Sunday, February 24

What a week... let's not do that again!

I spent most of this past week in the hospital, finding out lots of things I don't have. :P It was frustrating, but at least we've ruled out a bunch of major stuff. The good news: I should not be dying anytime soon. Whoot!

The bad news? We still don't know the cause of the chest pain or the dizzy spells. So we're back to square one, only this time we know what not to test for, should I have the chest pains again. :)

So no writing done this week, as I had and IV in my hands and it was painful to type, even for short periods (which were mainly used up on Facebook, but I had to reassure folks!), but then I was on some pain killers so my mind wasn't exactly all there, anyhow. lol not that it ever is, but this was worse. :D

having more tests this week, and hopefully we'll narrow it down a bit more so we can figure out what's going on and hopefully fix it. :)

In the meantime, I've got some word count to make up!!!

Sunday, February 17

A note to my fans... warning, there may be spoilers...

When I first released "Hearts of Ishira", the story wasn't quite finished, was it? There were actually another 50K words or so, going into more of Sean's part of the story, and his and Ri's 'dance' of attraction, etc. There was more of Ri learning about her abilities, of everyone learning more about the potential she has. I could have included that, at the time, and just made the book longer.

Why didn't I?

Well, two reasons, really...
1) I didn't want to short-change Ri and Sean's romance. And yes, I hope I made it very clear that there would be a romance between them. :) But theirs will be a very deep connection, and I didn't feel like I could adequately convey that with what I had already written. It would take a lot more time to do it properly, and the book was already really long. (I have since discovered that most folks would not have had a problem with this, but I digress!)

2) I just had a feeling that I shouldn't.

I think I've posted before that I don't write in a linear fashion. I get ideas for scenes, or they just come to me and must be written down. When I have enough scenes, I then spend time trying to mesh them all together. Or I wait for the characters to tell me the missing parts of the story.

That is what is happening with the sequel to Hearts, which I will no longer try to name, because it keeps adding to itself and the 'feel' of it is changing, evolving, and turning into something else, entirely different from my original intentions.

For the record, Hearts did that to me, too, and what started out as a fun little naughty menage novella turned into the birth of a whole new world, a new universe, and an epic tale of love, war, persecution, and a mix of sci-fi, fantasy, and the paranormal. The stories and interactions that are coming to me take time to develop, to refine, to deepen.

I know that I originally tried to get the sequel out by Christmas 2012. That obviously didn't happen. :) Sorry about that! I also mentioned that I was going to try to get it out by my first book signing in April.

That, also, is unlikely to happen, unless I get a major bolt of inspiration and things go perfectly between now and then, including my beta readers having no lives (they do!), and my editor being able to drop her life and do nothing but my stuff (ain't gonna happen!).

So I hereby declare that I will no longer try to anticipate when the sequel to Hearts of Ishira will come out. I won't try to anticipate what the name of the book will be, since that might change between now and then, as well.

What I will do is assure you that, so far, it is looking to be just as much fun, love, steam, and adventure as the first book, if not more of all of the above, and the stories that are unfolding will hopefully leave you wanting the third book (oh yes, there will be a third!), as much as some of you want the second!

As a side note, I now have a lot more respect for authors who are able to crank out an epic sequel in a year or less! I am in awe!

Keep checking back... I'll update with my progress and hopefully with non-spoiler snippets, though that part will be harder as I get into the book.

argh! There's so much I want to share with you already, but I can't! LOL

Ah well!

I'm going back to Ishira now... don't wanna leave them alone for too long... they'll come up with yet another sub-plot, and I need to save SOME of those for future books!

But rest assured, my friends... You will be seeing a lot more of Ri, Hunter, Jace, Sean... and others.

