Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Deleted Scene: Khyff at the Starport

Khyff Antonello.
I'm sharing a deleted scene from the book For Women Only. This was part of an alternate ending for the book. In the scene, Khyff had packed his bags and left the house, abandoning Mehfawni to protect her and his brother. He has second thoughts about his plans. In the final version, he did not escape the threat, and his life was in peril. I deleted this scene because the other packed a much bigger emotional wallop.

- - -





Felidae, Ruh Township
Takhee Ahnrrah Starport

Khyff left a note for Senth and NarrAy that he would see them when he could make arrangements and left the date open. They would be safe on Felidae. Mehfawni might hate him, but she would not go back on her word.

Except where it pertained to traitors, and that was him.

He dragged the wheeled bagbot with him to ticketing and bought passage back to Tarth. No doubt he'd step off the ship and into the arms of Praetorian. Empress Destoiya could be rather unforgiving. All the females in his life seemed to be that way.

Somehow right now, Destoiya seemed the lesser of two evils when it came to fury.

A sure sign of how far down I've gone.

He let out a long sigh. The flight he wanted would not board for another six hours, so he wandered through the shops and market, keeping an eye out for horse droppings on the sidewalks. Barbaric world. Barbaric people. But he'd come to appreciate them.

The sign above the terminal entrance caught his attention. Takhee Ashnrrah Starport. "Huh. House of Big Wings."

New words courtesy of Mehrenn Ruh. Would her father hate him as much as Mehfawni did? The image of the pond in the rear courtyard came to mind. The deep dark water, the feel of a golden fish nibbling grain from his hand. The cameraderie of two men, two males, enjoying such a simple thing as a beautiful fish.

The whoosh sound of a train interrupted his thoughts. Across the terminal behind the shops, the only tube train on Felidae scooted to a stop. It ran between the starport and the main city, a distance of only thirty city blocks.

His mother had thrown herself in front of it and died.

Khyff turned to the right. Icons of children playing with a ball marked the day care center. He took a step toward it. Waited awhile, deciding if he truly wanted to see inside. One more step. Another. He walked to the window.

Short tables and chairs gathered in one corner, a center for art nearby. Books and toys lay tumbled in bins beyond. On the other side, children gathered around an adult who read a story. Over in the corner near the other window stood a small blond human boy, about four years old. The child pressed his face to the glass and looked both directions, searching. His smile lit up. A woman with blond hair approached and waved at him. The boy ran to get the woman reading the story.

Khyff turned away.

If his mother had come back for him. . . If she had only come back for him. . .

Mehfawni's words rang in his mind. "She thought you'd be safe."

But he hadn't been safe. He'd never been safe again.

Until he met Mehfawni. He'd been safe with her.

Khyff dragged the bagbot over to the train station and deactivated the bot's mobility unit. He tossed his coat across it and walked to the edge of the platform.

Was this where his mother had died? Was this where she had decided that life hurt too badly to face?

"A whore and the son of a whore," Mehfawni's grandmama had called him. Perhaps she was right. Perhaps he would never be good enough for anyone to love. Maybe he should do the honorable thing. . .

"Mister?"

Khyff turned. The small boy he'd seen in the day care window stood beside him.

"You dropped this." His small hand held up a slip of paper.

"I did?" He took it from him, opened it and smiled. It read, "You're not alone."

The slip of paper he'd found inside his napkin. He'd put it in his coat pocket and it must have fallen out when he'd tossed the coat over the bagbot.

"Thank you." Khyff squatted to be on the boy's level and smiled up at his mother. "I appreciate this more than you know."

"That's okay." The boy waved a hand and walked away, holding his mother's hand.

Khyff rose slowly, looked at the paper again. Maybe this wasn't just a sign from Destoiya. Maybe he really wasn't alone.

Mehfawni had said she loved him. "I am a warrior. I do not lie." She'd asked him to marry her. "I will love you forever."

Khyff opened the bagbot and started poking through it. He'd packed in a hurry, but surely, surely, he had brought them along. He had to find them. They were the perfect thing to recapture the heart of a princess.
- - -
For Women Only
Antonello Brothers 2: For Women Only (a Tarthian Empire Story)
by Kayelle Allen
Khyff is a master of pleasure with a tortured soul. Can Mehfawni redeem the man her people destroyed, or will he destroy her for trying?
When Kin Ambassador Mehfawni Ruh visits the capitol planet of the Tarthian Empire, she meets the human Khyff Antonello, a master of pleasure who satisfies her every craving for illicit and taboo sex. She expects a fling, but finds love. Upon discovering her own people devastated his family, she longs to restore all they destroyed, but some tragedies can never be reversed. Her family demands she cast out the human, for if she keeps Khyff, she must deny her heritage and abdicate her future rule. Mehfawni searches for an alternative, and stumbles upon Khyff's darkest secret. Now, she must decide -- is his fragile trust the response of love and a healing heart -- or a ruse for revenge?
Warning: this book contains smokin' hot sex, humor, and angst. This combination has been proven to be addictive. Author assumes no responsibility for the reader's battery consumption in adult toys while reading this book.
Antonello Brothers 2: For Women Only (a Tarthian Empire Story)
Genre: Erotic Science Fiction Romance, Action Adventure, Multicultural, Interspecies
Loose Id: http://www.loose-id.com/For-Women-Only.aspx
Kindle http://tinyurl.com/fwo-khyff-k
Print http://tinyurl.com/fwo-khyff-p
Barnes & Noble: http://is.gd/forwomenonly_bn
Fictionwise: http://is.gd/forwomenonly

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A new day

I’ve been thinking about something that has been bothering me or a while now. Very recently I’ve gone through and epiphany of sorts. These things bring realizations that affect you and then change your conceptions. That is what has happened to me a change. A change which might not be noticeable right away to others but I know it and feel it. It’s a new day.

