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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Happy Anniversary to Me

Searching the Skies, my first book, was published four years ago this week. (I started this blog/site a couple months later.) Looking back, I can't believe how I was stumbling around the e-publishing world in so many aspects. How much I've learned since then is arguable.

I like to half-joke that back then, I thought writing the damn book was the hardest part. Hahaha nope. There's promotion. Networking. Building a social media presence. Media kits. Getting people (other than family and friends) to READ the damn book. That one's still a struggle, not gonna lie.

Overall, I'd like to think my writing has improved since then. It's not that StS is *bad*. I've gone back a couple times to reread (though not recently), and there's nothing in there that makes me cringe in embarrassment. For the most part, it's light and fluffy, which also isn't necessarily a bad thing.

There are still a few bad habits I haven't completely shaken in four years. For example, look how many adverbs I've used in just this post. :P (Not to mention words like "still" and "just", which also need to go most of the time.) Today I was editing some chapters for Out of Orbit, and I did a "that" check. It wasn't pretty. I cut out about a fifth of them, but one would think I'd know better by now.

There have been some major lifestyle changes between the release of StS and today. When I wrote it, I was newly married, living in a shitty apartment (that didn't come with the marriage, we'd had it for a couple years by then), and back in school to change careers after I couldn't find a full-time teaching job. Now I have a new job, nice house, two kids, and quite a few more publications to my [pen] name. Writing, and everything that goes with it, has been frustrating at times, but I'm glad I've stuck with it. I don't know if I'll ever make it onto the NYT bestsellers list, or even make enough in royalties in one year to pay taxes on them, but it's a fun hobby that usually makes me feel accomplished.

Enough navel-gazing. Let's have some fun and revisit Searching the Skies!

Blurb: Brilliant military commander Geneva Greyson finds herself forced to choose between the excitement and adventure of her career and the aristocratic life she once left behind. In addition to a strained relationship with her parents, her decision is made more difficult by the attentions of two very different men who each have the ability to warm her heart and bring her great pleasure. As she struggles to find her place in the universe, she can’t help but wonder if there’s a way to make everyone around her happy while still satisfying her own wants and needs.

“I’m sorry if I made you a little homesick,” he said softly.

She tore her attention away from the dancing flames, startled by both the sound of his voice and his seeming ability to read her mind. “It’s okay. I probably needed a little vacation anyway.”

“From everything you’ve told me, I can tell you work very hard, though I wouldn’t have expected anything less.” He leaned back against the chair. “I can also tell that you love it and you can’t wait to get back.”

Geneva felt a slight pang of guilt over the idea that she could have made him think she didn’t want to be there. “I know the remaining week or so that I have left here will fly by, and though I didn’t want it at first, I guess it’s good that I have this time to slow down and relax a little.” She looked over at him and tried to smile, still fervently hoping that she hadn’t hurt his feelings. “And I’m glad that I’ve been able to spend this time catching up with you.”

“As long as you’re happy, Geneva.” He stared down at the deep red liquid in his glass. “You know, I was devastated when you disappeared so suddenly. I know we weren’t as close as we once had been, but I woke up one morning, and you were gone, gone completely from my life. I almost hated you for it, but then I realized that you must have had a reason for leaving. And wherever you were, whatever you were doing, as long as you were happy, then I was happy for you.”

His words to her were honest and pure and for the first time, she realized that no matter how far she tried to run, a tiny piece of her would always belong to the home planet for which she had shown so much disdain. She didn’t know whether to thank him, apologize to him, or pretend that nothing had ever happened, so they sat in silence for several awkward minutes, wrapped in their own personal reflections and the shadows of the darkening room.

Marcus suddenly jumped to his feet, disrupting the nervous tension that had settled around them. “Can I, uh, get you anything else from the kitchen?” he stammered.

Geneva did the same. “Marcus, I....” She continued to struggle to find the right words. “I’m sorry I didn’t realize what a good friend I had here until now. I know we can never make up for lost time, but I’m willing to start over again.”

