A Jade’s Diamond by Char Dafoe #bookreview #enby #nonbinary #wlw #romance

Back in December I agreed to read a book. SHOCKING, I know. I’m a slow reader, and I almost didn’t agree to read this because it was a tight deadline, but I couldn’t withstand the pull of two enby characters falling in love on the page.

So, let’s recap. This book releases TODAY! You can buy it NOW, which I think you should do. I did enjoy this book. It’s not without issues, like any book. I’ve yet to find that elusive perfect book. But it was good, it was gripping, and I am still thinking about the characters weeks after finishing it.

After five long years as a slave to the hard, cold streets, Nayvee LaCroix was done selling their soul. Desperately at the end of their rope, Nayvee knew something had to change before they made the grave decision to end it all, permanently. The night Nayvee had given up hope they met a fellow lonely soul who also had been yearning for more in life.

Trystan Diamond, successful entrepreneur with more money than anyone could dream of, was instantly attracted to Nayvee and their chivalrous charm and boy-ish good looks before gaining any knowledge of what Nayvee really was.

Switching on their charm, Nayvee scored the biggest payload of their life that could help get them off the streets, but what Nayvee wasn’t expecting was for the charming and handsome millionaire to fall in love with them. Living life by the rules of the ruthless streets, Nayvee’s defenses were always up, creating a hardened wall for anyone to break past their offense, including Trystan. Little by little, Nayvee’s less than desirable lifestyle mixed and mingled with Trystan’s refined, sophisticated life, slowly chipping away at that wall, letting an astronomical and blinding bright light of love to penetrate Nayvee’s heart.

Just when Nayvee and Trystan slowly find their footing on the shaky ground of their budding romantic relationship, in stepped Rian, a ghost from Nayvee’s past, and partner on the streets, stirring up old emotions in Nayvee and new ones in Trystan.

Rough meets refined in this tale about kindred spirits who don’t conform to the norm and fall head first in love with each other in this modern day Pretty Woman meets Cinderella story.

 

I give this book 3.5 stars with a bent toward 4 stars (I’m indecisive on this one).

While I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery, the intrigue, and all the plot, there were a few things that put me off. The first was the instant-love trope. I don’t like this trope to begin with, and had I known fully well going in how much this was going to be a part of the first 30% of the book, I might not have to agreed to read it for an ARC because it does skew my opinion. So, if you don’t like instant-love, steer clear, because it is kind of over the top and throughout the book.

That aside! This is not a typical romance, and I hesitate to call it romance even. I liked Trystan a lot, Nayvee got whiny and annoying in some ways, and I felt had not a whole lot of character development going on. My favorite character, hands down, was Rian, and I was really rooting for the three of them, and this was when I started to super enjoy the book (I’m also perfectly okay with how this resolves because well, it’s my favorite way for characters to…um…happen? not spoiling).

There were parts of this book that felt more like an explanation of what it means to be enby and a bit of a soap box, but I think in some ways, especially for my enby friends, it needs to be there.

This book has a whole love of plot to it, which I loved. At times it felt slightly overwhelming, but it also kept me on my toes with trying to figure out when J would show back up next, although how many times can Nayvee be tortured and not have it massively affect their psyche in some ways. I am slightly disappointed in that it felt that whole story line wasn’t well-resolved and not all the loose ends were tied up.

Overall, this was a good pleasant read. The story moved well, the writing was excellent, the transitions from chapter to chapter were near seamless and always left me wanting to read on. Grab a copy, check it out, and step out of your comfort zone.

Get the book here.

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Amazon AU

Stone’s Mistake (Agent Morgan Stone 1) COVER REVEAL #amreading #lesfic

Today, I’m officially revealing the cover for Stone’s Mistake (Agent Morgan Stone #1). This book. This book, you guys. I can’t even. I love it.

It’s a fuller expansion from a short story I wrote in 2015 called “A Blizzard’s Blow” in an anthology titled Young Love, Old Hearts. I have wanted to expand this story for YEARS, and I finally decided to do it.

Serial killer investigations need a woman’s touch, luckily Agent Morgan Stone is the best profiler the FBI has.

A twenty-year veteran of the FBI, Morgan has worked her fair share of cases. When Chicago Homicide Detective Fiona Wexford calls for a second opinion, Morgan jumps at the opportunity to help.

With a growing crush on Fiona, Morgan fails to weave the personal and professional when it becomes clear Fiona’s suspect is a serial killer. Taking over the investigation, Morgan rushes to solve the mystery and makes an egregious error in the process.

Will Morgan reclaim her case and catch her suspect before one more person has to die?

If you have read any of my Grace novels, you will recognize the main character’s last name. Morgan Stone is the oldest of the Stone children, Amya (Grace’s long-time girlfriend) being the youngest. And it may explain a lot as to why Amya puts up with so much from Grace or why she understands Grace’s quirks a whole lot.

Morgan is a 20 year veteran of the FBI. It’s been her life, and she loves it. She’s not someone who ever wants to be in a long term relationships (she was married once, it didn’t last long, and she thinks it was a HUGE mistake).

Morgan, also being the oldest child, gets the bulk of the family drama from most of her siblings and definitely from her mother. Who we will meet in person in Broken & Weary (Missing Persons #2) — a Detective Grace Novel which releases in December of this year!

I have twelve books briefly outlined for this series, not including three crossover books with Grace and Amya. Those are going to be a blast. The design of this series is that every three books should go together in a sort of trilogy. You don’t have to read all of them at all, but there are hints of information in the first two books that lead a big case in the third.

So…we have…

Stone’s Mistake — Book 1
Race War — Book 2
Mr. Jimmy — Book 3

but alas, I’ve talked too much I think and should give you a bit of an excerpt. ALSO!!!! If you want an ARC (they’ll be going out in the next 1-2 months), send me an email (adrianjsmithbooks@gmail.com) and I’ll put you on the list for when they’re ready.

Morgan had arrived early that morning, but she had to wait for the local PD to let her in before she could go to the crime scene. She’d walked the apartment complex twice before the detective arrived well past nine in the morning. The murder had been discovered the night before, the car Morgan had been searching for parked by the apartment had only pissed her off even more.

