Dance monkey says… Ya terminé

Dance monkey That’s right, people.

Check out the silver beauty of that counter on the left. I’m done! I finished SKIN GAME. On Monday, I’ll get started on revisions. I’m soooooooooo happy. I stuck to my schedule of 3K a day, weekends off, every step of the way, and six weeks later, I have a sweet draft weighing in over 95K. The final polished book is supposed to be 100K, and I generally add at least 5K in revisions, so we’re good.

Come party with me and you could win a book by Nalini Singh, Eve Kenin, Meljean Brook, Lauren Dane, or Anya Bast. Yes, you get to pick the title from their backlist.

Winner announced next week, whenever I feel like it. So who knows how long you have to enter? If you want a book, shout it out in comments. Look at their sites and tell me what book you’d pick.

Don’t say I never gave you anything

I love their heated, slightly antagonistic attraction. This is Kyra and Reyes, from the first paranormal romance by Ava Gray. Here’s my favorite snip for the day. Enjoy.

“You think I want to go out in search of snatch.” Statement, not a question.

She tried to make a joke of it. “Wasn’t that a Larry Flynt show?”

He sighed then. “I obviously phrased the question wrong, if that’s what you extrapolated from it. I asked if we could take the night off. Together. You and me.”

His words hit her like a closed fist in the temple, and she felt dizzy, breathless. “I don’t understand. I have no idea what you want from me.”

“You know exactly what I want.”

“You already had it,” she protested. “Damn, Rey. I’m not Chinese food… men don’t come back in two hours, hungry for more.”

Don’t you just wish you knew what he says in response? It’s sooooooooooo good. But you have to buy the book to find out. Mwahahahaha!

what’s next, you ask?

Well, maybe you don’t care, but I’m telling you anyway. Here’s what we have in store.

I’ve enjoyed my time off, but with My Valentine in the can, it’s time for me to get back to work. On Monday, I’ll be starting Doubleblind, book three in the Sirantha Jax series. Just fyi, I’ll be doing my usual 3K a day until done, which will mean I won’t be blog surfing much. If you want me, look for me here or via email. I’ll still be blogging, of course, and I always answer emails. You know where to find me.

More exciting news.

My agent has a new website design, and I’m too thrilled to be on the homepage. Go on, click it! How cool is that? Gorgeous design, and there’s Grimspace, looking mighty fine, if I do say so myself.

Oh, my editor’s assistant, Cam, emailed me to tell me that I’m getting Grimspace proofs. Since she overnighted them, I should have them by Monday. I’m so excited over that, I can’t stand it.

EDIT: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! The FedEx man just delivered my proofs. I’m looking at them RIGHT NOW. I have a title page, dedication, acknowledgments…

It’s SO beautiful!

Holy crapweasels. My contracts from Laura arrived at 1:42pm.

The goodness hasn’t stopped either. The postman just brought me this:

Now I can read the Sonchai books over the weekend! Damn, it’s been a good day. I think I need to buy a lottery ticket!

My writing gig has landed on the Autobahn, and I’m so on board.

And you know what? There’s more. But I’m not talking. Yet. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Just a taste.

I’m sending you off into the weekend with something to leave you hungry for more. Want to know what I’ve been working on? Let me wet your whistle.

Here’s a taste of My Valentine:

Beatrice opened her chamber door to find him waiting with an impatient look. After slipping inside and bolting the door behind him, he kissed her with a helpless need that left her breathless. If he didn’t want her, he had missed his calling on the stage.

“Long day,” he said when they came up for air. “Not unpleasant, but long. I missed you.”

She fought the smile that revealed her feelings too clearly. “Did you?”

“You know I did.” His arms came around her fully and he buried his face in her hair. Beatrice felt him breathing in her scent and felt glad she’d asked her maid to add a few drops of lavender oil to her bath, hours ago now. “You smell like heaven.”

She was new enough to the business of having a lover that her cheeks heated. Since he’d won her already, he didn’t need to ply her with sweet words. Turning her cheek against the soft lawn of his nightshirt, she could only appreciate his finesse.

“What would a man like you know about heaven?” The words were meant in a coquettish manner, but she’d never mastered the inflection. Instead they sounded vaguely accusing, the last thing she wanted. She didn’t wish to argue with him on their first night together, not when it would set the tone for what came after.

“Not much,” he said quietly. “Just the time I spend with you.”

