Pushing 40?

My birthday quickly approaches, being a Scorpio and all. I’ll be 38. Now 38 doesn’t seem like that high of a number until you think that 38 is knocking on the door of 40.

It is then that I start to feel old. As if I needed confirmation of my ripe old age, I had my first hot flash during a NaNoWriMo write in. How absolutely embarrassing. My face was blood red and I was fanning myself like I would pass the hell out if I didn’t cool down my body in record time. The woman sitting across from me was much older and just gave me the “poor dear” look. I wanted to rip her throat out. I don’t know why. I’m not a violent person but her confirmation that I was going through what I was going through made me very unhappy.

But I told myself, “Self, you’re not that old.”

Self laughed at me. “Yes you are.”

I  cried.

Then I looked at my children, one 18 and one about to be 14. The 14 year old constantly whines that he’s bored. Bored! Can you imagine? When I was a kid, we didn’t have cell phones. No one did except the military and they were about the size of a 1979 Pontiac Bonneville. 79pont46425-1Oh Christ, I just referenced 1979. I digress.

When you left the house, you simply missed the call. Yep. We weren’t in touch with one another 24/7. When you wanted to talk to a friend, you rode your damned bike to their house (rain, snow, it didn’t matter.) We talked face to face. We made eye contact. When we hung out we listened to music, talked about stuff, watched a movie. We didn’t sit for hours and play video games together. I mean really, how do you kids even know you like each other when you’re sitting next to one another for hours doing something that does not require eye contact?

Speaking of watching something. When I was your age, I was the damned remote. When Dad wanted the channel changed, I got my lazy ass up off the couch or floor and stood at the TV turning the dial until he told me to stop. And if I was really lucky, I got to stand outside (rain, snow, wind, it didn’t matter) to turn the enormous fucking antenna back and forth to that sweet spot where there was no snow  on the channel. 1406861_30166393Dad would scream so I could hear him outside. “Go back! Go back! Yep, right there. No, go back. Toward Chicago. Turn it toward Chicago!”

We had about 10 channels on a good day.

Riding in the car was a hoot. We didn’t have car seats or automatic seat belts. Mom threw your ass in the back seat and you held on. If you were unfortunate enough to call “shot gun” and sat in the front, you would get mom’s arm in front of your chest if she had to stop too fast. If you were really lucky, you didn’t slam your forehead on the dashboard. Cause screw seatbelts. Our cars were older. They didn’t have them most of the times and when they did, they’d cross over the bench seat in the front.

No we didn’t walk uphill both ways in waist deep snow to school. We did stand out in whatever weather there was (and in Northwest Indiana, winters are a bitch,) to wait for the bus. Once it arrived, I had the pleasure of riding to one school to switch buses to go to my actual school. Total ride time: about an hour. Yep, an hour on a stinky bus with other stinky little shit heads. It was a blast.

Getting in trouble in school meant getting my ass kicked at home. (Not abuse, actual discipline.) CPS wasn’t going to come running to your door for a spanking. As a matter of fact, my friend’s parents could have kicked my ass if I were disrespectful and no one would have done a thing about it.

When I wanted to heat up food, there wasn’t a microwave. I stood over the stove and reheated what I wanted. There was no dishwasher. I WAS the dishwasher.

There was no Caller ID. We didn’t know who was calling, but you’d better answer by the third ring!

We didn’t have the internet. When you had to do a paper for school, you had to sit your scrawny little ass at the library and use the card catalog to find the material you needed. Papers were handwritten. The first keyboard I used was attached to an actual typewriter…you know, the old thing with the inky ribbon and if you were really lucky, it had correction tape built in. It was loud. It was obnoxious, but it was better than writing things out by hand.

When I wanted money, I got a job. My first job was picking strawberries. But since I was just a kid on a minors crew, we got to pick berries after the migrant workers. When you get paid by the pound, this means working all damned week for about $20. So I stepped it up and detassled corn. Oh hell, that was a total riot. Imagine, if you will, having thousands of tiny paper cuts all over your arms, hands and face. Then imagine the pleasure of your salty sweat stinging in each cut.

I drove my moped to that job. Dad gave me a loan and each check went to gas, then to him until it was paid off. So basically, I suffered thousands of little cuts, sore hands, working in the down-pouring rain of Satan’s fucking heat to pay for a moped. 1432100_94414075But the moped was paid off by the time I had my third job, waiting tables in a hole in the wall tiny truck stop. The boss was a drunk Greek guy. The cooks were non-English speaking Mexicans. It was awesome. No one knew what the other was saying. Until one day, the new girl started and she spoke fluent Spanish. All I can say was that those cooks were perverted assholes, and they quit talking shit about my rear after she busted them publicly. It’s a sad state of affairs when the lonely truckers are the most well behaved in the bunch.

But there wasn’t a fancy Point of Sale system. 840748_55174328There was a calculator and an old cash register with a wooden drawer that weighed about 20 lbs. The day I quit was the day the drunk Greek came out screaming at me in his native tongue. The restaurant was packed and I was the only waitress on staff. It took a customer to translate for me. I was being accused of stealing. $1. Yep one fucking dollar and this dude was going ape-shit on me in front of an entire restaurant full of hungry customers. I walked over to the big ass register and pulled the drawer to count it myself. That’s when a wadded up $1 bill fell on the floor that had gotten stuck behind said wood drawer. The money wasn’t missing. But the drunk proceeded to call me a “white cunt.” So I threw my order pad at him and walked away from Kathy’s Kitchen forever.

