Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Guest author: Mel Teshco with Taken By The Sheikh

Please welcome my buddy (and excellent author) Mel Tescho, with news of her new romance anthology TAKEN BY THE SHEIKH. 

Mel's books are always an exciting, intelligent and erotic read - if you want something tasty and well-written, check it out!

Three desert Sheikhs. Three captive brides…

Bound by duty to honor their father’s dying wish, three royal brothers must marry their destined brides… by whatever means necessary…

Book 1: Hostage to the Sheikh ~ Mel Teshco
Sheikh Shahzad Salah al Din doesn’t have time for hearts and flowers, not when his parents’ bodies are barely even cold in their graves and his country, Omana, is on the brink of revolt. He has to secure peace by honoring a long ago arrangement to make English rose, Lexi Galvin, his wife. The trouble is strong-willed Lexi isn’t aware of her royal Arab lineage let alone her destiny. There is only one way Shahzad can guarantee she will be his queen … and he isn’t above using force to get it.

Book 2: The Sheikh’s Mistaken Bride ~ Christina Phillips
In order to secure a powerful alliance for his country, Khalid has no choice but to marry a neighboring princess. It’s not what he wants, but duty must come before pleasure. Yet when he meets the beautiful Sanura he changes his mind… only to discover the virgin in his bed is not his destined bride.
You can check out an excerpt of this story.

Book 3: Sold to the Sheikh ~ Cathleen Ross
He’d paid a fortune for his bride and he was determined to collect, whether she liked it or not. Rafi Salah al Din doesn't trust easily. In charge of security for his country Omana, he devotes his life to duty. With his parents murdered it is his duty to stabilize his country by finding his parents' assassin, marry and produce a son to ensure the Salah al Din line lives on. So why does the wife he bought disagree?

Sounds awesome, eh? There's a special introductory price of $0.99. You can check out the buy links at Mel Teshco's website.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Guest author: D.A. Lascelles, on why it's all my fault

And now for something completely different...

This week's guest author writes fantasy and alternate worlds and all kinds of bizarre things, including the sexy stuff - and apparently it's all my fault. Including the state of world publishing and the Kennedy assassination. I do try.

But I dunno. I'll take the credit. Dave's stories are pretty cool. When you read a lot of romance, like I do, you tend to forget there are things other than heroic characters and endless happy endings. It's great to read from a different angle.

So, no doubt in order to make like the Royal Navy and give me my forty lashes - ooh, baby - and to say interesting things about publishing and erotica vs porn and why we can't all please everyone - please welcome small press and indie author D.A. Lascelles...

I blame Erica Hayes.

For everything (yes, she was there on that infamous grassy knoll some decades before she was born on a completely different hemisphere, she is cunning like that).

But in particular I blame her for the presence of two short stories I have recently published. If she hadn’t challenged publically on social media, if she hadn’t herself been so adept at writing erotica, then I probably wouldn’t have done it and the world may have been saved. Well, OK, I probably would have still done it but I wouldn’t have had anyone to blame but myself.

I’ve often teased Erica about her work being pretty much thinly veiled pornography. It’s one of the things we often discuss on social media along with the disparity between UK and Australian weather patterns. If you have ever read any of her excellent Shadowfae series you will see what I mean. It is the most glorious expression of erotica I have ever read – sheer poetry in its style, rich in visual description and gorgeously hot scenes. Or, as I once said on Facebook and which she promised to put on a book cover sometime: ‘Almost but not quite entirely unlike porn’. Paraphrasing Douglas Adams, of course… The standard she sets is enormously high.

So, I was challenged to do something to match the quality of Erica’s erotica. {ED: flattery will get you nowhere... actually, no, that's not true. See me later...}

I had previously worked with her on a Paranormal Romance anthology (the Shades of Love anthology) and in that I focussed on developing my writing of romance plots, though the sex scenes in my contribution (the novella Transitions) were of the ‘fade to soft candlelight’ style rather than explicit. To match her challenge, I realised I had to up my game. So, for my recent collection of shorts, Lurking Miscellany, I worked on two urban fantasy stories with a sexy theme.

One was a sequel to Transitions. Called Transformations it follows the characters on a night out to a Goth club where they encounter a very sexy person with unusual gender switching abilities. This was partly inspired by my own experiences in such a club, in fact the very one that is described (which is unfortunately no longer there). Our heroes face concepts of desirability and get into fights before saving the day.

The other, An Element of Desire, gets a little racier. In this, our hero Simon is an environmental activist with the ability to manipulate the elements through communication with the spirits that control them. He meets a woman for whom he feels the most immediate and insistent attraction. From their initial meeting it is not long before things get very hot and heavy… For some reason I decided to have the female character in this dressed in PVC. Well why on earth not?