As always, he humbled her with his candor. She was not used to men who spoke their minds. She had lived her life in the company of people who thought honesty ought to be avoided, truth best cloaked in inconsequential words.

She inhaled sharply and then let her breath out in an aching sigh. “You are too good to be true.”

Things that appeared so usually were. But Beatrice could not bring herself to break things off between them for fear of consequences or future pain. She wanted to live as she had so rarely done — in the moment.

A haunted look crept across his face. “Hardly.”

Tonight she wouldn’t think about his secrets, or the fact that this affair was likely doomed to end badly. Beatrice wanted him in her bed. Wanted to see his face beside hers on the pillow, and know she could keep him until the first fingers of dawn stole over the windowsill. Then he would need to creep back to his own bed, a necessity that would likely chafe his pride.

How long could he bear to live like this? How long before she awoke to find him gone? None of her doubt showed in her smile as she tugged on his hand.

“Come to bed,” she said. “I would feel you close ere I sleep.”

His fingers wound around hers, warm and fast. “Only that?”

The implication shamed her. She found it hard to speak through a suddenly clotted throat, for she did not want to be yet another of his society ladies who made him feel like a thing to be used. And surely she should feel ashamed of the lambent heat that stirred like a gentle iron taken to a dying fire.

She wanted him; she could not deny that. And yet she did not like to admit it.

Instead she climbed up onto the bed and then pulled the bed curtains.

“If you wish,” she managed to say as she climbed beneath the light coverlet.

The window beyond stood slightly ajar, permitting the assorted scents of a spring night to filter through. In the shaded dark, he seemed more sensual ghost than man, a dream lover come to steal her good sense and possibly her soul as well. Not for the first time, Beatrice thought he was truly too beautiful to be real.

He lay down beside her in her husband’s place, though James had never shared this bed, never slept at Granville House. Because he did not immediately touch her, she knew something was wrong. Ren had seemed pleased to greet her at the door, so she must have erred in some fashion.

“I am your servant,” he said at last. “Does it matter what I wish?”

So that was bothering him again. His pride chafed at taking his living from her coffers, even if it provided the only solution to their mutual desire.

“Yes. If you don’t want to…” Her voice faltered. “Be with me. Tonight or any other, then return to your quarters. I do not command you to…service me, as if you were a horse I put to pasture with a mare.” Beatrice hesitated, and then the next words slipped out beyond volition. “I thought you wanted me.”

Stupid, she was so stupid. Now that he had a position in her household, teaching her daughter — what in the world possessed her to do such a thing, putting Mattie at risk for such an infatuation — he would break things off. It made perfect sense. Since her daughter had taken such a liking to him, she could hardly fire him, but she could warn the butler to watch their new tutor very closely–

“I do,” he breathed then. “So much it scares the hell out of me. Because now, for the first time in years, I have something to lose. I want to make love to you like they do in fairy tales, Triss. And I’m afraid I don’t know how.” He barked out a laugh that was somehow devoid of humor. “Absurd, isn’t it? I’ve been with so many women, but I don’t know think I know anything at all about being with someone like you.”

The knot eased out of her chest. Dear God, she might be falling in love with him. Each word he spoke nudged her a little closer to the brink, and it felt like dying, so much dread and uncertainty tethered to the tenuous hope that beyond the pain might lie something beautiful and bright.

“Just kiss me,” she whispered. “We have years to sort the rest out.”

Then he rolled toward her with a muffled moan, arms reaching for her. His heat seared through the thin fabric of their nightclothes. She wanted to learn the lines of his face as a woman who never saw so clearly with her eyes, wanted to trace his features with a potter’s fingers. There was such artistry in his making, even if he had no hand in it.

His mouth took hers in quiet demand, not fierce, but knowing. He nuzzled, nibbled, and toyed with her lips until she gasped. She’d never known such wickedly lovely kisses existed, sweet and sinful, the way he tasted her.

Beatrice couldn’t resist touching her tongue to his, an unintentional tease. He made a sound in his throat and rolled, drawing her on top of him.

You like? It seems even more bittersweet because they do not, in fact, have years. They have merely days.

Short post

Hey everyone, today’s post will be short. Why?

Well, I need to get my word count in, for one thing. My lack of motivation on my WIP is a thing of the past. I was having a hard time with it because it wasn’t different enough. I love writing books that push the boundaries and aren’t going to be the same as everything else you find out there. Well, My Valentine didn’t qualify. Until now. I’ve revamped it, and it’s now a paranormal interracial erotic romance. This book kicks ass and takes names.

