Sunday, September 21, 2014

Where did Through the Veil come from?

Where did THROUGH THE VEIL come from?

I don't know if you've heard, but I have a new book coming out next week and it's not my normal type of book...

Paranormal Dystopian Romantic Suspense…Through the Veil is NOT my normal genre. So many of you may ask…where exactly did it come from? There’s a story there…

Through the Veil may be my 9th release, but it was actually started way, way early in my writing career…right after I finished Operation: Endgame.  (my first release)

The story began as a 30 minute writing prompt in my local writing group. That prompt was “crossing a bridge” and we were given 30 minutes to get a scene on the page. For the most part, besides fixing the technical aspects of the writing, the basic framework of that scene is still completely intact in the book as it is now.

Here’s that scene…
Crouched behind the rock, gasping for air, Lori surveyed the decrepit bridge below swinging eerily over the deep gorge. Measured at a mile deep, the quarter-mile wide gorge was edged by stone cliffs with even more treacherous looking rocks jutting out from the bottom of it. Would that old, worn out, rickety structure support her? No one had been able to use it for eighteen years.
Pressing the bullet wound at her side to stem the flow of blood, she glanced behind her, trying to ignore the pain that sizzled along every nerve ending. She hadn’t heard her pursuers for several hours, but that didn’t mean they weren’t nearby.
A bead of sweat rolled down her spine as she glanced at the bridge again. It had been built decades ago, a few years after the gorge had suddenly appeared. And, damn, that gorge looked scarily deep right now.
The only reason Lori even knew about this bridge was because her family came here for vacation a year before the Veil appeared. The riskiness of climbing this bridge so far above the ground became the highlight of her trip back then. She’d been nine years old at the time and it remained as one of her best memories of time with her family, a family that disappeared from existence ten months later.
Now this bridge featured as both her nightmare and salvation. If she stayed on this side of the gorge, the men after her would kill her—or worse, imprison her again. She’d rather die than spend any more time as a lab rat. And with the blood oozing from her side, that remained a very good possibility. Survival meant she could come back and help the Others escape, too.
Gritting her teeth, Lori stood and crept down the hill. The closer she got the more flimsy the bridge appeared. It was simply a foot bridge made of wood and rope, suspended across the gorge. The irony of the situation didn’t pass by her. They only wanted her for her gift. She counted on her ability to manipulate space to save her life now.
But she had to escape. If that meant using every last drop of energy she had, she would.
She let go of her side and sucked in a breath to focus her concentration. Grasping the rough ropes, she took her first step onto the bridge. It shifted slightly under her weight with a creaking sound which reverberated through the quiet of the surrounding forest. It was as if nature held its breath to see if she would survive this. The swaying bridge took more effort from the muscles of her core. She hissed at the added pain and fought off the black spots encroaching on her vision.
Glancing behind her, she didn’t see any movement except the leaves rustling on the trees. Looking forward again, she tried to peer through the Veil to the other side. She had about fifty feet of bridge before she hit the wall of fog. Slowly, she edged her feet across the rough wood, stepping gingerly to avoid falling through the rotted boards. The farther out she crept, the more the bridge swayed over the huge expanse. She couldn’t look down. Her breath came out in gasps as she inched across.
Finally, she reached the Veil. She reached forward with a hand, and could feel the semi-transparent barrier like a huge wall in front of her. She closed her eyes and gave a silent prayer this would work.
“She’s on the bridge!”
Lori swung around. Men in camouflage holding guns poured out of the forest behind her. Damn. This was her final chance. She closed her eyes and faced the Veil again. Using every ounce of energy she could pour into it, she focused on creating a hole big enough she could climb through it. Finally, the energy moved and the wall shifted. She scrambled through the invisible hole she created.
Once through, she let go of the energy to seal the wall back up and not a moment too soon, as the energy reverberated under the hail of bullets striking it. But she couldn’t see or hear the men on the other side anymore. The fog had enveloped her. She held onto the rope supports and felt her way across the rest of the bridge on wobbly knees.
She’d made it through. Falling wasn’t an option now.
When the solid ground of the other side met her feet, she collapsed in exhaustion and relief. She lay there gasping and trying to find energy to stand. Manipulating the Veil had taken everything she had. The darkness was slipping over her consciousness when strong arms lifted her up.
The fog still surrounded them, but that didn’t keep her from seeing the gorgeous, scowling, concerned face of the man holding her against his naked chest or the dark purple wings at his back.

