Mar 25, 2013

In the Spotlight - Lexi DeHalo

 

Welcome This Week's Featured Author!!



LEXI DEHALO
 
 
 
 

Lexi DeHalo lived in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina until she left for college to study Chemistry and Forensic Science. Despite her love for science, Lexi’s heart has always belonged to the arts. So, after moving to the big city, she decided to pursue her creativity by writing hot stories about hot men who love other hot men.
 
 

 

CONTEST: Comment below for a chance to win an eBook copy of Mating Moon! Ends Saturday, March 30th at Midnight.

 

 

MATING MOON [BE-WARE 1]


Night Stragorri was born to hunt. As heir to the Stragorri bloodline, it’s his sole purpose to kill any paranormal that threatens human life. He is bound by blood to the Hunter code, but he desperately wants a way out. He didn’t imagine in a million years that one fateful visit to a shifter-infested nightclub would bring him face-to-face with the man who would change his destiny.

Akira Landers is a Were-panther with a painful history. Adopted into a pack of werewolves at an early age, he learned to fear Hunters above all others. Working at the pack-run nightclub, things are always eventful, but even he is surprised at the Hunter who enters their domain and more surprised by the attraction he feels for the other man.
 
Inexplicably drawn together, sparks ignite, but their pasts seek to divide them as they struggle to accept their love in a world where Hunters and Weres are mortal enemies.
 
 
 
 
 

STORY EXCERPT

Night held Akira up with obvious ease. He held him firmly until Akira could get his footing again. They were face-to-face for the second time tonight.
“Be careful. I wouldn’t want you getting hurt,” Night whispered before releasing his hold on him. Akira could feel himself hardening as the Hunter’s penetrating stare bore into his eyes. He needed a distraction and quick. Luckily Night provided one.
“I guess I just wanted to know what it was like to be something other than a Hunter…I’ve never really spoken with anyone other than those I’m hunting. I just wanted to understand more about your life.” The words were sincere. Akira could tell the Hunter was searching for some kind of understanding.
“Life’s rough, but I get by. The full moon runs are something my kind looks forward to. It’s the only time we can truly let loose and allow our animal form the freedom it yearns for since it’s become too dangerous to shift any other time of the month.” Thanks to the Hunters, he wanted to add but refrained. He didn’t want to insult the man even if it was truth.
“I hate hunting. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be free from this life.” Night’s admission was followed by a tension in his muscles. His eyes narrowed on something in the distant, and Akira could tell he meant the words he spoke.
“If you hate it so much, why do you do it?” Akira asked curiously. He moved closer to the Hunter.
“It’s what I’m trained to do. It’s what I am. I’ve never known any different, and anyone that’s tried to leave the Hunter way of life has either disappeared altogether or ended up at the wrong end of a blade. I thought if I left my family home and lived on my own, I would understand why it is I am a Hunter, but so far all I’ve seen is the cruelty and anguish we cause.”
The Hunter had a faraway look on his face as though he’d forgotten where he was and who he was with. Akira splashed him with some water, snapping him out of his reverie. Night raised an eyebrow at the Were.
“Well, I don’t know what to tell you. I’ve never been anyone else,” Akira said with a laugh. The Hunter sure had strange values. “It doesn’t matter if I know who I am. Everyone else doesn’t. In fact, no one else cares. You at least get respect simply by existing. I’m constantly having to prove my worth.” Akira cupped the warm water in his hands and threw it on the bigger man once again. He sunk down until nothing but his nose and eyes were visible in the steaming water.
He considered tackling the other man as he abruptly stood to avoid Akira’s further attacks, but then Night turned just right and the candlelight caught the brand at his hip. The ring of Celtic knots surrounding the bold snake curved in the shape of an S was a symbol Akira knew all too well. The color drained from his face. Bloody memories brought horror to the surface of his consciousness.
No! Flash. His brother thrashed against the side of the building as a Stragorri held him by his throat, Akira pulling at the Hunter’s leg. “Please.”
Akira came back to himself in an instant, his breath coming out in hard, panting breaths. He paddled backward, splashing like a flailing duck as he powered away from his enemy. He fell and then came up, coughing and sputtering as he swallowed the warm, sulfuric water.
“Fuck. Fuck. Fuck…” he whispered. He stared at the Hunter, his eyes seeing another of his line instead. He was caught in the flashback of his past.
Akira was vaguely aware of the Hunter’s grip on him as he struggled in the water. “Easy, Were.” Night’s soothing voice did little to calm the horrors flashing before him. “Akira! Talk to me!”
“Lemme go,” Akira whispered in a panic-stricken voice. “Please…” He sounded near tears. His animal rose to the surface as it often did when he was distressed. His fingertips turned into claws that cut into the Hunter’s chest as he pushed him away. The Hunter’s grip did not waver.
“Calm down, Akira. It’s me, Night. I’m not going to hurt you.”
“Stragorri” was all Akira could muster in reply. His senses sharpened almost painfully, and the Hunter’s intoxicating scent surrounded him, comforting him with every breath. His struggles became less severe until the man before him transformed from the horror in his memories back into the man he’d been attracted to only moments ago.
“N–night?” Akira asked, recognition finally entering his eyes. His claws retracted almost instantly from Night’s flesh. The horror slowly faded as he let the Hunter’s scent console him.
Night pulled him to his chest and wrapped his arms around him. “I’m here,” he whispered into Akira’s ear. “If you want me to be.” Those last words were all the reassurance Akira needed from the Hunter. It was his choice to be here tonight. It was his choice to be comforted by this Hunter, and at this moment he wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world so long as he never had to relive that horrible night. Night wasn’t the enemy. He’d never tried to hurt him. He’d only shown him kindness since their first meeting and now…now he needed to feel him. He needed to know that this attraction was real despite their differences. It wasn’t Night that had killed his brother, but it was Night who had brought an end to the flashback. Something not even his Packmates could do. There was something about this man that made his animal yearn to claim him.
Akira blinked, his soul numb as he came out of his post-traumatic moment. He looked up at Night with tear-filled eyes.
“Are you…Are you going to kiss me?” he whispered, licking his lips. His beast growled in answer. Yes. Kiss. Take. Mate. Oh fuck. Akira was instantly hard as the realization dawned on him. This Hunter was his mate.
 