The light from the flickering fire reflected in his soulful eyes as he nodded a tacit acknowledgment. She suddenly had the urge to hug him, and she took a step closer in order to do so. As he was considerably taller than her, she cautiously slid her arms around his waist, and he reciprocated the gesture. The crisp fabric of his shirt was warm from his body as she leaned her cheek against his chest, the aroma of red wine and expensive cologne mingling at her nose.

She didn’t have more than a few moments to rest comfortably before he moved back to look down at her. With one finger, he gently tilted her chin up towards his face and brought his mouth down to meet hers. Geneva almost felt strange at first as she remembered the boy she once knew, but she soon relaxed into kissing the man he had become. Their lips separated, and she tasted the sweet velvet of his tongue, no longer thinking about past missed opportunities, but future possibilities. She felt her knees grow weak as he kissed her unrelentingly and tightened her embrace, not wanting to let him go. 

Buy Links: Amazon  B&N  All Romance

Monday, January 25, 2016

Promo - Feline Valentine (A Witch's Night Out), by Tara Quan

Valentine's Day is less than a month away, and to celebrate, I'm featuring Tara Quan's new 1Night Stand release, Feline Valentine. This time around, the matchmaking involves magic and shifters. Fun!

To celebrate her new book, Ms. Quan is giving away a $15 gift card, so don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Under magical house arrest in her great-grandmother’s suburban cottage, college graduate and reluctant earth mage Shelley Dupree whiles away most mornings spying on the warlock next door. Though erotic daydreams offer some distraction, she faces long working hours, cash flow problems, and a repeat burglar. On Valentine’s Day, she sets a trap for the mysterious intruder, intent on ending his crime streak once and for all. But her scheming cat familiar foils her best-laid plans, and, with a little help from Madame Eve’s 1-Night Stand service, she discovers a far more dangerous species of magical feline.

After moving in next to a ramshackle building on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., pastry chef Adrien Chatdurois is plagued by repeat sexual fantasies starring the same curvy brunette. In a state of constant arousal, he devotes his early mornings to grueling exercise and spends the rest of his day handcrafting the city’s best chocolates. When his younger brother stirs up trouble on the shop’s busiest day, the frustrated shifter is forced to pay a surprise visit on his reclusive neighbor. He soon learns not all witches are wart-covered hags, and one in particular might prove the most delicious of desserts

Her doorbell rang.

An ominous crack followed the box’s impact with her yellowed kitchen floor. Sweat dampened the back of her neck. She must have imagined the sound. Her doorbell had been broken for weeks—months even. She’d taped a scribbled sign telling food delivery people to leave items on the porch. No one other than her family ever visited.

Everything, including the array of curiosities in front of her, must be part of a hallucination brought on by prolonged celibacy. Sweets wouldn’t dare sic Madame Eve’s service on her. Everyone Shelley knew who’d used it had—

Ding dong.

Okay, she could fix this. She’d meet the guy and tell him to scram. No way could the matchmaker’s mojo work in less than five seconds.

Muttering curses under her breath, she marched past the counter, through her makeshift office, and across the small living space, to stop in front of the thick wood barrier. Peepholes hadn’t been in vogue back when this place had been built. Since she hadn’t bothered to switch out the bulbs after the porch lights died, she couldn’t have discerned more than shadowy shapes regardless.

Pulling her shoulders back, she summoned her inner bitch. She had to run the guy off. Failure would end in disaster. Acting rude and obnoxious was a matter of determination, persistence, and effort.

She swung the door open.

The warlock next door stared back at her.

Her next breath erupted as a cough. “F—udge cakes.”

As opening lines to Shelley Channeling the Shrew went, she could have done better. She blamed her parents. No matter how many times she’d thought, read, and heard four-letter expletives, she couldn’t shake the ingrained childhood habit of modifying them for polite company.

It didn’t help that the man had a brown cake box sandwiched between his waist and left arm. Responding to the stimuli, her stomach had short-circuited her brain and demanded sustenance—ideally, in the form of fudge cake. Her gaze dropped to the bottle clasped in his hand. She’d had a champagne craving since this morning.

Her hunky neighbor’s green eyes had widened to a comical degree. Perspiration beaded his forehead. His Adam’s apple bobbed up and down. When his mouth opened, no sound came out.

What did he have to be shocked about?

