Yesterday I received wonderful news. My publisher has accepted The Island (Now and Forever 2). They’ve set a tentative November release for the ebook version and April 2013 for the print version. As most of you know, this book started off as a short story “A Christmas Miracle for Jake.” I posted it here on this blog during a blog hop at the end of last year. It was in three parts.
Here are the links to those posts so you can get a little sneak peek at the story.
Of course it’s evolved a lot since then and I’ve developed Julia’s story into her own book too. If I can get that one done and submitted, I may have two new books released before the end of the year. I’m not going to force it. If Julia’s story flows well then so be it. I want to be happy with it before sending it in for consideration. As you know, characters want their story told and they don’t give a rip about deadlines! 😉
To celebrate, I’d like to share the song that I heard in my head when I wrote the love scenes between Quinn and Jacob for TheIsland.
I’m excited to welcome new author Jessica Slater to Behind Closed Doors for our Saturday Spotlight. She’s published a young adult novel called Bellvara, and now takes a turn at a more adult crowd in Life Shifted. So let’s get on with the interview and learn more about her new book and a bit more about herself as an author.
What inspired you to write Life Shifted?
I was inspired mainly by my past for Life Shifted. The past that my partner, Luke and I endured was a very hectic one but it inspired me to write about our history together.
Were you a plotter or panster when it came to writing this novel?
With Life Shifted I planned every detail of it. What the chapters were going to be called and a little summary of what they would entail. It definitely made writing it easier.
Did you find that this book was more character or plot driven?
Most definitely character driven. The characters Kelly and Ben are based on both me and my boyfriend and most of the other characters were randomly put in the book. (some were actual people in our lives but I want to keep that a secret).
What are the recurring core issues? Why do you think you are drawn to these types of characters/plots again and again?
I definitely tend to write a lot about a stronger female stance. I guess I’m trying to portray what I want to be in my books. I don’t always see myself as a strong person, but I write my female characters as very independent and the heroes of the story. That is kind of what I want to be in real life. I am studying to be a teacher, so I guess I just want to help people, be someone to look up too.
What do you want readers to know about Life Shifted?
The main thing I want readers to know before they delve into Life Shifted is that I drew a lot of it from my past with my boyfriend. So if anything sounds out of place, trust me, it isn’t. There were some things added into the book for extra dramatic effect but most of the things were our actual experiences. I hope people can take something away from my book.
Who inspires you and why?
There are many people who inspire me all the time. My mum is a big inspiration to me with all her fantastic writing. Kim Faulks is also inspirational as she helped me get my book out there and helped me self-publish it. Richelle Mead, Lauren Kate and Cate Tiernan are all a big inspiration to me. I read their books and want my work to be considered just as good. Another person who is a big inspiration is my modern history teacher from last year. She always knew I had it in me to succeed and she kept pushing me. I also find my little sister, Katy Slater to be an inspiration as she helps me get my books ready to go out into the world. The biggest inspiration of all though is definitely my boyfriend, Luke Fuller, without him I would never have finished ‘Bellvara’ and I never would have written Life Shifted.
In one or two sentences, give the core premise behind your story.
Life Shifted is definitely a dramatic type of book with a lot of love and romance involved. It delves into a life of tragedy and horrific events.
When and where does your book take place?
Life Shifted takes place in the present time. I never really state where it is set because I wanted to leave that open but basically just a small type of town like Warwick, QLD or Stanthorpe, QLD… something like that.
What obstacles will your heroine Kelly encounter in this story?
This story is definitely tragic for Kelly. Her best friend is in love with her but she doesn’t feel the same way so she goes through a lot of drama and obstacles to try and stabilize her friendship with Ben but nothing seems to go right for her. She just gets thrown one thing after another.
What about her will make readers sympathetic to her?
There is a really emotional stage in the book where her grandmother, whom she was really close to, dies and I drew that experience from when my pa died which was very upsetting for me because I was extremely close with him and I never got to see him before he went or go to his funeral.
