Saturday, March 28, 2020

What's on the Reading Radar? #TBR #WishList

This week just zipped by, but it was probably slow for others. I got to work on other projects, though I don't feel that I got anywhere fast. If you haven't heard yet, my blog story, Assassin's Retirement, is starting back up this coming week. So I did accomplish something. :D

Reading-wise...

Title: Mack's Perfectly Ghastly Homecoming
Series: (Mack's Marvelous Manifestations Book 2)
Author: AJ Sherwood
Length: 215 pages


Genre: Romance / Ghost Paranormal / Gay

Notes: I stayed up late to finish reading this last night. This is different than Jon's series in many ways. Not only do we get to see a different aspect of PAD with mediums, the cases are much different. I really enjoyed how Brandon's struggles were of a different nature than his brother's. Loved Elli and her guys. I hoep that we get to see more of them in the future. 

Blurb: Mack’s over the moon to not only have Brandon but to finally be done with all their training. With the official FBI stamp of approval, they are ready to start ghost busting.

The very last place he wants to be sent to is his hometown of Opelousas, Louisiana, however. But a child is being terrorized, and when he discovers it’s his favorite cousin, all reluctance is forgotten.

His cousin’s ghost problem is not their only case, though. The nearby university also has a malevolent ghost that is seriously escalating. Students are being scratched, pushed down the stairs, and generally terrified. Even with Brandon’s unwavering support, this might be a bit much for just two people to handle. And when the ghost proves it can break all the windows in a three-story building? Mack knows they definitely won’t be able to do it alone.

It’s shaping up to be a perfectly ghastly homecoming.


Tags: Bad ghosts, homophobia, Brandon’s dying to shoot something, cockblocking ghost, lots of first times in this one, car sex, Mack is secretly a BAMF, which turns Brandon on so HARD, pun totally intended, FBI paranormal division likes to break things, Brandon’s super happy about it, no dedicated top/bottom, M/F/M secondary characters, bisexual PoC BAMFs, relationship growth, self-growth, Mack’s a work in progress and he knows it, flying is fun.


Title: Not Quite Beast
Series: Not Quite, 2
Author: Kaye Draper
Length: 99 pages

Genre: Slow Burn Romance / Paranormal Post Apocalyptic / Poly / 

Notes: Next up on the reading list! *happy wiggles*

Blurb: At twenty-eight years old, Sam thought they were old enough to stop making terrible decisions. But taking a merc job for a human millionaire can’t be described as anything else. Neither can drinking so much fairy moonshine that you forget there are good reasons not to let yourself think with your…parts.

Hunting people is a whole different world than hunting supernatural beasts, and Sam and their guild might not come out on the winning side of this one. When the goons Sam is hired to track down fight back with magic, it rapidly becomes apparent that Theo isn’t telling the whole story about why people want him dead. Sam loses Fin and Emerson, and it takes drastic measures to get them back, including working with a bunch of assholes Sam knows better than to trust.

And why the hell do Sam’s most inconvenient shifter impulses choose now to kick in? Sometimes a half-human, half-monster, half-male, half-female fiend hunter just can’t catch a break….


Title: Refugees
Series: 
Author: Kim Fielding
Length: 68 pages

Genre: Romance / Historical Sci-Fi / Gay 

Notes: The category for this is Sci-Fi but it is also historical since it's post WWII. I enjoy Kim Fielding's stories. There is a uniqueness about them that I don't see often, so I never know what to expect when I crack open one of her books. 

Blurb: When World War II ended and army medic Walter Clark returned to Chicago, he discovered that although home remained the same, he had changed. Unable to fit comfortably into his old life, he spent a year gradually making his way west. Now he’s gone as far as he can—the shore of the Pacific—but old memories make ocean views intolerable. He turns inland and finds himself in the hidden hamlet of Kiteeshaa, Oregon, where the locals are surprisingly friendly and the café serves food exactly like his grandmother used to make.

Martin Wright runs the Kitee Motor Court Inn and offers Walter a place to stay for a few nights. Later, Martin offers him a great deal more. But while Martin is a delight, he also harbors secrets; and there’s something not quite right about Kiteeshaa. No matter how far the two men have traveled, they can’t run away from their pasts.


Title: The Alpha's Warlock
Series: (Mismatched Mates Book 1)
Author: Eliot Grayson
Length: 172 pages

Genre: Romance / Urban Fantasy / Shifters / Warlocks / Action & Adventure / Enemies to Lovers / Gay

Notes: I have not read this author before but the books sounds fun. 

Blurb: Cursed, mated, and in for the fight of their lives…

Warlock Nate Hawthorne just wants a cup of coffee. Is that too much to ask? Apparently. Because instead of precious caffeine, all he gets is cursed by a pack of werewolves who want to use him for his magic. Now the only way to fix the damage is a mate bond to a grumpy and oh-so-sexy alpha in the rival pack, who happens to hate him. This is so not how he wanted to start his day.

Ian Armitage never intended to take Nate as his mate. The Hawthorne family can’t be trusted. Ian knows that better than anyone. The fact that he’s lusted after the way-too-gorgeous man for years? Totally irrelevant. Ian’s just doing what is necessary to protect his pack. This whole mating arrangement has nothing to do with love and never will. That’s his story and he’s sticking to it.

Nate and Ian will have to work together if they have any hope of staving off the pack’s enemies and averting disaster. That’s assuming they can stop arguing (and keep their hands off each other) long enough to save the day…

The Alpha’s Warlock is an explicit M/M paranormal romance featuring a snarky warlock, a brooding alpha werewolf, knotting, enchanted socks (long story), and a guaranteed happily ever after.


