Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Hey Partner, Let's Talk About Cowboys #WesternWednesdays #PaperbackHeroes

The cowboy is one of my all time favorite heroes.  From the ranges of the old west to the deepest, darkest parts of space, the cowboy is a hero for the ages.   My love of cowboys was one of the reasons I started writing my Fevered Hearts, Space Cowboy, and now my Lone Star Leathernecks series.

Grab your copy today!

Cowboys have mystique that pervades the American culture. Their legendary status of the cowboy riding off into the sunset is as iconic as the days gone by of the old west where they rode.  Real cowboys did exist, their reputations were only enhanced by the tales and penny novels written about them.

Hell, some of my favorite cowboys are fictional cowboys. In Marshal of Hel Dorado, we met the lawgiver cowboy,  Sam Kane.  The Marshal's extended family provides a wide array of cowboys to choose from including the noble and loner cowboys.

The Noble Cowboy

You know the type? He's the Adam Cartwright (Bonanza), the Heath Barclay (The Big Valley), the Rowdy Yates (Rawhide).  He actually works with cattle, he sleeps under the stars and he works with his hands.  He's the prototypical cowboy who relies on his wits, his strength and his skill to survive against the odds and to bring his herds in.   In my new Lone Star Leathernecks series, Tanner Wilks is the noble cowboy.  He served his country with distinction as a Marine, and even though he doesn't want to leave his career he returns home to the family ranch to protect it and his father when his father falls ill. Tanner will stand up for his people, his family, and his friends.

Have you lasso'd your copy?

The Loner Cowboy

A second prototype, the loner is a drifter who wanders around the periphery of others.  He avoids the company of other men or limits his contact to just a few.  He's often viewed with suspicion or mistrust, no one is ever quite certain of his motives, but that is because he comes from a troubled past.  But the loner keeps his secrets close to his heart, fiercely protective of that small handful he lets into his life and when the time is right, he is ready to step up as the hero he was meant to be. Clint Eastwood excelled as the loner cowboy.  In Space Cowboy Survival Guide, Shaw is very much the loner. He's traveling through the cosmos to save his family ranch. Can you be a cowboy with a ship instead of a horse? I think so. Of course it helps that Shaw has his own horses as well. Shaw's adventure continues in Showdown at the Omega Kilo Space Station.

Pre-order today!

Want to win an e-copy of Space Cowboy Survival Guide?  Tell me who your favorite cowboy is...

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

#TeaserTuesday : #SaddleUp and Go Behind the Scenes with #SemperFiCowboy

One of the best parts of working on Semper Fi Cowboy for me were all the horse scenes. I have loved horses for years.

In fact, one of the first time I rode I was all of ten years old and I escaped from my uncle's house in Stafford and went over to this beautiful field nearby with horses in it. There was grey gelding there with a loose halter on. If you got on his back, he'd take you for a trot along the sandy river, then back again. Most of the time he only let you have one ride and that was it.

Also, where I grew up in Dallas, we lived in an apartment, but there were riding stables about a mile away. I used to hike over there at every opportunity. The folks who owned the stables let me groom or pet the horses as long as I followed the rules, and more than once they'd take me into the arena to ride one of the more bombproof mares while they controlled the horse at the end of a lunge line.

When I was in fifth grade, my parents saved up to send me to a summer camp in Texas where I got to ride every day. I experienced two of my worst accidents there, but also learned so much about horses and not once was I ever afraid. The wrangler and stable master were excellent at helping me see what I'd done which contributed, how to improve, and  what I needed to do to avoid them in the future. Their love for horses matched my own and emphasized to me that I was where I wanted to be.

Flash forward several years to when I made my own dream come true. I owned horses. Rode regularly, trained, and rescued them. I'd done everything from delivering a foal to gentling a mustang, to putting a young horse's first halter on and being the first rider on a horse's back. I'd done jumping shows, and hunter rides, and long, lazy trail rides as we explored the country side.

It was heaven.

It was horses. Writing Semper Fi Cowboy brought up every single one of those memories.

