Thursday, January 31, 2013

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Judging a book by its cover by Jacqueline George

Please welcome Jacqueline George talking about one of my favorite topics--book covers...well, actually I really like the cover models **Cindy waves to the Ellora's Cavemen** Okay, I'll behave myself. Take it way, Jacqueline!

~Cindy
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Judging a Book by its Cover
Never judge a book by its cover. Well, yes, but... When you are flicking through Amazon’s many pages, what else is going to catch your eye? If you don’t know the author or the title, there is nothing else to go on. Would you ever investigate an unknown book that does not have a cover image displayed? In a high street bookstore, the cover is what tempts you to take the book off the shelf and look inside. The same applies online.
A book’s cover is important, and publishers do their very best to come up with something that will stop you just passing by and ignoring their book. They are not always good at this, but I sympathise. Finding a cover image that looks stunning all over the world is very difficult. It might surprise North Americans to hear that Europe thinks most of their covers suck. And I’m sure North Americans think European covers are too tame and boring.
Spare a thought for the poor publisher and his graphic designer. Real life is not easy.
One of my titles, How to make Wild, Passionate Love to your Man, is on sale in Australia and the US, but I cannot use the same cover for both places. Seems that Americans want fire but Aussies find that a little embarrassing. We prefer funny, and here are the two covers - guess which is which.
One thing we have to remember when designing the perfect cover is that it will be displayed online very small, as a thumbnail, until the potential reader makes her first click. Any extravagant artistic effect will be invisible and will probably just look a mess. The title itself will be unreadable unless it takes up half the page.
We just have to try our best. Here are a couple of covers from Gemma Parkes. Version one was sort of OK, but version two, with a splash of colour and the girl turned around, made all the difference.
 
On top of everything else, the censor has to have his input too. Of course, Americans have constitutional guarantees of freedom from censorship. Unfortunately, American corporations exist largely outside the constitution and companies like Amazon and PayPal decide what you can read, and what a book can carry on its cover. They are too busy making money by selling books to bother much about the contents, but they do care about covers. So - no pink bits, no matter how pretty they might be. And no muscular butt cracks either, I’m afraid. Look at this poor model :
Notice the difference? I bet she did, because after my distributor warned that Amazon has a strict no-nipple policy, I had to get my razor out and slice off her button. It brought tears to my eyes, and hers as well, I’m sure.
OK - I admit it. I am absolutely hopeless at guessing what people want to see on their book covers. That would not be so bad if I could rely on the professionals to tell me what works and what doesn’t, but sometimes I just have to shake my head. How about these covers, for the American ebook versions of two books and the Australian print versions? They couldn’t be more different, but which one would make you click and buy?
First, The Prince and the Nun, a historical romance.
And then Her Master’s Voice, an adventurous romance set in South-east Asia,
So next time you make a snap judgement and pick up a book because it has an interesting cover, spare a thought for the work that went into it. At least you picked the book up, so that worked as it should. Now let’s see what is inside the cover...


Jacqueline lives in Far North Queensland, on the shore of the Coral Sea. She keeps herself busy with her cats and garden, and by writing books - some of which are far too naughty for her own good. You can find out more about Jacqueline and her books at www.jacquelinegeorgewriter.com











Tuesday, January 29, 2013

#iobooktours--Murder by Prophecy by @GaryKassay


When I saw this book as part of Innovative Online Book Tours, I was thrilled. I read the first Duke Becker book, Murder by Silence, and loved it so I jumped at the chance to review Murder by Prophecy. Which brings me to an important disclaimer: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Okay,  disclaimers out of the way, let's get to the meat of it!


What would you do if you had been falsely imprisoned and if while in prison your wife and your children had been brutally murdered? Samuel Maxwell, the Prophet, decides to spend his time plotting out his plan for revenge against the greedy men responsible..
The Prophet stops at nothing to avenge the deaths. Will Inspector Duke Becker and his squad from Special Investigations Homicide be able to stop the Prophet and the reasons behind the killings before more die?  
I read a lot of mysteries/thrillers and there aren't many authors who can surprise me but Gary Kassay did just that. The murders are carefully crafted and plausible, but definitely kept me guessing. I found the search for the killer exciting and well-paced. The Prophet is a deliciously twisted villain and Duke's pursuit is nothing short of inspired. Also, I loved the deeper insight into Duke's character that his marriage provides. All in all, Mr. Kassay did a masterful job with Murder by Prophecy. I recommend it to all fans of the genre. It's a real page turner. Can't wait for the next Duke Becker novel!


