Saturday, December 31, 2011

Holiday Giveaway #5


It's me again... Kris, Queen of the Fucking Universe, although you should all know that by now... you grasping heathens. (Tracy: They're supposed to be grasping heathens, Kris - it's a fucking giveaway!)

Oh, yeah.  You read that right.

Don't think someone hadn't noticed your grabby hands all over the giveaways.

Anyone would think that none of you had ever read a book before, let alone bought one.

And you call yourselves book sluts.

Fucking amateurs.

Despite my protests about the undeserving, Tracy, the Head of DIK, has decided to offer you all a final chance at getting a hold of The Big Package, blah, blah. (Tracy: I just wanted to give you another chance to say "The Big Package" because you like it so much.)


Drawing on the final dregs of my 2011 niceness, I, out of the goodness of my black heart, therefore reluctantly agreed to help Tracy out by preparing this post. (Tracy: Honestly.  I begged her and she agreed.  She is a saint, despite what you've heard.)

See.  I can resist the urge to hold a grudge.

Occasionally.

Tracy staring at nekkid boy butt.

*cough* (Tracy: Dude!  When you say, "hey look at that ass" how could I not turn around and look?)

But let's move on, shall we.  I bet you all are just dying to get your grubby little mitts on the last of the giveaways.

*hmpf*

So, without further ado, I am not-so-pleased to announce that the final Big DIK giveaway is a $100 gift certificate to the bookstore of your choice!

Yeah, that's correct.

100 bucks to one lucky winner!

I told you that you weren't worthy.

*sniff*

To win this GC the same deal applies...

You need to leave a comment with your email addy - or else you'll be getting sweet fuck all - no later then 1am in the early morning of 1 January 2012 (US Pacific Time).

Do yourself a favour and try not to leave it until you are too drunk to enter.

You don't want to end up like Tracy, who flashed her tits to the whole bar when we were in New Orleans earlier in the year.


It was a gay bar too.

Some people try so hard.  *shakes head sadly* (Tracy: And whose hands are those in the background encouraging me in my drunken state?  Oh yeah, that's right, YOU!  I take back what I said about you being a saint, woman!)

*smooches*

Me xxx (And Me!)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Holiday Giveaway #4


Kris (aka the best con-outerer of ebooks in the entire universe) here to announce the most important of the giveaways for the Big DIK Blast-off...

*heh*

A huge package...

*heh*

Of M/M romance books!

*ponders*

Maybe we should make that two packages.  

*waggles eyebrows*

Butt enough of my awesome humour.  Check out this loot!

2 ebooks from Tam Ames
2 ebooks from K C Burn's backlist
3 ebooks from Sean Kennedy's backlist
5 ebooks from Stephani Hecht's backlist
4 ebooks from Clare London's back list
2 ebooks from K Z Snow's backlist
3 ebooks (minus Counterpunch and the Dark Soul series) from Aleksandr Voinov's backlist

AND...  

thanks to Blind Eye Books... one subscription to Ginn Hale's serialised novel The Rifter! (This was reviewed here at DIK by Her Reviewy Fabulousness Jenre.)

Woohoody!

To win this grabbag leave a comment with your email addy no later then midnight NYE (apparently that's US Pacific Time).

Oh, and no email, no ebooks.  No response to the 'yay, you win' email within 24 hours and you're also screwed.

Some incentive to encourage you not to fuck this up:


You're welcome!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Holiday Giveaway #3


Did I tell you that we have a plethora of m/f books to giveaway?  No? Well, we do!  That means that today's giveaway is another grab bag of books.  Do you know what will be in there until you get it - hell no!  But you'll love it just the same won't you...because it's BOOKS!

Leave a comment on this post no later than midnight 12/31/11 (all contests are pacific) and your email address to enter.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holiday Giveaway #2


A $25.00 gift card to All Romance eBooks
is up for grabs

Leave a comment on this post no later than 7:00pm on 12/31/11 with your email address to enter to win.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holiday Giveaway #1


Today's Holiday Giveaway is a grab bag box of books.

Merriam-Webster defines Grab Bag as: A miscellaneous collection.

So what does this mean for you?  

It means that the winner of the giveaway will win a box of m/f books....and they'll have no idea what they're getting until they open the box!  Sounds fun and exciting doesn't it?

Just leave a comment on this post no later than 12/31/11 at 7:00pm with your email address to enter.  

Good luck!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Everyone here at DIK wishes all of you a very



Have a wonderful holiday!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Some of the Best of DIK from 2010 - Exclusive! The Eric Northman - Little CJ Interview

How could we have a "Best Of"  without having one of Carolyn Jean's (aka Carolyn Crane) famous interviews?  This one had me holding my sides I was laughing so hard.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


Island exclusive! Eric Northman interviews Crazy Little CJ to learn all about Carolyn Crane and her upcoming novel, MIND GAMES!

Eric: Welcome, Crazy Little CJ. I'm so glad you made the time to be here today. For our guests who don't know, Crazy Little CJ is Carolyn Crane's childhood portrait, painted by an elderly aunt. Crazy Little CJ, I understand you have hung on Carolyn Crane's office wall for years, because her husband won't let you be in the living room because he thinks your eyes follow him everywhere. I think that is terrible.

Little CJ: Yeah. It is. And it's just Little CJ. You can drop the crazy.


Eric: Okay, let's get right to it. Little CJ, I am so in love with Carolyn Crane. You have to help me get inside her head. How can I make her love me? I had hoped that now that I am a TV star, she would think I’m special, but frankly, I feel neglected.

Little CJ : Join the club, dude.

Eric: But you know her better than anybody else. Please, Little CJ—

Little CJ: [interrupting] - Excuse me, sorry, this isn’t what I want to talk about. I’m sorry for your problems and all, but I’m here to unveil something.

Eric: Is it Carolyn Crane? Is she here? How does my hair look? Is—

Little CJ: [interrupting] - you wanna shut your fang box for a sec?

Little CJ: That’s better, TV stud. Okay, I wanted to unveil the cover of the sequel to MIND GAMES! The title is DOUBLE CROSS. It was DOUBLE TAKE but it got changed.

Eric: But MIND GAMES isn’t even out yet. Shouldn’t we be discussing MIND GAMES? I understand it’s fantastic.