About two months after I wrote that scene I took a fast-writing workshop and wrote 35,000 words in 7 days that centered on that original scene. I did that without any sort of plotting or planning whatsoever…not the way I normally write.

Through the Veil is now around 76,000 words and it took me over two years to straighten out the hot mess that I began with. I never doubted the story, but this is a whole new world filled with winged Warriors, tortured/talented Others, and two whole new civilizations. And it’s the start of an 8-book series. So there was a lot that I had to sort out. I think I’ve done that now and am thrilled that Through the Veil is releasing NEXT WEEK! I honestly wondered if this day would ever come…LOL!

Through the Veil Story Description:
58 years ago a gorge opened up from Mobile, AL to Quebec City, Canada to split the United States into the Western States (WS) and the Eastern States (ES).

40 years later, a fog rolled in on the WS that they called the Veil. Within twelve hours it formed an impenetrable wall between the two sides.

It’s been 18 years since anyone has known what’s happening on the other side of the Veil.

Now, Lori, an Other, in a desperate attempt at escape from the ES’s torture and experimentation, has crossed the Veil and found a world beyond belief.

Marcus is a Warrior, but when Lori collapses at his feet wounded and exhausted, he knows he has to protect her. But seeing that she’s the first person he’s seen in 18 years without wings, he’s worried about what her appearance means for his people and the world they’ve created since the Veil fell.

Two new societies: one built on a respect for the natural order of nature and the world, the other built on mistrust and corruption. Can they learn to co-exist once again?

The book releases September 25, 2014,
but you can preorder it now on Amazon.
Here are the buy links.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

NIght Owl by M. Pierce

Title: Night Owl
Author: M. Pierce
My Rating: A

Genre: Erotic Romance
Series: Night Owl #1
Main Characters: Matt and Hannah
Release Date: July 2014
Publisher: St. Martins Griffin
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: erotic

Story Overview:

At twenty-eight, Matt Sky has the perfect life. He has a beautiful girlfriend, a massive inheritance, and four national bestsellers -- all penned under his airtight alias, M. Pierce.

At twenty-seven, Hannah Catalano is a train wreck. Her boyfriend is a deadbeat and her job is abysmal.

Matt and Hannah meet online as writing partners. Their relationship is safe, anonymous, and innocent...

Until Matt sees a picture of Hannah. Hannah's picture sparks an attraction Matt is powerless to ignore. When circumstance brings Matt and Hannah together, the strangers begin a love story that's passionate, poignant, unforgettable, and unstoppable.
My Review:
This was a book that I'd never heard of when I bought it (something that's pretty rare in my world surrounded by book reviews), but I was in a magnificent book store needing to buy something new...just because I live in the boondocks so when I get to go to a real bookstore, I HAVE to buy a book. The synopsis of the book totally fascinated me...two writers...oh yeah, this is a story that I can find myself getting lost in. 

And this book was good in so many surpisingly different ways. I don't know what I really expected going into it, but the book and the characters were so much MORE than I expected. The book switches back and forth between the POV's of the main characters, Hannah and Matt. They met online and have been doing a joint writing venture. It's supposed to be completely anonymous and it first. 

Hannah is 27 and just left her deadbeat boyfriend and is in the process of moving back home (into the basement) of her parent's house in Colorado. Matt is 28 and is the super-successful author, M. Pierce, although Hannah has no idea. On the surface, Hannah's life is falling apart while Matt has it all together. Matt is eccentric, controlling, and moody, but what all that is hiding is that he is a very fragile person trying to maintain the delicate balance on his mental state.

The anonymous nature of their relationship doesn't last long as Hannah moves close to where Matt lives and I loved the way Matt became obsessed with her. She has no idea, but then she's quickly drawn into Matt's incredible world. 

I don't even know how to explain this book. It's extremely erotic, but it's so much more than that. Matt breaks my heart over and over and that's before the true broken nature of his spirit is revealed. This may be a joint story, but it truly is all about Matt. As I read, I wanted to hug and hold him, even when he's being a totally unreasonable jerk...I can't imagine how hard all of it had to be on Hannah. 