When it had been run, an alert had popped up on her end, and she had immediately called Taylor and told him she was leaving in the morning. He readily agreed. She clenched her jaw and glared at the detective in charge. If St. Louis Police Department had only taken her inquiries seriously then perhaps they would have one less dead body on their hands.

Morgan stomped straight toward the detective’s vehicle. Pax’s rental SUV stopped her short, and the window rolled down. Pax gave her a grin, and Morgan sneered at him. “You better brighten up, buttercup, if you want any information from them. Going in there like that will get you nowhere.”

“Shove it. You got the good stuff.”

“Always, love.” Pax handed her the cup of coffee out the window, and she breathed in the aroma before taking a sip and hissing. “It’s hot.”

“No shit,” she muttered but took another sip anyway.

Pax drove ahead and parked next to the detectives vehicle. There were still uniformed officers on the property. Morgan walked to meet up with Pax, but he was already talking to the detective in charge. She raised her eyebrow at him and waited for introductions to be made.

He nodded at her. “This is my partner, Special Agent Stone. This is Detective Hadley.”

“Pleasure to meet you.” Morgan put her hand out for him to shake, but he stared at her and turned back to Pax. Inwardly groaning, Morgan listened and drank her coffee, absorbing anything he said. She worked it into her already built profile.

When Hadley offered to let them in the apartment, he turned to her with a hand on his hip and a smirk on his lips. “It’s a bloody mess in there, forewarning you.”

“Why? Because you think that I’m a lowly, petty woman who is going to faint at the sight of blood or because you just think I might be interested in the fact that this murder is a lot more violent than the others?”

Hadley’s lips thinned.

“Yeah, that’s what I thought.” Morgan pushed her way around him and walked up the awkward cement steps to the building. She made it to the top floor before Pax and Hadley were even at the second floor. She was pissed, and the anger running through her veins was not going to do her well. She flashed her badge at the uniform at the door and went inside after putting on her booties to cover her shoes, not wanting to wait one more minute for the asshole behind her.

No one was in the apartment but her. Taking in a deep breath, she caught the scent of flowers and bacon. Someone had cooked recently. Walking into the kitchen, Morgan found the dishes done and no sign that anyone had eaten there recently, much like the other crime scenes. Whoever was committing these murders was meticulous before they left about making sure the house or apartment was in complete order.

Morgan moved to the dining room. Nothing looked amiss there either. The chairs were tucked under the table, pushed in and out of the way. The living room had the throw blanket folded and tossed over the arm of the couch. Pax walked in, his breath slightly heavy from the climb up the stairs. She’d tease him about it later but really didn’t want to open any opportunity for the asshat to talk more than necessary. “Body found in the bed?”

“Yeah, this way.” Detective Hadley grunted and then led the way into the back bedroom, passed the bathroom. It was a small apartment. No more than five hundred square feet. It wasn’t spotlessly clean, but it was tidy. Everything was in place, just as she had requested it, except for the body. They had already taken that to the morgue, she knew. She and Pax would make that stop next, but first she’d wanted to get into the mind of her murderer.

The bedroom was a completely different story. The bed sheets were bloody, but the vague outline of where the body had been was imprinted into the pattern of blood. Splatters of red littered the ceiling, the headboard, and two walls, like the killer had shifted position in the middle of stabbing the victim. Unlike Andrea’s murder, this one was violent. If Morgan didn’t know better, she’d say her killer was angry.

“She’s getting more violent,” Morgan commented to Pax, bypassing Hadley.

“She?” Hadley asked.

Morgan refused to answer and let Pax do the talking for her. If she didn’t have a direct question to ask Hadley, she wasn’t about to talk to him, and she might even be of mind to complain to his supervisor if she could find the energy and the time.

“Theory is our killer is a woman.”

“Not theory. She is a woman. Your tests will come back, undoubtedly, that the victim had sex before she was killed with a woman. There has never been a sign of a male in the homes of our victims.”

“Jesus,” Hadley muttered.

Morgan spun on him with a grin on her face. “Want to make another snarky comment about women now or afraid one of us might kill you?”

Hadley blanched but wisely kept his trap shut. Morgan took her own photos on her phone, knowing she’d get copies of everything anyway but wanting access to it sooner rather than later.

WIPpet Wednesday!! November 20, 2013

558043_221858701316154_1474243239_n 1374873_221041088064582_760361577_nSorry about missing last week. I couldn’t drag myself to the computer to do this (even though I skipped class and didn’t even have that to contend with). NaNoWriMo is going incredibly slow for me. Meaning, I’m not really writing lately. I need to fix that if I want to even hit 0,000 words this month. I’m looking at getting another part-time job starting in December to help make up for some of the bills (the advantage to seasonal jobs is becoming clear), and I’m preparing for another move sometime in mid-December. Back to Fort Worth I go.

Thus is the insanity of life.

My SO and I did get a puppy! This one will actually stay with us unlike the husky (she went to live with the SO’s parents). Puppy is a pitbull mix and is named Caprica (if you watch a certain show, you’ll be encountering a theme soon enough).

Likewise, I have a blog tour that begins today! Yay!! Amy, my awesome beta reader and amazing friend, is first up on the blog tour with an excerpt and promo. I’m sure that her post will be up soon–I’m up incredibly early! So check out her page and the post to get some more information and goodies on Dying Embers, which is going to be released on December 1! w00t!

But enough of the “chit chat” and onto WIPpet Wednesday! WIPpet Wednesday is an awesome and amazing thing where writers post excerpts of their WIP (Work In Progress). The only rule is that it in someway correlates with the date. Likewise, if you don’t have a current WIPpet, you can always start a new one for your post. Once you create the post, you go here and link it up with all the others, then hop around the blogs and comment–because we are all comment whores–just so that we know you were there. And Ta Da! WIPpet Wednesday is done!