Taige Crenshaw
http://www.taigecrenshaw.com/
…increasing the sizzle factor

Blog: http://www.taigecrenshaw.com/blog
Chat Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crenshawcafe
Newsletter: http://www.taigecrenshaw.com/newsletterandgroups.shtml
Free Reads Site: http://www.satinnotes.com/

Wilde Rapture - When a woman ducks into an alcove at a wedding she meets the man who is intriguing and will tempt her.

Buy here at Total-E-Bound.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Things every newbie writer learns

In terms of years, I'm a writing old-timer. I've been doing it for a while. But I keep thinking about that horrible line from Armageddon ("I'm a third-generation driller, been doing it all my life, and I still haven't got it all figured out.") and realize I got a ways to go. See, I learn new shit all the time, and then when I read stuff for friends I get a little embarrassed because they're making mistakes that I was making just a year or two ago. And I'm probably making mistakes that you were making ten years ago. So I aim to provide a guide for brand-new writers, so we can all be on the same introductory level of badness and proceed from here. You veterans might get a chuckle of out this, too.

So, without further ado: things new writers need to know before they have a buddy read their first draft:

1. "Was" is not your friend. Do a document search and replace any instance of "was" that you can. Stronger verbs provide an instant and dramatic facelift for a story.

2. Document search for "this," "it," and "that" to make sure you're really talking about what you're talking about. Unintentional or unclear referents are signs of writing that hasn't been thought through very well. Dangling participles are another. If you don't know what a dangling participle is, chances are you're making them all over the place. Look 'em up.

3. Replace every form of "was verb-ing" with "verbed." On rare occasions, it'll sound silly, and in such cases you can change it back, but start out with the idea of eliminating progressive tenses completely.

4. Avoid word repeats like the plague. If you've used the same word twice in a sentence, fix it right away. Twice in a paragraph, please also rewrite at draft stage. Twice on a page... can wait until the second draft to fix unless it's a really unusual word like "leonine."

5. Point of view matters. A good cheat is to pick one character and write the whole thing in such a way that it could be read in first person. Nobody'd ever say, "I looked sullen but beautiful," right? Similarly, don't have characters say what they look like or talk about their expressions and postures. Also don't switch POV (even using a linespace to do so) for no other purpose than to give a physical description of your protagonist. Changes in POV are best when they occur on a hook, like at the end of a chapter.

6. Don't use semicolons. Nine times out of ten, you're using them wrong, even when you think you know the rules. It's better to just use commas and full sentences and read the sentence out loud for rhythm. At best they look pompous, at worst they look wrong.

7. Limit dialogue tags. Instead, provide stage direction or something to note who said what. For instance:
"Hello," he sneered.

can become

Carl sniffed and wrinkled his nose when he looked down at me. "Hello."
Also, lines and lines of dialogue with no narrative between and just the barest of tagging are indicative of a first draft that you haven't paid a lot of attention to. You'll want to flesh all that out before having somebody read it for serious. Otherwise it looks half-baked.

8. As an addendum to number 7, look for "said adverb-ly" and rewrite it. Readers skim right over "said" and tend to do the same to any words coming immediately after "said." Especially adverbs.

9. Hunt down the clichés. If characters are raising eyebrows to show disdain and sighing to show relief every other paragraph, you'll want to mix that up a bit.

10. Look for phrases like "she felt" or "he thought" and see if you can reword it directly. For instance, I recently changed a line from "A novice would shoot now, she thought, but she’d learned to trust her partner" to "A novice would shoot now, but she’d learned to trust her partner."

11. Nix the word "literally" unless you are writing satire.

12. Look for adverbs and replace them with better verbs.
He walked energetically

becomes

He bounded.

13. Give sensory details from all senses, not just the visuals. Say how things smell, taste, sound, and feel to the touch.

14. Make all dialogue meaningful. Unless "Hello" is ironic or important to the plot somehow, most times it needs to go. Some readers skim, looking for dialogue, and you want yours to snag their attention and make them stop skimming, damn it.

15. Know what your protagonist wants and how he or she aims to get it. Then you can torture that character much more satisfactorily (bwahaha). The best stories lay that information out right at the beginning.

Feel free to add to this list. After all, I'm not even close to finished learning.

--
Cross-posted at VivienJackson.com.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday with ShapeShifter Seductions ~ Swallowed Him Like a Great Serpent



Saturday howls and yowls, shapeshifter lovers, and Happy Sun in Pisces.

From Astrology.com ~ "A new Moon in Pisces on February 21 inspires us to break through the fog of illusion and embrace a unique opportunity to turn fantasies into reality."

With that in mind, this week I am treating you, hopefully! it will be a treat, to a 'rough draft' of the latest chapter from my WIP ~ HER MIDNIGHT STARDUST COWBOYS.