And I truly love the writing slant to the story. You see a writer's life through the eyes of Matt and I'm excited to see where things go for Hannah with her new job. 

This is the start of a trilogy and I will say that the epilogue in this first book was rather shocking. I can't wait to see where the author (who interestingly enough IS M. Pierce) is taking us with this series. I've already pre-ordered book #2 which comes out at the end of October. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Cherry Pie by Samantha Kane

Title: Cherry Pie
Author: Samantha Kane
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Mercury Rising #1
Main Characters: John and Connor
Release Date: September 2014
Publisher: Samhain
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
You can go home again—if you can get a foot in the door.
Mercury Rising, Book 1
A year after packing and moving from L.A. to Mercury, North Carolina, John Ford still hasn’t adjusted to the heat. Or to life without his long-time partner. As he fixes up the old house he bought, the quiet becomes his only companion, and he’s content with that—until a deep-voiced stranger plants himself under a tree across the street.
Eight years ago, Connor Meecham left someone behind in that house—himself. Now he’s back to find the man he used to be, before drugs and prison sent his life careening off the tracks. But it’s not his mother’s face peering through the window any more. It’s a man who seems as lost as Conn himself.
When John learns what the house—and the dying town—mean to Conn, he finds himself opening the door to his heart. Just a crack. But it’s enough to get mixed up in a world of emotions as complicated as the recipe for the perfect cherry pie. Where one misstep can turn something sweet and juicy into one hot mess.
This book has been previously published.
Warning: Contains a guitar-wielding, brooding Southern boy and a reclusive millionaire with a weakness for cherry pie and hot coffee. Excessive porch sittin’ and lemonade included.
My Review:
LOVED this book! This book is about two lost men starting over in life in this dying little North Carolina town of Mercury. 

For Conner this place represented home where everything was right in his life. Then he left, went to college, and his world flew apart...resulting in rehab and prison. Not exactly the all-American football hero who left this small town behind. After his release, he didn't know where to turn so he came back to the town and the house where he grew up. The house that was auctioned off when his mother died the year before. 

John bought the house on a whim...a whim built from grief, stress, and not knowing what to do with his life after his partner of ten years died in Afghanistan. John doesn't want to take Conner in but something about the man speaks to him and despite his criminal past he asks him to move in and help him fix up the house.

Both men are rebuilding and healing and doing it through rebuilding this house. But there are complex issues behind their histories and scars that don't just go away. The way that the author explored and exploited those problems was really well done. Overall, it was just one of those books that I was really happy that I read. 

The way that the story is put together is just so beautiful. These men have such a long way to go to heal, but they are doing it through each other and through this town. And this town with their visits to the porch eating cherry just made me smile. Even with Conner's checkered past, they embrace these two least most of them do. The book made me smile. The romance made me tingle. And the character arcs inspired me.

The book is listed as #1 in the series. I definitely want MORE...I hope that #2 is coming SOON!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Counterpunch by Aleksandr Voinov

Title: Counterpunch
Author: Aleksandr Voinov
My Rating: A

Genre: Alternate Universe (m/m)
Series: Belonging #2
Main Characters: Brooklyn and Nathaniel
Release Date: September 2014
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: erotic 

Story Overview:
Fight like a man, or die like a slave.

Brooklyn Marshall used to be a policeman in London, with a wife and a promising future ahead of him. Then he accidentally killed a rioter whose father was a Member of Parliament and had him convicted of murder. To ease the burden on the overcrowded prison system, Brooklyn was sold into slavery rather than incarcerated. Now, he's the "Mean Machine", a boxer on the slave prizefighting circuit, pummelling other slaves for the entertainment of freemen and being rented out for the sexual service of his wealthier fans.

When Nathaniel Bishop purchases Brooklyn's services for a night, it seems like any other assignation. But the pair form an unexpected bond that grows into something more. Brooklyn hesitates to call it "love"—such things do not exist between freemen and slaves—but when Nathaniel reveals that he wants to help get Brooklyn's conviction overturned, he dares to hope. Then, an accident in the ring sends Brooklyn on the run, jeopardizing everything he has worked so hard to achieve and sending him into the most important fight of all—the fight for freedom.