In the meantime, here's a snippet that I hope won't give too much away, since you already know that Sean will be part of the bigger picture... (There is one tiny spoiler, but hopefully it'll just make you wanna read this more!)  Note: This has not been through a final edit, so please ignore stuff that will most likely be fixed in the final! :D
     She crept out of the suite, pushing aside the heavy tapestry that covered the balcony’s doorway now that the nights were growing chilly. Once outside, she pulled her shawl closer around her shoulders and hugged herself as she leaned on the balcony railing.
The stars were so very different on this planet. There were no constellations that she recognized. With the help of her extensive collection of Hubble telescope images and the books on astronomy she had collected, Ri and the astronomers of Hunter’s crew had figured out that she was in a completely different quadrant of space than the Milky Way galaxy. They even brought her home galaxy up on their screens, so that she could see it as they did. Tears had filled her eyes at the beauty of her former home, but her heart was firmly in the Ishira Star System now. Or wherever Hunter and Jace were.
She smiled now, thinking about her men and the cascade of events that had led to her being with them. They were so perfect for her, and to hear them tell it, she was everything they had ever wanted in a life-mate.
Her smile faded and a frown puckered her brow, though she still watched the skies.
The coincidences bothered her. Not really coincidences, when she thought about it a bit harder. The women who were on that ship with her had been specially chosen for this trip. She had been chosen. What was so special about them? Why were they, of all the beings in the known universe, brought to this sector of space?
And most importantly, who had brought them here and why weren’t those people looking for their lost ‘experiments’?
As though in answer, an image, hazy and dark, rose in her mind at the thought of being someone’s experiment. She concentrated, trying to focus on that image, see what was going on. She sensed pain, terror, horror, and shame/ It was coming from herself as well as others, but she couldn’t figure out what was being done, or to whom. There was something blocking her memory, but as soon as she tried to press further, a spike of pain thrust through her brain. She immediately backed off, determined to ask Jace about it.
“What are you doing out here in the cold?” Sean yawned from the doorway. She whirled, lost her balance, and gripped the railing behind her with a rueful, soft chuckle.
“You startled me!”
“I felt you walk by,” he said, stretching as best he could without tugging on his wound. “You are thinking awfully hard for the middle of the night, kimi.”
She sighed, fighting to hide her thoughts from him.
In the starlight and the glow of the three moons of Ishira, he was breathtaking. Dressed only in his sleeping pants, a kimi-wool blanket over his shoulders, and with his hair down, loose, and disheveled from sleep, he was beautiful. She tried to remember the name of the actor back on Earth that he most resembled. The guy who played Thor. He looked like that guy, only with sable hair, green eyes, and more handsome, if that was possible.
Sean blinked at her.
“Who is this ‘Thor’, and why do you make such a sweet sound of desire when you think of him?” he demanded, his brows coming together over his nose. Ri couldn’t help the startled giggle at his indignation. He arched a brow at her.
“Thor is the god of thunder, in old Norse mythology,” she told him, dragging in a deep breath. “There was a movie made recently that portrayed him as a superhero. The guy who played him was… beautiful.”
“You think such men are beautiful?” he asked, his grin fighting for freedom as he crossed his arms over his chest and leaned a hip against the railing, looking down at her. His sleep pants hung loosely on his narrow hips, showing just a hint of that marvelous V that made Ri go weak in the brain functions. The utterly masculine pose contrasted with the lacy crochet of the blanket made her catch her breath. His grin was slow and knowing and entirely too smug. She felt her heart begin to thud more heavily.
“The right men are,” she murmured, holding his gaze long enough to let him know that he was in that company. Sean’s smile broke free and he uncrossed one arm long enough to touch her cheek.
“You honor me, sweet Arianna,” he whispered. “I am not beautiful. I’m just a man.”
“And the fact that you think that is part of what makes you beautiful,” she told him, smiling and leaning into his touch for just a moment. He leaned closer, but more to share his warmth and to shield her from the sudden night breeze than anything else. When the wind subsided, he moved to her side, their upper arms touching as he leaned on the railing with her. He followed her gaze up to the stars, his cheek next to hers as he tried to gain her perspective. He loved the tiny indrawn breath she took at his nearness, but kept his triumph to himself.
“What do you see?” he asked, his voice soft and low.
“Everything,” she whispered, smiling, the stars reflected in her eyes. “There’s a word I heard once that has stayed with me ever since. It’s Japanese, from a country back on Earth. It’s yugen. It’s an awareness of the universe that is so deeply powerful and emotional that there are no words. I’m a bit of a writer, and I can never seem to express what I feel when I look up into the night sky.
“I grew up watching the stars, learning about them, dreaming of one day being among them. But I always thought it was only a dream. Back home, we’ve barely left our atmosphere. We’ve only sent a manned mission to our moon, no further. My family and I loved watching all the science-fiction shows and movies. We were acknowledged geeks.” She laughed a bit at the memory, then sighed. “I read all the books I could find, over and over again, because they took me to places that were different. Places where things made sense, where good usually won and ordinary women could become extraordinary heroes.”
“You have done that, though,” he reminded her gently. She made a soft little scoffing sound at that. Sean nudged her shoulder with his arm where they both rested on the balcony railing. “You and Bev saved the women who now live with us. You encouraged them to embrace their new life, and our men. When others arrived, you worked tirelessly to help integrate our people into one society. You lead, the whole time denying that you are a leader. You even found me, brought our ship here, and reunited my family. And tonight…”
His voice trailed off and she heard him swallow a few times before he went on, his voice hoarse with emotion. She could feel his profound gratitude, the depth of emotion he could not verbalize, and it brought tears to her eyes. She had been performing an experiment. She had not counted on the incredible relationships of the Thorsani, had not thought what finding their lost sister would mean to them.
“Tonight you brought us continued hope, not only that one of our sisters is alive, but that, because of you, she is now bringing herself and more of our people here”
“I still can’t believe I did that,” she murmured sheepishly, shaking her head. “But I could not have done it without the rest of you supporting me and adding your energy.”
“I’m not so sure about that,” Sean said thoughtfully. She looked up at him in question. He watched her speculatively for a moment. “I think that your mind is much more powerful than you imagine, kimi. I think that whatever that box is that has been placed inside your brain, it is only to help produce energy more efficiently. I believe that you already had the ability to Read, or ‘psychic powers’, if you wish to call it that..”
“What makes you say that?” she asked, shuddering as a cold wind whipped down over the cliff, catching them by surprise and rattling the newly opened autumn night flowers around them. Sean cursed under his breath and tugged her to him, holding her close and turning his back to the wind until it died down again. When the dust settled and all was still once more, she slowly raised her face to his gaze. He pulled back only enough to look down at her, but did not release her from his embrace.
“Ri,” he breathed.
She moistened her dusty lips, her heart thudding against his chest, her hands trapped between them still clutching her shawl to her breast. As though unable to help himself, he caught her lips with his for a tiny nibble. When she did nothing more than sigh and tremble at the touch, he pulled her even closer and deepened the kiss. His big hands splayed on her back, warming her even more through the shawl. Ri shivered for another reason entirely as his tongue swept along her lower lip, sweetly requesting entrance.
The stars, the silence of the night, and the man were too much for her. She couldn’t keep him at arm’s length in this moment. Did not want to.
With a murmur of his name, she leaned into him, letting him kiss her, allowing him to angle his body so that he was all dominant, big, warrior male taking his lady’s breath away. She let her head rest against his shoulder as he explored her mouth with his tongue, his lips, even his teeth scraping across her lower lip in a sensual little bite that made her shiver and sigh. Her legs were weakening, her head spinning.
And spinning, and spinning still…
She couldn’t breathe…