 

THE INSIDE SCOOP

If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
It would have to be Akira. He’s a hot mess and a lot of fun. Definitely a party worthy friend who knows how to get into some trouble! Not to mention an excellent dancer. He’d totally be my first choice for a night out on the town.
Are you plot or character driven? Please elaborate.
A little of both, although as of right now the plot has been determining the main sequence of events for the next two books in the series. The characters just happen to fall into place. I think for Mating Moon, though it was definitely driven by Night and Akira. It didn’t matter what plot details were going on in the background, all that mattered was their time together on paper. That’s what I liked most about that particular book.
What is the one thing you must have to be able to write?
Sleep. If I am sleep deprived you can forget it. My brain shuts off and my muse refuses to speak to me. It’s horrible because I would rather go without sleep and get my manuscript done!
What is one of your biggest pet peeves?
When I want to write and can’t either because I’m having to work on something else or my laptop is in the shop. The latter is the case right now and of course my muse is all ready to go with this next story. I have the sneaking suspicion that when I do get my computer back in the next few weeks, my muse will suddenly stop talking to me. Such is the life of a writer I guess!

 

Contest: Comment below for a chance to win an eBook copy of Mating Moon! Ends Saturday, March 30th at Midnight.

 
 
 

Mar 17, 2013

In the Spotlight - Jana Downs

 

Welcome This Week's Featured Author

 
JANA DOWNS
 
 
Website  |  Facebook  |  Blog  |  Coming Soon
 
 

CONTEST

Comment below for a chance to win an eBook copy of Born to Please AND The Incubus Lesson!! Contest ends at Midnight on Sunday, March 24th
 

ABOUT

 
Jana Downs lives in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina with three cats, one dog, several dozen fish, and a very understanding partner-in-crime who hates to read but makes exceptions for her stories.
You can usually find her either watching bad reality TV, buying way too many books on Amazon, or dreaming up another man or two to occupy her time because life is good but several drop-dead gorgeous nonexistent men is just better.
 

