Friday, August 31, 2012

#ThursThreads - Week 36 - Winners

Week 36 of #ThursThreads had some great tales! Thanks to all who entered this week. I'm honored to see all of you and read your stories. And it was great to have our returning regulars. Great thanks also goes to judge Alex Bowman for reading all the tales.

  • Ryan Strohman | @rastrohman
  • Wakefield Mahon | @WakefieldMahon
  • Robin Abess | @Angelique_Rider
  • Kimberly Gould | @Kimmydonn
  • Toni Wyatt | @Toni1777
  • Olivia Grambo | @KelseyPotter13
  • Sheilagh Lee | @SweetSheil
  • Cara Michaels | @caramichaels
  • Kel Heinen | @Aightball
  • Cameron Lawton | @CameronLawton
  • Susan Hayes | @capricia13
  • Siobhan Muir | @SiobhanMuir
  • Daniel Swensen | @surlymuse
  • Elaine Hillson | @tollykit
  • Rebecca Grace Allen | @RGraceAllen
  • Mark Ethridge | @LurchMunster
  • Clare Stubbs | @ClareStubbs2
  • Crystal | @NightOwlWrites
  • Chessny Silth | @ChessnySilth
  • Jeffrey Hollar | @Klingorengi
  • Mike E Miller | @MikeEMillerBook
  • Nellie Batz | @solimond
  • Rebekah Postupack | @postupak
Winners Announcement:

Honorable Mentions

Robin Abess | @Angelique_Rider
Alex says: Another great use of imagery. Loved that it was a bit darker, adding another element to the narrative.
Olivia Grambo | @KelseyPotter13
Alex says: Evocative, it made me feel the awkwardness of the narrator. Nice use of emotion.
Siobhan Muir | @SiobhanMuir
Alex says: Strong technically. Tight writing made it flow easily. It made me want to know more. (I'm ineligible as host, but I wanted to include Alex's comments)
Week 36 Winner

Ryan Strohman | @rastrohman

Alex says: The imagery was great -- I felt like I was sitting on the bus as I read it. Also, it's so divergent from the expected use of the prompt, so I liked that surprise as well as the little mini-twist at the end which changed my opinion of the narrator.
I never stood up for her, that pregnant woman on the bus. I didn’t even think of it at the time. I was too engrossed in reading over the headlines on my iPad. I didn’t even really look up. Or at least I can keep telling myself that.

Neither did a lot of people, I guess. The guy in the suit didn’t, but that was no surprise. He was on his cell phone, talking at a volume unfit for public transportation. Unfit for public, really. The college kid with the glasses and headphones didn’t stand up either. He just stared out the window.

The mother with her two young children looked like she would have if she’d been alone. She gave a sympathetic smile. And the elderly couple did the same, although I did see the old man rise a little before his wife pulled at his arm to stay. He wouldn’t have been able to manage standing with his oxygen tank.

I should have stood up for her. I know it. Why didn’t the others? A pregnant woman, appearing at least eight months along, forced to stand the entire trip from 5th to 42nd. As I checked the straps on my prosthetics, still adjusting to using them like this, the bus rolled to a stop. The pregnant woman passed me, and I ungainly rose and followed. Only then did I see my folly.

I didn’t have legs, but I did have manners. I should have stood up for her.

Congratulations Ryan, Robin, and Olivia! Claim your badges and display them with pride. You certainly earned it! :)

Pass on the great news on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, shiny mirrors, Morse Code, and signal flags. Check out all the stories here. Next week I'll be out of town at Authors After Dark in New Orleans so #ThursThreads will be postponed until August 16th 2012 and I hope to see you all back then. :)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

#ThursThreads - The Challenge That Ties Tales Together - Week 36

Welcome back to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked. It's Thursday again, so what should you be doing? Writing #FlashFiction, that's what! Welcome to Week 36 of #ThursThreads, the challenge that ties tales together. Need the rules? Read on!