My Review:
This is the second book in the Belonging Alternate Universe. After reading the first book, Anchored, last week, I was a little leery about reading this one. Anchored was very violent and this one is set with the same slavery issues, but in the boxing it stood to reason that it could be worse and I just wasn't sure if I was up for that much mental battering on the cusp of the last. (Although it should be noted that I absolutely loved the first book, but it just wears on me mentally after too much.) Thankfully, this one isn't quite as bad as Anchored. The same violence occurs, but most of the really bad stuff happens off the page. Brooklyn is also a really strong character and he handles that violence better mentally.

This book comes from a very different place in this world where slavery is still the norm. Brooklyn was not born into slavery like most, so he isn't as mentally trained to submit as most. He was a cop before, but he made a mistake and a girl died. Instead of prison, they enslaved him. Before he had also been an amateur fighter. Now his owners use him as a professional fighter...and also pimp him out after fights. He's come to view his body as a tool...totally in every way possible.

Nathaniel is seemingly the perfect guy. He rented Brooklyn one night after one of his fights. Nathaniel doesn't make Brooklyn do anything he doesn't want to do, he's well-off, and thinks that as a barrister that he can get the judgement against Brooklyn reversed. But it quickly becomes apparent that Nathaniel may not be all that he seems. 

I did really enjoy this book. No matter how much guilt and rage he feels, Brooklyn didn't deserve the punishment he received. I can't imagine losing all that he did. He was married and his wife annulled their marriage and then he became simply a tool to make money for others. He was so hurt by his wife's actions, he's learned not to trust anyone...which makes the whole of the events in this book so much more heartbreaking. I wanted to just cry for Brooklyn, but he is so incredibly strong in the face of all those obstacles. He stays strong and never gives up on his will to continue fighting. I can't imagine that. 

And the book couldn't have ended any better. There's a twist at the end that I so did not see any way, shape, or form. But was so perfect and made me so happy for the future for Brooklyn. The book ended on such a hopeful note...I loved that about it. This is not a good world, but I was happy that Brooklyn found a piece of happiness in it.

I hope there is more to come in this universe. I've thoroughly enjoyed both of these books that have come out so far in the series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Just His Taste by Candice Gilmer

Title: Just His Taste
Author: Candice Gilmer
My Rating: B+

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Guys and Godmothers #3
Main Characters: Ava and Jason
Release Date: September 2014
Publisher: Samhain
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:

Even Fairy Godmothers can make the wrong call.

Guys and Godmothers, Book 3

Avalynn Fay is not a typical Fairy Godmother. She wears leather body suits, rides motorcycles, and prefers bourbon to anything fru-fru. Probably why she is assigned new charge, Jason Gregorian—a PI who drinks bourbon and loves to cook barbecue.

Jason’s a good guy. Generally decent. Even willing to pretend to be his ex-girlfriend Tessa’s date for a wedding, so she won’t be alone while her ex struts around with his latest squeeze on his arm.

Should be easy, right?

All Ava has to do is talk to him, feel him out a bit, and she’ll know exactly how to get the wheels in gear. Except when she meets Jason, suddenly no one is good enough for him. Not even Tessa, his intended Happily Ever After.

It’s enough to make a fairy godmother want a healthy shot of bourbon—right before she breaks all the rules.

Warning: Contains a fairy godmother who’s ready to spread her wings—and maybe a few other appendages—for a mortal hot enough to make her drive her motorcycle right off the road.

My Review:
The cover of this book caught my eye and although I haven't read the other two in the series, the synopsis sounded fun enough that I had to snatch it up. 

And the book was just as fun as it sounded. Ava has been a fairy for over three hundred years and she prides herself on the fact that she's always been able to do this fairy godmother gig without conforming to how everyone else does the job. But Jason is her first male subject which makes her a bit nervous especially as she gets to know him and realizes that he's HER perfect guy. That alone is messing with her ability to do this job, but then when Cupid gets involved and tries to help, things go bad really quickly. 

The story and the set up was a lot of fun. In this world of fairy godmothers, three fairies work together to complete their tasks. Ava is the final of their group and is holding up the other two fairies lives with her difficulties, but Ava has a hard time owning up to when she needs help. She's extremely independent and while that makes her a great heroine (I love that she rides a motorcycle and wears full body leather catsuits). She's definitely not your typical girly, soft fairy.