Little CJ: Whatever on MIND GAMES. The book you really want to pay attention to is DOUBLE CROSS, the second in the Justine Jones: disillusionist trilogy. And I happen to have a sneak peek of the cover to show our readers today!

~ stony silence ~

Little CJ: You like?

Eric: Not really. I don’t get it. Why are you on the cover.

Little CJ: What’s wrong? I don’t look kick ass enough? Don’t you see my knife?

Eric: Yeah, I see it.

Little CJ: And? And what do you think of my sidekick?

Eric: It doesn’t make sense that Spectra would have a book with this sort of cover, especially as a followup to MIND GAMES, which is a fun, psychologically plotty, sort of sexy urban fantasy. This new cover feels more YA.

Little CJ: What are you? A publishing industry expert now? My sidekick and I fight crime through paranormal cuteness. When people see how cute we are, they think of all the children and baby animals in the world and decide not to be evil anymore.

Eric: What happened to the psychological hit squad? The neurotic vigilantes? The tortured mastermind hero? All the plot elements of MIND GAMES.


Little CJ: That's all history in the second book of the trilogy. Because, let’s be honest, after that hot tub scene in MIND GAMES, I felt like Carolyn needed to clean up her act. Or that psycho hunting cabin scene? Please. I’m trying to rehabilitate her image here.

Eric: Carolyn Crane’s image seems fine to me.

Little CJ: Yeah - to you maybe. Can you guess what my sidekick is named?

Eric: *sullenly* Vampire snack?

Little CJ: *kicks Eric in the shin* No, his name is Buttons.

Tomorrow: Eric Interviews Miss Doreen about the secrets of getting to Carolyn Crane’s heart. The Miss Doreen Interview here. More about MIND GAMES here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Some Of The Best of DIK From 2008

If you weren't yet familiar with DIK in 2008 you might have missed quite a few hilarious posts. This one told us a few reasons that Lisabea loved about the island (and I have to agree with her entirely) and even links to a couple other very funny post.  Enjoy!




Ten Things I Love
About DiK






10. On Line Community of Chicks Who Loves to Read
and We Don't Get Up in Everyone's Grill
About Asshat Stuff


(Although we have been controversial... by accident!)

You chicks rock cuz you're all about the joy of reading and the celebration of the craft(iness of writ-ors).


9. Unapologetic Ojectification of Smexy Menz


Works for me!

8. Great Times Squabbling Over Heroes


I heart you guys. But will still steal your liquor.
And your men.


7. Diversity and Open Mindedness.

So cute.


6. New Friends and Old Friends


Nothing to do with New or Old Friends but DAMN I love me some RC!


5. M/M Week

Ok maybe not THIS one exactly...but still
...I had to post it again.



4. That fucking hilarious post TPig and I did
with Josh Lanyon
(aka Good Sport)

Yes. I have no shame.

3. That fucking hilarious post CJ did.

Neither does she.



2. Author Interviews

Cute Red Head. Funny. Intelligent.
Likes long walks on the beach and men with wings.


1. You Guys. You rock.
And I appreciate the support and friendship.


Look at those drummies!!


Thanks and Have a Happy
Healthy, Stretch Pants wearing
Pig Out on Thursday (if you're in the States)
Otherwise..er.. have a great weekend!!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Desert Island Keepers Will Be Closing at the End of 2011

I know, I know, it’s sad for all of us here at DIK as well, but it’s time to say goodbye. We have appreciated all of the support that we’ve gotten over the past 4 years and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being a part of it all. We couldn’t have done it without the followers, commenters, guest posters, authors and of course the many DIK ladies that have posted during that time. We’ve loved meeting every one of you and will miss you all.

I personally want to thank the current DIK ladies for their hard work and dedication to keeping things going. You all are wonderful and I give you all a great big {{cyber hug}}.

Amanda
Bridget Locke
Ciara
D.L.
Dr. J.
Jenre
Kati
KB/KT Grant
Kim
Kris
Kristie J
Lea
LesleyW
Lisabea aka LB Gregg
Mandi
Ms. Moonlight
Renee
Sarah
SidneyKay
Stephanie
Sweet Vernal Zephyr


We’re not gone yet! In the next couple of weeks we’ll doing some “best of” re-posting and some giveaways so be sure to check back!

Tracy

Friday, December 16, 2011

Love Your Books....Just Don't LOOOOVE Your Books

*I originally posted this at Katidom about three years ago, but it's such a fun topic, I figured why not do a re-post?*


When you're reading, are you a delicate reader? Or do you beat the crap out of your books?

I can honestly say, that each and every one of my books is well loved by the time I'm done with it. I'm one of those readers who immediately cracks the spine of my book. If I'm interrupted while reading (usually to let the dog in or out of the house), the book goes open faced down on the coffee table. If I'm reading and I can't find a book mark, the page gets folded down. And yes, I've been known to hop, paperback in hand, into the swimming pool on a raft.

Sacrilege, I know.

Now, there are certain books of mine that I cherish and treat much better than others. I own a couple of copies of different books so that I always have one that is in good condition.

But yes, my name is Kati, and I beat the crap out of my poor defenseless books. I will say though, that I am VERY careful with loaned books. If the book belongs to someone else, I treat it very, very carefully. But my own books I beat the crap out of.

Now it's your turn. Are you hard on your books? Or do you carefully read them so that the spine never cracks, a page is never turned down and they go back on the shelves looking as pristine as ever?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wedding Bells

I'm getting married a little over 10 days from when this posts. Scott proposed this past January, and we immediately made plans for a BIG wedding to celebrate with every person that we love. We set the date: March 17th (which is also my birthday), and we booked the venue. And we talked and talked and talked about guest lists, food, plans, etc. But as the date got closer, we began to realize that really, we just wanted to be married. And the prospect of taking on tons of debt to have that BIG wedding was both daunting and frankly, stupid. We both had big weddings the first time around. So we talked about it, and decided that we didn't want the big wedding, we just wanted to get married - as soon as possible, which translated to December 27th.