Thursday, February 14

Happy Heart Day!

Yes, I realize that I've already posted today. But I got inspired to write something else, so just bear with me. :)

As a romance writer, I get asked A LOT if I actually believe in true love, that romance really exists. The 'love at first sight' kind of thing, the 'happily ever after' deal... all of it. I've been told that though "Hearts of Ishira" doesn't have a lot of conflict between the heroine and her heroes, it's still a very engaging and real love story.

There's a reason for that.

I write what I know, and what I know is that my entire life, I have been surrounded by true love and mostly happily ever after.

My parents met and married within 6 weeks. When did my dad know he wanted to marry mom? When she used a four syllable word correctly. He knew then and there that he wanted this woman to be the mother of his children, and he was completely taken with her as a person. He knew on their second date that he wanted to marry her. It took him two more weeks to convince her of that. Now, there have been occasions when she's grouched about 'being had'. There have been bumps along the way, and a separation or two. But in the end, they couldn't stay apart for very long. So 6 weeks from first date to the wedding, and 44 years later... here we are.

I have to think about how long they've been together... it's one year longer than I've been alive... the old bitties at Mom's church sure were blushing when she didn't start 'showing' after awhile. They were SURE she'd gotten herself pregnant, and they HAD to get married that quickly. But nope! I came along a respectable year and a half later, thank you!

The cool thing is, my folks could NEVER complain that a relationship I was in was moving too fast. :D "Really?" I'd say. "Pot? This is Kettle... gonna have to call bullshit on that."  teehee

I've been in love a couple of times. Not just 'thought' I was in love, but truly, honestly, completely in love. Well, I loved the first one. He wasn't as in love with me as I was with him, obviously, or we'd still be together. There was someone else who held his heart more tightly, though, and when it came time for him to choose... he didn't choose me. I understand he's happy as can be, and I'm really glad.

Because I am, too.

Sal is my happily-ever-after, at least so far. He is also my 'love at first meeting'. Here's the story:
I worked as an assistant manager in a small bookstore in the mall. My dad and I had this silly bet... I'd been complaining about being single, so he bet me that if I wore my hair up every time I went out, for the entire month of November, I'd end up with a keeper.

