Sunday, September 30, 2012

Once Upon a Time Post Mortem - Broken

Once upon a time…IS BACK!

When we last saw our heroes and dastardly villains, the curse had been broken, Henry saved and Snow reunited with her Prince Charming. Thanks to Jefferson (the ever sexy Sebastian Stan), Belle was also released from her asylum prison and went straight to Mr. Gold as her savior bid her.  Furious and delighted, Gold took the potion of pure love harvested from Snow White and Charming and dropped it into the well released magic into the world…

Or did he?

All true love breaks a curse

Spoilers below this line

Sixty Minute Sunday: Introducing bOOb Tube

So as many of you know, I write a Vampire Diaries post-mortem following most new episodes during the season and that lovely feature will return in just a couple of weeks. I've also had some requests to do a Once Upon a Time post mortem, and no promises. However, a very dear friend of mine and I often talk all things speculative fiction, science fiction and paranormal TV and we're collaborating on a new little project.  It's a little sassy, a little funny and yes, I do go on at length about Vampire Diaries.

Check out Boob Tube!  More episodes to come!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sexy Saturday: How Hot Is It In Texas?


Pre-Order Today
She set the jacket neatly with the other items and helped herself to a ladle of water. She dribbled some down her shirt, but the coolness was so inviting, she considered turning the whole bucket over her head. Only propriety stilled her hands. She loosened the ties of the small purse she'd attached to her wrist and fished out the handkerchief she'd wrapped around the coins to keep them from jingling. If not for the Kane's paying her fare to Texas, she'd still be trapped in New York with no way to escape. The few precious coins she'd hoarded amounted to just under five dollars.
Dipping the handkerchief into the pail, she soaked it down and used the tepid water to wash her face and bath her neck, barely noticing the dribbles soaking her shirt and the chemise below. She sighed.
The sound of a throat being cleared froze her in place. No. I am not turning around and finding that the very kind, very good looking, Mr. Kane has returned while I am trying to wash. No. That is not what is going to happen.
“Excuse me, Mrs. Miller. I just wanted you to know I was here before I started hammering. Didn't want to startle you.” But of course, that was exactly what happened. An entirely new heat stung her cheeks and she pressed the handkerchief to her mouth.
“Just don't mind me. I'll keep my back turned. I promise.” The earnest proclamation melted her reticence and she looked over her shoulder. Sure enough, he'd returned, every sweet, gleaming muscle of him. He had two branches in his hands and knelt near the wheel, doing something with a knife and a flatter instrument.
“Thank you.” She mustered her composure. “I'll fetch fresh water as soon as I'm done. I didn't even think when I started to wash up that you might want a drink when you came back.”
“Not to worry, ma'am. I'm about ready to throw myself in that stream when I finish this. It's hotter than the fires of—well—it's hotter than fire.” He coughed.
The catch in his voice when he cut off the curse was sweet. “Is it typically this hot?”  She glanced at him again, making sure his back remained toward her before dipping the handkerchief in the water. Rubbing her neck, she didn't even care when it dribbled down her back. 
“I'd offer you a lie if I thought it would make you feel better, but no—it's Texas, ma'am. It gets very hot here—just seems hotter this year than usual. The worst is in July and August.” A metallic tink of a tool accompanied his words. 

Learn more about the Fevered Hearts!

"Heather Long's Fevered Hearts series gets better and better with every volume and has gained a spot on my must-read list. If you are looking for a passionate tale of the Old West, look no further than the Fevered Hearts. I guarantee, you'll thank me for it." - Fallen Angel Reviews calls this a recommended read and gives it five angels.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Guest Author & Giveaway: Claire Ashgrove


Good morning, everyone.  Thanks for hosting me today, Heather!

I think I need a theme song to be here today, given all the superhero talk and all.  Unfortunately, I’m sadly lacking in that department.  So let’s just queue my favorite score, that of Spiderman, while I entertain you with a different superhero—the Knight Templar.

