Launching Romance into the stars.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Please Welcome Tara Quan and her new 1Night Stand, Frosty Relations



With the holidays upon us there are troves of books to curl up with by the fireplace. My paranormal romantic comedy goes great with mulled wine and cinnamon cookies. Part of Decadent Publishing’s 1Night Stand line, Frosty Relations features a young college graduate facing the complicated world of adulthood and confronting the frost mage she’s had a crush on for most of her life. Add some Christmas magic and Madame Eve’s renowned matchmaking service, and we’ve got the beginnings of an icy-hot love story. Those who’ve read my Halloween release Flirting with Fire already know Jack, this tale’s hunk. In keeping with the holiday spirit I’m giving away a $15 gift card. To enter, leave a comment here and drop your details in the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this post. [or replace with: at my website: TaraQuan.com/FrostyRelations]
Frosty Relations (A Witch’s Night Out, 2)
Attorney Jack Frost never understood why holidays did weird things to people. His secretary went on vacation, his best friend ditched their annual Aspen trip, and the law firm’s stubborn human resources assistant refuses his clerical support request. What’s a warlock to do on Christmas Eve but go on a 1-Night Stand? But when an oddly familiar empath shows up as his date, this ice mage has a hard time denying the magic of the winter solstice.
Faced with an anemic employment market and financial woes, college graduate and former witch Mina Mao lands an HR assistant job at Frost and Sons. Having spent her day saving Christmas from Frost Junior’s Grinch-like behavior, she accepts the gift of Madame Eve’s service and heads over to the Castillo Capital. When her date turns out to be her childhood crush and workplace nemesis, she braces herself for the sexiest icy ride of her life.  
Genre: Paranormal Romantic Comedy, Interracial/Multicultural
Buy Links: Amazon | AllRomance | B&N | Decadent | GoodReads
Excerpt:
Jack reached over Mina’s head and tugged out the metal pins. As he placed them on the mantle beside her, one by one, he filled his lungs with the scent of cinnamon and cloves floating off her hair.
She sighed. “You have no idea what I went through for that up-do.”
“I never liked it when you tied your hair.” A few more pulls dislodged the coiled bun. The braid unwound into a long queue that reached her ribcage. Placing one hand above her head on the pillar, he reached around her waist and tugged the elastic free.
She stepped toward him, her head tilting up. Their breaths mingled, her midnight eyes hooded by a dark fan of lowered lashes. “You never seemed to give a damn about how I looked.”
“For an empath, you’re not much good at reading minds. I almost grabbed you by the ponytail one day with every intention of freezing off the godawful scrunchie. Those things went out of style in the nineties.” She remained motionless as he worked his fingers through the silken strands, unraveling the thick mane until it fanned over her back and surrounded her delicate shoulders. He wanted to see her like this, without a single stitch on her. “There. Much better.”
Her brows furrowed. “You never considered kissing me before. What changed?”
Hell if he knew.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

About Tara Quan
Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, Tara enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, paranormal worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Her characters, armed with magical powers or conventional weapons, are guaranteed a suspenseful and sensual ride, as well as their own happily ever after. Learn more at www.taraquan.com

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Cover reveal for Grace Falls

I have the honor of revealing the cover for Grace Falls. So, without further wait, I rip the virtual sheet off.
 
Blurb: "Having learned that Global Solutions has a space rocket facility, Grace McKenna and Benedict Thomas race to stop the launch in the belief there's a bomb. But the launch goes ahead without issue, making Grace wonder what she's missed.
 
When fellow "abnormal" Charity points out the rocket launched is an attempt to control the rain cycle, Benedict surmises that there's something being added to the water. Going against his wishes, Grace heads to Hammel, determined to get the answers.
 
However, the main one, of who is behind the scheme, is waiting for her... and his plans are darker than Grace could ever imagine."

Grace Falls is the fourth story in the Amazing Grace series, and is released 1st December 2014 through Champagne Books.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Winners of Spank and Treat will be Announced on Friday, October 31st

Be sure to come back to find out who won the signed copy of Slipping the Past as well as the Grand Prize for Spank or Treat.

Friday, October 24, 2014

SPANK OR TREAT 2014




Spank or Treat 2014 is finally here! Visit Governing Ana for the prize list, sign-up sheet, and full instructions. You can win from a prize pool valued at over $1,000, including a Kindle Fire or Nook HD donated by Blushing Books!
Many authors will also offer a contest on their individual blogs.  Your comment on their blogs enters you in both contests!
How do you play? 

