My Sunday nights are busy. Usually, I watch The Last Ship, then Falling Skies. Finally, I switch to HBO and watch the last season of True Blood. I kept catching glimpses of The Strain, the new vampire show on FXX. The commercials drew me in, piqued my interests, but I am a loyal watcher of my favorite shows and don’t have time for anything else.
This weekend, with nothing else of TV, I made time for The Strain and boy am I glad I did. Within fifteen minutes of the first episode, I was hooked. Dracula on a plane with a captive audience, Holy Hell. Dracula—AKA The Master—doesn’t look like Luke Evans. He is the opposite of sexy. The dude is huge and Evil with a capital E.
I don’t want to give away any spoilers, and there are many—but if you are looking for a real vampire story with characters that don’t sparkle or whine, The Strain is for you.
There is no comparison to Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Buffy, Angel, or True Blood. This is no angsty hormonal teen drama set in a suburban high school or the bayou of Louisiana. NYC is the setting. The grit and grim are as real as the tension and danger. And I loved every second of it.
The Strain executive by Guillermo Del Toro is a cut above the rest of the pack. Reality (the CDC and a runaway virus) and fantasy (Dracula and his minions) blend perfectly. I have to reorganize my Sunday night, because The Strain is my new must watch show.
This is an excerpt from Everlasting, releasing July 15th.
His firm lips kissed the delicate spot above her collarbone. Did he know that would drive her crazy? She grabbed his broad shoulders. Her nipples tightened. Desire coiled low in her groin. His long, midnight hair brushed the back of her hand. She threaded her fingers through the silky strands and arched, bringing her nipples into contact with his hard pecs. Need shot through her.
His lips stroked up the column of her neck. She turned her head, giving him complete access to the sensitive skin. He chuckled, a deep, sensual sound that reverberated through her and made her want to hear him laugh.
A velvety touch circled the shell of her ear. She giggled and twisted her head to get away, bringing their lips within centimeters of contact. Would he finally kiss her? Through the fall of his hair, she glimpsed his eyes.Deep ocean blue. She struggled for air as she drowned in their watery depths.
His hands tightened on her bare hips. Her legs parted and slid up his muscular thighs. She was more than ready for him. He said her name. Whispered it. “Alexis. Wake up.”
Detective Alexis Lever shot straight up in her bed. Her breath hitched and her heart ran a marathon in her chest.
She’d dreamed of him before, but never so vividly. He was always shrouded. Shadows masked his face and a great distance separated them. Tonight, she felt his touch, glimpsed his face.
I’m an October baby, so I love autumn. It’s my favorite time of year. The heat of summer is over, but winter’s bitter cold hasn’t set in yet. My ideal hot autumn night would be lying on a blanket in my backyard, with a bottle of wine, a tray of chocolate strawberries, and a sexy man next to me.
Tell me what is your idea of a Hot Autumn Night and win a $20 amazon gift card.
Now for a hot excerpt of my debut novel, Eternity.
Rocking, no longer the purr of a car, but a steady, slightly nauseating rocking motion woke her. The chug and rumble, and a glimpse of water out of the car window confirmed her location. She was on a boat. A few feet away, Roman stood at the rail.
Stella opened the door and stepped into a fine mist and a slick metal deck. The strong smell of diesel filled the air. She’d traveled on the Staten Island Ferry for a job interview once. Too afraid to go up on the open deck, fear of drowning kept her in the middle of the ferry, seated near the snack bar. This rusted wreck couldn’t compare. No deck chairs, no snack bars, and no lower levels. The water lapping against the boat seemed dangerously close.
She looked around, searching for other travelers. There were none. Roman and she were the only people. She glanced up and spotted a shadow in the weather worn wheelhouse. The captain, hopefully. The boat rode a crest and groaned when it slammed back into the water. Stella clutched the car to steady herself. Level again, she carefully walked around to the front of the car.
“Where are we?” Afraid to cross the distance, Stella perched on the hood. Roman faced her. His shades were gone. In the weak light his eyes were deep, dark drowning pools.
“No one sits on the hood of a Shelby.”
“Why?” was the only thing she could think of to say.
“Because, it’s a Shelby.”
As if that answered the question. Cautiously, she came to the rail and stared out into the dark night for any landmarks. Light twinkled in the distance, but didn’t cast enough illumination to pick out any details. “Where are you taking me?”
“Does that place exist?” Her lips twisted in a wry smile.
“It’s my job to make sure it does, at least for you.”
“Is that the only reason why you’re here, because it’s your job?” She shouldn’t have asked, but the words slipped out without a care for her pride.
“Why else would I be here? I’m a mercenary. I have a job to complete.” Monotone, his voice held no life, no passion.
Something in her heart broke. “Just a job?” Watery, her voice wavered.
