Newsletter, May, 2010New Releases
I had two releases this month, neither of which I could promote because I was in a hotel with expensive, awful Internet. I did sign up to one day's service so I could do a little promotion, but it wouldn't let me upload my website, or any promotion. But I am so pleased with these releases.
The first is a new Department 57 book from Loose-Id. Crystal Tides is the story of Kai, the merman who featured in Liquid Crystal. I've had numerous requests for Kai's story, so here it is, and I've included an excerpt below. I loved Kai, and it was very rewarding to give him his happy ending. You can buy Crystal Tides here.
The second is a free release from Ellora's Cave. Seychelles Sunset features Edie and John from Beauty of Sunset, and takes place a year after their Cougar story concluded. You can pick it up here. And it's free, although it's been properly edited and is an official Ellora's Cave release!
I am just back from the Romantic Times Booklovers' Convention, and this year it was a great conference. No controversies, lots of fun and great signings and book fairs.
I went to Columbus via Chicago, where I went for the Chicago International fair, a huge collection of lovers of miniatures and dolls' houses. For those of you interested, I bought a kit that will see a venture into half scale. I've been a diehard inch scale (1 foot to 1 inch) user, but a few half or quarter scale projects might prove interesting! The quality of skill on display is absolutely amazing.
I decided to fly over a day early, as I got a cheaper flight, and it meant I could sleep off most of my jet lag. Sneaky, jet lag, it gets you when you think you're over it, and you end up asleep in your dinner if you're not careful! So I booked into an airport hotel, the Aloft at O'Hare, which turned out great, and slept. The day after, I went to the convention hotel to meet my roomie, Thelma, and people kept telling me I was lucky to be there. Well, yes, I knew that, and I was thrilled, but it was only when someone mentioned the volcano, and I said, "What volcano?" that the full extent of the disaster was brought home to me. The disruption was immense, and I couldn't believe my luck, as well as feeling sorry for the people caught up in the mess.
Then I moved to downtown Chicago for a week's stay. I stayed at the Allerton, which has mixed reviews at Trip Advisor, but honestly, it was my favorite hotel of the stay. I absolutely loved it. The decor wasn't "just another hotel," and while the room was smaller than most of the other hotel rooms I stayed at, it was plenty big enough, and actually made me feel a bit cosier. Those big, open spaces tend to fret me a bit. Since I was a lone traveller at this stage, I didn't go out at night, but there were lots of great restaurants and cafes nearby where I could buy to take out. My room had a view right down Michigan Ave, and I really enjoyed Chicago. Vibrant and exciting, with some great shops, and the Art Institute is awesome. The Thorne Rooms, a collection of miniature rooms assembled in the first half of the 20th century, were amazing. And I got to do a booksigning at Borders, Michigan Ave.
Then Columbus. Another good flight. My friend Linnea Sinclair met me off the plane, with Stacey Kade. Great to see them again. I taught at the precon. There was a mix up with the workshops, so I ended up on the synopsis panel, but it was a really good experience, and I got to critique the first 5 pages of 5 new authors, all of which showed promise.
For me, the convention proper started on Tuesday night, with the private Ellora's Cave party. That's always fun, with people to reconnect with and new people to meet. I couldn't possibly do the whole conference for you, I'd bore you rigid, but here are the highlights of my Romantic Times:
2. Sharing with Judith Rochelle/Desiree Holt. One of the most fun people around, and a hugely successful writer. I had lots of fun with Judith. She's retiring Judith Rochelle this year, and going with Desiree Holt for future releases.
3. The Cougar Growl in Club RT. We had a special event on Thursday, and had a draw for Sheba, the cuddly cougar, about the only cuddly thing about us. Writing "Beauty of Sunset" for the cougar series has been a wonderful experience, working with savvy writers I'm proud to be associated with. The Growl was less of a promotion, and more of a celebration. I plan to write another cougar book, but I don't write as fast as some people, so although I'm aiming for this year, I'll have to see how my other projects go. I'm currently writing a new Richard and Rose, and they always take time to do.
