Sunday, December 15, 2013

Release Week for Blood Gift!

Have you seen this?  I can't stop happy dancing to think my book has been mentioned in USA Today!

It's been a wonderful release week for Blood Gift and thank you to everyone who stopped by Release Party on Facebook and who has bought and/or started to read my book!

Please do me a huge favor and review it on Amazon and Goodreads and Loose Id.  I'd really like to build momentum for this one!

My blog tour continues through January, so please stop by at the various blogs and leave me comments.  Don't forget to enter the giveaway. You could win a copy of the book and a $25 gift certificate to Amazon or B&N!

I'll be on Blog Radio in January talking about my vampires and I'm busy on the sequel which has a working title of Blood Bondage.

Thank you so much for your continued support and Happy Holidays!

Oh, and I'm trying to figure out a new name (and look) for this blog.  I welcome suggestions in the comments below!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Vampires on Parade!

I'm embarking on a blog tour with Blood Gift!

The schedule can be found here  You can also enter to win a e-copy of the book and a $25 giftcard from Amazon or B&N.

Today I'm visiting For Whom the Book Tolls where I discuss (among other things) the hardest scene to write and why.

Hope you'll join me!



Saturday, November 23, 2013

Cover Reveal and Countdown to Release of The Circle: Blood Gift

On December 10th, something personally momentous is going to happen.  My vampire novel, The Circle: Blood Gift will be released by Loose Id.  Some of you might know I began writing the first rendition of this novel back in 2006, post-Katrina.  Writing was the major way I dealt with losing my home in New Orleans and the abrupt upheaval of my life.

The first three or four years after Katrina were hard ones for me. I had to give up my home in a city I adored and try to make myself like Houston (something I still struggle with eight years later). I lost all four of my beloved cats to old age and various illnesses. My marriage broke up which left me without a best friend for a while, and it seemed like the whole world conspired against me.

Writing saved my sanity and characters like Anabel, Andre, Parker, Oliver, Gareth, Neal, Harry and Denis  helped me make it day to day.

I got through my crisis years and moved on. I published my debut novel, Beneath the Skin and began to write a series around the two main characters, Stanzie and Murphy.

But I never forgot my vampires.

About a year ago I dug them up from dusty old files and gave them a new spin. Some of the original cast didn't make the cut, and one major character, Anabel, became Claire, someone completely new, yet with some of Anabel's core characteristics.

I came up with what I thought was a pretty damn good novel. I sent it out for submission.  The first publisher sent me a generic rejection letter. The second sent me a personalized one telling me I *just missed*. The third publisher sent me a revise and resubmit letter.  Could I make these changes? If  I could, they would love to see my novel again.

Three months and buckets of tears later*, I resubmitted and the day I received the acceptance letter, I nearly burst with joy.

On December 10th, this novel, now titled The Circle: Blood Gift (does that give you  a hint this means the book is the first in a series?  Well, maybe it should!) will be released. I hope you will come with upon my journey as the book tours with Buy The Book Tours.  If you are a blogger and want to host me on this tour, you can sign up here.

For now I will leave you to sink your fangs..err.. feast your eyes upon the cover.  Isn't it gorgeous?  Mina Carter at Loose Id did a fabulous job, didn't she?   See you on December 10th!
* This book is so personal to me, revising it dredged up a lot of personal issues and angst. But it was all worth it. I think this final version is better than any of the versions that came before it. So get ready for an adventure!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Autumn Activity

Right this moment I am sunk deep into editing my latest novel. Yes, my vampire novel, The Circle, got a contract!  With Loose Id no less!  I have no cover reveal yet, but the novel is out December 10th and when I get more info, I will update here.

Other news - The Wolf Within series is moving!  The first six novels have been published by (and will continue to reside with) Lyrical Press. However, moving forward Stanzie and Murphy will be investigating mysteries in the Great Pack at Dark Continents Publishing.  I'm extremely excited because now I get to work with the talented Nerine Dorman again as my editor.  She edited the first three Stanzie novels so it is like full circle going back to work with her.

I've also completed a paranormal romance about gargoyle shifters called Heart of Stone. I am sending it out on submission next month to a variety of agents and publishing houses to see where it will land.  Wish me luck!

The Wolf Within series is on  tour currently. Check out the schedule and drop by to visit if you can. Don't forget to enter the drawing for all six of the series novels and a $15 giftcard!

Now I must fly back to my edits. I am in the middle of crafting a fantasy scene between the heroine, Claire, and her vampire lover, Andre. EEK!

Before you go, check out my Pinterest boards. They'll give you a glimpse into my wolf shifters, vampires and gargoyle worlds.

Happy Autumn and I'll talk to you all soon!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sneak Peek Sunday - More from The Circle 2 - Vampire Erotic Paranormal Romance

More from the Circle 2.  This one is R-rated for sure.

***
I kissed him because I couldn't resist. His mouth moved against mine as he whispered my name. Inside my head, I envisioned a golden, sparkling net which I cast out toward him. Sometimes when I did this mental exercise, I netted his thoughts. A guilty pleasure because most of the time, he was thinking of me.
“God, I love you so much, Claire. Full of golden light, that’s you. Why can’t you see yourself as I see you? Just once I’d like you to look in the mirror and see what I see. Just once.”
He found the zipper tab in the back of my crumpled gown and pulled. The gown slid to the floor and I stepped out of the circle of silk and kicked it away. Naked, I pressed against Andre as his hand covered the X on my back and the red circle around it.
I nicked my tongue against one of his fangs and at the taste of my blood, he hissed and lifted me up into his arms. Never stopping our kiss, he carried me to his bed and gently let me down on the mattress. I watched him undress. First his shirt dropped to the floor, then his pants and socks. His body was fucking hot. Sleek, muscled, male. His erection jutted straight up, pointing at the ceiling and when he moved to the bed, I slid across the mattress so I could take him in my hand. One pearlescent drop of moisture glittered on the tip of his penis and I licked it away. He fisted my hair with both hands and watched me, his dark eyes dreamy with lust. Love. Andre loved me. The only person in the whole world who ever had.
I loved him too. So much. But I was afraid to tell him. Love was so strange and giddy a concept. I wanted to savor it, understand it. I wanted to tell him, but something inside me always held back. My self-esteem was shaky at best and while I was slowly coming to believe myself worthwhile, I just wasn't ready to be so vulnerable and tell him I loved him. I didn't seem to do things right and this was so important I had to have it perfect. Anyway, he knew I loved him, how could he not?  It was all right there every time I touched him. 