So,we decided instead to have a small family wedding at our house with only our direct family and our very best friends in attendance. We decided to have dinner after the wedding at our favorite little Italian restaurant. We also decided to have a BIG party this summer at our house so that we could still see all those people who we love and want to celebrate with.


As a bride to be, I love all the wedding shows. I love seeing the pomp and circumstance associated with weddings. Hell, I'll freely admit to watching the Kardashian extravaganza (I know, I know...). I watched every moment of the Royal Wedding coverage. I love the spectacle. But for Scott and I, small and intimate is what we wanted.


What about you? If you're married - did you go BIG? Or small? If you're not married, what does your dream wedding look like?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Can't Fake This

Please welcome author Casey Crow to the Island!

Thank you so much for having me today and featuring CAN’T FAKE THIS. I'm so excited to announce my debut has been out since Dec. 6 with Loose Id. It's funny how things work out. CAN'T FAKE THIS started out on a whim. At the last minute, I decided to enter this 10,000 word contest. I’d written spicy mainstream, but this was my first dive into erotic waters. I didn’t win the contest, but after having what I thought was a good start, I added some more words and low and behold, this erotic became the first manuscript I sold.

CAN’T FAKE THIS is about a divorcee ready to reenter the dating world. Anna Ryan is determined to be the best “product on the market,” which requires a lot more experience so she propositions sexy police officer Chase Harris to teach her how to make hot, passionate love as opposed to just having sex. He takes it a step further, instructing each lesson based on The Twelve Days of Christmas.

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…temptation in a hot package. For more, check out the book trailer! The story definitely has my “Sexy, Sassy & Southern” trademark. Here’s a sneak peek.



My zipper slid down with a hiss, exposing my bare flesh to the cool air of the room. “Do you know what today is?” I was breathless as the material spilled below my hips.

Chase pushed my hair aside, his tongue sweeping every vertebra until he knelt on his knees kissing the small indention of my lower back. “Sunday.”

“December fourteenth.” I needed to be the one on my knees. My legs had turned all Jell-Oy. Yeah, I wasn’t an expert in the chemistry department, but even I could sense the spark between us, the hot, electric pull. As his teeth pulled at the peach bow of my G-string, I could already imagine his cock sliding into me. He yanked the dress down and turned me around. My crotch was now at his eye level. I rubbed his shaved head, debating whether I should pull his face to my panties or hike a leg over his shoulder. Or both. I settled for the latter before my weak knees collapsed.

“It’s twelve days till Christmas,” I said. The figure eights he licked along my inner thigh made it rather difficult to carry on a coherent conversation.

“Consider tonight an early present.” He swooped in for a taste, or so I thought, as hot air breezed my pussy. Before I knew it, Chase slipped my leg off his shoulder and stood to scoop me into his arms. He lowered me onto the cold leather of the sofa, but the chill disintegrated the moment his warm body stretched over me. His large, dark pupils filled with lust — and dare I say, need? — as his dick throbbed between my legs. I squeezed my thighs, putting pressure on his cock. He let out a low groan while my body strained for more than a tease. I lifted my hips to rub up and down on his shaft.

We ground our bodies together, my gaze trapped by his own for a deliciously suspended moment. It never occurred to me this kind of intimacy was odd. I mean, most folks would be kissing and getting it on by now, but after all the exciting tension that had built all night, we suddenly slowed down…to savor. Damn, it was sexy.

Zero doubt played in my mind. I wanted this guy to help execute my plan. “I’m thinking I deserve one every day for the next twelve days,” I said as he moved in for a kiss.

The grinding of his hips against mine stopped. Chase pushed up on his elbows and stared at me, lifting a curious brow.

“Hear me out.” My fingers examined his rib cage, stopping to pay homage to his thick, oblique muscles. “I need someone like you to…” My throat closed. When had my palms become this sweaty? I took my hands off his body so he wouldn’t notice, and prayed the cool air would dry them.

“Like me?”

“Experienced…not looking for attachments.” I threw in the last bit to remind us both Chase fulfilled the role of Frog number one.

He grinned. “What do you need?”

“I want you to spend the next twelve days teaching…showing me how to make love.”

He winced, and sucked a hiss through his teeth. “You write sex for a living.”

“Writing about it and really living it are two different things.” I squirmed out of his hold. He pulled away as I sat Indian style across from him. “Look, here’s the deal. It’s been eight long years since I’ve been single, and now that I’m back on the market, I intend to be the best product out there.”

His lips twitched as his gaze roamed my body. “You’re pretty damn good as you are.”

I blushed and grabbed a red throw pillow to cover my nakedness. “Thanks, but I need, shall we say, tutoring in the fine art of love making.”

“Let me get this straight.” He barely contained the laughter in his voice. “You’re asking me to instruct you on how to have sex?”

“No dummy. I know how to have sex. Anybody can pump and hump.” The image of my ex flashed in my mind. “I want passion, chemistry and hot, sweaty multiple orgasms.” I tossed the pillow on the floor and rose, knee walking across the sofa toward him. My fingers teased the hem of his T-shirt. They finagled their way underneath the soft material and behind the waistband of his jeans. I pulled him close. “I want to make love.”

“For twelve days? Then I’m off the hook?” He looked so relieved I almost giggled.

I pushed my pelvis against his cock and smiled when it twitched back to life. “Yes.” I grabbed his ass and gave it a tight squeeze. Then, I ran my mouth up the side of his neck to his ear, nibbling the lobe. “You interested?”

Casey Crow is a Summa Cum Laude graduate from the University of Alabama with degrees in Business Management and Dance.  She received her Master of Business Administration from the University of Mobile.  Casey resides in Mobile where she stays busy with her two young children.  She also works as a dance choreographer, pageant coach, professional emcee and model, and certified Miss America preliminary judge.  In fact, she is a former Miss University of Alabama.  Casey writes erotic and spicy contemporary romances with the tagline “Sexy, Southern & Sassy.”

Visit Casey at http://www.caseycrow.com. On Facebook at Casey Crow and Twitter at caseyecrow.
CAN’T FAKE THIS book trailer.
Buy now from Loose Id., or Amazon.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Review: The Rifter Part 10: His Holy Bones

Well here it is, finally, the last part of this tremendous serialised novel, The Rifter.  Part ten, as you may imagine, is packed through with action, adventure, love, tragedy, betrayal, ruined hope and ultimately an ending which, although is classed as 'happy' still leaves you with a lot to think about.  All whilst drawing together the strands of the story to a cohesive and satisfying conclusion.

