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Posts Tagged ‘black swan’

Linda Nightingale’s dark fantasy, Gemini Rising, was released today by Double Dragon Publishing, Inc.  Visit her blog for the Gemini Rising page with blurb and excerpt!

Blog:  http://lindanightingale.wordpress.com/

Website:  http://lindanightingale.com

Congrats!

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I posted this story on Sharon Donovan’s blog, but I thought it might be interesting to repost it here and see what people think of my first attempt at flash fiction.  It doesn’t even have a title!!

The tower clock struck midnight.  Ravenwood tensed, glanced over her shoulder at the Sanctuary.  No lights shone in the mullioned windows.  The Masters mustn’t catch her out alone at night.  Her reputation at the school had suffered for her sister’s sin.

She lit the torch, black smoke billowing from the flame. A darkling shiver crawled down her rigid spine. The voices that had roused her from sleep whispered a warning as she crept into the abandoned barn.  A lonely owl hooted from the rafters,ruffling its feathers and blinking. Red light winked in the bird’s golden eyes.  She swallowed hard, straining her ears for any sound.  Like a chill, the eerie stillness oozed over her.

Ravenwood had come to say her last goodbye to her sister.  Tonight, Alethea slept the peace of the dead in this old outbuilding. Tomorrow, she would be lowered into unhallowed ground.  Then only god knew what the fateof a demon ’s consort would be.  Her breathing rasped loud, puffing white clouds in the October air.  She inched deeper into the gloom, shoved the hood of her robe back so that she could see from the corners of her eyes. A web caught in her hair, clung to her face.  Another hard shudder coursed through her, and gooseflesh prickled her limbs.  Nausea swirled in her stomach. Frantically, she swiped the crusty fly stuck in the web and the disgusting stickiness from her skin.

A shadow moved along the rotted wood pile. A mouse squeaked, scurried out and scampered away. The shade loomed larger, distorted in the flickering light.  She flinched back a step. With a shaking hand, she clutched the crucifix around her neck. The shadow crossed the pitchfork, fell on the coffin.

Darkness coalesced into the figure of a winged man.  Two yellow orbs glowed in his leathery gray face.  The wings were shiny, rubbery black with spines and points.  A sweet
smell rose from him, but she knew the fragrance was a glamour masking the reek of the Pit.

“Daakiel,” she whispered.

“Well met, Ravenwood.” A laugh rumbled from his broad chest. “Such pretty blonde hair and lovely ivory skin, but beneath your rose and gold beauty is a soul as dark as I am.”

As always, her sister’s lover was naked, his grotesque, swollen equipment proudly on display.  She shuddered head to toe, glancing around quickly, studying her options.

There were none.

The creature with hellfire eyes passed a hand with long, vicious claws over the coffin.  From inside, came a soft scratching then the lid rattled, an urgent pounding echoing in the ruined
barn.

Ravenwood’s heart caught in her throat.  A sudden silence crawled along her nerves.  The owl hooted and took flight, a wingtip brushing her cheek.  She flinched, clamped a hand to her mouth, but a little cry escaped.   The demon flexed his wings, stirring a tornado of moldy straw.

A malicious grin split the monstrous face.  “Come my pretty,” and with the rasp of claws, he ripped the lid off the pine coffin.

Her dead sister sat bolt upright, empty fish eyes locking to Ravenwood’s.   A chilling smile spread Alethea’s blue lips. Crimson pinpointed the black irises. Any innocence that might have remained in the once Acolyte had perished. Like a spider, elbows and knees arched at odd angles, she crawled from the casket.  Grave clothes clung to her pale, withered body but her breasts were exposed and bloody.  She was horrible.

Ravenwood wouldn’t give the monster the satisfaction of screaming.  She bit her tongue hard enough to draw blood.  The demon turned and stalked toward her, fangs dripping thick, green saliva. Terrified, she backed away, collided with a stack of old cans, sending them clattering to the ground.

