Snippet time!

I haven’t featured an excerpt in a month!

Keeping up with my NaNo-PAWN count on my third book while editing my first book, plus critiquing for others adds up, people! And real life is in there, too.

So here’s a little scene later in The Unraveling that I’ve just reworked after a crit partner noted I could show more emotion. In it, the  Victorian Annmar realizes her proper city upbringing has left out so much that’s important in Blighted Basin.

 

“Alike?” Annmar wrinkled her nose. “But you know so much about country life—”

“And you know so much about life in the city. I would be a fish out of water there, and I want so badly to visit.”

Annmar eyed the redhead. Mary Clare had a point. “Well, society is complicated, but most city dwellers do master its rules. I could teach you.”

“Just like I can teach you about the Basin. It’ll grow easier, really. Why do you doubt we’re alike?”

She should just tell her. “You also know so much about boys. And I…don’t.”

Mary Clare smiled. “Boys are easy, too.”

Annmar shifted her gaze off, flicking glances around to the groups and couples, some flirting, some showing off in hopes of flirting. It’d be years before she could do that. She sighed. Or at least months.

Mary Clare nudged her. “Step one, you talk to them. You find the one interested in the things you are.”

She glanced around again. “I can do that.”

“Good for you. Practice on Henry. He’s so young, he’s safe.” She turned. “Henry?” The blond boy turned and, with a big smile, edged closer. “Can you show Annmar the table with the cookies?”

“You bet. Need to head that way myself.”

Mary Clare gave her a little push and she followed Henry up to the bunkhouse and food tables. She felt silly nodding along to his chatter. What should she say? Then, he offered her a sugar cookie. “These are good, but my favorites of Mrs. Betsy’s are the chocolate chip raisin oatmeal. Which are yours?”

Annmar blinked. She had to say something. “I—uh—I haven’t been here long enough to have those, but I like these fine.” That answer came easily enough. She took the cookie, and suddenly her tongue loosened. “They look like the moon, though not tonight.” She held hers skyward towards the crescent moon.

“I can fix that.” Henry grinned and took a bite of his, then held out the bitten cookie.

Thanks for reading!

Good news on my PAWN writing: A fellow @NaNoWordSprints writer assures me I can count my words written in November as NaNoWriMo achievments, even though I had my world and prior Blighted Basin books written. And on that note: NaNo, take me away!

PAWN Milestone reached!

I’ve been writing every day for 14 days on my PAWN – Playing Along With Nano story – the one that isn’t really Nano credible because it’s one I’d started before Nov 1 (story here). Yet, because of my travels over the last year (another story!) I needed the daily discipline NaNo encourages in writing. Today I crossed the 40K line and am snoopy dancing with excitement! Join me? :)

How to reduce a photo for your NaNo profile on MAC

Have you posted a NaNo photo? Or are you floundering like I was? The instructions are blessedly clear that the photo must be 100 x 100 pixels and less than 30KB. But how to do that? I vaguely remembered my NA kid’s instructions and another writer friend and I stumbled through the steps with success.

Though my dear NA kid thinks I’m a Luddite and nuts for posting these instructions, I know they will help someone! Sorry, I only know how to do this via MAC Preview.

Open a copy (Don’t want to mess with the original!) of your photo in Preview. Open Tools on the Menu bar and choose Adjust Size.

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 8.28.08 PM

In the window that opens, select ‘Custom’ in the top bar and in the below and to the right, ‘Pixels.’ Note my original photo is 163KB–no wonder it wouldn’t load!

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 8.30.44 PM

Next type in your desired pixel size – 100 x 100.

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 8.29.15 PM

Click ‘OK.’ The photo adjusts and–voila!–we have a 10KB photo! Rename this copy, with the size so you can find it at a glance.

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 8.31.27 PM

It loads in a snap onto the NaNoWriMo website, giving your buddies a brighter view of you!

* But finding this location is tricky, one of my CPs Nooce reminded me in the comments. On the top bar, click where it says “Hello, Your Name!” That opens your account settings. Scroll down. Under ‘Picture’, click ‘Choose file’ and then upload the photo you have renamed. Be sure to hit ‘Save’ at the bottom afterwards.

I save my various social media photos in a file. Both the original, duplicates to work with and the reductions. It’s a time saver when you open up on the next site.

Rogue Spy releases today!

I’m over-the-top-excited Rogue Spy is out! Joanna Bourne is a friend, once conference roommate, fellow Virginian, and superb writer. Don’t start one of her novels without time to finish!

