Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Happy Book Birthday COPPER GIRL!

It's finally here - COPPER GIRL releases today!


My preferred place for you to purchase it? The Spiral Bookcase. It's an awesome independent bookstore in Philadelphia, and the proprietress, Ann, is brilliant. Tell her I sent you.

However, you can also find COPPER GIRL here.  And here.

Be sure to leave a comment, and tell me what you thought of Sara's adventures in the Otherworld.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Teaser Tuesday - COPPER GIRL, Chapter Two, Part Two

Two days until COPPER GIRL hits the shelves! Below, find the second half of Chapter Two, where Sara realizes that Micah knows a lot more about her than just where she works.

Of metal. There are two ways one can learn the workings of magic: years and years of rigorous study, or by simply being born to it. If you’re born into a magical bloodline, you’re said to be touched by an element, either earth, air, fire, water, or metal. The nature of your element is passed from father to child, just like a surname. Once in a while, someone is born touched by more than one element, but that’s awfully rare.

You also take on the characteristics of your chosen element, or rather, the element that’s chosen you. For instance, those touched by fire tend to be quick to anger, and those of earth are stubborn but loyal. I’ve never met anyone who admitted to being touched by water, but I’ve always imagined them as cowardly. And air? Who knows what they’re like? Flighty, perhaps?

I’ve always been glad that my family’s line is of metal. It means I’m strong, both physically and mentally, and courageous. I’m loyal, like those of earth, but not quite so stubborn. And… and that’s all I really know, because we haven’t been allowed to speak of magic since the wars ended, and magic was outlawed.

I was young when the wars began, but from what I remembered, the news reports all said that the wars had started when those who’d been born without magic became jealous of Elementals’ innate abilities. So, the learned magicians got together with the Mundane humans and started up their own civil rights movement, claiming that they  should be considered equal to the Elementals. The problem was, they weren’t equal. They never, ever would be, being that it took months, or years, for a Mundane to learn even simple spells like the casting of a fey stone. When the Elementals brought up this small but important fact, all hell had broken loose. Literally.
Still, there had been no war or outright rebellion at that point. The learned magicians may have been collectively outraged, but they grudgingly accepted their place, and the Mundane humans—those who did not study magic—were content with things as they were. Then, a Fire Elemental conceived of a way to sell fey stones to the masses; normally, a fey stone will only burn in the presence of its caster, but this enterprising individual spent decades studying the spell and determined which materials would cause the light to burn for years. It was a brilliant invention, one that could save the average family hundreds, or maybe thousands, in electricity. Just imagine, a never-ending light bulb.

The Mundane CEO of the power company had not been pleased by this development .

The wars had lasted almost three years, but we hadn’t been discouraged. We—the Elementals—knew that we were stronger, and we’d never had any doubt that we’d prevail. Then, the unthinkable happened. We lost.

To this day, no one knows how. Oh, there’s lots of speculation, but the real reasons remain somewhat elusive. The schoolbooks say that many of the war mages realized the error of their ways and immolated themselves. Yes, they used the word “immolate”, and that, right there, is a clue that it’s all propaganda. Other sources claim that Elementals don’t mesh well with those of opposing natures, and infighting was what did us in. That supposed infighting was also the impetus for creating the Peacekeepers, a squad of government goons specially outfitted to make Elemental lives miserable.

Well, no matter which version they hand out in their propaganda, the end result was the same - the Council of Elementals disappeared. Without their leadership, we lost.

My dad was on that council.

Once the Mundanes claimed victory, we assumed that life would pretty much return to normal, but we were so, so wrong. Instead of just declaring themselves equal to the Elementals, the learned magicians were also outlawed, along with all other ‘unlicensed magic’. In essence, without a special dispensation from the government (which, I might add, tosses spells around like cheap confetti), you could be thrown in prison for something as innocuous as conjuring up a bit of heat to warm your coffee.

We never found out what happened to Dad.

I’d spent most of my life trying to pass for ordinary. I tried to act like a Mundane human, someone who didn’t understand magic. I never talked about it, never thought about it, and never, ever practiced it. So, how did Micah know?

 “Of metal?” I asked, tentatively.

“I was certain when I felt your mark.” Huh. No one mentioned marks, either. I usually kept mine covered; those who saw it either thought it was a tramp stamp or refused to let on that they recognized the signs of magic. “Copper, yes?”

