Monday, April 29, 2013

The Secret Is Out--FINALLY!

Do you have any idea how bad I am at keeping secrets?  No one talks to me during the month of December; they all know I’ll blurt out Christmas secrets without meaning to.  I don’t mean to be a blabbermouth—it’s just that I'm extremely truthful.  So, imagine how uncomfortable I was when I got the fab news my military homecoming holiday novella, A CRAVING FOR COOKIES, had been accepted at CarinaPress, with one teeny request from CP’s executive editor, Angela James:

Don’t tell anyone.

The effect was instantaneous. I came down with the worst case of diarrhea of the mouth the world had ever seen.  Suddenly I wanted to tell EVERYONE.  People online.  People at work.  Random people in the street.  To make matters worse, this wasn’t an ordinary contract being offered.  Oh, no.  A CRAVING FOR COOKIES represents my 10th contract since I got published in 2011.  My TENTH, dammit!  I considered hiring a frigging sky-writer to let the whole world know!

But I didn’t.  I kicked myself off Twitter and FB the moment I received that wondrous acceptance email on April 16th.  I barely said a word to anyone for ten long days (this was easier than I’m making it sound since I had to get my skaters ready for a competition); it was entirely possible my online buddies forgot I existed.  Then, on the 26th, Angela made the official announcement—yay!  At last I could talk about it.  I was happier than Dobby the house elf when Lucius Malfoy presented him with a sock. *squeals “Dobby is freeeeeee!”*

This means I can also talk about how much I loved the letter Angela sent me.  Acceptance letters are always a beautiful sight as far as I’m concerned, but this one really got to me.  What was it that she said?  Well…

I think this is your best book so far, and you know I've loved your others.

*sniffle* Those are words that can make a grown writer cry.  So bring on those editorial notes, I’m ready to hit them as soon as I get back from RT Con (I’m leaving tomorrow *bounces*)!

Unofficial blurb for A CRAVING FOR COOKIES:

Bitterthorn, Texas might not be big enough for baker Lucy Crabtree, now that her ex-husband is back in town in time for Christmas.From Lucy's senior year in high school, she and Sullivan Jax had been inseparable, dreaming of happily-ever-after. Little did Lucy know that when Sully entered the Army Rangers to serve and protect his country, that decision would kick off the beginning of the end.

In hindsight, Sully supposed the second tour of duty he’d volunteered for hadn’t been the best idea he’d ever had.An IED—or improvised explosive device—scrambled his brains and left him finishing up his military service in various hospitals stateside.But all things considered, he had it luckier than most.He was still in one piece and had either relearned or recalled the majority of what his old life had been.There were only two nagging issues hanging fire—the complete loss of memory when it came to a blue-eyed, smart-mouthed woman everyone said had once been his wife, and an insatiable craving for cookies.

Sully had wanted to do right by Lucy, and insisted on setting her free.But now that the divorce is final and he’s back in a town so small they can't avoid each other, his craving for cookies is taking a backseat to his craving for Lucy.But will the pain of being forgotten and a past he can’t remember keep them apart?It might take a special cookie—and some Christmas magic—to bring about the happily-ever-after they’d dreamed about so long ago.
For a closer look at A CRAVING FOR COOKIES, feel free to look through its Pinterest storyboard.
*gifs taken off of various Tumblr pages. I don't own them and will take them down upon official ownership request.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Do The Math: Ad. Nationals + RT Con + Promo + Release Date = GAAAAH!

Holy crap, I leave for RT Con next Tuesday! I have a feeling that even if I had another month to prepare I still wouldn't be ready, so now I'm just sort of... resigned. :P  It'll be what it will be, and I'm determined to have fun in the process.  Wheee!

What workshops will I be doing?  For the most part, I'm going to be learning about the New Adult genre, the latest how-to process for self-publishing and getting schooled on new ways to promote and brand.  In fact, I've signed up for so many workshops I'll probably be sick of the world of writing by the time I get home. :D  I hope not, though, because I just heard from my editor that I should be expecting developmental edits for DANGEROUS ANGEL. Yay! :D 

From my much-adored and brilliant editor, Andrea:

"I got an updated pub schedule from Carina the other day, and it looks like Dangerous Angel is going to be released March 31, 2014. I am very close to having the DE ready for you".

So there you have it -- a release date for the 4th and FINAL BOOK in The Earth Angels series! *trumpets blare*  Another bit of wonderful news -- the 3rd book in the series, WOUNDED ANGEL, is now up for pre-order on Carina Press's site. (And for reviewers interested in getting their hands on it now, find it on NetGalley, or contact me for an ARC.  I love to share! ^_^)  I didn't even know about it until someone pointed out that it was in the top position on CP's Best-Seller list on April 21st.  Don't ask me how long it's been on the website ready for pre-order; to be honest, I've been working so much on my other job that the writing facet of life has, understandably, had to take a step back.