Did I succeed in my challenge? Well, I will leave that to the readers to decide. I would however say that it is certainly worth a writer challenging themselves to do something outside their comfort zone. If you are finding the writing process too easy you may be slipping into familiar territory and while that may mean you are sticking to what you are good at, it can also mean you are boring your readers by retreading old ground. Rather than stick to this comfortable old armchair of the familiar, why not try to strike out into the unknown? If it gives you a gut wrenching feeling of fear as you consider this, even better. Often, when you get that feeling it means you are doing something right.

Self publishing has opened up the market to experimentation. I am quite fond of the traditional route of publishing, but it has one major flaw – each book published represents such a huge financial risk for the publisher that they tend to be very careful about their output. If something is not likely to sell they stay well away from it. The advance a publisher gives to an author on acceptance of a manuscript is basically what they are willing to bet on the success of that book. They are saying that the book will make at least this much in profit, so they can give that to the author and not lose any money themselves. Ditto the amounts they spend on advertising, cover design, distribution and printing. 

The more they invest the more convinced they are they have a winning concept. Books that are on the fringes of popularity, or attract only a niche audience or which are so radical they break conventions rarely if ever get published by this route. Similarly, books which might offend a majority of people such as those including the extremes of sex, drugs and rock and roll. However, they can be self published and when they are the financial risks are significantly smaller (although the profits can be equally small) meaning it is more viable to produce. This means that in the current book market, it is a good time to be radical and do something different.

So, why not push yourself to do something different? There will be an audience for you out there somewhere, even if it is one the big six don’t consider worth selling to.

D.A Lascelles is the author of Lurking Miscellany, Transitions (Mundania Press) and Gods of the Sea (Pulp Empires). He lives in Manchester UK. You can sometimes see him writing about Zombie porn on http://lurkingmusings.wordpress.com/ but he mostly blogs about books, vampires, science fiction and Terry Pratchett. He is inordinately proud of the fact that one of his Pratchett articles was referenced on the French version of the author’s Wikipedia page.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DaLascelles
Twitter: @areteus

Buy links for Lurking Miscellany: Kindle ~ Paperback

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Guest sci-fi author: Anna Hackett with In The Devil's Nebula

Please welcome Anna Hackett, author of action/adventure romance - and her new release IN THE DEVIL’S NEBULA.

Check out this cool cover! Love the colours and the starfield. This series is kind of a cross between sci-fi romance and treasure hunting.

"First there was AT STAR’S END and the treasure hunt to find the last remaining fragment of the Mona Lisa. Now travel to the heart of the Devil’s Nebula on the hunt for the gun used to assassinate Abraham Lincoln."

I don't know about you, but that sounds dead cool to me :)

Here's the cover copy:

He lost it all. His career, his woman, his sanity.

Two years ago, on a deadly mission to the lawless Devil’s Nebula, Commander Zayn Phoenix’s life imploded. Now the former Strike Wing pilot fills his days with dangerous adventures alongside his treasure hunter brothers.

But his nights are another story: haunted by nightmares of one unforgivable act.

Until an assassin lures him into a hunt. A hunt for her freedom from the Assassin’s Guild. A hunt for a derringer used in an ancient and infamous assassination—of old Earth president, Abraham Lincoln.

Zayn is compelled to join the perilous adventure with Ria Dante that will take them straight into the heart of the Devil’s Nebula, but not for money, fame or treasure. He joins because Ria has the face of the woman he left for dead in the Nebula years before.

Sounds cool? yeah. To read the first chapter or buy, you can check it out at Anna's website.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Guest fantasy author: J.M. Bray with MENDING THE SHROUD

Today please welcome paranormal author J.M. Bray, as part of his blog tour for his contemporary fantasy/romance MENDING THE SHROUD. Here's J.M:

Thank you so much for having me by for a visit, Erica. I really like the site. The July 1 release of Mending the Shroud  went by in a blur of tweets, Facebook posts, emails and well wishes. I'm constantly encouraged by the support of the writing community with great authors, like you, who pitch in and lend a hand...umm...or blog as the case may be.
The tour continues, and stops are still being added so click the banner and check out the great sites still to come!

About mid-way through writing Tearing the Shroud, I realized that the characters were not done with me. They had a tight hold and refused to let go. So, while still doing the legwork for book one, I jumped into work on Mending the Shroud. The story poured from me relentlessly and here we are to celebrate the results. If you haven't read Tearing, you won't be lost in Mending, but I think you might enjoy it more. You can find a bunch of buy links at Goodreads.

The story picks up a month later and we are instantly thrown back into the lives of Vincent, Jule, Flea, and Knife. What happens with Vincent and Jule's relationship? Is the Master, the evil force behind the Tearer, through with things? How did the events change the four friends? Who, or what, is Mr. Brown and how did he get all his wealth? Will they survive the events that unfold? All these questions and more are answered in Mending the Shroud.

I'm hard at work on Shrouded, book three, so keep your radar on and your eyes peeled for more of the Trilogy:

About the Book
The second in the fresh, exciting romantic fantasy Shroud trilogy takes up where 
Tearing the Shroud leaves off – with the lives, the loves, and the mythical world beyond our own. 

