Excerpt: Feral Escape (Catnip and Cauldrons, Book 3) by Autumn Jones Lake

feral escapeSometimes when I’m writing, the words just flow from my fingertips. It’s a trance-like state where what I envision in my head magically transforms into the story I want to tell. Other times, I sit, poke at the keyboard and nothing comes out right.

It’s those other times that I desperately look for inspiration anywhere I can find it. Movies, music, taking a long drive, cooking, walking the dogs. When I step away from the computer I let my mind think about the little details. Bits of description that will inspire and move the story forward. Redirecting my focus to little details can sometimes help remove a creative block.

Put yourself in your scene and consider the objects that would be around you. Is there something your character should be wearing or carrying? What objects would naturally be in the space your character is in? What kinds of things would your character hear or smell?

In my novel, Feral Escape, my heroine, Molly has been kidnapped. Her abductors left her in a cave and no one has come to check on her in a couple days. I kind of boxed myself into a corner with this one. There’s not a lot exciting about a cave. I had to think about Molly’s mindset – she’s scared. What might be in the cave with her? Rocks, yeah, duh, of course. What else? Empty water bottles. Ah! The kidnappers were bringing her food and water daily. They’ve since stopped and Molly is scared she’s going to die of dehydration. What else? The cave is cold. What’s missing? A blanket. The kidnappers brought her food and water, but no one thought to provide her with a blanket. Now she’s cold and in pain from sitting on the hard stones for so long.

My hero, Ivan has received a clue about Molly’s whereabouts and goes to look for her. What will he take? It’s night time. A flashlight. A backpack. Infrared binoculars. Hmm…interesting detail. I don’t think that’s an item everyone has around the house. What does he find on his search? A soggy, pink sneaker. Molly’s sneaker, letting him know he’s on the right track. Maybe.

Thinking about these little details and their connections to the characters helped the scene grow. Each of the details helped add to the story and move the plot along. Hopefully they gave some insight to my characters as well.

Let your imagination run free!

What tricks do you use to help your story move along? What sort of details do you appreciate when you’re reading a book?

Blurb: Molly has been captured, imprisoned, and is near-death when rescued. Spending time with Ivan has her re-thinking her vow not to take a mate.

Molly finds the mysterious and aloof Ivan deeply irresistible—she has from the moment she met him. But she’s spent the last year dodging her family’s plans to mate her to another shifter with no intention of changing her mind. Will being kidnapped and imprisoned in a cell where food and water stopped coming days ago cause her to lose hope?

Ivan volunteers every waking moment to find Molly since she went missing. His reaction to the sweet little cat shifter surprises him. He’s fiercely determined to never settle down with another shifter, but he can’t escape the draw she has on him.

Rescuing Molly is only the beginning. The danger she and the rest of the runaway cat-shifters have managed to elude is closing in on them fast. Ivan is committed to protecting Molly from any threats, but his past comes back to bite him when his old enforcer friend tells him he’s been hired to bring Molly in. Will his love for Molly turn them both into prey?

Buy: Feral Escape (Catnip and Cauldrons)

Excerpt:

Huddled in the corner of her tiny stone cell, Molly Goldfoot stared into the darkness. Were it not for the small crack between the rocks, she would have no idea if it was night or day. She wrapped her arms around her knees, pulling them tight to her chest. A shiver rippled through her body. She’d lost track of how long she’d been held captive. In the beginning, someone had brought food and water each day, but that had stopped.

She closed her eyes and visualized her friends, Martha, Kipp, Deacon, Oscar, and her new friend, Onyx. Were they searching for her? Why couldn’t Onyx’s wizard boyfriend conjure up some magic to find her? Maybe it wouldn’t matter. Wherever they had imprisoned her must be magically spelled. No matter how many times she tried, she could not shift into her cat form.

The last person she’d been with before she’d been so rudely grabbed and shoved into the back of a dirty, smelly old van. Would Ivan search for her? He was older than her. Sexy. Dangerous. She wanted him bad. Why had she been so damn stupid and refused his offer to walk her home?