Title: Bright as a Star: Lucifer
Series: (Children of the Elder Gods Book 1)
Author: Ramona Mainstrom
Length: 114 pages

Genre: Romance / Paranormal / Poly

Notes: So I came across Loki's book in the bisexual category and was intrigued enough to look up the series. I'm going to give it a try.

Blurb: Once the embodiment of intellect and enlightenment, Lucifer was Humankind’s guardian against the Darkness. Now, he is the scapegoat for all of Humanity’s sins and reviled by the world he’s sworn to protect. Lucifer is drowning in the onslaught of Man’s negative energy until he meets Taya. Her simple faith reminds him of his birthright as Mankind’s liberator.

Their joined power makes for good sex, but also draws the attention of ancient enemies how have hunted them for millennia. Can they stand against these dark forces and who is the mysterious shadow protecting Taya? Join Lucifer and Taya in their awakening.

Children of the Elder Gods is a Why Choose Reverse Harem series with cliffhangers.

In this series:

#1 Lucifer: Bright as a Star
#2 Anubis: Light as a Feather
#3 Loki: White as a Frost
#4 Taya: Fight as a Goddess


Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Coming Soon! Returning to Assassin's Retirement #TheGentleman #AssassinsRetirement

About a year ago, I took a break from Assassin's Retirement. I didn't mean to take a year, but it seems that I sorely needed a change. This month I've been working toward getting back on this particular horse and trying to find a stride again. I was stuck and no matter what I did, I wasn't getting around it.

"What was wrong?" you ask?

I was trying for a relationship balance between all the characters. I've read over and over again that people like poly relationships with equal love between all parties involved. So I was trying to force Zane to have the same type of relationship with Crimson Comet that Cord has, and it did not fit the story, and it did not fit Zane. He simply does not/will not love them all in the same way. He's not Cord. My plan for Zane and Raine to have some sexy times in Chapter 37 did not come to fruition. Zane was resistant. Raine was resistant. So I had some things to work out, I'm just going to let the characters be who they want to be and not try to stuff them into a formula.

Even figuring that out, it was hard to start up again. Some of it had to do with the intense desire to give Assassin's Retirement a good editing scrub. It has areas that need expanding, but I reminded myself that this is the first draft. I'm writing the installment before it's posted and its all without an outline to follow. The story has already taken a couple of sharp turns, so it would be foolish of me to start adding chapters to the beginning without confirming the story is going where I think it is going. After finishing Chapter 37... I'm thinking I might be wrong about that too.

So get ready for this 'making-it-up-as-I-write' story that will start up again. I've attached the table of contents below if you haven't read Assassin's Retirement yet or you want to refresh you memory. Just remember it needs EDITS lots and lots of edits and Chapters 1-36 will not get that kind of love until the story is over.

Assassin's Retirement Table of Contents

Chapter One - Retirement
Chapter Two - Normal is not supposed to be this hard
Chapter Three - Caught
Chapter Four - Crimson Comet
Chapter Five - Mountain Magic
Chapter Six, Part 1 - Harbinger of a Nightmare
Chapter Six, Part 2 -
Chapter Seven, Part 1 - Stolen Answers
Chapter Seven, Part 2 -
Chapter Eight, Part 1 - No such thing as heroes
Chapter Eight, Part 2 -
Chapter Nine, Part 1 - Dead is supposed to be... dead
Chapter Nine, Part 2 -
Chapter Ten, Part 1 - Gathering Allies
Chapter Ten, Part 2
Chapter Eleven - Combustible
Chapter Twelve - Standing His Ground
Chapter Thirteen - Choices
Chapter Fourteen, Part 1
Chapter Fourteen, Part 2
Chapter Fifteen, Part 1 - To kill, or not to kill
Chapter Fifteen, Part 2
Chapter Sixteen - Maricoxi Guardians
Chapter Seventeen - Coincidence?
Chapter Eighteen, Part One - Guns Ablazin'
Chapter Eighteen, Part Two
Chapter Nineteen, Part One - Reckoning
Chapter Nineteen, Part Two
Chapter Twenty - Mercy
Chapter Twenty-One
Chapter Twenty-Two, Part One
Chapter Twenty-Two, Part Two
Chapter Twenty-Two, Part Three
Chapter Twenty-Three
Chapter Twenty-Four
Chapter Twenty-Five, Part 1
Chapter Twenty-Five, Part 2
Chapter Twenty-Six
Chapter Twenty-Seven, Part One
Chapter Twenty-Seven, Part two
Chapter Twenty-Eight, Part One
Chapter Twenty-Eight, Part Two
Chapter Twenty-Nine, Part One
Chapter Twenty-Nine, Part Two
Chapter Twenty-Nine, Part Three
Chapter Twenty-Nine, Part Four
Chapter Thirty, Part One
Chapter Thirty, Part Two
Chapter Thirty-One
Chapter Thirty-One, Part Two
Chapter Thirty-Two
Chapter Thirty-Three, Part One
Chapter Thirty-Three, Part Two
Chapter Thirty-Three, Part Three
Chapter Thirty-Four, Part One
Chapter Thirty-Four Part Two
Chapter Thirty Five
Chapter Thirty-Six, Part One
Chapter Thirty-Six, Part Two
Chapter Thirty-Six, Part Three
Chapter Thirty-Six, Part Four

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Smashwords' Authors Give Back Sale #booksale

Are you looking for something new or different to read?