After accepting bodily possession and saving the world, Vincent thought his life would get easier. He thought wrong.

The Shroud may not have torn wide open, but it did tear a little, and the retribution for the failure is coming hard, fast, and directly at Vincent and the people he loves.

His only hope is to once again accept possession from Coleman and do battle with the deformed, terrifying Kafla. But this time, he's not alone. Jule, the woman he loves and hopes to marry, is possessed as well, and together the four of them become a formidable team.

Together they hope to stave off the invasion and take the fight to the Realm, but only a supreme sacrifice can mend the Shroud and save both their lives and their worlds.

Mending the Shroud Links

About the Author
J.M. Bray lives in Southern California with his college sweetheart and their two dogs. After a lifetime together, they are happier than the moment they met. When not writing or working his "day job", he loves to cook, play the guitar, and travel with his wife. Every chance he gets, he races an old Porsche named "Tuffy" at tracks in the southwest.

Connect with JM

NEW AND IMPROVED Website: www.jmbray.com
Twitter: @jmbraybooks
Email: jmbray@jmbray.com
Blog: http://blog.jmbray.com
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/JMBray.books
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/jmbraybooks/

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Author interview: Erin Moira O'Hara with THE KNIGHT OF CASTLE KILDARE

Welcome to my friend Erin Moira O'Hara with her new ghost romance, THE KNIGHT OF CASTLE KILDARE.

Firstly, as always - check out the hot dude:

Mmm. Ghostly-moon-mist-dude-castle! You can see what to expect from this book, eh? Clean, simple, but effective. Nice work!

In case you needed more clues, here's the lowdown:

Modern woman Kate Manning has always been fascinated by Sir Caleb, a fifteenth century knight whose portrait hangs in the mysterious Castle of Kildare. Now the new owner of the castle, Kate finds herself even more drawn to him, until one day the unbelievable happens: Caleb steps out of the portrait.

Frozen in time since a gypsy cursed him hundreds of years ago, Caleb awakens at the touch of the most desirable woman he's ever seen. Yet to end the curse and free himself from the portrait forever, he must claim the heart of a woman with Romani blood – not this flirtatious blonde who tempts him beyond belief.

As Caleb fights against his growing feelings for Kate, he must also find a way to keep her safe from those obsessed with the castle's hidden treasure. There are some willing to do anything to unearth it, no matter who gets in their way…

Portrait-stepping ghosts! The claiming of tempting hearts! Time travel-ish shenanigans! Hidden treasure! Sounds cool, eh?

Now, I have a few burning questions for Erin:

Tell us about the characters in The Knight of Castle Kildare. What inspired them?

The knight of Castle Kildare was inspired by an old TV series called The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. It always frustrated me that Captain Greg (the ghost) and Mrs. Muir (a widow with two children) could never actually get together.
My story is based on a sexy young knight called Caleb from the sixteenth century and a modern day, independent woman, called Katrina who has never had a serious boyfriend.

Your hero in Knight is a ghost, of sorts, and an Elizabethan ghost at that – what challenges did that present for you, in writing a romance with a modern (and living!) heroine?

My biggest challenge was to restore Sir Caleb, a supposed ghost to life. Aha, he could have been cursed by a gypsy, not actually killed. This frustrates him greatly as he hates the gypsy who cursed him and vows to wring the neck of any gypsy who crosses his path. Big problem.
Another challenge was coming up with a good reason for Katrina to be such an innocent in this day and age. After a bit of thought, I realised it’s Katrina’s infatuation with the handsome Knight and her grandmother’s enthralling stories that have prevented her having a normal relationship with any other man.

Is Knight a steamy story? Do you like to read/write erotic romance, and if so, what’s the appeal?

I normally write spicy romantic suspense with sensual love scenes and gritty action, although humour always seems to sneak in. I do read some erotic romances by authors who write them well and have good storylines.

Are you a history fan? What kind of research did you do to write this book?

I’m not a big history buff, although I used Queen Elizabeth I in The Knight of Castle Kildare, so I needed to research her reign and pilgrimages through England. I also needed to research the Romani Gypsies around that time. I was astonished to discover the Romani people (as they liked to be known) were often executed or chased out of the country. It amazes me what humans will do to each other, even in this day. However, this fact helped greatly with my storyline.

What’s next for you – what are you writing/publishing now?

At the moment I’m working on suspense series based around six ex-SAS soldiers, who have formed a security protection service. They will do whatever it takes to get the job done. Their assignments take place in Australia and other parts of the world, wherever the job requires them to be. Each of my heroes has his own demons to deal with and a woman who will tie him in knots and frustrate him in everyway possible.

What do you like most about The Knight of Castle Kildare?

It’s a light fun read with a little suspense, passion and a twist or two. The main characters just clicked, even Miles (the butler) with his dry sense of humour. I based him on Colin Firth in a very straight-laced way.