Cause she hadn’t wanted the others to know she went to meet him on the sly. For the millionth time, she wanted to kick herself. She and Oscar were friends. Sure, they’d kissed a little, but it wasn’t serious. There shouldn’t have been a problem with Ivan walking her home.

Molly shook her head, and a sad chuckle trickled past her lips. This was her punishment for her trampy behavior. She altered her position on the hard stone floor, wriggling her left foot which had fallen asleep. At some point she’d lost both her sneakers, so only thin, dirty socks protected her feet. Her butt hurt. This captivity thing became old quick.

Had her family orchestrated this? As she did every day, several times a day, she stood up and shuffled the few steps to the front of her prison.

Buy: Feral Escape (Catnip and Cauldrons)

Author Bio: Autumn Jones Lake was born and raised in Upstate, New York. In addition to writing, she runs her own business from home. A big fan of horror movies and spooky books, it wasn’t until recently she realized all the tales she writes need to include a hunky hero and a happily ever after.

When she’s not writing, Autumn spends time listening to music, going to concerts, reading, gardening, acting, and collecting nail polish. While those things are fun, Autumn is happiest sitting in front of her computer into the wee hours of the night, weaving stories the characters in her head whisper to her.

Autumn lives in Upstate New York with her husband and their three rescue dogs. She is actively involved with several dog rescue groups and her local RWA chapter.

Visit Autumn at:

AutumnJonesLake.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AutumnJonesLake

@AutumnJLake

The Werecougar: A Complex Hero

BrokenPromiseFINAL2Guest Blog by Tara Fox Hall, author of Broken Promise.

A huge thank you to Love Romance Passion Bloggers for having me here today!

I’m here today to promote Broken Promise, the second book in the paranormal romance Promise Me series. First, let me give a little background on the complex hero of the second book, the werecougar Theo O’Connor.

Theo is a thirty something bodyguard who had already known loss in his early twenties, when the attack that turned him also killed his parents (“Heart’s Belles,” from the Bedtime Shadows Anthology). In the ten years since then, Theo has become best friend and partner of the vampire Danial Racklan, owner of the corporate detective business Solutions, Inc. (“Partners,” from the Midnight Thirsts 2 Anthology). Theo is secure from those that would hunt him, changing to animal form only on the grounds of Danial’s sprawling estate. While he enjoys regular trysts with a fellow werelion Tawny on his business trips to Europe guarding Danial, Theo has not had a real relationship since his art college days, and is isolated from all others of his kind (he killed the man that turned him, and caused the death of his family). He is afraid to; afraid of the animal inside, which he has never really made peace with. In fact, Theo has taken drugs regularly to subdue his werecougar urges, and keep the animal inside him leashed. Everything is going completely under his control until a stormy fall night, when Danial is attacked while out alone on a job.

When Danial falls in love with the Sarelle in Promise Me, Theo is positive it will end badly for the vampire and human couple. In fact, he goes so far as to tell Danial that verbatim in Sarelle’s presence, then further warns Sar several times out of Danial’s hearing. But when Danial and Sar become Oathed at the end of Promise Me—a sort of marriage for vampires and their lovers—Theo reluctantly gives his blessing, hoping for the best. Secretly he has come to love Sar himself in the months he has known her, but knows that she doesn’t love him in return.

I looked down at Jake’s corpse, remembering how quick he’d been. What might have happened to me if Theo hadn’t shown up when he had?

“You’re trembling,” he said. He put his arm around me, patting me awkwardly. “Don’t be afraid; they’re dead.”

I hadn’t had a gun. If Jake had finished Theo, I’d have been helpless. My shaking intensified. I hugged Theo hard with both arms, trying not to cry.

His arms tightened around me. “Hey, I’m sorry for saying what I did—”

“I’m okay,” I said shakily into his throat. “It’s just adrenaline.”

