Relapse Cover Reveal and Blog Hop!


reborncoverbigReveal day is finally here!!! I get to show you the GORGEOUS cover art for Relapse, designed by the magnificent Heidi Sieverding!!! And yes, that’s Siobhan on the cover…of course! Relapse (Book 2 in the Reborn series) releases Tuesday, December 2, 2014!!!!!!

Summary:

Jasper might be gone for good, but Siobhan can’t escape the memory of him.

Or, rather, Psyche’s memories of him—memories of a kinder, gentler man, not the one who lied and manipulated her. She should have tried harder to reach him—to save Jasper from the darkness consuming him. Guilt—maybe that’s the reason why she still sees his face everywhere she turns. That, or she’s going crazy.

And Siobhan really doesn’t have time to lose her mind. Her best friend is in love with their enemy and is addicted to an alien drug. The Alpha Rhos blame her sorority for their sister’s death and take their quest for vengeance too far. Desperate, the Gamma Lambda Phis call on the help of the most deceitful Olympian of all, making her a promise they’re not even sure they can keep.

Once again, Siobhan finds herself not knowing who she can turn to or who she can trust. She comes to realize that her greatest enemy is the darkness within herself.

Fun Fact #1: One of the major themes in Relapse is addiction, especially addiction to love (hence the title).

Stop by all of these amazing blogs to read all of the fun facts about Relapse!

Inside the Mind of a Fantasy Writer

What a Nerd Girl Says

Shehanne Moore–Smexy Historical Romance

The Light-Bearer Series by Emily Guido

Book Junky Girls

Moonlight Reader

Shayna Varadeaux Books

Beckstar Reviews

Echoes of the Pen

Book Worm Brandy

Excerpt for Valentine’s Day: Eros and Psyche’s Wedding


I wanted to post a special romantic excerpt for Valentine’s Day, so here’s one from my current WIP Relapse. (Keep in mind this is from the first draft, and I don’t know if it will even end up in the final version.) It’s a flashback Siobhan has of Psyche’s/her wedding day. I hope to do some more research into actual Greek wedding customs, haha. But anyway it’s cute, and I hope you enjoy it! 

****

I study myself in a full-length, gold framed mirror. I’ve grown used to the face staring back at me in these memories—Psyche’s face. The large, deep violet eyes are the same, but she has higher cheekbones and a slightly upturned nose. Hair falls like a white-blonde waterfall down her back. She smooths out pretend wrinkles in her one shoulder, white silk dress and adjusts the gold cord tied at the waist beneath her breasts. Her wings emerge through slits in the back of the dress. The bronze wings of a butterfly-shaped necklace spread across the delicate, pale skin of her chest.

imagerymajestic
Copyright imagerymajestic

In the mirror, I see an auburn head peek around the door behind me. Nike comes in, a white tunic draped over her tall, thin frame. Her hair is long and plaited into a thick braid down her back.

“You look beautiful,” she says, giving me a quick hug. “It is time to go down.”

Nodding, I follow her out into the corridor, our white slippers whispering over the marble floor.

The next thing I remember is standing on the pale sands of the beach, just out of reach from where the ocean waves slither up the coast. My fingers are curled around a bouquet of unfamiliar white flowers. Nike and, to my surprise, Aphrodite stand on either side of me. Aphrodite, like always, is willowy and golden, her beauty almost as painful to look at as the blinding sun above us.

People stand on either side of a strip of sand leading to my soon-to-be husband. I have a vague memory of what Psyche’s parents looked like, but I don’t see them among the onlookers. Two women with braided blonde hair and hooked noses lurk toward the back of the crowd, scowling at me: Psyche’s biological sisters. Sunlight glints off of Hephaestus’s smooth head somewhere closer to the front. I don’t see Ares.

Aphrodite and Nike walk with me up the aisle. I see a few more faces that look familiar, but I can’t think of their names. One is a tall woman with copper skin, an athletic build and a proud demeanor. Her almond-shaped eyes are as dark as the shiny black hair flowing freely to her waist. As I pass her, she smiles warmly. On the other side of the path is a short but sinewy man with curly dark hair. His pupils are black slits rimmed with reddish irises. Gold wings decorate the backs of his sandals. Beside him stands a girl with bouncing brown curls and watery blue eyes. Her small, pale hands clap excitedly as I walk by. When our eyes meet, her lips pull back into something between a smile and a grimace as she fights to hold back more tears. I return it with a hesitant smile of my own. I look away from the crowd and realize I’m almost at the end. Leaving Aphrodite and Nike behind me, I pick up the skirt of my dress and run the last few feet.

Almost immediately, Eros takes my free hand into his. A breeze ruffles his dark hair away from his golden face. His lips twitch upwards only slightly, but his body is tensed with barely contained excitement. He’s not wearing much except for what looks like a sheet wrapped around his waist, tied with a yellow cord. I resist the sudden urge to run my fingers up and down the rippling muscles of his chest and abdomen.