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Monday, June 26, 2017

#NewRelease #MilitaryMonday Semper Fi Cowboy is here! #SaddleUp

It's here! It's here! It's here! Sorry, I'm buzzing with excitement to share Semper Fi Cowboy with you, finally. This is a story over two years in the making, and I couldn't be happier to welcome you to the world of the Lone Star Leathernecks. 

Grab yours right now!

A leatherneck by any other name can still kick ass . . .

Subject: Captain Tanner Wilks, US Marine Corps

Current Status: Honorable discharge, returning home

Mission: Save the family ranch, replacing his father, retired Marine Colonel Jasper Wilks, before his next heart attack kills him

Obstacle: Julia Heller. He shared a hot night with the sexy new girl in town, before discovering she’s the ranch’s veterinarian. She’s made a home for herself at the ranch and doesn’t appreciate his return. What began as a passionate interlude rapidly proves vital to his sanity. Can he persuade the woman he’s falling for and the father he barely knows that they need him too?

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Celebrate #SummerSolstice with some #MagicMayhemWorld and #WitchyWednesday Goodness! Whew!

As our lovely, witch-in-chief would put it, HOLY SQUEEEBALLS ON FIRE! Summer Solstice is here and Assjacket is hopping! Go fill those Kindles and party! Party! Party!

Magic and Mayhem: The Witched Away Bride 
by Heather Long

It's the cracked finale of the series within a series. 

My story began when a vampire I dubbed Mr. Nasty-Face sent me on a crazy, impossible task to fix his mis-Turnment of a certain succubus. Easy, right? Yeah, then I ran into the skunk who would change my life (and spray me, but let’s forget that memory). Once I got to Assjacket, well, let’s just say I ended up with the teenager who wasn’t—a kind of happily-while-you’re-here scenario. Now my teen is a grown woman with a Highlander for a lover, and I’m left to deal with Gigi. She wants me to find her a happily-for-real-ever-after and I’ve still got to solve my problems.

So to be clear, all I have to do is undo the unbreakable, pair the unpairable, and keep my man happy. One out of three isn’t bad. I’m a witch singer, not a dang miracle worker.

Just sing at a couple of weddings, the Baba Yaga said, it’ll be fun, she said, it’ll solve all your problems…except no weddings are possible with the witched away brides.

Don't miss all the other witchy goodness!

Magic and Mayhem: Thor and Peace
by Barbra Annino

Magic and Mayhem: Sh*t My Vampire Says
by Michele Bardsley

Magic and Mayhem: Stop Your Witchin'
by Deanna Chase

Magic and Mayhem: If the Wand Fits 
by Saranna DeWylde 

Magic and Mayhem: Mr. & Mrs. Shift
by Renee George

Magic and Mayhem: There's No Place Like Wicked 
 by Cherie Marks

Magic and Mayhem: What A Witch Wants 
by Monette Michaels

Magic and Mayhem: Witch With An Axe To Grind 
by Isabel Micheals

Magic and Mayhem: Sammie Jo 
by Julia Mills

Magic and Mayhem: Witchy and the Beast 
 by Virginia Nelson 

Magic and Mayhem: Once Bitten, Twice Shy 
by Teresa Reasor

Magic and Mayhem: Secrets, Lies, and Meatballs 
by Jordan K.Rose

Magic and Mayhem: The Incompetent Witch and The Missing Men 
by DC Thome

How it all began....
Switching Hour: Magic and Mayhem Book One 
by Robyn Peterman 

Friday, June 16, 2017

#1stLineFriday Burning for some Wild West hunks with a twist? I’ve got an alpha for that.  Meet the men of Fevered Hearts

Meet Sam Kane. The oldest brother, the steadfast son, the confidant marshal – he’s never met a problem to hot to handle.

Grab yours!

The white man blamed the Indians saying they used their mojo on them.
The Indians blamed the white man saying they angered the spirits.
The survivors know it doesn’t matter.
Meet the fevered hearts, the men and women who survived spirit fever. Forever changed, these are their stories.