Well, any kind of Colin Firth - strait-laced or otherwise - is good with me. Thanks, Erin :)

You can check out THE KNIGHT OF CASTLE KILDARE ebook here:

Amazon  ~  Penguin Books  ~  Kobo

And check out Erin's website

So, do you enjoy ghost romances? Kind of an old-fashioned thing, right... or do you say NOT, and bring back the ghostly hero?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Cool new cover art: TETHERED by Pippa Jay

A big ol' sloppy welcome, if you please, for sci-fi romance author Pippa Jay!

Today is the cover reveal for her new sci-fi romance novella TETHERED. What do you think? Intriguing, yeah? The dude is kind of a mysterious monk type... but there's a spaceship, and nebulas and stuff. Hmm. What could it mean? Are there monks in space? Or is he just in disguise! which would be really cool, too?

Either way, it's eye-catching. Leave some comment love and tell us what you think!

Here's the cover copy:


She can kill with a kiss. But can assassin Tyree also heal one man's grief, and bring peace to a galaxy threatened by war?

For Tyree of the Su, being an assassin isn’t simply something she was trained for. It's the sole reason for her existence. A genetically enhanced clone—one of many in Refuge—she's about to learn her secluded lifestyle, and that of all her kind, is under threat by a race capable of neutralizing their special talents to leave them defenseless.

For Zander D'joren, being a diplomat has not only cost him his appearance, but also the love of his life. Scarred, grieving, he must nonetheless continue in his role as co-delegate to the fearsome Tier-vane or risk a conflict that could only end one way.

Now both of them need to keep each other alive and maintain a perilous deception long enough to renegotiate the treaty with the Tier-vane, or throw their people into a war that could wipe out Terrans and Inc-Su alike. But there's more at stake than humanity, whether true or modified. Can the love growing between them save them both? Or merely hasten their destruction?

Sounds lots of fun, eh? I like assassins, especially space assassins. And scarred dudes are cool.

TETHERED comes out on 25th July - you can add it to your Goodreads shelf.

Also, sign up to Pippa's newsletter for updates.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Author interview: Daniel de Lorne with Beckoning Blood

Welcome to Daniel de Lorne!
Author of the sexy M/M paranormal romance BECKONING BLOOD

I met Daniel briefly years ago at Romance Writers of Australia, where he was pretty much the only guy in the room who wasn't someone's husband or a waiter. But hey, men write romance too, and Daniel has this unique voice and cool paranormal ideas that I'm sure you'll love.

You can check out The Boys Are Coming, Daniel's free prequel story to Beckoning Blood. But first of all, this awesome cover!

Goggle. If this doesn't scream 'hot boy vampires', I don't know what does. That handprint is so cool. This dude will kick your ass.

Beckoning Blood
A gripping, blood‐drenched saga about twin brothers, the men they love, and the enduring truth that true love never dies – no matter how many times you kill it.
Thierry d’Arjou has but one escape from the daily misery of his work at a medieval abattoir – Etienne de Balthas. But keeping their love a secret triggers a bloody chain of events that condemns Thierry to a monstrous immortality. Thierry quickly learns that to survive his timeless exile, he must hide his sensitive heart from the man who both eases and ensures his loneliness...his twin brother. 

Shaped by the fists of a brutal father, Olivier d’Arjou cares for only two things: his own pleasure and his twin. But their sadistic path through centuries is littered with old rivals and new foes, and Olivier must fight for what is rightfully his – Thierry, made immortal just for him.

Nom nom. Okay, you lot, enough with the drooling. He had me at 'gripping, blood-drenched saga', but hey, I'm like that.

Here's a few questions I asked Daniel about his book. Leave him some comment love, ask some of your own. Go right ahead. He doesn't bite...

Why do you write about vampires—what's the attraction?

What’s not to love? Their immortality gets me the most. I find something comforting about a being (even a fictional one) having been present through so much of history. They’re also incredibly flexible – in the storytelling sense. You can do whatever you want with them because they exist on the edge of ‘normal’ humanity. Then there’s the power over life and death, and the intense meanings evoked when talking about blood. I could go on but I’m starting to sound like a groupie.

No, no. It's okay. We're all vampire groupies here...
Who's your favourite character in Beckoning Blood, and why?

Olivier. He’s the nastier of my twin vampires {ED: twin vampires, folks. You know you want this book} but he’s got a whole lot more going on than his killer instinct. He is a bit of a jerk but there’s just something about him that draws me in. Everyone loves a bad boy, right?

Totally :) Who would win a fight: your vampires, or Buffy? Explain.

Don’t make me choose! Picturing Buffy dead (again) is too horrible. If it were just Buffy on her lonesome, then I think my vamps would win – though they’d have to really want to fight her. And there wouldn’t be any of that standing around soliloquizing that bad guys always do. They’d get in and get the job done quick. If it’s her and all the sidekicks, then I think my boys would be in trouble.