 

 
 

BORN TO PLEASE [PLEASURE VESSELS 1]

Vessel 8189, Payne, doesn’t want the man who the Facility has deemed his perfect match. A specially designed person whose DNA has been spliced with shifter DNA, his entire life has prepared him for his owner and mate. However, the man they’ve chosen isn’t the spoiled, arrogant jerk he anticipates.
Alecander Kane is the CEO of marketing for the Facility where Payne is housed. He never wanted to take a Vessel because he craved more of a partner than a slave. Unfortunately, his father has other plans. He has gifted Payne as a birthday present.
After they meet, a problem at the Facility sends them rushing back to the place Payne grew up to deal with the cleanup. Together, they will uncover all the secrets that have been festering for years and change the way Vessels are treated forever, all the while discovering that being born for pleasure doesn’t necessarily preclude falling in love.

ADULT EXCERPT



“Alec, please, fuck me,” Payne pleaded. His head spun with lust and heady desire. “I need you. I need you in me.” He didn’t even know how to do it, but Payne knew he needed Alec filling him. He’d shoved his fingers in his ass when he’d masturbated before, but he knew it would be vastly different with the hard cock rubbing against him.
 
“My pretty little virgin Vessel.” He growled. “You like this, sweetheart?” Alec asked, licking those pink nipples and putting the hard edge of his teeth to tease the tip. He sounded possessive, and it turned Payne on.
 
“No. I need it. I need you.” Payne was on fire. His mind was spinning out of control as triggers that he hadn’t even realized were imprinted in him were tripped, turning him into a mass of desire and want. The desire to join, to have Alec come deep inside him, was paramount to his sanity. Perfect compatibility didn’t even begin to describe how much he wanted the man touching him.
 
The movie was forgotten as they tangled.
 
Alec gasped as Payne tore at his clothing and nipped at his throat. “Christ, you are on fire, lover. You’re so fucking hot.”
 
“Take me to bed, Alec,” Payne begged. “Fuck me.”
 
“With pleasure, sweetheart. You’re going to have to let me go first,” Alec said with a laugh as he tried to untangle himself from Payne’s embrace. He pushed himself to unsteady feet and offered Payne a hand up.
 
They stumbled up the stairs on the way to Alec’s room, rubbing against one another and stopping frequently to kiss and nip at each other’s lips. Finally they burst into the master suite. He barely registered the royal-blue comforter and dark-oak bed posts before he was pressed into the soft, cotton embrace.
 
Alec stripped him with one hand, pushing the silk boxers to his knees before finally pulling them off completely. Payne sat up on his elbows to watch Alec as he ripped at his own shirt and pants. The hiss of the zipper caused Payne to moan as Alec bared his sexy body to his gaze. Alec had been so damn careful on the way here, always so respectful and distant on the two-day trek from the Facility. Even their earlier tussle had been because Payne had caught him off guard. He licked his bottom lip and gripped the comforter to keep from running his hands down his body and taking himself in hand. He was starving for Alec’s touch.
 
“I love that look,” Alec rumbled. His eyes were darkened with desire. “I like that you’re scared but still hot for me.”
 
“You look like you want to eat me alive,” Payne murmured, surprised at the husky timbre of his own voice. “I like it.”
 
Alec groaned at his words before reaching over to his nightstand and retrieving small bottle of lubrication from the drawer. He squirted some on his hand and wrapped it around his weeping erection. Like before, seeing him pleasure himself with his hands made Payne hot. He squirmed as he waited for Alec to touch him.
 
“Oh,” Payne sighed as Alec let out a low moan of want, and his knuckles went white as he gripped harder on the covers. The sight of Alec stroking himself with the slick until his cock glistened was nearly his undoing. His body threatened to erupt without Alec ever touching him. Alec extended a knowing hand to Payne’s dick and applied pressure to the base of his cock to halt his impending orgasm.
 
“Wait,” Alec commanded. Payne made a noise of frustration and squirmed all the more. Didn’t Alec realize it was killing him not to plaster himself all over Alec’s rippling body? “Hush, sweetheart. I can’t concentrate when you do that. Let me get you ready to take me.”
 
