Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog - Day One - Interview with Johanna Rae

Please welcome author Johanna Rae to our little blog as part of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog tour ...



Author Interview with Johanna Rae
1. What made you start writing and which subject matter do you enjoy the most?
Books have always both fascinated and inspired me. Before I was old enough to know how to read, I had my favorite stories so well memorized that I would scold my parents for forgetting a single word. I would sit there lovingly turning the pages as I recalled the stories, reading them to my dolls and teddies. When I was five or six, my teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I told her that I would be a writer and an artist. Even then my creativity knew no bounds and I would drive my family crazy with my made up worlds and phony accents. I loved to invent far off places with magical goings on… things that left the real world pale in comparison. I haven’t changed much over the years; I’ve simply grown more determined. I am no longer content to write the stories, now I want to share them with the world.

2. Is there anything that you write about that can be controversial?
I don’t believe I have tackled anything that is controversial on a global scale but for me as an individual, yes. I’ve had a fairly standard ‘Kiwi’ upbringing, and the literature I was exposed to when young was very main stream. There were a few stories involving magic though nothing close to the paranormal and fantasy works I like to create today. This alone has been a journey for me, realizing that when faced with a blank page, I am bound only by the limitations of my own imagination. Writing in the genre I enjoy was controversial for ‘me’ at first, but I’m proud to come as far as I have and have enjoyed every step of the way.

3. What inspires you to write and how often do you do it?
I find inspiration anywhere and everywhere. Some of the most random things can trigger a possible character or new and exciting story arc. My biggest inspirations have been deeply emotional moments I have seen or witnessed, and music.  Sometimes locations have also inspired me, as I visualize my characters interacting there.

4. If you could only take one book with you for the next year what would it be and why?
I could never choose only one book, so I suppose I am greedy that way! I adore books. If I were told that the world was about to end and I had to choose one book to save, I think we would be in trouble.

5. Is there a particular character of yours that you like more than the rest?
Again, I could never choose just one. Every single character I have ever created carries a piece of my soul, even those who have never made it beyond the view of my own eyes. I have soft spots for several characters, each for a totally different reason. I would have to say the characters in my novel ‘The Mercenary’ are probably the ones dearest to my heart.

6. Who is your favorite fictional character and why?
Almost any of the males in JR Ward’s “Black Dagger Brotherhood” series could be deemed a favorite character. The style in which Ward tells the story has you connected to the characters immediately. You can’t help but love the way they talk and interact, so male and yet so emotionally endearing beneath their vampire exterior. They have a sense of nobility and honor while still managing to project an ominous presence.

7. What age did you start reading, did you have a favorite children’s book?
It’s hard to say what age I actually learned to read given that I was so good at remembering all the words. Let’s just say that when I started school, I progressed very quickly with the junior readers, so eager was I to hear more stories.  My favorite children’s book was Chicken Licken (Also known in some countries as Chicken Little) My father nicknamed me Chicken Licken as a result. To this day he will still refer to me as either Chicken, or Licken when speaking fondly.

8. What's the best part of being an author?
For me personally, I get the biggest rush of the ‘warm fuzzies’ when I know that someone has enjoyed reading my stories as much as I have enjoyed writing them. I also enjoyed being a part of the two Evernight anthologies (by XOXO publishing) because it felt great to be a part of a team. I love meeting other authors.

9. If your current book (published or work in progress) could become a movie who would star in it?
My latest book “The Mercenary” which is set in my home country: New Zealand, features shapeshifters from all over the world. It would be hard to choose based on acting ability, but I have an album of actors whom have inspired the characters on my author facebook page.

10. Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now, writing wise?
My dreams are limitless, and my goal is to reach as many people as I can with my work.  It’s not about the money or the fame for me, I just have stories to tell, a lot of them. As long as there is someone to read them, I will always keep writing.

11. Anything extra you want to add….

If you would like to check out my Author page on Facebook you can find it with the following link:
I will be conducting an e-book giveaway in November, so stay tuned.

An amazon link if you wish to purchase The Mercenary:

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So you can make sure to catch them the entire Sisterhood on their various blogs and pages, here are where you will find all the posts during their month-long tour:

Amy Kessler

Ashley Nemer

Patricia Laffoon
(right here!!!)

