Monday, October 31, 2011

Media Monday--Kelly Clarkson's STRONGER

Let me start this off by saying I've been a fan of Kelly Clarkson since her first CD. No, I didn't watch her on American Idol--I caught the winning song on the radio, and went, "Hmm. This is pretty decent." Bought the first CD, was mildly impressed.

Second CD, Breakaway, blew me out of the water.

So, like I said, I've been a fan of Clarkson for a while now. We're the same age, so the music speaks to me a bit better than say, Miley Cyrus (although I'll confess, I do have some Miley on my iPod). Still, I was not prepared for Stronger.

I don't like dance music, unless I'm in a dance club, which isn't often, and even then I'm not a huge fan of it. Stronger is jam-packed with dance music, but it's the kind of dance music that you can actually understand the lyrics. The ballads, if you want to call a song drenched with emotion and power-house vocals and an empowering message a ballad, are phenomenal, even for Clarkson. When she rips in to a prospective man-friend on Let Me Down, it's not a song of disappointment--it's a song of realization, of knowing when to cut your losses and walk away. When she belts out on The War is Over, you understand what it means to turn away from someone you love, because you know that the only thing that's going to happen is more heartbreak.

I read in another review that Clarkson is on her way to becoming the Mary J. Blige of pop, the perpetual victim that nobody wants to see get better. Forgive my language, but bullshit. Stronger showcases a young woman making her way through the minefield of modern relationships and everything that over-the-top description suggests. That doesn't make her a victim--it makes her real, and honest, and at the end of the day, makes her Stronger.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Random Thursday!

Not entirely. I'm not really doing anything random today. Well, I think I'm carving a pumpkin, but I'm not sure.

I'm spending the day formatting Taken, so I can have it out for you guys an entire week early (yes, you may cheer. I'll wait, go ahead.) I'm going to plow through as much editing as I can, although I don't think I'll do nearly as much as I should. I'll probably eat dinner at some point, catch up on my tv watching (Revenge AND South Park had new episodes last night!), maybe try and read a nice relaxing book.

Yeah, I think the pumpkin is going to be the most random part of my day.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Writing Wednesday!--NaNoWri (or however you say it)

So. Against my better judgment, I've decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month. Why against my better judgment, you ask?

I don't do well with non-self imposed timelines.

If I say to myself, "Self, we need to get Project X done by this date", the chances are good I'll get it done. Because I set the goal myself. While there might be outside influences, such as fans, sales, etc, my writing timeline is my own.

Participating in NaNoWri takes that out of my hands. Because what do I hate more than non-self imposed timelines? Failing.

Yes, I know that not making the 50K doesn't mean that I've failed. But I will feel like I failed. Because I'm neurotic like that. And there's not a lot I can do about that little character quirk at this stage in life.

So, November may find me completely nuts. Or it may find me with a completed novel at the end. Who knows right now--we shall have to wait and see. For now, I'll resign myself to editing hell and twiddle my thumbs until Tuesday.

Wish me luck. I have a feeling I'll need it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Taken Tuesday!

That release date is getting closer and closer!

We're keeping the tension high with the following scene. Enjoy!