What makes a Knight Templar a superhero?  Well, in case you weren’t aware, he’s giving up his very soul to keep you and I safe from the evils of Azazel.  He’s spent centuries fighting, each vile creature he kills draining away all that is good and noble in his spirit.  Soon, he’ll be as black as the demons he fights, and he’ll turn against the brethren he’s spent his life sworn to. 

Those who have found their seraphs, well they know healing.  But their battle is far from over.  Azazel has set his sights on the highest throne, and it’s these men who’ve found salvation with their preordained seraph, who will lead the call to arms. 

Farran, the hero from my Immortal Surrender, my newest book in the series, The Curse of the Templars, suffers alongside his immortal brethren.  Only a few battles away from transforming into the very thing he hunts, he looks forward to escaping life.  The last thing he wants is to continue on an eternal path shackled to a woman.  Even if his preordained, clumsy, atheist seraph is the most fascinating woman he’s ever met.

I’ll let you discover the trials and tribulations Farran and Noelle go through.  The book’s been out for a whopping three days, and I hope you’ll check it out!  But for now, I’ll let you have a quick peek.

Blurb

Farran de Clare, loyal member of the cursed Knights Templar, wants nothing to do with predestined mates. Even the Almighty won’t turn him into a fool again—he’d rather sacrifice his soul. Yet in the scientist Noelle Keane, a devout atheist, Farran meets the seraph designed for him.

Ordered by the archangel Gabriel to protect Noelle, the possessor of a sacred relic that could give Azazel incredible power, Farran swears to do his duty—but in name only. Fighting an attraction that grows with each day, he’s determined that he’ll never pledge himself to her.

As they war over her future, their mutual passion ignites a conflict far more damning. But before Noelle will agree to eternity with him, she demands the ultimate sacrifice – his heart.

“This series (The Curse of the Templars) is explosive, sexy, riveting, and Claire Ashgrove is a master of her craft.” ~ NYTimes Bestselling Author, Maggie Shayne

Excerpt:
In the blink of an eye, his serene expression morphed into a dark scowl. “You do not believe me.”

“No,” she answered on a chortle. “Did you really expect me to? I’m sure someone else would—you’ve put so much feeling into the tale. But I’m a scientist. I don’t even believe in God.” To soften his disappointment, she reached between them and patted his hand. “You did good though. Better than some of the things Gabriel has told me.”

He abruptly pulled his hand away. “Everything Gabriel has ever told you is true, damsel. He is an archangel. Whilst he may behave most strange, he is God’s messenger and cannot lie.”

Gabriel an archangel. Oh man, the two of them were in this together. When she saw him next, she’d buy him a drink for this. She grinned at Farran and shook her head. “You two are something else. I swear, I should have known. He tries to do this to me all the time.”

“Woman,” Farran barked. “’Tis no jest! You are branded as mine.” He grabbed the hem of his shirt and yanked it over his head. “Look for yourself.”

Noelle gaped at the vision that sat before her. Smooth bronzed muscle lacked any trace of hair and bulged even as he sat still. The chest she remembered so vividly was nothing less than a wall of corrugated stone. Thick forearms led to even thicker biceps, arms so strong she felt three times smaller than normal. He could crush a man—or so her imagination said.

Her appreciative stare dropped to his belly and stopped on her gasp. Scored into his taut abdomen, a white scar ran from his ribs down beneath the waistband of his jeans. A good three inches wide, and easily three times as long, the scarred flesh assumed the distinct shape of a ring-hilted dagger. Someone had heated metal and pressed it to his skin.

“My word,” she whispered.

Drawn to the horror of the mark, she leaned in and traced a fingertip down the length of the hilt. The pain he must have felt—her heart twisted hard. “What happened to you?” She glanced up at his face.

Eyes closed, he sat utterly still. “’Twas meant to gain my confession.”

Noelle winced. Looking back at the ugly scar she couldn’t take her hand off of, her chest tightened. What sort of person could do that to a man? His stomach bunched beneath her fingertips, mystifying her even more. As deep as the wound had been, he was lucky he could feel anything at all. Whoever had done this was sick. Sick, sick. “Were you in the war?” she asked quietly.