“Copper,” I affirmed, my voice now hardly a whisper. “You could tell just by feeling it?”

“By your hair,” he replied. I protested that I dyed my hair, but he looked pointedly at my hips. Oh, right. “May I see it? Your mark, I mean.”

I didn’t see any reason why he couldn’t, since he’d pretty much seen the rest of me. I turned around and lifted my nightie, exposing the mark across my lower back that forever named me as a member of the Raven clan, one of the most powerful bloodlines in history. Well, before magic was outlawed; now we were just… regular. And watched. My mark was copper-colored, and took the shape of a raven with its wings outstretched, the tips of the feathers reaching my sides. My sister, Sadie, bore a nearly identical mark. I didn’t remember what Max’s mark had looked like.

Micah traced the edges of the raven, his light touch sending shivers through my body. I remembered how he’d massaged my back during our earlier encounter, how I’d instantly become a molten heap of need. “Is everyone’s mark so sensitive?” I asked.

“Some, but not all,” he replied, his fingers now stroking my spine, near the raven’s maw. “Fire marks may burn you if you touch them, and those of stone feel hardly anything at all.”

“Do you have a mark?” I asked, peeking over my shoulder. Again, Micah smiled at me.

“I do.” He pulled off his leather shirt, revealing wiry muscle sheathed in warm, caramel skin. Before I could truly appreciate the most attractive male chest I’d ever encountered, he turned his back and I saw his mark. It was shining, metallic silver, just as mine was copper. It swept across his back like filigree wings emanating from his spine, arching over his shoulder blades in a graceful fall that reached below his waist.

“You… you’re silver,” I murmured, my eyes flitting from his mark to his hair. “Just like I’m copper, you’re silver.” Micah murmured some sort of an agreement, but I barely heard him. Hesitantly, I touched his back, his mark glinting in the near-dark. His flesh was warm and inviting, almost hot where it was incised with silver. “Oh, Micah. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“Many thanks, my Sara.” His muscles tensed, and I wondered if touching his mark was having the same effect on him as when he’d touched mine. I dropped my hands, and he turned to face me. “Forgive me, if I’ve misinterpreted your actions.”

“I didn’t know what I was doing, calling you,” I admitted. “But I am glad that you came back to me.” At that, he kissed me—hard—and pushed me onto my back. I didn’t resist. Far from it , I welcomed him.

“Wait,” I breathed. “Will I ever see you while we’re awake?”

“You wish to?”

I nodded. “More than anything.”

“Hold me tightly, my Sara.” I did, and the air thickened and rippled around us. Once again, I heard street noises and the radio blaring one floor up, and I could smell the alley. I’d been so thoroughly enchanted by Micah, I hadn’t noticed the lack of my usual annoyances. But now that I was awake, they had returned, and there was a half-naked man in my bed.

I screamed, my wakeful self having no idea who Micah was or why he was here. Ever practical, Micah kissed me, effectively smothering my cries and jogging my memory at the same time. He knew he’d succeeded when I stopped screaming and kissed him back.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered, still trembling. “It was so sudden!”

“It is hard to pull yourself to wakefulness so quickly,” he murmured. “You behaved much better than I did my first time.”

“I did?” He nodded, and wiped away tears I hadn’t noticed. “Thank you.”

“For what, my Sara?”

I didn’t get to answer. My screams must have woken Juliana, and she was banging on my door. “I’m fine!” I yelled. “Just a nightmare.”

“Open up!” Now she was jiggling the handle. Luckily, I always locked my door, a habit left over from sleeping in the dorms, but she was insistent. Once she had decided on doing something, nothing could stop her.

“She can’t find you here,” I whispered. “They’ll kill you if they find you.” Micah nodded, and in the next moment, he was gone. I don’t mean he left by way of the window, which I assumed was how he had gotten in; he was here, and then he wasn’t. I blinked, but was quickly dragged out of my amazement by Juliana’s banging and yelling. I pulled on my robe and threw open the door.

“You’re gonna wake the neighbors,” I admonished her.

“The way you screamed, I thought one of them was murdering you,” she countered.

“Aw. My Juliana in shining armor.” She responded with an artful sneer, and we were back to normal.

“It’s almost six, anyway. I’ll make some coffee.”
I nodded and shut the door to dress. Not only did I not want to explain my silk nightie to Juliana, but I figured I might as well get ready now. There wouldn’t be any more sleep for me at the moment. After I picked out a pair of jeans and a shirt, I took off my robe and almost screamed again. He had taken my panties again!



Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Teaser Tuesday - COPPER GIRL, Chapter Two Part One

Only one week until COPPER GIRL hits the shelves! Below, find the first half of Chapter Two. It seems that the dream Sara had was more realistic that she'd realized...
Happy hour turned into last call, and Juliana gladly accepted my offer of crashing on my couch. We were forever staying over at one another’s apartments, since we lived on opposite sides of town. Not to mention that Juliana didn’t own a car and public transportation was both expensive and unreliable. If you counted on the bus schedule, you might get caught out after curfew, and the Peacekeepers, our friendly neighborhood government goons, weren’t known for their understanding natures. Since neither Juliana nor I wanted to pay the late penalty, whoever’s place was closer to the side of town we ended up on invariably became our resting place for the evening. Since I lived closest to The Room, I played hostess more often.

While Juliana settled herself on the couch, I grabbed a quick shower, only to end up standing before my closet, dripping wet, overthinking what I would wear to bed. Like it mattered, right? Normally, I’m a tank top and shorts girl, but there was this cute, just sexy enough nightie that hung out in the back of my closet. Pale lavender silk, I’d bought it almost a year ago for a boyfriend who hadn’t lasted long enough to see it. His loss, really.

I unceremoniously dropped my robe and slipped the nightie over my head. The lace bodice was so revealing I was practically topless, and the short skirt floated over my hips. As I pulled on the matching panties, I deliberately did not question why I’d decided on this outfit. Then I flipped off the air conditioner (whenever it runs while I sleep, I get a headache), opened the window, and climbed into bed. In no time, I was asleep.

I felt him before I saw him, his firm body pressed against mine , his lips caressing the back of my neck. Micah. I rolled over to face him; even in the darkness of my room I could see he was still in that weird brown getup, boots and all, but I didn’t care. Hopefully, it would be gone soon.

“Micah,” I murmured, savoring his name on my tongue. “You’re here.”

“I heard your call, my Sara,” he murmured. “You’re wearing more here,” he continued, tracing the edge of my panties, “but less here.” His deft fingers danced across my lacy bodice.

“Do you like it?”

“I do.” Micah hooked a finger inside my panties and drew them lower. “I most certainly do.” We remained wrapped up in each other for long, blissful moments, until he spoke again. “I am so glad you called me again, my Sara.”

“Why do you keep saying that?” I asked. Yes, I argued with a dream. I am a psychology student’s dream case study . Ha ha. Dream. “You’re not even real.”

At that, Micah raised his head.“I am as real as you are,” he replied, somewhat indignantly. “Twice now, you have called me to your dream.”

What? No, no, no, no, that’s not good. Not good, not good at all. “That’s not possible,” I whispered.

“It is more than possible, my Sara. It has come to pass.” Serious now, Micah sat up and took my hands. “I have watched you often, gazing toward the entrance to my lands. I’ve always felt your power. Still, until earlier today, I had no idea that you were a Dreamwalker, as I am.”

He said it. He just had to say it.“Don’t say that!” Micah looked hurt and confused, so I amended, “If anyone hears you, there’ll be questions .”I glanced toward the open window, but I neither saw nor heard a dronewhizzing by.

Micah nodded, but his brow remained furrowed. “As you wish.”

“I still don’t understand,” I continued, moving to sit up. “You say I was looking toward your lands, but I don’t even know where you’re from.”

“Where you put your mechanical for the day,” he replied as he tucked a lock of hair behind my ear. “The trees you favor mark the entrance to my domain.”

Once I figured out that “mechanical”meant “car”, I considered where I parked in the office lot. I’d always chosen to leave my convertible in the back of the lot, mainly because it was a nice car and most of my coworkers, like most everyone else these days, were dirt poor. I didn’t want to answer any questions about how I could afford such a nice vehicle if I didn’t have to.

But Micah was right in that I’d always favored one particular spot. It was situated in front of two pine trees, their massive trunks wound together like a lovers’ embrace. I’d never seen anything like it, certainly not in such big trees, and they’d captivated me from the moment I saw them. And yes, I gazed at them often.

“The pine trees?” I asked. Micah smiled when he nodded. But that didn’t answer my questions, since they weren’t in front of a door or path. There wasn’t even anything behind them, except the electric fence separating REES from the property next door.