“Dear sister.”  Alethea’s corpse spread her arms in invitation.  Sharp fangs dented the lower lip of her smile.  “Raven, forsake your god.  Join me.”

Ravenwood ducked, grabbed the pitchfork and brandished the rusted prongs at the demon.  Another unholy laugh rumbled from its throat.

“You cannot escape, Ravenwood.

Your sister has paid her dues.  She is mine.  Tonight, Acolyte, you join me in Hell.”

Playing for time, she flung the pitchfork at the demon and dropped thetorch.  S moke billowed from dry straw. Flames sprang up, reaching for the cracked roof.  Laughter boomed in the fire.  Engulfed in the holocaust, her sister’s horrified face branded the nightmare in memory.

The demon’s leering smile didn’t falter.

She whirled and fled, her legs pumping, her feet going nowhere.  The school seemed hundreds of miles away and her feet leaden.  If she reached the Sanctuary–

A claw sliced her shoulder.  Pain scalded her arm.  Blood oozed warmth down her back.  She whirled, staring straight into the demon’s burning eyes.  Lethal pointed teeth lined the creature’s gaping maw.

A scream ripped the black velvet night, searing her throat.  She stumbled a retreat, praying aloud.

“No answer?” Daarkiel cupped a hand to his pointed ear. “Pray to someone who will hear you.”

The ground beneath her feet rolled and tossed.  She fell to her knees.  Fear lodged in her dry throat, strangling her prayers.

“You have taken my lover from me. Burned her alive, you did.”  The creature beckoned with a bloody claw.  “You will replace her.”

An image of her sister’s living cadaver blinded her. She shook her head.  “Never.”

The earth opened, swallowing her.  Down she plunged into a loamy grave, the velocity of her fall sweeping her robe over her head.  Her feet scraped something hard.  Bones.  She didn’t have time to scream.  The hole closed over her head, burying her alive.

Insects climbed over her feet. Something slithered up her neck.  She swallowed the horror and the bile burning her throat. The black dirt caressed her naked arms and legs and matted her
hair. Trapped in the earth and in her robe, unable to claw for the surface, she held her breath until her lungs threatened to implode.  Terror gripped her heart in an icy hand.

I’m going to suffocate.

A desperate gasp for breath sucked the fatal soil into her mouth and nose.  Ravenwood whispered her final prayer.  For forgiveness.

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What is your greatest temptation:

In men: I love tall boys, primarily those with a mop of shaggy hair and a yummy smile and wearing a vintage tee.  Purr, purr!

In food: I have the diet of a little kid! Chances are, if it’s bad for me, I’m going to be tempted to eat it, provided it’s not meat.

In clothes: I’m not a fashionista by any means; I just wear what I like, when I feel like it. But I think a pair of well-fitting comfortable jeans and a sexy tank is a timeless, always foxy combo.

If you could have any kind of car, what would it be? I honestly don’t know! I’m not much a car person; I usually find myself attracted to cars that look like something my grandfather would’ve driven. But I can’t definitely see the appeal of rolling around in a convertible!

Your dream home – mountains or ocean? I would love to live by the beach – that’s the plan for my life at some point down the line!

What inspired you to become a writer? I’ve been writing stories –alth ough most of them will always be unfinished – since before I could comprehend that that was what I was doing. As a kid, I would color in notebooks and talk to myself, describing the plot I was drawing, and if I look back through those notebooks now, I can still identify the narrative, even though there was nothing written. I dabbled in writing throughout my whole life, but in high school my attention turned to art so words fell by the wayside. Eventually though, when I hit college and switched majors from graphic design to literature, I got back into it, and now I = out of control.

But I didn’t start writing erotica until 2007 at the urging of a friend, and since then I’ve never looked back. As previously mentioned, I had my first book, Coercion, published last year, and it can be purchased at http://www.lyricalpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2_12&products_id=315.

My second novel, Finale, was just released and is available at http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/torrid/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=601&zenid=6682f72a0e56c6d5ef87b6d88e427d51.

I have a few tricks up my sleeve for the future as well.