Part ten begins where part nine left off.  Ravishan is injured, possibly fatally, and John divides his time between wanting to be close to Ravishan, and his duties as the newly revealed Rifter.  Some of those duties lie in managing to convince the kahlirash’im, that he is just as much human as he is god whilst also coming to terms with his god-like abilities. Other duties involve repairing the damage that he inflicted on Vundomu as well as dealing practically and emotionally with the knowledge of how many people died when he stormed the tower in order to save Ravishan.  This meant that much of the first part of the book is relatively quiet, showing us the healer and nurturer that John will become as he gets older, and how he can use his abilities for good.  That doesn't mean there isn't action too, as we find out the circumstances which surround Ravishan's death in a scene I found immensely shocking, and which suddenly made John's initial reaction to the appearance of Kahlil in the future make a lot more sense. We also find out what happened to Laurie in Umbhra’ibaye. One thing I've loved about reading this book as a serial is the way that I suddenly get these 'lightbulb' moments about things that I've puzzled over a bit in previous parts of the book.

The second half of this part then moves forward into the future and picks up where we left Kahlil in part seven.  He's been captured by Laurie and is now being held as bait. Kahlil knows that John will come for him and that when John does, Laurie will kill him. Yet he's trapped, unable to move, terribly injured and guarded by Laurie's hungry bones. Rescue is in the form of a complete surprise and I found the remainder of the book a strange mix of heartwarming and heartbreaking. This was especially true for the character of Laurie who I found difficult to figure out in book seven. I couldn't see why she hated John so much, but things become so much clearer here.

Like much of the entire novel, this part focuses on the choices that John makes and the consequences of his actions. John has some difficult choices to make here and has to face the consequences of his past actions. He has strong emotional ties to Laurie, and knows that he has somehow failed her, but he also realises that his reluctance to 'deal' with her in the past has caused the loss of many lives. Even right at the end, when John knows what must be done, he wavers between giving Laurie what she wants and doing what he knows is right. Even I felt some compassion for Laurie at the end, knowing how much she had lost and that it had driven her quite mad. The confrontation between John and Laurie towards the end of this part was filled with much sorrow and recrimination but was also a fitting conclusion to their troubled relationship. It made me quite sad to remember the happy, dippy Laurie from part one and compare her to what she is at the end. Very sad, actually.

John too has come a long way from the College student he was in part one, and even in this last section we are shown how much he has grown, matured and changed in his time in Basawar.  I liked that John has learned strict self control, that his impetuous actions in the past have made him more careful and less likely to fly into a destructive temper. The John we see at the end of the book is a true leader, one who looks to others first before his own needs. I liked him a great deal.

Another thing I really liked about this final part was the way that the present and past were resolved. I'm not going to go too much into specifics because that would spoil things, but the loose thread involving Ravishan in the past and Khalil in the future is brought together in a most pleasing way.

I finished this final part feeling a little bereft that it was all over. The book has brought me so much pleasure over the last 10 months that I'm sorry that it couldn't continue on for a few more months more at least! However, all good things come to an end, and this was a marvellous conclusion to what has been a simply stunning piece of fantasy writing. If you haven't started reading this book yet then I urge you to begin now. It's a long book, yes, but it's a wholly rewarding read.  It's also not an easy read, and definitely not for those of you who are squeamish because some of the violence in the book is quite graphic.  It is a book for those who love dark fantasy and want to read a complex, intricate novel with a huge cast of characters, but which retains at its core a heartfelt romance.

I said in my review of part 1 that I would wait until this last review before I grade the whole book.  Really, though, there is no grade that I can put on this because 5 stars seems so inadequate.  It's definitely worthy of the grade DIK because I shall be re-reading this many times in the future.

Buy this book HERE.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

So You Wanna Be An Irregular?

And for Blind Eye Books’ third and final day here on the island, I’m giving the reins over to Astrid Amara. Hell Cop fans may remember her previous invention, Romancebot 2000. This time she’s conducting a Q & A session for aspiring Irregular agents. Let’s just listen in…

NATO IRREGULAR AFFAIRS DIVISION – RECRUIT TRAINING SESSION 101

Training Instructor: Welcome, recruits! Thank you for attending this morning’s training here on NIAD’s secluded instruction island. Well, it’s not our island. Due to budget cutbacks we were forced to sell our island. This one is rented from our gorgeous hostesses at DIK, which is fine by me. It has a better bar than the last one.

But to get back on task, hello! We’re excited to have such a talented group of individuals to help push the objectives of our agency forward into the 21st century.

By now you’ve probably caught on that NIAD agents are often referred to as “Irregulars” but that doesn’t mean all of us are odd. Some…a few are normal citizens. What makes an Irregular different from the rest is he or she knows about the multiple, other-worldly individuals and interactions that happen on this planet every single day, and work to enforce the laws that keep humans and other-worldly citizens safe.

But enough from me! I thought we should start the training session by talking with a few of our established agents who are recently in from field operations, so you recruits can get a feel for the kind of work your training will prepare you for. First, let me introduce you to Agent Keith Curry, based out of our Headquarters branch in Washington D.C.

Thanks for making it out to the training base, Agent Curry.

Agent Curry: Thanks, bro.

Training Instructor: You have specialized in culinary investigations since joining the agency. Can you tell us about what sort of situations you investigate?

Agent Curry: Gristly, bloody, and hugely unsanitary. But sometimes, also delicious.

Training Instructor: What do you enjoy most about being an Irregular?

Agent Curry: Having access to the amazing range of foods found in the different realms. Not that I eat them—that would be nuts. I just like having access. It’s a chef thing.

Training Instructor: I also see you have brought Agent Gunther Heartman with you. Agent Heartman, do you also work in culinary crimes?

Agent Heartman: No. I just came along for the 3:45pm sugar break.

Training Instructor: Any words of wisdom either of you would like to pass on to the new recruits?

Agent Curry: Take a good, hard look at everything you put in your mouth…. And by the way, can that bartender make me a sidecar the RIGHT way?