About Gary Kassay:



Gary L. Kassay born on March 20, 1956 in the Bronx, New York. Married to high school sweetheart, Eileen on May 6, 1978. Two children, Jason Kassay born March 30, 1980 and Samantha Kassay born January 6, 1986. Eileen Kassay passed away on May 14, 2003.
Worked as an x-ray tech for six years at Brooklyn Hospital and then joined the New York City Police Department, Transit Police. Trained for the K-9 unit and worked until injured in the line of duty forcing early retirement. Next worked in the field of commercial photography, starting in customer service, then becoming the assistant manager, manager and then with two partners buying Diversified Photo located on Long Island.
Although retired at the time, worked Ground Zero after 9/11 for several weeks.
In 2004 left business to two partners and moved to North Carolina where he met his second wife Raella. Married on September 10, 2005 in Maui, Hawaii. Worked for Homeland Security as a TSA officer, and then as a Lieutenant for Guilford County in charge of the Social Services Building.
In 2008 he moved to Casper Wyoming where he currently resides.
Online Links:
Twitter: @GaryKassay or www.twitter.com/GaryKassay

BUY NOW LINK: Coming soon!
Amazon paper book
Amazon Kindle copy

Barnes and Noble

Giveaway: 5 E-book International

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Why won't you talk to me?


As a professional, full time author, I pride myself on never getting blocked and my ability to write no matter what. At least that's true 90% of the time...unfortunately I'm mired in that 10% where I have a story to complete, a deadline I've missed and I'm high and dry in the idea department.


Here's the deal: the story was due 12/31/2012 and I missed that deadline due to illness. During that time away from the manuscript my enthusiasm for it cooled and now I'm having a hell of a time rekindling it. It's not quite the same as being blocked because I'm perfectly capable of writing just NOT what I'm supposed to working on. It seems the characters aren't interested in talking to me and I can't figure out why.

To be honest, I've never quite understood the fickleness of the creative impulse. Some days are hot, some days are ice cold. Some manuscripts practically write themselves and the characters nag me at all hours of the day and night to get their story told. Some books are as painful as giving birth and the characters refuse to tell me their tale.

With this current endeavor, I've exhausted my bag of tricks--working on scenes that interest me, fleshing out the characters more using a variety of tools, taking a break and working on a different manuscript, etc. etc. Thus far, the stubborn hero and heroine are refusing to drop the silent treatment.

So I'm putting the question out there to all you writers, how do you handle it when you have a project you need to finish, but just can't get into it?

Cheers,
Cindy

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Two Good Films by Jacqueline George

Please welcome my guest today, the incomparable Jacqueline George!

~Cindy
p.s. I'm a huge fan of these films too!
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Two Good Films


After a hard day of achieving not much at all, I sat back with a favourite drink (butterscotch schnapps on ice) and flicked through the movie channels. Not much on offer except yet another re-run of Connie and Carla. I have seen it a dozen times before, but still - it was worth another showing.
Have you seen it? It stars a couple of ditsy female singers who accidentally witness a gangland murder. They are immediately on the run from the Boss and wash up in Los Angeles. Their only chance of a break in that notorious town is to audition as a club act - in a drag queen show.
I won’t spoil it for you. The film is a comedy, but a comedy with manners. The other performers in the drag act are men (of course!), but mostly a bunch of lost souls who club together for support. In spite of this being a main stream film, they are portrayed sympathetically. We never learn if they are gay. The film is about their singing, not their love lives. Introducing real women in disguise into the act gives all sorts of comic opportunities, but also plenty of thoughtful moments. They are probably why I like the film and am prepared to watch it again.
In fact, the film is a bit of a Hollywood cop-out. Why would you make a film about drag queens when you could go the whole hog and make it about transsexuals? Probably because that would be a step too far for a large part of the US audience. They can take men dressed as women for a laugh, but get serious and sensitive and you are asking gender questions that really, really upset some people. The film had to have a happy and guaranteed straight ending.
There was an Australian film, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, featuring drag queens. That was never going to get a full US release, so its producers did not have to hold back. It is tough and dramatic, a touring drag act in the Australian outback. Wonderful costumes and scenery, great music and dancing, and some serious questioning of stereotypes.