What obstacles will Ben encounter in this story?
Ben goes through just as much as Kelly in this story. He experiences his first girlfriend and finds it doesn’t go to well for him. The only one he really wants is Kelly but she won’t have it. Everything keeps going wrong for him and he is forced to think about whether Kelly is worth it or not.
What about Ben will make readers sympathetic towards him?
I think the biggest thing that will make readers sympathetic towards Ben is the fact that he loves Kelly more than anything and he defends her all the time but nobody what he does he still isn’t good enough for her and it tears him up.
Is there a villain?
There are actually many villains in Life Shifted; around four or five. They each have different motives to hurt Kelly and Ben but I can’t give too much away.
What is the theme at the heart of your story?
The theme of my story is love and finding out what it means; giving it a chance to blossom from something you never thought possible.
What message do you hope readers take away from this story?
The main message I want readers to take away from Life Shifted is that love and romance is such an important thing. It may not be top priority but it is important to have it in your life. I also want people to learn not to be so shallow or not to look past what might be. Life Shifted is mostly based on my past and I regret the fact that I didn’t realize my feelings for my partner sooner. I guess I’m saying give something a chance instead of blowing it off completely. The results may surprise you.
What are you working on now?
I am working on the second book in the Bellvara series at the moment and also a completely separate book. It is set in Roman times and it is called ‘Last Touch’.
What’s coming soon?
‘Last Touch’ will probably come out next year some time because I want to do more research on the topic and get it as close to fantastic as I can and the second book to Bellvara called ‘Snake of the Elves’ will probably be out at the end of this year. That is what I am aiming for.
Do you have a question you’d like to ask the readers to generate comments?
My question to the readers is:
What were/are your experiences in love? Do you have an epic tale to tell?
It’s Thursday once again and I’m happy to welcome Lori King to Behind Closed Doors today. This is the third guest appearance she’s done for me and my alter ego Lia Michaels completing a nice little circuit of hot and spicy interviews and excerpts from her book Fire of the Wolf. It’s actually the first in a series with the second one due for release in just a few months. Trust me. Once you read the snippets she’s shared with us here and on the other blogs, you will want to have this book as well as get in line to pre-order book two. I’ll be right there with you!
Fire of the Wolf (The Gray Pack Book 1) By Lori King
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand
[Ménage Amour: Erotic Paranormal Ménage a Tois Romance, M/F/M, werewolves, HEA]
Introverted nurse Caroline Trainor’s apartment burns to the ground, and she is rescued by a sexy fireman. Waking up in the hospital, she finds the delicious fireman and his identical twin brother waiting for her.
Devin and Damon Gray claim that they are alpha leaders of a pack of werewolves, and that she is destined to be their mate. Her logical nature resists this unreal situation, but her body craves their every touch. Struggling with unresolved pain from her past and her need for her own identity, she has no desire to be their house wolf—until another wolf pack’s alpha threatens their lives and relationship with a challenge to the death.
Scared to lose the men she has grown to love like she lost her parents, she runs directly into the arms of the lethal alpha challenger, and the brothers must save her before they all wind up dead. (Note: There is no sexual relationship or touching for titillation between or among siblings.)
First Thirteen Sentences
Sweat trickled down her brow and into her eyes as Caroline belly crawled down the hallway as fast as her burning lungs would allow. The acrid smell of smoke made her nose run, and stinging tears spilled down her cheeks. She couldn’t give up and go back. She knew that Molly and Tyler were in the apartment down the hall from hers, and she had to get to them, had to help them.
When the smoke alarm in her apartment went off just minutes ago, Caroline nearly jumped out of her skin. She couldn’t smell the smoke until she opened her apartment door, and found the hallway outside filled with a thick black fog of it. Her mind flashed immediately to a smiling Tyler, who had been playing in the hallway just a couple of hours ago with a baseball and glove, waiting for her to come home from work so that he could show her that he lost another tooth. She had laughed and hugged him while she walked him to his apartment door, and waved a quick hello to his mom, Molly. Molly had invited her into the apartment for dinner, but after a twelve-hour shift at the hospital, Caroline just craved quiet.
