Wednesday Randomness: First Meeting

This is a new feature we’ll be doing a couple times through the year – highlighting characters sharing firsts. We can post something from an already published work, a work in progress or something completely new. This time, we’re talking first meetings.

I decided to share the first time Grace met Noah and Ethan in Santuary.

This new world is full of risks, but which is greater…being alone or trusting others?

For Grace Summers, life after the super solar flare and deadly viral outbreak can be summed up in one word. Alone. Having lost everyone she loved, Grace travels on foot to her family’s remote hunting cabin, where her father had stockpiled food and supplies for this type of situation.

Along the way, she meets Noah Hill and Ethan Erikson, a couple traveling the same direction. Grace struggles with her attraction to the pair until they make it clear they are just as interested in her.

With Noah and Ethan, Grace is no longer alone, but can she bring herself to trust them in this new world where everyone is just trying to survive no matter the cost?


The sound of Callie’s growling jolted Grace upright from where she’d slumped farther against the tree trunk. She gripped the rifle and jumped to her feet, even before her eyes were fully open. Bringing the gun up snugly against her shoulder, she scanned her surroundings to find what had Callie sounding the alarm. She didn’t have to look far.

Her heartbeat sped and her breathing stuttered when her gaze landed on two men standing no more than twenty feet away.

“Whoa.” The taller of the two stepped forward, palms out in a peaceful gesture. He stopped in his tracks when Callie let out another low, menacing growl and moved in front of Grace. “Wanna call off the hound?”

“Wanna keep moving?” she returned.

“Not really,” the other man snapped.

“Let me rephrase.” She shifted slightly until the rifle was leveled directly at him. “Keep moving.”

“We’re not looking to cause any trouble,” the first man assured. “I’m Noah; this is Ethan. We’re just passing through, looking for a place to catch a few winks before moving on.” He gestured around. “There’s plenty of room, and we’ll share.” He pointed back at his partner, who sighed and lifted a hand. Four good-sized fish dangled from a line held between his fingers.

“Not interested.” Grace widened her stance and waited. The last thing she needed was two strange men hanging around. She wasn’t going to feel guilty about sending them on their way into the night. Honestly, if they couldn’t understand why a lone woman wouldn’t want two strange men hanging around, they were idiots.

“God, enough.” Ethan stepped forward. “You have no claim on the place. It’s late and dark; I’m tired and fucking hungry. If you don’t like it, you can move on.”

“Ethan,” the other man admonished. “There’s no need—”

“Hey,” Grace interrupted, exasperation edging out the panic. “Last I checked, I’m the one holding the gun, so I’m sure as hell not going anywhere.”

“Look, sweetheart—”

“I’m not your sweetheart!” she snapped. “Do you always make everything so damned difficult? I was here first, and I don’t make camp with men I don’t know.” For good reason. She shook her head slightly and tried to push thoughts of her last, and only, encounter with another person on this journey. Her stomach roiled, and her dinner threatened to make a reappearance.

Ethan let out an annoyed huff of breath, and Noah moved closer to him. Grace watched as he ran his palm down Ethan’s arm then wrapped his fingers around the other man’s hand. Ethan turned his head, and the men exchanged a long look before responding.

“And that’s completely understandable. Smart,” Noah said “But it’s late, dark; we aren’t going to be able to get much farther in any case. We just want to eat, sleep, and, in the morning, we’ll be on our way. How can we make that happen? What can we do to ease your mind?”

Grace’s gaze drifted back to their linked hands, where Noah’s thumb slowly rubbed the back of Ethan’s hand. She tightened her grip on the rifle and inhaled a shaky breath.

“You’re lovers?” she blurted, jerking her head back to look at their faces.


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Kayleigh Jones
Kris Norris | Siobhan Muir

January 2019 – Photo Fic

First flash fic of the year. Yay! We’ve all be given the same photo and have to come up with a story to fit. Can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!

Sometimes, I hated my job.

Okay, to be fair, I always hated my job. The necessity of it.  Though, I had to wonder, did being part of a secretly growing rebellion actually count a job? Or was it a mission? A quest? Or just a series of trying tasks shoved upon me in between having to fight for my life? And, in the end, did it fucking matter?

“I don’t understand.”

With a sigh, I shoved aside useless ponderings and focused on the task at hand. Vetting a possible recruit. Oh, joy. Glancing over at the man in the passenger seat, I stopped the car and put it in park.

Daniel Hartford, my latest assignment—cute, clean-cut, smart, a recent self-proclaimed Sympathizer of Magic-users.  He also happened to be the son of one of the most influential couples in the country. The Hartfords were old, old money…and very vocal in their staunchly anti-magic stance.

The leadership wanted to know if he was on the level, because if he was… Well, he could be a helluva asset with the access he had.

Which was why Daniel was now my problem.

He’d already been checked—I’d gone over the files last night—by several of the higher ups, and they liked what they’d seen, so they requested me.

The human lie detector.

I hated that they called me that. Never to my face of course. Because they avoided face to face with me as much as possible. And who wouldn’t? Feeling others’ emotions, knowing when someone was lying…seemed like a pretty awesome power to manifest, but in reality, it led to a very, very lonely life.

I was an asset the leadership never hesitated to be use, but never someone they wanted to actually have around. Everyone had their secrets, after all. Even the good guys.