“Shh,” he said gently. “I’m right here. No one’s going to hurt you. Just breathe.”

I held him until my breathing went back to normal. The solidness of him was comforting. Safe. I felt safe.

“We should go back,” he whispered. “You must be cold.”

I smiled, ready to say that he was holding me way too close for me to be cold. But when I looked up and met his concerned storm-cloud blue eyes, my throat was so dry I couldn’t talk. I moved back, feeling awkward. “Yes, we should get back. Danial will be home soon.”

He nodded. “Please don’t mention this to him.”

I gave him an incredulous look. “You want me to lie?”

He cleared his throat, embarrassed. “I meant don’t say anything tonight. I’ll tell him later. But I don’t want to ruin the first night of your honeymoon. He’s waited a long time to love someone.”

“He told you.”

“Of course, he told me. He’s my friend and he’s ecstatic.”

“Won’t Ivan say something?”

“And risk being fired for watching porn when he was supposed to be standing guard? Not likely.” He reholstered his gun. “And as fights go, this was just a scuffle.”

I looked at him, then away. “Okay.”

“If you’d have stayed indoors, I’d have taken care of them with no problem.”

“Sure you would have.”

In the opening chapter of Broken Promise, a dark design of Danial’s comes to light, causing Sar to leave him for a separation. After his attempts to get her back in the next week fail, an angry Danial dissolves their relationship. Resolute in her choice but still hopeful for an eventual reconciliation, Sar takes the next few months to decide what she wants. When a shared dream in Broken Promise reveals that Theo’s concern for Sar was rooted in his own love for her and that he has fought his feelings for her all along, Sar contacts Theo and they begin a love affair. But the worst difficulty before the couple is not facing the wrath of Danial or the other obstacles facing them…it is Theo facing up to what he is.

A terrible thought suddenly struck me. “Theo, when Cia was here and she changed for me, she knew who I was and understood my words. Will you know me, understand me?”

“Probably not, Sar. I don’t want you near me when I change. I could hurt you, even think you were prey.” Theo looked away, unwilling to meet my eyes.

“Why is it that she has control and you don’t?” I asked bluntly

“Because she changes every week at least once, sometimes every night,” he said in exasperation. “She doesn’t take the drug, never has. None of the foxes do. The drug separates the human and animal, putting a wall between them, so it’s harder for the animal and human to communicate.”

The drug made it harder for the animal to get through to influence the human. The flip side was it also made it harder for the human to control the animal and its urges, when the animal finally assumed control.

“Why would you do that to yourself, Theo?” I asked. “Why cut yourself off—”

“Because I hate it, Sar! I hate it! I never asked to be this way!” he shouted. “Do you know how it feels, waking up with blood on you, naked in the forest? How it feels knowing that you have to do it again and again for the rest of your life?” His eyes flickered from blue to yellow, and then changed back to blue.

Happily, Sar is a woman more than up for the challenge when it involves a man she is also falling for.

Theo lay down next to me, and began to speak.

“Sar, I apologize again for attacking you. I shouldn’t have to change for a few more months. By then, Danial will have worked this out in his mind, and—”

I spoke quickly, before I could change my mind. This was going to be our first fight and maybe our last. “Theo, you are going to change tonight, too.”

“Sar, I don’t have to—” he began.

“You need to, and you do have to, Theo,” I said firmly. “We need to do it every night until you have the control you need, until you can recognize me when you’re a cougar. I can’t live with you here without you being in control of your animal side. You might hurt me, or my pets. I can’t risk either one.”

“I won’t, Sar, I promise. The drugs give me control over my animal side—”

“No, they don’t. They never did, Theo. They’re keeping you from having control, real control.”

“Sar, please, don’t ask me to—”

“Stop taking the drugs, Theo. You tell the truth to everyone but yourself. This is who you are, what you are.”

“It’s not who I want to be,” he whispered.

“It is that sentimentality that almost killed me last night, Theo,” I said gently, if those words could be gentle. “You need to stop hiding and be who you are.”