I finally had my license and a car so, I went to go work for two Italian broads down the road. It was a bigger truck stop and they didn’t abuse their staff. I worked there until I went off to college. Still, hours on my feet, speed (it was legal back then, sold over the counter) to keep me going because third shift didn’t like to come in on time. So there were days I wouldn’t get home until 1-2 a.m. then up at 6 to get ready for school. That was my life as a kid. I managed. I damaged my heart with all of the Ephadrine, but I managed.

That was decades ago now. Gas was less than a dollar. I drove old vehicles that maybe squeaked out 10 miles to the gallon.

Parents and kids were smarter back then. We had to be. Dad took away my keys, so my cousin taught me how to hot wire my car. Dad figured out I’d installed a toggle switch so for the next grounding, he pulled my plug wires. SMARTER PARENTS. To this very day, I can hotwire a pre-80s car, thanks to my cousin, Chuck.  Hey, don’t judge. If the zombie apocalypse happens, I “got me some skillz.”

Dad made me change my own oil. He taught me how to change a tire. I learned a lot because I was made to. I wasn’t “busy” with Facebook. I wasn’t distracted with text messages. I wasn’t wrapped in bubble wrap. There was lead paint, CFCs, and riding bikes with no helmets and no seat belt laws.

The world around me has changed. I’ve changed with it. But damn. At 38 I feel old. I cannot imagine how the retirees feel.

Guest Post Ron D. Voigts

Strigoi Banner 851 x 315The Town Of Glade: Once You Arrive, You Stay For Life.

The setting for Strigoi: The Blood Bond takes place in what first seems be to a quaint little town in the mountains called Glade. As Maggie thinks in the story thinks of it as “a meadow with willow trees near a lake and buttercup flowers and soft bunnies. A nice name for a town with friendly people and happy places.” Soon this ideal world becomes anything but a pretty place to live.

You can find the town deep in the Appalachian Mountains. A winding road off the main highway leads to the village. Finding the road’s entrance is not easy unless you know the secret. Once there, it is impossible to leave.

The town is a mix of architecture and styles.  Some house were built in the early 20th century, while others have been around for centuries. Some have electric, but most use oil lamps and candles.  The stores are dark, bleak shops built along a narrow stone road.

Driving in on the main road you first pass the Church of Saint Cyprian. The church was named after the Bishop of Cyprian who lived about the second century and was known as the Patron Saint of Necromancers.  The church is a stone fortress with narrow windows like a castle or fort might have and has a heavy front door.  Behind the church is a cemetery with stone markers bearing the names and dates of birth for those for buried there. No date of death though, as the Strigoi don’t die.

On the other end of the town is residence of Lord Nikola Choroleeva that is more castle than house.  Wide steps of cut rock lead to a double door with iron bars stretched across stained glass windows. Two stone swans rest on pedestals flanking the staircase, and flames flicker in bowls atop their backs.  Overgrown shrubs with jagged edges stand sentry around the building’s perimeter. Dead vines cling to its walls, never reaching sunshine. Gothic windows with black glass watch over the winding road leading to the Strigoi’s home.

The Inside is lit only by candles in sconces and elaborate chandeliers. The lord entertains his guests in a music room designed to accommodate dozens of listeners. He taps the keys of a gold harpsichord, his narrow finger moving swiftly across the ivory. The music fills the air with a tune he has composed. Closing our eyes, you can imagine men in eloquent coats with tails and women with poufy dresses dancing on the marble floor. But don’t keep them closed too long as he might surprise you and bite your neck.

The last stop on our little tour of Glade is the town pub where you can enjoy a warm ale and play darts with the patrons.  Beware! They just may be monsters.  But don’t leave yet. Have a plate of the stew. It’s the only thing on the menu.

Bon appétit!

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voigtStrigoi: The Blood Bond

Tales of the Strigoi

Book 1

Ron D. Voigts

Genre: Paranormal, Horror

Publisher: Night Wings Publishing

ASIN: B00LQRJBZ6

Number of pages: 231

Word Count:  72,000

Cover Artist: Rachel R. Colon

Book Description:

On the verge of suicide after his wife leaves him, Alex Regal learns he has inherited property located in a small town deep within the mountains. Putting things on hold, he heads to Glade, hoping for something positive in his life. Getting there is easy but leaving proves to be impossible. A spell exists, keeping everyone captive in this hidden place.

The town of Glade is run by a Shapeshifter called the Strigoi. The creature needs to drink human blood to survive. In folklore, taking the form of a man or an animal, the Strigoi became the basis of stories about vampires or werewolves. Now Alex must discover a dark secret before he becomes the vampire’s next meal.

Book Trailer:  http://youtu.be/8wo4l7U-Xm4 

Available at Amazon

Excerpt:

Maggie awoke in darkness. She blinked. Inky black filled her vision. She recalled the stag standing in the road, losing control of the car, and the accident.