For this week, you get twenty paragraphs (they’re small, most of it is dialogue) from chapter 6 of Fallen from Grace. In this part you really get to see just how far Grace has fallen. She and her girlfriend, Amya, are cleaning out Grace’s mentor’s house (he recently died), and they have had themselves a HUGE spat. This is the end result–the fall. This chapter is titled Conspiracy Theory, in case you were wondering.

As soon as they were inside, Amya took her straight down to the bathroom and started the water. She started to strip of Grace’s clothes and then shoved her into the tub, the water hot on Grace’s skin. Grace shuddered but eventually stretched out her legs and let the heat seep into her skin and muscles. She ached.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve run that much,” Grace commented to no one in particular.

“Three miles, Grace.”

“What?” Grace looked up to find Amya peeking her head into the shower.

“You ran three miles. Took me twenty minutes to find you and catch up with you. Luckily you were going straight ahead and didn’t stop moving.”

Grace shivered and rubbed her hands over her arms. Amya turned the temperature up more, and Grace scooted fully under the spray, curling her legs up again. If anything, she needed the wake up call. She would still be talking to Captain Brandon, whether or not Amya agreed to it. It just meant that their relationship would be on the rocks of sorts.

There was soap on her back. Grace turned her head over her shoulder and saw Amya leaning into the tub, rubbing her hands over her back and creating suds. Grace said nothing and turned back toward the spigot, reveling in the calming sensation. They would have to finish the two other rooms before the day was out, but she didn’t care that they were wasting time. And it didn’t seem Amya cared either.

After ten minutes, Grace rinsed off and stepped out. Amya handed her one of the towels that was still hanging up from before David and Carol left for their last car trip. Grace swallowed the lump in her throat and died her body. She redressed and moved to sit back on the bed in the guest bedroom.

Amya started to pack up the closet by pulling everything out of the dresser drawers. Grace looked at her fingers and then up at Amya.

“You don’t believe me. You just believe that I believe.”

“You’re right,” Amya said without turning around to look. “I believe that you think their deaths are all connected, and I believe that you are absolutely convinced of it. I’m pretty sure this is one of those times where we just agree to disagree.”

“So you won’t support me.”

“I will support you in your beliefs.”

“That’s a cop out,” Grace spat. “Fucking cop out.”

Amya turned around with her hands on her hips and shook her head. Grace knew what was coming. If she didn’t do something to fix the situation, then Amya would be leaving and probably be gone for good. There was a fleeting moment where she cared, and Grace tried to grab hold of it and keep it close to her, but she couldn’t. She just didn’t care anymore.

“Leave,” Grace whispered.

Amya said nothing in return and made no move to exit. She stood stock still with the closet behind her and two dresser drawers open. Grace stared at her, utterly defeated this time. She was tired of fighting.

“Just go.”

Time seemed to stretch and bend, but finally Amya took the first step toward the door. She looked back twice before leaving the room and heading outside. Grace heard the front door slam shut, the vibrations shuddering throughout the house. She rocked onto her back, the mattress hitting her spine and she stared at the ceiling. She had no more tears left. She had no more sobs or worries or wants. Grace took a deep breath and said the only word that came to mind.

“Good.”

Thanks to K.L. Schwengel for hosting this amazing thing. And thanks to Amy at UnchainedFaith for starting off my blog tour with a hop and a dance!! Be sure to check out both of their wonderful posts.

Crashing into the atmosphere!

Tomorrow marks the first day of my blog tour for Dying Embers. There will be interviews, excerpts posted and spotlights all over the internet! Well, at least a small portion of the internet. I can’t tell you how excited I am for this book to come out (in both senses of that term).

Dying Embers is the prequel to Forever Burn, which came out last March. It was written with a very specific purpose in mind. Let’s get to know Addison Lee far more than we did in Forever Burn. Addison turned out to be one of my favorite characters in this series, and I just couldn’t let her go after Forever Burn happened. She even makes an appearance in Ashes Fall, the third and final of this trilogy. delg

At the beginning of this novel, Addison is a bit lost. She’s making a move to a new city, new state, new job, and away from everything that she thought had been dragging her down. She thinks that as soon as she gets to Norwich everything is going to be better. She won’t be dealing with her old job and other people who have gifts like her, and most importantly, that she won’t be dealing with her nasty ex-fiance.

Well, leaving everything behind is far harder than Addison thought it would be. After moving, her old boss and sometimes-lover, keeps calling her to ask for help. Her new job is demanding, and not only that, but she made a massive mistake before she even started.

Throughout all of the chaos, she’s falling in love and trying to find herself at the same time. Addison is almost there when tragedy strikes, and she is forced to head home to Wyoming to help out. Nothing goes quite right for Addison throughout her first few months in Norwich, and she does her best just to keep afloat. definal3d-300x300

This story was something that was on my mind as soon as I finished Forever Burn. The characters were people I wanted to be my friends, people who were so alive that I couldn’t just cut off all ties with them and move on to my next group of friends. The process of creating was something I had latched onto and couldn’t let go.

I do want to talk a bit about this writing process (and the editing process). It seems to be one of the questions I see floating around the interwebs the most. Writing and editing for every author is a completely different process, and we all go about it in a different way. I tend to write very quickly. I have the story in my head and it’s just “Go! Go! Go!” until the story is done. Editing is where I spend most of my time.

For Dying Embers, I sent it through an amazing site called Project Team Beta. Two beta readers go through each chapter and give constructive feedback. When I’m ready and after a certain amount of chapters, I am allowed to choose permanent beta readers. I have one beta reader that I always use. Her name is Amy, and she’s awesome. Amy is meticulous in finding grammatical errors, something I am eternally appreciative of. (Amy is actually the first day on the blog tour.)

After I do my first round of edits after the beta readers get it, I do a second round. Then I print everything out and put it into a notebook. Once I finish all of my chapter edits, I take the notebook and a brightly colored pen and have at it. This time, though, I start from the back and I go through each sentence individually. At this point, I’m simply looking for typos, and you’d be surprised by how many I still find. (Sometimes I think I make more typos when I edit.)

