The unexamined life is not worth living-
Truth in that phrase. I've been doing a bit of self examination ( hey, not THAT kind. Get your minds out of the gutter) the past few days I've been laid up with a terrible cold, morphing into some kind of Bubonic Plague mutation. Okay, perhaps I'm being slightly dramatic. Whatever the hell it is, over the counter sinus/cold meds or chicken soup and rest not doing a damn thing. Finally dragged my ass to the doctor. Hoping this Z-pack of antibiotics does the trick.
So, it begs the question, with my body filled with icky bacteria and my brain clouded from the remnants of NyQuil, should I be blogging or blowing shit up in Call of Duty : Modern Warfare 3?
Dunno. Probably suck at both. Here, at least, I won't have a 15 year old calling me a Noob while knifing me in the back for the zillionth time.
I'm grateful for all that has happened to me in 2011.
The good, bad and ugly.
I'm not going to dwell on the negative. Not my style. Yes, I made mistakes. My flaws revealed. Did the shoulda, woulda coulda or wish I hadn't.
Haven't we all? Hey, misery loves company, right?
I've met some people who've had a profound impact on my life. I've gotten to know a few quite intimately. You know who you are. Not gonna list names. I know I will forget someone and they will feel slighted.
I'm a professionally published author, not many can lay claim to that. My choice of genre has alienated some long time friends. Sad, but true. I mourn for the loss of friendship, so carefully built over decades, however, the new friends I've made via social media, they are as special to me as the ones I made in the sandbox so many years ago. Thank you my Face Book pals.
2012 is around the corner. I hope to be as blessed in the new year as the one rapidly leaving us.
If all you folks are with me in '12, then I know I will be.
None of this would be possible without my wife. Our relationship is unique and special, and some may view it with a arched brow, but after 25 years and her support of my writing and allowing me to have many friends of the opposite gender, the hell with tradition.
We've out lasted the naysayers ten fold.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
I'd like to welcome the lovely Kelly Lee to Half Past Midnight. Brave lass....
Um, hello? Am I in the right place?
*peeks head through a crack in the door and sees KB*
KB: 'C'mon in y'all got the right digs . . . Don't be shy. I have caaaannnddddyy . . .
Well, thank goodness! For a minute there I thought I'd stepped into a movie set for a sexy art film! Your place is awesome. Surreal and a little intimidating, but rockin' cool. Thanks so much for having me over.
KB: You are most welcome and thank you for the kind words!
I've been looking forward to this for a long time…I love any place that's got naked people on the front door. J
KB: My philosophy is ya can't have enough nakkid peeps around!
Hand me a solid pour in a goldfish-bowl-sized glass of red wine, and I'll talk all night.
KB: My kinda gal! Done! The wine is poured; comfy chairs set up, and let the interlocution begin!
Q1. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started my first book over ten years ago, and got as far as the first 25 pages. I had no idea where the story was going, other than I wanted to write something, but got discouraged very quickly and gave up. I dusted off the 'ol keyboard again about two years ago, with renewed motivation and a lot more maturity to really embrace the amount of work it takes to write a full length novel. Something clicked in me the second time around, and I finished the first draft of the manuscript in December 2010. I wish I still had those 25 pages from so long ago…but they're long gone and sitting on a hard drive somewhere at the bottom of an e-waste recycling program. Or, by now, it's probably been repurposed into a toaster!
Q2. Where do you get your ideas?
With Murdering Eve, the idea started as a nugget in the back of my head as a result of a trip to Europe about five years ago. After Paris, Rome, Florence, and Greece over a 3 week backpacking journey, I fell in love with Greek Mythology. I've always loved fantasy – vampires, werewolves, fairies, etc… and over time, a new world began to develop in the scary place that is my head. A world which is comprised of Four Realms, which has become the backbone of the series I'm writing.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Strangely enough, some of my favorite chapters to write were actually the ones from the antagonist point of view. The "bad guy" in the book is a sarcastic, ambitious, cutthroat woman named Holly, who would be perfectly happy stomping all over her own mother to get ahead. Getting into her mind and motivation - and really embracing the "bad" - was exceptionally fun for me. Which is why she's the lead female character in the sequel, which is almost complete~ J
How did you come up with the title?
Great question. It's not something I took lightly. When you write an Urban Fantasy with strong romantic elements, you want to let folks know there's a strong romance story in there. But in this case, there's a lot of action in the book with the relentless pursuit of Eve by our "bad guy", so I wanted to stay true to that. Luckily, the cover art of the book helps reinforce that romance element.