“Aye,” he exhaled.

“Oh, Farran, I’m so sorry.” And she was—sorrier than she’d ever been for anyone. All the stories she’d heard about beheaded captives, tortured soldiers, and political screw-ups amounted to nothing when faced with the stark truth of what he’d been through. He’d suffered. Through some miracle, he’d survived a wound that would have killed a lesser man.

On sheer impulse, she leaned in and pressed a kiss to the ringed pommel.

Giveaway Details:

Claire is giving away one digital copy of any one of her backlist books, excepting those in the Templar series, to one randomly drawn commenter at each stop on the blog tour.  A valid email must be included in your comment in order to enter. In addition, commenters’ names will be added into the tour-end drawing of a 25.00 Amazon gift card.  Follow the tour – the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.  Complete tour dates can be found here.


Award-Winning Author Claire Ashgrove has been writing since her early teens and maintained the hobby for twenty years before deciding to leap into the professional world. Her first contemporary novel, Seduction's Stakes, sold to The Wild Rose Press in 2008, where she continues to write steamy, sexy stories for the Champagne and Black Rose lines. Adding to these critically acclaimed romances, Claire’s paranormal romance series, The Curse of the Templars debuted with Tor in January 2012. For those who prefer the more erotic side of romance, she also writes for Berkley Heat as the National Bestselling Author Tori St. Claire.

She is an active member of Romance Writers of America, and her local RWA chapters, Heartland Romance Authors, Midwest Romance Writers, and North Texas Romance Writers of America.
Claire lives in Missouri with her two sons and too-many horses, cats, and dogs. In her “free” time, she enjoys cooking, winning at Rummy, studying Ancient Civilizations, and spending quiet moments with her family, including the critters.

To learn more about Claire, visit her on the web at www.claireashgrove.com, or www.toristclaire.com.  You can also connect with her via Facebook, and Twitter.







Friday, September 21, 2012

TGIF: Freaky Friday

Freaky Friday is one of those movies that teaches the lesson of what it is like to walk in another person's shoes. When overstressed mom and teenage daughter swap bodies, they learn some seriously valuable life lessons. It's not easy to go back to being a teenager and it's definitely not easy to grow up and have to be an adult overnight.

Anyway, I couldn't sleep last night and the movie was on so I watched it...and it got me thinking. Imagine Freaky Friday for some of your favorite characters in different novels or television series--what if Bryce Larkin and Neal Caffrey swapped? Granted, they are/were played by the delicious Matt Bomer, but wouldn't Peter be surprised if Caffrey suddenly started using hand-to-hand combat?

What about Damon and Eric?

Or if Wrath from J.R. Ward's Brotherhood ended up in Hawke from Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling?

Yes, high drama and hijinks would ensue...so what characters would you like to see have a Freaky Friday and why? Let's have some fun.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Time to Register Running Out: Witchcraft 201


Deborah Blake and I are hosting a series of writing and witchcraft classes, some are more Wicca and some are more writing. Coming up next week (and that means very little time left to register) is our Witchcraft 201 class. This is an advanced class for those familiar with Wicca, but beginners can definitely learn too. We're talking theories and differences, practice and worship, and how Wicca is a lifestyle and a way of living as much as it is a system of faith.  Hope to see you there. Here's some more info on it and where you can register!

Stay tuned for a NaNoWriMo pre-writing class for the end of October--everything you need to have on hand to be successful for writing a novel in a month!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Autumn is in the Air: The Ever Evolving Schedule

It's autumn here in Texas, which means it's wonderfully chill at night and sunshine warmth during the day. It's the sanctuary from the too-often brutal heat of summer (although arguably it wasn't that hot this summer).  Autumn brings with it the return to school and even better, the return of the fall television programming schedule. New episodes, new stories, new creativity--new sparks.

This year it also demands a change in my writing schedule. I'm starting the year out a single mom with single mom responsibilities. I made a deal with my daughter that I would write during the day and spend my evenings with her. Sometimes my muse does not like this. She gets downright feisty when I start doing other things in my day-like playing, exercising, walking the dogs, and hanging out.