Suddenly, my eyes widened in shock and recognition, and I grabbed a handful of his silvery hair, exposing a set of pointed ears. “You’re an elf!”

“Micah Silverstrand, Lord of the Whispering Dell,” he replied, with a polite nod. Rubbing my temples, I considered my situation. I was in a dream that wasn’t a dream, sitting in bed with a man whom I’d thought was a mere figment of my imagination, but who happened to be some sort of royal elf. And a Dreamwalker. Like me. Maybe—hopefully—I was just really drunk.

But…I can’t explain it, but as I looked at this elf, with his silver eyes and fluffy hair, he was more real to me than anyone else I’d ever known.

“I’m sorry, Micah,” I said at length. “I didn’t know I could call anyone this way. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before.”

At that, his pale brows nearly touched. “When you offered a token and lay nearly bare before me, I assumed you wanted me.” Token? Oh, right, my panties. “And tonight, you have bathed for me, attired yourself as a queen, and have allowed me ingress to your chamber. What else was I to think?” I stared from the open window to my silk nightie. Why had I put this on? Had I been calling him, subconsciously? Could I even do that? I didn’t know. But I couldn’t do it again. Not unless I wanted to end up like Max.

Micah was still speaking, so I met his gaze. “When I learned that you are of metal, as I am, our attraction became clear.” Crap. He knows I’m an Elemental, too?

Monday, June 17, 2013

YA Crush Tourney - Team Torin (Runes, Ednah Walters)

The YA Crush Tourney is starting its first round of voting. For those of you who don't know already Catie @ Forbidden Passions Reviews is Team Torin's advocate. Torin is the hero in Runes, the new paranormal series by Ednah Walters.
If you haven't read Runes, you're missing out on this delicious piece of man candy! If Torin were real flesh and blood there would hair pulling, stiletto stabbing, clothes ripping riots in every city he visited.
Catie is looking for Street Team members to help out so if you are interested:
1) Change your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, whatever avatar to one the above picture or one of the buttons on her blog.(there are two TEAM TORIN buttons).

2) Tweet VOTE #TEAMTORIN on June 17th.... as often as you can and rally your followers!

3) If you have a blog, copy and repost this, please. His battle is on the 17th, so be sure to mention that too!

4) Put the button for Team Torin all over the internet (tumblr, Pinterest...)
5) Don't forget to vote for Torin too
Ednah promised to give away some swags in appreciation for all the love Torin gets, a chapter and some hot scenes in Torin's POV. So stay tuned.
Make sure you visit the Runes blog for all kinds of updates, memes and all around cool stuff.

Now come on peeps! Let's get this newbie his first YA Crush Tourney champion title!!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

COPPER GIRL teaser - Chapter One, Part Two

Without further ado, here is the second half of Chapter One:

My phone screamed for attention, thus ending the best dream that had ever been dreamed. Ever. I fumbled to silence it, then shook myself back to reality. I still felt warm and glowy from the dream, almost after-glowy. It wasn’t until I stretched and got tangled in my clothing that I noticed anything was amiss.
The straps of my dress had slid down around my elbows, and the dress itself was unbuttoned to my waist. What’s more, my bra was all askew and a nipple was dangerously close to freedom. I shot a quick glance around the parking lot as I fixed my clothing; luckily, there was no one around, either of the human or robotic drone persuasion. I hoped no one had gotten an eyeful of how I was apparently fondling myself in my sleep.
Some dream.
Soon enough, I got the top half of my dress squared away and reached into the passenger seat, only to come up empty. My panties were gone.

Great. Either one of my coworkers had found me sleeping and stolen them, or a randy squirrel had absconded with my delicates. Hoping for the latter, I stuffed my feet back into my sandals and returned to the office and my ever-growing mountain of paperwork.
Speaking of the mountain, there was a fresh sheaf of reports on my desk, ready for sorting. My title, if it can be called that, is Quarterly Report Collator.
This impressive moniker meant that I had the ability—no, make that the responsibility—to place various documents and reports in their proper order, usually alphabetically. I’ve even been known to utilize ascending numbers when the occasion warrants, a feat those who got paid far more than I did could not seem to manage. As long as they kept paying me, I was fine with my place on the food chain, low though it was. It sure beat the alternative--a luxurious but caged life as a sellout government shill, performing spells on command as if they were parlor tricks. My family might have lost much, but we still have some pride left.