Johanna Rae

L. S. Broomfield

Sherrie Henry

Stacy Moran

Torie James

Tracey Steinbach


Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog – Day One



I walked in slowly and looked around quickly before whispering to the air.  "Hi, Patricia here, and I'm taking over Aaron's blog to bring you some of my friends from the Sisterhood ... the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog that is.  For the next four weeks, every Wednesday, I'll be introducing you to one of my author friends, and you can visit the other blogs of the Sisterhood to keep up with all nine of us.  Today, I'm introducing Johanna Rae, who is going to talk about inspirations for the setting of her book, The Mercenary. In a little bit, I'll be posting an interview with her as well.  I hope you enjoy it!"  I looked around again ... "He could really use a woman's touch around here ..."


Locational Inspirations of a Kiwi Writer

Johanna Rae
Most people are inspired by things that they see. Something as simple as the joy on a child’s face as they swing at the playground, or the deep gut wrenching sorrow of an elderly person alone and abandoned on a park bench on a cold winter’s day. Others are inspired by the other senses; the feel of smooth silk beneath their fingertips may inspire an indulgent night of heated passion with a naughty lover.  The sound of music can tug at our hearts, bringing forth a flood of nostalgia and long forgotten memories. Even smells can have a powerful effect. For example, the spicy scent of a stranger’s cologne could bring forth the promise of an unrequited love years since past. Wonderful breakfast smells of bacon, egg and mushroom could take you back to a moment in your childhood - family bonding over the breakfast table at Grandmother’s house.
Speaking from my own perspective, any inspiration comes from the five senses. Any time my memories are recaptured in a second setting or when I see something that speaks to my heart, I feel inspired. I am both an artist and a writer so I am not always inspired to record in words, sometimes I feel the need to get out the sketchpad or the acrylics.
I have had many stories come to mind from a singular tiny moment but today I will speak about some of my earliest inspirations for my novel The Mercenary. I grew up in and around a small beach community in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. This is a region lush with natural wonders and picturesque beauty. On my doorstep I had beautiful beaches, mountains, lakes and a huge expanse of native forest. I was fortunate enough to have parents who took full advantage of that, exposing us to as much as they were able.
I was sitting at the river mouth of the Whakatane Heads one day, looking out at the fresh water crashing against the ferocity of the incoming tide and my mind started to wander.  I began to wonder how many other families would count this spot as a piece of their childhood. I gazed up to the rugged cliffs above, wild native flora and fauna atop their pohutukawa clad sides. I began to imagine back in time when the Maori tribes lived up there, and the forest was their home.  My imagination kicked into over drive as the past collided with the present, and my love for the paranormal started creeping in.
I began to wonder what it would be like if there were a multitude of residents in this small community who held a secret as big as having a second form. How easy would that be to hide from the human population? Would they require their own laws in order to co-exist?
After this day I began to see inspiration everywhere. Not just in the township of Whakatane, but in other areas of the beautiful Bay of Plenty. Parts of Rotorua’s geothermal wonderland and forestry, and parts of the coastal city of Tauranga also served to inspire. I would get hit with entire scene possibilities from a single vantage point. I knew I had to write something that was based in this area, but I decided to go one step further.
I couldn’t choose which part of the Bay of Plenty I wished to use, there were so many viable options, so many wonderful features I wanted to include. So I decided bring them all together within the fictional community of Redcliffe. Some of the geography of Redcliffe is reminiscent of Whakatane, with its river harbour and tall cliffs looming over it. In December, those cliffs turn red as all the pohutukawa trees burst into bloom, dubbing them New Zealand’s Christmas tree. I decided to make that my focus. I pulled in a number of other geographical features from neighboring communities and towns and invented a few of my own. Though I have called upon actual places in a huge capacity, Redcliffe is still essentially a unique place.
I’ve found that the locations of many of my stories are derived this way. I either create the location entirely from scratch in my own mind or I combine conceptual ideas from places I love. I very rarely base anything on a real city/town, even if real places are mentioned throughout the story. I like to think that gives it a fantastical and faraway touch, allowing the reader to feel as if they are going somewhere new and exciting but I will let you draw your own conclusion on that.

If you would like to check out my Author page on Facebook you can find it with the following link:

An amazon link if you wish to purchase The Mercenary:


******************************************************************************************************************

So you can make sure to catch them the entire Sisterhood on their various blogs and pages, here are where you will find all the posts during their month-long tour:

Amy Kessler

Ashley Nemer

Patricia Laffoon
(right here!!!)