I hand the bouquet off to Nike and step closer into Eros’s arms, his wings enveloping us in a feathery white curtain. He slides a ring made of an iridescent white metal onto my finger.

“With this ring, I am bound to you, always and forever,” he recites, his breath fresh and sweet against my face.

I slide a similar ring onto his finger and repeat, “With this ring, I am bound to you, always and forever.”

Reborn Dream Cast: Part II


A couple of months ago I cast the main characters of my book Reborn. (Read Part I of my Reborn Dream Cast here.) It was a fun “what if” post to write, and a Part II is long overdue. So far, we have:

1. Candace Accola (Caroline on The Vampire Diaries) as Siobhan Elliot

2. Tom Hiddleston (Loki from the Thor franchise) as Jasper Hart (mostly because my love for Tom is deep and never-ending)

3. Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl) as Anna Wallace

4. Mark Salling (Glee) as Jimmy Wallace

5. Charlize Theron (from lots of things) as Farrah

6. Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect, among other things) as Victoria

Although I have much love for my main characters, my secondary characters are just as near and dear to my heart. They might not have as much “page time” as the others, but I’ve obviously included each for an important reason. (Otherwise, they wouldn’t be in the book.) In fact, sometimes I have more fun writing my secondary characters–namely Peter and Apate. So, without further ado:

Zac Efron as Max

When Zac first popped into my mind as a potential Max, it made me teehee a little. He’s most well known for being in the High School Musical franchise. But actually, Zac is visually a perfect fit for Max. Max is the token human in Reborn–gets mixed up in everything without really meaning to. He’s supposed to look like the stereotypical all-American boy, boy-next-door, whatever you want to call it–and Zac Efron is definitely that guy.

Claire Holt as Tanya

Tanya is Siobhan’s roommate at the Gamma Lambda Phi house. She’s a blonde bombshell and GLPhi’s recruitment chair. She can also be rather whiney and bitchy. Claire Holt is probably best known for her role as Rebekah on The Vampire Diaries and its phenomenal (at least in my opinion) spin-off The Originals. I really like Rebekah’s character–she’s actually quite complex. Hard and unfeeling on the outside, vulnerable on the inside. But it’s Rebekah’s blonde bitch side that Claire could channel for her new role in my imaginary movie.

Shailene Woodley as Carly

So after being the primary character in the Divergent movie, Shailene is probably not going to settle for a secondary role. She’s really just the only actress I could think of that looked like the Carly I have pictured in my mind palace. (I believe my cousin also thought Shailene would be a good match, if I’m remembering our conversation correctly…) Shailene just needs to make her hair WAY curlier and crazier. In Reborn, Carly often gets talked into doing things she doesn’t really want to do. You’ll be seeing more of her in Relapse.

Shemar Moore as Hephaestus

Shemar Moore is on Criminal Minds…a fantastic show, which I often just can’t watch because it freaks me out. Shemar is great on CM and sexy as hell. I think he’d make a great Hephaestus. As the god of fire and the forge, Shemar would be an imposing figure.

Gabriel Mann as Peter

To be honest, I have never watched Revenge, even though it looks like a show I might like. But one night I saw this blonde British guy on one of the commercials for it and thought, “It’s Peter!” Peter is the keyboardist in Jimmy’s band Search and Destroy–he’s tall, blonde, lanky, British, mischievous, silly, and a bit flamboyant. I don’t know, maybe Gabriel is too old to play Peter, but as I’m looking up pictures of him for this post, the more certain I feel about this casting choice.

Joe Manganiello as Dr. Eric Mars

Um, first of all, let’s just gaze fondly upon this picture of the gloriously hot Joe Manganiello. In Reborn, Siobhan jokingly refers to Eric as a “sexy lumberjack.” Eric embodies virility and physical power, but also violence and chaos. Manganiello’s sexy is definitely raw, powerful, and masculine. He also went to my alma mater (not at the same time as me), and I’d like for him to keep having work.

Phoebe Tonkin as Apate

Phoebe Tonkin is another actress from The Originals. It was actually her portrayal as teenage witch Faye on the short lived The Secret Circle (based on another series of books by one of my all-time favorite authors, L. J. Smith) that made me think of her as Apate. Faye was always very mischievous and attracted to dark magic. Apate is developing into a similar character (you also see much more of her in Relapse)–she’s a spirit of deceit and mischief with an inner struggle between her good and it-feels-good-to-be-bad sides. (As several of my characters do, because I’m completely obsessed with this concept.)

*****

Have you read Reborn? Who’s on your dream cast! Please share in the comments, or let me know what you think of mine! 😉 (I know I have some male readers now and would be interested to know who your favorite female character is and who you would cast!)