Your vampire heroes walk into a bar, looking for a late-night snack. Whom do they choose to menace, and why?
a) Any human who smells good. They're not fussy.
b) That weak-ass sparkling vamp over there. He looks like a real loser.
c) A bike-chain-wearing, vodka-swilling vampire rival. Might as well eliminate the opposition while we feed.
d) Each other. Fight's on!

Again with the choosing! Olivier would go for that bike-chain-wearing, vodka-swilling vampire rival. Ain’t nobody going to intimidate him (and seriously, vodka? Is that vamp on a diet?). Thierry would go for a human and make it quick, then leave his brother to the fighting.

(And poor Edward…he’s never going to be able to live that sparkling thing down.)

No. {evil giggle} No, he never will.
Is Beckoning Blood part of a series – what's next from Daniel de Lorne?

I’m working on a sequel, which has a working title of Binding Spirit. I’ve got a first draft already but it’s still early days. Revisions ahead! It’s been fun writing about these characters again, spending more time with them and seeing what I can make them do.

Thanks for coming, Daniel. Sound awesome? Yes, yes it does. And guess what? You can get a free taste of these sexy boys at Daniel's website: www.danieldelorne.com/the-boys

Buy links for BECKONING BLOOD: Escape Publishing ~ Kindle ~ iBooks ~ Kobo ~ Nook

Links to Daniel's social media:
Facebook ~ TwitterGoogle+

Any questions for Daniel? Tell us why you love vampires or M/M romance or anything with a bloody handprint on its chest? Let's hear it.

Friday, May 23, 2014

SCORCHED release day! Superheroes! Cool book giveaway!

Happy release day to SCORCHED!

Yes! My new urban fantasy book about superheroes and villains. First in a new series, published by HarperImpulse. And to celebrate, I'm giving away a pack of 4 cool Kindle books about superheroes. You know you want them, right?

First, behold the dark action-y awesomeness that is SCORCHED:

In a world where everyone wears a mask, you can't trust anyone… not even yourself.

Verity Fortune was once Sapphire City’s top crime-fighter, wielding her powers of telekinesis to battle the city’s most despicable villains.

Now, she’s consumed by a single burning desire: revenge. Against those who took away her mask, her memory, and nearly her life.

Having escaped from the asylum they left her to rot in, Verity dons her mask once again and becomes the Seeker, a vigilante warrior for truth.

But when she unwittingly uncovers an evil conspiracy deep within her own family, she’s suddenly on the run, alone and hunted by those she thought were on her side…

I totally love this book. I hope you will too! Go ahead and add it on GoodReads:


Done? Cool. Now for giveaway goodness!

Here are the Kindle books you can win:

The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea M Campbell
Metawars: the complete series by Kelly Meding
Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines
Black and White by Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge

  Cool, eh? Come and get your Rafflecopter on. Leave a comment and tell us your favorite superhero (or villain!) ~ and get more entries by doing the Rafflecopter thing.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Guest author: Nikki Moore with Crazy, Undercover, Love...

Today's guest is Nikki Moore, author of hot contemporary romance Crazy, Undercover, Love.

Anyone out there like contemporary romance? I'm sure there must be a few somewhere... Heh. So check out this cover.  What do you think?

I like it: cheeky, doesn't take itself too seriously, but there's a hint of sexiness and intrigue. And, y'know. Dude in a tux. Makes a change from all those frickin' tattoos. Cool!

Nikki says: "If you like pacy, sexy romance and fancy a long weekend in Barcelona with a smoking hot guy {ED: and who doesn't?} this one's for you!"

When uber-feisty career girl Charley Caswell-Wright takes on the assignment as PA to the gorgeous Alex Demetrio, CEO of Demetrio International, she's there under entirely false pretences; to get her life back on track. Having lost the job she worked so hard to earn, she’s determined not to give it up so easily, especially when she didn’t deserve to lose it in the first place. Mr Dreamy CEO is her only chance of clawing back her career – and her reputation. So she has to keep things strictly professional… boy, is she in trouble! 

You can check it out here:
Amazon ~ Google Play ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ Sainsbury's

Nikki is on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Cool new cover art: J.M. Bray

Please welcome my friend J.M. Bray, to reveal the cover for his cool new romantic fantasy MENDING THE SHROUD ~ book 2 in the Shroud Trilogy, releasing in July.

The first book is called TEARING THE SHROUD - cool creepy title, yeah?

Without further ado...

(Erica jumps in: this is very cool. Simple, nice colours with the neon swirl behind the title. Aaand hot, in an understated, come-hither kind of way. I like the feather - intriguing, raises questions. And the dude's eyes say, 'I may be pretty, but I'll still kick your butt.'

Oh, yeah. And bless the day for a paranormal/fantasy cover that features 1) no full moon, furry animal or woman with improbably bare midriff; and 2) NO POINTLESS TATTOOS. What do you think?)

Here's what J.M. says:

The exciting sequel to Tearing the Shroud is coming July 1, 2014 and here's the cover! Once again Escape Publishing did an amazing job on the artwork and tying the two books together visually. JM is hard at work on the third book, so keep a lookout for it.