This part of my first ShapeShifter Seductions' erotic romance, is Indiana Jones inspired. As well, Dontoya's ancient American Indian heritage is featured. And, of course, the strength of his inner black cougar shows up.

As a bit of a set up, Dontoya realizes to protect Sherilyn from her enemies, he needs to have the same mental connection with her as Zance, his partner, does. For that, he must retrieve the Ring of Union, as it was called in the ancient times by his tribe. However, the ring is actually an advanced technology that has been lost to most of humanity.

The challenge: the ring is located deep inside his family's home during the Great Deluge. The fifty mile stretch of cave tunnels and immense caverns is in the Grand Canyon, an area currently off limits to tourists, and guarded by private corporation mercenaries. Not only that, a group of his original tribe separated themselves, remaining in their family's caves. To keep themselves hidden, they will kill anyone who intrudes.
~~~~~~

Chapter Twenty-Seven ~ Swallowed Him Like a Great Serpent

Almost upon him, the enemy braves mind-hurled their large silver blades, tipped with rattlesnake venom. Dontoya slowed abruptly, then spun imitating a cyclone. The energy field he flung around himself simultaneously, caused the six knives to swerve and miss.

Rattlesnake Spirit had warned him, looming before his mind's eye briefly.

With another Tasmanian-devil spin, as Zance called his ability, Dontoya launched inside the secondary tunnel, a natural part of the cave system. Too late, he realized all the traps had been activated because the Pruezi invaders had attempted to gain entry, but failed.

Since the four traps were located closer to the palatial cavern, Dontoya raced forward, once again relying on his cougar sight. With the luminescence of the main tunnel fading, the inky darkness enveloped him.

Odors swamped Dontoya's nostrils telling him the eco-system of the cave remained vital. Also, nearly seven months ago one of his cousins had walked the tunnel on a learning journey.

His training took over, and a layout of the three mile, gently snaking tunnel appeared before his mind's eye. With each trap clearly defined, he would be able to rapidly switch off the mechanism and transmute the magick. Or, if that wasn't possible, he could use his skills to escape. So, he hoped.

Pacing himself for the long run, Dontoya listened for the pursuit of the six braves, but their footfalls could not be heard. If they weren't chasing after him, then...

His gut roiled and tightened, a sure signal that something more dangerous lay ahead. With his gaze cutting through the darkness, Dontoya saw the first glyph, as depicted on the map inside his mind. The code was a warning to the members of his family about the trap ahead.

Dontoya shielded himself from the energy of the ensnaring curse, then focused on the trap meant to cage an intruder, and seal off further entry into the tunnel. He shot a mental beam at the mechanism, delaying the trigger just long enough. Behind him two sets of old-fashioned bars spiked downward.

Preparing for the next trap, Dontoya shouldered his rifle, and lengthened his racing stride. He heard the stone slabs begin to slide apart.

When an oppressive weight landed on him, Dontoya created etheric wings to defeat the attack of this curse. Mentally lifting himself, he leaped over the widening, nearly six foot gap.

Landing on the other side, far from the edge, he swiftly regained his speed. Had he missed, he would be plummeting into a stone prison, and the water would be rising quickly.

The next trap he faced was a holo field, an advanced technology that held an enemy in suspension, and manifested his worst fears repeatedly. Screaming, then begging for mercy were the end result. That, and eventual insanity.

Dontoya knew the trick to sailing through the field. He'd practiced enough times under the direction of his father. Blanking his mind, he waited until he observed the field's wavering glimmer.

Sherilyn, he spoke silently as he ran toward it, his stride easy and rhythmic.

Dontoya immersed himself in his memory of her, and felt the unique glow of his mate's spirit. As the subtle drag of the field touched his face, he closed his eyes.

At that instant he relived his orgasm with her. An inferno of pleasure smoldered through him. He felt as if the power of the sun moved through him again and again, just as it had before.

Sherilyn. Mate.

Too soon, Dontoya became aware he had emerged on the other side of the field, and now ran in an area of the tunnel that inclined upward. His footfalls slipped on the moister surface, so he lessened his pace.

In the same moments, the faint stench of bat guano from a colony located in another section of the cave sharpened his senses again. His warrior's focus returned full force.

The final trap would blast a trumpeting sound, the frequencies designed to bring an enemy to his knees. If that failed, a vibrational weapon would deploy, searing the interloper's nerves.

To overcome this agony, and move through the disabling sound, Dontoya knew he needed to lighten the weight of his body as he did when levitating. His imagined wings would not carry him this time. His challenge was that he rarely practiced this particular spiritual art, not having any real use for it in his current rancher's life.

Regret at not having done so, would not serve him now, he drily reminded himself. Instead, he thought of Sherilyn, the beautiful mate he and Zance had waited for, and sought for more years than either one them cared to count.

Ruthless determination seized Dontoya. His cougar claws and fangs nearly erupted, and his ferocious desire for her scorched his blood with the need to conquer anything or anyone.

With his heart drumming for his mate, Dontoya sensed for the next action of his enemies. As warrior, he psi-felt no immediate threat so he eased his pace, comfortably jogging.

Despite his physical exertion, Dontoya concentrated on slowing his breaths. To defeat the ancient-technology trap, he had to become invincible in a different way by using his inner strength.

Altering his mind-set to one of universal peace, he mentally hummed until he vibrated. Once in tune with the One Great Spirit, Dontoya prayerfully offered up his flesh, and seconds later, he felt his strides lengthen and float. His boot moccasins barely touched the cave floor.

Making certain he maintained his internal hum, Dontoya pierced the darkness with his cougar gaze seeking the glyph that would warn him of the trap. As he glimpsed it, another warning punched the pit of his stomach hard, and he was jerked off stride.

Someone had breached the sanctity of the cavern, but only the first entryway.

Deliberately locking away that 'knowing' for now, Dontoya regained his oneness with Spirit. Using every ounce of his shamanic discipline, he summoned the lightness of his body, and once again the sensation of floating claimed him.

Even to his gaze, the last trap would be invisible. His only clue would be the distance traveled as the glyph's code signaled.

Dontoya fought to keep his breaths slow and sacred, in time with the spin of the universe. Yet he knew...

The trap's frequencies grabbed for him. There was no sound of trumpeting, but the electro-magnetic crackle that surrounded him hissed like a cave-full of angry snakes.

As if flames licked at his entire body, his skin burned. Still, Dontoya launched himself upward. He flew into the void suddenly yawning before him, and the trap swallowed him like a great serpent.

Transcending the needles of pain being driven into his flesh, Dontoya raised his frequency, entering cosmic consciousness, as his new-age friends called it.

Finally spit out, he landed on his knees. He struggled to rise, but air left his lung in huge gasps. With his energies now depleted, he fell forward. The obsidian blade he still carried cut into his palm drawing blood.

The coppery smell enraged the cougar, and Dontoya surged to his feet. The savage spirit of his cat ran for him, and he sprinted toward the cavern's entrance, toward the enemy who waited upon his arrival.

With his heart pounding like a war drum, with his desire for Sherilyn igniting his blood to lightning, Dontoya swung his rifle into position. On silent feet, he charged around the tunnel's long sinuous curve.
~~~~~~