Which leads me to throwing out a HUGE congrats to my skaters on getting through Adult Nationals without losing their minds. *throws confetti* They did exactly what they set out to do -- achieving personal bests and hitting the podium (and the ice more than a few times, but thankfully that was left for the practice ice *whew*).  Next year Adult Nationals will be in Cape Cod, so I'm already pushing more of my over-21 students to go for their tests and level up to qualify for this annual event.  I want to eat lobster and go whale-watching! :D

I'm also getting my younger skaters ready for a big competition this weekend in Dallas (everyone's having to re-route around West, Texas, due to the fertilizer plant explosion aftermath), while all this writer-stuff madness is going on.  Thankfully I can lean on GoddessFish Promotions to help me with WOUNDED ANGEL's upcoming release.  I'm doing an Excerpt-Only tour with them, and to give you a taste of what to expect from this, it's time for an Ella/Nate scene from WOUNDED ANGEL, releasing May 27th. Enjoy!

The acid burn of humiliation stung her face with white-hot pinpricks, and she jerked to her feet so he couldn’t see the crimson glow of it. But by the time she’d crossed into the living area of the suite, the agony of that humiliation melded with a razor-edged anger that cut at her until she was a bloody mess. After a rejection like that, there was no way she could accept the idea of just meekly crawling into her cold and lonely bed without so much as a whimper in response. If he didn’t find her appealing, fine. His prerogative. But he sure as hell wasn’t going to get away with making her feel like an idiot for being attracted to him.
“Maybe you should put a damn shirt on if you’re uncomfortable with me noticing you in all your spectacular male glory. Trust me, there’s no need for you to look like such an outraged virgin—I wasn’t going to jump your bones. You might be some great eye candy, but I’m not into raping uninterested men.” And with that, she snapped off the light and stomped to the pale blob that was the pullout bed. Not exactly the stinging retort she’d been going for, but what the hell. It would do in a pinch.
No sooner had she plopped down on the side of the bed, a light flared in the other section of the suite.
“Oh no, you don’t. You don’t get to turn the lights out just when things are getting good.” Nate appeared, leaning against the partial wall separating the sleeping and living sections of the suite. Though it was just about the last thing she wanted to do, Ella glanced over her shoulder as he crossed his arms over that chest she ached to taste. She could have sworn the bastard had the gall to flex his pecs. “Eye candy?”
“Yeah. As in, all sugar and no substance.” There. Let him chew on that for a while.
He shrugged. The pecs danced again. “I’m cool with that. I like candy.”
“Good for you.” Still aflame with humiliation, embarrassment and a growing desire that wouldn’t shut up, Ella ignored the stifling bedclothes and instead lay down on top of the scratchy blanket with her back to him. “Good night.”
“What about that spectacular male glory you mentioned? I’m interested in hearing just how spectacular you think my male glory is.”
Oh, please. “Since you’ve made it abundantly clear the feeling isn’t mutual, you can speculate on that all by your lonesome and leave me the hell out of it. Now go to bed.”
“Bed, huh? Well, normally I’m not into pushy women, but for you I suppose I can make an exception.”
If she hadn’t been lying down already, she would have fallen over in shock when the rickety bed groaned in protest as he stretched out beside her. “What the hell are you—”
“Don’t blame me, you started this. I’d have to hand in my official Red-Blooded Guy membership card if I didn’t at least try to find a way to persuade you to finish it.”


Buy Links for WOUNDED ANGEL:

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Gone Again...So Will All Hell Break Loose?

I just got back from a week-long vacay, a time when all sorts of good things broke loose while I was away.  I received the PDF ARCs for WOUNDED ANGEL (and I now have the epubs too, if any reviewer is interested *happy dance*), and then super-squee’d in public when I got the email that the final book in The Earth Angels series, DANGEROUS ANGEL, had been accepted for publication by Carina Press.  YAY!  The series is now complete, and that is the best feeling imaginable.

Now I’m headed off again for a week—work this time, but soooo much fun, it’ll hardly feel like work at all. ;)  But I’ll be gone again, and that means… more news!  Seriously, it never freaking fails.  I head off and BAM! News.  For instance:

*NetGalley has put WOUNDED ANGEL up on their site for reviewers to make with the grabby hands!  You know you wanna make with the grabby hands.  Admit it. Heh.

*PG Forte is a GENIUS when it comes to promo.  She thought of gathering a bunch of authors who are releasing in May, pooling our resources, and doing a blog hop called ONE HOT MONTH FOR BOOKS!  I love doing blog hops, so I’m thrilled to be a part of this.  Check the FB site daily for more details, such as who’s joining, where we’ll be and what we’re giving away.  And, of course, to just say hi and chat! :D

I'm on my way!