“Ms. Carter?”

Daniel’s soft query pulled me out of my head again, and I inwardly cursed my distraction. I had a job to do, and it was time to do it.

“I told you to call me Emma,” I reminded him. “I know this doesn’t make sense, but it will. Come on.”

I exited the car and waited for him to do the same before walking toward the house in front of us. Remaining silent as I lead him across the lawn and up the steps to the front door.

So far, I hadn’t sensed any deception from Daniel. So, that was good. Everything I’d gotten from him, so far, assured me he wasn’t an actual threat, a possible plant from the other side.

Didn’t mean that he was a strong ally, though. There was a world of difference between sympathizing with Magic-users and actually being willing to act and fight for them, sometimes in violent ways. Not to mention putting your own life at risk.

Before I’d give my approval, I had to be sure that there was more to Daniel Hartford than simply rejecting his parents’ beliefs and making an impulsive stand against them, because trusting him was a huge, huge risk. And, at this point, I had nothing to assure me of that the risk was worth taking. While he’d never publicly aligned himself with his parents’ stance on magic, neither had he ever shown any support for Magic-users. Not until two weeks ago, when he’d made contact with one of the more public Sympathizer groups and inquired about the cause.

It seemed like an unlikely first leap to me.

Turning the knob and pushing the unlocked door open, I gestured for him to enter. He frowned then moved past me…immediately gasping as he walked into chaos. Shock and confusion pulsed on the air between us as we moved through the main level.

The old house was, to put it simply, a disaster. Ransacked with no care for the destruction caused. The floor was littered with books, papers, toys…

“What happened here?” Daniel asked, stopping in the doorway to the back room. It’d once bene a library or an office. Now, like the rest of the house it was in shambles. He turned back toward me. “Look, I don’t know why you brought me here, but I’ve already jumped through enough hoops when all I want to do is help. If you’re not going to tell me—”

“The family that lived here was on the watch lists. Suspected of having magic,” I explained, though I knew he had to have heard of the blasted lists, given who his parents were. “Your father reported them—he worked with the husband, insisted the entire family be brought in for questioning.”

I tilted my head and concentrated. The shock radiating off him was genuine. He hadn’t known about this family, this incident.

Inhaling deeply, he looked around. “So, what happened? Did they… Did they resist back when the police came to get them? They used magic to fight back?”

“No.” I stepped closer, keeping my gaze locked on his face and my power centered on his every reaction. “They weren’t magic, Daniel. They went quietly, didn’t resist. They were questioned, again and again. Then, after days, they were supposedly released, but they never made it home.” I hesitated a moment, throat tight. ”Their bodies were found in shallow graves outside the city several weeks later.”

“No, no…” He shook his head then gestured around them. “This was a…raid…an invasion. If they went quietly, why— They were killed? You’re saying that they were killed because my father reported them, because there was just a suspicion that they had magic?”

As his emotions prickled hotly over my skin, I felt an inkling of regret for what I was doing but quickly squashed it. This was as much for him as the cause.

“Daniel, in the countless witch hunts in our history, very few of those killed, who had their lives and family destroyed, were actually magic. All it took was a suspicion, a rumor…” I reached into pocket and pulled out the small stack of photos, flicking them one by one, “Henry…Penny…Grant…and Lucy,” onto the floor in front of him. “They aren’t the first innocents to die, and they won’t be last.”

The color drained from his face as he stared down at the images, his throat working convulsively. He crouched down, tracing a trembling finger over the photo of four-year-old Lucy laughing at camera.

I backed away from him, overwhelmed by his sadness and anger, but determined to finish this, so we could both move on. “I understand that you don’t share your parents’ beliefs, Daniel. That much is obvious, but what you’re trying to sign up for is much more than standing on opposite sides of an issue.”

His head snapped up, and he glared at me fiercely. “I’m not an idiot.”

“No, you’re not,” I agreed. “From everything I’ve heard and seen, you’re incredibly smart with a world of opportunities. What I’m trying to say—rather poorly, I admit—is war is coming, Daniel. It’s inevitable, but you don’t have to be on the front lines. Most of us… We don’t have a choice. We’re fighting for basic rights, for our lives, but you’re lucky. You do have a choice. Being a Sympathizer doesn’t mean you have to risk everything, risk your life. No one would blame you for avoiding that.”

He looked back down then picked up the pictures, stacking them in one palm as he stood. He stared at the little girl, again, for a long, tense moment, then he tucked the photos in his back pocket. Clearing his throat, he walked over to me. I lifted my chin to meet his gaze, my own eyes stinging at the sight of the tears in his.

“I would,” he rasped. “I would blame me.”

Truth.


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Kayleigh Jones
Kris Norris | Siobhan Muir

January 2018 Photo Fic – “Winter”

Happy New Year!

Today is a photo flash fiction – we’ve rounded up 12 images and will be writing something inspired by them…1 a month through the year.

Here’s January’s image:

“Winter”

“Come on, Nic. Look how gorgeous it is!”

I didn’t even look over at my brother. Sitting stubbornly and stiffly in the passenger seat, seatbelt still fastened, I stared out the windshield.

He wasn’t wrong – it was gorgeous. The blanket of white covering the ground was only marred by the tire tracks of another idiot who had ventured out after the snowstorm we’d had the night before. Snow clung to the bare branches of the trees and the wooden fence that lined the tiny country road. Yeah, gorgeous. One might even say picturesque.