    “Is all of this necessary?” Ian scowled at me, brows furrowed. “You’ve intimated I won’t be anywhere near the danger zone.”
    “The danger zone has been known to shift, depending on circumstances, people. The actual danger.” The bulletproof vest, courtesy of Jack and the NYPD, dangled from my fingers. The way Ian reacted, you’d think I held a water moccasin. “I warned you, there were rules. You can either follow them, or you can wait somewhere by the phone. Your choice.”
    “Which you know very well leaves me no choice at all.” He took the vest from me, frowning. “How exactly does one put this on?”
    “You really need to get out of the courtroom, Councilor.” More amused than annoyed, I pushed off my desk to step in front of him. “Arms up.”
    “Beg pardon?”
    Sighing, I took the vest back, placing it on the desk surface. “We need to get this on you, get down to the Hudson. Traffic is going to be brutal, so the sooner we’re out of here, the better. Now, since you clearly don’t have a clue what you’re doing, I’m going to help. But that means you need to get your shirt off.”
    Ian frowned harder, something I didn’t think possible. He grabbed the hem of his t-shirt and paused. “This isn’t some sort of practical joke on the lawyer, is it?”
    “Hon, if I was going to play a practical joke, I’d hope I could come up with something better than getting your shirt off.” Impatient, I tugged on the hem of his shirt myself, managing to get the fabric above his waistline. “Time for shits and giggles is over. Take a look at the clock. It’s already after five. In or out?”
    “Goddamnit.” Ian ripped the shirt off, flinging the ball of crumpled fabric toward the sofa. The flush ran from his face clear down to his waistline. “You know I’m in.”
    “Then stop acting like I’m a lecherous duke and you’re the frightened virgin on the verge of being ravished.” Turning around, I picked the vest back up and began to rip open Velcro. A rustle came from behind me and I paused, head bent. I felt his touch seconds before it came. “Or maybe you want to be ravished.”
    “You’re not my type. You’re loud, crude, unsophisticated. I could never take you to any social gathering required of my position.” Fingers, slightly chilled even through the thin fabric of my shirt, tracked up my spine. I shivered, holding still. Any sudden movement would spook him. “You are the antithesis of the woman I’m normally attracted to.”
    “You’re a real sweet-talker, you know that?” His fingers traced back down my spine, lingering for a moment at the frayed hem of my shirt. I shivered when those cool fingers touched the skin above the waistband of my jeans. “Ian, now is not the time.”
    “You did this, you know. When I walked into your office five mornings ago, I was perfectly sane. Or as sane as I could be, given my cousin’s disappearance.” Warm breath caressed the nape of my neck, an erotic contrast to the cold press of fingers in the small of my back. “Now, thoughts of you intrude on my every waking moment. And my sleep. The dreams I’ve had of you…” He trailed off, and we both shuddered when his lips touched my neck. “I could go to prison for the dreams alone.”
    “I’m not sure if you’re trying to frighten me or arouse me.” He’d done both. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, the fierce hunger his words stirred up. “Either way, this isn’t the time.”
    “I know this is wrong. Wrong on any number of levels. I’m your client. You’re engaged.” His lips slid lower, pausing in the curve of my neck. I had no doubt he felt the frantic beat of my pulse there. “Tell me to stop and I will.”
    “This isn’t the time.” Even I knew my protest was weak, ineffectual.
    “Not relevant.” Teeth nipped, closing briefly over skin before releasing, tongue flickering out to lave the bite. “Tell me to stop.”
    “And if I don’t?” His body pressed forward, pushing me into the desk. I sucked in a deep breath at the feel of him hard against me. “Christ.”
    “Is unlikely to be helpful in this situation.” He spun me around, caged me in. Those dark blue eyes, the same as his cousin, were wide, wild with lust. Lips parted, breathing harsh and erratic, he leaned closer. “Tell. Me. To. Stop.”
    Instead, I pushed up on my toes, slid my tongue over his lower lip. My fingers curled into a fist, pressing tight against his shoulder. We both moaned when his mouth closed over mine, which slid into a kiss as gentle as it was thorough.
    My heart thudded, slowed, as the blood Ian stirred moments before turned to thick, rich honey. His lips moved against mine, hesitant yet sure, taking the kiss deeper by degrees. I rocked back on my heels with knees weak. He growled, the sound harsh and out of place with the image I held of him.
    “We need to stop.” I cleared my throat and tried again. “This isn’t the time.”
    He closed his eyes and drew in a long, shuddering breath. His eyes, when he opened them, were brilliantly blue. And clear. “You’re right. I apologize.”
    “Don’t. Your timing sucks, not your technique.” With that, I pushed on his chest, putting a few feet between us. For his sake, and for mine. Then for good measure, I rounded the desk, continuing to work on undoing the vest’s Velcro. “Are you licensed to carry?”
    “Carry what?”
    “A gun, Ian. I doubt you’ll need one; I doubt even less you’ll need to use one, but it doesn’t hurt to carry when you can.” Tossing the vest at him, I bit my cheek to keep from laughing when it hit him in the face. I hadn’t aimed; he just hadn’t moved. “I am, but I prefer my handy little Taser.”
     “Isn’t that kind of like bringing a knife to a gun fight?” He pulled the vest over his head, awkwardly pulling at straps. I sighed, shaking my head. The last few moments had done wonders for my control, so crossing to him, standing close to him, didn’t affect me like it would have minutes before. He scowled at me but lifted his arms as I went to work.
    “Most knifes don’t pack enough punch to put a two hundred plus pound man on the ground, covered in his own piss and holding his balls while he curls into a fetal position and cries for his mother.”
    “You’re a scary woman.” His fingers closed over mine and I paused to look up. He smiled, a crooked grin that made a single dimple appear in his left cheek. “I wonder if you realize how appealing such a quality is.”
    “Well, we’re going to be stuck in a car together for the next four to five hours. You’ll have plenty of time to woo me with such pretty phrases.”