Payne watched with interest as Alec spread his legs with his hands and trailed a hand down the cleft of his buttocks. He jumped as his cheeks were spread for Alec’s perusal. A skilled digit circled the tight rosette of his ass, eliciting another groan. His eyes clenched shut as nerve endings he didn’t even know he had fired, demanding they move the process along. A finger sank into his heat, fucking slowly inside as Payne arched into the motion. Another finger joined the first after a few pumps, the stretch becoming a pleasant burn.
 
“Like that?” Alec asked. Payne’s eyes popped open. Sweat dripped down Alec’s forehead and neck from the restraint he was showing, and Payne was grateful for it. He needed the intimacy of the moment. This was his first time, and he needed it to be something more than a meaningless fuck to be satisfied. “You doing all right, sweetheart?”
 
“Yeah,” Payne panted. “More. Give me more.” Mine. For the first time, the possessive deeper part of himself raised its head and had a voice. Mine. Mate. Any other time Payne would analyze why he was suddenly hearing voices, but he was too enamored with the man inflicting pleasure on him to worry about much except for getting off.
 
Alec squeezed out more lube onto his hand before putting it back on the nightstand. He circled Payne’s entrance with careful fingers and pressed another finger inside him. The burn became almost too much for a second, and Payne wondered if he could take it. He closed his eyes and concentrated on relaxing. Moments later he managed it, and Alec proceeded to finger-fuck him mercilessly as he bucked his hips in time with his thrusts. His insides all but writhed in pleasure as sensation speared him. He had needed this for so long, and he hadn’t even realized it. “I’m going to press inside you, Payne. I’ll go slow.”
 
Payne shook his head vehemently. “Not slow. God, not slow. Please, Alec.”
 

THE INSIDE SCOOP

If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be and why?

If I could spend the day with any character it would have to be Allasandro from Ravyn Warriors. He is such a funny and fun loving guy and he has the ability to crack me up at the most inappropriate times. Plus watching him harass the other guys is always a treat.

How do you know you’ve written a good book?

I know I’ve written a good book when I type The End and I feel a pang of disappointment mixed with relief and trepidation. It means that I connected to the characters in a deep way and when people read it, they’ll see a little of my soul splashed across the page.

How do you keep your characters and stories organized?

I keep my characters in spreadsheets divided by series and notes on each written in different notebooks found lying around my house. Coupled with my fantastic whiteboard, my system keeps me pretty organized despite the fact that no outsider has a clue how to make sense of it all.

What is the one thing you must have to be able to write?

I must have my zebra print pillow and either music or trash tv playing in the background. Absolute silence bores me so I occupy myself with the background noise. It probably drives my downstairs neighbors nuts considering I work at night.

 

CONTEST

Comment below for a chance to win an eBook copy of Born to Please AND The Incubus Lesson!! Contest ends at Midnight on Sunday, March 24th

Mar 10, 2013

In the Spotlight - Gabrielle Evans


WELCOME THIS WEEK'S FEATURED AUTHOR!

GABRIELLE EVANS



Gabrielle Evans grew up in a small town in southern Oklahoma. We are talking one red light that may or may not work depending on the day of the week. She married her high school sweetheart and the rest is pretty much history. They have two very active boys and one high-strung wiener dog that keeps her constantly on the go. For now, she parks her car in central Indiana, but who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Gabrielle believes in love at first sight, falling hard and fast, taking chances, and grabbing your happy-ever-after with both hands. Most importantly, she believes that a great cup of coffee can cure anything.



 

PRIMAL INSTINCTS [THE MOONLIGHT BREED 10]

He can’t cure world hunger, negotiate peace in the Middle East, or even toast bread without burning it. Yet, for some reason, Elder Layke Winters is expected to have all the answers, and it’s beyond exhausting. Everything is different with Aspen, though. He’s different. For the first time in over a thousand years, he feels free—completely alive. Is it any wonder he’s falling fast for the bright-eyed imp?
Aspen never thought someone like Layke could want him, but once they come face-to-face, the elder awakens something wild and primal inside him. Layke is his. He’s certain of it, and he’s prepared to fight heaven and hell to keep him.
The two have almost nothing in common, though. With the odds stacked against them, and more questions than answers, especially about Aspen’s origins, will the pair ever find themselves on the right side of forever?