But that didn’t sway me – I wasn’t deceived.

“Seriously,” my brother continued, “just a quick walk. It’ll be refreshing.”

I snorted. “Yeah, right. It may be pretty as fuck, but winter is just like the stuck-up popular girls at school.”

“Really?” he drawled.

I could feel his intense stare but kept my gaze focused on the deceptive scene before me. “Yep. Gorgeous enough to take your breath away, but underneath it all, a complete and utter bitch who will only hurt you. And in the end, you’ve only yourself to blame, because deep down, you knew it. You just let yourself get swayed by prettiness.”

“Wow.” A long pause. “Just wow.” The engine roared to life, then he said, “You’re going to die alone, you know that, right?”

I lifted a shoulder lazily. “Yeah, probalby. But I’ll be warm and won’t hate myself.”


I don’t even know… Seriously, blame my sleep-deprived brain for that little nugget. Oh, and the fact I’m in the UP right now – one of the most beautiful places on Earth, IMO, and enduring snowstorms and freezing temps. My feelings for winter may have bled through.

Be sure to check out what the image inspired the other bloggers to write!


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Kayleigh Jones
Kris Norris | Siobhan Muir 

August Song Fic: “Ghost” by Halsey

It’s time for another flash fiction – this one inspired by Halsey’s “Ghost”.

I’m again visiting the world of my Albion’s Circle series. This takes place not long before the series begins. A small glimpse into Anna’s head…before she finds out that her dreams are more than she realizes.


~Anna~

Music pulsed.

Lights flashed.

Bodies pressed against me. From every side. The touches, the scents, the heat… All of it, surrounded me, filled my senses, driving everything else out.

I closed my eyes, as anxious to escape what was happening as I was desperate for it. I sighed in relief as hands circled my waist and pulled me back against a very hard, very male body. I leaned into him, letting my head fall to his shoulder, as our bodies began to move.

His lips glided along my ear, and his breath tickled as he whispered, “Fuck, you feel amazing…”

Jamie.

My heart sped up. From excitement, from the knowledge of what the night would bring…from shame. Shame that I was using him. Again. And an even deeper, more painful shame that probably wouldn’t be the last time.

Hands firm on my hips, Jamie turned me to face him. I opened my eyes and, tipping my head back, met his gaze. Swallowing the immediate disappointment I always felt when I looked into his gray-blue eyes—and hating myself even more for it—I forced a smile.

He grinned then jerked his head toward the front of the club. “Let’s get out of here.”

Heat coiled in my belly, and I trembled slightly as I nodded. He grabbed my hand, and as I let him lead me through the crowd, I tried desperately to hold on to the excitement and desire. And not think about the tendrils of dread and regret weaving their way through.

I could only hold it off for so long, I knew. It was inevitable and would fill me to bursting soon enough. Because I wasn’t going to find what I was looking for in Jamie’s bed, in his arms, any more than I’d found it is this club or with any other person. I gritted my teeth as another face flashed in my mind. Another set of blue eyes—clear and piercing and haunting.

I shoved all away as Jamie pushed me up against his car and took my mouth. I let myself to fall into the kiss, to become lost in the bliss of his touch, because however temporary, it dulled the edges, softened the harshness of not having what I yearned for.

And made me forget, for just a little while, that I was searching for something I couldn’t reach. Because it wasn’t real.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease
Kayleigh Jones | Kris Norris | Siobhan Muir

April Photo Fic – “Unfinished”

I clearly have issues coming up with standalone stories for flash fics… I’ve gone back to one of my boys… You could read this on its own but if you’d like to take a gander at the other stories in this world:

Part 1 – “The First Step”
Part 2
Part 3 – “Never Gone”

This one is another peek into Justin’s head… A similar, and yet very different, spot than we last saw him in “Never Gone”.

“Unfinished”


Justin walked toward the kitchen, navigating in the dark, not wanting to wake his guest. Someone he hadn’t seen in years—takeout and booze in hand, wanting a visit and a place to sleep for the night. Justin had a slight pang of guilt that he’d hadn’t had a bed to offer, not in the tiny one-bedroom he currently lived in. He’d tried to give up his own bed and take the couch himself, but had just received a smack upside the head for his trouble. Oh well, at least his couch was fucking comfortable. And after the amount of alcohol they’d downed the night before, he figured the other man likely had no problem falling asleep.

Neither had Justin. Falling asleep was never the issue. Staying asleep, however…

He sighed as he opened the fridge. He should be used to it. He hadn’t had a solid night’s sleep in the last fucking three years. Not since…

He cursed, shoving aside that train of thought, and grabbed a bottle of water.

“Wanna grab me one while you’re in there?”

“Fuck!” Justin fumbled and barely stopped the bottle from dropping to the floor. He withdrew another water and, shutting the door, walked into the living room. “Sorry, boss. Didn’t mean to wake you.”

A soft huff of laughter, and in small amount of light from the streetlamps coming in through the window, he saw Liam—his former boss—shake his head. But he didn’t correct Justin. He’d stopped doing that about an hour after arriving.

“Didn’t wake me.” He held his hand out for the water and motioned for Justin to sit next to him.

“Okay, but I don’t want to keep you up.”

“Shut up and sit down.”

