Talking Ideas and Inspiration with Annabeth Albert

I love chatting with other writers, so I was thrilled when Annabeth Albert agreed to answer a few questions about her new book, Off Base, where she gets her ideas, and what inspires her, because, well, I’m talkative and can’t ask simple questions.

Welcome, Annabeth!

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The Apocalypse Interview with Jody Wallace

Jody Wallace has a new book out called Prodigal. It’s the third title in her Maelstrom Chronicles. Because it features an apocalypse and aliens, I wanted to read it. They’re…kinda my thing. Spoiler alert: It’s a very entertaining book! It’s a great blend of apocalypse and aliens, plus action, a sexy romance and a hint of the paranormal with the way the shades and daemons operate.You can read my review here. Then I decided to ask Jody a few questions and that turned into us talking apocalypses. Apparently they’re her thing too. Continue reading

Excerpt: Quiet as a Mouse by Asta Idonea

Dreamspinner’s Daily Dose releases today. This year’s theme is ‘A Walk on the Wild Side’, with the call being for stories about unique shifters. Asta Idonea answered with a cute story about a church mouse with a passion for music, and his church’s musical director.  Quiet as a Mouse is short, sweet and available today. Read on for the synopsis, an excerpt and where to buy!

QuietasaMouseCoverQuiet as a Mouse

Upon moving to a new town, shy shifter Paul is instantly smitten by local choirmaster Cale. Wanting to spend as much time with Cale as possible, he becomes the proverbial church mouse so he can enjoy Cale’s music without revealing his feelings.  But when Cale sees him and traps are set, Paul faces a difficult choice. What does he want out of life, and does he have the courage to go after it? Will he be a man… or a mouse?

Available now at the following retailers:

Dreamspinner Press |ARe |Amazon US |Amazon UK

Excerpt

Religion wasn’t the reason he was here. Every member of the group knew that, and he suspected one or two judged him for it, but for the most part, he’d been welcomed into the church choir with open arms. Believer or atheist, they could all agree on their love for fine choral chants. What he hoped none of the others knew was the fact it wasn’t only the music that kept him coming back week after week. Not God, not music, but a man gave rise to his devotion. And that man was the choir’s musical director, Cale Abbott.

Paul first saw Cale a few weeks after he moved to the small town in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. A lifelong music lover, he heard of a forthcoming organ recital at the local church and decided to go along, partly for the performance and partly for company. A close call had almost led to the discovery of his secret at his last abode, and he had been forced to beat a quick retreat. He worked as a freelance illustrator and could earn his living from anywhere with a decent Internet connection, so he’d packed up his bags, dropped a pin into the map, and ended up here. It wasn’t the first time he’d had to make an impromptu move, and it wouldn’t be the last. It was a price he had to pay, given what he was, and yet no matter how many times he went through it, the first few weeks were always the hardest. Settling into a new place, trying to blend with the locals, establishing a new routine; all these things required a certain fortitude that went against his shy nature.

An audio version of this excerpt is available here!


Author Pic 2015About the author:

Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England, but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!

As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel; all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.

Where to find her:

Blog |Facebook |Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | LinkedIn | Amazon Author US | Amazon Author UK

 

 

Excerpt: Fire Up My Heart by Asta Idonea

A couple of weeks ago, I featured a cover reveal for a new science fiction romance novella, Fire Up My Heart by Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus). Today, to help celebrate the release, I have an excerpt and an audio sneak peek to share! Before I get to that, though, let me just say: I loved this story! Both Fane and Jo-E were engaging, but Jo-E especially stole my heart. The simplicity of his emotions and desires was so refreshing. Sometimes a love story doesn’t need to be more complicated than a need to be close. Of course, with Jo-E being a service Bot, this story is just a little more complicated.

FireUpMyHeart-PreviewFire Up My Heart

London bartender Fane thinks he’s hit the jackpot when he finds a rare and expensive service Bot discarded in a dumpster, and he takes it home to get it working again. The Jo-E brings some much-needed companionship to Fane’s lonely life, but there’s something different about this Bot, as indicated by its odd behavior. Fane’s developing feelings toward Jo-E trouble him, and things go from bad to worse when a robotics engineer arrives on Fane’s doorstep, demanding the return of his property. Fane is forced to choose between a hefty reward and following his heart. Giving in to his forbidden desires might get him killed—or change his life forever.