Once all of this is done, I send it to my publisher. At that point (with this particular novel), we went through two more rounds of edits. It went through an editor and then back to me. Then back to the editor, then back to me. AND THEN we finally arrive at the final copy. I guarantee as soon as I get to see the final version in print, I will still find things that I want to change. I’m never completely happy, but I can’t keep it all to myself either.

Dying Embers was an exercise in my ability to write quickly. And I’m quite pleased with the final results. I hope you enjoy it too!

Blog Tour ScheduleFinalistSM-1

Nov 20: Amy
Nov 21: Autumn
Nov 23: Kirsten
Nov 25: Sarah
Nov 26: Samantha
Nov 28: Anna
Nov 29: Sirena

Dying Embers will be released on December 1, 2013. Right now, it is available for pre-order at Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and Kobo.

“A Divine Life” by R.E. Hargrave

ADL 1Welcome one and welcome all. As you know, I read books (who would guess that?). Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of reading R.E. Hargrave’s first book in The Divine Trilogy. It’s a fascinating read with interesting characters that goes deeper into the BDSM world than many of the books I’ve read.

Today, I get to do a promo and an excerpt from A Divine Life. Just to get started, I’d like to give you a bit of information about the author.

R.E. Hargrave lives on the outskirts of Dallas, TX where she prides herself on being a domestic engineer. Married to her high school sweetheart, together they are raising three children from elementary age to college age. She is an avid reader, a sometimes quilter and now, a writer for Renaissance Romance Publishing.

After reading the first in this series, I can’t wait to read more and to learn more about Catherine and her master.

 

A Divine Life

Over the past year of being Jayden Masterson’s collared submissive, Catherine O’Chancey has worked through the mental terrors left behind by her old Dom — she thinks. To celebrate their collar-ing anniversary, Jayden organizes a special day, during which her final limits and fantasies will be realized. Will it prove to be more than she can handle? Can she endure the erotic onslaught her mind and body will experience and survive unscathed?

While Catherine faces dark shadows and pleasurable highs, Jayden finds his own inner strength being tested. He has come to realize that, somewhere along the way, Catherine has taken possession of his heart, mind, and body. Now he faces his biggest challenge ever; he must let go of all his submissives but one: his jewel, Catherine. Can he leave his philandering ways behind? Has he made the ultimate mistake by putting his jewel into the hands of others?

ADL 3

Throughout the first book, we watch as Catherine and Jayden fall in love with each other. In this book, a girl can only hope that they will finally admit it to each other and all will be well said and done. Somehow, I don’t think that’s all R.E. Hargrave has in store for these two. They tend to take the bumpy road sometimes.

Just to tease you even more, I was given an excerpt from A Divine Life, which I really do hope you read! Check it out.

“So, how does that work? I mean, how does one draw the line between Master and husband?” Was such a complicated relationship possible? Could Jayden see her that way? Just thinking his name caused a funny feeling in Catherine’s chest. Her thoughts continued, now on overdrive . . .

No. Master didn’t do personal relationships. He’d said as much when they’d first signed their con-tract together. They’d both agreed to the understanding that this was nothing more than a sexual relationship. Hell, he was fucking two other people besides her that she knew of. If there were a chance that he wanted something more with her, he wouldn’t have handed her over to complete strangers today. Would he? Oh, God. Sir Jonathan’s offer to take Catherine on repeated itself in her memory, along with the knowledge that she had more sessions today with an unknown number of Doms. Was that what today was? Had the ‘inspection’ Sir Jonathan performed not been part of the scene? Was Sir Jonathan looking her over as a potential acquisition? What about Miss K offering to take her on back in February? Catherine’s stomach soured again.

“No. No, please, no. I — I can’t,” Catherine mumbled and began to shake.

“Erin?”

Her world began crumbling around her, and panic took root. Catherine gasped for air, wrapping her arms around her mid-section.

“Erin! What’s wrong?”

Paige’s shriek snapped Catherine to attention, and she raised her watery eyes to meet her new friend’s.

“Paige,” Catherine started to cry. “He figured it out. I tried to be so good, so careful. He knows, and he’s going to get rid of me!” She thought she’d done so well at hiding her secret over the months, protecting her heart.

Paige had wrapped her arm around Catherine and was rubbing slow circles on her back. With a wince, Catherine became quite aware of every lash mark from Sir Jonathan’s whip. They now burned to her core when Paige’s soft hands brushed over them. Catherine flinched away from her.

“Shh, Erin,” she said in a calming voice. “Who knows what, sweetie? What are you talking about?”

Turning wide eyes on her, Catherine choked out, “Jay . . . Master. He knows I’ve fallen in — in love with him. I wasn’t supposed to. He found out, and now he’s interviewing me with strange Doms to get rid of me. I broke the rules and he —” she swallowed a sob, “he doesn’t want me anymore!”

ADL 4

So if you are interested in reading what I’m sure is a fantastic book, you can check it out here.

Barnes and Noble
Amazon
Smashwords

Also follow R.E. Hargrave on her lovely social media outlets.

Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter
Blog
Pintrest
About.Me

 

 

Come on, let’s celebrate!

8837096895_81577a234b_qWelcome to the creative buzz hop! It’s been a few weeks since I’ve participated because of traveling, but I have so much to celebrate that I couldn’t pass up this week’s topic. Celebration!

If you want to join in the Creative Buzz Hop, it’s simple as one, ,. Write a post, a poem, a short story, anything you want that relates to the topic. Celebration! Then display the Creative Buzz Hop logo in the post. Then go to HERE and link it up with everyone’s. That’s all it takes!

For fifteen days I am traveling around the US, in the East and in the West, three different time zones. On July 30th I took off in a plane to come visit my mother, whom I haven’t seen in seven months (Arlington, Virginia). That Friday we drove up to Maryland to go to a sci-fi convention. Yes, I will admit, I am a con goer, and I love it! This was my mom’s first, and we had so much fun. We met Bill Shatner, Brent Spiner, Saul Rubinek, Eddie McClintock, Amanda Tapping and so many twitter and fb friends that I lost count! After deciding to skip the beach and come back to Arlington for a few days, we’re relaxing and hanging out.