She had unloaded her work bag, purse, and jacket just inside her apartment door, then she stripped her clothes off for a hot shower, only stopping on the way to snag a bottle of wine and a glass from her tiny kitchen. After a steaming hot shower to scald away the tension in her muscles, and a full glass of wine, she slipped on her comfiest yoga pants and tank top. Then she had settled onto the couch to watch her favorite Thursday-night TV programs. Roughly sixty minutes later as she crawled for all she was worth, all Caroline could think about was Tyler and Molly trapped in their apartment and scared, or worse.
Now doesn’t that get your heart thumping? You have to get your own copy of this book to find out what happened to Caroline, Tyler and Molly. So click on the cover above and it will take you directly to Siren’s webpage where you can get Fire of the Wolf in any e-book format you need. Not sure what format your e-reader needs? Not a problem. There is an easy to follow help section on the site to help you purchase and download your copy today. And don’t forget book two, Reflections of the Wolf is due out in October 2012.
Since the last entry here, I actually finished the first “draft” of TheIsland to my publisher. I got a request to revise it and basically split it into two books. Not that it was too long for one book, I just had too much going on. I needed to focus on one couple at a time so to speak.
Well, I took that advice to heart and now have The Islandand The Surrender ofJuliaas book two and three respectively. I’m so glad I did that! Not only did I get to delve deeper into the world of the wickedly beautiful Julia Santos, I got to spend more time with Jake and Quinn building on their full love story and with both books, I got to bring in more of the paranormal element.
As a Wiccan, I believe in more than just one God or Goddess. I wove that into the story having characters who are also Wiccan, and introducing The Three as basically my version of the Trinity. There is Yeshua the Elder God/brother who is the Creator. The Goddess Fate or Lady Fate as I call her in in charge of Destiny. Then there is the “youngest” Sibling, the God of Trials and Tribulations, better known as Lucius. Without The Three working together there would be Chaos. At times it would seem that Lucius works against his Siblings in order to prove that humans aren’t worthy of the blessings Yeshua has bestowed upon them. In actuality, Lucius puts the humans through the tests in order to be sure they are worthy. It’s up to them to choose the right paths in each life time to get the blessings. If they don’t, then they keep trying life time after life time until they get it right.
Quinn and Jacob are true soul mates. Through each and every life time, they search for each other, but through their own choices, are pulled apart repeatedly. Their hearts cry out to Lady Fate every time and finally she’s had enough. She wants to intervene by way of the Island. She hopes if they get to be together in that paradise, both will finally be able to choose the one path leading them back into each other’s arms. She enlists the help of two guardian angels to help gently nudge and guide them down the right direction.
These same angels will have their hands full. Not only do they have to convince Quinn and Jacob to go back to the Earthly realm to find each other again, they have to watch over several other people. Some have already crossed the path of our fated lovers, and others they have yet to meet.
I believe we are not alone and that other beings are there to help us get through life’s challenges if only we ask. Why should we go through life thinking it’s all just random and chance? Why should my characters? That’s why I wanted to bring in the Gods and the Goddess into Quinn’s story. That’s why I made their guardian angels people they knew: Quinn’s brother Danny and Jacob’s father Michael. Being able to see, hear, and touch their loved ones again, helps to build up their faith in the promise given to them by The Three. This time was in fact their time to be together. Nothing and no one would ever tear them apart again.
In that light, here’s the music that often runs through my head when I think of Jacob and Quinn’s love story. In the first book we got to see just about everything through Quinn’s perspective, but in The Islandwe get to see a broken man finally find his way back to the one person who could complete him heart and soul.