I'm participating in a month-long sale at Smashwords. Until April 20th you will find all my books (except for new releases) 60% off! Check out my books and the rest of the sale. I'm trying to be good myself but it's really hard. LOL



Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

What's on the Reading Radar #TBR #WishList

Whew! It's been a busy week. If you haven't peeked as the blog all this week, then I least check out yesterday's post for Constant's release day. :D

I haven't read a lot this week since, well... it was release week and Constant was reviewed over, and over, and over, and I am so glad I kicked the kid out of the house to go play with the other books. But I'm not the only one with releases this week and I picked up new books from my favorite authors. :D


Title: The Rebel's Mate
Series: Blue Solace, 7
Author: C.W. Gray
Length: 230 pages

Genre: Romance / Sci-Fi / Gay

Notes: I read this in pieces throughout the week. I'm excited to read that there will be a couple of side series from this. The series was such fun to read. 

Blurb: Welcome back to Charybdis Station and the crew of the Blue Solace: (Seventh Book in the series)

Finn Sterling is still adjusting to becoming the lieutenant of the blue fleet of Charybdis Station. As an orphan on Cardinal Hold, he never imagined he would have a position of authority as an adult and the trust his friends put in him makes failure impossible. When he is given the monumental task to find a large number of missing Vextonians, he'll take all the help he can get. When Finn's journey brings him to his mate, he discovers that finding the missing is only one part of the quest ahead of him.

Aiden Crow has spent the last year consumed with grief and his search for vengeance. When he meets Finn, he knows instantly that the man is his mate, but what could he possibly offer the beautiful, smiling Cardinal? As the search for the missing draw the two men together, Crow realizes that the greatest risk he faces is losing his heart.

Crow and Finn must work together to gather information so they can find the innocent before they are lost forever.

Author's Note: 55,000 words. This is a sci-fi/fantasy, m/m love story with no angst and no cheating, just a HEA. There is lots of action, a little sex, mpreg, and a few potty mouths involved in the story. 18+ readers only, please. It is also the seventh book in a series that is best read in order. Read "The Mercenary's Mate," "The General's Mate," "The Soldier's Mate," "The Lieutenant's Mate," "The Engineer's Mate," and "The Captain's Mate" first!



Title: Fates, Fins, and Fangs
Series: Gods and Demons, 1
Author: Kaye Draper
Length: 110 pages

Genre: Romance / Urban Fantasy / Poly / RH / 

Notes: Released 3/17! I was so exited. This is one of my favorite worlds!

Blurb: Troya has given up her mythology geek ways to focus on pursuing her nursing degree. She’s made weird, but fierce friends in the growing city of Ontonagon, in the four years since she arrived as an orphaned, wounded teenager. She’s managing to make something of herself, despite the loss of her real family. But it seems like the universe has other plans for her.

Weird visions, hallucinations that make her closest friends seem like monsters…probably just an over the top reaction to all the stress in her life. (Either that, or it’s a brain tumor.) When a creepy run-in with a monster during her clinical rotations at the hospital threatens to make her fail out of school, Troya thinks it can’t possibly get any worse.

But she’s wrong. So wrong.

The world Troya has known all her life is ripped away in one weird night, and even two hot roommates-turned-lovers might not be enough to salvage things. Not when her entire existence is overshadowed by the memory of a dark prince bathed in blood—and the pain that drove her to forget everything.

*The Gods and Demons series is a spin off from the Gesa’s Menagerie series. While it can be read on it’s own, reading the Menagerie series first will provide more depth to the world and characters.


Title: Mack's Perfectly Ghastly Homecoming
Series: Mack's Marvelous Manifestations, 2
Author: AJ Sherwood
Length: 215 pages

Genre: Romance / Paranormal of the Ghost Kind / Gay /

Notes: *happy wiggles* I didn't realize this one was out until this week. 

Blurb: Mack’s over the moon to not only have Brandon but to finally be done with all their training. With the official FBI stamp of approval, they are ready to start ghost busting.

The very last place he wants to be sent to is his hometown of Opelousas, Louisiana, however. But a child is being terrorized, and when he discovers it’s his favorite cousin, all reluctance is forgotten.

His cousin’s ghost problem is not their only case, though. The nearby university also has a malevolent ghost that is seriously escalating. Students are being scratched, pushed down the stairs, and generally terrified. Even with Brandon’s unwavering support, this might be a bit much for just two people to handle. And when the ghost proves it can break all the windows in a three-story building? Mack knows they definitely won’t be able to do it alone.

It’s shaping up to be a perfectly ghastly homecoming.

Title: More than Life
Series: 
Author: Mary Calmes
Length: 330 pages

Genre: Romance / Contemporary / Cowboys / Gay / 

Notes: A self-pub from Mary. It's been a while since I read a contemporary and I do love cowboys. :D

Blurb: Hart Jarrett was only supposed to be passing through Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He wasn’t supposed to get involved, no emotional entanglements to tie him down. Setting down roots was never part of the plan, not until he opened himself up to love. Too bad the man he bet on bailed and left Hart holding the ranch. There were two choices after that: run away, or stay and build something real from nothing.

Nearly six years later, Hart has created a home and a life he never expected, with the help of his best friend and foreman, Morgan Brace. The ranch is thriving thanks to its loyal men and strong ties to the community. But there’s a snake in the garden, and it takes many forms. There’s a dead man on Hart’s property, a man he knows, and the questions are piling up. As if that weren’t enough, his ex has reappeared out of the blue, with plans to reclaim what he willingly gave.


And, to make matters worse, it appears Morgan is finally taking his dating life seriously.

Everything Hart has built is unraveling.

The life Hart wants doesn’t work without Morgan in it. Imagining a future without Morgan, him turning elsewhere for love and coming in second to someone else in Morgan’s heart—as well as his bed—is almost unbearable. So maybe, just maybe, the answer lies in Hart confessing that he loves Morgan more than life itself.
If Hart gambles and loses, will he even still want the life he’s worked so hard to build?