On Thursday I will be flying to Montana, which is the essence of why this trip is happening. On July 18th, 2013 two baby boys were born to my best friend and her husband. I am their godmother!! Yay! So…On Thursday I will be flying out to meet them and to visit with my older godson who is now seven. I can’t wait to spend time with these three boys. Since I’ll be home, I’ll also be visiting a multitude of friends and preaching at my home church on Sunday morning.

More celebrations? Why I do say there are.

My publisher emailed back my final edits that I needed to do and asked to move up my publication date for the book. By about three months. Dying Embers should be released around December 1st, 2013! That means I’ll have published two books in one year. Yipee! I also…*cough*…got the book cover proofs on Saturday! I should be doing a reveal in the next few months.

I have a new job starting on August 18th, I’ll most likely be moving at the end of this month or the next (which is absolutely a good thing), school is starting and it’s my last year, and frankly, LIFE IS FANTASTIC.

Celebrating the little things makes life so much better than it actually is. Celebrating the little things reminds us that the big things are greater and the bad things have nothing on us.

Books Updates! June 2013

I’ve been slacking in my reviewing and posting about the books that I am reading. YES! I am actually reading books, so this will be a mass update. I’ve been reading mostly indie authors lately, gotta support and honestly a lot of them are damned good. But I have read a few mainstream books. I think I’m definitely achieving my goal of reading more than last year! I didn’t realize how many books I had read since the last time I updated.

1. Claimed (Book 1 in Brides of the Kindred Series) by Evangeline Anderson

This book was recommended and loaned to me by a friend. I have to say I was skeptical–sci-fi erotica. Not that because I have to write it, but because of the concept in the book. It’s a good book, however. An interesting read. My only problem with it is that the author skirted around and came very close to the rape line in concerns to the MC Olivia Waterhouse. It was a typical romance erotica, taking most of the plot to build the sexual tension before it could be released. All the action (and I don’t mean sexual action) happened at the end of the novel. I would have loved to have seen more of the action part and less of the introspection of the characters. 4 stars

2. Hunted (Book 2 in Brides of the Kindred Series) by Evangeline Anderson

Second book is FAR better than the first! There is so much action, sex and plot alike, that the story moves so much faster and is far more interesting than the first book. Sophia (Olivia’s twin) has a similar personality to her sister, and it isn’t until the middle of the book that they really seem different. The pace and the writing in this story are excellent, although sometimes the explanation of things gets a bit repetitive. I don’t need to know a hundred times what bonding sex for a blood kindred involves particularly if it’s the main point of the story. 4 stars

3. Bound with Pearls by Sidney Bristol

So…This is my first BDSM erotica novel to read. And it was fantastic! I loved the characters, I love the story line, I love just about everything about it. It really was great to read! Sidney did it again and dragged me into the story so much that I really could NOT put this book down at all. AND! I hear there’s going to be another one! w00t! There is the D/s aspect going on here as well as a personal relationship between the two MC’s, there’s also the annoying sister that always gets what she wants. 5 stars

4. The Next Always (Inn BoonsBoro #1) by Nora Roberts

I’m a sucker for ghosts and there are so totally ghosts in this book! LOVE IT! The love story in this novel is great. There are aspects that make it a non-traditional romance (previous marriage, widowed, three children). It all adds to the characters and their relationship. Again, still a typical romance novel, they do fall in love and get engaged at the end of it. =P 4 stars

5. Unfinished Business by Nora Roberts

This novel has a pianist in it. A book after my own heart. There is a musical aspect here that adds to the character, but not to the storyline by much. This novel has so much miscommunication between characters that it’s almost amusing but borders on annoying. It’s as if each character is too afraid to speak or say something that they might offend another character so nothing ever gets said. Usually people say things they shouldn’t and then just work through whatever issues arise from that. 3 stars

6. Wergild by J. L Hickey

I’m going to be honest–I never finished this story. I couldn’t. It might just not have been my cup of tea, but the plot and characters were so uninteresting that even after getting well over halfway through it, I couldn’t continue. This novel tries, I think, it be literary fiction, but it fails in the interesting and keeping of attention categories. It is a short read, a novella, so if you want to try it out, go for it. But I won’t be finishing it. 1 star

7. The Giver by Lois Lowry

I’ve read this book once before and I read it again. I still like it. I read it again because I plan on reading the rest of the series. This book makes me think so much about our society and what we are doing and what we want. It’s hard to have total equality and have individuality, and even this book cannot achieve total equality because there is still the giver. Check it out, it might blow your mind away. 5 stars

8. Vallidin by J. R. Brule

I didn’t finish this book either. The author contacted me and gave me a free copy to read for an honest review. I couldn’t push myself through the book. It’s not that the story might not be there, but the writing is so bad that I couldn’t overlook it. The sentences are short and choppy, there are a lot of continuity errors (sometimes in the same sentence), there is no hook to pull the reader in and I lost track easily of what was going on. I was not the only reviewer that felt this way. The book is no longer available, so my guess is that the author took it down. 0 stars

9. Little Disquietude by C. E. Case

Okay, so I might be slightly biased about this book because this here peoples, this is my publisher’s book and she is AWESOME! This is an awesome and sweet little femslash romance between some small-time actresses. And OMG talk about sexual tension! I was like…just do it already! but they didn’t and when they did it was awesome! The characters are so sweet and a good balance for each other. This really is a great read for just before bedtime. 4 stars

***

So that ends my reviews of the books I’ve read so far this year that does not include school books! yay for reading for pleasure!! There will be more as I have about 20 books left on my kindle that I need to finish and all the series that I started that have more books to them. I’ll try to keep this posted far more often, this is way too many for one blog!!

 

Grammar Wednesday: POV–1st person

I’ve decide the next group of grammar goodness will be about persons in writing. There are typically 3 persons, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd! Go figure, the numbers go up.

First person, at least from what I have seen, is becoming far more common–that might just be because I’m seeing it more, not that it actually is becoming more common. I might have ignored it, since I don’t like it. Apparently a lot of people like it. What I’ve heard is that it gives more insight to the character, but it is harder to write because the MC has to be in every single scene (this is assuming there is only one POV in the novel). There are ways to have multiple first person POV’s in one novel. Check out Jodi Picoult. She has a lot in her books.

