Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Where'd that idea come from?

As a writer, my brain is constantly in "what if" mode. Anything can trigger an idea or a "hmm" moment. Usually when this happens, I grab a piece of paper and write stuff down because there's no way I'm going to remember it!

A lot of time, it's something that comes up in general conversation such as the time my son was telling me that the president's limo carries three pints of his blood in case of an emergency. Tons of ideas immediately went through my mind and I blurted out I could kill him with that, thinking if an assassin got into the car, switched out the blood with a type completely incompatible then arranged a reason it would have to be used... Ridiculous, but hey, we're dealing with fiction and as long as it's properly motivated, executed and well-written, it could be done.

Research is another great way of finding ideas and that's what happened to me this weekend while looking for an origin story for my vampire society. I didn't want to go with the "they've always been here" route. Nor did I want them to be mutations or a plague or anything like that. I wanted something different and unique. I just couldn't come up with anything.

The idea hit me like a lance to the breastplate!
I had a list of questions about my world that needed to be answered and where did they come from was number one. When I couldn't answer it, I decided to skip ahead. Later in the book, I mention two groups. One is the Brigade and one is Guardian. On the Brigade, I wrote Vatican-type secrecy, wealth and power. They are the leaders of the vampire society. The Guardian are the protectors, the army that ensures they remain safe in the human world. On this, I noted "like the Pope's Army." This last tidbit was just what I needed to spur my origin story.

I came up with something that I really love and has been fueling my story, actually the whole series. It's exciting and daring and I don't think it's ever been done before. I hope not!

You'll have to wait until June to find out just where my vampires came from when Bound By His Blood is released. It's the first book in my new Masters of the Night series and it's been a wild ride so far.

To whet your appetite, here's a small excerpt:

Boston, 1888
“Come on, Logan. It’ll be a grand night. It’s your eighteenth birthday. Time to become a man.”
Logan McCallister gave Joseph Kilkairn a sour look. The Scotsman was bound and determined to drag him to a brothel. McCallister wanted to go. He really did. Fear held him back.
If Father finds out where I’ve gone…
His straight-laced father would have an apoplectic fit if he knew his first born son, the one he’d been meticulously grooming to join the family shipping business, had gone to the seediest part of town to pay for sex.
Darren McCallister did not believe in crossing class lines.
The fire in the hearth crackled and popped. Wood groaned as it shifted into ash. The big house he lived in with his father, younger brother and sister was as empty and personable as an ancient tomb. None of his family had stayed to celebrate his birthday with even a special meal much less gifts or well wishes.
Not that I expected anything different.
His father ran a strict household. Frivolities like presents, celebrations and affections were frowned upon.
McCallister set his jaw as a spurt of rebellion tempted him.
One night out of a lifetime won’t matter.
McCallister shifted the perfect knot of his cravat, brushed away non-existent lint from his custom jacket and nodded his head. “All right. I’m in.”
Joseph chortled and thumped him on the back. “You’re going to love it,” he said. His dark blue eyes gleamed. “I was there last week, myself. Had a gorgeous dove named Claudine take care of me. Gor, she was something else.”
Excitement thrummed McCallister’s veins, easily beating away any lingering fear.
They arrived at Desdemona’s Palace an hour later. McCallister climbed from the coach and stared at the elegant house in front of him. A full moon washed over the two-story building and elegant wrought iron railings. Soft golden light flickered in nearly all the windows. A curtain moved on the upper right and he saw the perfect form of a woman outlined against the light. A taller male figure joined her and they disappeared from sight.
McCallister rubbed his hands together, suddenly eager to find and bed a woman with large breasts and a lusty appetite.
Joseph sprinted up the stairs and pulled the discreet gold chain near the door.
“Ready for the most incredible night of your life, McCallister?”
He grinned at his friend. “Absolutely.”
The door opened and a tall man with shoulders wider than the entry looked down at them. Recognition flickered in his black eyes when he looked at Joseph. He stepped back and waved them inside.
“Madam Desdemona will be with you shortly.”
He disappeared down the hall and McCallister stood in the entry, looking around and trying to calm his racing heart.
A flight of stairs to their right led to the upper floor where he assumed the actual bedding took place. The entry in which they stood flared out into a long and mostly dark corridor with a closed door at the end.
Sounds from around the house buffeted him. Throaty laughter and deep moans floated from above while from what seemed below, indeed under his feet, he thought he heard someone sobbing.
He frowned. “Do you hear that?”
“Yeah,” Joseph said. He rubbed his hands together. “Sounds just like Claudine when she was riding my cock last week.”
The far door opened and McCallister straightened, all thought of the peculiar sound dispelled.
Desdemona was beautiful. Tall, raven haired with a lithe, lush body revealed by the diaphanous gown she proudly wore.
The edges flared as she glided toward them. Beneath the robe, her full breasts and wide hips pressed against a white satin gown. McCallister swallowed hard. Her nipples puckered visibly through her dress.
“Good evening, gentlemen.” Her throaty contralto wrapped around his cock and held fast. He prayed he didn’t disgrace himself.
“Madam Desdemona. You look ravishing as always.” Joseph bent over her hand.
McCallister thought his friend overdid it just a bit with the bowed head and near subservient posture but then she was an incredibly beautiful woman. Her eyes were a shade of blue he’d never seen before. They looked as though they were lit from the inside by flashes of lightning. Her mouth was full, lush and ruby red.
“Who have you brought me, Joseph?”
She didn’t take her gaze from McCallister and he forced himself not to squirm.
Joseph made the introductions. “I was hoping you would personally see to his entertainment, Madam Desdemona.”
Her small smile revealed a set of perfect, white teeth. McCallister found himself captivated by them. He licked his lips.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t do that anymore. I’ll be happy to set you up with one of our other girls, though.”
Joseph leaned forward. “But Madam, it’s his eighteenth birthday today.” He tossed a wink over his shoulder at McCallister. “And he’s a virgin.”
“Damn it, Kilkairn,” he snapped. Embarrassment engulfed him like a ravenous beast.
The look on the madam’s face changed dramatically. Her brows lifted and the lightning flashed in such quick succession McCallister had to look away. He suddenly felt dizzy, breathless, weak.
The madam stepped closer and curled her long fingers around his forearm while nestling her breast against him. “Is this true, Mr. McCallister?”
He didn’t want to admit to it, wanted to lie and claim he’d bedded dozens of chits. But he couldn’t. Her blue gaze demanded only the truth.
“Yes,” he said with a rasp. “I’m a virgin.”
Her smile was like a gift and she squeezed his arm before letting go. “Joseph, I will send Claudine to you. Mr. McCallister, come with me.”
Joseph hooted and pounded him on the back. “See you soon, you lucky bastard.”
McCallister followed Desdemona down the hallway, his gaze glued to the sway of her ass and hips. His hard cock bounced with each step and anticipation made his balls tighten painfully.
She opened the door, stepped through then beckoned to him. “Shut the door, Mr. McCallister and let me take you.”
McCallister carefully did as commanded, took a deep breath and turned to face the beautiful whore.
* * *