4. Meeting friends and reconnecting. Gail Delaney and Jennifer Rainieri of Desert Breeze Publishing, all the Cougar ladies, Kathryn Falk and her husband, Kenneth Rubin, Ollie, Supereader and now bookseller, Cait Miller, Linnea Sinclair and many others. That is such fun. And meeting new people, like the utterly charming Victoria Alexander and Cheyenne McCray and Judi McCoy. I should really try to promote myself more, but at RT I tend to get carried away and I have far too much fun!
5. The two booksignings. So wonderful, that people buy my books! I never cease to be amazed by that. This year I had Ellora's Cave and Loose-Id ebooks at the Expo, and three of my Samhain historicals at the book fair. Amazingly, I sold out of "Yorkshire" quite early on, and was only left with a couple of copies of "Tantalizing Secrets" and "Met By Chance." We're only allowed three titles. Amazingly, because the "star" authors were urban fantasy writers, and so the fans who travelled there wanted to see the likes of JR Ward, Jim Butcher and Richelle Mead, so I thought my historicals wouldn't stand a chance. I was wrong, and very happy to be so.
6. I have to mention meeting Barbara Taylor Bradford. Oh my lord, I was star struck. I read "A Woman of Substance" when it first came out, and I loved it. It opened my eyes to certain possibilities, and did influence my writing. I stammered like anybody would, but she was gracious and extremely nice.
Worst part was coming home, because the volcano got me. They diverted our flights, because although Manchester Airport was open, Scottish airspace was not. I was put on a flight to Heathrow 6 hours after my scheduled flight. There I got lucky, having a seat with extra leg room and sitting next to a very nice family, who didn't want to converse all the time, and didn't want to ignore me. The flight from Heathrow to Manchester was tolerable, and then I got home. And slept the clock around. I can't remember the last time I did that.
Excerpt from Crystal Tides
Kai had just about given up on love -- until he met sexy merman Tyler and Tyler's wife Zoe. The three heat Kai's hot tub to scorching together, but now Kai's seen something he wants and he plans to have it. He doesn't want another fleeting relationship. He wants Tyler and Zoe. For keeps.
Zoe's not sure she can commit to two men, but when danger threatens the underwater archaeological excavation she's working on, she needs them both to protect. Zoe and Tyler's oldest enemy has returned. They've always run from him, but now it's time to turn and fight.
But Tyler's going to have to trust Kai to protect the love of his life. Can he?
Zoe got her first good look at the tub and caught her breath. It lay at the end of the room and up two upholstered steps, steam wafting into the air. The bathroom itself consisted of shades of blue, with the porcelain white and the fittings shiny chrome. Roman blinds were the only adornment the windows had, and she saw why once she'd mounted the steps and slid into the bath.
Headrests lined the wall the bath—or rather, the hot tub—rested against. And it stood higher than the rest of the room because the whole point was the view.
It revealed a magnificent view of the sea. Gray waves, crested with foam, lapped against tiny buoys that blinked orange as the water washed over them. The long pier jutted like an invasion at the left. Altogether three windows opened onto the view.
Kai joined her, and he moved to her right, while Tyler stepped in and took her left side.
Zoe broke the silence. “This is fantastic.”
“I love it.” Kai slid his now wet hand up her arm and cupped her shoulder. When she tore her gaze away from the view outside and watched him, he was staring down at her breasts. Then he lifted his regard, taking his time, and she felt as if he touched her before he met her eyes.
Blue, blue eyes stared into hers. His smile came slowly. For a moment out of time they held that position, and Tyler, sitting quietly next to her, let it happen. Then Kai leaned forward and reached out a hand to Tyler.
Zoe knew Tyler never wanted to touch the partners they occasionally shared their bed with but he tolerated the necessary contact. This time he took Kai's hand. “I know what I want,” Kai said, “but I don't want to make either of you unhappy at any time. That doesn't mean I don't want to push. I will, and I'll keep pushing. But please open your mind, take everything as it comes, and if it feels good, block your judgment and just let it happen.”
