Review Excerpts


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Off to Some Kind of Start, Part 2

Remember a couple years ago when we were all going back to our old projects at critiquing our opening lines? It's that time again! Writing/blogging buddy Krystal Jane recently posted her new collection, and someone on Twitter just asked about favorite blog posts, so here we go for Round Two. I'll pick up where I left off and see if I've actually gotten any better at this. (I'm guessing not.)

 

Here's Part 1 to recap, from July of 2017 (apologies for the text colors, a casualty of the site redesign)

Hunting Astrid is still brand new and sparkly and shiny, so let's see how my latest release fares under the microscope.

 

“There you are. You almost missed all the fun.”


“Sorry I’m late.” Astrid hurried into the room and wheeled her chair out from underneath her desk. “Some sort of malfunction with the train. We were stuck for half an hour.”


Her coworker Lily snorted without taking her eyes off the screen in front of her. “So much for the best technology this corner of the galaxy has to offer.”


Hello, sci-fi! I've become a fan of starting stories in the middle of a conversation, like here. Not the snazziest, not the worst. I promise things pick up quickly in this opening chapter.

***

How about some fanfic? I did write a lot for Fire Emblem: Three Houses over this summer, which kicked my motivation for my original works into gear. Here's the opening for the first one, which was actually the first fanfic I wrote in quite a few years.


Aelfric couldn’t understand the strange looks and hushed whispers that had followed him around like an irritating swarm of bugs over the course of the evening. After all, why wouldn’t he have wanted to attend Sitri and Jeralt’s wedding? It was a joyous occasion, one the monastery didn’t often host. Such love should be celebrated, he declared to himself.


Not gonna lie, I'm kind of digging that first line. And a note to anyone who's played the FE3H DLC: FUCKIN' AELFRIC, MAN, AMIRITE!? (i rite.)

***

Let's take a look at Fire Beyond the Frost, whose long journey to publication has been chronicled here. To recap: the book was published a year ago after sitting on the shelf in need of a good cleaning for a few years. Before that, parts of it were originally a story written for a former friend's role-playing forum. I have no idea what got edited when, so here's a collection of words that were written sometime in 2019, 2013, and/or 2011.


Dr. Catalina Frost looked out the small window of the spaceship. A few men from the crew scurried around the launch pad of the Blackhill Spaceport. The vessel would be departing within moments. A pleasant female voice came over the intercom, informing the passengers to move toward their seats and prepare for takeoff.


All right, so we know Catalina's going somewhere, which is kind of the point of the whole book. Not too bad. I don't hate myself.

***

Rewinding a little farther, here's the intro to Closing Montage.


The large brown box sat on the doorstep, unremarkable, cast by the shadows of the dwindling sunlight. My heart raced as I pulled the car into the driveway. Though I couldn’t see any writing or labels from where I sat, I knew it didn’t contain another shipment of medical supplies or more useless gifts from well-wishers. This package was special.


You know, this one's better than I remembered it. It drops plenty of hints about the upcoming story, plus it has an element of mystery: what's in the box???

***

Lastly, because I like odd numbers for these types of lists, I'll give you a sneak peek at my WIP, Elemental Forces.


“On your left!”
 

Meg dove to the opposite side, tucking and rolling across the dusty field. The small dragon she’d been battling followed after her, but before it could launch another attack, Ronan brought his sword down on the creature’s neck. The sharp blade sliced its head clean off and it fell to the ground, sunlight glinting off its reddish scales as it gradually stopped twitching.


DRAGONS! FUCK YEAH! I wasn't lying when I said I like starting in the middle of the action sometimes. You know what I also like? DRAGONS!


So there's my latest compilation. Nothing downright awful in here, unlike last time, so maybe I am getting slightly better at this. One can dream, anyway!

Friday, November 20, 2020

Hunting Astrid - Release Day!

 


Hunting Astrid has officially hit the shelves! I know I've said it before, but really, I'm so excited about this book. With the state of the world still being *gestures vaguely*, I think we could all use a little fast-paced fun in our lives.

 

We're opting for Kindle Unlimited again, as it worked out well in the past, so there's your buy link. Keep reading beyond the blurb for a bonus excerpt!


Blurb:

Astrid Carlisle enjoys her job at Satera Industries, the massive interplanetary organization whose enigmatic leader is concerned with profits first and legalities second. Stationed at company headquarters, she can stay out of harm’s way while making good use of her programming skills and keen eye for talent acquisition. Unfortunately, both the busy nature of her work and her office’s remote location leave her feeling dissatisfied with her personal life.

Fresh out of the Central United Space Marines, Tabitha Knox is ready for change, hoping the next stage in her career can take place in the private sector. Employment with Satera Industries would offer her the exciting, fast-paced work she craves, with generous financial compensation to match. All she has to do is get through the rigorous screening process and prove her worth.