The whimpering woke him. Soft, pathetic sounds of despair bounced inside his head. McCallister frowned and struggled to open his eyes. They were gritty and painful.
Cold, damp cement pressed along his back.
He forced himself to keep his eyes open. The room was mostly dark. A single beam of sunlight streamed from a narrow slit in the wall across from him. It took long seconds for his eyes to adjust to the shadows.
Something cold surrounded his throat. His arms were thrust over his head and manacled to the hard cement wall. Fear exploded in him.
Where am I?
He yanked at his chains and choked as the collar bit into his throat. The stench of piss and putrid water rose from the ground, gagging him. He continued to pull until sweat poured down his temples. His neck, chest and arms burned from the effort.
“It’s no use,” a weary voice said.
McCallister squinted into the darkness. Three men were chained to the far wall in similar fashion. One man with golden eyes that burned like candles stared back at him. The room was too dim for any other impression but fear again shuddered through him.
“What happened?” he asked.
“Don’t know.”
A sudden cacophony of  noise, voices and movement assaulted McCallister. He groaned against the painful intensity. Just when he thought he would die from the sheer volume, it disappeared.
He fell back to the wall and sucked down a deep rasp of air, shaking and shivering like a newborn colt.
The creak of wood and rusty iron sounded in the shadows. He managed to turn his head enough to see a door open.
A familiar voluptuous figure was outlined in the doorway.
“Good. You’re finally awake.”

I hope you're looking forward to Bound by His Blood as much as I am!

Happy reading,

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Slight catch up...

And I don't mean the red stuff you dip fries into!
Since I last posted, I've had an avalanche of awesomeness occur. An avalanche? I hear your skepticism. Understandable since I live in Texas and we don't have much experience with avalanches that involve snow, but good news? Heck yeah!

Okay, newsflash one! Two Cowboys in her Crosshairs is now available! This is book one in my Hellfire Ranch series. This series follows a group of ex-marines turned cowboys as they find love while battling a variety of evil-doing bad guys. Cowboys, marines, sex, murder... what more could you ask for? Two Cowboys in her Crosshairs can be bought at the Siren Bookstrand site BUT it can also be sent to your Kindle (sorry Nookies but you're coming soon. Wow, look at the double entendres in that one sentence!). Looking for a BUY link? I have that. Click HERE!.

Newsflash two! I released a new contemporary romance on Tuesday called Affair of Convenience. This book is a small departure for me since it's a traditional romance (no menage and not super erotic). I thoroughly enjoyed writing Taryn and Coop's story. And I didn't even kill anyone (though one of the secondary characters probably deserved it for being such a witch!). Want to know more? Sure! Here's the blurb:

When the subject of Taryn Kirkpatrick's midnight fantasies walks into her life, kisses her breathless and proposes an affair of convenience, what else can she do except say yes?
That yes, however, will lead to more than just hot sex. It will lead her back into the world of the high-and-mighty, the wealthy, the business and societal elite she left behind with her divorce. Because Cooper Malone is a straight-laced businessman intent on landing the right clients.

He’s fascinated by Taryn, a vivacious, bohemian, free-spirit whose joie de vivre leads him to exploring all sorts of new adventures...both in the bedroom and outside it. But what will his clients think of her?

Taryn swore she wouldn’t ever compromise herself again.

Can she—can they—be more than just a midnight fantasy?

Affair of Convenience is available at Amazon, B&N and Smashwords.

Newsflash three. I sold book two of the Hellfire Ranch series! Her Heart Stealing Cowboys will be released in June 2013 from Siren. It picks up where book one left off and there's one hell of a kicker from the get go. It's the story of Sheriff Taggart Cain, his best friend Wade Merritt and the feisty Boston lawyer, Rebecca Lyons, they decide to claim as their own. If they can survive a murder charge, a stalker and a computer code that really needs to be hacked. Really.

Newsflash four (see, AVALANCHE!): June 2013 will also feature the release of Bound By His Blood, an erotic vampire novel. This is the first in a series called Masters of the Night. A little vampire bondage, anyone? Be on the lookout for a cover soon. If you want a teaser, check out the excerpt found in the back of Affair of Convenience!

So, that's a lot of good news, don't you think?!

Are you looking forward to any release in particular? Email me and let me know by clicking on my name below.
Happy reading,

Thursday, March 28, 2013

It's Release Day for the Freedom, TX Cowboys!