STORY EXCERPT



“Maybe you should cut back on the caffeine, sweet cheeks.” Jacobi’s tongue darted out to flick the hoop encircling his bottom lip, and he rocked sideways to bump their hips together. “The boat is supposed to be here today.”

“Oooh, Zuriel will be happy.” The poor fox had been missing his twin like crazy. With all the horrible happenings in the last few weeks, Aspen felt his friend could use the visit from his brother. “We probably shouldn’t mention that Zuriel almost died.” That just wasn’t appropriate reunion talk.

“No, you’re right. Zavion would birth itty bitty kitties if he knew.” Jacobi scrunched his nose and twisted his lips to one side of his face while he opened his eyes as wide as they could go, clearly attempting an inaccurate depiction of childbirth. “Yeah, we won’t talk about mincemeat fox pies.”

It wasn’t that Jacobi never took anything seriously. He just had his own colorful way of describing situations, which Aspen actually found humorous rather than offensive. The man was never disrespectful, and he clearly cared about the suffering of others. He just didn’t feel the need to stalk through his days with a perpetual snarl curling his lip.

Bad things happened. They’d certainly happened to Aspen. It was over now, though, and instead of dwelling on it, he preferred to just forget it and move on with his life. Maybe that made him na├»ve, to think that he could ignore his past, but it seemed like a much better idea than feeling sorry for himself.

Placing his mug on the small patio table for safekeeping, he approached the edge of the balcony and folded his arms over the chest-high railing, staring down into the courtyard below. He could hear the car approaching somewhere around the curve, and though he couldn’t see it, the rumble of the engine brought a smile to his face.

“They’re here.”

Sure enough, just moments later, a dark blue Jeep turned the corner and rolled up the sloping driveway, coasting to a stop just beyond the courtyard. Aspen had met Zavion for only a few minutes outside the plane right before his last-minute departure, but if the man was anything like Zuriel, he was sure to like him.

He didn’t quite know what had driven him to pack his things and beg to be taken to the airport that morning. When word had reached the main house that several refugees—men who had suffered at the hands of The Hive, same as him—were leaving for some mystical elf island, he knew he had to be on that plane. Haven was wonderful, and he couldn’t express how grateful he was to the men who had rescued and sheltered him. It just wasn’t…home.

Zavion was the first to jump out of the vehicle, and even from the distance, Aspen could see the shifter’s mouth gaping open as he surveyed the huge palace. It was a gorgeous building with grand staircases, high ceilings, and lavish furnishings, but he couldn’t fathom why one family needed so much space.

Nithron emerged from the driver’s seat, and immediately turned to look at him, waving a hand over his head in greeting. Aspen smiled brightly and waved back. He’d been pleased as punch to find out the person who’d murdered all those poor elves hadn’t been Nithron, because he really liked the guard.

Zavion’s mate exited from the back seat as well, although Aspen couldn’t remember his name. He was fairly certain the man was Flynn Murphy’s brother, but he really hadn’t met many people during his time in Haven. Part of that had been for his own protection, but he had a feeling the bigger reason was for everyone else’s protection.

The arbitrary thought caused him to snort as he stared down his thin chest, over his scrawny legs, and finally to his unnaturally small feet which were barely five feet from the top of his head. Yes, it was amusing that anyone would view him as a threat. Hell, he doubted he could fight his way out of a soggy paper bag.

 He was about to turn away from the railing so he could make himself presentable before going downstairs to meet their guests. A flash of white from the corner of his eye caught his attention, however, and he turned back quickly, watching as the most beautiful man he’d ever seen opened the passenger door and rose gracefully from his seat.

“Wow,” he breathed, mesmerized by the way the sunlight played over the long, golden-white strands that flowed down the stranger’s back. “Who is that?”

“Close your mouth, honey. You look like a guppy.” Jacobi even tapped the underside of Aspen’s chin to emphasize his point. “That is Elder Layke Winters. He’s the elf representative for The Council.”
A measure of disappointment settled in the pit of his belly. No way would someone so important give him the time of day. As with most things, however, he brushed it off quickly, shrugged, and delivered a last lingering gaze to the elder before exiting the balcony.