I HATE it when Daddy's right! LOL

So anyway... the morning Sal and I met, I'd asked my boss about a book that had been special ordered and never picked up. It was an autographed Robert Jordan book. My boss tells me to go ahead and put it out for sale, since the guy never came to pay for it.

Well, that day, Sal was in the mall with family and he wandered into the bookstore (as any self-respecting geek/bibliophile is wont to do). I was there with two of my employees, Heather and Ruth. Heather was a teenager, Ruth was a retiree, and both of them were trying to fix me up with our manager. *shudder* Mark wasn't a bad guy... he just was nowhere near my type. I was a little hottie back then, if I do say so myself. :) I could do better. :D Well, so Ruth gets a bit frustrated and asks, "Well, then, what IS your type?"

Fortunately we got busy around that time (it was about lunch time, if I recall correctly), and I didn't get to answer her.

Enter Sal. He came in, looked around for a bit, then bought a whole box of Magic the Gathering booster packs. $100, right there. I think he might have bought another book, but I'm not sure. Anyhow, there was a line, so I gave good customer service while Heather and Ruth rang folks up. Sal and I talked. And talked. And talked... He bought his cards, but in the course of our conversation, he'd found out that I was a geek, too, and enjoyed sci-fi. So instead of leaving after his purchase, he asked if I could recommend a new sci-fi series for him to get into. *grin* more time! yay!

I walked him back to that section and pointed out a few of the popular series, all of which he'd read already. I got to the Anne McCaffrey section, pointed out which of those he might want to start with, and since they were my all-time favorites, I was really gushing about them. But when I looked up after asking him a question, he wasn't looking at the books at all... he was watching me, with this sweet grin on his face. :)

I think we talked for nearly two hours that day, and never once exchanged names. It never occurred to us that we needed to. We'd found each other, at last, and it just never dawned on us that we wouldn't see each other again.

Well, the folks he rode with (who I'll admit had been pretty damned patient with him for flirting for two hours when they were ready to go home) finally got him to leave, but only after I sold him the Robert Jordan autographed book, which he already had a copy of, but his wasn't autographed, of course. :) So we like to tell people that 'I sold him a book he already had and we fell in love'.

As he's walking away with his family, out of ear-shot, I look at Ruth and Heather (who are now wearing equally shit-eating grins) and point toward Sal and say, "Now THAT'S my type!" Ruth leaned over the counter, following him with her gaze, and sighs, saying, "Honey, that's everyone's type!"

The following two weeks were straight out of a romantic comedy, with my co-workers doing their best to hook us up, but with Sal and I missing each other every time. He came in to see me several times, but always when I was off, out to lunch, or something. One day, I had just barely missed him, and Heather actually ran out into the mall, trying to find him, because it had only been about five minutes since he'd been in there. Maybe less. She was so frustrated! It was adorable.

When he finally came back in when I was working, I think he was wearing a Phantom of the Opera sweatshirt. I asked him out... after we exchanged names! :D

That night was our first date. It lasted 15 hours and all we did was talk. Well, mostly that's all we did. We DID get run out of the mall parking lot about 3am for fogging up the windows in his Tracker. *teehee* But that was just kissing. Had to sample the goods, ya know. Especially since I'd already proposed to him three times by then. Hey, he admitted he was wrong about something, he knew all the words to the Starblazers theme song, and he did something that was truly heroic, but I can't talk about that here. Suffice to say, he had already won my heart. :)

In the 16 years since then, we've been through an awful lot. I'm 100 pounds heavier than I was when we met, and broken in a lot of ways. We've lost babies together, worked through my hysterectomy together. We've bought and lost a house, we've come back to school, and this year sees both of us fulfilling life-long dreams... I'm now a published author, doing what I've always loved, and he will be graduating from college in May, with degrees in education and math. He's going to be a high school math teacher. 

Amazingly enough, though I come from a long line of HEA, he does not. His experience with married folks was horrifically different from mine. In the end, it took us 11 years to get married, most of that because he was convinced that we would end up like his parents. It took that long for us to figure out that we could never end up like them, because we were US. And our US is amazing. :) He doesn't see a chubby 40-something woman who barely comes up to his chin... he sees the goddess that he feels I am in spirit. He loves me, no matter what, and has proven that in so many ways, the man should be sainted. I've done some compromising, as well, but nowhere near what he has.

So... do I really believe in romance? In true love? In love at first sight? In looking at someone, talking to them, and just knowing that this is it, this is the one?