“Yes, boss.” He plopped on the cushion, as ordered, but looked everywhere but at the other man.

After a few minutes of silence, a hand came to rest on his shoulder. “Sometimes, it helps to talk about it.”

“About what?” he asked flatly.

Liam’s fingers tightened. “The nightmares.”

Justin jerked his head around and stared at the older man. “How did you know?”

“That you had nightmares? How could you not?”

Liam tilted his head to the side and stared intently. Justin fought not to squirm. Damn, it’d been a long time since he’d been under the full force of that stare. And fuck him, he kind of missed it.

“Justin,” Liam sighed. “The things we see, the things we face, doing what we do, nightmares are par for the course. But having to face the…horrors, knowing that your brother did those things? Bound to screw with your head.”

Leaning forward, Justin set his water on the scarred surface of the coffee table then scrubbed his palms over his face. He didn’t want to think, let alone talk, about the nightmares. Of course his stupid fucking brain circled back to the one that had woken him less than half an hour before.

Starring his brother, Jonah, of course. He’d been standing over Justin, who had been strapped down on a table. Just like all of Jonah’s victims had been. He’d known it was Jonah from the start, even though he hadn’t been recognizable. His face hadn’t been human. It had been covered in metal and gears and…stuff. But it hadn’t been a mask—it was his face. His face was just…not human.

Justin rolled his eyes. It didn’t take a fucking shrink to figure the meaning of that, did it? Three years ago, he’d discovered his brother wasn’t human. He was a monster. This was just Justin’s brain’s way of illustrating that.

The dream was starting to fade, blur around the edges as dreams often do, and Justin couldn’t even bring the particulars into focus anymore. But Jonah’s eyes…  Those were still vivid. Cold, assessing, emotionless—no sign of caring or love. No sign of a brother in those fathomless pale eyes. Only the monster he’d been. The monster Justin hadn’t seen until it was too late.

“Justin.”

Liam’s low hoarse voice brought him out of his mind and back into his dark living room.

“Sorry.”

“You need to stop wallowing in your guilt. You blame yourself and that isn’t going to lead you anywhere good. Trust me on that. You ran away, isolated yourself, wrapped yourself in the weight of that guilt, and it’s suffocating you. You haven’t even given yourself time, or permission, to grieve.”

Justin sat back and gaped at the older man. One, because that was the most words he’d heard his boss string together in one go. Two, because his uncanny ability to see what Justin tried to hide from everyone. From himself. Though he shouldn’t be surprised—Liam had always had that talent—but time had made Justin forget.

“Grieve?” he croaked. “I am not the one who needs to grieve. That falls on the families who lost someone they loved. My brother was not a victim, Liam. He was a monster who tortured and killed at least a dozen men. A psychopath unable to even feel love.”

“Ah, but that’s the thing, isn’t it? He can’t feel love. But you can. You did.” Liam cupped Justin’s cheek a moment then patted it. “You, just like those families, lost a loved one. Lost a brother. And you are allowed to grieve., Justin.

Justin forced a laugh. “Didn’t take you for the touch-feely type, boss.”

“I’m not. Never have been. But you’re family. And family looks after its own—even when they don’t want looking after. Or think they don’t deserve it.”

“Boss…don’t,” he pleaded, heart hammering, throat tight, eyes stinging.

“You may have left the team—hell, I left the team—but you did not leave your family.” He shook his head. “Can’t. Not possible.”

Justin thought of who he’d left behind. The man in front of him—the boss, the man he’d looked up to so fucking much. Adam—SIC, a second boss, really, but the one who had taken Justin under his wing from day one. Scott and Sarah—the agents who razed and supported him in equal measure. And Harris—Justin didn’t exactly know where he fit in the “family” Liam spoke of. Harris had been attached to the team during the investigation that lead to Jonah. Hell, Harris had taken Justin’s place when he’d left. He didn’t really know the kid.

His breath stalled as pale sweat-damp skin, dark eyes and tousled hair flashed through his mind.

“It’s time to come home, Justin.”

He was thankful to be pulled away from memories of what he regretted—regretted leaving behind, not having done. Because he couldn’t bring himself to regret that one night. No matter that he probably should.

“I don’t know if I can,” he whispered. “I always said I would—when I got past all of it. But I’m not sure that it’ll ever be over. Not for me.” He cringed as his voice broke and cleared his throat. “I don’t know that I can come back to the Bureau, boss.”

“It’s time to come home,” Liam repeated. “Don’t give a shit whether you go back to the job. Come back to your family. Let us help you though this. Help you grieve. Because until you do, it won’t be over.”

Justin sniffed and swiped angrily at the dampness now coating his cheeks. He froze when Liam’s arms came around him.

“You are allowed, you know? Grieving the loss of your brother isn’t a betrayal. It doesn’t lessen what you feel for those families.”

Hearing the thoughts that needled at him constantly voiced—and damn him, how does he do that?—Justin felt something deep in his chest give way. A sob forced its way up, up, up until it pushed past his lips. Liam’s embrace tightened, and Justin let himself lean into the other man. To take the comfort for the first time in three years.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Kayleigh Jones | Kris Norris

Wednesday Randomness: Behind the Scenes

2s1ne1472019196

Happy Wednesday, friends.

When we plan out the blog topics for the year, I’m always excited when a Behind the Scenes post comes around, and planning 2016 was no exception.

