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

Get into Bed with Susannah Scott (Author Interview)

author pic cover (200x300)Keira: I love watching Leverage, so learning Luck of the Dragon had a grifter (very rare in romance) made me super excited. How does your character feel about being a grifter, and is she any good?

Susannah Scott: Oh yes, Lucy is a very good thief, but she is conflicted. She gave up grifting to pursue a respectable life as a PhD gemologist. She is world-renowned for her professional (legal) skills, but in order to bail out her ne’er-do-well twin, Joey, she has to steal from the Crown Jewel Casino. Lucy is very feisty anyway, but the combination of being blackmailed and having to return to her old ways, pushes her over the edge, straight into Alec.

Keira: The sexiness of Las Vegas is the perfect setting for this novel because…

Susannah: I just love Las Vegas–for about 3 days–after that I am worn out. But if I had to define what makes it so sexy, for me it is the foil of the condensed opulence against the harsh dessert. It gives the place a feel of being out-of-time, that reality is truly pushed away to the edge of the green-watered lawns, so that anything–even dragons–are possible.

Keira: I love the paranormal twist – I did not see a dragon shape-shifter coming. I admit I originally thought an Asian themed casino and left it simply at that. It’s cool to see it be so much more in the book. What are some pluses and minuses to being a dragon shape-shifter?

Susannah: The dragons really struggle with their dual natures. In their dragon forms, they are too aggressive and are forced to be loners. But in the modern world, there are just not enough places for a loner dragon to lair-up. So, Alec devises a sanctuary at the top of his casino to provide a hidden-in-plain sight existence for his people. I love the constant conflict of their bestial natures and their human reasoning because they are forced to co exist.

Keira: How does a dragon-shifter recognize a mate?

Susannah: Usually with the first kiss, there is a mutual electricity that surges through them and possessiveness. This didn’t happen for Lucy though, because she is a human. Alec has a very hard time convincing her that he isn’t a crazy cult leader, really fun stuff!

Keira: Tell me more about this mating ceremony!

Susannah: The dragons are an ancient race. As such, they have a high level of pageantry and custom to their ceremony. All the different dragon factions have different clothing, ie. the water dragons wear blue shifts and jewels. They love and treasure the “finer” things in life. They are sensory connoisseurs, and this really comes out in the ceremony. It is vibrant and passionate and breath taking.

Keira: What was your favorite scene to write (or one that surprised you) and why?

Susannah: I always just get pulled in during the flight scenes. I am right there with the dragon, coasting through the sky, feeling the wind and the weather.

Keira: What’s next for you in life and in writing?

Susannah: Next up in writing is STOP DRAGON MY HEART AROUND. Leo and Tee’s story out this fall-ish. It is a fun friends to lovers tale, with lots of sexy banter. Personally, we have a new house and my kids are home from school for the summer. So I am alternating unpacking with enjoying them.

Thank you so much for having me Keira and giving my an opportunity to connect with your readers. Great questions!

All my best,

Susannah Scott

LuckOfTheDragon500Luck of the Dragon Blurb:

Luciana de Luca has a PhD in sass and gemology—and a problem. Her twin brother’s gambling debts have gotten out of hand, and a mob enforcer is blackmailing her to rob the latest, greatest mega-casino on the Strip. Although Lucy has worked her whole life to get away from her family’s grifter past, to save her brother, she dons three-inch heels and a sluts-r-us dress and struts into Alec’s Gerald’s casino, determined to put her long-forgotten thieving ways to the test again.

Alec Gerald, a shape-shifting dragon, has built the Crown Jewel casino to provide sanctuary for his people amongst the flash and awe of Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the sexy little thief trying to rob his gem exhibit turns out to be his mate, and he must woo her before he loses his dragon form forever. With enemies in every corner, and the all-important mating ceremony looming, Alec and Lucy must learn to trust each other, before time runs out for Alec and the rest of the dragons.

Buy: Luck of the Dragon

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SUSANNAH SCOTT lives in the Missouri Ozarks and is the lone female in a very loud household of males ranging in age from 4 to 40. While she jokes that the extreme levels of testosterone inspired her to write romance, it is really the love of creating an excellent story, and the occasional dreams of twenty-foot dragons, that wake her and send her to the laptop before the chaos of daily life ensues. Susannah loves to hear from her readers. Please visit her website at www.susannahscottbooks.com or follow her as Susannah Scott on Facebook and @Susannah_Scott on Twitter.