Title: Rebellion
Series: Rebellion, 1
Author: Hannah Walker
Length: 

Genre: Romance / Sci-Fi / Gay

Notes: I've been looking at this one. I read somewhere that it was connected to one of her series and I thought about reading it first but when I looked up I didn't know where to start. Hmmm...

Blurb: Ferido Einadi has worked at the heart of the Barin Alliance. As a Founding Senator, he’s supposed to be in a position to create the change the Alliance needs to improve life for all its citizens. Instead, he finds himself at odds with those in command, those who are desperate to control the Alliance and shape it to their own desires.Caught working against the corruption, he goes on the run after an assassination attempt, protected by a team of Avanti who are as disgusted as he is by the degeneration of the Alliance. Together, they do the only thing they can— reach out to the resistance and make their way to allies who will help them.

Aristian from Landran, has been a chieftain for most of his adult life. He’s tired and looking for a new challenge. When King Kastain asks him to step up and become a new galactic ambassador for his people, Aristian leaps at the chance to take on the new role.
When a new race becomes the target for the corrupt Alliance, they reach out to the resistance for help. Aristian and Ferido are only too happy to step up and try to bring about change to the universe. Aided by friends, they traverse the cosmos, determined to give what aid they can.


What should have been a simple mission soon becomes fraught with danger, and they find themselves dealing with those who would destroy everything.


Having dedicated their lives to helping people, can Aristian and Ferido take time to focus on their own needs and desires while worlds are at risk around them? Are their ages and species too different to build a future on? And will any of them survive to have it really matter?

Title: Blood Faith
Series: Kara Sharpe
Author: Carmine Court, 1
Length: 128 pages

Genre: Dark Romance / Paranormal / Vampires / Gay

Notes: This is another book that I have been considering. Dark Romance can mean a lot of things. I've read dark romances where the only thing dark about it was the violence and blood. This give a better idea with the captor/captive, but even those, it is all about how is presented. It is on sale for $0.99. 

Blurb: ADRIAN

When I stopped to get pizza on my way home, the last thing I expected was to cross paths with a vampire. Now I’m trapped in his home like a bird caught in a beautiful cage.

He’s got a dark magnetism I can’t ignore. I thought I was free of that world forever, but being with him is dragging me right back in.
I know I shouldn’t want him. I need to be stronger than this, but every time he’s near all I can think about is touching him again…

XAVIER


My world is no place for a creature of the daylight like him. Every time I sink my teeth into his vulnerable neck, I drink away a little more of that light.


Our physical connection is intense, but allowing anything else to develop would be the ruin of us both. So why can’t I get him out of my head? He’s my prisoner. How is it that I feel like I’m the one being held captive to his innocence?


I need to stop this before anyone else ends up dead.


BLOOD FAITH is a stand-alone HEA novella of 30,000 words, the first in the forthcoming Carmine Court series. It contains explicit m/m dark romance scenes including vampire content, kidnapping, captivity, and handcuffs.

Title: Bangkok Adventure
Series: The Infintium Government, 3
Author: Megan Derr
Length: 105 pages

Genre: Romance / Sci-Fi / Gay

Notes: 

Blurb: Once a rehab guard, Kobalt is happy to spend his days now serving as supercargo on the merchant ship the Lucky Number. His days of keeping criminals in line and taking ridiculous, alcohol-fueled vacations to the coliseums of Bangkok are well and happily behind him.

That doesn't mean his life doesn't occasionally still come with excitement, however. The seven day pass he was looking forward to enjoying with plenty of peace and quiet is now threatened by signs of a possible smuggler, and where there's smugglers, there's people willing to do whatever it takes to get their contraband to where it belongs—including kill.

His world is thrown further into upheaval when the hunt for a smuggler brings him face to face with a man he never thought he'd see again: a former prisoner that Kobalt once thought about in ways no guard should.

Title: The Knight and the Necromancer
Series: The Capital, 1
Author: AH Lee
Length: 

Genre: Slow Burn Romance / Enemies to Lovers / Fantasy / Gay /

Notes: 

Blurb: It’s a classic fairytale: Knight meets necromancer. They argue. They fight. They…make out?

Prince Roland comes home from the war to bury his father and see his sister on the throne. He sneaks out to his favorite tavern for nostalgia’s sake. It’s the place where he kissed a man for the first time, the place where he used to carouse with the lover he buried on a battlefield.

Roland expects to enjoy some anonymity and perhaps flirt with a few strangers for old time’s sake. He does not expect to find a fascinating scholar from out of town—a lonely young man with beautiful eyes and an obvious longing to be touched, buried beneath a prickly demeanor. The man clearly has his secrets, but so does Roland, and their unexpected chemistry makes him feel alive for the first time in months.

Roland exerts all his knightly charm and is rewarded by the promise of a second date. He figures he’ll need something to look forward to tomorrow, since he must spend the day in council with his family’s sworn enemy—a necromancer whom his sister has rashly invited to consult about the war.

Sairis is a necromancer with a price on his head. He knows that he will have to bargain for his life tomorrow. He’s never been this far from his tower. He’s good with magic, not people. He’s frightened, although he doesn’t want to admit it.

Sairis knows he’s doing something foolish by visiting a tavern the evening before his meeting with the royals—a tavern that caters to men of certain tastes. But Sairis wants things. Things a hunted outlaw can never have.

He tells himself that he’ll just watch—see what ordinary people enjoy every day. Sairis is confident in his ability to intimidate anyone who comes too close.

He’s shocked when a dazzling mountain of a man is not intimidated in the slightest. Sairis knows a knight when he sees one. He has killed plenty of knights. But this knight is funny and kind. Sairis finds his defenses melting in spite of his best efforts. Maybe he could go on a second date with this person.

Of course, he’ll have to get through tomorrow first…when he must bargain with the hated royals who have persecuted him all his life.