“Just a job.” He turned his back on her.
Streaks of sunlight stabbed the sky. If she cared to see, the perfect sunrise greeted the day. She couldn’t enjoy it, not when a continent separated her and the man standing inches away. And rightly so. Too much shit had passed between them for anything meaningful to survive. Its best she let go of what she thought they had. It’s not like she didn’t have other things to worry about.
Like the serial killer chasing them.
“Did you know?” Her heart already knew the answer, but her head needed more confirmation.
“Not a clue?’ she pressed.
His eyes snapped to hers. Pain did laps in their depths. They said what his lips refused to impart.
She touched his stubbled cheek. “I’m sorry, Roman.”
He jerked away. “Don’t pity me.”
She couldn’t deny it. Pity is exactly what she felt seeing his pain.
“Landing in ten.” The captain cupped his mouth and yelled from the wheelhouse.
Roman gave him a single wave.
“Landing where?” she asked.
“A small town upstate.” He walked over and stopped in front of her. “Fifty miles from here is a cabin on a lake. That’s where we’re going.”
“Why there?” She wanted to keep him talking.
“It’s a good place to hold up and rest.”
A simple touch stopped him before he went to the car. “I’m sorry you were betrayed.”
Though he turned away, his shoulders rose as he took a great shuddering breath. This time when she pulled him, he moved into her arms and she couldn’t help burying her face in his neck. She pushed all her questions and valid reasons aside. Q&A would come later. Right now, their joined pain needed easing.
God, his scent shot through her blood stream like nicotine to a three pack-a-day smoker who had quit puffing a week ago.
Roman bent her body to his and molded every inch to his strength. Pressed against the entire length of him, his heart thudded, echoing her loneliness and his anguish. In this moment, they were one.
She didn’t want his arms around her. Naked, that’s what she desire most, to peel his shirt off and touch his perfect body. Briefly, his arms tightened as she pushed away, but he released her and stepped away. She grabbed his belt. His silly expression made her giggle as her nervous fingers fumbled with his buckle, belt, button and zipper. Laughter came to a choked halt when her hands dipped in the waistband of his briefs and she sprang his erection free. Tip glistening, her thumb ran over the wet opening and delighted in the passionate gasp her single finger evoked from him.
She fisted her hand around him and rolled her palm over the sensitive tip. His hips jerked when she gave a gentle squeeze and stroked downward. From the roll of his eyes and rhythmically pulsing of his hips, she commanded his passion.
As he commanded hers. The heat between her legs gathered. She stroked, up, around, down, and watched his face contort into painful pleasure, then pulled her hand away. He nearly snatched her hand back, but Stella met his lust-crazed eyes with her tongue licking her lips.
Slowly, she circled his tense body. The first time or the hundredth, the sight of him made her breathless. She stepped in front of him and unbuttoned her pants.
“We can’t do this.” His hand stopped the descent of her zipper.
Please teetered on the tip of her tongue.
He drew in a harsh breath. “I’m your bodyguard. Nothing more.” Still hard, he stuffed himself back into his pants and walked away.
Did you like it? Want to read more?
Cursed for 2000 years, Roman Nicolis has tracked his lovers’ soul through each reincarnation only to lose her horribly every time. Reclaiming their love is their only salvation. He’s been her friend, her father, her neighbor, but never again her lover … until now.
A late night walk home throws Stella into the path of a killer. The last thing she remembers are the deep blue eyes of the man trying to kill her—and the first things she sees after a seven-day coma are the same blue eyes in the handsome face of the man hired to protect her. Is he truly the owner of a security firm assigned to protect her or the man who wants to finish her off? Is it fear she feels when Roman touches her or the memory of something sweeter? She will have to push past her fears and reclaim a love that has lasted two millennia.
Past secrets haunt them. An angry demon stalks them.
Roman will do anything to recover what they had. Though Stella’s ruined childhood has made her close her heart and body to any man, he must get past the walls around her to gain her love and trust, for it will take their union to defeat an unexpected enemy sent from the Egyptian Gods. A man Romans respects, and Stella trusts.
Alamut, the demon slave of the Egyptian God Anubis, is the lead villain in my Egyptian God series.
As a member of the Nicolis family, he has power and position. But he’s a bitter, hostile soul with ambitions well beyond his means. With borrowed power from Anubis and an ancient relic at his disposal, he has the means to overthrow a pantheon and reshape the world.
Here’s an excerpt from Eternity which gives you some insight into Alamut’s world.
I failed. Stella Walker lived.