She tasted salt and metal. Her lower lip felt fat. A dull pain throbbed at the side of her head. She slid her fingers across her scalp and felt a bump.

Her hand shook as she reached out and touched the steering wheel. She ran her fingers along the column and felt the keys dangling in the ignition. The engine no longer ran. Moving farther, she touched the headlight switch and turned it.

The world lit up in front of her. The car had nosed into a tree. The headlight beams didn’t travel too far, absorbed by the brush, nearby trees, and the night. The dash clock read 2:13.

By best estimate, Maggie had been knocked out for about ten hours. Hopefully only that. She didn’t feel too bad except for the pain radiating from the bump on her head.

Now came a decision. Leave the car and head down the road, or stay?

A black shadow passed in front of the car lights. If she’d blinked and she might have missed it. Possibly the night playing a trick on her eyes.

Something hit the car hard. The vehicle rocked for a second and then grew quiet. Maggie held her breath and listened. All was silent like before.

Above her, something moved on the car’s roof. First, the sound came as gentle thumps, like someone walking above her. The noise grew louder. Pounding and scratching. Maggie realized whatever had leaped atop the car meant to claw its way in.

“Stop,” she screamed.

The sound became intense, the action more violent.

She cupped her hands over her ears and screamed, “Please, stop.”

Another boom came from overhead. A silhouette passed in front of the car lights again and vanished into the darkness. Maggie wondered if it had left.

Then the shadow appeared again, she heard a crash, and the left headlight went dark. Maggie thought this could not be happening. Things didn’t happen like this in the real world. Another crash and the right light went out.

The only light in the car came from the dashboard. Whatever was outside could see her by the glow. Her fingers fumbled for the switch, twisted it, and darkness once more wrapped around her.

Her breaths came in short pants. Her heart pounded in her ears. Her eyes opened, her eyes closed—the darkness remained the same. Minutes passed without a sound. The quiet grew unnerving.

What had it been? She’d heard of bears attacking vehicles. Certainly that would explain the agility and size of whatever it had been. But did bears come out at night?

A sickening feeling overwhelmed her—she was not alone. Something still remained outside, perhaps only feet from the car. She had not heard anything for a while now. Reason said it had left, but she knew it hadn’t. Whatever was outside waited for her.

She raised her hand and touched the underside of the car’s roof. Her fingers dragged across the surface of the liner, sweeping in gentle arcs until she found the dome light. Her fingertip slipped over the rocker switch.

A cold feeling washed over her. Her imagination played with her. If she pressed the switch and lit the interior, would something be outside, waiting? Would that be the trigger to provoke it?

When she could no longer stand it, she pushed. Light flooded the inside of the car. Nothing happened. She was alone. The light soothed her and kept the darkness away. The night had no power over her.

Then it hit the windshield. Fur pressed against the glass. A patch of fog wafted from the nostrils of a black nose. Fangs glistened in the light. Two red eyes stared at her.

Maggie pushed on the steering wheel, and the sound of the horn blared.

voight authorAbout the Author:

Originally from the Midwest, Ron D. Voigts now call North Carolina home where he and his wife have a small house off the Neuse River. Ron’s writing credits include the Penelope Mystery Series for middle-grade readers and the dark mystery thriller, Claws of the Griffin.  His reading taste is eclectic and depends if the first sentence captures his interest. When not writing and reading, he enjoys watching gritty movies, cooking gourmet food, and playing games on his PC.

http://rondvoigts.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @RonDVoigts

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRonDVoigts

https://www.goodreads.com/RonDVoigts

 

 

Words that Bind by Ash Krafton

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bookWords That Bind

Ash Krafton

Genre: paranormal romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Date of Publication: Oct. 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62830-560-9

ISBN: 978-1-62830-561-6

Number of pages: 314

Word Count: 75000

Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor

Book Description:

Social worker Tam Kerish can’t keep her cool professionalism when steamy client Mr. Burns kindles a desire for more than a client-therapist relationship—so she drops him. However, they discover she’s the talisman to which Burns, an immortal djinn, has been bound since the days of King Solomon…and that makes it difficult.

Ethical guidelines are unequivocal when it comes to personal relationships with clients. However, the djinn has a thawing effect on the usually non-emotive Tam, who begins to feel true emotion whenever he is near. Tam has to make a difficult choice: to stay on the outside, forever looking in…or to turn her back on her entire world, just for the chance to finally experience what it means to fall in love.

Available at Amazon and Wild Rose Publishing 

Short Excerpt: 

“So. You’ve destroyed a stereotype for me. A genie who lives in a library. Different.”

“When in Rome, no?” He stirred his cup before setting down the spoon with a light clink against the saucer. “Or, I suppose it is more accurate to say when in human form. When I am Burns, I prefer here.”

“Human form.” It didn’t sound right. Who said things like that, and meant it? “Can you change into anything you want? Any shape at all?”

He stretched out his legs and cocked his head, sliding his gaze up and away. “I suppose I could. I’m getting old and set in my ways. There’s this…” He swept his hands down the line of his body.

Her eyes were unable to keep from following, not even when he lingered over his midsection. Even lounging, his shirt was tightly tucked into his beltline. No belly fat there.

