Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sunday Soup - August 2

In The Soup This Week... Reading Until Dawn Con, another indie bookstore, Wen Spencer, Codi Gary and Victoria Dahl

Soup Dish:  on my mind
Tessa Dare starts a hashtag and Twitter hilarity ensues:  If Men's Fitness Magazine were a Regency publication.  When writers start playing with words, it's no-holds-barred.

Bloom County is back!  This makes me so, so happy.  Facebook seems to be the best place to catch the new stuff.

Somewhere back in time, I found or put together a list of the "best" (whatever that means) independent bookstores.  And while in my experience, indies are not necessarily romance-friendly, I still sort of want to bucket-list the big ones.  So when I found myself traveling between Des Moines, IA and Chicago a couple weeks ago, it was just a short side trip to stop in at Prairie Lights bookstore in Iowa City.  I'm pretty sure it was this fellow that, when I asked if they carried romance, gave me a one word answer: "NO," spun on his heel, and stalked across the store as fast as he could get away from me.  I bought a fantasy novel for my daughter and the clerk, who was trapped into an actual conversation with me by virtue of needing to process my payment, was slightly more polite:

Me: I'm surprised you don't carry any romance.
Clerk: Uhhhhh, I think that was a choice of the previous management.
Me: Considering that it outsells every other genre, it seems strange to me.
Clerk: I think mystery is actually bigger than romance.
Me: Nope, romance outsells mystery by volume almost two to one*.
Clerk: Uhhh, I'm pretty sure that I see more mysteries on the NYT best seller list.
Me: *side-eye* Well anyway, thanks for ringing this up.

Prairie Lights is an apparently very successful indie bookstore with a lit-fic niche, which fits very well with Iowa City's claim to literary fame, the U of Iowa Writer's Workshop. But they clearly don't want my money, which I guess works out ok, since I live 2000 miles from there.
__________________
*my numbers were a little out of date.  According to Publishers' Weekly, in 2014, Romance sold 30.9 million books compared to Suspense/Thriller at 20.1 million.  So only a 1.5:1 rate, rather than the 2:1 I had remembered.

And of course, you can see by the activity on the blog that the Reading Until Dawn Conference is occupying more and more of my brain space in general, and particularly of my reading and blogging brainspace.  You could buy a tee-shirt!

What I'm reading
I am currently SO engrossed in Wen Spencer's Elfhome series.  I just downloaded the last book and I'm dragging my feet a little bit about starting it because when I finish that book, the series will be all over for me.  I've even been good about taking a breath between books and reading a couple of other things here and there, just to stretch out the experience. The world-building is a crazy mix of quantum physics, bio-engineering, multi-dimensional sci-fi, and (literally) fairy tales: it's completely irresistible.

Just for a total contrast, I've been looking forward to Victoria Dahl's Taking the Heat since I saw a few provocative tweets from reviewers with ARCs.  It released last Tuesday, so I downloaded and gobbled that up.  Worth the wait! I love how Dahl can take down-home characters and give them so much dimension.  Snap it up if you like hot-- and I do mean SCORCHING HOT-- contemps.  (sidenote, I was SURE I wrote a review here on the blog for either Talk Me Down or Start Me Up, but what the hell, now I can't find it... arg, #bloggerwoe).
 
If you like Dahl's Jackson Hole books, I would suggest you give Codi Gary's Rock Canyon series a try. I picked up Bad for Me before I left on vacation, and it was a very nice read. They share a western/country feel that is a little different than the small-town subgenre. The outdoors and countryside plays a certain role, and the characters have a down-to-earth-ness about them that I like a lot. This particular title involved two characters with a lot of scars, inside and out, and Gary did a nice job of putting them through the right kind of character growth that they needed in order to be able to come together.

That's all for this week's soup -- hopefully we'll have a few more RUD Con authors for you later this week. Be sure to vote by Twitter or here in comments to see if you can influence the authors to write for your favorite flash fiction story -- #TeamBelle or #TeamCandy! 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Reading Until Dawn Featured Author: Seleste Delaney



WAVE 2 IS HERE... of the Reading Until Dawn Con author features here at Alpha Heroes.  