When you’ve learned to take possession in stride, love should be easy. Right? It might be if your life and the lives of people you loved weren’t threatened by an invasion of monsters. 

Vincent thought saving the world once was a challenge, he didn’t figure on retribution putting a price on his head. It means college takes a back seat again as he’s possessed by Coleman to fight a new battle with the Kafla. But this time he’s not alone, Jule, the woman he loves is also is possessed.

Together they hope to stave off the invasion and take the fight to the Realm, where only a supreme sacrifice can Mend the Shroud and save their worlds.

About the Author
J.M. Bray lives in Southern California with his college sweetheart and their two dogs. After a lifetime together, they are happier than the moment they met. 
When not writing or working his "day job", he loves to cook, play the guitar, and travel with his wife. Every chance he gets, he races an old Porsche named "Tuffy" at tracks in the southwest.

Twitter: @jmbraybooks
Website: www.jmbray.com

Thanks, J.M. :) so what do you guys think? You a fan of fantasy/romance, featuring stuff other than vamps and weres? A fellow member of the 'we're so over tattoos on book covers' club?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Publishing decisions, and why they're none of anyone else's business

I don't blog a whole lot (heh, you might have noticed that) but I just can't keep my mouth shut any longer about this. Excuse my language, but it's the kind of post that needs lashings of cursing to be cathartic. And I totally need catharsis, folks. Ready for a rant?

Good. Here goes:

I am so over those best-selling authors who assume every author in the world lives in the same special little ivory-tower universe that they do.

Things like Hugh Howey's Amazon data scraping exercise, which basically proved nothing other than if you're already selling a zillion copies, you'll make more money at 70% royalty than you will at 25%. Duh.

Posts like this one http://brennaaubrey.net/2014/03/09/the-road-not-taken/, where one author is talking candidly about her reasons for her publishing decisions, and a certain bestselling author comes along and writes a lengthy comment that, despite its sort-of-helpful intent and its effort to provide useful info, which I do appreciate, basically boils down to if you think traditional publishing has any benefits for anyone ever, you're a fucking idiot.

Well, let the record show that I am not a fucking idiot. Most authors are not idiots. They're business people with decisions to make. And they make those decisions based on their situation. Not some random bestselling author's, or anyone else's. Theirs.

Anyone who thinks that just because this or that happened for some zillion-copy-selling author, it will doubtless happen that way for them too, because hey, they're indie and INDIES ROCK! You can do it! Group hug! – well, perhaps they should think about it some more.

Can we all stop insisting that because XYZ happened to us when we published and we made a squillion dollars, that means our way is the only way? Just because subright X or publicity plan Y is (or isn't) important to us doesn't mean it's the same for everyone else. Just because an offer is bad for one author or book doesn't mean it's bad for everyone else too.

Can we all stop listening to those authors who, because they turned down an offer from a print publisher, apparently think they know everything about what's happening in New York, for every other author at every stage of his or her career?

And can we please stop throwing around 'know what your rights are worth' as if it always and forever means 'traditional publishing sucks'?

Because I do know what my rights are worth, thanks very much, and for some books, I still choose traditional publishing.

I don't pretend to know much about what's really going on for anyone else. Everything I have is anecdotal, and the plural of 'anecdote', etc.. But let tell you about me.

I'm not a bestseller. I've done a few books in New York, a few with digital-first imprints of big houses and a few self-published. My self-pubs haven't set the world on fire, but I'm learning, and I do my research – I can see what the very successful authors are doing, even if as yet I haven't been able to emulate it. I've had glowing reviews, and shockingly bad ones. I've had starred reviews in Publisher's Weekly and 'this is the worst, sickest book ever written' reviews from Kirkus. Some readers love my work. Some hate it. Basically, my books are no better and no worse than anyone else's. I'm just an author.

I am a relatively new author, true, but I fancy I have at least a little bit of a handle on what all those aspects of the publishing industry are doing, thanks. Just because I haven't yet turned down a million-dollar offer doesn't mean I'm clueless. Just because you have doesn’t make you an expert. Piss off.

Got that? Good. Let's move on.

So. My last two trad-pubbed series were discontinued by the publisher. (I got all my advances, by the way. Where this shit is coming from about people not getting paid their advances on delivered books is a mystery to me.) What's more, the fan following I do have is in paranormal romance. I don't write twenty-book short contemporary romance series, new adult anything, BDSM billionaires or rock star romance. I don't even really write erotic romance at the moment. Suffice it to say: my books are not exactly hot property in New York this week.

But I can tell you that the advances I am being offered – and no, I won't tell you what they are, or from whom, because unlike some authors, I still harbour lingering respect for business confidentiality – the advances I'm being offered are more than I could reasonably expect to earn in the same period if I self-published the same book.