I'm so excited! Today is the release of the first book in my new erotic romance series, The Hellfire Ranch. Book one is Two Cowboys in Her Crosshairs. It's full of sexy cowboys, interesting townfolk and a killer bent on keeping his secret at all costs.

I hope you'll stop by Siren and pick up a copy. Did you know you can buy it on the Siren site and have it sent directly to your Kindle? No? Well, yep, you sure can.

Even better, Two Cowboys in Her Crosshairs is also on SALE! 15% off until April 4. Hurry and get a smokin' hot romance for not a lot of money.

Here's a small excerpt: (If you want the adult excerpt, follow the link above and scroll down. It's naughty!)

Jake slowly sank back into the leather chair. Hudson remained standing, and Jake leaned to the left to look around him. “I didn’t do anything to him, Livvie.”

Hudson started and whirled around. “Livvie? You call her Livvie?”

Jake scowled and waved him back to his own seat. “Later,” he muttered. He knew his friend was going to give him a large ration of shit for calling his horse by Olivia’s nickname. He just never figured anyone would have the opportunity to make the connection.

Hud wavered for a long, silent moment. “Damn skippy you’ll tell me later.”

“Tell you what?” Olivia asked.

“Not important. What else aren’t you saying?”

She sucked her bottom lip between her teeth—the same way she always did when her quick brain was madly thinking and sifting through information.

“No bullshit, Olivia. Shag was my friend. Where’s the connection that brought you here?”

“All right, Jake, I’m going to trust you.”

He flinched at the reluctance in her voice. Not that he blamed her. Trusting him had not only gotten her heart broken, but it cost her an eye. “Thanks for the vote of confidence,” he rasped in a weary attempt to joke.

Her responding smile was strained at best. She dug into her purse and pulled out a wrinkled envelope. The outside was black with what he assumed to be fingerprint powder. With a stretch, she tossed it to the table between them. “That’s part of what he sent.”

Jake quickly read through the short missive and immediately understood why she’d come to the ranch. Shag pretty much drew her a map to his ranch.

“What’s he talking about showing me?”

“It’s a statue. About this high.” Her elegant fingers showed a distance of about six inches. “It seems to be the figure of a standing woman. Unfortunately it’s been smashed into bits, and several pieces are obviously missing.”

Sweat broke out on the back of his neck. “Do you have it here?”

“In my SUV.”

“Want to get it?”

She hesitated, and again he saw the contemplation in her eyes. She still wasn’t totally sure of him. Jake was surprised by the amount of pain he felt knowing she didn’t trust him.


She rose and strode from the room. The front door closed behind her seconds later.

“Livvie?” Hudson said immediately.

Jake waved a hand. “It’s nothing. Just a name.”

“Bullshit, Jake. You love that damn horse. Hell, when she caught West Nile and Dr. Marsalis suggested you put her down, you nearly had a conniption fit. I had to hide the guns for a week so you didn’t go after Doc.”

An embarrassed flush crawled over Jake’s cheeks, burning him from the inside out. “She’s a good horse. Why kill her when she’s fixable?”

Hudson’s eyes flickered to the front of the ranch house. “Is Olivia fixable? What’s the story with her?”

The embarrassment faded, and regret slipped in. “There’s no story. She was part of the Hellfire Battalion. She was with us the day of the ambush. Hell, if it hadn’t been for her, we probably all would have died.”

“What do you mean? And why the hell didn’t you tell me about her?” Hurt sounded in his old friend’s voice.

Jake rose and shoved his hands deep in the front pockets of his jeans. He stared down at the dusty and scuffed tips of his brown cowboy boots. They needed a polish. He should really take care of that. Letting equipment go to pot was not the way a marine did things.

It wasn’t the way Jake did things.

Hudson poked him in the back, and Jake spun, dropping into a crouch.

Hud’s palms immediately rose and flattened against the air. “Whoa, whoa. Damn, you haven’t done that in months. She’s got you riled up.”

“It’s not just her,” Jake admitted as he rose. He exhaled sharply and tried to quell the gallop in his chest. “I can’t believe Shag is dead.”

Sorrow shone in Hudson’s face, and he clapped Jake on the shoulder. “Me either. I’m sorry, man. He was a helluva guy.”

“Yeah, he was.” Jake frowned and looked toward the front of the house again. “What’s taking her so long?”

He started to head that way, but Hudson stilled him. “You didn’t tell me how she saved your ass.”

Jake heard the unspoken and in his voice. Hudson wanted to know why Jake never mentioned Olivia—Livvie—in all the times he talked about his tour and the events leading up to the ambush. Jake didn’t really have a good answer himself. He shrugged, and Hud’s hand fell away. “She’s a sniper.” He paused and grimaced. “Was a sniper. She held those insurgent bastards off long enough for us to get to safety.”


Another bout of tearing pain ripped through Jake. “Yeah,” he rasped. “She saved us but lost her left eye. Got hit by a shrapnel grenade.”

“Jesus,” Hudson whispered.

Jake nodded. “She was lying up on that ridge, totally unprotected and bleeding. I couldn’t leave her there, so I headed up to get her. I wasn’t in time. We got shelled by the grenades.” He wiped his forehead, surprised when his palm came away damp. “Boone or Tag took out whoever shot them off, but it was too late. She’d been hit in the face.”

“There’s where those scars came from.”

“Yeah.” He looked to the door then headed for it. Olivia had been gone too long. With the news of Shag’s death, nothing felt safe, not even his own ranch.


Win a free copy of Two Cowboys In Her Crosshairs by answering this question: 
In Empowered, what defense discipline did Madelyn learn? 
Please EMAIL me your response to jenniferaugust (at) jenniferaugust (dot) com. I'll pick on Sunday.