Monday, October 24, 2011

Media Monday--Once Upon a Time

Last night was the series premiere of Once Upon a Time. I'll admit, I was really looking forward to the show. The promos looked good, the concept seemed fresh, and, well, it's fairy tales in the real world. All the ingredients for a good time.

So, I found myself seriously underwhelmed by the premiere. Was it good? Yes. Was it the amazingness the promos led me to believe? No. And I can't put my finger on what the problem was.

Is the acting good? Yes, fabulously so. Ginnifer Goodwin and Jennifer Morrison both do first rate jobs at bringing their respective characters to life. In Goodwin's case, two characters, since she plays the dual role of Snow White/Mary Margaret. I've seen Goodwin in a few other things, and one of the things I like best about her is her ability to emotionally connect you with a character. The only bit I've seen with Morrison is her small role in the reboot of Star Trek, but she sold it, hands down. Her turn as Emma Swan also tugged at my heartstrings, even as she made me snicker and laugh.

Is the plot good? Again, yes. The missing daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming has to remember who she is in order to make other fairy tale characters remember who they are, and then consequently break the curse that has all of them stuck in the real world and send them back to their normal fairy tale world. Yeah, that's right, all the fairy tale characters, including the Evil Queen who cast the curse, can't remember who they actually are. Still, bits and pieces of their true personalities show through, which helps ground the cuts between our world and their world.

So, I'm not quite sure where the disconnect came from. I'd love to say it's just pilot imperfections, and I might be right. But I'm just not sure. Will I be watching next week? Absolutely. Until then, I'll say I've got my reservations.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Free E-Book Alert!

Hopefully, that got your attention.

Irish Rover, a Frankie Post short, is currently in the process of being uploaded to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. The process usually takes one to two days. I don't know why, since everything is way too technically advanced for me to figure out. There are days I swear my computer is smarter than me, and I'm pretty sure I'm right. But I digress.

Until Irish Rover goes live, I am giving copies away for FREE. Yes, I said for FREE. Irish Rover also contains the first eleven chapters of Taken, which won't be out until November 8.

Now, you may be wondering how you get such a bargain. Easy.

1) Be a follower of this blog
2) Leave a comment

That's it. If you do both those things, you get a copy of Irish Rover. Tell as many people as you want, the more the better.

Let the free-ness begin!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Writing Wednesday!--Author Interview with Shea MacLeod

I know you're going--what?!? An author interview?!? You haven't done one of those in... I'd say we'll wait while you figure it out, but I'm on a schedule here, folks. Yes, it's been a very long time. But, my oldest writing/crit partner Shea MacLeod, has a new novel coming out next week. So, of course I had to lasso her into answering a few questions.
First things first--Why dragons?

Why not? lol  Dragons are awesome.  They're so big and powerful and have so much wonderful mythology surrounding them.  They can be purely animal or highly intelligent.  Let's face it, everything's better with dragons. ;-)

In the Sunwalker Series, you have a lot of different types of mythology intertwining. Do you plan to do the same with the Dragon Chronicles, or is this going to be strictly dragons?

The Dragon Wars will be pretty strictly dragons.  There's less of the paranormal to this series and more of the sci-fi.  Still, knowing me, anything could happen!  I could wake up tomorrow and decide Ares needs to put in an appearance. lol

Now, this may be slightly controversial (but the best questions usually are): in both the Sunwalker Series and in Dragon Warrior, there's what might possibly be seen as an aversion or distrust to the military and government. Was this intentional, or just a by-product of the genre(s)?

I would say it's a combination of the genre, as well as a by-product of our time.  There is a lot of distrust in government out there.  Not just the American government or the British government, but ALL governments.  Look at the recent news, all the countries where the protests have brought down governments.  It's exciting and scary at the same time.  Will things be better?  Or worse?

As far as the military goes, I have a HUGE respect and appreciation for our military men and women and the sacrifices they make.  In fact, I have many friends and family who have served or are serving in the US military.  I am so proud of them.

Yes, there's definitely distrust of the military in Dragon Wars.  But this is FICTION.  The "military" in this post-apocalyptic world isn't the military we know.  It's not the military that defends us and keeps us safe.  It's a twisted shadow of itself.    

Speaking of post-apoclyoptic novels, thoughts on Mira Grant's amazing NEWSFLESH series?

I downloaded FEED awhile back, but honestly I haven't had a chance to read it.  But I do love a good post-apocalyptic novel.  Right now I'm reading Jack Wallen's My Zombie My.  Love a zombie apocalypse.  