Sam Kane is the oldest brother, the steadfast son and the confident marshal.  He’s never met a problem too hot to handle until a gang behind a string of robberies across the territory set their sights on his town.  Now with the bank's gold inexplicably missing from a locked safe, the town hunting the elusive thieves and a passionate redhead with a fiery secret in his jail, Sam has his hands full.

Scarlett Morning Star lived in seclusion in the mountains of West Texas most of her life.  She longs for adventure, but with seven very protective older brothers, adventure is hard to come by.  When she tags along uninvited on their latest escapade, she is left behind during a bank robbery and finds herself in the custody of the very sexy town marshal.

The town wants to lynch her, the Marshal wants answers and her brothers want her back, can Scarlett keep it together or will her explosive secret burn them all?

Her life.  His badge.  Their fight.

Read the first chapter right now!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Blazing a Trail with Foreshadowing #WriterWednesday

Foreshadowing is a dramatic device writers use to tease an important plot point which we must return to before the story ends. Think of foreshadowing a little like foreplay. Only in the case of foreshadowing, we're teasing a big twist in the story or an important piece of information which will affect the hero or heroine or both before the story ends.

It's important to remember that foreshadowing isn't a red herring. Red herrings mislead, foreshadowing promises.

So how do you use foreshadowing in your plot?

The incident needs to be foreshadowed

Significant events and information require foreshadowing. For example, if you look back in the Psy/Changeling series, the identity of the Ghost was foreshadowed in several books, his very presence suggesting a vital twist was coming and one where we, the readers, needed to pay attention.

Why foreshadow?

Teasing the reader is important because we need to build suspense, while preparing them for an event or addition which might otherwise seem random when it occurs later in the book. In Marshal of Hel Dorado, Scarlett's abilities are foreshadowed from the beginning yet they aren't revealed 'til nearly halfway through the book. Another example, Harry Potter's burning scar. It's a notable feature and it's mentioned in the very first book and the payoff comes repeatedly.

Good rule of thumb: Always pay off your foreshadowing...

One of my favorite quotes about foreshadowing comes from Anton Chekhov. The author is credited with suggesting that if you introduce a gun into a story, it better be fired before it's over. In other words, every element in a story must be vital to driving the tale, especially foreshadowing. Think about Star Trek Beyond's cold open and the gift Kirk tries to give to the critters. That device proves to be very important to the later tale.

Incorporate as you write and edit

One of the slipperiest slopes when using foreshadowing is editing. When you write you layer it through your initial text and you know why it's there. When you edit,  you may end up cutting sections where portions of your foreshadowing exist, don't forget to move those pertinent details to another scene. For example, in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, there were several cut scenes that included some important data foreshadowing the reason behind Padme's eventual choice. Cutting those scenes neutered the impact for the viewers, and we should have been able to get the information in another scene.

What if the foreshadowing doesn't work?

As I said above, foreshadowing is layered through your book or story, you the author know what every moment means but you need a beta reader, critique partner, or editor to read for you. Fresh eyes can let you know if it worked.

Delivering on a promise to your readers is the best thing an author can do. Don't be afraid to tease, to suggest, and to guide--as long as you deliver in the end. 

Do you have a favorite foreshadowed moment? 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Home from #RAGT17. Need a little #MotivationMonday? Me too...

Photo bombs for the win!
I just spent the last four days at #RAGT17, and I had an amazing time. One of the best parts of being an author is getting to hang out with readers and authors. You have to remember, most authors (myself included) were readers before we we were authors. My love of reading serves as one of the primary drives behind my writing books.

I had a blast at the signing! So. Many. People. And everyone smiling and laughing!

Books! Books! Books!

I got to meet so many awesome peeps, old friends and new!

Photobomb for the win!

We played lots of games in the Entangled boardroom.

I couldn't stop laughing at this one! Too awesome!

I have the best readers! They are just so much fun to chat with!

What you can't see are my bare feet!

Ronda always makes me smile!