The two women meet during the early stages of Tabitha’s application, and their mutual attraction is instant. However, Astrid has been hurt in the past and is cautious about moving too quickly, leading her to devise a plan. She suggests the pair enter the simulations used to test applicants and fight their way through the various environments. If Tabitha can successfully track her down in each phase, she’ll win the ultimate prize: a lucrative job, plus Astrid’s trust and submission. Everything she wants is within reach, but will she be able to achieve her dreams while hunting Astrid?


Excerpt:

Taking care not to slip, Astrid climbed back down the tree, jumping the last few feet into the dense shrubs at its base. She listened for any signs Tabitha was on her trail, but heard nothing suspicious. Although she hated leaving anything to chance, she had to get moving. After one last futile glance around, she picked a direction at random and began to run.

The repetitive characteristics of the scene frustrated her as she searched for a new place to hide. Sweat beaded on her brow, but she didn’t want to stop to wipe it off until she found better cover. The roots and moss carpeting the rainforest floor threatened to trip her up with every step. She kept going.

As she ran, she thought she heard footsteps behind her. She paused beside one of the thicker trees, yet only the insects sang their incessant song in her ears. When she started moving again, the rustling resumed. It ceased whenever she stopped, leading her to the obvious conclusion.

Something was following her.

Astrid’s pulse accelerated as she swiveled her head back and forth, desperate to catch a glimpse of her pursuer but seeing nothing except endless acres of forest. With few other choices left, she broke into a sprint, hoping to increase the distance between her and whatever chased her until she found a safe spot to catch her breath. Finally, she spotted a fallen tree, its ball of roots intact and stretching up several feet in the air. She ran faster until she reached it, ducking behind the rotting stump and clumps of soil. Bending over, she planted her hands on her knees and gasped for air, praying she’d succeeded in evading being caught.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Promo - Pink Triangle, by Lea Bronsen

 


Fellow author Lea Bronsen has a new book out and this one's a winner! Really, it won the Book of the Month award over at The TBR Pile, so read on for the blurb, excerpt, and buy links from this sizzling new release!


Blurb:

Oslo, April 1945

Paul is a handsome, free-spirited Norwegian in the prime of his life, but he doesn’t fit the German occupant ideology simply because he’s gay. And so, when the Gestapo catches him for producing illegal propaganda, he’s tortured and threatened to be sent to a German concentration camp with a pink triangle sewn on his shirt, the symbol for homosexuals.

It will take great courage and mind-blowing circumstances of luck, as the F├╝hrer commits suicide and the end of the war seems nearer by the day, for Paul to avoid his death transport to Germany.

And it will take the growing attraction of the Gestapo commander himself to regain his full freedom—and capture his heart.


Excerpt:

A couple hours later, when the sun stood high and bright in the sky, the sound of horseshoes came from the garden. Paul had dozed in the hay, enveloped by the soft jacket lining and lulled by happy bird songs and the rustling of leaves outside, but the commander’s return had him sit up against the wall.

The horse’s hairy muzzle appeared in the crack before the big animal pushed the door open and stepped into the shed.

Heimlich sat straight in the saddle, bare-chested, slim but muscular in all the right places, his uniform folded across his lap. Paul tried not to gape at the sight. With ease and grace, the commander dismounted and hung his clothes on hooks on the wall. Drops of sweat pearled on his forehead and temple and rolled down his firm chest and abdomen, making his skin shine. So, so very sexy. He took off his hat, uncovering his dark blond hair slick with sweat—but it only accentuated the sexiness.

He turned to Paul and caught him staring. “What are you smiling at?”

Oops.

Paul straightened and regretted having let himself be carried away. “I wasn’t smiling.”

“Yes, you were. You think I’m not aware I look like an office rat? You need to rub it in?”

“What are you talking about?”

“I know very well I could use more muscle, and that I need to strengthen my stomach.” He tapped his six-pack, which was perfect in Paul’s world.

“Well, that hasn’t crossed my mind.”

An understatement.

“Really?” The commander raised a brow. “Do you honestly like what you see?”

Holy fuck, what a question...

Uncertain whether the man realized what he’d just said, Paul waited a bit before he asked, voice low, “Are you honestly asking a homosexual if he likes your body?”

The commander blinked slowly. “When you put it like that...” With a goofy smile, he turned to gaze out of the shed and shook his head.

Paul allowed him a moment to recoup. He was tempted to tease, but didn’t.

When the commander returned to Paul, he pointed at him. “Forget I said that. I didn’t mean it like that.”

Yeah, I’m likely to forget...

They held each other’s looks for a while, the commander inscrutable.

“Listen,” Paul said, emboldened by the awkward situation. “I’m going to be very frank with you. I hate you with all of my heart—”

No reaction.