I know you have a number of short stories for various anthologies in the works. Besides those, what's next, more Sunwalkers or more dragons?

That's a tough one, because I'm not sure!  The Indie Eclective will be putting out a holiday themed anthology in November.  I am thinking dragons.  A post-apocalyptic Christmas would be interesting. :-)  

Keeping with the post apoclypotic theme, give us the quick rundown on your survival plan.

That's easy!  First get the hell out of London.  Second, find partners in crime who know how to do things like sail boats.  Next, haul ass to the coast and take a boat back to the US.  Find my family and hide out in Northern Idaho where guns are plenty and living off the grid is the norm.  

And just for fun, a little word association.

Coffee - Intravenous
Gin - Cocktails!
Chocolate - Orgasm
Sex - On the beach
Jericho Barrons - Who?  (Okay, I looked him up and ... NOM!)
Dragons - Everything's better ...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Taken Tuesday!

Less than a month until Taken hits your e-reader! For those who haven't seen the amazing cover yet, courtesy of Kendra Egret, check it out here.

Okay, so last week was hot and steamy. This week, we're heading back to the crime itself...kind of. Sorry, but I can't resist using these scene, for a variety of reasons. It is a bit on the longer side--but totally worth it.

     “Casey Lynn sure this is the place?” Jack shifted in his seat and tugged at his tie. “I’ll be honest; I’ve seen worse places a girl could be working.”
     “Samantha Abernathy wants to dance on stage. For her, this is about as close to rock bottom as she can get without falling straight into hell.” Even though the heat index outside was still close to triple digits, I shoved my arms into a cropped leather jacket. It suited the image we were going for. I did a quick glance in the visor mirror and a quick fluff of my hair. “Let’s get this done. Despite what you may think, I really didn’t plan to spend my evening watching naked women dance and look bored.”
     “Of course not. That’s what we have Cinemax for.”
    “I actually wanted to catch the Braves game tonight. I’m pretty sure we’ve seen everything Cinemax offers.” Jack laughed before getting out of the car, coming around to open the door and pull me to my feet. Tonight’s heels weren’t high enough to need the help, but I took it anyway. “Don’t laugh. Besides, I know you’d try and steal the remote and switch the channel over to the Giants.”
     “Guilty as charged.” Jack pressed the alarm on the key fob, the high-pitched beep echoing off the building walls. “Hard to believe Ground Zero is only a few blocks away from here.”
     “What’s more American than sex, drugs and rock ’n roll?” I leaned closer to him, brushing my lips over his ear. “Did you bring your gun?”
     “Don’t be stupid.” Jack pulled on my hair and poked a finger into my side. “Did I ask if you brought your Taser?”
     “It’s inside my jacket.” Along with my ID and a credit card with a two hundred dollar limit. No way in hell I’d bring cash and a decent card down in this area. NYPD may have cleaned up things, but it still wasn’t a walk in the park.
     “You’re not wearing it.”
    “Down here? Jack, I’d like to get through this without being mugged. Or worse.” Still, I squeezed his hand tight, until the tension eased from his fingers. “I’m putting it back on when I get home.”
     I stopped and turned to face him. Only two out of the five streetlights had bulbs, but that was enough to show his face, highlight the uncertainty. “Yes. I promise.”
    “Now I’ve got even more incentive to get this done and get home.” He pushed open the door, grimacing at whatever he’d touched. The gold lettering, faded and peeling, read Stacy’s Playground. “Did you bring hand sanitizer?”
    We stepped inside, taking a moment to adjust to the lack of lights. Bile rose in my throat at the sight of the overflowing garbage can in the corner, the plastic plant in front doing nothing to disguise the used condoms hanging from the rim. “Forget hand sanitizer. We’re gonna need a decontamination shower and a series of vaccinations.”
   “We’re completely up to health code here.” The hostess rasped out a cough, rich and full of phlegm. Turning her head, she spat in the direction of the garbage can. A set of impressive breasts, with the exception of the orange, leathery tone of her skin, rose from a shirt so tight she probably needed a straw to breathe. “Wanna see our papers?”
    “I’d rather not.” Jack pulled out a photo of Samantha, flashing it at the woman. “We’re looking for this girl.”
    “Shit. She do something?” Ignoring every ban on indoor smoking, she pulled out a mile long cigarette, touching the end to the flame of her plastic lighter. “She’s the best dancer we got. This place will go even further downhill you haul her in. Besides, everybody knows a solicitation charge is always trumped up. Fucking cops.”
    “Someone recommended her.” He slid the picture back in his inner jacket pocket, tugged at his tie, even though the knot was somewhere around the third button of his shirt. “My girl and I wanted to spend a little time with her.”
     The hostess’s glare bored through me and out the other side. I resisted the urge to shift around on my feet, instead scanning the room with practiced nonchalance. Jack pulled out his wallet, nipped a twenty out. He folded the bill in half, held it out. “She here?”
    The twenty disappeared in the orange cleavage, followed by another cough and spit. “She’s on stage right now. Middle of a song and then you can spend all the time you can afford with her.”
    Careful not to touch the walls, I followed Jack down the narrow hall, stopping when it opened into an even more dimly lit room. Mirrors reflected what little light there was, showcasing the tiny crowd around the even tinier stage. Loud music with a driving bass line blared, making the bottles on the bar vibrate. A handful of tables surrounded the stage.
     Samantha Abernathy dominated the entire scene.
    She wrapped one ridiculously long leg around the pole, shifted her weight, flipped upside down. Dark hair hung like a curtain, nearly touching the stage. Reaching up, nearly folding herself in half, she spun and landed on her knees. A whip of her head flung her hair behind her shoulders, bringing her face into view. The look was hard and predatory, despite the upward tilt of her lips.
    Her crawl toward the stage edge showcased long, lean muscles, tanned skin. Silver glinted in her ears and at her wrist. It complemented the few scraps of clothing she hadn’t stripped off yet, the silver pasties and G-string blinding in the strobe lights. As we watched, she slid a wad of bills into her garter and leaned forward until the man could bury his face between her breasts.
