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

Catching up…with myself.

I’ve featured my writer friends for a few posts now, but haven’t put out a post about my own writing journey in…longer than I want to go back and check. I’ve written at a slower pace the last year because my family property was affected by flooding in Colorado. But between travel and repairs I’ve grown a new adult novel I first called ‘The Farm’ into a trilogy. That first book is now titled ‘The Unraveling’ and the third book is in progress.

Here’s an excerpt from ‘The Binding’. The heroine, Annmar, is an artist from a Victorian city who has taken a position drawing advertising for a rural farm. In the first book she learns the local residents are shifters.

Several in the group nodded. One of the girls said, “Are we all ready?”

Was that Jac? Annmar’s gaze shot to Daeryn’s tough teammate, dressed in a fashionable brown-gold gown, complete with patent leather heels. Jac caught her look and raised a brow over one yellow eye.

“You look beautiful,” she told the wolf girl, and nodded to Jac’s cousin Maraquin, who was wearing a different design in the same fabric. “You, too. The color is stunning with your eyes and hair.”

Jac bobbed her head, and murmured, “Thank you,” a lady-like gesture Annmar certainly didn’t expect, and pulled a pair of gloves from her reticule. The mannerisms were so proper, and so unexpected from the ‘cambire Annmar had seen ruthlessly biting the neck of a crop-chewing pest the night before. She had to force her gaze back to Jac’s.

Jac was grinning. “Didn’t expect me to be able to pull it off, did you?”

“Uh…well, this is quite a change for you.”

Maraquin leaned across to whisper, “Jac’s in line to take over the central lowlands. She’s been to finishing school.”

“Which was dead boring.” Jac swiped a stray strand of hair from her brow and tucked it deftly under the tiny hat perched on the thick roll of her black hair. “And my Grandmother is nowhere close to even turning the pack over to Mother, so the lessons were mostly pointless. Let’s go now. Being late will kill the everyone’s efforts.” She linked arms with Maraquin and the two strode along the drive, their paces far too long and fast for city etiquette.

Annmar hid her smile beneath her gloved hand.

 

Cover Reveal for Armageddon Rules

ArmageddonRules.indd

Congratulations to my crit partner J.C. Nelson! What a cover! Marissa is rocking this one.

Marissa Locks, newly appointed partner of the Grimm Agency, has a reputation for making a mess of magical matters—although causing Armageddon is a new low, even for her…

Marissa is due for a little happily ever after. After all, she did kill the evil Fairy Godmother, end a war, and snag a sweet promotion within the Fairy Godfather’s magical-problem-solving Agency. But between maintaining a relationship with someone whose amorous advances can cause third-degree burns, dealing with a killer-poodle infestation, and helping her best friend, Princess Ari, learn to wield spells more powerful than curing a hangover, she’s not getting as much peace and quiet as she hoped. When an enemy from her past appears to exact a terrible revenge, Marissa’s life goes from hectic to hell on earth. With Grimm inexplicably gone and Ari trapped by a sleeping spell, Marissa decides to fight fire with hellfire—and accidentally begins a countdown to the apocalypse. With the end of days extremely nigh, Marissa will have to master royal politics, demonic law, and biblical plagues in a hurry—because even the end of the world can’t keep the Agency from opening for business…

 ~~~

A Texas transplant to the Pacific Northwest, JC Nelson lives with a family and a flock of chickens near rainy Seattle.

Connect with JC at: Twitter  |  Facebook | GoodReads | Pinterest | Armageddon Rules on GoodReads

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Want to try for a Rafflecopter giveaway ?

 ~~~

Buy Armageddon Rules Now: AmazonBarnes & Noble

Other books in the Grimm Agency Series:

Grimm Agency #1 – Free Agent    Grimm Agency #1.5 – Soul Ink

~~~

Chapter One

In my defense, I didn’t mean to start the Apocalypse. It wasn’t just my personal aversion to oblivion, I had a clear financial motive: the end of the world is bad for business.

Speaking of business, that Monday began the same way almost every Monday had for the last three weeks: with a plague. Last week it was frogs.

I rolled into the office at about nine forty-five, and, as usual, the Agency was pure chaos. Rosa–our receptionist–was opening a fresh container of Taser darts and we’d only been open for forty-five minutes.

“Miss Locks, you gotta help.” A man in an orange jumpsuit with “Corrections Department” stamped in block letters down the side grabbed my shoulder as I walked past, spinning me around. “I gotta get me a wish.”

Strike one: Escaping from a garbage pickup crew. Strike two: Putting grubby fingers on my brand new top. Strike three: Calling me “Miss” instead of “Ms.” Locks. Far as I was concerned, Miss Locks left the building the day I turned eighteen and hadn’t been seen around here since.

“I’ll make a few calls.” To the police, if possible. To the morgue, if necessary.

He nodded gratefully and sat down on a bench.

I slipped through the “Staff Only” door, made it to the kitchen and almost poured a cup of coffee before the screaming started. One should never face disaster without caffeine. So I got my coffee and headed back out to the lobby, strolling through the door to see exactly what we’d been struck with.

Rats ran everywhere. They scrabbled on the walls, gnawed on the furniture and covered the floor like a shag carpet from 1973. In the middle of the lobby stood a teenage girl, six foot tall, rail thin with platinum blonde hair. Her clothes hung in tatters from bony white arms, and red blotches surrounded each of her many, many piercings. Her extravagant collection of tattoos spoke of poor impulse control and even worse decision making skills. She looked up at me with baleful eyes. “Please. I need help.” Read the rest of this entry

Release Day for Images Eternal

If Images are worth a thousand words, hers sing a thousand Eternal songs.

4500x2820_Amazon_eBook_Images_Eternal_final v1.0

The blood of a Guardian, the heart of an artist, no one can hide the truth from Amanda Hayworth. Focusing her visions through her camera lens, she reveals secrets no one plans to expose, even her own. To protect herself, Mandy hides her ability in plain sight, photographing local bands and showcasing the dramatic images on her website. Most bands beg for a feature article. But the new lead singer of one particular up and coming band isn’t like anyone she’s ever met. Lucien entangles her with his mystery and makes Mandy want things she’s never wanted before—strings.

Lucien Solvak has to impress an influential music blogger whose promotion could skyrocket his new band to stardom or flush them straight into the gutters. But the moment Mandy aims her camera his direction, he fears the images will expose his ties to the immortal he’s sworn to protect and destroy his one chance to live out his musical dream. Hiding from her camera is tough enough. Denying his growing feelings becomes an impossible feat, forcing Lucien to choose between oaths as a Guardian, his rock-star dreams, and the girl he wants.

Secrets define them. Lucien’s bind him to silence; Mandy’s bring her nothing but pain and disappointment. Only when they focus on what’s behind the images can they embrace their secrets for what they are—truth.

 ~~~

Free Book Giveaway:

Toni Decker is giving away 1 signed print copy and 1 ebook copy of Images Eternal to two lucky winners. The giveaway will run from 9/15/2014 through 9/19/2014. Winners will be announced on September 21st. Click here for the Rafflecopter Images Eternal Giveaway !

 ~~~

Can’t wait?

eBook available at: Amazon / Barnes & Noble/ Kobo

Print version available after September 20, 2014 at Amazon (Link coming)

 ~~~

Who is Toni Decker?

Two authors telling one sizzling story after another about twenty-somethings getting along in their own crazy, fantastical worlds. Both women are wives and mothers, sharing brain cells and characters as if they only exist with the other.

Toni, one half of the Toni Decker brain, is an avid reader of all things Young and New Adult while Kira, the Decker half of Toni Decker brain, devours fantasy for midnight snacks.
ToniDecker1

Together, their stories are one part New Adult,
one part fantasy and
three parts of holy hotness.