1.Visit each blog between Friday, October 24th and Sunday, October 26th to read the stories.

2. Leave a comment on each blog. You must demonstrate that you have read the entire story. Copy-and-paste or inappropriate comments will be disqualified. You will receive one entry per blog for the grand prize drawing. Note: You must have a minimum of five entries in order to win a grand prize.

3.If you have visited all of the blogs, visit Ana’s blog to sign up for FIVE bonus entries to the grand prize.

4.Deadline is midnight EST (UTC -5) on Sunday, October 26th!

5. If you successfully completed a previous challenge (Sci Spanks 2014, Love Spanks 2014, Spank or Treat 2013, Spankee Doodle 2013, Love Spanks 2013, or Spank or Treat 2012), you may add “VIP” to your comments.  You will earn THREE bonus entries toward the grand prize.  (Yes, we will be doing this again.  Yes, if you successfully complete the Spank or Treat 2014 challenge you can become a VIP for our next activity!) 


6. If you are a writer of fiction (any kind), add “W” to your comments to be entered in the special author prize drawings.

Don't forget to comment on this post, for a chance to get in on the prizes.

I was honored when asked to join the Spank or Treat anthology and eagerly pinned my story Bear to Her in a matter of two hours. I found myself surprised at how easy it came to me, and even more excited to finish it and send it off.

I got my writing career started with shorts, and as time has passed, I've forgotten how they've helped me to become a better writer. Writing Bear to Her, brought me back to my roots. When you write shorts, you're forced to focus on critical elements in your tale, often skipping scenes and details you would include in longer novels and novellas. The result: Tighter more compelling tales. In the past with my shorts, I've been forced to exclude character descriptions to focus on the heat and emotional elements. I remember reading a review about my first story--3k, where the reviewer gushed over how hunky the hero was, and thinking, but I didn't describe his physical appearance, not once. This is one thing I love about shorts. The readers participate more than they realize, taking the picture you provide and filling in the blanks and adding to it what their mind spins.

So, for your reading pleasure, I present an excerpt of Bear to Her, a lesbian spanking short.

***Spank or Treat story removed for publication***


      Now for my giveaway, exclusive to this blog. I'm offering a signed copy of my award-winning novel, Slipping the Past, to one commenter on this post.


"    Some love affairs last a lifetime...others never end.

Fifty years into the future, if you're one of the damned, you don't run for your life, you run to save your soul. Jocelyn Miller is wanted for crimes she committed before she was born. Homeless, blind and out in the elements on one of the coldest nights of the year, her desperation results in a bad decision. When Jocelyn and her brother Nate rob a convenience store, Jocelyn comes face to face with her worst nightmare and greatest love, a reaper named Gabriel.

Gabriel Solaris is an Enforcer, a genetically enhanced psychic often referred to as a reaper for his ability to take souls, and he's charged with collecting Jocelyn's. When he finds Jocelyn outside the store, he's sure she's up to something illegal. Proving it isn't necessary. He holds a warrant and it's all he needs. But the closer Gabriel gets to Jocelyn, the more he begins to question his duty and why he believes her claims of innocence. When Jocelyn tells him she loved him once, Gabriel loses control and kisses her. Instead of taking her soul, he gives her a week to prove innocence in her past-life crimes, something he has no authority to grant.
 
    
     Buy here:
     Kindle
     Nook
     Print and .pdf

     Thanks for stopping by. You can find more of my stories at www.authordljackson.com.

     Best.

     D. L. Jackson     

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Science Fiction and Cowboys--A unique twist on a Grimm's classic.



Starlight Cowboy
By Stephanie Beck
From the storybook of the stars.
A groundbreaking mission to the moons of Jupiter should have been Annalina's big ticket for advancement, but instead of captaining her own ship, she's second fiddle to Shields Albright.

Playboy, adventurer, immature.
Shields has been called it all, but really, he just wants to fly and hasn’t spent a lot of time on his social skills. Mutual attraction grows as the walls of the space ship close in, and they come to an arrangement that satisfies them both, while allowing them professional distance. The distance doesn’t last, not as they grow to understand themselves…and each other as someone who just fits.

Not all is as it should be among the stars.
Their ship is attacked, and the moons of Jupiter are not exactly untouched when they finally arrive. The little world they’ve built high above terra firma is about to smack down in the middle of a dangerous, maybe even deadly, reality. If Shields didn't attract trouble like fireflies on a bug zapper, the two might have an actual shot at true love.