Check out this blurb:

Then…
Once upon a time, a lady named Beatrice loved a dissolute lord, who gave her a child and never knew. They shared a brief, magical affair that ended at swordpoint. And on Valentine’s Day, after watching the man she adored (and then betrayed) breathe his last, she died for their love.

Now…
Darnell Valentine used to be a geek. His life is pretty good these days, other than the odd déjà vu and the occasional sense he’s been there and done that. He has just one significant problem — he’s been in love with Maya Hanoush forever. And she won’t give him the time of day.

But he has a funny feeling time is running out, so this year, he’ll claim Maya as his own. He somehow sees the way things should be, instead of as they are. Can a beta go alpha and teach his woman she can trust him with her very soul this time around? Only if they put the past behind them for good.

Maya Hanoush has no trouble getting men, but she can’t keep them. For reasons she doesn’t even understand, she keeps Darnell at arm’s length. Though they’ve been friends since childhood, she always feared taking the next step with him.

Lately, she’s been having crazy dreams and flashes of things she shouldn’t remember, things that never happened. She might just be losing her mind.

Ancient secrets, treachery, longing and despair lie between them, unresolved, unseen, and unsung, adding to the weight of a secret shame Maya guards like a junkyard dog.

But if she doesn’t put the pieces together in time, she’ll lose him forever. Again.

Y’all are gonna love it. I sent an excerpt to Dee, my BFF, to see if I was on the right track, and she said, “That’s beautiful.”

No excerpts for you, though. I’ll do that another day, when I have cover art to show you.

So I have a book to write, and later I’m taking my kids (who are out of school today) to see The Dark is Rising.

For now, go read this interview. It’s the first one I’ve done, so tell me the truth. How’d I do? Was it interesting? What do you think?

What are you working on now?

“YOU’RE WRITING A SEQUEL TO GUIDE?! I mean, it’s OFFICIAL, right? It’s past the “maybe someday” stage, right? Is it still going to be about Deanna? Are Ash and Ellie going to show up in it?”

I love when I get questions because it means I can answer them for my blog topic. So…

Yes. It’s official and past the “someday” stage. In fact, I’ve had the contract signed for a while, but I needed to focus on my NY books. Now that I have some breathing room (all my Jax deadlines are met for the nonce), it’s time for me to get cracking on the Guide sequel, My Valentine.

Because so many people have asked what happens between Maya and Darnell, they get the next story. It’s definitely hot, and it may surprise you. It’s not as light as some of my other Annie Dean work. I’m not claiming it’s Joey W. Hill in Ice Queen, but it’s certainly a side of my writing you’ve never seen before, including light bondage and domination. And yes, Ash and Ellie will make appearances in My Valentine.

It’s so titled because that’s his name — Darnell Valentine, and it will have a coordinating release date in Feb 2008. If everything goes according to plan, Deanna will get her own book in the third and final installation in the series.

Let me introduce you to the hero and heroine then. This is Darnell. He’s a stockbroker and according to Ash “can spot a hot stock from space.” He reads Forbes and he likes messing around the financial pages of The Wall Street Journal on Sunday morning. He used to be a geek in high school (chess club, Mathlete, all that), but as you can see, he’s filled out just fine. He has just one problem: he’s been in love with Maya Hanoush since they were fifteen.

And the girl won’t give him the time of day.

Meet Maya. She’s model gorgeous and has no trouble getting men, but she runs them through hoops just to see what all they’ll put up with before they leave. She has her reasons for keeping Darnell at arm’s length, crazy though they may seem to anyone else. Like she told Ash, “I was afraid if we got into a relationship and it didn’t work, if he saw all the stuff that’s wrong with me, then maybe I’d lose him as a friend, too. I thought if things stayed the same, I’d never lose him. You know?”

Deep down Maya thinks Darnell is adorable, always has. That’s why she cracks on him so hard; she doesn’t know what she’d do if he ever figured out that she melts like butter where he’s concerned. She even likes the goofy black glasses he wears to read the paper. Because of a dark secret, she guards the status quo like a junkyard dog.

But Darnell is tired of waiting, tired of playing by Maya’s rules, and this year, he’ll claim the woman he’s always wanted. Can a beta go alpha?

Find out this February in My Valentine.

PS — Tomorrow I’ll be blogging over at SEx about Boundless along with Bonnie Dee and Dionne Galace. We’re running an awesome contest with a truly delicious prize, so don’t miss it.