I have the pleasure of having the lovely Jackie Kessler guesting on my blog today with her entry into the 28 Days of Heart campaign to benefit the American Heart Association.
I have asked her why she wanted to participate and submit a book. This what she had to say:
Hi! I’m Jackie Kessler, and I like to write about demons and angels, among other things. When I heard about the 28 Days of Heart, and that all proceeds would be going to the American Heart Association, I knew I wanted to write a Hell story for it, one that was about connection, and possibly even redemption.
The angel called Angel first appears in my second book, THE ROAD TO HELL, but you don’t need to read it to understand why Angel is alone outside the gates of Paradise…or why she feels so horribly alone. And you don’t need to read the first book, HELL’S BELLES, to know who the archangel is that she meets. (But of course, I hope you **will** read the books!)
“Hell’s Angel” is somewhat of a departure from the Hell on Earth series in that it’s not humorous, it’s not written in first person, and it’s not about the former succubus Jezebel. Whether you’re new to Hell on Earth or if you’ve read all the books and novellas, I think you’ll enjoy the story.
Blurb: Where can an angel find comfort? A lonely banished angel sits outside the gates of Paradise, lamenting the joy she has lost. When she is joined by a fallen archangel, she learns that one doesn’t need to be in Heaven to experience bliss.
Books and stories by Jackie Kessler:
Hell on Earth series: Hell’s Belles The Road to Hell “A Hell of a Time,” Eternal Lover Hotter than Hell (mass-market reissue coming September 2010) “When Hell Comes Calling,” Lilith Unbound “Hell Is Where the Heart Is,” A Red Hot Valentine’s Day “Hell’s Angel,” 28 Days of Heart “Hell Bound,” Those Who Fight Monsters (coming fall 2010) Hell to Pay (date TBA) “Hell’s Fury,” Mammoth Book of Hot Romance (date TBA)
The Icarus Project series (with Caitlin Kittredge): Black and White Shades of Gray (coming June 2010)
Young Adult novels (by Jackie Morse Kessler): Hunger (coming October 2010) Rage (coming spring 2011)
Jackie Kessler on the Internet: http://www.jackiekessler.com http://www.jackiemorsekessler.com Deadline Dames: http://www.deadlinedames.com League of Reluctant Adults: http://reluctantadults.blogspot.com Twitter: @JackieKessler, @JackieMorseKess Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jackie.kessler
Y’all can’t imagine how very thrilled I was when Jackie said she’d talk up her book a bit. So, thank you, Jackie!
I hope all of you are picking up a copy of each of these books that have been featured so far…and there are many more to come!
Happy Saturday! It’s gonna be a busy one for me, after all Nascar starts tonight! WOOT!
In Nascar, drivers get dumped. In all sports, players get dumped. In all everything we get dumped. Men, women, our kids get dumped by friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc… And that is what today’s theme is for Snippet Saturday. Dumped.
The following is from the opening scene in my Ellora’s Cave Exotika novella, Simple Need. Our heroine, Elise has been dumped by her married lover. Not a fun thing I’m sure, though what dumping is fun? None. Not when you’re the dumper and not when you’re the dumpee…
Simple Need Snippet:
The bartender leaned against the polished, scarred wood of the bar. “Another one?”
Elise looked at the bottom of her glass and debated what the correct answer should be. Would she rather drive home or call a cab?
“Yes, let the lady have another.”
She turned her head at the man who had come to straddle the barstool next to hers. Short auburn hair, ice blue eyes, both arms covered in brightly colored tats, fingernails painted black, and a barely contained sex appeal reached out and enveloped her from her head all the way down to her toes. She wanted him. Right here, right now.
She cleared her throat, found her voice, and was pleased at its steadiness. “I appreciate it, but no. I think it’s time for me to call it a night.” In his bed would be a nice place to do that, but she’d just called a halt to all men for a while. Even gorgeous ones with hard dicks pressing against worn denim, and solid muscles framed to lean perfection beneath faded black tee shirts.
God, she needed to go home. He was way too tempting and her bruised ego was way too vulnerable.
Yes, why indeed. “It’s just time. Been a long day and all that.”
He reached out and stroked the back of her hand that was wrapped around the empty glass. “Going home alone?”