I wanted him to always look at me the way he was right now. Always want me the way I wanted him. Always.
***

If you want more Sneak Peeks from other authors, go here:  More Sneak Peek Sunday Blogs

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sneak Peek Sunday - More From The Circle 2

More from the Circle 2.  :)  Sunday Sneak Peek time again!

***


“You think you can help me? How?" I asked.
 “I’m your trigger. You heard Oliver tonight. I’m the one who’s supposed to get a handle on this thing. We’re in this together, okay?”
I stared at Andre, vulnerable and alone. He swore beneath his breath and rolled to his feet with his effortless, vampiric grace so he could come to me.
For the first time since we’d left Oliver’s warehouse, I allowed him to embrace me. He smelled so good. He felt so damn wonderful.
“I could lose myself in you,” I whispered, winding my arms around his neck. The rapid thud of his heartbeat matched mine.
“No.” He combed his fingers through my snarled hair. “We find ourselves in each other, Claire. My strength is yours if you’ll just take it.”

***
Want more from other authors?   Find them here!:  http://sneak-peek-sunday.blogspot.com/

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sneak Peek Sunday - Andre and Claire

More Sneak Peek Sunday from my second vampire novel in my Circle series. Which, alas, is as yet unpublished.  The first novel is out on the submission mill, so cross your fingers for me!

***


“I wouldn't be able to choose the memory. It could be anything horrid from his past. It probably would be awful knowing my luck. This fucking Enhanced power never seems to have any positive uses. It’s always negative. Always.”  I scrambled away from Andre, intent on escape, but there was nowhere to go.
“You influence mortals. You read their minds and you help them. I've seen you do it, Claire.” More patience. The man was a saint and I was a frigging demon from hell he’d been tasked to care for.
“Oh, yeah. So I make lovers forget why they’re angry at each other and once I gave a homeless man ten pounds and told him to take the offer of work in the shelter. Big frigging deal. And anyway, that’s mortals. What I have done for the Circle with my power?  What positive thing have I ever done for anybody here?”
“ You've brought me joy,” he told me. And looked so fucking miserable as he said it.
“Yeah, I’m Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the fucking Easter Bunny all rolled up into a sexy package with blond hair and big boobs. Yeah, I’m wonderful, aren't I?” I stalked to the window and stared down into Hyde Park. Bare branches, dirty patches of snow. Ugly. Filthy and barren as my thoughts were tonight.
“Claire.” Andre held out his hand and the stubborn idiot truly expected me to rush across the room and take it. “We can’t make the shared memories stop if we don’t know how they work.”

***

Find more authors' stories here:  More Participating Sneak Peek Sunday Blogs

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sneak Peek Sunday - Claire and Andre Make Plans

More from the Circle 2!  Andre is Claire's trigger -- which means he is her best shield against the thoughts of mortals overwhelming Claire as her powers ramp up.  He's also her lover and her master. The Circle is set up in a master/apprentice mentorship.  Masters guide. They don't own. Every master has a different style. I kinda like Andre's, but then I'm biased since I wrote him!  :)

Last week Claire was searching for a way to make it up to Ursula for sharing her terrible memory of being stabbed by her john when she was a mortal prostitute. Secrets from mortal life are like currency in the Circle. Guarded jealously and shared only between intimates, Claire's ability to read minds and share/see memories threatens to topple the delicate balance of the Circle and everyone in it.

***

Do you think if I told her I killed Stephen, it would make things better?” I asked. Stephen. My drug addict boyfriend. The last one I’d had before I’d been Turned. He’d been an abusive fuck and I’d let him shoot up an extra strong dose of heroin without warning him it was more than he was used to. Then I’d watched French television while he’d died on the bathroom floor. Four years ago. Four seconds ago. My atrocity was never far from my mind.
“You didn't kill him.” Andre’s voice was flat. “And, no, it wouldn't make things better. Getting control of your powers is the only thing that might.”
“I have no idea how I shared her memory. I've never shared them before. I've seen people’s memories. They come at random. I don’t try to make them happen.” I squeezed my eyes shut and rocked back and forth on the mattress.
“I’m going to ask Gareth to help us. Have him come round here so we can practice.”
“You want to try to make them happen?  Force a shared memory?” I lifted my head so I could stare at him. You heard Oliver. It’s an abomination. It’s rape. I can’t do that on purpose. I can’t, Dre!”
“If we’re trying to do it, Gareth would have full knowledge that it was going to happen. That’s not rape, that’s consensual.” Andre’s voice was gentle. He was so damned patient with me. 

***

You can find more great Sneak Peeks here:  Sneak Peek Sunday Bloggers

Please leave a comment. I love feedback!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sneak Peek Sunday - Claire and Andre in The Circle 2

More from The Circle 2!  Wish me luck getting a contract for The Circle (the first book in this series). It's out on submission (again).  I am going to find a home for these vampires and it is going to be an awesome one!