Johanna Rae

L. S. Broomfield

Sherrie Henry

Stacy Moran

Torie James

Tracey Steinbach

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Next Big Thing Take 2

The Next Big Thing Blog Tour has circled around here again ... this time I'm letting the lead author on a Work in Progress, my friend Dawn Treadway, take over the blog to answer questions about her concept for the Children of Sheol series and the first book, Dark Dreams, which I'm thrilled to be credited on.  Dawn ... take it away ...

(To backtrack to the last post in the tour .... visit my friend Rory Ni Coleiain's blog ... http://rorynicoileain.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/the-next-big-thing/ )

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What is the working title of your current book?

Children of Sheol: Dark Dreams

Where did the idea come from for the book?

My original thought when the book popped into my consciencness was of woman in an outdoor bazaar who sees a mysterious man move through he peripheral vision in a distant corner of the market. She was immediately excited by his presence. His repeated appearance in her life was where I intended to begin a foundation for a plot. This scene eventually turned into Nias's visit to Jade's bookstore, where she does actually see him, almost like a shadow, in her peripheral vision for the first time.

What genre does your book fall under?

Dark Dreams is definitely a paranormal romance, but with a slight lean toward a fantasy. In the book Girl meets beautiful alpha male and trouble and love combine into a perfect romance. However while their love develops, we take them on a long and twisting journey into the depths of a Hell. This world was fully created by one girl's (that would be me, Dawn) vision of what a dark and at some points beautiful place the underworld could be. The creation of this world and the journey aspect of this book, I believe pushes it just past the confines of a straight romance.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

This, I'm afraid is a question I would have a huge problem answering. As my fellow writers will probably attest to, we make our characters bigger than life. To then assign them to someone else's face is so difficult. The male lead, Nias’s, attitude would be almost Vin Diesel's cocky take charge bad boy, Riddick, in the original Pitch Black movie. But his looks are far more sleek muscular panther, like Alexander Skarsgard. Jade Shear would be a bit easier because she is all about personality, the actress would just have to grasp her sassy tone and increase in paranormal power.  Possibilities for Jade are Zooey Deschanel or Emily Blunt, with red hair of course.

What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?

Dark Dreams is a love story between an ordinary girl, who just so happens to be an empath, and a gorgeous insatiable daemon that wants to drag her into Hell.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I want an agency for the support and experience they can provide. As I am not an expert I think having our first book represented would not only be helpful in promotion and direction and getting a good deal but also just as a learning experience. I look forward to working with a seasoned professional in the business.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

6 months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I don’t know what books to compare it with honestly.  I think many writers feel their work is unique LOL …

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My inspiration came in the form of necessity. I was in a situation personally that I no longer wanted to be a part of. I suppose this was my first step out, into an exciting world where perfect gorgeous bad boys fall madly in love despite their best efforts to resist and semi-ordinary women become powerful daemon fighting bad asses and live happily ever after.

What else about your book might interest the reader?

Personally my favorite piece of this book is the demonology, and all the interaction with the dark demons. The way they move, how they look, their lineage and their own, excuse this pun, demons.

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The first chapter of Children of Sheol: Dark Dreams, is still posted on the So You Think You Can Write web page here ...


And there are five other excerpts posted here on this blog in October ... check them out!!!!






Don't forget, tomorrow the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog make their first stop at each other's blogs and are guesting here.  It should be exciting!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Countdown to the Sisterhood

The ladies are getting ready to take over this blog space, and I think I finally got everything cleaned up for them.  So please stay tuned here and on the other blogs (posted below) to meet and learn about nine great authors!

Another exciting thing that will be happening is - they'll be giving away an e-book at the end of the blog tour. All you have to do to be in to win is comment on one of the blogs in the tour. It couldn't be more simple! Plus if you sign up officially to follow any of the blogs participating (by clicking the join button) then you get an extra entry. A list of the books available (By some of the authors in the blog tour) will be made available for the winner to choose from.

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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog is coming here for four weeks, every Wednesday starting October 31st!  Don't miss it!  And so you can make sure to catch them all on their various blogs and pages, here are where you will find all the posts during that month:

Amy Kessler
http://blog.amylkessler.com/ 

Ashley Nemer
http://ashleynemer.blogspot.com/

Patricia Laffoon
(right here!!!)

Johanna Rae
http://johannamrae.blogspot.com/

L. S. Broomfield
http://lsbroomfield.blogspot.com/

Sherrie Henry
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSherrieHenry

Stacy Moran
http://stacymoran.blogspot.com/

Torie James
http://torienjames.blogspot.com/

Tracey Steinbach
http://traceysteinbachmichael.webs.com/apps/blog/

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Sisterhood is Coming ...