~ Have a Magickal Shapeshifting Week ~

Savanna

Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hot Stuff From Liz: Across the Bar with Mary Quast

Hot Stuff From Liz: Across the Bar with Mary Quast

Leap Day Whimsy


 
Hi everyone. As you all know, 2012 is a Leap Year...but do you know why? I thought I'd share a few bits of historical Leap Year traditions and trivia with you today. 

  • The earth turns roughly 365 and a quarter times on its axis by the time it has completed a full year's orbit around the sun, which means that periodically the calendar has to catch up — thus the convention of leap years. A leap year contains one extra day, February 29, for a total of 366 days. 2012, for example, is a leap year. (source)
  • Persons born on leap day, February 29, are called "leaplings" or "leapers."
  • It was once thought that leapling babies would inevitably prove sickly and "hard to raise," though no one remembers why. 
  • In days gone by folks apparently believed that monkeying with the calendar like that might actually throw nature out of whack, even hampering the raising of crops and livestock. 
  • It used to be said, for example, that beans and peas planted during a leap year "grow the wrong way" — whatever that means — and, in the words of the Scots, "Leap year was never a good sheep year."
Leap Year Traditions
That the reversal of gender roles was well recognized at the beginning of the 17th century as a leap year motif is reaffirmed by this passage from the Treatise Against Judicial Astrologie by John Chamber, dated 1601:
If the nature of anything change in the leap-year, it seemeth to be true in men and women, according to the answer of a mad fellow to his misstress, who, being called knave by her, replied that it was not possible, "for," said he, "if you remember yourself, good mistress, this is leap-year, and then, as you know well, knaves wear smocks."
Leap Year Celebration 
Olivia Brynn and are celebrating this Leap Year with a bang! We both have books coming out that week, and both books are about take charge women who are "sleeping with the boss". Company Ink  is a contemporary erotic romance about an inner office affair. My book, Pinch of Naughty is the story of a 19th century housekeeper who has "night duty" too.



If you have time, stop by and celebrate Leap Year with us. 
We're talking with readers and authors, posting excerpts, giving away books and having fun.
 Chat is @ Gems' Place on Friday, March 2nd @ 7:00 EST.

Hope to see you there!

gem


Thursday, February 23, 2012

13 Characterization Tips from a Deleted Scene

Senth's Story  
Here's a scene that was deleted from At the Mercy of Her Pleasure. In it, half brothers Senth and Khyff Antonello stop by to visit a female character who was later cut from the book. I plan to bring her back one day in the future. For now, the scene will serve as a "how to" for characterization. I'll also show why it was cut. One more thing. When this scene was written, I hadn't decided on a name for the "Master" the boys refer to. I was still developing his character, but I'd planned him to be a Dickens-type Fagin who taught young boys to steal. He later became the power-to-be-reckoned with Luc Saint-Cyr, the Harbinger.

Senth Antonello
I've added letters to the lines, and I'll mention the characterization by referring to the letter of the line. Ready? Here goes...