“You saw last night what I was capable of. What kind of man does that?” he said bitterly.

“The kind of man I’m falling in love with,” I said to him, a faint smile on my lips. “The kind of man who doesn’t lie to himself or anyone else.”

The look in his eyes when he understood my words suffused me with feeling for him. Seeing him look at me like that, I wondered how it could’ve taken me so long to say them to him.

He pulled me into his arms and kissed me, tears again on his face. “I’ll do it, Sar. I’ll do it. For you, for us, I’ll do it.”

Blurb from Broken Promise:

Shocked at Danial’s betrayal, Sarelle returns to her old home to consider her options. Yet even as Sar plans a reconciliation with Danial, Terian arrives, confessing his desire. When Theo witnesses Terian and Sar kiss, he angrily confronts Sar, leading to startling consequences. Will Sar’s heart choose Danial, Terian,…or Theo?

Buy: Broken Promise (Promise Me)

Broken Promise Blog Tour Button

Tara’s Other Links:

www.tarafoxhall.com

tarafoxhallATgmailDOTcom

Tara’s Blog: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5286654.Tara_Fox_Hall/blog

Tara’s Facebook Page:

www.facebook.com/pages/Tara-Fox-Hall/151813374904903

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/TerrorFoxHall

For info on my recently published books Lash and Promise Me, click here: http://www.amazon.com/Lash-ebook/dp/B007UJ6KGC and here http://www.amazon.com/Promise-Me-ebook/dp/B0086G4GDC

Signs Your Man is a Shapeshifter

savagehungerGuest blog by Terry Spear, author of Savage Hunger

You know when your man could be a shapeshifter when:

  1. He installs a BIG pet door at your house and you don’t own a pet.
  2. He LOVES to get naked.
  3. He owns a handy dandy lock pick set—standard issue lupus garou variety. (This only counts for wolf shifters. Jaguars have to find another way in.)
  4. You find fur shed in the house and you don’t own a pet.
  5. You find big claw marks on the furniture and you don’t own a cat.
  6. He growls a lot.
  7. He purrs. (Big cat shifters only.)
  8. He wants to run in the woods. (Wolf shifters only.)
  9. He wants to run in the jungle. (Jaguar shifters only.)
  10. He’s got great stamina.
  11. Can climb trees. (Jaguar shifters only.)
  12. Super physical strength.
  13. Wants to be with only one woman for life.
  14. He’s protective.
  15. He’s insatiable.
  16. He’s a predator.
  17. And he loves the water.
  18. Did I mention he’s a hunk?

If you find your man has many of these qualities, you might have gotten lucky and have yourself a shifter for a hunk! If not, you might want to keep looking. They’re loveable, helpful, protective and courageous. They never back down in a fight.

Did I mention about the stamina? They put all those toned muscles to great use!

So what happens if we are lucky enough to come across both a jaguar shifter and a werewolf? How do we choose? Well, that’s the fun part!

And it all depends on you!

GIVEAWAY: Thanks so much to Love Romance Passion for having me here today! And if you’ll tell me what you think would be the best quality in a shapeshifting hunk that you’d appreciate and why—or which of my wolf packs you’ve fallen in love with, you’ll have a chance to win a copy of SAVAGE HUNGER, first book of the Heart of the Jaguar shifter series. US or Canada address only. Last Day to Enter: September 29, 2012.

About the Author

USA Today bestselling and an award-winning author of urban fantasy and medieval romantic suspense, Terry Spear also writes true stories for adult and young adult audiences. She’s a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves and has an MBA from Monmouth University. She also creates award-winning teddy bears, Wilde & Woolly Bears, that are personalized that have found homes all over the world. When she’s not writing or making bears, she’s teaching online writing courses or gardening. Her family has roots in the Highlands of Scotland where her love of all things Scottish came into being. Originally from California, she’s lived in eight states and now resides in the heart of Texas. She is the author of the Heart of the Wolf series and the Heart of the Jaguar series, plus numerous other paranormal romance and historical romance novels. For more information, please visit www.terryspear.com, or follow her on Twitter, @TerrySpear. She is also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/terry.spear .