Now that we’re here and it’s time to write the post, though… “Can I be real a second? For just a millisecond?”

(Actually, my singing Hamilton lyrics is probably as good a look behind the scenes into my life right now as you can get – as my family can attest.)

Anyhoo… Truth is, as I posted about a short time ago, this year has been challenging for me as a writer, and I’m now just getting back to where I need (and want!) to be. So, sharing behind the scenes is a more difficult task than it has ever been, but I’m going to give it a shot.

My most current project is my next Bound book, Safeword Protected, so I’ll share a bit about it and how as an author I”m connecting with it.

B6 - SAFEWORD PROTECTED

Clara Turner loves her life—her career as a travel writer takes her to places most people only dream of. But with the birth of her cousin’s first child quickly approaching, Clara happily trades her fast-paced adventures for the quiet Irish village to be there for the new arrival. 

When Clara’s laptop acts up, her cousin decides to do Clara a favor and takes it to Niall Walsh, the village’s unofficial tech support. Clara panics at the thought of Niall—sexy, sets-her-lady-bits-tingling-from-afar Niall—discovering her secret stash of filthy kinkery living on her hard drive.

Niall lived the big-city life for years and dated the glamorous woman that came along with it before coming back home. He’s heard about Clara for ages, but nothing prepares him for the instant attraction he feels when he first sees her. He ignores it though—knowing she’s only there for a short time.

Besides, she’s the type of woman who fit in his past, not his present. He doesn’t have anything to offer that she’d want. At least, that’s what he’d thought…before he delved into her computer and discovered exactly what Clara likes. As he learns more about her, Niall realizes he can offer her something no one else can—the chance to explore her deepest desires instead of just watching on a screen. 

It should be easy–a hot fling before Clara’s job takes front and center again–but when the time comes, will either of them be able to slip free from the bonds that now connect them?

Writing Safeword Protected? it’s been both extremely frustrating and incredibly rewarding. The frustration stemmed for there “other stuff”, not the book or the writing of it. I will admit something here that I’m probably not supposed to. As an author, I do have favorite characters. Don’t get me wrong, I love them all , but there are some I just really, really love and seem to connect with. One day I may even share who tops the list, but for now, I will say Niall and Clara from Safeword Protected? They’re pretty damned high on that list. No matter what chaos and…stuff was going on, whenever I could sit down and work on Niall and Clara’s story… Well, it’s pretty much this…

LetMeLoveYou

Grabby hands and all.

Why do I love them so much? Hard to put into words (You’re an author, Jarman; get with the program!) Niall is a hot Irishman who is ready and willing to guide Clara though her initial exploration into the world of BDSM. So right there? Ticking some boxes, yeah? But there is something about the character that just makes me melt. I think I’ll let Brody, Niall’s best mate (who happens to be married to Clara’s cousin) tell it:

“Niall is one of the most loyal and loving men you’ll ever meet,” Brody added, gaze intent on Clara. “He would do anything for the people he cares about. He came home for his family. He places people, especially people he loves and cares about, above anything else.”

A hot guy is all well and good, but finding something worthwhile when you delve beneath the pretty surface and push past the flaws – because he’s still got to be real, right? Man’s gotta have layers…

And Clara…she’s very real. Has her faults, has the tendency to think things to death and often arrives at the wrong conclusion – usually the one that has her freaking out in a major way. There are times…

All right, I’m going to let you in on another secret, because we’re behind the scenes and all. 😉 Readers aren’t the only ones who want to wack some sense into characters, to just shake them until their brains come back online and they’re making good choices. But that’s good, right? Who wants to read a book about two perfect people with no conflict? It’s that conflict, those mistakes that the hero and heroine make – the human element – that makes a story really work, isn’t it? I think so. And over the years, the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten has served me well in creating those real characters that I connect with and sincerely hope readers do, as well.

Trust the characters. Trust the story.

Not groundbreaking advice, really. I’ve heard similar things from pretty well known authors since I first had that knocked into my thick skull. But it took the right person at the right time to get me to see how necessary it was in the writing process. I still, with pretty much every book, have had those words spoken to me or have said them aloud to myself.

And that is it from me this week.

Make sure to head over to the blogs below to get a peek at what these incredible authors are working on. Also i want to welcome Torrance Sené to Wednesday Randomness blogging. Glad to have you with us. 🙂

Until next time,
~J


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Jessica De La Rosa
Kayleigh Jones | Kris Norris | Paige Prince | Torrance Sené

Wednesday Randomness: Wordless Wednesday – Rage/Anger

wordlesswed

Yeah, so I’m going to be a rule breaker – my post isn’t going to be wordless. Not even a little.

So things that make me angry… I’m gonna be very real here. There’s much in the world right now that make me angry and sad and really really ragey, but I’m not going to go down that road with this post because I don’t need to be in that headspace any more than I already am.

So for this post…going a bit more light. Will still talk about things that make me angry and drive me nuts…but just not the big-big things.

So here we go…

On social media, being told if I don’t share or repost something, I’m a horrible person, don’t love  enough, don’t care enough about some cause or issue, or some other bullshit. In these situations, I feel like Ben from Parks & Rec….