We leave it up to the readers to decide who writes which character.

~~~

You can follow our journey on our blog, or:

Twitter: @ToniDeckerBooks and @kiradecker & @ToniPicker

FaceBook: Toni Decker Books, Kira Decker, Toni Picker

Tumbler: tonideckerbooks

Goodreads: Toni Decker

WordPress: Toni Decker Books

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2014 National Book Festival

For the first time (ever?) the National Book festival was held not-on-the-mall. So we traveled extra Metro stops up on the new Silver Line (this is probably only significant if you live in the DC area: we have been waiting FOREVER for the Silver Line to open!) to the Washington Convention Center.

Washington Convention Center

The new venue seems to work. Here’s a summary of what appealed to me.  Please bear in mind I am transcribing these ‘quotes’ from my scribbled notes in combination with juggling a camera. If I don’t have the wording exact, don’t hate me! It’s the good intention I’m aiming for.  If you’d like to see the recordings of the author video webcasts or audio podcasts, go to the Library of Congress website.

Kate Dicamilo, the Library of Congress’ 2014-2015 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, kicked off the Teen ‘pavilion’ (I could not get that word out of my vocabulary!) to a full house.

Kate Dicamilo

Her MG book Flora & Ulysses stars a squirrel! She’s writing squirrels, too, (see under my name in sidebar if that nut fell too far from the tree –>) and I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t know it. *hangs head* But seriously, it’s because the bookstore closed in my town and I now have to travel to get to one. But back to the event. I was right on an aisle, and the dance in the kids’ line-up for questions is so fun, and funny, to watch.

line 1line 2line 3

They are all so nervous, and patient!

 

Because the teen and children and picture book ‘pavilions’ were located on one floor instead of across the mall from each other, I popped in and out of the three, easily seeing the authors on my list.

Peter Brown

Loved Author/Illustrator Peter Brown’s talk, especially his aside answer to a question about networking: He attends the KidLitGroupTherapy meetings in Brooklyn.

Brian Collier

Brian Collier was so strong and emotional in presenting his wealth of work. I’m paraphrasing, but this struck me: “The best of me still lives in you if you do your best.”

Susan Stockdale

Loved seeing the process on Susan Stockdale, nature picture books. Featured art included pages from Bring on the Birds:

Susan Stockdale 1Susan Stockdale 2

Susan Stockdale 3Susan Stockdale 4

 

 

Makes me want to paint!

  Meg Medina

Meg Medina – “We’re every age we were before.” And, how she writes: “Not with an outline. Ever.”  Here I’ll give a shout out to the ASL Interpreters. I’m not hearing impaired, but I have a guess they are pretty accurate.

Meg Medina and ASL interpreter

Also, Meg’s an advocate of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign.

Anne Ursu

Anne Ursu was a new fantasy MG/YA author to me. “I feel like I was created by children’s books.” And “I don’t see the point of limiting what kind of stories you can tell.”

I now have Breadcrumbs on my TBR list.

Kendare Blake

Kendare Blake! I love Anna Dressed in Blood, perhaps one of the only horror stories I’ve read and I read it by mistake. I told her that afterwards and how much I enjoyed her horror books and she was good with my confession. Kendare knows her writing is going well when it scares her when she is safe in her chair. Her reaction to a teen asking her: “What is it like dating a horror writer?”

Kendare Blake 2

She’s married and doesn’t date much, but advised: “If your date isn’t troubled by your choice of discussion topics, then you should be troubled!”

And lastly, in a change of genre I popped in on the Culinary Arts ‘pavilion’ to see Carla hall. I love The Chew, and Carla was every bit as on and real in person as she is on the show.

Carla Hall 2

She was funny and wise: “People are afraid to fail. Unless you are willing to fail at something, you aren’t going to get good at it.”

Carla Hall

“Follow your heart. Sometimes that changes. The world will conspire against you. You make a way to do it. Don’t let anyone tell you no. There is power in the yes.”

NatBookFest poster

Great day. Great inspiration!

My RWA14 Conference Round-up

dklswlhw

What’s it like to attend a conference with 2500 other writers? I can only speak from my experience with the Romance Writers of America National conferences:

Exhilarating, educational and exhausting.

San Antonio, TXThough a week has passed since the latest—the 34th—held in San Antonio, my head is still reeling with new ideas. Most writers leave very inspired to implement learned skills and techniques. Because I followed the conference with visiting relatives, I’ve experienced more of a reflective period. I’ve caught up on sleep and listened to additional recorded workshops—ones I couldn’t get to because so many are offered—and thought about what I heard, rather than diving into writing again.

When I first joined RWA, I attended craft workshops to improve my writing, and career Elevator wrapssessions to learn about the publishing business. Over the last three years, workshops targeted at self-publishing have increased. This summer, many well-known names in independent publishing presented, appeared on panels, or offered question and answer sessions: Bella Andre, Barbara Freethy, Marie Force. Hugh Howey was in attendance. (I’m going to be very embarrassed if he presented and I missed it!) Three authors, Eliza Knight, Angie Fox and Deanna Chase, presented ‘How to Quietly Make Six Figures in Indie Publishing’ to a mid-sized room packed with women in business casual sitting in every seat and on the floor.

I wish I had taken photos of the audiences. Romance writers, including more men than in previous years, are re-thinking their roles in book publishing.

Industry-focused presentations included: ‘What Good is an Agent?’, ‘Is There a Case for Traditional Publishers and Agents?’, ‘Indie Success with No Publishing History’ and ‘The Hybrid Author.’ iBooks, Amazon, Kobo, CreateSpace, ACX and Audible held open houses.

Jennifer Jakes and Kimberly Killian of the Killian Group

Jennifer Jakes and Kimberly Killian of the Killian Group

I can’t even begin to list the workshops on social media and marketing. I took advantage of sessions such as how to vet an independent editor, formatting, developing your brand, and cover design.

Tiffany Yates Martin presenting 'Get It Edited'

Tiffany Yates Martin presenting ‘Get It Edited’

I talked and questioned and listened. In every venue—especially the bar—an excited buzz about publishing strategies lurked. Not just getting an agent, or submitting to an editor, hoping a story would be picked. But how to manage your work in the clouds of digital press.

It’s a growing publishing world out there, writers. And the instruction book is open!

Finally…Release of Free Agent!

Woo-hoo! JC and I became critique partners after Free Agent’s reads were complete, so I have looked forward to the start of Marissa’s story, especially after reading the next two installments. This urban fantasy is a wild ride of twists and fairytale problems!

FACover

When it comes to crafting happily-ever-afters, the Agency is the best in the land of Kingdom. The Fairy Godfather Grimm can solve any problem—from eliminating imps to finding prince charming—as long as you can pay the price…

Working for Grimm isn’t Marissa Locks’s dream job. But when your parents trade you to a Fairy Godfather for a miracle, you don’t have many career options. To pay off her parents’ debt and earn her freedom, Marissa must do whatever Grimm asks, no matter what fairy-tale fiasco she’s called on to deal with.

Setting up a second-rate princess with a first-class prince is just another day at the office. But when the matchmaking goes wrong, Marissa and Grimm find themselves in a bigger magical muddle than ever before. Not only has the prince gone missing, but the Fae are gearing up to attack Kingdom, and a new Fairy Godmother is sniffing around Grimm’s turf, threatening Marissa with the one thing she can’t resist: her heart’s wishes.

Now Marissa will have to take on Fairies, Fae, dragons, and princesses to save the realm—or give up any hope of ever getting her happy ending…