Some bloggers could probably manage to keep a very even cadence of author profiles, reliably posting on certain days of the week, consistently and regularly like a drumbeat.

So, yeah, that's not this blogger.  As you may have surmised.  Around here, we like things a little more unpredictable.  A little more spontaneous.  A little less formal.  We had a bit of a break, but there's a nice roster of fantastic authors lining up to play with us here at Alpha Heroes.  We'll be publishing these features as they come in, as various schedules allow, so keep an eye out in your feed and check in regularly!

As a Featured Blogger (ahem) for the Reading Until Dawn conference, it is my pleasure and my sacred responsibility to showcase the delightful authors that will be hanging out and playing embarrassing SUPER FUN AND AWESOME games with us in October.  We're not doing panels.  We're not doing pitches. We're seriously not doing serious. We WILL be doing games.

If you've read Alpha Heroes for very long, you know I'm not too into author interviews. I'm not very good at them, to be honest. So just pretend this is a game instead of an interview.  I gave my authors a Mad LibsTM style questionnaire, and here are the results!  (note: truthiness is optional... these are fiction writers after all!)

Please welcome Seleste Delaney, author across multiple subgenres, and intrepidly diving right on in to the questionnaire:


1. No one ever beats me at the game of Never Have I Ever. (Though does anyone ever really win or lose at that?)  Maybe we can find out in Denver...

2. Please fill in these blanks:
"When I was a kid, and they were picking teams for sportball, I was usually:
a) picked right away
b) not picked right away
c) one of the captains

B, omg B

Later in life, I found myself randomly throwing balls at strangers, and I think it was all because of how the sportball teams were picked.

3. The most embarrassing/hilarious game I ever participated in was strip Dungeons and Dragons. Everyone was laughing at the clerics...vestments . Hmmm. I don't think we're getting the full story here.

4. In an alternate universe, I am George R. R. Martin, only my fabulously successful 700-page epic book is titled "Game of Bones." [It's about penises...or maybe dogs. I don't really remember; I was drunk when I wrote it.]  That's... wow.  OK then!

5. Once, Katee Robert suggested that we burn down Chicago , and I could only respond, GAME. ON. Then what happened? We were too busy at the con to bother. Sad, sad day. Hmmm.  I have a lot of friends in Chicago, so perhaps this worked out for the best...

BONUS!

The 5-words game rules:

The lovely Holley Trent challenges you to use the following 5 words in a piece of flash fiction, as long or short as you wish. Don't overthink it :-)

Then, give 5 words for the next victim, er, interviewee to use.  They will have the option to build on your piece or do a stand-alone.

Your words are:  stiletto, maestro, sister, fish, curse
  
Tales of Candy continues....
Part 1 from Selena Laurence,
Part 2 from Chelsea O'Neal
Part 3 from Holley Trent


Not that she had any intention of saying yes to Jace, but she really didn't like where this was going--especially since the pummeling of her fists on the man's back seemed to be having no effect whatsoever. "What kind of problem?"

"For starters, you're his sister," he responded, his tone so teasing he was almost singing the words.

"His what?"

"Sister."

"That's not possible. And even if it was, how would you possibly know?" She'd been adopted on the other side of the country and Jace had talked about his parents--his birth parents--on more than one occasion. Clearly her captor was full of shit. Candy bit back the curse before she gave it voice and tried a new tactic--kicking the stranger as hard as she could. 

Laughing, he gripped her legs tighter and her kicking only served to send one stiletto heel clattering into the darkness. "It's more than possible, you squirmy little fish, it's certain. I only hope you have this much energy once I get you into my bed."

"Your bed? Play me another one, maestro, because there's no way I'm dancing to that song," she said, horrified at the suggestion. She might take her clothes off to make ends meet, but she didn't have sex with strangers--ever--and she'd be damned if she planned to change that rule for the brute holding her hostage, regardless of how good he smelled, much less her body's reaction to his nearness. 

"Yes, little one. I'm the one you were promised to, and it will be my bed you lie in on your wedding night."

Oh ho! the plot thickens!  Will we find out more?  Vote #TeamCandy, either commenting here, or on Twitter, and see if we can influence the upcoming authors.  If you'd rather hear what's going on with #TeamBelle, let's hear from you too!