Absolutely, to all of the above.

I could claim a bit of psychic ability (which I possess and yes, I can prove it... I have witnesses!), and I'm sure some of that was in play. I could claim that we were meant for each other, and we both believe that, whole-heartedly. There are times we'll say something so silly or so very wrong that we look at each other and just know that the universe knows what it's doing, pairing us up!

And did you know that my husband is incredbly, painfully shy? Neither did I, for awhile. The man that I talked non-stop with for two hours, then for 15 hours (we did stop long enough to watch a movie that first date), the man that is a chatterbox most of the time I'm around, is NOT like that with anyone else, other than family.

The clincher, I think, was when he gave me a star. Yup. There's a star in Casseopiea with my name on it. Well, my maiden name. Not my married name. :) It was amazing, but I'll tell that story another time. :)

And you know when he proposed to me? Two weeks before the wedding.

He would have done it before I walked down the aisle, but I threatened to kill him dead if he waited till the day of our wedding to propose to me!

So does romance still exist?

You bet your sweet bippy it does!

Why do I write about it?

Well, they tell you to write what you know. I don't know a lot about much, but I know an awful lot about love. I hope that comes through in my writing.

Sal and I at my brother's wedding two summers ago... Sal was best man, I was matron of honor.

 Yeah... that's my man! 

 Sal and I at our friends' wedding, a number of years ago. :)

 When he still let himself have hair... :D
This was in Panama, I believe, when he was in the Army. And folks wonder why I love military men... :D

 At our wedding, obviously, cutting the cake! :D
My mom and dad, at our wedding in 2007

Sal watching me walk down the aisle... I cried when I saw this picture... he looks so happy!!! And in love! How can I not love this man??

 At our wedding... 11 years together at that point, and we still look like we like each other a little bit. Not too bad! :D

A snippet, just for Valentine's Day

I've been really busy with writing, so for Valentine's Day, here's a hot little snippet from Hearts of Ishira (Kindle) (Nook)  that I normally wouldn't post on a blog... but what the hey? My blog has a warning label for a reason... :D

(takes place during the Earth women's first day on Ishira...)