    I wondered if anybody else noticed the disgust that flashed over her face.
   Jack tugged on my hand, pulling me toward a table. I looked at the seat, shaking my head. “I’ll stand.”
    “Let’s pray the VIP room is better.”
    “Let’s pray they have a VIP room.” I started to lean back on a pillar, changing my mind. “Definitely scrubbing with bleach when I get home.”
     “You wanna take point on this?” Jack scanned the room and grunted. “Christ, this place is a dump.”
     “No, you talk with her. She doesn’t seem the type to be into girl chat.” The music ended, followed by a smattering of applause and whistles. Samantha scooped up the money on the stage, gave the pole a quick wipe, then descended the stairs to cross to the bar. A man too drunk or too stupid for common sense reached out, tried to touch her. Her fist connected with his jaw. She didn’t pause in her walk. “I kind of hope she’s not a criminal. Seems like my kind of girl.”
      We watched as the hostess came in and talked to the bartender who could have passed for her twin. The bartender took a stack of bills from Samantha, pointing in our direction. She pulled something over her head that might have been a dress and shook back her hair before walking toward us.
      “You wanted me?” She got points for the deliberately provocative question. More for the light husky tone to her voice, the artful skim of her fingers down Jack’s arm. The teasing smile was directed at both of us. More points. She might have hated her work, but she did an excellent job.
     “For a few minutes. Got someplace we can talk?” Jack pulled a hundred from his pocket, casually tucked the bill under the edge of her bra. “Both of us.”
     “Sure.” She pushed past us, dipping under a curtain with a sign above saying Private. She led us down a hall lined with doors, suspicious noises coming from behind most of them. Stopping at the last one, she cocked her head and pushed it open. “Come on in.”
     The room held a variety of chairs, a rickety table with a CD player, a rumpled cot. Shutting the door, she leaned against the dingy wood, apparently unconcerned with diseases. “The hundred’s a down payment. Single lap dance for the pair of you is another hundred fifty. Or you can do an hour for another four hundred. Anything involving that bed costs you at least a grand and don’t even think of asking unless you have a condom.”
     My eyes widened but I didn’t say anything. Either she had a very high opinion of herself, she was trying to hose the tourists, or she was that good. I’d bet the truth was a combination of all three.
    “How about you keep your clothes on, answer a few questions, and earn another hundred?” Jack pulled out his tape recorder, waggled it at her. “Or I can go ahead and haul you in for solicitation? And don’t give me any crap about entrapment.”
     “Fucking cops.” Samantha pushed off the door, fists clenched at her side. “Don’t you have a drug dealer or murderer you need to go arrest?”
     “Actually, we’re more concerned with finding your roommate.” I shoved my hands into my jacket pockets, fingering my own tape recorder. Jack’s was better, but it never hurt to have a backup. “And for the record, I’m not a cop.”
      Samantha narrowed her eyes, crossing her arms over her chest. “This about Audrey?”
     “Why? Did Shelly go missing since yesterday?” Shifting weight on my feet, I returned her glare, cocking my hip. “You don’t seem too concerned Audrey’s missing.”
     “Shelly’s the drama queen.” Samantha stalked over to a chair and dropped down on the seat. The frame creaked, but held. “Drama queen, fairy princess, total disconnect from reality.”
      “If you hate her, why have you roomed with her since college?” Jack placed the recorder on the table. She eyed it like most people eyeball rattlesnakes. Didn’t mean she couldn’t roll her eyes at his question.
      “I don’t hate her. I’m just not stupid enough to overlook her flaws.” She sighed and closed her eyes. Suddenly, she looked a lot younger than mid-twenties. “Shelly keeps thinking Audrey’s mom will take care of the bills, same way Audrey did. She’s not reading the writing on the walls.”
     “Which would be?” I eased myself down into a chair, perching on the very end. The dress wasn’t a favorite, but I still didn’t want to stand up and find something disgusting clinging to me.
     “Audrey’s gone. Maybe she’ll be back tomorrow. Chances are she won’t, whether she’s gone because she wants to be or because she doesn’t. But eventually, her dad’s estate is going to stop paying for shit, including the apartment.” Samantha opened her eyes, narrowed them. “Either of you got a cigarette?”
     We both shook our head and she snorted. “Course not. Anyway, when the rent stops getting paid, I’m going to need a place to live. Can’t get one without cash.”
    “So you only started working here after Audrey’s disappearance?” Jack remained standing, his back to the door. Given the general rickety appearance of the chairs, he probably had the right idea. “Because I’m pretty sure you didn’t mention any employment when I spoke with you before.”
      She snorted again. “Thought you looked familiar. Hot cop. But I see so many faces, I lose track of all but the big money ones.”
     “Still didn’t answer the question.” I bounced the question at her, shifting her focus back. “When’d you start working here? And why off the books?”
      “That’s two questions.”
      “Answer both of them. And then I got one for you.” Jack pulled out another hundred, waiting until her eyes latched on before putting it away. “And then we’ll go.”
      “Fine. I started working in May. Day shift. When I got better, I moved to evenings.” She crossed her legs, smirking. “And it’s off the books because the Stacys don’t believe in paperwork. They hate red tape of any kind.”
     “Not worried about putting all that money in the bank without a verifiable income source? The IRS will be knocking on your door soon enough you keep up the way you’re going.” Jack held up a finger. “That wasn’t the question.”
     “Aw, shucks. Here I thought we were done playing.” Samantha grinned, baring clenched teeth. “What then?”
     “Why would you think Audrey might want to be gone?” Jack paused, cocking his head. “Are you implying she left of her own free will?”
      The grin died, leaving her face blank. After a long moment, she snorted again. “I’m not implying anything. Audrey has everything she’s ever wanted, right at her fingertips.” She stood and straightened her clothes. “I got to get back to work.”
      Jack handed her the hundred, holding the door open long enough for her to exit. Crossing the room, he picked up the recorder and pressed the stop button. “Thoughts, Frankie?”
    “Someone’s getting played.” I stood, brushing my ass off. “Question is, who?”