Reborn Releases November 5!!!


Reborn FINALI announced this on the Facebook page and Twitter last week, so this is the official blog announcement: My debut novel Reborn releases Tuesday, November 5, 2013!!!!! (Speaking of the Facebook page…I’m two away from 40 likes…a nice round number. So scroll down a bit and give it a like if you haven’t!) I’m super excited to share my baby (my baby being the book, of course) with my family, friends, and strangers on the Internet!!! I started this blog a little over a year ago to get back into creative writing, and I’m proud of myself for actually sticking with it and following through with a project! This post has a lot of exclamation points!!!

The Amazon Kindle edition of Reborn will be FREE on release day. The Smashwords and print versions will be released on dates TBD. For now, I leave you with the “back cover” book synopsis, updated book trailer, and Heidi Sieverding’s beautiful cover art. Like what you see? You can read an excerpt from Chapter One here.

***

Back in high school, Siobhan Elliot’s life was simple: Cheerleading, friends, and parties. But that all changed the night she and her friends investigated a mysterious light in the woods. There they found an injured man –an irresistible man with hypnotic blue eyes and magnificent black wings. A man Siobhan recognized.

He was the handsome dark angel from her dreams.

And with one touch of his hand, he left her with a special gift: A set of mythical wings that would change her life forever. Then he disappeared without a trace. Siobhan thought she would never see him again.

Now, six years later, her dark angel reappears –this time as a teaching assistant at her college. He calls himself Jasper. He challenges everything Siobhan thought she knew about herself and her world. And he’s come back for only one thing:

Her.

Or so he says. Siobhan is about to find out that nothing is what it seems in this strange, new world.

***

Reborn Cover Reveal


Reborn FINALHere is the official cover for Reborn, designed by Heidi Sieverding! You may remember my interview with Heidi. She’s a blogger over at Inside the Mind of a Fantasy Writer, a Secret Cravings author, a graphic designer and a fabulous human being. I am thrilled she designed the book cover for Reborn…every time I gaze upon it I get so many feels, haha! She also designs banners, book trailers, postcards and badges, and I highly recommend her! I’ll have some more announcements later in the week, so stay tuned…

And it wouldn’t be Monday without a little music: Lana del Ray’s Summertime Sadness. This is one of the few instances where I like the remix a little better than the original.  I want to use this version in one of my book trailers.

Checking back in with H. N. Sieverding


HN SieverdingBack in April of this year, I posted my first ever author interview with H. N. Sieverding. Well, a lot of exciting things have happened since that interview, so I thought it was about time to check back in with her! Now a Secret Cravings author, Ms. Sieverding has published the first two books in her delectable Christina’s Kisses series, Initiation and Seed of the Master. (Follow the links to purchase them on  the publisher’s web site. You can also find them on Amazon, Bookstrand, All Romance ebooks, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.) They were bestsellers on Bookstrand and the publisher’s web site. I’m also especially excited for the release of her paranormal romance The Bloodlust Prince. I was a beta reader for it and loved it! The ebook comes out in December, the print version in June 2014.

Ms. Sieverding’s stories have strong themes of dark fantasy, paranormal romance and sexy horror. Right now she’s jumping between edits for her upcoming releases and working on Black Hawke, a Paranormal Romance about a photographer and her secret bad boy boyfriend.  (Throughout the book she is trying to figure out his real identity…or if he’s married…) She’s also one of the hosts of Freshly Booked.

Check out our interview below, followed by an excerpt from Initiation and a list of all of her upcoming releases!

Her blog: Inside the Mind of a Fantasy Writer

You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

***

“What you produce as a writer is art.  A voice that opens a vein and leaves the reader lapping at the blood that’s been drawn.”  

-H. N. Sieverding

***

christain_header_quote6SL: When did you first start writing stories?

HN: When I was in grade school, I used to write about a family of alligators that I named the Ellers. I wrote my first novel, Alexandria, my junior year of high school. I decided to write a novel and I sat down on the desktop in our crowded kitchen (I come from a family of seven) and did just that. I was so proud of it (though now it makes me cringe to read through it) and to me that was a huge feat that most people would never accomplish. From that day on it was my dream to become a published author and now I am.

SL: Who or what most inspires your writing?

HN: I get inspired by things around me but it’s not always people or stories. It might be a line I heard someone say or facial expression that sparks a character/story idea. I find the most inspiration when I’m alone listening to music or during a nice drive in the countryside.

SL: Do you listen to music while you write, or do you need peace and quiet?

HN: I write in front of the TV or while cuddling with my son and his ipad, so I can write anywhere. My ideal writing place is sitting on the bed donning a pair of earphones without any distractions. Whenever I get a moment to myself where I can do that, I will take it. Music drowns out the world and helps me concentrate better, giving me that escape I need to write. I’m a big fan of hard rock so on my playlist is Darkest Days, Hollywood Undead, Disturbed and Saliva. The song in my head right now-Levitate (damn it’s catchy).