Training Instructor: [frowns] …not sure. Agent Heartman? Any words?

Agent Heartman: Try not to be judgmental. Sometimes it's hard to tell the bad guys from the good guys at first glance.A

Training Instructor: Thank you very much, Agents Curry And Heartman! Now I’d like to introduce my old friend, Agent Rake.

Agent Rake: Hmm. Actually, if we’re going to be strictly honest, I think we are all a little odd. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Did anyone catch when we’re breaking for lunch?

Training Instructor: You recently transferred to the Vancouver B.C. branch office. Tell me what kind of work you’ve been involved with there.

Agent Rake: That’s highly classified information.

Agent Heartman: Lighten up, Rake.

Agent Rake: Hey, if I was any lighter I’d have wings. Okay, okay. We had a little bit of a situation with a group of radicals. Nothing we couldn’t handle. Our job would be easy if the people trafficking in stolen magical artifacts were just in it for the money, but some people it’s a political cause. Those are the ones we have to watch out for.

Training Instructor: You’ve had so many transfers over the years. Where are you originally from?

Agent Rake: Kansas.

Agent Curry: I got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore…

Agent Rake: We’re not in Kansas. We don’t have a field office in Kansas. Come to think of it, we don’t have a field office here either.

Agent Heartman: It’s a joke, Rake. You know--like you saying you’re from Kansas.

Training Instructor: What’s your favorite thing about being an Irregular?

Agent Rake: Getting to hang out with a bunch of comedians.

Training Instructor: And last, do you have any advice for the recruits?

Agent Rake: The pay is lousy, the hours are lousy, the company is lousy. It’s you’re basic law enforcement entry position -- with a high risk of being eaten before your third year anniversary.

Training Instructor: Thank you Agent Rake! And now, recruits, I’d like to introduce Agent Silas August, who comes to us from the San Francisco branch office, recently returned from an internal investigation in Mexico City. How are you, Agent August?

Agent August: Fuck you. Where’s the bar?

Training Instructor: [nervous laughter] …heh heh. So what’s your favorite part of working for the Irregular Division?

Agent August: There is no favorite part. It’s a terrible job and hell on the social life. I haven’t been laid in seven years. I just had someone put their fist through my torso. They won’t let me use my shard pistol in California. A taco gave me the shits and I –

Training Instructor: OKAY, thank you very much. Is the gentleman beside you an agent?

Agent August: No, Deven’s a consultant for the agency. Deven? You want to say something?

Deven: …do I have to?

Agent August: Deven is shy. He’s also socially inept. But he can kill three demons with his bare hands in under a minute, and can work some freaky ass magic. And he’s mine, so don’t get any ideas you perverts.

Deven: [rolls eyes] What am I doing on this island?

Training Instructor: How did you get that scar across your throat, Deven?

Deven: Lord Knife slit my throat when I was a hostage in the Aztaw underworld. Can I go now?

Agent August: Yeah, I’ll meet you back in the cabana, baby, soon as I’m done with this bullshit. Am I done with this bullshit?

Training Instructor: …uh, sure. Thank you Agent August.

Agent August: Whatever.

Training Instructor: Oh! I can’t believe Agent Henry Falk is here! Recruits, Agent Falk has been with the division since the very beginning. Agent Falk, do you mind if I have a word with you?

Agent Falk: [takes a swing from his flask, stares blankly]

Training Instructor: How has the agency changed over the years since you first started?

Agent Falk: People seem more grossed out by using spit and urine in spells nowadays.

Training Instructor: Ew.

Agent Falk: See what I mean? No one will even touch Brownie shit anymore.

Training Instructor: Is it true you recently visited the Sidhe realm?

Agent Falk: How would you define recently? I was there when I bought my last pair of socks. That was in ’68. Is that recent?

Training Instructor: [frowning] uh… no. Its 2011 now.

Agent Falk: Woah! [takes another swig from his bottle]

Training Instructor: Well, what would you say to the recruits about… oh my god, is that blood soaking through your trenchcoat?

Agent Falk: Yeah. Woops. My bad. Sorry about the floor. Will you excuse me now? [goes to bar, orders more whiskey]

Training Instructor: [shouts after him] I think you should go to the medical ward!...well, I don’t know about you guys, but the bar by the pool is getting kind of crowded, and I’m thirsty. Let’s take a fifteen minute break and reconvene here for our next session, “Oral Suction Techniques For Removing Hydra Venom From Wounds!”

**
Got any questions for the our training instructor? No need to raise your hand. Just go ahead and ask!

(And we're giving away another Irregulars preorder today too, so that’s just one more reason to comment!)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Irregular Chat with Irregular Authors

Hi there, Nicole Kimberling here with day two of the Blind Eye Books 2011 Round Up and Jamboree.

Today Astrid Amara and Josh Lanyon join Ginn and I to talk about writing our shared world anthology, Irregulars.

Nicole: For those of you unfamiliar with shared worlds, basically all the authors write their own stories but in the same setting, and allowing their characters to cross over. So all the authors have separate novellas – and obviously each of us bring a different tone and point of view – but the agency for which the characters work remains the same.

My story, Cherries Worth Getting, follows Agent Keith Curry, a former chef assigned to investigate cases of questionable culinary practices of extra-humans, who all-too-often put people on the menu. It also stars Gunther Heartman, another Irregular agent who I straight-up stole from Ginn Hale. And that’s the beauty of shared worlds. You read a side character in another author’s story and say, “I love that guy. I think I’m going to swipe him.”

Josh: My story is called Green Glass Beads. I got the idea from a poem called “Overheard on a Salmarsh” by Harold Monro, which I first read as a little kid. It’s a dialog between a nymph (which is a kind of fairy) and a goblin. They’re debating about these “green glass beads on a silver ring” the nymph has stolen out of the moon. It’s a poem about obsession -- well, as much as it’s about anything -- and that’s pretty much the theme of my story.

Astrid: My novella No Life But This is set in Mexico City and follows Deven Shaw, a consultant for the Irregulars who is being paid to assist Agent Silas August in his investigation into the murder of his partner. Deven spent most of his life as a hostage in a hellish demon world, living as an assassin, and has to re-learn what it means to be human. Which is hard because Agent August isn’t really the helpful, patient kind of mentor one would desire. But he IS sizzling hot.