The Knight and the Necromancer is a trilogy with satisfying HEA at the end of book 3. Steamy scenes, adults only.

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Friday, March 20, 2020

Release Day with an Excerpt! #ConstantVP3 #LGBTIAQ #alienromance #spaceopera #VondoriansKickButt #agegap #maydecember #widower


Release Day!!

The day is finally here! The 3rd book in the Valespian Pact series is here. All 253,000 words, 932 pages, and 20-22 hours of reading time! It is an epic, EPIC space opera that took me two years to write. I'm so relieved it is out ob my hands so I'll quite scrutinizing it! I hope you enjoy my labor of love.


Also, do not forget that you can get Alpha Trine and Stiker for $0.99 until March 23rd (at the very least. I'm thinking about extending the sale.)

Alpha Trine


Striker



Can a Warlord and a Prince find love when the galaxy is on the brink of war?

Chief Warlord Sohm'lan has a job he loves protecting the family who claims him as one of their own. He has known the loss of a mate and believed he would walk alone for the rest of his life… that is until Prince Mestor demanded more from him than duty. Unable to fathom why Mestor would want a widowed older warrior, Sohm'lan maintains his distance believing Mestor will eventually choose an amor closer in age and experience, even though the thought causes him more pain than it should.

Prince Mestor is tired of pretending and his patience is eroding. He needs Sohm'lan to see past their respective ranks and duties to who Mestor is underneath it all. Worried Sohm'lan will be lost to him if he pushes too hard, Mestor and Sohm'lan are caught in a dance of denied desires and tangled obligations.


Warlord Sohm'lan and Prince Mestor struggle to find a way to their heart's desire against the backdrop of galactic conspiracies, the dangerous mission escorting the Fal'Amoric royals, and discoveries within the Vondorian family that threaten to tear apart everything they hold dear. The two of them stand together to fight the coming battle whatever the consequences.