If you'd like to see more of Seleste's fiction, here is some handy-dandy information for you:

Seleste deLaney / Julie Particka
CLOCKWORK MAFIA available now from Carina Press
KISS OF LIFE available now wherever ebooks are sold
FIGHTING FOR KEEPS available now from Entangled Publishing
FALL WITH ME available now from Entangled Publishing 
TEMPTING HER FAKE FIANCE available now from Entangled Publishing
About the Author:
At a young age, Seleste deLaney discovered the trick to not being afraid of the monsters under the bed was to turn them into heroes. Since that time, she’s seen enough of human monsters that she prefers to escape to fictional worlds where even the worst demons have to play by the rules and the good guys might end up battered and bruised (or dead), but they always win. And really, isn’t that the way it should be? 

She resides in the Detroit area with all her favorite monsters (nice ones—some are furry and the others call her Mom) and is hard at work on her next book. In those rare moments when she isn’t battling terrorists, vampires, or rogue clockworks, she can be found all over the internet, where she loves to interact with readers. (which must be why she's coming to the Con! We are all about the author-reader interactions!)
=====================================


Are you registered for Reading Until Dawn Con? 
If not, why not?! Join us for fun, games, snacks and possibly pants-optional dancing.  
Register here, and see you there!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Bourbon Kings, by JR Ward - Review

Information
Title: The Bourbon Kings 
Series: The Bourbon Kings 
Author: J. R. Ward
Publisher:  New American Library, a division of Penguin Random
Release Date: July 28, 2015 
Reviewing: eARC for Kindle 
Reason for reading: Because JR Ward!

The Short Answer
Classic JR Ward -- lots of story threads, wealthy lifestyle, daddy issues. Fair to middlin'.

The Blurb (from GoodReads)
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal....

For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.

For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.

As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive

A Few Negatives...
I found this book oddly dated-feeling. It reminded me of an 80s mini-series, or mainstream fiction book by Judith Krantz or Sydney Sheldon. It felt like a prime-time soap opera pilot episode: there was even a reference to Alexis and Krystal.

The romance here was just OK, in my opinion. Still better than Phury and Cormia, but that's a low bar. There was a lot going on in this book; a lot of series threads kicking off and backstory development. I found that the romantic resolution was not quite enough for me to feel like the book really ended well, because pretty much everything else was left hanging, and the romance was not the biggest or most exciting thing going on.

Finally, on a more global and, well... uncomfortable topic, I'm not really sure this is a great moment in time for a series about the fabulously wealthy. Social unrest, riots, protests... the distribution of wealth in the US right now is a pretty ugly situation. I know billionaire books are always hot but there's just something about the flagrant and conspicuous consumption of these characters and this setting that made me uncomfortable and frankly pretty unsympathetic to their point-one-percent problems. There was a lot of detail here about the inner workings of a wealthy household, but I would've liked to see more about the actual bourbon business.

The Good Stuff
That said, there are certainly some elements to get sucked into here. Ward doesn't pull her punches with the nasty things humans can do to each other -- paranormal vampire or demon powers not required-- and it sets up tension for the books to come quite well. I'm hooked by Edward's story -- a horrific crippling accident under mysterious circumstances, and Mack's -- the Master Distiller for the empire and by far the most intense interestingness-to-pagecount ratio in the book.  While arranged marriages in contemporary romance pretty much always make me roll my eyes, sister Gin's situation finally caught my attention near the end and I am definitely looking forward to seeing how that unwinds (I kind of want her to escape and live like a prole for a year or two).

Bottom Line
As a series opener, this wasn't a home run book.  But in general I'm a fan of how Ward intertwines multiple series arcs (not everyone is!), and I'm sufficiently intrigued by most of the characters to read on, with the hope that the series is stronger than the first book.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Reading Until Dawn: Featured Author Holley Trent



OK EVERYBODY HOLD ON WE'RE DOING THIS THING!

As a Featured Blogger (ahem) for the Reading Until Dawn conference, it is my pleasure and my sacred responsibility to showcase the delightful authors that will be hanging out and playing embarrassing SUPER FUN AND AWESOME games with us in October.  We're not doing panels.  We're not doing pitches. We're seriously not doing serious. We WILL be doing games.