Here's how it works:
  • The prompt is a line from the previous week's winning tale.
  • The prompt can appear ANYWHERE in your story and is included in your word count.
Rules to the Game:
  • This is a Flash Fiction challenge, which means your story must be a minimum of 100 words, maximum of 250.
  • Incorporate the prompt anywhere into your story (included in your word count).
  • Post your story in the comments section of this post
  • Include your word count (or be excluded from judging)
  • Include your Twitter handle or email (so we know how to find you)
  • The challenge is open 7 AM to 7 PM Pacific Time
  • The winner will be announced on Friday, depending on how early the judge gets up. ;)
How it benefits you:
  • You get a nifty cool badge to display on your blog or site (because we're all about promotion - you know you are!)
  • You get instant recognition of your writing prowess on this blog!
  • Your writing colleagues shall announce and proclaim your greatness on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus

Our Judge for Week 36:

The erotic romance author with the great taste in men, Alex Bowman.

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
The Prompt:

“I never stood up for her.”

All stories written herein are the property (both intellectual and physical) of the authors. Now, away with you, Flash Fiction Fanatics, and show us your #ThursThreads. Good luck! :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

5 Questions of a Paranormal and Science Fiction Romance Author, Kris Norris

Welcome back to the Weird, the Wild, and the Wicked. Today I have the honor of hosting paranormal and science fiction romance author Kris Norris with her newest release Between the Veils: After Dark! I met Kris at Authors After Dark 2012 in New Orleans, which is apropos because Between the Veils: After Dark takes place in New Orleans. Kris is an amazing woman, half author, half superhero (she flies helicopters! SQUEEEE!) and her storytelling style grabs you from the very beginning and holds on until the final word. Ms. Norris is graciously offering an e-copy of her newest release After Dark to a lucky commenter.

Welcome, Kris. Thank you for being with me today.

Now it’s my turn to Squeee! I just think it’s amazing that we met in New Orleans and it felt like we’d known each other forever…and since you’re an honorary Canadian, (yes, folks, she speaks my language, eh J) I’m thrilled to be here. Now brace yourselves, I tend to be…chatty.

You, chatty? Nah! LOL What started you on the path to becoming a romance author (since you already did something so cool like flying helicopters)?

Ah yes, why the sudden career shift. I know it sounds as if being a helicopter pilot would be the ultimate job, but…I’ll confess. I had kids. While I loved flying, pregnancy kind of sidelines you for a while and after having three fairly close together, it became evident that I needed to consider a different career path, at least for the time being. I know this might come as a shock, but…flying isn’t a 9 to 5 job! And one that’s hard when you have small kids.
So…I had this story idea running around in my head. One day I decided to try writing it down. It was on and off for a few years, yes years…having three young kids doesn’t give you a lot of spare time…then I finally finished it. But…I didn’t actually put that story out there. I wrote another, then another—fairly quickly—and those were the two I got published pretty fast. Deadly Vision was accepted a few months later by Total-e-Bound and Checkmate by Resplendence. And that first book…it’s Hard Target, which came out last year with Resplendence (and the female lead is a helicopter pilot turned guide…think there’s any of me in there?).

Can I just say that I love love love being a writer…and the main reason…I love being able to imagine I have different jobs, lol. I’ve had a number of ‘jobs’ over the past 20 years (helicopter pilot, I was in the military…yeah, I know…boat captain, 911 dispatcher) all of which tells you I like trying different things (that or that I can’t stick to anything for long, lol). Writing allows me to pretend I do different things, though I confess I tend to write about the stuff I’ve done already, lol…and you can see that’s definitely varied.

Woot! Hard Target is next on my TBR list! :D Congratulations on your recent release of After Dark. Introduce us to the main characters and premise of your story.

I have to say, the hero in this story is one of my favourites. Why? Because he starts off as an asshole. Yup, my heroine has him pegged…arrogant asshole. I actually wasn’t going to have Avery Smith as the main character, but then while writing Chapter One, the damn guy popped in out of nowhere and saved Temperance (my leading lady). It was like…wow, I didn’t know he was going to do that…damn, this means redemption. But I’m glad he did because I think they’re well suited. Writing their dialogue was way too much fun.