A.                 At the home of Master's first protégé, Senth gave the familial knock, and the door swung open without light escaping. Last in, Khyff barred it.
B.                 "What brings you?" Aida asked, hugging Senth.
C.                Khyff kept his distance, arms folded.
D.                "We were in the neighborhood." He kissed the woman he loved like a sister. "And, uh" -- He glanced at Khyff and then shrugged -- "we're hungry."
E.                 "You timed it well." Aida ruffled his hair. "I just pulled bread out of the oven."
F.                 In her tiny kitchen, she set fragrant yeast bread on the table. "Get the butter and honey, Senth. Khyff, you pour us milk." She grabbed a long knife and three smaller ones for buttering, and set out plates. "Okay, let's eat up. I knew I felt like baking for a reason." She cut open the rounded loaf, and as steam rose from it, Senth licked his lips.
G.                "Now," she said, serving them, "where are you headed next?"
H.                 "Master wants me to meet him at The Ghost."
I.                     "The Ghost?" Aida put down the butter knife, and stared at him. "Senth, are you sure Master wants you there?"
J.                  "Told you." Khyff smirked.
K.                 The bread halfway to his mouth, Senth paused to scorch them both with a look. "What is it with you two? Master said to get Khyff and come back with him. He said he had a job for me, and Khyff's my shield." He gestured with the bread. "What's so bad about the Ghost?"
L.                  "You shouldn't be in places like that. I have half a mind to give Master a talking to."
M.                Khyff turned his head.
N.                 "You think I wouldn't?" she asked him.
O.                "He knows you would," Senth replied. "And only you. He'd eat anyone else alive."
P.                 She snorted. "Wait right here."
Q.                Khyff sent Senth a questioning glance. Senth just shrugged.
R.                 Aida returned with a shirt. "I got a load of these, and I'm fencing the rest tomorrow. Your timing really is good, I'll give you that. Here." She tossed the shirt to Khyff.
S.                 He looked down at himself. "What's wrong with the shirt I have?"
T.                  "It's leather. You can't wear that to the Ghost. It's a Kin club."
U.                 "All the Kin wear leather," he countered.
V.                 "Yes, and you're human."
W.               Khyff folded his brawny arms. "I can take care of myself."
X.                 "Besides, the last three times you were here you wore that shirt."
Y.                  "So? I like it."
Z.                  One foot tapped. "You want Master to smell that perfume?"
AA.           Khyff's nostrils flared. He looked away, frowning, but the shirt came off.
BB.           Aida gestured. "Better seal that shirt up all the way."
CC.          "Yeah," Senth agreed. "You want women gawking at your chest?"
DD.          Khyff opened his mouth to speak, but Aida shot him a look.
EE.           He sealed it.
FF.            "Thanks, Aida," Senth said, kissing her cheek. "We'd better scat. Master's waiting. We'll come for Khyff's shirt in the morning."
- - -
Describing the Characterization Used

1.                  (A) This "family" has a special knock to announce their arrival. The door opens without revealing light. The last in bars the door. These thieves are careful and they know the routine.
2.                  (C) Khyff doesn't allow himself to be hugged, and folds his arms -- a defensive posture.
3.                  (D) Senth shoots a glance toward Khyff before he admits they are hungry. Whether he's gaining approval or forgiveness isn't certain.
4.                  (F) They do not have riches. Her kitchen is tiny, and she is serving them only bread with butter and honey, and milk to drink. Each of them accepts direction from her without quibbling, and neither complains about the sparse fare.
5.                  (I) Aida questions the choice of the Ghost. We don't know anything about the location yet, except from the reaction of Aida and Khyff, but we know it's an unsavory place.
6.                  (K) Senth doesn't take this lying down. He's been asked to do something and he's intent on proving he is capable of carrying it out. The others imply he is innocent or young, or both.
7.                  (L) Aida suggests giving the Master a talking to, and Khyff reacts by looking away. When she questions him, Senth speaks for him.
8.                  (P) When she leaves the room, the boys have no idea why, but they wait for her.
9.                  (R) She gives Khyff a shirt and he wants to know what's wrong with the one he has (typical young person)
10.             Khyff argues with Aida, but she brings up valid points, the last being that he smells like perfume, and we get the idea that the Master will not approve.
11.             He then argues about sealing up or buttoning the shirt.
12.             Aida shoots him a look that silences him. There are several unspoken cues in this scene, many directed toward Khyff.
13.             Senth shows manners, thanking her, and not wanting to keep the master waiting. Where did he learn these? We find out later in the book.

This is not a bad scene. It shows the routine of a family of thieves and gives insight into each of the characters. So why cut it? For one, I later decided that rather than having Khyff and Senth live together under the same roof, they would belong to different masters, and had been separated by birth. They had recently found each other. Aida had no other parts in the story, so I cut her completely. And because Khyff was not a thief in the new version, but a prostitute, it wouldn't have mattered to him that his shirt smelled like perfume. Cutting it provided a stronger story overall.
- - -
Kayelle Allen's Logo
About the Author
Kayelle Allen is an award-winning, multi-published author. Her heroes and heroines include badass immortals, warriors who purr, and agents who find...well, the unfindable. And sometimes (shh!) make them disappear again. She is known for unstoppable heroes, uncompromising love, and unforgettable passion. You can find her on the web in these places:
Homeworld http://kayelleallen.com
Facebook http://facebook.com/kayelleallen.author
Twitter http://twitter.com/kayelleallen
Blog http://kayelleallen.blogspot.com






Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Character flaws...how bad can they be?