He tilted his head and gave her an upper-teeth smile, nibbling gently at his lower lip. “And apparently this form is pleasing to the eye, so I wear it often. But there are others. Tiger, a favorite. Savage and regal and the colors of flames in the night. Fearsome to behold, but very useful when dealing with physical conditions in which a human form may be outmatched. Plus, I can lash my tail.”

His voice took a teasing, conspirator’s tone. “I love my tail. You’d love it too, if you saw it.”

She trained her eyes firmly upon his. No way would she give him the pleasure of checking out his tail.

retro smallerAbout the Author:

Ash Krafton is a speculative fiction author from northeastern Pennsylvania. Krafton’s first novel, Bleeding Hearts was published in 2012 as part of a three-book urban fantasy series The Books of the Demimonde (Pink Narcissus Press).

An urban fantasy novella, Strangers at the Hell Gate, was published by Wild Rose Press in 2013. Her latest project, Words That Bind, won first place in the HeRA RWA “Show Me the Spark” 2013 competition; it is also available through Wild Rose Press as an October 2014 release.

Krafton also writes New Adult speculative fiction novels under the pen name AJ Krafton. Upcoming titles include The Heartbeat Thief, Face of the Enemy, and the award-winning Takin’ It Back. She is part of a YA/NA collective known as the Infinite Ink Authors.

In addition to novel-length fiction, Krafton enjoys writing poetry and short prose, some of which earned distinctions in various writing competitions. One of her poems was also nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She’s a proud member of Pennwriters, Romance Writers of America, and Pikes Peak Writers. Krafton is also a staff blogger for the Query Tracker Blog.

Website Blog Twitter Facebook Goodreads Authorgraph Pinterest

 

 

 

News

Dear Friends, Family & Fans,

It’s time to make an announcement. You all know I’m an author (clearly.) I have been self-published and traditionally published. I’ve published both as Kim Mullican and for the last few family members that don’t know (unlikely since my family loves to talk,) I publish erotic content as Anita Cox. I haven’t really kept it a secret but since I tend not to enjoy talking about myself, there is a slight chance some of you did not know. I digress.

The publishing world is ever-changing. There has been so much news and drama about the business, it’s become white noise for some. There are a few publishers behaving badly. I’m not referring to any one publisher, but authors talk. I can tell you, there are a lot of unhappy authors out there. There are a ton of complaints, most of which I’m not going to spend time talking about. But I did listen. I did take note. For fans…some of your authors aren’t getting paid, getting paid on time or getting accurate reporting of the books they have sold. There has been abuse that would just make you shake your damned head.

I fumed on this for awhile. It’s been over a year of private conversations with my colleagues, mostly as Anita Cox, about these issues. I’ve chatted with some really fantastic writers  who are, or have considered, running away and never writing another word. I just…I couldn’t watch it happen.

So instead of sitting here pissed off, I decided to do something about it. I found a private investor who isn’t in the publishing business (and he wishes to remain anonymous.) I assembled a small but dedicated team and I formed Syn Publishing, LLC.  (You can find out everything we at Syn stand for by visiting the website.)

My small, but dedicated team, has agreed to work for peanuts until Syn is off the ground. Syn has received offers from editors and cover artists to donate their time and talent because they have also grown fed up with what’s going on and they want to help. They can see that our desire is to give authors a higher royalty split, to earn the money that the house receives and to support their authors, to advance their careers and to have a mutually beneficial relationship. Because Syn has policies in place to spend a portion of its share of royalties advertising for our authors. Why? Because when they grow, we grow. Because we plan on tending to our garden, so it can be as fruitful as possible.

I spent a ton of time in the service industry. I had no idea that the skills I learned while carting around hot plates, wiping up spills, taking customer complaints etc. would serve me in this business. It may have been, ahem, decades ago, but I learned then that happy employees / partners, create happy customers. Treating people with simple human decency and respect seems like it should be common sense. Alas, common sense isn’t so common anymore.

This long blog post serves as a warning to those that know me. This industry is brutal. Someone will try to smear me eventually. Someone will say that my time as Vice President of a trucking company doesn’t qualify me to run a house. (Which is why I have people to cover the areas where I’m weak.) I’m sure they’ll dig up whatever they can. Quite frankly, I hope they do. You haven’t really made it until someone tries to take you out. I took a proactive step in this situation. I contacted some of the bloggers (even some not so pleasant ones) and sent them the contract and an offer to give them any information they’d like. Syn IS totally transparent. So I must be as well.

So dear friends and family, tighten your bootstraps. This is going to be one hell of a ride.

synweb copy

Interview with JoAnna Grace

Please welcome JoAnna Grace, author of Divine Judgment.

Kim Mullican: Welcome JoAnna.  Tell us why you enjoy writing romance.

JoAnna: Hey Kim! Thanks so much for having me! Why romance? Why not? Love is the one thing most of us search for from childhood. I tell people all the time that I’m a total sap. I adore a good love story, be it films or books or real life. One of my favorite things to ask people is how they met their special someone. I get some of the best stories- and a few weird ones.

Kim Mullican: Do you write in any subgenre?