The worst

People who can’t take responsibility. Honestly, we all play the blame game to a degree, yeah? And I think I’m a pretty understanding person and get that life gets shitty, but when everything is everyone else’s fault or something is always happening that gets in the way – particularly when it negatively affects something I’m working on (and that’s selfish, isn’t it? *sigh*), well, I just…

Hugh I'm OUT

I work a couple different jobs…so when I can sit down and write… OMG people just need to leave me alone and not ask me something or start some long-ass recitation of their day. It’s not that I don’t want to talk to the people I love. I really really do, but the interruptions… DEAR. GOD. THE. INTERRUPTIONS.

rossfreakout

I probably could go on about little stuff, but I won’t. I try to let this stuff roll of my back and not react to stuff or be bitchy. But I would be lying if I said some days, I wasn’t like this THE ENTIRE DAY.

TiredofYourBullshit


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Kayleigh Jones |  Kris Norris | Paige Prince

June Song Fic – “Little Heaven”

songprompt5This month’s song is “Little Heaven” by Toad the Wet Sprocket. Here is the song – with lyrics –  for your enjoyment.

This one was a hard one for me – not a shocker. I haven’t blogged a lot lately. Or written. But I was determined to get something. I listened to it again and again. Stared at the lyrics so many times. Whined to people about lack of ideas. (I should probably apologize this…).

Finally after much time, and perhaps a couple margaritas one night before heading off to the fab writer’s retreat I’m currently at, I came up with something.

Kinda working of of these lines:

Change’ll happen whether we
Are still or moving
Breathe in waves of doubt
Bitter in your mouth

I wrote something that went with my serial, Your Lies (I don’t think you have to read what I’ve posted so far to get the gist of what’s happening here, but if you want to have a gander at the chapters posted so far, head on over to the serial page).


I groaned and scrunched up my face as my phone rang. Again.

“Whoever that is,” David, my friend and current study partner, said, looking up from his books briefly, “is just going to keep calling. You might as well just answer it.”

I hummed quietly and turned a page without responding.

He sighed. “Your mom?”

“Yep.”

“Maybe she’s calling to apologize,” he said quietly. “It’s been nearly a week.”

It didn’t matter how long it had been. I was angry. More angry than I had been with my mom in a long time. What I was feeling rivaled the emotions I’d battled back when my dad disappeared. The intense anger I had directed at her back then hadn’t been fair at all, and I still felt guilt over that. But this? Having people watching me and reporting back to her? I wasn’t going to get over that any time soon. And no amount of apologizing was going to make it happen any sooner.

“She’s probably worried,” he tried again.

“She’s knows I’m fine. I texted her. Besides, I’m sure her little spies have told her the same thing.” I closed my book the leaned back against the wall as I stretched my legs out in front of me on the bed. “Not ready to talk to her. Not yet.”

He pushed the chair away from the desk and turned to face me fully. “I get that. I really do, but after everything that’s happened, with your dad and all that, and everything with the anti-magic groups and—”

“You don’t have to defend her to me,” I said quietly. “Even though it drives me nuts, I do actually understand where she’s coming from and why she worries about me. But what she did…” I swallowed thickly and shook my head. “She showed how little she trusts me, and—”

My phone rang again—a different ringtone this time. I snatched up the device and stared at Kyle’s face on the screen. I hadn’t spoken to him—my best friend—since I’d left for school. We’d texted and IM’d but actually talking… The fact he was calling now wasn’t a coincidence. That fact pushed my anger and annoyance up, but I still answered.

Before I could say anything beyond the initial “hello”, Kyle’s voice exploded in my ear. “What the fuck are you thinking, Dee?”

“Well, I’ve missed you, too. Been a long time; how have you been?” I said, voice sickeningly sweet.

“I’ve got your mom calling me, yelling at me about how you won’t answer her calls…like that’s somehow my fault. Then, she tells me you’ve been basically making a target of yourself and seeing that Roberts kid. Fuck, Dee, we talking about this! Don’t draw attention to yourself, don’t let anyone know. Speaking at a pro-magic event, dating the fucking poster boy for the antis? How is that laying low and helping keep your secret? Are you fucking stupid?”

“Keep it up and I’m hanging up,” I responded tightly. “My mom has no clue what she’s talking about, and neither do you.”

“Did you speak at the thing or not?”

“I helped out—behind the scenes—and when things got messed up the day, yeah, I spoke. But hardly at all. I basically welcomed people and introduced the first speaker. It’s not like I gave a big speech and came out as a magic user anything, for crying out loud.”

“It doesn’t matter!” he nearly shouted. “Just being there is too much. For fuck’s sake, Dee.” He inhaled deeply, then asked, “And Maddock Roberts?”

“What about him?”

“You’re dating him?” When I didn’t answer immediately, he plowed ahead. “Are you insane? He’s the last person you should be in the same room with, let alone date. His parents, his whole fucking family, are among the most vocal against our—”

“I don’t care. He’s not like that,” I argued.

“So he’s not leading the anti-magic rallies on campus, telling people to sign petitions to ban magic users and basically lock us up? I’ll admit, he pretties it up and tries to say it’s for our own good as much as for the general public, but come the fuck on, Dee. Tell me you’re not falling for that?”

“You don’t know him.” I said quietly.

“And you do? Does he know you? All of you. How do you think he’d react if he knew the truth about you? Do you even think of that? Or are you just blinded by how cute and how into you he is?”