***

“Angel, talk to me.” Andre sat close beside me on the mattress on the floor. I’d taken refuge in my room when we’d arrived at our Knightsbridge flat. For months I’d meant to decorate the room – at least get a bed frame, but since I slept with Andre in his room, I hadn't gotten around to it. Since the night the circles had appeared around our Circle marks, we’d been inseparable. Mostly we’d made love. We should have been working on how to control my powers, but we’d had so much lost time to make up.
Regret and shame tasted sour on my tongue and I buried my face in my drawn up knees. I couldn't get the image of Ursula’s petrified expression as she’d been stabbed out of my head. God, if only I could scrub my eyes with a wire brush the way I could the kitchen sink when it got dirty.Both of us stank of old blood. We needed baths and clean clothes.
“Does she have a scar?” Over and over I saw the knife plunge into Ursula’s back. Jesus, that had to have hurt like hell. She wore backless gowns, but I couldn't remember seeing a scar. Why was there no scar? “From the knife when she was stabbed?”
“No. When you Turn, all your scars heal,” Andre reminded me.
“But you knew she was a prostitute before she was Turned?” My voice was muffled by the blood-red sheets that shrouded my knees. They smelled stale. I only used this room as a glorified closet. I hadn't spared a thought for washing the sheets in ages.
“Oliver told me before he let me Turn her. Asked if it made a difference to me. With my past indiscretions, I could hardly have objected. She volunteered that information exactly one time, ten years later. I never said a word to anybody. Of course, she also mentioned it to Parker, who did tell everyone. By the time he told you, it was old news, although I suppose Neal didn't know. But it’s a sore spot with her.” Andre made sure to keep his body in contact with mine, but he made no move to embrace me. If he had, I would have pushed him away because I didn't deserve comfort. But his touch was the only thing that kept me anchored. I was one breath away from howling. I hated myself. Ursula was a bitch, but I’d had no fucking right to expose her the way I had. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sneak Peek Sunday - The Circle 2 - Oliver, Claire and Andre

More from my vampire novel, Circle 2.  Still have fingers crossed the first one will sell!

Today we pick up with Oliver expressing his...disappointment to Claire and Andre

***


What a disappointment you are, Claire. I was told you bonded with your trigger, but that red circle says otherwise.” Oliver turned from the window to pin me with his awful gaze. Exposed, I could only stare back and hope like hell my goddamn game face was in place.

“Oliver, we both felt the bond snap into place. The circles prove something happened. You said we’d know when our bond formed, and we did.” Andre’s game face was perfect. His tone was not precisely argumentative, but Oliver’s mouth tightened and a spurt of fear licked down my spine.

I’d felt something that night when Andre and I had made love after three months of keeping each other at arm’s length. Months of misunderstanding and reproach. But even then I hadn't truly known we’d bonded. Andre told me we had and I’d accepted that when I’d seen our altered marks. But why was mine red and his black?  What did that mean?

“I can tell by your expression, my dear, that you know precisely what I’m talking about.” Oliver’s voice was a silken threat. For a second, Andre’s game face slipped, and he looked scared and vulnerable. Betrayed. My temples pounded and I resisted the urge to rub them and give away the fact my head hurt.

“What you did tonight was an abomination.” Oliver didn't need to strike me physically. I reeled from the force of his tone just as I would have from his fist. “Sharing memories without consent is rape, Claire. I do not ever want it to happen again.”

My vision blurred. Shit. Was I going to faint?  Panic, bright and huge, blinded me, but there was nowhere to run. Pain walloped me between the eyes and I tasted the blood a split second before I felt the warmth of it on my lip. My nose was bleeding. A roaring noise blotted out what Oliver said next. I only saw his lips move and then he thrust a linen handkerchief at me and my clogged senses became crystal clear once more. My heartbeat was so damn loud, I was sure Oliver and Andre were deafened by it. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sneak Peek Sunday - Vampires and the Circle 2

After a couple of weeks of disappearing into the woodwork to play in Las Vegas and write a novel about gargoyles, I'm back with six more paragraphs from the Circle 2

When we left off, Oliver, the vampire Circle Master, had ordered Claire and her master, Andre into his office to "discuss" the fact she could share memories. Oliver wanted to see her Circle mark..

***

My head hurt. Both temples throbbed with bursts of sharp pain.
My gown was strapless, black and blue sequined tiers to my ankles. A simple tug at the zipper in back and it fell to the floor in a whisper of lace. I wore nothing underneath. I swiveled to present my back and Oliver moved toward me. I braced myself for a blow, but merely felt the trace of his fingertip as he touched the red circle around the black X. Gebo, the X, was a Nordic rune. Oliver’s Circle mark. We all had one in the same spot on left-hand side of our lower backs. Mine was now enhanced with a red circle. Andre had a matching circle, only his was black.
“Red.” The word was an accusation. “Yours, Andre?”
“Black, sir,” said my master. He moved his fingers to the buttons on his shirt. “Shall I show you?”
“No need.” Oliver moved toward the breathtaking view of London’s wharves from the floor to ceiling warehouse windows by his desk. “Her powers are growing. You, as her trigger, need to get a handle on them or she will destroy my Circle.”  He contemplated the view, his handsome profile thrown into sharp relief by the lights.
I desperately wanted to put my dress back on, but he had not given me leave. The office was chilly and I shivered as I looked out at the black water of the icy Thames. February in London was such an unforgiving, dirty month. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Jennifer Lowery Talks Murphy's Law and So Do I!

Today I've got the lovely Jennifer Lowery visiting.  She's got a hot new contemporary romance, Murphy's Law, out available from Lyrical Press.  Here's a bit about the book to whet your appetites.  Don't forget to read my review at the very end!  How many stars did I give Murphy's Law?



Murphy’s Law/Contemporary Romance

Blurb:
Tag: Nowhere to go. No place to hide.
Home is the last place Jon Murphy can go. After being held captive in Tazbekistan, he returns to the States only to find he can’t face his mom and sisters with what he did while he was a prisoner, so he retreats to the mountains.
Widow Sara Sheldon has made a lifetime of mistakes and is now running scared from her husband’s powerful family, who are determined to take her daughter away from her. When her little girl goes missing in the Rockies, Sara enlists the only help she can find: a gruff recluse with tracking skills to admire and a body to covet.
A storm strands Sara and her daughter at Murphy’s cabin, leaving her no choice but to hope her in-laws don’t catch up while she plans where to run next. Murphy resents the invasion of his privacy, but can’t seem to keep his mind--or his hands--off Sara. How can she stand to look at him, with all his scars? He’s not nearly as honorable as she might think…only enough to make sure she’s safe, and then he’ll go back to being alone, the way he should be.
CONTENT WARNING: Sexual content
A Lyrical Press Contemporary Romance

Excerpt:
Copyright 2013, Jennifer Lowery
All rights reserved, Lyrical Press, Inc.
Murphy sat at the kitchen table, half in the shadows created by the soft light glowing above the stove, hair tousled from sleep. Naked to the waist. A bottle of amber liquid sat in front of him, an empty glass in his hand. Her gaze landed on his muscled shoulders and trailed across his tanned chest. So much for getting him out of her mind. Now she had the real thing to dream about. Looking at the dark hairs that veed down his chest and disappeared behind the table, she decided he’d been right. He was a dangerous man.