SL: Which of your stories is your favorite?

HN: Ooo…hard question. If I absolutely had to choose, I’d say The Bloodlust Prince. I could read that story a million times and never get bored. I’m also a big cat person and I love that they are both Cat Demons (more like anime Cat Demons/vampires than real cats) and have lots of cat-like qualities that make their courting both unique and super cute.

Coming in second would be Nero, even though most people ignore that one. I think the whole description of the ‘zombie army’ throws people off. It’s actually a love story about Nero coming to terms with the tragic death of his love (who isn’t really dead-sshhh) and his father’s insanity. My favorite thing about it-the character of Nero. He’s by far my greatest creation-I love em 😀

SL: Who is your favorite author?

HN: Myself. I write all the stories I would love to read. Beyond editing and reading others writing on blogs, I don’t read (unless some asks me to read something of theirs). The last book I read was Paula’s, Queen of Ages, which was pretty sexy by the way. I could say Reverend Wilbert Awdry is my favorite author but not many people would get that reference 😉

SL: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

HN: If you’re serious about becoming published, make sure you have a thick skin and can take bad reviews. Know in advance you will most likely be met with A LOT of disappointment-whether it be having no fans/readers, bad reviews, no reviews and having your awesome novel be ignored and blend into the woodwork. Remember that writing is something you do because you love it, not to get rich or popular. Most authors don’t make much money (if any), so don’t expect to get rich off this career path.

Below is a sexy excerpt from Christian’s Kisses Book 1, Initiation. Happy reading!

***

Her eyes wandered over to the table where the elites sat near the back of the room. She tried to avoid eye contact with them but soon Inititiation_MEDfound herself trapped by a pair of curious eyes. Her brow rose when her eyes grew wider, her baby blues reflecting the innocent fear of child as she returned Christian’s relentless gaze.

Although she knew how dangerous this man was, she couldn’t break the stare, her dazed expression showing her intense fear of him. She watched him take a slow drink from his glass, a devilish smile gracing his lips as he took in this angel that would soon meet the fate he would create for her.

He was drinking what appeared to be blood, the rings on his tanned fingers sparkling under the lights. He was surrounded by beautiful women, all of them fighting to sit next to him and get as close as possible. Addison took a few steps backward, the intensity and promise of sin in Christian’s gaze terrifying her. Even though the sight of her pleased him, he didn’t appear to be in a good mood, his mind seeming distracted.

Swallowing the lump building in her throat, Addison decided she should leave instead of seeing what more could come from this silent staring contest with Christian. She quickly turned around and started toward the large double doors. She wanted to get out of the room as fast as she could, her lower lip quivering as fear overtook her body. Then, someone grabbed her hand, making her turn around and halting her retreat.

One of the elite vampires, Samson, was holding her fingers, his large fangs kissing his bottom lip as he smiled at her. “Come join us.”

Addison nodded, her fear of him silencing her voice. Samson put a loose arm around her shoulders, leading her over to their table.

Samson laughed when he felt Addison tremble under his hands. He ignored her uneasiness and maneuvered her through the crowd gathered around the table. She kept her head down as she passed people so she didn’t see Christian motioning to the girls around him to leave.

Samson placed her next to Christian, and Addison slowly sank down in the chair. She tried not to look over at all the women that were staring at her angrily, but she could still feel their eyes on her.

Christian sat up a little straighter, pushing a glass of champagne in front of her, “What’s your name?”

“Addison.” She forced a smile, glancing up at him briefly then back down at the drink in front of her.

Addison knew who Christian was, her nervousness about being around such an important person wearing thick on her gentle features. She had seen him a few times at swanky functions held for museum fundraisers and auctions, but their only interactions had been a small smile or a wave in passing.

She worked in the preservation department at the CartwrightMuseum, one of the largest in the country. As a member of the staff, she was allowed to attend the events, but mostly as another body to fill the room. The museum employees weren’t allowed to converse with the donors, like Christian, unless they had reason or were approached by them.

He eyed her curiously, licking his lips as he set down his half-empty cup. Addison studied the contents, noticing it wasn’t blood, but some kind of unidentifiable brownish red drink. Her shaky hands picked up the glass in front of her, and she purposefully took a sip, her long fingers wrapping tightly around the stem.

“Are you enjoying my club?” Like a cat, Christian’s eyes scanned the room quickly, watching a few people that walked by their table.

Addison’s voice was soft and inaudible over the voices of the crowd around them, “Yes. It’s great.”