Available now at the following retailers:

Dreamspinner Press |ARe |Amazon US |Amazon UK

Excerpt

It was raining cats and dogs when Fane Maddox left the club and made his way through Soho’s neon-lit streets. His shift at Spunk, London’s rundown retro gay bar, had finished at 2:00 a.m., and his weary feet ached as he commenced the long walk back to his flat in Finsbury Park.

On foot, it was a journey of a good hour and a half, but it wasn’t as if he had any other options. The first tube service on a Sunday morning didn’t begin until gone seven, and since a lack of customers, combined with a recent petrol shortage, had led to the cancellation of all London’s night buses, it was a case of walking or taking a taxi. Thanks to the fuel hike, the cost of a black cab was extortionate these days, and the trip home in one would use up all his tips for the night. Therefore, he had no choice but to rely on his own two feet. At least the long walks kept him fit.

He would have passed the alley without a second glance. However, at that moment, the neon sign that wrapped around the corner of the building flickered, drawing his gaze. He started to turn away, then looked back, convinced he must be seeing things. Either he was losing his mind, or there were a pair of legs dangling over the side of the huge garbage bin at the entrance to the alleyway.

Fane dithered. He was tired and sopping wet. The last thing he wanted was to be responsible for finding a dead body. He’d have to call the cops, and who knew how long it would take them to show. If they turned up at all. In the meantime he’d be left standing in this downpour and, knowing his luck, would probably catch pneumonia. Then again, maybe the guy was merely drunk or injured and in need of assistance. Could Fane live with himself if he walked on by?

Heaving a sigh, Fane shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his jeans and crossed the street. Once he reached the alley, he glanced left and right. Then, seeing no one around, he boosted himself up and into the dumpster.

The bags of rubbish crunched and shifted beneath him. He lost his balance and shot out a hand, grabbing hold of the rim of the bin to steady himself. One of the bags must have split under his weight, because a foul smell wafted through the air. Fane screwed up his nose. Determined to make a speedy exit, he scrambled two steps forward to reach the body.

Even in the dim, stuttering neon glow, it only took him a second to realize his mistake. This wasn’t a body. At least not a human one.

An audio version of this excerpt is available here!


Author Pic 2015About the author:

Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England, but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!

As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel; all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.

Where to find her:

Blog |Facebook |Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | LinkedIn | Amazon Author US | Amazon Author UK

 

 

Cover Reveal: Fire Up My Heart by Asta Idonea

Today I’m welcoming Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) to my blog for the cover reveal for her new science fiction romance novella, Fire Up My Heart.

FireUpMyHeart-Preview

Gorgeous, isn’t it?

What it’s all about:

London bartender Fane thinks he’s hit the jackpot when he finds a rare and expensive service Bot discarded in a dumpster, and he takes it home to get it working again. The Jo-E brings some much-needed companionship to Fane’s lonely life, but there’s something different about this Bot, as indicated by its odd behavior. Fane’s developing feelings toward Jo-E trouble him, and things go from bad to worse when a robotics engineer arrives on Fane’s doorstep, demanding the return of his property. Fane is forced to choose between a hefty reward and following his heart. Giving in to his forbidden desires might get him killed—or change his life forever.

Coming from Dreamspinner Press, 25 May 2016

Dreamspinner Press |ARe |Amazon US |Amazon UK

About the author:

Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England, but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!

As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel; all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.

Where to stalk her:

Blog |Facebook |Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | LinkedIn | Amazon Author US | Amazon Author UK

 

 

Pride Weekend by Charley Descoteaux

Ever bought a book because the cover was so gorgeous, you were convinced the story was one you needed to read? I do this more often than is probably advisable. I will glance at the cover copy, just to make sure it’s my kind of book, but when I say glance, I mean a quick once over. Yep, looks good, let’s buy it. That’s how Buchanan House came into my possession, even though I’d never read Charley Descoteaux before. I wanted to spend a few hours on the Oregon coast with her characters. I’ve also always wanted to open a B&B or coastal resort. Match made, and made well. Buchanan House is a lovely book. Eric’s story is a sweet and lyrical one and I cheered his happy ever after. So I’m really looking forward to the continuing stories of Buchanan House…and super excited that the next one is free!