Monday, October 17, 2011

Media Monday!

What have I been watching? Well, to be honest, I've been watching a lot of OnDemand. I never seem to actually watch a show when it originally airs--apparently, everything is past my body's self-appointed bedtime.

Just what have I been watching on OnDemand? Lots and lots of comedy. I actually watched two stand-up specials on Comedy Central that had me in hysterics. Seriously, my cats were looking at me like I'd just grown a second head. More specifically, I've been watching:
Katt Williams
Jeff Dunham
Ben Bailey
Gabriel Inglesies
Nick Swardson
Yes, I've been yucking it up. I tend to go through phases in my viewing patterns. I'll spend a week watching horror, then get bored and switch to musicals, bounce back into get the picture. Anyway, this week it's stand-up comedy. I'm actually rewatching a show right now. So, I must run, before I laugh myself into a coma over some of these jokes.

Friday, October 14, 2011

We Have a Cover!

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Food Friday for an announcement--TAKEN has a cover!

Food Friday!

To be honest--I have nothing to say about food today. My stomach has not been my friend this week, which makes me think I'm coming down with either the flu or a sinus infection, since for me, both start with a queasy stomach. And yes, I'm aware of how weird a symptom that is concerning a sinus infection.

It's either one of those, or I'm getting all the lovely morning sickness my newly pregnant friend ISN'T getting. She hasn't felt sick once, darn her to heck and back. I, however, have been icky feeling since Tuesday, with the strangest taste in my mouth. Now, I remember why I try not to be a sympathetic person. It does me no good at all.