Do you have a daily writing routine? If so, please share. I wish I had the time to write daily! As it is, I try to work it in when I can. A friend recently asked me for advice on setting up a routine, and because I don’t have one, I couldn’t help as far as that goes. But a routine isn’t for everyone. For me, I find it more beneficial and productive to scribble down a scene on a lunch break, on the back of a receipt, waiting around for a friend… Every little effort put toward writing counts, regardless of how regularly it’s done—although being frequent about it is best, depending upon your goals!

In your books, who is your favorite heroine and please introduce her?
Olivia Gray is the protagonist of Finale, and I would avoid calling her a heroine; she’s hard to love. Still, I loved the opportunity to be so sarcastic and describe the world in such a dry, ridiculous, over-the-top way. Her growth was also really satisfying to chart, as was the decline of her secret paramour, the musician Jonathan Levant. Theirrela tionship and dialogue felt very natural and easy to write.

What do you have out now? My current release is Finale, which came out in August. The inspiration for the story may strike some readers as obvious, but it goes beyond the bare-bones concept of a music legend dying under sudden circumstances and leaving his three children behind. This isn’t the music legend’s story. I wanted to explore the idea of what the aftermath of his death would be like for all the parties involved, and I wanted to intersperse the story with a complicated love story providing evidence behind the decision to leave the
children under the guardianship of a person who never thought of anyone but herself.

And now, the official blurb:

When music legend Jonathan Levant dies in a motorcycle accident, no one is more stunned than his former lover Olivia Gray, a hedonistic ex-celebrity who learns she’s been inexplicably named the guardian of his children. Olivia’s reluctant acceptance of the new parental role obliterates her hope of resurrecting her songwriting career as she faces sarcastic teenagers, suicide attempts and séances. The upset to her self-indulgent life forces Olivia to finally face the truth about the cruel decisions of her wild past, her now uncertain future and her secret, turbulent relationship with a man who, even in death, continues to upend her world.

For an excerpt to whet the appetite:

# # #

Like it’d been my intent all along, I circled the piano, stood in front of the wine and casually refilled my cup. I was all too aware of Jonathan standing far too close on my left. I’d no sooner taken a sip when he asked, “Am I making you nervous?”

I spun around, my back against the piano and my heart pounding. “Why would you say that, Mr. Levant?”

“Ah, answering a question with a question—a sure sign of nerves.” He gave me a rakish grin and took a step closer to me, an act that made my mouth dry. “You know, before it was always ‘kiddo’ or a sarcastic ‘Johnnie.’” He placed his palms on the piano, trapping me in from all sides as he leaned toward me, unapologetically self-assured and sexy. “Now I’m Mr. Levant. What’s changed?”

“Absolutely nothing.” Faced with the inevitable and desperate for control, I closed the paltry distance between us, pressing my lips against his. Plusher than I’d remembered. He groaned softly but responded accordingly in a way that made my mind cloud with want.

We slid to the floor, trading open-mouthed, end-of-the-world kisses. My eyes rolled to the back of my head as his fingers slid beneath my shirt to cup my breast, plucking my sensitive nipples to life. His tongue licked a path down my throat, and my breath hitched at the expertise of his touch and the surprising reaction it evoked in me.

This was not the Jonathan Levant I knew, yet it was, a reminder that further triggered my arousal.

“Isn’t this the part where you push me away?” he murmured in my ear as he tore the shirtfrom my body with an urge ncy that excited me. “Aren’t you supposed to make adr amatic exit after yelling at me for taking advantage of you?”

I couldn’t believe he wanted to trade quips at such a time like this, let alone had the ability to do so. I shook the fog of desire from my head and forced myself to be Olivia again—the Olivia capable of rational thought who did not allow good-looking boys to dictate her emotions for better or worse. “Who says I’m the one being taken advantage of?” I asked, reaching between us to give his cock, still confined in his pants, a pointed squeeze.