If you've read Alpha Heroes for very long, you know I'm not too into author interviews. I'm not very good at them, to be honest. So just pretend this is a game instead of an interview.  I gave my authors a Mad LibsTM style questionnaire, and here are the results!  (note: truthiness is optional... these are fiction writers after all!)

=================================== 

With us today is Holley Trent, author of sassy, sexy, contemporary and paranormal romances. I think it's safe to say that Ms. Trent just might be a little bit sassy herownself.  Welcome Holley! Care to introduce yourself?

Hi Nicola! I'm a Carolina girl who currently lives on the Colorado Front Range with a husband, two kids, and two cats. I write hot snarky stuff in the contemporary and paranormal subgenres. I can turn a dirty joke into a 250-page book. I'm not sure my mother is proud of this, but my editors seem to tolerate it just fine.

I have to confess that I haven't read your work yet but with that kind of description, it just went to the top of my list. Snarky, sexy, contemporary AND paranormal?



OK, without further ado, let's put Holley to the test:

1. No one ever beats me at the game of: Hide the Thing. (What I'm NOT so good at is Find the Thing...that I accidentally hid...from myself.) I can totally relate to that, unfortunately. 

2. When I was a kid, and they were picking teams for sportball, I was usually:
a) picked right away
b) not picked right away
c) one of the captains
d) other:

This is an unfair question. What sort of sportball? Groundball? Airball? Bounceball? Foosball? I'm barely over five feet tall and have bad wrists. My prowess would be greater the closer to the earth I am and in games that have very large targets. 
I see you have an engineering approach to questions, where the answer is always, "it depends."

Later in life, I found myself__looking for a mate over six feet tall__and I think it was all because of how the sportball teams were picked.

3. The most embarrassing/hilarious game I ever participated in was _ Romance Mad Libs at a writer's retreat a couple of years ago_. Everyone was laughing at pretty much everything because, well, we were drunk off cheap wine and high altitude. Everything sounds dirty when the person who's saying it is sloshed and giggling. Sounds like my kind of game!

4. In an alternate universe, I am George R. R. Martin, only my fabulously successful 700-page epic book is titled "Game of Homes" It is about: the cutthroat Colorado real estate market and how two rival realtors play dirty (in and out of the bed) to make deals. ... I should actually write that. 700 pages would need, what, 15 sex scenes? Give me three months. I'll come up with something that'll make you clutch your pearls (and Mardi Gras beads) for sure.]. Sounds amazing! Throw in a vampire and you have a deal.

5. Once, my e-rom author friend thought we should take a cue from Ricardo Montalbán in Fantasy Island and create a shared "host" character for a group of novellas in which people's [kinky] dreams come true, and I could only respond, GAME. ON

Then what happened? we laughed, and laughed, because it was so ridiculous, but a few months later, the Den of Sin series was launched. Four seasons in, and there are around 25 dirty little stories in it. Learn more about it at www.denofsinseries.com. Wow, that's great!

BONUS!

The 5-words game rules:

The lovely Katee Robert challenges you to use the following 5 words in a piece of flash fiction, as long or short as you wish. Don't overthink it :-)

Then, give 5 words for the next victim, er, interviewee to use.  They will have the option to build on your piece or do a stand-alone.

Your words are:  discombobulated, wolf, willy nilly, fierce, scarlet

Alright, I went with Candy's story!
(see Part 1 from Selena Laurence, and Part 2, from Chelsea O'Neal)

Candy's loins may have been awake, but obviously her tongue wasn't. She might have been a natural blonde under that hundred-dollar scarlet dye job, but her brain worked just fine. Either putting on that ring had made her a little bit stupid or she'd been temporarily discombobulated by Mr. Tall, Dark, and Criminal.



"Um. Excuse me?" She writhed, trying to free herself of his grip, and slammed her heels hard against his ribs. 



No dice. If it weren't for his low, fierce growl, she would have thought he was completely unbothered.

She'd just have to try harder to get his attention. She wasn't the kind of girl who got carried off willy nilly into caves by big hulking strangers who smelled like the promise of good sex and breakfast the morning after.