The funny thing is, when my muse gets feisty. I get new ideas. I know, I don't always need more ideas, but I've been thrilled about the ones that showed up lately.

Monday marked the release day of Yesterday's Heroes. I'm delighted to share this book with my readers and I can't wait (fingers crossed) to be able to announce when the second one will be released. Have no fear, it is written and for those that have said there is so much  more to the story--they're right. I've seen where this is going and it's a dark, twisting, wild ride that I can't wait to put to paper.

In the meanwhile, I'm working on a contemporary. You know what I love about contemporaries? They make everyday life the setting and it's romantic, and sweet, and filled with all the flawed interactions that make it fun to talk to others. After that, I have a very special Always a Marine novel to write. I am super excited about this one even though I know it will be hard and in places dark and sad.

After that, comes a trip to Las Vegas with a respite from the gritty where paranormal light is the rule and the hot, fun, sexy characters come to life. What do you do when the woman you love has no idea who you are? And to get her back, you have to make her remember--but if she remembers that she was pissed at you...see? Slippery slope of sexy fun.

The book after that is Boomers #3. Simon's book. I can't tell you more about that right now, but when I can I will.  So I love autumn, crisp air, crisp ideas, lots of writing--if only I could have a pumpkin spice latte. But that's coming, I talked to my Medifast folks and we may have figured out a healthy one that I can enjoy and not mess up my diet.

Did I mention that autumn this year also saw my weight go under 200 pounds? As of this morning it's 198 and dropping. This is me being happy--and a little amused that now I have to wear sweaters when it's chilly, not used to needing them.

And in just six days I get to have The Avengers on DVD. Anyone who knows me knows I totally get my geek on when it comes to superheroes. I can't wait!

My schedule is ever evolving. My writing, my play, my work-but I wouldn't trade it. What are you doing this autumn?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Yesterday's Heroes Release Day! It's Here! It's Here!

Yesterday's Heroes

By: Heather Long 
Heat Level: 4

Aurora "Rory" Graystone
Codename: Halo
Abilities: superior reflexes, I.Q. and aptitude for calculating probabilities
Mission: find missing teammates

Rory knows she's being watched, and she's not about to let the hunter catch her in his trap. She'll confront her stalker, a man she suspects is involved in the disappearances of other superheroes--if she can ignore the sensual heat that fills her every time he's near...

Michael Hunter
Codename: Hard Target
Abilities: expert tracker and sniper
Mission: kill Rory Graystone

One of five desperate men sent back in time to save the future, Michael believes eliminating Rory is the key to his mission. But even as he takes aim, a split second of doubt causes him to miss his shot.

Drawn together by passion, and on a collision course with fate, can Rory and Michael work together to change the future? Or have they set in motion the horrific history the time travelers are trying to prevent?
26,000 words
AVAILABLE TODAY: 


What Readers & Reviewers are saying:

"Superheroes, time travel, sexy alpha males, and saving the world. There is so much awesome in that mix. " - Vanessa, the Jeep Diva

"This promises to be an awesome new series and I cannot wait until the next book to learn more about the heroes and the challenges they are facing." - Tara, Fallen Angels

Virginia Nelson: Comic Book Hypnotism


First off, I want to thank Heather for having me on the blog to talk about comic book characters.  I mean, what a cool topic, right???

There have been many cases of hypnotists throughout comic book history.  From the Mad Hatter who had the ability to just put a hat on and control you—as the mother of teens, I would kill for one of those hats—to the Enchantress who used her powers to molest Thor—hello, Thorgasm—the idea that someone could pick your brain and make you do things you didn’t want to has fascinated far more creative folks than me.

And although Enchantress used her powers for getting down and dirty with Thor—really, if we’re talking about Chris Hemsworth, do any of us blame her?—the idea of erotic mind control has a small bit of an ick factor.  I mean, if we don’t want to do the naked tango, should someone be able to thrall us to do so?  No.