That’s my latest news in the publishing biz.  The rest of this week will be focused on the world of figure skating, so to my two outstanding competitors—GOOD LUCK, GIRLS! <3

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Read The First Scene In WOUNDED ANGEL!

Hi there!  I'm less than two months away from the release of the 3rd book in The Earth Angels series, WOUNDED ANGEL--yay!  To celebrate its upcoming release, I'm posting little snippets here and there, starting with...the opening scene! Enjoy!

Chapter One

“Do you want to be helpless? Are you happy with the idea of being someone’s prey? If so, quit now and let the pain win. Quit, I say! But, if you refuse to be a victim, let’s do another five reps!
Deaf to the heavy metal beat thrumming through the kickboxing gym, Ella Little crouched in front of the long black bag she’d already beaten to within an inch of its life, and went through the drill for what felt like the millionth time. The combination was a tricky one—three sharp left jabs and a fast uppercut right, then into two side knee strikes, aiming for the ribs or kidneys. Next was a flurry of half a dozen close-in body punches and an elbow strike before a front kick to gain space, then finishing off with a pivoting roundhouse kick to the head.
Balance, speed, power. A kill shot in each hit. In order for it to be effective in real life, putting deadly intent behind each hit was the way it had to be trained.
Within The Body Electric’s cavernous kickboxing training room—or the Doom Room, as the more dedicated gym members called it—people were dropping like flies. No surprise there. The trainer was Jacob Braun, perpetually rabid and an agent of Mossad before deciding to retire to Chicago to torture its unsuspecting residents. He was in fine form this blustery March evening; with his eyes bulging and veins popping, he looked like a man who’d missed his daily dose of anti-psychotic medicine. His salt-and-pepper hair was shaved so that it was little more than bristles, and he didn’t need the microphone headgear as he screamed his peculiar brand of motivation while his mad eyes swept the room for easy prey. Ella hardly noticed her co-worker and friend as he pounced on a flagging gym member, far more intent on letting the power sing through each fluid punch and kick.
Though she loved her job as a personal trainer and self-defense instructor at The Body Electric, this was Ella’s favorite part of the week—kickboxing with Jacob. Where else was it legally possible to let her violent flag fly, and even better, have it encouraged? The front kick snapped out, zinging all the way up to her hip, and she couldn’t stop the fierce smile. That one would have buckled an opponent’s knee, no problem, and that knowledge shot satisfaction through her system. That was what this class was all about—survival. Survival of both Jacob’s wild-eyed instruction, and survival of the darkness that could swallow a person whole.
The kind of darkness that had once done its best to swallow her.
Man, she was tired.
To keep her mind off the lava-hot burn of lactic acid in her quads, biceps and deltoids, Ella tightened her pink-gloved fists and let her gaze wander to her neighbors. One of them was bent at the waist with his hands on his knees in a position that showed he was either in the process of regaining his breath or about to hurl. Another was barely managing to lift her foot high enough to reach the bag. Jacob would make them pay for their weakness.
Her bag jounced with the impact of her kick, and its movement coincided with another bag off to her right and ahead a few rows. Someone else was determined not to incur Jacob’s wrath, if the bag’s violent dancing was any indication. Her attention drifted to the man working the bag over like it had done him dirty, and her well-oiled rhythm skipped a beat.
He was a newcomer to their gym, but certainly no newbie to working out. She was sure he was new, because even if the traumas in her former life hadn’t locked her emotions up inside and thrown away the key, she still would have noticed this living testament to testosterone-infused eye-candy the moment he walked through the doors. It was impossible not to notice him. The expanse of his shoulders bared by a tank top could have given Atlas a run for his Titan-y money. The rest of him was just as spectacular; he was a well-proportioned giant in a world that appeared to be toddler-sized by comparison. Like her, his black hair was damp with sweat, and long enough to tumble in waving abandon over his forehead.  His sharply angled brows hooded intense eyes that even from this distance she could see were the color of onyx. There was a leanness to his face that granted him a hungry look, with high cheekbones shadowing concave cheeks darkened by a five o’clock shadow, and the faint sneer snarling his upper lip would have done an Elvis impersonator proud. If anything, he looked like he wanted to tear his punching bag a new one and was ready to do it with his bare—
“Are you enjoying your daydream, Ella?”
Her attention snapped back to reality so hard she thought it might have made a noise. With a sinking heart she realized that while she was checking out the vision of sweat-slick masculine perfection a few bags over, Jacob had prowled toward her with all the accuracy of a shark aiming for blood in the water.
 “No daydreams here, Jacob.” With renewed focus she attacked the bag in hopes of impressing him. “Just working the reps.”
