having fun right before last call. A good one to close on. :)

The next morning was tough. Oh not because we were all hung over (which we were), but because we had to say goodbye...over and over...and over again, to people we'd come to care so much about. That was the atmosphere. I know I'm not alone in wishing that we all could just take over a small town somewhere and stay together forever. It was that closely bound of a feeling for everyone around us. I won't get into all the goodbyes, and I had a lot of them since my flight wasn't until 6pm or so. No pictures either since they were all rather bittersweet.

Anne Tenino and I found a bar right across from our gate and toasted to GRL and all of our friends, new and old. Then it was the flight home and back to reality.

And now? The countdown has begun. See you all in Atlanta next October. I'll be there with bells on!! Will you?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Locke, Stock and Barrel Release Day, Who You'll See In It and A Brand New Excerpt

Yay! It's release day for Locke, Stock and Barrel, the third book in my Vampires and Mages and Weres, Oh My! series.

If you've read the first two books, you know that there are no overlapping characters in those. Well, that changes in this one, big time! You'll spend quality time with the twins Raine and Brie (both as kids and as adults) and Raine's vamp Valerian from A Pint Light, and also touch base with our angel Kyrian and demon Seth (and even Lucifer the dog!) from Through the Red Door.

You can find Locke, Stock and Barrel HERE at Total-E-Bound, and check for it this week at your favorite third-party sites. Here's the blurb and a never-before released excerpt:


Faint heart never won fair...mage? What’s a werewolf to do when his mate runs away? Chase him, of course.

Aspen, a master mage, has loved his foster sister Brie for years, but now that she’s been forced to become an acolyte, the only way to ever win her is to find another source of the power their faction needs before the new moon. Seeking information about the were, Aspen walks into Locke’s café and finds what could be the solution to everything. He could finally have Brie...but sometimes what you think you want and what you get are two very different things.

Locke is shocked when Aspen walks into his life. He’d always been told that as an omega, he would never have a mate. But the joyous occasion is marred by his banishment from the only life he’s ever known, and even worse, Aspen has disappeared. Now, with nothing more to lose, he must track down his wayward mage. But trouble has beaten him there and unless he acts quickly, Aspen could be killed. And that’s not even the worst possible outcome...


Aspen watched the café from his car, as he had off and on for the past couple of days.

He’d spent nearly a week working with Brianne, together assisting Raine through the dream sequence, then assured her that she was more than capable of supporting Raine through the subsequent visits with the three chosen vampires. They’d easily isolated the best potential candidates as being within a single vampire clan, which was a great sign—usually indicative that they’d zeroed in correctly and that the mating and power exchange would happen.

She’d been concerned when he’d refused to explain where he was going and why, but he didn’t want a single person—even one he trusted as much as Brie—to know of his mission. First of all, he hadn’t wanted to raise any hopes, especially since he was so uncertain of the outcome and really didn’t have any information to share. He also didn’t want to distract her from her first major ritual as Acolyte, particularly since it involved her brother.

Mostly, though, he didn’t want any hint of his quest to get into the wrong hands. The walls had ears, and he wasn’t about to give rival clans any information that could be used against them later on.
It had taken some doing, but he’d finally convinced Gideon to reveal the whereabouts of the entity that had led him to the Blacks, now living as a black mastiff and going by the ironic name of Lucifer. Not the exact location, of course—it had been years ago since Gideon had given the then puppy to a woman as a guardian for her son—but he knew the town they’d lived in, and that the woman had died a few years ago while still living in the same town. It had seemed a good starting point.

Trusting his instincts, he’d driven to the town, which was incidentally very near the vamps’ territory, and spent some time meditating on his memories of that unforgettable voice. The majority of the times he’d reached out, he’d either ended up in front of the café or picturing the café in his mind.

Far be it from him to ignore a hint.

Keeping his eye trained for any sight of a huge black dog, he stepped out of his car and locked it behind him before walking across the street to the café’s entrance.

He paused on the threshold and absorbed what information he could from the room. Mostly non-magical humans. He didn’t sense any other mages, which was good. No sign of the dog—what was he thinking, that the dog would be curled up in a public restaurant taking a nap? Ordering one of the huge cinnamon rolls on display?

Obviously it wasn’t meant to be that easy.

There were a few other people in the room who he couldn’t get an immediate read on, including the trio approaching the door—a large, dark-haired man effortlessly carrying another apparently injured man, and an attractive waiter who smiled at the duo as he hovered alongside them.

He did a mental double-take.

Attractive waiter?

Had he really just thought that about a man?

He stepped back out and held the door for the duo. The one walking gave him a smirk as he passed, and Aspen narrowed his eyes in response. If he had to guess, he’d say demon, but he had no idea about his companion, who didn’t acknowledge Aspen’s presence other than to briefly nod his thanks.
Aspen entered the café and came face to face with the waiter, who turned his attention from the receding couple and focused his warm, welcoming brown eyes on Aspen, only to freeze and gape at him in shock, going bright red.