 ~~~

A Texas transplant to the Pacific Northwest, JC Nelson lives with a family and a flock of chickens near rainy Seattle. Visit JC Nelson at:

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads | Pinterest | Free Agent on GoodReads

On release day only, JC is offering a Rafflecopter giveaway of 1 Signed Print copy of Free Agent, 4 electronic copies of Free Agent.

But I wouldn’t wait! Buy Free Agent now on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

~~~

Want to read a chapter?  Here’s the first!

Free Agent by JC Nelson

One

The New Year’s Eve countdown told me I had five minutes until the ball drop. That gave me six minutes until somebody got killed. I spotted the shoplifter in line at the theater and worked my way across the street, through the teeming crowd. She had no idea what she was wearing, which made her both stupid and dangerous. Stupid was dangerous enough by itself.

“Marissa, I might remind you of the time,” said a man’s voice. It came right out of the store window beside me, the dry voice with its not-quite-English accent. He watched me with critical eyes.

“I got it, Grimm.” I walked along the theater line, head down.

His image followed me, reflecting from the windows and even the brass banister knobs that held the velvet rope. “I’ll believe that when you actually do.”

Call it women’s intuition, or maybe the slippers she wore tipped her off, but the shoplifter turned and looked right at me. Our eyes met, and she knew why I was there, if not who I was. As the crowd surged forward, she ducked into the theater, disappearing into the throng.

“God Damsel-it.” I spat out the faint taste of soap. “Doesn’t count, not a real curse.”

“Watch your language, young lady. Only proper women live happily ever after. Now, go get those slippers back.” Grimm appeared in the ticket window, beckoning me on. Read the rest of this entry

Off to RWA 2014

dklswlhw

The Romance Writers of America National Conference is this week and I’m looking forward to workshops, the trade show, meeting with friends, and especially finding new books.

 

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