Rogue Spy Cover

 ~~~

​​For years he’d lived a lie. It was time to tell the truth . . . even if it cost him the woman he loves …

Ten years ago he was a boy, given the name Thomas Paxton and sent by Revolutionary France to infiltrate the British Intelligence Service. Now his sense of honor brings him back to London, alone and unarmed, to confess. But instead of facing the gallows, he’s given one last impossible assignment to prove his loyalty.

Lovely, lying, former French spy Camille Leyland is dragged from her safe rural obscurity by threats and blackmail. Dusting off her spy skills, she sets out to track down a ruthless French fanatic and rescue the innocent victim he’s holding—only to find an old colleague already on the case. Pax.

Old friendship turns to new love, and as Pax and Camille’s dark secrets loom up from the past, Pax is left with a choice—go rogue from the Service or lose Camille forever…

~~~

Joanna Bourne is the author of The Black Hawk, The Forbidden Rose, and the Spymaster series including My Lord and Spymaster and The Spymaster’s Lady. She has always loved reading and writing romance. She’s drawn to Revolutionary and Napoleonic France and Regency England because, as she puts it, “It was a time of love and sacrifice, daring deeds, clashing ideals, and really cool clothing.” She’s lived in seven different countries, including England and France, the settings of the Spymaster series. Joanna lives on a mountaintop in the Appalachians with her family, a peculiar cat, and an old brown country dog.

Visit Joanna at her website.

Rogue Spy is available from Amazon in print, kindle and audiobook.
From Joanna’s local Indie bookstore, Fountain Books.
At your local Barnes&Noble or online at B&N as book and nookbook.

Congratulations, Jo!

 

 

Day 2 of NaNo: The Switch

I signed up for NaNoWriMo. Then realized I couldn’t. I’m far enough along in The Binding, my head is filled with the story. I want–I need–to write on it. For NaNo that writing can’t really count for a ‘win’, not when other NaNo writers start from scratch. So The Binding it is. I’ve decided to call my month ‘Playing Along With NaNo”…er, PAWN.

But I love those tracking graphs NaNo provides! I bet there are any number of word trackers available online, however it never occurred to me to look them up. I made a donation to NaNo and will use theirs to see if being accountable to a writing tool motivates me. Crazy? Well, convenient.

On the first day of NaNo yesterday, one of my RWA home chapters, the Washington Romance Writers, sponsored our first Write-in, complete with meals. We provided the snacks and drinks. Our wonderful hostess provided two floors of seating for 40 writers from 9 am to 9 pm. Writers could choose comfy chairs, a seat at the table, or a spot on the floor (though no one did: plenty of seating), in solitary corners or the ‘conversation room’, in seating groups or lining the dining room table.

WRW Write-in

I was writing by 10, set my timer for 15 minute sprints and took many stretching breaks, including a short walk. I had conversations also, at lunch, mid-afternoon and dinner. But mostly I sat in a great antique rocker in a lovely corner and fast drafted. (Here’s my selfie with my iPhone3–that’s why the photos aren’t the greatest.)

photo-2

I accumulated far more than my goal–8K, I’m proud to say. When I entered that word count in the NaNo chart, I was amused to see at that writing rate, I should finish in 7 days.

Woo-hoo, if only it were so easy. But for my PAWN project, I’m willing to shoot for the recommended minimum each day.  Best wishes to all those undertaking the NaNoWriMo challenge!

Cover Reveal of Amethyst Chronicles: Winter’s Kiss

I’m excited to reveal the cover of one of my co-authors on the Science Fiction Romance Brigade. KG Stutts’ highly anticipated sci-fi novella series, Amethyst Chronicles: Winter’s Kiss launches on November 21st. KG Stutts is the author of the Mirror series. This spin-off series takes place over a thousand years after the third in Mirror trilogy, Mirror Reformed (out January 16th).