“What?” Even though he had heard her, Christian pretended like he hadn’t. “I cannot hear you over the music.” He scooted his chair closer to her, his hips banging against hers and making her jump a little. A sly smile appeared on his face as he caught her in his gaze. He knew he was making her nervous.

Addison laughed, her light blue eyes darting all over Christian’s handsome face, “I said it’s great.”

Christian picked up his drink again and took an unhurried swallow, the shifting of his stare smooth as he once again scanned the crowd in front of them. Christian’s poise was unfailing. He was extremely attractive, his firm build and striking eyes enough to cause Addison’s heart to race and make her slightly dizzy.

Even though she knew he was a killer, being in his presence was intoxicating. His good looks were a sin against nature, and sitting next to someone so inhumanly flawless carried an indescribable feeling. This was the lure of the devil that made any woman bow to his every whim.

A beautiful girl with platinum blonde hair and perfect breasts sat down next to Christian, rubbing his shoulder and making him turn to her. However, his attention didn’t stay on her and quickly switched back to Addison. He placed his hand on Addison’s knee for a few seconds before letting it slide up her dress. Then, he rubbed her inner thigh, his touch soft and light. Addison jumped at his action, a fearful expression on her face as she choked a little on the champagne she was drinking.

He looked over at her and chuckled, his devilish eyes settling on hers before he spoke softly into her ear, “Relax sweetheart.” He moved her hair behind her shoulder, gazing at her neck for a few seconds. Leaning even closer, Christian continued to brush his fingers up and down the inside of her leg. “I am not going to bite.”

Christian felt her body shake a little at his comment, which ignited a small chuckle from his lips, “Yet.”

*****

Upcoming release dates (the links take you to the book trailers):

  • Initiation (Christian’s Kisses Book 1) releases in print January 2014.
  • Seed of the Master (Christian’s Kisses Book 2) releases in print May 2014.
  • Secret Scarlet releases in ebook September/October 2013 and in print April 2014.
  • Blood Kisses (Nightwalkers Book 1) releases in ebook November 2013 and in print May 2014.
  • The Bloodlust Prince releases in ebook December 2013 and in print June 2014.
  • Forever Black (Nightwalkers Book 2) releases in ebook January 2014 and in print July 2014.
  • Blood War (Nightwalkers Book 3) releases in ebook March 2014 and in print September 2014.
  • Forever Mine releases in ebook May 2014 and in print November 2014.

 

Character Profile: Jasper Hart


Who is the handsome, mysterious and elegant Jasper Hart?

Tonight, as another shameless plug for my romantic urban fantasy novel Reborn, I’m reposting this character profile for one of Siobhan’s love interest Jasper Hart. [To those of you who had the misfortune honor (sorry, I’m feelin’ silly tonight) of reading the earliest version of Reborn, Jasper has undergone a surname change. It’s still a clue as to his true identity, but I kinda, maybe changed the underlying mythology of the book…..]

ID-10012562Jasper Hart

From: Reborn (paranormal romance, urban fantasy)

Character Type: Antihero

Age: Really old, but he looks about late-twenties (of course)

Physical Description: Tall; shoulder-length, slightly wavy dark hair; midnight blue eyes; well-built with magnificent black wings

Species: Alien from a parallel universe

Occupation: PhD student in the history department; teaching assistant for World Myths and Legends

Relationship Status: Widower

Love interest: Siobhan

Goals: To win Siobhan’s trust and heart

Obstacles:

  • Farrah, Siobhan’s sorority’s nosey new house mother (who probably isn’t human, either)
  • Siobhan’s stubbornness and independence

Strengths: Physical strength and power; seductive; persuasive

Flaws: Arrogant; chauvinistic

Enjoys:

  • Learning about new cultures
  • Flying around the city at night
  • Enticing Siobhan
  • Brooding

Inspiration: Ville Valo, HIM frontman

“You belong to…”

You belong to me. I know that’s what he wants to say, but after a pause he corrects himself.

“We belong together. I love you. You believe me, don’t you?”

***

Book cover black

 

Reborn teaser: The Encounter


Book cover blackAs promised, here’s a teaser from Chapter One of my romantic (erotic?) urban fantasy novel Reborn. (Kids, don’t try this at home. And by “this,” I mean going off into the woods at night because you see something kinda strange.)

***

“Hey, look at that!” He pointed into the woods.

Anna joined him and peered into the thick, dark trees. “I don’t see anything, Jim.”

“No, look! Something’s glowing!” He turned and gave me a lopsided grin. “Let’s go see what it is, kids!” He swung his arm in a sideways punch as if it were the 1950s and something was really swell.

“Ugh, come on, Jim,” Anna groaned. “Just stay here. Dad’s picking us up soon, anyway.”

I came up on Jimmy’s other side, the distant flicker of a white flame catching my eye. “I see it.” I didn’t know what it was, but there was something mesmerizing about it. I took an involuntarily step forward and looked over at Jimmy.