She tore her gaze away from temptation and looked at the granite lines of his face. Beneath the hardness of his expression, something haunting lingered. Drawn, she circled the table to the opposite end.

Murphy met her eyes with coldness that should have sent her running for the safety of her room, but she remained standing in place. He wanted to chase her away. This time she wasn't running.

“Mind if I join you?” She grabbed a glass and from the cupboard and reached over his shoulder for the bottle.

His hand snaked out and wrapped around hers, preventing her from pouring a drink.

“I mind,” he growled.

“Well, get over it. I need a drink.”

Scowling, he let go of her hand and allowed her to pour a glass for herself. She refilled his glass next, set the bottle on the table, moved to the chair beside him and sat, lifting her glass.

“Cheers.” She brought the glass to her lips. His gaze as she drained the glass made her fight the urge to cough as the fiery liquid burned its way down her throat. Seconds later she felt the familiar warming sensation as it numbed her insides. Her eyes filled with tears. She blinked them away and reached for the bottle.

Murphy held it away from her. “What are you doing?”

“Having a drink. I’m not in the mood for warm milk tonight.”

His eyes darkened and narrowed. “You don’t strike me as the drinking type.”

She wasn't  but tonight it sounded good. Maybe it would soothe away her problems and make her forget how screwed-up her life was. Talking about Kent earlier had brought back painful memories. She didn't want to feel that misery anymore.

“Maybe you don’t know my type,” she said.

He studied her closely for a moment before rubbing a hand over his face. “Go back to bed, Sara. Sleep it off.”

“I don’t want to sleep it off. I’m tired of thinking about it.”

Maybe it was the whisky, or his naked chest, or the part of her that had been dormant for six years coming back to life. More than anything she wanted to discover it with Murphy, her strong, scarred hero.
She rose to her feet. He watched warily as she stepped in front of him and positioned herself between him and the table. He leaned back in his chair and sent her a thunderous look.

“You and I are alike in many ways, Murphy,” she said softly. “ We've both lost pieces of ourselves we can’t ever get back and it has forced us into a life of loneliness and solitude. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being alone.”

He pinned her with a hard glare. “I’m not what you want. Go back to your room before I do something we’ll both regret in the morning.”

His harshly spoken words sent little electrical shocks through her body.

“I’m tired of people telling me what I want.”

Author Bio:
Jennifer Lowery grew up reading romance novels in the back of her math book and on the bus to school, and never wanted to be anything but a writer.  Her summers were spent sitting at the kitchen table with her sisters spinning tales of romance and intrigue and always with a tall glass of ice tea at their side. 
Today, Jennifer is living that dream and she couldn't be happier to share her passion with her readers.  She loves everything there is about romance.  Her stories feature alpha heroes who meet their match with strong, independent heroines.  She believes that happily ever after is only the beginning of her stories. And the road to that happy ending is paved with action, adventure, and romance. As her characters find out when they face danger, overcome fears, and are forced to look deep within themselves to discover love.  
 Jennifer lives in Michigan with her husband and two children.  When she isn't writing she enjoys reading and spending time with her family. 

Find Jennifer:

Buy Murphy’s Law:

Jennifer was also gracious enough to submit to one my author interviews.  Here's what she had to say!

Look!  It's Jennifer!  Hi , Jennifer!

Hi Amy and all you fabulous readers out there *waves* Thank you so much for having me today! My contemporary romance, Murphy’s Law, released last month so I’m very excited to be here! Thank you so much for sharing it with me!! 
Q. Where did you come up with the idea to write Murphy’s Law? It’s a great love story with a suspenseful back story that keeps the reader intrigued throughout the novel.
Actually, the story came to me in the form of Murphy. I just had to write his story. Then when I met Sara and Abby I knew I was never going to be the same J I love action, adventure stories so that was a must for me, I just had no idea what kind of roller coaster Murphy and Sara were going to take me on when I started writing! I loved every minute!

Q. If you could have dinner with Jon Murphy, what do you think he’d order?  Would he pay?  Would you? Would you split the bill?
He’s a steak and potatoes man, lol. And, yes, he would so pay. Just like he refused to let Sara worry about paying him back in the story when she was broke and had nowhere to go. And, yes, I would let him pay since he’s going to anyway.

Q. If I could see Sara’s bookshelf, what kinds of books would she have on it? Why?
Shelves and shelves of sketch pads ,books on sign language, children’s books, and probably some books of poems.

Q. Was there a reason you chose to make Sara’s daughter deaf?  It was an interesting plot device. I know I thought it worked out so that she would never hear Sara and Murphy up to any bedroom shenanigans in the small cabin, but I’m sure you had more than that in mind! 
I actually had no idea until I met Abby that she was deaf. She was such an inspiration in the story. Nothing stopped her. And she melted Murphy’s hardened heart from the start J

Q. Why did you make Murphy’s family ranchers? 
I had no idea they were ranchers until I met them, lol. You've probably realized by now that I’m a complete pantser! Yep, I write by the seat of my pants. I have no idea of where my story is going until I get there. I start with a scene or character and just start writing. I love discovering my story. It’s like unwrapping a gift, only better!

Q. What writing projects are you working on right now?  Any new books coming out soon maybe?
Right now I am working on Book #2 in my mercenary series/Onyx Group (the sequel to Hard Core). And I’m almost finished with the first book in my new bodyguard series. Yay! Can’t wait to introduce you to the Wolff brothers!

Thank you for having me today, Amy!! I just want to send out a big THANK YOU to all my readers out there! Without you I wouldn't be here. My wish is to one day meet each and every one of you so I can personally thank you for your generosity and support! 
All my best, 
Jennifer

***
Here's the part where I review the book. This is the first review I've done on my blog, so congratulations, Jennifer, you are my guinea pig!  My ratings are as follows:
5 Stars - Fantastic. A book I will reread and cherish (this rating is practically impossible to achieve)
4 Stars - Fabulous. You won't regret reading this one!
3 Stars - Great. I really enjoyed it
2 Stars - Fair. It had issues, but I worked through them.
1 Star - No thank you. Not my cup of tea. At all.