"Ow!  Damn it!"

I come out of the other room rubbing my head, the sound of crashing behind me, and look up.

"Oh, hi there!"  I look around at the mess in the room and rub the back of my neck.  "Yeah, I know, this place is a mess.  I've got to get it cleaned up before the ladies get here."  I see you look at me quizzically.  "Yeah you probably don't know.  See for some reason I agreed to turn over this space to my writing partner, Patricia Laffoon, and a bunch of her friends for a bit.  But I didn't realize how much of a disaster this place was.  Can't have the women seeing it like this ..."

I walk over to pick up some dirty clothes and toss them in a nearby laundry basket.  "Who?  Oh, they call themselves the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog.  They'll be here starting on Halloween for four weeks.  Every Wednesday."  I pick up the laundry basket and look back up at you.  "I think you'll enjoy it, they'll be talking about why they write, their favorite books and characters, even about their hobbies.  Well, I'd better get back to it.  There's still a lot of chores to do ..."

I walk over to the door and look back over my shoulder ... "And ... make sure you don't tell Patricia about the state this place is in?  Please?"

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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog is coming here for four weeks, every Wednesday starting October 31st!  Don't miss it!  And so you can make sure to catch them all on their various blogs and pages, here are where you will find all the posts during that month:

Amy Kessler
http://blog.amylkessler.com/ 

Ashley Nemer
http://ashleynemer.blogspot.com/

Patricia Laffoon
(right here!!!)

Johanna Rae
http://johannamrae.blogspot.com/

L. S. Broomfield
http://lsbroomfield.blogspot.com/

Sherrie Henry
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSherrieHenry

Stacy Moran
http://stacymoran.blogspot.com/

Torie James
http://torienjames.blogspot.com/

Tracey Steinbach
http://traceysteinbachmichael.webs.com/apps/blog/


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lessons Learned ... I Hope


I have learned many lessons over the last few months.  Most of them have to do with the fact that I get very focused sometimes on one thing.  It’s both a blessing and a curse.  It makes me work hard on one thing, but sometimes at the expense of others (like actually writing).  For someone with great limits on time like I have, that’s where the curse part comes in.

But I figure by talking about it, maybe I can purge it a little bit and learn from it.  So, what exactly did I learn over the last few months?

1. Fight the battles that need fighting, but understand when it becomes a draw.  In July and August, I became very engaged in the issue of e-book piracy.  I had no idea it was so rampant.  I did a lot of research into the issue and made several blog posts about the subject.  And I engaged the pirates on their own “turf”, so to speak, joining one of their boards and making an argument against the practice.

Did it have any real impact?  Possibly.  I got an e-mail from someone thanking me for educating them on the issues and impacts of e-book piracy on individual authors.  So perhaps my efforts did make some headway with people that truly didn’t know what they were doing.  But, frustrating was the attitude of diehards, and their staunch denial of facts, their sense of entitlement.  I’ve run into this before, once people take a position, they stick by it despite any compelling evidence to the contrary.  Mostly in religion and politics, but then some pirates DO consider this a political or even religious issue.

Do I regret doing it?  Not at all.  I learned a ton about the industry itself while researching this issue, so that’s a good thing.  (If you want to read what I found out, check out the blogs titled “Pirates or Patriots?” in July and August.)  But … the effort did take a lot out of me, and ultimately arguing with that attitude is simply draining.

2. Social media promotion works.  I had two things going on in September and October.  First was my entry with Dawn Treadway into the Harlequin 2012 So You Think You Can Write contest.  Second was the publication of the anthology containing Patricia Laffoon’s and my second short story.  For both of these events, I promoted heavily on Facebook and opened a Twitter account.  And I also created a Facebook event for each. So what did I see?  Engagement on the event pages.  Several glowing reviews for the anthology.  Spikes in Amazon sales rank that coincided with promotional posts and contests.  So does it work?  It sure seems to.

3. A watched inbox never fills.  With regards to the Harlequin contest, I think I’ve become a little obsessed.  Waiting and waiting for an e-mail that never comes is PAINFUL.  At this point, it’s a pretty safe assumption that we did not get selected as a finalist, which of course is disappointing, but we learned that MANY people liked the first chapter which has encouraged us to move forward with submissions regardless of the final results.  But obsessing over it has been detrimental to … well just about everything else LOL.