Of course, only now did it occur to her she could have pretended not to be home. Just because someone rang the doorbell didn’t mean she had to answer.

It would be so rude not to, her goody-two-shoes inner voice who sounded suspiciously like her mother countered. I raised you better.

As she contemplated slamming the door, an act that met with immeasurable resistance from the metaphorical angel on her shoulder, her neighbor croaked, “It’s you.”

As first exchanges between potential soul mates went, this might be one for the books.

At least the guy came with more than one bribe. A covered plate of chocolate-dipped strawberries balanced precariously on his other palm. Her gaze drifted over his bare forearm and along tensed biceps. The short sleeve of his red T-shirt accentuated his muscle definition.

Her mouth watered. Her gluttonous heart did a little flip. She couldn’t settle on what tempted her more—the food or the warlock.

Buy Links:

Check out the rest of the series here!

About the Author:
Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, Tara enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, paranormal worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Her characters, armed with magical powers or conventional weapons, are guaranteed a suspenseful and sensual ride, as well as their own happily ever after. To receive updates about her new releases and get a free sexy read, subscribe to her mailing list at

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  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 18, 2016

Flight of the Dragon Queen - Release Day and Blog Tour

 It's here! Flight of the Dragon Queen releases today, and because I actually got my ducks in a row and used my communication skills like an adult, a month-long blog tour also kicks off today to celebrate! I'll refresh your recollection with the blurb, and then post the tour schedule. While it's nice to show all the tour hosts some love, be sure to check out the "fun facts", as I did have a lot of fun compiling them!

For his entire life, Caleb has always been more comfortable surrounded by books and games than other people. When 1Night Stand is recommended to him, he contacts Madame Eve but is too shy to actually meet any of the women she finds for him. Together, they reach a workable solution: a simulated dating experience in a setting reminiscent of his favorite stories.

After following Madame Eve’s instructions, Caleb finds himself in a vivid fantasy world, complete with a damsel in distress who needs rescuing. His objective is clear, but he must find a way around the many obstacles standing between him and Alizeira, the mysterious woman imprisoned in an underground cell.

While working on his plans to save her, Caleb spends time getting to know Alizeira beyond her role as prisoner, and a mutual attraction develops between them. He is unsure whether she’s a real person playing a part like him, or if she’s simply one piece of the elaborate simulation that’s been programmed for his date. Setting her free is the first step to discovering the truth, but how many secrets is Alizeira hiding?

Buy Links:
Amazon  Kobo  iTunes  AllRomance

Tour Schedule:
1/18-Ebooks Galore
1/19-Outrageous Heroes-fun facts
1/20-Author Sandra Love-playlist
1/21-Kimmie Sues Book Reviews-review, playlist, fun facts
1/22-LBM Book Blog
1/23-Dreamer Talks Books
1/24-Midnight Angel Book
1/25-Sapphyria's Steamy Books
1/26-Booklover Sue-Fun facts
1/27-Literature Litehouse
1/28-Danielle's Domain
1/29-My Reading Reality http:/
1/30-We Read With A Glass of Wine
1/31-Diane's Book Blog-character interview
2/1-Indy Book Fairy
2/2-One Book Boyfriend At A Time
2/3-Sweet N Sassy Book A Holics
2/4-Stormy Nights Reviewing
2/5-The Color of Ink
2/6-Bound by Books Book Review
2/8-Ebook Addicts
2/9-2 Bibliophiles Guide
2/10-Free to Be Me
2/11-Butterflies Books Dreams
2/12-Angee's Afterthoughts
2/13-Where the Story Comes From-playlist
2/14-Books Are My Friends, Come See Why
2/15-Rockstar Reviews
2/16-Ebooks Galore

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Hello Blog Hop!

We’re ringing in the New Year with lots of giveaways! And by sharing some fun and wacky facts about ourselves. There’s a new giveaway at each stop so be sure to visit them all!

I'm giving away an e-copy of The Edge of the Sphere, for reasons you'll learn as soon as you read my list of quirks. Follow the directions on the Rafflecopter to make sure you maximize your chances of winning!

Now on to my list of fun, silly things that I don't think I've ever revealed on this blog....