I’ve never been too fond of Mondays until I started up Oh My! Mondays to showcase steamy hot excerpts from some fantastic authors. This week I’m thrilled to welcome back to Behind Closed Doors, my friend and fellow Siren author, Amber Lea Easton. Today she’s sharing an excerpt that will melt your panties off and leave you begging for more. Would you risk it all for a chance to get your happily ever after or are you the type who is afraid to take any chances at all? Let’s see what Amber has to say about taking risks…
Risk: a word that terrifies some people. Artists take risks when they put their heart on display for the world to judge. Policemen, firefighters, and military take risks when they rush in when we’re rushing out. We human beings take risks all the time whether we’re conscious of it or not–when we decide to call the guy back, make eye contact with that hottie we’ve been daydreaming about for weeks, quit our jobs for something better, leave a relationship that’s comfortable for the unknown, buy that dress that’s more seductive than our “usual style” or reinvent ourselves so we can live the life we’ve always dreamed. All of those are risks that may not be life-threatening, but can certainly feel like it. In Riptide, my hero and heroine have learned the hard way that people lie, that betrayal is too easy for some, but they risk being hurt again when they open their hearts to one another. That’s what love is about…trusting one other person with your raw and open heart, letting go of the fear of rejection for that adrenaline rush, breaking down the walls that protect you, and risking it all for your chance at happily ever after. It’s not easy ..but, as they saying goes, nothing worthwhile ever is.
Blurb from Riptide
One violent night shatters Lauren Biltmore’s life. As an anchorwoman, she’s accustomed to reporting the news rather than being the lead story. She escapes the spotlight by fleeing to her brother’s home in the Cayman Islands. Haunted by nightmares, all she wants is a distraction from reality.
Distraction arrives via sexy screenwriter Noah Reynolds. His take-me-to-bed looks mask a past ripe with scandal. He knows he should stay away from Lauren, especially when the worst night of her life unlocks his writer’s block and while he’s dealing with a stalker of his own, but ethics are his weakness.
Attraction sizzles beneath Caribbean sunshine. As their relationship grows, Noah’s stalker intensifies her torment. Lauren wonders if her paranoia is justified or a carryover from her past. What’s real? What’s imagined?
Tentative trust is tested as their love is swept up against a riptide of deceit, murder, and revenge.
“Hey, sexy lady.” He sat behind her, pulled her between his legs and rested his chin on her shoulder. “What do you think of my boat now?”
She sipped her wine before tilting her head to look at him. “There’s more to it than meets the eye, kind of like the captain.”
“Captain, huh?” He moved her hair and kissed the back of her neck. “I don’t suppose I could get you to call me sir for a few hours?”
“Oh, I see what your game is.” She laughed and leaned her head back to allow him easier access to her neck. “Whatever you say, sir. Your boat, your rules.”
“Good answer.” His mouth toyed with her earlobe. “I like having you all to myself. Seems like we’re always interrupted at the house.”
She twisted her head to look him in the eye. “Are you thinking about the house?”
“Not right now.” He brushed her hair from her face. Damn, she was beautiful.
He kissed her neck. She tasted like salt air and citrus. He unzipped her dress and smoothed his hands over her bare back. When his fingers slipped over her ribs, he heard her sharp intake of breath. Smiling against her neck, he moved his hands over her breasts. Squeezed. His mouth toyed with her ear. He liked the way her breasts filled his hands perfectly, as if they were made for him.
He kissed the line of her jaw as his hands slid over her flat abdomen. He felt the scar and traced it with his thumbs before sliding his hands back over her breasts.
Her hand gripped the back of his head as she ground her lips against his. Her mouth was wet and urgent beneath his, her tongue insistent.
He pulled the dress from her shoulders before pushing her down. Dragging his mouth from hers, he raised up enough to look down at her bare torso. Stunned by the intensity of emotion that flooded through him, he buried his face between her breasts and pinned her wrists against her sides.
Wine spilled. Both the bottle and glasses rolled toward the edge.
His mouth made love to first one breast and then the other. He savored every inch of her skin. She squirmed beneath him, but he refused to release her wrists. She needed to surrender, to enjoy being worshipped.
“Noah, please,” she said, her squirming making him insane with desire. “I need you inside me. Please. You’re torturing me.”