Thanks for reading!
Jennifer August

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cover Reveal!

I'm so excited! I received the cover for my April release Two Cowboys in Her Crosshairs today!
I think it looks pretty awesome. Harris Channing did an amazing job yet again. Thanks Harris!

Two Cowboys In Her Crosshairs is the first book in the Hellfire Ranch series about a group of ex-marines turned cowboys, sheriffs, FBI and  more who find themselves in more danger on home soil than they did while deployed. I hope you'll join me on my journey to Freedom, Texas and the men and women of Hellfire Ranch.

Here's a little about Olivia, Jake and Hudson's story:

Marine sniper Olivia Martinez's injuries from Afghanistan aren't all visible. She's carrying scars on her heart as well, compliments of Jake Logan and their all-too-brief battlefield romance. Damage to her eyesight during an ambush has derailed her field work, but the gutsy Marine is still in the Corps and working for JAG.
Jake Logan retired to the quaint town of Freedom, Texas and the Hellfire Ranch he named after his unit. With his best friend Hudson Walker at his side, he's trying to forget that final mission gone so horribly wrong...and forget Olivia.

A mysterious package, coupled with the recent deaths of other members of the squad, force Olivia to track down Jake as she investigates. Sparks immediately fly, confirming the passion between them didn't die in the desert.

The only problem for Olivia is she's getting sparks from Hudson, too.
When the trio find themselves under siege and taking fire, they know they have to solve the mystery of the package's contents, or wind up dead.

Unraveling the clues lead them to suspect ugly things about someone on their team.

But it's hard to focus. All Jake wants to do is love Olivia again. Hudson, who loves Jake like a brother, likes seeing his buddy vibrant again for the first time since returning from Afghanistan.

Olivia, in bed between them, makes them all feel alive.

Now if only they can stay that way.

In the end, it's going to come down to Olivia's ability to overcome her injuries, both physically and emotionally, to save the three of them.

But once a Marine sniper has you in her crosshairs...say your prayers.

She's way more accurate — and sexy — than Cupid.

The book isn't available for pre-order yet, but you can peruse some of my other books at Siren by clicking here. And of course, they are all available on Amazon and B&N.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Gonna Party! 'Cause It's My Birthday!

Woohoo! Happy Birthday to me!

I hope y'all have as great a day as I'm going to have. Family and friends and presents and cake and Mexican food. Can it get any better?
As the years pass by I think of all the things I've learned, the things I've done, the things I wish I'd done or said and the things I can't wait to do.
I truly believe you wake up each day and choose what kind of mood you're going to be in. Most days I'm a happy girl. I've weathered my share of trials and tribulations but I've always made it through.
Here are a few of my birthday brain ramblings:

Treat everyone with respect unless they do something to make you lose it.

Love yourself. If you have issues and you beat yourself up for whatever it is, think about your sister, best friend, mother, grandmother. Would you ever say anything like what you're telling yourself? If you heard her saying something horrible to herself, wouldn't you stop her and tell her she's crazy? Then do it for yourself.

Take a moment to breathe every single day. Sit, relax, decompress and de-stress. Taking five, ten, thirty minutes or more for yourself is not a crime. You need to re-charge your batteries to be your very best self. Think of all you can do if you have the energy and the mental fortitude.

Don't take a minute for granted. Life is short. Life can be unfair and it's damn sure fragile.

Mend fences when you can. Apologize to those you've hurt. Forgive those who've hurt you.

On the flip side of that -- know when to let go. Of things, of grudges, of people who've moved on from you.

Tell your friends and family how much they mean to you.

Hug a cat or dog or bunny or bird or whatever pet you own. Love them as much as they love you.

Drink water.

What about you? What wisdom do you have that you'd like to pass on? Leave a comment and you'll be entered in a random drawing for the book of your choice in my backlist.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

Whether you're celebrating with someone special or practicing some self-love by taking yourself out to dinner and a movie, I hope you have a wonderful day today!

I often wonder how traditions start and what keeps them going. I'm pretty sure the chocolate and flower industries as well as Hallmark are responsible for the success of Valentine's Day. Consider the facts: over 1 BILLION Valentine's Day cards are sent each year. Lest you think they're all the same boring stuff, there are over 1,300 different Valentine's Day cards of which about a quarter are humorous. I like funny cards but sometimes I want romantic. Romantically funny?

As for the chocolate industry... ah, apparently on V Day (Not to be confused with V-J Day. Not to be confused with BJ...nevermind) anyway, on Valentine's Day, 36 million boxes of chocolate will be given as gifts. Which is good because American women say they'd prefer to receive chocolate over flowers. I am not one of those women. Give me chocolate roses and I'm perfectly content. So, does this mean that chocolate is the new gold?

Cards? CHECK!

Chocolate? CHECK!

That leaves roses. How about 110 million roses (most of them red, of course) will be distributed on this romantic day. How about them apples? Er, flowers? And something I find even cooler is that about 15 percent of those flower orders are sent by women to THEMSELVES. That is some awesome stuff.

I will leave you with two strange Valentine's Day bits of trivia:

1. Valentine's Day was originally associated with the mating of birds.
2. In Victorian times, it was considered bad luck to sign a Valentine's Day card.

These days I think it's bad luck to FORGET to sign a Valentine's Day card.

Have a sweet and wonderful day no matter how you spend it or who you spend it with!

Happy reading,

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Focus On One Step At A Time


I have the worst habit of over-expectation from myself. I think if I can do five things, then really why not ten? And if I make ten, why not fifteen? As you can see, it's a self-perpetuating cycle of potential destruction. When things don't get done, I get grumpy and often feel like I've let myself and others down. However if you ask "the others" they are likely to tell you I'm doing a great job and shouldn't be so hard on myself.