Amethyst Chronicles: Winter's Kiss

~~~

Amethyst is a secret team of genetically enhanced humans which is Earth’s greatest defensive weapon. Leading the team of super soldiers is Ember Wilson, a tough woman with a huge chip on her shoulder. The team gets their name from the after effect of the Genesis Project which turned their eyes and even their blood purple.

For decades, Earth has been ravaged by unpredictable weather which began to cause crops to fail. Most of the planet’s food sources have deteriorated. Dr. Clayton Rudo has proclaimed he has the means to save the soil. He has created a weather machine to regulate and help replenish. But Ember knew the truth. He didn’t want to save the planet. He wanted to control it. Amethyst destroyed the machine, but was placed in stasis. Two years later, Rudo recreated the device and has frozen Washington, DC and the west coast of the United States.

General Tom Blanchard brought Amethyst out of stasis to work with an elite Air Force team, led by Major Liam Ross. Tensions between Ember and Liam rise as they butt heads. Can they work together before Earth is completely under ice?

~~~

Amethyst Chronicles: Winter’s Kiss launches on November 21st, but you can pre-order now at Amazon for $.99. Head over to the author’s website at kgstutts.com to find the Barnes and Noble link.

Join the Facebook Launch Party on Friday, November 21!

~~~

About the Author:

Growing up in Texas and later South Carolina as the youngest in a house full of science-fiction fans, K.G. Stutts had her natural curiosity and imagination nurtured since birth by family movie nights where they would watch Star Wars, Indiana Jones and even timeless Disney favorites.

A prolific writer of sci-fi, romance and mystery, K.G. draws much of her inspiration from those amazing works that gave her an appreciation for telling rich, compelling, character-driven stories for all audiences. She is also a contributor to http://iwassociation.com and http://thewritingnetwork.com and is a proud member of the http://www.sfrcontests.blogspot.co.uk/

She lives in North Carolina with her husband, Brad and works for a customer service call center full time. She’s a lover of Star Wars, Star Trek (original, TNG, and Voyager), Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis, Muppets, Garfield, Disney, Indiana Jones and is a big football, wrestling, and hockey fan.

 

kgstutts.BlogSpot.com | kgstutts.com | Facebook.com/KGStutts | Twitter.com/KGStutts

~~~

Excerpt:

A lab technician carefully brought Ember Wilson out of stasis. Liam stood back as her team surrounded the final pod. Her violet eyes fluttered open and Liam’s hands began to shake. He couldn’t believe how stunning she was.

“What the hell?” she groaned.

“You’ll feel sick to your stomach for a moment, but it will pass,” Lewis informed her.

“My head,” she muttered, rubbing her temple. “What did that empty-headed, bureaucrat ass kisser Blanchard to do to me? How long have we been out?”

“Two years,” he replied.

“Wilson, take a second to get your bearings,” Morris said.

“You’ll feel back to normal in a moment,” Nova added.

She scanned the lab, coming to a stop the moment her eyes locked on the General. Her foot pressed against the back of the pod, her eyes wild with anger.

“You son of a bitch!” she yelled as she used her foot to launch herself in the air.

Nova and Morris caught her before she could reach Blanchard. She kicked and screamed for freedom but the duo wouldn’t budge. She jerked against the hold they had on her arms, spitting and cursing.

“I know,” Lewis calmly said as he stood in front of her. Her foot was inches from his chin when she kicked. “Hey, it’s okay. I know. But there are more pressing matters at hand than him.”

“Rudo?” she asked through gritted teeth.

“You got it.”

“You moron!” she shouted, looking over Lewis’ shoulder to Blanchard. “You had the chance to stop it before he could act but you were too much of a coward!”

“I’m sorry–“

“Sorry? Sorry?” Her voice was nearly shrieking. “Not yet, but you will be.”

Read the rest of this entry

Fangirl Moment and Cover Study

I’ll admit it. I didn’t get much writing done this weekend–only about 800 words on the WIP. I did get some studying in, a fangirl hour, and more studying as a result of being a fangirl. Always a good thing!

First the fangirl: I went to the start of Maggie Stiefvater’s book tour for Blue Lily, Lily Blue at One More Page, an independent book store in Arlington, VA.

Maggie Stiefvater Book signing 1

I got signatures.

Maggie Stiefvater book signing 2

She drew a horse in teen-neighbor-girl’s Scorpio Races.

Maggie Stiefvater book signing 3

I happily bought the book and the first because I had borrowed it and these booksellers had thought to order some in hardback. (Support them, they were not only smart, but very nice!) That prompted a study, because before the signing, I had attended a self-pub class on uploading a novel and the conversation had turned to covers.

I will have a series and if a planning-to-be-published author is researching covers, this credit becomes very important.

cover creditIf you are unknown, the cover is the first way to attract readers. Covers should be similar, but different. Maggie’s series covers do this.

The Raven Cycle

Same font, same location for the  elements, but different colors.