Also, it’s another gorgeous cover. >.>

Read on for details and a short excerpt!

PrideWeekendFSPride Weekend

Overworked cubicle jockey Adam Byron wants to attend Oregon Coast Pride in style but the price of a room at Buchanan House, a popular gay retreat on the central coast, is beyond his budget. So he won’t miss out, he advertises online for someone to share expenses. Corporate drone Silas Grant responds to Adam’s ad, and the two get to know each other via texts before meeting at the coast. They agree on a no-pressure roommate arrangement, yet once they meet face-to-face their attraction is undeniable. Desire might simmer well beyond Pride weekend, no matter how hard Adam and Silas try to live up to their noncommitment pact.

Series: Buchanan House, Book Number: 2
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: April 22, 2015
Word Count: 13,976
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Excerpt

Silas

I didn’t lose my nerve, but with how tentative and quiet Adam stayed while I chatted with our hosts and every other guest at the party, I took things slower than I would’ve liked. The last thing I wanted was for him to think I was a player. Maybe he just wasn’t used to being surrounded by a roomful of horny gay men. Or maybe he was naturally quiet in real life. Whatever his reasons, I could respect them, but I wouldn’t be deterred. I would find out what his body looked like, what it felt like against mine, what it tasted like.

And I would ignore the flare of jealousy I felt whenever another man checked out his ass or rested a hand on his arm.

Everyone flirted with everyone else—it’s just the way it worked at parties like that, and it didn’t necessarily mean anything. Except one couple kept eyeing him and whispering. Maybe hoping for a threesome, or foursome. When they started to approach us, after the other guests had left to go gambling or dancing in Lincoln City, I used a ruse to get Adam outside alone. It had worked on me the first time I had drinks at a party, in my sophomore year of high school, and it worked just as well on Adam. If he knew he hadn’t stumbled, he didn’t seem to care. The unquestioning way he let me take him outside had my dick filling before we cleared the porch. I didn’t think I could wait through the sunset, but it was pretty, so I stuck it out.

I wasn’t the only one who felt tortured, a fact that became obvious as soon as I let my arm rest in his lap.

“Do you want another drink?”

He flinched a little when I spoke. Neither of us had said a word for the past hour. Or maybe he startled because I increased the pressure of my arm against his cock at the same time.

“No, thanks. I’m good.”

I don’t doubt that. “How about if we go upstairs?”

He sighed, almost as though he’d been holding his breath and waiting for me to ask. “That sounds good.”

I didn’t really want to let go of him, but, physics. Once we stood and started moving toward the house, things happened fast. Almost fast enough. We raced up the back staircase—there didn’t seem to be time to go through the party room and then the lobby to take the indoor stairs. I pulled him by the hand until we reached the door to our room. Adam’s key was in a pocket without a button closure, so I reached inside and took it. I slipped my left hand back into that pocket while I unlocked the door with my right. Neither operation went quickly or smoothly, but that first handful—the first time I wrapped a hand around his hard cock, even through the fabric of his pocket—was a life-altering experience.


Get your free copy of Pride Weekend!

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon US | All Romance eBooks


BIO

Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Charley grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during a drought, and found her true home in the soggy Pacific Northwest. She has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.

Rattle Charley’s cages:

Blog:  http://cdescoteauxwrites.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/charley.descoteaux.3

Dreamspinner Author Page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=879

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/CharleyDescote

Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/aqe7g7r

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/charleydescote/

e-mail: c.descoteauxwrites@gmail.com

Interview: Vikki Romano

Today I’m featuring my friend, Vikki Romano. In December, Vikki published her first science fiction novel, Edge of Darkness. I’ve read it and I loved it! It’s an action-packed story with a touch of romance, lots of cool tech, shootouts and a survival bunker full of neat toys (read: weapons).

You can read my full review on Goodreads.

Intrigued by Vikki’s vision and the world she created, I had a few questions for her about where the story came from, about the characters, and where she plans to take us next.

Where did you get the idea for this novel and series? What was the story you wanted to tell?