Available Now!

Sneak Peek:
Shields strode from the room, his gear already packed and waiting in the briefing room. He hadn’t settled into the base. Knowing he’d be flying soon, there hadn’t been much to unpack. In the small briefing area, the rest of the crews waited in full uniform. Annalina sat in the corner, isolated and flipping through a magazine. Anderson, the tiny boned, frail looking dick sat between the two other woman who would go on the missions—one older and one painfully young. One other man, much older and with chemist experience rounded the group.
Shields took the open seat next to Annalina. “Hey, Captain. How are you? Massage go all right? I was thinking of scheduling one.”
She didn’t glance away from her magazine. “You should. They’re wonderful, and Missy is a pro—who books out six month in advance.”
He leaned closer, loving her tough-nut exterior. “Well, damn. Maybe you could give me the lay version. You look like a woman who knows what to do with hot oil, candles, and sheets.”
“If you mean I look like I know how to cover a man in oil, set him on fire, and use a sheet to dispose of the body—you’re right.” She set down her magazine, but he didn’t miss the smirk on her face. “How’d it go in there?”
“How it always goes. I told them who I wanted to work with; they told me they’d put me with whoever the hell they want, and then I left. I’m heading to ship.”
“You got assigned a ship?” She sat straighter. “So you’re going to captain a ship.”
“Makes sense, doesn’t it? I’ve done these long stretches before, and everyone else in here,” he motioned to the rest of the room, not caring who listened, “has limited experience. I’ve been there before, too. So that helped. I’m guessing Aaron and maybe you will get a plane.”
“Really?” Her eyes lit up then cooled to disinterest. She was a smart one. If she didn’t get her own plane this time, she would after this adventure.
“Yep. Amy is too young, and Anderson is too much of a dick.”
“Hey,” Anderson protested. “That’s uncalled for.”
Shields winked at Annalina and stood up. “Whatever. I’m outa here. I’ll be on Ship Three. Good luck.”

Find out more about Starlight Cowboy and Stephanie Beck.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Do You Have a Marketing Plan?

Author Website
Congratulations, you've just contracted your first book. Now what?
Writing your book is the easy part. Getting your name out there takes a plan and valuable time that is best used wisely. These items should be included in your marketing plan. They are tips to help you get the news of your new release out there and build an audience.
Who is my target audience? (Think outside the box) Your readers could potentially be people who frequent Renaissance or science fiction fairs, or perhaps they are gamers who play D&D and have clubs where they play. Maybe they go to comic book conventions? You might find them in the library, in book clubs.  How old are they? What places can you find them? Go there. Hand out business cards and promotional materials if possible.
The best way to sell a book is through word of mouth. The best way to get word of mouth is to get your book into as many hands as possible. Consider giving your book away as a freebie for 3-5 days, if the publisher is amiable toward it. Remember, the more hands you get it into, the better chance you will get word of mouth sales. This is your biggest seller.
Are there any book clubs or readers groups in my area? These too are often untapped areas you can explore. Your local bookstores and libraries are the best place to start. Also watch your local paper. You can often find news of them there. If not, start one of your own. Talk not just about your books, but books you love.
Do you have a blog? No? You can get one for free through Gmail. Set one up and start blogging about topics that relate to your writing. Not every blog post should be about your book. Actually, that can be tedious for readers. Posts on medieval dress or customs ,and various other topics relating to research and what you write about, are a great place to start.
Do I have a website? If you don’t, and you’re serious about pursuing your career as an author, this becomes a must. Visit it weekly and update one thing on it. Neglected websites lose readers. Don’t neglect it. Changes bring them back to see what is new.
Do I have links on my blog or website to other blogs and websites of interest, including my publishers? Being published online requires that you build a network. A reader visiting one author’s site that loves their books, may visit another author if they are recommended or linked. Go out and find authors who write similar stories and ask them to do a link exchange. Most are willing to post your link if you post theirs on your sites. This includes review sites. Places like Night Owl Reviews will set up a free author’s page if you link back to them. Make sure to set up on Kindlegraph and other places readers may frequent. The more links back to your blogs and pages, the more traffic will flow to your books and the bigger your sales.
Make your blogs and websites reader friendly. Keep it easy navigate. Beautiful graphics don’t hurt either. You can go to places like Fantasia Frog, to find banners that are very reasonable if you don’t make them yourself. Make sure you have a tag line for your site. You can go to authors websites and blogs to see how they write theirs. It should reflect what your write. Whatever you do, make sure your blog or website looks and sounds professional.
Keep it simple and don’t clutter. If you can make separate pages for different topics, do. Make sure a link is always attached to a cover. I call it one click find. If they can click and it takes them directly to where they can purchase it, it makes it easy. Readers won’t write down titles, no matter how intriguing, but they will click on a cover and they will buy if you make it easy. When you have your blog or website up and running, invite friends to check it out and provide feedback. You can catch glitches that way.
Which brings me to one of the most critical things you can do. Your blurb is one of the most important things you will write. Rinse and repeat. Your blurb is one of the most important things you will write.  It should be less than 150 words, pull the reader in and leave them wanting more. A well penned blurb will sell books. A poor one will do the opposite. Spend time and perfect your blurb. I can’t emphasize enough how important that is. You can also help boost interest in your book by asking authors you admire if they will provide you a blurb about your book.
Are you on FaceBook? No? Get on it.
Are you on Twitter? Get on it and follow others who write similar books.
Are you on the multitude of other places you can meet potential readers? Social networking is a huge tool, especially for authors who are e-published. Just remember, don't make everything about your books. This is a chance for your readers to get to know you--the author and what makes you tick.
Do you have a blogging schedule posted? Will you be a guest somewhere? Make sure you schedule to guest on blogs or websites of authors who write similar books. Post your schedule and keep it up to date. If readers see a schedule that is out of date, they won’t bother coming back to check where you’ll be and when. Make sure when you post blog schedules, you also post any live visits you might be making to local book clubs or stores. If you are doing such an event and it's open to the public, consider taking out an ad in the local paper.
Do you have promotional items to give away? You can go to sites like Vista Print to order items like pens and tee shirts at a reasonable cost. Make sure you have some on hand to give away at book club meetings, or for any online contests you might have. Your readers will love you for them.
Last but not least, keep writing. Your next book will sell your previous book. This is especially important if you decide to write a series. Most series don’t take off until book three.
Best,
Dawn