4. I have a pretty obsessive personality actually.  I’m sure my wife would agree.  The common thread was … each of these things became pretty all-consuming.  I’m learning to balance out a little better, but I think I still have a long way to go.  But I’ve only gotten a total of about 5000 words written in the past month.  Gotta change that!

This whole thing has been a crazy ride, and I’m sure it will just get crazier!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dark Dreams ... Excerpt #5

One last excerpt from our entry into the Harlequin 2012 So You Think You Can Write contest, Children of Sheol: Dark Dreams, by Dawn Treadway and Aaron Speca.  If you enjoy this, then go to the link at the end of the excerpt, read the entire first chapter, and give us a vote!  Every day from today through October 11th!  There are still 2 days of voting left!  If you want to get a chance to read the entire book, then we need to make it to the next round!

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 Leaving her eyes closed for a few seconds, she felt the soft sheets beneath her bare body, and heard only the near silence of the early morning breeze.  But she could also feel his body against her, his powerful presence and masculine smell permeated her very being.  She shifted involuntarily against him as her hand went to his hips (still clothed?!) and sighed deeply.
She looked up, and he was already awake and gazing at her.  She had a sudden vision of their encounter and was struck with self-consciousness.  The reality of her situation invaded the fantasy, and she blushed beet red, looking away.  Deviant sexual behavior is so not like me.  But that sure as hell didn’t feel deviant!  She shook her head.  What the hell had she been thinking, she barely knew this man.  And yet she lay there cozied up and secure in his body.  He was sex on a stick; it oozed out of him, the way his massive arms unavoidably flexed whenever he shifted.  It was only one of the highlights of his impeccable body.  The arrogant smile he gave, which always accompanied the soft dark sexually charged laugh, raised her ire. 
“What is it Kitten?”  She jumped slightly; his deep sexy voice startled her. 
She could have screamed.  She could have lashed out at him.  She could have gotten up, demanded some clothes and gotten the hell out of there.  Maybe she should have done any one of those things.  But after everything that had happened … “I was reflecting on the absurdity of the situation.  I could be crippled by fear, ashamed at myself or throw my hands in the air and confess that I’m just not in Kansas anymore. I guess that’s what I’ve decided to do.”  Again she chuckled at her own humor.
“I don’t understand, what does this day have to do with a Middle American state?” 
God, has he never even seen “Wizard of Oz”?  Where was he from anyway?  “Never mind, I have a really strange habit of making myself laugh when things are too … overwhelming.” 
“I understand you feel undone.  But, I believe I have discovered a way to calm you a little.  Shall I apply my findings again?”  He flashed another wicked grin.
“No!” God no, she thought, even though her protest came a little more sharply than she intended. “Please keep your findings to yourself for a while.  I have never done anything like that before.  I am a little humiliated with my actions.  What I’m trying to say is I should have stopped that from happening and I didn’t and I’m not sure why.  Okay, I am going to shut up now.” And her face turned bright red again as she managed to dam up the words that came tumbling out of her mouth faster than she could think about them.  He continued smiling wickedly at her.  “What, why are you grinning at me like a cat with a mouse trapped under its paw?” 
“You do realize, my Kitten that you said, ‘for a while’ don’t you.  You asked that I keep my so-called ‘findings’ to myself ‘for a while’,” he stated with a big sardonic grin.
“Oh, well that’s not what I meant,” she choked out, as if she didn’t even believe it herself.  Weak, Jade, truly weak.  “Anyway, now that I’m not being ripped apart by monsters, or smeared with blood; which reminds me I would really like a shower; or molested, I have a whole lot of questions for you.”
“First of all, ‘molested’ implies you did not consent and I’m pretty sure I remember every stroke, moan and wiggle, and Kitten, you heartily consented; and second, we can take a shower any time you wish.”
“Okay, molested may have been the wrong word, and I did not mean take a shower together.  Arrogance isn’t going to get you anywhere.”
“On the contrary, I think it already has.”  He arched his brow.

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If you like what you are reading, then please go check out Chapter 1 here!  If you still like it, then give us a vote!  Thanks!



Monday, October 8, 2012

Dark Dreams ... Excerpt #4

Another brief excerpt from our entry into the Harlequin 2012 So You Think You Can Write contest, Children of Sheol: Dark Dreams, by Dawn Treadway and Aaron Speca.  If you enjoy this, then go to the link at the end of the excerpt, read the entire first chapter, and give us a vote!  Every day from today through October 11th!  There are still 3 days of voting left!