Can you share a little of your work?
Well sure! I'd be happy to provide the blurb & an excerpt for Murdering Eve.
Eve Moore is very likely going insane. In one week’s time, she has clear memories of surviving a murderous attack by her dead husband’s mistress, teleporting to another Realm, learning her best friend isn’t human, and uncovering the existence of trolls, titans and mythical Gods. If she hadn’t gone off her nut, Eve wouldn’t be coming to grips with the fact that her mother had an affair with an immortal and she is apparently their love-child.
But since she’s getting pretty comfortable with it all, she figures she’s probably strapped down somewhere cold and antiseptic with drool dribbling down her chin. Except if she’s locked in sanitarium, as she must be, why is she so damn scared of the God of War that threatened to send her soul to the Underworld? And why does the mere glance from a gorgeous man, one that she was tasked to find and return to Olympus, set fire racing through her veins?
Whether it’s reality or lunacy, Eve has no idea, but she is on one hell of a ride. If only she could get that red-headed harlot who tried to kill her the first time to cease and desist on the murder attempts, she could enjoy her psychosis in peace…
The hinges screeched as she opened the motel room door. She tossed the towels on the bed, which sat in the middle of the room, covered by a ratty blue bedspread. Two nightstands had visible bolts securing them to the floor. An overhead light fixture with a broken shade hung loosely from the ceiling. The beige carpet felt stiff under her feet, years of dirt and grime hardening the fibers.
There was literally nothing else in the room—not a curtain, not a lamp, and not a Bible in the nightstand. Behind the only other door, which had a hole punched in the center of it, was a utilitarian restroom. The toilet seat was missing. The mirror was made of something plastic and shimmery. The place was a certifiable dump. Holly figured the room might be a good place to torture demons, but that was about all she would do there.
Thinking through what she needed to do next, Holly absently tapped the dagger nestled in the sheath at her thigh. She needed a weapon, but the blade she wore had been created by Hephaestus. Weapons forged at his anvil were fashioned specifically to injure supernaturals. After the debacle of trying to use the Acheron Cup on someone she believed to be human, Holly wasn't willing to risk using a supernatural weapon again.
Silently assessing her options, Holly settled on one of the few makeshift weapons available to her. She lifted the lid on the toilet tank. Black grunge from the underside slid grossly across her fingers. She wiped her hand on a nearby towel, grabbed two washcloths, then picked up the lid, both hands wrapped in the washcloths to prevent slippage. A few practice swings later, Holly noted the porcelain club balanced nicely.
She tossed her new weapon on the bed along with her room key and extra towels, then moved toward the wall separating rooms 23 and 24. Before she placed her ear to the plaster, she easily heard the distinctive thunk-thunk-thunk that could only be the sound of a headboard hitting the wall. Listening more carefully, she made out the faint grunting and moaning of sexual activity in the next room. No time like the present.
She quietly let herself out of her room with her weapon tucked under her arm. Taking a deep, steadying breath outside of room 24, she withdrew the skeleton key from her pocket. The key slid silently into the lock. The door swung open with only a slight squeak from the hinges.
As it turned out, she could have accompanied her intrusion with an exploding stick of dynamite and she'd still have entered unnoticed. The couple locked together on the bed wouldn't have heard anything anyway. The woman had her eyelids scrunched together tightly, her mouth forming a small O, as the man had her pinned in what looked like a horribly uncomfortable position against the headboard.
Holly closed the door behind her and tilted her head, observing the humans crudely copulating. The poor woman's right leg was bent at a strange angle, practically cold cocking her in the forehead with her kneecap at every sharp thrust. The man jerked and bucked without a consistent rhythm, but clearly seemed in the throes of something intense. Holly shrugged and adjusted the toilet tank lid in both hands, as she moved closer to the bed. She got a better look at both of them and grimaced. They were not an attractive pair, no matter the species.
The man shouted his climax and the woman's eyes opened—probably in relief the experience was over—then bulged in fear as Holly widened her stance, taking a swing at the back of the man's head. He buried his face into the woman's neck at the right moment to avoid the brunt of the blow. The lid struck the back of his head and the front of the woman's face simultaneously. Blood spurted from the woman's nose and mouth as she screeched in pain. The man merely went limp. That pissed Holly off a little.