Excerpt


Ariafella gave a long sigh and slumped elegantly in the high-back chair.
“What troubles you?” Ashari crossed to the table and took the seat next to her. The news that Zeus was kidnapped from the Imperial Space Station Bashker’Qa had distressed them both. A couple days ago, Azaes sent her an update that relayed Zeus had been found and was safe. Not wanting to be overheard by anyone listening in, Azaes told her with the language of the hands about the Fal’Amoric. They were not returning home until after they escorted the royal family to Valespia. As relieved as she was that her sons were safe, she sensed there was more to the situation, and that had been on her mind since their last communication. She assumed that Ariafella’s thoughts were similar, but Ariafella’s concerns were closer to home.
“The head of House Cordyl is vile.” As if realizing what she had said aloud, Ariafella quickly glanced at the door. When she saw it was closed, she slouched even farther in her relief. Anyone who wanted to enter would knock first.
“He is not the most pleasant bull to be around,” Ashari replied, alert to Ariafella’s changing mood. “Has he done or said anything to you?”
“Oh, no, nothing like that. His two youngest recently finished classes at the Academy and did not come home after graduation, nor have they contacted him. Timsah made a scene at market yesterday, insistent that Rathmar knows where they are. I do not understand. Rathmar is almost as large as Sohm’lan, and yet he refuses to defend himself against Timsah.” She hissed her frustration but did not interrupt Ariafella. “Azaes does not approve of our friendship, but Rath and Zeus are the only real friends I have. I do not know what happened between those two, no one will tell me, and as far as I am concerned if Azaes and Mestor cannot say why they revile Zeus’s best friend… well, I am not going to cut Rathmar out of my life just because Azaes says so. And Rathmar!” Ariafella threw the colored blocks of silk into the carved, wooden box. “He is no better than Mestor or Azaes, carrying guilt around and refusing to confide in me. I want to help him get out from under his father’s abuse and away from those vile people who make up House Cordyl. I know he has been waiting for his youngest siblings to leave. And now that it seems that they have… why is he still there? I do not understand why he would stay in that abusive situation.”
Ashari looked away, her own guilt eating at her. It was time for these… secrets around Rathmar to be revealed. The next time she contacted Valdor she would insist that they finally speak to Zeus, Ariafella, Azaes, and Mestor about Zeus’s childhood friend.
Ariafella continued her rant, not noticing Ashari’s remorse. “We were together when I received the message about Zeus being kidnapped by pirates from the space station. I thought he was going to pass out from shock and worry. As soon as Zeus comes home, I am going to make them sit down and resolve this issue between them. It has gone on long enough,” Ariafella vowed emphatically.
Ashari frowned. Did Ariafella pass on the information that Zeus had been found and unharmed to Rathmar?
“The outcome of that confrontation might not be what you want it to be,” Ashari cautioned, wanting to confide in her future daughter but for various reasons she held her tongue. Soon, she promised herself, soon she and Valdor would shed themselves of this Crown secret. Though, she would do what she could to smooth over the rough edges between her son and his friend. She and Valdor were responsible for not squashing Zeus’s perception of that event five summers ago. At the time, they had believed their caution warranted.
Ariafella’s large, red eyes blinked several times as if she fought strong emotions. “I know that, but I am hoping for the best. With Rathmar distancing himself and Zeus gone, I have been so lonely. Azaes is taking on more and more responsibility from his father and Mestor is always at his side. How do you do it, Ashari? Do you not thirst for friends or companionship? Do you ever get lonely?”
“Of course,” Ashari agreed, knowing Ariafella’s ache all too well. “All my younglinghood friends are on the other side of the continent and we grew apart over time, but I had my young and their antics. Valdor and I learned how to make quality time for each other. I have every confidence you will have better success. You have traveled extensively with your father and are much more outgoing than I ever was at your age. You will find a balance. I also think you will feel better once Zeus returns home.”
Ariafella nodded, not looking as if she agreed. “I think I am going to go for a swim. Want to come?”
“Let me wrap up a couple things and I will meet you there.” Ashari watched her leave, Ariafella’s gold-trimmed white robes billowing behind her in her haste.
Ashari sighed heavily. Being the empress of Atlainticia was never easy. Throughout the summers, she and Valdor had kept things from their young. Sometimes, it was because they were simply too young. But the secret they’d kept these last five summers had been the hardest. At the time they had made the decision, it seemed the best course of action for all involved. They were wrong. They should have brought Azaes and Mestor into their confidence four summers ago, but her sons were not the best at hiding their emotions. There was the concern that they would give away everything when they lost their temper with certain people. It was best that the twins unknowingly kept up a ruse that Valdor had set into place acting as the Crown and had decided what was best for Atlainticia as a whole. Over the intervening time, the twins had become better at masking their emotions, but Valdor refused to wager the lives and welfare of others on their young’s dubious ability to keep their thoughts to themselves. She would be glad when this nasty business with House Cordyl was complete and she could speak to her sons openly about everything.
Sighing again, Ashari cleaned the room, locking away the samples and design plans. Foregoing the change into her swimming robe, she decided to keep Ariafella company and stay out of the water. She was in no mood to swim.
Walking through the palace, her red-trimmed, golden robes whirled about her. She passed the artisan in the fountain atrium who was carving the tribute to Valdor’s prosperous rule over Atlainticia. As far as her spies had been able to uncover, the people were confident in Azaes and looking forward to Valdor passing the throne to his eldest youngling. Not that Valdor would not be missed, but no one expected an emperor or empress to sit on Atlainticia’s throne their whole life. The step-down was a wise tradition, passing rulership to the next generation as they entered their prime.
When she flicked her tongue out and tasted the air, a sickly-sweet pheromone stuck to her taste buds. She knew that scent and searched the crowd, looking for and finding Timsah Gadrius. He stood across the room amidst the crowd from like-minded houses. His flat u-shaped snout was curved in a mockery of a smile while his bulbous amber eyes revealed his haughty disdain. She signaled the closest Basilisc guard, commanding them to keep their eyes on the group. If Timsah was in the palace, then her informant was as well.
She slowed her pace, waiting for their mole in House Cordyl to come to her. He always did when Timsah lurked on the grounds. And sure enough, before she exited the building to descend to the palace’s private beach, he was there waiting in the shadows. Ashari signaled for the guards to divert people away from the hallway leading to the exit. She did not need anyone witnessing her speaking with the young bull.
“Good day, Empress.”
It pained her to hear that damaged, raspy voice. The wounds he sustained on that long-ago day had healed but he had been left with many scars. She was still upset with herself for not taking him in from the very beginning. But he had insisted on being of service to House Vondorian and the throne. Soon that service would come to an end, and he could rest, free to live the life he wanted for himself.
“Rathmar, son, why do I scent fresh blood on you?” she asked quietly.
“The usual. He was displeased that Creon and Damae were not on the transport from the Academy. He believes I know where they are hiding.” Rathmar pushed back the hood of his dark robes, revealing his bruised and battered face. His lips were split all the way to his chin, the skin and azure scales were being held together by medical tape. Surely speaking had to hurt. “It will be the last time he lays his hands on me. I am leaving town, but I wanted to stop and warn you he is looking to acquire passage to Valespia. He is going to take his ‘evidence’ against the throne—” He sneered. They both knew that the so-called evidence was contrived. “—to the Galactic Imperials.”
She frowned. They had not foreseen how Timsah would attempt to subvert Valdor’s authority, but that was no matter. She would see what she could do to delay Timsah’s trip.
“I also wanted to say goodbye.”
Rathmar had no desire to live in Thrace after his work was done. But she had hoped… “Did you hear that Zeus was not kidnapped but is helping a group of Fal’Amoric return to Valespia? He will be home soon.”
Rathmar was shaking his head before she even finished her statement. “He will never want to see me again. I made him believe terrible things… it does not matter. What was once between us can never be put back together.”
She pursed her lips. She would not argue, understanding that Zeus and Rathmar would never again be lovers, but at one time, they had been the best of friends. Surely something of that relationship could be salvaged. She refused to give up on them. “Are you going to say goodbye to Ariafella?”
He looked over his shoulder to where Ariafella swam, his expression pensive. “I should not.”
She smiled, knowing he would at least speak to Ariafella before he left the city.
“If you have need of me, for anything,” Rathmar continued. “Whirlwind will know where to find me.”
Ashari embraced him, not letting him go when he squirmed. “You will always be one of mine and have a home with us. Never doubt that. Your siblings are safe at my family’s vineyard. Timsah will not think to look for them there. They have a room for you as well, if you wanted to join your siblings.”
“Thank you for everything you have done for me,” he rasped, not answering her question.
Her heart squeezed. They should have done something more for him. “It was never enough.”
“You saved our lives, that was plenty. The rest was up to us,” he reassured, his arms finally clenching around her. She would always disagree.
“Go to the infirmary and have your wounds tended. I will send Ariafella to you.”
He looked as if he would argue, but she put on her best ‘do not argue with Meme’ face, and he relented with a sheepish grin flirting at the edges of his wounded lips. Before she exited the palace, she signaled the guards to follow and keep him safe.
When Ashari stepped out onto the balcony, the sun was a hot ball of flame at the apex of the sky. Below was the sandy beach only used by people the Crown gave permission to, which was only a handful outside of those who permanently resided at the palace. Two banister-less balconies overlooked the private inlet, perfect platforms for diving if one did not wish to descend three flights of stairs. She stood on the top-most one looking down into the clear turquoise inlet. The drop-off started only one and a half meters from the shore, where the water turned a deeper blue. The waves were calm, the area protected by the carefully crafted surf walls farther out in deeper Waters.
She walked to the edge, planning to get Ariafella’s attention and send her after Rathmar. The smell off the ocean was strong, the wind causing her robes to snap around her legs. Ariafella was not the only one swimming. Next to her was someone Ashari could not identify, their yellow and green coloring was so different from what she was used to seeing on a Mar’Sani. She frowned down at them, immediately knowing the being had not been inside the palace. Their presence would have caused too much talk. The longer she stared, the more she was filled aby an uncanny certainty that she knew the person. But where had she met this person?
Ariafella suddenly swam to the shore and bypassed her swimming robe to sprint up the stairs. Puzzled, Ashari hurriedly descended to meet her on the second-floor balcony. Her future daughter’s eyes were wide, and her hands trembled as she held out a small, shell-encrusted scroll.
“He said not to go down to the beach. He would leave right away if you descended the last flight of stairs,” Ariafella said in a rush.
“I do not understand. Who is it?”
Ariafella’s eyes turned liquid as if she wanted to cry. “Just… do as he says. Read the scroll. He said you could go to the edge of the balcony and look out, but do not enter the water. His farsight has warned him there would be dire consequences if you did.”
Ashari was well acquainted with the trickiness of farsight. Though now she was curious, and her body hummed as if… as if… oh, Poseidon help her. With trembling hands, Ashari tore open the scroll case and upon seeing the very first word she crumpled to her knees.
Meme.
Tears clouded her vision. She was thrust backward in time to that terrible day when her littlest youngling went missing. She knew this hum in her body, this awareness of the tether between her and her young. They were all a great distance away, her tie to them stretched and quiet. The hum would only be persistent if one was close. Did she dare hope? After all these summers would she be granted such a wonderful boon?
Hurriedly wiping at her face, she gave a reassuring smile. Ariafella looked scared. “Should I have sent him away?”
Ashari clutched her hand. “No, my darling. You did nothing wrong. It was just a shock. Give me a moment.”
Taking a fortifying breath, she smoothed out the sheet she had accidentally crumpled in her hand.