Amy's Take on Murphy's Law

Murphy’s Law is a contemporary romance starring a hunky hero with a secret he wants to keep and an appealing heroine with an adorable daughter.

Jon Murphy is a military man who has hidden out in a remote cabin because he is ashamed of his actions when held prisoner by the enemy. Although he shouldn't have been – in my opinion he didn't do anything wrong, but you know these strong, silent types. Very unforgiving of themselves!

Sara Sheldon made some bad choices when she was younger, including marrying a rich playboy. She never fit into his family and when he died, they threatened to take her young, deaf daughter, Abby, away from her.

Without the resources to fight such a rich family, she fled to the forest.  The same forest where Murphy’s cabin was located.

When Abby goes missing, Sara enlists Murphy’s help to find her and that’s when the story really takes off.
Murphy and Sara are very attracted to each other, but Murphy won’t let her act upon it because he’s so ashamed of himself.  She doesn't understand what he’s done wrong, but circumstances force them to stay together.

My favorite character in this novel was Sara.  She never gave up. I would have walked away from Murphy half a dozen times, but she always stuck by him, convinced he would work his way through his issues and be with her.

I fell in love with her daughter, Abby.  She was another favorite of mine.  The scene where she and Murphy share Oreos is probably my favorite in the whole book.  

I read this book in one sitting over a Saturday afternoon with wine.  I highly recommend you do the same.
My rating:  Fabulous 4 out of 5 stars.


Monday, April 1, 2013

I'm On Blog Radio

Join me tonight as Buy The Book Tour's, Florence Price, interviews me about the Wolf Within series in general and About Face, my latest release, in particular.   Interview begins 6:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. CT.

There's even a call in number if you want to ask me a question!

Blog Radio Interview



Don't worry if you miss it.  The interview will be available to listen to after it's over too!

So far today has been a great Release Day for About Face!   If you buy directly from Lyrical Press, between now and April 8th, you'll only pay 2.99. That's half off the regular price!

Stanzie says GO FOR IT! 

Murphy says the same thing, but he's talking about Stanzie ripping off his shirt.  ;)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

About Face is Available!

About Face is out!

The fifth novel in the Wolf Within series, this time Stanzie plucks up all her courage to go to Dublin, Ireland.  She wants Murphy back, but of course it's more complicated than that.

The conspiracy is darker, deeper, and more desperate than ever.


Here's an excerpt:


“You’re not listening to me at all, are you?” Tears scalded my eyes. “What is the point of
asking me for my objections if you don’t intend to pay any attention to them at all? Why don’t
you just tell me to shut up and deal?”
“Shut up and deal,” Allerton said.
 “You do this and I quit. I won’t be your Advisor if you go through with this bonding,” I
declared, and Jason’s face darkened.
“So be it. You are released as my Advisor,” he said. And just like that our nine-month
association was severed. Everything I’d accomplished for him and the Great Council all meant
shit next to his pride.
I threw my napkin on the table and jumped to my feet.
“Stanzie.” Maybe there was a glimmer of regret in his eyes, but it was too late. He’d said
it. Just as my bond mate Murphy said it to me almost four months earlier when he’d walked out
on me and just as my Alpha, Paddy O’Reilly said it to me when he’d left with Murphy.
Three for three. No job. No bond mate. No pack. I was alone. Again.

About Face
About Face by Amy Lee Burgess

Thursday, March 21, 2013

More from the Circle 2 Vampires

Sneak Peek Sunday!  More from my vampire novel, The Circle 2.  I'm happy to say the first book in the series, The Circle, is still out of submission and I'm crossing my fingers I hear good news about it soon!

***

“I don’t choose the memories. They just come to me.” I didn't recognize my own voice. I batted away the tissue and tried to move away from Andre, but he wrapped an arm around my waist and drew me close. His touch and body heat anchored me and I wanted to bury my face in his shoulder and block out the rest of the world, but I forced myself to stand still. Oliver was watching.
“I’m sure that’s a comforting thought to Ursula.” Bastard. Parker always enjoyed someone else’s humiliation. He strolled to a sofa and nonchalantly retrieved Ursula’s coat and purse. “She might want these.”  He gave us all another smirk and left.
“Come on, Neal.” Gareth found their coats and tossed Neal his. Neal didn't catch it and had to stoop to pick it up off the floor, but only after Gareth gave him a not so gentle nudge.
“Hang on,” he muttered as Gareth all but shoved him out the door.
Oliver waited a beat before he looked at me and Andre and gestured to his office. His expression was ominous.
***
“Show me your Circle mark.” A command not a request. Oliver’s cognac-colored eyes were stormy dark and I knew I shouldn't make him wait, but I was paralyzed with fear. Terror spiked through my veins, cold as winter wind.
“Claire,” Andre murmured. He stood by the closed door, his face blank. Game face, we called it. Whenever we gathered in Oliver’s conference room for our quarterly blood exchange with each other, we tried to maintain our game faces. Blank, expressionless, devoid of emotion. So no one could fuck with us. Except I could because I was an Enhanced vampire. I could read minds, influence behavior, and now, apparently, share frigging memories. 

***

If you want to read other fabulous snippets from a variety of great authors, check them out here: More Sneak Peek Sunday Offerings

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sneak Peek Sunday - More of My Vampire Novel, Circle 2

Here's the next six paragraphs of my vampire novel, The Circle 2.  The Circle, the first novel in the series, is out for submission, so wish me luck!