“Let’s go.” I smiled. Jimmy grinned back, his eyes alight with mischief. Anna sighed, and I sensed a frustrated inner eye roll.

“Fine.” She looked back at our drunken peers. “No one’s even going to notice we’re gone. If something happens to us –”

“If we realize it’s too far, we’ll turn around,” Jimmy assured her. Sometimes it was hard for me to believe that cautious Anna and impulsive Jimmy were even related, let alone twins.

We crept into the woods, our feet crunching over fallen twigs and leaves. Even though it was late and dark, I wasn’t afraid –maybe because I was with Anna and Jimmy, or maybe that one beer I had instilled me with false confidence. The white glow really wasn’t as far away as it seemed from the yard, and it grew steadily larger and more luminous. A cool autumn breeze caressed my face, bringing a blend of sweet scents to my nose, like someone was burning a honey vanilla candle.

“It’s a fire,” Jimmy whispered. We stopped a few yards away from it. But it wasn’t like any fire I’d ever seen –it was yellow-white and lapped at the ground without burning it. It stayed inside an almost perfect circle a few feet wide, only the curling tendrils of sweet-smelling smoke escaping it.

“You came.”

All of us went completely still at the sound of the weak, hoarse voice. I looked wildly around but didn’t see anything.

“You saw my signal, and you came to help me.”

Then, I saw him, sprawled against a maple tree beyond the strange fire.

I looked away quickly, my face flushing in embarrassment. I got enough of a glimpse to realize he was mostly naked, muscles rippling down his marble-white chest and abdomen before disappearing underneath a black loin-cloth.

“Siobhan.”

My head snapped up again when he whispered my name. This time I couldn’t look away, my eyes drinking him in. Even in as vulnerable a position as he was, his presence permeated the forest, seeping into every crevice of every tree trunk, saturating every pore in the dirt floor. And he was the most beautiful man I had ever seen. Tousled dark hair brushed his shoulders framing high cheekbones and a sensuous mouth. A pair of magnificent, black feathered wings protruded from his back, crushed against the unforgiving ground. He reminded me of a fallen angel, but if angels existed, I didn’t think they had his kind of sinister, carnal magnetism. But what shocked me the most wasn’t his perfect body, his handsome face or even the wings.

He was the man from my dreams.

“Siobhan.” This time it was Anna saying my name as she fearfully watched me tiptoe around the fire to go to him.

His thick eyelashes fluttered open, and underneath his eyes were a deep blue whirlpool sucking me in even further. His lips moved, but I couldn’t hear him, so I leaned down closer.

“Psyche. You came back to me.”

What was Psyche? And what did he mean, “You came back to me?” With the exception of my dreams, I’d never met him before in my life.

I didn’t pull away or snap at him. In his final moments of life, he was feverish and confused. “I don’t know you,” I reminded him gently, “but I will help you if I can.”

His eyes pleaded with me as he raised his hand into the air, palm facing me. In a trance-like state I extended my own and brushed my palm and fingers against his, which were warm and slick with sweat. I almost jerked away, but I took a deep breath and maintained the contact, all the while staring into the dark pools of his eyes.

“Siobhan, you’re it.” At least I thought that was what he said –his voice was so small and weak.

“Let’s go back to the house.” Anna’s insistent voice was shrill with anxiety. She pulled on my arm while Jimmy pried this strange man’s hand away from mine. Jimmy didn’t let go of my hand immediately, instead clasping it firmly in his.

“Anna’s right,” he said, although I barely heard him as a flood of nausea suddenly seized me, waves of it coursing through my stomach and back.

Wait – my back?

I slipped my fingers out of Jimmy’s and brought both hands to my stomach.

“What’s wrong?” Anna asked and took a step toward me, but I staggered away from her. I didn’t know what was happening to me. All I knew was the urgency crashing down on me. I had to get away from them before it happened.

“Wait! Siobhan!”

Their panicked voices followed me as I took off deeper into the woods. Frenzied footsteps picked up behind me, but a burst of adrenaline pushed me forward so I outran them even in my delirious state. I made it to the muddy bank of a stream before tossing the orange sports drink I’d drained at the game all over the matted grass.

I felt better after throwing up, my stomach settling, but the unfamiliar rolling underneath my varsity jacket persisted. Bone and muscle liquefied as two jagged edges knifed through my skin. I tore my jacket off to the sound of splitting seams as they exploded out of my back, leaving the vest of my cheerleading uniform in strips of sweaty polyester.

Panting, hands still at my stomach, I sat still for a few beats to calm myself. Once the hammer of my heart in my chest dwindled to a patter and my breathing steadied, I crawled to the bank and looked through bleary eyes at my reflection in the roiling dark silver surface on the creek.  My violet eyes glanced at my face, white with shock, and the blonde hair sticking to my cheeks and neck before coming to rest on the butterfly-like wings looming behind me, shimmering midnight blue and indigo in the dark.