The feel for this story started long ago, when I was working as a tech consultant in NYC in the 90s.  I was and still am obsessed with tech and where their development is going.  People often ask how I categorize this story and I say “it’s Johnny Mnemonic meets Jason Bourne”.  I’ve always loved the idea of Johnny Mnemonic, of just the premise of having tech be a living part of you.  In Gibson’s story, though, the augment was just a piece of hardware.  I wanted it to be more sentient, something that would pose a risk to the bearer.  And then I thought, wow, what would that be like, to have a piece of hardware inside me that decided to go rogue.  That thought alone actually made me realize how powerful this story could be.  And that’s the story I wanted to tell.  Like the tagline reads, how do you destroy the monster without becoming one yourself?  Fear propagates anger.  Anger propagates heinous action.  From there it just snowballed.

Did you plan the romance between Calder and Sierra at the beginning, or did sparks begin to fly between them as your wrote?

No I didn’t really.  I had written romance for ten years before this, under a different pseudonym, and I really wanted to stay far away from it as a key part of the story.  They were going to just be partners.  I knew two things intrinsically; I wanted the MC to be a male and I wanted the secondary MC to be a kickasss female.  Not for kickass’s sake, but because I was tired of writing women who needed men to save them or their lives.  I also knew that I wanted this to be true to life.  I didn’t have to worry about HAE now, and that was all kinds of freeing.  Thing is, I’m a pantser and my characters tell me what they want to do.  If Calder wanted to shoot her in the head in chapter one, I would have let him.  The romance just happened.  And that’s true to life.

Who is Gage? Is he going to have a larger role in the next book?

Gage is my Damien Scott.  In fact, I saw him as Sullivan Stapleton in my head, which is probably where the Strike Back feel came from. I loved the bromance and banter from that series and it definitely flavored my story quite a bit.  I’ve always been more of a dialogue writer and it worked well here.  Gage will definitely have a larger role in book two.  More than you know.  I mean, Calder’s in space now, so Gage’s top dog back on earth.  You will learn more about him as a character and what brought him to the team.  He has his own secrets that will make or break him and those around him.

(I knew introducing Vikki to Strike Back was a good thing.)

What about Jordan Radcliffe? What was his story?

Jordan just happened.  I knew how I wanted Calder’s time in the military played out, but initially, I had actually written it that GenMed was the one who hacked him.  It didn’t seem thrilling or suspenseful enough for me.  It was too easy.  I wanted there to be more of an underhanded reason for it to happen and Jordan and his crusade just came to me.  He will remain a background support player for the time being, but he will have his day in book three.  I promise.

I’d like to see Sierra turn the tables on these guys. Plan and execute a rescue (because Calder would be such an entertaining hostage, lol). Any plans for that?

Book Two has Sierra written all over it.  This is definitely her time to shine.  And yes, Calder would be a great hostage, he’s so patient LOL.  I can’t even imagine what the scenario would be like.  They are both so stubborn and have strong opinions of their own, which is why their clashes are so tasty.  Like putting two pitbulls in a biscuit shop.  It’s just fun and the ideas are endless.  I can’t confirm or deny that she will rescue him, but rest assured, your appetite for badassery will be satisfied.

What’s next?

Book Two – Breaking Point, like I said above, will center around Sierra.  Where book one told Calder’s story, this one will be all her.  You will learn about her past and why she is where she is today.  And where book one dealt with Calder trying to come to terms with his augment, book two will definitely show the opposite.  If you recall, Sierra has a phobia about biotech.  The psychology of her now having an augment is chilling.  Would be like being severely arachnophobic and then having a spider lay eggs in your brain.  It makes your skin crawl in so many ways and for so many reasons.  Having to discover what this will do to her psychologically will be both terrifying and fulfilling.  And without Calder being around to guide her, well, it’s anyone’s guess what she’ll do… to herself or those around her.

12313642_10206962767960182_7246473297389707233_nEdge of Darkness (Alpha Core Trilogy #1)

In 2065, corporate sponsored governments jockey for supremacy in the biotechnical arena. Bullets and missiles take a back seat to cyber-enhanced soldiers and pulse weapons. In this extreme environment, only the most hardened body and mind can survive.

Calder McKenna was a failed experiment in the military’s push for power. Now a special agent for the metro task force, he lives day by day trying to forget the ones that were lost… the ones that he could have saved.

When technology and humanity collide, Calder is forced to make desperate decisions, but how do you destroy the monster without becoming one yourself?

Amazon | B&N

Where to find Vikki:

Website | Twitter

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