“And do you know what rep we’re on?”
“Of course I do.” She could bluff with the best of them.
“What number?”
Shit. “Four?”
A vein pulsed down the middle of Jacob’s corrugated forehead. “You’re on your sixth rep, which must mean you feel I’m not working you hard enough. Do you think I’m not working you hard enough, Ella?”
“Thank you for the suggestion. Everyone, Ella feels we should do more, so that’s what we’re going to do. Five more reps, double-time!”
It was a wonder she didn’t fall dead under all the lethal stares.
At long last the torture came to an end. The man who had been bent over stumbled from the room while a few others simply dropped where they stood. Ella didn’t bother to look around to what the newcomer was up to; in all probability he was wishing her six feet under like the rest of the class.
“I take it you really like kickboxing?”
In the process of toweling off her face and wishing she could strip out of her high-necked, long-sleeved black compression shirt before she passed out from heat exhaustion, Ella whirled around. Every nerve kicked into high gear as she zeroed in on the man she’d noted earlier, now only a handful of feet away. First Jacob, and now a stranger had snuck up on her. That went against her main survival rule of always being aware of who was around her. This could not be allowed.
“I suppose.” Snappy comebacks weren’t a consideration when her touchy ideals of personal security were compromised. In a world that was far more dangerous than it appeared, getting caught off-guard was an absolute no-no. “Sorry about the extra reps.”
His smile was a slanted work of art, designed for the sole purpose of staggering the planet’s female population. “Don’t be. I need the work, and this was a fun way to do it.”
“I don’t think fun would be the word everyone would use to describe Jacob’s advanced kickboxing class.”
“It’s all in the motivation. Take me, for instance—I’m not happy unless I’m pushed to my limit. Not that I’m a big believer in limits.”
Somehow this wasn’t a shocker. “I think a few people in class hit theirs.”
“You didn’t. You were hitting just as hard at the end as you were at the beginning.”
So he’d noticed her. Ella had no idea if this was a good thing or bad thing. “I’m a trainer here at The Body Electric, certified in strength and conditioning, self-defense and sports medicine. If I can’t take whatever Jacob dishes out, I don’t deserve to work here.” Then she closed her mouth with a click. Good grief, it must be her evening for breaking personal rules. Information meant power, and personal information gave power over her to people who had no right to it. Yet she’d just offered up a cartload of her new life to a perfect stranger like she didn’t know any better. It was like she’d forgotten every stay-alive lesson she’d picked up in the past two years.
Who knew she was such a sucker for a pretty face?
“A personal trainer, huh?” His knockout smile widened, and she made herself look to the task of folding her towel before she blurted her Social Security number and cup size. “That explains it. No wonder I couldn’t keep up with you.”
Ella had to bite her tongue to keep from assuring him that he’d kept up just fine. If she did that, he would know she had been watching him, and that would lead to a conversational brick wall. She didn’t want him to know she’d been aware of his existence. She didn’t want to notice him, period.
Disgusted with her tangled thoughts, she tried to appear professionally aloof as she back-pedaled in the direction of Jacob, snatching up the gym bag that doubled as her bug-out kit. Packed with all the essentials she’d need in an emergency that covered everything from earthquakes to zombie attacks, she never went anywhere without it. “Take a few more of Jacob’s classes and you’ll be up to speed in no time. Have a nice evening.”
“Bye now.” As she turned away, she winced at the faint wisp of the South rolling through the words, overcoming her carefully crafted Chicago-Midwestern monotone. Not good. Tiny imperfections like that might not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but those little things added up. If she wasn’t careful, she’d find herself having to pull up stakes before someone found her.

Book three in The Earth Angels

A descendant of the Angel of Vengeance, Nate da Luca was gifted with an uncanny ability to find things. It made his job as a detective a breeze—until he learned the hard way that some things should remain hidden. After that, his powers vanished, along with his belief in himself. Which is going to make tracking down Gabriella Littlefield for his latest client a challenge.

Personal trainer Ella Little paid a hefty price for her life—now all she wants is to live it in peace. Then a sexy hulk of a man turns up in her gym, reigniting desires she thought she'd left behind along with her real name and hair color.

Desires she can't deny even after she discovers Nate's no stranger to her dark past.

Before he can convince her the attraction is mutual, Nate's going to have to earn Ella's trust. But a demon is playing for keeps in the world of humans, using Ella as bait, and the last thing they have is time…

Go back to the beginning with Nobody's Angel, available now!
63,000 words

WOUNDED ANGEL is up for pre-order at: Amazon | B&N

For a closer look at WOUNDED ANGEL, please feel free to visit its Pinterest storyboard.