Example of first person:

I shuffled my foot against the sidewalk as my cheeks burned with fire. Mom scolded me like I was a two-year-old who had just thrown a temper tantrum at the grocery store–I can assure you I did no such thing. I refused to look up at her as the hot sun beat down on my shoulders and the top of my head. Waves of embarrassment floated through my body, grasping on to ever available surfaced and licking my wounds with vinegar, causing them to burn even more. I meant to steal the candy bar. She thought it was an accident, that I had simply walked out without paying for it because I forgot. But that’s not how it was. I had carefully chosen which chocolate bar I wanted to eat and I slipped it into my hand, keeping it in my fist. I didn’t put it in my pocket or one of the grocery bags–I was going to walk out of that store with it in my hand where everyone could see it if they wanted to. I had dared them to approach me. They didn’t. Mom had caught me though–right when we got home.

So that’s first person! I really like it in memoir or autobiography, but that’s about it. I highly doubt you will ever see a novel or short story from me that is fiction and in first person. It’s not my thing! Have fun and have a great day!

WIPpet Wednesday — May 22 “First Kiss”

Hmmm…hope I’m doing this correctly. WIPpet Wednesday, get a look at what I’m working on. 22 lines from the 5th chapter of the yet to be titled piece.

All you need to know: Jane, human-born from Alabama; Usnavi, alien-born, sex-shifting Xanthain. They are still getting to know each other and live on a space station, and they are there to procreate to save the Xanthian race. Yes…I do quite understand that this is some good randomness going on here!

***

The aromas filled her nostrils as she wandered closer and closer to the kitchen. Usnavi gave her a few glances but said nothing as she picked up a small vegetable and popped it into her mouth. She smiled at him, their eyes locking for seconds on end. Giving in, Jane reached out and grabbed zher arm, tugging zhim down. Usnavi moved down, zher neck bending. Jane raised up on her toes, sighing when their lips connected.

It was exactly the same and completely different all at once. Physically, zher lips were exactly the same as any others she had kissed. The tingling was even more intense. It blazed over her lips and scurried down her neck. She sucked in a gasp and wrapped her arms around zher, dragging zher down to her. Jane’s hands clenched at zher sides, and zhe staunchly refused to either touch her or return the kiss.

Jane ran her tongue over zher soft lips, gently asking for access. Usnavi sighed deeply and reached down to grab Jane’s wrists.

“If you wish to meld, you had only to ask.”

Jane screeched in frustration. “I don’t want to meld! I want to kiss! I want to touch, and explore, and figure out what we like and what we don’t. We’re stuck together for the foreseeable future, and I can’t go forever without human contact.” Her eyes darkened with desire. “We tried things your way. Maybe I’m not fertilized because I can’t get pregnant that way. Did you ever consider that?”

Zhe looked at her blankly. “How else would you create a fetus?”

Exasperated, she stalked across the kitchen, backing zher into a corner and pinning zher against the contraption she suspected was a stove. She batted Usnavi’s hands away when zhe tried to keep Jane from touching.

***

Hope that gives you some fun goodies to hold onto

Grammar Wednesday: ACTIVE PHRASING

Hello everyone! I know some of you were sad that I missed last week’s Grammar Wednesday, but I didn’t miss it. I was in Guatemala–no interwebs for a whole week! I started to go into withdrawal.

Here’s your Grammar Wednesday! It’s about active phrasing and passive phrasing. I apparently used to write passive phrasing, and if you read FOREVER BURN, you’ll see it all over the place. *head desk* yup, but I learned. I just had to have someone point it out to me a couple dozen million times.

This is how it goes–in the easiest form. Look for the “was.” It’s mostly overused and the “have been.”

She was walking down the road.
She walked down the road.

She was leaning down to pick up a rock.
She leaned down to pick up a rock.

She had been having weird thoughts lately.
She had weird thoughts lately.

Get it?! I hope so. There are a lot of other ways to see passive phrasing. You can always go into MSword and turn it on. It’ll underline other passive phrases. In most of the fanfiction that I beta read for, and even some of the original fiction, I find a lot of passive phrasing. Not only are you writing it in a more concise sentence structure, but you’re writing it in a way that makes it more realistic and stronger.

Beta-reading

Today I am working on editing. And not my own stuff.

I finished up a Twilight fanfic (yes, I beta it…no I do not write it, nor have I read the books or the movies, so sometimes beta’ing can be quite interesting). I beta for a website called Project Team Beta, which takes on a few fandoms and original fiction. It is also where I have found my wonderful beta’s for my novels throughout the past.

I’m about to embark on a new adventure. I was approached and as to copy-edit (professionally, I might add) an erotica novel. To be sure that the individual and I work well together, I requested a chapter be sent to me (free of charge, of course) so that I may copy-edit it and send it back before any commitments have been made. It’s quite a process. If this edit goes well, I’ll have my second official copy-editing job ever.

And on that note–later on today, after these first two edits and before writing group, I will be copy-editing a novel titled “Stuck on Pause.” I’m about a fourth of the way through the novel and will absolutely have it completed by June 1st. This copy-editing stuff takes a very long time, but it’s so much fun. I quite enjoy it.

I remember when I was little and reading novels that I would point out mistakes in them to my mother but still enjoy the novel itself. She told me a few times that I should become a professional editor. Well, God had different plans for me, but doing it on the side is still great fun and joy (and a way to earn some extra cash). I never honestly thought in the past year that I’ve been beta’ing or copy-editing for people that ANYONE would actually pay me for it!

Beta-reading can be a tricky matter. There comes into play grammar, process, plot-lines, subplots, authorship, cranky authors (which I might be one of them), stubbornness and the intense need to be able to multitask. I have to be able to look for many things in a novel at the same time…that or suffer a third or fourth run-through, looking for different things each time. Grammar is all-out one of the most important things, but so is story flow. If the story is not there, I can edit the grammar endlessly and the story will still not be good. I’ve had a couple of those. But I’ve also had fantastic stories that are so poorly written in the grammatical sense that no one would ever read them. My job, as I see it, is to make the story read better, to give a hand up to the author toward a path of completing their story/novel etc. It’s not my story; it’s there. So, what they do with it after I send it back is their own prerogative.