The woman frantically pushed the man off her and scrambled to the opposite side of the bed, but Holly smacked her on the top of the head with the heavy porcelain. She dropped like a rag doll, unconscious. The lid dropped to the carpeted floor with a dull whack, and Holly grabbed the woman's purse off the nightstand to search for cash. She found two condoms, a stick of gum, a driver's license from the state of Kentucky in the name of Becky Oldham, and exactly forty-three dollars and sixty-seven cents. Great.
Disappointment welled in her chest, but she dampened it quickly, talking to herself. It's a marathon, not a sprint. She had expected collecting enough money would take more than one try. After all, the ratty motel she'd targeted wasn't the Ritz.
Picking up the man's pants to rifle through his pockets, she felt a large lump in a front pocket. An impish grin lit her face. The thick wad of bills rolled into Holly's eager hand, and she dropped the pants. A groan emanated from deep in the man's chest as he lay face down on the bed. Holly ignored him. Flipping the bills out and counting quickly, she noted only one or two large bills wrapped around the outside of the roll. The rest were, predictably, of smaller denomination. The man was obviously trying to impress someone with the wad of cash. She got halfway through counting the preponderance of one-dollar bills when the man pushed himself up, cradling his head in his hands.
Holly set the money on the edge of the dresser, then picked up the lid, waiting for him to fully regain consciousness.
He blinked stupidly and looked down at the woman. Blood seeped out from her head, spreading across the rumpled sheets. The man jerked away, slipping and falling off the bed. He landed on his ass, his feet kicking madly when he saw Holly standing over him. He scrambled in a backward crab walk until his shoulders hit the wall. She lifted her weapon and he froze, as though his brain was trying to make sense of what he was seeing. The sudden impact of the heavy lid against his temple prevented him from connecting the dots.
Blood splattered across the bed. The man's body slumped to the side, wedging his face between the wall and the back of the nightstand. Holly dropped the lid again and went back to counting. All in, the cash totaled two hundred and twenty-eight dollars.
Allowing herself a brief moment of satisfaction, she acknowledged the total was more than she thought she'd get from one couple in such a seedy motel. Unfortunately, the amount wasn't nearly enough to get her to Scotland. At least eight more rooms were currently occupied as of about ten minutes ago. With the inevitable revolving door of people checking in and checking out, she needed to work fast.
Shoving the thick roll of money into her jeans, she opened the wrapper on a stick of Becky's gum and popped it into her mouth. Spearmint flavored, my favorite. She picked up the lid and a grabbed a towel from the restroom, wiping off the blood quickly.
Holly looked down at the unconscious, naked couple. Should she finish them off, or leave them? The idea of killing them didn't appeal to her. Whenever possible, she avoided such things, but taking Eric's life hadn't exactly caused a crisis of conscience.
Holly glanced up into the mirror above the dresser and watched the crease between her eyebrows deepen into a scowl as she considered the best option. What were the chances of the couple waking up and reporting the incident to the cops? Looking around the room, she figured the odds of them calling the police were next to nil. The man was probably a cheating husband, and Becky was probably a hooker. If Holly killed them, a double murder guaranteed police involvement. Given the circumstances, they'd probably scurry back to their lives and try to forget what happened.
Decision made, she tucked her weapon safely back under her arm, readied the skeleton key in her hand, then slipped out of the room without another glance at the couple that lay bleeding in room 24.
As I hand back to you my empty wine glass, I have to say you've been an incredible host. Thank you so much for having me, KB!
KB: Much too kind m'dear. Thank you for stopping by, you raised the property values!
If you want to read more excerpts or find out more about Kelly, you can:
Visit her at www.kellyleefiction.com
Like her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Kelly-L-Lee-Author, or
Follow her on twitter: @kellyleefiction
Saturday, November 19, 2011
The clock strikes half past the hour, welcoming the man, the myth and spork wielding legend, J.S. Wayne to the inaugural debut of Half Past Midnight Author Spotlight. Welcome my prolific and talented friend!
First, I want to thank KB for letting me be the first guest at his new blog! Don’t mind the ostrich, she’ll be fine in the corner. Um, I do have this little problem with the rabid Tasmanian devil, though. Yeah, the strippers are fine over on the sofa, and where do you want me to put the beer keg?