Some of my best author friends I only get to see at events! Virginia Nelson made my day when she showed up!

She drove five hours just to say hi!

Years Avery Flynn and I have known each other and always forget to snap a pic!

Boom! We finally got a photo!

RAGT17 was full of win! And I am terrible about remembering to get photos! The laughter and stories refilled the well and my Monday motivation is ready to go!

What did you do this weekend?

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Tip of the hat to @GalGadot and @ChrisHemsworth for #ThorsDay

Please excuse the screenshot, but I had to share this. I was tickled when this popped up in my feed a couple of days ago. As you may have noticed, I'm a huge fan of the new Wonder Woman film and a longtime fan of the Thor franchise, so when Gal Gadot shared a video where she said, "Hey Chris, they asked me who I thought would win in a battle between Wonder Woman and Thor. I think Wonder Woman, what about you?" That was pretty sweet.

When Chris Hemsworth answered though, that was epic. Then, of course, Gal threw out there that they should collide worlds.  It wouldn't be the first DC/Marvel mash-up, that's happened for years in the comics.

I giggled like the fangirl I am and told my husband, wouldn't that be a riot? After all, according to the comics, Wonder Woman can lift Mjolnir. So hats off to Mr. Hemsworth this #ThorsDay and bracelet salute to Ms. Gadot!

We, the fans, love your enthusiasm!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Get Matched with a Demon this #WitchyWednesday #NewRelease #PNR

Grab Your Copy Now!

A cry in the night, a child who needs help and a demon who needs redemption.

Rational and serious, Lucia believes in what she can see and touch, preferring to leave the curses and fortune telling to her old-world relatives. Meeting Delia, a half-human, half-demon child, challenges her logic. Desperately alone, the girl searched for someone to keep her safe and finds Lucia.

Armaros spent his eternal life mired in guilt. Choosing to live life according to his desires and whims, he forced his sister to fall from grace, damning them both. When she vanished, abandoning him and all they’d built together, he pursues. The last thing the Fallen expected to discover was the impossible existence of her child and the fragile human intent on keeping her safe.

Thrust together, Armaros and Lucia must flee the forces of Heaven and Hell. Determined to protect Delia, they must set aside their differences. Despite the insurmountable odds stacking against them, can they accept that fate put their paths on a collision course? Or are they doomed to fail, losing not only Delia, but also the only other person in the universe who understands them?

Get a sneak peek right here!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Ready to Ride? Spend #TeaserTuesday in Durango Point with some #CowboyRomance

Pre-Order Today!

A leatherneck by any other name can still kick ass . . .

Subject: Captain Tanner Wilks, US Marine Corps
Current Status: Honorable discharge, returning home
Mission: Save the family ranch, replacing his father, retired Marine Colonel Jasper Wilks, before his next heart attack kills him
 Obstacle: Julia Heller. He shared a hot night with the sexy new girl in town, before discovering she’s the ranch’s veterinarian. She’s made a home for herself at the ranch and doesn’t appreciate his return. What began as a passionate interlude rapidly proves vital to his sanity. Can he persuade the woman he’s falling for and the father he barely knows that they need him too?

Get a Sneak Peek!

Monday, June 5, 2017

It's Just Another #ManCrushMonday! #WonderWoman #SteveTrevor

If you haven't seen Wonder Woman, beware this post as there will likely be some spoilers. Not huge ones, but a few. I posted about Chris Pine in the Battle of the Chrises.  Today isn't so much about Mr. Pine himself as the character he portrayed in Wonder Woman, Steve Trevor.  Last chance to turn away from the spoilers.

For fans of the comics, Steve has always been the Lois Lane of Diana's series. Her constant companion and sometimes love interest. Depending on the incarnation, he hasn't always known her identities were one and the same, but let's talk about Patty Jenkins take on Steve Trevor and why its rolled up in a big ball of awesome.