"I'll have you know my fiancé tracks my phone through GPS. You're leading him right to this place."

No response.

Just as well. Jace wouldn't have figured out how to track her phone even if the instructions were printed in little words on the back of a cereal box, and he'd bought the dang thing.

The farther the stranger descended into the cave-like sanctuary, the less light there was. Only his startling, wolf-like eyes were easily visible. She patted his face, found his nose, and gave it a hard, twisting yank.

"Dammit!"

"Oh, so now you talk."

He reached a landing on the long staircase and, tossing her over one broad shoulder, pulled a heavy, old-fashioned door shut, and latched it. "We can talk plenty now. Let's see if we can get that ring off you first, though. We might have a little problem if you told him yes.".

OMG bring me ice.

If you'd like to check out more of Holley's work, check out her website and consider signing up for her newsletters - she has one for contemps and one for paranormals.

=====================================


Are you registered for Reading Until Dawn Con? 
If not, why not?! Join us for fun, games, snacks and possibly pants-optional dancing.  
Register here, and see you there!


What's that you say? Budget got you down? 
Enter the #RUDC15VideoContest to 
win your hotel room for the conference.
You read that right, I said STAY FOR FREE! 
Hurry, contest ends July 26. Be sure to read all the details for entry.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Reading Until Dawn: Featured Author: Katee Robert



OK EVERYBODY HOLD ON WE'RE DOING THIS THING!

As a Featured Blogger (ahem) for the Reading Until Dawn conference, it is my pleasure and my sacred responsibility to showcase the delightful authors that will be hanging out and playing embarrassing SUPER FUN AND AWESOME games with us in October.  We're not doing panels.  We're not doing pitches. We're seriously not doing serious. We WILL be doing games.

If you've read Alpha Heroes for very long, you know I'm not too into author interviews. I'm not very good at them, to be honest. So just pretend this is a game instead of an interview.  I gave my authors a Mad LibsTM style questionnaire, and here are the results!  (note: truthiness is optional... these are fiction writers after all!)

=================================== 

With us today is  Katee Robert, NYT and USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary erotic fiction, or as she calls it, "seduction with a hint of mischief."  That's pretty irresistible, no? and I gotta tell you, she hits all the right buttons IYKWIMAITYD.  Wink.

Thanks so much for having me! I'm so geeked about attending RUDCON. I love the smaller settings where I get to hang out with readers. Add in the bonus awesomeness of some of my favorite authors being there (sorry in advance for geeking out), and I'm all about it!

OK, without further ado, let's put Katee to the test:

1. No one ever beats me at the game of:  3 to 13.  hmmm. I don't actually know that game. Perhaps a challenge is in order at RUDCon... *twirls mustache* 

2. When I was a kid, and they were picking teams for sportball, I was usually:
a) picked right away
b) not picked right away
c) one of the captains

(Totally B. To say I was not athletic is a...vast understatement. Combine that with being super shy and I was often last picked)
Later in life, I found myself __becoming more and more competitive,__ and I think it was all because of how the sportball teams were picked.


3. The most embarrassing/hilarious game I ever participated in was _ a card game called Mow_.  Everyone was laughing at the fact that game can bring friends to blows inside of an hour _


4. In an alternate universe, I am George R. R. Martin, only my fabulously successful 700-page epic book is titled "Game of Scones"  It is about: a team of bakers traveling across the realm on a quest for the perfect scone recipe. Tomfoolery abounds. Mmmmm scones.  BBIAB, I'm having a moment here.


5. Once, my now-husband suggested that we could do some serious damage at a beer pong tournament  and I could only respond, GAME. ON.  

Then what happened? It was a complete and total failure on my part. I was so excited to play, I forgot that I have no hand-eye coordination and a serious lack of depth perception. IDK, sounds like it might've been pretty fun!

BONUS!

The 5-words game rules:

The lovely Roselynn Cannes challenges you to use the following 5 words in a piece of flash fiction, as long or short as you wish. Don't overthink it :-)

Then, give 5 words for the next victim, er, interviewee to use.  They will have the option to build on your piece or do a stand-alone.