Without bothering to collect her bright red cashmere coat or her Gucci purse, Ursula flounced to the door, shoved Neal aside, and left.
Neal stared after her, speechless.
“Claire. What the fuck just happened?” Gareth tried not to shout at me, but he was clearly agitated. He stared at me just like Ursula had. As if I was a freak. And I was.
Andre appeared at my side with breathtaking abruptness. The man moved like a fucking cat. He had a bar napkin in one hand which he used to mop Ursula’s spit from my face. His stunningly gorgeous face was fiercely protective and he shot Gareth a death glare.
“I’m serious.” Gareth’s tone took a placating edge, but his eyes were filled with agitated confusion.
“Did you see that?” Neal’s voice shook. “Ursula got stabbed. She was mortal. It was like watching a fucking film or something. Did you do that, Claire?”
“Of course she did.” Parker answered for me. He’d recovered himself for the most part and an amused smile quirked his lips. He was still pale though and his extraordinary blue eyes were a little glassy. He gave a small laugh. “Nice going, sweetheart, picking such a mortifying blast from our Ursula’s past.”

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sneak Peek Sunday - More from The Circle 2

Here's the next six paragraphs from my paranormal romance about vampires

Ursula's flashback/shared memory is over and her reaction is less than forgiving...

***

“You cunt.” Ursula’s blue eyes were huge, hate-filled holes in her face. I swallowed reflexively. The taste of her blood was tantalizingly sweet.  We stared at each other, aghast, until the lights in Oliver’s conference room flared on and we screwed up our eyes in protest.
“What the fuck just happened?” Neal demanded. He stood by the light switch, blood smeared across his face and bare chest. Multiple bite wounds stood out on his throat.
Parker and Gareth stood so close, their bodies brushed. Parker’s lips were rouged with Gareth’s blood. Both of them looked drugged by shock.
Andre, my master and trigger, sat by himself on the edge of a leather sofa at the end of the room. Blood stained his half unbuttoned blue shirt. He visibly struggled to overcome the haze that had enveloped him during our blood exchange.
Oliver stood by the black lacquer conference table. Proud and devastatingly powerful, he simply stared at me, his gaze calculating.
“You. Fucking. Freak.” Ursula shrieked the last word and spat a bloody wad of phlegm at me. Hot and wet, it splattered across my face, but I made no move to wipe it away. She ached to punch me, I could tell by her contorted face and clenched fists, but some small shred of self preservation clung to her senses. No fighting in Oliver’s conference room. I had a lousy feeling she’d lay in wait in the underground garage though. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

More from The Circle 2 - Ursula's Flashback

It's Sneak Peak Sunday again!   Here's the last of Ursula's flashback and you finally find out what happens to her.  She is a vampire flashing back to her mortal days when she was a prostitute.


Ursula holds her wrist to her nose to smell her perfume. “Jesus Christ.”
            The man’s flat is empty. The windows are covered with swaths of black fabric. A tiny fridge sits beneath a grimy counter with a hotplate on top.
            “Where the hell is the bed?” She turns to ask the man, but he’s fast. He knocks her down to the cracked linoleum, his weight crushing her. “Fucking bastard!”  She aims a kick at his shins, but she’s positioned all wrong. He jerks her arm behind her back and her scream is huge inside the empty room.
            “No bed, love,” says the man and stabs her in the back viciously with a knife he takes from his jacket pocket.
            Ursula shrieks. The sour stench of blood fills the air.
“No!  No, don’t!” Tears track down her cheeks, blobs of black mascara dot her face. He raises the knife over his head to stab her again and his face contorts. He drops the knife, grabs his chest and, with a shocking suddenness, topples over, striking the back of his head against the linoleum. He sprawls, still and silent.
Bleeding, Ursula crawls for the door, leaving bloody smears in her wake. “Oh, please,” she whispers. “Please someone help me. Please. Someone.”
***

Friday, March 1, 2013

About Face ARC Contest

Hey Everyone!

Today marks one month until Stanzie's fifth (and possibly most heartbreaking) adventure, About Face, is released by Lyrical.

Lyrical is running a month-long contest to win an advance copy of the book, so if you want a chance to win, here's the link: 

About Face ARC Contest at Lyrical Press

Good luck!


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sunday Sneak Peek - More of The Circle 2

Here's another six paragraphs.  Don't forget to scroll down to find the first few so you know where you left off!


The man pulls into a small car park in front of a grungy, run-down building.
            “My flat’s just there.” He gestures.
            “You’ve got one hour or the rates go up,” Ursula tells him and gets out of the car. Her spiked heels are loud on the pavement. When the man tries to slide an arm around her waist, she pulls away.
            “No touching till we get inside,” she snaps.
            “Suits me,” says the man and shoves open the street door. The hall inside reeks of puke and cat piss.
            Ursula holds her wrist to her nose to smell her perfume. “Jesus Christ.”

Sunday, February 10, 2013

More Circle 2

The next six paragraphs of my WIP, The Circle 2.
Scroll down for the first 12 paragraphs if you'd like.



The male driver points at Ursula. “Get in.”
            Showing a lot of leg, Ursula complies. The inside of the car stinks of body odor and rancid fish and chips. Ursula takes out a small flask of cheap perfume and sprays her throat in a vain attempt to drown the stench. She peers into the mirror of her compact and smoothes her eyebrows with a wet fingertip.
            “Never mind that bollocks,” says the driver. He’s a burly man. Hairy and coarse. Ursula shrugs and puts away the compact.     
            “Fifteen pounds for a blowjob. Twenty-five for a shag. No kissing. Forty if you want something kinky.”
            The man smirks and digs in his pocket. He comes up with two twenties and flings them at her. Ursula sighs as she stuffs them in her purse. 
The man pulls into a small car park in front of a grungy, run-down building.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sneak Peek Sunday - More Circle 2


Sneak Peek Sunday!  I'm sharing six paragraphs of my current work in progress  an erotic paranormal romance featuring a group of vampires.

These six paragraphs are part of a memory of my character, Ursula.  My protagonist, Claire, has additional vampiric powers and one of them is sharing memories through a blood exchange.  Last week you read the first six paragraphs, Read them here

Here's the next six.  