Ginn: [not here]

Nicole: Ginn???

Ginn: Sorry, I was spaced out looking at the donuts on the cover of Astrid Amara’s upcoming title, Miracle of the Bellskis, which is being released December 13th from Loose Id. I can’t wait for this sequel of Carol of the Bellskis to come out… also, I need to eat something.

Astrid: Yeah. Yeah do that. And while you’re eating, I’ll be reading The Rifter Part 10 by Ginn Hale, which is by the way, the LAST episode of this serialized novel. So if you hate waiting, and want to read all ten amazing parts one after another, now’s your chance!

Ginn: Yeah. And Josh’s Lone Star came out on the 5th, in Men Under the Mistletoe from Carina Press. Read that too.

Josh: Cowboys. They’re almost as yummy as doughnuts. Cowboys and Indi…er…jaded ballet dancers. Hey, it’s a Christmas story. Magical things happen. Anyway, it’s part of the Men Under the Mistletoe anthology, and all the stories are magically delicious.

Nicole: Man, I love holiday stories. Hey, wait! Stop plugging other companies you guys. This is a Blind Eye Books post!

Ginn: Maybe you should put donuts on the covers of more of your books.

Astrid: Yeah. Hanukkah donuts, bitches.

Josh: And gingerbread reindeer cookies with silver balls. The tiny shiny candy kind, I mean. That you buy in bake shops.

Nicole: ANYWAY…. Back to Irregulars. Ginn?

Ginn: Things Unseen and Deadly does not feature a sizzling hot agent and/or assassin, though Josh’s wicked cool Agent Rake does make an appearance. But for the most part my story is about Jason Shamir, a young unemployed musician who discovers that he has not been suffering from psychosis but was born with other-worldly vision. Which makes him a target of extra-human interest. It also allows him to see Agent Falk –

Nicole: - A dirty old bum –

Ginn: Yeah, but not to Jason, who can see who he really is. A kick ASS dirty old bum!

Astrid: Who swills poison and wears filthy clothes.

Josh: So hawt.

Ginn: And kicks ASS! Though I should say that Agent Rake also kicks ass. Come to think of it, Deven kicks ass too. And so does Gunther. Damn it! They ALL kick ass! This is a great anthology.

Josh: This is a kick ass anthology!

Nicole: Irregulars is available for print pre-order from our website and for digital pre-order from Weightlessbooks.com. Buy a print copy before January 1st, you get the digital edition free!

Thanks ladies and gents for participating. Tomorrow, we’ll let Astrid loose to have her wicked way with the characters from the anthology.

Astrid: Heh. Probe.

Nicole: Ew.

Note: We’re giving away a free digital pre-order of the Irregulars to one lucky commentor today.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It ain't over till it's over... But just so you know, it's over on Tuesday

Hi there, Nicole Kimberling here with the Blind Eye Books 2011 Round Up and Jamboree. We will be here for three whole days answering questions and giving away prizes! Today, I’ll talk to Ginn Hale about the upcoming release, His Holy Bones, the tenth and final book of her ongoing novel serialization, The Rifter. Tomorrow, Josh Lanyon and Astrid Amara will be join Ginn and I to talk about our 2012 release, a shared-world anthology called Irregulars. And finally on Saturday, Astrid Amara brings her own wacky sense of humor to the island when she interviews the main characters from Irregulars about what it takes to be an agent in the super-secret Division of Irregular Affairs.


But first things first. Ginn Hale is known to most people as the author of the Gaylactic Spectrum Award winning novel Wicked Gentlemen. This year Blind Eye Books teamed up with online indie ebook wizards Weightless Books, to digitally serialize Ginn’s epic fantasy novel, The Rifter.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story, here’s the upshot:

When John opens a letter addressed to his missing roommate, Kyle, he expects to find a house key. Instead he is swept into a strange realm of magic, mysticism, revolutionaries and assassins. Though he struggles to escape, John is drawn steadily closer to a fate he shares with Kyle—to awaken the destroyer god, the Rifter, and shatter a world.

I adore this complex and amazing story so much that I could go on about it for days, but I thought that most readers here on the island would prefer to hear about The Rifter from Ginn Hale herself.

Nicole: When I suggested that The Rifter was a good candidate for reviving the 19th century practice of serializing fiction, did you think I was off my nut?

Ginn: Hmmm… how to answer tactfully… I was pretty surprised by the thought of releasing the book in ten segments. But after we talked a little I started to see how it could all work and I got excited about the whole idea. Soon I realized that you were right on your nut as always!

Nicole: Now that Rifter Book 10, His Holy Bones, is about to be released, how do you feel about the success of the project?

Ginn: I’ve been very pleasantly surprised to discover just how many people wanted to discuss the plot as it developed. It was really fun to hear all their ideas and answer their questions. It brought back the whole reason I love writing, which is to share stories.

Nicole: One of the fantastic things about this whole serialization experiment has been the response from the readers at Goodreads. I personally thought it was great to go chat with them and hear their theories as they all read along each month. But I was there as an editor and also a fan of your work. As an author, was it intimidating to participate in such a lively discussion of your work?

Ginn: I didn’t find it intimidating so much as slightly nerve-wracking because I had to be careful to keep my trap shut to avoid spoiling future releases.

The more I got to know the individual members of the Goodreads group the more I wanted to be able to re-assure them about their favorite characters or pass on “valuable” information. And once various delicious bribes began to be offered I really had to fight to clam up!

I’m feeling almost giddy about the release of book ten because I’ll finally be able to reply to people without having to edit myself for all potential spoilers.

Nicole: Did you have a favorite character in The Rifter?

Ginn: That’s a very tough question. It’s an epic inhabited by a good number of characters and I tried my best to make them all interesting. Though for me, as the author my enjoyment of the characters often differed depending on what I got to write about them.

For example I really enjoyed describing John’s experiences of geology and botany, particularly as the book went on and his awareness grew. Kyle was a joy for moody action; as an author I could always count on him for some cathartic butt-kicking. Ji was awesome for feeling wise and dangerous and Pesha almost bounded off the pages, she was so energetic, flirtatious and excited to fulfill her own potential. Of course, after a thousand pages certain characters actually started to give me a feeling of nostalgia. Both Alidas and Saimura were that way.