JOANNA: My main concentration is paranormal but I have published a sweet contemporary called The Roles We Play. I have a couple different contemporary series in the works. My daughters are begging me to write a children’s book so they can show it off to their friends. (They can’t do that with my current works!) One of the greatest things about indie publishing is the abundance of options. I don’t have to fit a mold.

KM: What is the heat level (if any) of your books?

JOANNA: My writing style tends to be sexy, but not erotic. I like my readers to blush a bit! Ryse and Dante, the heroes of Divine Judgment, are definitely sigh-worthy. It’s a double romance book because both men are seeking their women in different ways.

KM: Tell us about you.  Do you have any passions other than writing?

JOANNA: I love to sing. It takes a healthy amount of alcohol to get me to sing in public, but crank up the radio, pop open a wine bottle and you might just get lucky;) I love to go camping. I get renewed traveling and being outdoors, riding ATVs, jet skis, and the occasional hunting trip.

Kim Mullican: Could you tell us the most interesting/different childhood experience that you had?

JOANNA: I feel like I should be on the couch for this question. “Well, doctor…” My childhood was full of imaginary friends. Even as a kid I made up stories about talking animals, unicorns, and hidden passages in castles. I’ve always lived in the country and one of my favorite things to do was to play in the clover patches. They would get so tall that my brothers and I could make paths and “rooms” through the pastures of clover. It was pretty cool. Just proves I’ve always nurtured fantasies in my head.

Kim Mullican: You had a very interesting relative/person who strongly influenced you? Who was that and why was he/she so important?

JOANNA: I don’t believe in chance encounters. I’m a big believer that there is purpose in all things- good or bad. So while I can’t say that one specific person has influenced me, I can say that I’ve been abundantly blessed with both positive and negative influences. I look for lessons in every friendship, in every conversation, and in every experience. There are people who have pinged by bat-crap-crazy-ometer and I keep my distance! Then there are those who are fountains of wisdom and truth and these are the people who I surround myself with. I find inspiration everywhere I can.

(And I have a slight problem with authority, so if you tell me I can’t do something, I will try to prove you wrong!)

Kim Mullican: I know that you have very unique hobby. Please tell us about it.

JOANNA: There’s a possibility I was an architect in another life. I love to design houses and buildings. My favorite part of being a real estate agent was getting to see the design and structure of the houses I showed. I could spend hours looking at floor plans, interior design pictures on Pinterest, and sketching out the homes of my characters. I’m big about having the homes of my characters match their personalities. Yes, I realize this puts me into a whole new level of nerd…but I’m cool with that.

Kim Mullican: There was a place from your past that you’ll always remember. How do the memories of it influence your life/writing?

JOANNA: Lake Catherine near Hot Springs. We used to take trips up there all the time and that place holds precious memories for me. Not only that, but it’s beautiful. It’s the setting of one of my novels, a contemporary that is waiting for my attention.

Are most of your works available or do you have what a drawer or closet of “not quite there” work? Do you think any of those old projects will see the light of day?

JOANNA: I wasted a lot of time in my twenties trying to find a “more sensible and stable career”, as my mom put it. But I always wrote. I would come home from my j.o.b.s (it really is a four letter word) and to relax and unwind, I’d write. So I have years and years worth of novels that will all eventually be polished and published. Last time I did inventory I have over thirty novels at various stages. Some are completed and waiting their turn, some are five page outlines of books that will one day get my full attention. So, yeah, I’m in this for the long haul!

Kim Mullican: What is your writing “system” like, and how has it evolved over the course of your career?

JOANNA: My writing style consists of grand chaos. LOL. Usually my mornings consist of brainless tasks like cleaning house and Facebook because I’m SO not a morning person. As soon as I put my toddler down for naptime, it’s balls-to-the-walls work! I have a treadmill desk so I can walk and write at the same time. My afternoons are usually kid/husband-centric so I pick back up writing after bedtime.

I’m a very visual person, so I like to have pictures of my characters, their homes, their vehicles, various settings or other important props. These pictures are usually in front of me while I write. There’s usually a scent associated with my stories. Avery’s scent was from body wash I fell in love with. So when I get stumped writing her, I often showered and sniffed the body wash until my brain kicks it. It’s weird, but it works and I always smell spectacular. I also have a 4’X6’ dry-erase board in my office so that I can visualize timelines, and plotting points. Color-coded sticky notes and colored pens are my friends.

I usually plot as I go, because if I have too much structure before I write, the characters feel stifled. I made the mistake of trying to plot every single scene of Divine Judgment before I wrote it and it took me a long time to realize that system kills my creativity. Now, my characters get a starting point and an ending point. Everything else in between is organic and dictated by the characters. In other words, I listen to the voices in my head.

Kim Mullican: Do you have beta readers in your family or circle of friends, or do you trust your own instincts before you publish your works?

JOANNA: I have four betas, they get to see my hot mess drafts. One is my mother, one is my best friend, one is an avid reader and fan, and one is a grammatical Nazi. All of these people can be brutally honest with me (and have been). I know that if they say something sucks or something works, it’s because they want the story to be a success. I trust them explicitly. Other writers make great critique partners; I have a couple. But I’ve learned to be careful about listening to people who would change my story lines because that’s not how they would write it. To which I reply, “Of course it’s not, that’s what makes it mine!”