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 Then a high, whiny voice spoke in English.  “How is it you know Nias, what business does he have with you human?”
 Fuck, fuck, fuck, did it just say human like it wasn’t one?  She just wanted to go back home.  She wanted to wake up from this whole nightmare.  She began crying again, she couldn’t breathe right.  The chains were too tight and she couldn’t catch her breath.
 She was screaming again!
 “Stop!”  It slapped her again, hard. “What is your business with Nias, answer me or I will not continue to be so kind,” it whined in a macabre singsong manner.
 For some inexplicable reason, she felt compelled to lie.  “I don’t know who that is!  I have no idea who…what do you want from me?” she managed to choke out through the blood running from her mouth, in her breathless state. 
 It tore through her shirt with razor sharp claws, drawing down her chest, diagonally over her breast, across the chains, ripping across her stomach.  She cried out then bit her bleeding lip.  The claws made a scratching noise as they pulled over the last of her bindings.  Sharp pains were now emanating from her torso in concert with the continued pulsing in the back of her skull.
“Do not lie to me, I saw you transcend in with him!  You were in his home; I saw you converse, what did you discuss?”
Her vision was hazy and she wasn’t sure what she should say.  She really didn’t want to make it angrier, but she had the feeling that giving it too much information was definitely a bad idea.  Actually, she couldn’t think of a good idea at all.  For the second time in a day, she was sure she was going to die.
 “Speak!”  It ran one of its razors slowly down her arm.  
 It was horrifying, but the feeling of being trapped and powerless over the situation was starting to make her angry despite her terror.  She clenched her teeth, and began to struggle again but this time with fury.  She shoved aside the pain and pushed back at it with her mind, grabbing its emotions within its head and twisting them.  She attached herself to the darkness within it and it consumed her; she knew it would, she also knew somehow it would only last until she gained control. 
 When changing, or altering really, someone’s emotional state she used the opposite emotion to push it out.  It was something she rarely had attempted, and her success varied.  It depended a lot on how in touch with the emotion she could get, and how strong the emotion in the target was.  Although the utter darkness and pure hatred was heavy and difficult to move, she found its self-doubt and the thing allowed her manipulate it; at least, she thought, enough to get it to stop injuring her.  She tried her best to channel pleasure until she could feel its hate dissipate, if only slightly.  At the moment, she was finding it quite hard to find any pleasant images to pull from.  She only wished that hate could move hate.  She was feeling plenty of that and channeling it could have knocked the fucking thing on its putrid ass.  
Jade thought she would try to manipulate it into letting her go.  She tried to speak evenly.  “I was taken by the man you’re referring to, but I’m not sure how.”  The best lies are always the ones that contain at least minimal truth.  “I have no idea what he wanted from me.  What is it you want from me?”  Her anger and pain were starting to make her breathless. 
 “I need to know what the Djinn are planning.  They are a bad lot.  They hurt people, did you know this?”  It continued in its high-pitched unholy melody.  She could sense immediately it was lying to her but decided to play along.  Her headache was starting to subside and she was beginning to gain even more mental control.
 “I didn’t, but I knew when he abducted me that he had bad intentions, I was afraid for my life.”  Yeah, does this stupid thing not get that I am afraid for my life now? 
 “Yesss,” it hissed, “you were right to fear for your safety, you are much safer now.” 
 Really?  Did it really just rip its claws through my body and tell me I was safe?  If she had any small measure of doubt about it, it was certainly gone now.  She had to get out of here.  The pain in her head was abating rapidly, but it was starting to swim now, probably from blood loss.

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If you like what you are reading, then please go check out Chapter 1 here!  If you still like it, then give us a vote!  Thanks!


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dark Dreams ... Excerpt #3

Another brief excerpt from our entry into the Harlequin 2012 So You Think You Can Write contest, Children of Sheol: Dark Dreams, by Dawn Treadway and Aaron Speca.  If you enjoy this, then go to the link at the end of the excerpt, read the entire first chapter, and give us a vote!  Every day from today through October 11th!