The Failure of Time

I wanted to share this blog and the struggles that I have been dealing with for the past “little” while. It seems over this past week to me that each person’s story and struggle is important to understanding who they are and where they come from. It is also rather therapeutic for those who are doing the telling. I hope this story doesn’t seem too personal, or that you think I’m revealing far too much about myself in it. However, I do believe in honesty and truth, and in not hiding in the shade.

***

It’s so hard for me to put this into words that make sense. The closest I can come to is that I feel like a failure. While there are a few things in my life that are not going right at the moment (work, school, the pursuit of happiness), the one that would be relevant to this blog is my novel and my writing. FOREVER BURN came out March 1st of this year, and while I have sold copies of it, I feel inadequate in the amount that have been sold and the entire process.

I’m sitting here thinking that it needed another round or two of editing. That it needed a better, more formed, stronger publisher, who works harder (or at all) on marketing. Don’t get me wrong, I do love my publisher, she’s great and sweet, but I’m starting to see some downfalls and thinking that I may have made a bad choice.

When it comes to marketing, I feel as though there is only so much that I can do by myself for free. I certainly can’t afford to hire a publicist or even pay $50 to end up on a blog tour or to have my book reviewed. I’ve been unemployed since December of 2011 and the toll on me has been taken. I live off of about $900-$1000 a month (3/4 of that if not more goes to rent). That is considered poverty, yet here I stand (or sit, actually), living off my mother who can barely afford to live as is. It’s a constant struggle. When is writing and taking this time not worth it anymore?

When will I reap the benefits? I did get my first royalty check at the first of this month. I was ecstatic even though the dollar amount was measly (under $20). What do I get for it? I spent hours upon hours, money on ink to print and edit, money to mail stuff out to the publisher, cover artists, editor, and formatter, I put so much time and energy into it and all for what? I know that I’ll get more later on, but what I’m debating right now is whether or not it’s even worth it to try again.

Such is the life of a writer, I suppose. But so is the life of a student, a daughter, a volunteer, a copy-editor, a woman, a young adult, and a human.

I am someone who likes to see quick results, who can look and know that there is an end, a resolution, a pinnacle point somewhere in the near future. Maybe that’s not what happens with writing; maybe I need to be patient for yet another three years and still struggle to make any ends even come close to meeting; or maybe I should just give up. Not writing. I’m not sure that I could ever give up writing as a whole, but maybe I should give up the idea of publishing in this world, of sharing my stories in anything other than an online format for free for anyone who happens to stumble upon them. Maybe this just isn’t the time.

Time is an interesting subject to study. After spending a week in Guatemala and small towns where time just seems to slow down, where there are seconds and minutes in each hour that can be counted because they are each working toward the survival of time’s occupant; perhaps this is what I need a reminder of. I need to let everything slow down and come to ripen with the seasons.

Grammar Wednesday: Quoting a quote

I was writing, and I had a question. This is how I typically come up with finding grammatical rules to remember for the rest of my writing career. In my newest novel FOR BY GRACE, there is a character, Peter, who has a bad habit of quoting scripture when he’s drunk.

So, as a college student, I certainly know how to quote within a quote. It got confusing when it became a quote within a quote within a quote. Let’s start with the first though, shall we?

To quote dialogue there is always double quote marks to open and close the speech.

He said, “Why the hell did you do that?”

Simple enough, right? I actually ran into a beta recently that had single quotes, or single for one and double for another, and my most recent beta who didn’t put quote marks in at all. It gets a bit more confusing when you add in a quote within the quote. For that you have the double quotes for the person who is actually speaking and single quotes for what that person is saying. For example:

She replied, “Well, I was told to. She told me, ‘You go out there and be strong. You are smart, you are pretty and you are strong.'”

Single quotes within the double quotes, making sure to close everything out at the end of the dialogue so that it’s all complete. Simple enough. Now, here’s the complication I ran into. Peter is quoting Scripture in his own speech, which has dialogue in it. To resolve this, it’s double quotes for what Peter says, single quotes for the Scripture, then back to double for the dialogue in the Scripture (are you starting to see the pattern?). Here’s a sneak peek of the novel, too.

“Peter is the disciple. Peter makes the revelation. Peter is the child of God who follows Jesus.  ‘Jesus went out, with his disciples, into the villages of Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?”’” Peter paused.

Wow! Look at all those quote marks to close out all the quotes. It’s insane! I wouldn’t suggest going beyond what I did here, but as you might have guess it goes double, single, double, single, double, single until you’re done or don’t need anymore. If you have more than this, I suggest reworking the piece so you don’t need it. I even reworked a lot in this piece to get rid of a lot of the double and triple quote marks.

Keep it up, and remember to always edit!

“The Coin”

Check this little novella out! Sarah has written a truly uplifting story. I had the pleasure of reading it before it was published, and I have to say it is well-written and an amazing read.

Here’s her blog post on releasing “The Coin” booksbysmiles

and HERE is the link you can use to purchase it!! Amazon

Sarah also did an interview about her release. You can check that out here.

Just giving a shout out to another indie author who needs a hand up. So do her a favor and check her and “The Coin” out.

Paving the way…

I am paving the way toward professionalism in this little world called writing. Yesterday, I was awarded (it’s a bidding thing) the job of copy-editing someone’s novel. And they’re actually going to pay me for it! I’ve been copy-editing and beta reading for people for the last few years, all for free. This is a grand new revelation to think someone would actually pay me to do the same work that I was doing for free. Hmmm…it sounds a lot like ministry.

So, now that I have this free-lance copy-editing thingamajig on my record, it has been said to me that more copy-editing jobs will come. Maybe that’s true, maybe that’s not. I don’t really know, but it would be awesome if it did. I mean two to five of these jobs a month and I’d be making the income that I want to make–not so sure how that would work with school, though.