Boy meets girl, boy and girl live happily ever after. Nice, but not a story. Boy meets girl, boy screws up and loses girl, fights win to her back – that’s a story.
A romance needs conflict. In romantic suspense, conflict often comes from external factors such as an assassin who’s hunting down the heroine. But in many other romantic stories, the conflict is internal and arises out the characters’ character.
Specifically their flaws. If characters were perfect people, they wouldn’t do the things that get them in trouble that causes the conflict that creates the story that keeps readers reading.
He’s arrogant and domineering; she’s defiant and impulsive. He’s reluctant to trust; she’s hiding a big secret. She needs frequent reassurance; he’s not comfortable communicating his feelings. The clash of flaws create a natural story.
But flaws can make characters unlikable to the extent that readers may hope they fail in the pursuit of their goal or worse not care enough to finish the book
 Is he arrogant or an asshole? Is she impulsive or too stupid to live? For an authors and readers, the difference can be a very fine line.
In my novella Secret Desires, Morgan and Jack both want more sexually from their relationship than they’re getting, but each fears jeopardizing what they do have by raising the subject. Morgan repeatedly goads Jack in an attempt to get her needs met. Although they both redeemed themselves in the end, some of my readers initially found one or both of them unlikable, Morgan for being spoiled, and Jack for being too passive.
Many a bride has been blinded by the stars in her eyes and ignores serious relationship issues and marries anyway. Yet, in Unexpected Consequences, a few reviewers took Melania to task for her naiveté in marrying a man who would spank her when she misbehaved. I wanted her to be naïve to the point of ignorance because I wanted her to be totally shocked by what happens.
Author Ranae Rose in her novel Taken Hostage creates a “hero” who robs a bank. He’d lost his job, but wasn’t desperate. He robbed the bank for money -- pure and simple.
Ranae has said some of her readers wanted him to have a better reason. I liked Lucy in Gem Sivad’s Quincy’s Woman, even though she was willful and spoiled. But I admit I liked her better in Perfect Strangers when she’d matured.
So how do you create characters who have the flaws necessary to drive the plot forward, yet keep them likable? Do you eject realism into a character’s character or do you give them flaws that aren’t – like the positives phrased as negatives at a job interview: “My weakness is that I pay too much attention to detail” or “I’m too productive and I expect others to be the same.”
Some character flaws would never fly in a romance. (Nor in real life for me!) Could you imagine a hero who cheats on the heroine? Or who had a history of domestic violence in a prior relationship? Or who can’t hold a job? There are clear-cut flaws to avoid, but between black and white is a lot of gray.
What thought process do you use in giving your characters flaws?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

6 Sentence Sunday

Here's a little teaser. 
6 sentences from the latest WIP from Mary Quast.
Available this summer.
Can't tell you the title.... yet. 

Seth Crowe is a crow shifter and hot as hell. 
He's on a mission to help a woman free her sensuality.


Pulling his wings tight against his body, he dives toward the earth, toward the human horizon. Romancing the sky, the erotic pressure combines with the orgasmic release. The sensation is one of perfect peace mingled with extreme pleasure that strains every nerve to the utmost. 

Opening his wings, he slows his decent and levels himself with the earth. Making his way through the landscape of buildings, he prepares to leave his god-like state and enter human existence. From a shadow in the sky, he will fulfill earthly yearnings with his voice, his body, his spirit.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saturday with ShapeShifter Seductions ~ Lonely Hearts Club


A BELATED HAPPY SHAPESHIFTING VALENTINE'S DAY!