Oh, right, you’d asked about the premise of the story. See, I have ADS…attention deficit squirrel. The premise is simple. Temperance Dunnigan and Avery Smith are paranormal investigators. Avery, being independently wealthy, has arranged for a weeklong retreat in New Orleans for what everyone else thinks is a regular ghost hunting expedition. But, it turns out there’s something much more sinister going on…and in true fashion, Temperance walks straight into the middle of it and finds herself targeted by a demon. It then becomes a race to discover the truth behind the demon and how they can stop it. Oh and some hot loving just might happen along the way, wink, wink.

I still have my fan from NOLA. I'll be using it for this. Did anything in particular inspire this story?

This was actually inspired by a blog post I wrote. As part of being a featured author at AAD NOLA, there were a number of promo opportunities, and on one blog, we were asked to do either an interview or a story behind one of our characters, who was either from or worked in New Orleans. Since I didn’t have any characters that fit that bill already in existence (other than Kyle from Hard Target, but his views on NOLA weren’t exactly good ones, lol), I decided to write the first chapter of a story, which would be based in New Orleans. From that, Chapter One of After Dark was born…and I have to say it hasn’t changed much at all from the original post. Then, when discussing the book idea with my editor, we decided that it warranted a series and that the names of all the books would correspond with a particular time…this one After Dark, lol.

Okay, I just have to know. What got you into flying helicopters (and can you teach me how :D)?

I actually started off flying small planes when I was 16 (a family friend got me hooked with trips in his plane)…and I honestly thought that would be my career path of choice. I chose helicopters because there’s just something incredible about hovering. It might sound crazy, but holding this magnificent machine stationary above the ground…yeah, it’s sexy. And I guarantee you that once you get a taste of it, you never want to go back to planes. Hell, I’d take a chopper over a jet any day. And yes, I could teach you. Much of my time as a pilot was as an instructor…so I got paid to have people try to kill me… cause yeah, learning to fly choppers is pretty damn hard—way harder than planes.

Unfortunately, being a helicopter pilot is not an easy road for a mother…shifts take you away from home for months at a time and even if you get a job where you don’t travel, the hours are ridiculous. So I had to make a decision, and fortunately, I found something just as amazing as flying…writing. And while I miss it, my kids are so worth being around to see grow up…wouldn’t change it for anything.

What other projects are on the horizon for you that we’re likely to see?

I seem to be spreading myself a bit thin, lol…as I have a lot projects in the works.

I’ll be finishing this series… Between the Veils. The next book, High Noon, is due out late October (bearing any schedule changes, lol) then the other two (4 in total) by early 2013.

I’m also halfway done my next ‘Til Death book… the third in the series, which will complete it. Partway in on the next Dark Prophecy book, also book 3, and I have a zombie series I’ve started…oh, and don’t forget, when the zombie apocalypse happens, you’ll want to head north… to Canada, eh. That cold has got to slow them down with parts freezing and falling off…just saying.

Freeze them all! :D Thank you for joining me today, Kris, and we look forward to all your upcoming releases!

Woo hoo. I had a blast. Thanks for inviting me (like I gave her a choice, folks, lol) You know us Canadians are secretly planning an invasion, so this is all part of the infiltration…muhaw. (waves hand in the air) These are not the droids you’re looking for and resistance is futile. (yes, I’m a sci-fi girl at heart)

Kris Norris is graciously offering an e-copy of Between the Veils: After Dark to one lucky commenter. To win a copy of Between the Veils: After Dark, just leave a comment with your views on ghosts…are you a believer, non-believer or somewhere between? Oh, and if you’ve had any ghostly encounters, feel free to tell me… I love the paranormal and hearing about personal experiences with spirits. Leave a valid email address or Twitter handle with your comment so we can notify you when you win. The contest ends at 8:00 pm PDT on Thursday, August 30th. You must be 18 years or older to win and please void where prohibited. The winner will be announced here Friday, August 31st.

If you can't wait that long, you can find a copy of After Dark at:

You can find Kris at…

And be sure to check out Kris’s other releases from Total-e-Bound and Resplendence Publishing.