Would you like to come home with me? “Yes, alone.”
“Hmmm. That doesn’t sound like fun at all. Tell ya what. Why don’t you let me buy you another drink and you can fill me in on why it’s been such a long day. I’m a pretty good listener.”
He had a deliciously, well-defined mouth and Elise wanted to let her lips fall down on his. His voice rolled over her like a warm blanket, soft and comfortably deep. “The guy I’d been seeing ended things today. I got the text message at lunch.”
“Text message? You serious? Dumbass man.”
She tried not to smile but couldn’t help it. It was just a small smile, but nonetheless he answered her with one of his own and she swore her pussy melted in her jeans.
“No. I was the dumbass in this one. I really did know better and now, well, hindsight is twenty-twenty.” She shrugged and the bartender chose that moment to set another rum and Coke in front of her. The smell of the alcohol made her feel lightheaded. Whoa. She didn’t need to drink it, she could just inhale it. Instead of calling a cab, she would be sleeping on the floor beneath the stool she sat on.
“What did you know better about?”
“Trust me, you don’t want to know.” She took a small sip of her new drink. The rum burned going down and it felt good. Tattoo man would feel better, but…
“He was married.”
“Oh. Yeah, that’s never good. Are you?”
“Am I what? Good? Yes.”
He grinned at her and heat flooded her cheeks. She had no idea where that teasing, suggestive comment had come from, but she liked it, liked that she made him grin. He was devastating to look at.
“Mmmm. I’ll give you a chance to prove it later. Are you married?”
She shook her head. “No, I’m not.”
“Then why waste your time on a man who is?”
She never would have if she’d known. Where were all the damn warning signs? “I didn’t know he was married. See, that’s me being the dumbass. He gave all his numbers, his address. There were never any restrictions on communication or seeing one another.” And there hadn’t been. She could call him whenever, though she always let him call her. She’d never been one who could chase a man, even one she was dating. She could see him every night, every day. He’d introduced her to people he worked with, friends he hung out with. There had been nothing that she could remember, and she’d been racking her brain all afternoon trying to figure out, trying to jog her memory, trying to find something that would have hinted that there was a Mrs. But there was nothing.
“When did you find out?”
“In his text message. He said he was going back to his wife.” And there it was all over again…the shock, the humiliation at having gotten involved with a married man without having realized it. There hadn’t even been a tan line on his ring finger. She’d looked. Going back obviously meant that he’d been separated from his wife, but still…
She lowered her head and laid her forehead on the bar. That twinge inside her gut, that complete lack of understanding at how her character judgments had become so flawed, gnawed at her. She used to be able to read people, guys especially, mainly because she watched more than she talked. What had happened that she couldn’t choose a guy anymore who was worth anything, who wasn’t a loser? What had happened to her once-upon-a-time, never-let-her-down intuition?
Tattoo Man leaned close, his breath whispered into her ear, fanned across her skin, and she fought not to shiver, fought not to lift her head and turn it just a fraction of an inch to her right. “Let me take care of you.”
And then there was hot and yummy next to her. Her intuition was screaming loud and clear regarding him. Don’t ask. Don’t ask. Don’t. You. Dare. Ask. “Take care of me how?”
Don’t forget to check out all the other yummy snippets from these wonderful authors:
This past weekend, All Romance eBooks had a huge sale and they never have sales. I am not one to pass up a good sale on something I love and since I love to read and had purchased any books for a while, I thought to take advantage of their 50% off sale.
I have a some male/male, bdsm, paranormal, contemporary, cowboy, and menage. I am so certain to find something I can’t put down. Some of these I’ve been wanting and waiting to read for a while, some were impulse buys, for instance my purchasing of Little Red and the Wolf was totally impulse because I saw the cover tweeted by Moira Rogers and was completely amazed.
I hadn’t bought any books in a really really really long time and just couldn’t pass up the sale at ARe and well, I figured I’d add on a few more. I’ll let you know how the reading goes!