It's actually something I'm aware of and have been trying to break but it's slow going. However, the other day when I was loading the dishwasher, I was hit right in the face with a clear reason why it's important and more effective to slow down and focus on one thing at a time. It really wasn't anything earthshattering -- it was a dirty frying pan of baked-on, caked-on eggs that led to this epiphany.

You see, we have this awesome and great dishwasher with all sorts of features like sanitize, jet clean, power wash and normal. But each time you add something to the cycle, it takes more time for it to run (Ah, a parallel!).With this dishwasher, adding more things could mean it runs for four hours. That's not cool. I didn't want it to run that long and the only item in need of super cleaning was the egg pan.

I grabbed a scouring sponge and started attacking the pan. It's one of those heavy duty, copper bottomed aluminum pans without teflon. That means everything sticks to it (unless you use an entire stick of butter to cook in) and getting it clean takes an act of Congress. So there I am scrubbing all over the bottom furiously. Swipe. Swipe. Swipe. Nothing is really happening. Oh sure, a little bit is coming off here and there but not enough to make a visible difference. I could feel my tension rising and I was getting grumpy. At one point, I threw the sponge down and let fly with a few choice curses. Then I took a deep breath and picked up the sponge again. I looked at the pan and saw a spot on the edge that really wasn't all that bad. While I waited for my calm to return, I scrubbed the spot. A couple of swipes and it was gone. Poof! Just like that. I moved to another small spot and had the same success. Well, it didn't take me long to figure out that if I concentrated all my efforts on one small area I was getting excellent and fast results. I focused on spot to spot to spot and within five minutes the whole bottom of that pan gleamed like it was rolling off the showroom floor.

I was rather astounded especially when I equated the experience of washing that pan with tackling my various projects whether it's writing, cleaning, exercise or planning a wedding. I'm super impatient so I think casting a wide net will get me better results. Less time and energy, right?


This whole week since the "Pan Incident," I have practiced focusing on ONE thing at a time.  To my delight, I found that it works really well in many areas. Laundry doesn't count though. You can't really focus on doing laundry and nothing else until it's finished or you're  going to be staring at the washer then the dryer for a very long time. Which would make me even more tense because I'd be thinking of all the time I'm wasting that I could be using to do something else!

I haven't perfected focusing by any means. I still flit from project to project but at least now I'm becoming more attuned to focusing on the right now project instead of letting my mind wander to what I'll be doing next. This amazing trick really showed itself well last night when I sat down to plot Enticed, book four of the Sexual Magic series. I had a vague idea of what I wanted to happen in the book and who the characters were. When I sat down to put it to paper, I tuned inward and listened to what they had to say and did nothing but that. Within two hours I had the entire book plotted, character sketches drawn and even found a rather awesome bad guy quite unexpectedly. All from focusing on one thing instead of nine.

I think I like this focusing on the small stuff idea.It's working so far!

Happy reading,

Thursday, February 7, 2013

That's a tree name?

(Photo courtesy of Krystle Fleming)
 The other day I was doing some research for my upcoming book series Hellfire Ranch. It's an eight book series set in the Hill country of Texas about a group of ex-marines turned cowboys, sheriffs, FBI agents, etc. The first book is Two Cowboys in her Crosshairs and comes out in April.
I am a Texan and like most other Texans, I love my state with a passion that teeters on banana bat-shit crazy pants (to borrow a phrase from Prof Fish. We won't discuss the fact that he was talking about me when he used it).
I love America.I bleed red, white and blue. I am as patriotic a person as you will meet. But there's just something about being a Texan that is just awesome.
Okay, so, back to the research... This series is set in Texas and my fictional town of Freedom was founded by a disparate group of people seeking acceptance and a bit of anonymity. They came from different walks of life and had their own trials and tribulations. This small group drifted from town to town and never really fit in. Finally they hit upon the idea of creating their own piece of personal heaven. They scoured all of Texas, which at the time was still a Republic, and finally settled upon a little slice of green rolling hills, fertile soil and wide open spaces. They named their newly formed town Freedom and declared that any who should come seeking refuge would be welcome with open arms and closed mouths. No questions, no probing, no judgement.
They didn't realize just how popular this concept would be and soon the town was populated with people from all walks of life looking for a fresh start. The town grew in leaps and bounds. In fact, it grew so fast they  didn't do a whole lot of smart street planning. The center of town where the courthouse used to stand isn't a square as is the normal. Instead, it's called the Hex. It's a six sided monstrosity that is ringed with shops, restaurants and offices. Smack dab in the center is a wonderfully out-of-place giant Neoclassical structure called the Hitching Post. It's become a destination wedding spot for many in Texas. It drives a lot of business to Freedom and its businesses and they play it up for all their worth.
Because there are eight books in the series, I had to create this town from scratch and make it come alive in my mind's eye. I have drawings and floor plans scattered all over the place. But it wasn't until book two was nearly finished that I realized I'd never named the six streets that create The Hex.
I decided I wanted them to be named after trees native to Texas.
Oh, boy. I had no idea what I was getting in to.
I scoured the interwebs and found this incredible site run by Texas A&M University's horticulture agency. It provided me with hours of entertainment. I giggled like a fool because my mind is dirty (a shocker, I know) and I was surprised by some of the names that people came up with for trees. TREES, people. Here is a sampling of some of my favorites:

Beaverwood - Really, any explanation necessary? I also find it giggle worthy that it's known alternately as Sugarberry. As an erotic writer, I've often written that beaver is extremely sweet.

Bullnut - This is a hickory tree that grows large and does well in a dry landscape. TAMU reports the fruit is a small, sweet nut encased in a four valved husk. I think anything named bullnut can't be small.