Kim Mullican: Do you think of yourself as a particular type of writer and how do you think that influences the decisions you make about your stories/novels?

JOANNA: I’m a very character centered writer. Most of my novels start with a person and I build the world around them. It makes me watch people more. I love to figure out why people do things and react certain ways. I did theatre for a short time and I use some of my acting skills to get inside my character’s heads and become them while I write. It’s easy for me to tap into their emotions.

Kim Mullican: What is your most recent book/story release? And could you tell us about it? (please don’t give away the ending J)

JOANNA: Divine Judgment is the third installment of The Divine Chronicles and it’s the tale of two heroes. Ryse, our main hero, is on a mission to recover Avery’s spirit and be reunited with her again. He departs from his home on Earth, and goes to the gods in the Heavens. Along with the other leaders of the Olympian race, he gets the opportunity to see the gods and interact with them. He also gets to see their wrath. It’s eye opening for him.

Dante, our secondary hero, remains in the Haven on Earth and is watching over Avery’s body. The gods send down the Oracle Lysandra to assist him. Lysandra is over a thousand years old and has to adjust to being around men and modern technology. Their story is one of forbidden attraction and kind flirtations. (My heart aches just thinking about it, so sweet!)

Kim Mullican: What led you to tell this particular story? (try to explain how you related to a character or place—again, don’t give away your ending).

JOANNA: The previous book! LOL. Divine Destiny ends on a heck of a cliffhanger and I think my readers would have strung me up and beat me like a rug had I not given them more of Ryse and Avery. I could write about them all day. Ryse makes me giddy! Dante and Lysandra’s story was a surprise to me, honestly. I had a lot of the characters competing for page time in Divine Judgment but those two spoke the loudest. I didn’t intend on Dante stepping up like he did, but that’s one thing I love about allowing myself to be a conduit for the characters. If I listen, they will speak. I’m very pleased with their story. I adore them. And they’re going to be instrumental players in the next installment. 

Kim Mullican: Which part of your story was the most difficult to write? Why?

JOANNA: Oh, that’s easy- the execution. I wrote a lot of scenes in various points of view and seeing things from Charles’s or Dyna’s perspective was so hard because I’m a parent and a wife. Dealing with their struggles often brought tears to my eyes. There’s one scene where Dyna is speaking about being a widow and examining my own fears of such a fate was difficult. I hope that deep emotion is conveyed to the reader because it broke my heart to go there mentally.

Kim Mullican: If one of your works made it all the way to Hollywood, what kind of a monster would be in the film? And which actor or actress would you have battling it.

JOANNA: The gods and demons would be fuuuun to cast and create! I’m thinking a combo of the creatures from Spawn meets Thor…Ah, Chris Hemsworth as Dante…Oh! Sorry, got lost in that fantasy. Holy smokes, that’s hot!(wipes drool)

Kim Mullican: If you had an unlimited advertising budget, how would you “get the word out” about your latest release?

JOANNA: Ryse, Dante, Hayden, Brenden and Yankee shirtless on billboards all over the world. It might cause a few wrecks, possibly a pile up or two, but it would totally get your attention. Better than the ads for Magic Mike! Yes, I’m thinking shirtless Thracians…this could be huge.

Kim Mullican: If any one of the monsters/places/characters could come to life/be real in our world right now, which one would you choose and why?

JOANNA: Ryse, Dante, Hayden, Brenden and Yankee shirtless…Wait, this sounds familiar… No, I really love, love, love masculine, strong, slightly dangerous men with a hidden chivalrous side. Thracians coming to life would be swoon-worthy. I could handle battling demons if I had Thracians to depend on.

Kim Mullican: Though we have every expectation that you will live well past 125 years, when you finally find rest, what would you like your tombstone/obituary to say?

JOANNA: Tombstone: “If you can read this, you’re standing on my boobs.”

Kim Mullican: If your next birthday party were going to have a theme based on one of your books, what would it be.

JOANNA: Olympians! Come dressed as your favorite Greek god, Thracian or Divine heroine! If I were skinny, I’d totally rock the outfit Avery wears to the execution. “Hello, my name is sexy, set you on fire goddess…”

Kim Mullican: If you were to be stuck on an island, which character from one of your books would you want to have with you? Why?

JOANNA: Ryse…sweet baby Jesus…please let it be Ryse. I could find nirvana on an island with a man who wields the powers of the gods in every way. Clothing optional. (wink wink)

Thanks for hosting me today Kim! It’s been a blast. Now that I have a few new dreams implanted in my head, I think I’ll go take a cold shower.

 

DivineJudgmentFinalCoverDivine Judgment

The Divine Chronicles

Book 3

JoAnna Grace

Genre: Paranormal romance

ISBN: 978-1-940460-11-6, ASIN: B00N5UAN72

Number of pages: 271

Word Count: 85500

Cover Artist: jleeann.com

Book Description:

One warrior fights for the love of his life, while another warrior finds his.