Buy: Savage Hunger

Do You Prefer Lycans or Vampyres?

by Lydia Dare, guest bloggers and authors of It Happened One Bite

For this blog, Lydia Dare was asked the question: Do you prefer Lycans or Vampyres? Or do you love them both equally? Let us know your favorite things about both.

But, since there are two of us who make up Lydia Dare, we often have opposing views. Since we couldn’t agree about which we prefer, here’s our chat before we just gave up on our argument about it.

This is what it’s like being Lydia Dare, folks. Unfiltered.

Jodie Pearson: So we’ve been asked to talk about which of our heroes we prefer. Vampyres or Lycans.

Jodie Pearson: It’s hard for me to choose. There are good things about each one.

Jodie Pearson: What do you think?

Tammy Falkner: Do you remember when we were plotting the first book, and we decided vampyres would be too hard to write in the Regency, because you can’t give them a synthetic or other food source? I thought because of that I’d hate the vamps when we got to them. But I think they turned out to be my favs.

Jodie Pearson: Really?

Jodie Pearson: I thought for sure you’d go with the wolves.

Tammy Falkner: That’s what you get for thinking.

Jodie Pearson: I’m just the opposite – big surprise there – but it’s true

Jodie Pearson: lol

Jodie Pearson: In real life, assuming vamps and wolves were real, I think I’d much prefer the vamps

Tammy Falkner: Why?

Jodie Pearson: But in our books, there is something very endearing about the wolves. They’re like playful, big hearted boys who growl a lot.

Jodie Pearson: Why vamps in real life? I think they have more of a sensual nature to them.

Tammy Falkner: Who said there were vamps in real life?

Jodie Pearson: I said “assuming vamps and wolves were real.”

Jodie Pearson: Sheesh!

Tammy Falkner: I think the wolves were great. Don’t get me wrong. And, in the end, I think the attraction to them both was the same. Think about it — at the end of it all, one of the high points of each book was when the hero bit the heroine. And that’s the case with both Lycan’s and Vampyres.

Jodie Pearson: That’s true.

Jodie Pearson: And I adore our vamps, don’t get me wrong.

Tammy Falkner: It wasn’t about the bite. It was about the taking or claiming of someone as his own. But I did find the vamps to be much more dynamic.

Jodie Pearson: Really?

Tammy Falkner: No. I’m lying. Of course, really.

Jodie Pearson: Smarty pants

Jodie Pearson: I mean, my favorite hero IS one of the vamps. So how is that for a dichotomy?

Tammy Falkner: Which one?

Jodie Pearson: I can’t say.

Jodie Pearson: That ought to tell you right there.

Tammy Falkner: Oh, the last one. Got it. Mine, too.

Tammy Falkner: lol

Jodie Pearson: The other two are awesome though!

Jodie Pearson: I mean how can you go wrong with a REAL knight in shining armor?

Tammy Falkner: You have always been taken with the knight in shining armor thing. I don’t get it.

Jodie Pearson: Chivalry!!!

Jodie Pearson: Not dead, even if the knight is the undead

Tammy Falkner: Yeah, still don’t get it. But whatever.

Jodie Pearson: How can you not get it?

Jodie Pearson: I don’t even know how to respond to that.

Tammy Falkner: I’m not taken in by the whole knight in shining armor thing. Hero saves heroine, yadda, yadda, yadda. I’d prefer a kick ass heroine.

Jodie Pearson: Like Blaire from IT HAPPENED ONE BITE?

Tammy Falkner: I can relate to Blaire.

Tammy Falkner: lol

Jodie Pearson: And me not so much! I think you ARE Blaire.

Tammy Falkner: Just ’cause I threaten you with fire does not mean you have to call me names. tyvm

Jodie Pearson: lmao

Jodie Pearson: There’s always a reason to call you names.