I have the pleasure of having Tilly Greene visit my blog today. She’s participating in ARe’s 28 Days of Heart campaign benefiting the AHA. I have asked her why she chose to submit a book for this cause and this is what she had to say:
I enjoy writing wicked shorts and giving them to someone who wants to put them out there to benefit a charity makes it an even better experience. The first one I did helped those who suffered from the 2007 fires in San Diego and the next one’s organizer slotted the proceeds to benefit our troops. What both of these and “And She Scores” have in common is that I jumped in for personal reasons.
Family is big for me and, unfortunately, heart disease has worked its ugly way through both mine and the cutie’s as well. Almost a year ago my brother-in-law, a healthy and active 40-odd year old had a stroke, followed by a heart attack. Very scary, especially when I thought I might lose the man who has been a part of our family for almost 30 years. When he and my sister were dating, he once walked a major road, calling out my kitty’s name while twisting a can opener, because I was upset. Yeah, he is a great guy. Then there’s my cutie’s father, a man who has suffered more heart attacks than we can count. He’s still with us and we keep our fingers crossed for more time, but we know the bomb is ticking in his heart. The worst part of his condition is that we know the problem often passes down to the next generation. I don’t want to lose any of these men, they’re far too important to me, and so I delved into All Romance’s call for stories to benefit the American Heart Association.
Okay, so my reason for writing “And She Scores” was personal, why not take it a step further – a part of it takes part in my home town. So, what’s it about? Well, here’s a hint: Football’s pre-season is about to begin and, defensive end and captain, Patrick Conway is returning from what could’ve been a career ending injury. Sarah Winters, focused on making a career as a respected reporter in an all male sport, is about to conduct his first interview. Here’s a snippet for you to check out:
“Are you all set?”
“Yes, I’m ready,” she told Peter as she bundled her notes back into the folder. “Been going over my notes and think I know where to focus for the best viewer response.”
“Good. Apparently Pat’s done with his workout and headed to the main locker room. The team trainer told me we have half an hour and no more. Not much to work with, but I think it’s enough to get something worthwhile.”
“Okay, I’ll be right there.”
Disconnecting, she stood and smoothed her skirt down before picking her notes up, and making her way to the locker room. The plan to make it through the next half hour was simple. She wanted to ask intelligent questions, create a great piece for the program, and then leave with her sanity intact.
Despite all the people that must be around the massive complex, it was unusually quiet. There was no one standing around or pushing carts of equipment from one place to another. The emptiness was so strange, it was kind of spooky. It didn’t help that her shoes made an odd squishing sound with each step. There’d been a deep puddle of water she’d had to walk through earlier and obviously some water remained somewhere in the shoes’ depths. Mentally, she added getting a new pair to her list of things she needed to pick up next time she had a chance to shop.
Arriving at the locker room, Sarah took a deep breath, and reminded herself to stay calm. Letting it go, she put a smile on her face, and pulled the door open.
Patrick Conway, a glistening ripped form only partially covered, stood in front of her and she was lost. Without doing anything particular, he managed to steal every ounce of common sense from her mind, and brought her long ignored passionate needs racing to the surface. With heart pounding and pussy throbbing, she needed to do something that would help ground her back to reality. Darting her eyes around the room, she locked on the film crew, and seeing them helped remind why she was there. No matter how she felt, the next couple of hours weren’t personal. The reason she was in the locker room was all about television and football, not pleasure. Straightening her posture, she kept telling herself that she would not let the very sexy Pat seduce her and leave. Not this time.
I read a variety of blogs, most of which are not about the romance writing biz. I read writing craft blogs, some editor’s blogs, some author blogs. I don’t even subscribe to newsletters and the ones I do subscribe to, I rarely ever read. Not to say I don’t know things, I just listen. I may tweet a lot, but I do listen and I do watch.
One particular day a couple weeks ago, I read a freelance writer’s blog posted, entitled ‘Breaking News: Criticism Destroys Writing’. His post was entirely sarcastic, but…I do think there was one valid thing. BITCH. About it.