“All right.” His body trembled with a shudder of pleasure, but he covered my hand with his and rolled us over so I was pinned to the floor, his body wedged between my open legs. “Have your way with me then.”

“That would sound more believable if you were on the bottom.” I was proud of myself for regaining a bit of self-control, but that small amount vanished once again when Jonathan reared back and tugged down my pants, taking my panties with them.

New releases anytime soon? I just finished the copy edits for my next novel, Secretly More, which will be released by Etopia Press in the next few months. I’d been wanting to do a friends-becoming-more storyline for a long time; I find them incredibly hot, with all the comfort mixed with sexual tension. With Secretly More, I set out to tackle just that – with a blindfold thrown in to truly complicate matters. I’m really proud of the story and how it came out, and I can’t wait to share it with everyone!

Where can eager fans find you? I can be found at my own little corner of the web, www.luxzakari.com, as well as on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter. Come visit! Be friends!

# # #

Buy link for Finale: http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/torrid/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=601&zenid=6682f72a0e56c6d5ef87b6d88e427d51

Buy link for Coercion: http://www.lyricalpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2_12&products_id=315

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Kathleen (known to her friends as Piks) has unwisely perhaps allowed me to interview her.  Here are some things you probably don’t know about her:

What is your greatest temptation?  Wow. What a question!

In men:
I’ll tell you what. I LOVE MEN. I think they’re strong, powerful, intelligent (I know I’m generalizing, but work with me here . . . ) fun, offer security and are easy to charm. I like their attention. I like making men laugh. I like sitting close and talking deep. That said, this does not mean I want to getla id–usually, far from it since I take being married seriously. LOL! However, I think it’s just fine to frolic in men’s energy. And, honestly, I don’t think they mind sharing too much, either.

In food:
Pasta. Every kind, every way, except no meat. I’m a vegetarian.

In clothes:

I love bikinis—though, not wearing them so much anymore at my age!  It’s probably because my mother cut my first bikini up into little pieces and handed me some god-awful, skirted, navel-high two piece.

What is your greatest weakness (example: buying shoes)?

Diamonds and big, chunky gemstones. I love the energy from the earth’s jewels.

If you could have any kind of car, what would it be?

Aston Martin. Navy blue.

I agree there Kathleen, but I’ll take mine in black!

Your dream home – mountains or ocean?

Ocean.  Hands down. I already have the house design. Lots of room for company.

Me too!  Me too!  Though I love the mountains as well.

What inspired you to become a writer?

Sister George Ann in eighth grade English. She introduced us to the poet, e.e. cummings. I’ve never been the same since.

Do you have a daily writing routine?  If so, please share.

Morning works best for me. I do my best to get up around 6—write for 2 hours. I can have a book finished in 6 months on this schedule.

What is your favorite book?      Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

What is your favorite movie? 

Oh, I have more than one: Contact. K-Pax. Avatar. Casa Blanca. Sophie’s Choice. The Big Lebowski. Ghost. Wuthering Heights. Pride and Prejudice. The Abyss. Caddy Shack. I know . . . stop, already!

Who is your favorite historical figure?

Thomas Jefferson. I wish I knew him. He was a scientist, philosopher, statesman, humanitarian and believed in true love. Oh, he also wore his hair long. He’s my man.

In your books, who is your favorite hero and please introduce him?

Bianca . .. you know we always love all our heroes the best. In ECHOES OF LOVE, Ian Marshall is my to-die-for, angsty and utterly romantic lover. But, right now, I’m smitten with Sam Wilson in the hero in my MYTHOLOGICAL SAM trilogy. Sam is my Clark Kent who hasn’t a clue how hot he is.  He’s about to morph into Superman any minute and doesn’t quite believe in the heavenly powers he’s earned. By the time the third book is finished, Sam will have saved the world, won the girl and kept us laughing the whole way.

Who is your favorite heroine and please introduce her? 

My favorite heroine (and again, it’s tough to choose!) right now is Maria Santiago. She’s about to be introduced in the Harlequin SuperRomance, WHERE IT BEGAN, being
released January 2012.