“They did take showers, but these mites tend to hang on rather well. It takes a special formula to make them release and to kill them.” Jace grinned and tapped a button above her bed. “You should probably tell them what to expect,” he said ruefully.
She quickly did so, stressing that the men weren’t attempting to hurt or molest them, and to do exactly what their ‘teams’ told them to do, to get rid of the mites. When she was done, she lay back, eyes closed for just a moment, catching her breath. When she opened them again, though, both Jace and Hunter were looking down at her expectantly.
“What?” she asked.
“You need to get bathed, too,” Hunter said with a shrug. The gleam in his eyes told her he was about to enjoy this.
“I can… I can bathe myself,” she said, stammering just a bit. “I’ve been doing it for years.”
“You could,” Jace said, inspecting her belly, where she could feel the tiny mites crawling, nibbling on her. “But if you have another reaction, you could die before we knew you’d even fallen. And you can’t reach some areas right now, because of your injuries. You definitely can’t wash your hair. Just relax, Commander. We’ll do everything.”
“Hey!” she cried out as Hunter stripped the blanket from her. He leaned down just enough to catch her gaze.
“What did you just tell your women?” he asked gently. “We’re not going to hurt you or take advantage. But we really do need to do this for you. It’s not a trick. Even our warriors had to get help washing their backs when the mites infested the first time.”
“It might be necessary,” she muttered, glaring at him, “But you don’t have to enjoy it!”
“I really don’t have a choice in that, now do I?” Hunter joked, winking at her.
She looked into his mind and saw that, while he was planning on enjoying the bathing, he was also truly concerned about her. They honestly did need to make sure they got every mite off of the women, and it would take two or three men for each of the girls. The washing had to happen quickly, otherwise the mites would simply escape to another body part.
Ri sighed and nodded her capitulation. Hunter scooped her up into his arms and carried her to a shower room off the medical center. Once there, he deposited her on a small stool, eased the medical gown off of her, and then stepped back as Jace moved to take away the bindings from her ribs. When she saw Hunter again, he wore nothing but a loincloth. Ri’s heart rate shot through the roof. Jace quickly followed suit, stripping down before stepping into the bathing area with them.
Oh, great googly-moogly… Ri’s brain threatened to short-circuit.
She was naked with two incredibly well-built warriors standing close enough to touch, wearing nothing but loincloths… She would have to be three days dead not to react. Her gaze roamed helplessly over them both as they prepared to bathe her. Ri had always had a healthy appreciation for a nicely muscled, sexy man. Right now, though she was hurt and weak and itching like hell, she wanted nothing more than to trace their hard muscles, follow the dips between muscle groups, explore every inch of those beautiful bodies. She closed her eyes, forcing her libido down. She felt light-headed and decided that her reaction was related to the events of the day and the most recent adrenaline rush.
Ri’s heart was absolutely thundering.
She knew the bath was medically necessary, knew that neither of the men had any intention of taking advantage of her weakened state, but she still felt vulnerable and small, sitting naked on the stool with the two huge warriors moving so close to her. The feeling of being so tiny, yet completely safe, was… erotic.
Hunter turned on and adjusted the water. Behind a curtain, in the shower stall nearby, another team was doing the same for Amy, and yet another was preparing to bathe Alicia. Both girls were more than a bit stunned, but Amy seemed to enjoy the attention after a bit. Jax and his team had taken over Kim’s care. The only thing that made Ri feel better about her libidinous reaction to Hunter and Jace was the fact that the others were having similar reactions to the men tending them. Good! She wasn’t the only one!
“Ready?” Hunter asked, stepping in front of her with a vial of bluish soap and a soft cloth. The heat in his eyes told her that not only was he going to enjoy this process a lot more than he let on, but that he’d read every thought in her head as she watched him. Realizing that he knew what she was thinking, about both him and the doctor, and seemed okay with it, only made Arianna’s breath catch in embarrassment and wonder. She still couldn’t believe that this gorgeous, intelligent man seemed to want her.
Then the itching began in earnest as the water hit her and all those tiny mites tried to dig into her flesh to hold on. She whimpered as the things bit again, hanging on, but apparently she had enough meds in her system to counteract their poison. Jace kept several adrenaline syringes handy, just in case. Still, she was shaky and weak by the time the soap started doing the trick and removed the tiny devils.
Though Hunter had joked about enjoying himself, the shower was fairly quick and professionally done. Hunter and Jace did a decent job of keeping their attention just on what it needed to be on, though Hunter’s gaze wandered to hers often. Usually when the cloth rubbed over part of her that was more sensitive than other areas and made her catch her breath. He seemed to take note of each of those areas. When she blinked at the realization, he grinned and sent her a sweet mental promise that he’d take advantage later, when she was better. And she wouldn’t mind at all, when he did. The assurance in his mental caress and tone made her breathing catch once more, her heart race just a bit harder. Her body spasmed sweetly in anticipation. What the hell was wrong with her, she wondered, her eyes widening as she realized she was wet from more than the soap and water streaming down her body.
Hunter moved behind her, his hands moving smoothly and competently over the skin of her back and shoulders. It felt so amazingly wonderful to have him touching her, rubbing sore muscles. And to be clean, not just with the rub-down the medics had given her earlier, but truly clean. It felt marvelous.
At Jace’s quiet order, Hunter’s hands moved around to her front, gliding easily over her soap-slicked skin. Those big hands once more moved beneath her breasts, opening his fingers and lifting her ample flesh easily. This time, though, he suited thought to action and, as Jace carefully scrubbed beneath her breasts, Hunter’s fingers slipped up to rub soap over her nipples.