Let me say that again. I've self-published a couple of books now, and I have no expectations of being an overnight word-of-mouth bestseller – it's something to aim for, but I don't expect it. I expect to have to build my career slowly – and no, it isn't because I've been trained to think that by evil traditional publishers. It's just reality, for most authors. I don't write the kind of thing that sells like that, and I don't have the drive towards promotion that it requires. But I do have a good idea of what I can reasonably expect my earnings on a new book to be in the next little while.

The advances I'm being offered are more than I foresee I would earn self-pubbing, over the period during which the advance would be paid.

So don't come at me with your 'know what your rights are worth' as if it means 'indie is the only way, suckah!' IT IS OKAY TO CONSIDER TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING. IT IS OKAY TO DECIDE TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING IS BEST FOR YOUR BOOK. Just because some other author's rights are worth more than mine doesn't give them cause to tell me I'm an idiot (however nicely they put it) for so choosing.

In short: I do know what my rights are worth. You, on the other hand, don't have the first clue what my rights are worth. Piss off.

I am not afraid of e-publishing. I could care less about Goodreads or Amazon reviews or author 'bullying'. Bring it on. I would self-publish my next novel in a heartbeat - if I thought it would sell more copies and/or make more money. I am not yet at a stage of my career where I believe it will.

Oh, and while I'm at it? Enough with 'print is dead'. I still buy print and enjoy bookstores. My friends still buy print and enjoy bookstores. Excuse us for being relics of the Enlightenment. Piss off.

What's more, I've done trad-pubbed books before. I know what to expect in terms of marketing, publicity, branding and editorial, no matter what stories I'm told by well-meaning company staff. I have an agent, whom I consider to be worth every penny of her 15% and then some, to advise me, and I also do my own research.

So don't come at me with 'but traditional publishers don't do branding/publicity/marketing! They lie! They suck! They tell sucky lies! Indie is the only way!' Just don't. Okay? Of course it's not all book tours and front-of-store placement and national media. We know that. Publishing is a sales business. Caveat emptor. You have to do due diligence. Inform your decisions. You don't automatically believe everything you're told.

And that includes what you're told by authors who live in that bestseller's ivory tower, where it makes total sense to decline a big traditional offer, because they're already doing better on their own.

I understand that decision. I really do, and good luck to them. I wish them every success.

But I'm not them. I'm me. 

We now resume our normal programming, ie. utter blog silence. Thanks for listening.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Vampires and demon hunting, oh my!

Another new short story release! It's been a big week…

Hunter's Heart is what you might call a good, old-fashioned vampire romance. With demons and violence and juicy smexxin'. You know you want one, right?

Here's the cover copy:

A reckless young demon-huntress longs for the ultimate excitement—but is a powerful shadow demon more than she can handle?

For vampire Colleen O’Hara, work is also play. She hunts demons not just for the paycheck, but also for the thrill of the fight. It’s better than sex, at least the sex she’s had so far. But then she meets Seth, a smoldering-hot shadow demon. With him she feels an undeniable, untamable urge to blur the lines between ally and enemy, predator and prey.

Meanwhile, as the barrier between hell and earth grows weaker, threatening thousands of human souls, Colleen must track down the traitor who opened the rift. Only with Seth at her side can she defeat the villain. Colleen must risk everything—including her soul—to both follow her desire and save her city from impending damnation.

For those of you familiar with my books: Hunter's Heart is in the same series as Hunter's Blood, but with a new romantic couple. The heroine is Colleen, Gina's sassy BFF. The hero… well, he's kinda bad… :D

You can feed it cookies on Goodreads. Or, here's the Kindle link.

Here's a teaser; you can read a bigger excerpt on my website.


Such a beautiful enemy.

In his shadow form, Seth drifted above Colleen’s head, a silent breath of blackness in the night. Invisible. Deadly.

And fascinated. The fiery glint of her spell-wreathed knives mesmerized him. Her lean shadow slipped along the moonlit alley wall like a ghost. The power that flashed in the magical bloodstone at her throat made him tingle. If he’d had a mouth right now, it would have watered.

He’d been watching this Hunter every night for a week. Stalking the stalker, tracking her sweet vampire scent through midnight streets, as she killed imps and fleshcrushers, her lethal blades flashing. Her victims were lower-level minions, hell’s dross, mere lumps of flesh and hatred. Expendable, easily replaced . . . yet her grim taste for death intrigued him.

He drifted closer, whispering his shadowy fingers over her braided red hair, and his particles shimmered, aroused. Hellfire, she smelled good, of strawberries and female sweat. She hadn’t detected Seth—but this was no reflection on her fighting prowess. Seth was a shadow demon, ancient and powerful. Just a strange shiver down your spine, a warm whisper on your shoulder, a coil of blacker darkness in the night. It was pitifully easy for Seth to drink human and vampire souls.

Warm weariness washed through him. Soon, it’d be Yule, when the hellflux would be at its lowest ebb. His mistress—Jezebel, cruel demon empress, curse her oily hide to eternities of agony—was amassing her forces for a frontal assault. And these helldamned Hunters were just getting in the way.