“Stop it. Just…stop it.” I swiped at my stinging eyes, his words bringing all the doubts and fears I had to the forefront. “You don’t get to disappear, off doing what you’re—and I’m not so stupid I don’t know what that is—then call when summoned to try to talk some sense into poor Delia. Maddock isn’t one of the bad guys. He may not know about me, but we’ve talked about magic and what he’s believed. He may not have questioned it in the past, but he listens to me. He doesn’t just blow me off. He’s actually considering what I have to say. Even before all of that, he wasn’t hateful toward magic users.”

“You really think you’re going to sway him? That him ‘listening to you’” he repeated with a sneer, “is anything more than him trying to placate the girl he’s romancing? Come on.”

“Like I said, you don’t know him.”

“I know enough. He’s dangerous. Things are changing quickly. In a bad way. It’s going to get much worse for us before they get better. And if you think he’s is going to stand beside you when he knows what you are and when things hit the fucking fan, you’re delusional. You’re going to get your heart broken…or worse.”

“You’re exaggerating,” I said, even though I knew he wasn’t. It didn’t take a genius to realize things were bad in the world and the conflict between magic users and those who wanted them gone was escalating. All you had to do was turn on the news to see that.

“War’s coming, Dee. Doesn’t matter if we’re fighting or standing still, it’s coming. You need to surround yourself with people you trust, with people who will have your back when everything falls apart. Can you really say Maddock Roberts fits that bill?”

There was shouting in the background on his end—loud, frantic words I couldn’t quite catch—and Kyle cursed.

“I’ve got to go. Take care, Dee. I love you and I want you safe. Make the right choice before it’s too late.” A quick pause and more shouting. “And call your mom, yeah? She loves you, too, and wants the same. Remember that.”

The call cut out then, and I dropped the phone onto the bed in front of me. David stood and crossed the room to sit beside me. It was clear from his expression he knew full well the other side of the conversation had gone, even if he hadn’t heard the exact wording.

“Want to talk about it?” he asked quietly, resting his hand on my knee and squeezing.

“Not even a little. Besides,” I looked at the clock on the wall, “I need to get ready for my date.”

David smiled and, after another quick squeeze, stood and moved over to start packing up things into his backpack. I smiled, comforted by his easy acceptance. David was a magic user too. And he knew Maddock and trusted him, supported my relationship with him. All of my friends did. Even Addie, who had been hesitant and uber-distrustful to begin with.

I loved my mom, and I loved Kyle, but… I closed my eyes a moment and pictured a handsome face with piercing green eyes. I was beginning to love Maddock too, and I was pretty certain that went both ways. War coming or not—he would never hurt me.


Bronwyn Green | Kayleigh Jones | Kris Norris

 

Wednesday Randomness: Writing Pet Peeves

So this week, we’re talking about our writing pet peeves. What drives us up the wall when we read it. So I’m just going to jump right in.

Insta-love

This is first for a reason. I get instant attraction…find it hot to read. But as a reader, I need to be able to able to believe the main characters are falling in love. I cannot suspend belief when, within a short period of time together, they’re declaring their love.

infatuated

Similarly, when the hero and heroine (or hero and hero, heroine and heroes – any variation thereof) spend most of the book apart from each other? How can I believe there’s love there? And a mention of some time together “off screen” doesn’t cut it. Don’t tell me they bonded and are developing feelings for each other. I want to see it. That’s why I read romance, FFS.


Ass Claiming – The Final Frontier
AKA If you really, really, REALLY love me
you’ll let me do you up the butt

Okay, this one is…well, it’s a major pet peeve of mine. MAJOR. And I’ve read this in so many books by different authors, and I don’t know if it’s how they want it to come across – My guess would be no, but it really does.

The hero and heroine are together and falling in love and things are progressing…but the hero is obsessed with getting in the heroine’s backdoor. I mean, OBSESSED, thinking about it constantly, talking about it. And when she finally gives in and lets him do it…well, it’s the confirmation he needs that she really, really loves him.

cake drop


Hello?

Hello
Hey, I have characters talking to themselves, muttering and the like. And anyone who knows me can tell you I totally talk to myself. However, when a character is all alone talking aloud, info-dumping all over the place…. Nuh uh.

It isn’t believable and there are other ways to get that information to the reader. I guess info-dumping, in general, is a pet peeve of mine, now that I think about it. It’s lazy story-telling and having a character soliloquy-ing all over the place? It’s screams laziness.

GettheFOut


It doesn’t matter that there’s a gun in my face,
all I can think about is tappin’ that.

Are You Sitting Me

Now, I love me a sexy story. I love a story full of tension and characters unable to keep their hands off each other. Oh yeah… BUT, as in life, there is a time and place for such things. I’ll let you in on a secret – a situation fraught with danger, lives literally on the line, that sort of thing? Not the time and place to be all up in your head about how much you want to do someone. It certainly isn’t the time to be copping a feel. I don’t know about you, but if I have a gun all up in my face, I’m not thinking about sexy times. Even in an erotic romance, in certain scenes, SOME things take precedence over getting some.


Who the hell needs character development?

While it’s last on this list, it’s really high on my overall pet peeves list. Lack of character development. This can appear in a couple of ways. Either the character doesn’t change or grow in any way, which is boring and unrealistic. Or the character does a complete change that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever and we are supposed to just go along for the ride, even if it doesn’t make sense.