So, I'll leave you with the promise that next week I'll have a new recipe of some kind for you. And now I'm off to go drink ginger ale.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Random Thursday!

Look, look, look! I changed my blog!

In anticipation of the release of TAKEN, I've changed the look of my blog. I'd like to think it better represents Frankie, Jack and everyone else than the previous happy, woody bit did.

Although, let me tell you, it was a pain in my you-know-what. And I have an intense hatred for stock photos now, and even more of an appreciation for graphic and cover artists the world over.

Now, off to the editing cave I go!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Taken Tuesday!

It's that time of the week again! Heads up, this excerpt is Steamy. I wanted to go in a different direction with Taken, exploring various kinds of relationships. Not everybody is cut out for straight monogamy. Some people like to... spice things up now and then.

     “All I’m saying is what you have isn’t conclusive.” Jack shoved a hand through his hair, tugged on the ends. “The transaction could have been authorized any time before she went missing. Hell, it could be a recurring thing.”
     “We checked. It’s not.” Lace whispered over my skin as I shifted in the chair, annoyance seeping into my voice. “Give me some credit, Jack. This ain’t my first rodeo. Besides, who the hell pays twenty grand to a matchmaker?”
     “You telling me you’ve never heard of the television show?” He tugged harder on his hair before easing a hip down onto the desk. “Frankie, let’s focus on getting the information we’re looking for, which is anything about Chad.”
     “You could still order a deeper — and legal — look at her finances.”
     “On what grounds? No one else is questioning the charges, at least not yet. When someone does, I can do something.” Jack leaned forward, twirled a lock of my hair.   “Right now, I have no idea Audrey Clark’s account is showing any activity. Hard to ask questions on subjects you shouldn’t know anything about.”
     I resisted the urge to snarl, because he was right. His hands were tied. “Fine. We’ll play this thing by ear for now. And stop messing with your hair. I’ll just have to fix it if you keep doing that.”
     “How much longer is Casey Lynn gonna take getting ready? She’s been in your excuse for a bathroom a good forty five minutes.” His fingers skimmed over my collarbone before trailing down toward my cleavage. “You wore this on purpose.”
     “If I hadn’t lied, I would’ve worn the blue one.” At his raised eyebrow, I shrugged. “Casey Lynn wanted to wear it, so I told her it was at the tailor’s.”
     “You could just say it’d been a gift.” Jack traced the lace over my breast, licked his lips when I sucked in a harsh breath. “Although that would raise questions about our relationship.”
     “Safety measure. One you agreed to.”
     “Ten years ago. Frankie.” He leaned down, brushed his lips over mine. We both sighed, leaned closer. “Don’t you think we can have a little bit of normal? I’m not asking you to settle down and iron my shirts. Just admit what we have is serious.”
     “Jack.” I wrapped my hand around his wrist, leaned back enough to look in his eyes. “Why does it matter? You and I know the truth. I’m yours, no matter who else I — or we — go to bed with.”
     “They’re words, Frankie. Just words. Why are they so hard to say?”
     “If they’re only words, why are they so important?” Sighing, my hand dropping away, I leaned back in the chair, fatigue swamping over me. “You know why I can’t say them. Not the way you can.”
     The bathroom door opened before Jack could answer. His hand slid away as he turned, but not before I caught the look on his face. We’d had the same discussion a hundred times. More, probably. Nothing ever changed.
     “Do you have any idea how hard it is to look like a country bumpkin after three years here? I actually had to look at pictures I took right before I left home to remember how shitty a hand I had with makeup.” Casey Lynn marched into the center of the room, spun a quick circle on red three inch heels. Red lace swaths covered her ass, cupped her breasts, blazed like fire against tanned skin. Curls bounced over her shoulders before settling in place. “Good? Please tell me I don’t have to start all over.”
     “You’re fine.” Even if she wasn’t, I would have lied. “Let Jack put the wire on you before you finish getting dressed and then we can go.”
      Jack flicked a look in my direction, one I answered with a tight smile. We both knew I had the experience to wire Casey Lynn. Just like we both knew I made him do it to pay him back for forcing the earlier conversation.
     Not like taping the wire to her breast was a severe hardship for Jack.
     I stood up, skirted the desk to lean against the front. Jack took the equipment out, laid it next to me. “You’ll have to help.”