Here's a flash scene I wrote that takes place on Valentine's Day at the Midnight Stardust Supperclub, a new addition to Dante's Pleasure Club located outside the were-town of Talbot's Peak, Montana.
~~~~~~

The Lonely Hearts Club and the She-Wolf

"Lonely Hearts Club," Sarielle whispered once she mentally translated the words from her language to the planet's American English language. "That's me."

Ever since leaving on this intergalactic tour of other wolfen shapeshifter worlds, Sarielle had practiced speaking the various languages while studiously learning about the many different cultures. Now she glided along the fringes of the supperclub's dance floor.

Whirling embraced couples, all of them in what she identified as a deep romantic trance, danced to a type of music she found heart-stirring and pleasurable. The playful but elegant notes made her feel deliciously supple.

Sarielle also listened to the lovely silken swish of her long gown as she approached the special area where men, all in full humanoid form, and clothed in what were called tuxedos, took turns partnering the women who, like her, obviously had no man or mate in their life.

What she thought was called a midnight buffet had been placed in this Lonely Hearts Club area. As well, sparkling beverages of all kinds spilled into stemmed glassware. Her nose inhaled a feast of fragrances, especially the quite virile man who began striding toward her as if he'd caught her scent and now hunted her.

Maybe he did. He certainly had the handsome build and the powerful loins of a hunter. Although, Sarielle couldn't distinguish his wolf kind by his smell or his, to her eye, spectacular humanoid appearance.

Further, she wasn't entirely certain of all the dating and mating customs in this geological region on Earth. It had been a constant confusion she'd been unable to sort out during her culture-learning sessions.

****

Dante had carefully explained about the three extraterrestrial she-wolfs that would be joining the Valentine's Day extravaganza at the Midnight Stardust Supperclub. At first, Dh'liam had believed his cubhood pal was pulling his hind leg. It wouldn't be the first time. They'd pulled about every prank imaginable on each other, almost to the day Dante had roared out of Talbot's Peak on his Harley.

Several weeks later, Dh'liam had taken to the back roads on his Harley, determined to explore the vast areas of America that remained mostly uninhabited. What he'd discovered and experienced could easily fill a set of old-fashioned encyclopedias. Now for the sake of his pack, and for those who lived in Talbot's Peak, he'd returned to make certain they remained protected from the monstrous evil he'd encountered -- far beyond the tiger shapeshifter, Shere Khan, and his Yakuza ninjas.

However, at this moment in time, all he wanted to do was protect, and dance with the magnificent she-wolf beauty of extraterrestrial origin. The instant, he glimpsed her heart-shaped face he'd loosed an inner howl, while his cock straightened like it was cupid's drawn arrow.

The otherworldly woman-wolf possessed a petite and svelte figure beneath her fluid, backless peacock-blue gown. Yet more impressive to him, her lithe muscles were power-packed strength, and he knew she could run like the wind.

What captured his notice first was her tumbled wealth of hair, most of it piled artfully on top of her head. At the time, she'd had her back to him, and he'd stared at the cascading curls of rich dark russet, unable to move.

When she'd finally turned around, and lissomely moved in his direction, Dh'liam had forced himself to halt in his tracks. He'd had to fight the urge to stalk her, nip-kiss her neck, then sink his fingers into her tresses.

Determined she would not be leaving his hunter's sight this night, he'd strode toward her. Eyes that were a gorgeous burnished gold followed his progress, and they both halted within a few feet of each other, their gazes fastening on each other.

Without hesitation, he offered her a slight bow. Not one that would take his gaze off her, however. "I am Dh'liam. Welcome to Earth. Welcome to Talbot's Peak. Welcome to my arms. Or, perhaps, you would prefer something to drink and a bite to nibble on before we dance."

A smile teased the corner of her bow-shaped mouth, and he couldn't help but ravish her lips with his gaze. At the same time, she offered her hand to his, the one he'd extended without thinking about it. With a grace he'd rarely known, her hand alighted on his, and Dh'liam held on as if she were his next breath.

"Dancing in your arms is quite delightfully acceptable, Mr. Dh'liam. My feet are anxious to enjoy the dance floor. I am called Sarielle for short." She paused, her eyes pure sparkle. "Is that how you say it?"

"Sarielle," he savored like a meaty bone. "Would that be considered your first or familiar name, my beautiful she-wolf?"

Her puzzled frown halted every cell in his body. "I can't sniff you. You are a wolfen shapeshifter?"

"I am. But I have learned how to hide my scent. A long story," he added. Howls! the love trap had sprung, and he'd been caught. And Dh'liam wasn't about to chew a hunk out of his heart to escape. No way on the Mother's green earth.

"Ah, you hide your scent from enemies. I understand. Sarielle is my chosen name, a first name as you would call it in your culture, Mr. Dh'liam."

He drew her closer. He couldn't resist. "It's just Dh'liam, or Liam, as my friends often call me." When she cocked her head in apparent confusion, he continued. "It's a family name. No Sam, Dave or Harry in our pack."

"Your touch is pleasing, Dh'liam." Her tone was a soft sultry growl, and she moved closer so they were mere inches apart.

With her enchantingly exotic face nearly beneath his, Dh'liam realized she now stood on tiptoe. He felt the heat of her loins against his. Her mating fragrance seared his nostrils. And, as he swept his arm around her slender waist, he became aware the big band era music was transitioning into the romantic strains of a waltz.

"Do you waltz, Sarielle?" he thought to inquire like a gentleman.

"You lead, and I'll follow. We often dance on the galactic cruise ship."

With a low raw growl only for her ears, Dh'liam swung his she-wolf among the other dancers. True to her words, Sarielle matched him effortlessly, and he whirled them around the dance floor in time to the moonspun music.

Her strength flowed against him, a grace he'd hungered for, and never known it until now. Now, this very fierce moment of knowing what he'd needed, what he wanted.

So, Dante had been right in insisting he refresh his ballroom dancing skills. Dh'liam even mentally thanked his sire and dam for all the lessons they'd made him endure over the years, given his family believed in a formal presentation of themselves at times.

As the tempo of the music slowed, she allowed the tightening of his arm. And, when he wrapped both arms around her, she draped herself against him. Her small, long-fingered hands stroked the back of his neck before she laced her fingers, and held onto him tightly.

The thought of her pressed against some other man, regardless of species, boiled Dh'liam's blood. He leashed his stud-possessiveness, willing his focus on Sarielle instead.

He listened to the quickening of her breaths that were almost wolfen pants. He listened to the rapid passionate beat of her heart. He felt the way her loins cradled the large bone his cock had become, and wished it would last forever.

"I crave fresh air," she murmured toward his ear, once the music faded.

Immediately, Dh'liam eased her against his side, escorting her to one of the tunnel exits that led to a small clearing, one surrounded by a stand of majestic fir trees.

"Will the cold temperature bother you, my beautiful she-wolf?"

"I am from a colder region. It will feel refreshing, Dh'liam. Besides, I will depend upon your arms around me."

Once they stood outside in the crisp winter air, she snuggled against him, her cheek pressed against his love-struck, fast-pounding heart.

"Lonely Hearts Club?" he asked, hoping against hope.

Sarielle had been headed toward the area that Dante set up for the women who arrived alone and wanted dance partners. Even though, Dante had explained about their extraterrestrial visitors, he hadn't said if they were unattached, un-mated.

Now Dh'liam had to know.

"Yes, I am a lonely heart." She hesitated, and he felt her quiver in his embrace. "I had a husband..."

"Had a husband?" he roughly barked out as he instinctively clutched her closer against him.

"We were matched. We were to be mates." She shook now, and Dh'liam knew it wasn't because of the cold.

"What happened, Sarielle?" His hands roamed her back, reflecting the urgency he felt like sparks of fire throughout his entire body.

"I was not a good mate to him... I tried. But it was so... ho-hum, I believe you would say."

Dh'liam wanted to laugh, to bust a gut with his howls of laughter. Instead, he buried his nose, his lips in her hair, and wrapped himself around his she-wolf. Somehow, some way, he could convince her to stay with him on Earth. He would convince her to be his mate -- he would convince her that he would never be a ho-hum husband.
~~~~~~