Buy: Luck of the Dragon

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Review: Where the Rain is Made by Keta Diablo

Hero: Ethan Gray has pledged his life to the People (Cheyenne) and when they need him he goes straightaway to the council where he’s given his orders. Ethan is a time-traveling shifter who can transform into a raven. When he returns to the past to lead the Cheyenne’s Dog Soldiers he melds perfectly into their lives. They never know he’s just a temporary visitor. His Cheyenne name is I Am The Wind or Meko.

Heroine: Francesca Duvall’s life changes in an instant when I Am the Wind appears before her in a clearing during an Indian attack. He captures her and her brother is capture by another. Cesca’s life hangs in the balance and so does Marsh’s. Lucky for her, Meko wants her as his wife. Not so lucky is Marsh’s treatment at the hands of his captor. Saving him, means risking herself, but Cesca will do it nevertheless.

Review: The overall writing quality is excellent and if two initial plot points hadn’t occurred I would have been swept away into the story without a word to the contrary (except for the many Indian names, which sometimes appear only once or twice and never again).

As it was, I found it hard to swallow the instant lust/love on Cesca’s side. Meko’s attraction and love yes, because the author built up that he dreamed about her as Ethan, but for Cesca she’s much too strongly opposed to the Cheyenne and Meko at first to believably fall head long over heels for him. I feel this should have dragged out a little longer, but the author was working a long timeline with many things to fit in and the initial stirrings suffered for it.

The other plot point ties into this one and its Cesca’s initial feelings and prejudices for the Cheyenne seem to disappear rather too quickly for someone who didn’t want to change into their clothes or initial partake in their life. Because of the initial start as a reader I kept pulling out of the story trying to logically figure out the relationship pacing and when the angsty moment came for their temporary breakup (a part I usually love) I just wanted to smack Cesca upside the head. She’s nearly raped and then blames Meko for saving her of all things because it got too messy for her (you know with killing the evil white soldiers.)

I did like the ending and how the time travel was handled… unexpected and fun! This is an epic feeling novel compacted into a few hundred pages. I enjoyed the story and wouldn’t mind following another time traveling shifter Native American back into the past as the world building by Diablo is very well done and likeable. Perhaps Marsh’s tale?

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Where the Rain is Made

Review: Wickedest Witch by Eve Langlais

by Susan S., guest reviewer

With its fun twists and witty humor, Wickedest Witch, is guaranteed to entertain its readers. You’re about to discover what happens when you double-cross a witch. I’m suggesting you hide. And while searching for that perfect hiding spot, keep your eyes peeled for a black panther. I hear he may be able to curb the witch’s wrath. Or not. After some careful consideration, it’s probably more sensible to just…run. Run!

Summary: Evangaline Rasputin, heroine, has a bad reputation. She’s the Wickedest Witch, and oftentimes, events get a little out-of-control. For instance, her ex is a rat. No. Really. He is. Figuratively as well as literally. What?! He dumped her; Derek had it coming. So, she cast a little spell.

The Wickedest Witch meets the hero, Ryker Pantero, at a bar. He’s a shifter with an ability to transform into a deadly black panther. When Ryker tries his overt sexual pickup lines on Evangaline, he’ll find himself drenched in wine, and getting close and personal with…the floor.

In order to protect a child from a possible kidnapping, they’ll have to set their animosity aside.  All the while, attempting to restrain the rapidly brewing attraction between them. But this witch and shifter will soon realize, all the magic in the world can’t stop- what’s already destined to be!

Review: When I read paranormal romances, I’m relying on the author to entertain me. To pull me from the mundane into his/her world. If the story causes me to laugh at least once, all the better. Did Ms. Langlais accomplish what I had hoped she would? She sure did! I had so much fun reading Eve’s novella. When Evangaline tells Ryker to take her home, he almost kills them speeding in his haste to get her naked. The crystal ball answering machine was a cute touch. Eve also didn’t over modernize the heroine too much.

Evangaline uses what you’d expect a witch to use. A broom to drive! And just you wait. The character Rumpelstiltskin isn’t really who you’d expect. Loved the author’s imaginative twist!

Recommendations: Recommended for readers who enjoy the enemies to lovers trope. For persons who relish paranormal romances which contain: witches, shifters, and vampires. This novella features all three. Want a story that makes you laugh? That entertains? Good! This one fits the bill. Erotica lovers will enjoy the building sexual tension as much as the release.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Wickedest Witch

Liquid Silver Books, imprint of Atlantic Bridge Publishing, Copyright 2010, eBook, Novella, 63 Pages, Paranormal Romance. ISBN# 978-1-59578-764-4.