Maria is a young, beautiful Latina and a fabulous artist living in South Florida. She suffers from retro-grade amnesia from a boating accident in the Bahamas that killed her twin sister and her mother. I admire Maria’s granite-like determination in demanding her father instruct his sailboat captain to take her back to the scene of the accident to help jog her memory,
even though she’s now terrified of the sea. I also love how she dislikes this muscled, sexy boat captain, while feeling a pull towards him that she cannot explain. Yet, he surely can explain
it. The last thing he wants to do is return her to the scene of the accident, because if she remembers that tragic event, she will also remember that they are lovers and she is his fiancé.  The
worst is that if she learns his terrible secret, she will hate him more than she does now, and he will lose her love, forever.

What do you have out now?  Excerpt, blurb, book trailers

MYTHOLOGICAL SAM-THE CALL is getting all 5-Star reviews! I’m
thrilled with how Sam is being received, especially since I’m writing the story
based on a true-life experience of my own. (Story for another time!) Here’s the
trailer: MYTHOLOGICAL SAM-THE CALL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ECHOES OF LOVE, the paranormal romance about lovers through time, has been reworked, has a wonderful new cover, and is available now as an e-book on Amazon and BN.com. (It’s out of print for the moment, except for used copies.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Addressing the need for women to understand their financial world, I co-wrote with financial analyst, Gwendolyn Beck, to create FLIRTING
WITH FINANCE–a finance book written as a romance. This is a great how-to book teaching finance the fun way! Available at Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

This fabulous anthology contains short stories from seven talented Florida Romance Writer (chapter of RWA) authors, including the amazing Heather Graham, Bonnie Vanak, Traci Hall, Veronika Levine, Michael Meeske, and yours truly. We compiled this book as a fund-raiser for FRW and it’s doing superbly well in the paranormal arena. This anthology is available at Amazon.com.

Where can eager fans find you?

Please come see me at my website: http://www.kathleenpickering.com  Lots of videos, photos and stories to tell there.

Also, please friend me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kathleenpickering and Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/katpickering.  I’d love to hear from everybody!

 

PS: Thank you for chatting with me today, Bianca. I so enjoy when we meet at Heather Graham’s Writers for New Orleans conferences and
Romantic Times Conventions. Not only are you a wonderful talent, but spending time with you is always a delight. Your wit, insights and straight-laced
appearance (so very deceiving!) are never lost on me. Besides, you wear the greatest jewelry. It’s always a treat to see how you’ll be adorned next.  I look forward to the next time we meet!

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Under my own name, I self-published my novella Night Before Doomsday on Smashwords Friday night.  It is not an easy process but I’m glad I took the time to do it.  My son Simon designed the cover which is the fallen angel Azazel’s sigil.  A free sample of the story can be downloaded.  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/89525.  The book is about the Grigori, the angels sent to Earth to teach Man.  Nine-tenths of them succumbed to lust and fell from grace.  Night Before Doomsday (my son also gave me the title) is told in first person from the leader Azazel’s point of view.  I’ love your comments on the effectiveness of the teaser!

Now, for our Sunday quote, from the Wilde:

A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.

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Some people think seduction is all about sex.

“Come and get it, Big Boy!  “Don’t you want to do me?”

I see seduction as the act of making someone want something, NOW! PLEASE!

The way some people eat is seduction. Watching someone slowly enjoy every taste of a dessert can make me want to snatch it and eat it!

I can live without popsicles. HOWEVER, imagine this scene.

Sue smiled at the cherry popsicle. Anticipation made her unwrap it carefully and break it exactly in the middle. She loved the cold on her hot tongue, in her moist mouth.  Keeping each half in tact was important to her enjoyment, especially if she shared with Joe. The second she ran her tongue over the length, swirled it to catch the sweet flavor, Joe’s eyes would widen. Oh, yeah, he’d watch her slide the red ice into her mouth, then withdraw it slowly through her lips, avoiding her sensitive teeth. Joe would watch her as he ate his half in bites. She moaned at the flavor and pleasure of each slide as the sweet melted in her mouth. He’d groan because he wanted to feel her mouth on him.