“—But when you parade around me like that,” he pointed at the man’s naked torso, “you make it difficult for me to...”

“To what?”

To not like you.


Available From

Books2Read / Amazon.com / Amazon.uk / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks / Smashwords

 

Put the book on your to-read shelf on Goodreads

See photos that inspired me to write the book on Pinterest

 

About the Author

Lea Bronsen likes her reads hot, fast, and edgy, and strives to give her own stories the same intensity. After a deep dive on the unforgiving world of gangsters with her debut novel Wild Hearted, she divides her writing time between romantic suspenses, dark erotic romances, and crime thrillers.

 

Meet Lea Bronsen on

 

Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / BookBub / Instagram / Goodreads / Amazon

 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Link Party!

In case you missed it, the pre-order link for Hunting Astrid is up now. It's free on Kindle Unlimited, and officially releases on the 20th. Tons of action here, both in and out of the bedroom, and I honestly had so much fun writing it. This might turn into one of my favorites in the long run!


But wait, there's more! The TBR Pile kicked off their I Heart Romance Week this morning, where you can win all sorts of fun prizes, like Amazon gift cards and other bookish stuff. I've got an excerpt from Closing Montage featured today—all you have to do is leave a comment on the post to be entered into the drawings. Good luck and happy reading!



Monday, November 2, 2020

Cover Reveal - Hunting Astrid

DAMN, I always get some awesome covers from the team at Decadent Publishing. Really, if this cover doesn't tell you exactly what the book is about, then what will?

Pre-orders start on November 6th, and the official release day will be November 20th. Follow along wherever I'm available to be followed (I've actually been using Twitter more often recently!) for updates, and I'll refresh your memory with the blurb and excerpt below:


Blurb:

Astrid Carlisle enjoys her job at Satera Industries, the massive interplanetary organization whose enigmatic leader is concerned with profits first and legalities second. Stationed at company headquarters, she can stay out of harm’s way while making good use of her programming skills and keen eye for talent acquisition. Unfortunately, both the busy nature of her work and her office’s remote location leave her feeling dissatisfied with her personal life.

 

Fresh out of the Central United Space Marines, Tabitha Knox is ready for change, hoping the next stage in her career can take place in the private sector. Employment with Satera Industries would offer her the exciting, fast-paced work she craves, with generous financial compensation to match. All she has to do is get through the rigorous screening process and prove her worth.

 

The two women meet during the early stages of Tabitha’s application, and their mutual attraction is instant. However, Astrid has been hurt in the past and is cautious about moving too quickly, leading her to devise a plan. She suggests the pair enter the simulations used to test applicants and fight their way through the various environments. If Tabitha can successfully track her down in each phase, she’ll win the ultimate prize: a lucrative job, plus Astrid’s trust and submission. Everything she wants is within reach, but will she be able to achieve her dreams while hunting Astrid?

 

Excerpt:

A new idea began to take shape in Astrid’s mind. “If you’re so confident—which I do like about you, don’t get me wrong—do you want to make it interesting?”

Tabitha leaned forward, bracing her hands on the inside of her legs. “I live for interesting.”

“Then I think you’ll like my suggestion of what we should do the next time we get together.”

“Do share.”

Swiveling on the grass, Astrid turned to face her. “I’ll check our master calendar, and, on a quiet day, how about you and I go back to headquarters and run through a couple of missions in the simulator? A little friendly competition, if you will.”

“Huh.” Tabitha tapped her fingers together in front of her. “I thought you just helped design the simulations. I didn’t know you actually went in and played around in them.”

“Somebody’s got to test everything out.”

“Right. But I didn’t think you were—” She shook her head. “Never mind. You’re right. Your plan does sound interesting. But if you’ve worked with the simulations so many times before, won’t it give you an unfair advantage?”

“I won’t have any of my monitoring tools inside, and I’ll make sure we have all the same equipment. No cheating, I promise.” Lifting her chin, Astrid pretended to look her up and down, her lashes fluttering. “But if you don’t think you can beat me….”

Tabitha let out a loud laugh, a genuine smile lighting up her face. “Very cute attempt at baiting me, though I would have agreed to it, anyway.” Her hair tumbled over her shoulders as she leaned forward again. “So, what’s the prize if I win?”

Astrid straightened and held her arms out. “Me.”

She arched an eyebrow. “Oh? Please elaborate.”

The familiar heat rose in her cheeks, and she hoped the effects of her throbbing heartbeat weren’t noticeable. “I’ll make a better effort to not overthink things and go with what feels right. Whatever you want to do afterward, I’ll be a willing participant.”

The hunger in Tabitha’s stare did little to slow her pulse, and she struggled not to squirm. “All right. I accept all your terms and conditions.” Pursing her lips, she gave Astrid a sly wink. “Game on.”