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“Cease talking, infuriating woman and listen.  I come from an … unusual … family, we know who you are and we are well informed as to what you can do.”
Jade pulled and twisted her hair back with a flip of her hand and studied his face.
“Unusual huh?  How could you possibly know anything about me, about what you think I’m capable of?  Maybe you’re just misinformed.  Have you considered that?”  His hands again became the tightly balled fists.  He exhaled, brow furrowed; seemingly a bit exasperated, but continued to answer her questions with a strange, but strained patience. 
“The Gifts you possess came because one of the Goddesses granted them to you.  She suspected that someday those Gifts would be of use to us.  That day has come.”
Oh my God he really is crazy.  “Why?” She blurted. “Even if I were to believe your cockamamie story, why me?”
“Goddesses cannot go where we must go, and so, for some reason you were blessed with the Gifts of empathy and projection.  I cannot tell you why you in particular were chosen.  It makes no good sense to me.”  His face touched on pained when he said this.  “You must come with me; that I know for sure.  You need to do exactly as I tell you.”
How can he know about this?  She paused, considering his statements.  “You said I should listen, and I have, and I believe the answer is no.” She supposed he decided to ignore her, because he went on.
“You’ll have to train first; unfortunately it will be me who does your training.  And we need to begin immediately, oh yes,” the man actually said in dead pan, “it will be extremely dangerous.  Now, what is your decision?”
“You actually seem serious; you believe what you’re saying, don’t you?”  He was sitting there waiting for an answer.  “Wow, neuroses really can be an all-consuming thing.” She would know.  What the hell, she decided to reply as if she were taking him seriously.
“NO, I’m sticking with, NO.”
After all that delusional crazy talk, she hoped he hadn’t poisoned her food.  She stared down into the empty bowl inspecting it for signs of nefarious activity.   Like I would know, I haven’t gotten my CBS crime investigation degree yet.
Jade stood up pushing the chair back with the back of her legs, turned and calmly walked to the bar, and asked politely if she could use the phone to call a cab.  She refused to even look back at what unfortunately had turned out to be a complete nutjob. 
The next thing Jade knew, someone’s giant hands gripped her around the waist, and with absolutely no effort at all, heaved her straight up into the air and threw her over his shoulder.  Now, ass pointed to the ceiling, face looking down at his backside and the floor, she was being carried away!  Omigod, omigod, he’s going to kill me now!  Why isn’t anyone stopping him?!
“PUT ME DOWN!  You freaking Neanderthal, I don’t care what kind of insanity you suffer from!  You can’t just abduct people!  I said PUT ME DOWN!”  Apparently her screaming had no effect on the man, or anyone else in the establishment, because he simply walked, at his leisure.
“I have tried being reasonable, I gave you an honest chance at free will, and you failed to use it.”
“Hello large deranged man, allow me to edify you on the finer points of free will, because there is no part of that definition which states, ‘when a person decides against doing what you want them to, you then have the right to throw them over your giant, stupid controlling body and walk away with them!’ ”
As her red curls now flopped below her head bouncing off the man’s waistline, Jade fisted her hand, and even though she knew it wouldn’t stop him or deter him from his purpose, she slugged him several times and bashed her legs wildly as hard as she could.
Calmly and smoothly, he walked to the door with her over his shoulder and put his hand to the knob, turning it and swinging the door open.  Even as the noise level of the crowd died down and they watched him walk out with her, they did nothing to even try to stop him, and he stepped out into the chilled night air. 

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If you like what you are reading, then please go check out Chapter 1 here!  If you still like it, then give us a vote!  Thanks!


PRESS RELEASE: Evernight Volume 2 Released!


So a lot of you have probably already blown through the latest book of your favorite series and are sitting around going ... "Now what?"  Why not take a break between books with a little sampler platter of paranormal romance?  Available in Kindle format on Amazon.com or direct from XOXO Publishing in electronic format ... Evernight: Romance in a World of Darkness VOLUME 2 from Allison Cassatta ...


XOXO Publishing: http://tinyurl.com/8dgmdbz


SYNOPSIS:

As children, we feared the boogeyman. Our parents comforted us when the monster under the bed or in the dark depths of our slightly opened closet threatened our safety. We cried when those evil creatures invaded our nightmares and stole us from peaceful sleep, but what if those monsters truly existed? What if they lived in a world not unlike our own, where all they wanted was the same basic needs that every human being spends their lives searching for? What if the things that go bump in the night only wanted to be loved?

In these thirteen stories, you will read more about vampires and werewolves, angels and demons, and monsters of all kinds overcoming some of the most difficult hurdles simply to find their one true love, to find their happiness. You'll read of heated, salacious trysts beneath the moonlight and of lovers doomed before they even have a chance to find the one person who completes their souls, in a combination of stories continued from Volume 1 (including our prequel “Heart of the Mermaid”) and new, stand-alone tales.