See how long it took me to say what you were thinking?

Be honest. Would you have been any more seduced it I had said “Joe wanted her to suck his cock? I am not as seduced by blatant words as I am by words that appeal to my senses, taste, scents, and touch.

Joe wanted her hot, moist mouth on him, her rough tongue tasting every inch of his dick, her mouth taking him inside …

Teasing is important in storytelling and writing about sex for me. I want my readers to beg me to let the characters have sex!

Tess watched Bill eat his French fries. The man ate as though every bite tasted of sin and he was a sinner. She hadn’t had potatoes in months and wouldn’t let herself slide from her diet. But oh how she wanted to snitch just one from his plate.

“Want some?” he asked.

She gnawed her bottom lip.

“I’ll share.” His wicked grin made her smile.

“Just a couple,” she said, reaching to slide 2 from his plate.

“Uh-uh. “ He took one long fry from his plate and dredged it slowly through the ketchup as her gaze followed his long fingers.

“You’re killing me.” She moaned. Her taste buds were begging!

He leaned across the table and she leaned toward him, opening her mouth. The morsel stopped just before it reached her and he put one end between his shapely lips.

She licked her lips.

He leaned closer with another and dared her to bite the other end and take what she wanted.

TV commercials seduce us with scenes and products we want once we see them.  Many of us can be seduced by anything chocolate.  Our taste buds make us want things.  We crave the soft sheets we see because our skin remembers the way they feel against our skin.

I can be seduced by a good book. I have begun many a book with the intention of reading a few pages before bed. The best books kept me up all night because the author knew how to drop me into the palm of her hand and keep me there, promising myself I’d stop at the end of the current chapter, chapter after chapter.

Movies and TV shows do the same thing. I’ve promised myself I’ll run to bed in ten minutes and not start the next show. Right. One glance up at the wrong time or hearing one intriguing line can smash my good intentions and glue me to my seat for the entire show.  We want to know what will happen next and we often want to be in that story, in that scene.

Since I met Bianca in 1991 and were both writing back then, you might guess that I have a few completed novels.  I recently published two.

FOREVER LOVE, A NOVELLA, is set in South Georgia.  I loved writing about a nurse plagued by superstition and her old family nanny who prefers tonics and spells from an ancient Indian spellcaster to modern medicine. (If I had said Native American it wouldn’t sound right for the characters.) Watching Sabrina try to avoid Dr. Joe since he has returned to the small town hospital and now wants a romantic relationship with her made me smile as they played the courtship game.

Sabrina’s fear of the Demon Cat overshadows everything but the old journals she discovered that draw her into the ill-fated romance between a half-breed Indian and the daughter of a plantation owner more than 200 years ago. Nothing can overshadow the handsome, sexy, bossy, and playful Doc.

(Steamy love scenes)Available at Smashwords.com, Amazon,com, and Barnes & Noble.com.

 

HAUNTING REFRAIN

When music teacher Sarah Overby found ghosts in her attic she hesitated to tell her best friend, William McKeown. She didn’t think he’d understand. He has looked after her for as long
as she can remember. Telling him he lived a previous life as her husband would make him think she was crazy.

William has adored Sarah forever, he just doesn’t realize this isn’t the first time he has loved her.  His feelings for his best friend are changing, but he doesn’t believe in ghosts, reincarnation, or lasting romantic relationships. He is a psychologist and he believes in things he can prove.

Sarah’s guardian ghosts are facilitators who renew their relationships with their charge.

Available at  Smashwords.com now, soon at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

If you leave a comment or ask a question you might win a download of one of these.  I’ll give away one of each.

Have a fun week!

PS.  I’ll give away a Hot Spanish Nights coffee mug—Bianca.

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About a romance writer’s favorite subject:  Love…

Love is everything it’s cracked up to be…It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for.

Erica Jong, O Magazine, February 2004

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