Steve is on a Mission

When he crash lands through the ward around Themyscira, Steve was in the middle of a mission to help prevent more casualties in the Great War (WWI) and he had the information to make that happen. Finding an island of Amazons was the last thing he expected. He didn't trust them, because he doesn't trust anyone and yet he helped to fight against the incursion on the island to protect both the warriors he found and the mission he needed to complete. Answering their questions wasn't high on his list, not even to save himself.

Dealing with Diana

Steve is a spy, he lies all the time to preserve the mission. As he tells Diana, he had a choice between doing nothing and doing something. After already trying nothing, he must now do something. We don't dig any deeper than that, but it's clear Steve is haunted by the earlier choice and driven to not make that same mistake.

When Diana offers to exchange her help in getting off the island for his in hunting down Ares, he agrees. One thing I loved about these interactions was in the face of Diana's earnestness, Steve wants to believe her but he doesn't.

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

He can't question her skill, even if his natural instincts tell him he's supposed to protect her, both as a woman and an innocent. Once he accepts she will go to the front and she is holding him to his promise, he puts together his team. A team he intends to use to pursue his objective of ending the war while getting Diana where she wants to go.

The raw honesty between the two was refreshing. Steve couldn't tell Diana about what she was about to face, because she refused to hear anything that didn't involve getting her where she needed to go.

Her innocence and naivete made her no less a warrior, and Steve's charm acted as a mask for the world of pain and cynicism he endured after years of war. One quality they shared? Neither would give up on their goals, even when it brought them into conflict with each other.

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

The War to End All Wars

Sometimes side by side, sometimes running in parallel, Steve and Diana, along with Sammy, Charlie, and the Chief with support from Etta back in London pressed their advantage, conquering No Man's Land and liberating a small town called Veld.  It was there Steve rediscovered wonder, as he marveled that Diana was the one who saved them when she wouldn't listen to his reason. Crossing No Man's Land was impossible without Diana. Diana's determination sparked a sense of hope in Steve. A hope that his mission might not be in vain. It was in Veld, following their victory when this photo would be taken.

Image Credit: Warner Bros.


Steve's method of doing things required subterfuge. Diana's was direct combat. It left them at cross purposes as they pursued their mutual objective of Luddendorf. Steve had to stop his poison, Diana had to stop him. She didn't agree with Steve's methods and Steve couldn't get through to her. So married to their goals, they couldn't or wouldn't listen to each other.

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

What You Believe

In the end, those cross purposes found Diana floundering as Steve's determination grew. He needed her help, but she couldn't offer it not when she felt betrayed. The damage had been done and as much as Steve wanted to stay by her side, he had to press on but he reminded her, "It's not about what we deserve, it's about what you believe." In that moment, we saw Steve found peace with his purpose. He was doing something. "I can save today. You can save the world."

I have never loved Steve Trevor more. His path brought him into Diana's life and Diana into his. They didn't change each other so much as hone who they really were underneath. She helped him find his hope, and he helped her find her faith.

I can't think of a better Man Crush than Steve Trevor--a flawed hero who chose to believe in a better world and did something about it.

Friday, June 2, 2017

#FeminineMystiqueFriday Thank you #WonderWoman

For years, I've waited for a live action Wonder Woman. First it was the floated Joss Whedon script, then the possible live action Wonder Woman with Adrianne Palicki, then back to another live action film. Then DC witnessed the rise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and they got the lead out.

They launched Man of Steel, then followed it up with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad. I'm not going to spend a lot of time lauding or lampooning the efforts. What I am going to say is that DC succeeded where Marvel dropped the ball.

Marvel dropped one very significant ball during the progression of their last dozen or so films and it was one where they were perfectly poised to be first, and possibly amazing--and then they didn't do it. The character of Black Widow as portrayed by Scarlett Johansson is a force to be reckoned with, a powerful hero who fights alongside gods and supermen. Instead of giving Black Widow her own movie, they kept her as the powerful supporting character and female lead in their other titles.


So, Diana of Themyscira is first once again. She was the first female driven super hero title of the 20th century and she is the first female driven super hero blockbuster of the 21st century.