This can be applied to anything. We don’t like criticism. We do care what others think and we want people to love us, like us, want to be us, but in our personal lives as well as our professional lives, we know that’s unlikely to happen. You don’t want someone to notice you because your ass is too big. You want them to notice you because you’re soul is beautiful. You want to be noticed for you inside not you outside and rarely is that done with any measure of sincerity. (Yes, I am cynical. I have been on both sides. Ask me which one sucks more…)
As writers, we know there will be criticism. Some of it will be constructive and help you to grow in your writing. Some of it will be downright awful and mean and will make you want to crawl back under the pretty rock you came out from. There won’t always be 100% support and love and happy feelings. I’m not even sure there’s 50% support, love, and happy feelings. It’s probably more like 10% and often comes from places you least expect and not from the places you think it should. We even have critique partners and groups. We expect them to be honest. But we also go to them, seeking their honesty. It’s when it comes from other sources that we freeze and threaten to shatter.
We have to come to grips with the criticism, with the badness and find a way to the other side so we can go back to being productive. The stories don’t write themselves. One way that actually does help is to bitch about it. If someone does hurt your feelings, question your facts, say you have shit for brains and know nothing of which you speak, says your writing is worse than their second grade kid’s writing, sends you a scathing rejection…go ahead. Bitch. Bitch about it all you want. But then…go back to work.
We are human and we do have feelings. Some have networks of people they can turn to that know just how they feel. Others have to suffer through it alone. And it is suffering. Someone has just attacked your work and no matter what anyone says, it is personal. To a point.
Everything we do with regards to our writing…the time it takes, the research, the hours of lost sleep, of solitary confinement, of coffee jitters…is personal. It’s what we do. It’s who we are. Our books are so very personal to us. We put so much into them and when one is shredded all to hell…
And I said, to a point. This is also a business. There’s good and there’s crappy. If it’s all a bed of roses, then how will you learn? How will you grow? If they don’t criticize, tear down once in a while, how can you, as an author grow from ashes. (*wince* purple much Lissa?) We should all grow, too. We should all get rejected, get those bad reviews. We will grow from them. Maybe not right away, but we will. Once we take a step back and look at what was said, deconstruct it, analyze it, we’ll see places to improve. We’ll also be tougher for it.
There will also be some criticism that you can’t grow from, that you can’t do anything about but bitch, because it was so unfair and so painfully wrong. Not all criticism is good and not all of it is worthy of attention or time. Some do it out of jealousy, spite, professional envy, or to drive traffic.
But the good criticism…the rejection that says, this isn’t for us but send us something else, we like your voice. The revisions your editor asks for, the suggestions she makes and questions she asks, this is good. She wants your story to be better, to see you as a writer, grow and learn and write more. The fact that they took the book in the first place out of all the others they didn’t take, be glad of it. Yes, you can bitch about revisions and edits and wait times and contract clauses and bad covers…but once you’ve bitched it out of your system, move on and keep writing. Take the bad with the good. Find someone that’s been on both sides and befriend them.
One day someone will come and ask how you got through it. If you don’t, then you can’t answer them, you can’t be there for them. If you do, make sure you did it in a positive way rather than giving up so that they too can move on.
Bitching is good. Venting is good. We all need to do it about our kids and husband’s and evil day jobs. This is no different. Let it out. Scream, cry, rant over all the bad criticism and even over the good if you need to, then suck it up and move forward.
Here are my two ways to deal with it…
1. Bitch loud and long until it’s all out. If you don’t have anyone to bitch to that really cares, then bitch about it in a blog post you never publish. You can say anything then.
2. 24 hours. My husband gave me this rule and it works. Take 24 hours and walk away. Mope, veg, eat bad food, watch bad television, cry, scream, read, whatever. But it’s 24 hours only. That’s it. After that, go back to work. Don’t let the critics beat you. Don’t let them get the best of you. Do what you’ve gotta do and then get back to it. As writers, we always have stories to tell, so, tell it… Hell, write it out in your next book. Give your heroine a take no prisoners attitude.
In the opening scene of Wonder Boys (and yes I know I’m obsessed with this movie, sue me!), James’ fellow classmates in his advanced writer’s workshop, hate his short story. One guy even says he hated it and it made him want to kill himself. Professor Tripp says to the student, “That’s not what I meant by constructive.” The next person to speak is Hannah, and she says ‘I think we’re missing the point… He respects us enough to forget us and that takes courage.’
Have a great Tuesday. It’s wet, rainy, and sleepy weather here in NC