Ursula greedily sucks in a huge hit and holds it. She’s wearing an outlandish white faux fur waist length jacket and a fake leather miniskirt so short her ass cheeks are nearly exposed. Fishnet stockings and red spike heels. The black girl is in a leopard print spandex catsuit that screams this is the eighties.  Ursula’s black hair is a huge cloud around her gorgeous face, permed, teased and hairsprayed into an impressive height. 
            “Ginger is a twat,” Ursula says without exhaling.  But there is affection in her dark blue eyes.  Worry too.
            “How much you make tonight?” The black girl takes another hit, the red ember at the end of the joint glows brightly.
            “Not enough.” Ursula frowns. She exhales a stream of gray-blue smoke as the lights of the X-rated Piccadilly Circus theater marquee above her stutter off and on.
            “Me either.  Rodney’s such a bastard lately.”  The black girl juts a hip when a car slows as it drifts by.  She and Ursula aim practiced smiles at the driver, who hesitates, then pulls to the curb.
            “Want to spend some time together, love?” She and the black girl approach the car, all business now.  The promise of sex oozes from their pores.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sneak Peek Sunday - 6 Paragraphs from The Circle 2

Today I'm joining author Sara Walter Ellwood in her new creation Sneak Peek Sunday.  The object is to post six paragraphs, no more, no less, of your latest WIP to your blog and then pass the link around.

I'm currently writing book 2 in my Circle saga - which features seven of the sexiest, snarkiest, saddest (some of them) vampires I've ever come across.

The protagonist  Claire, tells the story from her point of view and she's different from the other vampires in her Circle. She possesses Enhanced powers which allow her to influence behavior, read minds and now, in this book, share memories - both her own and other Circle members'.  These are the first six paragraphs of the book which leaves you in the middle of a shared memory, but you'll get the gist, I hope.

As always, I welcome feedback!


Blood, dark and spicy, was warm in my mouth, gulped in a frantic rush from Ursula’s throat.  Her perfume, a tangy mixture of citrus and musk, clogged my sinuses, an annoying distraction even her blood couldn't quite overcome.  Why did she have to wear so goddamn much perfume?  Could she not smell herself?  Everyone else could – from five rooms away.
            The bitch had doused her throat with the shit too.  Christ, I always made sure to avoid my wrists and throat at blood exchanges.  As a courtesy to my vampiric Circle mates so my stupid perfume wouldn't muddy the taste of my blood.
            None of the men wore cologne on their throats or wrists on meeting nights either.  Only goddamn Ursula.  Ugh.
            Grimacing, I swallowed another mouthful. One more and that should do it for our blood exchange this cold, February night.  More of Ursula’s blood rushed into my mouth – blood and something else.  No, oh God no, not one of her memories –
            ***
            “Give us a hit, our Jane?” Ursula, young and mortal, holds out her hand for the rolled joint clutched in the fingers of a tall, black girl.
            The black girl passes it obligingly. “Ginger’s late.” Her beaded braids click when she turns her head and expels a lungful of sweet smelling smoke.    

Here's a link to Sara's blog where you can read her 6 paragraphs:  Sara Walter Ellwood's Sneak Peek Sunday

Friday, January 11, 2013

Invisible - Friday Flash



Invisible

Ever since I could remember I’d followed Billy.  I sat behind him in class, at the table next to his in the cafeteria, high up in the bleachers after school at the ball field.

He was usually smiling and carefree.  A typical boy in a typical small town. But sometimes he got this look in his eyes.  A strange mixture of terror and sorrow that seemed so grown up and inexplicable to me.  Like he was going somewhere I wasn't. Somewhere in his mind where I couldn't follow.

But I always followed Billy. Everywhere he went.  From the first day of kindergarten when I saw him piling blocks on top of each other in the corner of Mrs. Turner’s room to the last time I saw him, senior year, in Shannon Wood behind the school.

Over the years he grew tall and strong and beautiful.  Boys don’t like it when you call them beautiful, but that’s the best word for what he was. 

Just after spring break our senior year, he started going out with Kendra Channing.  She wasn't the prettiest girl in our class, but she had something about her that set the boys buzzing around her.   She chose Billy because he was so beautiful.  I heard her talking about him in the girls’ room one day between classes.

“He is the best looking boy in this entire school,” she said. “And those dreamy eyes of his?  Drives me crazy wondering what he’s thinking.  I’m going to find out.” 

The other girls sighed in envy. My heart was a lump of sick fire choking me, but I managed to keep smiling. Not that anyone even noticed I was there.  Nobody ever did really.

I’m good at keeping to the fringes, standing in the shadows.  Half the kids in school have gone to class with me since kindergarten and at least a third of them couldn't tell you my last name if it meant they’d win a million dollars.  Maybe not even my first name. 

To most people I just don’t exist.

Like Billy.  After that first day of kindergarten when we built block towers together and shared our peanut butter sandwiches, he never even looked at me. His gaze sort of slid past me to somebody else.  I didn't know what I did wrong. Maybe it was because he was a boy and I was a girl. 

He started playing with Karl Jones. They built block fortresses, had food fights, and chased each other around the playground.  

I watched them, my heart burning with jealousy, but they never asked me to play too.

Almost every day after school, it was the same routine:  Out the side door of the school, through the west parking lot, into the dark maze of Shannon Wood he used as a short cut to get to his house on Peach Lane.

We weren't supposed to go into Shannon Wood. Some little kid got killed there years ago using the short cut.  Broad daylight and everything, but it’s dark in those woods.  I always got goosebumps when I followed Billy along the pine needle path and across Thacker’s Brook to Oak Street.  Billy’s end of Peach Lane was only half a block off Oak Street if he took the Shannon Wood short cut. 

I wanted to tell him not to do it because the bad man who killed that little kid might still be lurking behind a tree trunk or in the little hollow in the bank by the falling apart footbridge, but I didn't because then he’d know I was there. 

So I shivered and followed him as closely as I dared without giving myself away.

Fridays after school he always hurried home because he and his family had pizza night together.  They hung out and played board games and watched movies all squished together on the sectional sofa in the living room.  Billy never went out to parties with the other kids from school on Fridays.  You’d think he would get teased about it by his friends, but I think they were as envious of Billy’s tight knit family as I was.

Lots of times I watched through the window while they sat around the dining room table and played Life and Scrabble and Clue. Laughing.  Trying to distract each other so they could cheat until his mom came in with a big bowl of popcorn and said it was movie time.