Which was where Colleen came in. Her powerful magic-user’s soul would strengthen Seth. Feed him. Sustain his power, make him invincible, and so on and so forth. As Jezebel’s consort—and yeah, that was about as much fun as it sounded—he’d eaten countless souls in his time, both human and vampire. It was getting old, the excitement wearing thin.

Seth sighed, a stirring of shadow. Hells, he was getting old. Couldn’t recall when he’d last properly relished a meal. He didn’t even bother taking corporeal form anymore. Just dived down their throats and sucked the soul from their fleshbags.

But this prey—this juicy lady Hunter—woke something inside him that he hadn’t felt for . . . Mmm. Would she taste as good as she looked?


OMG. The suspense is killing you, right? What will happen? Will there be blood? More importantly, will there be nakedness and hot smexxin'?

Well, what do you think?

You can buy this cute little sucker at Amazon. $1.99. What a bargain!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Death! Betrayal! Vampire revolutionaries! Just in time for Valentine's Day...

A new release, yay! It's been a while, so I hope you enjoy this little piece of bloodthirstiness and heartbreak...

Unforgiven is a dark fantasy love story, and I'm stoked that it's been chosen as part of this cool anthology. Look at all these awesome authors.

Eight cutting-edge stories
of the darker side of love.

Tiffinie Helmer ~ Heartless
Alex Bledsoe ~ Tantrabobus
V.R. Barkowski ~ Just A Lie
Erica Hayes ~ Unforgiven
Lizbeth Lipperman ~ Sweepers: A Kiss To Die For
Charlie Holmberg ~ Salt and Water
Coreene Callahan ~ Fury of Fate
S.G. Redling ~ The True Love of Sherry Papers

The premise of this antho was simple: the story had to begin with the words 'love hurts'.

So, y'know. Vampire revolutionaries. Bwahaha. Just in time for Valentine's Day…

Here's the first little snippet of my story, Unforgiven.


Love hurts, they say.

Still, I find it an impractical tool. In all my years, I've never extracted a traitor's confession with the threat of a broken heart, for the simple reason that on the subject of love, imagination fails us. We cannot conceive before the fact how excruciating its loss can be. Whereas any torturing scoundrel will tell you that the instinctive human dread of physical pain—a dagger pressed into the eye socket, for example—is often more persuasive than the pain itself.

I poke my blade in a little harder. "Give me a name, monsieur, or by Jupiter, I'll slice your eye in two."

"Don't know what you mean." The boy's in shirtsleeves, and sweat darkens his white linen. The pleasure den's warm gaslights slant my shadow across his face. He's bleeding all over his waistcoat, poor lad, his cupid's-bow lips split and swollen, and it isn't making my job any easier.

A few feet from us, behind the half-drawn curtain, the dance whirls on, oblivious, a riot of silk and brocade, paste jewelry, painted faces, dusty relics of the bad old days. When he approached me at these revels—me, a lady wearing a gentlemen's swallow-tailed coat and breeches, rapier and dirk at her belt, glossy brown curls twisted in a red ribbon—he had more erotic recreation in mind.

Perhaps, so did I. He's handsome, this minion of evil. Delicious. The eye I'm threatening to pierce is ocean blue, bright with belladonna, and the smell of his skin maddens me. Absinthe and fear and a succulent boy's sweat, a toxic reminder of days long gone, when truth and liberty were more important than tomorrow, and my blood raced wild and free.

But I'm a different woman now. A married woman. And though I worship my lord husband with my entire heart, on evenings such as this—with the prey trembling in my grip, warm night air sparkling on my skin, the scent of satisfaction inches from my reach—the interminable emptiness of that tomorrow stretches ahead of me, terrifying.

"Your coven master's name, villain." I slide my dirk under his chin. "Or perhaps you can do without the eyeball. Should I instead slice your throat asunder?"

"Please, don't hurt me. He'll kill me if I tell you." He's sobbing now, begging in the fashion I once enjoyed so ruthlessly, and sweat trickles between my breasts. I'm burning. Eager. Parched inside, as if my soul wastes away for want.

"Yet so shall I, if you remain silent. What a dilemma." I twist his hair in my damp fist. My mouth is dry. I want to lick his swollen lips, taste that shimmering moisture. "Give me his name, minion, or you'll know sorrow."

The boy's eyes harden, the besotted glitter of the Possessed. "His name is master," he rasps. "But he signs himself Charlot."

The syllables echo backwards in time.

I taste them. Mysterious, slightly bitter, like an old wine. Enticing. Just as he tasted, long ago in those restless days of revolution, when he and I were drunk on power and fury and the sheer brilliant bliss of being alive.


My heart beats faster. Fear or excitement? I ought to feel nothing.

I must feel nothing.


Cool, eh? You can read a bigger excerpt at my website.

Buy links for the antho: Amazon ~ B&N