The setting and the plot are absolutely real, and I like real. I like to see the dust of the desert, and the long, empty roads. The lonely pub (that is the actual pub in the pic) run by a sad old Australian with his crazy Asian wife who has never stopped being a bar-girl. I loved the cheerful, uncritical aboriginals who turn up one night when the bus has broken down far from help. All of these people and places are out there in the dry centre, and it does not take much effort for travellers to find them.
I respect the balls of the film-makers who were prepared to show real people behind the fantasy costumes, and not make fun of them. I especially value the ending which might be happy or not, but is certainly very risky. If you have not seen this film already, put it on your must-do list. It is one you will remember.
Still, for all that, Priscilla is a little bit of a cop out. Even Australian films cannot question intersexuality too closely. I guess we can accept that there are gays around (preferably somewhere out of sight), but we don’t want to think about living in the space between the extremes. After all, too much of that and we might start asking exactly where we stand ourselves.
I don’t think I know any transsexual people here, but I did work with a fully transgender welder on the other side of the country. A really good welder, artistic and imaginative, and far stronger than me. I soon got to know her as a person, not a sexual statement, and we got on together just fine. I wonder what she thought of these two films.
In the end, I like both films and would be happy to see them again. Sad that the indelible Hollywood stamp is on Connie and Carla, but we should be used to that by now. If only Hollywood could divert a fraction of the energy they devote to extreme violence in the direction of serious sex...
Dream on. They play ignorant, and encourage ignorance. In a climactic scene, they even have the two singers proving they are ‘real’ women by flashing their boobs - this in Los Angeles where possessing a nice pair of breasts says absolutely nothing about what your panties might or might not contain.
Oh, stop whinging, Jacqueline. At least some-one is thinking out there, and we have two good films to enjoy.

Jacqueline lives in Far North Queensland, on the shore of the Coral Sea. She keeps herself busy with her cats and garden, and by writing books - some of which are far too naughty for her own good. You can find out more about Jacqueline and her books at www.jacquelinegeorgewriter.com

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thrilled to announce...

I have a new contract with Ellora's Cave. Yes, my editor Jilly offered it to my last month, but I don't like to make the announcement until I get the signed copy from the EC contract department. It's official--BLACKEST NIGHTS will be published later this year. SQUEEEEEEEEE!

Here's a little sneaky peeky...unedited of course so please forgive my typos ;) Oh and if BDSM isn't your thing, you might not want to read on...you've been warned!

BLACKEST NIGHTS
copyright Cindy Jacks 2012

Excerpt:

For our first play session, I arrived early, reciting, “Scarlet, slow. Midnight, stop,” as I parked in his driveway. Once I’d inspected my makeup and smoothed my black skirt and spaghetti strap blouse, I propelled myself out of the car. The humid night air threatened to kink up my hair. A smile on my lips, I hoped my hair wouldn’t be the only thing kinked up that night. My stomach did flipflops at the thought of what Black had in store for me.
At 8:55, I knocked on his door. I heard him moving inside the house, but he didn’t answer.
A couple minutes passed and still I stood on his porch, the crickets chirping in the cooling night air. Maybe he hadn’t heard my knock. I rang the doorbell.
Another minute or so passed and every second that ticked by left me feeling foolish. Why was he making me wait? Finally out of patience, I fished my cell phone out of my purse and hit the auto-dial for his number.
As soon as Black jerked open the door, I knew I’d made a mistake. His lips down-turned, his eyes narrowed, he folded his arms over his chest.
The intensity of his stare unnerved me.
Fixing my gaze on the ground, I offered an explanation though he hadn’t demanded one, “I wanted to be sure I was on time.”
“But you aren’t on time, you’re early. Nine o’clock means nine o’clock.”
“Oh. I’m sorry.”
“Go into the dining room and sit.” He moved aside to let me pass. “To your left.”
Hurrying to do as instructed, I didn’t have much time to take in the decor of the house. Once I’d taken a seat, I studied the austerity of the mission style dining table, chairs and china cabinet. One massive photo―at least four feet by six feet―hung on an otherwise bare wall. It depicted a close up of a fig sliced in half. So suggestive was the imagery of female genitalia that I found myself averting my eyes, sneaking furtive glances. Every time I dared to look at it for more than a couple of seconds, my cheeks burned and butterflies flitted around my stomach.
The door clicked shut and I heard his footsteps head in the opposite direction. Then he returned, his cell phone in hand. Drawing his finger across the screen, he turned it so I could read. The glowing display showed his call log.
“Read the most recent entry,” he said.
“It says, ‘Red’.”
“And is it an incoming call or an outgoing one?”
“Incoming,” I mumbled. I knew exactly what I’d done wrong.
“I said never to call me.” He grabbed me by the hair and I flinched more out of surprise than pain. He wasn’t pulling all that hard…yet.
“I’m sorry.” I looked at him out of the corner of my eye, excited by the control he exerted over me.
Setting the phone aside, he moved behind me. Leaning down, he let his lips brush past my ear. I could feel his breath on my cheek and neck. Inhaling his cologne, I closed my eyes, my heartbeat quickening.
“You don’t listen.” He tightened his grasp, shaking me a little. I gasped, the pain sharper now, the throbbing of my pussy radiating throughout my body.
I didn’t reply, struggling to suppress a smile though I couldn’t figure out just why I felt like grinning.
“What’s funny?” He tugged at my hair.
The tug hurt so much my eyes watered. “Nothing.”
“Say it. Say, ‘I don’t listen’.” His held my head held back, forcing me to make eye contact.
“I―” My voice cracked, arousal and agony gripping my throat. “I don’t listen.”
“Do you need me to make you?”
“Yes…please.” My legs trembled, my pussy quivering at the thought of what he would do to punish me.
Bending me over the table, he pressed my cheek to the cool surface, hand still tangled in my hair, but he’d eased up on the agonizing hold.
The skirt I’d taken so much care to pick out wound up crumpled around my waist. He ripped off my panties then caressed the swell of my ass. I heard the jangle of his belt buckle and the woosh of it sliding out of his belt loops. Oh God, he was going to―
Crack!
I cried out and squirmed, the initial sting so intense I could hardly stand it, but he held me down.
Crack!
The belt smacked against my ass, heat spreading over the entire cheek. I yelped and whimpered. A sharp burning sensation ran along the junction of my buttock and my thigh and I was sure he’d given me a welt. The thought turned me on to no end. I was bare-assed, splayed out across a table and one of the most gorgeous men I’d ever met was punishing me. Oh yes, I wanted more.
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Like what you read? Discover more Cindy Jacks books at Ellora's Cave

Friday, January 11, 2013

2013--Going road warrior in my retro bikini

Now that I'm relatively caught up with all I fell behind on, I was reflecting on my goals for this year. I have to say, with last year's successes I'm feeling pretty ambitious. Not to mention I'm facing the big FOUR-OH this August. Keep moving forward, right?

1. Goal numero uno is to put out a book a month. What's that you say? That's crazy! Not really. I'm not talking twelve full-length novels. More like one novel, four novellas and seven shorter works. The wonderful thing about being part of the e-publishing world is I don't have arbitrary word counts imposed on me because an 85,000 plus word book looks better a display shelf than a 50,000. This gives me the freedom to exercise a whole range of storytelling skills--vignettes, short stories, novellas and, yes, the occasional novel.
Gone are the days when an author could put out one or two books every couple of years and rest on his/her laurels. It's truly publish or perish and I'm going road warrior this year! I've got some plans for several works with my main publisher, Ellora's Cave, plus an anthology of short stories with some wonderful authors (**Cindy waves to Jacqueline George**) and also I'm delving into self-pubbing some of my previously published work that I've recently reacquired the rights to. It's going to be an adventure, I'm sure.