- Drop the keg next to me. Hey, watch the toes, son! I'll get the red Solo cups and entertain the strippers. Keep an eye on the ostrich. No sand here, so I don't want the bird sticking its head up my as...er..ah. why is the Taz Devil looking at me like I'm lunch? He...he... nice Taz Devil..good boy.
Er..ah... J.S. you have the floor, maestro.....
Er..ah... J.S. you have the floor, maestro.....
Cool. Now that’s settled . . .
Writing is one of the most solitary professions on Earth. Oh, with the advent of the Internet, it’s better, but you’re still going to spend a whole lot of time isolated from anything not directly related to getting the words on the page. There’s a perfectly good reason why, in my first nine months as a contracted author, I’ve nailed down seven contracts and have submissions out at two other houses: I just didn’t have much to do besides write until recently.
But the fact of the matter is, human beings need socialization in order to function. Look at Edgar Allen Poe or Vincent Van Gogh if you want some spooky pictures of what a person who tries to live in absolute isolation turns into. Severed ears and bad absinthe habits. Hey, my ears aren’t much to look at, but they’re mine, dammit!
Luckily, there are more opportunities for author collaboration than ever before thanks to the Internet, including blog tours and hops, websites, and email communication. Anthologies, while not the most lucrative things for authors to do, certainly help to get peoples’ names out there in front of the reading public. These are a case of one hand washing the other: the better known the authors involved, the more everyone profits.
I’m very big on participating in as many collaborative ventures as I possibly can. What attracts me varies from project to project. In one case, it may be the subject matter; in another, the other authors involved; and in yet another, I may see an opportunity to break out of my shell a little and try something completely different. Whatever the reason, these ventures invariably lead to great promotional opportunities that a writer working alone simply can’t get.
Even better, the camaraderie these events offer between writers in the form of getting to know them better and looking back at the end with a worn-out grin and a “Damn, we done good!” is something that just can’t be matched. Only another writer can understand what a writer goes through, and the emotional ups and downs that accompany the writing process. So getting to know and understand your fellows a little better results in a lot of witty banter, back-and-forth chit-chat, and great ideas being formulated.
The Timeless Desire blog tour is such an event, and I’m very proud to be part of it. Bryl Tyne, H.C. Brown, Sarah Ballance, KevaD, Jess Anastasi, Brita Addams, Lucy Felthouse and myself are all having a lot of fun bouncing back and forth between each other’s blogs, sharing our deepest and most intimate secrets and sexy excerpts from our latest work, so I’ll hope you’ll come by and join us for weeks three and four! You can check it out here: http://nobleromanceauthorsblogtour.blogspot.com/ , and don’t forget to check out all the great books on offer for the “Timeless Desire” line!
In the meantime, I have a new story scheduled for release on November 28th from Noble Romance Publishing! This is my first foray into m/m romance, and I’m both really excited and scared out of my ever-loving mind to see how it’ll do. The excerpt is unedited, so don’t be surprised if there aren’t a few changes in the released version. In the meantime, I hope y’all enjoy it!
Thanks again to K.B. for having me by today! You can check me out at http://nobleromance.com/authors/155, on Twitter @jswayne702, or on my blog at http://jswayne.wordpress.com. Oh, and, uh . . . watch out for the ostrich! She’s a little fussy when she doesn’t get some beer.
J.S. My pleasure to have you here. Thank you for gracing the pages of my new and improved blog! Oh, I'll take the strippers home. Hey, its cool, bro. No problem. I'm sure you have to write...no really, its no big deal. No, REALLY, I'll drive...
While J.S. and I fight over the keys, and who takes the ostrich and Tasmanian Devil back to the Zoo, why don't y'all take a sneak peek at this delicious excerpt from Dancing on Flames:
In the aftermath of a raid on a band of child slavers, Russell and Ion of the Chosen of Fenrir find themselves baring their hearts and souls—and their bodies—to one another. In doing so, they violate one of their Clan’s most sacred laws: Look not to your own kind for love.
Now, one will lay his life on the line on the Path of the Flame Dance, where the Mother Earth will judge whether the love they have is worthy—or a betrayal of their own blood. The other must watch as his lover walks the fire, or perishes in the attempt.
Stand or fall, the two warriors will never be the same. . . .
Stand or fall, the two warriors will never be the same. . . .
The silver wolf stole a glance at its larger, black cohort.
What do you think, Ion?
The black wolf gave a low growl and shook its flanks. Its posture and bearing spoke of barely-restrained fury, even as its blue eyes glinted with an intelligence far beyond that which might be observed in its smaller brethren.