The Raven Cycle

Even the spines. (They look very nice on my bookshelf!) And if you didn’t pick up on the look, there is a symbol of intersecting lines as a background behind the titles which are now identified as being in The Raven Cycle.

The Raven Cycle

This cohesiveness was true of the original Shiver series covers, which I have always liked. (And that spot of creepy blood? Poignant, after you’ve read them.)

The Wolves of Mercy Falls

It even follows through to the back of the books where the back cover copy is blocked with short bold descriptors the same way on each.

Shiver series

An important note popped out when I realized this wording was at the top of The Raven Cycle books.

Maggie Stiefvater

Bestselling author of ‘Shiver‘. Hmm, how many readers remember this series was called the ‘Wolves of Mercy Falls’? Did that not stick? I know this, but I think of them and talk about them as the Shiver books. The first book of The Raven Cycle is called The Raven Boys. Ah, now readers won’t forget the name of the series.

I may have some more thinking to do. I’ve been playing with naming my series ‘Threads of Magic’. But because I know there will be more books set in the same world, I also want that world name to appear: The Blighted Basin Books. Searching the internet for these terms, I find Threads of Magic and Magic Threads all over due to video game elements. But Blighted Basin? Uh, no. My crit partners all commented on the name in some way, so I know it’s unusual. Because I started using it blogging with my WIPs, the search engines go to me and this blog. Yay! OK, that means it’s a good name to keep. But the titles all have something to do with threads…of magic…yeah, don’t want to give that away.

Does this matter? Is it easier for readers to remember the first title as the name of the series?

Clearly, more thinking must be done, but not now…got a book to write! And perhaps a signature to perfect; Maggie’s is quite nice.

Maggie Stiefvater signature

Snippet time!

This weekend I made progress on my WIP, The Binding. In this last book of my trilogy, things are heating up for the hero and heroine, Daeryn and Annmar. This scene is from Daeryn’s point of view:

 

“You have to go, I understand, but…” Her voice dropped. “I’m going to miss you.”

He pulled her to him, and not as gently as he should. “I’m going to miss you. But it will make me run faster.” Her body against his—a faint growl escaped his throat. He ran his fingers into her hair, knocking her hat and pins askew. But Annmar lifted her face, no protest on her lips.

Her lips… He bent and caught her bottom lip between his and sucked it—for just a moment before he captured both. Her hands slid up his chest and clung to his shoulders. Her honeyed vanilla scent filled his nostrils.

She sighed and pressed herself to him, her body warming his chest, his… front. Her mouth opened in a small pant. His tongue flicked to trace the smooth inner edge.

Her breath caught.

He stilled. Ah…damn.

But the next moment she tilted her head, bringing them closer. Her tongue touched his, ever-so-carefully. She explored his lips, his gaping mouth, and back to his tongue again. Soft pokes, then with the faintest of moans, her tongue swirled into his mouth—

Sweet Creator. Another rumble broke from his throat.

She laughed and nipped at his lower lip.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Snippet of the WIP

I’ve decided to return to posting snippets on a regular basis. Too long between and I fall completely out of the habit! This one’s from The Binding.

The dark entrance of the small stone chapel opened to a lit nave. Annmar lifted her gaze and gasped. Pinpricks of blue light sparkled across the round room. One leaped, trailing a line of blue headed straight for her. She stumbled.

Mary Clare caught her arm. “Annmar?”

She blinked. The light had quickly faded, like a shooting star. But the twinkling of blue continued flickering up and down the stone support columns. It wasn’t just the sight from her Knack, nor a result of the sunlight angling under the roof through long… She peered upwards. “Those aren’t windows, are they?” she whispered to Mary Clare.

“Just openings. That’s why most Creator chapels have fallen to ruin. Open to the rain, thatched roofs, mud walls which paint only protects so far. Only those pillars of bluish stone have held up in most chapels. It’s crazy. I mean, who puts up a half-open building, and round at that? Those old worshipers didn’t have much sense when it came to construction.”

A warm September breeze whipped through the chapel, bringing the fresh scent of trees and earth and water to Annmar. She sighed. “It’s beautiful. The materials are—” She glanced at the other grievers around them. Someone might overhear if she told Mary Clare what she saw. “—perfect for the building. The symmetry is incredible. An old master must have designed this one.”

Mary Clare sniffed. “In Blighted Basin? I don’t think so. Can we get a seat? Daeryn is waving to us, if you haven’t noticed already?”