2. Goal number two...okay, this might sound a wee bit silly, but given my recent weight loss (45 pounds and counting!) it occurred to me that I might, for the first time in decades, have a shot at wearing a bikini this summer. I'm not talking about the two pasties and some dental floss kind of bikini, but something classic and retro...something Marilyn would've worn. With that in mind, I started my customized Nike+ training today on the Xbox. Okay, so day one was really, really hard. Yep...it kicked my ass, but I think a new fitness regime is in order to keep challenged and motivated. I'll keep y'all updated as I keep things fit and slim in 2013.


So I'd love to hear what y'all have planned for the new year, please share! Happy 2013, may it bring you luck and happiness...or at least if life gives you lemons, make whiskey sours ;)

Cheers,
Cindy

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Birth of a Novel: It's my manuscript and I'll cry if I want to

So, you've written enough words to call your book a novel. You've given it form and purpose, fleshed out characters, not to mention all the blood, sweat and tears. You're finished, right? Not even close.

Now the hard work really begins. It's time to edit. ARGH! That dastardly word (my apologies to my own editor. You do know I love you, Jilly). I'd have to say edits are my least favorite part of writing, but a very necessary one. While Mozart may have been able to dash off music with nary a correction, no writer on the planet can produce a flawless first draft. I assure you, mistakes have been made and the fact of the matter is you will not be able to find them all on your own. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The author is always the first reader of his or her work therefore the first edit belongs to you, the so-called self-edit. Carefully read through your manuscript--I often do this aloud because it helps point out unnatural sentence structure and typos. This will help you find where you lost your way. What are you looking for? Plot holes, actions that are out of character, scenes you skimped on because you were feeling lazy that day (we all do it), scenes in which you fell in love with the sound of your own voice but were really writing to hear yourself type. Again, we all do that as well. I have a penchant for getting overly descriptive with food and meals. Could be because I love cooking but am perpetually dieting? Methinks yes. Anyhoo, now is the time to slash, burn and rebuild. Cry if you need to...I often do.

Once the alpha reader is satisfied (remember, that's you), it's time to pass your baby along to someone who does not love it nearly so much. And someone who does not love you too much either. By this, I mean your mom or best friend or number one fan just won't do. What you need is a veteran reader, grammar ninja and psychoanalyst all rolled into one--your beta reader.

Ahhhh, a good beta reader is hard to find and a hard beta reader is good to find. No, I'm not being naughty. The best thing you can do for your novel now is find someone to beat the crap out of it. Find the nitpicky-est, persnickety-est, lover of books and the English language you can find (Love you, Stacey!). Your beta reader should question everything that sounds even remotely inaccurate or contrived. When you receive your manuscript file back from your beta reader, it should be all marked up. It will sting but remember, pain is just weakness leaving your novel. Again, feel free to cry...I often do. But the fact of the matter is you cannot fully edit your own work because you're too close to it. I guarantee your beta reader will find at least one flaw that will make you smack your forehead and go, "How did I not catch that?" A fresh, critical pair of eyes is essential to the finishing process. That being said, you don't want someone who's just plain mean or unprofessional. We're going for constructive criticism not snarkiness.

Also, remember--no matter what changes someone else recommends, it is still YOUR VISION and you can accept or reject changes as you see fit. It may take a couple rounds of beta reader edits and some brainstorming to get the flow, plot and characters spit polished.

Now that you've read it and loved it, now that someone else has read it and given you constructive criticism, it doesn't hurt to pass your manuscript by a couple additional people, more for proofreading purposes than anything else. This time, you can use your mom or your best friend or anyone else willing to give it a looksee. You just need even fresher eyes to catch little typos you and your beta reader missed because you've read the darn thing so many times and you both know how it's supposed to read, but you actually wrote 'to' instead of 'too' or 'weather' instead of 'whether'. Again, you do want to use folks who are good at grammar and spelling...oh and that reminds me--don't forget to do one final pass with spell check. Sounds like a no brainer, but you'd be surprised how many writers ignore that most basic of tools.