He was about to ask what was the matter when he got a strong sense of having missed something. He looked back, trying to see the couple who had left, but they were already out of sight.

“Huh.” He faced the waiter—host?—who was visibly trying to compose himself. “Are you okay?”

“Um…yes? Table for one?”

Aspen fought a rare smile, wondering at the urge. But the sight of the young man trying desperately to regain a sense of normality made an impression on him.

“Yes. In the back, please.”

“Good. I mean…right this way.”

He trailed the man towards the rear of the small but bright restaurant. Nearly every table was filled even at what he would have guessed to have been an off hour, past lunch. In fact, from what he recalled of the posted hours he’d checked yesterday, it would be closing within a half an hour.

“Is there still time to order?” he asked as he was seated at the furthest booth in the back. He got another vivid internal nudge and he glanced around, feeling unsettled.

“Yes, yes, of course.” Then the waiter surprised him by brushing his longish, straight dark hair back with one hand then seating himself in the opposite side of the booth. “I’m sorry, I just can’t… Do you know who I am?”

Somehow Aspen didn’t think he meant the question as an amnesiac would. He shook his head silently, using the familiar tactic to encourage the man to continue speaking.

“My name is Locke. I own the café…”

Aspen nodded, knowing this was not the end of his introduction.

“And I think…I’m your mate.”


For another excerpt, series info and to purchase: Locke, Stock and Barrel at Total-E-Bound.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

GRL Part Deux: Stagefright, Skulls, Singing and Ships Passing in the Night

When we last met, I was cleaning up before bed after the first official night of GRL, reluctantly washing Damon's sweat away. The next time I saw him, he was acting as cruise director on the bus to Albuquerque for away-from-the-Hard-Rock events.

Before that, I had my Author Q&A panel with Carol Lynne, TA Chase and Kate McMurray, moderated by Kris Jacen. When the group below took front and center, I think I broke a sweat. Or maybe it was when they set us up each with our own microphones. Yikes! Public speaking=not my forte. 

It went surprisingly well, though, and something potentially good came of it. When we were asked what book we'd wanted to write, but didn't feel we could, my answer was the sequel to Making His List, where Bailey's custody is settled for good. I have just never felt as though I could do that story justice, either the emotional handling of Bailey's mother's treatment of her, or the knowledge base needed for child custody cases. That got me a great brainstorming session and offer of help from Kris. Thanks and kisses!

After the TEB spotlight, we rushed to get ready for our trip to the outside world. First stop was the Wool Warehouse for Torquere's luncheon (and more green chiles). I shared a table with, among others, the awesomeness that is Kris/Jet/Jade. Jared was there with his man-purse bag and helped me not lose my head and other important belongings.

 Then we headed to Old Town for some shopping and sightseeing. Geoff Knight and his adorable mum found some fabulous skulls as gifts and keepsakes, and I'm hoping those got home safely! Claire and Nicki from TEB were extreme shopping and had a knack for finding some lovely buys, but I have no idea how they got everything back to the UK.
For some reason, I have no pics from the Old Town trip until the MLR Day of the Dead event. Upon entry, there was a lovely memorial to Bill Neale and Patric Michael (a good, real-life friend of mine, as we lived very close to one another). We enjoyed sangria in the wonderful weather out on the patio. Before the bus back to the hotel, I accepted their kind offer of sugar skulls "to go" for my girls, who LOVED them.


On my way to karaoke, I finally ran into my friend Jason! We put the following quick pic of us up on FB...and who should notice it but my new friend Jared? More on that later.

Then it was karaoke time! I just HAD to snap the following pic during All That Jazz, a crowd favorite in our corner of the room!

I didn't get up and sing, though I did plenty on the sidelines (I'd already had plenty of mic time at the Q&A, thank you very much, and honestly, by this point my voice was going, lol). And here are Nanette de Precoure and JR Boyd, who I finally got to know that night!

I've reposted the video I took of Ethan singing here for you non-FBers (adjust your volume!). It was a total hit. Amazing voice! Who knew?

After karaoke, I changed and headed down to Fusion for some dancing and catching-up time with Jason. Jared was heading out about 5 minutes before Jase got there to meet me (found out later Jared had gone to Center Bar, but we just couldn't find him that night).

Jason, as usual, went through the photos on my phone, saw Jared's, and was thrilled that I knew him (he'd already spotted him, too). After some FB page stalking, lol, we went looking for him in the casino, but no dice... (haha, couldn't resist)

Will Jared ever meet Jason? Will I ever get my voice back? And how many green chiles can one person eat and survive? Stay tuned. The answers to all these questions and more on my next blog post....