Thanks for reading!

Release of Immortal Heat

Immortal Heat Banner for ILVN

Congratulations to my friend and Maryland Romance Writers chapter-mate Loni Lynne on the release of her first self-published novel, Immortal Heat.

ImmortalHeat-bookcover2 (VTCSwitchbladeRomance)2 copy revised

The Guardians of Dacia Series

Romania has been called the mystical land of paranormal beings and creatures of the night. Before the Romans conquered their land, Dacia was a mystical land of magic and folk-lore until one man and his army destroyed the closely woven fabric set by the gods between man and beast. Now, cursed by their gods over two thousand years ago, one immortal clan struggles to maintain their private world while still learning to live and protect their human brethren while their enemy seeks power to destroy the new world.
 But as the clans face extinction, a new generation of Dacian blood emerges to unite the clans once more. The world as they know it may never be the same.

Dacian Historian…
Determined to study ancient Dacian folk lore abroad, Marilyn Reddlin’s plans are cut short when she is abducted by a dark haired stranger who insists she’s in danger. The only danger she’s in is losing herself to her abductor’s inexplicable seductive energy. Draylon Conier teaches her there is more to Romania than myth and fairy tales while sweeping her into a wild adventure of paranormal mystery and intrigue.

Dacian History…
Thousands of years trying to pay back a debt, Draylon Conier is finally able to do so. Sent to capture a young, American student who is in danger while in Romania, he just has to send her back home. Easy enough for him. Unfortunately, Marilyn Reddlin is determined to thwart his every attempt—even telepathy. But there is more to her than meets the eye and the closer he gets to her, the more danger she is in, not only from the ancient immortal Dacian clans he’s trying to protect her from, but also his own sexual need.

History just got a lot harder.
They must find out what connection Marilyn has to Dacian history before Draylon destroys her when she succumbs to Immortal Heat.

~~~

Loni Lynne1

Born in north-central Michigan, Loni Lynne still loves the quiet woods, lakes and rivers in Otsego County and the Victorian era bay side houses of Little Traverse Bay. But after decades of moving around the country as a child and twenty-five years of marriage to her personal hero, she calls western Maryland her home.

Serving in the United States Navy didn’t prepare her for the hardest job ever, being a stay at home mom, to her two wonderful daughters. After years of volunteering as a scout leader, PTA officer, and various other volunteer positions, all while still writing snippets of story ideas, her husband decided it was time for her to put her heart to finishing a story. He gave her a laptop, portable hard drive and his blessings to have a finished manuscript, ready to be sent out to the masses in one year. He created a writing monster.

Immortal Heat was her first idea six years ago and has gone through many revisions since then. In the meantime another story took hold, Wanted: One Ghost and it became her first published book in 2013. Now with the help of her friends, family and friends of the romance writing community, she’s pursuing her love of telling stories written from her heart.

 ~~~

Buy Immortal Heat, Book 1 of The Guardians of Dacia on Amazon

Facebook Page for The Guardians of Dacia series

Loni Lynne’s website: http://www.lonilynne.com

Loni Lynne’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/lonilynne

Loni Lynne’s Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/LoniLynne1

Loni Lynne’s Goodreads Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7115619.Loni_Lynne

 ~~~

Excerpt

The server rolled out a dessert tray, and Marilyn automatically possessed room for the piece of decadent Belgian-chocolate cake whispering her name. She couldn’t pass up the temptation. Besides, it was only a sliver of cake. She needed something to absorb all the wine. The rich chocolate would complement the merlot and appease her craving.

The first bite hit her taste buds with the smooth, sinful flavor of Belgian chocolate- ganache. Marilyn sighed blissfully and closed her eyes, allowing the sweetness to pleasure her senses as she dragged the fork through her lips to capture every last molecule of taste.

Upon opening her eyes she saw a man sitting at her table, staring at her. She inhaled a crumb of chocolate cake, setting her to cough. Marilyn tried to breathe as her eyes watered behind her spectacles. The man handed her the water goblet and their fingers touched. Trembling at the jolt of electricity shooting through her hand, Marilyn took a sip to clear her throat.

She picked up the subtle scent of the amber and musk she’d noticed in the airport. Was it him? Was he spying on her?

He didn’t blink. His electric blue gaze bore into her soul. Small tremors of the fear her mother had addressed for years came running back, but she sat immobilized, staring back at him. Read the rest of this entry

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