After all that back and forth, you've finally got a manuscript you can send out into the world, whether you choose an e-publisher, self-pubbing or a more traditional route, you've gone through all the essential steps. It's time to put your best foot forward and let your work shine for all the world to see.

Good luck, my fellow writers! I hope my little series of articles on the birth of a novel has been informative and entertaining. I've just hit send and PINCH OF THIS is on its way to my editor. I'll let you guys know if it's contracted (fingers crossed!)

Cheers,
Cindy

Monday, January 7, 2013

#BlogTour - HAUNTED LAIRD by Tara Nina

Please welcome my guest today, a fellow Ellora's Cave author, Tara Nina! Congrats on the new book, looks so yummy!

~Cindy
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Book BLURB:
Haunted Laird
Tara Nina

Book four in the Cursed MacKinnons series.

Lynn’s ghost-hunting trip in Scotland takes an unpleasant turn when she’s kidnapped from her camp by a group of men rambling about curses and a brotherhood. In a daring escape, Lynn falls over a cliff and awakens in a cave being guarded by a ghost, who insists she’s the key to freeing a man who has been cast in stone by an evil curse. And what a man he is…

Padon has been imprisoned for over two centuries, frozen in stone. He is awoken when a sexy siren recites the anti-curse, but he is only partially free. Stone by day, man by night. Passion ignites between him and his savior immediately, which makes falling to the curse each morning that much harder. He and Lynn seek a resolution by making the trek to Padon’s family castle. But the kidnappers have other plans and will do whatever they must to make sure this couple never makes it to their destination.

BIO:
Hot Romance~Sexy Attitude best describes Tara Nina’s writing style. She creates for Ellora’s Cave in sensuality ranges from steamy hot to simmering sweet, which includes paranormals, contemporaries and romantic suspense. She is a Southerner living in the northern wilds of New Jersey complete with grown children, three dogs, and a mountain man for a husband.
ONLINE LINKS:
·       Website:  http://taranina.com
·       Blog: http://taranina.blogspot.com/
·       Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tara.nina
·       Twitter: https://twitter.com/taranina
·       Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/taranina
·        Youtube   

BUY NOW LINK:
·       Amazon paper book
·       Amazon Kindle copy

NOTE:
For USA Buyers of Double Dilemma, Portal to Passion and  Night Prey will be mailed both a signed cover flat and a signed book plate for their book. All other USA buyers Tara Nina books purchased will get a signed book plate.  Please email a copy of your purchase receipt to Vickie@innovativeonlinebooktours.com along with your mailing address.
Giveaway:  2 $20.00 Amazon Gift Cards  signed books 1- Eyes of Stone, 1- Silken Delights, 1-Portal to Passion.

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By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.
An Excerpt From: HAUNTED LAIRD
Copyright © TARA NINA, 2012
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
She looked through the thinnest area of the waterfall and focused on the statue. Light from the menagerie of lanterns Jasper had provided shone on the stone surface, giving it an oddly beautiful appeal. Lynn felt compelled to speak the verse as she stood in the mist of the falling water.

“Ceum saor de clach
Be Ye Biast air duine
’Tis Gaol dara slighe
Ge Ye be mèinne
Dh’oidche mur dh’là”

Seeing nothing happen, a slight bit of disappointment filled her. She took a breath and leaned her head into the more rapid pulse of the waterfall and rinsed the suds from her hair and body. Lynn stepped back from the stream, brushing the hair and water from her eyes. The moment she regained her focus, she froze. The gasp lodged in her throat.

Was she dreaming?

When he woke, the realization he was no longer at Castle MacKinnon hit him in the chest with an invisible solid blow. What happened? Where was he? And most importantly, where was his family?
Padon stumbled forward with his sword held tightly, ready to strike. MacGillivray was behind this. He felt most certain that dark-eyed devil lingered near. He swung around, trying to gain his bearings. Shock shook him to the core as he recognized his surroundings.