Ri gasped softly. Her back bowed in reaction, thrusting her chest out slightly. Jace stilled a moment in his cleaning, arching a brow up at her. Seeing her eyes closed, her lips parted, he realized what had happened. He couldn’t help the grin that tugged at his mouth. Hunter’s expression was one of intense desire. One of his long arms moved around Arianna, holding her gently as his other hand moved over her, very thoroughly spreading the soap over every inch of her breasts. Jace’s mouth went dry, watching, then he shook himself and poured a bit more soap into his palm.
“I think that’s got them all,” Jace said, sitting back from his inspection of her tummy and legs. He held up a small scanner, slowly moving it from her head to her feet. A tiny chime had him frowning. “The oils in the soap should limit further allergic reactions and kill any remaining mites, but the scanner says there are more...”
“Did you get…” Hunter began, his fingers still spread so that her hardened nipples rested between them. Jace’s mouth watered, wanting a taste of those velvety little nubs. Meeting Hunter’s gaze, he grinned and winked. He didn’t have to be a Reader to know that here was a golden opportunity. And with Hunter in her mind, he knew that they would not do anything the little commander objected to. Judging by her body’s reaction, she was perfectly content with their bathing techniques so far.
“Not yet,” Jace said. He touched Ri’s face, urging her to look at him. Their gazes were level though he was kneeling in front of her. “Arianna, we need to make certain…”
Hunter’s mental image was what brought bright color to her cheeks.
“I can… I mean, if you think it’s necessary, I can wash down there,” she said thickly.
“It will only take a minute,” Jace assured her with forced professional detachment, pouring a bit of the soap into his palm and lathering it between his big hands. She sensed Hunter doing the same thing behind her and her eyes went wide. She was in too much of an erotic stupor to do more than follow their instructions as they stood her up between them. Jace ordered her to lean back against Hunter, to keep any weight off her bad leg, then reached out, gently spread her thighs, and began a very thorough cleansing of her upper thighs and her thatch. Behind her, Hunter’s soapy hands were doing the same for her buttocks, the crease where her butt met her legs, and absolutely everything in between.
When Jace hit particularly sensitive spots, she cried out softly, her head falling back against Hunter’s chest involuntarily.
“What the hell?” Jace asked, his eyes widening, his hands stilling where they were between her nether lips. He hadn’t been touching her hard enough to hurt her. Her breathing hitched and she turned wide, glassy eyes down toward him.
“I… I’m sorry!” she gasped, her hips moving spasmodically across his fingers. Behind her, Hunter’s breath shuddered in, then out, as he picked up on the growing desire their bath was sending through her. He could also sense her embarrassment at feeling that way, especially since there were two of them. That part confused him a bit. “I don’t know why I’m… I didn’t mean…”
“It’s okay, little one,” Hunter said huskily, his breath in her ear, his hands moving slowly, erotically, toward her core. Jace might be confused, but Hunter was in her mind, knew what she was feeling, knew that she’d been attracted to them both from the start, and knew that while she wasn’t prepared for what she was feeling, she also didn’t want their touching to stop.
She nearly collapsed as both men sent their hands gliding between her legs. Hunter’s fingers spread her nether lips so that Jace could more easily clean her down there. And just to be certain, Jace sent a long finger into her core, spreading the soap liberally over her inner walls, paying particular attention to the front wall of her core. Ri cried out brokenly at the sensations, her hips bucking against his touch. Hunter’s head fell forward, leaning against her neck. He breathed heavily in her ear, their breaths synchronizing, as Jace cleaned and then rinsed her.
Ri wanted nothing more than for the two men to lay her down and take care of the incredible ache they’d managed to build in so short a time. Hunter wanted that above all else, as well.
But she was hurt, she was coming off an adrenaline injection, and her body was not entirely hers to control. He knew that from his own experiences with the effects of adrenaline. Growling low in her ear, he leaned his head against hers for just a moment, his fingers flexing where they held her open. She gasped his name, her back arching, then gasped in pain when that arch overextended her torso, reminding them all of her broken ribs. Hunter’s hands immediately came up to gently grip her hips, holding her steady until she caught her breath.
“Good gods,” Jace breathed, his heated eyes meeting his brother’s before locking on hers. “Are all humans this sensitive? This responsive?”
“I don’t know!” Ri practically wailed, her face ten shades of red. “Please… are we about done here?”
“Just about,” Jace told her. Nodding to Hunter to hold her steady, Jace took the shower wand and rinsed her just as thoroughly as he’d washed her. The water jets must have hit other sensitive spots, because her hips moved and she gasped a number of times before the men were certain that she was as clean as they could possibly get her. When Jace ran the scanner over her, front and back, she was clean of the mites.
It was a weak, shaky, very confused and sexually frustrated Ri that settled back into her bed a short time later. Too weak to stand at that point, the warriors had steadied her between them then gently, carefully rubbed her down with warm towels. Hunter carried her back to her bed where he once again held her breasts while Jace wrapped her ribs. A medic brought them a clean medical gown. They dressed her and tucked her beneath a fresh set of warmed sheets. Then the men disappeared into the shower room to dress themselves.
She noticed that while she and the other girls had been cleansed, the sheets had been replaced. She shuddered at the thought of tiny, alien insects all over her. Then she shuddered again, thinking of the incredibly erotic way the Commander and his second-in-command had bathed her. Holy crap! That had to have been the most sexually charged bath she’d ever experienced, and she’d actually had sex in the shower a number of times. Her breath shivered out at the memory. 
The mites had almost been worth it. 