Cowlicks - Of course this had to come after bullnuts. Cowlicks bullnut, isn't that how they propagate?

Devil's Claw - I get the feeling some of these names are intended to ward off unwanted visitors. This particular tree also goes by the name of Una de Gato which makes me sing In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,. Baby.

Elderberry - come on, say it with me "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!" Thank you, Monty Python for your comic genius. This tree is very rare in Texas which makes it even cooler in my opinion.

Farkleberry - no, it's not a dice game, it's a real tree. A real tree!

Hognut - just to show we're both a cow AND pig equal rights state.

Inkberry - I love this name. Makes me think of all sort of creative ways people of the old days might have used the fruit it bears. Did they squash them up and use them to write papers while trapped in the Alamo? Maybe. You never know.

Lady's Leg - Um, huh? It doesn't look like the leg of any lady I've ever seen. Another name is also Naked Indian. <squints> Nope, still not seeing it.

Manzanillo - Say it loud and echo out that last o like you're the announcer at a wrestling match. Sounds good, doesn't it? But you have to draw out every syllable for maximum effect: Maaan-zaaa-kneeee-ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Fight!

Nutall Oak - Cows, check. Pigs, check. Everything else? Throw 'em in the nutall!

Punk Oak - I can imagine a lynch mob forming around this tree with their victim. "Feelin' lucky, punk?" Except they're talking to the tree, not the criminal they're about to hang. Hey, Texas justice was brutal, remember?

Shittamwood - No, actually, I'm not kidding. Just... wow. Does a bear...? Well, does a bear use this tree if he does?

Sparkleberry - because this tree is Fabulooooooous! And pretty and sparkly and glisteny!

Tickletongue - Alternate names for this tree confuse me: Toothache Tree and Prickly Ash. Neither of those would tickle my tongue.

Wahootree - contrary to popular belief, this tree does NOT have money coming out of its wahoo nor is it a cherry kind of tree.

So, those are some of my favorites. Is it any wonder I love Texas? Our sense of humor rocks.

Do you think I used any of these names for the streets of The Hex in Freedom? You'll have to read the series to find out! Stay tuned!

Happy Reading,

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Dinner & A Movie Feb. 2, 2013

Ghost Rider from Columbia Pictures. Released 2007. 
On tap for movie night is one of my favorite bad movies: Ghost Rider.
Okay, I don't think it's all that bad but others apparently do and give me so much grief for enjoying it. I totally love it, cheesiness and all.
The basic story is Johnny Blaze (yes, really!) sold his soul to the Devil but only to save his father (that's important later). Johnny goes this life as a daredevil stunt guy until the Devil's son comes knocking and demands he do his evil bidding. Cue the awesomeness of Johnny Cash and Ghost Riders in the Sky.
One of my favorite parts of this movie is Sam Elliott. Sam Elliott. 'nuff said.

So what do we eat while enjoying such fine fare? How about tacos?

This is a pretty simple recipe but the bean dip makes all the difference

1 lb lean ground beef
1 packet McCormick Taco Seasoning
1 can Frito Lay Bean Dip
1 package hard taco shells or flour tortillas. Corn also works really well.
Sour Cream

Brown the ground beef according to the directions on the taco seasoning packet. Midway through add the bean dip. Trust me on this one.
Mix thoroughly and heat through. Spoon into shells, top with your favorite garnish and enjoy!

Happy reading,

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Special Guest Author Alicia Dean

Today, The Naughty Ink is excited to have Alicia Dean with us. Thanks for being here, Alicia. Congratulations on your success!

Thank you so much. I’m happy to be here.

Q. Tell us a little about yourself and what got you into writing.

I live in Edmond, Oklahoma. I have been divorced for years and have three grown kids who, fortunately, still like to hang out with me. I have loved to read since I was a small child, and my mind often conjured stories of my own. When I was eleven, I wrote my first romance. I wanted to be an author from that moment on.

Q. Your tag line on your website is "Journey into the hearts of lovers and the minds of killers." What drew you to romance and suspense?

I love the thrill of a good suspense, the tension of danger and not knowing what’s going to happen, how a character will survive a particular situation. And I love the conflict of a good romance when two people who maybe shouldn’t be together are drawn to one another and, against all odds, fall in love. I guess I’m drawn to strife in general. Grin

Q. Do you have a favorite genre that you read that's not romance?

I love suspense/thriller/police procedural type books by authors such as Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Ridley Pearson, etc, I also love horror, the master, Stephen King, being my favorite.

Q. What goes on in a typical writing day for you?

Typically, I like to have Sundays to myself to write. As far as typical, it depends on what stage I’m at in my manuscript. I have four basic draft steps and my approach is a little different for each one.

Q. What is your favorite trope to use in your writing?

I’m not sure if I have a favorite. 
My critique partners might argue with that.
Shocked eyes

Q. If you could give your pre-published self some advice, what would it be?

Stick with it and keep writing. Learn as much as you can. I took years off that I wish I hadn’t.

Q. Have you ever written something that scared you silly?

Unfortunately, no. I would love it if my writing scared me, but I have watched horror movies and read so many good, creepy stories that my own seem a little mild. Even though others tell me I’ve creeped them out.

Q. What one thing can you not write without?


Q. Print, e-book or both?

Definitely both. I’ll never want to give up print, but I love the convenience of e-books.

Q. What's the title and print date of your next release?

My next release is as yet untitled. It will be the sequel to Liberty Awakened. It should be out in late February, early March. It will be Isle of Fangs Book 2.