1. I refuse to use store-bought tomato sauce. I know I'm anal-retentive in a lot of areas in my life, but I insist on knowing exactly what goes into my sauce. When writing the beginning of The Edge of the Sphere, I needed to convey what type of person Stephen's ex-girlfriend was and the sort of things they argued over without spending a lot of time on it, so I borrowed from my own non-negotiable demands. (Though unlike Alison, I don't hold it against people who try to serve me can from a jar. Most of the time. ;) )

2. I've always looked very young for my age. (I appreciate it, I promise!) I've been mistaken for a college student within the past couple months, and I'm approaching the ten-year anniversary of graduation. Sometimes when I'm out with my kids, people think I'm the babysitter/nanny.

3. I'm afraid of snails, to the point where I have a panic attack if I even see a picture of one. I don't know what it is about those little fuckers that freaks me out so much.

4. I will eat any kind of seafood, even if I don't know what it is. (And I have done this on some Caribbean vacations, in fact.)

5. When I was younger, my ideal woman was Geena Davis's character in A League of Their Own. I didn't know if I wanted to grow up to be her or date her.

6. One of my claims to fame in college was being able to tell what season a Law & Order rerun was from before the opening credits rolled. Seasons 7 and 8 were the most challenging because the casts were the same, but the film had a different quality.

7. I love Legos and I buy a new set to add to my Lego Christmas village every year. Hey, there are perks to being an adult with disposable income!

Stephen’s quiet life is turned upside down when he experiences vivid dreams of a woman he’s never met. Liora, having grown tired of her forced isolation and servitude in the land of Marindal, uses the mystical sphere housed in her cellar to attempt to reach someone to help her break free. They meet up several times in a subconscious illusion Liora creates for them and quickly form a strong bond. Stephen follows her to Marindal, where he’s instantly captured by her cruel master, Thirvar. Plans for escape become their top priority, and their feelings grow deeper during their secret meetings in the realm of fantasy. The knowledge that they will want different things once they are safe from Thirvar’s clutches taints the prospect of reaching their goal. They are faced with the decision between seeking out the lives they left behind and taking a chance on the future of their love.

Good luck in the giveaway, and don't forget to visit the other stops on the blog hop! 
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Out of Orbit - The Writing Playlist

Happy New Year! I hope everybody had a fantastic holiday season, no matter what you celebrate, and may we all have a satisfying and productive 2016! Me, I got a niiiiiiice chunk of writing done on Out of Orbit while Mr. Landen and I were both off from work for over a week and I have high hopes for keeping the momentum going. I'll admit I struggled with the last little bit of worldbuilding I wanted to work in, but I've finally reached the point where my universe is established and now I can just have fun within it.

Though I don't have a really firm estimate of what the final word count is going to be (I think it's going to fall somewhere in "short novel" territory), this is definitely a lengthier and more detailed project than the 20K-word novellas I've been doing recently. As such, I've compiled a list of more than one or two songs to help me get into the right frame of mind. I'm sure I'll be adding more as I go along, but for now, here's my writing playlist for Out of Orbit:

#1, Space Oddity, and #2, Rocket Man, are pretty self-explanatory. They're my usual go-to songs for when events take place in outer space.

#3, Han Solo and the Princess - I know Star Wars is all the rage right now. This still remains one of my favorite love themes. Bonus points for the space/sci-fi connection! Lucky me! :D

#4, One Second and a Million Miles - I'm still a little disappointed that I didn't get to see The Bridges of Madison County on Broadway, as its run was short-lived. I'm a sucker for a killer duet, and I love this one. I can't say the lyrics match the story I'm writing 100%, but there are enough similarities to OoO that this song has been getting a lot of airtime.

#5, This Nearly Was Mine - I'm not going to give away too many plot details yet, but this fits in, I promise. And ooooooh, did I struggle with which version to include on my playlist. I love Brian Stokes Mitchell to death and I would follow him to the ends of the earth, but -- and I can't believe I'm about to write this -- sometimes I think he may have overdone it juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuust a smidge here. Oh well, it's still fantastic. And fun fact: I was in the audience for the performance! Probably the worst seats in the entire theater, but I was there nonetheless!