Nicole: Any last thoughts?

Just that I’m quite glad that you convinced me to serialize The Rifter. It’s been a pleasure and conversing with the Goodreads group not only allowed me to see my own work in an entirely different way but it also made me appreciate how involved, excited and clever readers really are.

To celebrate Ginn’s epic achievement, we’re giving away one complete Rifter subscription to one lucky commenter!

Got questions for Ginn? Ask away!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Things You May Not Know About Me

For the last two blog posts I’ve been writing about the “real me.” That’s the Vanessa Kelly who writes sexy, Regency-set historical romance for Kensington Zebra. But I also have an alter-ego—V.K. Sykes, and under that name I write steamy contemporary romances.

But there’s even a bit of twist to my writing alter-ego: there are two of us jostling around under that one pen name. The other is my husband, Randy. Yep. We’re one of a rare breed in the romance writing world – a husband and wife team. Our first book was published last year with Carina Press, Harlequin’s digital first imprint. It’s called CaddyGirls, and it’s a sexy read about a young woman who’s an aspiring pro golfer, who supports herself by caddying for rich guys on the golf courses of Las Vegas. It’s a fun book, and hubby and I really enjoyed working on it together – even though we had the occasional argument about that thing guys really hate to talk about. I’m referring, of course, to emotions, and the need to have them in a romance novel. As you can imagine, I tended to carry the day in those discussions!

I’m happy to say that V.K. released another book this past June. We chose to take a different route from our last book – this time we’re indie published on Amazon, Smashwords, and Nook. The book is called Hardball and it’s another sexy contemporary romance, starring a hot baseball hero and a very serious surgeon as the heroine. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of heat between these two characters when they get together.

Here’s the blurb for Hardball:

After years of hard work and keeping her nose firmly to the grindstone, Dr. Holly Bell has finally achieved her dream: a position as a pediatric surgeon at a prestigious teaching hospital. Children’s lives rest in her skilled hands. That means total dedication to her work and her patients without letting anything or anyone get in the way. And a hot affair with a superstar athlete is most definitely getting in Holly’s way.

Nate Carter, star pitcher for the Philadelphia Patriots, has the world in the palm of his baseball glove. He’s at the height of his game, a west coast team is about to lure him with even greater riches, and the most gorgeous women in town are in full pursuit. Nate has everything he wants, or at least he thinks he does, until he meets the beautiful and brainy Dr. Holly Bell. He’s totally up for a hot affair, and Holly turns out to be the hottest.

But will Holly be willing to play his game? When the lovely doctor starts changing the rules, Nate realizes he just might be playing for keeps.

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Very sexy fun, if I do say so myself! There’s also an element of suspense in this book, which really ups the stakes for Nate and Holly. To read an excerpt, please stop by our VK Sykes website. While you’re there, you can also have a look at the CaddyGirls excerpt too.

What about you, readers? Do you wish you had an alter-ego? If so, what would you chose to be? One person who comments will win a copy of Hardball.


When she’s not trying to figure out who she is, you can find Vanessa Kelly on the web at www.vanessakellyauthor.com. And when she’s working with her dear hubby, you can find her at www.vksykes.com.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Yesterday, I talked about my latest book, My Favorite Countess. In this post I’d like to chat a bit about my next book, His Mistletoe Bride. As you might surmise by the title, it’s a Christmas book (it comes out in October 2012). I had a great time writing it, partly because I got to research Christmas customs during the Regency era, which is the period in which my books are set. Much of what we recognize about Christmas didn’t develop until the Victorian period, when Prince Albert brought some of his German holiday traditions with him to England. And then there was Dickens, who also helped develop the modern version of seasonal celebrations in his famous story, A Christmas Carol.

But the folks in the Regency period also loved Christmas and they celebrated it with style, especially when it came to food and drink. One of the most treasured traditions of the time was the partaking of the Wassail Bowl, a beverage we would recognize today as mulled wine. There were many different recipes for Wassail, each family carefully passing down their particular version from one generation to the next.

Here’s a description from antiquarian Geoffrey Gent, describing one passing of the communal bowl:

“When the cloth was removed, the butler brought in a huge silver vessel of rare and curious workmanship, which he placed before the Squire. Its appearance was hailed with acclimation; being the Wassail Bowl, so renowned in Christmas festivity. The contents had been prepared by the Squire himself; alleging that it was too abstruse and complex for the comprehension of an ordinary servant. It was a potation, indeed, that might well make the heart of a toper leap within him; being composed of the richest and raciest of wines, highly spiced and sweetened, with roasted apples bobbing about the surface.”

Rich and racy—sounds good to me!

I may not have my own family recipe for Wassail, but I do have one of my mother’s old Christmas cookie recipes. When I was a kid these cookies were my favorite, and I still love them. Give them a try—I bet you’ll love them too!

Flora’s Russian Tea Balls

Preheat oven to 300F

1 cup softened butter
¼ cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon water
2 cups flour (sifted)
1 cup chopped pecans

Cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla. Stir in water. Add flour and blend thoroughly. Stir in nuts. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Cool before removing from sheet. Roll in frosting, then flaked coconut (optional).

Frosting:
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
½ cup milk

And what’s the Christmas Season without a little gift-giving? I’d like to give out another one of my books today: my first historical romance, Mastering The Marquess. Just tell me what your favorite Christmas recipe is. One person who comments will win a copy of the book!


Vanessa Kelly writes Regency-set historical romance for Kensington Zebra, and has been named by Booklist as “one of the new stars of historical romance.” She recently won the Maggie Award for Best Historical Romance for her second book, Sex And The Single Earl. You can find her on the web at: www.vanessakellyauthor.com.

Monday, December 5, 2011

I've Got A Secret

Hey, folks! I’m Vanessa Kelly and I write Regency-set historical romance. I’ve got lots of things I’d love for us to talk about, and books to give away over the next three days. Let’s get started, shall we? Today’s topic, as you can tell by the header of this post, is secrets.