Or you can get all the titles at All Romance eBooks on my author page…

EXCERPT of Between the Veils: After Dark:

Avery pulled into the hotel parking lot, shoving his car into first gear as he yanked on the parking brake. He didn’t miss the loud pounding of his heart in his head or the way his hands trembled on the stick. He could still hear the bellowing voice of the demon and feel the searing heat it had directed at Temperance. God, if he hadn’t learned of her plans and headed for the cemetery...
    He glanced over at her, watching as she stared out the window. She seemed lost in thought, her deep blue eyes reflected in the glass. He’d never realized how beautiful she was, her unruly hair hanging in a tangle of curls around her face, her pale skin hued with a deep pink blush. Her worn sweater hugged her curves, accentuating pert breasts and a lean waist. And her jeans—fuck, they skimmed over an ass better than any fantasy he’d ever imagined. She wasn’t skinny, but firm and athletic, with a strength that had surprised him. Being several inches taller than her, he’d expected to have to drag her behind him when they’d run down the aisle between the tombs, but she’d matched his every step, nearly beating him to his car.
    Avery sighed and ran a shaky hand through his hair. He wasn’t quite prepared for the sudden shift of his feelings toward her, not that he had any real idea how he felt. All he knew was that he wasn’t ready to let her out of his sight just yet.
  Temperance turned toward the windshield, startling when she realized they’d stopped. She looked over at him, those perfectly sculpted lips pursed into the cutest damn pout he’d ever seen. They were all pink and shiny, and he wanted nothing more than to sink his hand into her tousled hair and taste that smooth skin with his tongue. His cock jerked in his pants, and he cursed the cruel humor in the situation. He’d invited her because of her skill. Because she was the one investigator who showed true talent and a natural chemistry for uncovering the paranormal.
    He’d had absolutely no attraction to her, until she’d shown up on his doorstep, bag hooked over her shoulders, a hesitant smile on her face. He knew what she thought of him...that he was nothing more than a rich, arrogant prick who’d used his money to further his career. But the fact she’d still agreed to be part of the team had told him everything he’d needed to know about her. She was here to hone her craft, plain and simple. And he’d been more than happy to keep it that least that’s what he’d thought.
    Then she’d smiled, and his damn heart had done a somersault in his chest. He’d found himself staring at her. Watching her work, hell, watching her eat. Every movement, every small gesture was like a caress to his body, and he’d spent the better part of the past twenty-four hours cursing his ever-present hard-on...just like now.
       Temperance looked away for a moment then sighed, glancing back at him. “I suppose I owe you an apology.”
    He raised an eyebrow. That wasn’t what he’d been expecting, and he couldn’t help but be intrigued by the unusual comment. “What for?”
    Her gaze shifted before she made direct eye contact. “I had you pegged as the kind of guy who only saved his own ass.”
    “And not those of my guests?”
    A hint of a smile touched her mouth. “Exactly.”
   He chuckled. “You know, Temperance, calling me a self-centered ass isn’t really an apology.”
   Her smile widened. “I never called you an ass.”
   “Not to my face.” He resisted winking at her. “You really should be more careful about talking on your cell around here. The walls inside are obnoxiously thin.”

    Her eyes widened, but she didn’t flinch as she continued to watch him. “And your reputation precedes you.”

    “You can’t believe everything you see on television.”

    “So you’re telling me you’re not an arrogant ass?”

    He flashed her a genuine smile. “Guess you’ll just have to wait and find that out for yourself...if you manage to stay alive long enough.”

Thank you so much for stopping by and don't forget to leave Kris a comment to win. Happy reading. :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

#ThursThreads - Week 35 - Winners

Week 35 of #ThursThreads had some great tales! Thanks to all who entered this week. I'm honored to see all of you and read your stories. And it was great to have our returning regulars. Great thanks also goes to judge Kris Norris for reading all the tales.