I dove right into the heap of reports, for once appreciating the mindless work since it gave me the mental space to dwell on my dream lover. Why would a man in my dream claim that I’d summoned him? And what was with his getup? Micah had looked like he should be playing the part of a swashbuckling hero in a trashy romance novel, not hanging around in the parking lot of a midsized corporation specializing in commercial real estate acquisitions and liquidations.

And his name: Micah. I was certain that I’d never heard it before, which puzzled me. If I were going to create a dream lover, wouldn’t I give him a regular name like Tom or Joe? A name I was at least familiar

I swiveled in my chair and called up my search engine. We are not, under any circumstances, supposed to use this bit of technology that is standard issue with each and every one of our ergonomically correct workstations. I’m not quite sure what the punishment for internet usage is, but I’ve always imagined ninjas dropping out of the ceiling and hauling me off to their lair. After enduring a mild torture session, I’m given a cup of hot sake and sent on my way.

I could have waited until I got home. I had a nicer computer and better, faster internet access than the office does, but I couldn’t wait. Not while the image of Micah’s thundercloud eyes still burned in my memory, inciting not-safe-for-work thoughts.

I typed in
Micah: define,
and the results page immediately listed a bunch of Biblical references. Mmm, not exactly helpful. I clicked around for a while until I found one of those sites that specialized in the meaning of names. It read thusly:

Micah ( mī ‘ kə ) he who resembles God.

Huh. My dream man was certainly attractive, but I didn’t know if I’d go so far as to call him a god. Then I remembered that there was a type of stone called mica, which also seemed like an unlikely source for me to pull a name from. In the midst of typing
mica: stone,
 I was interrupted.

"Hey, beautiful."
I glanced up and saw Floyd, the office sleaze, hovering at the edge of my cubicle. Better and better. I clicked off the browser and nonchalantly swiveled away from the keyboard. To throw the ninjas off my trail, of course. "You and Juliana heading over to The Room tonight?" he asked.
The Room is a local hangout, stocked with stale beer and watered-down liquor, not to mention a floor that has never, ever been mopped. Not. Even. Once. But it’s cheap and close to the office, so we all go. Since I started working at REES, I’ve been a regular.
"We haven’t discussed it."

"Everyone’s going," Floyd pressed. "C’mon, I’ll buy you a drink. You like gin and tonic, right?"

I heaved the stack of reports from my lap to my desk and uncrossed my legs, squarely planting my feet in order to deliver the Keep Away From Me speech to Floyd yet again, when I remembered my lack of undergarments. Quickly, I snatched my afghan from
where I’d tossed it before lunch and spread it across my lower body like a shield.
"Whatever," I mumbled, which Floyd counted as a victory.

"See you there," he drawled.
I hate him.

I spent the rest of my shift with my thighs clamped together, having mild anxiety attacks whenever I stood. Or sat. Or reached for anything. Needless to say, by the end of the day I was more than ready for something eye-wateringly alcoholic. Juliana, my best friend and REES’s office manager, was game, as she usually was, and we made it to The Room in time for happy hour. Normally, I feel like I’m in her shadow, what with her long, dark hair, matching eyes, and the body of a pre-war pinup girl, but tonight I didn’t care. Right about now, a little overshadowing was just
what the doctor ordered.
After a few bowls of pretzels, and more than a few cocktails, I confessed my al fresco state, to which Juliana and I clinked glasses and downed a few shots in honor of my missing panties. Floyd, the scum, welshed on his promise of gin and tonic. I really do hate him.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Guest Posts, Reviews, and BEA!

I've been busy lately, what with promoting my upcoming release, Copper Girl, the release of an anthology I have a story in, Holiday Magick, and attending the amazing madness that is Book Expo America, or BEA. Here's a recap:

I stopped b Vonnie Winslow Crist's blog, and talked about how writers need to get out there in the world, here.

The Writer's Voice interviewed me about my Holiday Magick story, Paper Hearts, here.

The lovely and talented Kayleigh-Marie Gore put up a Spensations Spotlight on Copper Girl! Check it out here.

And, you can always find me at Scene 13.

Now, about BEA... here's an abbreviated list of the awesome:

We had a Copper Girl book signing!

I got to hang out with my Spencer Hill Press and Scene 13 families, and a host of bloggers, booksellers and librarians!

There was amazing food! (No pictures of that - because I ate it all)

And, ARCs galore!

Come back tomorrow, when I'll post another teaser from Copper Girl. meanwhile, I better start reading.