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Discovering Warlord Sohm'lan #ConstantVP3 #ValespianPactQandA


 Who is Warlord Sohm'lan?

I thought I knew who he was right up until the point I started writing. In reality, my "idea" of Sohm'lan did not match the person who spoke to me. I kept trying to shove him into the mold of my idea and he fought me all the way, making me take a step back when I really did not want to. To learn more about Sohm'lan I wrote a scene from the early days when the twins were younglings... and then I wrote another and another.

That was probably the best decision I made because I not only learned who Sohm'lan was, but I also learned more about everyone else. I have always known what happened with events like Canry's disappearance, but I never wrote it down. But after do so, so many things just... bloomed and came to life. It was quite startling and writing those flashback scenes were also unexpectedly rewarding for me. Many of the ideas came from the group at Lexi's Sandbox when I asked, what would you like to see? The answers were about things like, "Life in the palace when Zeus was little" or "Scenes with Zeus spending time with his brothers." But I needed scenes with Sohm'lan and what came to mind was a mixture of suggestion that turned into several great scenes that still cause me to be a little emotional.

Sohm'lan was in many ways, very different than who I thought he was. Through Zeus's eyes I saw a stoic mentor, but what I was not expecting was how Sohm'lan identified with Zeus and Zeus's struggle to build a nest for his pregnant mates when his instincts were driving him to do things he simply couldn't while traveling in space. Learning about that emotional kinship was the first step I took on the journey to uncover who Sohm'lan was. Warrior, warlord, life-ling friend, protector, widower, waterfather, sentinel, mentor, and amor. He is both a complex and simple being. And he is probably one of the best things that has happened to the Vondorians.

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Pre-order link update!

Yesterday, I said there would only be the pre-oder link for Smashwords. I was wrong! 
I got a surprise email last night.


I was looking at the Kobo's page this morning, and they gave the reader some helpful insight into book details... 932 pages, 20-22 hours of reading, 253k words. .... 20-22 hours of reading! LOL!


Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Editor's Question and Pre-Order Info #ValespianPactQandA #ConstantVP3



2 DAYS... !!!! I was trying to not get nervous, but all my strategies haven't worked so far. 

Striker went through a proofread not too long ago and the editor asked me a great question.

"Something just occurred to me. If the main mass of Alpha is Star Eater's father, does that mean Star Eater would address every Alpha out there as father?"

Yes! Every Alpha Star Eater meets he would call father. From a human point-of-view, it is definitely weird. What is even weirder is even though every Alpha is an individual, each with their own thoughts, desires, and aspirations, all of them make up a whole that shares a mind. I would hesitate to call them a hivemind because in science fiction that means, "A unified consciousness or intelligence formed by a number of alien individuals, the resulting consciousness typically exerting control over its constituent members." (definition is from Dictionary.com) That is not the case with the main body of Alpha. Each Alpha has free will and controls their own actions and thoughts. The Alpha-Zetamites are a collective intelligence.

I have a secret that I can tell you... well, not a secret, the subject just hasn't come up yet. Prince Zeus meets a bigger Alpha in Striker. That Alpha is still only a part of a whole. For several reasons. it would have been illogical for the massive Alpha to leave Hedisa Prime. Imagine a couple hundred million Dar Massaga males and each one over the age of 14 has an Alpha. Every day, the main Alpha splits off pieces of himself for the Dar Massaga who come of age. Now, the Alphas whose Dar Massage has passed away will return to the whole, and the majority of them will wait for a period of time before they choose to be shed again so they can claim another Dar Massaga. There is a much bigger Alpha who is not in danger of being whittled down by the Dar Massaga population. Imagine how big Alpha truly is and them place Star Eater next to Alpha or Zeta. What do you see? :)

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Yesterday I spent hours reviewing the different file formats for Constant to make sure there wasn't any weird spaces or formatting issues. I think that is one of the most boring jobs of an author. Scan the page, then flip to the next page. Perhaps it wouldn't have been so bad but Constant is so dang loonnnnggg. Other Worlds Ink did a quick and fantastic job, first, with formatting, and second, with the print wrap. The spine on that print is a monster! LOL!