  • Toni Wyatt | @Toni1777
  • Elaine Hillson | @tollykit
  • Sheilagh Lee | @SweetSheil
  • Robin Abess | @Angelique_Rider 
  • Cameron Lawton | @CameronLawton
  • Wakefield Mahon | @WakefieldMahon
  • Ryan Strohman | @rastrohman
  • Jeffrey Hollar | @Klingorengi
  • Kel Heinen | @Aightball
  • Rebekah Postupack | @postupak 
  • David A Ludwig | @DavidALudwig
  • Mark Ethridge | @LurchMunster
  • @LupusAnthropos
  • Jalisa Blackman | @J_M_Blackman
Kris says: First let me thank Siobhan for bestowing the incredible and might I add nearly impossible honor of being this week’s judge. I had a fabulous time reading through all the entries. I have to say…what a talented group of writers. I think Siobhan picked the hardest week for me to judge. I’ll admit outright—this was a tough decision. So many of the stories grabbed me from the get-go, I had to read each of the selections more than a few times to finally choose a winner. But, alas, a winner there must be so…
Winners Announcement:

Honorable Mentions

David A Ludwig | @DavidALudwig
Kris says: I loved the premise of this story, especially the idea of the two most dreaded four letter words. I can easily relate to those words...sad, but true. And let's face it...I can't imagine that there's anyone reading this that hasn't shoved a foot in their mouth. Though my favourite line was how "I read her expression to be F*** you, so naturally I stayed"...brilliant! I'm not usually a fan of first person, but David pulled it off with style and flare. Good first person makes me forget I'm reading it and David, you succeeded. I'll was a tough choice between this story and this week's winner...I was on the fence for a long time, so I tip my hat to you David. Great job.
Mark Ethridge | @LurchMunster
Kris says: A touching story about survivor guilt and how it haunts one every step of the way. Mysoulstears did a great job of immersing me into the heart of the story. I felt as if I was standing there, watching the coffin lower with the other onlookers. And I liked the description of the umbrellas looking more her.
Jalisa Blackman | @J_M_Blackman
Kris says: Zombies...and one of them is the very teacher she's been crushing on... I love it! Great premise and great descriptions. I particularly enjoyed the bit about how his lips would touch her in a way far less daydream-ish....fabulous. Nothing quite so endearing as a good fantasy shot to hell. 

Week 35 Winner

Kris says: (insert a exuberant clapping of hands and a chorus of angels singing from the heavens above). This is a brilliant gem about the failings of an old man...or at least what he sees as his failings. Having witnessed a violent rape, ten years later he's still haunted by the fact he didn't do anything to help the girl. Or perhaps he's just haunted by the fact he didn't accept the ride so he didn't have to witness it...crap shoot here and it could go either way...What I loved most about this story was how the dialogue and style stayed true to the character, giving a clear picture of what the man must have been like. I sometimes find dialect to be cumbersome, but Jeffrey kept it flowing. Excellent job Jeffrey!
Rail Yard Regrets

Now, “Why didn’t I take up my friends on the ride home?” you might ask. Simple answer. Ain’t easy getting’ on in years and sure as hell ain’t easy when the damned State decides you ought not to drive no more. So, call it jest plain ole stubborn pride. Besides, weren’t that long a walk if’fn ya cut ‘crost the rail yards and that were how I went.

Didn’t see ‘em till were damned near too late. She were a pretty little thing, pale as a snowflake. Well she was down on that cold, hard ground and the two of ‘em was havin’ they way with her somethin’ fierce.

I musta kicked me a can or somethin’, cause they stopped of a sudden. She seen me first and, in her eyes, were a look damned near broke my heart. Pleadin’…beggin’…don’t rightly know, to this day, what to call it. They seen me, too, and weren’t nothin’ but harm, plain and simple, on they minds.

Well, I may not git around like I used to, but I knew me them rail yards good an’ I run fer all I was worth till I lost them fools. Now, I read in the papers ‘bout them findin’ her body and 'bout not findin’ nobody to blame fer it. That were ten years gone by now. I never stood up fer her. Weren’t no hero or nothin’ to do me a fool thing like that. But anybody offer now? I’ll takes me a ride.

Congratulations Jeff (you made it!), David, Mark, and Jalisa! Claim your badges and display them with pride. You certainly earned it! :)

Pass on the great news on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, shiny mirrors, Morse Code, and signal flags. Check out all the stories here. Next week I'll be out of town at Authors After Dark in New Orleans so #ThursThreads will be postponed until August 16th 2012 and I hope to see you all back then. :)