Your words are:  tintinnabulation, inadvertently, willow, contradiction, cathedral

Okay, I'm continuing Roselynn's twisted fairy tale. Here goes:

Belle had to get home and she had to get home now. She pushed to her feet, her muscles shaking as if she'd run long and hard last night. For all she knew, that was exactly what she'd inadvertently done, chasing down some poor prey who hadn't stood a chance. She moved out of the alley, but froze when she heard tintinnabulation. That could only mean one thing...
 
They knew.
 
She walked as quickly as she could without actually running, heading for the willow that grew next to the massive cathedral in the center of town. It was such a strange contradiction of old world and new that normally she, like most other people in her small town, avoided it. Today, it might just be her salvation.

You know, I started this whole flash fiction thing just for fun but now I neeeeeeeeed to know how some of these things end!  I'm suffering, here!

If you'd like to check out more of Katee's work, you can find her on Amazon or your favorite ebook vendor.

=====================================


Are you registered for Reading Until Dawn Con? 
If not, why not?! Join us for fun, games, snacks and possibly pants-optional dancing.  
Register here, and see you there!


What's that you say? Budget got you down? 
Enter the #RUDC15VideoContest to 
win your hotel room for the conference.
You read that right, I said STAY FOR FREE! 
Hurry, contest ends July 26. Be sure to read all the details for entry.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Reading Until Dawn: Featured Author Roselynn Cannes



OK EVERYBODY HOLD ON WE'RE DOING THIS THING!

As a Featured Blogger (ahem) for the Reading Until Dawn conference, it is my pleasure and my sacred responsibility to showcase the delightful authors that will be hanging out and playing embarrassing SUPER FUN AND AWESOME games with us in October.  We're not doing panels.  We're not doing pitches. We're seriously not doing serious. We WILL be doing games.

If you've read Alpha Heroes for very long, you know I'm not too into author interviews. I'm not very good at them, to be honest. So just pretend this is a game instead of an interview.  I gave my authors a Mad LibsTM style questionnaire, and here are the results!  (note: truthiness is optional... these are fiction writers after all!)

=================================== 

With us today is Roselynn Cannes, soon-to-be debut author with Fallen, a lit-fic/fantasy hybrid, and already the official pantsless dancer of #RUDC15.

Roselynn, what do you have to say for yourself?  RUDC is going to be a blast!  I can't wait.  Here are my answers to your questions...


1. No one ever beats me at the game of dress up.  I may not win a cosplay contest - because, you know, I have zero arts and crafts skills - but I will literally dress up in costume for any occasion.

2. Please fill in these blanks:
"When I was a kid, and they were picking teams for sportball, I was usually: 
a) picked right away
b) not picked right away
c) one of the captains

Without a doubt, I was picked last.  I trip over my own shadow.  If clumsy were a game, it would be my answer to question number one.

Later in life, I found myself dressing up in costume for adventure 5Ks (think Rugged Maniac, Zombie Run, Spartan Sprint), and I think it was all because of how the sportball teams were picked. (It may also have been because, you know, costumes).  It's all coming full circle.


3. The most embarrassing/hilarious game I ever participated in was Who's the Biggest Pervert (yes, this is an actual board game, and yes I played.  Not in a costume, in case you were wondering).  Everyone was laughing at the fact that I threw a full on child's tantrum because I lost.  Literally. Last. Place.  I'm going to refer you to question number 2, but to be fair, my friends are cray.


4. In an alternate universe, I am George R. R. Martin, only my fabulously successful 700-page epic book is titled "Game of Thorns." It is about how fairy tale princesses are actually the villains in their own stories.  (Cool concept!  Another option: alt-fantasy with psycho, power-mad royal family where everybody dies. And is dyslexic.)


5. Once, my PLP (platonic life parter), Casey, suggested that I do the kick off video for the #RUDC15VideoContest, and I could only respond, GAME. ON.  So, naturally, I dropped my pants on camera.

6. Would you like to play the 5-words game?  YES!!!  Alrighty then!

The 5-words game rules:

Please use the following 5 words in a piece of flash fiction, as long or short as you wish. Don't overthink it!

Then, give 5 words for the next victim, er, interviewee to use. They will have the option to build on your piece or do a stand-alone.

The lovely Chelsea O'Neal challenges you to use these words:
beans, fish, discombobulated, calendar, ambivalence.