 The Inside Scoop


Q:  When is your favorite time of day to write?


A: I'm a night owl. I usually stay up until 6:00 in the morning or later and sleep until 2:00 - 3:00 in the afternoon. There's just something about the daytime that I find very distracting. Even when my kids are at school and my husband is busy with work, I still find it difficult to stay on task with my writing.

My writing day usually doesn't begin until 9:00 in the evening. Once everyone in my house is settled and winding down for bed, that's when I really get going. It's not the best schedule, I suppose, but it works for me.


Q: What are you currently working on? How is it different from other books you’ve written?


A: I have a few different manuscripts going right now, one of which is the final Lawful Disorder. This series has always been a little different from other things I write because it's contemporary, and it tends to be a bit darker than some of my other stories.

This book in particular is more character driven, focusing on the development of Rayce and Jasper's relationship. There is still a lot of tension in the story, and they'll get to fight the bad guys in the end, but much of the story revolves around self-destructive behaviors and what happens when those tendencies spill over into a relationship.

I've written plenty of kinky sex, and lightly explored the BDSM world. In this book, however, BDSM, especially a D/s relationship plays a much more crucial role from beginning to end. It definitely won't be for the faint hearted.


Q: What is the one thing you must have to be able to write?


A: Solitude. You hear a lot of authors talk about crawling into their "cave" to write. I'm definitely one of those writers. If there are a hundred different things going on around me, even if they don't directly involve me, I can't concentrate.

If there is someone in the room, I also feel the need to talk. Perhaps it's because 90% of conversations end with "no" or "because I said so" or "stop fighting with your brother." I work from home, so I spend a lot of time with my kids, especially during school breaks. I'm also a bit of a recluse, so I don't socialize much. When there is another adult in the room, I just have to talk, which clearly isn't very good for productivity. This is just one more reason why I prefer to work at night when the house is quiet and free of distractions.


Q: How do you know you’ve written a good book?


A: This is such a difficult question to answer. I have almost no ego to speak of, and I am possibly my own worst critic. If the story has a good foundation, flows well, and is without plot holes, I can say that in the technical aspect, I have written well. That doesn't necessarily make it a good story, though.

While I don't tend to be self-congratulatory, I also am not one of those people who thinks everything I write is crap. Sure, I like some stories more than others. Some characters stick with me longer. Honestly, though, what makes a good story?

Some readers will love a book, while others will despise it. That is the nature of the beast, and I accept that my writing style is not for everyone. If 10 readers love the story while only 3 hate it, does that make it a good book? One could definitely make an argument that it does. Does a good book have a moral? Does it have to be a certain page count? Stories are subjective. Everyone will take something different away from it. Some will say it's the best thing they'd ever read, while others may not even be able to finish it. Really...what makes a good book?!

I love and encourage reader feedback. I work hard to give my fans what they have come to expect while always striving to be better. If readers tell me a book was excellent, I feel I have done my job. That's not the same as personally feeling I have written a good book, though.

So, how do I know if I've written a good book? I laugh. I get angry. I cry. I reach a point when I want to throw my laptop across the room. If several months after a book has released, I can go back, read the story and fall in love with my characters all over again--not as their creator, but as a reader--I feel I have obtained my goal.

Q: Can you offer advice on how to move on from the dreaded rejection letter?


A: Rejection isn't fun, no matter in what form it comes. The best thing I can say is to try to look at a rejection letter as a learning experience instead of a failure. We were all new at one time, struggling to find our way through the murky waters of the publishing world with both hands and a flashlight, without the help of GPS.

Granted, there is not much to be learned from a form rejection. All you can do is take a deep breath, shake it off, and try again. However, most acquisition editors are an invaluable source of information. If someone has taken the time to read your story and critique it, don't get defensive. Listen to what they have to say. They may not feel your work is right for their company, but that doesn't mean it's awful. Most publishers want you to succeed, even if it's not with them.

Try to take a step back and view their comments with an open mind. If you feel a suggestion compromises the integrity of the story, that's okay. If the editor made some logical points that could improve the story, then make those changes and submit to another publisher. You just received free, professional advice from someone who has been in the industry for years. Don't spit on it.