This morning I started getting the different vendors ready for Constant's release. 

The only place that has a pre-order at this time is Smashwords. It's too close to the release date for the other stores to allow for a pre-order. But there is a least one.




Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

What Took You So Long? What Is Coming After? #ValespianPactQandA #CostantVP3


I debated whether or not I would add this topic to this week’s posts simply because I’ve talked about it in small pieces here and there. I also added an Author’s Note to Constant explaining so people would know, but there hasn’t been anything on the blog, and it felt weird not addressing why it took so long for me to write the next book in the Valespian Pact.

Part of the reason is the length. It took me two years to write the 250,000 words that makes up Constant. In reality, the word count is higher because Constant went through some grueling re-writes and I threw away content/chapters right and left. Some things I learned in that two years: Never write another story that shares a timeline with another book. Never, ever again, Lexi. 250k is a killer manuscript to edit in a timely manner. We are talking about months and months of edits and I’m positive things were missed that I’m completely blind to. 250k, when printed out, makes a very nice fire and burns longer than I thought it would. After so many words, I am done, done, done with all the people in the book. They need not darken my muse’s doorway for a very long time. The characters are like family that has stayed way too long, and I just can’t talk to them right now.

Another reason it took so long to write the next book in the series is because I was working on the wrong book. In the winter of 2016-2017 I was writing Bespoken, and my best friend got sick and I spent three weeks with her in hospice until she passed away. Grief hit me harder than I was braced for. My father had passed two years earlier and at the time I had to put off working on Dragon's Eye for almost a year. I remembered how difficult writing had been back then, but after Molly passed, it was like the words had packed up and moved to the Caribbean, vowing never to return to the frigid north.

Not all my creativity left me high and dry. I world built like a champ on all the projects I wanted to write on but couldn’t. I started plotting (which is not like me because I'm 80% pantser) all the books in the Valespian Pact and the side series of Sumeria’s Sons. I have worlds built and stories plotted for a half dozen series I haven’t even spoken about. Since the world notes for the Valespian Pact was getting out of hand with an ever-growing stack of notebooks, I moved the world building notes into an electronic format. I still hoarded the spiral notebooks that I liked to create my worlds in and bought so much research material and then forgot I bought it only to purchase another copy. LOL! In fall of 2017 I went back to Bespoken, and then I thought I would jump things off with Mestor’s and Sohm’lan’s romance with a couple of flash fictions. Remember how I said that I plotted the books in the Valespian Pact? Their romance was a side plot throughout the rest of the series. I had a plan, but when I started those flashes, I began to think that their romance would fit into a novella of 35k… I blogged about that period of delusion last month, and you can read about it here.

Constant was at times frustrating to write because I am a strongly linear writer. I have a great amount of difficulty when trying to write around pieces or scenes of a story written out of sequence. I should have just scrapped the first draft of Constant and started over after realizing the many issues I was having, but there were certain scenes that I wanted to keep and I thought it would be easy to slip those into the narrative as I went along. I won’t do that ever again either. Trash it all and start over is what will happen if there is ever a next time. Please, don’t let there be a next time.

There was one advantage to writing Constant when I was partially through Bespoken Lost (The change in the title is a whole other blog topic.) Bespoken Lost is a step back in history and is the story of how Prometheus became… you got it, Lost. Since that history was set, it allowed me to write some characters with more ease because I already knew them. Also, I know exactly where Constant connects to Bespoken Found and I had an opportunity to show it and give the details in Constant which would have only been summarized in Bespoken Found. (I have a secret(s)! Secrets are so hard to keep.) So there were some things about Constant that were easier to write and were enriched by the knowledge I wouldn’t have had if I hadn't been so far along in the Bespoken’s timeline.

Do I have any more surprises up my sleeve? Why, yes, I do! I’ve added books to the Valespian Pact’s list. I’m currently working on Cherish which is basically a prequel to the series. It is set on the GyrFalconi’s homeworld, Aries 7, one year after the Terrens were kicked off the planet and back to the Milky Way. Then I’ll be working on Beloved, which belongs to Princess Athena. I thought about making it a “X.5” in the series, but since it furthers the plot arc, it will come before Bespoken Lost, meaning there will be a story between Bespoken Lost and Bespoken Found. The rest of the series is still the same, but this is the order of release (at this time, ‘cause Lord know how quirky some things are and they change without warning.)

1. Alpha Trine – Zeus, Dargon, and Alpha

2. Striker – Zeus, Dargon, and Alpha

3. Constant – Sohm’lan and Mestor

4. Cherish – Destin (prequel)

5. Bespoken Lost – (secret, not telling. It’s not Prometheus because he is only a youngling in this book)

6. Beloved – Athena

7. Bespoken Found – Prometheus, Malek, and Vipre

8. Chosen – Axis, Phoenix, Cilix, and Cadmus

9. Boundless – Star Eater and Madux

10. Legends – (secret)


Ten (10) books all together… Some days I wonder why am I adding more books to the list? I had planned to see how many books I could make my way through before I hit burnout. But now I just have to pace myself because the series cannot afford for me to get sick of it. Luckily, I have other stories waiting on me. 


Thank you for stopping by and reading!!