The gods have summoned…

Thracian Master, Ryse Castille, and Deities around the world travel to the Heavens and face their creators. It’s time for a murderer to come to justice and Ryse will have a front row seat at the trial. The Heavens have a few unexpected surprises for him; he prays one of them will be a reunion with his beloved Avery’s spirit. He’ll stop at nothing to bring her home safely and see his father’s killer brought to justice—if the gods don’t destroy the Olympian race first. Their fate rests on his shoulders.

While the Master is away…

Elite Apprentice, Dante, has a monumental responsibility in Ryse’s absence. He must watch over the widowed queen and Avery’s comatose body until her spirit is returned. In the wake of the king’s death, the gods send Lysandra, an Oracle, to earth to guide them through the troubling times. Weighed down by the constant disapproval of his father, Dante finds solace in her admiring eyes. Their unexpected affections are cultivated amidst the secrecy and constant threat of exposure. Both Oracle and Elite are bound by their oaths—the very things that might wrench them apart. 

Two Warriors. Two Quests. One Final Judgment.

Available at Amazon and ARe

7173373About the Author:

JoAnna Grace lives in a world of alpha males and strong females where true love conquers all—at least in her mind!

From the time she started holding a crayon she began to create magical worlds. Her first book was a series of pictures about a puppy princess. The story changed each time she told it, but there was always a happy ending! Her first written story was about girls who changed into tigers.

Now those stories have become a bit more complex!

JoAnna’s tales are spun at her home in East Texas where she lives with her husband, three kids, and a couple dogs. When not hiding behind the computer screen you can find her camping, boating, and shopping.

Sign up for her newsletter to receive information about new releases, events, and giveaways! www.authorjoannagrace.com

JoAnna loves to hear from readers and fans!

You can find her at the following places:

www.authorjoannagrace.com

www.Twitter.com/JoAnnaGrace4ya

https://www.facebook.com/JoAnnaGraceAuthor

Guest Post – Lissa Trevor

Shifting Currents Banner 851 x 315

Falling in Love with Autumn

By

Lissa Trevor

It’s only October, but the Christmas trees and ornaments are out along with the Halloween decorations.  Does anyone decorate or buy for the December holidays this early?  I don’t mean presents.  I know people who were done with that by the end of the summer. I used to be one before my family decided to do a secret Santa instead of the whole shebang.  But while it’s still autumn and :: knock on wood :: there’s no snow coming my way here on the East Coast of the U.S. for the moment, I want to list a few things that the characters in Shifting Currents, my erotic post-apocalyptic novel, miss about civilization (If they were old enough to be around before the meteorite that struck the earth changed all life as we know it.).

  1. Pumpkin Spice Lattes.  I have a strict rule.  Not to have one until October first.  No matter how hard the temptation to enjoy one with an apple cider doughnut the day they come out.

Bethany, my heroine, is a Tech.  She has mutated the ability to absorb energy from the air and recharge appliances.  But even if they could find a Keurig machine, those little K-cups would be impossible to find.  However if there was one available, since sex is the favored currency for trade I wonder how much a latte would be?

  1. Jumping in leaf piles. As long as I don’t have to rake before or after, I love this activity.  Of course, there was the time I accidently raked up a pile of doggie doo with the leaves.  That wasn’t so much fun.

Lucas, my hero, is a shape shifter.  Lucas can shape shift into any form he wishes.  His preferred   form  is an eagle, so he would be taking advantage of the cool fall breezes.

  1. Apple picking and then going home to bake pies. When my grandmother used to eat the apple peels in secret because she was supposed to feed them to the pig. We would snack on them in her kitchen while she showed me how to make her crust.  The secret ingredient?    Crisco works too (Surprisingly enough not the butter flavored one, though).

Cooking is done over campfires in my world.  Some of the tribes, if they have the craftsmen, have kiln ovens.  Bakers are a rare commodity and someone with the skill and the means to get spices could be able to barter for any woman or man they wished.

  1. Slow cooker stews and chili simmering in the pot so when you walk in after work that wonderful aroma of yumminess hits you. My favorite chili recipe is chop an onion, dump that and a can of black beans, white beans, and kidney beans in the crock pot with a lb of ground beef.  Add a can of green chilies and a can of chopped tomatoes (if you can find the one with celery, garlic, and onion flavors – even better), stir and cook for 8-10 hours on low. It’s a real mild chili, so if you want to kick it up a notch, add some cayenne or chopped jalapeños.

Most of the produce and food stuff is kept for the tribe’s use.  But during yearly conclaves, the tribes gather to trade their excess supplies.   There aren’t any stores anymore.  What hadn’t been destroyed in the meteorite strike has been long looted.  However, pieces of California have been reported sprouting up in the Pacific Ocean.  Caravans from the East are heading out there. The competition is fierce to get on one of these wagon trains.  You have to be very skilled either in hunting, fighting or sex to be able to be accepted.  Bethany and Lucas fall in love along the way to California.

What are your favorite fall things?

book

Shifting Currents

Lissa Trevor

Genre: Erotic Paranormal

Publisher: LooseID

eISBN – 9781623001667

ASIN: B00KR1NCQ6

Number of pages: 191

Word Count: 60,000

Cover Artist: April Martinez

 

Book Description:

After the meteorite wiped out civilization and most of the population, it took thirty years to scrabble together rudiments of society again. Sex is the main currency, for those who haven’t mutated special abilities.