1. Favorite book – Can’t pick one, but the Harry Bosch series or the Patrick Kenzie series are my favorite series.

2. Favorite movie – Again, can’t pick one, but Gone With The Wind is right up there.

3. Book character you most identify with and why – I’m not sure I identify that closely with any characters in books I’ve read. That’s one thing I love about reading, is the escape, and getting in the skin of people I’d like to be. In that way, I’d have to say Angie Gennaro from Dennis Lehane’s books. She’s smart and funny, although damaged, but she makes admirable decisions that I can’t always completely agree with, but I understand why she makes them.

4. If you could inhabit any fictional world, where would it be? – Probably Derry or Castle Rock, Maine
5. Soda, Tea, Water or Alcohol? Alcohol!!! Drinking Red Wine

My latest release is a YA Vampire Novella, 
Liberty Awakened, Isle of Fangs Book 1:


Evil lurks beneath the surface in the beauty of the tropics…
After graduation from her small, Oklahoma high school, Liberty Delacort is looking forward to a fun-filled summer before college. But when the people she trusts the most betray her, and a letter arrives claiming the father she thought was dead is still alive, she jumps at the chance to travel to an exotic island to meet him.
But her excitement is short-lived. Her father is dying, and he doesn’t want her around. In spite of its outward tranquility, the island is filled with danger and ominous secrets. Before long, the secrets begin to unravel. She learns she is a descendant of Van Helsing, the vampire hunter, and she must fulfill her destiny in order to save humans from a faction of vicious vampires. The only man who can help her learn the skills she needs is a volatile, hostile, vampire who wants her off the island.
Will her inexperience lead to her death—and the death of others—or will she rise to the challenge and realize her full potential as a Hunter?

Spread the word! This Tweet is just the right size. Help an author out by copying and tweeting for Alicia:

On a tropical island, a young woman finds love & discovers her destiny is to hunt vampires. #YA #vampires http://buff.ly/WaEWpg #MYAHA


She braced her hands on the door, intending to step back. Before she could, Eli lifted his head and whipped it toward her. He couldn’t have heard her, could he? She’d barely made a sound. Maybe he just sensed— 

Her thoughts ceased when she took a closer look at Eli’s face. He stood in place, breathing heavily. She narrowed her eyes. God. No.  
His features were somehow distorted, his skin had a gray cast and looked…crumpled. His eyes glowed red. Something dark and liquid—blood?—was smeared around his mouth, dripped off his…fangs?
“No!” She let out the cry before she could stop herself, then clamped a hand over her mouth. Backing from the door, she shook her head violently from side to side. It couldn’t be. No way. She had to have imagined it. 
A sound at the door told her Eli was coming out. She turned and fled. Her tennis shoes slapped the ground, the noise reverberating in her ears along with the word—vampirevampirevampire. Oh my God. Vampire… Bats… Drained

Buy Liberty Awakened at Amazon by clicking HERE!

Buy Liberty Awakened at Barnes & Noble by clicking HERE!

Visit Alicia at her website at www.AliciaDean.com
Connect with her on Twitter: @Alicia_Dean_

Alicia, thank you so much for stopping by the Naughty Ink today. We wish you continued success!!

Happy reading,

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The "I" in Writer? We're Not So Alone, Anymore...

I write, therefore I am
Writing keeps me sane (ish)

I am a writer. It's what I do. I love it. Not to mention, it probably keeps me sane.

I know that overall writing is a solitary endeavor. Who knows your characters, stories and intentions better than you, their creator? No one.

But... these days being a writer isn't all about solitary confinement. There are so many avenues to keep a writer on the road to success that I'm sometimes overwhelmed by the opportunities.

There are professional organizations in most genres that help maintain a sense of community and keep a writer up-to-date on the ever-changing world of publishing and reader preferences. If you haven't found one, do a little research and see if there's a group in your area.

Chances are there is both a national organization and smaller, regional chapters.

Input from my multi-genre group made this book stronger.
There are also writer's groups that form in public arenas such as libraries, coffee houses, book stores, colleges and art houses. A lot of these independent groups are multi-genre. These can be supremely useful when you're looking to ensure you're hitting ALL the readers the right way. The first time I ever shared a romantic portion of my novel Knight of the Mist with my multi-genre group, I was absolutely blown away by the responses and dead-on critiques from the action writers, the poets and the ghostwriter. They didn't write in my genre but they had insight that was invaluable. Different ears hear different things.

Again, check around for these groups. Make friends with your librarians and book store owners/managers because they are often in the know about what groups are around and just waiting for you to join.
More than once I've seen a smaller critique group be born from these larger groups. It's not a bad thing, it's just a smaller and more concentrated setting with like-minded people. I would not abandon the multi-genre group for a smaller group, though. Find a way to work both into your schedule.

A lot of authors work with only one or two critique partners, too. Decreasing the number greatly increases the individual time and attention your work receives from them.The closer the partnership, the more they will know about your stories and characters and the deeper and more intuitive their critique can become.
But it's not all about having a critique group/partner. I know plenty of authors who don't work with one and put out some genius work.

Are they solitary? Nope. They're on the other end of the spectrum - the social aspect. They hang out in writer forums just to talk shop or with readers to talk the fun stuff. We can hook up with the world in ways that make us less isolated and more animated.

I enjoy being on Facebook and chatting with various people in various niche groups. I talk all the time so Twitter is pretty perfect for my random thoughts. I try to attend chats given by authors I enjoy or reader groups with whom I'm involved.

The world is out there and as writers we are no longer relegated to the status of hermit.Bury ourselves and only come out once a quarter.

It feels good.

It feels liberating.

So for me, the I in writer means Invigorated, Informational, Interesting,In-depth, Investigative... It really means I'm not alone and I'm very glad for that.