Challenge accepted!
The Beauty of the Beast (inspired by the Game of Thorns premise above!)

 

The smell of baking bread, lentil beans, and fish filtered into Belle’s awareness.  It was the potency of the fish in particular that woke her, and her eyes fluttered open.  Discombobulated, she tried to remember what had happened.  Clearly she was in an alleyway in the market, but the memory of how or why she was there eluded her. 

Fully aware of each and every pebble digging painfully into her, she sat up.  With hands made clumsy by their violent shaking, Belle took a moment to attempt to fight the panic threatening by focusing on the mundane task of brushing off the gravel still sticking to her naked skin.  Despite her efforts, her heart sped up, stuttering over itself.  Her breath sawed in and out of her lungs.  Dirt, and what looked uncannily like blood, caked itself into the creases of her knuckles and underneath her fingernails.  One nail had been broken.  Ripped off all the way to the midpoint and her finger throbbed in acknowledgement.    

She would need to check a calendar to be sure, but she would guess that it had been exactly twenty-nine days since the last time.  The last full moon.  Ambivalence consumed her.  Snaked its way up from her belly and threatened to choke her.  She wasn’t sure if she should laugh maniacally because she might be losing her mind, or sob because she knew for a fact that she wasn’t.

OK, I don't know about you, but I really want to read that....

Roselynn's buy links and previews are not generally available yet, but for you dear readers, we have a bonus!  Here is the tentative blurb for Fallen:
I promise to protect you always.

They crept in under cover of darkness. With the palace under enemy control, Persephone, Princess of Galilae, will do anything necessary to protect those she holds dearest. But when loyalties conflict and not everyone can be saved, what will it cost to keep her promise?

Tell me about the princess, Persephone.

Undefeated, merciless, and famed as a brilliant strategist, for Augustine Sempronius the ends have always justified the means. When the palace fell with hardly any resistance, overtaking the rest of Galilae should have been simple. But the one person his plans hinge on is also the one person cunning and ruthless enough to thwart him.



Intrigued? who wouldn't be! Be ready when Fallen lands in e-readers near you by checking out Roselynn's blog!

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Are you registered for Reading Until Dawn Con? 
If not, why not?! Join us for fun, games, snacks and as you've seen, pants-optional dancing.  
Register here, and see you there!


What's that you say? Budget got you down? 
Enter the #RUDC15VideoContest to 
win your hotel room for the conference.
You read that right, I said STAY FOR FREE! 
Hurry, contest ends July 26. Be sure to read all the details for entry.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Reading Until Dawn: Feature Author Chelsea O'Neal



OK EVERYBODY HOLD ON WE'RE DOING THIS THING!

As a Featured Blogger (ahem) for the Reading Until Dawn conference, it is my pleasure and my sacred responsibility to showcase the delightful authors that will be hanging out and playing embarrassing SUPER FUN AND AWESOME games with us in October.  We're not doing panels.  We're not doing pitches. We're seriously not doing serious. We WILL be doing games.

If you've read Alpha Heroes for very long, you know I'm not too into author interviews. I'm not very good at them, to be honest. So just pretend this is a game instead of an interview.  I gave my authors a Mad LibsTM style questionnaire, and here are the results!  (note: truthiness is optional... these are fiction writers after all!)

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With us today is  Chelsea O'Neal, author of the paranormal fantasy Angel Crest
series.  Let's get a glimpse inside Chelsea's brain...


1. No one ever beats me at the game of:  "I think Tom Hiddleston is the hottest man ever, and he is my future husband..."  Uhhh, Chelsea? that's not a--

---WHAT.

nothing, nothing, never mind. You totally win!


2. When I was a kid, and they were picking teams for sportball, I was usually:
a) picked right away
b) not picked right away
c) one of the captains

Later in life, I found myself __changing my hair color every other month__ and I think it was all because of how the sportball teams were picked.


3. The most embarrassing/hilarious game I ever participated in was _ding-dong ditch at the police station_.  Everyone was laughing at . _the donuts we left behind_


4. In an alternate universe, I am George R. R. Martin, only my fabulously successful 700-page epic book is titled "Game of Words."  It is about: how each character only has so many words to use and as the book come to a close, there is more charades(if you know what I mean, wink, wink) than words.... (I do! I do know what you mean!)