Jodie Pearson: ;)

Tammy Falkner: (finger)

Jodie Pearson: I can’t believe you did that!

Tammy Falkner: Why not? I flip you off at least once every time I see you.

Jodie Pearson: I know, it hurts my feelings.

Tammy Falkner: If I didn’t do it, you’d worry I didn’t like you. lol

Jodie Pearson: You’re such a Blaire.

Tammy Falkner: You are such another b word.

Jodie Pearson: Beautiful?

Jodie Pearson: Thanks!

Tammy Falkner: LOL

Tammy Falkner: So, Vamps or Lycans. WHY do the Lycans hold more appeal for you?

Tammy Falkner: And you can’t say ’cause one is a knight.

Jodie Pearson: They’re like playful boys.

Jodie Pearson: Who growl a lot.

Jodie Pearson: Like loyal, puppy dogs – but sexy.

Tammy Falkner: Oh, good griefl. lol Maybe that’s why I’m partial to the vamps. Because they never can get tamed like the wolves? I don’t know.

Jodie Pearson: So are you saying, I’m the classic woman who thinks she can change (or tame) a man?

Tammy Falkner: I said no such thing.

Tammy Falkner: Paranoid much?

Jodie Pearson: Just checkin’.

Jodie Pearson: Paranoid OFTEN

Tammy Falkner: And that would be why you’re not a Blaire.

Jodie Pearson: Then which one am I?

Tammy Falkner: The frail human we’re writing right now. Who is afraid to get dirty.

Jodie Pearson: *sigh* Yes, I am her. But I wouldn’t call her ‘frail’. She is high maintenance.

Jodie Pearson: And there isn’t anything wrong with that!!

Tammy Falkner: Keep telling yourself that

Jodie Pearson: LOL – I do, every day! I just want things the way I want them. And I know WHAT I want.

Tammy Falkner: We’re supposed to be deciding who’s sexier – Lycans or Vamps.

Jodie Pearson: You mean, we’re not discussing ME? What a travesty.

Tammy Falkner: ON TOPIC, Jodie.

Jodie Pearson: Fine!

Jodie Pearson: Wolves!

Jodie Pearson: There are we done?

Tammy Falkner: NO. Because I choose Vamps. We’ll have to agree to disagree. Like normal.

Jodie Pearson: I would be a miracle IF we ever did agree.

Jodie Pearson: We should never be given choices. We’ll always take opposing sides.

So, there you have it. Jodie prefers wolves. Tammy prefers vampyres. But in the end, we love them all. For very different reasons.

We hope you love them, too!

IT HAPPENED ONE BITE BY LYDIA DARE – IN STORES MARCH 2011

He’s Lost, Trapped, Doomed for All Eternity

Rich, titled and undead, gentleman vampire James Maitland, Lord Kettering, fears himself doomed to a cold and lonely existence—trapped for decades in an abandoned castle. Then, beautiful Scottish witch Blaire Lindsay arrives, and things begin to heat up considerably…

Unless He can Persuade Her to Set Him Free…

Feisty Blaire Lindsay laughs off the local gossip surrounding her mother’s ancestral home—stories of haunting cannot scare off this battle-born witch. But when she discovers the handsome prisoner in the bowels of the castle, Blaire has no idea that she has unleashed anything more than a man who sets her heart on fire…

Buy: It Happened One Bite

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lydia Dare is the writing team of Tammy Falkner and Jodie Pearson. Both Tammy and Jodie are active members of the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers and live near Raleigh, North Carolina. Their next two books will also feature gentleman vampires: In the Heat of the Bite (July 2011) and Never Been Bit (September 2011)! For more information, please visit http://www.lydiadare.com/.

GIVEAWAY: I have 2 copies of It Happened One Bite. Open to US and Canadian readers only. Enter by leaving a comment explaining why you like vampires or werewolves/lycans best! Which side are you on? Last Day to Enter: March 11, 2011. Good luck!

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