Happy Reading,

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Dinner & A Movie Jan 26, 2013

It's not what's under a man's kilt that matters, it's what's in his heart!
I'm in a feisty mood today so I'm thinking I'll be watching Braveheart! I love this movie. As in really, really love it. When it came out in 1995, I went to see it 27 times in the theater. I know, I know. That's certifiable, but keep in mind ticket prices back then were actually reasonable and I hit A LOT of matinees. I was drawn by the allure of Scotland, the beauty of Mel Gibson (seriously, it was a thing), the pageantry of the period piece and the haunting soundtrack. It's still one I listen to on a weekly basis. When I'm writing a medieval book such as Knight of the Mist or His Lady Thief, I have it on constant repeat.

Even though it's a movie all about Scotland, I am NOT going to have haggis. Instead, I'll do a tasty shepherd's pie and serve it with a scrumptious endive and bleu cheese salad.

This recipe is from AllRecipes.com, which is one of my absolute favorite cooking sites ever. It's incredibly rich with recipes and tips and very easy to use. Check it out!

Shepherd's Pie
4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
 1 tablespoon butter
 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
 salt and pepper to taste
 5 carrots, chopped
 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
 1 onion, chopped
 1 pound lean ground beef
 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
 1 tablespoon ketchup
 3/4 cup beef broth
 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash. Mix in butter, finely chopped onion and 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add carrots and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, mash and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C.)
Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add onion and cook until clear. Add ground beef and cook until well browned. Pour off excess fat, then stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add ketchup and beef broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Spread the ground beef in an even layer on the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish. Next, spread a layer of mashed carrots. Top with the mashed potato mixture and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Endive & Bleu Cheese Salad

2 fresh endives, leaves peeled
2 tbs crumbled bleu cheese
3 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs shallot, minced
Salt & Pepper to taste

Mix red wine vinegar with olive oil, shallots and salt and pepper until well blended. Toss bleu cheese and endive then cover with vinaigrette.

Happy reading,

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dinner & A Movie Jan. 19, 2013

The delightful Mamma Mia! from Universal Pictures.
Tonight's movie fare is the film adaptation of Mamma Mia! Unlike her turn as Cosette in Les Miserables, I think Amanda Seyfried was the perfect choice to play Sophie. She's young and fresh and exuberant and gave a wonderful performance. A bit of slapstick, some surprising vocals (Meryl Streep and Christine Baranski) and some winceable ones (Pierce Brosnan) and a clever plot make this one of my favorite movies. I love to listen to the soundtrack while I'm doing chores around the house. Sometimes I go crazy and dance like a wild woman.

To go along with Mamma Mia, I am making my dad's special spaghetti sauce. This recipe is absolutely yummy and tastes better if it simmers on the stove for a few hours. Three or four at the least.

Dad's Spaghetti Sauce

1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound sweet Italian sausage (Hot can be used but it changes the entire taste of the dish)
1 bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 15-ounce cans of Hunts Tomato Sauce + 1 28-ounce can of Hunts Tomato Sauce ( I don't know why it's broken out like this but it is and we never vary)
Ground Oregano to taste - I add 1 TBS when the meat is browing, then 1-2 TBS during the cooking
Italian Herbs to taste - same as above
Button Mushrooms (optional)
Black olives (optional)

Brown meat and sausage in pan, drain off fat. Return to pan and add onions, bell pepper, garlic, tomato sauce and seasonings. Simmer for three to four hours, adding more seasoning as needed. About 30 before you intend to serve it, add mushrooms and olives.

Serve over pasta and with warm garlic bread.

Happy reading,

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Allure of Corsets

Let's talk corsets. These dandy boob lifter/tummy suckers have been around for centuries. Around the sixteenth century, French women donned corsets made of iron and velvet. Ouch. Talk about a heavy burden. The idea less about creating a tiny waist as it was about highlighting the breasts. The earlier versions flattened the breasts but pushed them up so the wearer had a "shelf" of round, perfection regardless of the true state of her girls. The trend took off and when it got to England, those smart cookies switched the iron for whalebone and a whole new generation of boobs were uplifted much more comfortably.
The Elizabethans got creative and added a light, carved wooden piece to the front of the bodice. This busk was generally used for special occasions and sometimes was given to a would-be romantic interest. I guess back then they passed the bra instead of burning it. I personally can't see handing over my bra as a token of my affection. I'd rather take it off and leave it on the floor, but I digress.
Never trust a big butt and a smile.
The 1700 and 1800's brought a new appreciation and duty for the corset. Now women wanted that tiny waist, the steel straight spine AND the jiggly boob top. The corsets of those days did all that and more. Judging by this picture, I'd say the more included a Brazilian butt lift at the least.
The Regency era saw some modifications. Women strayed from the full torso corset to the pre-cursor of the bra. A smaller but still uplifting material that wrapped around the upper back and stayed in place with more traditional bra straps we're accustomed to.
Show me the bling!
These days, corsets are thought of as sexy, flirty and accessories. Unlike their staid sisters of old, today's corsets come in a variety of colors, fabrics, feathers and blingatry.
I, personally, love wearing them. There doesn't even have to be a special occasion. I  just light being all tucked and sucked and not have to worry about a roll popping out at an inopportune moment. Come on, you know you've had that happen. Your pull up or pull down body sleeker has done the waistband roll and instead of a sexy silhouette you look like the Michelin tire man. Yep. Been there, done that.
Can you just image the fun she had getting
helped into this corset?
Image courtesy of AmbeRed Photo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
But corsets are a different breed. They're more fun when you're helped into AND out of one. The tugging of the laces to get the fit absolutely perfect is way more fun than Scarlett complained about in Gone with the Wind.
There also happens to be a ton of really great places online to buy them, regardless of your color preference, size and budget. I heartily recommend Glamorose. Those ladies have it going on.Another excellent site is Hourglass Angel. Seriously, Google corset shopping and you'll be sucked in. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Happy reading,