Bethany, a Tech, is able to channel electricity through her body and charge up electronics. When she saves a Shifter girl about to be sold at auction, the girl’s brother, Lucas, offers to repay the debt with his body. While Bethany would love to have Lucas at her beck and call, she’d rather have sex with someone who wanted her as a partner instead of an obligation. But unable to resist the sexy Shifter, she agrees to his terms.

When an opportunity presents itself to travel cross the ravaged countryside to loot the remains of California, Bethany believes this is the best chance for her to find her own brother, a rogue Shifter on the run for a crime he didn’t commit. Lucas wants to go, too, to free his Shifter pack.

The caravan members are expected to provide sexual services to the owners in exchange for passage out and back. As the lines between pleasure and payment become blurred, Bethany struggles to remain human while the pull of the energy feels good enough to leave her meat sack body behind. Can Lucas learn to ground her against the shifting currents?

Available at Loose ID  Amazon  BN  iTunes Kobo

lisa trevorAbout the Author:

Lissa Trevor has her stilettos firmly entrenched in the romance community. Spank Me Mr. Darcy is her debut novel from Riverdale Avenue Books. She is a frequent reader at Manhattan’s Between The Covers events, where her novellas Wild Oats and Timelash from Coliloquy’s Entwined volumes 1 & 2 have been very popular. Lissa also created an erotic story template for Coliloquy’s ValEntwined promotion that allowed readers to download a personalized ebook starring themselves and their significant other.

http://lissatrevor.wordpress.com/

@jamiekswriter

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6574318.Lissa_Trevor

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lissa-Trevor/364854163628828

 

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A post about Love

Let me start by saying, please no sympathy, no internet hugs or pity. I don’t want it and neither would he.

For the last few days, I’ve been in the process of losing someone I love. He has been unplugged and we’re literally in the process of waiting for the body to quit fighting.

There wasn’t a car accident. He’s not old. He’s not the healthiest guy in the room, but he didn’t have a terminal illness either. His brain just decided to bleed. And the blood thinners he took for his heart made the situation critical and now…he’s not in there anymore.

It’s times like these that we re-evaluate ourselves, our relationships, and what truly matters. I woke thinking about non-romantic love. I absolutely loved this man. We are cousins and while I’m not exactly close with the majority of my family, I always had a sort of hero-worship with this man. I never had an inappropriate Jerry Lee Lewis kind of feelings for him, but it wouldn’t have mattered if I did, because he was gay anyway.

Discovering you were gay in the 80s was not a pleasant thing. He moved to the other end of the US to a more friendly (for him) place for many years. It killed me. My mom would let me call him once in a while and when he was home for a visit, I wouldn’t let up until I got to see him. As an adult, I drove my kids to Disney and we stayed with him. My kids fell in love with him immediately and when he moved back to Indiana, I was elated.

I was also the only member of my ENORMOUS family to take him to a gay bar, but that’s a story for another time.

Then I discovered he moved back out of necessity and it just broke my heart.

But I sit here thinking about what it was that made me adore him so very much. Why the hero-worship? Why the need to have a close relationship with a cousin when I keep my extended family at arm’s length?

When I was young, before he decided to move and come out to the family, he had the most beautiful girlfriends.  Model quality looks. When my parents told me he was gay, I wasn’t surprised. I think I was like 9 or 10 years old at the time, but I called down to Florida and told him I didn’t care. I also cussed to the first family member for the first time when I told him not to give a shit what some of the family had to say. I loved him and asked if he had a boyfriend. He cried and handed the phone to his boyfriend. Said boyfriend and I had an awkward 30 second exchange.

He had been my babysitter and even chose to hang out with me and take me on his paper route when I didn’t need a sitter. He played the Led Zeppelin album backward to see if it would scare me. I think he was disappointed when I asked him to do the same with Dad’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath album.

He loved animals, dogs specifically, and has a rescued German Shepherd who, in return, tried to save his life. She’s not taking this well either.

He was a great cook, though you’d better like spice and heat.

When I divorced the lawyer, I received a home that was about to be condemned as part of my settlement. I had to gut the place by myself. He came to my rescue, working through the pain of a badly needed hip replacement to give me and my children a nice home. He received a brown recluse bite for his troubles.

Last year, when my husband got laid off, he sent two bags of groceries over with my mother with strict instructs for us not to know who it came from. (Mother doesn’t take instruction well.)

He and my second husband hit it off and he’s remained my husband’s favorite family member outside of my parents. We’ve tried to spend time with him over the last few years, but due to the pain he’s been in from bad hips and a bad back, the pain meds and his affinity for Carona have kind of kept the visits to a minimum. So I’ve been missing him before all of this happened.

This man had been mistreated by the world. So-called friends had robbed him blind over and over again. His body caused him horrible pain, pain most of us have never felt. But he gave…constantly. Was he flawed? Who the fuck isn’t? But above all else, he loved others more than he cared for himself. He gave more than he ever took. How could I not love this man?

And how do I put a man like him in a novel and make it believable? It wouldn’t work. No one is this selfless. Well, not anymore. The world just lost the most self-less man I know.

RIP Ron. See you on the flipside.