Next to her, Tyler stiffened. Then he took a deep breath. “Deal,” he said and shook Kai's hand in an oddly formal gesture.
Deciding she wasn't about to be left out, Zoe put her hand atop their clasped ones. “Deal.”
Kai gave them an easy smile and broke contact first. He reached behind him and lifted down a clear glass jar. Frowning critically, he took off the lid and sniffed before sprinkling a handful of the jar's contents on the water. Dried leaves and flowers floated on the surface, but unlike dried herbs they began to melt. A scent Zoe knew well lifted into the steam-laden air. She gave a happy sigh. “Lavender and roses.”
“A friend of mine makes these.” Kai replaced the jar. “She does several mixtures, and this is the relaxing one.”
“Why are they melting?” Zoe asked, fascinated. She picked up one of the buds and watched it dissolve in her hand.
“She crystallizes them or something. I don't really know, but she claims every ingredient is natural.” Kai rubbed a few leaves over her skin then leaned forward to smell them. “Beautiful.” He licked her neck. “Tastes good too. That's what sold me on these.” He drew back, watching her, his eyes turned suddenly mischievous. “So how are you feeling now?”
He cupped one of her breasts in his hand and curved his thumb up to touch the peak. “You have lovely breasts. 'A quite magnificent bosom,' as another friend of mine was fond of saying a very long time ago.” He glanced at her face. “You look like honey personified, and you taste of spice and the forbidden.” He leaned forward, taking his time, slowly nearing her nipple that crinkled as his breath touched the tip.
“Oh yes,” he murmured, before he took it into his mouth.
He sucked, and her head slammed back. Just as well for the headrests, because the jolt of awareness that went through her forced carelessness into her. Hot water lapping around them, the spiking awareness of something new happening, and sheer sensation.
Tyler stroked her other breast, and a gentle swirl of water indicated he'd changed his position. His hand slipped between her thighs, and she opened for him. Tyler's hand was broader, his fingers thicker than Kai's.
Kai had left some slickness for Tyler, and he caressed it, took the clitoris between his finger and thumb, and pinched it the way he knew she liked.
Gasping for air, she realized the two men must be working in tandem, Kai's sucking in rhythm with Tyler's pinching. They meant for her to come again. Soon.
Kai's voice came darkly into her mind. “That's the beauty of having two Talents taking you.”
Oh yeah. Working together. Tyler kissed her throat. His tongue snaked out to lap a passage up and down, and he nipped the pulse at the base of her neck. She was finding it hard to breathe. Two mouths, four hands, all for her. At her pleasure. But not at her command.
Kai murmured to her, the words purring against her skin, and he touched her other breast, the one he wasn't kissing, tweaked it, and stroked it. Her legs opened, and Tyler slid his thumb into her, his fingers curling behind to pet and tickle her anus. He'd introduced her to that incredibly sensitive skin, and she'd let him take her there a couple of times, but she hadn't really enjoyed it. Maybe with Kai…
Such a beautiful man. Strong and lithe, built like a sprinter, muscles honed but smooth. She watched his cock and idly wondered what it tasted like.
Kai's groan didn't come as a surprise. She'd felt his presence in her mind, the kind of warmth Tyler had taught her to notice, that meant a Talent was making contact. Kai had picked up her thoughts about his cock, so she concentrated on that now. It strained, the top shiny, peeking clear of the water when he moved, reddened and engorged. Ready for her.
And the other joy about fucking Talents was that they didn't need to use protection. The thought gave her a lift of pleasure. Talents didn't transmit mortal diseases, neither were shape-shifters fertile, except during the three days of the full moon. The thought shot her arousal up to nuclear. She could experience them with nothing between them. Bareback.
“Please. Please one of you, fuck me now.” Her voice sounded strangled, tight. She pulled in a breath. Another.
Crystal Tides - a Dept 57 book
Kai finds his woman - and his man!
From Loose-ID Publishing
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