Secondly, I’m paving the way back into author-hood. Last night, I emailed in FOR BY GRACE to a new publishing company with query letter all neatly typed and gone over a half-million times. Hitting that send button was one of the scariest things I have ever done. I didn’t really sleep last night because of it (note to self: send in these query emails early enough to have a few shots of hard liquor before attempting sleep).

This new publisher is fantastic, and I can’t tell you how excited I would be if they chose to publish FOR BY GRACE. However, I still must wait. Their site states they will get back to me by July 1. Well, that’s a damn long time to wait for an answer, and we all know that I am NOT the most patient person in this world–or even this tiny apartment complex. So, I’m set to wait until at least July 1, where I can finally give up the hope of them liking FOR BY GRACE.

There was a huge debate last night before I sent in my query letter as to what name the letter should bear: legal name, nick name, or author name. After much discussion, I chose: legal first name “nick name” legal last name.

If you have any other suggestions on how to do this, please tell me. I’d love to be informed for the next time (and yes, we all know that I am a glutton for punishment).

ttfn!!

Grammar Wednesday: COMMA SPLICE–finding them!

I thought I would make a post on how to find comma splices. They’re not exactly the easiest thing in the world to discover. What I’ve noticed, in my own writing, is that I tend to have them in dialogue. This is because we don’t speak like we should be a writin’. If you get my drift.

This week is on finding comma splices. If you have any suggestions for grammatical rules you would like me to write back, comment and tell me! I’ll make a post!

HOW DO I FIND COMMA SPLICES?

Finding comma splices can be a tricky matter.  It is especially hard to do in your own work.  I suggest taking the time to read each sentence individually (after you’ve written everything of course, no need to worry about this when you’re writing).  If you know that you commonly make the mistake of putting comma splices into your writing, then this can be helpful.

Look for commas.  FIND the commas. Then look for a coordinating conjunction.  Once you’ve determined there isn’t one, then you need to see if each clause on either side of the comma is independent.  Can they stand-alone as a sentence?  Does it make sense without the other half?  If both can stand alone, you have a comma splice.  From there you have to determine which resolution is the best option.

Struggling Artist #indie

It’s hard to struggle. I think that, and then at the same time I think that struggling just adds that much more to the story. I have officially been unemployed since December of 2011. That’s sixteen months and heading right into the seventeenth. Yes, I currently work at a church twice a month doing children’s church but that doesn’t even pay me enough to feed my cats on a monthly basis, let alone me.

Struggling sucks. Flat out–it sucks. I have sent in dozens of applications to entry level, low level, crappy, good, educated jobs–just about anything one can think of, I’ve applied for it (except McDonald’s and Walmart, the two I will NEVER apply for).

I’m a writer. I’m even a published writer. It’s like people think that once published, everything takes off. Well, it doesn’t. To live off my royalties the amount of books I would have to sell is a number so large that my brain can’t compute it. My goal is to sell 60 ebooks a month. Which would be totally awesome if it did happen (and it did, for at least the first month). But the problem is that it still takes anywhere from four to six months for me to see that money. There is a gigantic lag.

This is the not so pretty side of publishing. The money isn’t instantaneous, there is a seriously long wait to get it. And getting it right now would be awesome! This is also why so many authors and writers have day jobs. People think it would be awesome to write all day and to only worry about the damned loud characters in my head that shout at me second after second to get their story written, but I’m not so sure about that. It gets pretty boring to sit by myself in my apartment all day, writing. I’ve done it–for the past sixteen months. It ain’t so pretty at all.

The day job gives me time to think, time to work through problems and people to talk to. Now, it doesn’t have to be the day job of my dreams or one that takes over my life. Something that is sufficient enough to give me something else to think about–that’s what I want. Something to ease the tedium of writing (never thought I would say that).

Now, go write and read peoples!! Support those indie authors!

Forever Burn Collage

Forever Burn Collage

I finally put the collage together that I’ve been meaning to do. These are a few photos from people who bought “Forever Burn” and were kind enough to send me the photos of them holding it. I love the community, love, and care that this shows, and seeing all these smiling faces just makes me grin in response.

If you buy it, post a picture with you and the book (either print or ebook) on my facebook page. I’ll make a new collage with all the additions.

Finish Line

I can see it. Almost taste the joy of crossing that line and being done with the first major round of editing on this novel. There’s another finish line that I want to write about today, too.

Sarah Hart is publishing her first novella called “The Coin.” It’s an uplifting and in-depth story. Everything for this novella will be available April 26th, ebook and print copy. The cover is amazing, so check it out.

Sarah Hart’s THE COIN

Now…back to my own editing!

Condoms! Condoms! Condoms!

I feel as though I need to jump on the bandwagon with this one. While yes, I mostly write lesbian fiction for publishing, I do write quite a bit of het fanfiction (actually, the majority of it). Now…I’ve been bad. The high majority of the time, my male characters do not wear a condom.

Now, that doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens a lot of the time. I think it really goes with what is happening. All of the characters (at least the majority of the time) are in monogamous relationships–or at least working toward one. I have read many places that when writing sex scenes always use the sleeping bag.

I really should write condoms in more, which is something I will continue to do in my fanfiction writing (and original when I actually get around to writing a het original).

Condoms are sexy. There is no reason why one shouldn’t use them when having sex (in writing and in real life). We are not a society that really promotes or advocates for abstinence until marriage anymore. I think it’s been accepted that it doesn’t really happen.

Condoms are sexy. Red, blue, black, white, purple, green, yellow, flavored, lubed–they’re all fantastically sexy.

Amy writes that she has a condom kink (she also has a consent kink–which should include consent for both parties, not just the woman, just saying). Maybe I should have a condom kink…a fetish with condoms. Perhaps I’ll work toward that, toward making sure that a condom is always present unless the circumstances don’t require it (aka my new novel where the goal is to get pregnant).

Women need to ask for condoms and come prepared with them just as much as any man does. Protect the vag, ladies. You can bring the protection! Don’t play damsel in distress, hoping the knight in shining armor has one stashed somewhere.

Amy’s Post: Unchainedfaith
Sirena’s Post: Condoms in Literature