Thursday, April 24, 2014

How Does The Weather Factor Into Prepping?

When I was six, my family lived outside Ogallala Nebraska in a trailer park called Hillcrest. This place became my first encounter with the destructive forces of Mother Nature. 
Sure I’d seen the power of blizzards, but not something so powerful mankind has no shield against it. Sure, a blizzard is a force to be reckoned with, but you can avoid it by staying off the roads and indoors. A tornado is a whole different beast. Even if you escape into a cellar, it will and can wreck your world.
I remember so clearly the details of that day. My family was out in the garden working, putting fresh mowed grass around strawberries in a bed my father built. The sky didn’t look particularly threatening that day, more like rain than anything else. There was a flash of lightening in the sky. My father looked up and said, “Time to go in.” So we put our tools in the shed and headed for the front door.
My father was the last to go through the door, and as he was pulling it shut, the storm hit. My father is not a little man. He is well over 6’4” and strong from years of working on my grandfather’s ranch. That burst of wind ripped the door off the hinges and out of his grip before he could shut it, nearly taking him with it.
You know how they say there is always a warning a tornado is coming. There isn’t. We had no warning whatsoever. No ugly green skies. No high wind, hail and rain. It just hit. The trailer began to rock, squawking as it shook, the walls literally moved in and out like the trailer was breathing, flexing in the force that threatened to consume us. The storm had this sound, and the only way I can describe it is that it was a growling freight train—a groaning, whistling growl. I could not hear my sister who was on the floor beside me it was so loud.
Then I remember thinking, this thing is going to eat us. I started to cry. Seconds later, it stopped. The world went silent and for several seconds the members of my family just stared at each other. I know my heart pounded, and though I didn’t really understand death at that time, I knew something quite profound had happened and I was lucky to be there.
Outside was a warzone. The front steps of our trailer were gone, along with the camper shell that had been on my father’s truck. The truck remained, but the shell was torn off it. My dad’s motorcycle was gone, along with several petrified rocks from the flower garden—some weighing over 1000 pounds, plucked from the ground like pebbles. The house that had been across from us was gone. The one behind us, the roof had been peeled away like the lid on a can of sardines. All of these things were found in a field five miles down the road.
Flash forward two years.
My family moved from that trailer park on the bluff overlooking Ogallala. We now live down in the valley. I am in elementary school and tornado alarms are wailing across the town. We are lined up in the hallways, face to face, heads tucked into our knees, hands over our heads as we’ve been drilled to do. I’m terrified and it doesn’t help. A teacher is on the floor next to me, rubbing my back and I know from the look in her eyes, she is scared to death. Her touch does little to assure me “everything will be okay.” Which she keeps repeating over and over. Again I hear the roaring as the storm rolls across the valley and over our heads, leaving our school intact. When it’s over, students are crying, teachers are shell-shocked and trying their best to keep it together. If not for the school sitting down in the valley, the tornado would have destroyed the building. We were lucky.
At the age of sixteen, I witnessed my third tornado. This time, there was no doubt the bully was in the school yard. The sky was an ugly green and it boiled, churning in on itself. The first show of its teeth came as sudden wind that bent trees, followed by hail and downpour so heavy, you couldn’t see someone standing five feet from you. I am doing my best to get my horse in the barn and under cover from the hail stones. She’s terrified and fighting me. She rears, pulls the lead out of my hands and runs for the other end of the pasture. That’s when it hits and I find myself ducking into the barn to avoid the hard quarter-sized ice pellets that are pinging off everything. After about two minutes of the most intense rain, wind and hail I’ve ever experienced, it went dead silent and still. There was no transition. One moment all hell was busting loose, the next, you could hear a cricket chirp from a mile away, if it had been inclined to do so.
That’s when I heard the roar. I looked out of the barn and about two miles down the road, a twister dropped from a cloud that looked like it could almost touch the ground. My father yelled from the house and we all made for the well house, the only place underground. There we sat in the dark, listening to a battery operated radio until the local radio station declared it all clear.
Again that day, we were spared. Later that summer at the County Fair, a tractor tire with a two-by-four was on display, one from the very storm we’d run from that day, from a farm just a bit up the road. The tire was completely inflated, the board rammed through the middle. The force of the storm had twisted the rubber on this thick tire and shoved that board through it, leaving all the air inside. If that doesn’t speak of the power a tornado possesses, I don’t know what does.
Over the years, I have had several other brushes with these terrifying storms, some in places people say they would never happen. When the wind hits all of a sudden in the middle of the night, you will see me fly out of bed, press my face to the window and strain out into the dark to see if the beast approaches. My husband laughs at my behavior when I call him from work or home. I’m terrified of thunder and wind storms. To this day, I will pace when they hit, especially if it is sudden.
During my life, I have learned a healthy respect for Mother Nature. So why a storm in a Prepper novel. Are you prepared to face the beast?
When it comes, you better be.