Character Profile: Siobhan Elliot


Siobhan (shi-VAWN) Elliot

Siobhan8

Age: Early 20s

Hometown: Laurel, Pennsylvania

“Occupation”: Student at fictional college Thurston University

Major: Biology

Physical Description: 5’2″, slim, blonde hair, violet eyes

Species: Demigod

Relationship Status: At the beginning of Reborn, she’s friends-with-benefits with Max.

Love interests:

  • College boyfriend: Max
  • Old flame: Childhood friend/Search and Destroy frontman Jimmy
  • Really old flame: Mysterious, charming World Myths and Legends teaching assistant Jasper

Goals: In Reborn, to find out who–and what–Jasper is and what her connection to him is

Obstacles: Jasper is intensely erotic and a little hard to resist.

Strengths: Smart, outgoing

Weaknesses: A little bit of a space case; doesn’t always say what she’s really feeling

Hobbies: Social chair for Gamma Lambda Phi sorority; running; sci-fi TV shows

“Spending this time with him has helped me realize there’s something else between us–something that could transcend each of our faults, our mistakes, our darkness. Something that would only become stronger and more real if I can show him what it means to truly love someone.”

***

New! Friday Featured Author: Shehanne Moore


First off, I hope everyone here in the U. S. had a lovely Fourth of July, and Happy Friday to all of you! I’m very excited to bring you this new weekly feature I’ve christened the Friday Featured Author. I’ve seen my blogger friends run similar features on their blogs (so if some of these questions look familiar to you, I may have borrowed some of them…) and decided it would be a great way to introduce my followers to some amazing people.

This week I’m super excited to bring you historical romance writer Shehanne Moore, author of The Unraveling of Lady Fury (which you can find on Amazon here). You can find her at any of the links below, and stay tuned for a teaser from Lady Fury at the end of the interview!

Blogs: Furious Unravelings, Where Worlds Collide, Shehanne Moore

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,

***

SL: What inspired you to start your blog?

s.mooreSM: That having Social Media was 30 percent of Etopia Press’s decision to sign an author and I had just been signed. That was a pretty big inspiration. A sharp learning curve too. But authors do need social media these days if they want to sell and it’s been fantastic getting to know so many people.

SL: When did you first start writing stories?

SM: At the age of seven. I designed this lovely cover for my book, The Hoare House Mystery. Of course I had no idea of places of ill-repute. This was a perfectly respectable house.  Very useful for firelighters too—the paper it was written on anyway, as was a lot of other paper I wrote on. I was always writing. When I was about sixteen my friends started reading some of my—what were probably long historical novellas—and they liked them, which was very encouraging. I still have these stories. I managed to save them from the flames.  But what was nice even then was it gave me an idea of what worked, what didn’t, what kind of characters tended to be the biggest draw.

SL: Who or what most inspires your writing?

SM: You mean what hottie? Seriously, I’m often attracted to places. I tend to start the story because of  flashed idea but after that places are important to me. Often when I am visiting somewhere I can’t help imagining the kind of people who would have lived there, that the place is speaking to me in some way. My forthcoming book is inspired by Glencoe one of the most beautiful places in Scotland and the scene of a massacre in 1692. It has such rugged beauty.

Lady FurySL: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

SM: Firstly be prepared for a hard journey. The rejection rate, even for people with a book out there, is enough to make you never put pen to paper. Behind every ‘overnight’ success story lurks years of fixing your teeth up to get the next kicking. But it is possible to get there, so secondly, study your market, study what publishers are looking for. I am not talking here about the next big thing. No-one can predict that. I am talking basics, for example, if the publisher says the word length is 75 thousand. That’s it.  Don’t go sending them your twice that tome just because you spent five years labouring and crafting every one of these words.  You will be in for a disappointment. I get into rows here about whether writing can be taught. Certainly you have to study the type of writing, the type of prose you are using for the type of book. You wouldn’t write a genre romance without a HEA, no matter how enticing, how different that may seem, not to mention, you’ve read some publisher’s blurb where they say they are looking for something new, something different. It’s not that kind of different they want.  Do you know what Goal, Motivation Conflict is? A lot of talented aspiring writers fall down on that one, painting beautifully crafted word pictures, going nowhere. Do you know about head-hopping?  That’s the kind of honing of the craft you need to do.  But my biggest piece of advice is never ever give up. To succeed you need to believe in yourself.

SL: Tell me about your current work-in-progress and what your plans are for it.