He was in the hunting cave. But how? Last he remembered he was aiming to kill MacGillivray for attacking his brathairs. Padon surveyed the area for any signs of life, knowing only he and Jasper knew of this cave’s location. Jasper had to be behind his being here.

He shook his head. Had it been a dream? Try as he might he couldn’t remember clearly what had happened. Had he been on a hunting trip with Jasper, drunk too much and dreamed the whole brathairs-turned-to-stone-by-MacGillivray scenario? The tension in his chest eased a tad but not entirely. He lowered his sword and knelt by the stream, cupping some water for a drink, hoping to wash away the severely dusty sensation from his mouth.

He had barely swallowed when he saw her. A vision most beautiful stood washing her hair in the waterfall. ’Twas it a dream? He splashed the water on his face and blinked but she still remained. How had she gotten here? No woman had ever ventured into their hunting cave.

“Go to her. She is your salvation.”

The words whispered to his ears in the sound of his friend Jasper’s voice. He jumped to his feet and spun around but didn’t see him. Anger, confusion and fear mixed within him. What the hell was going on? What sort of sorcery was this? Hearing voices but seeing no one… He slowly turned to the vixen who now stood staring at him from the other side of the waterfall. No one was here but her.

Maybe she had the answers he sought, since Jasper seemed to be playing games with him.

Taking deliberate steps, he shortened the distance. Before entering the water, he set his sword on a large rock and dropped his kilt to the ground. No need getting his only clothing wet while he interrogated the woman. He smiled inwardly, knowing he was no small man and being naked only added to his intimidation strategy. At least that’s what he hoped when it came to the weaker sex. Determined to get answers, he forged through the water and onto the ledge.
Coming face-to-face with her rattled his fierce demeanor. She was not simply a woman, but a gorgeous specimen of female flesh. Though she tried to cover herself with her hands, she failed miserably. He doubted even his oversized hands would hide those scrumptiously large breasts. Taut pink nipples peeked from beneath the arm and hand that attempted to shield them. Instant hunger pitted in his stomach for a sample of their flavor.

Her other arm and hand did their best to cover the treasure between her thighs. It disappointed him to not get even a glimpse of her mound. Would she balk if he removed her hand so he could see? Padon shook off the idea. He needed answers, not sex. But his body pleaded otherwise as his shaft stirred to life. The awakening of his senses kept him perusing her attributes and muddled his thoughts with desire.
Though she was short in stature, she made up for it with her incredibly voluptuous figure as far as he was concerned. If her bottom was round and filled his hands, she’d be perfect. Absently he flexed his palms, curling his fingers in and out as if he could somehow feel her there without actually touching her. It didn’t help ease the growing tension in his bawls for this woman. Being in her presence made him remember he was a man as his cock twitched and stiffened even more.

Padon forced his gaze to lift from her assets and look upon her face. Its shape was that of a cherubic angel. Auburn curls carelessly framed her features. Her lips trembled and it pained him to read fear in her bright-blue eyes. In an attempt to calm her, he reached to cup her cheek but she leaned away from his touch. He dug deep to find his voice and hoped it came across soothing.

“I will nay hurt thee, mi wee one. I only ask thee for answers.”

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Happy New Release, Tori Richards!

Please welcome my guest today, Tori Richards! Happy new release :)