So there had to be a delicate balance.  My hypnotist couldn’t do what Enchantress did and just make our heroine want to get down and dirty.  He had to have another end goal.
So, when he questions Carnie, our librarian-sexy lady, and finds that she wants the same sort of things he does, he suggests that she dare to do what she dreams.  Don’t let anything stop her.  Take what she wants.

How many of us would love a hypnotic suggestion like that?  One that didn’t change what we wanted to do but gave us the balls to do what we dreamed?

The hitch in this case was Carnie’s already impulsive nature.  Oh, and the fact that the thing she wanted to do most, right then, WAS the hypnotist.

Blurb:
Who knew quitting could be so hot?

Carnie Sabatina wants to quit smoking, but is a hypnotist really the answer? Enter Doctor McSexy and a trip down the rabbit hole that not only breaks her bad habit, but sets her passion on fire.

Is it tempting fate to take control?

Michael Schommer’s love life crashed and burned when his ex dumped him for his best friend. Is it too much to ask for a woman who wants to share more with him than a quick roll between the sheets?

Enter Patient McHottie, whose bad habits open a Pandora’s box of secret cravings for the hypnotist and the patient...

Burning up!

One hypnotic suggestion sends them up in flames, but will temptation and passion be enough to turn their parlor tricks into happily ever after?

Hope you enjoy this fun romance!  I know I had a blast writing it for you.

Grab your copy today:

Find me online!


Sunday, September 16, 2012

NDulging Myself: Indulgent Blog Hop and Heroes

It's easy to forget sometimes in a world of deadlines: release dates, manuscript submission dates, edits, and cover updates that one of the reasons I write is that I love doing it. I genuinely love to sit down in front of my computer and start building a world, filling it with texture, color, and emotions. I like to populate that world with characters and go on the wild ride with them.

As much as I write for readers to read, I also write because I want to know: "what's going to happen next?"

Never has this been more true than the book releasing tonight at midnight from Carina Press.


I've been talking about this book a lot, counting down the days to its release and each day, I admit, I hyperventilate a little bit more. Why? Because I really loved writing this one. While every book is a labor of love and I adore my characters, this book became an experience to write-a very different experience from every other novel.

This wasn't just a book I wanted to write, it was one I had to write. As the idea for it formed in my brain, it played out like the graphic novels I loved to read. I could see the color panels. I could see the inks. I could even see the special effects and the text boxes with the slightly tilted writing.  If you've ever watched a Marvel film--you know how they open it up with those flipping pages focusing on classic artwork from the comic books?

Then you'll see what I saw whenever this book came to mind. Even as I typed in the word document, I saw those images. The closeups, the eyes--it all sounds rather insane I suppose except in my brain, when I finished it, I was closing the end of a delightful comic book issue and like all those issues I have read over the years, I couldn't wait to get the next one.

To My Utter Delight

Carina Press called me last November--well Angela James did (*muah Angela*). I was out shopping for some new clothes for Readers n Ritas, a local reader conference. I was actually standing in the dressing room when my cell phone rang. I didn't recognize the number, but it was from Canada and my heart was in my throat when I answered it with a "Hello?"

I remember pieces of that conversation--a lot like the same graphic novel I saw when I wrote this book. But the gist is, the story touched the editors and publisher enough that they wanted to give it a chance. Now, here we are all those months later and it's about to be out there for you to read, to enjoy and with all my fingers and toes crossed--to see when you read what I saw when I wrote.

Can I Do It Again?

I've been touring this month, talking about all the aspects of Yesterday's Heroes and each time I sat down to talk about the Boomers whether it was via an interview or a guest blog, I've had to fight to contain my "OMG!" reaction. I want to squee like a fan girl. I want to jump up and down and say please go buy this, please read it--please experience my world the way I did.  

But since we're celebrating the wonderful NDulgent Bloggers today and their two year anniversary, I'm going to indulge myself with a little squeeing. About three months ago, I sat down to write book two in this (and this is where you all need to cross your fingers and toes for me), equal parts thrilled and terrified. Could I do it again?

Could I slip back into the colorful inks, broad panel pages, rectangle boxes and close ups on eyes and emotion? Would it be the same? Or was that magic spark just this one time fluke? 