5. Once, my good friend, Jen and roommate suggested that we burn some of my ex husbands belongings that I somehow still had and I could only respond, GAME. ON.  

Then what happened? Well we probably shouldn't have drank quite of few bottles of wine, and shouldn't have videoed silly parts of our evening, and then we definitely shouldn't have had to call the fire department, however having a group of hotter than hot men show up to help us douse the fire was a huge plus, and of course the numbers that we shouldn't have got were great!
 

BONUS!

The 5-words game rules:

The lovely Selena Laurence challenges you to use the following 5 words in a piece of flash fiction, as long or short as you wish. Don't overthink it :-)

Then, give 5 words for the next victim, er, interviewee to use.  They will have the option to build on your piece or do a stand-alone.

Your words are:  talcum, superb, Crisco, variegated, and subterranean. (To see the beginning of this RUDC15 Alpha Heroes amazing story, see Selena's Featured Author Post from last Friday...)

Sighing again, Candy rolls her eyes, decisions were never easy to make. Ever. This life decision may even be harder with the variegated sides to it.  Sliding the ring on her finger just to see what it would look like, to see how it feels on her finger, Candy smiles.  It sure looks good, but could she really marry him? A locker slamming nearby jolts Candy out of her musings and she jerks at the ring to pull it off.  Somehow it is stuck. The superb ring that she doesn't know if she can really keep since she isn't sure if she really wants to marry Jace, is stuck on her finger. Panicking just a bit she whirls to make sure no one is too close, she can't let the word get out yet. Candy ruffles through her own locker and finally she finds a bottle of talcum powder and with a bit of a relief she pours it generously on her hand not caring a bit that it falls all over the floor around her. Dropping the bottle she jerks violently at the ring, but it is still stuck. Whimpering a little since she can't keep wearing the blasted thing and her shift starts in twenty minutes, she briefly wonders if there is some Crisco lying around somewhere. Her finger starts to throb and it seems as if the ring is getting smaller the more she tugs.  She whirls around to try cold water and comes face to chest with a very large, manly, body. 

Startled, Candy stumbles a bit and slowly lifts her eyes up the hard packed, tanned, hairy chest, even as she feels large hands on her hips steadying her. Once her eyes reach his, she is gone.  His eyes are the most fierce golden color she has ever seen and they are focused entirely on her. Keeping her still while her brain is telling her to run. Holding her breath unable to even form a coherent thought she can only stare at the stranger who seems to be taking everything in, even the smell of the powder as his nose twitches.  Then in a move so sudden and quick Candy is lifted into his strong arms and swept away.  She realizes she is being taken to a subterranean level after descending multiple stairs.  The stranger smells so wonderful, of dark woods and sunlight such a compelling combination. The man isn't even breathing heavily while carrying her, and without meaning to, Candy feels a stirring in her lower abdomen.




Is Chelsea awesome at this or what? Dark woods and sunlight, you gotta love a #HeroSmell with such visual appeal. For the real goods, go check out her paranormal fantasy series.




Chelsea O’Neal lives in her fantasy world where people can fly, vampires could be real, money is never an issue and the romantic meeting of your true love is a normal happening.  When not relaxing in Chelsea-ville, she enjoys talking with animals who talk back and taking long walks with her prince charming.

Actually Chelsea lives in the United States in Nebraska, where she was born and raised, with her black lab Daisey, who hasn’t spoken actual words to her but she is pretty sure Daisey understands her. She is yet to meet her prince charming, though she is quite sure he is out there.  Chelsea enjoys working in a library as well as a cosmetologist. She is an avid reader and writing has always been her passion. Chelsea has published 2 novels and a novella and she is working on her next book now.
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Are you registered for Reading Until Dawn Con? 
If not, why not?! Join us for fun, games, snacks and possibly pants-optional dancing.  
Register here, and see you there!


What's that you say? Budget got you down? 
Enter the #RUDC15VideoContest to 
win your hotel room for the conference.
You read that right, I said STAY FOR FREE! 
Hurry, contest ends July 26. Be sure to read all the details for entry.

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