I liked Jason too. He says that he's not necessarily looking for love but he truly gives Tessa a chance when Ava makes her case. Not many guys would be okay with that especially in those circumstances. I also really liked how accepting he was when he was presented with such amazingly unbelievable circumstances and events. He rolled with things. 

I haven't read the other two books and that did seem to hurt my enjoyment of the book at the end. Because this was the final in the trilogy, all the stories were finished off and I was missing how everyone worked together since I hadn't read the other two books. It was a little confusing, but not so much that I couldn't follow the story line in this book. But it's a fun series, so I need to go back and read the first two. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pulling Leather by L.C. Chase

Title: Pulling Leather
Author: L.C. Chase
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Pick-Up Men #3
Main Characters: Scott and Cory
Release Date: September 2014
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
The toughest ride of his life is all in his head.

Bull rider Scott Gillard has a reputation for quick fists and harsh words. What no one knows is where that anger comes from. After a shocking incident sends him into a tailspin, he knows he needs help: he’s been fighting a battle he could never win. Now he's trying to navigate a new life and embrace his true self, but some days are easier than others.

Pickup man Cory Ackerson has suffered his share of harassment, but his light still burns bright. He doesn’t let anything or anyone keep him down, so when he meets the rugged cowboy with a battered chip on his shoulder and regret in his dark eyes, all he wants to do is help.

As their unlikely friendship grows into something deeper, Scott must overcome his past to be the man Cory deserves, or lose his best chance at his own happily ever after.

My Review:
Bravo to L.C. Chase! If you would have told me that I would fall in love with Scott Gillard as a hero before this book, I would not have believed you. But L.C. Chase did the impossible...she made this horrible, awful, bigot of a guy into a character that my heart ached over because of his internal struggles and his background. 

In this rodeo world, Scott has always been one of the cruelest and most outspoken of the homophobic cowboys. But when his best friend, Tripp, comes out of the closet, it completely changes his world. Why? Because Scott has been hiding a deep, dark secret that he won't even admit to himself. He's gay too. But there's such a good and heartbreaking reason he's kept that hidden. As  a child, his world was torn apart when his father came out of the closet and left him in the care of his bitter, alcoholic mother. They lost their home and stability and everything in his life could be traced back to the fact that his father was gay...something to be hated and mistrusted. So when he hit puberty and began to have sexual feelings for other guys, he checked himself into a conversion clinic. He could not be gay. He refused and absolutely hated that part of himself. 

So yeah, when his best friend came out, it threw him and was further complicated when Tripp almost died after a couple of homophobic friends almost beat him to death...something they thought Scott should celebrate with them. That was his wakeup call...and was two years ago when he walked away from the rodeo. Since then, he's been doing therapy and is finally coming to grips to who he really is...even though it still makes him uncomfortable. 

It's been 2 years and Scott has been working to change himself...first up, to apologize to Tripp who then proceeds to drag him back to the rodeo world, where he meets Cody. Cody is young and flaming and completely accepting of himself as a gay man. In other words, he's everything that Scott is not. But he's one of the few who didn't know Scott from before so he can  really see how hard Scott is trying and how much all the digs at Scott and who he used to be hurt him. 

For me, what worked so well in this book is how completely different Cody and Scott are. Scott's a big, muscular, intimidating, alpha one guesses he's gay...except Cody. Cody is the polar opposite of Scott and that intrigues Scott simply because Cody is like a breath of fresh air...that he wants to breathe in, just because of his pureness. Cody is one of those guys you can't help but fall in love with. He's so over-the-top and completely aware of that and apologizes for the fact that it's just who he is. But he's so soft and careful with Scott. He can see that all of this is so new and so terrifying to Scott. I fell in love with him just because of the incredibly empathetic way he handled Scott. It's something that Scott isn't use to and he literally soaks it up. 

This is a book that is a pure romantic love story. But it's also a love story in the fact that Scott is learning to love himself. It's stated very clearly that he could have very easily have been suicidal two years ago if it hadn't been for his therapist. It's such a struggle for him to accept that he's gay. I couldn't help but feel for him. It's heartbreaking to watch, but so hopeful to see how he comes alive with Cody. 

It was a good book and has been my favorite in the pick-up men series!