Friday, February 8

Two things...

Well, I'm excited!

First off, my novella, The Natural, will be free tomorrow (February 10th), starting at midnight! Yup. Who loves ya, baby??? :D

Second, my project was accepted at Kickstarter!!
The project is to support both of my book series. My husband is currently in college (graduating at 42!), and we are woefully short on funds, but I have a blog tour and book signings coming up. The Kickstarter project is to help raise some cash so I can get swag, books to autograph and send out as prizes, signs/posters, and maybe a banner for my book signings. :)

There are four different levels of rewards for pledges, so take a look at those, if you like, and consider helping this newbie author start out her career looking as professional as possible. :)

If you would like to help out, please check out the page. :) Any questions? Ask away!
And now, back to your regularly scheduled friday night! :D Folks up north, stay warm and in your house! (And read a good book!) 

I don't usually do reviews...

but a friend and I decided to trade books to review for each other. I'll be's not my usual reading material, but I liked the way it sounded and I was very pleasantly surprised!

Just finished reading a delightful read-it-in-one-sitting book by my friend Susan Ricci. 'Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems' is a cute, heart-warming story of middle age, internet dating, and the hope of finding real love when you've resigned to never being in love again. I think anyone who's ever participated in an online dating site can appreciate the early tales of woe, and anyone who's ever fallen in love can appreciate the rest. :) I highly recommend this book, for pretty much anyone. :)

Well done, Susan! :)
(and it's only .99 today! Whoot!)
Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems

To further that, I will say that it was impossible for me to put this book down. I nearly wet myself because there wasn't a moment I didn't want to know what happened next. :) (I did run to the bathroom the moment I was done! LOL)

Ms. Ricci writes in a way that makes you think you're reading someone's livejournal or keeping up with their facebook statuses. In a good way. I was very quickly sucked into the story, identified readily with the trials of internet dating, and it was very easy to put myself in the heroine's place, even though I'm almost a decade younger. :) A lot of the same things apply, I think. Ms. Ricci doesn't pull any punches. The heroine's insights and insecurities are easy to relate to, and her descriptions of the events and emotions are enough to have you grinning or frowning along with the protagonist.

I normally go for steamy, erotic love stories with lots of adventure, but this was a very nice change of pace for me. It appealed to me on a level that's hard to describe, except to say that Cindy is the type of person I would love to meet for brunch one day and just share some good old-fashioned girl-talk with. And I'd be jealous of her, if not for the fact that I have my very own hero right here at home with me. :)

I highly recommend Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems, and I hope I haven't given too much of it away in this review. Like I said, I don't often review books. :) Great read, Susan! Can't wait to read your next one! :)

Thursday, February 7

Let's talk research

And by research, I mean porn. Yes. Porn.

For instance: tonight, after more than a few requests for Christine (from The Natural) to encounter 'tentacle porn', I decided to do some in-depth research into just what folks are talking about. Yes, I've seen lots of pictures that boggled the mind and sent the imagination spiraling into very strange places. :D After tonight, I have seen a number of anime movies that make me question whether there's any young woman in Japan that has had sex that was a) consensual, b) not with an alien, and c) where she didn't explode (literally) at the end.

I am promising my readers, here and now, that if I ever write tentacle porn, it will be such that the woman enjoys it and there are plenty of 'mouths' to go around. Oh, and she won't be force-fed a cock. Guys, no one likes that. No one. I don't care what pornos tell you, no woman likes a cock shoved in her mouth and down her throat. Gagging and almost throwing up are NOT erotic. Period. (and if your woman says they are, then there's something seriously wrong with her. Check for crazy eyes and make sure to use protection. You don't want that to breed!)

So anyhow... Yes, I am planning on writing some tentacle porn, among other things. :D But no, it will not be the rape-scenes that seem to dominate the genre, nor will it be all pleasure for the tentacles and none for the girls.

If they're crying, it will be in ecstasy!

Now... back to life.

Still working on Songs of Ishira, though I'm working with a handicap. The laptop that has been my beloved companion for the past four years is on its last legs. Tomorrow will be spent backing everything up and experimenting to see if my favorite word processing program will work on my netbook. I can't afford a new computer at the moment, so I will make do! But the plan is to have Songs done and published by the end of March, if at all possible.

Also, I will be participating in a blog tour March 9-10th! Stay tuned for details!

And of course, if you're in the southwest mountains of North Carolina April 6th, I will be holding a book signing at City Lights Bookstore. Come, join me, and if you like, stick aroudn for lunch at City Lights Cafe, located underneath the bookstore. Their bagels are to die for and they have excellent coffee, as well as local wines and beer. I'll post more details as they become available. :)

PS for those who have an e-book, I have plans for signing for you, too! Never fear! :D