Fortunately for me, book two wrote like the first one did--completely immersed in the beautiful pens and inks I could see in my mind. I let my muse off the leash and let her play--I sent her to frolic on the page and lost myself in a world that I wanted to read, flattered that I got to see it come to life. 

When you pick up Yesterday's Heroes (and I sincerely hope that you will), let it indulge your senses. Smell the city, feel the passion, and hold on tight for a wild ride. Happy Anniversary NDulgent bloggers, you're an amazing group and I'm thrilled to share my love of comics and heroes and romance with you every day.

From here to tomorrow...may your heroes sweep you off your feet!

Spread the word today and let me know where you did in the comments and your comment will enter you to win the book of your choice from my backlist! For every ten comments, I'll give away one book. If we get to fifty, I'll add a ten dollar gift certificate to the bookstore of your choice--so that's six ways you can win right here in addition to the fabulous blog hop giveaway!

ORDER YESTERDAY"S HEROES TODAY! Let's celebrate our passion for superheroes!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Super Planning in September

I survived August with three conferences, a water park trip and the back to school/dance madness that often ensues. I've got book releases behind me, book releases in front of me and the inability to slow down for fifteen minutes and just relax. So I thought I'd take a moment to let you see inside my mind to what I have planned for the next few months.

It's okay--it's not that scary in here.

In no particular order:

A Marine and a Gentleman (1Night Stand/Always a Marine)

This will be the second of the next five I have planned for that series. The Marine Cowboy is already complete and turned in. Other titles to be written include: A Few Good Marines, All Marine! All The Time, Seduced by a Marine and The Other Marine's Girl.

I also have a special gift novella I am writing for November entitled This Marine's Wedding and the followup to Retreat Hell! She Just Got Here is due to be released this fall.

Soulgirls

I've turned on Out of the Shadows (#2 to Samhain). Next up on the writing schedule for this series is Waiting in the Wings.

Boomers

Yesterday's Heroes is due to be release on the 17th and book #2 is turned in, book #3 is on the writing blotter with the tentative title Deadly Genesis. These are my superhero romances featuring the Boomers (Bio-Mechanical Recon Unit) and you can meet these guys via my guest blog at The Naked Hero

The Forbidden Legacy

Hels's Gauntlet was the third and final installment to focus on Jacob/Cassie/Hels. Next up is Vanagan's Vendetta which will focus on the wizard Vanagan Marcus, his younger brother Jude and the mysterious woman Sovvan. Fun stuff!

The Fortunate Buddha

I just finished The Lady is a Thief and that will conclude this series as we discover the motive behind the thief's quest for the Buddha and the story is brought full circle.

Fevered Hearts

Are you ready for some cowboys? Micah & Mrs. Miller will be out in just a few weeks and it's time to start adding some bridge novellas between the larger books. On the writing blotter is a tale for Noah and his desire for a relationship with Lena (not titled yet) and A Fistful of Dreams - the fourth novel which focuses on Buck.

Urban Fantasy Update

For those of you who may remember my Chance Monroe series, these books will be re-released with new titles, updated story and much much more. First up is Earth Witches Aren't Easy (retitled Prime Evil). Current target release is December!

New Series Updates

In addition to all of these, I have the following outlines open and ready to go:

Some Like It...(first book completed and out on submission, second in synopsis stage and ready to go)
Temptation Creek (paranormal, small town, cowboys, and menage)
Sweet Savannah Knights (Southern Gothic series)
Barton's Pleasure Chest (Contemporary, BDSM)
Blood Lovers (Paranormal)
Wisdom Falls (Paranormal)

And that's about it--I should be reviewing my writing schedule again come December...see, I told you my brain wasn't scary.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Supernatural Saturday: Micah & Mrs. Miller Sneak Peek

Our theme for September is Superhero September so I'll be chatting up a lot about superheroes including my forthcoming novel. But superheroes exist in all time frames, so today I thought we'd take a sneak peek at Micah & Mrs. Miller, the third novel in my Fevered Hearts series due out this October.