Who doesn’t love a good secret? There’s nothing like that little zing you get from being in the know—to have access to info that no one else seems to have. But a secret can also be a heavy burden that weighs on the soul, and it can make life very, very complicated.

In my latest Regency-set historical romance, My Favorite Countess, my heroine keeps lots of secrets, including hiding her true nature from most everyone she knows. To the world, Bathsheba is a beautiful but hard-hearted woman who cares for no one but herself. She does very little to dispel that impression as she sweeps through the ton, levelling people right and left with her scathing intellect and devastating wit. Trust me. If you get on Bathsheba’s bad side, you’ll be sorry!

Why the heck, you may ask, did I make this type of woman the heroine of my book? It’s because of her secrets. You see, Bathsheba first appeared as the villainess of my second book, Sex And The Single Earl, but even in that story the reasons for her rather nefarious actions seemed motivated by something more than greed or selfishness. As I went deeper into her character I discovered those motivations—she is fiercely loyal to her family, and is determined to protect them from hardship at all costs. Bathsheba suffered several tragedies when she was young, tragedies that made her responsible for the well-being of those weaker than she is. She’ll do what she has to in order to keep them safe, and the hell with what others might think of her.

Bathsheba has a lot of pride, too. So rather than beg for help or reveal the scandals in her past, she’s created a diamond-hard facade to protect herself and her family from the discovery of those secrets. Most people can’t see past her facade, but one man can. Yep. He’s my hero—the intelligent, noble-minded, and very sexy doctor, John Blackmore. As a man who has devoted his life to helping those in need, John is determined to get past Bathsheba’s secrets to find the woman within. Bathsheba, naturally, wants nothing of that, but John proves to be her Achilles’ heel. Their encounters are passionate and deeply felt and I loved writing about them.

By the way, I have a secret of my own I’d like to share with you. It’s about my writing life and it’s…well, all I can say is that you should stop by for my Wednesday blog post to find out all about it! But for now, let’s keep talking about secrets.

Do you like books that contain lots of secrets? Do you crave heroes who are dark and mysterious and drive the heroine crazy? And what about all those secret baby stories—love or hate? One person who comments will win a copy of My Favorite Countess.


Vanessa Kelly writes Regency-set historical romance for Kensington Zebra, and has been named by Booklist as “one of the new stars of historical romance.” My Favorite Countess was recently nominated for an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Regency Historical Romance. You can find her on the web at: www.vanessakellyauthor.com.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Oops . . . I Mean a Big Oops . . . I Missed My Third Day Yesterday . . . Menage & Paranormal Romance--from the Sublime to the Ridiculous .

So I am going to post something now and hope Mother Tracy doesn't get on my case. I have certainly done that often enough in her growing up years. Actually, I had something all composed and got stuck in the doctor's office for four hours yesterday. What a pain . . . no pun intended . . . and when I got home I was thrashed. So after an already full day today--we even went to the county animal shelter to scope out a dog for the National English Shepherd Rescue--I realized that I hadn 't taken the time to put up anything for yesterday or today. So here goes . . .

I was first introduced to Paranormal and Menage romances about two years ago. Go figure . . . I must have been living in a cave. Just too busy with other stuff and had, in truth, just let my love of reading get stuffed away for quite a few years. I was busy going back to school and such, so when T

Wolf Signs
was one of the first and I absolutely loved it. I was so over the top over this book that I didn't hesitate to get all the succeeding stories in the series and I still enjoy them whracy challenged me to get involve in book reviewing and blogging, I discovered these two genres of romances and found them fascinating. I rapidly developed a love for the work of authors like Vivian Arend and Tymber Dalton, Nalini Singh and others who created alternative species and universes in which they looked perfectly normal but were most definitely unique.

en I go back to one or the other. Maya Banks' Golden Eyes was also the first feline shifter

story I read and I also began to appreciate her writing style and the gifts she brought to telling a story that really should sound strange but just didn't. I couldn't get enough of those sexy shifters.
But then I caught on to Menage stories and here again Maya Banks shown brightly with her Coulter Family series of books. But even then, I began to wonder about the multiple lovers and such. Now I don't think there's much out of the ordinary and the multiple partner component is more often in stories than ever before.

Now it seems that the multiple partner component is even greater and I just recently found a series about some shifter brothers that had all fallen love with the same young woman--longhorn shifters. I have to acknowledge that I was so fascinated with the thought of men turning into behorned cows that I had to buy the novellas. Each story now is about one of the seven brothers. It wasn't enough that this woman took on seven husbands. They all started sprouting horns everytime they spied anything red--you know, red is, I guess, a real turn-on for bulls.

Move on to a menage series that recently came out which was set in the future--on a planet where seven brothersbought" a woman at an auction--where women who had no resources and were not allowed to work and had been brought and dumped on this particular planet--and now she was deemed worthy of only being a purchased house woman who "serviced"others (the eighth brother seemed to have dropped out of sight) were research scientists and security personnel and were on a planet where there were few women. They "serviced" the men who bought her, kept house, etc. Apart from the very upsetting use of women in that setting, it did turn out that all seven men fell in love with her and as multiple/plural marriages were allowed and in this instance, encouraged, this young woman was released from slavery to become the darling of her husbands. The eighth brother turned up eventually and this "lucky" (?) woman took on another brother and seemingly was happy to do so--at least, in the story, anyway.
I don't know how much more we can tease out this multiple partner business but it seems that it just keeps growing. I certainly believe in a fantasy world, but I don't know--I have a deep respect for these women to take on seven bulls or eight brothers or whomever. It just keeps on getting gooder and gooder. I know now that I have lived a very sheltered life--just haven't lived at all if this is what I have missed. Anyway, its fun reading and even as riduculous as it gets sometimes, we all need fantasy in our lives, possibly more than we realize.

In truth, I am astounded at all the variety that is out there, and in a world where people are often required to live pedantic lives according to someone else's template--even we here in the States find social and moral codes oppressive at times--it is delightful to encounter writers who are willing to push our boundaries out into the unexpected and possible the overly fantastic. Keeps us thinking and makes us appreciate the possibilities when brains are allowed to think at will. Ain't creativity grand???

Thanks for letting me visit these days. I have loved being a guest here and appreciate your responses more than you can know. Be safe and well.


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