     We both pretended to ignore Casey Lynn’s sucked in breath. Running my fingers over the flesh patch, I eyed him, tilted my head. “Sure thing, honey. Whaddya need me to do?”
     “Go stand behind her right now. I need to find the best place for this thing.” Jack stepped in front of her, gave her arms a brisk rub. “You okay with this?”
     Casey Lynn nodded, swallowed hard. “Sure. Fine. Let’s get the show on the road.”
     “Nervous, darlin’?” I brushed her hair behind her shoulders, my fingers teasing the straps of her bra. Over her shoulder, I watched Jack’s lips quirk briefly before he straightened them back into a frown. “We’re gonna be right there with you. Nothing to be worried about.”
     “Casey Lynn honey, I’m gonna need to place the mic under your breast. The dress is too low cut for any other position, even with the cover-up. Be downright horrible to get you close to our man and have him spooked because he caught a glimpse of something.” He flicked his glance to her face, lips quirking again. “Frankie, you mind undoing her back there?”
     I skimmed my fingers down her back, unhooked the bra slowly. Casey Lynn shivered under my hands, faint tremors. Pushing the straps down her arms, I watched Jack’s face as her breasts came into view. His jaw tightened, his eyes widened, for seconds before his face settled back into placid lines.
     “Good enough?” The straps bound her elbows by her waist, threw her balance off. I slid my hands up her sides, stopping a whisper away from the underside of her breasts. “Do you need me to hold them up?”
     Jack swallowed, the ordinarily faint sound loud in the quiet room. “It’d be helpful.”
    “You mind, darlin’?” Taking her silence for assent, I shifted my hands upward, cupped her breasts. “Good, Jack?”
     He nodded, the movement jerky. Leaning closer to Casey Lynn, I waited a beat before pressing my lips to her bare shoulder. She sucked in a deep breath, shifted restlessly. Jack’s hand gripped her waist to steady her, and I glanced down to watch his fingers flex against her skin.
     Even with my heels on, Casey Lynn topped me by a good four inches. I rested my chin on her shoulder, shifted my stance to press into her back. She whimpered, something both Jack and I pretended to ignore. His eyes met mine and I licked my lips, watched desire flash through his eyes.
     “Doing alright, Casey Lynn?” I turned my head slightly, laid my lips over her pulse where it beat frantic and erratic. “Jack’s got magic fingers, doesn’t he?”
     “I’m fine.” Casey Lynn sounded breathy yet strained and I chuckled. Her head tilted back on a whimpered moan. “Frankie.”
     “Shh, darlin’.” I closed my eyes, drew in a deep breath full of her perfume, candy sweet. “Almost finished. Right, Jack?”
     “Right.” His voice was hoarse, thready. His fingers shook where they brushed mine. “Need to put the patch on. You’ll have to wait a minute or two for it to dry.”
     A rustle of movement, and then I felt Jack’s hands in my hair. He yanked my head back, crushed his lips on mine. My body bowed back, my fingers tightening automatically. Through the roaring in my head, I heard Casey Lynn moan, deep and throaty.
     His tongue swept into my mouth, brushed over my own tongue, his growl muffled by the contact. One hand caught my chin, held me in place, while he took. I felt him, hard and ready where he pressed against my back, and shuddered. Want sliced through me, made me tremble. Teasing Jack was always a double edged sword.
    He tore his mouth away, stepped back. I swayed at the sudden loss, tipped into Casey Lynn. She turned her head slightly, craned her neck until her lips brushed over mine. We both sighed, shifted a fraction of an inch closer.
    “Jesus Christ. Stop, or we’ll never make it down there.” Jack didn’t wait for a response, but pulled me back, hands rough, shaking. Pressing his mouth to my ear, he whispered, “We’re bringing her home tonight. No arguments.”
     Casey Lynn turned and I bit my lip, Jack’s fingers digging into my ribs. Her eyes were wide and hazy, lips slightly parted. Her ragged breathing made her breasts rise and fall, the sight enough to make me dizzy. “I need a minute. In the bathroom.”
     Jack chuckled and I shivered. “No, you don’t. Get dressed so we can leave. The sooner we get this done, the sooner we can all go home.”
     “You planning on giving me a ride back to my place?” She drew the bra up, adjusted straps and hooks. When she looked up again, she sucked in a deep breath.
     “Yeah, darlin’. We’ll give you a ride.” Jack’s fingers pressed into the silk and lace of my dress, hot and possessive. “Soon as we get this taken care of.”
     Casey Lynn turned to the couch to pick up the red dress. Jack took the moment to whisper in my ear. “Tonight, I call the shots. Understand, Frankie?”
    My tremble didn’t come from fear. “Yes, Jack.”