~ Have a Magickal Saturday ~

Savanna

Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~
~~~

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday Thirteen – 13 Things to Do with Whipping Cream

Now that Valentine's Day is past, the chocolate is all gone (sob) but there is still a couple cans of whipping cream in the fridg.  Here's a few ideas of what to do with them.



1.  Of course… top off some yummy chocolate pudding, or hot apple pie, or ice cream.  Wait a minute.  Come on now… let’s add some spice to it!

2.  Dip strawberries into it and feed them to your special someone.  Swirl the whipping cream upon the lips and lick off together.


    3.  Make a whipping cream bikini or matching whipping cream undies and lick them off each other.



 4.  Place cut up banana pieces, strawberries, pop rocks candy onto naked belly (or any body part of your choosing) add chocolate syrup then top with whipping cream.  Allow your dear honey bunny to lick it off.  If you’re daring, try this and add a scoop of ice cream.  Wowza!

5.  “Hershey's syrup, whipped cream, and a Catwoman mask.” – Men’s Health magazine.  Okay…? Sorry, I can’t do the Catwoman mask thing.


6.  Now this old album cover gives me a few ideas I simply can’t express in words.  What’s an album?  If you don’t know… you shouldn’t be reading this post.




7.  Oh, you need the obvious idea?  Then simply cover your partner’s hottest spots.  You have to lick the cream away to get to the “goodies”.  Duh.

8.   Need a little warmth while you play with all this whipping cream?  Try this recipe:  1 cup heavy cream, whipped, add 1 ounce orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier, and whip together.  Ladies - let your honey put this mixture wherever you might want him to pay a lot of attention to, cut he’ll probably be there awhile.

9.  Add some strawberry syrup to the whipping cream then put it in the freeze for a bit before placing dollops onto nipples.  The flavor and the cold enhances the … uh… pleasure.

10. Run a line of whipping cream along the backbone of your partner then slowly… I mean slowly lick it off.  Don’t ever rush licking.  A burp or gas of any kind can be rather embarrassing in a moment of passion. 

    11. Whipping cream, blindfold, handcuffs, and pineapple flavored edible warming oil.  Need I say more?

   12.  Arm yourselves with cans of whipping cream; be sure to be naked, commence whipping cream war.  Note: shower afterwards may be just as much fun as the war.


13. “Have your guy lie back comfortably on the bed; spray whipped cream from his naval to his upper thighs. Begin slowly licking it off the body areas above and below his package. After each lick, kiss his mouth with your lips covered in whipped cream, bring your mouth back below his belt. Slowly lick all the whipped cream off his body — except the cream directly covering his penis and testicles. Not until he’s aching should you finally indulge there.” – Cosmopolitan magazine.  (Recommended by Laura Berman, PhD, sex therapist and creator of the DVD series Dr. Berman Can Help)







OHHHHHH…. HONEY….. I HAVE WHIPPING CREAM……


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Funny Cats Contest - Pictures!

What am I saying? 
There are few things cuter than kittens. They are cuddly, playful, innocent, and most of the time -- sweet (not counting certain demonic felines). Perhaps that's why there are entire sites dedicated to pictures of them doing odd things. I'm a cat person myself. I even write characters who are catlike.

Crazy captions that explain what cats might be up to are what make a site like LolCats such a fun place to hang out. Today, I have a group of images for you. The goal is to pick at least one image and write a caption for it. What might the kitten be saying or doing?

I'll do my best to pick one as a winner, who will get a download of choice from my backlist. Check here for the list of books you can choose. http://kayelleallen.com/Books.html

 Ready? Here are the entries. (Instructions repeated below)

#1




















#2














#3


















#4


















#5


















Okay -- now that you've seen the pictures, here's what to do. Pick a number, write a caption in the comments, and then pick out the book you'd like if you win. I'll announce the winners in the evening on Fri, 2/17. You are welcome to email me to provide your contact info, rather than leaving it on the blog. Send it to kayelle.allenATyahooDOTcom. (FYI - if you write out your email in this fashion on the blog, it is less likely to be picked up by spambots and recognized as an email address). I'll email you your book in pdf format (unless you request otherwise). Once more, that booklist:  http://kayelleallen.com/Books.html
- - -

About the Author
Kayelle Allen is an award-winning, multi-published author. Her heroes and heroines include badass immortals, warriors who purr, and agents who find...well, the unfindable. And sometimes (shh!) make them disappear again. She is known for unstoppable heroes, uncompromising love, and unforgettable passion. You can find her on the web in these places:
Homeworld http://kayelleallen.com
Facebook http://facebook.com/kayelleallen.author
Twitter http://twitter.com/kayelleallen
Blog http://kayelleallen.blogspot.com