He slid down, his teeth pulled at the silky material of her panties. He released her wrists and moved his hands over her naked torso as his teeth worked her panties lower over her hips.
“Damn it, Noah. You’re killing me.”
He smiled against her hipbone. “Relax. We’re gonna get there.”
He pulled her panties and her dress from her legs and tossed them aside without looking away from her body. He ran his hands up her long legs, kissed the inside of her knees, licked the inside of her thighs, tasted the center of her, felt her body contract around his fingers as he slid them inside her. Wet and hot, she tasted sweet and intoxicating.
Her body arched beneath his mouth. Her hands were in his hair. She moaned his name over and over.
He kissed a trail over her abdomen, lingered again on her breasts, moved to her neck before merging his mouth with hers. She pulled his shirt off of his shoulders while he fumbled with the zipper of his shorts with one hand. Muttering something against his mouth, she pushed hard until he rolled onto his back, taking her with him.
She bent over him, hair trailing across his face as she kissed his neck and chest. Her hands pulled his shorts low, reached for his penis before her tongue licked the tip. He rolled his head back and gasped for air.
“Condom in my pocket,” he said between gritted teeth.
She knelt over him, hair blowing across her face as she rummaged in the pocket of his shorts for the condom.
“Give it here.” Propped on an elbow, he grabbed the package and ripped it open. Damn, he needed to be inside this woman with an urgency he hadn’t felt in years—if ever. The need pulsated through his veins and reverberated in his ears.
And then she was on him, rocking, hair blowing across her face, hands pressing against his chest, breasts moving with her rhythm, body silhouetted by stars in a night sky. She looked like a sea goddess having her way with him. He grabbed her waist and ground his hips against hers. She leaned over and kissed him with an urgency that shook him like an earthquake.
He rolled her back over and thrust into her again and again, needing to go deep. They were a tangle of limbs as their bodies merged in a desperate dance. Mouths found one another. Breath caught between them. When he climaxed, he let out a shout. She laughed—breathless—her nails scratching down his back.
“I can’t get enough of you.” Her breath brushed against the sweat of his neck.
“I know what you mean.” He muttered against the top of her head. “Damn, I want to do that again.” He kissed her forehead. “And again.” He kissed her lips and lingered. “And again.”
“Stay inside me. Don’t move.” She fisted her hands in his hair and looked him in the eye. “I think my dress blew overboard.”
He laughed, enjoying the feel of her legs still wrapped around him. “Do you care?”
“Not even a little bit.” She kissed him, eyes wide open.
He held her head close and looked into her eyes. Despite everything—her history, the note on his door, the mess he was in, her pain from the past and uncertainty about the future—she was brave enough to be here with him naked on the bow of his boat surrounded by deep water and darkness.
“I was right that day at The Lazy Turtle when I said you were dangerous,” he said against her lips. “You’re the most dangerous woman I’ve ever met.”
Didn’t I tell you? Melted your panties off didn’t it? (fanning self) Want a bit more of Riptide? Check out the video trailer. Buckle up! This will knock you off your feet!
Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published fiction and nonfiction author. For twenty years, she’s worked in the fields of journalism and advertising with a brief detour into the financial industry. Although she holds a BA in Communications & Journalism, she is a perpetual student of life who enjoys taking post-graduate courses on a wide variety of subjects when time allows. Smart is sexy, according to Easton, which is why she writes about strong female characters who have their flaws and challenges, but who ultimately persevere.
Easton currently lives with her two teenagers in the Colorado Rocky Mountains where she gives thanks daily for the gorgeous view outside her window. She finds inspiration from traveling, the people she meets, nature and life’s twists and turns. At the end of the day, as long as she’s writing, she considers herself to be simply “a lucky lady liv’n the dream.”
Thank you for sharing with us today, Amber! For those of you who want another look at Riptide, head over to my sister blog Sassy Vixen Publishing on August 9th when she shares the first thirteen sentences of the book. And yeah…they are SMOKIN’! See ya there! ~Tammy