Alamut—so named by his god Anubis—balled his hands at his sides. His gut twisted. A simple woman survived his harvesting when all others succumbed. Heart suspended in his chest, he leaned closer to the dresser mirror and stared into his blue irises, searching. There, swirling in the depth were writhing tendrils. Anubis hadn’t abandoned him. The god’s power still coursed through him. Dark, intoxicating threads granted him the power to supplant the will of mortals and lead them to their slaughter, all in the name of his master. Like water to a stranded man, only this quenched his thirst. Not the bonds of his false family or the duty and loyalty they demanded. Nothing mattered, but what the god promised. For his servitude, the power to rule would be his.
But Stella Walker still breathed. She refused to submit. Somehow she defied the power of Anubis and survived. Now she recuperated in a hospital, guarded by the family, when her soul should be in the bowels of Duat, The Underworld, at Anubis’ command. All of the souls he harvested waited there in ceremonial jars for The Rising, the day Anubis would lead his army against his father, SET, for control of The Underworld and ultimately, Chemmis, the home of the Egyptian pantheon.
Damn it! He ground his teeth in frustration. Her survival could destroy everything for him. Instead of a general in Anubis’ army, he would remain here, locked in his current position as lackey in the Nicolis household.
One moment he was enjoying the final seconds with his latest victim, next a startled gasp jerked him around and stole those precious seconds from him. Frozen on the second floor ramp of the parking garage, the dim lighting in the garage haloed her. He almost dropped to his knees ready to repent for the cooling body still clutched in his hands. Until she turned and broke into a run.
No, not an angel. Mortal.
He dropped his victim and charged after her. She ran faster than expected. What should have been a short sprint turned into a chase from the garage and through downtown. He should’ve let her go. Left one alive to tell the tale. What she saw didn’t matter nor the innocence of her soul. She ran, he chased. Prey and predator. The outcome was a foregone conclusion, but she didn’t go down like the rest. She fought when others succumbed. Even when he used the power Anubis gifted him with, she battled for her life. He almost respected her. For days she lingered, each hour getting closer to death. Then suddenly Roman shows up and she opens her eyes. Stella!
“For his next trick, Roman will walk on water,” Alamut griped. The recently healed muscles on his back twitched with the memory of his more recent punishment. Anubis, The God of the Dead, had an abundance of knowledge about pain and torture. Roman would suffer for this, and so would she.
He glared at his image in the dresser mirror. His eyes glowed neon. The mirror warped, twisting his features into something familiar and grotesque. A monster. Good. The face of a monster was better than the visage returning his stare. The same deep blue eyes in a similar angular face with the same curly dark hair. This is the face the world saw and constantly compared to Roman. But he wasn’t Roman. He didn’t lead the family, wasn’t CEO of the company, and he wasn’t immortal. Roman was everything that the Nicolis name embodied, while the rest of the family withered in his shadow.
He buried his fist in the mirror. Shards exploded around his hand, showering glass everywhere.
Without warning, his bedroom door burst open and Thane entered. “What the fuck, man? What happened?” His head swiveled, taking in the damage.
Hand bleeding, he wiped his knuckles on his jeans and inhaled a slow breath. His heart rate steady, the donated energy from Anubis dissipated leaving his muscles quaking. One wrong move and he’d collapse. Thane approached warily studying him.
Show no weakness. Roman taught him that lesson here at RockGate. He learned it again at the feet of his god when he accepted enslavement. He looked over his shoulder at his older brother, nailing him with a stare.
Hmm, another new suit. He swallowed his scorn and forced a smile across his tight face. “I didn’t like what I saw.”
“Just realized you’re not as pretty as you thought, huh?” Thane chuckled, though the laughter didn’t reach his steady eyes. “Dinner’s ready. You coming?”
Strength returned in a rush. He swayed a bit, but managed to turn. Thane waited in the middle of his bedroom watching him with a gaze that used to intimidate. Not anymore.
“I have other plans.” He shrugged into his jacket and left Thane where he stood. Not caring what his brother thought.
Worry Thane, it’s what you do best. A gong sounded in his head, turning his smirk into a grimace. His vision wavered and dimmed. The Summoning began.
No. Not now. Paused on the first landing of the grand staircase, voices filtered from the dining room and other parts of the house. He couldn’t allow this to happen now, in the mansion with nearly everyone home.
Like someone taking a sledgehammer to the Liberty Bell, his head gonged again. Anubis called. He held his skull between his hands and tripped down the remaining stairs to land on his knees on the marble floor. He ignored the pain and staggered to his feet. Then the calling tugged on his soul, nearly bringing him down again. Footsteps echoed down the hallway, coming his way.
He dashed through the kitchen and stumbled into the garage. Alone, he grounded himself in this place and moment, holding his atoms together by the force of his will. Sweat drenched his clothes, plastering them to his frame. He couldn’t go, not now when he couldn’t explain or defend himself.