I think I’ve seen this more with heroes, to be honest, and I don’t know why that is. But a common scenario I’ve seen is the hero is super aggressive, gruff…kind of an A-hole to be honest. And seriously I don’t have a problem with a guy bordering on A-hole-ness if there are reasons for it and we get to see him grow and change and become better. But, what usually happens is when it comes time to get to the happily ever after, suddenly he is a changed man, for the better, of course, and off into the sunset he rides with his girl or guy. We don’t get to see the change, the reasons behind the change – it’s just suddenly there.

rossfreakout

And there you have it, in all my judge-y glory, my top writing pet peeves. o.O Make sure you go and check out what drives the other ladies up the wall. 🙂


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Jessica De La Rosa
Kayleigh Jones | Kellie St. James Kris Norris

 

Wednesday Randomness: 2015 IN REVIEW – BEST MEMORIES OF THE LAST YEAR

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Saying goodbye to 2015…

Like any other year, 2015 was a mix. Good, bad, exciting, frustrating…but gonna focus on the good today, and then, gonna make 2016 even better. 🙂

JANUARY

I finished writing London Bound this month, and it was a hard won but fantastic accomplishment in my life. I was writing something I’d never written before and battling some serious self-doubt about it. Luckily, I have the best people in my life; they helped push and prod me along. And I’m so glad they did, because this is a book I’m very proud of.

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This was about the time, after London Bound was completed, that Bronwyn and I first started talking about doing a series together, and the Bound series was born.

MARCHB1 - LONDON BOUND

Released London Bound. I love this book, and it was the start of the Bound series with Bronwyn. One of the best things of my 2015, IMO.

APRIL

Went home for a 2 long weekends in a row. One of the kiddos spent her spring break up there and I was transport. But it wasn’t just that. Nope, I got to spend quality time with my girl, see Mom and Dad as well as my sister and her family – including meeting my newest niece – and enjoy a bit of a break from “real life”. And don’t get to see my parents and siblings nearly enough. So this made me very happy.

MAYIMG_4486

Attended Austin Author Affair. Had a fantastic time! Saw old friends, made some new, met some fab people. A wonderful time, despite the crazy flight delays and time spent in the airport. Mostly because I didn’t mind the time in the airport since it meant more time with Bron, and we were able to do some fun planning with the Bound series.

JUNE

My oldest graduated this month. One of the proudest moments of my life – even if it makes me feel old. Add the fact my parents came into town, so it was another fantastic time with family and it was a highlight of my year.

RETREAT!!!!! This will always, always be on my Best of list for any year. Seriously. A week away with several of my favorite people in the world, relaxation, lots of writing, MONK MUFFINS (muffins made by monks that make us sing they are so good), laughing so, so much…. The only serious downside to this year was Norris wasn’t able to make it, but we texted her lots, sent her selfies, and she’d better be there this year (you hear that, Norris? DO YOU??)

JULY

Shockingly, camping is on the list this year. And anyone who knows me knows me saying camping and favorites in the same post… Well, it’s not likely to happen. But it did this year! We camped over fourth of July weekend with the hubs’ family, celebrated my birthday, and the best part, I was able to do it with all my kids. Oldest spends his summers away working but was able to get the time off to come and see us. It was the best. 🙂

AUGUST

What is becoming a yearly tradition – I spent a week at Bron’s house this summer. It was AWESOME. I was able to get a ton of writing done, made Bron ugly cry, visited with a bunch of other friends while there, wished some others were around to make it absolutely perfect, drank ciders, drooled over Colin Morgan (please, you can’t be surprised), bugged Bron’s family and warned them I’d be back. 🙂

IMG_0609 IMG_0612While there, I got my second tattoo (Got my first the year before when I was there – the hubs is a bit afraid THIS will become a yearly tradition 😉 ) I love it – it’s the sword that’s on my Albion covers. 🙂
AC 3 - EDGE OF DARKNESSReleased Edge of Darkness, book three of my Albion’s Circle series. This was a helluva hard book to write and finishing and releasing it was amazing.

SEPTEMBERB4 - NOTHING SERIOUS

Released Nothing Serious, book four of the Bound series and my second contribution. This was my first MM book I released, though I’ve written MMF menages, had MM couples featured in books – like Albion’s Circle books.

If I had to choose a favorite book/release of 2015, it would be this one. I fell in love with Jack and Aaron, and it was actually hard to write “The End” on this one. I didn’t want to say goodbye.

OCTOBERScreen Shot 2016-01-05 at 6.50.35 PM
Released Tempted to Death as part of a paranormal collection, Dark Pursuit, with some pretty fabulous ladies – Kris Norris, Paige Prince and Bronwyn Green. Tempted to Death was a fun book to write, a MMF menage, which is now available as a single title release.

NOVEMBER

Okay, November was a tough month. I was sicker than sick, was having a hard time finding the ever elusive balance, and as a result, not much happened writing wise.

writingshard

But I got through it, yeah? And started my game plan for 2016. So that’s a plus.

DECEMBER

I went home for Christmas. Being able to spend the holidays with my parents, my sister and her family was a fantastic way to round out the year.


Bronwyn Green |Gwendolyn Cease Jessica De La Rosa |Kayleigh Jones
Kellie St. James | Kris NorrisPaige Prince