Join us as we wander through a dark world where nothing is what it seems, where rainbows after a storm are a rare miracle, where the boogeyman captures your heart and fulfills your sweetest dreams.



PRAISE FOR EVERNIGHT VOLUME 1:

"Evernight is a must read anthology in my opinion. A wonderful select group of writers brought together to have their talent displayed in a showcase of emotions, trials and errors. Showing that even in the darkest hours of time, that one ray of hope still remains. [5 of 5 stars]" - Ida, Ohio, reader on Amazon.com

"... they did the stories right, pushing the boundaries and giving the readers a different spin on the usual. Romantica encourages us to explore our limits and discover for ourselves if we're ready to move away from our comfort zone. It echoes our darkest fantasies that we dare not share with other people even our lovers ... the short stories in Evernight screamed those musings at the top of their lungs!"  - Talk Supe

"This is a great collection of stories that focus on the fact that humans may not be the only beings who seek out and need loving affection. [4 of 5 stars]" - Mrs Condit Reads Books, on Goodreads.com

"Loved it!!!! MORE MORE MORE [5 of 5 stars]" - Kim, reader on Goodreads.com

PRAISE FOR 'TEARS OF THE MERMAID' (FROM VOLUME 1) BY AARON SPECA AND PATRICIA LAFFOON

"I'm always anxious reading love scenes from authors whose style I'm not familiar with. In my opinion, especially with romance-themed stories, this is an integral part and can make or break the tale ... So imagine my surprise when it turned out to be romantic and beautiful ..." - Talk Supe

"Tears of the Mermaid was an interesting tale ... one that felt as if it could be a prequel to a bigger series." - Book Monster Reviews

AUTHOR CONTACTS:

Allison Cassatta

Aaron Speca & Patricia Laffoon

Johanna Rae

Tracey Steinbach

L. S. Beck

Amy Kessler

Jemma Rose

D. R. Shallow

Rory Ni Coileain

Rachel Derise

Sherrie Henry

Angela Kerns

L. S. Broomfield

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dark Dreams ... Excerpt #2

Another brief excerpt from our entry into the Harlequin 2012 So You Think You Can Write contest, Children of Sheol: Dark Dreams, by Dawn Treadway and Aaron Speca.  If you enjoy this, then go to the link at the end of the excerpt, read the entire first chapter, and give us a vote!  Every day from today through October 11th!

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“Thank you?” She asked it as a question in a breathy voice.  Her wounds did feel better and she glanced down, seeing that some of them were miraculously starting to close.  She had definitely lost control of herself and the situation.
“You’re welcome,” he said looking dreamily and directly into her eyes.
“Criminy, that was the sexiest you’re welcome I’ve ever heard.” The words fell from her mouth before she could stop them. His voice was soft and deep. But the tone … the tone managed to stroke her entire body all over again. The electricity was palpable between them.
Then she thought back to his previous behavior; what an arrogant ass he’d been and how she had detested him. She thought about getting up and walking out, since she wasn’t having the sharp pain anymore. But her body seriously objected, it had gone to the dark side and it was staying.
She drank him in; this was much closer than she had been to him before. He had a chiseled strong square jaw and full kissable lips, but they were completely out done by the intensity of his exotic golden eyes. His arms were heavily muscled and the size of her thighs. His skin was like bronzed silk. She took in the entire length of him again; he had an energy that emanated from his body that demanded attention. He somehow managed to be sleek, long, intensely muscular and amazingly masculine all at the same time; like a panther, a big sexy cat, staring his intense yellowish gaze into her.
“Are you warm enough?” He inquired in a deep sexy drawl; he had just a hint of accent she hadn’t noticed before. She couldn’t place it, but just the sound of it slithered out wrapped around her and slowly whispered ‘sex’.
Her mind betrayed her next as she thought about her books and her dreams. What usually happens at this point? Should I begin running my fingers through his hair, do I stroke him? Should I … and then he leaned in and kissed her.
His hand was back to her belly, and he turned in and lightly brushed his lips against hers. She had wanted this so badly in her dreams and now she just felt horribly nervous. With all of her wishing and dreaming and hoping, and even with the aroused state she was in, the fact that she had no practical experience at being intimate, and barely any at kissing was all she could think of right then, and her body tensed. She began to tremble and wonder what came next, as the fear, excitement, anxiousness, and desire all came to her at once.

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If you like what you are reading, then please go check out Chapter 1 here!  If you still like it, then give us a vote!  Thanks!