Dry Spell Blurb: 

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the eastern parts of Sublette and western and middle Fremont counties until seven p.m. CST. Doppler radar has indicated a line of thunderstorms with possible rotation moving east toward Sublette county....
Army vet Quinn Smith is just passing through Evans Point, or so she says. When she blows through town driving ninety-miles-an-hour, she snags the eye of the local Sheriff, Jake North.
Jake catches her climbing over a fence onto private property. Quinn claims to be chasing a storm, but Jake’s not buying it. There’s more to the beautiful woman’s story than she's told him. A dangerous maelstrom forces them to take shelter in a culvert, and sparks fly. Stranded in the prepper community of Evans Point, Quinn must face the truth about her past before she can move toward a possible future with the town’s sexy sheriff.

Dry Spell Excerpt:

“I could sell video of this storm for a profit and have change to spare. Best shot was from up there. Just trying to make a little money to get home. I didn’t mean any harm and, I promise you, I don’t break the law often—ever—never. I don’t break the law. I really, really need this. Please, can you let it go?”
The hair on his neck rose in response to a funny electricity in the air, like he stood near a high-voltage wire. Jake shook off the warning and focused on the pretty woman before him. “So you were going to stand in the rain and film, hoping something would happen?”
“Actually,” she said, “something is going to happen.” She gestured with her thumb to the sky behind her. “See all those bumps in that cloud that dip down like a bunch of breasts? That’s a cumulonimbus. Those pockets hold hailstones. A supercell is created when a cold and warm front collide. I’ve been tracking this weather, watching and waiting. And see how low they are—the little wisps and the rotation? Incredible. I can’t put words to it. It’s….”
He looked up and noticed not only the rotation, but the twister that dropped down as she spoke. “A tornado.” Though he could appreciate the graphic description, breasts in the clouds and all, there were much bigger things than titties in the sky to worry about. He grabbed her hand. “This way.” Jake dragged her at full run a hundred yards down the interstate toward a culvert that ran under the highway. They were lucky she’d stopped so close to the only shelter for miles around, or they’d be out of luck.

Buy Links:

Kindle - Dry Spell

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