SM: I’m writing another historical romance, this one set in England in 1809 which I see as part of a series.  I have finished it but am just trying to make sure it is entirely in Etopia’s House Style. My editor may have already requested it off the pitch, I have been told that Etopia still reject 7 out of 10 manuscripts that have passed that first test, been pulled from the slush pile or are recommended by your assigned editor.  So I don’t assume anything. My editor still has to like it enough to send it up the line with a recommendation.

SL: If you could be bffs (best friends forever) with any fictional character, who would it be?

SM: Lol. Rhett Butler. Scarlett was bad to him!

SL: What is your ultimate goal as a writer?

SM: Probably to be able to keep having ideas, keep writing, keep selling. In some ways, getting that first book out is hard but knowing the one after and the one after are in the bag, so to speak, is what counts.

SL: What are some of your favorite blogs to follow?

SM: Ottoman Dandy (this is actually a very unusual fashion blog), Lady or Not, a brilliantly funny blog, so is A Day in the Life of Shareen A., while Catherine Cavendish is always interesting.

But I also love those of certain authors who give a lot back to other bloggers and authors, Susan Arden, Noelle Clark, Charley Descoteaux and Antonia Van Zandt.  While I accept that branding is all important, I don’t personally want clobbered with it.  So, for me, a turn off is an author or blogger who just wants to shout themselves. You see… I admire this generous thing you are doing here! It is something to thank you for.

SL: Why, thank you and your welcome, I’m happy to have you on here! 😛

SL: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

SM: Lying on a beach sipping marguerites…….not!

SL: If you could be anything you wanted (besides a writer lol), what would you be and why?

SM: I have never wanted to be anything else. There you go.

***

Fury sat down and dipped the quill into the ink. She detected the faintest trace of nerves. It must be the fact Thomas lay in the cellar. Why else would a man, so great, so stalwart, so worldly as Captain Flint be nervous of her?

“Well, yes,” she said, listening to the pleasing scratch of the nib on the soft paper. “Babies are not always made in a night. Of course, you wouldn’t know that, being you. It will take time.”

“All the more reason then to just get going. After all this time, sweetheart, you don’t know how eager I am.”

He strode across the tiled floor and the ink trailed a long dark path across the paper as he dragged her to her feet. Had it blobbed it might have been something to worry about. But she was very set on this. And calm. As calm as one could be having this man in her bedroom, knowing what was coming next out of dire necessity, her husband in a box in the cellar and her cast off, potential lovers on their way out the door.

“No, James.” She held a hand up between their lips. “There will be no kissing.”

“No kissing? Why in hell not?”

It displaced her calm to see him grin. She would have preferred that he was indignant. Especially as he was a man who thought he could settle all his arguments—with women anyway—with a kiss. But she kept her face cold, blank.

“Because.” In some ways she was cold. Cold with rage.

“Aw, come on Fury, didn’t you like my kissing? Hmm?” His breath, hot and male, brushed her fingertips. He wrapped his arms around her, splaying his hands across her back, so her hand might as well not have been there for all the protection it was.

But she was calm. Didn’t she have to get into bed with him after all? So, even the impulse to squirm was one she would squash. When she thought of all he had done to her, she would give him nothing. Not even the knowledge she found his proximity so unsettling that she sought to pull away.

“Your kissing was fine, in its way, I suppose. But kissing is a sign of affection.”

“How do you make that out?”

She knew exactly why he scratched his head. Their love-making had been torrid. It had been sensual. It had been shaming. And it had been absent of any affection. Certainly on his part. So, why on earth would a kiss be a sign of anything? To him anyway. She was the damn fool who had thought it had. Who even now was forced to concede the pleasure it would be to take her hand across his face to assist his understanding of her feelings. The impertinence of the damn man, the stinging ignorance.

“It just is.” She eased the distance between them a whisper. “So there will be none. Not now. Not at all.”

“All right then. Saves time. It means—”

“Rule two.” She saw his eyes freeze as he readied himself to yank off his shirt. She persisted anyway. Why not? In many ways she walked a tightrope here. If she paused it might be to her detriment. “You will be fully dressed at all times.”

“What? How the hell am I meant to—”

“James, I am sure you will manage. You managed plenty before. But I do not desire to look at your body before, during, or after. Nor in any shape or form wandering about this house in just your breeches. Is that understood?”

He dropped his hands from his shirt and glared, so he must have. “You wanted to look at it plenty before. In fact, it makes my head spin, just how often you—”

True. But that was then. “Rule three.” Clasping her fingers around the cool edge of the dressing table to create another inch of distance, she continued.

“Rule three? You mean there’s more?”

“I will not touch you in any place, intimate or otherwise. I will lie. You will perform.”

***

Thanks again to Ms. Moore for playing and to all of you for checking in with us! Come back next week for my interview with another one of my favorite people, Sara over at WhatANerdGirlSays. In the meantime, you can check out my interview from a while back with H. N. Sieverding, author and blogger over at Inside the Mind of a Fantasy Writer.