My family never had pizza nights.  My dad barely acknowledged my mom.  He came home from work, changed his clothes and shut himself up in the den to watch sports.  Mom sat at the kitchen table pretending to read, but really just sneaking gulps of wine.  She was usually drunk and passed out in bed by 9:30 but my dad never went to bed until after midnight so he never knew. Or he pretended not to.  I could never decide.

But Billy’s family wasn't like mine.  His brothers were almost as beautiful as he was and his sister, the baby of the family, was like a blond angel come down to live on earth.   Sometimes I hated her, but most times I just wished I was her.

The last time I saw Billy was a Friday afternoon in Shannon Wood.  All day he’d had that look in his eyes – the one that was part terror, part sadness.

“I know you’re there,” he said just before he stepped onto the footbridge across Thacker’s Brook. 

I froze, my heart thumping so hard it hurt.  How?  I’d been so careful.  Had I stepped on a twig or some dead leaves? 

“ You've got to stop following me. Haven’t you done it long enough, Gina?”

I stepped out of the shadows of a pine tree and his face in the dappled afternoon sunlight slanting through the tree tops was so sad I wanted to comfort him.  But I didn't know how.

“It was thirteen years ago. I was a little kid, just like you.  I couldn't save you. I know you blame me, but I ran for help. I didn't just run away.  I’m sorry I didn't stay and defend you but I was scared. I was five.” His chest heaved as he spoke and his eyes got very blue with tears.

I stared at him, unable to speak. Numb. I was so numb I felt paralyzed.

“Stop haunting me,” he shouted and a bird in the tree across the brook shrieked and took wing in startled surprise.  “I was a little kid and I ran. I couldn't help it that you got killed and I didn't!  Please. Please leave me alone.”

Dead.  Was that what I was?  Is that why no one ever talked to me or acknowledged me or included me in anything? 

I told him we shouldn't go through Shannon Wood. My mommy said to walk home on Carver Street and not go into the woods.  But Billy said he was a big boy and he could cut through the scary old woods if he wanted. 

When he slid down the hill behind the big kids’ school and walked fearlessly into the trees, I only hesitated a moment before I followed.

The man was hiding behind a big rock near the brook. He smelled gross and his clothes were all dirty. 

“Little girl,” he kept saying as he held me down in the dead leaves and did bad things to me. 

But I don’t remember dying. 

Did I blame Billy?  Was the envy that burned in my chest because he was alive and I wasn't and not because he didn't want to play with me anymore?  Was that it?

“Please go away,” Billy said again and tears streaked down his cheeks.  When he turned around and splashed through the brook and out onto Oak Street, for the first time since kindergarten I didn't follow. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Flash - Hide and Seek


Martin was drunk.  He stumbled on the door mat outside my apartment and turned to me with a laughing smile.  I grinned back and before I knew it we were in a hot and steamy embrace.  His breath tasted like whiskey and his tongue was hot against mine.  He shoved me against the door and slid one hand beneath my mini skirt. When he encountered my bare thighs and slid his hand up, I hissed in anticipation.  It had been so long since I’d had sex, this was fantastic.

“Let’s go inside,” he said, never taking his mouth away from mine.  I fumbled for the doorknob which was digging into my back.  

We all but fell into the foyer and once inside he scooped me up in his arms and I kicked the door shut with one high heeled gladiator sandal.  Should I kick them off?  No. I’d wear them to bed.  Sexy.

“Well, this is interesting.”  The familiar voice insinuated itself beneath my skin and I went cold. Brendan. Shit. He’d found me again. No matter how times I escaped him, he always tracked me down. Jealous husbands are like homing pigeons, damn it.

“What the fuck?” Martin staggered with me in his arms and would have dropped me if I hadn't grabbed the back of the sofa.  He dumped me unceremoniously and brought his fists up, his face flushed with whiskey and wrath. “Who the hell is that, Deirdre?”

“Deidre, I might ask you the same question,” drawled the man slouched in my favorite armchair by the window. He had a glass of red wine at his elbow.  Bastard. My forty dollar Merlot. It figured. 

“Martin, you’d better go,” I said.

Martin’s mouth dropped open.  He looked foolish and not very hot anymore.  Anger swirled around him in a palpable mist.

“Are you shitting me?” He took a step toward me and Brendan came to immediate alert. To most people he would have looked relaxed and amused, but I knew him intimately. If the situation warranted, he’d be across the room in a flash and Martin would be toast. Just what I didn't need.  My carpet was off white.  Blood would never, ever come out.

“I’ll explain later. Just go, okay?” Martin didn't seem to hear me; his attention was focused on Brendan. Oh, yeah, there’d be a fight.  Damn it.

“Who. The hell. Are you?” Martin stabbed a finger in Brendan’s direction and Brendan grinned. An ice cold shiver ran down my spine. When Brendan grinned like that, it was best to run.  I calculated the distance between the sofa and my bedroom and didn't like the odds.  I might be able to duck behind the granite counter in the kitchen, but I doubted it. 

“The nightmare you wish you could wake up from,” said Brendan. He relied heavily on clich├ęs and movie lines when he went homicidal and before I could open my mouth to call him off, he’d already come over the back of the sofa.

Martin went down without a sound. He didn't have a chance. Blood spattered over me and my sofa and for a moment all I could hear was the gurgling of Martin’s severed windpipe as he aspirated the last of the breath in his lungs.  He was dead before Brendan began to feed thankfully.  The tearing and chewing made my blood heat and I tried really hard but I couldn't resist the pull.

My hands turned to claws, leathery wings sprouted painfully from my back and my favorite little black dress ripped to shreds.  This was one expensive evening in more ways than one.

Horns burst from my forehead and my mouth wrenched into a beak.

By the time my transformation was complete, that fucker, Brendan, had nearly consumed all of Martin’s intestines. 

With an outraged squawk, I caught the end of one slippery, pink entrail in my beak and pulled.  Brendan had a mouthful of wicked razor sharp teeth and he clamped down and wouldn't let go.

Hoarse growls burst from his throat. I flapped my wings at him and gave one last pull before he abruptly let go.  If not for my wings, I would have somersaulted backwards.  Instead, I snapped up the intestine and gulped it down. Delicious.  Better than sex, but not what I’d intended for Martin.  Poor bastard.  Oh, well.  That’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.