Note, I said first female driven super hero blockbuster, not film. We've had female driven super hero films in Elektra and Catwoman. Yes, I shudder to mention either because as much as I wanted them to be great, Elektra was boring (seriously!) and Catwoman was simply bad. Both failures were made worse because both featured talented actresses. Let's not dwell on these footnotes, let's look at Wonder Woman.

A Movie of a Lifetime

Yes it's a big mantle to lay at the feet of this film directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, and many more. You see, for me, that's exactly what this film represents.  I was a huge fan of Wonder Woman as a child, I grew up watching Lynda Carter kick ass on television and I did the Wonder Woman spin and played bullets and bracelets and adored her lasso of truth.

Flash-forward to the 80s, I marveled at George Perez's reinvention of Wonder Woman as he took her all the way back to her clay-molded origins on the island of Themyscira, and relaunching her into man's world not with a secret identity, but as an Ambassador of Peace for the Amazons who would fight to defend the world.

Heady stuff for a young pre-teen becoming teen girl in the 80s when we were on the tail-end of the sexual revolution and still fighting sexism. I nursed a dream, that like Diana believed, the world would have evolved beyond this by then.

In my Freshman English class, I wrote a paper comparing the Amazons of Wonder Woman to the Amazons of mythology and I used George Perez's comic book run as my citable source. My teacher hesitated, but then asked to see the source material. I hauled my plastic wrapped and carefully protected comics to the school and entrusted them to her for a weekend.

On Monday morning, she not only signed off on my paper, but admitted she wanted to read the next issue. She and I bonded over this mutual love for the Amazon princess.

Over the years, I saw Wonder Woman through many incarnations in comics, animated films and literature. Still, no live action film.  Batman out the wazzoo (some good, some amazing, and some just bad). The same with Superman, and then the super hero renaissance came along as Hollywood creators, my age, who grew up reading the same books I did started making movies and television.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe kicked off with a bang with Ironman, Thor, and eventually Captain America and more. They paced it out, built the anticipation up. DC appeared on the CW in the form of Arrow, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and finally, Supergirl.

In 2009, we even got an animated Wonder Woman which was amazing in quality and story, still--no live action movie.

Then Gal Gadot was Cast

I don't pretend to understand the course of the DCCU, at times it feels rushed as hell as though they are trying to catch up to what Marvel did instead of taking their time to flesh it out. At the same time, we don't need another Batman or Superman origin movie. We really, really don't. Yet, they were making Batman v Superman and it felt way ambitious and I was nervous.

Then I heard they cast Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. The casting startled the hell out of me. Gal was fantastic in the Fast and Furious films. I loved her accent, her look, and her talent, but she seemed too small to be an Amazon. The physicality worried me.

Then came Batman v Superman, and yep, like I said, there were issues except there were two shining stars amidst the grit--Ben Affleck as Batman (he rocked it) and Gal Gadot as Diana (Wonder Woman).

Her appearance was dead on perfection, her mannerisms, her part in the climactic battle scene and damn if it didn't leave me hungry for more. She won me over in a handful of scenes and I have waited (im)patiently for her own movie.

The Wonder Woman Experience

Last night, Mini and I sat down in a theater and we were transported.  Since the first trailer dropped, I maintained if the movie was only half as good as that trailer, then that would be a win.

It was more than half as good.

It was more than as good as the promise.

It was so much more. It was an experience from beginning to end. I laughed. I cheered. I cried.

In the end, Mini and I celebrated. I've waited over 40 years for this movie and I wasn't remotely disappointed!

We're All Wonder Women

Years ago, on the series, Diana explained about feminine mystique as the material the bullet proof bracelets were made of and they had to protect it from the Nazis who invaded Paradise Island. Yeah, it was cheesy, but I believed anything Lynda Carter said, she always embodied Wonder Woman to me.

Today, I'm adding Gal Gadot to that list. She is also Wonder Woman. So is Patty Jenkins, the director.

We can all be Wonder Woman, and that's as it should be.