Slaver scum, came the ominous mental retort. Looks like our information was right.
When do you want to attack?
The black wolf swiveled its muzzle up to study the high-riding moon. After a long moment, he thought, No time like the present, Russell. You up for this?
Russell chuffed, a sound that would have terrified any of the men below. It was the canid equivalent of a mirthless laugh. Give me a moment, and then we can go.
He looked down at the camp and focused all his will on a plea to the Mighty Mother. Bring forth your breath, Mother, that it may shroud our attack. In his mind, he began a low chant which quickly built in power and volume. Below, a thin streamer of mist crept into the camp. In moments more followed, until a billowing cloud of fog enveloped the tiny enclave. The merrymaking in the camp cut off, to be replaced by cries of consternation and alarm at the unnaturally fast-moving fog.
Russell looked at Ion. Will that cover our entry adequately?
Ion snorted. Well done, Brings-The-Sign. Let’s make an end of these fools.
The silver wolf winked. I thought you’d never ask.
Silently, the two wolves stole down from the hilltop, picking their way carefully. Russell placed his paws carefully on the hard ground, feeling the textures and shapes beneat
h him and mentally cataloguing everything he touched. Granite here gave way to soil there, which in turn melted into soft grass and small ferns. A field of pebbles about halfway down made him go around, for fear of dislodging one and sending it tumbling down the hill. Might as well bang a drum to let them know we’re coming if we’re going to be that clumsy.
This was not Russell’s first raid. Far from it. Back in the Caves of the Chosen, he had a belt festooned with trinkets and trophies of the many battles he’d fought since coming here, a year earlier. He had earned his Clan name honestly when he had stolen two letters from the neon sign that advertised a massage parlor where many of the “employees” were children. After seeing them all safely out, he had set the place ablaze with cleansing fire. Although the moniker he bore was originally intended as a small slight, he carried it with pride.
Tonight was the first time that he’d ever gone out with Ion, though. The black wolf was a legend within the Chosen of Fenrir, frequently vanishing for weeks at a time from the borders of the Chosen lands. When he returned, he always had fascinating tales to tell. But those tales were always backed up by the macabre souvenirs he carried in his pack; at any moment, he could pluck any item from a vampire fang to a crow’s feather out of his collection and give a detailed accounting of how, when, where, and under what conditions he came by the item.
As a living legend, the Elders often predicted that Ion would not return from whatever errand he went out on. Legends among the Chosen tended to have very short life spans, and Ion had a talent for getting himself into scrapes that the average wolf could never hope to get out of. Time and again, Ion had demonstrated his resourcefulness and cunning; thus far, these qualities had kept him alive where a lesser Scion of Fenrir would surely have fallen.
Russell entertained a brief moment of pity for the men whose camp they were about to invade, earning him a hard, sidelong glare from Ion. He shook his head hastily. Don’t make the mistake of thinking I have any sympathy for them, he thought. I’m just thinking that between you and me, this isn’t even a fair fight.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Disclaimer: I purchased the following e-book.
A woman, a man. Sausalito California 2011, San Francisco 1899. Although they live "an era apart", their goal is the same: find her missing father. And so, they meet...
Time Travel. Parallel universes. Clash of cultures. High action. Intrigue. Passion. Romance.
Yup. Can't find a better way to spend my time! I had the luxury of immersing myself in this grand tale one overcast Saturday afternoon. Giant mug o' coffee, nested on the couch with my laptop, favorite plaid wool blanket (hey, no Linus wise cracks) and I let the real world shimmer, melt into the gray of the afternoon.
Tracy Richardson receives a cryptic message concerning her aloof, brilliant professor father may be in danger and steps from the 21st century into 1899 San Francisco, where she meets aristocratically proper Garret Burnes.
Modern sensibilities versus the staid, proper mannerisms of the waning days of the Victorian Era. The clash of culture makes for engaging exchanges and Chris Lange deftly captures each subtle nuance.
Along the way, we are introduced to a colorful cast of characters-the ruggedly masculine gunslinger, Vampire huntress, a humorous, capable Dr. Watson-esque everyman accompanied by his faithful wolf hound and a mysteriously dark and sexy guardian vampire.
The story unraveled like a taut, fast paced graphic novel, with a sizzling dash of sex, and time-crossed lovers.
Get lost in this compelling fantasy this weekend or any-day!
An Era Apart