The pull ebbed, slowly releasing him. He hopped in his Mustang and peeled out of RockGate. Windows down, he hit one hundred on the highway and enjoyed the swerving car and beating wind. This is what he loved, the buzz of the edge, the thrill of pushing his mortality to milliseconds before the end and then pulling back. Immortality was wasted on Roman. Instead of living, he sat around waiting for a woman.
Stella. Her name rolled around his mouth like rock candy, banging his teeth, bruising his palate, but too damn tasty to spit out. Everything about her was sweet, especially her screams.
I hope you enjoyed it. Scroll down for more excerpts and be sure to leave a comment with your email address to win a grand prize.
This is a snippet from Everlasting, the sequel to Eternity.
Alexis brushed some wayward strands of hair away from Reign’s face and his drowsy eyes opened. A tired smile crossed his lips and she leaned in. She wanted to taste him, that’s all. One kiss to settle the heat stirring in her blood.
Centimeter away from his lips, she paused . . . then drew away.
“This cake won me First Prize at the county fair last year. It is very chocolaty.”
1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into a well greased 12 cup bundt pan.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least an hour and a half before inverting onto a plate If desired, dust the cake with powdered sugar.
Here’s an excerpt from my work-in-progress, Everlasting, the sequel to Eternity.
“Oh, there’s cake.” Alexis brought the chocolate and forks from the kitchen. She placed the plate on the coffee table and handed Reign a fork. “Dig in.”
When he didn’t moved she stuck her fork in the center and scooped up a chunk. Chocolate, her favorite drug. It was a slice of heaven in her mouth, instant happiness for a few blissful seconds. He followed suit and groaned so loud the sound reverberated in her chest.
“What in the name of the gods is this?” He shoveled another mouthful.
“It’s called chocolate cake. You like?”
His eyes rolled back in his head. He nodded and then decimated the cake. All that was left were smudges of chocolate on his lips.
“You have food . . .” She pointed to the corner of his lips. His tongue flicked out and licked the crumbs away. How would that tongue feel licking other places?
Why can’t husbands be more like the heroes we create? As a writer, we spend an enormous amount of time creating the perfect guy for our perfect girl. The question I find myself asking is, did we spend that much time getting to know the men we marry.
Is love instant? Or does being around a person make it blossom or wane? I can answer this one. It depends on the man, the time period in which you meet and the amount of stress both individuals are under. So un-romantic.
I’ve known women that married their husband less than six months after meeting them. On the other hand, I’ve known women that married their husbands six, ten, fifteen years after meeting them. Which marriages last longer? This isn’t a scientific report, so I don’t have the answer.
I will say not all heroes should be perfect . I love The Dark Knight and reference that picticular character often when thinking of a complicated man. When I create my hunky, hero with all the attributes we women desire, I remind myself to include some flaws. Not the ones women despise, the ones we tolerate. The list varies widely, so I won’t go into details.
Much like husbands, no matter how many times we tweak and manipulate our heroes, our heroines fall for the guy that not perfect, very complicated but somehow makes our world a brighter place.
I think of this often when comparing real men to pretend men. Trying to merge the two isn’t for the faint hearted, but we romance writers have the hearts of lions and nimble fingers. Often, we leap tall building-it may take more than one bound-write faster than a speeding bullet-when supplied with enough chocolate-take our characters and plots to the promise land.
And after all of that, sometimes, we get lucky and get published.
What a life.
As I write, I have to keep reminding myself to increase the tension. Dialogue can be tense but doesn’t come close to action. You’re hero and heroine running, chasing, fighting, loving, nothing can compare. I love good dialogue and find myself placing my characters in situations where they ‘talk’ through their problems. In real life, that works. Not so much in a romance novel.
The past year I have taken many classes. I can’t remembered all of them but important tidbit float to the surface of my brain. As I struggle with my current work in progress I remembered one. Each scene is a push towards the end. Each scene should increase the tension until the end. And, as you write your scenes ask yourself would you be excited reading this?
Stuck in the sagging middle of my novel, I’m asking myself that question and laughing as I toss out the old and increase the tension.
I just finished an important scene. It took a week to write but I’m feeling accomplished right now. I have to say, I’m like the manuscript more as I do revisions and take it in a new direction. Conflict is key. I keep remembering to throw the kitchen sink my hero and heroine and see what happens. It’s actually fun! I love writing. Learn about these people trapped in my head, urging me to tell their tale. It may be boring to other but the worlds I create are exciting to me and the people that enjoy reading it.
I received a request for revisions from a managing editor of an e-pub I submitted to in January. I’m so excited! But definitely stressed. I have a lot of work ahead of me. I need to increase the conflict between the hero/ine which means taking the book in a different direction. Also, I need to eliminate a few unnecessary characters along with re-vamping my villain. See, a lot of work ahead of me. Not an insurmountable mountain but still a climb.