~Cindy
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HAPPY NEW YEAR’S! I want to thank my host today, who has graciously allowed me to be a guest on her blog. I’m a grandma, otherwise known as Tory Richards, who writes smut, otherwise known as erotic romance. I have 15 published books but I’m here today to plug my second self-published book, a short erotic romance between an ex-Texas Ranger and a plus-sized model. Warning… it’s hot! I’m talking up against the wall sex that will leave you breathless, and hungry for more. And probably a little in love with the sexy hero. A Perfect Fit came out Jan 5, on Amazon Kindle. Below is a brief blurb and excerpt intended for mature, over the age of 18, readers.
BlurbAn ex-Texas Ranger is hired to protect a beautiful plus-sized model from a possible serial killer! They mix like oil and water but in bed, their uncontrolled passion ignites an inferno! Can their obsession for one another turn into something deeper?
Excerpt“Well, before I can get dressed, I have to undress.” Normally Marissa would have called for an assistant. She sashayed up to Beau. “I need help, cowboy. Can you please unlace me so I can get out of this thing?” She presented her back to him, then lifted her hair out of the way and waited, holding her breath. She had to admit, the thought of his eyes roaming over her body made her hot.
            There was the slightest of hesitations before she heard his low drawl, “Yes ma’am.”
            Warm breath tickled the fine hairs at the back of her neck, sending shivers down her spine. She felt the graze of his knuckles against her flesh, and was surprised at how proficiently his fingers worked at undoing the laces that held her corset closed. It wasn’t long before Marissa felt the bodice give way, and then she was able to take in a deep breath again. When she felt Beau’s hands at the small of her back, she knew he was almost done. Then he sucked in his breath, and hesitated. Marissa smiled, knowing why.
            “Is that an order, darlin?” His tone seemed a little raspy.
            He was referring to the tattoo she had across the top of her buttocks. Fuck me hard and fast. She’d done it on a dare. Realizing where his gaze was turned her hotter.
            The vixen inside her prompted her into leaning closer to him. She glanced over her shoulder and made eye contact. “More like a…suggestion.” Their gazes held. Marissa couldn’t believe how brazen she was acting. But she was suddenly horny beyond belief, and something about this big Texan got her juices flowing.
            A tick appeared in his clean-shaven jaw. “Something tells me you like shocking people Miss Lambert.”
            Miss Lambert? So he was determined to keep it business between them. His way of remaining professional. Interesting. She was more determined than ever to break down his self-control, and as his hands continued what they were doing Marissa let her hair fall.
            “Almost done?”
            “You’ll know when I’m done,” he growled.
Amazon Kindle Page - http://www.amazon.com/Tory-Richards/e/B002DBFNUQ/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Tory Richards Website/Blog – toryrichards.com
Face book – www.facebook.com/tory.richards.7
Twitter – twitter.com/#!/ToryRichards


Friday, January 4, 2013

Birth of a Novel: Are we there yet?

Unlike building a piece of furniture or painting a room, writing a novel has no real end so it's important to know when you've accomplished all you set out to do and then BACK AWAY FROM THE LAPTOP!

Now, it's not about word count so much as that sense that the story has come to a logical and satisfying conclusion. If you set a goal of 50,000 words, but came up a little short or a little over, that's okay. You'll plump things up or pare them down once you start self-edits...Ha! And you thought you were done. It's called a first draft for a reason.

But how to tell if a first draft is truly complete? First things first, does it have a beginning, middle and conclusion? If you answered yes, you're on the right track. Now it's time be a little more critical. Did you write enough to develop the characters fully? Did you illustrate their motivations? Did you take them on enough of a journey to reach the conclusion without the reader feeling as though you rushed? Did you tie up any sideplots you developed, or at least those that won't be addressed in a sequel? (OMG, did she just mention a sequel? You mean I have to do this again???) Did your main characters grow and change? Did you conclude the main plot line in a way that let's your reader know the journey is over?

If you answered no to many of these question, you still have work to do. But if you answered yes to all these questions, it's likely you've completed your first draft! YAY! Now it's time to break out the champagne, celebrate, pat yourself on the back and update your twitter status cuz you have accomplished something amazing.

Tomorrow, the real work begins.

Next time we'll go over self-edits and beta reader edits or what I like to call, "It's my manuscript and I'll cry if I want to."

Cheers,
Cindy

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Back from the dead


Happy New Year everyone! I'm so sorry I've been uncommunicative this holiday season, but my son and I both had pneumonia for the better part of December and I'm only now getting back on my feet. We are mending, but it is a slow road and my energy level is just starting to return to normal. Because of this, I'm totally backed up on emails, blog comments and greeting new Twitter and Facebook connections. Please bear with me as I get caught up. If you sent me anything that requires immediate attention, it might not hurt to resend it so it doesn't get lost in the sea of emails and posts. Thanks so much for your patience and I can't wait to reconnect with the world of the living :)


Cheers,
Cindy